Page images
PDF
EPUB

that of which every soldier had the greatest dread, since, being always under the eye of the king, it is subject to a stricter discipline, and greater exertions, than any other regiment. When the soldier arrived, the king wished to see him.

Frederick, having slightly examined him, ordered him to put on a suit of the uniform of the guards. When the hussar re-entered in a dress so new, and so much handsomer than that he had before been used to, the king asked him how he liked it. The young man replied, that he should always be pleased with any sort of uniform, if he had but the happiness to please his sovereign, by doing his duty well.

“Very well,” said Frederick, "keep these clothes, remain here, do your duty, and I will take care of the rest. Your comrades will tell you what you have to do; but, my good fellow, you must be exact to a minute in your department: to this effect, you must be furnished with a good watch. Go, therefore, to such a watchmaker, tell him you are in my service, and he will give you a good silver watch, for which he will ask you forty crowns.

“ You will want, besides," said the king, “half a dozen of shirts, some stockings, cravats, and pocket handkerchiefs, which will come to about so much. Go and purchase the articles, and be always exact, faithful, and discreet in my -service. As to means for your subsistence and sundry expenses, I allow you ten crowns per month, which will be sufficient to procure

all
you

will want." The first thought of the young soldier, in the midst of his joy, was directed to his parents. “I have such abundance of money," said he, "and my father and mother are in the greatest necessity! Is there no means of sending them the forty crowns given me for the watch, and of borrowing that sum of some of my fellow-soldiers, on the condition of repaying them at the rate of five crowns per month? What remains will be quite enough fornecessaries.”

He could not resist this idea, and, accordingly, he borrowed the forty crowns among several of his fellow-soldiers. He procured the watch, and relieved his parents. But he was yet ignorant that kings know every thing, and that the first law imposed by Frederick on those who served him, was to disclose to him whatever facts they becanie acquainted with.

The next day, he sent for his new dependant, and said to him, “I gave you money to buy a watch, and you sent it to your parents. You supposed you were doing a noble action, without being conscious that it was a breach of your fidelity to me. It is right and meritorious to assist one's relations when they are indigent, and particularly when they are infirm or old ; to do so, is a most sacred duty. But, at the same time, we should appropriate to such a purpose only what is our own.

"In sending the money I gave you, you disposed of what did not belong to you. This money was not yours, since I gave it you only on condition that you should use it as I directed. It was no more than a deposit in your hands,

have violated the law imposed on persons who receive a trust. For this time, however, I pardon you, because your fault has arisen out of a sentiment both respectable and pure; out of a kind feeling, and without once reflecting on the nature of the case, as I have now explained it to you.

“The borrowing of the forty crowns was an aggravation of

your first fault; for we should never borrow, but under circumstances of great necessity, what we are not sure we shall be able to repay. For example, how would this debt be paid to your comrades if you were to die, or if I were to dismiss you ? On this occasion I will enable you to discharge your debt, but recollect, I absolutely forbid your contracting any other."

and you

LESSON THIRTY-THIRD.

FREDERICK AND THE HUSSAR ; OR, THE FAITHFUL AND

AFFECTIONATE SERVANT.

It was not long before Frederick felt the beneficial consequences of the kindness he had bestowed on this man. He was attacked by a violent fit of the gout. His physician was sent for, who found him in a raging fever, with his skin extremely dry. The physician's first object was to bring on a perspiration, and, accordingly, he ordered him a potion for that purpose ; but Frederick was possessed of the weakness of so many great commanders, who, like Mithridates, imagine themselves excellent physicians. He insisted on knowing the ingredients of the potion, and immediately after declared he would not take it.

He next dismissed the physician, telling him he was a fool. The physician informed the attendants in the antechamber that the king's malady was of the most serious nature—that it was of the highest importance to bring on a perspiration, but that he would take no medicine which would be likely to produce that effect—that he had even said the most affronting things to him-that, as a physician, anxious to do his duty, and preserve, if possible, the life of so great a king, he would leave the necessary prescription, and it would afterwards be their part to prevail on the king to take it.

He assured them that this was of the last importance, as nothing less than the life of the sovereign was at stake. He added, that should he swallow the potion, the greatest care should be taken to keep every part of his body well covered, and that some addition should be made to his bedclothes, till he should have perspired plentifully.

