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and rights she derived from her fa- turn when they quit the mosques ; ther. At first he would by no means but always go backward to the gate. consent to this arrangement, fearful “ The marquis D'Argens, seated at of doing what might displease the his ease, beheld the whole of the cere. family; but the reasons and the prin- monies of the Turkish religion : yet ciples of justice, which the magis- he gave frequent cause of alarm to trate advanced, soon found their way his guide. Almost every minute to his heart, and mademoiselle Mina he quitted his hiding place, and adbecame marchioness D'Argens. vanced to the middle of the tribune,
On his return from a journey to in order that he might have a better Spain, where he left his mistress view of what was passing in the Sylvia, he became reconciled to his mosque. Then the poor Turk, who family ; but he soon left France, and knew he ran no less a risk than that departed for Constantinople along of being impaled alive, entreated him, with Mons. D'Andreselle, ambassa- by the most expressive signs and dour 10 the Ottoman Porte, of whom gestures, to retire quickly behind his he speaks in his memoirs. A judge picture. The terrour of the man was ment may be formed of his charac- a subject of the highest amusement ter and of his conduct in that city, to the knight of Malta, who played by the following anecdote, which was the more upon his fears. furnished by Mr. Thiebault in his “ But they were a hundred-fold, if " Recollections."
possible, increased, when he took a “On his arrival at Constantinople," flask of wine and a piece of ham from says this writer, “he conceived the his pocket, and offered him a share of design of witnessing the ceremonies both. The disciple of Mahomed was used in the mosques. Nothing could in absolute despair ; but what could dissuade him from undertaking this he do? He must bear all in order to dangerous enterprise, in which, if he conceal his guilt, and save himself had been discovered or betrayed, he from punishment. The marquis would only have escaped the scaffold threatened him; and the Turk was or the bow-string, by assuming the compelled to drink of the wine and turban, or, in other words, becoming eat of the ham, and thus profane mussulman. He applied to the Turk himself, his religion, and the mosque. who kept the keys of the mosque of The miserable man was for some Santa Sophia, and by dint of bribery instants like one petrified. He thought succeeded in gaining him to his pur. he beheld the avenging arm of the pose. It was agreed between them, prophet raised above his head. By at the next great day of publick wor- degrees, however, he became more ship, the infidel should introduce the calm. He even began to be familiar Christian in great secrecy by night, with his guilt; and when the devotees and that he should conceal him be- had all left the mosque, and he saw hind a painting which was placed, a himself alone with the Christian dog, long time back, at the bottom of a they finished their breakfast with a tribune, which was in front of the good grace, laughed at the danger gate. The marquis would be the they had run, and parted most excel. safer in this place as it was seldom lent friends." opened ; and, besides, it was situated The marquis D'Argens, in his at the west end of the mosque, and memoirs, exposes
great candour the Mahomedans always, in the the adventures of his journey, and prayers, face to Mecca, which lies the motive which induced him to reeast of Constantinople, and never turn to France. His father anxiousturn their heads without giving cause ly wished him to study the law; but for scandal ; a point on which they the ardent character of the young are so scrupulous, that they never man could not be persuaded by his sage advice. He again re-entered the pected. After expressing his grateservice, and in 1733 he was appoint- ful sense of the honour of the attened to the cavalry. He was at the tion, he adds: “ Deign, your highness, siege of Kehl, where he was slightly to consider, that in order to be an wounded. In 1734, after the siege attendant on your person, I must be of Philipsburg, he got a fall from his always in view of three battalions of horse, which so disabled him, that guards, quartered at Potzdam. Can he was never able to mount after. I, therefore, venture without danger? wards, and he was obliged, in conse- I am only five feet seven inches high, quence, to renounce the service.
and but indifferently made." It appears, that it was at the time It would not probably have been of his refusal to embrace the pro- very politick or agreeable for the fession his father wished him, when marquis D'Argens, then not more he returned from Constantinople, than thirty years old, to settle in that his father disinherited him, not Prussia ; and so near the residence being able, owing to the smallness of Frederick William, father of him of his fortune, to sustain with credit to whom he wrote. the expensive life his son led.
This monarch was a man of harsh, He was compelled, when he retired unpleasant manners, an enemy to li from the service, to go to Holland terature, whose sole glory and pride to seek resources from his pen. The consisted in having in his army the liberty of the press, which then tallest and handsomest soldiers in existed in that country, allowed him Europe, and immense treasures in to make choice of any subject his his coffers. fancy suggested. He published suc- “ Frederick William,” says Volcessively, the “ Jewish, Chinese, and taire, " was a complete Vandal, who, Cabalistick Letters." They were during the whole course of his reign, admired, and brought him some had no other object in view than money ; most of them turning on amassing sums, and supporting at subjects of morality, politicks, man- the least possible expense the finest ners, religious customs and ceremo- troops in Europe. Never were subnies, and the events of nations. The jects poorer than his : never was a lively manner in which they were king richer. Turkey is a republick written, the boldness of some of the in comparison with the despotism ideas, and the singularity of the style which Frederick William exercised. caused them to be much read, and It was by this he succeeded in colgenerally approved.
