« PreviousContinue »
Being now at the ripe age of twelve, her history, we suppose, comes nears the profliinother takes her into her confidence, and begacy of the Court of Dresden at that period. gins with telling her, that there are certain Augustus, who never closed a day in sobriety, people who are her enemies, to whom she openly kept a large seraglio in his palace, commands her never to show any kindness or and had about three hundred and fifty child civility. She then proceeds to name “ three aren by its inhabitants. One of those who fourths of all Berlin." But her great object had all along been recognized as his daughis to train her daughter to be a spy on her ter, was at this time his favourite mistress; father, and at the same time to keep every while she, disdaining to be faithful to this inthing secret from him and his counsellors; cestuous connection, lavished all her favour and to arrange measures for a match between on a brother, who was her avowed lover, and her and her nephew the Duke of Gloucester the rival of their common parent !- Frederic,
-afterwards Prince of Wales, on the acces, however, was so much pleased with these sion of his father George II. In 1723, George doings, that he entered into a treaty for marI. comes to visit his daughter at Berlin, and is rying his daughter to this virtuous elector, characterised, we cannot say very favourably, who was then fifty years of age; and the year by his grandchild. He was very stupid, she after, Augustus came to Berlin, to follow out says, with great airs of wisdom-had no gen- his suit, where he was received in great state, erosity but for his favourites, and the mis- and the daughter-mistress caressed by the tresses by whom he let himself be governed chaste queen and her daughter. There is a --spoke little, and took no pleasure in hearing good description of a grand court dinner given any thing but niaiseries :-since his accession on this occasion; in which, after a long acto the English throne he had also become in- count of the marshalling of princes and prinsupportably haughty and imperious. When cesses, the business of the day is summed up the fair author was presented to him, he took in the following emphatic words-On but up a candle, held it close to her face, and ex. force santés--on parla peu—et on s'ennuya amined her all over without saying a word: beaucoup! The two kings, however, had vaat table he preserved the same magnificent rious tête-à-tête parties that were more jolly; silence; judging wisely, the Princess observes, and in which they continued at table from that it was better to say nothing than to ex- one o'clock, which was their hour of dinner, pose himself by talking. Before the end of till near midnight. In spite of all this corthe repast he was taken ill; and tumbled down diality, however, the treaty of marriage was on the floor, his hat falling off on one side, broken off: the heir-apparent of Augustus and his wig on the other. It was a full hour having obstinately refused to ratify those artibefore he came to himself; and it was whis- cles in it which required his concurrence. pered that it was a sort of apoplexy: How- The King now resolved to match his daughever, he was well enough next day; and ter with a poor German prince, called the arranged every thing for the marriage of the Duke of Weissenfield; at which his wife, who author with his grandson, and of her brother had been all this time intriguing busily to with the Princess Amelia. Obstacles arose, bring about the union originally projected however, to the consummation of this double with the Prince of Wales, is in despair, and alliance; and although the two Sovereigns had persuades him to let her make one effort more another meeting on the subject the year after, to bring her brother of England to a determistill the necessity of obtaining the consent of nation. And here we have a very curious parliament occasioned an obstruction; and in piece of secret history, which, though it touches The mean time Frederic having thought fit to the policy of the Court of England, has hitherto seize several tall Hanoverians, and enrol them been unknown, we believe, in this country. by force in his regiment of giants, the English A confidential agent arrives from Hanover, monarch resented this outrage, and died of who informs the Queen, that the Prince of another attack of apoplexy before matters Wales has made up his mind to come imme. could be restored to a right footing.
