“As soon as the roads are surer I hope you will write more frequently. I do not know where we shall have our winter quarters. Our houses at Breslau have been destroyed in the late bombardment. Our enemies envy us every thing, even the air we breathe. They must, however, leave us some place. If it be a safe one, I shall be delighted to receive you there.FREDERICK AND WILHELMINA.
“Old Leopold, quick as thought, noticing the thing, hurls cavalry on these victorious, down-plunging grenadiers; slashes them asunder into mere recoiling whirlpools of ruin, so that few of them got back unwounded; and the Prussians, storming in along with them, aided by ever new Prussians, the place was at length carried.”91
He drank deeply, wandering about by night as if possessed by fiends. “He has not,” writes Captain Dickens, “gone to bed sober for a month past.” Once he rose, about midnight, and, with a candle in his hand, entered the apartment of the queen, apparently in a state of extreme terror, saying that there was something haunting him. His agitation was so great that a bed was made up for him there.
England was the hereditary foe of France. It was one of the leading objects in her diplomacy to circumvent that power. “Our great-grandfathers,” writes Carlyle, “lived in perpetual terror that they would be devoured by France; that French ambition would overset the Celestial Balance, and proceed next to eat the British nation.” Strengthening Austria was weakening France. Therefore the sympathies of England were strongly with Austria. In addition to this, personal feelings came in. The puerile little king, George II., hated implacably his nephew, Frederick of Prussia, which hatred Frederick returned with interest.The empress had fainted away at the bedside, and had been borne, in the arms of the attendants, into her daughter Maria Theresa’s chamber. She was now summoned, with the younger children, for the final adieu. As the empress, almost delirious with grief, re-entered the apartment, she threw herself upon the bed of her dying husband, and exclaimed, in frenzied tones, “Do not leave me! Do not leave me!”
474 “Many men in all nations long for peace. But there are three women at the top of the world who do not. Their wrath, various in quality, is great in quantity, and disasters do the reverse of appeasing it.”126
The king’s brother Henry was in command in Saxony, at the head of thirty thousand troops. Frederick wrote to him the characteristic and very judicious advice, “Do as energetically as possible whatever seems wisest to you. But hold no councils of war.”The sun rose clear and cloudless over the plain, soon to be crimsoned with blood and darkened by the smoke of battle. The Prussians took position in accordance with very minute directions given to the young Prince Leopold by Frederick. It was manifest to the most unskilled observer that the storm of311 battle would rage over many miles, as the infantry charged to and fro; as squadrons of strongly-mounted cavalry swept the field; as bullets, balls, and shells were hurled in all directions from the potent enginery of war.On the 4th of November he returned to Breslau, entering the city with great military display. Seated in a splendid carriage, he was drawn through the streets by eight cream-colored horses. Taking his seat upon the ancient ducal throne, he was crowned, with great ceremonial pomp, Sovereign Duke of Lower Silesia. Four hundred of the notables of the dukedom, in gala dresses, and taking oaths of homage, contributed to the imposing effect of the spectacle. Illuminations, balls, and popular festivities, in great variety, closed the triumph.
On the 20th of January, 1745, Charles Albert, the unhappy344 and ever-unfortunate Emperor of Germany, died at Munich, in the forty-eighth year of his age. Tortured by a complication of the most painful disorders, he had seldom, for weary years, enjoyed an hour of freedom from acute pain. An incessant series of disasters crushed all his hopes. He was inextricably involved in debt. Triumphant foes drove him from his realms. He wandered a fugitive in foreign courts, exposed to humiliation and the most cutting indignities. Thus the victim of bodily and mental anguish, it is said that one day some new tidings of disaster prostrated him upon the bed of death. He was patient and mild, but the saddest of mortals. Gladly he sought refuge in the tomb from the storms of his drear and joyless life. An eye-witness writes, “Charles Albert’s pious and affectionate demeanor drew tears from all eyes. The manner in which he took leave of his empress would have melted a heart of stone.”详情
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