History of Friedrich II of Prussia— Volume 6

Author: Thomas Carlyle

Chapter V. Congress of Soissons, Sixth Crisis in the Spectre-Hunt.

The so-called Spanish War, and dangerous futile Siege of Gibraltar, had not ended at the death of George I.; though measures had already been agreed upon, by the Kaiser and parties interested, to end it,—only the King of Spain (or King’s Wife, we should say) made difficulties. Difficulties, she; and kept firing, without effect, at the Fortress for about a year more; after which, her humor or her powder being out, Spanish Majesty signed like the others. Peace again for all and sundry of us: "Preliminaries" of Peace signed at Paris, 31st May, 1727, three weeks before George’s death; "Peace" itself finally at the Pardo or at Madrid, the Termagant having spent her powder, 6th March, 1728; [Scholl, ii. 212, 213.] and a "Congress" (bless the mark!) to settle on what terms in every point.

Congress, say at Aix-la-Chapelle; say at Cambrai again,—for there are difficulties about the place. Or say finally at Soissons; where Fleury wished it to be, that he might get the reins of it better in hand; and where it finally was,—and where the ghost or name of it yet is, an empty enigma in the memories of some men. Congress of Soissons did meet, 14th June, 1728; opened itself, as a Corporeal Entity in this world; sat for above a year;—and did nothing; Fleury quite declining the Pragmatic Sanction, though the anxious Kaiser was ready to make astonishing sacrifices, give up his Ostend COMPANY (Paper Shadow of a Company), or what you will of that kind,—if men would have conformed.

These Diplomatic gentlemen,—say, are they aught? They seem to understand me, by each at once his choppy finger laying on his skinny lips! Princes of the Powers of the Air, Shall we define them? It is certain the solid Earth or her facts, except being held in perpetual terror by such workings of the Shadow-world, reaped no effect from those Twenty Years of Congressing; Seckendorf himself might as well have lain in bed, as ridden those 25,000 miles, and done such quantities of double-distillations. No effect at all: only some futile gunpowder spent on Gibraltar, and splinters of shot and shells (salable as old iron) found about the rocks there; which is not much of an effect for Twenty Years of such industry.

The sublime Congress of Soissons met, as we say, at the above date (just while the Polish Majesty was closing his Berlin Visit); but found itself no abler for work than that of Cambrai had been. The Deputies from France I do not mention; nor from Spain, nor from Austria. The Deputies from England were Colonel or now properly Brigadier-General Stanhope, afterwards Lord Harrington; Horace Walpole (who is Robert’s Brother, and whose Secretary is Sir Thomas Robinson, "QUOI DONE, CRUSOE?" whom we shall hear of farther); and Stephen Poyntz, a once bright gentleman, now dim and obsolete, whom the readers of Coxe’s <italic> Walpole <end italic> have some nominal acquaintance with. Here, for Chronology’s sake, is a clipping from the old English newspapers to accompany them: "There is rumor that POLLY PEACHUM is gone to attend the Congress at Soissons; where, it is thought, she will make as good a figure, and do her country as much service, as several others that shall be nameless." [<italic> Mist’s Weekly Journal, <end italic> 29th June, 1728.]

Their task seemed easy to the sanguine mind. The Kaiser has agreed with Spain in the Italian-Apanage matter; with the Sea-Powers in regard to his Ostend Company, which is abolished forever: what then is to prevent a speedy progress, and glad conclusion? The Pragmatic Sanction. "Accept my Pragmatic Sanction," said the Kaiser, "let that be the preliminary of all things."—"Not the preliminary," answered Fleury; "we will see to that as we go on; not the preliminary, by any means!" There was the rub. The sly old Cardinal had his private treaties with Sardinia; views of his own in the Mediterranean, in the Rhine quarter; and answered steadily, "Not the preliminary, by any means!" The Kaiser was equally inflexible. Whereupon immensities of protocolling, arguing, and the Congress "fell into complete languor," say the Histories. [Scholl, ii. 215.] Congress ate its dinner heartily, and wrote immensely, for the space of eighteen months; but advanced no hair’s-breadth any-whither; no prospect before it, but that of dinner only, for unlimited periods.

