“I’m afraid not,” muttered the professor. “That

time:2023-12-07 14:51:16 source:Alliance under the city author:computer

Meanwhile, over at Warsaw, there has an Event fallen out. Friedrich, writing rapidly from vague reminiscence, as he often does, records it as "during the marriage festivities;" [ OEuvres (Memoires de Brandenbourg), i. 163.] but it was four good months earlier. Event we must now look at for a moment.

“I’m afraid not,” muttered the professor. “That

In the end of January last, we left Grumkow in a low and hypochondriacal state, much shaken by that drinking-bout at Crossen, when the Polisb Majesty and he were so anxious to pump one another, by copious priming with Hungary wine. About a fortnight after, in the first days of February following (day is not given), Grumkow reported something curious. "In my presence," says Wilhelmina, "and that of forty persons," for the thing was much talked about, "Grumkow said to the King one morning: 'Ah Sire, I am in despair; the poor Patroon is dead! I was lying broad awake, last night: all on a sudden, the curtains of my bed flew asunder: I saw him; he was in a shroud: he gazed fixedly at me: I tried to start up, being dreadfully taken; but the phantom disappeared!'" Here was an illustrious ghost-story for Berlin, in a day or two when the Courier came. "Died at the very time of the phantom; Death and phantom were the same night," say Wilhelmina and the miraculous Berlin public,--but do not say WHAT night for either of them it was. [Wilhelmina, ii. 98. Event happened, 1st February; news of it came to Berlin, 4th February: Fassmann (p. 485); Buchholz; &c.] By help of which latter circumstance the phantom becomes reasonably unmiraculous again, in a nervous system tremulous from drink. "They had been sad at parting," Wilhelmina says, "having drunk immensities of Hungary wine; the Patroon almost weeping over his Grumkow: 'Adieu, my dear Grumkow,' said he; "I shall never see you more!'"

“I’m afraid not,” muttered the professor. “That

Miraculous or not, the catastrophe is true: August, the once Physically Strong, lies dead;--and there will be no Partition of Poland for the present. He had the Diet ready to assemble; waiting for him, at Warsaw; and good trains laid in the Diet, capable of fortunate explosion under a good engineer. Engineer, alas! The Grumkow drinking-bout had awakened that old sore in his foot: he came to Warsaw, eager enough for business; but with his stock of strength all out, and Death now close upon him. The Diet met, 26th-27th January; engineer all alert about the good trains laid, and the fortunate exploding of them; when, almost on the morrow--"Inflammation has come on!" said the Doctors, and were futile to help farther. The strong body, and its life, was done; and nothing remained but to call in the Archbishop, with his extreme unctions and soul-apparatus.

“I’m afraid not,” muttered the professor. “That

August made no moaning or recalcitrating; took, on the prescribed terms, the inevitable that had come. Has been a very great sinner, he confesses to the Archbishop: "I have not at present strength to name my many and great sins to your Reverence," said he; "I hope for mercy on the"--on the usual rash terms. Terms perhaps known to August to be rash; to have been frightfully rash; but what can he now do? Archbishop thereupon gives absolution of his sins; Archbishop does,--a baddish, unlikely kind of man, as August well knows. August "laid his hand on his eyes," during such sad absolution-mummery; and in that posture had breathed his last, before it was well over. ["Sunday, 1st February, 1733, quarter past 4 A.M." (Fassmann, Leben Frederici Augusti Konigs in Pohlen, pp. 994-997).] Unhappy soul; who shall judge him?--transcendent King of edacious Flunkies; not without fine qualities, which he turned to such a use amid the temptations of this world!

His death brought vast miseries on Poland; kindled foolish Europe generally into fighting, and gave our Crown-Prince his first actual sight and experience of the facts of War. For which reason, hardly for another, the thing having otherwise little memorability at present, let us give some brief synopsis of it, the briefer the better. Here, excerpted from multifarious old Note-books, are some main heads of the affair:--

"On the disappearance of August the Strong, his plans of Partitioning Poland disappeared too, and his fine trains in the Diet abolished themselves. The Diet had now nothing to do, but proclaim the coming Election, giving a date to it; and go home to consider a little whom they would elect. ["Interregnum proclaimed," 11th February; Preliminary Diet to meet 21st April;-- meets; settles, before May is done, that the Election shall BEGIN 25th August: it must END in six weeks thereafter, by law of the land.] A question weighty to Poland. And not likely to be settled by Poland alone or chiefly; the sublime Republic, with LIBERUM VETO, and Diets capable only of anarchic noise, having now reached such a stage that its Neighbors everywhere stood upon its skirts; asking, 'Whitherward, then, with your anarchy? Not this way;--we say, that way!'-and were apt to get to battle about it, before such a thing could be settled. A house, in your street, with perpetual smoke coming through the slates of it, is not a pleasant house to be neighbor to! One honest interest the neighbors have, in an Election Crisis there, That the house do not get on fire, and kindle them. Dishonest interests, in the way of theft and otherwise, they may have without limit.

"The poor house, during last Election Crisis,--when August the Strong was flung out, and Stanislaus brought in; Crisis presided over by Charles XII., with Czar Peter and others hanging on the outskirts, as Opposition party,--fairly got into flame; [Description of it in Kohler, Munzbelustigungen, vi. 228-230.] but was quenched down again by that stout Swede; and his Stanislaus, a native Pole, was left peaceably as King for the years then running. Years ran; and Stanislaus was thrown out, Charles himself being thrown out; and had to make way for August the Strong again:--an ejected Stanislaus: King only in title; known to most readers of this time. [Stanislaus Lesczinsky, "Woywode of Posen," born 1677: King of Poland, Charles XII. superintending, 1704 (age then 27); driven out 1709, went to Charles XII. at Bender; to Zweibruck, 1714; thence, on Charles's death, to Weissenburg (Alsace, or Strasburg Country): Daughter married to Louis XV., 1725. Age now 56.--Hubner, t. 97; Histoire de Stanislas I., Roi de Pologlne (English Translation, London, 1741), pp. 96-126; &c.]

"Poor man, he has been living in Zweibruck, in Weissenburg and such places, in that Debatable French-German region,--which the French are more and more getting stolen to themselves, in late centuries:--generally on the outskirts of France he lives; having now connections of the highest quality with France. He has had fine Country-houses in that Zweibruck (TWO-BRIDGE, Deux-Ponts) region; had always the ghost of a Court there; plenty of money,-- a sinecure Country-gentleman life;--and no complaints have been heard from him. Charles XII., as proprietor of Deux-Ponts, had first of all sent him into those parts for refuge; and in general, easy days have been the lot of Stanislaus there.


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