“We seem to abound in naval characters to-night,” observed

Goldstick Pollnitz is at Baireuth in these months; fallen quite disconsolate since we last heard of him. His fine marriage went awry,--rich lady, very wisely, drawing back;--and the foolish old creature has decided on REchanging his religion; which he has changed already thrice or so, in his vagabond straits; for the purpose of "retiring to a convent" this time. Friedrich, in candid brief manner, rough but wise, and not without some kindness for an old dog one is used to, has answered, "Nonsense; that will never do!" But Pollnitz persisting; formally demanding leave to demit, and lay down the goldstick, with that view,--Friedrich does at length send him Certificate of Leave; "which is drawn out with all the forms, and was despatched through Eichel to the proper Board;" but which bears date APRIL FIRST, and though officially valid, is of quizzical nature:---perhaps already known to some readers; having got into the Newspapers, and widely abroad, at a subsequent time. As authentic sample of Friedrich in that kind, here it accurately is, with only one or two slight abridgments, which are indicated:--

“We seem to abound in naval characters to-night,” observed

"Whereas the Baron de Pollnitz, born at Berlin [at Koln, if it made any matter], of honest parents so far as We know,--after having served Our Grandfather as Gentleman of the Chamber, Madam d'Orleans [wicked Regent's Mother, a famed German Lady] in the same rank, the King of Spain in quality of Colonel, the deceased Kaiser in that of Captain of Horse, the Pope as Chamberlain, the Duke of Brunswick as Chamberlain, Duke of Weimar as Ensign, our Father as Chamberlain, and, in fine, Us as Grand Master of the Ceremonies,"--has, in spite of such accumulation of honors, become disgusted with the world; and requests a Parting Testimony, to support his good reputation,--

“We seem to abound in naval characters to-night,” observed

"We, remembering his important services to the House, in diverting for nine years long the late King our Father, and doing the honors of our Court during the now Reign, cannot refuse such request; but do hereby certify, That the said Baron has never assassinated, robbed on the highway, poisoned, forcibly cut purses, or done other atrocity or legal crime at our Court; but has always maintained gentlemanly behavior, making not more than honest use of the industry and talents he has been endowed with at birth; imitating the object of the Drama, that is, correcting mankind by gentle quizzing; following, in the matter of sobriety, Boerhaave's counsels; pushing Christian charity so far as often to make the rich understand that it is more blessed to give than to receive;-- possessing perfectly the anecdotes of our various Mansions, especially of our worn-out Furnitures; rendering himself, by his merits, necessary to those who know him; and, with a very bad head, having a very good heart.

“We seem to abound in naval characters to-night,” observed

"Our anger the said Baron never kindled but once,"--in atrociously violating the grave of an Ancestress (or Step Ancestress) of ours. [Step-Ancestress was Dorothea, the Great Elector's second Wife; of whom Pollnitz, in his Memoirs and Letters, repeats the rumor that once she, perhaps, tried to poison her Stepson Friedrich, First King. (See supra, vol. v. p. 47).] "But as the loveliest countries have their barren spots, the beautifulest forms their imperfections, pictures by the greatest masters their faults, We are willing to cover with the veil of oblivion those of the said Baron; do hereby grant him, with regret, the Congee he requires;--and abolish his Office altogether, to blot it from men's memory, not judging that anybody after the said Baron can be worthy to fill it. "Done at Potsdam, this 1st of April, 1744. FREDERIC." [ OEuvres, xv. 193.]

The Office of Grand Master of the Ceremonies was, accordingly, abolished altogether. But Pollnitz, left loose in this manner, did not gallop direct, or go at all, into monkhood, as he had expected; but, in fact, by degrees, crept home to Berlin again; took the subaltern post of Chamberlain; and there, in the old fashion (straitened in finance, making loans, retailing anecdotes, not witty but the cause of wit), wore out life's gray evening; till, about thirty years hence, he died; "died as he had lived, swindling the very night before his decease," writes Friedrich; [Letter to Voltaire, 13th August, 1775 ( OEuvres de Frederic, xxiii. 344). See Preuss, v. 241 (URKUNDENBUCH), the Letters of Friedrich to Pollnitz.] who was always rather kind to the poor old dog, though bantering him a good deal.


Early in May, the Berlin public first saw its Barberina dance, and wrote ecstatic Latin Epigrams about that miracle of nature and art; [Rodenbeck, pp. 111, 190.]--miracle, alas, not entirely omissible by us. Here is her Story, as the Books give it; slightly mythical, I judge, in some of its non-essential parts; but good enough for the subject:--

Barberina the Dancer had cost Friedrich some trouble; the pains he took with her elegant pirouettings and poussettings, and the heavy salary he gave her, are an unexpected item in his history. He wished to favor the Arts, yes; but did he reckon Opera-dancing a chief one among them? He had indeed built an Opera-House, and gave free admissions, supporting the cost himself; and among his other governings, governed the dancer and singer troops of that establishment. Took no little trouble about his Opera:--yet perhaps he privately knew its place, after all. "Wished to encourage strangers of opulent condition to visit his Capital," say the cunning ones. It may be so; and, at any rate, he probably wished to act the King in such matters, and not grudge a little money. He really loved music, even opera music, and knew that his people loved it; to the rough natural man, all rhythm, even of a Barberina's feet, may be didactic, beneficial: do not higgle, let us do what is to be done in a liberal style. His agent at Venice-- for he has agents everywhere on the outlook for him--reports that here is a Female Dancer of the first quality, who has shone in London, Paris and the Capital Cities, and might answer well, but whose terms will probably be dear. "Engage her," answers Friedrich. And she is engaged on pretty terms; she will be free in a month or two, and then start. [Zimmermann, Fragmente uber Friedrich den Grossen (Leipzig, 1790), i. 88-92; Collini, ubi infra; Denina; &c.: compare Rodenbeck, p. 191.]

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