« 이전계속 »
The large territory thus acquired was "dog-cheap, it must be owned, for size and capability; but in the most waste condition, full of mutiny, injustice, anarchy, and highway-robbery; a purchase that might have proved dear enough to another man than Burg-graf Friedrich." To him it proved an excellent bargain. He insisted that his bold nobles should give up stealing pigs or anything else that was their neighbor's, and, if they were refractory, he knocked their castles about their earswith a big gun he had borrowed for the purpose, which his men called Faule Grete—Lazy Peg. So marked was his success, and so high did he rise in the esteem of mankind, that he was asked to stand for the Kaisership itself, but this he judiciously declined to do. Among the dozen or so of Electors who succeeded him, some were excellent governors, some bad, some indifferent, and it was not till the dawn of the eighteenth century that the Brandenburg Elector obtained the regal title and became King of Prussia. The winner of the title was an insignificant man, but his son Frederick William, the father of Frederick the Great, was highly remarkable, and of him Mr. Carlyle has a great deal to say. It seems very certain, however, that Frederick William was, in many important respects, a more stunted, cross-grained, mentally and morally ignoble person, than several of those clear-headed Burg-grafs and wise and brave Electors who, before his day, had sprung from Conrad of Hohenzollern.
FREDERICK WILLIAM. HIS "VERACITY." HIS TYRANNICAL CRUELTY. THE TOBACCO PARLIAMENT.
WE looked at Mr. Carlyle's portrait of Frederick; we may as well look at his equally graphic delineation of Frederick's father.
He was not tall of stature, this arbitrary King; a florid complexioned, stout-built man; of serious, sincere, authoritative face; his attitudes and equipments very Spartan in type. Man of short, firm stature; stands (in Peenc's best portraits of him) at his case, and yet like a tower. Most solid; "plumb and rather more j" eyes steadfastly awake; cheeks slightly compressed, too, which fling the mouth rather forward, as if asking silently, " Anything astir, then? All right here?" Face, figure, and bearing, all in him is expressive of robust insight and direct determination; of healthy energy, practicality, unquestioned authority—a certain air of royalty reduced to its simplest form. The face, in pictures by Pesne and others, is not beautiful or agreeable; healthy, genuine, authoritative, is the best you can say of it. Yet it may have been, what it is described as being, originally handsome. High enough arched brow, rather copious cheeks and jaws; nose smallish, inclining to be stumpy; large gray eyes, bright with steady fire and life, often enough gloomy and severe, but capable of jolly laughter too. Eyes "naturally with a kind of laugh in them," says Pollnitz; which laugh can blaze out into fearful thunderous rage, if you give him provocation—especially if you lie to him; for that he hates above all things. Look him straight in the face; he fancies he can see in your eyes if there is an internal mendacity in you; wherefore you must look at him when speaking; such is his standing order
Nothing could exceed his Majesty's simplicity of habitudes. But one loves especially in him his scrupulous attention to cleanliness of person and of environment. He washed like a very Mussulman, five times a day; loved cleanliness in all things to a superstitious extent; which trait is pleasant in the rugged man, and, indeed, of a piece with the rest of his character. IIe is gradually changing all his silk and other cloth roomfurniture; in his hatred of dust, he will not suffer a floor-carpet, even a stuffed chair; but insists on having all of wood, where the dust may be prosecuted to destruction. Wife and womankind, and those that take after them, let such have stuffing and sofas; he, for his part, sits on mere wooden chairs; sits, and also thinks and acts, after the manner of a Hyperborean Spartan, which he was. He ate heartily, but as a rough farmer and hunter eats; country messes, good roast and boiled; despising the French cook as an entity without meaning for him. His favorite dish at dinner was bacon and greens, rightly dressed; what could the French cook do for such a man? He ate with rapidity, almost with indiscriminate violence; his object not quality but quantity. He drank too, but did not get drunk; at the doctor's order he could abstain; and had in later days abstained. Pollnitz praises his fineness of complexion, the originally eminent whiteness of his skin, which he had tanned and bronzed by hard riding and hunting, and otherwise worse discolored by his manner of feeding and digesting; alas! at last his waistcoat came to measure, I am afraid to say how many Prussian ells, a very considerable diameter indeed. . . .
