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; [
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.
RESULTS OF THE CROWN-PRINCE'S SCHOOLING.
Neither as to intellectual culture, in Duhan's special sphere, and with all Duhan's good-will, was the opportunity extremely golden. It cannot be said that Friedrich, who spells in the way we saw, "ASTEURE" for "A CETTE HEURE," has made shining acquisitions on the literary side. However, in the long-run it becomes clear, his intellect, roving on devious courses, or plodding along the prescribed tram-roads, had been wide awake; and busy all the while, bringing in abundant pabulum of an irregular nature.
He did learn "Arithmetic," "Geography," and the other useful knowledges that were indispensable to him. He knows History extensively; though rather the Roman, French, and general European as the French have taught it him, than that of "Hessen, Brunswick, England," or even the "Electoral and Royal House of Brandenburg," which Papa had recommended. He read History, where he could find it readable, to the end of his life; and had early begun reading it,--immensely eager to learn, in his little head, what strange things had been, and were, in this strange Planet he was come into.
We notice with pleasure a lively taste for facts in the little Boy; which continued to be the taste of the Man, in an eminent degree. Fictions he also knows; an eager extensive reader of what is called Poetry, Literature, and himself a performer in that province by and by: but it is observable how much of Realism there always is in his Literature; how close, here as elsewhere, he always hangs on the practical truth of things; how Fiction itself is either an expository illustrative garment of Fact, or else is of no value to him. Romantic readers of his Literature are much disappointed in consequence, and pronounce it bad Literature;--and sure enough, in several senses, it is not to be called good! Bad Literature, they say; shallow, barren, most unsatisfactory to a reader of romantic appetites. Which is a correct verdict, as to the romantic appetites and it. But to the man himself, this qualityof mind is of immense moment and advantage; and forms truly the basis of all he was good for in life. Once for all, he has no pleasure in dreams, in parti-colored clouds and nothingnesses. All his curiosities gravitate towards what exists, what has being and reality round him. That is the significant thing to him; that he would right gladly know, being already related to that, as friend or as enemy; and feeling an unconscious indissoluble kinship, who shall say of what importance, towards all that. For he too is a little Fact, big as can be to himself; and in the whole Universe there exists nothing as fact but is a fellow-creature of his.