[ocr errors]

front of the gate. The Marqnis would be the siege of Kehl, where he was slightly
the safer in this place as it was seldom wounded: in 1734, after the siege of
opened ; and, besides, it was situated at Philipsbeurg, he got a fall from his horse,
the west end of the mosque, and the whicii so disabled him, that he was never
Mahometans always in their prayers face able to mount afterwards, and he was
to Mecca, which lies east of Constan- obliged in consequence to renounce the
tinople, and never turn their heads with- service.
out giving cause for scandal; a point on It appears, that it was at the time of
which they are so scrupulous, that they his refusal to embrace the profession his
never turn when they quit the mosques, father wished him, when he returned
but always go backward to the gate. from Constantinople, that his father dis-

The Marquis D'Argens, seated at his inherited him, not being able, owing to ease, beheld the whole of the ceremo- the smallness of his fortune, to sustain nies of the Turkish religion; yet he gare with credit the expensive life his son ied. frequent cause of alarm to his guide-al He was compelled, when he retired most every minute he quitted his hiding from the service, to go to Holland to place, and advanced to the middle of seek resources from his pen. The liberty the tribune, in order that he inight have of the press, which then existed in that a better view of what was passing in the country, allowed him to make choice of mosque. Then the poor Turk, who any subject bis tancy suggested. He pubknew he ran no less a risk than that of lished successively, the “ Je vish, Chic being impaled alive, intreated him, by nese, and Cabalistic Letters.” They the most expressive signs and gestures, were admired, and brought him some to retire quickly behind bis pieture. The money; most of them turning on subjects terror of the man was 'a subject of the of morality, politics, manners, religious highest 'amusement to the Knight of customs and ceremonies, and the events Malta, who played the more upon his of nations. The lively manner in which fears.

they were written, the boldness of some But they were a hundred-fold, if pos- of the ideas, and the singularity of the sible, increased, when he took a fask of style, caused them to be much read, and wine and a piece of ham from his pocket, generally approved. and offered him share of both. The disciple The “ Jewish Letters,” in particular, of Mahomet was in absolute despair; but gained him a very high reputation. The what couid he do?=he must bear all in King of Prussia, then Prince Royal, read order to conceal his guilt, and save him- them, and wished to become acquainted self from punishment. The Marquis with the author. He was even anxious threatened him; and the Turk was com- 'to attach him to his service, hoping by pelled to drink of the wine, and eat of that means to draw him out of the unthe ham, and thus profane himself, his pleasant state his youth had thrown him religion, and the mosque. The misera- into. He wrote to him, and inade him ble man was for some instants like one the most honourable offers ; every thing petrified: he thought he beheld the seemed to assure him that the Marquis avenging arm of the prophet raised above would accept them with eagerness, as he his head; by degrees, however, he be- chiefly proposed that they should live came more calm: he even began to be as friends, and study philosophy togefamiliar with his guilt ; and when the ther-his answer, however, was not such devotees had all left the mosque, and as was expected. After expressing his he saw himself alone with the Chris- grateful sense of the honour of the attentian dog, they finished their breakfast tion, be adds, “ Deign, your Highnessig with a good grace, laughed at the dan- to consider, that in order to be attendant ger they had run, and parted most ex on your person, I must be always in view cellent friends.

of ihree battalions of Guares, quartered The Marquis D'Argens, in his Me- at Potsdam. Can I therefore venture moirs, exposes with great candour the without danger. I am only five feet adventures of his journey, and the mo. 'seven inches high, and but indifferently tive which induced him to return to made." France. His father anxiously wished It would not probably have been very him to study the law; but the ardent politic or agreeable for the Marquis character of the young man could not be D'Argens, then not more than thirty persuaded by his sage advice. He again years old, to settle in Prussia; anel so re-entered the service, and in 1733 be near the residence of Frederic iVillian, was appointed to the cavalry: he was åt father of him to whom he wrote.


