“‘Sire, it would be cheap at a hundred ducats.’
CHAPTER XXXV. LIFE’S CLOSING SCENES.gg. Retreat of Austrians.
“I found him much grown; an air of health and gayety about him. He caressed me greatly. We went to dinner. He asked me to sit beside him. Among other things, he said that he liked the great world, and was charmed to observe the ridiculous, weak side of some people.”MOLLWITZ,“The king,” writes Küster, “fell ill of the gout, saw almost nobody, never came out. It was whispered that his inflexible heart was at last breaking. And for certain there never was in his camp and over his dominions such a gloom as in this October, 1761, till at length he appeared on horseback again, with a cheerful face; and every body thought to himself, ‘Ha! the world will still roll on, then.’”
The early governess of little Fritz was a French lady of much refinement and culture, Madame Racoule. She was in entire sympathy with her pupil. Their tastes were in harmony. Fritz became as familiar with the French language as if it were his mother tongue. Probably through her influence he acquired that fondness for French literature and that taste for French elegance which continued with him through life.Frederick returned to Ruppin. Though he treated his wife with ordinary courtesy, as an honored member of the court, his attentions were simply such as were due to every lady of the royal household. It does not appear that she accompanied him to Ruppin or to Reinsberg at that time, though the apartments to which we have already alluded were subsequently provided for her at Reinsberg, where she was ever treated with the most punctilious politeness. Lord Dover says that after the accession of the prince to the throne he went to see his wife but once a year, on her birthday. She resided most of the time at Berlin, surrounded by a quiet little court there. However keen may have been her sufferings in view of this cruel neglect, we have165 no record that any word of complaint was ever heard to escape her lips. “This poor Crown Princess, afterward queen,” says Carlyle, “has been heard, in her old age, reverting in a touching, transient way to the glad days she had at Reinsberg. Complaint openly was never heard of her in any kind of days; but these, doubtless, were the best of her life.”
The queen summoned firmness to reply: “You can inform the king that he will never make me consent to render my daughter miserable; and that, so long as a breath of life remains in me, I will not permit her to take either the one or the other of these persons.”“But he interrupted me hastily with the word, ‘Nothing more of kings, sir—nothing more. What have we to do with them? We will spend the rest of our voyage on more agreeable and cheering objects.’ And now he spoke of the best of all possible worlds, and maintained that in our planet, earth, there was more evil than good. I maintained the contrary, and this discussion brought us to the end of the voyage.
Voltaire made himself very merry over the dying scene of Maupertuis. There was never another man who could throw so much poison into a sneer as Voltaire. It is probable that the conversion of Maupertuis somewhat troubled his conscience as the unhappy scorner looked forward to his own dying hour, which could not be far distant. He never alluded to Maupertuis without indulging in a strain of bitter mockery in view of his death as a penitent. Even the king, unbeliever as he was in religion or in the existence of a God, was disgusted with the malignity displayed by Voltaire. In reply to one of Voltaire’s envenomed assaults the king wrote:“Sunday next I shall be at a little place near Cleves, where I shall be able to possess you at my ease. If the sight of you don’t cure me, I will send for a confessor at once. Adieu. You know my sentiments and my heart.
The Prussians advanced in their long double line, trampling the deep snow beneath their feet. All their banners were waving. All their bands of music were pealing forth their most martial airs. Their sixty pieces of artillery, well in front, opened a rapid and deadly fire. The thoroughly-drilled Prussian artillerymen discharged their guns with unerring aim, breaking gaps in the Austrian ranks, and with such wonderful rapidity that the unintermitted roar of the cannons drowned the sound of drums and trumpets.“Nobody here, great or small, dares make any representation to this young prince against the measures he is pursuing, though all are sensible of the confusion which must follow. A prince who had the least regard to honor, truth, and justice, could not act the part he is going to do. But it is plain his only view is to deceive us all, and conceal for a while his ambitious and mischievous designs.”The battle, thus commenced, continued to rage for four long312 hours, with all its demon energies, its blood, its wounds, its oaths, its shrieks, its death; on the right wing, on the left wing, in the centre; till some ten or twelve thousand, some accounts say more, of these poor peasant soldiers lay prostrate upon the plain, crushed by the hoof, torn by the bullet, gashed by the sabre. Many were dead. Many were dying. Many had received wounds which would cripple them until they should totter into their graves. At the close of these four hours of almost superhuman effort, the villages all around in flames, the Austrians slowly, sullenly retired from the contest. Prince Charles, having lost nearly seven thousand men, with his remaining forces breathless, exhausted, bleeding, retired through Czaslau, and vanished over the horizon to the southwest. Frederick, with his forces almost equally breathless, exhausted, and bleeding, and counting five thousand of his soldiers strewn over the plain, in death or wounds, remained master of the field. Such was the famous battle of Chotusitz.
“What you write to me of my sister of Baireuth makes me tremble. Next to my mother, she is the one I have most tenderly loved in this world. She is a sister who has my heart and all my confidence, and whose character is of a price beyond all the crowns in the universe. From my tenderest years I was brought up with her. You can conceive how there reigns between us that indissoluble bond of mutual affection and attachment for life which in many cases were impossible. Would to Heaven that I might die before her!”And why was George II. so averse to the single marriage of the Prince of Wales to Wilhelmina? It is supposed that the opposition arose simply from his own mulish obstinacy. He hated his brother-in-law, the Prussian king. He was a weak, ill-tempered man; and having once said “Both marriages or none,” nothing could induce him to swerve from that position. In such a difficulty, with such men, there could be no possible compromise.详情
Copyright © 2020