Thus, this very Autumn, there arrive, astonished and astonishing, no fewer than a hundred and fifty human figures (one half MORE than were promised), probably from seven to eight feet high; the tallest the Czar could riddle out from his Dominions: what a windfall to the Potsdam Guard and its Colonel-King! And all succeeding Autumns the like, so long as Friedrich Wilhelm lived; every Autumn, out of Russia a hundred of the tallest mortals living. Invaluable,--to a "man of genius" mounted on his hobby! One's "stanza" can be polished at this rate.
In return for these Russian sons of Anak, Friedrich Wilhelm grudged not to send German smiths, millwrights, drill-sergeants, cannoneers, engineers; having plenty of them. By whom, as Peter well calculated, the inert opaque Russian mass might be kindled into luminosity and vitality; and drilled to know the Art of War, for one thing. Which followed accordingly. And it is observable, ever since, that the Russian Art of War has a tincture of GERMAN in it (solid German, as contradistinguished from unsolid Revolutionary-French); and hints to us of Friedrich Wilhelm and the Old Dessauer, to this hour.--EXEANT now the Barbaric semi-fabulous Sovereignties, till wanted again.
THE CROWN-PRINCE IS PUT TO HIS SCHOOLING.
In his seventh year, young Friedrich was taken out of the hands of the women; and had Tutors and Sub-Tutors of masculine gender, who had been nominated for him some time ago, actually set to work upon their function. These we have already heard of; they came from Stralsund Siege, all the principal hands.
Duhan de Jandun, the young French gentleman who had escaped from grammar-lessons to the trenches, he is the practical teacher. Lieutenant-General Graf Fink von Finkenstein and Lieutenant-Colonel von Kalkstein, they are Head Tutor (OBERHOFMEISTER) and Sub-Tutor; military men both, who had been in many wars besides Stralsund. By these three he was assiduously educated, subordinate schoolmasters working under them when needful, in such branches as the paternal judgment would admit; the paternal object and theirs being to infuse useful knowledge, reject useless, and wind up the whole into a military finish. These appointments, made at different precise dates, took effect, all of them, in the year 1719.
Duhan, independently of his experience in the trenches, appears to have been an accomplished, ingenious and conscientious man; who did credit to Friedrich Wilhelm's judgment; and to whom Friedrich professed himself much indebted in after life. Their progress in some of the technical branches, as we shall perceive, was indisputably unsatisfactory. But the mind of the Boy seems to have been opened by this Duhan, to a lively, and in some sort genial, perception of things round him;--of the strange confusedly opulent Universe he had got into; and of the noble and supreme function which Intelligence holds there; supreme in Art as in Nature, beyond all other functions whatsoever. Duhan was now turned of thirty: a cheerful amiable Frenchman; poor, though of good birth and acquirements; originally from Champagne. Friedrich loved him very much; always considered him his spiritual father; and to the end of Duhan's life, twenty years hence, was eager to do him any good in his power. Anxious always to repair, for poor Duhan, the great sorrows he came to on his account, as we shall see.
Of Graf Fink von Finkenstein, who has had military experiences of all kinds and all degrees, from marching as prisoner into France, "wounded and without his hat," to fighting at Malplaquet, at Blenheim, even at Steenkirk, as well as Stralsund; who is now in his sixtieth year, and seems to have been a gentleman of rather high solemn manners, and indeed of undeniable perfections,--of this supreme Count Fink we learn almost nothing farther in the Books, except that his little Pupil did not dislike him either. The little Pupil took not unkindly to Fink; welcoming any benignant human ray, across these lofty gravities of the OBERHOFMEISTER; went often to his house in Berlin; and made acquaintance with two young Finks about his own age, whom he found there, and who became important to him, especially the younger of them, in the course of the future. [Zedlitz-Neukirch,
How these Fink-Kalkstein functionaries proceeded in the great task they had got,--very great task, had they known what Pupil had fallen to them,--is not directly recorded for us, with any sequence or distinctness. We infer only that everything went by inflexible routiue; not asking at all, WHAT pupil?--nor much, Whether it would suit any pupil? Duhan, with the tendencies we have seen in him, who is willing to soften the inflexible when possible, and to "guide Nature" by a rather loose rein, was probably a genial element in the otherwise strict affair. Fritz had one unspeakable advantage, rare among princes and even among peasants in these ruined ages: that of NOT being taught, or in general not, by the kind called "Hypocrites, and even Sincere-Hypocrites,"--fatalest species of the class HYPOCRITE. We perceive he was lessoned, all along, not by enchanted Phantasms of that dangerous sort, breathing mendacity of mind, unconsciously, out of every look; but by real Men, who believed from the heart outwards, and were daily doing what they taught. To which unspeakable advantage we add a second, likewise considerable; That his masters, though rigorous, were not unlovable to him;--that his affections, at least, were kept alive; that whatever of seed (or of chaff and hail, as was likelier) fell on his mind, had SUNSHINE to help in dealing with it. These are two advantages still achievable, though with difficulty, in our epoch, by an earnest father in behalf of his poor little son. And these are, at present, nearly all; with these well achieved, the earnest father and his son ought to be thankful. Alas, in matter of education, there are no high-roads at present; or there are such only as do NOT lead to the goal. Fritz, like the rest of us, had to struggle his way, Nature and Didactic Art differing very much from one another; and to do battle, incessant partial battle, with his schoolmasters for any education he had.