类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-10-20 19:19:23


486 Probably the reader will infer from the above letter that the king felt that the hour had come for him to die, and that he intended to resort to that most consummate act of folly and cowardicesuicide. He had always avowed this to be his intention in the last resort. He had urged his sister Wilhelmina to imitate his example in this respect, and not to survive the destruction of their house. Ruin now seemed inevitable. In the battle of Kunersdorf Frederick had lost, in killed and wounded, nineteen thousand men, including nearly all the officers of distinction, and also one hundred and sixty pieces of artillery. The remainder of his army was so dispersed that it could not be rallied to present any opposition to the foe.

But, immediately after these ceremonies were over, the new monarch, who assumed the crown with the title of Frederick William, not with that of Frederick II., to the utter consternation of the court, dismissed nearly every honorary official of the palace, from the highest dignitary to the humblest page. His flashing eye and determined manner were so appalling that no one ventured to remonstrate. A clean sweep was made, so that the household was reduced to the lowest footing of economy consistent with the supply of indispensable wants. Eight servants were retained at six shillings a week. His father had thirty pages; all were dismissed but three. There were one thousand saddle-horses in the royal stables; Frederick William kept thirty. Three fourths of the names were struck from the pension-list. Thus rigidly the king went on through every department of administrative and household expenses, until they were reduced to below a fifth of what they had been under his father.

Frederick exposed himself like a common soldier. Indeed, it sometimes seems that, in the desperate state of his affairs, he sought the fatal bullet. All his efforts against the Austrians were in vain. The Prussians were repulsed with dreadful slaughter. After losing fourteen thousand men in killed, wounded, and prisoners, forty-five cannon, and twenty-two flags, Frederick was compelled to order a retreat. His magnificent regiment of guards, one thousand in number, picked men, undoubtedly the best body of troops in the world, was almost annihilated. The loss of the Austrians was about nine thousand men. They were so accustomed to be defeated by Frederick that they were equally surprised and delighted by this dearly-earned victory. The following plan will give the military reader an idea of the position of the hostile forces.England furnished him with a subsidy of about four million dollars. He immediately melted this coin, gold and silver, and adulterated it with about half copper, thus converting his four476 millions into nominally eight millions. But a few weeks of such operations as he was engaged in would swallow up all this. The merciless conscription, grasping nearly every able-bodied man, destroyed nearly all the arts of industry. The Prussian realms, thus impoverished by wars ravages and taxation, could furnish the king with very meagre supplies. When the king invaded any portion of the territory of the allies, he wrenched from the beggared people every piece of money which violence or terror could extort. Wealthy merchants were thrown into prison, and fed upon bread and water until they yielded. The most terrible severities were practiced to extort contributions from towns which had been stripped and stripped again. Still violence could wrench but little from the skinny hand of beggary. These provinces, swept by wars surges year after year, were in the most deplorable state of destitution and misery.

In the court-yard there was a fountain with stone steps, where Frederick William loved to sit on summer evenings and smoke his pipe. He frequently took his frugal dinner here in the open air under a lime-tree, with the additional protection of an awning. After dinner he would throw himself down for a nap on a wooden bench, apparently regardless of the flaming sun.The queens intentions were always good, Wilhelmina kindly urged. The king replied, Let us not enter into that detail. What is past is past. I will try to forget it. You are the dearest to me of all the family. I am too sad of heart to take leave of you. Embrace your husband on my part. I am so overcome that I must not see him.

Even Gustavus Adolphus never did such great things. One must, indeed, pardon Frederick his verses, his sarcasms, and his little malices. All the faults of the man disappear before the glory of the hero.Frederick turned upon his heel, and made no answer.

Knobelsdorf was the bearer of a second letter from the Crown Prince. The first had not reached her. Frederick, having taken an hour or two of sleep at Hof, rose much refreshed, and, continuing his journey about fifteen miles farther, wrote this second letter as follows to his sister:478 The latter part of June, an army of a hundred thousand Russians, having crossed the Vistula, was concentrated, under General Soltikof, at Posen, on the River Warta, in Poland. They were marching from the northeast to attack the Prussian forces near Landshut in their rear. General Daun, with a still larger force of Austrians, was confronting Frederick on the southwest. The plan of the allies was to crush their foe between these two armies. Frederick had lost the ablest of his generals. The young men who were filling their places were untried.

As the ladies of the court were gazing upon this spectacle, an121 officer rode up to the royal carriage, cap in hand, and said that he was directed to present to the queen and princess his Highness the Prince of Baireuth. Immediately a tall young man, in rich dress and of very courtly air, rode up to the carriage and saluted his future mother and his destined bride. His reception was very chilling. The queen, with frigid civility, scarcely recognized his low bow. Wilhelmina, faint from fasting, anxiety, and sleeplessness, was so overcome by her emotions that she fell back upon her seat in a swoon.

Since you speak so much of marriages, said the general, I suppose you wish to be married?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.



During all the day of Wednesday weeping friends stood around the bed, as the lamp of life flickered in its socket. Every moment it was expected that the emperor would breathe his last. At two oclock the next morning the spirit took its flight, and the lifeless clay alone remained. The grief-stricken empress closed the eyes of her departed husband, kissed his hands, and was carried out more dead than alive. Thus ended the male line of the house of Hapsburg, after five centuries of royal sway. The emperor died on the 20th of October 1740, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.

383 My good Thuringian, said the king, you came to Berlin seeking to earn your bread by the industrious teaching of children, and here at the custom-house they have taken your money from you. True, the batzen are not legal here. They should have said to you, You are a stranger and did not know of the prohibition. We will seal up the bag of batzen. You can send it back to Thuringia and get it changed for other coin. Be of good heart, however. You shall have your money again, and interest too. But, my poor man, in Berlin they do not give any thing gratis. You are a stranger. Before you are known and get to teaching, your bit of money will be all gone. What then?



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