He was "nourished on beer-soup," as we said before. Frugality, activity, exactitude were lessons daily and hourly brought home to him, in everything he did and saw. His very sleep was stingily meted out to him: "Too much sleep stupefies a fellow!" Friedrich Wilhelm was wont to say;--so that the very doctors had to interfere, in this matter, for little Fritz. Frugal enough, hardy enough; urged in every way to look with indifference on hardship, and take a Spartan view of life.
Money-allowance completely his own, he does not seem to have had till he was seventeen. Exiguous pocket-money, counted in GROSCHEN (English PENCE, or hardly more), only his Kalkstein and Finkenstein could grant as they saw good;--about eighteenpence in the month, to start with, as would appear. The other small incidental moneys, necessary for his use, were likewise all laid out under sanction of his Tutors, and accurately entered in Day-books by them, audited by Friedrich Wilhelm; of which some specimens remain, and one whole month, September, 1719 (the Boy's eighth year), has been published. Very singular to contemplate, in these days of gold-nuggets and irrational man-mountains fattened by mankind at such a price! The monthly amount appears to have been some 3 pounds 10 shillings:--and has gone, all but the eighteenpence of sovereign pocket-money, for small furnishings and very minute necessary luxuries;--as thus:-- "To putting his Highness's shoes on the last;" for stretching them to the little feet,--and only one "last," as we perceive. "To twelve yards of Hairtape,"--HAARBAND, for our little queue, which becomes visible here. "For drink-money to the Postilions." "For the Housemaids at Wusterhausen," Don't I pay them myself? objects the auditing Papa, at that latter kind of items: No more of that. "For mending the flute, four GROSCHEN [or pence];" "Two Boxes of Colors, sixteen ditto;" "For a live snipe, twopence;" "For grinding the hanger [little swordkin];" "To a Boy whom the dog bit;" and chiefly of all, "To the KLINGBEUTEL,"-- Collection-plate, or bag, at Church,--which comes upon us once, nay twice, and even thrice a week, eighteenpence each time, and eats deep into our straitened means. [Preuss, i. 17.]
On such terms can a little Fritz be nourished into a Friedrich the Great; while irrational man-mountains, of the beaverish or beaverish-vulpine sort, take such a price to fatten them into monstrosity! The Art-manufacture of your Friedrich can come very cheap, it would appear, if once Nature have done her part in regard to him, and there be mere honest will on the part of the by-standers. Thus Samuel Johnson, too, cost next to nothing in the way of board and entertainment in this world. And a Robert Burns, remarkable modern Thor, a Peasant-god of these sunk ages, with a touch of melodious RUNES in him (since all else lay under ban for the poor fellow), was raised on frugal oatmeal, at an expense of perhaps half a crown a week. Nuggets and ducats are divine; but they are not the most divine. I often wish the Devil had the lion's share of them,--at once, and not circuitously as now. It would be an unspeakable advantage to the bewildered sons of Adam, in this epoch!
But with regard to our little Crown-Prince's intellectual culture, there is another Document, specially from Papa's hand, which, if we can redact, adjust and abridge it, as in the former case, may be worth the reader's notice, and elucidate some things for him. It is of date, Wusterhausen, 3d September, 1721; little Fritz now in his tenth year, and out there, with his Duhans and Finkensteins, while Papa is rusticating for a few weeks. The essential title is, or might be:--
SUNDAY. "On Sunday he is to rise at 7; and as soon as he has got his slippers on, shall kneel down at his bedside, and pray to God, so as all in the room may hear it [that there be no deception or short measure palmed upon us], in these words: 'Lord God, blessed Father, I thank thee from my heart that thou hast so graciously preserved me through this night. Fit me for what thy holy will is; and grant that I do nothing this day, nor all the days of my life, which can divide me from thee. For the Lord Jesus my Redeemer's sake. Amen.' After which the Lord's Prayer. Then rapidly and vigorously (GESCHWINDE UND HURTIG) wash himself clean, dress and powder and comb himself [we forget to say, that while they are combing and queuing him, he breakfasts, with brevity, on tea]: Prayer, with washing, breakfast and the rest, to be done pointedly within fifteen minutes [that is, at a quarter past 7].
"This finished, all his Domestics and Duhan shall come in, and do family worship (
"At 9 he brings my Son down to me; who goes to Church, and dines, along with me [dinner at the stroke of Noon]: the rest of the day is then his own [Fritz's and Duhan's]. At half-past 9 in the evening, he shall come and bid me goodnight. Shall then directly go to his room; very rapidly (SEHR GESCHWIND) get off his clothes, wash his hands [get into some tiny dressing-gown or CASSAQUIN, no doubt]; and so soon as that is done, Duhan makes a prayer on his knees, and sings a hymn; all the Servants being again there. Instantly after which, my Son shall get into bed; shall be in bed at half-past 10;"--and fall asleep how soon, your Majesty? This is very strict work.