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History of Friedrich II of Prussia — Volume 10 By Thomas Carlyle Characters: 53332

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02

King Friedrich did not quite keep his day at Wesel; indeed this 24th was not the first day, but the last of several, he had appointed to himself for finis to that Journey in the Cleve Countries; Journey rather complex to arrange. He has several businesses ahead in those parts; and, as usual, will group them with good judgment, and thrift of time. Not inspections merely, but amusements, meetings with friends, especially French friends: the question is, how to group them with skill, so that the necessary elements may converge at the right moment, and one shot kill three or four birds. This is Friedrich's fine way, perceptible in all these Journeys. The French friends, flying each on his own track, with his own load of impediments, Voltaire with his Madame for instance, are a difficult element in such problem; and there has been, and is, much scheming and corresponding about it, within the last month especially.

Voltaire is now at Brussels, with his Du Chatelet, prosecuting that endless "lawsuit with the House of Honsbruck,"-which he, and we, are both desirous to have done with. He is at the Hague, too, now and then; printing, about to print, the ANTI-MACHIAVEL; corresponding, to right and left, quarrelling with Van Duren the Printer; lives, while there, in the VIEILLE COUR, in the vast dusky rooms with faded gilding, and grand old Bookshelves "with the biggest spider-webs in Europe." Brussels is his place for Law-Consultations, general family residence; the Hague and that old spider-web Palace for correcting Proof-sheets; doing one's own private studies, which we never quite neglect. Fain would Friedrich see him, fain he Friedrich; but there is a divine Emilie, there is a Maupertuis, there are-In short, never were such difficulties, in the cooking of an egg with water boiling; and much vain correspondence has already been on that subject, as on others equally extinct. Correspondence which is not pleasant reading at this time; the rather as no reader can, without endless searching, even understand it. Correspondence left to us, not in the cosmic, elucidated or legible state; left mainly as the Editorial rubbish-wagons chose to shoot it; like a tumbled quarry, like the ruins of a sacked city;-avoidable by readers who are not forced into it! [Herr Preuss's edition (OEuvres de Frederic, vols. xxi. xxii. xxiii.) has come out since the above was written: it is agreeably exceptional; being, for the first time, correctly printed, and the editor himself having mostly understood it,-though the reader still cannot, on the terms there allowed.] Take the following select bricks as sample, which are of some use; the general Heading is,

KING FRIEDERIC TO M. DE VOLTAIRE (at the Hague, or at Brussels).

"CHARLOTTENBURG, 12th JUNE, 1740.-... My dear Voltaire, resist no longer the eagerness I have to see you. Do in my favor whatever your humanity allows. In the end of August, I go to Wesel, and perhaps farther. Promise that you will come and join me; for I could not live happy, nor die tranquil, without having embraced you! Thousand compliments to the Marquise," divine Emilie. "I am busy with both hands [Corn-Magazines, Free Press, Abolition of Torture, and much else]; working at the Army with the one hand, at the People and the Fine Arts with the other."

"BERLIN, 5th AUGUST, 1740.-... I will write to Madame du Chatelet, in compliance with your wish:" mark it, reader. "To speak to you frankly concerning her journey, it is Voltaire, it is you, it is my Friend that I desire to see; and the divine Emilie with all her divinity is only the Accessory of the Apollo Newtonized.

"I cannot yet say whether I shall travel [incognito into foreign parts a little] or not travel;" there have been rumors, perhaps private wishes; but-... "Adieu, dear friend; sublime spirit, first-born of thinking beings. Love me always sincerely, and be persuaded that none can love and esteem you more than I. VALE. FEDERIC."

"BERLIN, 6th AUGUST [which is next day].-You will have received a Letter from me dated yesterday; this is the second I write to you from Berlin; I refer you to what was in the other. If it must be (FAUT) that Emilie accompany Apollo, I consent; but if I could see you alone, that is what I would prefer. I should be too much dazzled; I could not stand so much splendor all at once; it would overpower me. I should need the veil of Moses to temper the united radiance of your two divinities."... In short, don't bring her, if you please.

"REMUSBERG [poetic for REINSBERG], 8th AUGUST, 1740.-... My dear Voltaire, I do believe Van Duren costs you more trouble and pains than you had with HENRI QUATRE. In versifying the Life of a Hero, you wrote the history of your own thoughts; but in coercing a scoundrel you fence with an enemy who is not worthy of you." To punish him, and cut short his profits, "PRINT, then, as you wish [your own edition of the ANTI-MACHIAVEL, to go along with his, and trip the feet from it]. FAITES ROULER LA PRESSE; erase, change, correct; do as you see best; your judgment about it shall be mine."-"In eight days I leave for [where thinks the reader? "DANTZIG" deliberately print all the Editors, careful Preuss among them; overturning the terrestrial azimuths for us, and making day night!]-for Leipzig, and reckon on being at Frankfurt on the 22d. In case you could be there, I expect, on my passage, to give you lodging! At Cleve or in Holland, I depend for certain on embracing you." [Preuss, OEuvres de Frederic, xx. pp. 5, 19-21; Voltaire, OEuvres, lxxii. 226, &c. (not worth citing, in comparison).]

Intrinsically the Friedrich correspondence at this time, with Voltaire especially, among many friends now on the wing towards Berlin and sending letters, has,-if you are forced into struggling for some understanding of it, and do get to read parts of it with the eyes of Friedrich and Voltaire,-has a certain amiability; and is nothing like so waste and dreary as it looks in the chaotic or sacked-city condition. Friedrich writes with brevity, oftenest on practicalities (the ANTI-MACHIAVEL, the coming Interview, and the like), evidently no time to spare; writes always with considerable sincerity; with friendliness, much admiration, and an ingenuous vivacity, to M. de Voltaire. Voltaire, at his leisure in Brussels or the Old Palace and its spider-webs, writes much more expansively; not with insincerity, he either;-with endless airy graciosities, and ingenious twirls, and touches of flattering unction, which latter, he is aware, must not be laid on too thick. As thus:-

In regard to the ANTI-MACHIAVEL,-Sire, deign to give me your permissions as to the scoundrel of a Van Duren; well worth while, Sire,-"IT is a monument for the latest posterity; the only Book worthy of a King for these fifteen hundred years."