diately to Berlin, and to marry her daughter, Soon after this catastrophe, Frederic takes without waiting for the formal consent of his to drinking with the Imperial ambassador; father, or the English Parliament, who, howand, when his stomach gets into disorder, ever, he has no doubt, will neither of them becomes outrageously pious; orders his valet hesitate to ratify the act when it is once to sing psalms before him, and preaches him- over. The Queen is transported with this self to his family every afternoon. The news; and is so much intoxicated with joy Princess and her brother are ready to suffo- on the occasion, that she bethinks herself of rate with laughter at these discourses; but confiding the whole story in the evening to the hypochondria gains ground; and at last the English ambassador-who instantly writes the King talks seriously of resigning his home to his Court; and, his letter being adcrown, and retiring with his family to a small dressed to the Secretary of State, produces an house in the country; where his daughter immediate mandate to the Prince, to set out should take care of the linen, his son of the for England without the delay of a moment. provisions, and his wife of the kitchen. To This mandate arrives just as his Royal Highdivert these melancholy thoughts, he is per- ness is taking post with bridal impatience for suaded to pay a visit to the Elector of Saxony, Berlin : and, as it is addressed to him through dugustus King of Poland ; and there, large the public offices, requires his implicit obe. potations of Hungarian wine speedily dissipate dience. The truth of the matter is, the Prin. all his dreams of devotion. Nothing in modern | cess assures us, that George II. was himself
desirous that the match should be concluded pitched on a terrace, with scarcely any thing without waiting for the uncertain sanction of to eat, and their feet up to the ancles in mud, his Parliament, and had suggested this device if the weather happened to be rainy. After of a seeming etourderie on the part of his son ; dinner, which was served exactly at noon, but the indiscretion of her mother, in blabbing the good king set himself down to sleep for the matter to the ambassador, and his com- two hours, in a great chair placed in the full munication to the ministry, left the monarch glare of the sun, and compelled all his family no choice, but to dissemble his mortification, to lie on the ground around him, exposed to and lend his authority to prevent the execu- the same intolerable scorching, tion of a project which had originated with After some little time, England sends anhimself.
other ambassador, who renews i due form, the But, whatever may be the true theory of proposal of the double marriage, and offers this disaster, it seems to be certain, that the such baits to the avarice or the King that mat disappointment put the King of Prussia into ters appear once more to be finally adjusted, exceeding bad humour, and, concurring with and the princess is saluted by her household an untimely fit of the gout, made the lives of with the title of Princess of Wales. This, his family still more uncomfortable than he however, was not her destiny. Grumkow took care at all times to render them. The intrigues with the Imperial ambassador to account indeed which is here given of the break off the match-and between them they domestic habits of this worthy sovereign, contrive to persuade the King that he is made though humiliating in some degree to human a tool of by the Queen and her brother of nature, has yet something in it so extrava- England : and inflame him to such a rage by gant, as to be actually ludicrous and farcical. producing specimens of their secret correHe ordered his children to come to his apart- spondence, that when the English ambassador ment at nine o'clock every morning, and kept appears next day with decisive proofs of them close prisoners there the whole day, Grumkow's treachery and insolence, the King not letting them once out of his sight, " pour throws the papers in his face, and actually quelque raison que ce fut.” His employment lifts his foot
, as if to give him the family salute was to curse and abuse them with every of a kick.' The blood of the Englishman coarse term of reproach,-his daughter getting rouses at this insult; and he puts lıimself in a no other name than la Canaille Anglaise, and posture to return the compliment with interhis son, le Coquin de Fritz. He had always est, when the King makes a rapid retreatbeen in the practice of famishing them; partly and the ambassador, in spite of the entreaties out of avarice, and partly from the love of of the Queen and her children, and various tormenting; but now even the soup made of overtures of apology from the King himself, bare bones and salt was retrenched. He often shakes the dust of Berlin from his feet, and refused to let them have any thing whatso- sets off in high dudgeon for London. The ever; and spit into the dishes out of which he King then swears that his daughter shall have had helped himself, in order to prevent their no