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vanities. Here, upon my Weinberg, I will not be a king, but a friend
and a philosopher."

"And a poet," said D'Argens, in loving tones. "I will now recall a
couplet to the poet-king, which he once repeated to me, when I was
melancholy-almost hopeless:

"'Nous avons deux moments a vivre;
Qu'il en soit un pour le plaisir.'"

"Can you believe that we have not already exhausted this moment?"
said Frederick, with a sad smile. Then, after a short pause, his
face lightened and his eye glowed with its wonted fire; a gay
resolve was written in his countenance. "Well, let us try, marquis,
if you are right; let us seek to extend this moment as long as
possible, and when death comes - "

"Finissons sans trouble, et mourons sans regrets,
En laissant l'univers, comble de nos bienfaits.
Ainsi l'astre du jour au bout de sa carriere,
Repand sur l'horizon une douce lumiere,
Et les derniers rayons qu'il darde dans lea airs,
Sont ses derniers soupirs qu'il donne a l'univers."

The marquis listened with rapture to this improvised poem of the
king. When it was concluded, the fiery Provencal called out, in an
ecstasy of enthusiasm: "You are not a mere mortal, sire; you are a
king - a hero - yes, a demi-god!"

"I will show you something to disprove your flattering words," said
Frederick, smiling. "Look out, dear D'Argens; what do you see,
there, directly opposite to the window?"

"Does your majesty mean that beautiful statue in marble?"

"Yes, marquis. What do you suppose that to be?"

"That, sire? It is a reclining statue of Flora."

"No, D'Argens; THAT is my grave!"

"Your grave, sire?" said the marquis, shuddering; "and you have had
it placed exactly before the window of your favorite study?"

"Exactly there; that I may keep death always in REMEMBRANCE! Come,
marquis, we will draw nearer."

They left the house, and advanced to the Rondel, where the superb
statue of Flora was reclining.

"There, under this marble form, is the vault in which I shall lie
down to sleep," said Frederick. "I began my building at Weinberg
with this vault. But it is a profound secret; guard it well, also,
dear friend! The living have a holy horror of death; it is not well
to speak of graves or death lightly!"

D'Argen's eyes were filled with tears. "Oh, sire! may this marble
lie immovable, and the grave beneath it be a mystery for many long

The king shook his head lightly, and a heavenly peace was written on
his features. "Why do you wish that?" said he. Then pointing to the
grave, he said: "When I lie there - Je serais sans souci!" [Footnote:
Nicolai, "Anecdotes of King Frederick."]

"Sans souci!" repeated D'Argens, in low tones, deeply moved, and
staring at the vault.

The king took his hand smilingly. "Let us seek, even while we live,
to be sans souci, and as evidence that I will strive for this, this
house shall be called 'Sans-Souci!'"




It was a lovely summer day. The whole earth seemed to look up with a
smile of faith, love, and happiness into the clear, blue heavens,
whose mysterious depths give promise of a brighter and better
future. Sunshine and clouds were mirrored in the rapid river and
murmuring brook; the stately trees and odorous flowers bowed with
the gentle west wind, and gave a love-greeting to the glorious vault

Upon the terrace of Sans-Souci stood the king, and looked admiringly
upon the lovely panorama spread out at his feet. Nature and art
combined to make this spot a paradise. The king was alone at the
palace of Sans-Souci; for a few happy hours he had laid aside the
burden and pomp of royalty. He was now the scholar, the philosopher,
the sage, and the friend; in one word, he was what he loved to call
himself, the genial abbot of Sans-Souci.

At the foot of the romantic hill upon which his palace was built
Frederick laid aside the vain pomp and glory of the world, and with
them all its petty cares and griefs. With every step upon the
terrace his countenance lightened and his breath came more freely.
He had left the valley of tears and ascended the holy mountain.
Repose and purity were around him, and he felt nearer the God of

Sans-Souci, now glittering in the sunshine, seemed to greet and
cheer him. These two laconic but expressive words, sans souci,
smoothed the lines which the crown and its duties had laid upon his
brow, and made his heart, which was so cold and weary, beat with the
hopes and strength of youth.

He was himself again, the warrior, the sage, the loving ruler, the
just king, the philanthropist, the faithful, fond friend; the gay,
witty, sarcastic companion, who felt himself most at home, most
happy, in the society of scholars, artists, and writers.

