Prince Henri was hardly home from Petersburg and the Swedish Visit, when poor Adolf Friedrich, King of Sweden, died. [12th February, 1771.] A very great and sad event to his Queen, who had loved her old man; and is now left solitary, eclipsed, in circumstances greatly altered on the sudden. In regard to settlements, Accession of the new Prince, dowager revenues and the like, all went right enough; which was some alleviation, though an inconsiderable, to the sorrowing Widow. Her two Princes were absent, touring over Europe, when their Father died, and the elder of them, Karl Gustav, suddenly saw himself King. They were in no breathless haste to return; visited their Uncle, their Prussian kindred, on the way, and had an interesting week at Potsdam and Berlin; [April 22d- 29th: Rodenbeck, iii. 45.] Karl Gustav flying diligently about, still incognito, as "Graf von Gothland,"--a spirited young fellow, perhaps too spirited;--and did not reach home till May-day was come, and the outburst of the Swedish Summer at hand.
Some think the young King had already something dangerous and serious in view, and wished his Mother out of the way for a time. Certain it is she decided on a visit to her native Country in December following: arrived accordingly, December 2d, 1771; and till the middle of August next was a shining phenomenon in the Royal House and upper ranks of Berlin Society, and a touching and interesting one to the busy Friedrich himself, as may be supposed. She had her own Apartments and Household at Berlin, in the Palace there, I think; but went much visiting about, and receiving many visits,--fond especially of literary people.
Friedrich's notices of her are frequent in his Letters of the time, all affectionate, natural and reasonable. Here are the first two I meet with: TO THE ELECTRESS OF SAXONY (three weeks after Ulrique's arrival); "A thousand excuses, Madam, for not answering sooner! What will plead for me with a Princess who so well knows the duties of friendship, is, that I have been occupied with the reception of a Sister, who has come to seek consolation in the bosom of her kindred for the loss of a loved Husband, the remembrance of whom saddens and afflicts her." And again, two months later: "... Your Royal Highness deigns to take so obliging an interest in the visit I have had [and still have] from the Queen of Sweden. I beheld her as if raised from the dead to me; for an absence of eight-and- twenty years, in the short space of our duration, is almost equivalent to death. She arrived among us, still in great affliction for the loss she had had of the King; and I tried to distract her sad thoughts by all the dissipations possible. It is only by dint of such that one compels the mind to shift away from the fatal idea where grief has fixed it: this is not the work of a day, but of time, which in the end succeeds in everything. I congratulate your Royal Highness on your Journey to Bavaria [on a somewhat similar errand, we may politely say]; where you will find yourself in the bosom of a Family that adores you:" after which, and the sight of old scenes, how pleasant to go on to Italy, as you propose! [
Queen Ulrique--a solid and ingenuous character (in childhood a favorite of her Father's, so rational, truthful and of silent staid ways)--appears to have been popular in the Berlin circles; pleasant and pleased, during these eight months. Formey, especially Thiebault, are copious on this Visit of hers; and give a number of insipid Anecdotes; How there was solemn Session of the Academy made for her, a Paper of the King's to be read there, ["DISCOURS DE L'UTILITE DES SCIENCES ET DES ARTS DAM UN ETAT" (in
Busching, for the last five or six years, is home from Russia; comfortably established here as Consistorialrath, much concerned with School-Superintendence; still more with GEOGRAPHY, with copious rugged Literature of the undigested kind: a man well seen in society; has "six families of rank which invite him to dinner;" all the dining he is equal to, with so much undigested writing on his hands. Busching, in his final Section, headed BERLIN LIFE, Section more incondite even than its foregoers, has this passage:--
"On the Queen-Dowager of Sweden, Louise Ulrique's, coming to Berlin, I felt not a little embarrassed. The case was this: Most part of the SIXTH VOLUME of my MAGAZINE [meritorious curious Book, sometimes quoted by us here, not yet known in English Libraries] was printed; and in it, in the printed part, were various things that concerned the deceased Sovereign, King Adolf Friedrich, and his Spouse [now come to visit us],--and among these were Articles which the then ruling party in Sweden could certainly not like. And now I was afraid these people would come upon the false notion, that it was from the Queen-Dowager I had got the Articles in question;--notion altogether false, as they had been furnished me by Baron Korf [well known to Hordt and others of us, at Petersburg, in the Czar-Peter time], now Russian Minister at Copenhagen. However, when Duke Friedrich of Brunswick [one of the juniors, soldiering here with his Uncle, as they almost all are] wrote to me, one day, That his Lady Aunt the Queen of Sweden invited me to dine with her to-morrow, and that he, the Duke, would introduce me,--I at once decided to lay my embarrassment before the Queen herself.
"Next day, when I was presented to her Majesty, she took me by the hand, and led me to a window [as was her custom with guests whom she judged to be worth questioning and talking to], and so placed herself in a corner there that I came to stand close before her; when she did me the honor to ask a great many questions about Russia, the Imperial Court especially, and most of all the Grand- Duke [Czar Paul that is to be,--a kind of kinsman he, his poor Father was my late Husband's Cousin-german, as perhaps you know]. A great deal of time was spent in this way; so that the Princes and Princesses, punctual to invitation, had to wait above half an hour long; and the Queen was more than once informed that dinner was on the table and getting cold. I could get nothing of my own mentioned here; all I could do was to draw back, in a polite way, so soon as the Queen would permit: and afterwards, at table, to explain with brevity my concern about what was printed in the MAGAZINE; and request the Queen to permit me to send it her to read for herself. She had it, accordingly, that same afternoon.
"A few days after, she invited me again; again spoke with me a long while in the window embrasure, in a low tone of voice: confirmed to me all that she had read,--and in particular, minutely explained that LETTER OF THE KING [one of my Pieces] in which he relates what passed between him and Count Tessin [Son's Tutor] in the Queen's Apartment. At table, she very soon took occasion to say: 'I cannot imagine to myself how the Herr Consistorialrath [Busching, to wit] has come upon that Letter of my deceased Lord the King of Sweden's; which his Majesty did write, and which is now printed in your MAGAZINE. For certain, the King showed it to nobody.' Whereupon BUSCHING: 'Certainly; nor is that to be imagined, your Majesty. But the person it was addressed to must have shown it; and so a copy of it has come to my hands.' Queen still expresses her wonder; whereupon again, Busching, with a courageous candor: 'Your Majesty, most graciously permit me to say, that hitherto all Swedish secrets of Court or State have been procurable for money and good words!' The Queen, to whom I sat directly opposite, cast down her eyes at these words and smiled;--and the Reichsrath Graf von Schwerin [a Swedish Gentleman of hers], who sat at my left, seized me by the hand, and said: 'Alas, that is true!'"--Here is a difficulty got over; Magazine Number can come out when it will. As it did, "next Easter-Fair," with proper indications and tacit proofs that the Swedish part of it lay printed several months before the Queen's arrival in our neighborhood.
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