Alice Smyth, who was already very agreeable in his eyes.

time:2023-12-01 05:35:19source:xsnedit:rna

Fine Palaces, if Wusterhausen be a sorry one, are not wanting to our young Friend: whatsoever it is in the power of architecture and upholstery to do for him, may be considered withal as done. Wusterhausen is but a Hunting-lodge for some few Autumn weeks: the Berlin Palace and the Potsdam, grand buildings both, few Palaces in the world surpass them; and there, in one or the other of these, is our usual residence.--Little Fritz, besides his young Finkensteins and others of the like, has Cousins, children of his Grandfather's Half-brothers, who are comrades of his. For the Great Elector, as we saw, was twice wedded, and had a second set of sons and daughters: two of the sons had children; certain of these are about the Crown-Prince's own age, "Cousins" of his (strictly speaking, Half-cousins of HIS FATHER'S), who are much about him in his young days,--and more or less afterwards, according to the worth they proved to have. Margraves and Margravines of Schwedt,--there are five or six of such young Cousins. Not to mention the eldest, Friedrich Wilhelm by name, who is now come to manhood (born 1700);--who wished much in after years to have had Wilhelmina to wife; but had to put up with a younger Princess of the House, and ought to have been thankful. This one has a younger Brother, Heinrich, slightly Fritz's senior, and much his comrade at one time; of whom we shall transiently hear again. Of these two the Old Dessauer is Uncle: if both his Majesty and the Crown-Prince should die, one of these would be king. A circumstance which Wilhelmina and the Queen have laid well to heart, and build many wild suspicions upon, in these years! As that the Old Dessauer, with his gunpowder face, has a plot one day to assassinate his Majesty,--plot evident as sunlight to Wilhelmina and Mamma, which providentially came to nothing;--and other spectral notions of theirs. [Wilhelmina, i. 35, 41.] The Father of these two Margraves (elder of the two Half-brothers that have children) died in the time of Old King Friedrich, eight or nine years ago. Their Mother, the scheming old Margravine, whom I always fancy to dress in high colors, is still living,-- as Wilhelmina well knows!

Alice Smyth, who was already very agreeable in his eyes.

Then, by another, the younger of those old Half-brothers, there is a Karl, a second Friedrich Wilhelm, Cousin Margraves: plenty of Cousins;--and two young Margravines among them, [Michaelis, i. 425.] the youngest about Fritz's own age. [NOTE OF THE COUSIN MARGRAVES.--Great Elector, by his Second Wife, had five Sons, two of whom left Children;--as follows (so far as they concern us,-- he others omitted):-- 1. Son PHILIP'S Children (Mother the Old Dessauer's Sister) are: Friedrich Wilhelm (1700), who wished much, but in vain, to marry Wilhelmina. Heinrich Friedrich (1709), a comrade of Fritz's in youth; sometimes getting into scrapes;--misbehaved, some way, at the Battle of Molwits (first of Friedrich's Battles), 1741, and was inexorably CUT by the new King, and continued under a cloud thenceforth .--This PHILIP ("Philip Wilhelm") died 1711, his forty-third year; Widow long survived him. 2. Son ALBERT'S Children (Mother a Courland Princess) are: Karl (1705); lived near Custrin; became a famed captain, in the Silesian Wars, under his Cousin. Friedrich (1701); fell at Molwitz, 1741. Friedrich Wilhelm (a Margraf Friedrich Wilhelm "No. 2,"--NAMESAKE of his now Majesty, it is like); born 1714; killed at Prag, by a cannon-shot (at King Friedrich's hand, reconnoitring the place), 1744.--This ALBERT ("Albert Friedrich" ) died suddenly 1731, age fifty-nine.] No want of Cousins; the Crown-Prince seeing much of them all; and learning pleasantly their various qualities, which were good in most, in some not so good, and did not turn out supreme in any case. But, for the rest, Sister Wilhelmina is his grand confederate and companion; true in sport and in earnest, in joy and in sorrow. Their truthful love to one another, now and till death, is probably the brightest element their life yielded to either of them.

Alice Smyth, who was already very agreeable in his eyes.

