Wilhelmina's story of the Cabinet of Antiques; of the Indecent little Statue there, and of the orders Catherine got to kiss it, with a "KOPF AB (Head off, if you won't)!" from the bantering Czar, whom she had to obey,--is not incredible, after what we have seen. It seems, he begged this bit of Antique Indecency from Friedrich Wilhelm; who, we may fancy, would give him such an article with especial readiness. That same day, fourth of the Visit, Thursday, 23d of the month, the august Party went its ways again; Friedrich Wilhelm convoying "as far as Potsdam;" Czar and Suite taking that route towards Mecklenburg, where he still intends some little pause before proceeding homeward. Friedrich Wilhelm took farewell; and never saw the Czar again.
It was on this Journey, best part of which is now done, that the famous Order bore, "Do it for six thousand thalers; won't allow you one other penny (
Peter's, VIATICUM, the Antique Indecency, Friedrich Wilhelm did not grudge to part with; glad to purchase the Czar's good-will by coin of that kind. Last year, at Havelberg, he had given the Czar an entire Cabinet of Amber Articles, belonging to his late Father. Amber Cabinet, in the lump; and likewise such a Yacht, for shape, splendor and outfit, as probably Holland never launched before;-- Yacht also belonging to his late Father, and without value to Friedrich Wilhelm. The old King had got it built in Holland, regardless of expense,--15,000 pounds, they say, perhaps as good as 50,000 pounds now; --and it lay at Potsdam: good for what? Friedrich Wilhelm sent it down the Havel, down the Elbe, silk sailors and all, towards Hamburg and Petersburg, with a great deal of pleasure. For the Czar, and peace and good-will with the Czar, was of essential value to him. Neither, at any rate, is the Czar a man to take gifts without return. Tall fellows for soldiers: that is always one prime object with Friedrich Wilhelm; for already these Potsdam Guards of his are getting ever more gigantic. Not less an object, though less an ideal or POETIC one (as we once defined), was this other, to find buyers for the Manufactures, new and old, which he was so bent on encouraging. "It is astonishing, what quantities of cloth, of hardware, salt, and all kinds of manufactured articles the Russians buy from us," say the old Books;--"see how our 'Russian Company' flourishes!" In both these objects, not to speak of peace and good-will in general, the Czar is our man.
Thus, this very Autumn, there arrive, astonished and astonishing, no fewer than a hundred and fifty human figures (one half MORE than were promised), probably from seven to eight feet high; the tallest the Czar could riddle out from his Dominions: what a windfall to the Potsdam Guard and its Colonel-King! And all succeeding Autumns the like, so long as Friedrich Wilhelm lived; every Autumn, out of Russia a hundred of the tallest mortals living. Invaluable,--to a "man of genius" mounted on his hobby! One's "stanza" can be polished at this rate.
In return for these Russian sons of Anak, Friedrich Wilhelm grudged not to send German smiths, millwrights, drill-sergeants, cannoneers, engineers; having plenty of them. By whom, as Peter well calculated, the inert opaque Russian mass might be kindled into luminosity and vitality; and drilled to know the Art of War, for one thing. Which followed accordingly. And it is observable, ever since, that the Russian Art of War has a tincture of GERMAN in it (solid German, as contradistinguished from unsolid Revolutionary-French); and hints to us of Friedrich Wilhelm and the Old Dessauer, to this hour.--EXEANT now the Barbaric semi-fabulous Sovereignties, till wanted again.
THE CROWN-PRINCE IS PUT TO HIS SCHOOLING.
In his seventh year, young Friedrich was taken out of the hands of the women; and had Tutors and Sub-Tutors of masculine gender, who had been nominated for him some time ago, actually set to work upon their function. These we have already heard of; they came from Stralsund Siege, all the principal hands.
Duhan de Jandun, the young French gentleman who had escaped from grammar-lessons to the trenches, he is the practical teacher. Lieutenant-General Graf Fink von Finkenstein and Lieutenant-Colonel von Kalkstein, they are Head Tutor (OBERHOFMEISTER) and Sub-Tutor; military men both, who had been in many wars besides Stralsund. By these three he was assiduously educated, subordinate schoolmasters working under them when needful, in such branches as the paternal judgment would admit; the paternal object and theirs being to infuse useful knowledge, reject useless, and wind up the whole into a military finish. These appointments, made at different precise dates, took effect, all of them, in the year 1719.