Kaiser will have his Pragmatic Sanction, or not budge from the place; stands mulelike amid the rain of cudgellings from the by-standers; can be beaten to death, but stir he will not.—Hints, glances of the eye, pass between Elizabeth Farnese and the other by-standers; suddenly, 9th November, 1729, it is found they have all made a "TREATY OF SEVILLE" with Elizabeth Farnese; France, England, Holland, Spain, have all closed,—Italian Apanages to be at once secured, Ostend to be at once suppressed, with what else behooves;—and the Kaiser is left alone; standing upon his Pragmatic Sanction there, nobody bidding him now budge!

At which the Kaiser is naturally thrice and four times wroth and alarmed;—and Seckendorf in the TABAKS-COLLEGIUM had need to be doubly busy. As we shall find he is (though without effect), when the time comes round:—but we have not yet got to November of this Year 1729; there are still six or eight important months between us and that. Important months; and a Prussian-English "Waterspout," as we have named it, to be seen, with due wonder, in the political sky!—

Congress of Soissons, now fallen mythical to mankind, and as inane as that of Cambrai, is perhaps still memorable in one or two slight points. First, it has in it, as one of the Austrian Deputies, that Baron von Bentenrieder, tallest of living Diplomatists, who was pressed at one time for a Prussian soldier; —readers recollect it? Walking through the streets of Halberstadt, to stretch his long limbs till his carriage came up, the Prussian sentries laid hold of him, "Excellent Potsdam giant, this one! "—and haled him off to their guard-house; till carriage and lackeys came; then, "Thousand humblest pardons, your Excellenz!" who forgave the fellows. Barely possible some lighter readers might wish to see, for one moment, an Excellenz that has been seized by a Press-gang? Which perhaps never happened to any other Excellenz;—the like of which, I have been told, might merit him a soiree from strong-minded women, in some remoter parts of the world. Not to say that he is the tallest of living Diplomatists; another unique circumstance!—Bentenrieder soon died; and had his place at Soissons filled up by an Excellenz of the ordinary height, who had never been pressed. But nothing can rob the Congress of this fact, that it once had Bentenrieder for member; and, so far, is entitled to the pluperfect distinction in one particular.

Another point is humanly interesting in this Congress; but cannot fully be investigated for want of dates. Always, we perceive, according to the news of it that reach Berlin,—of England going right for the Kaiser or going wrong for him,—his Prussian Majesty’s treatment of his children varies. If England go right for the Kaiser, well, and his Majesty is in good-humor with Queen, with Crown-Prince and Wilhelmina. If England go wrong for the Kaiser, dark clouds gather on the royal brow, in the royal heart; explode in thunder-storms; and at length crockery goes flying through the rooms, blows descend on the poor Prince’s back; and her Majesty is in tears, mere Chaos come again. For as a general rule, unless the English Negotiation have some prospering fit, and produce exceptional phenomena, Friedrich Wilhelm, ever loyal in heart, stands steadfast by his Kaiser; ever ready "to strike out (LOS ZU SCHLAGEN," as he calls it) with his best strength in behalf of a cause which, good soul, he thinks is essentially German;—all the readier if at any time it seem now exclusively German, the French, Spanish, English, and other unlovely Foreign world being clean cut loose from it, or even standing ranked against it. "When will it go off, then (WANN GEHT ES LOS)?" asks Friedrich Wilhelm often; diligently drilling his sixty thousand, and snorting contempt on "Ungermanism (UNDEUTSCHHEIT)," be it on the part of friends or of enemies. Good soul, and whether he will ever get Julich aud Berg out of it, is distractingly problematical, and the Tobacco-Parliament is busy with him!

