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      154 Three years were occupied in enlarging and decorating this palace. In the mean time the Princess Elizabeth resided in Berlin, or in a small country house provided for her at Sch?nhausen. The Crown Prince occasionally visited her, always treating her with the marked respect due a lady occupying her high position.The King accordingly wrote a letter summoning him; but meanwhile Madame Adla?de, supported by her two youngest sisters, Mesdames Sophie and Louise, and having persuaded the Queen to join them, appealed to him in favour of M. de Maurepas, a man as stupid, prejudiced, and incapable as could be found.

      124 The Crown Prince, either deeply touched with penitence or affecting to be so, again threw himself upon his knees before his father, as if imploring pardon. The king continued:

      Besides, she educated her own two daughters, her nephew, Csar Ducrest, whose mother died and whose father (her brother) was given a post at the Palais Royal, a young cousin, Henriette de Sercey, and later on one or two other children she adopted. But what caused considerable speculation and scandal was the sudden appearance of a little girl, who was sent, she said, from England, to speak English with the other children amongst whom she was educated. On perfectly equal terms with the Princes and Princesses of Orlans, petted and made much of by every one, she was, and still is supposed by many, perhaps by most people, to have been really the daughter of Mme. de Genlis and the Duc de Chartres. At any rate, no English relations were ever forthcoming, and it was never clearly established where she came from, except that she was announced to have been sent over from England at the request of the Duc de Chartres. She was remarkably beautiful and talented, and Mme. de Genlis brought her forward, and did everything to make her as affected and vain as she had been made herself.

      In the latter part of April, the weather being very fine, the king decided to leave Berlin and retire to his rural palace at Potsdam. It seems, however, that he was fully aware that his days were nearly ended, for upon leaving the city he said, Fare thee well, then, Berlin; I am going to die in Potsdam. The winter had been one of almost unprecedented severity, and the month of May was cold and wet. As the days wore on the kings health fluctuated, and he was continually struggling between life and death. The king, with all his great imperfections, was a thoughtful man. As he daily drew near the grave, the dread realities of the eternal world oppressed his mind. He sent for three clergymen of distinction, to converse with them respecting his preparation for the final judgment. It seems that they were very faithful with him, reminding him of his many acts of violence and tyranny, alluding particularly to his hanging Baron Schlubhut, at K?nigsberg, without even a trial. The king endeavored to defend himself, saying,


      How could they let that canaille pass in! They should sweep away four or five hundred with cannon; the rest would run.


      Mlle. Georgette Ducrest, a cousin of Mme. de Genlis, had emigrated with her family, who were [454] protected by Mme. de Montesson and Josphine, and now applied for radiation.


      The Prussian minister, Baron P?llnitz, in a letter from Berlin dated June 6, 1729, writes: The kings prime minister is the king himself, who is informed of every thing, and is desirous to know every thing. He gives great application to business, but does it with extraordinary ease; and nothing escapes his penetration nor his memory, which is a very happy one. No sovereign in the world is of more easy access, his subjects being actually permitted to write to him without any other formality than superscribing the letter To the King. By writing underneath, To be delivered into his Majestys own hands, one may be sure that the king receives and reads it, and that the next post he will answer it, either with his own hands or by his secretary. These answers are short, but peremptory. There is no town in all the King of Prussias dominions, except Neufchatel, where he has not been; no province which he does not know full well; nor a court of justice but he is acquainted with its chief members.Half-buried in thought, half-listening to his uncle's talk, he rode mechanically onward. On one side of his path, flowed the smooth, shining waters of the creek; on the other ran the Bergan estate, with its odd aspect of mingled thrift and neglect. He had often wondered at the singular blending, in his uncle's character, of the sturdy English energy inherited from that indefatigable Briton, Sir Harry, with the indifference and impromptitude induced by the climate. It was especially curious to note how these diverse qualities displayed themselves in different directions. With human beings, his laborers and dependents, and even with his animals, he was prompt, energetic, and exacting, accepting no excuses, and showing no indulgence; with inanimate things, he was often careless, negligent, and unobservant. On this portion of the estate, which seemed but little cultivated, fences were down or dilapidated, gates swung unwillingly on their hinges, and outbuildings seemed ready to fall with their own weight.