This is a strongish trowelful, thrown on direct, with adroitness; and even this has a kind of sincerity. Safer, however, to do it in the oblique or reflex way,-by Ambassador Cumas, for example:-

"I will tell you boldly, Sir [you M. de Camas], I put more value on this Book (ANTI-MACHIAVEL) than on the Emperor Julian's CAESAR, or on the MAXIMS of Marcus Aurelius,"-I do indeed, having a kind of property in it withal! [Voltaire, OEuvres, lxxii. 280 (to Camas, 18th October, 1740).]

In fact, Voltaire too is beautiful, in this part of the Correspondence; but much in a twitter,-the Queen of Sheba, not the sedate Solomon, in prospect of what is coming. He plumes himself a little, we perceive, to his d'Argentals and French Correspondents, on this sublime intercourse he has got into with a Crowned Head, the cynosure of mankind:--Perhaps even you, my best friend, did not quite know me, and what merits I had! Plumes himself a little; but studies to be modest withal; has not much of the peacock, and of the turkey has nothing, to his old friends. All which is very naive and transparent; natural and even pretty, on the part of M. de Voltaire as the weaker vessel.-For the rest, it is certain Maupertuis is getting under way at Paris towards the Cleve rendezvous. Brussels, too, is so near these Cleve Countries; within two days' good driving:-if only the times and routes would rightly intersect?

Friedrich's intention is by no means for a straight journey towards Cleve: he intends for Baireuth first, then back from Baireuth to Cleve,-making a huge southward elbow on the map, with Baireuth for apex or turning-point:-in this manner he will make the times suit, and have a convergence at Cleve. To Baireuth;-who knows if not farther? All summer there has gone fitfully a rumor, that he wished to see France; perhaps Paris itself incognito? The rumor, which was heard even at Petersburg, [Raumer's Beitrage (English Translation, London, 1837), p. 15 (Finch's Despatch, 24th June, 1740).] is now sunk dead again; but privately, there is no doubt, a glimpse of the sublime French Nation would be welcome to Friedrich. He could never get to Travelling in his young time; missed his Grand Tour altogether, much as he wished it; and he is capable of pranks!-Enough, on Monday morning, 15th August, 1740, [Rodenbeck, p. 15, slightly in error: see Dickens's Interview, supra, p. 187.] Friedrich and Suite leave Potsdam; early enough; go, by Leipzig, by the route already known to readers, through Coburg and the Voigtland regions; Wilhelmina has got warning, sits eagerly expecting her Brother in the Hermitage at Baireuth, gladdest of shrill sisters; and full of anxieties how her Brother would now be. The travelling party consisted, besides the King, of seven persons: Prince August Wilhelm, King's next Brother, Heir-apparent if there come no children, now a brisk youth of eighteen; Leopold Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, Old Dessauer's eldest, what we may call the "Young Dessauer;" Colonel von Borck, whom we shall hear of again; Colonel von Stille, already heard of (grave men of fifty, these two); milk-beard Munchow, an Adjutant, youngest of the promoted Munchows; Algarotti, indispensable for talk; and Fredersdorf, the House-Steward and domestic Factotum, once Private in Schwerin's Regiment, whom Bielfeld so admired at Reinsberg, foreseeing what he would come to. One of Friedrich's late acts was to give Factotum Fredersdorf an Estate of Land (small enough, I fancy, but with country-house on it) for solace to the leisure of so useful a man,-studious of chemistry too, as I have heard. Seven in all, besides the King. [Rodenbeck, p. 19 (and for Chamberlain Fredersdorf's estate, p. 15).] Direct towards Baireuth, incognito, and at the top of their speed. Wednesday, 17th, they actually arrive. Poor Wilhelmina, she finds her Brother changed; become a King in fact, and sternly solitary; alone in soul, even as a King must be! [Wilhelmina, ii. 322, 323.]-

"Algarotti, one of the first BEAUX-ESPRITS of this age," as Wilhelmina defines him,-Friend Algarotti, the young Venetian gentleman of elegance, in dusky skin, in very white linen and frills, with his fervid black eyes, "does the expenses of the conversation." He is full of elegant logic, has speculations on the great world and the little, on Nature, Art, Papistry, Anti-Papistry, and takes up the Opera in an earnest manner, as capable of being a school of virtue and the moral sublime. His respectable Books on the Opera and other topics are now all forgotten, and crave not to be mentioned. To me he is not supremely beautiful, though much the gentleman in manners as in ruffles, and ingeniously logical:-rather yellow to me, in mind as in skin, and with a taint of obsolete Venetian Macassar. But to Friedrich he is thrice-dear; who loves the Sharp faceted cut of the man, and does not object to his yellow or Extinct-Macassar qualities of mind. Thanks to that wandering Baltimore for picking up such a jewel and carrying him Northward! Algarotti himself likes the North: here in our hardy climates,-especially at Berlin, and were his loved Friedrich NOT a King,-Algarotti could be very happy in the liberty allowed. At London, where there is no King, or none to speak of, and plenty of free Intelligences, Carterets, Lytteltons, young Pitts and the like, he is also well, were it not for the horrid smoke upon one's linen, and the little or no French of those proud Islanders.

Wilhelmina seems to like him here; is glad, at any rate, that he does the costs of conversation, better or worse. In the rest is no hope. Stille, Borck are accomplished military gentlemen; but of tacit nature, reflective, practical, rather than discursive, and do not waste themselves by incontinence of tongue. Stille, by his military Commentaries, which are still known to soldiers that read, maintains some lasting remembrance of himself: Borck we shall see engaged in a small bit of business before long. As to Munchow, the JEUNE MORVEUX of an Adjutant, he, though his manners are well enough, and he wears military plumes in his hat, is still an unfledged young creature, "bill still yellow," so to speak;-and marks himself chiefly by a visible hankering after that troublesome creature Marwitz, who is always coquetting. Friedrich's conversation, especially to me Wilhelmina, seems "GUINDE, set on stilts," likewise there are frequent cuts of banter in him; and it is painfully evident he distinguishes my Sister of Anspach and her foolish Husband, whom he has invited over hither in a most eager manner, beyond what a poor Wilhelmina with her old love can pretend to. Patience, my shrill Princess, Beauty of Baireuth and the world; let us hope all will come right again! My shrill Princess-who has a melodious strength like that of war-fifes, too-knows how to be patient; and veils many things, though of a highly unhypocritical nature.

These were Three great Days at Baireuth; Wilhelmina is to come soon, and return the visit at Berlin. To wait upon the King, known though incognito, "the Bishop of Bamberg" came driving over: [Helden-Geschichte, i. 419.] Schonborn, Austrian Kanzler, or who? His old City we once saw (and plenty of hanged malefactors swinging round it, during that JOURNEY TO THE REICH);-but the Bishop himself never to our knowledge, Bishop being absent then, I hope it is the same Bishop of Bamberg, whom a Friend of Busching's, touring there about that same time, saw dining in a very extraordinary manner, with medieval trumpeters, "with waiters in spurs and buff-belts;" [Busching's Beitrage;-Schlosser (History of the Eighteenth Century) also quotes the scene.] if it is not, I have not the slightest shadow of acquaintance with him,-there have been so many Bishops of Bamberg with whom one wishes to have none! On the third day Friedrich and his company went away, towards Wurzburg; and Wilhelmina was left alone with her reflections. "I had had so much to say to him; I had got nothing said at all:" alas, it is ever so. "The King was so changed, grown so much bigger (GRANDI), you could not have known him again;" stands finely erect and at full breadth, every inch a King; his very stature, you would say, increased.-Adieu, my Princess, pearl of Princesses; all readers will expect your return-visit at Berlin, which is to be soon.


Through Wurzburg, Frankfurt-on-Mayn, speeds Friedrich;-Wilhelmina and mankind understand that it is homewards and to Cleve; but at Frankfurt, in deepest privacy, there occurs a sudden whirl southward,-up the Rhine-Valley; direct towards Strasburg, for a sight of France in that quarter! So has Friedrich decided,-not quite suddenly, on new Letters here, or new computations about Cleve; but by forethought taken at Baireuth, as rather appears. From Frankfurt to Strasburg, say 150 miles; from Strasburg home, is not much farther than from Frankfurt home: it can be done, then; husht!

The incognito is to be rigorous: Friedrich becomes COMTE DUFOUR, a Prussian-French gentleman; Prince August Wilhelm is Graf von Schaffgotsch, Algarotti is Graf von Pfuhl, Germans these two; what Leopold, the Young Dessauer, called himself,-still less what the others, or whether the others were there at all, and not shoved on, direct towards Wesel, out of the way as is likelier,-can remain uncertain to readers and me. From Frankfurt, then, on Monday morning, 22d August, 1740, as I compute, through old known Philipsburg Campaign country, and the lines of Ettlingen and Stollhofen; there the Royal Party speeds eagerly (weather very bad, as appears): and it is certain they are at Kehl on Tuesday evening; looking across the long Rhine Bridge, Strasburg and its steeples now close at hand.

This looks to be a romantic fine passage in the History of the young King;-though in truth it is not, and proves but a feeble story either to him or us. Concerning which, however, the reader, especially if he should hear that there exists precise Account of it, Two Accounts indeed, one from the King's own hand, will not fail of a certain craving to become acquainted with details. This craving, foolish rather than wise, we consider it thriftiest to satisfy at once; and shall give the King's NARRATIVE entire, though it is a jingling lean scraggy Piece, partly rhyme, "in the manner of Bachaumont and La Chapelle;" written at the gallop, a few days hence, and despatched to Voltaire:-"You," dear Voltaire, "wish to know what I have been about, since leaving Berlin; annexed you will find a description of it," writes Friedrich. [OEuvres, xxii. 25 (Wesel, 2d Septemher, 1740).] Out of Voltaire's and other people's waste-baskets, it has at length been fished up, patch by patch, and pasted together by victorious modern Editors; and here it is again entire. The other Narrative, which got into the Newspapers soon after, is likewise of authentic nature,-Fassmann, our poor old friend, confirming it, if that were needful,-and is happily in prose. [Given in Helden-Geschichte, i. 420-423;-see likewise Fassmann's Merkwurdigster Regierungs-Antritt (poor old Book on FRIEDRICH'S ACCESSION); Preuss (Thronbesteigung, pp. 395-400); &c. &c.] Holding these two Pieces well together, and giving the King's faithfully translated, in a complete state, it will be possible to satisfy foolish cravings, and make this Strasburg Adventure luminous enough.


Part of it, incorrect, in Voltaire, OEuvres (scandalous Piece now called Memoires, once Vie Privee du Roi de Prusse), ii. 24-26; finally, in Preuss, OEuvres de Frederic, xiv. 156-161, the real and complete affair, as fished up by victorious Preuss and others.

"I have just finished a Journey, intermingled with singular adventures, sometimes pleasant, sometimes the reverse. You know I had set out for Baireuth,"-BRUXELLES the beautiful French Editor wrote, which makes Egyptian darkness of the Piece!-"to see a Sister whom I love no less than esteem. On the road [thither or thence; or likeliest, THERE], Algarotti and I consulted the map, to settle our route for returning by Wesel. Frankfurt-on-Mayn comes always as a principal stage;-Strasburg was no great roundabout: we chose that route in preference. The INCOGNITO was decided, names pitched upon [Comte Dufour, and the others]; story we were to tell: in fine, all was arranged and concerted to a nicety as well as possible. We fancied we should get to Strasburg in three days [from Baireuth].

But Heaven, which disposes of all things,

Differently regulated this thing.

With lank-sided coursers,

Lineal descendants from Rosinante,

With ploughmen in the dress of postilions,

Blockheads of impertinent nature;

Our carriages sticking fast a hundred times in the road,

We went along with gravity at a leisurely pace,

Knocking against the crags.

