heart-broken being, who had so tenderly watched Julia,

time:2023-12-01 05:06:34source:xsnedit:rna

Wilhelmina says, [ Memoires, i. 22.] her Brother was "slow" in learning: we may presume, she means idle, volatile, not always prompt in fixing his attention to what did not interest him. Moreover, he was often weakly in health, as she herself adds; so that exertion was not recommendable for him. Herr von Loen (a witty Prussian Official, and famed man-of-letters once, though forgotten now) testifies expressly that the Boy was of bright parts, and that he made rapid progress. "The Crown-Prince manifests in this tender age [his seventh year] an uncommon capacity; nay we may say, something quite extraordinary ( etwas ganz Ausserordentliches ). He is a most alert and vivacious Prince; he has fine and sprightly manners; and shows a certain kindly sociality, and so affectionate a disposition that all things may be hoped of him. The French Lady who [under Roucoulles] has had charge of his learning hitherto, cannot speak of him without enthusiasm. 'C'est un esprit ange'lique (a little angel),' she is wont to say. He takes up, and learns, whatever is put before him, with the greatest facility." [Van Loen, Kleine Schriften, ii. 27 (as cited in Rodenbeck, No. iv. 479).]

heart-broken being, who had so tenderly watched Julia,

For the rest, that Friedrich Wilhelm's intentions and Rhadamanthine regulations, in regard to him, were fulfilled in every point, we will by no means affirm. Rules of such exceeding preciseness, if grounded here and there only on the SIC-VOLO, how could they be always kept, except on the surface and to the eye merely? The good Duhan, diligent to open his pupil's mind, and give Nature fair-play, had practically found it inexpedient to tie him too rigorously to the arbitrary formal departments where no natural curiosity, but only order from without, urges the ingenious pupil. What maximum strictness in school-drill there can have been, we may infer from one thing, were there no other: the ingenious Pupil's mode of SPELLING. Fritz learned to write a fine, free-flowing, rapid and legible business-hand; "Arithmetic" too, "Geography," and many other Useful Knowledges that had some geniality of character, or attractiveness in practice, were among his acquisitions; much, very much he learned in the course of his life; but to SPELL, much more to punctuate, and subdue the higher mysteries of Grammar to himself, was always an unachievable perfection. He did improve somewhat in after life; but here is the length to which he had carried that necessary art in the course of nine years' exertion, under Duhan and the subsidiary preceptors; it is in the following words and alphabetic letters that he gratefully bids Duhan farewell,--who surely cannot have been a very strict drill-sergeant in the arbitrary branches of schooling!

heart-broken being, who had so tenderly watched Julia,

"Mon cher Duhan Je Vous promais (PROMETS) que quand j'aurez (J'AURAI) mon propre argent en main, je Vous donnerez (DONNERAI) enuelement (ANNUELLEMENT) 2400 ecu (ECUS) par an, et je vous aimerais (AIMERAI) toujour encor (TOUJORS ENCORE) un peu plus q'asteure (QU'A CETTE HEURE) s'il me l'est (M'EST) posible (POSSIBLE)."

heart-broken being, who had so tenderly watched Julia,

"MY DEAR DUHAN,--I promise to you, that when I shall have my money in my own hands, I will give you annually 2400 crowns [say 350 pounds] EVERY YEAR; and that I will love you always even a little more than at present, if that be possible.

"FRIDERIC P.R. [Prince-Royal]."

"POTSDAM, le 20 de juin, 1727." [Preuss, i. 22.]

The Document has otherwise its beauty; but such is the spelling of it. In fact his Grammar, as he would himself now and then regretfully discern, in riper years, with some transient attempt or resolution to remedy or help it, seems to have come mainly by nature; so likewise his "STYLUS" both in French and German,-- a very fair style, too, in the former dialect:--but as to his spelling, let him try as he liked, he never came within sight of perfection.

The things ordered with such rigorous minuteness, if but arbitrary things, were apt to be neglected; the things forbidden, especially in the like case, were apt to become doubly tempting. It appears, the prohibition of Latin gave rise to various attempts, on the part of Friedrich, to attain that desirable Language. Secret lessons, not from Duhan, but no doubt with Duhan's connivance, were from time to time undertaken with this view: once, it is recorded, the vigilant Friedrich Wilhelm, going his rounds, came upon Fritz and one of his Preceptors (not Duhan but a subaltern) actually engaged in this illicit employment. Friedrich himself was wont to relate this anecdote in after 1ife. [Busching, Beitrage zu der Lebensgeschichte denkwurdiger Personen, v. 33. Preuss, i. 24.] They had Latin books, dictionaries, grammars on the table, all the contraband apparatus; busy with it there, like a pair of coiners taken in the fact. Among other Books was a copy of the Golden Bull of Kaiser Karl IV.,-- Aurea Bulla, from the little golden BULLETS or pellets hung to it,--by which sublime Document, as perhaps we hinted long ago, certain so-called Fundamental Constitutions, or at least formalities and solemn practices, method of election, rule of precedence, and the like, of the Holy Roman Empire, had at last been settled on a sure footing, by that busy little Kaiser, some three hundred and fifty years before; a Document venerable almost next to the Bible in Friedrich Wilhelm's loyal eyes, "What is this; what are you venturing upon here?" exclaims Paternal Vigilance, in an astonished dangerous tone. "Ihro Majestat, ich explicire dem Prinzen Auream Bullam," exclaimed the trembling pedagogue: "Your Majesty, I am explaining AUREA BULLA [Golden Bull] to the Prince!"--"Dog, I will Golden-Bull you!" said his Majesty, flourishing his rattan, "Ich will dich, Schurke, be-auream-bullam!" which sent the terrified wretch off at the top of his speed, and ended the Latin for that time. [Forster, i. 356.]

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