Queen Louisa And William

Queen Louisa And William.

In The Park At Charlottenburg

In The Park At Charlottenburg.

To those who admire and revere the memory of Queen Louisa, no excursion in the vicinity of Berlin is more interesting than to the extremity of the Thiergarten, where they may visit the palace of Charlotten-burg, the favorite residence of Frederick William III. and his beloved wife. It is not strange that the Prussians look upon the mother of old Emperor William as a kind of patron saint. Her death is believed to have been hastened by the terrible disasters brought upon her country by Napoleon, and hence her memory is cherished as that of a martyr to the cause of patriotism. When the King, her husband, died, many years after her decease, it was found that he had always worn her portrait on his breast; and in a similar way it may be said that her image is enshrined in every Prussian heart, like that of Washington in the hearts of millions of Americans, or that of Jeanne d'Arc in the affections of the French. The penalty that Prussia paid for joining the coalition against Napoleon had, indeed, been terrible; for by the treaty of Tilsit Frederick William III. was obliged to give up half of his kingdom, to reduce his army to forty-two thousand men, and to pay a war indemnity of more than one hundred million dollars, besides recognizing all the new kingdoms which Napoleon had established for himself and his brothers. To help the nation pay this enormous sum, the King and Queen sacrificed their own money and jewels, and lived in the simplest manner. Louisa retained one necklace of pearls, but of this she said sadly: "I allow myself to keep them; for in Germany pearls signify tears, and they can well serve me for ornaments." Three years after the promulgation of the treaty of Tilsit Queen Louisa was dead.

Statue Of Goethe

Statue Of Goethe.

One of the most pathetic utterances that ever fell from royal lips, was spoken by Frederick William III., when the physicians announced to him the probable death of his idolized wife. "Alas!" exclaimed the unhappy sovereign, whose life had been for years a constant series of misfortunes, " if she were not mine, she might recover." The death of this beautiful and noble woman was attended with excruciating suffering. Her last words, uttered five minutes before her release, were, " Lord Jesus, make it short."

The most retired portion of the park, adjoining the palace of Charlottenburg, had been for Queen Louisa a favorite place of quiet recreation with her husband and children. The spot seemed, therefore, sacred to her memory, and here her remains were laid to rest in a beautiful marble mausoleum, erected by order of the King. Here also he, in his turn, was buried. For many years this royal sepulchre held merely the remains of Frederick William III. and his wife; but the present Emperor has caused it to be enlarged, and now it also contains the bodies of his grandparents, -William I. and his wife Augusta. Tombs of royalty are numerous in Europe, but few can be compared with that of Charlottenburg for beauty and solemnity. The walls and floors are of polished marble, upon which falls a delicately colored light from stained glass windows in the roof; while, in the centre, upon exquisitely sculptured couches, are the recumbent figures of the royal dead. There is a beautiful repose about these statues. With folded hands they seem to lie, not in death, but " Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, And lies down to pleasant dreams.

Hither, as to a hallowed shrine, every year, on the anniversary of Queen Louisa's death, the members of the imperial family come to lay a floral tribute on her grave; and the same ceremony takes place on the anniversaries of the deaths of the old Emperor and Empress. It is eminently fitting that William I. should be buried here; for there are no traits in his character more beautiful than his adoration of, and devotion to, his mother; and there are few events more touching than the visits that he made to this, her tomb, before and after the war with France; one, as it were, to invoke her blessing upon the coming conflict; the other, when flushed with victory, to lay his laurels at her feet. One naturally calls to mind, in this consecrated spot, the beautiful stanzas of Mrs. Hemans, descriptive of the place: