“Directly at two he goes back to his room. Duhan is then ready; takes him upon maps and geography from two to three o’clock, giving account of all the European kingdoms, their strength and weakness; the size, riches, and poverty of their towns. From three o’clock till four Duhan shall treat of morality; from four till five shall write German letters with him, and see that he gets a good style. About five o’clock Fritz shall wash his hands and go to the king; ride out, and divert himself in the air, and not in his room, and do what he likes if it is not against God.”
“I have not the least desire,” the king replied, “to aggrandize myself in those parts, or to spend money in fortifying there. It would be useless to me. Am I not fortifying Brieg and Glogau? These are enough for one who wishes to live well with his neighbors. Neither the Dutch nor the French have offended me, nor will I offend them by acquisitions in the Netherlands. Besides, who would guarantee them?”
General Schulenburg, trembling in memory of the fact that he had once, in court-martial, given his vote in favor of beheading the Crown Prince, hastened from his post at Landsberg to congratulate the prince upon his accession to the throne. To his extreme chagrin and indignation, he was repelled by the words, “An officer should not quit his post without order. Return immediately to Landsberg.”
Charlotte added, in terms still more bitter and unpardonable, “Your majesty is not yet aware of all her merit. I was one morning at her toilet. I remarked that she is deformed. Her gown is stuffed on one side, and she has one hip higher than the other.” The cruel girl even went so far as to accuse the princess of suffering from loathsome ulcers. This discourse was uttered in a loud voice, in presence of the domestics. Fritz was evidently greatly annoyed, and blushed deeply, but said nothing. Immediately after supper he retired. Wilhelmina soon followed him, and they met again privately in Wilhelmina’s room. The princess asked her brother how he was now getting along with his father. He replied,The emperor was probably induced to this decisive course not merely by motives of humanity, but also by the consideration that by thus saving the life of Frederick he would forever attach him to the interests of the house of Austria. The kings of Poland and Sweden also wrote to the king, earnestly interceding for the life of the Crown Prince.
Again he writes, under the same date, to Cardinal De Fleury, then the most prominent member of the cabinet of Louis XV.:PREFACE.
Russia took 87,500 square miles. Austria received 62,500. The share which fell to Frederick was but 9456 square miles. Small in respect to territory as was Frederick’s share, it was regarded, in consequence of its position and the nature of the country, equally valuable with the other portions.“Then,” writes Wilhelmina, “as to his bride, I begged him to tell me candidly if the portrait the queen and my sister had been making of her were the true one.”
“‘Oh, spare my brother,’ I cried, ‘and I will marry the Duke of Weissenfels.’ But in the great noise he did not hear me. And while I strove to repeat it louder, Madam Sonsfeld clapped99 her handkerchief on my mouth. Pushing aside to get rid of the handkerchief, I saw Katte crossing the square. Four soldiers were conducting him to the king. My brother’s trunks and his were following in the rear. Pale and downcast, he took off his hat to salute me. He fell at the king’s feet imploring pardon.”On the evening of the 3d of December, 1757, the king arrived at Parchwitz, in the heart of Silesia, about thirty miles from Breslau. Here the wreck of Prince Bevern’s army joined him. Thus re-enforced, he could bring about thirty thousand men into the field. He immediately, in the night, assembled his principal officers, and thus addressed them; the words were taken down at the time. We give this characteristic address slightly abbreviated:
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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