And withal, at Paris, in the same hours, there went on a thing worth noting. That January day, while Icilius was busy on the Schloss of Hubertsburg, poor old Marechal de Belleisle,--mark him, reader!--"in the Rue de Lille at Paris," lay sunk in putrid fever; and on the fourth day after, "January 26th, 1761," the last of the grand old Frenchmen died. "He had been reported dead three days before," says Barbier: "the public wished it so; they laid the blame on him of this apparent" (let a cautious man write it, "apparent) derangement in our affairs,"--instead of thanking him for all he had done and suffered (loss of so much, including reputation and an only Son) to repair and stay the same. "He was in his 77th year. Many people say, 'We must wait three months, to see if we shall not regret him,'"--even him! [Barbier, iv. 373; i. 154.] So generous are Nations.
Marechal Duc de Belleisle was very wealthy: in Vernon Country, Normandy, he had estates and chateaux to the value of about 24,000 pounds annually. All these, having first accurately settled for his own debts, he, in his grand old way, childless, forlorn, but loftily polite to the last, bequeathed to the King. His splendid Paris Mansion he expressly left "to serve in perpetuity as a residence for the Secretary of State in the Department of War:" a magnificent Town-House it is, "HOTEL MAGNIFIQUE, at the end of the Pont-Royal,"--which, I notice farther, is in our time called "Hotel de CHOISEUL-PRASLIN,"--a house latterly become horrible in men's memory, if my guess is right.
And thus vanishes, in sour dark clouds, the once great Belleisle. Grandiose, something almost of great in him, of sublime,--alas, yes, of too sublime; and of unfortunate beyond proportion, paying the debt of many foregoers! He too is a notability gone out, the last of his kind. Twenty years ago, he crossed the OEil-de-Boeuf with Papers, just setting out to cut Teutschland in Four; and in the Rue de Lille, No. 54, with that grandiose Enterprise drawing to its issue in universal defeat, disgrace, discontent and preparation for the General Overturn (CULBUTE GENERALE of 1789)) he closes his weary old eyes. Choiseul. succeeds him as War-Minister; War-Minister and Prime-Minister both in one;--and by many arts of legerdemain, and another real spasm of effort upon Hanover to do the impossible there, is leading France with winged steps the same road.
Since March 17th, Friedrich was no longer in Leipzig. He left at that time, for Meissen Country, and the Hill Cantonments,-- organized there his little Expedition into Voigtland, for behoof of the Reichsfolk;--and did not return. Continued, mostly in Meissen Country, as the fittest for his many businesses, Army-regulatings and other. Till the Campaign come, we will remember of him nothing, but this little Note, and pleasant little Gift, to his CHERE MAMAN, the day after his arrival in those parts:--
TO MADAM CAMAS (at Magdeburg, with the Queen).
"I send you, my dear Mamma, a little Trifle, by way of keepsake and memento [Snuffbox of Meissen Porcelain, with the figure of a Dog on the lid]. You may use the Box for your rouge, for your patches, or you may put snuff in it, or BONBONS or pills: but whatever use you turn it to, think always, when you see this Dog, the Symbol of Fidelity, that he who sends it outstrips, in respect of fidelity and attachment to MAMAN, all the dogs in the world; and that his devotion to you has nothing whatever in common with the fragility of the material which is manufactured hereabouts.
"I have ordered Porcelain here for all the world, for Schonhausen [for your Mistress, my poor uncomplaining Wife], for my Sisters-in- law; in fact, I am rich in this brittle material only. And I hope the receivers will accept it as current money: for, the truth is, we are poor as can be, good Mamma; I have nothing left but honor, my coat, my sword, and porcelain.
"Farewell, my beloved Mamma. If Heaven will, I shall one day see you again face to face; and repeat to you, by word of mouth, what I have already said and written; but, turn it and re-turn it as I may, I shall never, except very incompletely, express what the feelings of my heart to you are.--F." [Given in Rodenbeck, ii. 79; omitted, for I know not what reason, in