lecting in the cellars of his palace a The “ Jewish Letters," in particu- sum exceeding eighty millions, conlar, gained him a very high reputa- tained in barrels hooped with iron. tion. The king of Prussia, then “ This king usually went from his prince royal, read them, and wished palace on foot, in a shabby old blue to become acquainted with the author.
coat with copper buttons, which He was even anxious to attach him reached half way down his thighs ; to his service, hoping, by that means, and whenever he ordered a new one, to draw him out of the unpleasant he had his old buttons put on it. In state his youth had thrown him into this dress his majesty, with a large He wrote to him, and made him the serjeant's cane, every day inspected most honourable offers ; every thing his regiment of giants. This regi. seemed to assure him that the mar- ment was his hobby horse, and his quis would accept them with eager- greatest expense, The front rank ness, as he chiefly proposed that they was composed of men of seven feet should live as friends, and study high. He had them collected from philosophy together. His answer, all parts of Europe, and of Asia. I saw however, was not such as was ex- several of them even after his death.
" When Frederick William finish- wards married the margrave of Ba. ed his review, he usually took a walk reuth, was privy to the plot; and, through the city. Every person fled as his justice was executed in a very at his approach. If he happened to summary way, he kicked her through meet a woman, he asked her why a window which opened down to the she wasted her time in the streets : floor. The queen mother, who came
Go home, go home, you lazy beg- into the room just as her daughter gar; an honest woman should be Wilhelmina was on the point of fallemployed about her house.' He ge. ing out, with much difficulty held nerally accompanied his advice with her by her clothes. The princess a good slap on the face, a kick, or received contusion just above else a blow of his cane. In the same the left breast, the mark of which manner he treated the ministers of she carried to her grave.” the gospel, when he happened, occa. The prince had a sort of mistress, sionally, to see them on the parade. daughter of a schoolmaster of the
“ One may easily judge, "continues town of Brandenburg, settled in Voltaire, “ that a savage like this Potzdam. She played a little on the would be both astonished and cha- harpsichord. The prince royal acgrined, at having a son possessed of companied her on the flute. He fanstrong understanding, a bright genius, cied himself in love with her. Howpoliteness, and a desire to please, ever, fancy or not, the father had and who sought to improve his her led round the streets of Potzdam, mind, and study musick and poetry. followed by two common executionIf he saw a book in the hands of the ers, who flogged her before his son's hereditary prince, he threw it in the
eyes. fire ; if the prince amused himself " After he had regaled himself with his flute, the father broke it; with this spectacle, he had her conand sometimes treated'his royal high- veyed to the citadel of Custrin, siness as he did the ladies, and the tuated in the middle of a morass. clergymen on parade.
There she was shut up in a sort of “The prince, completely sick of dungeon for six months, without any his father's treatment, resolved one attendant, and at the expiration of day, in the year 1730, to leave him, that time, they gave her a soldier to uncertain whether he should go to wait upon her. France or England. The rigid eco- “ The prince had been some weeks nomy of the father would not allow confined in this same castle of Cus. him to travel otherwise than as the trin, when one day an old oíficer, folson of a farmer-general, or an En- lowed by four grenadiers, entered the glish merchant. He horrowed a few room, his
filled with tears. hundred ducats. Two young men Frederick had no doubt but they came of amiable character were to be his to put an end to him; but the officer, companions. Kat was the only son still weeping, made a sign, on whichi of a brave general officer, and Kiel the four grenadiers placed him at a was a rear relation of a baroness window, and held his head to it, Kniphausen, whom Frederick Wil- while he saw that of his friend Kat liam condemned in a fine of thirty taken off, upon a scaffold erected dithousand francs, for having a child rectly opposite the window. He held when a widow. The day and hour out his hand towards Kat, and faint. of their departure were fixed; the ed. The father was present at this father was informed of every circum- spectacle, as well as at the punishstance; the prince and his two com- inent of the girl.” panions were arrested. At first the I: is easy to see that the marquis father took it into his head, that his D’Argens had very solid reasons for daughter. Wilhelmina, who after- not going to Prussia, under the gii.
vernment of such a prince. From quis, and for that reason said to the warmth and impetuosity of his his master, after having read the character, he would most probably note : “ I know the Provençals, and have lost either his liberty or his their impatience; but I particulife.
larly know the marquis; while unBut when Frederick the Second easiness torments him, and his mind ascended the throne, in 1740, matters is at a stand, he will never rest, and were changed, and the same dread after having threatened to take his ceased to exist. The new monarch departure within eight days, he will wrote immediately to the young be off in two or three days at the marquis : “No longer, my dear mar- furthest." The king was alarmed quis, be afraid of the battalions of lest Jordan should have prophesied guards—come, and brave them even too truly, and he returned these few on the parade at Potzdam.”
