by the pressure of the crowd, were squeezed into the fat

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:--

by the pressure of the crowd, were squeezed into the fat

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.]

by the pressure of the crowd, were squeezed into the fat

Well;--but Barberina had, as is usual, subsidiary trades to her dancing: in particular, a young English Gentleman had followed her up and down, says Zimmermann, and was still here in Venice passionately attached to her. Which fact, especially which young English gentleman, should have been extremely indifferent to me, but for a circumstance soon to be mentioned. The young English gentleman, clear against Barberina's Prussian scheme, passionately opposes the same, passionately renews his own offers;--induces Barberina to inform the Prussian agent that she renounces her engagement in that quarter. Prussian agent answers that it is not renounceable; that he has legal writing on it, and that it must be kept. Barberina rises into contumacy, will laugh at all writing and compulsion. Prussian agent applies to Doge and Senate on the subject, in his King's name; who answer politely, but do nothing: "How happy to oblige so great a King; but--" And so it lasts for certain months; Barberina and the young English gentleman contumacious in Venice, and Doge and Senate merely wishing we may get her.

by the pressure of the crowd, were squeezed into the fat

Meanwhile a Venetian Ambassador happens to be passing through Berlin, in his way to or from some Hyperborean State; arrives at some hotel, in Berlin;--finds, on the morrow, that his luggage is arrested by Royal Order; that he, or at least IT, cannot get farther, neither advance nor return, till Barberina do come. "Impossible, Signor: a bargain is a bargain; and States ought to have law-courts that enforce contracts entered into in their territories." The Venetian Doge and Senate do now lay hold of Barberina; pack her into post-chaises, off towards Berlin, under the charge of armed men, with the proper transit-papers,--as it were under the address, "For his Majesty of Prussia, this side uppermost,"--and thus she actually is conveyed, date or month uncertain, by Innspruck or the Splugen, I cannot say which, over mountain, over valley, from country to country, and from stage to stage, till she arrives at Berlin; Ambassador with baggage having been let go, so soon as the affair was seen to be safe.

As for the young English gentleman passionately attached, he followed, it is understood; faithful, constant as shadow to the sun, always a stage behind; arrived in Berlin two hours after his Barberina, still passionately attached; and now, as the rumor goes, was threatening even to marry her, and so save the matter. Supremely indifferent to my readers and me. But here now is the circumstance that makes it mentionable. The young English is properly a young Scotch gentleman; James Mackenzie the name of him,--a grandson of the celebrated Advocate, Sir George Mackenzie; and younger Brother of a personage who, as Earl of Bute, became extremely conspicuous in this Kingdom in after years. That makes it mentionable,--if only in the shape of MYTH. For Friedrich, according to rumor, being still like to lose his Dancer in that manner, warned the young gentleman's friends; and had him peremptorily summoned home, and the light fantastic toe left free in that respect. Which procedure the indignant young gentleman (thinks my Author) never forgave; continuing a hater of Friedrich all his days; and instilling the same sentiment into the Earl of Bute at a period which was very critical, as we shall see. This is my Author's, the often fallacious though not mendacious Dr. Zimmermann's, rather deliberate account; a man not given to mendacity, though filled with much vague wind, which renders him fallacious in historical points.

Readers of Walpole's George the Third know enough of this Mackenzie, "Earl's Brother, MACKINSY," and the sorrowful difficulties about his Scotch law-office or benefice; in which matter "Mackinsy" behaves always in a high way, and only the Ministerial Outs and Inns higgle pedler-like, vigilant of the Liberties of England, as they call them. In the end, Mackinsy kept his law-office or got it restored to him; 3,000 pounds a year without excess of work; a man much the gentleman, according to the rule then current: in contemplative rare moments, the man, looking back through the dim posterns of the mind, might see afar off a certain pirouetting Figure, once far from indifferent, and not yet quite melted into cheerless gray smoke, as so much of the rest is-- to Mr. Mackinsy and us. I have made, in the Scotch Mackenzie circles, what inquiry was due; find no evidence, but various likelihoods, that this of the Barberina and him is fact, and a piece of his biography. As to the inference deduced from it, in regard to Friedrich and the Earl of Bute, on a critical occasion,-- that rests entirely with Zimmermann; and the candid mind inclines to admit that, probably, it is but rumor and conjecture; street-dust sticking to the Doctor's shoes, and demanding merely to be well swept out again. Heigho!--

Barberina, though a dancer, did not want for more essential graces. Very sprightly, very pretty and intelligent; not without piquancy and pungency: the King himself has been known to take tea with her in mixed society, though nothing more; and with passionate young gentlemen she was very successful. Not long after her coming to Berlin, she made conquest of Cocceji, the celebrated Chancellor's Son; who finding no other resource, at length privately married her. Voltaire's Collini, when he came to Berlin, in 1750, recommended by a Signora Sister of the Barberina's, found the Barberina and her Mother dining daily with this Cocceji as their guest: [Collini, Mon Sejour aupres de Voltaire (a Paris, 1807), pp. 13-19.] Signora Barberina privately informed Collini how the matter was; Signorina still dancing all the same,--though she had money in the English funds withal; and Friedrich had been so generous as give her the fixing of her own salary, when she came to him, this-side-uppermost, in the way we described. She had fixed, too modestly thinks Collini, on 5,000 thalers (about 750 pounds) a year; having heart and head as well as heels, poor little soul. Perhaps her notablest feat in History, after all, was her leading this Collini, as she now did, into the service of Voltaire, to be Voltaire's Secretary. As will be seen. Whereby we have obtained a loyal little Book, more credible than most others, about that notable man.

At a subsequent period, Barberina decided on declaring her marriage with Cocceji; she drew her money from the English funds, purchased a fine mansion, and went to live with the said Cocceji there, giving up the Opera and public pirouettes. But this did not answer either. Cocceji's Mother scorned irreconcilably the Opera alliance; Friedrich, who did not himself like it in his Chancellor's Son, promoted the young man to some higher post in the distant Silesian region. But there, alas, they themselves quarrelled; divorced one another; and rumor again was busy. "You, Cocceji yourself, are but a schoolmaster's grandson [Barberina, one easily supposes, might have a temper withal]; and it is I, if you will recollect, that drew money from the English funds!" Barberina married again; and to a nobleman of sixteen quarters this time, and with whom at least there was no divorce. Successful with passionate gentlemen; having money from the English funds. Her last name was Grafinn--I really know not what. Her descendants probably still live, with sixteen quarters, in those parts. It was thus she did her life-journey, waltzing and walking; successfully holding her own against the world. History declares itself ashamed of spending so many words on such a subject. But the Dancer of Friedrich, and the authoress, prime or proximate, of Collini's Voltaire, claims a passing remembrance. Let us, if we can easily help it, never speak of her more.

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