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The King And The Banker

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"Sume time "go," said Mr. Peabody, the banker, to the vvriter of' the following anecdote, " business of' importance required my speedy presence at ihe Prussian capital. Our house had not long before been estttblished, andas the Prüeeian government wanted inoney, I thought it expedient to see their Minister myeelf without de lay. The journev was somewbat dangerous, as tho state of Germany hud beeome rather precarious. The French had again been so polite as to pV u?, unasked, a visit, and were not likely to look with with a very kind eye on a banker who was hastening to the seat of government to lend money. However, I was young, undauíiled, of a happy flow of spirits, and cared neither for Napoleon nor anv of' his adherents, and so I bid Anthony, who is my witoesa," - the well etnbroidared footman nodded eornplacently from behind the cbair of his master, - "to make himself ready, to place some wine and a dozenpheasants in our chests, and (o tuke his seat in thu post-chaise. - The pheaeants were intended as a present for the Pi ussian Finance Minister. 1 feit highly delighted when I arrived at the frontiers of Saxony, but my only juv was spon to give way to other sensations. I was always fond oí a good dinner and a good glass . of wine; things which are rarely to be rnet with in Saxony. It is a wretcbed country, and their wine is stuft' compared to which our vinegar is nectar. I had traveled three days, and cbanged horses fiftoen times. My bottling establisment was nearly out when I íound myself on the borders of Pmssia, a vast denert of eand, where noth ing grows but the hungry pine and curly-headed children ; vet still they tnight put better dinners before respecti-ible travelers. It is really a bharne ; nothiug but dry veal, potatoes and beer! You may judge; sir, of my situation, by the fact that I was obliged to attack tho chest whiih contained the atended present for the Prusuian Minister, and to purloin ene oí the phesants. I ordered Anthony to cook it; it was excellent, and so was my last bottle of Rhenish. My appetite being satisfied, I mounted my post-chaise again and proceeded on my journey, - Our wheels plowed through tho waves of t-and as deeply as a three-decker through the billows of the sea." [Our banker bad made the tour across the channel in the Calais packet, and he loved to speak of the pea.] My patience at length beca me exhausted, and being weary of lookiog at tho sandy suríace, I feil asleep. Shortly afterward a terrible shock awakened me. I endeavored to look round, but could not. I etruggled to open my mouib ; it ñlled with sand, t y feet were fast in the carriage. I was near j being killed. In short, the axletree of the chaise and one of tho wbèela were broken. Anthony had fared sommhat botter than his master, and ho relieved me frorn my disagreeable situ..tion. - Now, sir, you may bolieve me, thie was no joke. Thoru I was, fifteen miles frorn Berlin, and two from the next village, with a portfolio containing feveral thoiisand dollars in papers, and no con veyance. Presently I discovered ijcnrriage traveling the same road. It approached. Two gentlemen OCCUpied the seats. A f jotman was behind. - . My resolution was soon taken. I ordered Anthony to get my post chaise repnircd, and to follow me to the eaburg hotel as soon as possible. Thus resolved, I stepped toward thecarriage, which had pow come up to ua, " Gentlemen," said I, lifting my hat eivilly, " will you be so good as to afford a traveler, whose chaise yon seo is broken, a seat in your carriage ?" " Certainly,1' said the yoangest, " piense to step in " I did so. The first few minutes were passed in surveying the strangers, with whom iy happy or unhappy stars, I knew nöt which, had brought me in contact. I was in a military country, and I was soon convinced that my new companions were military men. The complaisance of these strangers soon restored me to my former good humor; and thinking it my duiy to meet their politeness by similar advances, I began to enter into something like conversation with them ; they, however, were not the most taikative persons in the world. I spoke of the war which was ragiag between France and Austria, butl received only a nod. I went over the prospects of Prussia - no answer at all ; the old gentleman was as dry as a chip, the young one as shy as a" lark. I inte sullen ness, especially in young men, and thinking that my subject were perhaps dis agreeable, I changed them to the state of the country. I was not very lavish of my praiso, and censured the government for not repairing the roads. Both gentlemen were extreme ly attentive but slill more icservpd. I had now tried every means to brlng them into conversation. At last I npoke of my rare, and of the miserable dinners provided for travelers. They sniiled. " Wbat do you think, sir," eaid I, addressing the young man, " I have diued upon ?" A pheasant I knew he never would guess. " I do not know, sir." " Wefl, guess then," said I. The young man looked eigniticantly, :nd" entering iuto my humor, returned : "Fdó not kmnv, indeed; perhaps a bhoulder oí mutton ?" My hand feil involuntarily on his knee. " !]igher,"said I. " Well, then, perhaps you havedined on a goose." " Higher," replied 1, plaoing my hand a second tinie on his knee. " Then it was a chicken," said he. " Higher," replied