“I am a poor heretic. I have never been blessed by the holy father. I never attend church. I worship neither God nor the devil. Often have those shaven scoundrels, the priests, declared that I had become extinct.
“The head of Medusa,” writes the princess, “never produced such horror as did this piece of news to the queen. For some time she could not utter a word, and changed color so often that we thought she would faint. Her state went to my heart. I remained as immovable as she. Every one present appeared full of consternation.”“When I am dead,” he said, petulantly, “you will see Berlin full of madmen and freethinkers, and the sort of people who walk about the streets.”
“His Prussian majesty has unquestionably talent, but what361 a character! He is frivolous in the extreme, and sadly a heretic in his religious views. He is a dishonorable man, and what a neighbor he has been! As to Silesia, I would as soon part with my last garment as part with it.
“Well, my children,” said Frederick, “how do you think that it will be with us now? The Austrians are twice as strong as we.”
“‘No,’ I answered; ‘but I should like to make that journey. I am very curious to see the Prussian states and their king, of whom one hears so much.’ And now I began to launch out on Frederick’s actions.Embarrassments of Frederick.—Attempts a Compromise.—New Invasion of Silesia.—Intrigues for the Imperial Crown.—Rivalry between England and France.—Death of Anne of Russia.—Energy of Austria.—Narrow Escape of Frederick.—Frederick’s Antipathy to Christianity.—Capture of Glogau.—Peril of Frederick.—The Siege of Neisse.
“I have seen it,” was the reply; “but it is only a scratch, which your majesty will soon heal again.”
Frederick.”“His very flute,” Carlyle writes, “most innocent ‘Princess,’ as he used to call his flute in old days, is denied him ever since he came to Cüstrin. But by degrees he privately gets her back, and consorts much with her; wails forth, in beautiful adagios, emotions for which there is no other utterance at present. He has liberty of Cüstrin and the neighborhood. Out of Cüstrin he is not to lodge any night without leave had of the commandant.Her majesty now wrote to Prince Charles, urging him to engage immediately in a fight with Frederick. She sent two of the highest dignitaries of the court to K?niggr?tz to press forward immediate action. There was an eminence near by, which the Austrian officers daily ascended, and from which they could look directly into the Prussian camp and observe all that was transpiring there.
Indeed, it would seem that, at the time, Voltaire must have been very favorably impressed by the appearance of his royal host. The account he then gave of the interview was very different from that which, in his exasperation, he wrote twenty years afterward. In a letter to a friend, M. De Cideville, dated October 18th, 1740, Voltaire wrote:“As soon as I am dead, my body must be washed, a white shirt must be placed upon it, and it must be stretched out upon a table. They must then shave and wash me, and cover me with a sheet. After four hours my body must be opened. The surgeons of the regiments in town will examine into the malady which has caused my death. They will then dress me in my best clothes, with all my decorations. Then I am to be placed in my coffin, and thus left all night.
Weissenfels was a small duchy in Saxony. The duke, so called by courtesy, had visited Berlin before in the train of his sovereign, King Augustus, when his majesty returned the visit of Frederick William. He was then quite captivated by the beauty and vivacity of Wilhelmina. He was titular duke merely, his brother being the real duke; and he was then living on his pay as officer in the army, and was addicted to deep potations. Carlyle describes him as “a mere betitled, betasseled, elderly military gentleman of no special qualities, evil or good.” Sophie Dorothee, noticing his attentions to Wilhelmina, deemed it the extreme of impudence for so humble a man to aspire to the hand of her illustrious child. She reproved him so severely that he retired from the court in deep chagrin. He never would have presumed to renew the suit but for the encouragement given by Frederick William.详情
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