"For a long while my heart had been getting big; I could not restrain my tears, at hearing all these indignities. 'Why do you cry?' said he: 'Ah, ah, you are in low spirits, I see. We must dissipate that dark humor. The music waits us; I will drive that fit out of you by an air or two on the flute.' He gave me his hand, and led me into the other room. I sat down to the harpsichord; which I inundated (INONDAI) with my tears. Marwitz [my artful Demoiselle d'Atours, perhaps too artful in time coming] placed herself opposite me, so as to hide from the others what disorder I was in.' [Wilhelmina, ii. 216-218.]
For the last two days of the visit, Wilhelmina admits, her Brother was a little kinder. But on the fourth day there came, by estafette, a Letter from the Queen, conjuring him to return without delay, the King growing worse and worse. Wilhelmina, who loved her Father, and whose outlooks in case of his decease appeared to be so little flattering, was overwhelmed with sorrow. Of her Brother, however, she strove to forget that strange outbreak of candor; and parted with him as if all were mended between them again. Nay, the day after his departure, there goes a beautifully affectionate Letter to him; which we could give, if there were room: [
As to the outbreak of candor, offensive to Wilhelmina and us, we suppose her report of it to be in substance true, though of exaggerated, perhaps perverted tone; and it is worth the reader's note, with these deductions. The truth is, our charming Princess is always liable to a certain subtrahend. In 1744, when she wrote those
The Crown-Prince--who goes by Dessau, lodging for a night with the Old Dessauer, and writes affectionately to his Sister from that place, their Letters crossing on the road--gets home on the 12th to Potsdam. October 12th, 1734, he has ended his Rhine Campaign, in that manner;--and sees his poor Father, with a great many other feelings besides those expressed in the dialogue at Baireuth.
IN PAPA'S SICK-ROOM; PRUSSIAN INSPECTIONS: END OF WAR.
It appears, Friedrich met a cordial reception in the sickroom at Potsdam; and, in spite of his levities to Wilhelmina, was struck to the heart by what he saw there. For months to come, he seems to be continually running between Potsdam and Ruppin, eager to minister to his sick Father, when military leave is procurable. Other fact, about him, other aspect of him, in those months, is not on record for us.
Of his young Madam, or Princess-Royal, peaceably resident at Berlin or at Schonhausen, and doing the vacant officialities, formal visitings and the like, we hear nothing; of Queen Sophie and the others, nothing: anxious, all of them, no doubt, about the event at Potsdam, and otherwise silent to us. His Majesty's illness comes and goes; now hope, and again almost none. Margraf of Schwedt and his young Bride, we already know, were married in November; and Lieutenant Chasot (two days old in Berlin) told us, there was Dinner by the Crown-Prince to all the Royal Family on that occasion;--poor Majesty out at Potsdam languishing in the background, meanwhile.
His Carnival the Crown-Prince passes naturally at Berlin. We find he takes a good deal to the French Ambassador, one Marquis de la Chetardie; a showy restless character, of fame in the Gazettes of that time; who did much intriguing at Petersburg some years hence, first in a signally triumphant way, and then in a signally untriumphant; and is not now worth any knowledge but a transient accidental one. Chetardie came hither about Stanislaus and his affairs; tried hard, but in vain, to tempt Friedrich Wilhelm into interference;--is naturally anxious to captivate the Crown-Prince, in present circumstances.
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