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and he asked the bishop and other divines, whether, according to their religion, the miracle was impossible?
They replied, that the case was extraordinary, but not impossible.
“ Then,” said Frederic, “the culprit cannot be put to death; because he denies the theft, and because the divines of his own religion allow the miracle of the gift of the articles in question, not to be impossible.” The bishop turned pale—the clergy stared at each other. The king calmly proceeded, “ But, gentlemen, it must be perfectly understood, that we strictly forbid this grenadier, or any other of our soldiers, under pain of death, henceforward to receive any present from the Virgin Mary, or any saint whatever."
His majesty then broke up the conference, greatly to the mortification of the church dignitaries, who now upbraided themselves for having admitted the possibility, which gave their intended victim the benefit of the doubt.
Patrick Doyle, to his infinite surprise, was rescued from the punishment he merited; he had received a sufficient warning, and he vowed for the remainder of his life (of which he had so narrow an escape) never more to place it in danger, excepting in the service of the monarch whose pay he received.
We have not yet quite done with Frederic the Second and the Irish grenadier. Doyle returned to the duties of his regiment, and submitted without a murmur to all the petty annoyances and sarcasms of Corporal Muller, whose jealousy still continued, because Pat was the taller man by two inches.
The following year, the king had been suffering from gout and i asthma, which it must be owned were not a little aggravated by the pleasures of the table, for his majesty, like his loyal subjects in Berlin, was attached to good feeding. The Berlin cookery is remarkable for its great variety. What must Berlin cookery have been to an Irishman, when it was deemed essential that the cook should be competent to make from potatoes twelve various dishes! But we digress: we I must come to our concluding anecdote. Frederic .the Second having partially recovered, recommenced his usual solitary rides in the neighbourhood of his capital, dressed in the plainest manner, and one day sallied forth from the celebrated Brandenburgh Gate, (erected a few years previously,) and rode into the country unattended.
When about eight miles from Berlin, he saw a young woman of gigantic stature digging in the fields. This young person was but nineteen years of age; but she stood seven feet and two inches in her shoes. She was so tall, that it was positively an inconvenience to her. If, during the holiday or carnival time, she came to Berlin, a rabble followed her in the streets;—if she accompanied her friends to a theatre, there was always an outcry from the persons behind her that she was to sit down, though, poor thing, she was already seated;if she visited the public gardens to see the fireworks, some in the crowd were always sure to exclaim, that one solitary female was standing on a chair, and that it was unfair to the others. People who did not like to be overlooked, complained that she peeped in at their first-floor windows. The poor girl had once to travel from Berlin to Magdeburgh, and she was compelled to ride with her head out at the window of the Diligence, the whole journey, for she could not sit upright in the carriage. She had also to undergo many other minor inconve
niences—if she wanted her hair cut, the barber was obliged to mount a pair of steps to accomplish the business;—there were no stockings ever manufactured that were long enough for her leg;-and if she wanted new articles of clothing, there was as much linen, &c. required as would furnish a bedstead. In short, she was too long.
But not so thought the King of Prussia. We have before alluded to his predilection for tall soldiers, and he imagined on looking at this splendid female specimen, that if she was mated with an equally tall person of the other sex, that a couple of the kind must produce very large children.
The regiment in which Pat Doyle served was now again quartered in Berlin.
Frederic viewed this young peasant with almost as much delight as King Arthur beheld Glumdalca, in the tragedy of “ Tom Thumb;" so he dismounted, and entered into conversation with her, and was overjoyed to hear that she was a single woman, and that her father was so poor that she was compelled to work in the fields. The king, who was never to be driven out of any project he had once formed, mounted his horse and rode to the nearest house, where, procuring pen, paper, and sealing-wax, he wrote as follows to Colonel Ferhbellin :
“Colonel,—You are to marry the bearer of this note to the tallest of my grenadiers. Take care that the ceremony be performed immediately, and in your presence. You must be responsible to me for the execution of this order: it is absolute; and the least delay will make you criminal in my sight.
“ FREDERIC.” In penning this billet his majesty had the fortunes of Mr. Doyle in view; but he did not particularize, that he might not cause any unnecessary jealousy amongst the grenadiers of Colonel Ferhbellin's regiment. After he had sealed this epistle, he rode back to the field to the tall young lady, who wondered at the reason of being thus accosted, and gave her the letter, without informing her of its contents, and ordered her to deliver it punctually according to the directions, and not to fail, as it was an affair of great consequence. His majesty then made her a handsome present in money, and continued his route.