The atmosphere in uproar with loud thunder,

The rain-torrents streaming over the Earth

Threatened mankind with the Day of Judgment [VERY BAD WEATHER],

And in spite of our impatience,

Four good days are, in penance,

Lost forever in these jumblings.

Mais le ciel, qui de tout dispose,

Regla differemment la chose.

Avec de coursiers efflanques,

En ligne droites issus de Rosinante,

Et des paysans en postillons masques,

Dutors de race impertinente,

Notre carrosse en cent lieux accroche,

Nous allions gravement, d'une allure indolente,

Gravitant contre les rochers.

Les airs emus par le bruyant tonnerre,

Les torrents d'eau repandus sur la terre,

Du dernier jour menacaient les humains;

Et malgre notre impatience,

Quatre bons jours en penitence

Sont pour jamais perdus dans les charrains.

"Had all our fatalities been limited to stoppages of speed on the journey, we should have taken patience; but, after frightful roads, we found lodgings still frightfuler.

For greedy landlords

Seeing us pressed by hunger

Did, in a more than frugal manner,

In their infernal hovels,

Poisoning instead of feeding,

Steal from us our crowns.

O age different [in good cheer] from that of Lucullus!

Car des hotes interesses,

De la faim nous voyant presses,

D'une facon plus que frugale,

Dans une chaumiere infernale,

En nous empoisonnant,

Nous volaient nos ecus.

O siecle different des temps de Lucullus!

"Frightful roads; short of victual, short of drink: nor was that all. We had to undergo a variety of accidents; and certainly our equipage must have had a singular air, for in every new place we came to, they took us for something different.

Some took us for Kings,

Some for pickpockets well disguised;

Others for old acquaintances.

At times the people crowded out,

Looked us in the eyes,

Like clowns impertinently curious.

Our lively Italian [Algarotti] swore;

For myself I took patience;

The young Count [my gay younger Brother, eighteen at present]

quizzed and frolicked;

The big Count [Heir-apparent of Dessau] silently swung his head,

Wishing this fine Journey to France,

In the bottom of his heart, most christianly at the Devil.

Les uns nous prenaient pour des rois,

D'autres pour des filous courtois,

D'autrespour gens de connaissance;

Parfois le peuple s'attroupait,

Entre les yeux nous regardait

En badauds curieux, remplis d'impertinence.

Notre vif Italien jurait,

Pour moi je prenais patience,

Le jeune Comte folatrait,

Le grand Comte se dandinait,

Et ce beau vogage de France

Dans le fond de son coeur chretiennement damnait.

"We failed not, however, to struggle gradually along; at last we arrived in that Stronghold, where [as preface to the War of 1734, known to some of us]-

Where the garrison, too supple,

Surrendered so piteously

After the first blurt of explosion

From the cannon of the French.

Ou a garrison, troupe flasque,

Se rendit si piteusement

Apres la premiere bourasque

Du canon francais foudroyant.

You recognize Kehl in this description. It was in that fine Fortress,-where, by the way, the breaches are still lying unrepaired [Reich being a slow corpus in regard to such things],-that the Postmaster, a man of more foresight than we, asked If we had got passports?

No, said I to him; of passports

We never had the whim.

Strong ones I believe it would need

To recall, to our side of the limit,

Subjects of Pluto King of the Dead:

But, from the Germanic Empire

Into the gallant and cynical abode

Of Messieurs your pretty Frenchmen,-A jolly and beaming air,

Rubicund faces, not ignorant of wine,

These are the passports which, legible if you look on us,

Our troop produces to you for that end.

Non, lui dis-je, des passe-ports

Nous n'eumes jamais la folie.

Il en faudrait, je crois, de forts

Pour ressusciter a la vie

De chez Pluton le roi des morts;

Mais de l'empire germanique

Au sejour galant et cynique

De Messieurs vos jolis Francais,

Un air rebondissant et frais,

Une face rouge et bachique,

Sont les passe-ports qu'en nos traits

Vous produit ici notre clique.

"No, Messieurs, said the provident Master of Passports; no salvation without passport. Seeing then that Necessity had got us in the dilemma of either manufacturing passports ourselves or not entering Strasburg, we took the former branch of the alternative and manufactured one;-in which feat, the Prussian arms, which I had on my seal, were marvellously furthersome."

This is a fact, as the old Newspapers and confirmatory Fassmann more directly apprise us. "The Landlord [or Postmaster] at Kehl, having signified that there was no crossing without Passport," Friedrich, at first, somewhat taken aback, bethought him of his watch-seal with the Royal Arms on it; and soon manufactured the necessary Passport, signeted in due form;-which, however, gave a suspicion to the Innkeeper as to the quality of his Guest. After which, Tuesday evening, 23d August, "they at once got across to Strasburg," says my Newspaper Friend, "and put up at the SIGN OF THE RAVEN, there." Or in Friedrich's own jingle:-

"We arrived at Strasburg; and the Custom-house corsair, with his inspectors, seemed content with our evidences.

These scoundrels spied us,

With one eye reading our passport,

With the other ogling our purse.

Gold, which was always a resource,

Which brought, Jove to the enjoyment

Of Danae whom he caressed;

Gold, by which Caesar governed

The world happy under his sway;

Gold, more a divinity than Mars or Love;

Wonder-working Gold introduced us

That evening, within the walls of Strasburg."

[Given thus far, with several slight errors, in Voltaire, ii. 24-26;-the remainder, long unknown, had to be fished up, patch by patch (Preuss, OEuvres de Frederic, xiv. 159-161).]

Ces scelerats nous epiaient,

D'un oeil le passe-port lisaient,

De l'autre lorgnaient notre bourse.

L'or, qui toujours fut de ressource,

Par lequel Jupin jouissait

De Danae, qu'il caressait;

L'or, par qui Cesar gouvernait

Le monde heureux sous son empire;

L'or, plus dieu que Mars et l'Amour,

Le soir, dans les murs de Strasbourg.

