"He continued asking me the names of persons he saw. I was telling him those of a number of young Princes who had lately entered the Service, and some of whom gave hopes. 'That may be,' said he; 'but I think the breed of the governing races ought to be crossed. I like the children of love: look at the Marechal de Saxe, and my own Anhalt [severe Adjutant von Anhalt, a bastard of Prinz Gustav, the Old Dessauer's Heir-Apparent, who begot a good many bastards, but died before inheriting: bastards were brought up, all of them to soldiering, by their Uncles,---this one by Uncle Moritz; was thrown from his horse eight years HENCE, to the great joy of many]; though I am afraid that SINCE [mark this SINCE, alas!] his fall on his head, that latter is not so good as formerly. I should be grieved at it, [Not for eight years yet, MON PRINCE, I am sorry to say! Adjutant von Anhalt did, in reality, get this fall, and damaging hurt on the head, in the "Bavarian War" (nicknamed KARTOFFEL-KRIEG, "Potato-War"), 1778-1779.
"I am glad to remember this; for I have heard it said by silly slanderous people (SOTS DENIGRANTS), who accuse the King of Prussia of insensibility, that he was not touched by the accident which happened to the man he seemed to love most. Too happy if one had only said that of him! He was supposed to be jealous of the merit of Schwerin and of Keith, and delighted to have got them killed. It is thus that mediocre people seek to lower great men, to diminish the immense space that lies between themselves and such.
"Out of politeness, the King, and his Suite as well, had put on white [Austrian] Uniforms, not to bring back on us that blue which we had so often seen in war. He looked as though he belonged to our Army and to the Kaiser's suite. There was, in this Visit, I believe, on both sides, a little personality, some distrust, and perhaps a beginning of bitterness;--as always happens, says Philippe de Comines, when Sovereigns meet. The King took Spanish snuff, and brushing it off with his hand from his coat as well as he could, he said, 'I am not clean enough for you, Messieurs; I am not worthy to wear your colors.' The air with which he said this, made me think he would yet soil them with powder, if the opportunity arose.
"I forgot a little Incident which gave me an opportunity of setting off (FAIRE VALOIR) the two Monarchs to each other [Incident about the King's high opinion of the Kaiser's drill-sergeantry in this day's manoeuvres, and how I was the happy cause of the Kaiser's hearing it himself: Incident omissible; as the whole Sequel is, except a sentence or two].--
... "On this Neustadt occasion, the King was sometimes too ceremonious; which annoyed the Kaiser. For instance,--I know not whether meaning to show himself a disciplined Elector of the Reich, but so it was,--whenever the Kaiser put his foot in stirrup, the King was sure to take his Majesty's horse by the bridle, stand respectfully waiting the Kaiser's right foot, and fit it into ITS stirrup: and so with everything else. The Kaiser had the more sincere appearance, in testifying his great respect; like that of a young Prince to an aged King, and of a young Soldier to the greatest of Captains. ...
"Sometimes there were appearances of cordiality between the two Sovereigns. One saw that Friedrich II. loved Joseph II., but that the preponderance of the Empire, and the contact of Bohemia and Silesia, a good deal barred the sentiments of King and Kaiser. You remember, Sire [Ex-Sire of Poland], their LETTERS [readers shall see them, in 1778,--or rather REFUSE to see them!'] on the subject of Bavaria; their compliments, the explanations they had with regard to their intentions; all carried on with such politeness; and that from politeness to politeness, the King ended by invading Bohemia."
Well, here is legible record, with something really of portraiture in it, valuable so far as it goes; record unique on this subject;-- and substantially true, though inexact enough in details. Thus, even in regard to that of Anhalt's HEAD, which is so impossible in this First Dialogue, Friedrich did most probably say something of the kind, in a Second which there is, of date 1780; of which latter De Ligne is here giving account as well,--though we have to postpone it till its time come.
At this Neustadt Interview there did something of Political occur; and readers ought to be shown exactly what. Kaunitz had come with the Kaiser; and this something was intended as the real business among the gayeties and galas at Neustadt. Poland, or its Farce- Tragedy now playing, was not once mentioned that I hear of; though perhaps, as FLEBILE LUDIBRIUM, it might turn up for moments in dinner-conversation or the like: but the astonishing Russian- Turk War, which has sprung out of Poland, and has already filled Stamboul and its Divans and Muftis with mere horror and amazement; and, in fact, has brought the Grand Turk to the giddy rim of the Abyss; nothing but ruin and destruction visible to him: this, beyond all other things whatever, is occupying these high heads at present;--and indeed the two latest bits of Russian-Turk news have been of such a blazing character as to occupy all the world more or less. Readers, some glances into the Turk War, I grieve to say, are become inevitable to us!
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