Nor could King August the Physically Strong be glad to see his "Director" function virtually superseded, in this triumphant way. A year or two ago, Friedrich Wilhelm had, with the due cautions and politic reserves, inquired of the CORPUS EVANGELICORUM, "If they thought the present Directorship (that of August the Physically Strong) a good one?" and "Whether he, Friedrich Wilhelm, ought not perhaps himself to be Director?"--To which, though the answer was clear as noonday, this poor Corpus had only mumbled some "QUIETA NON MOVERE," or other wise-foolish saw; and helplessly shrugged its shoulders. [1717-1719, when August's KURPRINZ, Heir-Apparent, likewise declared himself Papist, to the horror and astonishment of poor Saxony, and wedded the late Kaiser Joseph's Daughter:--not to Father August's horror; who was steering towards "popularity in Poland," "hereditary Polish Crown," &c. with the young man. (Buchholz, i. 53-56.)] But King August himself,--though a jovial social kind of animal, quite otherwise occupied in the world; busy producing his three hundred and fifty-four Bastards there, and not careful of Church matters at all,--had expressed his indignant surprise. And now, it would seem nevertheless, though the title remains where it was, the function has fallen to another, who actually does it: a thing to provoke comparisons in the public.
Clement, the Hungarian forger, vender of false state-secrets, is well hanged; went to the gallows (18th April, 1720) with much circumstance, just two days before that Heidelberg Church was got reopened. But the suspicions sown by Clement cannot quite be abolished by the hanging of him: Forger indisputably; but who knows whether he had not something of fact for his? What with Clement, what with this Heidelberg business, the Court of Berlin has fallen wrong with Dresden, with Vienna itself, and important clouds have risen.
The poor Kaiser himself is otherwise in trouble of his own, at this time. The Spaniards and he have fallen out, in spite of Utrecht Treaty and Rastadt ditto; the Spaniards have taken Sicily from him; and precisely in those days while Karl Philip took to shutting up the HEILIGE-GEIST Church at Heidelberg, there was, loud enough in all the Newspapers, silent as it now is, a "Siege of Messina" going on; Imperial and Piedmontese troops doing duty by land, Admiral Byng still more effectively by sea, for the purpose of getting Sicily back. Which was achieved by and by, though at an extremely languid pace. [Byng's Sea-fight, 10th August, 1718 (Campbell's
Congress of Cambrai, and other high Gatherings and convulsive Doings, which all proved futile, and look almost like Lapland witchcraft now to us, will have to follow this futility of a War. It is the first of a long series of enchanted adventures, on which Kaiser Karl,--duelling with that Spanish Virago, Satan's Invisible World in the rear of her,--has now embarked, to the woe of mankind, for the rest of his life. The first of those terrifico-ludicrous paroxysms of crisis into which he throws the European Universe; he with his Enchanted Barber's-Basin enterprises;--as perhaps was fit enough, in an epoch presided over by the Nightmares. Congress of Cambrai is to follow; and much else equally spectral. About all which there will be enough to say anon! For it was a fearful operation, though a ludicrous one, this of the poor Kaiser; and it tormented not the big Nations only, and threw an absurd Europe into paroxysm after paroxysm; but it whirled up, in its wide-weeping skirts, our little Fritz and his Sister, and almost dashed the lives out of them, as we shall see! Which last is perhaps the one claim it now has to a cursory mention from mankind.
Byng's Sea-fight, done with due dexterity of manoeuvring, and then with due emphasis of broadsiding, decisive of that absurd War, and almost the one creditable action in it, dates itself 10th August, 1718. And about three months later, on the mimic stage at Paris there came out a piece, OEDIPE the title of it, [18th November, 1718.] by one Francois Arouet, a young gentleman about twenty-two; and had such a run as seldom was;--apprising the French Populations that, to all appearance, a new man of genius had appeared among them (not intimating what work he would do); and greatly angering old M. Arouet of the Chamber of Accouuts; who thereby found his Son as good as cast into the whirlpools, and a solid Law-career thenceforth impossible for the young fool.-- The name of that "M. Arouet junior" changes itself, some years hence, into M. DE VOLTAIRE; under which latter designation he will conspicuously reappear in this Narrative.
And now we will go to our little Crown-Prince again;--ignorant, he, of all this that is mounting up in the distance, and that it will envelop him one day.
ON THE CROWN-PRINCE'S PROGRESS IN HIS SCHOOLING.