Curious to see, so far as dates go, how Friedrich Wilhelm changes his tune to Wife and Children in exact correspondence to the notes given out at Soissons for a Kaiser and his Pragmatic Sanction. Poor Prussian Household, poor back, and heart, of Crown-Prince; what a concert it is in this world, Smoking Parliament for souffleur! Let the big Diplomatist Bassoon of the Universe go this way, there are caresses for a young Soldier and his behavior in the giant regiment; let the same Bassoon sound that way, bangs and knocks descend on him; the two keep time together,—so busy is the Smoking Parliament with his Majesty of Prussia. The world has seen, with horror and wonder, Friedrich Wilhelm’s beating of his grown children: but the pair of MEERKATZEN, or enchanted Demon-Apes, disguised as loyal Councillors, riding along with him the length of a Terrestrial Equator, have not been so familiar to the world. Seckendorf, Grumkow: we had often heard of Devil-Diplomatists; and shuddered over horrible pictures of them in Novels; hoping it was all fancy: but here actually is a pair of them, transcending all Novels;—perhaps the highest cognizable fact to be met with in Devil-Diplomacy. And it may be a kind of comfort to readers, both to know it, and to discern gradually what the just gods make of it withal. Devil-Diplomatists do exist, at least have existed, never doubt it farther; and their astonishingly dexterous mendacities and enchanted spider-webs,— CAN these go any road but one in this Universe?

That the Congress of Cambrai was not a myth, we convinced ourselves by a letter of Voltaire’s, who actually saw it dining there in the Year 1722, as he passed that way. Here, for Soissons, in like manner, are two Letters, by a less celebrated but a still known English hand; which, as utterances in presence of the fact itself, leave no doubt on the subject. These the afflicted reader will perhaps consent to take a glance of. If the Congress of Soissons, for the sake of memorable objects concerned there, is still to be remembered, and believed in, for a little while,—the question arises, How to do it, then?

The writer of these Letters is a serious, rather long-nosed young English gentleman, not without intelligence, and of a wholesome and honest nature; who became Lord Lyttelton, FIRST of those Lords, called also "the Good Lord," father of "the Bad:" a lineal descendant of that Lyttelton UPON whom Coke sits, or seems to sit, till the end of things: author by and by of a <italic> History of Henry the Second <end italic> and other well-meant books: a man of real worth, who attained to some note in the world. He is now upon the Grand Tour,—which ran, at that time, by Luneville and Lorraine, as would appear; at which point we shall first take him up. He writes to his Father, Sir Thomas, at Hagley among the pleasant Hills of Worcestershire,—date shortly after the assembling of that Congress to rear of him;—and we strive to add a minimum of commentary. The "piece of negligence," the "Mr. D.," —none of mortals now knows who or what they were:—


"LUNEVILLE 21st July" 1728.

"DEAR SIR,—I thank you for so kindly forgiving the piece of negligence I acquainted you of in my last. Young fellows are often guilty of voluntary forgetfulness in those affairs; but I assure you mine was quite accidental:"—Never mind it, my Son!

"Mr. D. tells you true that I am weary of losing money at cards; but it is no less certain that without them I shall soon be weary of Lorraine. The spirit of quadrille [obsolete game at cards] has possessed the land from morning till midnight; there is nothing else in every house in Town.

"This Court is fond of strangers, but with a proviso that strangers love quadrille. Would you win the hearts of the Maids of Honor, you must lose your money at quadrille; would you be thought a well-bred man, you must play genteelly at quadrille; would you get a reputation of good sense, show judgment at quadrille. However in summer one may pass a day without quadrille; because there are agreeable promenades, and little parties out of doors. But in winter you are reduced to play at it, or sleep, like a fly, till the return of spring.