The tall young woman, who had not the least idea that it was the king who spoke to her, returned home when her work was over. In the cottage where she lived lodged her aunt, a little old shrew, with a turned-up nose, blear-eyed, and smoke-dried, of a pestilent temper, but with no bad opinion of her looks, good sense, and genteel deportment.
The next day there was some hay to be stacked; and as the stack had already risen beyond the pitch of the usual run of men labourers, the tall young woman had undertaken to fork it up, and believing it to be perfectly indifferent whether the letter was delivered by another, so as it came safe to hand, she charged her brisk old aunt with the commission, laying express injunctions on her to say that she had it from a man of such a garb and mien.
The old termagant aunt was delighted at the prospect of her trip to Berlin, for she wanted to see the fashions, and to replenish her snuffbox; so she adorned herself in her bright holiday clothes, partook of a plentiful breakfast of cabbage soup, and was soon on the road for the capital.
On her arrival she presented herself at the barracks, and the orderly on duty carried the letter to the colonel, Count Ferhbellin, who, on receiving this extraordinary mandate in the well-known and revered hand-writing of his sovereign, desired the young woman to be conducted to his presence.
At the epithet “ young woman,” the colonel was surprised at a grim smile on the countenance of the orderly, as he quitted the apartment. The colonel was more surprised when the aunt entered, and bobbed her best rustic curtsey; but he was sorely puzzled at the contents of the letter, for he could not reconcile them with the age and figure of the bearer. Yet the order being peremptory, he thought he could not without danger of the displeasure of his sovereign recede from obeying; so he commanded the orderly to send the adjutant to him. On the arrival of that functionary, the colonel inquired who was the tallest man amongst the grenadiers. The adjutant instantly replied, that the Irishman, Patrick Doyle, exceeded the whole company in stature.
It then flashed across the mind of the colonel, as he glanced at the little shrivelled shrew of a woman, that the king, in his own eccentric way, wanted to punish Patrick for his late misdemeanor, by matching him in so disagreeable a manner. And this was a very natural conjecture. So Pat Doyle was sent for.
The colonel prefacing the business, read Frederic's letter. Doyle looked at the little runt, and assuming a dejected air, exclaimed
“Och! holy Father, what will my mother say?" “ Your mother?” inquired the colonel.
“Och! yes your honour,” replied Pat; “ how the divel is she ever to break the news to my poor wife!"
Mr. Doyle had his mother wit about him. The excellent Count Ferhbellin hearing that Doyle was already a married man, and having no means of disproving the assertion, recollected the mandate which says, “ They whom Heaven hath joined, let no man part.” But he felt that he must still obey the king's orders, so he suddenly asked the adjutant, “Who was the next tallest grenadier in the regiment?”
The adjutant reflected for a moment, and replied, “ Corporal Muller, sir.”
“ Send him hither."
Pat Doyle was told to leave the room, and it was fortunate that he received the direction, for having looked once more at the queer, puckered, pippin-like countenance of the little woman, he could no longer repress his laughter on thinking of his friend the corporal's luck.
The affair was now opened to Corporal Muller, and his majesty's commands read to him by the colonel. The corporal looked very blank; but he dared not disobey the mandate of his sovereign. Accordingly, the regimental chaplain was sent for, and in the presence of the colonel and the adjutant, the little old shrew became for life, to all intents and purposes, Madame Muller, and she took a large pinch of snuff, exulting for joy, while the bridegroom was as merry as the “ Dead March" in Saul.
Some time after, Frederic expressed a desire to Count Ferhbellin, to see the couple he had ordered to be married, perhaps with the The pro
notion of ascertaining how his experiment for obtaining a stock of giants was proceeding, when Corporal Muller and his bride were presented to his majesty. The king lost his usual serenity of temper, and delivered his sentiments of disappointment in no measured terms to the colonel. He was implacable until the little old woman confessed the truth, finishing her tale by raising her eyes to Heaven, and thanking Providence for conferring on her benefit the more signal and acceptable to her as unexpected.
Frederic, though mortified, could not resist laughing immoderately; but to make some amends to Muller, he promoted him. motion, however, did not add to the domestic happiness of Muller; for his wife led him a life of petty annoyances more galling than he had ever inflicted on Pat Doyle, or any of the recruits under drill.
Up to this point there is no moral conveyed in our tale.
