“My situation changes every moment. Sometimes I am in favor, sometimes in disgrace. My chief happiness consists in my being absent from him. I lead a quiet and tranquil life with my regiment at Ruppin. Study and music are my principal occupations. I have built me a house there, and laid out a garden where I can read and walk about.”“With twenty-one thousand your beaten and maltreated servant has hindered an army of fifty thousand from attacking him, and has compelled them to retire to Neusatz.”
CHAPTER XXV. COMMENCEMENT OF THE SEVEN YEARS’ WAR.“I have called you together, not to ask your advice, but to inform you that to-morrow I shall attack Marshal Daun. I am aware that he occupies a strong position, but it is one from which he can not escape. If I beat him, all his army must be taken prisoners or drowned in the Elbe. If we are beaten, we must all perish. This war is become tedious. You must all find it so. We will, if we can, finish it to-morrow. General Ziethen, I confide to you the right wing of the army. Your object must be, in marching straight to Torgau, to cut off the retreat of the Austrians when I shall have beaten them, and driven them from the heights of Siptitz.”
Louise Ulrique,Wilhelmina endeavored to reply. But the angry mother sternly exclaimed, “Silence!” and the tortured girl left the apartment, weeping bitterly. Even Fritz took his mother’s part, and reproached Wilhelmina for not acceding to her plan. New troubles were thickening around him. He was in debt. The king had found it out. To his father’s stern questioning, Fritz, in his terror, had uttered deliberate falsehood. He confessed a debt of about eight hundred dollars, which his father had detected, and solemnly declared that this was all. In fact, he owed an additional sum of seven thousand dollars. Should the king discover this debt, and thus detect Fritz in a lie, his rage would be tremendous. The king paid the eight hundred dollar debt of his son, and then issued a decree declaring that to lend money to any princes of the blood, even to the prince royal, was a high crime, to be punished, not only by forfeiture of the money, but78 by imprisonment. The king had begun to suspect that Fritz intended to escape. He could not escape without money. The king therefore took special precautions that his purse should be ever empty, and watched him with renewed vigilance.The prince was withdrawn, and placed in a room where two sentries watched over him with fixed bayonets. The king malignantly assumed that the prince, being a colonel in the army and attempting to escape, was a deserter, whose merited doom was death. General Mosel urged the king not to see his son again, as his presence was sure to inflame his anger to so alarming a pitch. The father did not again see him for a year and three days.
At nine o’clock Frederick received one of the general officers, and arranged with him all the military affairs of the day, usually dismissing him loaded with business. At ten o’clock he reviewed some one of the regiments; and then, after attending parade, devoted himself to literary pursuits or private correspondence until dinner-time. This was the portion of the day he usually appropriated to authorship. He was accustomed to compose, both in prose and verse, while slowly traversing the graveled walks of his garden.For some unexplained reason, soon after this, the king partially relented, and invited Voltaire to Potsdam. He allowed him to retain his cross and key, and said nothing about the return of the volume of poetry. This was a volume of which twelve copies only had been printed. On the 25th of March, 1753, Voltaire left Potsdam for Dresden.
Early in January, 1730, the king, returning from a hunt at Wusterhausen, during which he had held a drinking carouse and a diplomatic interview with the King of Poland, announced his intention of being no longer annoyed by matrimonial arrangements for Wilhelmina. He resolved to abandon the English alliance altogether, unless an immediate and unequivocal assent were given by George II. for the marriage of Wilhelmina with the Prince of Wales, without any compact for the marriage of Fritz with the Princess Amelia. Count Finckenstein, Baron Grumkow, and General Borck were sent to communicate this, the king’s unalterable resolve, to the queen. The first two were friends of the queen. Grumkow was understood to be the instigator of the king. Wilhelmina chanced to be with her mother when the gentlemen announced themselves as the bearers of a very important message from the king to her majesty. Wilhelmina trembled, and said in a low tone to her mother, “This regards me. I have a dreading.” “No matter,” the worn and weary mother replied; “one must have firmness, and that is not what I shall want.” The queen retired with the ministers to the audience-chamber.It seems that the Crown Prince had an inquiring mind. He was interested in metaphysical speculations. He had adopted, perhaps, as some excuse for his conduct, the doctrine of predestination, that God hath foreordained whatsoever cometh to pass. The idea that there is a power, which Hume calls philosophical necessity, which Napoleon calls destiny, which Calvin calls predestination, by which all events are controlled, and that this necessity is not inconsistent with free agency, is a doctrine which ever has commanded the assent, and probably ever will, of many of the strongest thinkers in the world.“As Frederick’s seven years’ struggle of war may be called superhuman, so was there also, in his present labor of peace, something enormous, which appeared to his contemporaries almost preternatural, at times inhuman. It was grand, but also terrible, that the success of the whole was to him, at all moments, the one thing to be striven after. The comfort of the individual was of no concern at all.”189
“October 7, 1743.
The young lady was not beautiful, and there was no evidence of the slightest improprieties, or of any approach even to flirtation. But the infuriate king, who, without the shadow of reason, could accuse his own daughter of infamy, caused this young lady, under the pretext that she had been the guilty intimate of his son, to be taken from her parents, to be delivered to the executioners, and to be publicly conveyed in a cart and whipped on the bare back through the principal streets of the town. She was then imprisoned, and doomed to beat hemp as a culprit for three years.
“I will not see him. I wish to listen to no more of his offers. The sooner he takes himself away the better.”
It would seem that Frederick’s troops must have had iron sinews, and that they needed as little repose as did their master. Those not at work with the spade were under arms to repel an assault. Two or three times there was an alarm, when the whole fifty thousand, in an hour, were in battle-array. Frederick was fully aware of the crisis he had encountered. To be beaten there was irretrievable ruin. No one in the army performed more exhausting labor than the king himself. He seemed to be omnipresent, by day and by night. Near the chief battery, in a clump of trees, there was a small tent, and a bundle of straw in the corner. Here the king occasionally sought a few moments of repose. But his nervous excitement rendered him so restless, that most of the time he was strolling about among the guard parties, and warming himself by their fires.
“Frederick.”CHAPTER XVII. THE CAMPAIGN OF MORAVIA.详情
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