husband at all, but that he will make her touching them! At other times he would abbess in the monastery of Herford ;-and insist upon their eating all sorts of unwhole- her brother Frederic, to her great mortificasome and disgusting compositions—"ce qui tion, tells her it is the best thing she can do, nous obligeait quelquefois de rendre, en sa and that he sees no other way to restore peace presence, tout ce que nous avions dans le in the family. corps !" Even this, however, was not the We now proceed to the adventures of this worst of it. He very frequently threw the brother, which, as their outline is already plates at their heads; and scarcely ever let generally known, need not be fully narrated his daughter go out of the room, without aim- in this place. Tired of being beaten and ing a sly blow at her with the end of his kicked and reviled all day long, he resolves crutch. The unhappy Frederic he employed to withdraw from his country, and makes himself almost every morning in caning and some movements to that effect in confederacy kicking for a long time together; and was with an officer of the name of Katt, who was actually, upon one occasion, in the act of to have been the companion of his flighi. strangling him with the cord of a window Both, however, are arrested by the King's curtain, when he was interrupted by one of order, who makes several attempts upon the his domestics. To make amends, however, life of his son, when he is brought as a prisoner he once hung up himself; when the Queen, before him-and comes home foaming and by a rare act of folly, was induced to cut him black with passion, crying out to the Queen: down. When free from gout, he was still that her accursed son was dead at last; and more dangerous; for then he could pursue his felling his daughter to the earth with his fisi, daughters with considerable agility when they as he tells her to go and bear her brother comran away from his blows; and once caught pany. He then gets hold of a box of his son's the author, after a chase of this kind, when papers, which had been surprised at Kait's ļie clutched her by the hair, and pushed her loigings, and goes out with it in great spirits, into the fireplace, till her clothes began to exclaiming that he was sure he should find burn. During the heats of summer, he fre- in it enough to justify him in cutting off the quently carried his family to a country-house, heads both of le Coquin de Fritz, and la Ca called Vousterhausen, which was an old ruin- naille de Wilhelmine. Wilhelmine, however, ous mansion, surrounded with a putrid ditch ; and her politic mother had been beforehand and there they dined every day, in a tent with him-for they had got hold of this same
box the day preceding, and by false keys and destiny pursues her. The falal evening a). seals had taken all the papers out of it, and rives; and the Princess, with a train forty-five replaced them by harmless and insignificant feet in length, and the spousal crown place! leiters, which they had fabricated in the on twenty-four twisted locks of false hair, course of one day, to the amount of near each thicker than her arm, enters the grant seven hundred. The King, therefore, found saloon, and takes the irrevocable vow !-and nothing to justify immediate execution ; but her mother has just put her to bed, when she kept the Prince a close prisoner at Custrin, hears that her courier has arrived, and leaves and shut the Princess up in her own chamber. her in rage and anguish. His son and Katt were afterwards tried for The humours of the rest of the family apdesertion, before a court-martial composed of pear to no great advantage during the bridal twelve officers: Two were for sparing the festivities. In the first place, the Princess' life of the Prince, but all the rest were base sister, Charlotte, falls in love with the bride. enough to gratify the sanguinary insanity of groom, and does her possible to seduce him. their master by condemning them both to Then 'old Frederic cheats the bride in her death. All Germany, however, exclaimed settlements, which amount to a gross sum of loudly against this sentence; and made such near 5001. a year;—and, finally, her brotherrepresentations to the King, that he was at in-law, the Margrave of Anspach, rallies her last constrained to spare his son. But the husband so rudely upon his mother's gallanunhappy Katt was sacrificed. His scaffold tries, that the laiter gives him a brave defiwas erected immediately before the window ance in the face of the whole court; at which of his unhappy master, who was dressed by the poor Margrave is so dreadfully frightened, force in the same funeral garment with his that he bursts out into screams and tears, and friend, and was held up at the window by runs for refuge into the Queen's apartment, two soldiers, while the executioner struck off where he hides himself behind the arras, from the head of his companion. There is no which he is taken in a filthy condition, and record of such brutal barbarity in the history carried to his apartments, "où il exhala sa of Nero or Domitian.
