Excerpt from Frederick the Great and His Court
The halls glowed in the light of a myriad candles; the foot men were running hither and thither, giving a last touch to chairs and tables the court gardener cast a last critical glance at the groups of plants he had been arrangin... g in the saloons; and, in the picture gallery, the major-domo was decorating the \tables destined today to furnish especially rich enjoy ment to the queen's guests.
Everything presented a more brilliant, luxurious, costly aspect than was usual in the Royal Palace in Berlin. All the faces were happier, less constrained than was their habit even the footmen smiled and felt cheerful, for they knew that this once they might safely look forward to an evening without kicks and blows, without harsh scoldings and trem bling anxiety, Since the king could not be present at the ban quet which he had charged his consort to prepare for the court and nobility.
The king was ill. The podagra chained him to his roller chair and his rooms, and in the course of sleepless nights a dull suspicion had awakened in the ruler of Prussia that the reign of Frederick William First might soon be coming to an end, that the portals of the royal tomb might soon Open to receive a new royal corpse, and that a new king might soon ascend the throne of Prussia.
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