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a place wheed, for it Without he
in for me to sit on: in front of me was my daughter, and the Chevalier Sandis behind. One of the Queen's footmen acted as coachman and a little boy as postillion. Without knowing the way they set off at full speed, for it was already very dark. On reaching a place where we had to pass through water the little boy missed the path, and we should all have been quietly drowned had not the footman by shouting attracted the attention of the Duke, who was with the other carts high above us on the right road. Perceiving our danger, he was seriously uneasy and sent men to the rescue, who, by wading above their knees in the water, carried us to land. With great difficulty the cart was righted, and there was nothing for it but to get in again, though it was the most uncomfortable of vehicles; but nothing else was to be obtained at that time.
Next day, after breakfast, we went straight on to Nicoping, to reach which another pontoon had to be crossed. Awaiting our arrival on the other side we saw the Queen, her daughter the Electoral Princess of Saxony, her son Prince George, and her whole court. Her Majesty, kissing us most affectionately, gave us the kindest of welcomes. She desired the Duke, her daughter, and myself to get into her own carriage, seating the Duke beside herself and her daughter beside me. On reaching the castle her Majesty took me herself to my room, and stayed there for some time talking. As in duty bound I wished to accompany her back to her own apartments, but this she would not permit. Nothing, indeed, could exceed the kindness of this amiable Queen.
Among other amusements the Queen arranged two hunting-parties for the Duke, in which she herself took part, driving in an open cart, though it was raining hard ; we of course all did the same, even down to the foot men and boys, who each had his cart, and was as well equipped in the royal style of the country as were we ourselves. In a long procession of more than one hundred carts we went to the places where quantities of hares had been collected by the peasants for us to shoot. The Queen hit some, and the Duke killed more than thirty. To give me pleasure the Queen insisted that I also should shoot, and as chance would have it I shot a hare the first time I ever in my life
he same so greatomed, noza carts
fired a gun, which feat of arms won for me much unmerited praise.
After a week of delightful intercourse we were obliged to leave. Her Majesty with extreme kindness insisted on going halfway to Tollhus, where we said adieu and where she spent the night. The next day, while we were at dinner, the Queen graciously gave us a surprise by reappearing, nor would she depart until she had seen us embark, and watched us till we were out of sight. Were I to praise this good Queen as she deserves, I should never stop; she is sister to the Dukes, and that says everything.
The wind was in our favor for crossing the sea, but after crossing we were forced to take to our carts again, to which I began to feel myself accustomed, nor could I indeed object to them after seeing so great a queen and her royal family make use of the same. On reaching a wretched inn towards nightfall we found that the cooks had not arrived. This mischance, however, was thought no grievance, as everybody insisted on taking part in the cooking; but when bedtime came the Duke and I alone were comfortably disposed of, as our beds had come up, while the others could not even find straw to lie on. Thus in excellent spirits we made our way back to Hanover.
My joy was, however, of short duration, for a few days after our return, just as I was least prepared for such a blow, I heard that I had lost my brother the Elector, who had been carried off by an eight-day fever. My grief passes the power of words to express. He had always loved me as a daughter, and put such confidence in me that he wrote by every mail, and in a style of such fire and charm that this correspondence formed one of my chief pleasures. This loss has so increased my malady of the spleen that it constantly reminds me that I am now fifty years old, and must soon follow my sister and brother. Besides all this, the absence of my husband would have driven me to desperation had I not diverted my mind by other thoughts from these miserable ideas. Thus it comes to pass that I have amused myself by describing the past, in which I should doubtless have succeeded better had I been in a gayer mood, free from sad
* August 28, 1680.
on, just as lost my bffever. My loved me by
reflections and melancholy. I hope that the Duke's return, which is expected in a few days, will restore me altogether, and that I shall not so soon go the way of all flesh.
Hanover: 15/25 Febry. 1681.
END OF THE MEMOIRS