colère par des vomissemens et un diarrhée After this, the family feuds about his daugh- qui pensa l'envoyer à l'autre monde.”—Yet ter's marriage revive with double fury. The the good Princess assures us, that this reptile Queen, whose whole heart is set on the Eng- had “a good heart and a good understanding," lish alliance, continues her petty intrigues to — with no fault but being a little passionate ; effect that object; while the King, rendered and then, in the very next page, she records a furious by the haughty language adopted by malignant and detected falsehood which he the English ministry on the subject of the in- had vented against her husband, and which sult offered to their ambassador, determines rendered him odious in the eyes of the whole 10 have her married without a moment's court. Being dissatisfied with her settledelay; and after threatening the Queen with ments, she puts the King in a good humour by his cane, sends to offer her the hand of the giving a grand dinner to him and his officers, Prince of Bareith; which she dutifully ac- at which they are all “ivres morts;'' but cepts, in spite of the bitter lamentations and having mentioned her distresses through the outrageous fury of the Queen. That in- Queen, he is so much moved with them, tha! triguing princess, however, does not cease to he calls for the settlements, and strikes off intrigue, though deserted by her daughter- about one fourth of her allowance. but sends again in greater urgency than ever All this happened in autumn 1731; and in to England ;—and that court, if we are to be- January 1732, ihe Princess being far advanced lieve the statement before us, at last seriously in pregnancy, and the roads almost impassaafraid of losing a match every way desir- ble, it was thought advisable for her to set oui able, sends off despatches, containing an en- for her husband's court at Bareith. She is tire and unqualified acquiescence in all overturned of course several times, and obliged Frederic's stipulations as to the marriage- to walk half the way :-But we pass over the which arrive at Berlin the very morning of disasters of the journey, to commemorate her the day on which the Princess was to be so- arrival in this ancient principality. The first lemnly betrothed to M. de Bareith, but are village she reached was Hoff
, which is on the wickedly kept back by Grumkow and the frontier—and has also the convenience of Imperial Envoy, till after the ceremony had being within three miles of the centre of the been publicly and irrevocably completed. territory: and here the grand marshal, and all Their disclosure then throws all parties into the nobility of the province, are mustered to rage and despair; and the intriguers are made receive her at the bottom of the staircase, or, the ridiculous victims of their own baseness in other words, of the wooden ladder which and duplicity. The indefatigable Queen, how- led to her apartments. However, various ever, does not despair even yet; but sends off guns were fired off very successfully, and the another courier to England, and sets all her chief nobility were invited to dinner. The emissaries to prepare the King to break off Princess' description of these personages is the match in the event of the answer being really very edifying. They had all faces, she favourable ;—nay, the very night before the says, which a child could not look on without marriage, she takes her daughter apart, and screaming ;-huge masses of hair on their begs her to live with her husband as a sister heads, filled with a race of vermin as ancieni with her brother, for a few days, till the result as their pedigrees ;-clothed in old laced suits
the embassage is known. But her usual that had descended through many generations
the most part in rags, and no way fitting their damask all in tatters. Her bedchamber was present wearers ;—the greater part of them also furnished with the same stuff—but in covered with itch;-and their conversation, of such a condition, that the curtains fell in oxen. Immediately after dinner they began pieces whenever they were touched. Half with the Princess' health in a huge bumper, of the windows were broken, and there was and proceeded regularly in the same gallant no fire; though it was midwinter. The dinmanner through the whole of her genealogy; ners were not eatable; and lasted three hours, —so that in less than half an hour she found with thirty flourishes of the old trumpets for herself in the middle of thirty-four monsters, the bumper toasts with which they were enso drunk that none of them could articulate, livened: Add to all this, that the poor Prin" et rendant les boyaux à tous ces desastreux cess was very much indisposed—that the visages.” Next day being Sunday, there was Margrave came and talked to her out of Telea sermon in honour of the occasion, in which maque and Amelot, five or six hours every day the preacher gave an exact account of all the -and that she could not muster cash enough marriages that had happened in the world, to buy herself a gown: and it will not appear trom the days of Adam down to the last of wonderful, that in the very midst of the wedthe patriarchs-illustrated with so many cir- ding revelries, she spent half her time in bed, cumstantial details as to the antecedents and weeping over the vanity of human grandeur. consequents in each, that the male part of the By and by, however, she found occupaaulience laughed outright, and the female tion in quarrelling with her sisters-in-law, and pretended to blush throughout the whole dis- in making and appeasing disputes between course.
The dinner scene was the same as her husband and his father. on the day preceding; with the addition of so ill, indeed, with all the family, that her the female nobility who came in the evening, proposal of returning to lie-in at Berlin is rewith their heads enveloped in greasy wigs ceived with great joy :-but while they are like swallows' nests, and ancient embroidered deliberating about raising money for this dresses, stuck all over with knots of faded journey of two hundred miles, she becomes ribands.