"Indeed in the morning the Duke hunts,"—mark that Duke, and two Sons he has. "But my malicious stars have so contrived it, that I am no more a sportsman than a gamester. There are no men of learning in the whole Country; on the contrary, it is a character they despise. A man of quality caught me, the other day, reading a Latin Author; and asked me, with an air of contempt, Whether I was designed for the Church? All this would be tolerable if I was not doomed to converse with a set of English, who are still more ignorant than the French; and from whom, with my utmost endeavors, I cannot be absent six hours in the day. Lord" BLANK—Baltimore, or Heaven-knows-who,—"is the only one among them who has common sense; and he is so scandalously debauched, in his principles as well as practice, that his conversation is equally shocking to my morals and my reason."—Could not one contrive to get away from them; to Soissons, for example, to see business going on; and the Terrestrial Balance settling itself a little?

"My only improvement here is in the company of the Duke," who is a truly distinguished Duke to his bad Country; "and in the exercise of the Academy,"—of Horsemanship, or what? "I have been absent from the latter near three weeks, by reason of a sprain I got in the sinews of my leg. My duty to my dear Mother; I hope you and she continue well. I am, Sir, your dutiful Son.—G. L." [<italic> The Works of Lord George Lyttelton, <end italic> by Ayscough (London, 1776), iii. 215.]

These poor Lorrainers are in a bad way; their Country all trampled to pieces by France, in the Louis-Fourteenth and still earlier times. Indeed, ever since the futile Siege of Metz; where we saw the great Kaiser, Karl V., silently weeping because he could not recapture Metz, [Antea, vol. v. p. 211.] the French have been busy with this poor Country;—new sections of it clipt away by them; "military roads through it, ten miles broad," bargained for; its Dukes oftenest in exile, especially the Father of this present Duke: [A famed Soldier in his day; under Kaiser Leopold, "the little Kaiser in red stockings," one of whose Daughters he had to wife. He was at the Rescue of Vienna (Sobieski’s), and in how many far fiercer services; his life was but a battle and a march. Here is his famed Letter to the Kaiser, when death suddenly called, Halt!

"WELS NEAR LINZ ON THE DONAU, 17th April, 1690.

"SACRED MAJESTY,—According to your Orders, I set out from Innspruck to come to Vienna; but I am stopped here by a Greater Master. I go to render account to Him of a life which I had wholly consecrated to you. Remember that I leave a Wife with whom you are concerned [QUI ROUS TOUCHE,—who is your lawful Daughter]; Children to whom I can bequeath nothing but my sword; and Subjects who are under Oppression.


(Henault, <italic> Abrege Chronologique, <end italic> Paris, 1775, p. 850).—Charles "V." the French uniformly call this one; Charles "IV." the Germans, who, I conclude, know better.]—and they are now waiting a good opportunity to swallow it whole, while the people are so busy with quadrille parties. The present Duke, returning from exile, found his Land in desolation, much of it "running fast to wild forest again;" and he has signalized himself by unwearied efforts in every direction to put new life into it, which have been rather successful. Lyttelton, we perceive, finds improvement in his company. The name of this brave Duke is Leopold; age now forty-nine; life and reign not far from done: a man about whom even Voltaire gets into enthusiasm. [Siecle de Louis XIV. (<italic> OEuvres, <end italic> xxvi. 95-97); Hubner, t. 281.]

The Court and Country of Lorraine, under Duke Leopold, will prove to deserve this brief glance from Lyttelton and us. Two sons Duke Leopold has: the elder, Franz, now about twenty, is at Vienna, with the highest outlooks there: Kaiser Karl is his Father’s cousin-german; and Kaiser Karl’s young Daughter, high beautiful Maria Theresa,—the sublimest maiden now extant,—yes, this lucky Franz is to have her: what a prize, even without Pragmatic Sanction! With the younger son, Karl of Lorraine, Lyttelton may have made acquaintance, if he cared: a lad of sixteen; by and by an Austrian General, as his father had been; General much noised of,—whom we shall often see beaten, in this world, at the head of men.—But let us now get to Soissons itself, skipping an intermediate Letter or two:—


"SOISSONS, 28th October," 1728.

"I thank you, my dear Sir, for complying so much with my inclinations as to let me stay some time at Soissons: but as you have not fixed how long, I wait for farther orders.

