Maupertuis.”Though Wilhelmina was also a close prisoner in her apartment in the Berlin palace, and was fed upon the coarsest fare, she103 still had a comfortable room, her musical instruments, and the companionship of her governess, Madam Sonsfeld. It was rather a relief to the unhappy princess to be shut out from the presence of her father and from the sound of his voice. She occasionally obtained a smuggled letter from her mother, and even got one, in pencil, from her brother, full of expressions of tenderness.Days of pain and nights of sleeplessness were his portion. A hard cough racked his frame. His strength failed him. Ulcerous sores broke out upon various parts of his body. A constant oppression at his chest rendered it impossible for him to lie down. Gout tortured him. His passage to the grave led through eighteen months of constant suffering. Dr. Zimmermann, in his diary of the 2d of August, writes:
“Their king” (Wilhelmina’s grandfather) “was of extreme gravity, and hardly spoke a word to any body. He saluted Madam Sonsfeld, my governess, very coldly, and asked if I was always so serious, and if my humor was of a melancholy turn. ‘Any thing but that, sire,’ answered Madam Sonsfeld; ‘but the respect she has for your majesty prevents her from being as sprightly as she commonly is.’ He shook his head and said nothing. The reception he had given me, and this question, gave me such a chill that I never had the courage to speak to him.”
On the day of the marriage, the princess, having formally renounced all her rights to the personal property of the family, dined with the royal household and her intended, and then retired to her apartment to dress for the wedding. It would seem that the queen must have become quite insane upon this point. Even at this late hour she did every thing she could to delay operations and to gain time, hoping every moment that some courier would arrive from England with proposals which would induce the king to break off the engagement. As fast as the princess’s hair on one side was dressed the queen would contrive to undo it, so that at last the hair would no longer curl, making her look, as Wilhelmina said, “like a mad woman.” She adds:“General Loudon, take a seat by my side. I had much rather have you with me than opposite me.” Mettez vous auprès de moi. J’aime mieux vous avoir à c?té de moi que vis-à-vis.181
Voltaire had already written the epic poem the Henriade, the history of Charles XII., and several tragedies.“I was glad to receive you in my house. I esteemed your genius, your talents, and your acquirements. I had reason to think that a man of your age, weary of fencing against authors, and exposing himself to the storm, came hither to take refuge, as in a safe harbor.”
The Marquis of Botta, the Austrian envoy, endeavoring to penetrate the plans of Frederick, descanted upon the horrible condition of the roads in Silesia, which province he had traversed in coming to Berlin. The king listened with a quiet smile, and then, with much apparent indifference, replied,“I depend with complete confidence on your soldierly and patriotic zeal, which is already well and gloriously known to me, and which, while I live, I will acknowledge with the heartiest satisfaction. Before all things I recommend to you, and prescribe as your most sacred duty, that in every situation you exercise humanity on unarmed enemies. In this respect, let there be the strictest discipline kept among those under you.
Berlin was almost defenseless. All Saxony was rising in arms behind Frederick. The invader of Silesia was in danger of having his own realms invaded and his own capital sacked. Frederick was thoroughly roused. But he never allowed himself to appear agitated or anxious. He ordered Leopold, the Old Dessauer, to march immediately, with all the troops he could rally, to the frontiers of Saxony. He even found it necessary to detach to the aid of Leopold some corps from his own enfeebled forces, now menaced by an Austrian army twice as large as he could oppose to them.
“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.”“After which the Lord’s Prayer; then rapidly and vigorously wash himself clean; dress, and powder, and comb himself. While they are combing and queuing him, he is to breakfast on tea. Prayer, washing, breakfast, and the rest to be done pointedly within fifteen minutes.
“The emperor has a frankness of manner which seems natural to him. In his amiable character, gayety and great vivacity are prominent features.”The king then questioned him very closely respecting the place where he had studied, during what years, under what teachers, and to what branches he had devoted special attention. While thus conversing the clock struck twelve. This was the dinner-hour of his majesty. “Now I must go,” said the king. “They wait for their soup.”
“My brother Henry has gone to see the Duchess of Gotha to-day. I am so oppressed with grief that I would rather keep my sadness to myself. I have reason to congratulate myself much on account of my brother Henry. He has behaved like an angel, as a soldier, and well toward me as a brother. I can not, unfortunately, say the same of the elder. He sulks at me, and has sulkily retired to Torgau, from which place he has gone to Wittenberg. I shall leave him to his caprices and to his bad conduct; and I prophesy nothing for the future unless the younger guide him.”“‘It is late. I wish you had done.’Frederick exclaimed, in astonishment, “What an infernal fire! Did you ever hear such a cannonade before? I never did.”详情
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