Genius was for Frederick an all-sufficient diploma, and those who
possessed it were joyfully received at his court. If, from time to
time, he granted a coat-of-arms or a duke's diadem to those nobles,
"by the Grace of God," it was not so much to do them honor as to
exalt his courtiers by placing among them the great and intellectual
spirits of his time. He had made Algarotti and Chazot dukes, and
Bielfield a baron; he had sent to Voltaire the keys of the wardrobe,
in order that the chosen friend of the philosopher of Sans-Souci
might without a shock to etiquette be also the companion of the King
of Prussia in his more princely castles, and belong to the circle of
prince, and princess, and noble.

When Frederick entered Sans-Souci he laid aside all prejudices and
all considerations of rank. He wished to forget that he was king,
and desired his friends also to forget it, and to show him only that
consideration which is due to the man of genius and of letters. Some
of his friends had abused this privilege, and Frederick had been
forced to humiliate them. There were others who never forgot at
Sans-Souci the respect and reverence due to the royal house. Amongst
these was his ever-devoted, ever-uniform friend, the Marquis
d'Argens. He loved him, not because he was king, hut because he
believed him to be the greatest, best, most exalted of men. In the
midst of his brilliant court circle and all his earthly pomp,
D'Argens did not forget that Frederick was a man of letters, and his
dear friend; even so, while enjoying the hospitalities of Sans-
Souci, he remembered always that the genial scholar and gentleman
was a great and powerful king.

Frederick had the greatest confidence in D'Argens, and granted him
more privileges than any other of his friends. Frederick invited
many friends to visit him during the day, but the marquis was the
only guest whose bedchamber was arranged for him at Sans-Souci.

Four years have elapsed since D'Argens consecrated Weinberg - since
the day in which we closed our last chapter. We take advantage of
the liberty allowed to authors, and pass over these four years and
recommence our story in 1750, the year which historians are
accustomed to consider the most glorious and happy in the life of
Frederick the Second. We all know, alas! that earthly happiness
resembles the purple rose, which, even while rejoicing the heart
with her beauty and fragrance, wounds us with her thorns. We know
that the sunshine makes the flowers bloom in the gardens, on the
breezy mountains, and also on the graves; when we pluck and wear
these roses, who can decide if we are influenced by joy in the
present or sad remembrances of the past?

Frederick the Great appeared to be gay and happy, but these four
years had not passed away without leaving a mark upon his brow and a
shadow on his heart; his youthful smile had vanished, and the
expression of his lip was stern and resolved. He was now thirty-
eight years of age, and was still a handsome man, but the sunshine
of life had left him; his eyes could flash and threaten like Jove's,
but the soft and loving glance was quenched. Like Polycrates, King
Frederick, in order to propitiate fate, had sacrificed his idol. He
had thus lost his rarest jewel, had become poor in love. Perhaps his
crown rested more firmly upon his head, but his heart had received
an almost mortal wound; it had healed, but he was hardened!

Frederick thought not of the past four years, and their griefs and
losses, as he stood now upon the terrace of Sans-Souci, illuminated
by the evening sun, and gazed with ravished eyes upon the panorama
spread out before him.

"Beautiful, wondrous beautiful!" he said to himself. "I think
Voltaire will find that the sun is even as warm and cheering at
Sans-Souci as at Cirey, and that we can be gay and happy without the
presence of the divine Emilie, who enters one moment with her
children, and the next with her learned and abstruse books.
[Footnote: Voltaire lived for ten years in Cirey with his friend the
Marquise Emilie de Chatelet Samont, a very learned lady, to whom he
was much devoted. He had refused all Frederick's invitations because
he was unwilling to be separated from this lady. After twenty years
of marriage, in the year 1749, the countess gave birth to her first
child; two hours after the birth of her son, she seated herself at
her writing-table to write an essay on the Newtonian system; in
consequence of this she sickened and died in two days. After her
death, Voltaire accepted Frederick's invitation to Sans-Souci.] Ah!
I wish he were here; so long as I do not see him, I doubt if he will

At this moment the king saw the shadow of a manly figure thrown upon
the terrace, which the evening sun lengthened into a giant's
stature. He turned and greeted the Marquis d'Argens, who had just
entered, with a gracious smile.

