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.Frederick still sought recreation in writing verses which he called poetry. To D’Argens he wrote, “I have made a prodigious quantity of verses. If I live I will show them to you. If I perish they are bequeathed to you, and I have ordered that they be put into your hand.
Marshal Daun, as he retired with a shattered leg to have his wound dressed, resigned the command to General Buccow. In a few moments his arm was shot off, and General O’Donnell took the command. He ordered a retreat. The Austrian army, at nine o’clock in the evening, in much disorder, were crossing the Elbe by three bridges which had been thrown across the stream in preparation for a possible disaster. The king, disappointed in a victory which did not promise great results, passed the night conversing with the soldiers at their watch-fires. He had ever indulged them in addressing him with much familiarity, calling him Fritz, which was a diminutive of Frederick, and expressive of affection. “I suppose, Fritz,” said one of the soldiers, “after this, you will give us good winter quarters.”On the 9th of August he wrote from Grüssau to Wilhelmina herself: “Oh, you, the dearest of my family, you whom I have most at heart of all in this world, for the sake of whatever is most precious to you, preserve yourself, and let me have at least the consolation of shedding my tears in your bosom!
The wrath of the king was now ungovernable. He drew his sword, threatening to thrust it through the heart of his son, and seemed upon the point of doing so, when General Mosel threw himself before the king, exclaiming, “Sire, you may kill me, but spare your son.”12
A brief account of this interview has been given by Frederick,59 and also a very minute narrative by Sir Thomas Robinson, in his official report to his government. There is no essential discrepancy between the two statements. Frederick alludes rather contemptuously to the pompous airs of Sir Thomas, saying that “he negotiated in a wordy, high, droning way, as if he were speaking in Parliament.” Mr. Carlyle seems to be entirely in sympathy with Frederick in his invasion of Silesia. The reader will peruse with interest his graphic, characteristic comments upon this interview:Upon the return of the Crown Prince to Cüstrin after the marriage of Wilhelmina, several of the officers of the army sent in a petition to the king that he would restore to the prince his uniform and his military rank. The king consented, and made out his commission anew as colonel commandant of the Goltz regiment at Ruppin. This was a small town about seventy-five miles northeast of Berlin. His commission was signed on the 29th of February, 1732, he being then twenty years of age. In this little hamlet, mainly engaged in the dull routine of garrison duties, the prince passed most of his time for the next eight years.In the mean time, during the two years in which Maria Theresa was making these conquests, Frederick, alarmed by the aggrandizement of Austria and the weakening of France, while unavailingly striving to promote peace, was busily employed in the administration of his internal affairs. He encouraged letters; devoted much attention to the Academy of Arts and Sciences; reared the most beautiful opera-house in Europe; devoted large sums to secure the finest musicians and the most exquisite ballet-dancers which Europe could afford. He sought to make his capital attractive to all those throughout Europe who were inspired by a thirst for knowledge, or who were in the pursuit of pleasure.
Thus pressed by England, and with equal earnestness by her own Aulic Council, the queen again yielded, though almost frantic with grief, and consented to surrender the whole of Lower Silesia to Frederick if he would become her ally. As Frederick had offered these terms, it was supposed, of course, that he would accept them. Sir Thomas was again dispatched, at the top of his speed, to convey them to the camp of Frederick. But the286 repulse of the king was peremptory and decisive. To Lord Hyndford, soliciting an audience for the envoy, he replied,
In another letter to Grumkow, he writes: “As to what you tell me of the Princess of Mecklenburg, could not I marry her?140 She would have a dowry of two or three million rubles.22 Only fancy how I could live with that. I think that project might succeed. I find none of these advantages in the Princess of Bevern, who, as many people even of the duke’s court say, is not at all beautiful, speaks almost nothing, and is given to pouting. The good empress has so little money herself that the sums she could afford her niece would be very moderate.”
234 “Adieu, dear Swan of Padua. Think, I pray, sometimes of those who are getting themselves cut in slices for the sake of glory here; and, above all, do not forget your friends who think a thousand times of you.”
Frederick was now in imminent danger of being assailed by a coalition of Austria, Russia, Poland, and England. Indeed, it was by no means certain that France might not also join the alliance. All this was the result of Frederick’s great crime in wresting Silesia from Austria. Such was the posture of affairs when, in the summer of 1755, Frederick decided to take a trip into Holland incognito. He disguised himself with a black wig, and assumed the character of a musician of the King of Poland. At Amsterdam he embarked for Utrecht in the common passage-boat. The king mingled with the other passengers without any one suspecting his rank. There chanced to be in the boat a young Swiss gentleman, Henry de Catt, twenty-seven years of age. He was a teacher, taking a short tour for recreation. He gives the following account of his interview with the king, whom, at the time, he had no reason to suppose was other than an ordinary passenger. We give the narrative in his own words:A brief account of this interview has been given by Frederick,59 and also a very minute narrative by Sir Thomas Robinson, in his official report to his government. There is no essential discrepancy between the two statements. Frederick alludes rather contemptuously to the pompous airs of Sir Thomas, saying that “he negotiated in a wordy, high, droning way, as if he were speaking in Parliament.” Mr. Carlyle seems to be entirely in sympathy with Frederick in his invasion of Silesia. The reader will peruse with interest his graphic, characteristic comments upon this interview:
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“You will have passports for the post-horses, and whatever else you may ask. I hope to see you on Wednesday. I shall then profit by the few moments of leisure which remain to me, to enlighten myself by the blaze of your powerful genius. I entreat you to believe I shall always be the same toward you. Adieu.”
At nine o’clock Frederick received one of the general officers, and arranged with him all the military affairs of the day, usually dismissing him loaded with business. At ten o’clock he reviewed some one of the regiments; and then, after attending parade, devoted himself to literary pursuits or private correspondence until dinner-time. This was the portion of the day he usually appropriated to authorship. He was accustomed to compose, both in prose and verse, while slowly traversing the graveled walks of his garden.详情
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