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Författare Ämne: Mötet mellan Karl Xll och the Duke of Marlborough  (läst 274 gånger)

2004-05-03, 15:39
läst 274 gånger

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Följande är taget ur Sir Winston Churchills bok  Marlborough, His Life & Times, Volume Three; först utgiven oktober 1933.
 
 The interest for our purpose which attaches to the details of the meeting is Marlborough's personal demeanour and management. When he arrived at Altranstädt from his tiring journey through Hanover he went to see Count Piper, who was a kind of Prime Minister to Charles Xll. The Count, for reasons which are not worth examining, sent out word to say that he was engaged, and kept Marlborough in his coach waiting half an hour behind his appointment. Then the Swede, having asserted his dignity, came down the steps of his house to the gate to receive Queen Anne's envoy. Marlborough got out of the coach at the same moment and, putting on his hat, walked past Count Piper without recognizing him or saluting him, and turned aside on to the grass  as if to make water. After a delay more protracted than would have been seemed necessary he came back into the path, and with courtly gestures and ceremonious phrasing began his embassy. Count Piper meanwhile had stood embarrassed in the roadway.
 
Charles Xll and Marlborough were interested in each other-the first a knight-errant pursuing glory through all hazards, at all costs, and irrespective of reward; the other the statesman and commander, trying to shield large public purposes from capricious disturbance. Charles stands for all time as an example of the firmness of the human soul unde every freak of fortune. John (Churchill, Duke of Marlborough)was a monument of practical sagacity. The young King, since he leaped from his throne at the throat of Europe at seventeen, had only experienced measureless triumph. The elderly General, reared as a courtier, with all the ups and downs of a lengthening life behind him- a little heavy with the weight of all that weighed upon him, and webbed by the combinations of which he was the motive power- had a different status and outlook. But War and Victory were a theme, a basis, and a bond. At their meeting Marlborough presented a letter from Queen Anne:  Had her sex not prevented it, she would have crossed the sea to visit a prince admired by the whole universe. I am in this particular more happy than the Queen, and I wish I could serve in some campaign under so great a commander that I might learn what I yet want to know in the art of war. Charles Xll appeared to accept the compliment, and it was frequently repeated by his devoted army. He was not to be easily flattered, and it is said that he deemed it overdone. He thought, we learn from Voltaire, that Marlborough in his scarlet uniform and Garter star and riband looked less like a soldier than he himself in his austere dress and with his studied abhorrence of all show.
 
Marborough, for his part, took trouble during his stay to find out personally and through his officers about the Swedish army. What was it worth? How could it be dealt with, if need be?He found the Rev. John Robinson, the English envoy to Sweden, an invaluable companion. Robinson, who had thirty years' experience of the Swedish Court, has left various letters upon the visit. He says that Marlborough remarked about the Swedish,  It has no artillery-train, no hospitals, no magazines. It is an army which lives on what it finds,et qui dans une guerre de chicane perirait bientot. Even the cautious Klopp is provoked to comment  These seem the words of a soothsayer. In fact Marlborough was measuring the ugly, but none the less possible, prospect of having to deal professionally with an abominable disturbance of the War of the Spanish Succession.
 
The meeting was ,however, both memorable and important. The two men had a long talk about what they understood best. Marlborough spoke French, which the King understood but did not speak, and Robinson translated the Royal replies. Charles Xll, with the reports of Blenheim and Ramillies in his mind, asked wheather, and if so why, Marlborough thought it necessary to charge at the head of his troops. Marlborough replied in effect,  Only because otherwise they would not think so much of me.The King agreed with this. They were together for about four hours, until in fact, his Majesty's kettledrums called him to prayers.
 
 
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