Poor George, careless of these ulterior issues, has always trouble enough with the mere daily details, Parliamentary insolences, Jacobite plottings, South-Sea Bubbles; and wishes to hunt, when he gets over to Hanover, rather than to make Marriage-Treaties. Besides, as Wilhelmina tells us, they have filled him with lies, these Hanover Women and their emissaries: "Your Princess Wilhelmina is a monster of ill-temper, crooked in the back and what not," say they. If there is to be a Marriage, double or single, these Improper Females must first be persuaded to consent. [
But Sophie Dorothee is diligent and urgent, by all opportunities; --and, at length, in 1723, the conjuncture is propitious. Domestic Jacobitism, in the shape of Bishop Atterbury, has got, itself well banished; Alberoni and his big schemes, years ago they are blown into outer darkness; Charles XII. is well dead, and of our Bremen and Verden no question henceforth; even the Kaiser's Spectre-Hunt, or Spanish Duel, is at rest for the present, and the Congress of Cambrai is sitting, or trying all it can to sit: at home or abroad, there is nothing, not even Wood's Irish Halfpence, as yet making noise. And on the other hand, Czar Peter is rumored (not without foundation) to be coming westward, with some huge armament; which, whether "intended for Sweden" or not, renders a Prussian alliance doubly valuable.
And so now at last, in this favorable aspect of the stars, King George, over at Herrenhausen, was by much management of his Daughter Sophie's, and after many hitches, brought to the mark. And Friedrich Wilhelm came over too; ostensibly to bring home his Queen, but in reality to hear his Father-in-law's compliance to the Double-Marriage,--for which his Prussian Majesty is willing enough, if others are willing. Praised be Heaven, King George has agreed to everything; consents, one propitious day (Autumn 1723, day not otherwise dated),--Czar Peter's Armament, and the questionable aspects in France, perhaps quickening his volitions a little. Upon which Friedrich Wilhelm and Queen Sophie have returned home, content in that matter; and expect shortly his Britannic Majesty's counter-visit, to perfect the details, and make a Treaty of it.
His Britannic Majesty, we say, has in substance agreed to everything. And now, in the silence of Nature, the brown leaves of October still hanging to the trees in a picturesque manner, and Wood's Halfpence not yet begun to jingle in the Drapier's Letters of Dean Swift,--his Britannic Majesty is expected at Berlin. At Berlin; properly at Charlottenburg a pleasant rural or suburban Palace (built by his Britannic Majesty's late noble Sister, Sophie Charlotte, "the Republican Queen," and named after her, as was once mentioned), a mile or two Southwest of that City. There they await King George's counter-visit.
Poor Wilhelmina is in much trepidation about it; and imparts her poor little feelings, her anticipations and experiences, in readable terms:--
"There came, in those weeks, one of the Duke of Gloucester's gentlemen to Berlin,"--DUKE OF GLOUCESTER is Fred our intended, not yet Prince of Wales, and if the reader should ever hear of a DUKE OF EDINBURGH, that too is Fred,--"Duke of Gloucester's gentlemen to Berlin," says Wilhelmina: "the Queen had Soiree (APPARTEMENT); he was presented to her as well as to me. He made me a very obliging compliment on his Master's part; I blushed, and answered only by a courtesy. The Queen, who had her eye on me, was very angry I had answered the Duke's compliments in mere silence; and rated me sharply (ME LAVA LA TETE D'IMPORTANCE) for it; and ordered me, under pain of her indignation, to repair that fault to-morrow. I retired, all in tears, to my room; exasperated against the Queen and against the Duke; I swore I would never marry him, would throw myself at the feet--" And so on, as young ladies of vivacious temper, in extreme circumstances, are wont: --did speak, however, next day, to my Hanover gentleman about his Duke, a little, though in an embarrassed manner. Alas, I am yet but fourteen, gone the 3d of July last: tremulous as aspen-leaves; or say, as sheet-lightning bottled in one of the thinnest human skins; and have no experience of foolish Dukes and affairs!--
"Meanwhile," continues Wilhelmina, "the King of England's time of arrival was drawing nigh. We repaired, on the 6th of October, to Charlottenburg to receive him. The heart of me kept beating, and I was in cruel agitations. King George [my Grandfather, and Grand Uncle] arrived on the 8th, about seven in the evening;"--dusky shades already sinking over Nature everywhere, and all paths growing dim. Abundant flunkies, of course, rush out with torches or what is needful. "The King of Prussia, the Queen and all their Suite received him in the Court of the Palace, the 'Apartments' being on the ground-floor. So soon as he had saluted the King and Queen, I was presented to him. He embraced me; and turning to the Queen said to her, 'Your daughter is very big of her age!' He gave the Queen his hand, and led her into her apartment, whither everybody followed them. As soon as I came in, he took a light from the table, and surveyed me from head to foot. I stood motionless as a statue, and was much put out of countenance. All this went on without his uttering the least word. Having thus passed me in review, he addressed himself to my Brother, whom he caressed much, and amused himself with, for a good while." Pretty little Grandson this, your Majesty;--any future of history in this one, think you? "I," says Wilhelmina, "took the opportunity of slipping out;"--hopeful to get away; but could not, the Queen having noticed.
"The Queen made me a sign to follow her; and passed into a neighboring apartment, where she had the English and Germans of King George's Suite successively presented to her. After some talk with these gentlemen, she withdrew; leaving me to entertain them, and saying: 'Speak English to my Daughter; you will find she speaks it very well.' I felt much less embarrassed, once the Queen was gone; and picking up a little courage, I entered into conversation with these English. As I spoke their language like my mother-tongue, I got pretty well out of the affair, and everybody seemed charmed with me. They made my eulogy to the Queen; told her I had quite the English air, and was made to be their Sovereign one day. It was saying a great deal on their part: for these English think themselves so much above all other people, that they imagine they are paying a high compliment when they tell any one he has got English manners.