类型:奇幻地区:ͨseo发布:2020-10-20 19:56:36


Many bitter words had already passed between Louis XV. and Frederick. But recently a new element of discord had appeared. The Duchess of Pompadour, the guilty favorite of Louis XV., beautiful, fascinating, and wicked, had become a power in Europe, notwithstanding the ignoble position she occupied.399 This artful and enchanting woman, having the weak king completely under her control, was in reality the ruler of France. The proudest nobles and the highest ecclesiastics bowed submissively at her shrine. Even the immaculate Maria Theresa, constrained by state policy, wrote flattering notes to her, addressing her as my cousin, princess and cousin, madame, my dearest sister.It was on the 11th of November, 1741, that Frederick, elated with his conquest of Silesia, had returned to Berlin. In commencing the enterprise he had said, Ambition, interest, and the desire to make the world speak of me, vanquished all, and war was determined on. He had, indeed, succeeded in making the world speak of him. He had suddenly become the most prominent man in Europe. Some extolled his exploits. Some expressed amazement at his perfidy. Many, recognizing his sagacity296 and his tremendous energy, sought his alliance. Embassadors from the various courts of Europe crowded his capital. Fourteen sovereign princes, with many foreigners of the highest rank, were counted among the number. The king was in high spirits. While studiously maturing his plans for the future, he assumed the air of a thoughtless man of fashion, and dazzled the eyes and bewildered the minds of his guests with feasts and pageants.

In that case, sir, replied the king, I wish you a good journey.Frederick angrily replied, You can have no instructions to ask that question. And if you had, I have an answer ready for you. England has no right to inquire into my designs. Your great sea armaments, did I ask you any question about them? No! I was, and am, silent on that head.40

Do not resist any longer. Submit to whatever is required of you. I will answer with my life that the marriage will never really take place. It is necessary, at whatever cost, to appease the king for the present. I will explain to the queen that this is the only means of obtaining a favorable declaration from the King of England.

The Prussians remained at Lobositz nearly a fortnight, to see if Marshal Browne would again attempt to force the defiles. The Saxon troops, for whose relief the Austrians were advancing, were about thirty miles farther north, on the south, or left408 bank of the Elbe. The news of the repulse of Marshal Browne at Lobositz fell disastrously upon their starving ranks. Maria Theresa was much distressed. She sent a messenger to her Austrian general to relieve the Saxons at whatever cost. A confidential messenger was dispatched through the mountains to the Saxon camp, which he reached in safety. He informed his Polish majesty that Marshal Browne, with a picked force of eight thousand, horse and foot, would march by a circuitous route of sixty miles, so as to approach Pirna from the northeast, where but a small Prussian force was stationed. He would be there without fail on the 11th of August.

My dearest Sister,I find no other consolation but in your precious letters. May Heaven108 reward so much virtue and such427 heroic sentiments! Since I wrote you last my misfortunes have but gone on accumulating. It seems as though destiny would discharge all its wrath and fury upon the poor country which I had to rule over. I have advanced this way to fall upon a corps of the allied army, which has run off and intrenched itself among hills, whither to follow, still more to attack them, all rules of war forbid. The moment I retire toward Saxony this whole swarm will be upon my heels. Happen what may, I am determined, at all risks, to fall upon whatever corps of the enemy approaches me nearest. I shall even bless Heaven for its mercy if it grant me the favor to die sword in hand.Had all our fatalities been limited to stoppages of speed on the journey, we should have taken patience. But after frightful roads we found lodgings still more frightful.In the midst of ftes, operas, and suppers, my secret negotiation advanced. The king allowed me to speak to him on all subjects. I often intermingled questions respecting France and Austria in conversations relating to the ?neid and Livy. The discussion was sometimes very animated. At length the king said to me, Let France declare war against England, and I will march. This was all I desired. I returned as quickly as possible to the court of France. I gave them the same hopes which I had myself been led to entertain at Berlin, and which did not prove delusive.

