The king was scrupulously clean, washing five times a day. He would allow no drapery, no stuffed furniture, no carpets in27 his apartments. They caught dust. He sat upon a plain wooden chair. He ate roughly, like a farmer, of roast beef, despising all delicacies. His almost invariable dress was a close military blue coat, with red cuffs and collar, buff waistcoat and breeches, and white linen gaiters to the knee. A sword was belted around his loins, and, as we have said, a stout rattan or bamboo cane ever in his hand. A well-worn, battered, triangular hat covered his head. He walked rapidly through the streets which surrounded his palaces at Potsdam and Berlin. If he met any one who attracted his attention, male or female, he would abruptly, menacingly inquire, “Who are you?” A street-lounger he has been known to hit over the head with his cane, exclaiming, “Home, you rascal, and go to work.” If any one prevaricated or hesitated, he would sternly demand, “Look me in the face.” If there were still hesitancy, or the king were dissatisfied with the answers, the one interrogated was lucky if he escaped without a caning.3
“She made me a courtesy on the model of that of Agnes in the Ecole des Femmes. I took her back to the queen’s apartment, little edified by such a display of talent.”“Grant that with zeal and skill, this day, I do What me to do behooves, what Thou command’st me to; Grant that I do it sharp, at point of moment fit, And when I do it, grant me good success in it.”113
“M. le President,—I have had the honor to receive your letter. You inform me that you are well, and that, if I publish La Beaumelle’s letter,97 you will come and assassinate me. What ingratitude to your poor Doctor Akakia! If you exalt your soul so as to discern futurity, you will see that, if you come on that errand to Leipsic, where you are no better liked than in other places, you will run some risk of being hanged. Poor me, indeed, you will find in bed. But, as soon as I have gained a little strength, I will have my pistols charged, and, multiplying the394 mass by the square of velocity, so as to reduce the action and you to zero, I will put some lead into your head. It appears that you have need of it. Adieu, my president.
The withdrawal of Russia from the alliance against Frederick, though hailed by him with great joy, still left him, with wasted armies and exhausted finances, to struggle single-handed against Austria and France united, each of which kingdoms was far more powerful than Prussia. The winter passed rapidly away without any marked events, each party preparing for the opening of the campaign in the ensuing spring. On the 8th of June, 1762, Frederick wrote to D’Argens:
293 “Of the political morality of this game of fast-and-loose what have we to say, except that the dice on both sides seem to be loaded; that logic might be chopped upon it forever; that a candid mind will settle what degree of wisdom (which is always essential veracity) and what of folly (which is always falsity) there was in Frederick and the others; whether, or to what degree, there was a better course open to Frederick in the circumstances; and, in fine, it will have to be granted that you can not work in pitch and keep hands evidently clean. Frederick has got into the enchanted wilderness populous with devils and their work, alas! It will be long before he get out of it again; his life waning toward night before he get victoriously out, and bequeath his conquest to luckier successors!Frederick published his manifesto on the 10th of August, 1744. Early in the morning of the 15th he set out from Potsdam upon this new military expedition. His two eldest brothers, Augustus William, Prince of Prussia, and Prince Henry, accompanied him. The army entered Bohemia in three columns, whose concentrated force amounted to nearly one hundred thousand men. Frederick in person led the first column, the old331 Prince Leopold the second, and Marshal Schwerin the third. Marching by different routes, they swept all opposition before them. On the 4th of September the combined army appeared before the walls of Prague. Here, as in every act of Frederick’s life, his marvelous energy was conspicuous.
“I have the honor to inform your humanity that we are Christianly preparing to bombard Neisse; and that, if the place will not surrender of good-will, needs must that it be beaten to powder. For the rest, our affairs go the best in the world; and soon233 thou wilt hear nothing more of us, for in ten days it will all be over, and I shall have the pleasure of seeing you and hearing you in about a fortnight.
“After about two hours I stepped out for a moment into the vestibule. I had placed before me a large glass of water, which the princess, opposite to whom I had the honor to sit, in a vein of mischievous pleasantry, had ordered to be emptied, and had filled it with Sellery wine, which was as clear as rock water. Having already lost my taste, I mixed my wine with wine. Thinking to refresh myself, I became joyous, but it was a kind of joy that leaned toward intoxication.
The battle soon began, with its tumult, its thunder-roar of artillery and musketry, its gushing blood, its cries of agony, its death convulsions. Both parties fought with the reckless courage, the desperation with which trained soldiers, of whatever nationality, almost always fight.“My dear Papa,—I have not, for a long while, presumed to come near my dear papa, partly because he forbade me, but chiefly because I had reason to expect a still worse reception than usual; and for fear of angering my dear papa by my present request, I have preferred making it in writing to him.
“After having restored peace to my kingdom; after having conquered countries, raised a victorious army, and filled my treasury; after having established a good administration throughout my dominions; after having made my enemies tremble, I resign, without regret, this breath of life to Nature.”
CHAPTER V. IMPRISONMENT OF FRITZ AND WILHELMINA.“Here is business which I must attend to. I was in a writing vein, but I believe it is better to conclude, lest I should tire you and neglect my own duties. Adieu, my dear marquis. I embrace you.The Prussian minister condescended then so importunately to urge an audience, in view of the menacing state of affairs, that M. Hartoff returned to the council-chamber, and in seven minutes came back with an evasive answer, still refusing to grant an audience. The next day M. Kannegiesser called again at the council-chamber. “I let them know in the mildest terms,” he writes in his dispatch home, “that I desired to be admitted to speak with them, which was refused me a second time.” He then informed M. Hartoff that the Prussian court expected a definite answer to some propositions which had previously been sent to the council at Hanover; that he would remain two days to receive it; that, in case he did not receive it, he would call again, to remind them that an answer was desired.详情
Copyright © 2020