word when Frances spoke, or was spoken to. The subject,
HOW GENERAL VON DER MARWITZ, IN EARLY BOYHOOD, SAW FRIEDRICH THE GREAT THREE TIMES (1782-1785).
General von der Marwitz, who died not many years ago, is of the old Marwitz kindred, several of whom we have known for their rugged honesties, genialities and peculiar ways. This General, it appears, had left a kind of Autobiography; which friends of his thought might be useful to the Prussian Public, after those Radical distractions which burst out in 1848 and onwards; and a first Volume of the MARWITZ POSTHUMOUS PAPERS was printed accordingly, [NACHLASS DES GENERAL VON DER MARWITZ (Berlin, 1852), 1 vol. 8vo.] --whether any more I have not heard; though I found this first Volume an excellent substantial bit of reading; and the Author a fine old Prussian Gentleman, very analogous in his structure to the fine old English ditto; who showed me the PER-CONTRA side of this and the other much-celebrated modern Prussian person and thing, Prince Hardenberg, Johannes von Muller and the like;--and yielded more especially the following Three Reminiscences of Friedrich, beautiful little Pictures, bathed in morning light, and evidently true to the life:--
1. JUNE, 1782 OR 1783. "The first time I saw him was in 1782 (or it might be 1783, in my sixth year)," middle of June, whichever year, "as he was returning from his Annual Review in Preussen [WEST- Preussen, never revisits the Konigsberg region], and stopped to change horses at Dolgelin." Dolgelin is in Mullrose Country, westward of Frankfurt-on-Oder; our Marwitz Schloss not far from it. "I had been sent with Mamsell Benezet," my French Governess; "and, along with the Clergyman of Dolgelin, we waited for the King.
"The King, on his journeys, generally preferred, whether at midday or for the night, to halt in some Country place, and at the Parsonages most of all; probably because he was quieter there than in the Towns. To the Clergyman this was always a piece of luck; not only because, if he pleased the King, he might chance to get promoted; but because he was sure of profitable payment, at any rate; the King always ordering 50 thalers [say 10 guineas] for his noon halt, and for his night's lodging 100. The little that the King ate was paid for over and above. It is true, his Suite expected to be well treated; but this consisted only of one or two individuals. Now, the King had been wont almost always, on these journeys homewards, to pass the last night of his expedition with the Clergyman of Dolgelin; and had done so last year, with this present one who was then just installed; with him, as with his predecessor, the King had talked kindly, and the 100 thalers were duly remembered. Our good Parson flattered himself, therefore, that this time too the same would happen; and he had made all preparations accordingly.
"So we waited there, and a crowd of people with us. The team of horses stood all ready (peasants' horses, poor little cats of things, but the best that could be picked, for there were then no post-horses THAT COULD RUN FAST);--the country-fellows that were to ride postilion all decked, and ten head of horses for the King's coach: wheelers, four, which the coachman drove from his box; then two successive pairs before, on each pair a postilion-peasant; and upon the third pair, foremost of all, the King's outriders were to go.
"And now, at last, came the FELDJAGER [Chacer, Hunting-groom], with his big whip, on a peasant's, horse, a peasant with him as attendant. All blazing with heat, he dismounted; said, The King would be here in five minutes; looked at the relays, and the fellows with the water-buckets, who were to splash the wheels; gulped down a quart of beer; and so, his saddle in the interim having been fixed on another horse, sprang up again, and off at a gallop. The King, then, was NOT to stay in Dolgelin! Soon came the Page, mounted in like style; a youth of 17 or 18; utterly exhausted; had to be lifted down from his horse, and again helped upon the fresh one, being scarcely able to stand;--and close on the rear of him arrived the King. He was sitting alone in an old-fashioned glass-coach, what they call a VIS-A-VIS (a narrow carriage, two seats fore and aft, and on each of them room for only one person). The coach was very long, like all the old carriages of that time; between the driver's box and the body of the coach was a space of at least four feet; the body itself was of pear-shape, peaked below and bellied out above; hung on straps, with rolled knuckles [WINDEN], did not rest on springs; two beams, connecting fore wheels and hind, ran not UNDER the body of the coach, but along the sides of it, the hind-wheels following with a goodly interval.
"The carriage drew up; and the King said to his coachman [the far- famed Pfund]: 'Is this Dolgelin?' 'Yes, your Majesty!'--'I stay here.' 'No,' said Pfund; 'The sun is not down yet. We can get on very well to Muncheberg to-night [ten miles ahead, and a Town too, perfidious Pfund!]--and then to-morrow we are much earlier in Potsdam.' 'NA, HM,--well, if it must be so!'--
"And therewith they set to changing horses. The peasants who were standing far off, quite silent, with reverently bared heads, came softly nearer, and looked eagerly at the King. An old Gingerbread- woman (SOMMELFRAU) of Lebbenichen [always knew her afterwards] took me in her arm, and held me aloft close to the coach-window. I was now at farthest an ell from the King; and I felt as if I were looking in the face of God Almighty (ES WAR MIR ALS OB ICH DEN LIEBEN GOTT ANSAHE). He was gazing steadily out before him," into the glowing West, "through the front window. He had on an old three-cornered regimental hat, and had put the hindward straight flap of it foremost, undoing the loop, so that this flap hung down in front, and screened him from the sun. The hat-strings (HUT- CORDONS," trimmings of silver or gold cord) "had got torn loose, and were fluttering about on this down-hanging front flap; the white feather in the hat was tattered and dirty; the plain blue uniform, with red cuffs, red collar and gold shoulder-bands [epaulettes WITHOUT bush at the end], was old and dusty, the yellow waistcoat covered with snuff;--for the rest, he had black-velvet breeches [and, of course, the perpetual BOOTS, of which he would allow no polishing or blacking, still less any change for new ones while they would hang together]. I thought always he would speak to me. The old woman could not long hold me up; and so she set me down again. Then the King looked at the Clergyman, beckoned him near, and asked, Whose child it was? (Herr von Marwitz of Friedersdorf's.'--'Is that the General?' 'No, the Chamberlain.' The King made no answer: he could not bear Chamberlains, whom he considered as idle fellows. The new horses were yoked; away they went. All day the peasants had been talking of the King, how he would bring this and that into order, and pull everybody over the coals who was not agreeable to them.