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some ships of the enemy: but without mentioning their number,

time:2023-12-01 15:20:40 Source: Originally writtenedit:person

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"Listen well through Hanway, you will find King Friedrich is an object of great interest, personal as well as official, and much the theme in Berlin society; admiration of him, pride in him, not now the audiblest tone, though it lies at the bottom too: 'Our Friedrich the Great,' after all [so Hanway intimates, though not express as to epithets or words used]. The King did a beautiful thing to Lieutenant-Colonel Keith the other day [as some readers may remember]: to Lieutenant-Colonel Keith; that poor Keith who was nailed to the gallows for him (in effigy), at Wesel long ago; and got far less than he had expected. The other day, there had been a grand Review, part of it extending into Madam Knyphausen's grounds, who is Keith's Mother-in-law. 'Monsieur Keith,' said the King to him, 'I am sorry we had to spoil Madam's fine shrubbery by our manoeuvres: have the goodness to give her that, with my apologies,'--and handed him a pretty Casket with key to it, and in the interior 10,000 crowns. Not a shrub of Madam's had been cut or injured; but the King, you see, would count it 1,500 pounds of damage done, and here is acknowledgment for it, which please accept. Is not that a gracious little touch?

some ships of the enemy: but without mentioning their number,

"This King is doing something at Embden, Sir Jonas fears, or trying to do, in the Trade-and-Navigation way; scandalous that English capitalists will lend money in furtherance of such destructive schemes by the Foreigner! For the rest, Sir Jonas went to call on Lord Malton (Marquis of Rockingham that will be): an amiable and sober young Nobleman, come thus far on his Grand Tour," and in time for the Carrousel. "His Lordship's reception at Court here, one regretted to hear, was nothing distinguished; quite indifferent, indeed, had not the Queen-Mother stept in with amendments. The Courts are not well together; pity for it. My Lord and his Tutor did me the honor to return my visit; the rather as we all quartered in the same Inn. Amiable young Nobleman,"--so distinguished since, for having had unconsciously an Edmund Burke, and such torrents of Parliamentary Eloquence, in his breeches-pocket (BREECHES-POCKET literally; how unknown to Hanway!)--"Amiable young Nobleman, is not it one's duty to salute, in passing such a one? Though I would by no means have it over-done, and am a calmly independent man.

some ships of the enemy: but without mentioning their number,

"Sir Jonas also saw the Carrousel [of which presently]; and admired the great men of Berlin. Great men, all obsolete now, though then admired to infinitude, some of them: 'You may abuse me,' said the King to some stranger arrived in Berlin; 'you may abuse me, and perhaps here and there get praise by doing it: but I advise you not to doubt of Lieberkuhn [the fashionable Doctor] in any company in Berlin,'" [Hanway, ii. 190, 202, &c.]--How fashionable are men!

some ships of the enemy: but without mentioning their number,

One Collini, a young Italian, quite new in Berlin, chanced also to be at the Carrousel, or at the latter half of it,--though by no means in quest of such objects just at present, poor young fellow! As he came afterwards to be Secretary or Amanuensis of Voltaire, and will turn up in that capacity, let us read this Note upon him:--

"Signor Como Alessandro Collini, a young Venetian gentleman of some family and education, but of no employment or resource, had in late years been asking zealously all round among his home circle, What am I to do with myself? mere echo answering, What,--till a Signora Sister of Barberina the Dancer's answered: 'Try Berlin, and King FRIDERICO IL GRANDE there? I could give you a letter to my Sister!' At which Collini grasps; gets under way for Berlin,--through wild Alpine sceneries, foreign guttural populations; and with what thoughts, poor young fellow. It is a common course to take, and sometimes answers, sometimes not. The cynosure of vague creatures, with a sense of faculty without direction. What clouds of winged migratory people gathering in to Berlin, all through this Reign. Not since Noah's Ark a stranger menagerie of creatures, mostly wild. Of whom Voltaire alone is, in our time, worth mention.

"Collini gazed upon the Alpine chasms, and shaggy ice-palaces, with tender memory of the Adriatic; courageously steered his way through the inoffensive guttural populations; had got to Berlin, just in this time; been had to dinner daily by the hospitable Barberinas, young Cocceji always his fellow-guest,--'Privately, my poor Signorina's Husband!' whispered old Mamma. Both the Barberinas were very kind to Collini; cheering him with good auguries, and offers of help. Collini does not date with any punctuality; but the German Books will do it for him. August 25th-27th was Carrousel; and Collini had arrived few days before." [Collini, Mon Sejour aupres de Voltaire (Paris, 1807), pp. 1-21.]

And now it is time we were at the Carrousel ourselves,--in a brief transient way.