“I guess it was a big otter, or maybe an enormous turtle,”

time:2023-12-07 15:02:51 source:Alliance under the city author:library

Letter SECOND is to Jaagermeister Hacke, Captain of the Potsdam Guard; who stands in great nearness to the King's Majesty; and, in fact, is fast becoming his factotum in Army-details. We, with the Duke of Lorraine and Majesty in person, saw his marriage to the Excellency Creutz's Fraulein Daughter not long since; who we trust has made him happy;--rich he is at any rate, and will be Adjutant- General before long; powerful in such intricacies as this that the Prince has fallen into.

“I guess it was a big otter, or maybe an enormous turtle,”

The Letter has its obscurities; turns earnestly on Recruits tall and short; nor have idle Editors helped us, by the least hint towards "reading" it with more than the EYES. Old Dessauer at this time is Commandant at Magdeburg; Buddenbrock, perhaps now passing by Ruppin, we know for a high old General, fit to carry messages from Majesty,--or, likelier, it may be Lieutenant Buddenbrock, his Son, merely returning to Ruppin? We can guess, that the flattering Dessauer has sent his Majesty five gigantic men from the Magdeburg regiments, and that Friedrich is ordered to hustle out thirty of insignificant stature from his own, by way of counter-gift to the Dessauer;--which Friedrich does instantly, but cannot, for his life, see how (being totally cashless) he is to replace them with better, or replace them at all!

“I guess it was a big otter, or maybe an enormous turtle,”


“I guess it was a big otter, or maybe an enormous turtle,”

"MEIN GOTT, what a piece of news Buddenbrock has brought me! I am to get nothing out of Brandenburg, my dear Hacke? Thirty men I had to shift out of my company in consequence [of Buddenbrock's order]; and where am I now to get other thirty? I would gladly give the King tall men, as the Dessauer at Magdeburg does; but I have no money; and I don't get, or set up for getting, six men for one [thirty short for five tall], as he does. So true is that Scripture: To him that hath shall be given; and from him that hath not shall be taken away even that he hath.

"Small art, that the Prince of Dessau's and the Magdeburg Regiments are fine, when they have money at command, and thirty men GRATIS over and above! I, poor devil, have nothing; nor shall have, all my days. Prithee, dear Hacke (BITTE IHN, LIEBER HACKE), think of all that: and if I have no money allowed, I must bring Asmus [Recruit unknown to me] alone as Recruit next year; and my Regiment will to a certainty be rubbish (KROOP). Once I had learned a German Proverb--

'VERSPRECHEN UND HALTEN (To promise and to keep) ZIEMT WOHL JUNGEN UND ALTEN (Is pretty for young and for old)!'

"I depend alone on you (IHN), dear Hacke; unless you help, there is a bad outlook. To-day I have knocked again [written to Papa for money]; and if that does not help, it is over. If I could get any money to borrow, it would do; but I need not think of that. Help me, then, dear Hacke! I assure you I will ever remember it; who, at all times, am my dear Herr Captain's devoted (GANZ ERGEBENER) servant and friend,

[In German: OEuvres, xxvii. part 3d, p. 177.]


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