Sad doggerel; permissible perhaps as a sample of the Friedrich manufacture, surely not otherwise! There remains yet more than half of it; readers see what their foolish craving has brought upon them! Doggerel out of which no clear story, such story as there is, can be had; though, except the exaggeration and contortion, there is nothing of fiction in it. We fly to the Newspaper, happily at least a prose composition, which begins at this point; and shall use the Doggerel henceforth as illustration only or

as repetition in the Friedrich-mirror, of a thing OTHERWISE made clear to us:-

Having got into Strasburg and the RAVEN HOTEL; Friedrich now on French ground at last, or at least on Half-French, German-French, is intent to make the most of circumstances. The Landlord, with one of Friedrich's servants, is straightway despatched into the proper coffee-houses to raise a supper-party of Officers; politely asks any likely Officer, "If he will not do a foreign Gentleman [seemingly of some distinction, signifies Boniface] the honor to sup with him at the Raven?"-"No, by Jupiter!" answer the most, in their various dialects: "who is he that we should sup with him?" Three, struck by the singularity of the thing, undertake; and with these we must be content. Friedrich-or call him M. le Comte Dufour, with Pfuhl, Schaffgotsch and such escort as we see-politely apologizes on the entrance of these officers: "Many pardons, gentlemen, and many thanks. Knowing nobody; desirous of acquaintance:-since you are so good, how happy, by a little informality, to have brought brave Officers to keep me company, whom I value beyond other kinds of men!"

The Officers found their host a most engaging gentleman: his supper was superb, plenty of wine, "and one red kind they had never tasted before, and liked extremely;"-of which he sent some bottles to their lodging next day. The conversation turned on military matters, and was enlivened with the due sallies. This foreign Count speaks French wonderfully; a brilliant man, whom the others rather fear: perhaps something more than a Count? The Officers, loath to go, remembered that their two battalions had to parade next morning, that it was time to be in bed: "I will go to your review," said the Stranger Count: the delighted Officers undertake to come and fetch him, they settle with him time and method; how happy!

On the morrow, accordingly, they call and fetch him; he looks at the review; review done, they ask him to supper for this evening: "With pleasure!" and "walks with them about the Esplanade, to see the guard march by." Before parting, he takes their names, writes them in his tablets; says, with a smile, "He is too much obliged ever to forget them." This is Wednesday, the 24th of August, 1740; Field-Marshal Broglio is Commandant in Strasburg, and these obliging Officers are "of the regiment Piedmont,"-their names on the King's tablets I never heard mentioned by anybody (or never till the King's Doggerel was fished up again). Field-Marshal Broglio my readers have transiently seen, afar off;-"galloping with only one boot," some say "almost in his shirt," at the Ford of Secchia, in those Italian campaigns, five years ago, the Austrians having stolen across upon him:-he had a furious gallop, with no end of ridicule, on that occasion; is now Commandant here; and we shall have a great deal more to do with him within the next year or two.

"This same day, 24th, while I [the Newspaper volunteer Reporter or Own Correspondent, seemingly a person of some standing, whose words carry credibility in the tone of them] was with Field-Marshal Broglio our Governor here, there came two gentlemen to be presented to him; 'German Cavaliers' they were called; who, I now find, must have been the Prince of Prussia and Algarotti. The Field-Marshal,"-a rather high-stalking white-headed old military gentleman, bordering on seventy, of Piedmontese air and breed, apt to be sudden and make flounderings, but the soul of honor, "was very polite to the two Cavaliers, and kept them to dinner. After dinner there came a so-styled 'Silesian Nobleman,' who likewise was presented to the Field-Marshal, and affected not to know the other two: him I now find to have been the Prince of Anhalt."

Of his Majesty's supper with the Officers that Wednesday, we are left to think how brilliant it was: his Majesty, we hear farther, went to the Opera that night,-the Polichinello or whatever the "Italian COMODIE" was;-"and a little girl came to his box with two lottery-tickets fifteen pence each, begging the foreign Gentleman for the love of Heaven to buy them of her; which he did, tearing them up at once, and giving the poor creature four ducats," equivalent to two guineas, or say in effect even five pounds of the present British currency. The fame of this foreign Count and his party at The Raven is becoming very loud over Strasburg, especially in military circles. Our volunteer Own Correspondent proceeds (whom we mean to contrast with the Royal Doggerel by and by):-

"Next morning," Thursday, 25th August, "as the Marshal with above two hundred Officers was out walking on the Esplanade, there came a soldier of the Regiment Luxemburg, who, after some stiff fugling motions, of the nature of salutation partly, and partly demand for privacy, intimated to the Marshal surprising news: That the Stranger in The Raven was the King of Prussia in person; he, the soldier, at present of the Regiment Luxemburg, had in other days, before he deserted, been of the Prussian Crown-Prince's regiment; had consequently seen him in Berlin, Potsdam and elsewhere a thousand times and more, and even stood sentry where he was: the fact is beyond dispute, your Excellency! said this soldier."-Whew!

Whereupon a certain Colonel, Marquis de Loigle, with or without a hint from Broglio, makes off for The Raven; introduces himself, as was easy; contrives to get invited to stay dinner, which also was easy. During dinner the foreign Gentleman expressed some wish to see their fortress. Colonel Loigle sends word to Broglio; Broglio despatches straightway an Officer and fine carriage: "Will the foreign Gentleman do me the honor?" The foreign Gentleman, still struggling for incognito, declines the uppermost seat of honor in the carriage; the two Officers, Loigle and this new one, insist on taking the inferior place. Alas, the incognito is pretty much out. Calling at some coffee-house or the like on the road, a certain female, "Madame de Fienne," named the foreign Gentleman "Sire,"-which so startled him that, though he utterly declined such title, the two Officers saw well how it was.

"After survey of the works, the two attendant Officers had returned to the Field-Marshal; and about 4 P.M. the high Stranger made appearance there. But the thing had now got wind, 'King of Prussia here incognito!' The place was full of Officers, who came crowding about him: he escaped deftly into the Marechal's own Cabinet; sat there, an hour, talking to the Marechal [little admiring the Marechal's talk, as we shall find], still insisting on the incognito,"-to which Broglio, put out in his high paces by this sudden thing, and apt to flounder, as I have heard, was not polite enough to conform altogether. "What shall I do, in this sudden case?" poor Broglio is thinking to himself: "must write to Court; perhaps try to detain-?" Friedrioh's chief thought naturally is, One cannot be away out of this too soon. "Sha'n't we go to the Play, then, Monsieur le Marechal? Play-hour is come!"-Own Correspondent of the Newspaper proceeds:-

"The Marechal then went to the Play, and all his Officers with him; thinking their royal prize was close at their heels. Marechal and Officers fairly ahead, coast once clear, their royal prize hastened back to The Raven, paid his bill; hastily summoning Schaffgotsch and the others within hearing; shot off like lightning; and was seen in Strasburg no more. Algarotti, who was in the box with Broglio, heard the news in the house; regretful rumor among the Officers, 'He is gone!' In about a quarter of an hour Algarotti too slipped out; and vanished by extra post"-straight towards Wesel; but could not overtake the King (whose road, in the latter part of it, went zigzag, on business as is likely), nor see him again till they met in that Town. [From Helden-Geschichte (i. 420-424), &c.]

This is the Prose Truth of those fifty or eight-and-forty hours in Strasburg, which were so mythic and romantic at that time. Shall we now apply to the Royal Doggerel again, where we left off, and see the other side of the picture? Once settled in The Raven, within Strasburg's walls, the Doggerel continues:-

"You fancy well that there was now something to exercise my curiosity; and what desire I had to know the French Nation in France itself.

There I saw at length those French,

Of whom you have sung the glories;

A people despised by the English,

Whom their sad rationality fills with black bile;

Those French, whom our Germans

Reckon all to be destitute of sense;

Those French, whose History consists of Love-stories,

I mean the wandering kind of Love, not the constant;

Foolish this People, headlong, high-going,

Which sings beyond endurance;

Lofty in its good fortune, crawling in its bad;

Of an unpitying extent of babble,

To hide the vacancy of its ignorant mind.

Of the Trifling it is a tender lover;

The Trifling alone takes possession of its brain.

People flighty, indiscreet, imprudent,

Turning like the weathercock to every wind.

Of the ages of the Caesars those of the Louises are the shadow;

Paris is the ghost, of Rome, take it how you will.

No, of those vile French you are not one:

You think; they do not think at all.

La je vis enfin ces Francais

Dont vous avez chante la gloire;

Peuple meprise' des Anglais,

Que leur triste raison remplit de bile noire;

Ces Francais, que nos Allemands

Pensent tous prives de bon sens;

Ces Francais, do nt l'amour pourrait dicter l'histoire,

Je dis l'amour volage, et non l'amour constant;

Ce peuple fou, brusque et galant,

Chansonnier insupportable,

Superbe en sa fortune, en son malheur rampant,

D'un bavardage impitoyable,

Pour cacher le creux d'un esprit ignorant,

Tendre amant de la bagatelle,

Elle entre seule en sa cervelle;

Leger, indiscret, imprudent,

Comme ume girouette il revire a tout vent.

Des siecles des Cesars ceux des Louis sont l'ombre;

Rome efface Paris en tout sens, en tout point.

Non, des vils Francais vous n'etes pas du nombre;

Vous pensez, ils ne pensent point.

"Pardon, dear Voltaire, this definition of the French; at worst, it is only of those in Strasburg I speak. To scrape acquaintance, I had to invite some Officers on our arrival, whom of course I did not know.

Three of them came at once,

Gayer, more content than Kings;

Singing with rusty voice.

In verse, their amorous exploits,

Set to a hornpipe.

Trois d'eux s'en vinrent a la fois,

Plus gais, plus contents que des rois,

Chantant d'une voix enrouee,

En vers, leurs amoureux exploits,

Ajustes sur une bourree.

"M. de la Crochardiere and M. Malosa [two names from the tablets, third wanting] had just come from a dinner where the wine had not been spared.

Of their hot friendship I saw the flame grow,

The Universe would have taken us for perfect friends:

But the instant of good-night blew out the business;

Friendship disappeared without regrets,

With the games, the wine, the table and the viands.

De leur chaude amitie je vis croitre le flamme,

L'univers nous eut pris pour des amis parfaits;

Mais l'instant des adieux en detruisit la trame,

L'amitie disparut, ssns causer des regrets,

Avec le jeu, le vin, et la table, et les mets.

"Next day, Monsieur the Gouverneur of the Town and Province, Marechal of France, Chevalier of the Orders of the King, &c. &c.,-Marechal Duc de Broglio, in fact," who was surprised at Secchia in the late War,-

This General always surprised.

Whom with regret, young Louis [your King]

Saw without breeches in Italy

["With only one boot," was the milder rumor; which we adopted (supra, vol. vi. p. 472), but this sadder one, too, was current; and "Broglio's breeches," or the vain aspiration after them, like a vanished ghost of breeches, often enough turn up in the old Pamphlets.]

Galloping to hide away his life

From the Germans, unpolite fighters;-

Ce general toujours surpris,

Qu'a regret le jeune Louis

Vit sans culottes en Italie,

Courir pour derober sa vie

Aux Germains, guerriers impolis.

this General wished to investigate your Comte Dufour,-foreign Count, who the instant he arrives sets about inviting people to supper that are perfect strangers. He took the poor Count for a sharper; and prudently advised M. de la Crochardiere not to be duped by him. It was unluckily the good Marechal that proved to be duped.

He was born for surprise.

His white hair, his gray beard,

Formed a reverend exterior.

Outsides are often deceptive:

He that, by the binding, judges

Of a Book and its Author

May, after a page of reading,

Chance to recognize his mistake.

Il etait ne pour la surprise.

Ses cheveux blancs, sa barbe grise,

Formaient un sage exterieur.

Le dehors est souvent trompeur;

Qui juge par la reliure

D'un ouvrage et de son auteur

Dans une page de lecture

Peut reconnaitre son erreur.

"That was my own experience; for of wisdom I could find nothing except in his gray hair and decrepit appearance. His first opening betrayed him; no great well of wit this Marechal,

Who, drunk with his own grandeur,

Informs you of his name and his titles,

And authority as good as unlimited.

