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calm, unimpassioned friendship, which is all I ask; and

time:2023-12-06 02:04:20 source:Untouched network author:meat read:136次

1. MIRABEAU AT SANS-SOUCI. "This same day," April 17th, it appears, [Preuss: in OEuvres de Frederic, xxv. 328 n.] "the King saw Mirabeau, for the second and last time. Mirabeau had come to Berlin 19th January last; his errand not very precise,-- except that he infinitely wanted employment, and that at Paris the Controller-General Calonne, since so famous among mankind, had evidently none to offer him there. He seems to have intended Russia, and employment with the Czarina,--after viewing Berlin a little, with the great flashy eyesight he had. He first saw Friedrich January 25th. There pass in all, between Friedrich and him, seven Letters or Notes, two of them by the King; and on poor Mirabeau's side, it must be owned, there is a massively respectful, truthful and manly physiognomy, which probably has mended Friedrich's first opinion of him. [... "Is coming to me to-day; one of those loose-tongued fellows, I suppose, who write for and against all the world." (Friedrich to Prince Henri, "25 January, 1786:" OEuvres de Frederic, xxvi. 522.)] This day, April 17th, 1786, he is at Potsdam; so far on the road to France again,--Mirabeau Senior being reported dangerously ill. 'My Dialogue with the King,' say the Mirabeau Papers, 'was very lively; but the King was in such suffering, and so straitened for breath, I was myself anxious to shorten it: that same evening I travelled on.'

calm, unimpassioned friendship, which is all I ask; and

"Mirabeau Senior did not die at this time: and Controller-General Calonne, now again eager to shake off an importunate and far too clear-sighted Mirabeau Junior, said to the latter: 'Back to Berlin, could n't you? Their King is dying, a new King coming; highly important to us!'--and poor Mirabeau went. Left Paris again, in May; with money furnished, but, no other outfit, and more in the character of Newspaper Vulture than of Diplomatic Envoy," [Rodenbeck, iii. 343. Fils Adoptif, Memoires de Mirabeau (Paris, 1834), iv. 288-292, 296.] as perhaps we may transiently see.

calm, unimpassioned friendship, which is all I ask; and

2. MARIE ANTOINETTE AT VERSAILLES; TO HER SISTER CHRISTINE AT BRUSSELS (Husband and she, Duke and Duchess of Sachsen-Teschen, are Governors of the Netherlands):--

calm, unimpassioned friendship, which is all I ask; and

MARCH 20th, 1786. ... "There has been arrested at Geneva one Villette, who played a great part in that abominable Affair [of the Diamond Necklace, now emerging on an astonished Queen and world]. [Carlyle's Miscellanies (Library Edition), v. 3-96, ? DIAMOND NECKLACE. The wretched Cardinal de Rohan was arrested at Versailles, and put in the Bastille, "August 15th, 1785," the day before Friedrich set out for his Silesian Review; ever since which, the arrestments and judicial investigations have continued,--continue till "May 10th, 1786," when Sentence was given.] M. Target", Advocate of the enchanted Cardinal, "is coming out with his MEMOIR: he does his function; and God knows what are the lies he will produce upon us. There is a MEMOIR by that Quack of a Cagliostro, too: these are at this moment the theme of all talk."

APRIL 6th. "The MEMOIRS, the lies, succeed each other; and the Business grows darker, not clearer. Such a Cardinal of the Church! He brazenly maintains his distracted story about the Bosquet [Interview with me in person, in that Hornbeam Arbor at Versailles; to me inconceivable, not yet knowing of a Demoiselle d'0liva from the streets, who had acted my part there], and my Assent [to purchase the Necklace for me]. His impudence and his audacity surpass belief. O Sister, I need all my strength to support such cruel assaults. ... The King of Prussia's condition much engages attention (PREOCCUPE) here, and must do at Vienna too: his death is considered imminent. I am sure you have your eyes open on that side." ...

APRIL 17th (just while the Mirabeau Interview at Potsdam is going on). ... "King of Prussia thought to be dying: I am weary of the political discussions on this subject, as to what effects his death must produce. He is better at this moment; but so weak he cannot resist long. Physique is gone; but his force and energy of soul, they say, have often supported him, and in desperate crises have even seemed to increase. Liking to him I never had: his ostentatious immorality (IMMORALITE AFFICHEE," ah, Madame!) "has much hurt public virtue [public orthodoxy, I mean], and there have been related to me [by mendacious or ill-informed persons] barbarities which excite horror. He has done us all a great deal of ill. He has been a King for his own Country; but a Trouble-feast for those about him;--setting up to be the arbiter of Europe; always undertaking on his neighbors, and making them pay the expense. As Daughters of Maria Theresa, it is impossible we can regret him, nor is it the Court of France that will make his funeral oration." [Comte de Hunolstein, Correspondance inedite de Marie Antoinette (Paris, 1864), pp. 136, 137, 149.--Hunolstein's Book, I since find, is mainly or wholly a Forgery! (NOTE of 1868.)]

From Sans-Souci the King did appear again on horseback; rode out several times ("Conde," a fine English horse, one of his favorites, carrying him,--the Conde who had many years of sinecure afterwards, and was well known to Touring people): the rides were short; once to the New Palace to look at some new Vinery there, thence to the Gate of Potsdam, which he was for entering; but finding masons at work, and the street encumbered, did not, and rode home instead: this, of not above two miles, was his longest ride of all. Selle's attendance, less and less in esteem with the King, and less and less followed by him, did not quite cease till June 4th; that day the King had said to Selle, or to himself, "It is enough." That longest of his rides was in the third week after; June 22d, Midsummer-Day. July 4th, he rode again; and it was for the last time. About two weeks after, Conde was again brought out; but it would not do: Adieu, my Conde; not possible, as things are!--

During all this while, and to the very end, Friedrich's Affairs, great and small, were, in every branch and item, guided on by him, with a perfection not surpassed in his palmiest days: he saw his Ministers, saw all who had business with him, many who had little; and in the sore coil of bodily miseries, as Hertzberg observed with wonder, never was the King's intellect clearer, or his judgment more just and decisive. Of his disease, except to the Doctors, he spoke no word to anybody. The body of Friedrich is a ruin, but his soul is still here; and receives his friends and his tasks as formerly. Asthma, dropsy, erysipelas, continual want of sleep; for many months past he has not been in bed, but sits day and night in an easy-chair, unable to get breath except in that posture. He said one morning, to somebody entering, "If you happened to want a night-watcher, I could suit you well."


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