“‘My dogs destroy my chairs; but how can I help it? And if I were to have them mended to-day, they would be torn again to-morrow. So I suppose I must bear with the inconvenience. After all, a Marquise De Pompadour would cost me a great deal more, and would neither be as attached nor as faithful.’
On the 10th of December, 1729, Dubourgay writes in his journal:70 “His Prussian majesty can not bear the sight of either the prince or the princess royal. The other day he asked the prince, ‘Kalkstein makes you English, does not he?’ To which the prince answered, ‘I respect the English, because I know the people there love me.’ Upon which the king seized him by the collar, struck him fiercely with his cane, and it was only by superior strength that the poor prince escaped worse. There is a general apprehension of something tragical taking place before long.”Marshal Daun, as he retired with a shattered leg to have his wound dressed, resigned the command to General Buccow. In a few moments his arm was shot off, and General O’Donnell took the command. He ordered a retreat. The Austrian army, at nine o’clock in the evening, in much disorder, were crossing the Elbe by three bridges which had been thrown across the stream in preparation for a possible disaster. The king, disappointed in a victory which did not promise great results, passed the night conversing with the soldiers at their watch-fires. He had ever indulged them in addressing him with much familiarity, calling him Fritz, which was a diminutive of Frederick, and expressive of affection. “I suppose, Fritz,” said one of the soldiers, “after this, you will give us good winter quarters.”
With great joy Frederick learned that the Austrians had left their camp, and were on the advance to attack him. He immediately put his little army in motion for the perilous and decisive conflict. It was four o’clock Sunday morning, December 4, 1757, when Frederick left Parchwitz on his march toward Breslau. He was familiar with every square mile of the region. The Austrians were so vastly superior in numbers that many of them quite despised the weakness of the Prussian army. Many jokes were tossed about in the Austrian camp respecting the feeble band of Frederick, which they contemptuously called the “Potsdam Guard.The officer drew up a statement of the facts, and sent it to the king, with the complaint that he had been dishonored in discharging the duties intrusted to him by his majesty. The king sent the following reply:Frederick was, with great energy, gathering all his resources for a decisive conflict in his fortresses along the banks of the Neisse. By almost superhuman exertions he had collected an army there of about seventy thousand men. The united army of Austria and Saxony marching upon him amounted to one hundred thousand regulars, together with uncounted swarms of349 Pandours sweeping around him in all directions, interrupting his communications and cutting off his supplies.
Archenholtz, who was an eye-witness of the miseries which he describes, gives the following account of the state of Germany at the close of the conflict:The solid, compact army, with infantry, artillery, and cavalry in the best possible condition, advanced at the double-quick. Arriving at the gates of Maaseyk, not a moment was spent in parleying. “Open the gates instantly,” was the summons, “or we shall open them with the petard.
The Austrians took position upon the south, at the distance of about six miles. The Russians were at the same distance on the west, with their head-quarters at Hohenfriedberg.“Sire, I own that I am guilty. Will not your majesty grant me a pardon, which God never refuses to the greatest sinner who sincerely confesses his sins? I shall be always ready to shed even the last drop of my blood to show your majesty what grateful sentiments your clemency can raise in me.”During the previous summer, the philosopher Maupertuis, after weary wanderings in the languor of consumption, and in great dejection of spirits, had been stricken by convulsions while in his carriage at Basel. He had lost favor with the king, and was poor, friendless, and dying. His latter years had been imbittered by the venomous assaults of Voltaire.
It is not known that Frederick paid any attention to this appeal. Impoverished as his realms were, large sums of money were absolutely necessary for the conduct of a new campaign. The king levied a contribution upon Leipsic of nearly a million of dollars. The leading citizens said that in their extreme destitution it was impossible to raise that sum. The king threatened to burn down the city over their heads. The combustibles were gathered. The soldiers stood with the torches in their hands to kindle the conflagration. But then the king, apparently reflecting that from the smouldering ashes of the city he could glean no gold, ordered the city to be saved, but arrested a hundred of the chief merchants and threw them into prison.
The king, weary of the life of turmoil, constructed for himself376 a beautiful villa, which he named Sans Souci (“Free from Care”), which Carlyle characteristically translates “No bother.” It was situated on a pleasant hill-top near Potsdam, in great retirement, yet commanding an enchanting view of land and water.It was a sore calamity to Frederick. Had General Schmettau held out only until the next day, which he could easily have done, relief would have arrived, and the city would have been saved. Frederick was in a great rage, and was not at all in the mood to be merciful, or even just. He dismissed the unfortunate general from his service, degraded him, and left him to die in poverty.
The king himself became much fascinated with the personal loveliness and the sparkling intelligence of the young dancer. He even condescended to take tea with her, in company with others. Not long after her arrival in Berlin she made a conquest of a young gentleman of one of the first Prussian families, M. Cocceji, son of the celebrated chancellor, and was privately married to him. For a time Barberina continued upon the stage. At length, in the enjoyment of ample wealth, she purchased a splendid mansion, and, publicly announcing her marriage, retired with her husband to private life. But the mother of Cocceji, and other proud family friends, scorned the lowly alliance. A320 divorce was the result. Soon after, Barberina was married to a nobleman of high rank, and we hear of her no more.“My dear Sister,—Here I am, within six leagues of a sister I love, and I have to decide that it will be impossible to see her after all. I have never so lamented the misfortune of not depending on myself as at this moment. The king being very sour sweet on my score, I dare not risk the least thing. A week from next Monday, when he arrives himself, I should be queerly treated in the camp if I were found to have disobeyed orders.
Are forever lost in these jumbles.)a a. Austrian Army. b b. Position of Saxon Forepost, under Nostitz. c c. Advance of Prussian Army. d. Lucchesi’s Cavalry, re-enforced by Daun. e. Left Wing, under Nadasti. f. Frederick’s Hill of Observation. g g. Prussian Army about to attack. h. Ziethen’s Cavalry. i i i. Retreat of Austrians.详情
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