“At table his majesty told the queen that he had letters from Anspach; the young marquis to be at Berlin in May for his wedding; that M. Bremer, his tutor, was just coming with the ring of betrothal for Louisa. He asked my sister if that gave her pleasure, and how she would regulate her housekeeping when married. My sister had got into the way of telling him whatever she thought, and home truths sometimes, without his taking it ill. She answered, with her customary frankness, that she would have a good table, which should be delicately served, and, added she, ‘which shall be better than yours. And if I have children I will not maltreat them like you, nor force them to eat what they have an aversion to.
It would seem that Frederick was now disposed to compromise. He authorized the suggestion to be made to the court at Vienna by his minister, Count Gotter, that he was ready to withdraw238 from his enterprise, and to enter into alliance with Austria, if the queen would surrender to him the duchy of Glogau only, which was but a small part of Silesia. But to these terms the heroic young queen would not listen. She justly regarded them but as the proposition of the highway robber, who offers to leave one his watch if he will peaceably surrender his purse. Whatever regrets Frederick might have felt in view of the difficulties in which he found himself involved, not the slightest indication of them is to be seen in his correspondence. He had passed the Rubicon. And now he summoned all his energies—such energies as the world has seldom, if ever, witnessed before, to carry out the enterprise upon which he had so recklessly entered, and from which he could not without humiliation withdraw.This volume is intended to give a clear and correct idea of the man—of his public and private character, and of his career. It would be difficult to find, in the whole range of English literature, a theme more full of the elements of entertainment and instruction.Again the next day he wrote:
For a moment the king was quite stunned by the blow. The withdrawal of these troops would expose him to be speedily overwhelmed by the Austrians. By earnest entreaty, Frederick persuaded Czernichef to remain with him three days longer. “I will require of you no service whatever. The Austrians know nothing of this change. They will think that you are still my ally. Your presence simply will thus aid me greatly in the battle.”On the evening of the 5th his Prussian majesty gave a grand ball. All the nobility, high and low, were invited. The provident king arranged that the expenses, which he was to defray, should not exceed half a guinea for each guest. Early hours were fashionable in those days. Frederick entered the assembly-rooms at six o’clock, and opened the ball with a Silesian lady. He was very complaisant, and walked through the rooms with a smile upon his countenance, conversing freely with the most distinguished of his guests. About ten o’clock he silently withdrew, but the dancing and feasting continued until a late hour.
543 “I look upon this day,” the king replied, “as the fairest of my life; for it will become the epoch of uniting two houses which have been enemies too long, and whose mutual interests require that they should strengthen, not weaken, one another.”
“The king esteems his wife, and can not endure her. It was but a few days ago she handed him a letter petitioning for some things of which she had the most pressing want. Frederick took the letter with that most smiling, gracious air, which he assumes at pleasure, and, without breaking the seal, tore it up before her face, made her a profound bow, and turned his back on her.”
“‘Very well,’ said he; ‘but where will you find kings of that sort?’ And thereupon went into such a sally as could not in the least lead me to suppose that he was one. In the end, he expressed pity for them, that they could not know the sweets of friendship, and cited on the occasion these verses—his own, I suppose:As the morning dawned it was manifest to Frederick that the battle was lost, and that there was no salvation for the remnant of his troops but in a precipitate retreat. He had lost a hundred pieces of cannon, nearly all of his tents and camp furniture, and over eight thousand of his brave troops were either dead or468 captive. Though the Austrians had lost about the same number of men, they had still over eighty thousand left.
“I observed that the king took a pinch of snuff as the sound of each discharge reached him. And even through that air of intrepidity, which never abandoned this prince, I could perceive the sensations of pity toward that unfortunate town, and an eager impatience to fly to its relief.”
511 “After having sacrificed my youth to my father, and my maturer age to my country, I think that I have acquired the right to dispose of my old age as I please. I have told you, and I repeat it, my hand shall never sign a disgraceful peace. I shall continue this campaign with the resolution to dare all, and to try the most desperate things, either to succeed or to find a glorious end.This rude, coarse discipline was thoroughly uncongenial to the Crown Prince. He was a boy of delicate feelings and sensitive temperament. The poetic nature very decidedly predominated in him. He was fond of music, played the flute, wrote verses, and was literary in his tastes. He simply hated chasing boars, riding on the sausage car, and being drenched with rain and spattered with mud. The old king, a mere animal with an active intellect, could not appreciate, could not understand even, the34 delicate mental and physical organization of his child. It is interesting to observe how early in life these constitutional characteristics will develop themselves, and how unavailing are all the efforts of education entirely to obliterate them. When Frederick William was a boy, he received, as a present, a truly magnificent dressing-gown, of graceful French fashion, richly embroidered with gold. Indignantly he thrust the robe into the fire, declaring that he would wear no such finery, and demanded instead a jacket of wholesome homespun. Fritz, on the contrary, could not endure the coarse homespun, but, with almost girlish fondness, craved handsome dress. He had no money allowance until he was seventeen years of age. A minute account was kept of every penny expended for him, and the most rigid economy was practiced in providing him with the mere necessaries of life. When Fritz was in the tenth year of his age, his father gave the following curious directions to the three teachers of his son in reference to his daily mode of life. The document, an abridgment of which we give, was dated Wusterhausen, September 3, 1721:
After the fifth charge, the Austrians, dispirited, and leaving the snow plain crimsoned with the blood and covered with the bodies of their slain, withdrew out of ball range. Torn and exhausted, they could not be driven by their officers forward to another assault. The battle had now lasted for five hours.262 Night was at hand, for the sun had already set. The repulsed Austrians were collected in scattered and confused bands. The experienced eye of General Schwerin saw that the hour for decisive action had come. He closed up his ranks, ordered every band to play its most spirited air, and gave the order “Forward.” An Austrian officer, writing the next week, describes the scene.“The king esteems his wife, and can not endure her. It was but a few days ago she handed him a letter petitioning for some things of which she had the most pressing want. Frederick took the letter with that most smiling, gracious air, which he assumes at pleasure, and, without breaking the seal, tore it up before her face, made her a profound bow, and turned his back on her.”详情
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