too ill to move. Her sister of Anspach, and The day following, the Margrave, her father- her husband, come, and quarrel with her in-law, came himself to meet her. This upon points of etiquette; the Margrave falls worthy prince was nearly as amiable, and not in love with one of her attendants; and in quite so wise, as the royal parent she had left. the midst of all manner of perplexities she He had read but two books in the world, is delivered of a daughter. The Margruve, Telemaque, and Amelot's Roman history, and who was in the country, not happening 10 discoursed out of them so very tediously, that hear the cannon which proclaimed this great the poor Princess fainted from mere ennui at event, conceives that he is treated with great the
very first interview ;-Then he drank night disrespect, and gives orders for having his and day--and occasionally took his cane to son imprisoned in one of his fortresses. He the prince his son, and his other favourites. relents, however, at the christening; and is Though living in poverty and absolute dis- put in good humour by a visit from another comfort, he gave himself airs of the utmost son and a brother—the first of whom is des. magnificence - went to dinner with three cribed as a kind of dwarf and natural fool, fourishes of cracked trumpets-received his who could never take seriously to any emcourt, leaning with one hand on a table, in ployment but catching flies; and the other as imitation of the Emperor-and conferred his a furious madman, in whose company no one little dignities in harangues so pompous, and was sure of his life. This amiable family so awkwardly delivered, that his daughter-in- party is broken up, by an order on the Prililaw at once laughed and was ashamed of cess' husband to join his regiment at Berlin, him. He was awkward, too, and embarrassed and another order from her father for her to in the society of strangers of good breeding-pay a visit to her sister at Anspach. On her but made amends by chattering without end, way she visits an ancient beauty, with a nose about himself and his two books, to those like a beetroot, and two maids of honour so who were bound to bear with him. Under excessively fat that they could not sit down; the escort of this great potentate the Princess and, in stooping to kiss the Princess' hand, made her triumphal entry into the city of Ba- fell over, and rolled like balls of flesh on the reith the next morning: the whole procession carpet. “At Anspach, she finds the Margrave consisting of one coach, containing the con- deep in an intrigue with the housemaid, and stituted authorities who had come out to meet consoles her sister under this affliction. She her, her own carriage drawn by six carrion then makes a great effort, and raises money post-horses, that containing her attendants, enough to carry her to Berlin; where she is and six or seven wagons loaded with furni- received with coldness and ridicule by the ture. The Margrave then conducted her from Queen, and neglect and insult by all her the palace gate in great state to her apart- sisters. Her brother's marriage with the ments, through a long passage, hung with Princess of Brunswick was just about to cobwebs, and so abominably filthy as to turn take place, and we choose to give in her own her stomach in hurrying through it. This words her account of the manner in which opened into an antechamber, adorned with she was talked over in this royal circle. olj tapestry, so torn and faded that the figures
“La reine, à table, fit tomber la conversation or, it looked like so many ghosts; and through sur la princesse royale future. Votre frère,' me thut into a cabinet furnished with green dit-elie en le regardant, ' est au désespoir de l'épou. ser, et n'a pas tort : c'est une vrai bête; elle répond | mother, and the slights of her whole generaà tout ce qu'on lui dit par un oui et un non, ac: tion. Their domestic life, when these galas compagné d'un rire niais qui fait mal au cæur.' Oh! dit ma saur Charloite, 'voire Majesté ne
were over, was nearly as fatiguing, and still connôit pas encore tout son mérite. J'ai été un
more lugubrious The good old custom of matin à sa toilette ; j'ai cru y suffoquer ; elle exha famishing was kept up at table; and imme. loit une odeur insupportable ! Je crois qu'elle a diately after dinner the King had his great pour le moins dix ou douze fistules—car cela n'est chair placed right before the fire, and snored pas naturel. J'ai remarqué aussi qu'elle est con in it for three hours, during all which they trefaite; son corps de jupe est rembourré d'un côté, et elle a une hanche plus haute que l'au. were obliged to keep silence, for fear of dis. tre." Je fus fort étonnée de ces propos, qui se re- turbing him. When he awoke, he set to noient en présence des domestiques-et surtout de smoking tobacco;-—and then sate four hours mnon frère ! Je m'aperçus qu'ils lui faisoient de at supper, listening to long stories of his la peine et qu'il changeoit de couleur.
