"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,
Friedrich's Latin could never come to much, under these impediments. But he retained some smatterings of it in mature life; and was rather fond of producing his classical scraps,-- often in an altogether mouldy, and indeed hitherto inexplicable condition.
The worst fruit of these contraband operations was, that they involved the Boy in clandestine practices, secret disobediences, apt to be found out from time to time, and tended to alienate his Father from him. Of which sad mutual humor we already find traces in that early Wusterhausen Document: "Not to be so dirty," says the reproving Father. And the Boy does not take to hunting at all, likes verses, story-books, flute-playing better; seems to be of effeminate tendencies, an EFFEMINIRTER KERL; affects French modes, combs out his hair like a cockatoo, the foolish French fop, instead of conforming to the Army-regulation, which prescribes close-cropping and a club!
This latter grievance Friedrich Wilhelm decided, at last, to abate, and have done with; this, for one. It is an authentic fact, though not dated,--dating perhaps from about Fritz's fifteenth year. "Fritz is a QUERPFEIFER UND POET," not a Soldier! would his indignant Father growl; looking at those foreign effeminate ways of his. QUERPFEIFE, that is simply "German-flute," "CROSS-PIPE" (or FIFE of any kind, for we English have thriftily made two useful words out of the Deutsch root); "Cross-pipe," being held across the mouth horizontally. Worthless employment, if you are not born to be of the regimental band! thinks Friedrich Wilhelm. Fritz is celebrated, too, for his fine foot; a dapper little fellow, altogether pretty in the eyes of simple female courtiers, with his blond locks combed out at the temples, with his bright eyes, sharp wit, and sparkling capricious ways. The cockatoo locks, these at least we will abate! decides the Paternal mind.