The king then, having ordered his guard to watch him with the utmost vigilance, assuring them that their heads should answer for it if they allowed him to escape, sent his son to another boat. He was prevailed upon to do so, as no one could tell to what length the kings ungovernable passions might lead him.The terror in Vienna was dreadful. I will not attempt to describe the dismay the tidings excited among all ranks of people. Maria Theresa, trembling for her two sons who were in the army, immediately dispatched an autograph letter to Frederick with new proposals for a negotiation.Sophie Dorothee tenderly loved her little Fritz, and, with a mothers fondness, endeavored to shield him, in every way in her power, from his fathers brutality. Wilhelmina also clung to her brother with devotion which nothing could disturb. Thus both mother and daughter incurred in some degree the hatred with which the father regarded his son. It will be remembered that the mother of Fritz was daughter of George I. of England. Her brother subsequently became George II. He had a son, Fred, about the age of Wilhelmina, and a daughter, Amelia, six months older than Fritz. The mother, Sophie Dorothee, had set her heart upon a double marriageof Wilhelmina with Fred,39 and of Fritz with Amelia. But many obstacles arose in the way of these nuptials.

Frederick regarded the Academy as his pet institution, and was very jealous of the illustrious philosopher, whom he had invited to Berlin to preside over its deliberations. Voltaire, knowing this very well, and fully aware that to strike the Academy391 in the person of its president was to strike Frederick, wrote an anonymous communication to a review published in Paris, in which he accused M. Maupertuisfirst, of plagiarism, in appropriating to himself a discovery made by another; secondly, of a ridiculous blunder in assuming that said discovery was a philosophical principle, and not an absurdity; and thirdly, that he had abused his position as president of the Academy in suppressing free discussion, by expelling from the institution a member merely for not agreeing with him in opinion. These statements were probably true, and on that account the more damaging.



The sun had just risen above the horizon when the conflict commenced. It reached its meridian. Still the storm of battle swept the plains and reverberated over the hills. Heights had been taken and retaken; charges had been made and repelled; the surges of victory had rolled to and fro; over many leagues the thunderbolts of battle were thickly flying; bugle peals, cries of onset, shrieks of the wounded crushed beneath artillery wheels, blended with the rattle of musketry and the roar of artillery; riderless horses were flying in all directions; the extended plain was covered with the wreck and ruin of battle, and every moment was multiplying the victims of wars horrid butchery.

The field of Leuthenfor so this battle-field was calledwas a vast undulating plain or rolling prairie, extending for miles in all directions. One or two brooks flowed sluggishly through it. Here and there were expanses of marsh which neither horse nor foot could traverse. A few scraggy firs dotted the dreary landscape,441 and there were also a few hamlets of peasants huts scattered around. Frederick concealed his movements as much as possible behind the undulations, and succeeded in deceiving the Austrians into the belief that he was to make an attack upon their right wing. The Austrian officers, on windmills and in church belfries, were eagerly scrutinizing his man?uvres. Deceived into the conviction that their right wing was menaced, they impetuously pushed forward large re-enforcements of horse to the support of the presumed point of attack. Thus the left wing was weakened.The king exerted all his powers of fascination to gain the affections of the people. Though he dismissed all the Austrian public functionaries, and supplied their places by his own friends, he continued to the Catholics their ancient privileges, and paid marked attention to the bishop and his clergy. At the same time, he encouraged the Protestants with the expectation that he would prove their especial friend. At the assemblies which he gave each evening that he was in the city, he lavished his smiles upon the ladies who were distinguished either for exalted rank or for beauty. But there is no evidence that, during this campaign, he wrote one line to his absent, neglected wife, or that he expended one thought upon her.Monday morning the storm ceased. There was a perfect calm. For leagues the spotless snow, nearly two feet deep, covered all the extended plains. The anxiety of Frederick had been so great that for two nights he had not been able to get any sleep. He had plunged into this war with the full assurance that he was to gain victory and glory. It now seemed inevitable that he was to encounter but defeat and shame.



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