Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

seemed greatly to enjoy the bird on the previous day, the King made answer : “I fancied it was a present, and only ate it out of politeness to the giver.” The cook, in fine, had to pay for the woodcock out of his own pocket, and be glad that he was not punished for his extravagance.

With the increase of the King's sufferings, his impatience and anger became unendurable : in May 1740 he gave his physician Eller a couple of boxes on the ear, and the latter went off declaring that he would not come to him again. When the King, repenting his precipitation, sent for him, Eller, who had taken to his bed through vexation, refused to come. The King, infuriated by this, vented his rage on his valets; one he condemned to serve as a private, and a second to receive two hundred blows. The Queen was at length fetched, who told him most seriously that, if he did not curb his temper, “ tout le monde l'abandonnerait, pour le laisser pourrir dans ses ordures, ou qu'on le mettroit à la chaine comme un enragé.” Upon this the patient began crying, and became desponding and quiet. At the same period Manteuffel remarks that there was reason for fearing that if the King lived much longer, he would constantly become more violent and arbitrary towards the neighbouring states, like Louis XI., who, when he was ill, “avait la marotte de vouloir passer pour plus hardi et plus vigoureux, qu'il ne l'était réellement lors même qu'il se portait bien.” In applying this historical parallel to Frederick William I., Manteuffel adds, “ bien que naturellement le plus peureux de tous les hommes, il ne fait jamais tant le brutal et le fier à bras, que quand il se sent hors d'état de s'exposer personellement au danger.”

On May 31st, 1740, the King's long sufferings ceased. The information Manteuffel gives us about his last moments only confirms, without adding new facts, the printed statements, that he met death with the calmness and contemplation of a sage, and the pious belief of a Christian. This may to some extent reconcile us with many an outbreak of his wild passion, especially when we take into calculation the effect of the age in which he lived, and the fact that towards the close of his life he suffered from mental aberration.

This sketch differs very greatly from Mr. Carlyle's elaborate portrait of Frederick William I.; but we certainly believe it to be more correct. In a subsequent article we purpose stringing together several unpublished anecdotes about his Potsdam Guard, which will serve as a supplement to the highly comic scenes his biographer has selected for the amusement of English readers.

[blocks in formation]

LCSELS: PAINTED BY ROBSON, LEVEY, AND FRANKLYN, GREAT NEW STREET AND FOTTER LASI, E.C.

« EelmineJätka »