What might be the date of Fritz's first appearance in the Roucoulles "Soiree held on Wednesdays," in the Finkenstein or any other Soiree, as an independent figure, I do not know. But at the proper time, he does appear there, and with distinction not extrinsic alone;--talks delightfully in such places; can discuss, even with French Divines, in a charmingly ingenious manner. Another of his elderly consorts I must mention: Colonel Camas, a highly cultivated Frenchman (French altogether by parentage and breeding, though born on Prussian land), who was Tutor, at one time, to some of those young Margraves. He has lost an arm,--left it in those Italian Campaigns, under Anhalt-Dessau and Eugene;-- but by the aid of a cork substitute, dexterously managed, almost hides the want. A gallant soldier, fit for the diplomacies too; a man of fine high ways. [ Militair-Lexicon, i. 308.] And then his Wife--In fact, the Camas House, we perceive, had from an early time been one of the Crown-Prince's haunts. Madam Camas is a German Lady; but for genial elegance, for wit and wisdom and goodness, could not readily be paralleled in France or elsewhere. Of both these Camases there will be honorable and important mention by and by; especially of the Lady, whom he continues to call "Mamma" for fifty years to come, and corresponds with in a very beautiful and human fashion.

Alice Smyth, who was already very agreeable in his eyes.

Under these auspices, in such environment, dimly visible to us, at Wusterhausen and elsewhere, is the remarkable little Crown-Prince of his century growing up,--prosperously as yet.

Friedrich Wilhelm holds Tabagie nightly; but at Wusterhausen or wherever he may be, there is no lack of intricate Official Labor, which, even in the Tabagie, Friedrich Wilhelm does not forget. At the time he was concocting those Instructions for his little Prince's Schoolmasters, and smoking meditative under the stars, with Magdeburg "RITTER-DIENST" and much else of his own to think of,--there is an extraneous Political Intricacy, making noise enough in the world, much in his thoughts withal, and no doubt occasionally murmured of amid the tobacco-clouds. The Business of the Heidelberg Protestants; which is just coming to a height in those Autumn months of 1719.

Indeed this Year 1719 was a particularly noisy one for him. This is the year of the "nephritic colic," which befell at Brandenburg on some journey of his Majesty's; with alarm of immediate death; Queen Sophie sent for by express; testament made in her favor; and intrigues, very black ones, Wilhelmina thinks, following thereupon. [ Memoires de Bareith, i. 26-29.] And the "Affair of Clement," on which the old Books are so profuse, falls likewise, the crisis of it falls, in 1719. Of Clement the "Hungarian Nobleman," who was a mere Hungarian Swindler, and Forger of Royal Letters; sowing mere discords, black suspicions, between Friedrich Wilhelm and the neighboring Courts, Imperial and Saxon: "Your Majesty to be snapt up, some day, by hired ruffians, and spirited away, for behoof of those treacherous Courts:" so that Friedrich Wilhelm fell into a gloom of melancholy, and for long weeks "never slept but with a pair of loaded pistols under his pillow:"--of this Clement, an adroit Phenomenon of the kind, and intensely agitating to Friedrich Wilhelm;--whom Friedrich Wilhelm had at last to lay hold of, try, this very year, and ultimately hang, [Had arrived in Berlin, "end of 1717;" stayed about a year, often privately in the King's company, poisoning the royal mind; withdrew to the Hague, suspecting Berlin might soon grow dangerous;--is wiled out of that Territory into the Prussian, and arrested, by one of Friedrich Wilhelm's Colonels, "end of 1718;" lies in Spandau, getting tried, for seventeen months; hanged, with two Accomplices, 18th April, 1720. (See, in succession, Stenzel, iii. 298, 302; Fassmann, p. 321; Forster, ii. 272, and iii. 320-324.)] amid the rumor and wonder of mankind:--of him, noisy as he was, and still filling many pages of the old Books, a hint shall suffice, and we will say nothing farther. But this of the Heidelberg Protestants, though also rather an extinct business, has still some claims on us. This, in justice to the "inarticulate man of genius," and for other reasons, we must endeavor to resuscitate a little.


There reigns, in these years, at Heidelberg, as Elector Palatine, a kind-tempered but abrupt and somewhat unreasonable old gentleman, now verging towards sixty, Karl Philip by name; who has come athwart the Berlin Court and its affairs more than once; and will again do so, in a singularly disturbing way. From before Friedrich Wilhelm's birth, all through Friedrich Wilhelm's life and farther, this Karl Philip is a stone-of-stumbling there. His first feat in life was that of running off with a Prussian Princess from Berlin; the rumor of which was still at its height when Friedrich Wilhelm, a fortnight after, came into the world,-- the gossips still talking of it, we may fancy, when Friedrich Wilhelm was first swaddled. An unheard-of thing; the manner of which was this.


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