He girt his sword about the loins, well out of the mud; walked always with a thick bamboo in his hand. Steady, not slow of step; with his triangular hat, cream-white round wig (in his olden days), and face tending to purple—the eyes looking out mere investigation, sharp, swift authority, and dangerous readiness to rebuke and set the cane in motion:—it was so he walked abroad in this earth; and the common run of men rather fled his approach than courted it. For, in fact, he was dangerous; and would ask in an alarming manner, " Who arc you?" Any fantastic, much more any suspicious looking person, might fare the worse. An idle lounger at the street corner he lias been known to hit over the crown; and peremptorily despatch: "Home, sirrah, and take to some work!" That the apple-women be encouraged to knit while waiting for custom—encouraged anil quietly constrained, and at length packed away, and their stalls taken from them, if unconstrainable—there has, as we observed, an especial rescript been put forth; very curious to read.
Dandiacal figures, nay, people looking like Frenchmen, idle, flaunting women even—better for them to be going. Who arc you? and if you lied or prevaricated (" Look me in the face, then!"), or even stumbled, hesitated, and gave suspicion of prevaricating, it might be worse for you. A soft answer is less effectual than a prompt, clear one, to turn away wrath. "A Candidatus thcologim, your Majesty," answered a hand-fast, threadbare FREDERICK WILLIAM'S "VERACITY."
youth one day, when questioned in this manner. "Where from!" "Berlin, your Majesty." "H-m, na, the Berliners are a good-for-nothing set." "Yes, truly, too many of them; but there are exceptions; I know two." ''Two? Which, then?" "Your Majesty and myself." Majesty bursts into a laugh; the Candidatus was got examined by the Consistoriums and Authorities proper in that matter, and put into a chaplaincy.
This is the unprepossessing hero who is declared by Carlyle to have been the most veracious man of his epoch. "Except Samuel Johnson," there was no man of his time gifted with comparable veracity, and even Johnson was not so veracious as the " rugged Orson" of the Spree. In order to comprehend this singular judgment, we must understand what Mr. Carlyle means by veracity. Johnson was personally a truthful man, but his mind was cobwebbed with prepossessions, fallacies, ignorances, respecting which he continued wilfully blind. He was disgracefully ignorant, and was content to remain disgracefully ignorant, of the history of his own country in the preceding age, his ignorance rendering him grossly unjust to the greatest Englishmen of the Puritan time. He was the willing slave of intellectual reaction, standing aside in churlish antipathy from the main current of speculation and progress in his day. But he was abrupt in speech; harsh and overbearing, when any one ventured to disagree with him; arbitrary, irritable, and an admirer of despotically-strong government. I am not called upon to eulogize Johnson's good qualities, which were of a high order; but I cannot help thinking that it is to these drawbacks he owes the honor of being classed by Carlyle as the most truthful man of the eighteenth century except old Frederick William. The truthful man, Mr. Carlyle informs us, "loves truth as truth should be loved, with all his heart and all his soul." Frederick William deliberately told lies. Mr. Carlyle makes no secret of the fact. Let us take an illustration of Frederick William's veracity from his pages.
Czar Peter, who was frequently in Prussia, used to have his expenses paid by the Prussian authorities. Frederick William, on one occasion, orders what we should call his Financial Board to lay out six thousand thalers (about £900) on behalf of the Czar in his progress from Mcmel to Wesel; that is to say, through the whole length of the Prussian dominions. The officials think the sum too small, and venture to remonstrate. The King replies, in writing, that he will allow not one farthing more, " but," he adds, " you are to give out to the world that it costs me from thirty to forty thousand." There could hardly be a more barefaced lie than this. Mr. Carlyle himself cannot help dropping a tear over the disgrace of the most veracious man of his epoch. "So that here," says Mr. Carlyle, " is the Majesty of Prussia, who beyond all men abhors lies, giving orders to tell one! Alas! yes; a kiud of lie, or fib (white fib or even gray), the pinch of thrift compelling!" This is all we have in the way of blame; the next sentence has a tone of extenuation, almost of pity. "But what a window into the artless inner-man of his Majesty, even that gray fib; not done by one's self, but ordered to be done by the servant, as if that were cheaper!" The valuation of lies is a slippery business, but it seems plain that a lie which, with all its consequences, you take npon your own head, is less despicable than a lie which you force other people to tell for you. Frederick William's lie strikes me as one of the meanest on record.
By veracity, Mr. Carlyle does not mean what is usually signified by the term. It is far from easy to say what he does mean, nor shall I affirm that he has been consistent in his use of the word; but 1 take it that we shall not be iar wrong if we say that, for him, a truthful man is neither more nor less than an effective man, a man who knows how to fit means to ends, a man who succeeds. He does not, indeed, say that success in the vulgar acceptation of the term is the measure of a man's worth. On no theme does he more congenially expatiate than on the hollowness of that success which has no stand