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.
Friedrich Wilhelm lay at Potsdam, between death and life, for almost four months to come; the Newspapers speculating much on his situation; political people extremely anxious what would become of him,--or in fact, when he would die; for that was considered the likely issue. Fassmann gives dolorous clippings from the
Seckendorf is not now himself at Berlin; but running much about, on other errands; can only see Friedrich Wilhelm, if at all, in a passing way. And even this will soon cease;--and in fact, to us it is by far the most excellent result of this French-Austrian War, that it carries Seckendorf clear away; who now quits Berlin and the Diplomatic line, and obligingly goes out of our sight henceforth. The old Ordnance-Master, as an Imperial General of rank, is needed now for War-Service, if he has any skill that way. In those late months, he was duly in attendance at Philipsburg and the Rhine-Campaign, in a subaltern torpid capacity, like Brunswick-Bevern and the others; ready for work, had there been any: but next season, he expects to have a Division of his own, and to do something considerable.--In regard to Berlin and the Diplomacies, he has appointed a Nephew of his, a Seckendorf Junior, to take his place there; to keep the old machinery in gear, if nothing more; and furnish copious reports during the present crisis. These Reports of Seckendorf Junior--full of eavesdroppings, got from a KAMMERMOHR (Nigger Lackey), who waits in the sick-room at Potsdam, and is sensible to bribes--have been printed; and we mean to glance slightly into them. But as to Seckendorf Senior, readers can entertain the fixed hope that they have at length done with him; that, in these our premises, we shall never see him again;--nay shall see him, on extraneous dim fields, far enough away, smarting and suffering, till even we are almost sorry for the old knave!--
Friedrich Wilhelm's own prevailing opinion is, that he cannot recover. His bodily sufferings are great: dropsically swollen, sometimes like to be choked: no bed that he can bear to lie on;-- oftenest rolls about in a Bath-chair; very heavy-laden indeed; and I think of tenderer humor than in former sicknesses. To the Old Dessauer he writes, few days after getting home to Potsdam: "I am ready to quit the world, as Your Dilection knows, and has various times heard me say. One ship sails faster, another slower; but they come all to one haven. Let it be with me, then, as the Most High has determined for me." [Orlich,
"POTSDAM, SEPTEMBER 3Oth, 1734. Yesterday, for half an hour, the King could get no breath: he keeps them continually rolling him about" in his Bath-chair, "over the room, and cries 'LUFT, LUFT (Air, air)!'
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