"In July, 1784, Marquis de Bouille (lately returned from a visit to England), desirous to see the Prussian Army, and to approach the great Friedrich while it was yet time, travelled by way of Holland to Berlin, through Potsdam [no date; got to Berlin "August 6th;" [Rodenbeck, iii. 309.] so that we can guess "August 5th" for his Potsdam day]. Saw, at Sans-Souci, in the vestibule, a bronze Bust of Charles XII.; in the dining-room, among other pictures, a portrait of the Chateauroux, Louis XV.'s first Mistress. In the King's bedroom, simple camp-bed, coverlet of crimson taffetas,-- rather dirty, as well as the other furniture, on account of the dogs. Many books lying about: Cicero, Tacitus, Titus Livius [in French Translations]. On a chair, Portrait of Kaiser Joseph II.; same in King's Apartments in Berlin Schloss, also in the Potsdam New Palace: 'C'EST UN JEUNE HOMME QUE JE NE DOIS PAS PERDRE DE VUE.'
"King entering, took off his hat, saluting the Marquis, whom a Chamberlain called Gortz presented [no Chamberlain; a Lieutenant- General, and much about the King; his Brother, the Weimar Gortz, is gone as Prussian Minister to Petersburg some time ago]. King talked about the War DES ISLES [my West-India War], and about England. 'They [the English] are like sick people who have had a fever; and don't know how ill they have been, till the fit is over.' Fox he treated as a noisy fellow (DE BROUILLON); but expressed admiration of young Pitt. 'The coolness with which he can stand being not only contradicted, but ridiculed and insulted, CELA PARAIT AU-DESSUS DE LA PATIENCE HUMAINE.' King closed the conversation by saying he would be glad to see me in Silesia, whither he was just about to go for Reviews [will go in ten days, August 15th].
"Friedrich was 72," last January 24th. "His physiognomy, dress, appearance, are much what the numerous well-known Portraits represent him. At Court, and on great Ceremonies, he appears sometimes in black-colored stockings rolled over the knee, and rose-colored or sky-blue coat (BLEU CELESTE). He is fond of these colors, as his furniture too shows. The Marquis dined with the Prince of Prussia, without previous presentation; so simple are the manners of this Soldier Court. The Heir Presumptive lodges at a brewer's house, and in a very mean way; is not allowed to sleep from home without permission from the King."
Bouille set out for Silesia 11th August; was at Neisse in good time. "Went, at 5 A.M. [date is August 19th, Review lasts till 24th], [Rodenbeck, iii. 310.] to see the King mount. All the Generals, Prince of Prussia among them, waited in the street; outside of a very simple House, where the King lodged. After waiting half an hour, his Majesty appeared; saluted very graciously, without uttering a word. This was one of his special Reviews [that was it!]. He rode (MARCHAIT) generally alone, in utter silence; it was then that he had his REGARD TERRIBLE, and his features took the impress of severity, to say no more. [Is displeased with the Review, I doubt, though Bouille saw nothing amiss;--and merely tells us farther:] At the Reviews the King inspects strictly one regiment after another: it is he that selects the very Corporals and Sergeants, much more the Upper Officers; nominating for vacancies what Cadets are to fill them,--all of whom are Nobles." Yes, with rare exceptions, all. Friedrich, democratic as his temper was, is very strict on this point; "because," says he repeatedly, "Nobles have honor; a Noble that misbehaves, or flinches in the moment of crisis, can find no refuge in his own class; whereas a man of lower birth always can in his." [
"After Review, dined with his Majesty. Just before dinner he gave to the assembled Generals the 'Order' for to-morrow's Manoeuvres [as we saw in Conway's case, ten years ago]. This lasted about a quarter of an hour; King then saluted everybody, taking off TRES- AFFECTUEUSEMENT his hat, which he immediately put on again. Had now his affable mien, and was most polite to the strangers present. At dinner, conversation turned on the Wars of Louis XIV.; then on English-American War,--King always blaming the English, whom he does not like. Dinner lasted three hours. His Majesty said more than once to me [in ill humor, I should almost guess, and wishful to hide it]: 'Complete freedom here, as if we were in our Tavern, Sir (ICI, TOUTE LIBERTE, MONSIEUR, COMME SI NOUS ETIONS AU CABARET)!' On the morrow," August 20th, "dined again. King talked of France; of Cardinal Richelieu, whose principles of administration he praised. Repeated several times, that 'he did not think the French Nation fit for Free Government.' At the Reviews, Friedrich did not himself command; but prescribed, and followed the movements; criticised, reprimanded and so forth. On horseback six hours together, without seeming fatigued.
"King left for Breslau 25th August [24th, if it were of moment]. Bouille followed thither; dined again. Besides Officers, there were present several Polish Princes, the Bishop of the Diocese, and the Abbot Bastiani. King made pleasantries about religion [pity, that]; Bastiani not slow with repartees", of a defensive kind. "King told me, on one occasion, 'Would you believe it? I have just been putting my poor Jesuits' finances into order. They understand nothing of such things, CES BONS HOMMES. They are useful to me in forming my Catholic Clergy. I have arranged it with his Holiness the Pope, who is a friend of mine, and behaves very well to me.' Pointing from the window to the Convent of Capuchins, 'Those fellows trouble me a little with their bell-ringings. They offered to stop it at night, for my sake: but I declined. One must leave everybody to his trade; theirs is to pray, and I should have been sorry to deprive them of their chimes (CARILLON).'
"The 20,000 troops, assembled at Breslau, did not gain the King's approval,"--far from it, alas, as we shall all see! "To some Chiefs of Corps he said, 'VOUS RESSEMBLEZ PLUS A DES TAILLEURS QU'A DES MILITAIRES (You are more like tailors than soldiers)!' He cashiered several, and even sent one Major-General to prison for six weeks." That of the tailors, and Major-General Erlach clapt in prison, is too true;--nor is that the saddest part of the Affair to us. "Bouille was bound now on an excursion to Prag, to a Camp of the Kaiser's there. 'Mind,' said the King, alluding to Bouille's BLUE uniform,--'mind, in the Country you are going to, they don't like the blue coats; and your Queen has even preserved the family repugnance, for she does not like them either.' [ESSAI SUR LA VIE DU MARQUIS DE BOUILLE, pp. l34-149.]
"September 5th, 1784, Bouille arrived at Prag. Austrian Manoeuvres are very different; troops, though more splendidly dressed, contrast unfavorably with Prussians;"--unfavorably, though the strict King was so dissatisfied. "Kaiser Joseph, speaking of Friedrich, always admiringly calls him 'LE ROI.' Joseph a great questioner, and answers his own questions. His tone BRUSQUE ET DECIDE. Dinner lasted one hour.