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It being lamp light only,[16] and Lady Arandale’s shoulder

time:2023-12-01 15:33:50 Source: Originally writtenedit:news

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"The rest of the conversation passed in general talk, about Literature, Theatres and such objects. My reasonings and objectings, on the great matter, I need not farther detail: by the frank discourse his Prussian Majesty was kind enough to go into, you may gather perhaps that my arguments were various, and not ill- chosen;--and it is too evident they have all been in vain."-- Your Excellency's (really in a very faithful way)-- D'ARGET. [Valori, i. 290-294 (no date, except "Dresden, 1745,"--sleepy Editor feeling no want of any).]

It being lamp light only,[16] and Lady Arandale’s shoulder

D'Arget, about a month after this, was taken into Friedrich's service; Valori consenting, whose occupation was now gone;--and we shall hear of D'Arget again. Take this small Note, as summary of him: "D'Arget (18th January, 1746) had some title, 'Secretary at Orders (SECRETAIRE DES COMMANDEMENTS),' bit of pension; and continued in the character of reader, or miscellaneous literary attendant and agent, very much liked by his Master, for six years coming. A man much heard of, during those years of office. March, 1752, having lost his dear little Prussian Wife, and got into ill health and spirits, he retired on leave to Paris; and next year had to give up the thought of returning;--though he still, and to the end, continued loyally attached to his old Master, and more or less in correspondence with him. Had got, before long, not through Friedrich's influence at Paris, some small Appointment in the ECOLE MILITAIRE there. He is, of all the Frenchmen Friedrich had about him, with the exception of D'Argens alone, the most honest-hearted. The above Letter, lucid, innocent, modest, altogether rational and practical, is a fair specimen of D'Arget: add to it the prompt self-sacrifice (and in that fine silent way) at Jaromirz for Valori, and readers may conceive the man. He lived at Paris, in meagre but contented fashion, RUE DE L'ECOLE MILITAIRE, till 1778; and seems, of all the Ex-Prussian Frenchmen, to have known most about Friedrich; and to have never spoken any falsity against him. Duvernet, the 'M----' Biographer of VOLTAIRE, frequented him a good deal; and any true notions, or glimmerings of such, that he has about Prussia, are probably ascribable to D'Arget." [See OEuvres de Frederic, xx. (p. xii of PREFACE to the D'ARGET CORRESPONDENCE there).]

It being lamp light only,[16] and Lady Arandale’s shoulder

The Treaty of Dresden can be read in Scholl, Flassan, Rousset, Adelung; but, except on compulsion, no creature will now read it,-- nor did this Editor, even he, find it pay. Peace is made. Peace of Dresden is signed, Christmas Day, 1745: "To me Silesia, without farther treachery or trick; you, wholly as you were." Europe at large, as Friedrich had done, sees "the sky all on fire about Dresden." The fierce big battles done against this man have, one and all of them, become big defeats. The strenuous machinations, high-built plans cunningly devised,--the utmost sum-total of what the Imperial and Royal Potencies can, for the life of them, do: behold, it has all tumbled down here, in loud crash; the final peal of it at Kesselsdorf; and the consummation is flame and smoke, conspicuous over all the Nations. You will let him keep his own henceforth, then, will you? Silesia, which was NOT yours nor ever shall be? Silesia and no afterthought? The Saxons sign, the high Plenipotentiaries all; in the eyes of Villiers, I am told, were seen sublimely pious tears. Harrach, bowing with stiff, almost incredulous, gratitude, swears and signs;--hurries home to his Sovereign Lady, with Peace, and such a smile on his face; and on her Imperial Majesty's such a smile!--readers shall conceive it.

It being lamp light only,[16] and Lady Arandale’s shoulder

There are but Two new points in the Treaty of Dresden,--nay properly there is but One point, about which posterity can have the least care or interest; for that other, concerning "The Toll of Schidlo," and settlement of haggles on the Navigation of the Elbe there, was not kept by the Saxons, but continued a haggle still: this One point is the Eleventh Article. Inconceivably small; but liable to turn up on us again, in a memorable manner. That let us translate,--for M. de Voltaire's sake, and time coming! STEUER means Land-Tax; OBER-STEUER-EINNAHME will be something like Royal Exchequer, therefore; and STEUER-SCHEIN will be approximately equivalent to Exchequer Bill. Article Eleventh stipulates:

"All subjects and servants of his Majesty the King of Prussia who hold bonds of the Saxon OBER-STEUER-EINNAHME shall be paid in full, capital and interest, at the times, and to the amount, specified in said STEUER-SCHEINE or Bonds." That is Article Eleventh.-- "The Saxon Exchequer," says an old Note on it, "thanks to Bruhl's extravagance, has been as good as bankrupt, paying with inconvertible paper, with SCHEINE (Things to be SHOWN), for some time past; which paper has accordingly sunk, let us say, 25 per cent below its nominal amount in gold. All Prussian subjects, who hold these Bonds, are to be paid in gold; Saxons, and others, will have to be content with paper till things come round again, if things ever do." Yes;--and, by ill chance, the matter will attract M. de Voltaire's keen eye in the interim!