I, accompanying my word uith a thii'd slap. " You have not, surely, dined on turkey in so puor a country?" " Higher, sir," returned I, striking hitn for the fonr'h time on his knee. " Well, tfaeu, it must have been a phe&sant." "You have hit it, sir; a pheasant brought froni FraDfcfoit; and i f you will do me the honor of being iny guest at the Braflonbtirg hotel, you shall diue off pbesuíants, too." Neither promised to come, but botli smiled. Alter this dialogue we rode severa] miles without speaking a single word, when the young man, in quite a frietidly tone said : " Now, sir, to ask you' a ques tion, whom do you think you ride with ?" question was put in the usual brisk tone cf a Piussian officer. I looked at the strenger a moment; he was abot't my age, but .Tiueh taller. - His dfesa was a plain surtout, and his head was covered with a woolen cap, sírongly set in leather, with a narrow gold brim. lie had a good deal of the military cast. " Wel!," said I, " I think I have the pleasure of being in companv with a military gentleman - a captain?" added I, askingly. " Higher," eaid the yoting man, striking me in turn on the knee. The old gentleman now bogan to laagh. " A Major, then," said I. " Higher," repeated he, slapping me a second time. He understands a joke, thought I. " So young, and already a Colonel?" " Higher," said he, again, with a fourth slap. He is getting impudent, thought I. I looked confounded at his assurance. " Then I have the honor to be in conipany with a General," said I, with a sarcaetio ineredulity. " Higher," he s:ill replied, with another siap. Thi?, I thought, is the most impu dent fellow I ever met with, and giving vent to my impatience, said : 11 Then you are a Field Marshal ?" Wc; wero by this time beforo the Bradcnburg gate. I was fully persuaded that 1 was treated as a dupe by my compamons. Tho young man's "higher. had so confounded me that I was thunder-struck when tho hats flew off in every direction. l'-Gewehr ausT'1 shouted the multitude, and the offioers and soldiers rushed from the guard-bouse to their muketa; tho drums were beating; the arms presenting; a number of carriages paesed tbrough the gate, and, in the confusión of the crewd, thronging from overy t-ide, I looked for the royal personage to whom all these honors wero paid. - Üur carriage whirled fast toward the Brudenburg hotel. ". Whore do you vvish to alight?" said the young gentleman, " At the Bradenburg hotel, if you please." was my answer. " There it is," paid he. I leaped from the carriage, took my port f..)lio, and bowing, requested the pleasure of' their seeing me at dinner. "You shall see us,"said the younger, and off they went. The landlord and waitors of tho hotel rushed towards me as I entered tho gate, bowing to the ground. The forner addressed rae by tbe tillo oí Highness " My nane," said I, " is Poabody, banker. Do you know tho gentleman with whom I arrived ?" 'Gentleman!" repeatud thelundlord, significiintly ; " it was Ihe Ring." "A gofltl joke," aaid I ; 'Hheyoung fellow was naar telling me so himself." " Beg your pardon, bunker," said the landlord, " but piense to use other tenns when vou speak üf his Majes ty." " You are not in earnest," said T. " But I am, though; it is the King." " The waiters, and fifty other persons who had assembled vound me, pledged theinselves lor the truth of wbat the landlord had spoken. There was no doubt it was tho King with whom I had made so free ! I am, sir, a républican, and not afraid of any King in Christendom ; yet the affair might nave beoomu a serious one. I had dropped expressions which were not suited to royal ears, and which I might have kept more wisely to myself. How would he take these th'rngs? - - what might he tliink of me?- wero thonghts which kept me awake for the greater part of the night. The üext morning 1 began the round of my visita. I found tho Finance Minister exeeedingly tough. When I returned home the landlürd informed me that a royal pae had been at the hotel summoning the banker Poabody to the castle. Well, thought I, nothing can be worse than hanging, and tbrowing myseli into a hackney-coach, I rolled toward the residence of tho King. Tho appointed hour was five I was condueted through guards into the royal apartments. When the last door opened, I beheld my young traveling compuuion seaied on an ottoman. On his rlght side was n beautiful lady ; two boys and as many girls were playing in the charr'ber. A King, thought I, who can enjoy domestie happiness, cannot be a tyrant, and I stepped resol utely forward. " This, dear Louiso," said his Majes" is the banker, who so agreeably entertained me yesierday." ' Banker Peabody," said the lovelv Queen, " we hope you will take a better opinión of our couutrv homo with you." She Btrelched out her hand and I was permitted to kiss t. Nor was this all, I had to teil my whole adventure over. I, however, omitted the slapping on the knee. ín short, I spent the most agreeable hour in my life. The iollouing day I coneluded my money business, The royal condescension had rathér too much oaptivated the otherwiso cool banker. ï enterad soinowhat ileeply into Pi'üssian money matters - so deepl)", that His Royal Majosty tvvelve m-ontbs utteiward, had all oifth ruined me. I do not know wheiher I would not have torgiven him for the sake of this hour. However, Frederiu William has piuco honestly paid me both dobt and interest.


Old News
Michigan Argus