KING (to Icilius, as we learn from a different Record). "That is quite another man than Gottsched!" (EXUENT OMNES.)
The modest Gellert says he "remembered Jesus Sirach's advice, PRESS NOT THYSELF ON KINGS,--and never came back;" nor was specially sent for, in the hurries succeeding; though the King never quite forgot him. Next day, at dinner, the King said, "He is the reasonablest man of all the German Literary People, C'EST LE PLUS RAISONNABLE DE TOUS LES SAVANS ALLEMANDS." And to Garve, at Breslau, years afterwards: "Gellert is the only German that will reach posterity; his department is small, but he has worked in it with real felicity." And indeed the King had, before that, as practical result of the Gellert Dialogue, managed to set some Berlin Bookseller upon printing of these eligible FABLES, "for the use of our Prussian Schools;" in which and other capacities the FABLES still serve with acceptance there and elsewhere. [Preuss, ii. 274.]
In regard to Gellert's Horse-exercise, I had still to remember that Gellert, not long after, did get a Horse; two successive Horses; both highly remarkable. The first especially; which was Prince Henri's gift: "The Horse Prince Henri had ridden at the Battle of Freyberg" (Battle to be mentioned hereafter);--quadruped that must have been astonished at itself! But a pretty enough gift from the warlike admiring Prince to his dyspeptic Great Man. This Horse having yielded to Time, the very Kurfurst (grandson of Polish Majesty that now is) sent Gellert another, housing and furniture complete; mounted on which, Gellert and it were among the sights of Leipzig;--well enough known here to young Goethe, in his College days, who used to meet the great man and princely horse, and do salutation, with perhaps some twinkle of scepticism in the corner of his eye. [DICHTUNG UND WAHRHEIT, Theil ii. Buch 6 (in Goethe's WERKE, xxv. 51 et seq).] Poor Gellert fell seriously ill in December, 1769; to the fear and grief of all the world: "estafettes from the Kurfurst himself galloped daily, or oftener, from Dresden for the sick bulletin;" but poor Gellert died, all the same (13th of that month); and we have (really with pathetic thoughts, even we) to bid his amiable existence in this world, his bits of glories and him, adieu forever.
DIALOGUE WITH GENERAL SALDERN (in the Apel House, Leipzig, 21st January, 1761).
Four or five weeks after this of Gellert, Friedrich had another Dialogue, which also is partly on record, and is of more importance to us here: Dialogue with Major-General Saldern; on a certain business, delicate, yet profitable to the doer,--nobody so fit for it as Saldern, thinks the King. Saldern is he who did that extraordinary feat of packing the wrecks of battle on the Field of Liegnitz; a fine, clear-flowing, silent kind of man, rapid and steady; with a great deal of methodic and other good faculty in him,--more, perhaps, than he himself yet knows of. Him the King has sent for, this morning; and it is on the business of Polish Majesty's Royal Hunting-Schloss at Hubertsburg,--which is a thing otherwise worth some notice from us.
For three months long the King had been representing, in the proper quarters, what plunderings, and riotous and even disgusting savageries, the Saxons had perpetrated at Charlottenburg, Schonhausen, Friedrichsfeld, in October last, while masters there for a few days: but neither in Reichs Diet, where Plotho was eloquent, nor elsewhere by the Diplomatic method, could he get the least redress, or one civil word of regret. From Polish Majesty himself, to whom Friedrich remonstrated the matter, through the English Resident at Warsaw, Friedrich had expected regret; but he got none. Some think he had hoped that Polish Majesty, touched by these horrors of war, and by the reciprocities evidently liable to follow, might be induced to try something towards mediating a General Peace: but Polish Majesty did not; Polish Majesty answered simply nothing at all, nor would get into any correspondence: upon which Friedrich, possibly a little piqued withal, had at length determined on retaliation.
Within our cantonments, reflects Friedrich, here is Hubertsburg Schloss, with such a hunting apparatus in and around it; Polish Majesty's HERTZBLATT ("lid of the HEART," as they call it; breastbone, at least, and pit of his STOMACH, which inclines to nothing but hunting): let his Hubertsburg become as our Charlottenburg is; perhaps that will touch his feelings! Friedrich had formed this resolution; and, Wednesday, January 21st, sends for Saldern, one of the most exact, deft-going and punctiliously honorable of all his Generals, to execute it. Enter Saldern accordingly,--royal Audience-room "in the APEL'SCHE HAUS, New Neumarkt, No. 16," as above;--to whom (one Kuster, a reliable creature, reporting for us on Saldern's behalf) the King says, in the distinct slowish tone of a King giving orders:--
KING. "Saldern, to-morrow morning you go [ER, He goes) with a detachment of Infantry and Cavalry, in all silence, to Hubertsburg; beset the Schloss, get all the furnitures carefully packed up and invoiced. I want nothing with them; the money they bring I mean to bestow on our Field Hospitals, and will not forget YOU in disposing of it."