Il se ancestors,' in the taste of those sermons retira aussitôt après souper. J'en fis autant. I! which are prescribed to persons afflicted vine me voir un moment après. Je lui demandai with insomnolency. Then the troops began situation changeoit à tout moment ; que tantôt il their exercise under the windows before four étoit en faveur et tantôt en disgrâce ; que son plus o'clock every morning, -and not only kept grand bonheur consistoit dans l'absence ; qu'il me the whole household awake from that hour noit une vie douce et tranquille à son régiment; by their firing, but sometimes sent a ramque l'étude et la musique y faisoient ses principales rod through the glass to assist at the Prinoccupations ; qu'il avoit fait bâtir une maison et fait faire un jardin charmant où il pouvoit lire el se
cess' toilette. One afternoon the King was promener. Je le pria de me dire si le portrait que seized with a sort of apoplexy in his sleep, la reine et ma seur m'avoient fait de la Princesse which, as he always snored extremely loud, de Brunswick étoit véritable ? Nous sommes might have carried him off without much seuls,' repartit-il, et je n'ai rien, de caché pour observation, had not his daughter observed vous. Je vous parlerai avec sincérité. La reine, him grow black in the face, and restored him de nos malheurs. A peine avez-vous été partie by timely applications. She equally unqu'elle a renoué avec l'Angleterre ; elle a voulu fortunate about the same time in her fathervous substituer ma sœur Charlote, et lui faire épou- in-law the Margrave, who is mischievous ser le Prince de Galles.
Vous jugez bien qu'elle enough to recover, after breaking a blooda employé tous ses efforts pour faire réussir son plan vessel by falling down stairs in a fit of el pour me marier avec la Princesse Amélie.''
drunkenness. At last she gets away with The poor Prince, however, confesses that great difficulty, and takes her second leave he cannot say much for the intellect of his of the parental roof, with even less regard intended bride ;-and really does not use a for its inhabitants than she had felt on first much nobler language than the rest of the quitting its shelter. family, even when speaking in her presence; On her return to Bareith, she finds the old for on her first presentation to his sister, find- Margrave quite broken in health, but extravaing that she made no answer to the compli- gantly and honourably in love with a lame, ments that were addressed to her, the enam- dwarfish, middle-aged lady, the sister of her oured youth encourages her bridal timidity ancient governess, whom he proposes to by this polite exclamation, “Peste soit de la marry, to the great discomfiture of the Prinbète !-remercie donc ma sưur !" The ac- cess and his son. They remonstrate with the count of the festivities which accompanied lady, however, on the absurdity of such an this marriage really excites our compassion; union; and she promises to be cruel, and live and is well calculated to disabuse any inex- single. In the mean time, one of the Marperienced person of the mistake of suppo- grave's daughters is taken with a kind of sing, that there can be either comfort or en- madness of a very indlecorous character; joyment in the cumbrous splendours of a which indicates itself by frequent improcourt. Scanty and crowded dinners at mid- prieties of speech, and a habit of giving inviday-and formal balls and minuets imme- tations, of no equivocal sort, to every man diately after, in June, followed up with dull that comes near her. The worthy Margrave, gaming in the evening ;—the necessity of at first undertakes to cure this very troublebeing up in full dress by three o'clock in the some complaint by a brisk course of beating; morning to see a review-and the pleasure but this not being found to answer, it is of being stifled in a crowded tent without thought expedient to try the effect of marseeing any thing, or getting any refreshment riage; and, that there may he no harm done for seven or eight hours, and then to return to any body, they look out a certain Duke of famishing to a dinner of eighty covers ;-Weimar, who is as mad as the lady—though at other times to travel ten miles at a foot- somewhat in a different way. This prince's pace in an open carriage during a heavy rain, malady consisted chiefly in great unsteadiand afterwards to stand shivering on the wet ness of purpose, and a trick of outrageous grass to see fireworks—to pay twenty visits and inventive boasting. Both the Princess of ceremony every morning, and to present and her husband, however, take great pains and be presented in stately silence to persons to bring about this well-assorted match ; and, whom you hate and despise. Such were the by dint of flattery and intimidation, it is general delights of the whole court ;-and actually carried through-though the brideour Princess had the additional gratification groom sends a piteous message on the mornof being forced from a sick-bed to enjoy ing of his wedding day, begging to be let off, Them, and of undergoing the sneers of her and keeps them from twelve till four o'clock