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.“Every body here is on tiptoe for the event, of which both origin and end are a riddle to most. Those who, in the style of theologians, consider themselves entitled to be certain, maintain that your majesty is expected with religious impatience by the Protestants; and that the Catholics hope to see themselves delivered from a multitude of imposts, which cruelly tear up the beautiful bosom of their Church. You can not but succeed in your valiant and stoical enterprise, since both religion and worldly interest rank themselves under your flag. Wallis, they say, has punished a Silesian heretic, of enthusiastic turn, as blasphemer, for announcing that a new Messiah is just coming. I have a taste for that kind of martyrdom. Critical persons consider the present step as directly opposed to certain maxims in the Anti-Machiavel.”
When Frederick returned to consciousness his misery plunged him into a high fever. Delirium ensued, during which Chaplain Müller, who remained with him, says that he frequently attempted to destroy himself. As the fever abated and he became more tranquil, floods of tears gushed from his eyes. He for some time refused to take any nourishment. It seemed to him now that every hope in life was forever blighted. He had no doubt that his own death was fully decided upon, and that he would soon be led to his execution. In his moments of delirious anguish he at times longed for death to come as speedily as possible. And again it seemed awful to have his young life—for he was then but eighteen years of age—cut off by the bloody sword.17CHAPTER XXXII. THE END OF THE FIFTH CAMPAIGN.
His sister Amelia and several other friends visited him at Breslau. Among others was his reader, Henry de Catt.“He saw his ministers, saw all who had business with him, many who had little; and in the sore coil of bodily miseries, as569 Hertzberg observed with wonder, never was the king’s intellect clearer, or his judgment more just and decisive. Of his disease, except to the doctors, he spoke no word to any body.
163 “After dinner, being alone with me, he said, ‘Our sire is approaching his end. He will not live out this month. I know that I have made you great promises, but I am not in the condition to keep them. I will leave you the half of the sum which my predecessor lent you. I think that you will have every reason to be satisfied with that.’The king was at first much incensed by these attempts at interference. It was not safe for him to bid defiance to the opinions of the civilized world. Emotions of anger and mortification struggled in the bosom of the king. Captain Guy Dickens, secretary of Dubourgay, writes:
One evening, being too unwell to read his usual devotions, he called upon his valet de chambre to read prayers. In the prayer occurred the words, “May God bless thee.” The servant, not deeming it respectful to use thee in reference to the king, took the liberty to change the phrase, and read it, “May God bless you.” The king, exasperated, hurled something at the head of the speaker, exclaiming, “It is not so; read it again.” The terrified servant, not conceiving in what he had done wrong, read again, “May God bless you.” The irascible monarch, having nothing else he could grasp, took off his night-cap and threw it into the man’s face, exclaiming, “It is not so; read it over again.” The servant, frightened almost out of his senses, read for the third time, “May God bless you.” “Thee, rogue,” shouted the king. “‘May God bless thee.’ Dost thou not know, rascal, that, in the eyes of God, I am only a miserable rascal like thyself?”
The king coolly replied, “We must hope that they are more afraid of us than even of the gallows.”
While on the retreat, one of his aids approached him, and the king, with a smile, said, “Daun has played me a slippery trick to-day.563 The king seemed to think it effeminate and a disgrace to him as a soldier ever to appear in a carriage. He never drove, but constantly rode from Berlin to Potsdam. In the winter of 1785, when he was quite feeble, he wished to go from Sans Souci, which was exposed to bleak winds, and where they had only hearth fires, to more comfortable winter quarters in the new palace. The weather was stormy. After waiting a few days for such a change as would enable him to go on horseback, and the cold and wind increasing, he was taken over in a sedan-chair in the night, when no one could see him.
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The raven was a tame one, which had got lost and was seeking for its home. The story, however, spread, and created great sympathy for the imprisoned princess. There was a large number of French refugees in Berlin. With characteristic kindness, at the risk of incurring the royal displeasure, they sent daily a basket of food, which was placed in a situation from which Wilhelmina’s maids could easily convey the contents to her, while compassionate sentries kindly looked the other way. The princess wrote to her father, imploring permission to receive the sacrament, from which she had been debarred for nearly a year. The reply from her-father was couched in the following terms:466 General Keith, as he looked upon the long and compact lines of General Daun, and saw how apparently easy it would be for him, from his commanding position, to annihilate the Prussian army, said to the king, sadly,There was but one short war in which Frederick William engaged during his reign of twenty-seven years. That was with Charles XII. of Sweden. It lasted but a few months, and from it the Prussian king returned victorious. The demands of Frederick William were not unreasonable. As he commenced the brief campaign, which began and ended with the siege of Stralsund, he said: “Why will the very king whom I most respect compel me to be his enemy?” In his characteristic farewell order to his ministers, he wrote: “My wife shall be told of all things, and counsel asked of her. And as I am a man, and may be shot dead, I command you and all to take care of Fritz, as God shall reward you. And I give you all, wife to begin with, my curse that God may punish you in time and eternity if you do not, after my death, bury me in the vault of the palace church at Berlin. And you shall make no grand to-do on the occasion. On your body and life no festivals and ceremonials, except that the regiments, one after the other, fire a volley over me. I am assured that you will manage every thing with all the exactness in the world, for which I shall ever, zealously, as long as I live, be your friend.”
“I am in the condition of a traveler who sees himself surrounded421 and ready to be assassinated by a troop of cut-throats, who intend to share his spoils. Since the league of Cambrai105 there is no example of such a conspiracy as that infamous triumvirate, Austria, France, Russia, now forms against me. Was it ever before seen that three great princes laid plot in concert to destroy a fourth who had done nothing against them? I have not had the least quarrel either with France or with Russia, still less with Sweden.The Castle at Reinsberg.—Slender Purses of Fritz and Wilhelmina.—Liberality of Fritz.—The Ball at Monbijou.—Adventures of Fritz and Wilhelmina.—Letters.—The Interview.—Anecdote of the King.—Wilhelmina’s Account of her Brother.—Mental and Physical Maladies of the King.—Frederick’s cruel Neglect of his Wife.—Daily Habits of the young Prince.—The shameful Carousal.详情
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