words in answer to his note. When he received this letter, he satisfied, my dear marquis: your fate was at Stutgard, in the service of the shall be decided to morrow by dinner. dutchess dowager of Wirtemberg: time.” And, in fact, the next mornShe had a wish to visit Berlin, and ing, the marquis, on his arrival at the see Frederick. The opportunity be- palace, received the key of office as ing favourable, they set out together. chamberlain, with a salary of six
The king received him, says Mons. thousand francs, and was also apThiebault, in the most flattering man- pointed director of the class of bellesner. He invited him to dinner every lettres of the royal academy, which day. Their conversation was lively gave him an additional annual inand agreeable. Nothing in appearance crease of eight hundred francs. was more flattering, or more likely This generosity, on the part of to satisfy the wishes, and flatter the Frederick, soon changed the resolu. ambition of a philosopher. But weeks tion of the marquis. He settled at rolled on, and no mention was made Berlin. He cultivated literature and of fulfilling the promises which had the friendship of the great prince, led the new guest from a situation who so well knew how to reward less brilliant, but sufficient for his those who made it their occupation. wants.
He was constantly one of the king's The marquis having vainly endean social and private parties. voured to discover the cause of this At first, Algarotti, Voltaire, and neglect, and having waited six weeks, Maupertuis, were the principal falost all patience; and, on returning vourites of Frederick. The sprightly home one day immediately after din- character and instruction of the for. ner, he sent a note to the king, couch- mer highly ple ased the prince. Voled in the following terms:
taire captivated him by the brilliancy “ Sire! For six weeks that I have of his conversation, his pointed salhad the honour to be near your ma- lies, and the greatness of his talents. jesty, my purse has suffered so ri. Maupertuis was in the habit of treatgorous a blockade, that if you gain ing on subjects of profound learning so many battles, and take so many and science. He was in some meafortresses, and do not speedily come sure the minister of this party. He to its assistance, I shall be obliged to directed the academy, and informed capitulate, and recross the Rhine the king of every valuable work of within a week.” The king had his every description of science which friend Jordan with him when the came out. The marquis D'Argens note was brought to him. “ See did not possess talents equal to any here,” said he, “ what that fool of those three ; but his good nature, D'Argens has written; he wishes to his pleasantry, and his wit, made him leave us. Jordan esteemed the mare highly esteemed: to the pointed man
bers of high life, the marquis added of spleen or ill nature, wrote, that a facility of character, and a Proven- if he wanted to punish a province, çal vivacity, which made his conver- he would send philosophers to gosation very piquant and amusing. vern it. His writings, known throughout all During the Seven Years' War, that Europe, which were both agreeable is, from 756 to 1763, when Fredeand instructive, were a strong title rick beheld his dominions invaded to Frederick's favour. The origina- and taken from him by the Russians, lity and eccentricity di his conduct, the Austrians, and the French, and of which we shall give more than that no hopes of safety remained, it one instance, never lessened the was to the marquis D'Argens that esteem the king conceived for him, he imparted the design he had form. although he was more than once the ed of putting an end to his existence. object of his pleasantry and sarcasm. It was on this occasion that he ad.
It was chiefly at the supper parties dressed a long epistle in verse to the of Frederick, that he assembled these marquis D'Argens on this subject, literary characters, and where those the misfortunes of his life, and the scenes of gayety and wit passed, principles of stoicism. However triwhich, for near thirty years were fling this resolution may appear, and the objects of the attention, and however singular the manner which sometimes the satire, of the rest of Frederick made use of, to disclose it Europe. They bore no resemblance to one of his courtiers, it results, howto the orgies of the regent of France. ever, from it, that the marquis D'Ar. There was more real wit, a varied gens held a most distinguished place conversation, and obscenity and im- in the esteem of the prince; since it piety were particularly banished; but was to him that he addressed himself, the freedom of discourse was some- in the agony of his soul. times carried too far, as at the sup- The happy events, which so quickpers of the duke of Orleans, so ly succeeded, drew Frederick out of much so as to become displeasing to
his embarrassment, and the necessity the master.
of putting his resolution into practice, In one of these supper parties, said by compelling his enemies to enter M. Thiebault, which even till the into conditions of peace, which secur Seven Years' War were often pro- red to him his dominions. longed to a very late hour, Frederick But whatever opinion the marquis asked each of his companions, how D'Argens had upon the strange conhe would govern if he were a king. fidence the monarch placed in him, There was a lively argument between he was really alarmed. He delayed them, in order for each to establish not a minute in answering him, and his different maxims. The marquis, made use of every thing, which men however, listened, and said nothing. who neither believe in God, in the The king at last observed his si. immortality of the soul, nor in any lence, and asked him, what would species of revelation, could make he do were he in his place ? “ Sire,” use of, under similar circumstances, answered the marquis, “ I would im- to induce him to alter his determimediately sell my kingdom, and pur- nation. chase a good estate in France." This There was a company of dancers pleasantry, by means of which he at Berlin, whom the king had always escaped the ridicule of advancing and engaged for the opera. The family supporting any misplaced doctrine, of Cochois was among the number. obtained the king's approbation, and The father and mother died, and the put an end to the discussion. It two daughters remained at that thea. was after some disputes of a similar tre. The marquis, whose fate seemnature, that Frederick, in a moment cd to be to attach bimself to females: