boys from their feet, and they would have fallen had they

time:2023-12-07 13:52:31 source:Alliance under the city author:internet

What were Grumkow's news at home-coming, I did not hear; but he continues very low and shaky;--refuses, almost with horror, to have the least hand in Seckendorf's mad project, of resuscitating the English Double-Marriage, and breaking off the Brunswick one, at the eleventh hour and after word pledged. Seckendorf himself continues to dislike and dissuade: but the High Heads at Vienna are bent on it; and command new strenuous attempts;--literally at the last moment; which is now come.

boys from their feet, and they would have fallen had they

Since November last, Wilhelmina is on visit at Berlin,--first visit since her marriage;--she stays there for almost ten months; not under the happiest auspices, poor child. Mamma's reception of her, just off the long winter journey, and extenuated with fatigues and sickly chagrins, was of the most cutting cruelty: "What do you want here? What is a mendicant like you come hither for?" And next night, when Papa himself came home, it was little better. "Ha, ha," said he, "here you are; I am glad to see you." Then holding up a light, to take view of me: "How changed you are!" said he: "What is little Frederika [my little Baby at Baireuth] doing?" And on my answering, continued: "I am sorry for you, on my word. You have not bread to eat; and but for me you might go begging. I am a poor man myself, not able to give you much; but I will do what I can. I will give you now and then a twenty or a thirty shillings (PAR DIX OU DOUZE FLORINS), as my affairs permit: it will always be something to assuage your want. And you, Madam," said he, turning to the Queen, "you will sometimes give her an old dress; for the poor child has n't a shift to her back." [Wilhelmina, ii. 85.] This rugged paternal banter was taken too literally by Wilhelmina, in her weak state; and she was like "to burst in her skin," poor Princess.

boys from their feet, and they would have fallen had they

So that,--except her own good Hereditary Prince, who was here "over from Pasewalk" and his regimental duties, waiting to welcome her; in whose true heart, full of honest human sunshine towards her, she could always find shelter and defence,--native Country and Court offer little to the brave Wilhelmina. Chagrins enough are here: chagrins also were there. At Baireuth our old Father Margraf has his crotchets, his infirmities and outbreaks; takes more and more to liquor; and does always keep us frightfully bare in money. No help from Papa here, either, on the finance side; no real hope anywhere (thinks Seckendorf, when we consult him), except only in the Margraf's death: "old Margraf will soon drink himself dead," thinks Seckendorf; "and in the mean while there is Vienna, and a noble Kaiserinn who knows her friends in case of extremity!" thinks he. [Wilhelmina, ii. 81-111.] Poor Princess, in her weak shattered state, she has a heavy time of it; but there is a tough spirit in her; bright, sharp, like a swift sabre, not to be quenched in any coil; but always cutting its way, and emerging unsubdued.

boys from their feet, and they would have fallen had they

One of the blessings reserved for her here, which most of all concerns us, was the occasional sight of her Brother. Brother in a day or two ["18th November," she says; which date is wrong, if it were of moment (see OEuvres de Frederic, xxvii. part 1st, where their CORRESPONDENCE is).] ran over from Ruppin, on short leave, and had his first interview. Very kind and affectionate; quite the old Brother again; and "blushed" when, at supper, Mamma and the Princesses, especially that wicked Charlotte (Papa not present), tore up his poor Bride at such a rate. "Has not a word to answer you, but YES or NO," said they; "stupid as a block." "But were you ever at her toilette?" said the wicked Charlotte: "Out of shape, completely: considerable waddings, I promise you: and then"--still worse features, from that wicked Charlotte, in presence of the domestics here. Wicked Charlotte; who is to be her Sister-in-law soon;--and who is always flirting with my Husband, as if she liked that better!-- Crown-Prince retired, directly after supper: as did I, to my apartment, where in a minute or two he joined me.

"To the question, How with the King and you? he answered, 'That his situation was changing every moment; that sometimes he was in favor, sometimes in disgrace;--that his chief happiness consisted in absence. That he led a soft and tranquil life with his Regiment at Ruppin; study and music his principal occupations; he had built himself a House there, and laid out a Garden, where he could read, and walk about.' Then as to his Bride, I begged him to tell me candidly if the portrait the Queen and my Sister had been making of her was the true one. 'We are alone,' replied he, 'and I will conceal nothing from you. The Queen, by her miserable intrigues, has been the source of our misfortunes. Scarcely were you gone when she began again with England; wished to substitute our Sister Charlotte for you; would have had me undertake to contradict the King's will again, and flatly refuse the Brunswick Match;--which I declined. That is the source of her venom against this poor Princess. As to the young Lady herself, I do not hate her so much as I pretend; I affect complete dislike, that the King may value my obedience more. She is pretty, a complexion lily-and-rose; her features delicate; face altogether of a beautiful person. True, she has no breeding, and dresses very ill: but I flatter myself, when she comes hither, you will have the goodness to take her in hand. I recommend her to you, my dear Sister; and beg your protection for her.' It is easy to judge, my answer would be such as he desired." [Wilhelmina, ii. 89.]

For which small glimpse of the fact itself, at first-hand, across a whirlwind of distracted rumors new and old about the fact, let us be thankful to Wilhelmina. Seckendorf's hopeless attempts to resuscitate extinct English things, and make the Prussian Majesty break his word, continue to the very last; but are worth no notice from us. Grumkow's Drinking-bout with the Dilapidated-Strong at Crossen, which follows now in January, has been already noticed by us. And the Dilapidated-Strong's farewell next morning,--"Adieu, dear Grumkow; I think I shall not see you again!" as he rolled off towards Warsaw and the Diet,--will require farther notice; but must stand over till this Marriage be got done. Of which latter Event,--Wilhelmina once more kindling the old dark Books into some light for us,--the essential particulars are briefly as follows.

Monday, 8th June, 1733, the Crown-Prince is again over from Ruppin: King, Queen and Crown-Prince are rendezvoused at Potsdam; and they set off with due retinues towards Wolfenbuttel, towards Salzdahlum the Ducal Schloss there; Sister Wilhelmina sending blessings, if she had them, on a poor Brother in such interesting circumstances. Mamma was "plunged in black melancholy;" King not the least; in the Crown-Prince nothing particular to be remarked. They reached Salzdahlum, Duke Ludwig Rudolf the Grandfather's Palace, one of the finest Palaces, with Gardens, with antiques, with Picture-Galleries no end; a mile or two from Wolfenbuttel; built by old Anton Ulrich, and still the ornament of those parts; --reached Salzdahlum, Wednesday the 10th; where Bride, with Father, Mother, much more Grandfather, Grandmother, and all the sublimities interested, are waiting in the highest gala; Wedding to be on Friday next.

Friday morning, this incident fell out, notable and somewhat contemptible: Seckendorf, who is of the retinue, following his bad trade, visits his Majesty who is still in bed:--"Pardon, your Majesty: what shall I say for excuse? Here is a Letter just come from Vienna; in Prince Eugene's hand;--Prince Eugene, or a Higher, will say something, while it is still time!" Majesty, not in impatience, reads the little Prince's and the Kaiser's Letter. "Give up this, we entreat you for the last time; marry with England after all!" Majesty reads, quiet as a lamb; lays the Letter under his pillow; will himself answer it; and does straightway, with much simple dignity, to the effect, "For certain, Never, my always respected Prince!" [Account of the Interview by Seckendorf, in Forster, iii, 148-155; Copy of the answer itself is in the State-Paper Office here.] Seckendorf, having thus shot his last bolt, does not stay many hours longer at Salzdahlum;--may as well quit Friedrich Wilhelm altogether, for any good he will henceforth do upon him. This is the one incident between the Arrival at Salzdahlum and the Wedding there.


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