Friedrich stayed eight days in Dresden, the loud theme of Gazetteers and rumors; the admired of two classes, in all Countries: of the many who admire success, and also of the few who can understand what it is to deserve success. Among his own Countrymen, this last Winter has kindled all their admirations to the flaming pitch. Saved by him from imminent destruction; their enemies swept home as if by one invincible; nay, sent home in a kind of noble shame, conquered by generosity. These feelings, though not encouraged to speak, run very high. The Dresdeners in private society found him delightful; the high ladies especially: "Could you have thought it; terrific Mars to become radiant Apollo in this manner!" From considerable Collections of Anecdotes illustrating this fact, in a way now fallen vapid to us,--I select only the Introduction:--

"Do readers recollect Friedrich's first visit to Dresden [in 1728], seventeen years ago; and a certain charming young Countess Flemming, at that time only fourteen; who, like a Hebe as she was, contrived beautiful surprises for him, and among other things presented him, so gracefully, on the part of August the Strong, with his first flute?"--No reader of this History can recollect it; nor indeed, except in a mythic sense, believe it! A young Countess Flemming (daughter of old Feldmarschall Flemming) doubtless there might be, who presented him a flute; but as to HIS FIRST flute--? "That same charming young Countess Flemming is still here, age now thirty-one; charming, more than ever, though now under a changed name; having wedded a Von Racknitz (Supreme Gentleman-Usher, or some such thing) a few years ago, and brought him children and the usual felicities. How much is changed! August the Strong, where is he; and his famous Three Hundred and Fifty-four, Enchantress Orzelska and the others, where are they? Enchantress Orzelska wedded, quarrelled, and is in a convent: her charming destiny concluded. Rutowski is not now in the Prussian Army: he got beaten, Wednesday last, at Kesselsdorf, fighting against that Army. And the Chevalier de Saxe, he too was beaten there;--clambering now across the Metal Mountains, ask not of him. And the Marechal de Saxe, he takes Cities, fights Battles of Fontenoy, 'mumbling a lead bullet all day;' being dropsical, nearly dead of debaucheries; the most dissolute (or probably so) of all the Sons of Adam in his day. August the Physically Strong is dead. August the Spiritually Weak is fled to Prag with his Bruhl. And we do not come, this time, to get a flute; but to settle the account of Victories, and give Peace to Nations. Strange, here as always, to look back,--to look round or forward,--in the mad huge whirl of that loud-roaring Loom of Time!--One of Countess Racknitz's Sons happened to leave MANUSCRIPT DIARIES [rather feeble, not too exact-looking], and gives us, from Mamma's reminiscences" ... Not a word more. [Rodenbeck, Beitrage, i. 440, et seq.]

The Peace, we said, was signed on Christmas-day. Next day, Sunday, Friedrich attended Sermon in the Kreuzkirche (Protestant High- Church of Dresden), attended Opera withal; and on Monday morning had vanished out of Dresden, as all his people had done, or were diligently doing. Tuesday, he dined briefly at Wusterhausen (a place we once knew well), with the Prince of Prussia, whose it now is; got into his open carriage again, with the said Prince and his other Brother Ferdinand; and drove swiftly homeward. Berlin, drunk with joy, was all out on the streets, waiting. On the Heath of Britz, four or five miles hitherward of Berlin, a body of young gentlemen ("Merchants mostly, who had ridden out so far") saluted him with "VIVAT FRIEDRICH DER GROSSE (Long live Friedrich THE GREAT)!" thrice over;--as did, in a less articulate manner, Berlin with one voice, on his arrival there; Burgher Companies lining the streets; Population vigorously shouting; Pupils of the Koln Gymnasium, with Clerical and School Functionaries in mass, breaking out into Latin Song:-- "VIVAT, VIVAT FRIDERICUS REX; VIVAT AUGUSTUS, MAGNUS, FELIX, PATER, PATRI-AE--!" --and what not. [Preuss, i. 220; who cites Beschreibung ("Description of his Majesty's Triumphant Entry, on the" &c.) and other Contemporary Pamphlets. Rodenbeck, i. 124.] On reaching the Portal of the Palace, his Majesty stept down; and, glancing round the Schloss-Platz and the crowded windows and simmering multitudes, saluted, taking off his hat; which produced such a shout,--naturally the loudest of all. And so EXIT King, into his interior. Tuesday, 2-3 P.M., 28th December, 1745: a King new- christened in the above manner, so far as people could.