"One of my chief reasons for disliking Luneville was the multitude of English there; who, most of them, were such worthless fellows that they were a dishonor to the name and Nation. With these I was obliged to dine and sup, and pass a great part of my time. You may be sure I avoided it as much as possible; but MALGRE MOI I suffered a great deal. To prevent any comfort from other people, they had made a law among themselves, not to admit any foreigner into their company: so that there was nothing but English talked from June to January.—On the contrary, my countrymen at Soissons are men of virtue and good sense; they mix perpetually with the French, and converse for the most part in that language. I will trouble you no more upon this subject: but give me leave to say that, however capricious I may have been on other subjects, my sentiments in this particular are the strongest proofs I ever gave you of my strong and hereditary aversion to vice and folly.

"Mr. Stanhope," our Minister, the Colonel or Brigadier-General, "is always at Fontainebleau. I went with Mr. Poyntz," Poyntz not yet a dim figure, but a brilliant, who hints about employing me, "to Paris for four days, when the Colonel himself was there, to meet him; he received me with great civility and kindness. We have done expecting Mr. Walpole," fixed he in the Court regions; "who is obliged to keep strict guard over the Cardinal," sly old Fleury, "for fear the German Ministers should take him from us. They pull and haul the poor old gentleman so many ways, that he does not know where to turn, or into whose arms to throw himself." Never fear him!—

"Ripperda’s escape to England,"—grand Diplomatic bulldog that was, who took refuge in Colonel Stanhope’s at Madrid to no purpose, and kindled the sputtering at Gibraltar, is now got across to England, and will go to Morocco and farther, to no purpose,—"will very much embroil affairs; which did not seem to want another obstacle to hinder them from coming to an accommodation. If the Devil is not very much wanting to his own interests in this Business, it is impossible that the good work of Peace, should go on much longer. After all, most young fellows are of his party; and wish he may bring matters to a War; for they make but ill Ministers at a Congress, but would make good Soldiers in a Campaign.

"No news from Madam" BLANK "and her beloved Husband. Their unreasonable fondness for each other can never last: they will soon grow as cold to one another as the Town to <italic> The Beggars’ Opera." <end italic> And cannot warm again, you think? "Pray Heaven I may prove a false prophet; but Married Love and English Music are too domestic to continue long in favor."...

NOVEMBER 20th, SOISSONS still. "This is one of the agreeablest Towns in France. The people are infinitely obliging to strangers: we are of all their parties, and perpetually share with them in their pleasures. I have learnt more French since I came hither, than I should have picked up in a twelvemonth in Lorraine....

"A fool with a majority on his side is the greatest tyrant in the world:"—how can I go back to loiter in Lorraine, honored Father, where fools are in such majority? "Then the extraordinary civilities I receive from Mr. Poyntz: He has in a manner taken me into his family;" will evidently make an Apprentice of me. "The first Packet that comes from Fontainebleau, I expect to be employed. Which is no small pleasure to me: and will I hope be of service."...

DECEMBER 20th. "A sudden order to Mr. Poyntz has broken all my measures. He goes to-morrow to Paris, to stay there in the room of Messrs. Stanhope and Walpole, who are on their return for England." Congress falling into complete languor, if we knew it! But ought not I to accompany this friendly and distinguished Mr. Poyntz, "who has already given me papers to copy;"—in fact I am setting off with him, honored Father!...

"Prince Frederick’s journey,"—first arrival in England of dissolute Fred from Hanover, who had NOT been to Berlin to get married last summer,—"was very secret: Mr. Poyntz did not hear of it till Friday last; at least he had no public notice of it." Why should he? "There will be fine struggling for places" in this Prince’s new Household. "I hope my Brother will come in for one." [Ayscough’s <italic> Lyttelton, <end italic> iii. 200-231.]—

But here we pull the string of the curtain upon Lyttelton, and upon his Congress falling into complete languor; Congress destined, after dining for about a year more, to explode, in the Treaty of Seville, and to leave the Kaiser sitting horror-struck, solitary amid the wreck of Political Nature,—which latter, however, pieces itself together again for him and others. Beneficent Treaty of Vienna was at last achieved; Treaty and Treaties there, which brought matters to their old bearing again, —Austria united with the Sea-Powers, Pragmatic Sanction accepted by them, subsidies again to be expected from them; Baby Carlos fitted with his Apanages, in some tolerable manner; and the Problem, with which Creation had groaned for some twenty years past, finally accomplished better or worse.