4 F

This Monarch was a man of harsh un “ The Prince, completely sick of his pleasant manners, an enemy to literature, father's treatment, resolved one day in whose sole glory and pride consisted in the year 1730 to leave him, uncertain having in his army the tallest and hand- whether he should go to France or Engsomest soldiers in Europe, and immense land. The rigid economy of the father treasures in his coffers.

would not allow him to travel otherwise “ Frederic William," says Voltaire, than as the son of a Farmer-general, or

was a complete Vandal, who, during an Englisb merchant-he borrowed a few tbe wbole course of his reign, had no hundred ducats. Two young men of other object in view than amassing sums, amiable character were to be his comand supporting at the least possible ex- panions-Kat was the only son of a brave pense the finest troops in Europe. Never General Officer, and Keil was a near rewere subjects poorer than his; never was a lation of a Baroness Kniphausen, whom King richer. Turkey is a republic in com- Frederic William condemned in a fine of parison with the despotism which Frede- thirty thousand-francs, for having a child ric William exercised. It was by this when a widow. The day and hour of he succeeded in collecting in the cellars their departure were fixed--the father was of his palace a

sum exceeding eighty informed of every circumstance-the millions, contained in barrels hooped Prince and his two companions were arwith jron.

rested. At first the father took it into “ This King usually went from his pa- bis head, that his daughter Wilhelmina, lace on foot, in a shabby old blue coat who afterwards married the Margrave of with copper buttons, which reached half Bareith, was privy to the plot; and, as way down his thighs; and whenever he his justice was executed in a very sumn. ordered a new one, he had bis old but- mary way, he kicked her through a wintons put on it: in this dress his Majesty, dow which opened down to the floor, with a large serjeant's cane, every The Queen Mother, who came into the day inspected his regiment of giants. room just as her daughter Wilhelmina This regiment was his hobby horse, and was on the point of falling out, with much bis greatest expense. The front rank difficulty held her by her cloaths. The was composed of men of seven feet high: Princess received a contusion just above he bad them collected from all parts of the left breast, the mark of which she Europe, and of Asia. I saw several of carried to her grave." them even after his death.

The Prince had a sort of mistress, “ When Frederic William finished his daughter of a school-master of the town review, he usually took a walk through of Brandenburg, settled in Potzdam : the city; every person fled at his ap- she played a little on the harpsichord proach: if he happened to meet a wo the Prince Royal accompanied her on the man, he asked her why she wasted her fute—he fancied, himself in love with time in the streets Go home, go her; however, fancy or not, the father home, you lazy beggar; an honest wo. had her led round the streets of Potzdam, man should be employed about her followed by two common executioners, house.' He generally accompanied his who flogged her before his son's eyes. advice with a good slap on the face, a After he had regaled himself with this kick, or else a blow of his cane. In the spectacle, he had her conveyed to the same manner he treated the ministers of citadel of Custrin, situated in the midthe, gospel, when he happened occa. dle of a morass : there she was shut up sionally to see them on the parade. in a sort of dungeon tor six months, with

One may easily judge,” continues out any attendant, and at the expiration Voltaire, “ that a savage like this would of that time, they gave hier a soldier to be both astonished and chagrined, at wait upon her. having a son possessed of strong under The Prince had been some weeks 0011standing, a bright genius, politeness, and fined in this same castle of Custrin, a desire to please, and who sought to when one day an old officer, followed by improve his mind, and study music and four grenadiers, entered the rooms; his poetry. If he saw a book in the hands eyes filled with tears. Frederic had no of the Hereditary Prince, he threw it in doubt but they cavie to put an end the fire: if the Prince amused himself to him; but the oflicer, still weeping, with his flute, the father broke it; and made a sign, on which the four grenasometimes treated bis Royal Highness diers placed him at a window, and as he did the ladies, and the clergymen held his head to it, while he saw that of on parade.

