“Yes,” the king replied. “I swear it to you, D’Arget. In a word, I want to have some good of my life. What are we, poor human atoms, to get up projects that cost so much blood!”
Frederick was not unduly elated with his victory. He was still terribly harassed for money. There were campaigns opening before him, in an unending series, requiring enormous expenditure. Even many such victories as he had just gained would only conduct him to irretrievable ruin, unless he could succeed in conquering a peace. In these dark hours the will of this extraordinary man remained inflexible. He would not listen to any propositions for peace which did not guarantee to him Silesia. Maria Theresa would listen to no terms which did not restore to her the lost province.“He was clinging on the head of slippery abysses, his path hardly a foot’s breadth, mere enemies and avalanches hanging round on every side; ruin likelier at no moment of his life.
It was the aim of Prince Charles to get between Frederick’s encampment at Chrudim and his French allies, under Marshal Broglio, at Prague. When discovered by Frederick, the Austrian army was on the rapid march along a line about fifteen miles nearly southwest of Chrudim. It thus threatened to cut Frederick’s communication with Prague, which was on the Moldau, about sixty miles west of the Prussian encampment. The310 forces now gathering for a decisive battle were nearly equal. The reader would not be interested in the description of the strategic and tactical movements of the next two days. The leaders of both parties, with great military sagacity, were accumulating and concentrating their forces for a conflict, which, under the circumstances, would doubtless prove ruinous to the one or the other. A battle upon that open plain, with equal forces, was of the nature of a duel, in which one or the other of the combatants must fall.
Frederick immediately sent an announcement of the victory to his friend Voltaire. It does not appear that he alluded to his own adventures. Voltaire received the note when in the theatre at Lisle, while listening to the first performance of his tragedy of Mahomet. He read the account to the audience between the acts. It was received with great applause. “You will see,” said Voltaire, “that this piece of Mollwitz will secure the success of mine.” Vous verrez que cette piece de Mollwitz fera réussir la miene.
He was particularly fond of dogs of the graceful greyhound breed, and might often be seen with book and pencil in his hand, in the shady walks, with three or four Italian greyhounds gamboling around him, apparently entirely absorbed in deep meditation. A page usually followed at a short distance behind, to attend his call. At twelve o’clock he dined with invited guests. As quite a number of distinguished men always met at his table, and the king was very fond of good living, as well as of the “feast of reason and the flow of soul,” the repast was frequently prolonged until nearly three o’clock. At dinner he was very social, priding himself not a little upon his conversational powers.Fritz had been for some time confined to his chamber and to his bed. He was now getting out again. By his mother’s persuasion he wrote to his aunt, Queen Caroline of England, expressing, in the strongest terms, his love for her daughter the Princess Amelia, and his unalterable determination never to marry unless he could lead her to the altar. Though Frederick William knew nothing of these intrigues, he hated his son with daily increasing venom. Sometimes, in a surly fit, he would not speak to him or recognize him. Again he would treat him with studied contempt, at the table refusing to give him any food, leaving him to fast while the others were eating. Not unfrequently, according to Wilhelmina’s account, he even boxed his ears, and smote him with his cane. Wilhelmina gives us one of the letters of her brother to his father about this time, and the characteristic paternal answer. Frederick writes, under date of September 11, 1728, from Wusterhausen:
548 “Frederick’s share,” writes Mr. Carlyle, “as an anciently Teutonic country, and as filling up the always dangerous gap between his Ost Prussen and him, has, under Prussian administration, proved much the most valuable of the three, and, next to Silesia, is Frederick’s most important acquisition.”
“I have not the least desire,” the king replied, “to aggrandize myself in those parts, or to spend money in fortifying there. It would be useless to me. Am I not fortifying Brieg and Glogau? These are enough for one who wishes to live well with his neighbors. Neither the Dutch nor the French have offended me, nor will I offend them by acquisitions in the Netherlands. Besides, who would guarantee them?”“The death of the emperor,” says Frederick, “was the only event wanting to complete the confusion and embroilment which already existed in the political relations of the European powers.”
“When the Duke of Lorraine comes I will have thee come. I think the bride will be here then. Adieu; God be with you.”
Frederick had now under his command twenty-four thousand men. They were mostly on the road between Frankfort and Berlin, for the protection of the capital. His brother Henry, in the vicinity of Landshut, with his head-quarters at Schm?ttseifen, was in command of thirty-eight thousand. The Russians and Austrians numbered one hundred and twenty thousand. There was, however, but little cordial co-operation among the allies. Each was accused of endeavoring to crowd the other to the front of the battle against the terrible Frederick.“His majesty’s entrance into Frankfort,” writes M. Bielfeld, who accompanied him, “although very triumphant, was far from ostentatious. We passed like lightning before the eyes of the spectators, and were so covered with dust that it was difficult to distinguish the color of our coats and the features of our faces. We made some purchases at Frankfort, and the next day arrived safely in Berlin, where the king was received with the acclamations of his people.”68
“And G?rtz senior is off on the instant, careering toward Weimar, where he finds G?rtz junior, and makes known his errand. G?rtz junior stares in the natural astonishment; but, after some intense brief deliberation, becomes affirmative, and in a minimum of time is ready and on the road.The Russians, triumphantly advancing, entered Silesia, and reached Crossen, on the Oder, within a hundred miles of Frederick’s encampment.详情
Copyright © 2020