Lyttelton himself will get a place in Prince Frederick’s Household, and then lose it; place in Majesty’s Ministry at last, but not for a long while yet. He will be one of Prince Frederick’s men, of the Carterets, Chesterfields, Pitts, who "patronize literature," and are in opposition to dark Walpole; one of the "West-Wickham set;"—and will be of the Opposition party, and have his adventures in the world. Meanwhile let him go to Paris with Mr. Poyntz; and do his wisest there and elsewhere.

"Who’s dat who ride astride de pony,
So long, so lean, so lank and bony?
Oh, he be de great orator, Little-ton-y." [Caricature of 1741, on Lyttelton’s getting into the Ministry, with Carteret, Chesterfield, Argyll, and the rest: see Phillimore’s <italic> Lyttelton <end italic> (London, l845), i. 110; Johnson’s <italic> Lives of the Poets, <end italic> ? Lyttelton; &c. &c.]

For now we are round at Friedrich Wilhelm’s Pomeranian Hunting again, in the New-year’s time of 1729; and must look again into the magnanimous sick-room which ensued thereon; where a small piece of business is going forward. What a magnanimous patient Friedrich Wilhelm was, in Fassmann’s judgment, we know: but, it will be good to show both sides of the tapestry, and let Wilhelmina also speak. The small business is only, a Treaty of Marriage for one of our Princesses: not Wilhelmina, but Louisa the next younger, who has been asked, and will consent, as appears.

Fassmann makes a very touching scene of it. King is in bed, ill of his gout after that slaughter of the 3,602 wild swine: attendants are sitting round his Majesty, in the way we know; Queen Sophie at his head, "Seckendorf and several others" round the bed. Letters arrive; Princess Frederika Louisa, a very young Lady, has also had a Letter; which, she sees by the seal, will be interesting, but which she must not herself open. She steps in with it; "beautiful as an angel, but rather foolish, and a spoilt child of fifteen," says Wilhelmina: trips softly in with it; hands it to the King. "Give it to thy Mother, let her read it," says the King. Mother reads it, with audible soft voice: Formal demand in marriage from the Serenity of Anspach, as foreseen.

"Hearken, Louisa (HORE, LUISE), it is still time," said the King: "Tell us, wouldst thou rather go to Anspach, now, or stay with me? If thou choose to stay, thou shalt want, for nothing, either, to the end of thy life. Speak!"—"At such unexpected question," says Fassmann, "there rose a fine blush over the Princess’s face, who seemed to be at a loss for her answer. However, she soon collected herself; kissed his Majesty’s hand, and said: ’Most gracious Papa, I will to Anspach!’ To which the King: ’Very well, then; God give thee all happiness and thousand blessings!—But, hearken, Louisa,’ the King’s Majesty was pleased at the same time to add, ’We will make a bargain, thou and I. You have excellent, Flour at Anspach (SCHONES MEHL); but in Hams and Smoked Sausages you don’t, come up, either in quality or quantity, to us in this Country. Now I, for my part, like good pastries. So, from time to time, thou shalt send me a box of nice flour, and I will keep thee in hams and sausages. Wilt thou, Louisa?’ That the Princess answered Yea," says poor Fassmann with the tear in his eye, "may readily be supposed!" Nay all that heard the thing round the royal bed there —simple humanities of that kind from so great, a King—had almost or altogether tears in their eyes. [Fassmann, pp. 393, 394.]