his friend Kat taken off, upon a scaffold 2


erected directly opposite the window. and bis mind is at a stand, he will never He held out his band towards Kat, and rest, and aiter having threatened to take fainted. The father was present at this his departure within eight days, he will spectacle, as well as at the punishment of be off in two or three days at the farthe girl.

thest." The 'King was alarmed leso It is easy to see, that the Marquis D'Ar. Jordan should hare prophesied too truly, gens had very solid reasons for not going and he returned these few words in an. to Prussia, ouder the Government of such swer to his note.-“ Be satisfied, my dear a Prince. From the warmth and inpe- Marquis, your fate shall be decided totuosity of his character, he would niost morrow by dinner-time;" and, in fact, probably have lost either his liberty or the next morning, the Marquis, on his his life.

arrival at the palace, received the key But when Frederic the Second ascend- of office as chamberlain, with a salary ed the throne, in 1740, matters were of six thousand francs, and was also apchanged, and the same dread ceased to pointed director of the class of belles-letexist. The new Monarch wrote imine- tres of the Royal Academy, which gave diately to the young Marquis—“ No him an additional annual increase of longer, my dear Marquis, be afraid of eight hundred francs. the battalions of guards-come, and This generosity on the part of Fredebrave them even on the parade at Potz- ric soon changed the resolution of the dam."

Marquis. He settled at Berlin; he cultiWhen he received this letter, hé vated literature and the friendship of the was at Stutgard, in the service of the Great Prince, who so well knew how to Duchess Dowager of Wirtemberg: she reward those who made it their occupahad a wish to visit Berlin, and see Fre- tion. He was constantly one of the deric. The opportunity being favoura- King's social and private parties. ble, they set out together.

At first, Algarotti, Voltaire, and MauThe King received him, (says Mons. pertuis, were the principal favourites of Thiebault,) in the most flattering manner; Frederic. The sprightly character and inhe invited him to diner every day; their struction of the former highly pleased the conversation was lively and agreeable; no- Prince. Voltaire captivated himn by the thing in appearance was more fattering, brilliancy of his conversation, his pointed or more likely to satisfy the wishes, and sallies, and the greatness of his talents. flatter the ambition, of a philosopher: but. Maupertuis was in the habit of treating weeks rolled on, and no mention was on subjects of profound learning and scimade of fulfilling the promises which had ence. He was in some measure the mi. led the new guest from a situation less nister of this party : he directed the brilliant, but sufficient for his nants. academy, and informed the King of every

The Marquis having vainly endeavour- valuable work of every description of scied to discover the cause of this neglect, ence which came out.

The Marquis and baving waited six weeks, lost all pa- D'Argens did not possess talents equal to tience; and, on returning home one day any of those three; but his good nature, his immediately after dinner, he sent a note pleasantry, and his wit, made him highly to the king, couched in the following esteemed to the pointed manners of

high life, the Marquis added a facility " Sire! For six weeks that I have had of character, and a Provençal vivacity, the honour to be near your Majesty, my which made his conversation very pipurse has suffered so rigorous a blockade, quant and amusing.

His writings, that if you gain so many battles, and také kuown throughout all Europe, which so many fortresses, and do not speedily were both agreeable and instructive, were come to its assistance, I shall be obliged a strong title to Frederic's favour : the to capitulate, and re-cross the Rhine originality and eccentricity of his conwithin a week."--The king bad his friend duct, of which we shall give more than Jordan with him when the note was one instance, never lessened the esteem bronght to bim_" See here," said he, the King conceived for him, although * what that fol D'Argens has written; he was more than once the object of his he wishes to leave us."--Jordan esteemed pleasantry and sarcasm. the Marquis, and for that reason said to It was chiefly at the supper parties of his master, after having read the pote Frederic, that he assembled these literary “ I know the Provençals, and their im- characters, and where those scenes of patience; but I particularly know the gaiety and wit passed, which, for nea Marquis : while uneasiness torments bim, thirty years were the objects of the at



