+ ~ -
 
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
 
Report an Error
Go!
 
Go!
 
TOC
 

not extravagant. For example, the W├╝rtembergian
ambassador in Vienna was Baron Bukler,
an insignificant son of the minister who
succeeded Montmartin. The wife of the Archduke
Francis, afterwards emperor, was a W├╝rtembergian
princess; and the ambassador was little
more than a transmitter of letters; but he
looked as much like a profound statesman as he
could, whenever a courier arrived from his duke.
A celebrated memoir writer, Chevalier Lang,
was then his secretary, and one day, when a
special messenger had arrived, and the
despatch had been read with portentous solemnity,
Lang was by chance left alone in the room of
the ambassador. He opened the drawer in which
Bukler generally kept the letters from the cabinet
of the duke, and read the following:

"My dear Baron von Bukler, —By the
present special messenger, my privy secretary,
Pistorius, I send you a shoe of my princely consort,
the Lady Duchess Highness, with the order
to have made after this pattern, by the most
celebrated master in Vienna, a dozen pair, but
with such speed, that the returning messenger
may be able to deliver them in time for the next
great assembly which will take place. This
letter, however, having no other purpose, we
are, &c."

This duke, on his fiftieth birthday,
surprised his subjects and all Germany, by an
act as remarkable as it was unexpected. From
all the pulpits there was read a manifesto, under
his hand, by which he regretted his former
errors, and promised to be a good prince thenceforth.
The duke was not jesting. One year
afterwards, he abolished a lottery which had
done much mischief to the country. The
committee of the States were so touched, that they
made him a present of five hundred carolines.
However, " the observation of the most genuine
duties of a true father of the country "—words
of his manifestopermitted the duke afterwards
to restore the lottery, and to sell to the Dutch,
one thousand men, of whom but few ever
returned to their country.

After his conversion, the duke tried to govern
as a philosopher. He instituted schools and
manufactories; protected trade, science, and
art; was interested in country life, and was
frequently even seen at the milking of the cows.
His army was reduced to five thousand men.
He spoke in a confidential manner with burghers
and peasants, clapped them on the shoulder, and
was rather popular. He granted to the committee
of the States many unexpected prerogatives, and
this committee showed themselves grateful by
betraying the interests of the country. By their
means the duke got money to build a new
palace in honour of his beloved countess, named
Hohenheim: an establishment in the manner of
Schwetzingen, with Romish baths, romantic
castles, temples, mosques, and little idyllic
English hamlets. His winter-gardens were
celebrated; they were the first in Germany, and
were made in imitation of those of Prince Potemkin,
in the Taurier palace in Petersburg.

When the Emperor Joseph II., travelling
incognito as a Count von Falkenstein, announced
his visit to the Duke in Stuttgard, the duke
wrote and offered him his palace, but the emperor
answered that he preferred to live in an
hotel; therefore the duke ordered all innkeepers
to remove their signboards, and over the
entrance of the palace was placed an immense
board, on which the imperial arms were painted,
and under which was written "Hotel of the
Roman Emperor." The emperor entered into
the jest, and the duke received him in the dress
and character of an innkeeper. Next day the
disguise was dropped, and the festivities
commenced.

In this last period of his long career, one of
the duke's hobbies was to make a collection of
bibles; another was his school, the Carlsschule,
which gained an European name through Schiller
and Cuvier, who were educated there. The duke's
collection of bibles is not equalled in the whole
world; it numbers eight thousand different copies,
which are yet to be found in the library of Stuttgard.
In the school the different classes of society
were carefully distinguished. Only noblemen
and sons of officers had the right to powder
their hair; but Schiller had the right also,
because he had red hair, which the duke could not
abide, although he had red hair himself. The
discipline in the school was very strict; all was
done by word of command; and even when grace
was said, all hands were folded with a single
clap.

Duke Charles lived into the wild times of the
French revolution, and his notions about the
divine right of princes received many corrections.
Even in the bosom of his beloved Carlsschule,
the spirit of the revolution worked. Once, at a
masquerade, three masks appeared; one, Time,
carried an urn to the middle of the ball-room;
two others drew from it little bills, which they
distributed profusely. But, instead of the usual
complimentary verses, these bills contained the
most striking passages from the Marseillaise,
Payne's Rights of Man, Speeches of
Robespierre, and the like. In the confusion that
ensued, the masks escaped, but there was a
suspicion against certain pupils of the
Carlsschule, and the duke delivered a very severe
speech there next day. Instead of being penitent,
however, the pupils hissed and hooted, and
at last fairly drummed his gracious highness out
of the room.

           Now ready, price 5s. 6d., bound in cloth,

                     THE FOURTH VOLUME
                                   OF
                     ALL THE YEAR ROUND.

Containing from Nos. 77 to 100, both inclusive, and
      the Extra Double Number for Christmas.

The preceding Volumes are always to be had.