“Magnanimous I can by no means call Frederick to his allies288 and neighbors, nor even superstitiously veracious in this business; but he thoroughly understands, he alone, what just thing he wants out of it, and what an enormous wigged mendacity it is he has got to deal with. For the rest, he is at the gaming-table with these sharpers, their dice all cogged, and he knows it, and ought to profit by his knowledge of it, and, in short, to win his stake out of that foul, weltering melley, and go home safe with it if he can.”
The king having taken a tender adieu of M. Duhan, who died374 the next morning, traversed the brilliant streets of the rejoicing city, and returned to the palace about ten that evening.In the above letter the king alludes to the “mania of making verses.” Strange as it may seem, he this winter, when apparently almost crushed beneath the weight of cares and sorrows, when every energy of mind and body seemed called into requisition in preparation for a new campaign, published an edition of his poems.
Frederick.”The Prussian minister, Baron P?llnitz, in a letter from Berlin dated June 6, 1729, writes: “The king’s prime minister is the king himself, who is informed of every thing, and is desirous to know every thing. He gives great application to business, but does it with extraordinary ease; and nothing escapes his penetration nor his memory, which is a very happy one. No sovereign in the world is of more easy access, his subjects being actually permitted to write to him without any other formality than superscribing the letter To the King. By writing underneath, To be delivered into his Majesty’s own hands, one may be sure that the king receives and reads it, and that the next post he will answer it, either with his own hands or by his secretary. These answers are short, but peremptory. There is no town in all the King of Prussia’s dominions, except Neufchatel, where he has not been; no province which he does not know full well; nor a court of justice but he is acquainted with its chief members.
“His majesty commands me to inform your royal highness that he has cause to be greatly discontented with you; that you deserve to have a court-martial held over you, which would sentence you and all your generals to death; but that his majesty will not carry the matter so far, being unable to forget that in the chief general he has a brother.“As soon as the roads are surer I hope you will write more frequently. I do not know where we shall have our winter quarters. Our houses at Breslau have been destroyed in the late bombardment. Our enemies envy us every thing, even the air we breathe. They must, however, leave us some place. If it be a safe one, I shall be delighted to receive you there.
About the middle of October Wilhelmina came to Berlin to see her brothers again. Nine years had passed since her marriage, and seven since her last sad visit to the home of her childhood, in which inauspicious visit the wretchedness of her early years had been renewed by the cruelty of her reception. In211 Wilhelmina’s journal we find the following allusion to this her second return to Berlin:
400 “This polite address put an end to all anger; and, as the singular manner of the man excited my curiosity, I took advantage of the invitation. We sat down and began to speak confidentially with one another.It is probable that the princess, in the strangeness of her position, very young and inexperienced, and insulted by cruel neglect, in the freshness of her great grief dared not attempt to utter a syllable, lest her voice should break in uncontrollable sobbings. The Crown Prince returned to Ruppin, leaving the princess at Berlin. Charles, the heir-apparent to the ducal crown of Brunswick, and brother of the Princess Elizabeth, about a152 week after the arrival of the princess in Berlin, was married to Fritz’s sister Charlotte—that same wicked Charlotte who had flirted with Wilhelmina’s intended, and who had so shamelessly slandered the betrothed of her brother. Several fêtes followed these marriages, with the usual concomitants of enjoyment and disappointment. Wilhelmina thus describes one of them:
“My dear Brother,—Your bad conduct has greatly injured my affairs. It is not the enemy, but your ill-concerted measures, which have done me this harm. My generals also are inexcusable, whether they gave you bad advice or only suffered you to come to such injudicious resolutions. In this sad situation it only remains for me to make a last attempt. I must hazard a battle. If we can not conquer, we must all of us have ourselves killed.On the 5th of May, after careful reconnoissance, Frederick crossed the Moldau several miles north of Prague. He went over upon pontoons unopposed, and thus effected a junction with his troops on the east side of the river. The Austrian army was drawn up on some formidable heights but a short distance east of the city. Their position was very strong, and they were thoroughly intrenched. On the 6th of May the dreadful battle of Prague was fought. For many years, as not a few of our readers will remember, it was fought over and over again upon all the pianos in Christendom. They will remember the awe with which, as children, they listened to the tumult of the battle, swelling forth from the ivory keys, with the rattle of musketry, the booming of the cannon, and the groans of the dying—such groans as even the field of battle itself could scarcely have rivaled.
Regardless himself of comfort, insensible to fatigue, dead to affection, he created perhaps the most potent military machine earth has ever known. Prussia was an armed camp. The king prized his soldiers as a miser prizes his gold coin, and was as unwilling to expose them to any danger as the miser is to hazard his treasures. War would thin his regiments, soil his uniforms, destroy his materiel. He hated war. But his army caused Prussia to be respected. If needful, he could throw one hundred thousand of the best drilled and best furnished troops in Europe, like a thunderbolt, upon any point. Unprincipled monarchs would think twice before they would encroach upon a man thus armed.Here the king interrupted him, and with scornful gesture, “laying his finger on his nose,” and in loud tones, exclaimed,详情
Copyright © 2020