Wilhelmina, who was present, gives a graphic account, with her vivacious pen, of many of the scenes, both tragic and comic, which ensued.
In the account which Frederick gave, some years after, of this campaign, in his Histoire de Mons Temps, he wrote:The physician replied, “Alas! not long.”Frederick exclaimed, in astonishment, “What an infernal fire! Did you ever hear such a cannonade before? I never did.”
The Austrians, on the careless and self-confident march toward Parchwitz, had crossed the Schweidnitz River, or Water, as it438 was called, when they learned that Frederick, with a tiger-like spring, had leaped upon Neumarkt, an important town fourteen miles from Parchwitz. Here the Austrians had a bakery, protected by a guard of a thousand men. Seven hundred of the guard were instantly sabred or taken prisoners. The rest fled wildly. Frederick gathered up eighty thousand hot bread rations, with which he feasted his hungry troops.
178 “Meanwhile Frederick the First died, and with him was buried all his false grandeur, which consisted only in a vain magnificence, and in the pompous display of frivolous ceremonies. My father, who succeeded him, compassionated the general misery. He visited the spot, and saw, with his own eyes, this vast country laid waste, and all the dreadful traces which a contagious malady, a famine, and the sordid avarice of a venal administration leave behind them. Twelve or fifteen towns depopulated, and four or five hundred villages uninhabited, presented themselves to his view. Far from being discouraged by such a sad spectacle, his compassion only became the more lively from it; and he resolved to restore population, plenty, and commerce to this land, which had even lost the appearance of an inhabited country.
“‘No,’ I answered; ‘but I should like to make that journey. I am very curious to see the Prussian states and their king, of whom one hears so much.’ And now I began to launch out on Frederick’s actions.
It was apparently easy for the Crown Prince to relinquish Amelia. But the English princess, being very unhappy at home, had fixed her affections upon Frederick with the most romantic tenderness. In beauty of person, in chivalric reputation, in exalted rank, he was every thing an imaginative maiden could have desired. She regarded him probably as, in heart, true to her. He had often sent his protestations to the English court that he would never marry any one but Amelia. Though the marriage ceremony had been performed with Elizabeth, he recognized only its legal tie. Poor Amelia was heart-crushed. Earth had no longer any joys for her. She never married, but wore the miniature of the prince upon her breast for the rest of her days. We have no record of the weary years during which grief was consuming her life. Her eyelids became permanently swollen with weeping. And when, at the age of sixty, she died, the miniature of the Crown Prince was still found resting upon her true and faithful heart. Amelia and Elizabeth—how sad their fate! Through no fault of their own, earth was to them both truly a vale of tears. The only relief from the contemplation of the terrible tragedies of earth is found in the hope that the sufferers may find compensation in a heavenly home.Rambonet presented the peremptory missive, and waited forty-eight hours for the answer. He then returned to Wesel without any satisfactory reply. Frederick immediately issued a manifesto, declaring the reasons for his action, and ordered two thousand men, horse and foot, who were all ready for the emergence, to advance immediately to Maaseyk, one of the principal towns of the bishop, take possession of it and of the surrounding region, quarter themselves upon the people, enforce liberal contributions, and remain there until the bishop should come to terms.34
Baron Bielfeld gives the following account of the ordinary employments, and the tone of conversation of the prince: “All the employments and all the pleasures of the prince are those of a man of understanding. He is, at this time, actually engaged in refuting the dangerous political reveries of Machiavel. His conversation at table is charming. He talks much and excellently well. His mind seems to be equal to all sorts of subjects, and his imagination produces on each of them a number of new and just ideas. His genius resembles the fire of the vestals that was never extinct. A decent and polite contradiction is not disagreeable172 to him. He possesses the rare talent of displaying the wit of others, and of giving them opportunity to shine on those subjects in which they excel. He jests frequently, and sometimes rallies, but never with asperity; and an ingenious retort does not displease him.
“Nürnberg, July 3, 1734.At half past three o’clock on Friday morning, Frederick, with his whole army, was again upon the march. He swept quite around the eastern end of the Russian square, and approached it from the south. By this sagacious movement he could, in case of disaster, retreat to Cüstrin.详情
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