- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
166

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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166 LETTERS ON SWEDEN,
The Prince, from what Lean iiow collect, lias very
moderate abilities; yet is so well disposed, that Count
Bernstorff finds him as tractable as he could wish ;
for
I consider the Count as the real sovereign, scarcely
behind the curtain; the Prince having none of that
obstinate self-sufficiency of youth, so often the fore-
runner of decision of character. He and the Princess
his wife, dine every day with the King, to save the
expense of two tables, What a mummery it must be
to treat as a king a being who has lost the majesty of
man ! But even Count Bernstorff’s morality submits
to this standing imposition ;
and he avails himself of
it sometimes, to soften a refusal of his own, by saying
it is the will of the King, my master, when everybody
knows that he has neither will nor memory. Much the
same use is made of him as, I have observed, some
termagant wives make of their husbands ; they would
dwell on the necessity of obeying their husbands, poor
passive souls, who never were allowed to will, when
they wanted to conceal their own tyranny.
A story is told here of the King’s formerly making a
dog counsellor of state, because when the dog, accus-
tomed to eat at the royal table, snatched a piece of
meat off an old officer’s plate, he reproved him jocosely,
saying that he, monsieur le chien, had not the privilege
of dining with his majesty, a privilege annexed to
this distinction.
The burning of the palace was, in fact, a fortunate
circumstance, as it afforded a pretext for reducing the
establishment of the household, which was far too great
for the revenue of the Crown. The Prince Royal, at

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