had, from Julia’s infancy, meditated, and ever since,

time:2023-12-01 04:28:28source:androidedit:ios

Those vivacities of young Fritz, his taste for music, finery, those furtive excursions into the domain of Latin and forbidden things, were distasteful and incomprehensible to Friedrich Wilhelm: Where can such things end? They begin in disobedience and intolerable perversity; they will be the ruin of Prussia and of Fritz!--Here, in fact, has a great sorrow risen. We perceive the first small cracks of incurable divisions in the royal household; the breaking out of fountains of bitterness, which by and by spread wide enough. A young sprightly, capricions and vivacious Boy, inclined to self-will, had it been permitted; developing himself into foreign tastes, into French airs and ways; very ill seen by the heavy-footed practical Germanic Majesty.

had, from Julia’s infancy, meditated, and ever since,

The beginnings of this sad discrepancy are traceable from Friedrich's sixth or seventh year: "Not so dirty, Boy!" And there could be no lack of growth in the mutual ill-humor, while the Boy himself continued growing; enlarging in bulk and in activity of his own. Plenty of new children come, to divide our regard withal, and more are coming; five new Princesses, wise little Ulrique the youngest of them (named of Sweden and the happy Swedish Treaty), whom we love much for her grave staid ways. Nay, next after Ulrique comes even a new Prince; August Wilhelm, ten years younger than Friedrich; and is growing up much more according to the paternal heart. Pretty children, all of them, more or less; and towardly, and comfortable to a Father;--and the worst of them a paragon of beauty, in comparison to perverse, clandestine, disobedient Fritz, with his French fopperies, flutings, and cockatoo fashions of hair!--

had, from Julia’s infancy, meditated, and ever since,

And so the silent divulsion, silent on Fritz's part, exploding loud enough now and then on his Father's part, goes steadily on, splitting ever wider; new offences ever superadding themselves. Till, at last, the rugged Father has grown to hate the son; and longs, with sorrowful indignation, that it were possible to make August Wilhelm Crown-Prince in his stead. This Fritz ought to fashion himself according to his Father's pattern, a well-meant honest pattern; and he does not! Alas, your Majesty, it cannot be. It is the new generation come; which cannot live quite as the old one did. A perennial controversy in human life; coeval with the genealogies of men. This little Boy should have been the excellent paternal Majesty's exact counterpart; resembling him at all points, "as a little sixpence does a big half-crown:" but we perceive he cannot. This is a new coin, with a stamp of its own. A surprising FRIEDRICH D'OR this; and may prove a good piece yet; but will never be the half-crown your Majesty requires!--

had, from Julia’s infancy, meditated, and ever since,

Conceive a rugged thick-sided Squire Western, of supreme degree,-- or this Squire Western is a hot Hohenzollern, and wears a crown royal;--conceive such a burly NE-PLUS-ULTRA of a Squire, with his broad-based rectitudes and surly irrefragabilities; the honest German instincts of the man, convictions certain as the Fates, but capable of no utterance, or next to none, in words; and that he produces a Son who takes into Voltairism, piping, fiddling and belles-lettres, with apparently a total contempt for Grumkow and the giant-regiment! Sulphurous rage, in gusts or in lasting tempests, rising from a fund of just implacability, is inevitable. Such as we shall see.

The Mother, as mothers will, secretly favors Fritz; anxious to screen him in the day of high-wind. Withal she has plans of her own in regard to Fritz, and the others; being a lady of many plans. That of the "Double-Marriage," for example; of marrying her Prince and Princess to a Princess and Prince of the English-Hanoverian House; it was a pleasant eligible plan, consented to by Papa and the other parties; but when it came to be perfected by treaty, amid the rubs of external and internal politics, what new amazing discrepancies rose upon her poor children and her! Fearfully aggravating the quarrel of Father and Son, almost to the fatal point. Of that "Double-Marriage," whirled up in a universe of intriguing diplomacies, in the "skirts of the Kaiser's huge Spectre-Hunt," as we have called it, there will be sad things to say by and by.

Plans her Majesty has; and silently a will of her own. She loves all her children, especially Fritz, and would so love that they loved her.--For the rest, all along, Fritz and Wilhelmina are sure allies. We perceive they have fallen into a kind of cipher-speech; [ Memoires de Bareith, i. 168.] they communicate with one another by telegraphic signs. One of their words, "RAGOTIN (Stumpy)," whom does the reader think it designates? Papa himself, the Royal Majesty of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm I., he to his rebellious children is tyrant "Stumpy," and no better; being indeed short of stature, and growing ever thicker, and surlier in these provocations!--

Such incurable discrepancies have risen in the Berlin Palace: fountains of bitterness flowing ever wider, till they made life all bitter for Son and for Father; necessitating the proud Son to hypocrisies towards his terrible Father, which were very foreign to the proud youth, had there been any other resource. But there was none, now or afterwards. Even when the young man, driven to reflection and insight by intolerable miseries, had begun to recognize the worth of his surly Rhadamanthine Father, and the intrinsic wisdom of much that he had meant with him, the Father hardly ever could, or could only by fits, completely recognize the Son's worth. Rugged suspicious Papa requires always to be humored, cajoled, even when our feeling towards him is genuine and loyal. Friedrich, to the last, we can perceive, has to assume masquerade in addressing him, in writing to him,--and in spite of real love, must have felt it a relief when such a thing was over. That is, all along, a sad element of Friedrich's education! Out of which there might have come incalculable damage to the young man, had his natural assimilative powers, to extract benefit from all things, been less considerable. As it was, he gained self-help from it; gained reticence, the power to keep his own counsel; and did not let the hypocrisy take hold of him, or be other than a hateful compulsory masquerade. At an uncommonly early age, he stands before us accomplished in endurance, for one thing; a very bright young Stoic of his sort; silently prepared for the injustices of men and things. And as for the masquerade, let us hope it was essentially foreign even to the skin of the man! The reader will judge as he goes on. "Je n'ai jamais trompe personne durant ma vie, I have never deceived anybody during my life; still less will I deceive posterity," [ Memoires depuis la Paix de Huberrtsbourg, 1763-1774 (Avant-Propos), OEUVRES, vii. 8.] writes Friedrich when his head was now grown very gray.



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