“Then hear what the consequences would have been. Your mother would have got into the greatest misery. I could not but have suspected she was the author of the business. Your sister I would have cast for life into a place where she would never have seen sun or moon again. Then on with my army to Hanover, and burn and ravage—yes, if it had cost me life, land, and people. Your thoughtless and godless conduct, see what it was leading to. I intended to employ you in all manner of business, civil and military. But how, after such action, could I show your face to my officers?”“You know, my dear son, that when my children are obedient I love them much. So when you were at Berlin, I from my heart forgave you every thing; and from that Berlin time, since I saw you, have thought of nothing but of your well-being, and how to establish you; not in the army only, but also with a right step-daughter, and so see you married in my lifetime. You may be well persuaded I have had the Princesses of Germany taken survey of, so far as possible, and examined by trusty people what their conduct is, their education, and so on. And so a princess has been found, the eldest one of Bevern, who is well brought up, modest and retiring as a woman ought to be.
“I am so stupefied with the misfortune which has befallen494 General Finck that I can not recover from my astonishment. It deranges all my measures. It cuts me to the quick. Ill luck, which persecutes my old age, has followed me from Kunersdorf to Saxony. I will still strive what I can. The little ode I sent you, addressed to Fortune, was written too soon. One should not shout victory until the battle is over. I am so crushed by these reverses and disasters that I wish a thousand times I were dead.“When I am dead,” he said, petulantly, “you will see Berlin full of madmen and freethinkers, and the sort of people who walk about the streets.”Then addressing Grumkow, she said, in tones deliberate and76 intense, “For you, sir, who are the author of my misfortunes, may my curse fall upon you and your house. You have this day killed me. But I doubt not that Heaven will hear my prayer and avenge my wrongs.
CHAPTER VII. THE MARRIAGE OF THE CROWN PRINCE.
“My dearest Brother,—I know not if it is not too bold to trouble your majesty on private affairs. But the great confidence my sister and I have in your kindness encourages us to lay before you a sincere avowal of our little finances, which are a good deal deranged just now. The revenues, having for two years and a half past been rather small, amounting to only four hundred crowns (0) a year, could not be made to cover all the little expenses required in the adjustment of ladies. This circumstance, added to our card-playing, though small, which we could not dispense with, has led us into debt. Mine amounts to fifteen hundred crowns (25); my sister’s, to eighteen hundred crowns (50). We have not spoken of it to the queen-mother, though we are sure she would have tried to assist us. But as that could not have been done without some inconvenience to her, and as she would have retrenched in some of her own little entertainments, I thought we should do better to apply directly to your majesty. We were persuaded you would have taken it amiss had we deprived the queen of her smallest pleasure, and especially as we consider you, my dear brother, the father of the family, and hope you will be so gracious as to help us. We shall never forget the kind acts of your majesty. We beg you to be persuaded of the perfect and tender attachment with which we are proud to be, all our lives, your majesty’s most humble sisters and servants,Frederick, thus urged, leaving the main body of his army, as258 he supposed, in utter rout, with a small escort, put spurs to his steed in the attempt to escape. The king was well mounted on a very splendid bay horse. A rapid ride of fifteen miles in a southerly direction brought him to the River Neisse, which he crossed by a bridge at the little town of Lowen. Immediately after his departure Prince Leopold dispatched a squadron of dragoons to accompany the king as his body-guard. But Frederick fled so rapidly that they could not overtake him, and in the darkness, for night soon approached, they lost his track. Even several of the few who accompanied him, not so well mounted as the king, dropped off by the way, their horses not being able to keep up with his swift pace.
Frederick, who had taken his position upon a windmill, saw, with much satisfaction, the successful operation of his plan. Suddenly, with almost miraculous swiftness of movement, his perfectly drilled troops, horse, foot, and artillery, every man reckless of life, poured forth with a rush and a roar as of a lava-flood upon the extreme left of the Austrians. It was one o’clock of the day. There was neither brook, bush, fence, nor marsh to impede the headlong impetuosity of the assault. At the point of attack the Prussians were, of course, most numerous. There were a few moments of terrible slaughter, and the left wing of the Austrian army was annihilated. The ground was covered with the wounded and the dead, and the fugitives, in dismay, were fleeing across the fields.While affairs were in this posture, the English, eager to crush their hereditary rivals, the French, were very anxious to detach the Prussians from the French alliance. The only way to do360 this was to induce Maria Theresa to offer terms of peace such as Frederick would accept. They sent Sir Thomas Robinson to Sch?nbrunn to endeavor to accomplish this purpose. He had an interview with her Hungarian majesty on the 2d of August, 1745. The queen was very dignified and reticent. Silently she listened to the proposals of Sir Thomas. She then said, with firmness which left no room for further argument,
Frederick William, in his extreme exasperation, seriously contemplated challenging George II. to a duel. In his own mind he arranged all the details—the place of meeting, the weapons, the seconds. With a stern sense of justice, characteristic of the man, he admitted that it would not be right to cause the blood61 of his subjects to flow in a quarrel which was merely personal. But the “eight cart-loads of hay” had been taken under circumstances so insulting and contemptuous as to expose the Prussian king to ridicule; and he was firm in his determination to settle the difficulty by a duel. The question was much discussed in the Tobacco Parliament. The Prussian ministers opposed in vain. “The true method, I tell you,” said the king, “is the duel, let the world cackle as it may.”
During the previous summer, the philosopher Maupertuis, after weary wanderings in the languor of consumption, and in great dejection of spirits, had been stricken by convulsions while in his carriage at Basel. He had lost favor with the king, and was poor, friendless, and dying. His latter years had been imbittered by the venomous assaults of Voltaire.
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A man’s moral nature must be indeed obtuse who could thus recommend the compulsion of a peaceable citizen to act the part of a traitor to his own country, under the alternative of having his house fired and his wife and children massacred.
Early the next morning, Czernichef, greatly admiring the exploit Frederick had performed, commenced his march home. Just before this there was a change in the British ministry, and the new cabinet clamored for peace. England entered into a treaty with France, and retired from the conflict. Frederick, vehemently upbraiding the English with treachery—the same kind533 of treachery of which he had repeatedly been guilty—marched upon Schweidnitz. After a vigorous siege of two months he captured the place.Some of our readers may think that the above narrative is quite incredible; that a young sovereign, who had just written the Anti-Machiavel, and who knew that the eyes of the world were upon him, could not be guilty of such perfidy. But, unhappily, there is no possible room for doubt. The documentary evidence is ample. There is no contradictory testimony.“A droll incident happened during our dialogue. My gentleman wanted to let down a little sash window, and could not manage it. ‘You do not understand that,’ said I; ‘let me do it.’ I tried to get it down, but succeeded no better than he.详情
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