“The next day there was a great promenade. We were all in phaetons, dressed out in our best. All the nobility followed in carriages, of which there were eighty-five. The king, in a Berline, led the procession. He had beforehand ordered the round we were to take, and very soon fell asleep. There came on a tremendous storm of wind and rain, in spite of which we continued our procession at a foot’s pace. It may easily be imagined what state we were in. We were as wet as if we had been in the river. Our hair hung about our ears, and our gowns and head-dresses were destroyed. We got out at last, after three hours’ rain, at Monbijou, where there was to be a great illumination and ball. I never saw any thing so comical as all these ladies, looking like so many Xantippes, with their dresses sticking to their persons. We could not even dry ourselves, and were obliged to remain all the evening in our wet clothes.”
The next morning, at an early hour, he again dashed off to the east, toward Glatz, a hundred miles distant, where a portion of the Prussian troops were in cantonments, under the young Prince Leopold. Within a week he had ridden over seven hundred miles, commencing his journey every morning as early as four o’clock, and doing a vast amount of business by the way.250 General Neipperg, as his men were weary with their long march, did not make an attack, but allowed his troops a short season of repose in the enjoyment of the comforts of Neisse. The next morning, the 6th, Frederick continued his retreat to Friedland, ten miles farther north. He was anxious to get between the Austrians and Ohlau. He had many pieces of artillery there, and large stores of ammunition, which would prove a rich prize to the Austrians. It was Frederick’s intention to cross the River Neisse at a bridge at Sorgau, eight miles from Friedland; but the officer in charge there had been compelled to destroy the bridge, to protect himself from the Austrian horsemen, who in large numbers had appeared upon the opposite banks. Prince Leopold was sent with the artillery and a strong force to reconstruct the bridge and force the passage, but the Austrian dragoons were encountered in such numbers that the enterprise was found impossible.“I have hardly strength enough to trace these lines. My state is altogether worthy of pity. It is not through any menaces, however violent they may have been, that I have yielded my consent to the king’s wishes. An interest still more dear to me has determined me to this sacrifice. I have been till now the innocent cause of all the unhappiness which your majesty has endured. My too sensible heart has been penetrated by the touching details you have latterly made of them.
Voltaire has given a detailed account of the incidents connected with this visit to his Prussian majesty. It is a humiliating exhibition of the intrigues and insincerity which animated the prominent actors in those scenes.
The unhappy Crown Prince was in an agony of despair. Again and again he frantically exclaimed, “In the name of God, I beg you to stop the execution till I write to the king! I am ready to renounce all my rights to the crown if he will pardon Katte!” As the condemned was led by the window to ascend the scaffold, Fritz cried out to him, in anguish as intense as a generous heart can endure, “Pardon me, my dear Katte, pardon me! Oh that this should be what I have done for you!
On the River Maas, a few miles north of the present city of Liege, there was a celebrated castle called Herstal. For many generations feudal lords had there displayed their pomp and power; and it had been the theatre not only of princely revelry, but of many scenes of violence and blood. A surrounding territory of a few thousand acres, cultivated by serfs, who were virtually slaves, was the hereditary domain of the petty lords of the castle. A few miles south of the castle there was a monastery called Liege, which was a dependency of the lords of Herstal.The next morning Frederick hastened to greet his sister. Wilhelmina was not pleased with his appearance. The cares of his new reign entirely engrossed his mind. The dignity of an absolute king did not sit gracefully upon him. Though ostentatiously demonstrative in his greeting, the delicate instincts of Wilhelmina taught her that her brother’s caresses were heartless. He was just recovering from a fit of the ague, and looked emaciate and sallow. The court was in mourning. During those funereal days no festivities could be indulged in. The queen-mother was decorously melancholy; she seems to have been not only disappointed, but excessively chagrined, to find that she was excluded by her son from the slightest influence in public affairs. The distant, arrogant, and assuming airs of the young king soon rendered him unpopular.
“Here, take that order to General Lossow, and tell him that he is not to take it ill that I trouble him, as I have none in my suite that can do any thing.” It often seemed to give Frederick pleasure, and never pain, to wound the feelings of others.The field of Leuthen—for so this battle-field was called—was a vast undulating plain or rolling prairie, extending for miles in all directions. One or two brooks flowed sluggishly through it. Here and there were expanses of marsh which neither horse nor foot could traverse. A few scraggy firs dotted the dreary landscape,441 and there were also a few hamlets of peasants’ huts scattered around. Frederick concealed his movements as much as possible behind the undulations, and succeeded in deceiving the Austrians into the belief that he was to make an attack upon their right wing. The Austrian officers, on windmills and in church belfries, were eagerly scrutinizing his man?uvres. Deceived into the conviction that their right wing was menaced, they impetuously pushed forward large re-enforcements of horse to the support of the presumed point of attack. Thus the left wing was weakened.
THE SAUSAGE CAR.“I am sure you will take part in this happiness, and that you will not doubt the tenderness with which I am, dearest sister, yours wholly,To his mother he was very considerate in all his manifestations of filial affection, while, at the same time, he caused her very distinctly to understand that she was to take no share whatever in the affairs of government. When she addressed him, upon his accession to the throne, as “Your Majesty,” he replied, “Call me son. That is the title of all others most agreeable to me.” He decreed to her the title of “Her Majesty the Queen-mother.” The palace of Monbijou was assigned her, where she was surrounded with every luxury, treated with the most distinguished attention, and her court was the acknowledged centre of fashionable society.
“He used to say that he would reserve for himself ten thousand crowns a year, and retire with the queen and his daughters to Wusterhausen. ‘There,’ added he, ‘I will pray to God, and manage the farming economy, while my wife and girls take care of the household matters. You, Wilhelmina, are clever; I will give you the inspection of the linen, which you shall mend and keep in order, taking good charge of laundry matters. Frederica, who is miserly, shall have charge of all the stores of the house. Charlotte shall go to market and buy our provisions. My wife shall take charge of the little children and of the kitchen.’”Frederick, as Crown Prince, had been quite methodical in the distribution of his time, and had cultivated rigid habits of industry. Now, fully conscious of the immense duties and cares which would devolve upon him as king, he entered into a very systematic arrangement of the employments of each hour, to which he rigidly adhered during nearly the whole of his reign of forty-six years. He ordered his servants to wake him at four o’clock every morning. Being naturally inclined to sleep, he found it hard to shake off his lethargy. The attendants were therefore directed, every morning, to place upon his forehead a towel dipped in cold water. He thus continued to rise at four o’clock, summer and winter, until an advanced age.详情
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