l. Triple Alliance, English, Dutch, French (4th January, 1717), saying, "Peace, then! No Alberoni-plotting; no Duel-fighting permitted!" Same Powers, next year, proposing Terms of Agreement; Kaiser gloomily accepting them; which makes it Quadruple Alliance (18th July, 1718); Termagant indignantly refusing,--with attack on the Kaiser's Sicilies. 2. First Sputter of War; Byng's Sea-fight, and the other pressures, compelling Termagant: Peace (26th January, 1720); Congress of Cambrai to settle the Apanage and other points. 3. Congress of Cambrai, a weariness to gods and men, gets the floor pulled from under it (Ripperda's feat, 30th April, 1725); so that Kaiser and Termagant stand ranked together, Apanage wrapt in mystery,--to the terror of mankind. 4. Treaty of Hanover (France, England, Prussia, 3d September, 1725) restores the Balances, and more. War imminent. Prussia privately falls off,--as we shall see.
[These first Four lie behind us, at this point; but there are Three others still ahead, which we cannot hope to escape altogether; namely:]
5. Second Sputter of War: Termagant besieges Gibraltar (4th March, 1727--6th March, 1728): Peace at that latter date;-- Congress of Soissons to settle the Apanage and other points, as formerly. 6. Congress of Soissons (14th June, 1728--9th November, 1729), as formerly, cannot in the least: Termagaut whispers England;-- there is Treaty of Seville (9th November, 1729), France and England undertaking for the Apanage. Congress vanishes; Kaiser is left solitary, with the shadow of Pragmatic Sanction, in the night of things. Pause of an awful nature:--but Fleury does not hasten with the Apanage, as promised. Whereupon, at length, 7. Treaty of Vienna (16th March, 1731): Sea-Powers, leading Termagant by the hand, Sea-Powers and no France, unite with Kaiser again, according to the old laws of Nature;--and Baby Carlos gets his Apanage, in due course;--but does not rest content with it, Mamma nor he, very long!
Huge spectres and absurd bugaboos, stalking through the brain of dull thoughtless pusillanimous mankind, do, to a terrible extent, tumble hither and thither, and cause to lurch from side to side, their ship of state, and all that is embarked there, BREAKFAST-TABLE, among other things. Nevertheless, if they were only bugaboos, and mere Shadows caused by Imperial hand-lanterns in the general Night of the world,--ought they to be spoken of in the family, when avoidable?
DOUBLE-MARRIAGE TREATY CANNOT BE SIGNED.
Hitherto the world-tides, and ebbs and flows of external Politics, had, by accident, rather forwarded, than hindered the Double-Marriage. In the rear of such a Treaty of Hanover, triumphantly righting the European Balances by help of Friedrich Wilhelm, one might have hoped this little domestic Treaty would, at last, get itself signed. Queen Sophie did hasten off to Hanover, directly after her husband had left it under those favorable aspects: but Papa again proved unmanageable; the Treaty could not be achieved.
Alas, and why not? Parents and Children, on both sides, being really desirous of it, what reason is there but it should in due time come to perfection, and, without annihilating Time and Space, make four lovers happy? No reason. Rubs doubtless had arisen since that Visit of George I., discordant procedures, chiefly about Friedrich Wilhelm's recruiting operations in the Hanover territory, as shall be noted by and by: but these the ever-wakeful enthusiasm of Queen Sophie, who had set her whole heart with a female fixity on this Double-Marriage Project, had smoothed down again: and now, Papa and Husband being so blessedly united in their World Politics, why not sign the Marriage-Treaty? Honored Majesty-Papa, why not!--"Tush, child, you do not understand. In these tremendous circumstances, the celestial Sign of the BALANCE just about canting, and the Obliquity of the Ecliptic like to alter, how can one think of little marriages? Wait till the Obliquity of the Ecliptic come steadily to its old pitch!"--
Truth is, George was in general of a slow, solemn, Spanish turn of manners; "intolerably proud, too, since he got that English dignity," says Wilhelmina: he seemed always tacitly to look down on Friedrich Wilhelm, as if the Prussian Majesty were a kind of inferior clownish King in comparison. It is certain he showed no eagerness to get the Treaty perfected. Again and again, when specially applied to by Queen Sophie, on Friedrich Wilhelm's order, he intimated only: "It was a fixed thing, but not to be hurried,--English Parliaments were concerned in it, the parties were still young," and so on;--after which brief answer he would take you to the window, and ask, "If you did not think the Herrenhausen Gardens and their Leibnitz waterworks, and clipped-beech walls were rather fine?" [Pollnitz,