Friedrich in person (I rather guess, Belleisle not now at his side) saw the Garrison march out;--kept Piccolomini to dinner; a gallant Piccolomini, who had hoped to do better, but could not. This was a pretty enough piece of Siege-practice. Torstenson, with his Swedes, had furiously besieged Brieg in 1642, a hundred years ago; and could do nothing to it. Nothing, but withdraw again, futile; leaving 1,400 of his people dead. Friedrich, the Austrian Garrison once out, set instantly about repairing the works, and improving them into impregnability,--our ugly friend Walrave presiding over that operation too.
Belleisle, we may believe, so long as he continued, was full of polite wonder over these things; perhaps had critical advices here and there, which would be politely received. It is certain he came out extremely brilliant, gifted and agreeable, in the eyes of Friedrich; who often afterwards, not in the very strictest language, calls him a great man, great soldier, and by far the considerablest person you French have. It is no less certain, Belleisle displayed, so far as displayable, his magnificent Diplomatic Ware to the best advantage. To which, we perceive, the young King answered, "Magnificent, indeed!" but would not bite all at once; and rather preferred corresponding with Fleury, on business points, keeping the matter dexterously hanging, in an illuminated element of hope and contingency, for the present.
Belleisle, after we know not how many days, returned to Dresden; perfected his work at Dresden, or shoved it well forward, with "that Moravia" as bait. "Yes, King of Moravia, you, your Polish Majesty, shall be!"--and it is said the simple creature did so style himself, by and by, in certain rare Manifestoes, which still exist in the cabinets of the curious. Belleisle next, after only a few days, went to Munchen; to operate on Karl Albert Kur-Baiern, a willing subject. And, in short, Belleisle whirled along incessantly, torch in hand; making his "circuit of the German Courts,"--details of said circuit not to be followed by us farther. One small thing only I have found rememberable; probably true, though vague. At Munchen, still more out at Nymphenburg, the fine Country-Palace not far off, there was of course long conferencing, long consulting, secret and intense, between Belleisle with his people and Karl Albert with his. Karl Albert, as we know, was himself willing. But a certain Baron von Unertl--heavy-built Bavarian of the old type, an old stager in the Bavarian Ministries --was of far other disposition. One day, out at Nymphenburg, Unertl got to the Council-room, while Belleisle and Company were there: Unertl found the apartment locked, absolutely no admittance; and heard voices, the Kurfurst's and French voices, eagerly at work inside. "Admit me, Gracious Herr; UM GOTTES WILLEN, me!" No admission. Unertl, in despair, rushed round to the garden side of the Apartment; desperately snatched a ladder, set it up to the window, and conjured the Gracious Highness: "For the love of Heaven, my ALLERGNADIGSTER, don't! Have no trade with those French! Remember your illustrious Father, Kurfurst Max, in the Eugene- Marlborough time, what a job he made of it, building actual architecture on THEIR big promises, which proved mere acres of gilt balloon!" [Hormayr,
The rest of Belleisle's inflammatory circuitings and extensive travellings, for he had many first and last in this matter, shall be left to the fancy of the reader. May 18th, he made formal Treaty with Karl Albert: Treaty of Nymphenburg, "Karl Albert to be Kaiser; Bavaria, with Austria Proper added to it, a Kingdom; French armies, French moneys, and other fine items." [Given in Adelung, ii. 359.] Treaty to be kept dead secret; King Friedrich, for the present, would not accede. [Given in Adelung, ii. 421.] June 25th, after some preliminary survey of the place, Belleisle made his Entry into Frankfurt: magnificent in the extreme. And still did not rest there; but had to rush about, back to Versailles, to Dresden, hither, thither: it was not till the last day of July that he fairly took up his abode in Frankfurt; and--the Election eggs, so to speak, being now all laid--set himself to hatch the same. A process which lasted him six months longer, with curious phenomena to mankind. Not till the middle of August did he bring those 80,000 Armed Frenchmen across the Rhine, "to secure peace in those parts, and freedom of voting." Not till November 4th had Kur-Sachsen, with the Nightmares, finished that important problem of the Bohemian Vote, "Bohemian Vote EXCLUDED for this time;"-- after which all was ready, though still not in the least hurry. November 20th, came the first actual "Election-Conference (WAHL- CONFERENZ)" in the Romer at Frankfurt; to which succeeded Two Months more of conferrings (upon almost nothing at all): and finally, 24th January, 1742, came the Election itself, Karl Albert the man; poor wretch, who never saw another good day in this world.
Belleisle during those six months was rather high and airy, extremely magnificent; but did not want discretion: "more like a Kurfurst than an Ambassador;" capable of "visiting Kur-Mainz, with servants purposely in OLD liveries,"--where the case needed old, where Kur-Mainz needed snubbing; not otherwise. [Buchholz, ii. 57 n.] "The Marechal de Belleisle," says an Eye-witness, of some fame in those days, "comes out in a variety of parts, among us here; plays now the General, now the Philosopher, now the Minister of State, now the French Marquis;--and does them all to perfection. Surely a master in his art. His Brother the Chevalier is one of the sensiblest and best-trained persons you can see. He has a penetrating intellect; is always occupied, and full of great schemes; and has nevertheless a staid kind of manner. He is one of the most important Personages here; and in all things his Brother's right hand." [Von Loen,
SORROWS OF HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY.
George II. did not hear of Mollwitz for above a fortnight after it fell out; but he had no need of Mollwitz to kindle his wrath or his activity in that matter. [Mollwitz first heard of in London, April 25th (14th); Subsidy of 300,000 pounds voted same day.
The emotions, the prognosticatings, and distracted procedures of his Britannic Majesty, of which we have ourselves seen somewhat, in this fermentation of the elements, are copiously set down for us by the English Dryasdust (mostly in unintelligible form): but, except for sane purposes, one must be careful not to dwell on them, to the sorrow of readers. Seldom was there such a feat of Somnambulism, as that by the English and their King in the next twenty Years. To extract the particle of sanity from it, and see how the poor English did get their own errand done withal, and Jenkins's Ear avenged,--that is the one interesting point; Dryasdust and the Nightmares shall, to all time, be welcome to the others. Here are some Excerpts, a select few; which will perhaps be our readiest expedient. These do, under certain main aspects, shadow forth the intricate posture of King George and his Nation, when Belleisle, as Protagonistes or Chief Bully, stept down into the ring, in that manner; asking, "Is there an Antagonistes, then, or Chief Defender?" I will label them, number them; and, with the minimum of needful commentary, leave them to imaginative readers.