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a sudden turn for the worse about the fourth day after

source:Unpretentious behavior networkedit:hottime:2023-12-04 14:14:00

"My Brother arrived, the 5th of October. He seemed to me put out (DECONTENANCE); and to break off conversation with me, he said he had to write to the King and Queen. I ordered him pen and paper. He wrote in my room; and spent more than a good hour in writing a couple of Letters, of a line or two each. He then had all the Court, one after the other, introduced to him; said nothing to any of them, looked merely with a mocking air at them; after which we went to dinner.

a sudden turn for the worse about the fourth day after

"Here his whole conversation consisted in quizzing (TURLUPINER) whatever he saw; and repeating to me, above a hundred times over, the words 'little Prince,' 'little Court.' I was shocked; and could not understand how he had changed so suddenly towards me. The etiquette of all Courts in the Empire is, that nobody who has not at the least the rank of Captain can sit at a Prince's table: my Brother put a Lieuteuant there, who was in his suite; saying to me, 'A King's Lieutenants are as good as a Margraf's Ministers.' I swallowed this incivility, and showed no sign.

a sudden turn for the worse about the fourth day after

"After dinner, being alone with me, he said,"--turning up the flippant side of his thoughts, truly, in a questionable way:-- "'Our Sire is going to end (TIRE A SA FIN); he will not live out this month. I know I have made you great promises; but I am not in a condition to keep them. I will give you up the Half of the sum which the late King [our Grandfather] lent you; [Supra, pp. 161, 162.] I think you will have every reason to be satisfied with that.' I answered, That my regard for him had never been of an interested nature; that I would never ask anything of him, but the continuance of his friendship; and did not wish one sou, if it would in the least inconvenience him. 'No, no,' said he, 'you shall have those 100,000 thalers; I have destined them for you.-- People will be much surprised,' continued he, 'to see me act quite differently from what they had expected. They imagine I am going to lavish all my treasures, and that money will become as common as pebbles at Berlin: but they will find I know better. I mean to increase my Army, and to leave all other things on the old footing. I will have every consideration for the Queen my Mother, and will sate her (RASSASIERAI) with honors; but I do not mean that she shall meddle in my affairs; and if she try it, she will find so.'" What a speech; what an outbreak of candor in the young man, preoccupied with his own great thoughts and difficulties,--to the exclusion of any other person's!

a sudden turn for the worse about the fourth day after

"I fell from the clouds, on hearing all that; and knew not if I was sleeping or waking. He then questioned me on the affairs of this Country. I gave him the detail of them. He said to me: 'When your goose (BENET) of a Father-in-law dies, I advise you to break up the whole Court, and reduce yourselves to the footing of a private gentleman's establishment, in order to pay your debts. In real truth, you have no need of so many people; and you must try also to reduce the wages of those whom you cannot help keeping. You have been accustomed to live at Berlin with a table of four dishes; that is all you want here: and I will invite you now and then to Berlin; which will spare table and housekeeping.'

"For a long while my heart had been getting big; I could not restrain my tears, at hearing all these indignities. 'Why do you cry?' said he: 'Ah, ah, you are in low spirits, I see. We must dissipate that dark humor. The music waits us; I will drive that fit out of you by an air or two on the flute.' He gave me his hand, and led me into the other room. I sat down to the harpsichord; which I inundated (INONDAI) with my tears. Marwitz [my artful Demoiselle d'Atours, perhaps too artful in time coming] placed herself opposite me, so as to hide from the others what disorder I was in.' [Wilhelmina, ii. 216-218.]

For the last two days of the visit, Wilhelmina admits, her Brother was a little kinder. But on the fourth day there came, by estafette, a Letter from the Queen, conjuring him to return without delay, the King growing worse and worse. Wilhelmina, who loved her Father, and whose outlooks in case of his decease appeared to be so little flattering, was overwhelmed with sorrow. Of her Brother, however, she strove to forget that strange outbreak of candor; and parted with him as if all were mended between them again. Nay, the day after his departure, there goes a beautifully affectionate Letter to him; which we could give, if there were room: [ OEuvres, xxvii. part 1st, p. 23.] "the happiest time I ever in my life had;" "my heart so full of gratitude and so sensibly touched;" "every one repeating the words 'dear Brother' and 'charming Prince-Royal:'"--a Letter in very lively contrast to what we have just been reading. A Prince-Royal not without charm, in spite of the hard practicalities he is meditating, obliged to meditate!--

As to the outbreak of candor, offensive to Wilhelmina and us, we suppose her report of it to be in substance true, though of exaggerated, perhaps perverted tone; and it is worth the reader's note, with these deductions. The truth is, our charming Princess is always liable to a certain subtrahend. In 1744, when she wrote those Memoires, "in a Summer-house at Baireuth," her Brother and she, owing mainly to go-betweens acting on the susceptible female heart, were again in temporary quarrel (the longest and worst they ever had), and hardly on speaking terms; which of itself made her heart very heavy;--not to say that Marwitz, the too artful Demoiselle, seemed to have stolen her Husband's affections from the poor Princess, and made the world look all a little grim to her. These circumstances have given their color to parts of her Narrative, and are not to be forgotten by readers.

The Crown-Prince--who goes by Dessau, lodging for a night with the Old Dessauer, and writes affectionately to his Sister from that place, their Letters crossing on the road--gets home on the 12th to Potsdam. October 12th, 1734, he has ended his Rhine Campaign, in that manner;--and sees his poor Father, with a great many other feelings besides those expressed in the dialogue at Baireuth.

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