[ocr errors]

tention, and sometimes the satire, of the of peace, which secured to him his do
rest of Europe. They bore no resem- minions.-
blance to the orgies of the Regent of But whatever opinion the Marquis
France. There was more real wit, a va. D'Argens had upon the strange confi-
ried conversation, and obscenity and im- dence the Monarch placed in kim, he
piety were particularly banished; but was really alarmed: be delayed not a
the freedom of discourse was sometimes minute in answering him, and made use
carried too far, as at the suppers of the of every thing, which men who neither
Duke of Orleans, so much so as to be- believe in God, in the immortality of the
come displeasing to the master.

soul, por in any species of revelation,
In one of these supper parties, (said could make use of, under similar circum-
M. Thiebault,) which even till the Seven stances, to induce him to alter his deter-
Years' War were often prolonged to a mination.
very late hour, Frederic asked each of his There was a company of dancers at
companions, How he would govern if he Berlin, whom the King had always en-
were a King? There was a lively argu- gaged for the opera. The family of Co-
ment between them, in order for each to chois was among the number. The fa-
establish their different maxims. The ther and mother died, and the two daugh.
Marquis, however, listened, and said no ters remained at that theatre. The
thing: the King at last observed his si- Marquis, whose faie seemed to be to at-
lence, and asked him, What would he tach hinself to females of this descrip.
do were he in his place? “ Sire," an- tion, when he was almust sixty years
$wered the Marquis, “I would immedi. old, became in love with the eldest of
ately sell my kingdom, and purchase a these two sisters. She was rather plain
good estate in France." This pleasantry, than handsome, about five and twenty,
by means of which he escaped the ridic of an excellent understanding, and en-
cule of advancing and supporting any dowed with considerable talents; she
misplaced doctrine, oblained the King's drew very well, and was an excellent
approbation, and put an end to the dis- musician; besides French, she knew the
cussion. It was afier some disputes of a German, Italian, and Latin languages,
similar nature, that Frederic, in a mo as well as a woman had occasion to do,
ment of spleen or ill nature, wrote, that and even a livile Greek, which she learn.
if he wanted to punish a province, he ed out of complaisance to the Marquis.
would send philosophers to govern it. Her character was inild, and of a think-

During the Seven Years' War, that is, ing turn : she had the art of uniting, unfrom 1756 to 1763, when Frederic be- der the appearance of the greatest simheld his dominions invaded, and taken plicity, all those attentions which please from him, by the Russians, the Austrians, so well, and conciliate esteem. M. and the French, and that no hopes of Thiebault has furnished this account of safety remained, it was to the Marquis her. D'Argens that he imparted the design be The Marquis, after having paid his adhad formed of putting an end to his ex- dresses to her for some time, married istence.

her: the marriage took place during the It was on this occasion that he ad- course of the Seven Years' War, and with, dressed a long epistle in verse to the out the King's knowledge--that was one Marquis D'Argens on this subject, the of the causes that lessened the friendship misfortunes of his life, and the principles of Frederic for him. They knew it would of stoicism : however trilling this reso- displease the King, consequently were lution may appear, and however singular much embarrassed in making the dethe manner which Frederic made use of, claration. They waited till peace was to disclose it to one of his courtiers, it re. concluded, and then held a meeting of sults however from it, that the Marquis all those who belonged to the PhilosophiD'Argens held most distinguished cal Society of Sans Souci. After a long place in the esieem of the Prince, since consultation upon the best mode of acit was to him that he addressed himself quainting the King with what had hapin the agony of his soul.