"You are indeed kind, marquis," said Frederick; "you have returned
from Berlin so quickly, I think Love must have lent you a pair of

"Certainly, Love lent me his wings; the little god knew that your
majesty was the object of my greatest admiration, and that I wished
to fly to your feet and shake out from my horn of plenty the
novelties and news of the day."

"There is something new, then?" said the king. "I have done well in
sending you as an ambassador to the Goddess of Rumor; she has
graciously sent you back full-handed: let us see, now, in what your
budget consists."

"The first, and I am sorry to say the most welcome to your majesty,
is this - Voltaire has arrived in Berlin, and will be here to-morrow

The king's countenance was radiant with delight, but he was
considerate, and did not express his rapture.

"Dear marquis, you say that Voltaire has arrived. Do you indeed
regret it?"

D'Argens was silent and thoughtful for a moment; he raised his head,
and his eyes were obscured by tears.

"Yes," said he, "I am sorry! We greet the close of a lovely day, no
matter how glorious the declining sun may be, with something of fear
and regret; who can tell but that clouds and darkness may be round
about the morning? To-morrow a new day dawns and a new sun rises in
Sans-Souci. Sire, I grieve that this happy day is ended."

"Jealous!" said the king, folding his arms and walking backward and
forward upon the terrace. Suddenly he stood before D'Argens and laid
his hands upon his shoulders. "You are right," said he; "a new day
dawns, a new sun rises upon Sans-Souci, but I fear the sun's bright
face will be clouded and the day will end in storm. Voltaire is the
last ideal of my youth; God grant that I may not have to cast it
aside with my other vain illusions! God grant that the man Voltaire
may not cast down the genius Voltaire from the altar which, with
willing hands, I have erected for him in my heart of hearts. I fear
the cynic and the miser. I have a presentiment of evil! My altar
will fall to pieces, and its ruins will crush my own heart. Say what
you will, D'Argens, I have still a heart, though the world has
gnawed at and undermined it fearfully."

"Yes, sire, a great, noble, warm heart," cried D'Argens, deeply
moved, "full of love and poetry, of magnanimity and mercy!"

"You must not betray these weaknesses to Voltaire," said the king,
laughing; "he would mock at me, and I should suffer from his
poisonous satire, as I have done more than once. Voltaire is
miserly; that displeases me. Covetousness is a rust which will
obscure and at last destroy the finest metal! The miser loves
nothing but himself. I fear that Voltaire comes to me simply for the
salary I have promised him, and the four thousand thalers I have
sent him for his journey!"

"In this, sire, you do both yourself and Voltaire injustice.
Voltaire is genial enough to look, not upon your crown, but upon the
clear brow which it shades. He admires and seeks you, not because
you are a king, but because you are a great spirit, a hero, an
author, a scholar, and a philosopher, and, best of all, a good and
noble man."

"What a simple-minded child yon are, marquis!" said Frederick, with
a sad smile; "you believe even yet in the unselfish attachments of
men. Truly, you have a right to this rare faith; you, at least, are
capable of such an affection. I am vain enough to believe that you
are unselfishly devoted to me."

"God be thanked for this word!" said D'Argens, with a glowing
countenance. "And now let Voltaire and the seven wise men, and
Father Abraham himself come; your Isaac fears none of them; my king
has faith in me!"

"Yes," said Frederick, "I believe in you; an evil and bitter thing
will it be, if the day shall ever come when I shall doubt you; from
that time onward I will trust no man. I tell you, D'Argens, your
kindly face and your love are necessary to me; I will use them as a
shield to protect myself against the darts and wiles of the false
world. You must never leave me; I need your calm, kind eye, your
happy smile, your childish simplicity, and your wise experience; I
need a Pylades, I well believe that something of Orestes is hidden
in my nature. And now, my Pylades, swear to me, swear to me that you
will never leave me; that from this hour you will have no other
fatherland than Prussia, no other home than Potsdam and Sans-Souci."

"Ah, your majesty asks too much. I cannot adjure my fatherland, I
cannot relinquish my Provence. I am the Switzer, with his song of
home; when he hears it in his own land, his heart bounds with joy;
when he hears it in a strange land, his eyes fill with sorrowful
tears. So it is with the 'beau soleil de ma Provence,' the
remembrance of it warms my heart; I think that if I were a weak old
man, the sight of my beautiful sunny home would make me young and
strong. Your majesty will not ask me to abandon my land forever?"

