Among Friedrich's "inconsiderable suite," at Aachen, was Prince Henri (his youngest Brother, age now sixteen, a small, sensitive, shivering creature, but of uncommon parts); and another young man, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, his Wife's youngest Brother; a soldier, as all the Brothers are; soldier in Friedrich's Army, this one; in whose fine inarticulate eupeptic character are excellent dispositions and capacities discernible. Ferdinand goes generally with the King; much about him in these years. All the Brothers follow soldiering; it is the one trade of German Princes. When at home, Friedrich is still occasionally with his Queen; who lives at Schonhausen, in the environs of Berlin, but goes with him to Charlottenburg, to old Reinsberg; and has her share of galas in his company, with the Queen Mother and cognate Highnesses.
Another small fact, still more memorable at present, is, That Voltaire now made him a Third Visit,--privately on Fleury's instance, as is evident this time. Of which Voltaire Visit readers shall know duly, by and by, what little is knowable. But, alas, there is first an immense arrear of War-matters to bring up; to which, still more than to Voltaire, the afflicted reader must address himself, if he would understand at all what Friedrich's Environment, or circumambient Life-element now was, and how Friedrich, well or ill, comported himself in the same. Brevity, this Editor knows, is extremely desirable, and that the scissors should be merciless on those sad Paper-Heaps, intolerable to the modern mind; but, unless the modern mind chance to prefer ease and darkness, what can an Editor do!
AUSTRIAN AFFAIRS ARE ON THE MOUNTING HAND.
Austrian affairs are not now in their nadir-point; a long while now since they passed that. Austria, to all appearance dead, started up, and began to strike for herself, with some success, the instant Walpole's SOUP-ROYAL (that first 200,000 pounds, followed since by abundance more) got to her lips. Touched her poor pale lips; and went tingling through her, like life and fiery elasticity, out of death by inanition! Cardinal moment, which History knows, but can never date, except vaguely, some time in 1741; among the last acts of judicious Walpole.
Austria, thanks to its own Khevenhullers and its English guineas, was already rising in various quarters: and now when the Prussian Affair is settled, Austria springs up everywhere like an elastic body with the pressure taken from it; mounts steadily, month after month, in practical success, and in height of humor in a still higher ratio. And in the course of the next Two Years rises to a great height indeed. Here--snatched, who knows with what difficulty, from that shoreless bottomless slough of an Austrian- Succession War, deservedly forgotten, and avoided by extant mankind--are some of the more essential phenomena, which Friedrich had to witness in those months. To witness, to scan with such intense interest,--rightly, at his peril;--and to interpret as actual "Omens" for him, as monitions of a most indisputable nature! No Haruspex, I suppose, with or without "white beard, and long staff for cutting the Heavenly Vault into compartments from the zenith downwards," could, in Etruria or elsewhere, "watch the flight of birds, now into this compartment, now into that," with stricter scrutiny than, on the new terms, did this young King from his Potsdam Observatory.
WAR-PHENOMENA IN THE WESTERN PARTS: KING GEORGE TRIES, A SECOND TIME, TO DRAW HIS SWORD; TUGS AT IT VIOLENTLY, FOR SEVEN MONTHS (February-October, 1742).
"The first phenomenon, cheering to Austria, is that of the Britannic Majesty again clutching sword, with evident intent to draw it on her behalf. [Tindal, xx. 552; Old Newspapers; &c. &c.] Besides his potent soup-royal of Half-Millions annually, the Britannic Majesty has a considerable sword, say 40,000, of British and of subsidized;--sword which costs him a great deal of money to keep by his side; and a great deal of clamor and insolent gibing from the Gazetteer species, because he is forced to keep it strictly in the scabbard hitherto. This Year, we observe, he has determined again to draw it, in the Cause of Human Liberty, whatever follow. From early Spring there were symptoms: Camps on Lexden and other Heaths, much reviewing in Hyde-Park and elsewhere; from all corners a universal marching towards the Kent Coast; the aspects being favorable. 'We can besiege Dunkirk at any rate, cannot we, your High Mightinesses? Dunkirk, which, by all the Treaties in existence, ought to need no besieging; but which, in spite of treatyings innumerable, always does?' The High Mightinesses answer nothing articulate, languidly grumble something in OPTATIVE tone;--'meaning assent,' thinks the sanguine mind. 'Dutch hoistable, after all!' thinks he; 'Dutch will co-operate, if they saw example set!' And, in England, the work of embarking actually begins.
"Britannic Majesty's purpose, and even fixed resolve to this effect, had preceded the Prussian-Austrian Settlement. May 20th, ["9th" by the Old Newspapers; but we always TRANSLATE their o.s.] 'Two regiments of Foot,' first poor instalment of British Troops, had actually landed at Ostend;--news of the Battle of Chotusitz, much more, of the Austrian-Prussian Settlement, or Peace of Breslau, would meet them THERE. But after that latter auspicious event, things start into quick and double-quick time; and the Gazetteers get vocal, almost lyrical: About Howard's regiment, Ponsonby's regiment, all manner of regiments, off to Flanders, for a stroke of work; how 'Ligonier's Dragoons [a set of wild swearing fellows, whom Guildford is happy to be quit of] rode through Bromley with their kettle-drums going, and are this day at Gravesend to take ship;'"--or to give one other, more specific example: