« VorigeDoorgaan »
tunity of telling him, that politeness required him not to leave me so often. To this he made no reply.
“The people of this country are very superstitious, and ever ready to find out something supernatural in the most trifling events -A report was spread abroad, and reached my ears, that whenever I hunted, at night a ghost appeared in my house. In reality, I had several times heard my do s bark, and remarked that my servants seemed unusually terrified and disturbed. One night I resolved to get up and endeavor to discover this mystery. I sought for the ghost in vain. My wife was not exempt from the general terror. When I was called from iny chamber by the noise of my dogs, she carefully bolted the door, and did not open it again till she beard my voice.
“This alarm continued for sev. . eral months; and though I said nothing, it seriously occupied my thoughts. I remarked, that when Cornelio left me, when we were hunting, the same night o the ghost did not appear, and all pas- | sed in perfect tranquillity. This discovery was calculated to excite suspicion, or at least a wish to unravel this mystery. Accordingly 2ne night I ordered the most resolute of my servants to conceal imself where he could not be oberved, and to watch carefully oc proccedings of t e supposed
ghost. I had cne to bed, b : *c. mained listening, whe, ddenly I heard a most dreadius noise ; I hastily rose and ran to the place where I had stationed my servant in ambuscade. ‘Make no noise, Signior,’ said he, “all is discovered; the ghost is no other person than your favourite, Signior Cornelio, who while you are searching all over the courts and gardens, goes to keep my mistress company in your absence. To tell you how he gets into her chamber is more than I can do; but I can answer for the truth of my report, and it is not to-night that I have discovered these proceedings. A thunderbolt would have struck me less than these words. I remained for a few moments stupified with horror; but suddenly recovering myself, and yielding to the fury which possessed me, I rushed upon the miserable
servant, and plunged my poignard
into his heart, saying, “you at least, shall not live to repeat this to others. Take the reward of your long silence.' The unhappy man fell dead at my feet, and I dragged his body into a little shed which was near at hand. All my actions were guided by a sort of frenzy, and yet my appearance was calm. I returned to my -chamber with apparent coolness, and called to my wife; she questioned me longer than usual, to be assured that it was myself, she said, before she would admit me; at length she opened the door,
IN the beginning of the year 1769, the King returned from his travels, and, as it was at first thought, with a mind considerably improved. In his conduct he shewed more propriety and dignity, and his conversation was less trifling and frivolous ; he even appeared to have acquired some useful knowledge, and his subjects flattered themselves that a happy change had taken place in his principles and favourite pursuits; that instead of indulging his passions in wild and sensual dissipation, he would devote his time to business, and to employments more worthy of his royal charac. tei". o
The young Qucen observed
O what tor
change that had taken place in the general behaviour of his Ma
jesty, and flattered herself that he
placed in an elevated rank.
would likewisc shew her more attention and confidence than formerly; but had he been inclined to gratify these fond expectations, the pernicious principles instilled into his mind by his favourite, Count Holk, who ruled him with absolute sway, were sufficicnt to
render his reformation of very short continuance.
of the state were wholly resigned
into the hands of the ministers, and the King was constantly surrounded by a crowd of youthful
libertines, who seemed only to
study how to dispel the ennui in
separable from his want of scrious
employment, and his dislike cf. his family.
Such was the state of affairs at court when the unnoticed friendship of the King gradually raised into importance a person who was . destined to exercise such irresistible influence over the favourites, the minister, the family and the subjects of his monarch. This was John Frederick Struensee, whom fortune, and a train of pe. culiar circumstances, coinciding with his own to lens and addres , , drew from his own native mediocrity of condition, and insensibly He originally practised physic at Altona, and afterwards attended the King of Denmark on his travers into France and England, in qual
with pleasure the favourable Wity of physician. On his retura
minished, in proportion as his friendship for the former increased. She observed that the company of Struensee daily became more pleasing and necessary to the sovereign, and that his influence began to extend not only to every concern of the King's private life, but to the most importalet affairs of the state. She likewise saw that the conduct of Struensee was very different from the insolent behaviour of Count Holk; so that by degrees her ill opinion of his character was changed into one much more favourable. She discovered in him a well cultivated and superior understanding, and at length treated him with a degree of kindness and condescention which could not long remain
The amiable feelings of maternal tenderoess contributed to strengthen this rising partiality— It was resolved about this time that the Prince Royal should be innoculated with the small pox. and Struensee was appointed to
perform the operation. The tenderest affections of the queen were centered in her child ; these would not suffer her to leave him for a moment to the care of strangers. during a disorder which, with the most skilful management, is not wholly free from danger. She herself was his nurse ; she watched with him, and anxiously returned to her maternal duties the moment he awoke. Struensee. was her assistant in these tender occupations, and she scarcely suffered him to quit the object of her solicitude for a moment. He accordingly passed great part of his time in the company of the queen —his natural and acquired abilities rendered his conversation agreeable and instructive, and his address was such as could not fail of gaining the favour of his royal mistress. The reserve on both sides wore off, and their conversations became more free and interesting. Matilda, in full reliance.
upon his fidelity, discovered to him.
the inmost secrets of her heart—
She had ambition to aspire not only to the recovery of the King's. confidence and esteem, but also to the acquisition of a share of that power which was wholly delegated te his worthless favourites.—
| Struense promised his cordial as
sistance, and from that moment devoted his whole attention to the accomplishment of her views. By his means the affections of the King were reclaimed ; his behaviour to the queen was entirely
Without following this favour. ite of fortune through all the degrees of his elevation, suffice it here to say, that through the influence of the Queen, Struensee was invested with the ribband of the order of Matilda, instituted in honor of her Majesty, was created a Count, and at length raised to the possession of unlimited ministerial power. The mental imbecility of the king and his total neglect of business, rendered him a mere cypher, so that the whole royal authority actually centered in Struensee and the queen. No wonder then if those sentiments which owed their origin. to reciprocal gratitude for the support mutually given, should be construed by enemies embittered by the loss of power into a criminal pas$ion.
It must however be admitted, that if Struensee did not make a bad, he certainly made a violent and imprudent use of his extensive power ; he seems, if we may judge from his actions, to have been in some measure intoxicated with royal favour, added to such accumulated honours, and not to have adverted to the examples which history furnishes of Wolacys in former periods, and of Choiseuls in modern times, who
most suikingly evince the slippery foundation of political grandeur.
It cannot be surprizing that the reforms which Struensee introduced should render him highly unpopular with a great majority of the nation. The Queen-mother, Juliana, artfully availed herself of this dissatisfaction to mature a plan for ridding herself at once of the hated minister, and the no less obnoxious queen. The king had no will of his own, but was the mere tool of those who might have his person in their power ; in order to secure him Juliana. contrived to gain over to her party Colonel Koller, who commanded one of the regiments that composed the garrison of Copenhagen, where the court then was, and. Col. Eichstadt, who had the dragoons belonging to the same garrison under his commandThe only person of consequence. implicated in the conspiracy besides those cfficers, was Count Ranzau. None of these possessed the abilities that might be thought necessary for the execution of so daring an enterprize, and nothing but the secrecy with which it was carried on ensured their success. LTo be continued
downy pillow hard.
wAR —A DREAM. (continued.)
* I shall not tell you how many painful and difficult marches we, performed, sometimes in the midst of winter, when cold and hunger oppressed us ; how many times I have slept on the snowy ground exposed to the biting north ; yet I must own I met with many happy moments ; I have tasted more than once the delightful joy of vengeance. One day, after spending two months in the midst of incessant dangers and fatigues, we stormed and forced the gates of a fortified town.— Whilst breaking open every house and pillaging the goods of the citizens, I perceived a lovely woman, who, with dishevelled hair and holding a baby in her aims, attempted to conceal herself. My thirst for plunder immediately turned into a luxurious passion ; every thing is allowed in the storming of a place ; I killed two companions of mine who wished to seize her before me, stifled the child, whose screams importuned my ears, and, intoxicated with pleasure, set five to the four corners of the house.’ ‘You make me shudder.” “What for to at orly 2 why, the human species is like the grass of the fields ; it is no sconer cut down than it grows again. Oh! we showed no mercy : it was forbidden us; we did not let onc stone stand upon
among brave soldiers like us. I. have twice run the gauntlet, and my own friends, forced to execute the sentence, have caused my blood to stream from my shoulders
But I have been avenged, and my
officers, quiet spectators of the
gorrection, have often praised the vigor of my arm. I have at last returned to my first colours, profiting by the amnesty granted to deserters, and hope to rise here quicker than before.’ ‘How so?” ‘How so? the war has just begun,
and we will take care to keep it up as long as we can. Look at yonder regiment newly raised, in a month there will not, perhaps, remain one in twenty of those fine soldiers; then you may be sure I will volunteer into it and get a bounty.” “What! is it possible that you should entertain such thoughts * “I am not the only one, my companions, my officers think the same, and you know we inherit only from the dead.' I looked upon this man with terror and left him, after advising him to be humane. This advice made him smile, and I hastily rushed away.
On the road I met with a whole company of soldiers, who loudly murmured; still deceived by the inspiration of my heart, I sancied they cursed the horrors of war.— • Undoubtedly,' I exclaimed, “humanity pleads the cause of those
whom you are compelled to murt