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He looked at the glass, and scanned the various instruments

source:Unpretentious behavior networkedit:datatime:2023-12-04 14:13:17

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!--

He looked at the glass, and scanned the various instruments

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.

He looked at the glass, and scanned the various instruments

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.

He looked at the glass, and scanned the various instruments


It appears, Friedrich met a cordial reception in the sickroom at Potsdam; and, in spite of his levities to Wilhelmina, was struck to the heart by what he saw there. For months to come, he seems to be continually running between Potsdam and Ruppin, eager to minister to his sick Father, when military leave is procurable. Other fact, about him, other aspect of him, in those months, is not on record for us.

Of his young Madam, or Princess-Royal, peaceably resident at Berlin or at Schonhausen, and doing the vacant officialities, formal visitings and the like, we hear nothing; of Queen Sophie and the others, nothing: anxious, all of them, no doubt, about the event at Potsdam, and otherwise silent to us. His Majesty's illness comes and goes; now hope, and again almost none. Margraf of Schwedt and his young Bride, we already know, were married in November; and Lieutenant Chasot (two days old in Berlin) told us, there was Dinner by the Crown-Prince to all the Royal Family on that occasion;--poor Majesty out at Potsdam languishing in the background, meanwhile.

His Carnival the Crown-Prince passes naturally at Berlin. We find he takes a good deal to the French Ambassador, one Marquis de la Chetardie; a showy restless character, of fame in the Gazettes of that time; who did much intriguing at Petersburg some years hence, first in a signally triumphant way, and then in a signally untriumphant; and is not now worth any knowledge but a transient accidental one. Chetardie came hither about Stanislaus and his affairs; tried hard, but in vain, to tempt Friedrich Wilhelm into interference;--is naturally anxious to captivate the Crown-Prince, in present circumstances.

Friedrich Wilhelm lay at Potsdam, between death and life, for almost four months to come; the Newspapers speculating much on his situation; political people extremely anxious what would become of him,--or in fact, when he would die; for that was considered the likely issue. Fassmann gives dolorous clippings from the Leyden Gazette, all in a blubber of tears, according to the then fashion, but full of impertinent curiosity withal. And from the Seckendorf private Papers there are Extracts of a still more inquisitive and notable character: Seckendorf and the Kaiser having an intense interest in this painful occurrence.

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