pened, it was agreed that the Marchion The happy events which so quickly ness D'Argens should walk in the gardens succeeded, drew, Frederic out of bis ein of Sans Souci, at the hour when the barrassment, and the necessity of putting Monarch was accustomed to take the his residucion into practice, by compel air ; that her dress should be such as ling his enemies to enter into conditions might attract attention, but plain and



elegant; and that Lord Mareschal should Madamoiselle Cochois had made a presettle the rest. This plan was followed. sent to the Marquis of a very fine mo pa This Lord, who generally accompanied ing loose dressing-gown, or wrapper---tais Frederic in his walks, in passing by one was before their marriage. Delighted of the alleys, a short distance from the with this present, he put it ou inmediMarchioness, saluted her, as a lady of ately, and found it so much to his taste, his acquaintance, with much respect. that he did not put it off the whole events This salute gave occasion to the King to ing. The King, however, sent to let iema inquire who the lady was? My Lord know he expected him to supper. The Mareschal answered, in a careless, neg same answer was returned, that he was ligent, way, that she was the Marchionessilt. D'Argens. “What!” replied the King, The Monarch, in order to disturb the in a severe tone, " is the Marquis mar- felicity of the Marquis's little pariy, usiok ried?" “ Yes, Sire.”—“ How long?” it into his head to send him word, tigat * Some years, iny Liege.” -“ Eh! what? having heard of his ill state of health, without acquainting me?" “ It was dur- fearful of the fatal consequences of so ing the war, and he would not venture to dangerous a disorder as that with a bich he trouble you on such a trifling inatter." was attacked, and auxious he shoulet (die " And whom did he marry?” Mademoi. like a good Christian, he had commáudled selle Cochois !” “ 'Tis a folly I shall not two catholic priests to administer the tasuffer."

crament of extreme unction to him, and The King after some time grew calm, that they would visit him that very evenbut the Marquis was a considerable time ing to fulfil this pious duty.-The Mar. without seeing bim; and, even after- quis knew not what to think of this i ptiwards, when their intiinacy was resumed mation. He well knew the King was as before, Frederic never spoke to hiin capable of giving similar orders to the of his wife,

catholic priests, but he doubted much Not but that the King knew well that whether he would dare to be guilty of he lived with Mademoiselle Cochois. such a scandal within the walls of his The Marquis had taken her with him in own palace. The most essential tbing the journey he made to France in 1747 ; for hiin was, to make it appear as if he and it appears by his correspondence, were really ill. He, therefore, wrapped that he frequently mentioned her to the up his head, and counterfeited the apa King, who was afraid she would not re pearance of a man quite unwell, turn in time to perform in the

The King covered laimself with a sur Berlin, as he wished her.

plice and a stole, put two or three perD'Argens possessed that lively wit, sons who were in tuis confidence, into and the vivacity so natural to his coun black cloaks, and the whole "party detrymen, the Provençals, which always scended in a solemn procession, as if they raised a laugh: he often uttered were bearing extreme unction to the his jests in such a stile of naivelé, as Marquis, whose apartments were below afforded the King ample matter ; for he the king's. The person who went brst was fond of relating the adventures carried a small bell, wbich was heard in of his youth, and the anecdotes of his all the apartinents, as soon as they got life, with which he instructed Europe, upon the staircase. No one had any though he did not edify it, in the Me- doubt, but that it was the sacrament moirs of which he wrote.

going to a person dangerously ill. La He had frequently soine little whims, Pierre, the Marquis's servant, went to which, added to the assiduity which de- see the procession, and soon saw what it tained himn near Madamoiselie Coclois, was. In order not to be found out, and made him absent himself from the King, consequently pass for a liar, the pretendwho wished to see the men of genius at ed sick man hastened to get into bed his supper table, as exact, and with the without undressing, or even taking off his same regularity, as the Secretaries of fine dressing-gown with gold flowers. the different departments came to their The procession immediately after entered offices in the morning.

the chamber in a slow aod solemn mna. Having once asked the Marquis, why ner, and ranged themselves in order behe had not seen bin for some days, he fore the bed. The King, who closed. excused isiinself hy saying, he had been the procession, placed himself in the midunwell. The King knew to the contrary, die of the circle ; and addressed the Marand resolved to be revenged of laim. quis, telling him, that the cburch, al

opera at

« 前へ次へ »