He cited to me all the records

Where his name is registered,

Babbled about his immense power,

About his valor, his talents

So salutary to France;-He forgot that, three years ago

[Six to a nearness,-"15th September, 1734," if your Majesty will be exact.]

Men did not praise his prudence.

Qui, de sa grandeur enivre;

Decline son nom et ses titres,

Et son pouvoir a rien borne.

Il me cita tous les registres

Ou son nom est enregistre;

Bavard de son pouvoir immense,

De sa valeur, de ces talents

Si salutaires a la France:

Il oubliait, passe trois ans,

Qu'on ne louait pas sa prudence.

"Not satisfied with seeing the Marechal, I saw the guard mounted

By these Frenchmen, burning with glory,

Who, on four sous a day,

Will make of Kings and of Heroes the memory flourish:

Slaves crowned by the hands of Victory,

Unlucky herds whom the Court

Tinkles hither and thither by the sound of fife and drum.

A ces Francais brulants de gloire,

Dotes de quatre sous par jour,

Qui des rois, des heros font fleurir la memoire,

Esclaves couronnes des mains de la victoire,

Troupeaux malheureux que la cour

Dirige au seul bruit du tambour.

"That was my fated term. A deserter from our troops got eye on me, recognised me and denounced me.

This wretched gallows-bird got eye on me;

Such is the lot of all earthly things;

And so of our fine mystery

The whole secret came to light."

Ce malheureux pendard me vit,

C'est le sort de toutes les choses;

Ainsi de motre pot aux roses

Tout le secret se decouvrit.

Well; we must take this glimpse, such as it is, into the interior of the young man,-fine buoyant, pungent German spirit, roadways for it very bad, and universal rain-torrents falling, yet with coruscations from a higher quarter;-and you can forget, if need be, the "Literature" of this young Majesty, as you would a staccato on the flute by him! In after months, on new occasion rising, "there was no end to his gibings and bitter pleasantries on the ridiculous reception Broglio had given him at Strasburg," says Valori, [Memoires, i. 88.]-of which this Doggerel itself offers specimen.

"Probably the weakest Piece I ever translated?" exclaims one, who has translated several such. Nevertheless there is a straggle of pungent sense in it,-like the outskirts of lightning, seen in that dismally wet weather, which the Royal Party had. Its wit is very copious, but slashy, bantery, and proceeds mainly by exaggeration and turning topsy-turvy; a rather barren species of wit. Of humor, in the fine poetic sense, no vestige. But there is surprising veracity,-truthfulness unimpeachable, if you will read well. What promptitude, too;-what funds for conversation, when needed! This scraggy Piece, which is better than the things people often talk to one another, was evidently written as fast as the pen could go.-"It is done, if such a Hand could have DONE it, in the manner of Bachaumont and La Chapelle," says Voltaire scornfully, in that scandalous VIE PRIVEE;-of which phrase this is the commentary, if readers need one:-

"Some seventy or eighty years before that date, a M. Bachaumont and a M. la Chapelle, his intimate, published, in Prose skipping off into dancings of Verse every now and then, 'a charming RELATION of a certain VOYAGE or Home Tour' (whence or whither, or correctly when, this Editor forgets), ["First printed in 1665," say the Bibliographies; "but known to La Fontaine some time before." Good!-Bachaumont, practically an important and distinguished person, not literary by trade, or indeed otherwise than by ennui, was he that had given (some fifteen years before) the Nickname FRONDE (Bickering of Schoolboys) to the wretched Historical Object which is still so designated in French annals.] which they had made in partnership. 'RELATION' capable still of being read, if one were tolerably idle;-it was found then to be charming, by all the world; and gave rise to a new fashion in writing; which Voltaire often adopts, and is supremely good at; and in which Friedrich, who is also fond of it, by no means succeeds so well."

Enough, Friedrich got to Wesel, back to his business, in a day or two; and had done, as we forever have, with the Strasburg Escapade and its Doggerel.


Friedrich got to Wesel on the 29th; found Maupertuis waiting there, according to appointment: an elaborately polite, somewhat sublime scientific gentleman; ready to "engraft on the Berlin crab-tree," and produce real apples and Academics there, so soon as the King, the proprietor, may have leisure for such a thing. Algarotti has already the honor of some acquaintance with Maupertuis. Maupertuis has been at Brussels, on the road hither; saw Voltaire and even Madame,-which latter was rather a ticklish operation, owing to grudges and tiffs of quarrel that had risen, but it proved successful under the delicate guidance of Voltaire. Voltaire is up to oiling the wheels: "There you are, Monsieur, like the [don't name What, though profane Voltaire does, writing to Maupertuis a month ago]-Three Kings running after you!" A new Pension to you from France; Russia outbidding France to have you; and then that LETTER of Friedrich's, which is in all the Newspapers: "Three Kings,"-you plainly great man, Trismegistus of the Sciences called Pure! Madame honors you, has always done: one word of apology to the high female mind, it will work wonders;-come now! [Voltaire, OEuvres, lxxii. 217, 216, 230 (Hague, 21st July, 1740, and Brussels, 9th Aug. &c).]

