"Sunday last," Sunday, 17th October, 1734, reports Seckendorf, Junior, through the Nigger or some better witness, "the King said to the Prince-Royal: 'My dear Son, I tell thee I got my death at Priort. I entreat thee, above all things in the world, don't trust those people (DENEN LEUTEN), however many promises they make. That day, it was April 17th, 1733, there was a man said something to me: it was as if you had turned a dagger round in my heart.'" [Seckendorf (BARON),
Figure that, spoken from amid the dark sick whirlpools, the mortal quicksands, in Friedrich Wilhelm's voice, clangorously plaintive; what a wild sincerity, almost pathos, is in it; and whether Fritzchen, with his eyes all bewept even for what Papa had suffered in that matter, felt lively gratitudes to the House of Austria at this moment!--
It was four months after, "21st January, 1735," [Fassmann, p. 533.] when the King first got back to Berlin, to enlighten the eyes of the Carnival a little, as his wont had been. The crisis of his Majesty's illness is over, present danger gone; and the Carnival people, not without some real gladness, though probably with less than they pretend, can report him well again. Which is far from being the fact, if they knew it. Friedrich Wilhelm is on his feet again; but he never more was well. Nor has he forgotten that word at Priort, "like the turning of a dagger in one's heart;"--and indeed gets himself continually reminded of it by practical commentaries from the Vienna Quarter.
In April, Prince Lichtenstein arrives on Embassy with three requests or demands from Vienna: "1. That, besides the Ten Thousand due by Treaty, his Majesty would send his Reich's Contingent," NOT comprehended in those Ten Thousand, thinks the Kaiser. "2. That he would have the goodness to dismiss Marquis de la Chetardie the French Ambassador, as a plainly superfluous person at a well-affected German Court in present circumstances;" --person excessively dangerous, should the present Majesty die, Crown-Prince being so fond of that Chetardie. "3. That his Prussian Majesty do give up the false Polish Majesty Stanislaus, and no longer harbor him in East Preussen or elsewhere." The whole of which demands his Prussian Majesty refuses; the latter two especially, as something notably high on the Kaiser's part, or on any mortal's, to a free Sovereign and Gentleman. Prince Lichtenstein is eloquent, conciliatory; but it avails not. He has to go home empty-handed;--manages to leave with Herr von Suhm, who took care of it for us, that Anecdote of the Crown- Prince's behavior under cannon-shot from Philipsburg last year; and does nothing else recordable, in Berlin.
The Crown-Prince's hopes were set, with all eagerness, on getting to the Rhine-Campaign next ensuing; nor did the King refuse, for a long while, but still less did he consent; and in the end there came nothing of it. From an early period of the year, Friedrich Wilhelm sees too well what kind of campaigning the Kaiser will now make; at a certain Wedding-dinner where his Majesty was,-- precisely a fortnight after his Majesty's arrival in Berlin,-- Seckendorf Junior has got, by eavesdropping, this utterance of his Majesty's: "The Kaiser has not a groschen of money. His Army in Lombardy is gone to twenty-four thousand men, will have to retire into the Mountains. Next campaign [just coming], he will lose Mantua and the Tyrol. God's righteous judgment it is: a War like this! Comes of flinging old principles overboard,--of meddling in business that was none of yours;" and more, of a plangent alarming nature. [Forster, ii. 144 (and DATE it from
Friedrich Wilhelm sends back his Ten Thousand, according to contract; sends, over and above, a beautiful stock of "copper pontoons" to help the Imperial Majesty in that River Country, says Fassmann;--sends also a supernumerary Troop of Hussars, who are worth mentioning, "Six-score horse of Hussar type," under one Captain Ziethen, a taciturn, much-enduring, much-observing man, whom we shall see again: these are to be diligently helpful, as is natural; but they are also, for their own behoof, to be diligently observant, and learn the Austrian Hussar methods, which his Majesty last year saw to be much superior. Nobody that knows Ziethen doubts but he learnt; Hussar-Colonel Baronay, his Austrian teacher here, became too well convinced of it when they met on a future occasion. [
In the Rhine-Moselle Country and elsewhere the poor Kaiser does exert himself to make a Campaign of it; but without the least success. Having not a groschen of money, how could he succeed? Noailles, as foreseen, manoeuvres him, hitch after hitch, out of Italy; French are greatly superior, more especially when Montemar, having once got Carlos crowned in Naples and put secure, comes to assist the French; Kaiser has to lean for shelter on the Tyrol Alps, as predicted. Italy, all but some sieging of strong-places, may be considered as lost for the present.
Nor on the Rhine did things go better. Old Eugene, "the shadow of himself," had no more effect this year than last: nor, though Lacy and Ten Thousand Russians came as allies, Poland being all settled now, could the least good be done. Reich's Feldmarschall Karl Alexander of Wurtemberg did "burn a Magazine" (probably of hay among better provender) by his bomb-shells, on one occasion. Also the Prussian Ten Thousand--Old Dessauer leading them, General Roder having fallen ill--burnt something: an Islet in the Rhine, if I recollect, "Islet of Larch near Bingen," where the French had a post; which and whom the Old Dessauer burnt away. And then Seckendorf, at the head of thirty thousand, he, after long delays, marched to Trarbach in the interior Moselle Country; and got into some explosive sputter of battle with Belleisle, one afternoon,-- some say, rather beating Belleisle; but a good judge says, it was a mutual flurry and terror they threw one another into. [
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