The attendants, after much deliberation, decided that, the

young hussar was the fittest person to be employed on this occasion, and he was accordingly appointed to watch by the king the same night-a charge he accepted not without apprehension, but without repugnance, and even with considerable zeal. The potion was brought about ten o'clock. The hussar entered the king's apartment with it in his band. “What have you there ?" said the king. “I have a potion, sire, which the physician declares to be absolutely necessary

for

your recovery." “ I will not take it; throw it into the fire.”_" But, sire, it is so necessary.”_"I wont take it”. _" Sire, the physician ordered us to present it to you.”—“ The physician is a fool. I tell you I will not take it."- Alas! sire, he assured us that the necessary perspiration could not be produced without it.”—“ He knows not what he says; throw it into the fire, and let me be quiet.”

“Ah! sire, what shall we do? It is of the greatest importance that you should take this potion. Was it not ordered by a physician who feels a personal attachment towards your majesty ?”—“ You tire my patience ; pray,

leave me.”—“ Sire, he assured us your preservation des pended on your compliance.”_“He is a fool; I command you to withdraw, and let me be tranquil.”.

_“ Is it not our duty to supplicate your majesty to take a potion which can effect your recovery?”

The king was at length quite angry; he threatened, commanded, and abused every one. The young man, still with the potion in his hand, begged, conjured, entreated, threw himself on his knees, wept; in short, he was not prevailed upon to desist. The contest lasted till midnight, when the king, absolutely exhausted, determined to take the potion, that he might get rid of his importunities, and obtain some sleep.

A short time after a new struggle arose. The medicine, as it began to operate, threw the king into so violent a heat, as to render him absolutely restless and refractory. The king wanted to uncover himself; the hussar would not allow of it. The king threw off a counterpane ; the hussar put it on again. If the king put but an arm outside the bedclothes, the hussar instantly covered it as well as he could -constantly entreating, soliciting pardon, and bending over the patient, who threatened, swore, and disputed in vain.

This new struggle lasted till near three in the morning, when the perspiration made its appearance. Feeling his uneasiness diminish, the king, by degrees, became calmer, and no less sensible that both the physician and hussar were in the right. He said to the latter, “My good fellow, I do not want you any longer; the perspiration is come, and I am no longer oppressed by the violent burning I complained of. I promise you not to uncover my. self

any more ; you may take my word ; go, therefore, and take some repose, which you must stand in need of.”

The hussar made as if he obeyed, but retired to a corner of the room, where, without being perceived, he continued to watch the king till he fell fast asleep. By daylight, his majesty found himself much better, when he dressed himself, and, sending for the hussar, he said to him, “ You are an excellent lad; you do your duty faithfully; you have served me on this occasion with the greatest zeal, and I am much satisfied with you. Here are fifty ducats. You may send them to your parents, if

you like it.”

LESSON THIRTY-FOURTH.

LOVE IS ETERNAL.

They sin who tell us love can die.
With life all other passions fly,
All others are but vanity.
In heaven ambition cannot dwell,
Nor avarice in the vaults of hell ;
Earthly these passions of the earth,
They perish where they have their birth ;
But love is indestructible,
Its holy flame for ever burneth,
From heaven it came, to heaven returneth ;
Too oft on earth a troubled guest,
At times deceived, at times opprest,
It here is tried and purified,
Then hath in heaven its perfect rest ;
It soweth here with toil and care,
But the harvest-time of love is there.
Oh! when her mother meets on high
The babe she lost in infancy,
Hath she not then, for pains and fears,

The day of wo, the watchful night,
For all her sorrow, all her tears,

An overpayment of delight!

LESSON THIRTY-FIFTH.

MAGNANIMOUS CONDUCT. At the time the Russian troops were in Holstein (says Captain Bruce), General Baur, who commanded the cavalry, and was himself a soldier of fortune, his family or country being a secret to everybody, took an opportunity to discover himself, which surprised and pleased those who were about him. Being encamped near Husum, in Holstein, he invited all his field-officers and some others to dine with him, and sent his adjutant to bring a miller and his wife, who lived in the neighbourhood, to the entertainment.

The poor couple came, very much afraid of the Muscovite general, and were quite confused when they appeared before him, which perceiving, he bade them make themselves quite easy, for he only meant to show them kindness, and had sent for them to dine with him that day, and

D

« PreviousContinue »