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!
Three volunteered. It was so dark that the landlord of a little country inn walked with a lantern by the side of Frederick’s horse. Lissa was on the main road to Breslau. The landlord supposed that he was guiding one of Frederick’s generals, and was very communicative.
“By no means,” the king replied. “With men like these I shall be sure of victory to-day!”114With the last day threatened mankind.
The French, advancing from the Rhine on the west, were sweeping all opposition before them. They had overrun Hanover, and compelled the Duke of Brunswick, brother of George II., to withdraw, with his Hanoverian troops, from the alliance with the King of Prussia. This was a terrible blow to Frederick. It left him entirely alone to encounter his swarming enemies.
In the latter part of April, the weather being very fine, the king decided to leave Berlin and retire to his rural palace at Potsdam. It seems, however, that he was fully aware that his days were nearly ended, for upon leaving the city he said, “Fare thee well, then, Berlin; I am going to die in Potsdam.” The winter had been one of almost unprecedented severity, and the month of May was cold and wet. As the days wore on the king’s health fluctuated, and he was continually struggling between life and death. The king, with all his great imperfections, was a thoughtful man. As he daily drew near the grave, the dread realities of the eternal world oppressed his mind. He sent for three clergymen of distinction, to converse with them respecting his preparation for the final judgment. It seems that they were very faithful with him, reminding him of his many acts of violence and tyranny, alluding particularly to his hanging Baron Schlubhut, at K?nigsberg, without even a trial. The king endeavored to defend himself, saying,
WILHELMINA.The principal companions of Frederick at Reinsberg were gay, pleasure-loving men. Among them were Major Keyserling, a thoughtless young man, full of vivacity, and of very agreeable manners; and M. Jordan, a French young gentleman, formerly a168 preacher, very amiable, and an author of considerable note. M. Jordan was devotedly attached to the prince, and continued so through life. He gives the following testimony to the good qualities of Frederick:
THE EMPRESS CATHARINE.
“Is there any battalion which has a mind to follow me to Lissa?”The Elbe was now frozen. The storms of winter covered the icy fields with snow. Daun retired to Dresden. Frederick established himself in the little town of Freiberg, about thirty miles southwest from Dresden. His troops were in cantonments in the adjoining villages. Here he took up his abode in a humble cottage. Thus terminated the fourth campaign of the Seven Years’ War.
“Never you mind that,” they replied. “The Austrians are not Prussians. You know what we can do.”详情
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