Patrick Doyle continued in the Prussian service, and was in the army that was sent by Frederic-William the Second (successor to Frederic the Second) to Holland, to obtain satisfaction of the (so-called) patriots who refused to recognise the rights of the Stadtholder, and insulted his wife (the King of Prussia's sister) on her way to the Hague. Here Doyle had an opportunity of exhibiting his bravery, and soldierlike qualities. He gradually gained promotion, and in the war against France, in 1792, he held the rank of serjeant-major.
At a subsequent period, he annually and secretly slipped into the box, which was placed in the catholic chapel at Posen, for the contributions of the charitable, in aid of the poor, a sum far exceeding the amount of his delinquency.
On the shores of the Hudson, in times long since passed away, an isolated being lived, bearing the name of Nick Wolsey. His solitary home was in a valley of the highlands, about a mile from the river's bank, and his occupation consisted in hunting and trapping, and trading for furs with the Indians. He was tall and gaunt, with a peculiarly stern and even melancholy expression of feature, and, from his lonely gloomy habits, seemed to claim no kith nor kindred with any living creature. The only companion of his hours was a grizzly deerhound, whose speed and strength often o’ermatched the fleetest buck; and once he closed with a silver panther, and, despite the monster's furious struggles, tore the windpipe from his throat. Crouched before the fire in the log-cabin, he would watch each move and gesture of his master, and be as ready as his shadow to obey the beck and look.
Thus years had come and gone, and still found no change in the trapper's home.
One day, a party of Indians, of the Penobscot tribe, approached his dwelling, and proffered skins, in exchange for the white man's fire water and gunpowder. Among them was a girl of singular beauty, and with her Nick Wolsey became suddenly and deeply enamoured. As he looked at her full, round, and faultless form, his eyes flashed with the fire in his veins, and the volcano of passion burst through each fibre of his frame. No sooner was this feeling engendered, than he strove to win the tawny-skinned beauty-as many a fair one has been won—by pouring gifts into her lap; and long before a cessation of his profuseness took place, dozens of strings of beads were twined round her arms and neck, and rings and baubles of all kinds bedizened her person. Then the whisky-flask was offered gratuitously to the company, and Nick's suit progressed with the brightness and velocity of a sky-rocket. In a short time, a demand was made for the red man's daughter, accompanied by a present of a hatchet and knife to the father, and a willing consent obtained.
A chief, whose fiery glance shewed the effects of the potent dram, bent his bow, and winged an arrow perpendicularly to the clouds; and as it drove into the earth, quivering with the force, directed the trapper to remain by the side of the weapon. Then he shot one some hundred yards, in a direct line, and the expectant bride was conducted to the spot where it fell by her father and friends. A third was then driven into the ground, a few feet from where she stood, and the chief, who acted as priest in the ceremony, addressed Nick Wolsey, by saying, as he again pointed an arrow upwards, “ If my white brother would win the bird, he must catch her ere she gains her nest;" and drawing his bow, the barbed arrow twanged from the string, and away rushed the trapper to the signal. For a brief second, the coquette seemed resolved to reach the goal which would have freed her from the plighted troth; but stopping suddenly in her rapid race, she turned upon her heel, and threw herself, with a ringing laugh, into Nick's outstretched
A shout of triumph announced the success of Nick's suit; and to all, save one, the completion appeared to give great satisfaction. This was an Indian youth, an undeclared lover of the trapper's bride. In secret he had worshipped the idol of his affection, trusting that time would enable him to gain the prize, and, when his hope seemed ripening, he saw her thus suddenly lost to him, and lost for ever.
“ May the great spirit strengthen my arm!” said he, dashing forwards with all his savage nature roused within him; and like a tiger springing upon his prey, he was about burying his knife between the shoulders of the unsuspecting trapper, when backwards he went to the earth, as if a whistling bullet had crashed through his brain, in the fanged gripe of Nick's deerhound.
"Hilloa!” exclaimed the trapper, releasing his wife from an embrace resembling a grizzly bear's in tenderness. “Why, what's this about, eh?”
The drawn knife in the fallen Indian's grasp, and his ferocious aspect, quickly revealed the cause of the dog's attack, who continued to pin him to the ground in his torturing hold.
“ Art jealous, man?” said Nick, laughing, and bestowing a kick of no gentle force on his prostrate enemy. “ Art jealous?” And lifting him from the earth, after snatching the blade from his hand, he cuffed him, amid the jibes and jeers of his tribe, far away from the scene of his discomfiture.
Months rolled away. The maple-leaf wore the brown tint of seering autumn, and Nick Wolsey was a rough, but doating father. Upon