NEXT DAY, ZIMMERMANN HAS A DIALOGUE. Schmucker had his apartments in "LITTLE SANS-SOUCI," where the King now lived (Big Sans-Souci, or "Sans-Souci" by itself, means in those days, not in ours at all, "New Palace, NEUE PALAIS," now in all its splendor of fresh finish). De Catt, Friedrich's Reader, whom we know well, was a Genevese, and knew Zimmermann from of old. Schmucker and De Catt were privately twitching up Friedrich's curiosity,--to whom also Zimmermann's name, and perhaps his late surgical operation, might be known: "Can he speak French?"--"Native to him, your Majesty." Friedrich had some notion to see Zimmermann; and judicious De Catt, on this fortunate Saturday, "26th October, 1771," morrow after Zimmermann's arrival at Potsdam, "came to our inn about, 1 P.M. [King's dinner just done]; and asked me to come and look at the beauties of Sans-Souci [Big Sans-Souci] for a little." Zimmermann willingly went: Catt, left him in good hands to see the beauties; slipt off, for his own part, to "LITTLE Sans-Souci;" came back, took Zimmermann thither; left, him with Schmucker, all trembling, thinking perhaps the King might call him. "I trembled sometimes, then again I felt exceeding happiness:" I was in Schmucker's room, sitting by the fire, mostly alone for a good while, "the room that had once been Marquis d'Argens's" (who is now dead, and buried far away, good old soul);--when, at last, about half-past 4, Catt came jumping in, breathless with joy; snatched me up: "His Majesty wants to speak with you this very moment!" Zimmermann's self shall say the rest.
"I hurried, hand-in-hand with Catt, along a row of Chambers. 'Here,' said Catt, 'we are now at the King's room!'--My heart thumped, like to spring out of my body. Catt went in; but next moment the door again opened, and Catt bade me enter.
"In the middle of the room stood an iron camp-bed without curtains. There, on a worn mattress, lay King Friedrich, the terror of Europe, without coverlet, in an old blue roquelaure. He had a big cocked-hat, with a white feather [hat aged, worn soft as duffel, equal to most caps; "feather" is not perpendicular, but horizontal, round the inside of the brim], on his head.
"The King took off his hat very graciously, when I was perhaps ten steps from him; and said in French (our whole Dialogue proceeded in French): 'Come nearer, M. Zimmermann.'
"I advanced to within two steps of the King; he said in the mean while to Catt: 'Call Schmucker in, too.' Herr Schmucker came; placed himself behind the King, his back to the wall; and Catt stood behind me. Now the Colloquy began.
KING. "'I hear you have found your health again in Berlin; I wish you joy of that.'
EGO. "'I have found my life again in Berlin; but at this moment, Sire, I find here a still greater happiness!' [ACH!]
KING. "'You have stood a cruel operation: you must have suffered horribly?'
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