This surely is a very touching scene. But now listen to Wilhelmina’s account of another on the same subject, between the same parties. "At table;" no date indicated, or a wrong one, but evidently after this: in fact, we find it was about the beginning of March, 1729; and had sad consequences for Wilhelmina.

"At table his Majesty told the Queen that he had Letters from Anspach; the young Margraf to be at Berlin in May for his wedding; that M. Bremer his Tutor was just coming with the ring of betrothal for Louisa. He asked my Sister, If that gave her pleasure? and How she would regulate her housekeeping when married? My Sister had got into the way of telling him whatever she thought, and home-truths sometimes, without his taking it ill. She answered with her customary frankness, That she would have a good table, which should be delicately served; and, added she, ’which shall be better than yours. And if I have children, I will not maltreat them like you, nor force them to eat what they have an aversion to.’—’What do you mean by that?’ replied the King: ’what is there wanting at my table?’—’There is this wanting,’ she said, ’that one cannot have enough; and the little there is consists of coarse potherbs that nobody can eat.’ The King," as was not unnatural, "had begun to get angry at her first answer: this last put him quite in a fury; but all his anger fell on my Brother and me. He first threw a plate at my Brother’s head, who ducked out of the way; he then let fly another at me, which I avoided in like manner. A hail-storm of abuse followed these first hostilities. He rose into a passion against the Queen; reproaching her with the bad training she gave her children; and, addressing my Brother: ’You have reason to curse your Mother,’ said he, ’for it is she that causes your being an ill-governed fellow (UN MAL GOUVERNE). I had a Preceptor,’ continued he, ’who was an honest man. I remember always a story he told me in my youth. There was a man, at Carthage, who had been condemned to die for many crimes he had committed. While they were leading him to execution, he desired he might speak to his Mother. They brought his Mother: he came near, as if to whisper something to her;—and bit away a piece of her ear. I treat you thus, said he, to make you an example to all parents who take no heed to bring up their children in the practice of virtue!—Make the application,’ continued he, always addressing my Brother: and getting no answer from him, he again set to abusing us till he could speak no longer. We rose from table. As we had to pass near him in going out, he aimed a great blow at me with his crutch; which, if I had not jerked away from it, would have ended me. He chased me for a while in his wheel-chair, but the people drawing it gave me time to escape into the Queen’s chamber." [Wilhelmina, i. 159.]

Poor Wilhelmina, beaten upon by Papa in this manner, takes to bed in miserable feverish pain, is ordered out by Mamma to evening party, all the same; is evidently falling very ill. "Ill? I will cure you!" says Papa next day, and makes her swallow a great draught of wine. Which completes the thing: "declared small-pox," say all the Doctors now. So that Wilhelmina is absent thenceforth, as Fassmann already told us, from the magnanimous paternal sick-room; and lies balefully eclipsed, till the paternal gout and some other things have run their course. "Small-pox; what will Prince Fred think? A perfect fright, if she do live!" say the English Court-gossips in the interim. But we are now arrived at a very singular Prussian-English phenomenon; and ought to take a new Chapter.


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Chicago: Thomas Carlyle, "Chapter V. Congress of Soissons, Sixth Crisis in the Spectre-Hunt.," History of Friedrich II of Prussia— Volume 6 in History of Friedrich II of Prussia—Volume 6 Original Sources, accessed January 22, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QC1NDLZC3G1V522.

MLA: Carlyle, Thomas. "Chapter V. Congress of Soissons, Sixth Crisis in the Spectre-Hunt." History of Friedrich II of Prussia— Volume 6, in History of Friedrich II of Prussia—Volume 6, Original Sources. 22 Jan. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QC1NDLZC3G1V522.

Harvard: Carlyle, T, 'Chapter V. Congress of Soissons, Sixth Crisis in the Spectre-Hunt.' in History of Friedrich II of Prussia— Volume 6. cited in , History of Friedrich II of Prussia—Volume 6. Original Sources, retrieved 22 January 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QC1NDLZC3G1V522.