A dreadfully crowded place, says Wilhelmina, where you are stuffed into garrets, and have not room to turn. The terraces are of some magnitude, trimmed all round with a row of little clipped trees, one big lime-tree at each corner;--under one of these big lime-trees, aided by an awning: it is his Majesty's delight to spread his frugal but substantial dinner, four-and-twenty covers, at the stroke of 12, and so dine SUB DIO. If rain come on, says Wilhelmina, you are wet to mid-leg, the ground being hollow in that place,--and indeed in all weathers your situation every way, to a vehement young Princess's idea, is rather of the horrible sort. After dinner, his Majesty sleeps, stretched perhaps on some wooden settle or garden-chair, for about an hour; regardless of the flaming heat, under his awning or not; and we poor Princesses have to wait, praying all the Saints that they would resuscitate him soon. This is about 2 p.m.; happier Fritz is gone to his lessons, in the interim.
These four Terraces, this rectangular Schloss with the four big lindens at the corners, are surrounded by a Moat; black abominable ditch, Wilhelmina calls it; of the hue of Tartarean Styx, and of a far worse smell, in fact enough to choke one, in hot days after dinner, thinks the vehement Princess. Three Bridges cross this Moat or ditch, from the middle of three several Terraces or sides of the Schloss; and on the fourth it is impassable. Bridge first, coming from the palisade and Office-house Court, has not only human sentries walking at it; but two white Eagles perch near it, and two black ditto, symbols of the heraldic Prussian Eagle, screeching about in their littery way; item two black Bears, ugly as Sin, which are vicious wretches withal, and many times do passengers a mischief. As perhaps we shall see, on some occasion. This is Bridge first, leading to the Court and to the outer Highway; a King's gentleman, going to bed at night, has always to pass these Bears. Bridge second leads us southward to a common Mill which is near by; its clacking audible upon the common Stream of the region, and not unpleasant to his Majesty, among its meadows fringed with alders, in a country of mere and moor. Bridge third, directly opposite to Bridge first and its Bears, leads you to the Garden; whither Mamma, playing tocadille all day with her women, will not, or will not often enough, let us poor girls go. [Zollner,
Such is Wusterhausen, as delineated by a vehement Princess, some years hence,--who becomes at last intelligible, by study and the aid of our Silesian Tourist. It is not distinguished among Country Palaces: but the figure of Friedrich Wilhelm asleep there after dinner, regardless of the flaming sun (should he sleep too long and the shadow of his Linden quit him),--this is a sight which no other Palace in the world can match; this will long render Wusterhausen memorable to me. His Majesty, early always as the swallows, hunts, I should suppose, in the morning; dines and sleeps, we may perceive, till towards three, or later. His Official business he will not neglect, nor shirk the hours due to it; towards sunset there may be a walk or ride with Fritz, or Feekin and the womankind: and always, in the evening, his Majesty holds TABAGIE, TABAKS-COLLEGIUM (Smoking College, kind of Tobacco-Parliament, as we might name it), an Institution punctually attended to by his Majesty, of which we shall by and by speak more. At Wusterhausen his Majesty holds his Smoking Session mostly in the open air, oftenest "on the steps of the Great Fountain" (how arranged, as to seating and canvas-screening, I cannot say);--smokes there, with his Grumkows, Derschaus, Anhalt-Dessaus, and select Friends, in various slow talk; till Night kindle her mild starlights, shake down her dark curtains over all Countries, and admonish weary mortals that it is now bedtime.
Not much of the Picturesque in this autumnal life of our little Boy. But he has employments in abundance; and these make the permitted open air, under any terms, a delight. He can rove about with Duhan among the gorse and heath, and their wild summer tenantry winged and wingless. In the woodlands are wild swine, in the meres are fishes, otters; the drowsy Hamlets, scattered round, awaken in an interested manner at the sound of our pony-hoofs and dogs. Mittenwalde, where are shops, is within riding distance; we could even stretch to Kopenik, and visit in the big Schloss there, if Duhan were willing, and the cattle fresh. From some church-steeple or sand-knoll, it is to be hoped, some blue streak of the Lausitz Hills may be visible: the Sun and the Moon and the Heavenly Hosts, these full certainly are visible; and on an Earth which everywhere produces miracles of all kinds, from the daisy or heather-bell up to the man, one place is nearly equal to another for a brisk little Boy.
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!
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.
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. [
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.