No reader guesses in our time what a shining celestial body the Maupertuis, who is now fallen so dim again, then was to mankind. In cultivated French society there is no such lion as M. Maupertuis since he returned from flattening the Earth in the Arctic regions. "The Exact Sciences, what else is there to depend on?" thinks French cultivated society: "and has not Monsieur done a feat in that line?" Monsieur, with fine ex-military manners, has a certain austere gravity, reticent loftiness and polite dogmatism, which confirms that opinion. A studious ex-military man,-was Captain of Dragoons once, but too fond of study,-who is conscious to himself, or who would fain be conscious, that he is, in all points, mathematical, moral and other, the man. A difficult man to live with in society. Comes really near the limit of what we call genius, of originality, poetic greatness in thinking;-but never once can get fairly over said limit, though always struggling dreadfully to do so. Think of it! A fatal kind of man; especially if you have made a lion of him at any time. Of his envies, deep-hidden splenetic discontents and rages, with Voltaire's return for them, there will be enough to say in the ulterior stages. He wears-at least ten years hence he openly wears, though I hope it is not yet so flagrant-"a red wig with yellow bottom (CRINIERE JAUNE);" and as Flattener of the Earth, is, with his own flattish red countenance and impregnable stony eyes, a man formidable to look upon, though intent to be amiable if you do the proper homage. As to the quarrel with Madame take this Note; which may prove illustrative of some things by and by:-

Maupertuis is well known at Cirey; such a lion could not fail there. All manner of Bernouillis, Clairauts, high mathematical people, are frequent guests at Cirey: reverenced by Madame,-who indeed has had her own private Professor of Mathematics; one Konig from Switzerland (recommended by those Bernouillis), diligently teaching her the Pure Sciences this good while back, not without effect; and has only just parted with him, when she left on this Brussels expedition. A BON GARCON, Voltaire says; though otherwise, I think, a little noisy on occasion. There has been no end of Madame's kindness to him, nay to his Brother and him,-sons of a Theological Professorial Syriac-Hebrew kind of man at Berne, who has too many sons;-and I grieve to report that this heedless Konig has produced an explosion in Madame's feelings, such as little beseemed him. On the road to Paris, namely, as we drove hitherward to the Honsbruck Lawsuit by way of Paris, in Autumn last, there had fallen out some dispute, about the monads, the VIS VIVA, the infinitely little, between Madame and Konig; dispute which rose CRESCENDO in disharmonious duet, and "ended," testifies M. de Voltaire, "in a scene TRESDESAGREABLE." Madame, with an effort, forgave the thoughtless fellow, who is still rather young, and is without malice. But thoughtless Konig, strong in his opinion about the infinitely little, appealed to Maupertuis: "Am not I right, Monsieur?" "HE is right beyond question!" wrote Maupertuis to Madame; "somewhat dryly," thinks Voltaire: and the result is, there is considerable rage in one celestial mind ever since against another male one in red wig and yellow bottom; and they are not on speaking terms, for a good many months past. Voltaire has his heart sore ("J'EN AI LE COEUR PERCE") about it, needs to double-dose Maupertuis with flattery; and in fact has used the utmost diplomacy to effect some varnish of a reconcilement as Maupertuis passed on this occasion. As for Konig, who had studied in some Dutch university, he went by and by to be Librarian to the Prince of Orange; and we shall not fail to hear of him again,-once more upon the infinitely little. [From OEuvres de Voltaire, ii. 126, lxxii. (20, 216, 230), lxiii. (229-239), &c. &c.]

Voltaire too, in his way, is fond of these mathematical people; eager enough to fish for knowledge, here as in all elements, when he has the chance offered: this is much an interest of his at present. And he does attain sound ideas, outlines of ideas, in this province,-though privately defective in the due transcendency of admiration for it;-was wont to discuss cheerily with Konig, about VIS VIVA, monads, gravitation and the infinitely little; above all, bows to the ground before the red-wigged Bashaw, Flattener of the Earth, whom for Madame's sake and his own he is anxious to be well with. "Fall on your face nine times, ye esoteric of only Impure Science!"-intimates Maupertuis to mankind. "By all means!" answers M. de Voltaire, doing it with alacrity; with a kind of loyalty, one can perceive, and also with a hypocrisy grounded on love of peace. If that is the nature of the Bashaw, and one's sole mode of fishing knowledge from him, why not? thinks M. de Voltaire. His patience with M. de Maupertuis, first and last, was very great. But we shall find it explode at length, a dozen years hence, in a conspicuous manner!-

"Maupertuis had come to us to Cirey, with Jean Bernouilli," says Voltaire; "and thenceforth Maupertuis, who was born the most jealous of men, took me for the object of this passion, which has always been very dear to him." [VIE PRIVEE.] Husht, Monsieur!-Here is a poor rheumatic kind of Letter, which illustrates the interim condition, after that varnish of reconcilement at Brussels:-

VOLTAIRE TO M. DE MAUPERTUIS (at Wesel, waiting for the King, or with him rather).

"BRUSSELS, 29th August (1740), 3d year since the world flattened.

"How the Devil, great Philosopher, would you have had me write to you at Wesel? I fancied you gone from Wesel, to seek the King of Sages on his Journey somewhere. I had understood, too, they were so delighted to have you in that fortified lodge (BOUGE FORTIFIE) that you must be taking pleasure there, for he that gives pleasure gets it.

"You have already seen the jolly Ambassador of the amiablest Monarch in the world,"-Camas, a fattish man, on his road to Versailles (who called at Brussels here, with fine compliments, and a keg of Hungary Wine, as YOU may have heard whispered). "No doubt M. de Camas is with you. For my own share, I think it is after you that he is running at present. But in truth, at the hour while I say this, you are with the King;"-a lucky guess; King did return to Wesel this very day. "The Philosopher and the Prince perceive already that they are made for each other. You and M. Algarotti will say, FACIAMUS HIC TRIA TABERNACULA: as to me, I can only make DUO TABERNACULA,"-profane Voltaire!

"Without doubt I would be with you if I were not at Brussels; but my heart is with you all the same; and is the subject, all the same, of a King who is, formed to reign over every thinking and feeling being. I do not despair that Madame du Chatelet will find herself somewhere on your route: it will be a scene in a fairy tale;-she will arrive with a SUFFICIENT REASON [as your Leibnitz says] and with MONADS. She does not love you the less though she now believes the universe a PLENUM, and has renounced the notion of VOID. Over her you have an ascendant which you will never lose. In fine, my dear Monsieur, I wish as ardently as she to embrace you the soonest possible. I recommend myself to your friendship in the Court, worthy of you, where you now are."-TOUT A VOUS, somewhat rheumatic! [Voltaire, lxxii. p. 243.]

Always an anxious almost tremulous desire to conciliate this big glaring geometrical bully in red wig. Through the sensitive transparent being of M. de Voltaire, you may see that feeling almost painfully busy in every Letter he writes to the Flattener of the Earth.

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