类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-10-28 21:48:35


The king was doubtless informed of all that had occurred. They reached Manheim the next night. Keith was so terrified, fearing that his life would be the penalty, that he there threw himself upon his knees before the king, confessing all, and imploring pardon. The king, in tones of intense agitation, informed the vigilance trio that death would be their inevitable doom if they allowed the prince to escape. Thus far the prince had been nominally free. Those who occupied the carriage with himRochow, Waldau, and Buddenbrockhad assumed to be merely his traveling companions. Their office of guardship had been scrupulously concealed. But henceforth he was regarded and treated as a culprit in the custody of his jailers.Frederick William, through spies, kept himself informed of every thing which was said or done at Reinsberg. Such orgies as the above excited his contempt and abhorrence. But, notwithstanding the above narrative, there is abundant testimony that the prince was not ordinarily addicted to such shameful excesses. The Italian Count Algarotti, distinguished alike for his familiarity with the sciences and his cultivated taste for the fine arts, was an honored guest at Reinsberg. In a letter addressed to Lord Hervey, under date of September 30th, 1739, the count writes:

In that pleasure-camp of Mühlberg, where the eyes of many86 strangers were directed to him, the Crown Prince was treated like a disobedient boy, and at one time even with blows, to make him feel that he was such. The enraged king, who never weighed the consequences of his words, added mockery to his manual outrage. Had I been so treated, he said, by my father, I would have blown my brains out. But this fellow has no honor. He takes all that comes.And now the Prussian artillery, eighteen heavy guns, opened a rapid and murderous fire upon the disordered mass, struggling in vain to deploy in line of battle. Infantry, artillery, cavalry,432 all were at work, straining every nerve, one mighty mind controlling and guiding the terrible mechanism in its death-dealing blows. The French regiments were jammed together. The Prussians, at forty paces, opened a platoon fire of musketry, five shots a minute. At the same moment the impetuous Seidlitz, with his triumphant and resistless dragoons, plunged upon the rear. The centre of the allied army was thus annihilated. It was no longer a battle, but a rout and a massacre. In twenty minutes this second astonishing feat was accomplished.

While Frederick was involved in all these difficulties, he was cheered by the hope that the French would soon come to his rescue. Unutterable was his chagrin when he learned, early in October, that the French had done exactly as he would have done in their circumstances. Appalling, indeed, were the tidings soon brought to him, that Prince Charles, with his army, had marched unmolested into Bohemia; that he had already effected a junction with General Bathyani and his countless swarm of Pandours; and, moreover, that a Saxon army, twenty thousand strong, in alliance with the Queen of Hungary, was on the way to join his already overwhelming foes. It was reported, at the same time, that Prince Charles was advancing upon Budweis, and that his advance-guard had been seen, but a few miles off, on the western side of the Moldau.Chaplain Müller was especially directed to argue with Frederick upon this point, and, if possible, to convert him to Christianity. The correspondence which ensued between the king and Müller is preserved. The king wrote to the chaplain, under date of November 3d, 1730:

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.At half past three oclock 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.In case you refuse, or delay beyond the term, the answer which I hereby of right demand, you will render yourself alone responsible, before the world, for the consequences which infallibly will follow. I am, with much consideration, my cousin, your very affectionate cousin,

The kings procedure, added the unhappy mother, is not in accordance with that law. He is doing violence to my daughters inclinations, thus rendering her wretched for the remainder of her days. He wishes to give her for a husband a brutal debauchee, a younger brother, who is nothing but an officer in the army of the King of Poland; a landless man, without the means of living according to his rank. I will write to England. But, whatever the answer, I had rather a thousand times see my child in the grave than hopelessly miserable.On Sunday morning, January 15th, the deadly, concentric fire of shot and shell was opened upon the crowded city, where women and children, torn by wars merciless missiles, ran to and fro frantic with terror. The dreadful storm continued to rage, with but few intermissions, until Wednesday. Still there were no signs of surrender. The king, though his head-quarters were a few miles distant, at Ottmachau, was almost constantly on the ground superintending every thing. As he felt sure of the entire conquest of Silesia, the whole province being now in his possession except three small towns, he looked anxiously upon the destruction which his own balls and bombs were effecting. He was destroying his own property.

Early the next morning Frederick commenced the vigorous pursuit of the retiring foe. A storm arose. For twelve hours the rain fell in torrents. But the Prussian army was impelled onward, through the mud, and through the swollen streams, inspired by the almost supernatural energy which glowed in the bosom of its king. It seemed as if no hardships, sufferings, or perils could induce those iron men, who by discipline had been converted into mere machines, to wander from the ranks or to falter on the way. As we have mentioned, there were throughout all this region two religious parties, the Catholics and the Protestants. They were strongly antagonistic to each other. Under the Austrian sway, the Catholics, having the support of the government, had enjoyed unquestioned supremacy. They had often very cruelly persecuted the Protestants, robbing them of their churches, and, in their zeal to defend what they deemed the orthodox faith, depriving them of their children, and placing them under the care of the Catholic priests to be educated.CHAPTER XXX. FOURTH CAMPAIGN OF THE SEVEN YEARS WAR.

If it be true that you design to attack me again, I declare to you that I have still health enough to find you, wherever you are, and to take the most signal vengeance upon you. Thank the respect and obedience which have hitherto restrained my arm, and saved you from the worst adventure you have ever had.

The king was scrupulously clean, washing five times a day. He would allow no drapery, no stuffed furniture, no carpets in27 his apartments. They caught dust. He sat upon a plain wooden chair. He ate roughly, like a farmer, of roast beef, despising all delicacies. His almost invariable dress was a close military blue coat, with red cuffs and collar, buff waistcoat and breeches, and white linen gaiters to the knee. A sword was belted around his loins, and, as we have said, a stout rattan or bamboo cane ever in his hand. A well-worn, battered, triangular hat covered his head. He walked rapidly through the streets which surrounded his palaces at Potsdam and Berlin. If he met any one who attracted his attention, male or female, he would abruptly, menacingly inquire, Who are you? A street-lounger he has been known to hit over the head with his cane, exclaiming, Home, you rascal, and go to work. If any one prevaricated or hesitated, he would sternly demand, Look me in the face. If there were still hesitancy, or the king were dissatisfied with the answers, the one interrogated was lucky if he escaped without a caning.3



With coursers lank-sided,

Three days after, on the 17th, the king wrote again to M. Jordan:



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