"You love the sun of Provence, then, more than you do me," said
Frederick, with a slight frown.

"Your majesty cannot justly say that, when I have turned my back
upon it, and shouted for joy when the sun of the north has cast its
rays upon me. Sire, let me pass my life under the glorious northern
sun, but grant that I may die in my own land."

"You are incomprehensible, D'Argens; how can you know when you are
about to die, and when it will be time to return to your beautiful

"It has been prophesied that I shall live to be very old, and I
believe in prophecy."

"What do you call old, marquis? Zacharias was eighty years of ago
when his youthful wife of seventy gave birth to her first child."

"God guard me from such an over-ripe youth and such a youthful wife,
sire! I shall be content if my heart remains young till my
seventieth year, and has strength to love my king and rejoice in his
fame; then, sire, I shall be aged and cold, and then it will be time
for the sun of Provence to shine upon me and iny grave. When I am
seventy years of age, your majesty must allow your faithful servant
to remember that France is his home, and to seek his grave even
where his cradle stood."

"Seventy, marquis! and how old are you now?"

"Sire, I am still young - forty-six years of age. You see I have only
sought a plea to remain half an eternity at the feet of your

"You are forty-six, and you are willing to remain twenty-four years
at my side. I will then be sixty-six; that is to say, I will be hard
of heart and cold of purpose. I will despise mankind, and have no
illusions. Marquis, I believe when that time comes, I can give you
up. Let it be so! - you remain with me till you are seventy. Give
your word of honor to this, marquis."

"Rather will your majesty be gracious enough to promise not to
dismiss me before that time?"

"I promise you, and I must have your oath in return."

"Sire, I swear! On that day in which I enter my seventieth year, I
will send you my certificate of baptism, which you will also look
upon as my funeral notice. You will say sadly, 'The Marquis d'Argens
is dead,' and I - I will go to ma belle Provence, and seek my grave."
[Footnote: Thiebault, vol. i., p. 360.]

"But before this time you will become very religious, a devotee,
will you not?"

"Yes, sire; that is, I shall devoutly acknowledge all your goodness
to me. I shall be the most religious worshipper of all that your
majesty has done for the good of mankind, for the advancement of
true knowledge, and the glory of your great name."

"So far, so good; but there is in this world another kind of
religion, in the exercise of which you have as yet shown but little
zeal. Will you at last assume this mask, and contradict the
principles which you have striven to maintain during your whole
life? Will you, at the approach of death, go through with those
ceremonies and observances which religion commands?"

The marquis did not reply immediately. His eye turned to the
beautiful prospect lying at his feet, upon which the last purple
rays of the evening sun were now lingering.

"This is God, sire!" said he, enthusiastically; "this is truly God!
Why are men not content to worship Him in nature, to find Him where
He most assuredly is? Why do they seek Him in houses made with
hands, and - "

"And in wafers made of meal and water?" said Frederick, interrupting
him; "and now tell me, marquis, will you also one day seek Him

"Yes, sire," said D'Argens, after a short pause, "I will do thus
from friendship to my brothers, and interest for my family."

"That is to say, you will be unfaithful to the interests of
philosophy and truth?"

"It will appear so, sire; but no man of intellect and thought will
be duped by this seeming inconsistency. If the part which I play
seem unworthy, I may be excused in view of my motive - at all events,
I do not think it wrong. The folly of mankind has left me but one
alternative - to be a hypocrite, or to prepare bitter grief for my
relations, who love me tenderly. 'Out of love,' then, for my family,
I will die a hypocrite. [Footnote: The marquis returned to Provence,
in his seventieth year, and died there. The journals hastened to
make known that he died a Christian, recanting his atheistical
philosophy. The king wrote to the widow of the marquis for
intelligence on this subject. She replied that her husband had
received the last sacraments, but only after he was in the arms of
death, and could neither see nor hear, and she herself had left the
room. The marquise added: "Ah, sire, what a land is this! I have
been assured that the greatest service I could render to my husband
would be to burn all his writings, to give all his pictures to the
flames; that the more we burn on earth of that which is sinful or
leads to sin, the less we shall burn in hell!" - Oeuvres Posthumes,
vol. xii., p. 316.] But, sire, why should we speak of death? why
disquiet the laughing spirits of the Greeks and Romans, who now
inhabit this their newest temple by discoursing of graves and

"You are right, marquis - away with the ghastly spectre! This present
life belongs to us, and a happy life it shall be. We will sit at the
feet of Voltaire, and learn how to banish the sorrows of life by wit
and mocking laughter. With the imagination and enthusiasm of poets,
we will conceive this world to be a paradise. And now tell me what
other news you have brought back with you from Berlin."

