65 “After this I went home, but had scarcely entered my apartment when a messenger returned me, by order of the ministers, the declaration, still sealed as I left it; and perceiving that I was not inclined to receive it, he laid it on my table, and immediately left the house.”Frederick, with his own pen, gives the following account of this family quarrel, which resulted in the divorce of the Crown Prince and Elizabeth:
During the next three days the king suffered much from weakness and a violent cough. He was often heard murmuring prayers, and would say to those around him, “Pray for me; pray for me.” Several times he pathetically exclaimed, “Lord, enter not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” A favorite hymn was often sung to him containing the words, “Naked came I into the world, and naked187 shall I go out of it.” At this passage he repeatedly exclaimed, with much vivacity, as though it were an admirable joke, “No, not quite naked; I shall have my uniform on.”
“A hangman such as you naturally takes pleasure in talking of his tools and of his trade, but on me they will produce no effect. I have owned every thing, and almost regret to have done so. I ought not to degrade myself by answering the questions of a scoundrel such as you are.”
CHAPTER XXXII. THE END OF THE FIFTH CAMPAIGN.
Such was the Tobacco Parliament in its trivial aspects. But it had also its serious functions. Many questions were discussed there which stirred men’s souls, and which roused the ambition or the wrath of the stern old king to the utmost pitch.France was first in the field with a superb host of one hundred and ten thousand men. The other powers speedily followed. In four great armies of invasion these hosts pressed upon Prussia from the southeast and southwest, the northeast and northwest. The Russian battalions were one hundred thousand strong. The Austrian army was still more formidable.
While pushing these intrigues of diplomacy, Frederick was equally busy in marshaling his armies, that the sword might contribute its energies to the enforcement of his demands. One hundred thousand troops were assembled in Berlin, in the highest state of discipline and equipment, ready to march at a moment’s warning.“‘You are in a circle,’ said I. ‘How will you get out of it?
“‘Amitié, plaisir des grandes ames; Amitié, que les rois, ces illustres ingrats Sont assez malheureux de ne conna?tre pas!’Frederick was probably not surprised at this act on the part of the emperor. He undoubtedly had sufficient candor to admit that it was exactly what he should have done under similar circumstances.
In September, 1749, Madame Du Chatelet, the “divine Emilie” of Voltaire, suddenly died. The infidel philosopher seemed much grieved for a time. Frederick, who never fancied Madame Du Chatelet, was the more eager, now that she was out of the way, that Voltaire should come to Sans Souci, and aid him in his literary labors. A trivial incident occurred at this time worthy of record, as illustrative of the character of the king. At the close of the year 1749 there had been a review of Austrian troops at M?hren. It was not a very important affair, neither the empress queen nor her husband being present. Three380 Prussian officers made their appearance. It was said that they had come to inveigle soldiers to desert, and enlist under the banners of Prussia. They were peremptorily ordered by the Austrian authorities to leave the ground. Frederick, when he heard of it, said nothing, but treasured it up.详情
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