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Grumkow led me to the young man in gray. Coming near, I recognized him, though with difficulty. He had grown much stouter, and his neck was much shorter. His face also was much changed, and was no longer as handsome as it had been. I fell upon his neck. I was so overcome that I could only speak in an unconnected manner. I wept, I laughed like a person out of her senses. In my life I have never felt so lively a joy. After these first emotions were subsided I went and threw myself at the feet of the king, who said to me aloud, in the presence of my brother,
Of course, replied Napoleon, but you should find a marriage for her at once; to-morrow; and then go.
21 Sophie Dorothee was a very pretty child. The plan was probably already contemplated by the parents that the two should be married in due time. Soon after this Frederick William lost his mother, and with her all of a mothers care and gentle influences. Her place was taken by a step-mother, whose peevishness and irritability soon developed into maniacal insanity. When Frederick William was eighteen years of age he was allowed to choose between three princesses for his wife. He took his pretty cousin, Sophie Dorothee. They were married with great pomp on the 28th of November, 1706.One of these proved to be very close at hand. As he drove mechanically through the principal street of Berganton, revolving various probabilities and possibilities in his mind, and trying to make some provision for each, he espied Miss Ferrars coming up the sidewalk,easily recognizable, at almost any distance, by her peculiarly mincing and swaying gait. In all similar encounters with the slightly faded maiden,whom he shrewdly suspected of designs upon his bachelor liberty,it had been his wont to slide swiftly past, with a low and deprecatory bow, suggestive of his deep regret that the urgency of his haste denied him the pleasure of stopping to inquire after her health. On this occasion, therefore, she was agreeably surprised to see him rein his horse up to the sidewalk, with the obvious intention of speaking to her. Perhaps her heart beat a little more quickly, as she stopped to listen.
Wusterhausen, where the young Crown Prince spent many of these early years of his life, was a rural retreat of the king about twenty miles southeast from Berlin. The palace consisted of a plain, unornamented, rectangular pile, surrounded by numerous outbuildings, and rising from the midst of low and swampy grounds tangled with thickets and interspersed with fish-pools. Game of all kinds abounded in those lakelets, sluggish streams, and jungles.Inarticulate notions, fancies, transient aspirations, he might have, in the background of his mind. One day, sitting for a while out of doors, gazing into the sun, he was heard to murmur, Perhaps I shall be nearer thee soon; and, indeed, nobody knows what his thoughts were in these final months. There is traceable only a complete superiority to fear and hope; in parts, too, are half glimpses of a great motionless interior lake of sorrow, sadder than any tears or complainings, which are altogether wanting to it.