"Well, sire, Voltaire is not the only star who has risen in Berlin.
There are other comets which from time to time lighten the heavens,
and then disappear for a season to reappear and bring strife and war
upon the earth."

Frederick looked searchingly upon the marquis. "You speak in
riddles - what comet has returned?"

"Sire, I know not what to call it. She herself claims a name, her
right to which is disputed by the whole world, though she swears by

"She? it is, then, a woman of whom you speak?"

"Yes, sire; a woman whom for years we worshipped as a goddess, or at
least as an enchanting fairy - Barbarina has returned to Berlin."

"Returned?" said the king, indifferently; but he walked away
thoughtfully to the end of the terrace, and gazed upon the lovely
landscape which, in its quiet beauty, brought peace to his heart,
and gave him the power of self-control.

The marquis stood apart, and looked with kindly interest upon his
noble face, now lighted by the glad golden rays of the sinking sun.
Among the trees arose one of those fierce, sighing winds, which
often accompany the declining sun, and seem the last struggling
groans of the dying day. This melancholy sound broke the peaceful
stillness around the castle, and drowned the babbling of the brooks
and cascades. As the wild wind rustled madly through the trees, it
tore from their green boughs the first faded, yellow leaves which
had lain concealed, like the first white hairs on the temples of a
beautiful woman, and drove them here and there in wanton sport. One
o these withered leaves fell at the feet of the king. He took it up
and gazed at it. Pensively he drew near the marquis.

"Look you, friend," said he, holding up the fallen leaf toward the
marquis; "look you, this is to me the Barbarina - a faded remembrance
of the happy past, and nothing more. Homer was right when he likened
the hearts of men to the yellow leaves tossed and driven by the
winds. Even such a leaf is Barbarina; I raise it and lay it in my
herbarium with other mementoes, and rejoice that the dust and ashes
of life have fallen upon it, and taken from it form and color. And
now that you know this, D'Argens, tell me frankly why the signora
has returned. Does she come alone, or with her husband, Lord Stuart

"She has returned with her sister, and Lord Stuart is not her
husband. It is said that when Barbarina arrived in England, she
found him just married to a rich Scotch lady."

The king laughed heartily. "And yet men expect us to listen gravely
when they rave of the eternity of their love," said he. "This little
sentimental lord called heaven and earth to witness the might of his
love for Barbarina. Was he not almost a madman when I seized his
jewel, and tore her away from Venice? Did he not declare that he
would consider me answerable for his life and reason, if I did not
release my prima donna? He wished her to enter, with an artistic
pirouette, his lofty castle, and place herself, as Lady Stuart
McKenzie, amongst his ever-worthy, ever-virtuous, ever-renowned
ancestors. And now, Barbarina can stand as godmother by his first

"Or he perform that holy office for Barbarina. It is said that she
is also married."

"To whom?"

"To the state councillor, Cocceji."

"Folly! how can that be? She has been in England, and he has not
left Berlin. But her return will bring us vexation and strife, and I
see already the whole dead race of the Coccejis raising up their
skeleton arms from their graves to threaten the bold dancer, who
dares to call herself their daughter. I prophesy that young Cocceji
will become even as cool and as reasonable as Lord Stuart McKenzie
has become. Give a man time to let the fire burn out - all depends
upon that. This favor his family may well demand of me, and I must
grant it. But now let us enter the house, marquis, the sun has
disappeared, and I am chilled. I know not whether the news you
bring, or the evening air, has affected me. Let us walk backward and
forward once or twice, and then we will go to the library, and you
will assist me in the last verse of a poem I am composing to greet
Voltaire. Do not frown, marquis, let me sing his welcome; who knows
but I may also rejoice in his departure? My heart is glad at his
coming, and yet I fear it. We must not scrutinize the sun too
closely, or we will find spots upon his glorious face. Perhaps
Voltaire and myself resemble each other too much to live in peace
and harmony together. I think wo are only drawn permanently to our
opposites. Believe me, D'Argens, I shall not be able to live twenty-

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