类型:奇幻地区:ŵ发布:2020-10-28 11:14:06



Frederick was in a towering passion. Voltaire was alarmed at the commotion he had created. He wrote a letter to the king, in which he declared most solemnly that he had not intended to392 have the pamphlet published; that a copy had been obtained by treachery, and had been printed without his consent or knowledge. But the king wrote back:My dear Sister,Here I am, within six leagues of a sister I love, and I have to decide that it will be impossible to see her after all. I have never so lamented the misfortune of not depending on myself as at this moment. The king being very sour sweet on my score, I dare not risk the least thing. A week from next Monday, when he arrives himself, I should be queerly treated in the camp if I were found to have disobeyed orders.

Why, asked the king, furiously, did you attempt to desert?On the 11th, Brieg was summoned to surrender. The prompt and resolute response was No. The place was found unexpectedly strong, and a gallant little garrison of sixteen hundred men had been assembled behind its walls. Frederick was much annoyed by the delay thus occasioned. He promptly invested the city so as to cut off all supplies, and dispatched an order to Glogau to have the field artillery sent, as speedily as possible, up the Oder to Brieg.

But no sooner did Frederick get an intimation that Austria was contemplating this enlargement of her domains than he roused himself to prevent it with all the vigor of his earlier years. It was a very delicate matter; for Charles Theodore, the elector, and his nephew August Christian, heir to the electorate, a young gentleman of very illustrious pedigree, but of a very slender purse, had both been bribed by Austria secretly to co-operate in the movement. The reader will be interested in Carlyles account, slightly abbreviated, of Fredericks skill in diplomacy:Fully conscious that the respect which would be paid to him as a European sovereign greatly depended upon the number of men he could bring into the field of battle, Frederick William devoted untiring energies to the creation of an army. By the most severe economy, watching with an eagle eye every expenditure, and bringing his cudgel down mercilessly upon the shoulders26 of every loiterer, he succeeded in raising and maintaining an army of one hundred thousand men; seventy-two thousand being field troops, and thirty thousand in garrison.2 He drilled these troops as troops were never drilled before.


We have often spoken of the entire neglect with which the king treated his virtuous and amiable queen. Preuss relates the following incident:These sufferings bound the brother and sister very intimately together. This dear brother, Wilhelmina writes, passed all his afternoons with me. We read and wrote together, and occupied ourselves in cultivating our minds. The king now never saw my brother without threatening him with the cane. Fritz repeatedly told me that he would bear any thing from the king except blows; but that, if he ever came to such extremities with him, he would regain his freedom by flight.Though, as we may see from Fredericks private correspondence, he suffered terribly in these hours of adversity and peril, he assumed in public a tranquil and even a jocose air. Meeting De Catt upon the evening of that dreadful day, he approached him, smiling, and with theatric voice and gesture declaimed a passage from Racine, the purport of which was, Well, here you see me not a conqueror, but vanquished.

384 I was greatly astonished, and knew not what to do; least of all could it come into my head that the kings valet who waited on his majesty should wait on me. I pressed him to sit by me; but, as he refused, I did as bidden.



The consternation at Berlin, as contradictory reports of victory and defeat reached the city, was indescribable. M. Sulzer, an eye-witness of the scene, writes under date of Berlin, August 13th, 1759:Magnanimous I can by no means call Frederick to his allies288 and neighbors, nor even superstitiously veracious in this business; but he thoroughly understands, he alone, what just thing he wants out of it, and what an enormous wigged mendacity it is he has got to deal with. For the rest, he is at the gaming-table with these sharpers, their dice all cogged, and he knows it, and ought to profit by his knowledge of it, and, in short, to win his stake out of that foul, weltering melley, and go home safe with it if he can.

He could not but respect his wife. Her character was beyond all possible reproach. She never uttered a complaint, was cheerful and faithful in every duty. She had rooms assigned her on the second floor of the Berlin palace, where she was comfortably390 lodged and fed, and had modest receptions every Thursday, which were always closed at nine oclock. A gentleman writes from Berlin at this time:General Maguire had been left in Dresden with but about fourteen thousand men for its defense. On Saturday, July 13th, the Prussian army appeared before the city. All the night they were erecting their batteries. Early Sunday morning the cannonade began. As Daun might speedily arrive at the head of sixty thousand troops for the relief of the garrison, the bombardment was conducted with the utmost possible energy. Day and night the horrible tempest fell upon the doomed city. Adversity had soured the kings disposition, and rendered him merciless. He had no compassion upon the innocent inhabitants. It was his aim, at whatever cost, to secure the immediate surrender of the place. He cruelly directed his terrific fire upon the thronged dwellings rather than upon the massive fortifications. Street after street blazed up in flames. It was Fredericks relentless503 plan by fire torture to force the citizens to compel Maguire to the surrender. But the Austrian commander hardened his heart against the misery of the Saxon people, and held the place.



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