Grief of the King over his Mother’s Death.—Interesting Letters.—Forces in the Field.—The March upon Dresden.—Devotion of Wilhelmina.—Atheism of the King.—Wilhelmina to Voltaire.—Despair of Frederick.—Great Victory of Rossbach.—Description of the Battle.—Utter Rout of the Allies.—Elation of Frederick.—His Poem on the Occasion.—Ravages of War.This immense building presented a front of nearly a thousand feet; for, being in a quadrangular form, it fronted four ways. It was all faced with hammered stone. In one of the towers this bachelor husband constructed his library. It was a magnificent apartment, provided with every convenience, and decorated with the most tasteful adornments which the arts could furnish. Its windows commanded an enchanting prospect of the lake, with its tufted islands and the densely wooded heights beyond.“It is the common rumor now,” Sir Thomas replied, “that your majesty, after the 12th of August, will join the French. Sire, I venture to hope not. Austria prefers your friendship; but if your majesty disdain Austria’s advances, what is it to do? Austria must throw itself entirely into the hands of France, and endeavor to outbid your majesty.”
It was Saturday, the 8th of April. A blinding, smothering storm of snow swept over the bleak plains. Breasting the gale, and wading through the drifts, the Prussian troops tramped along, unable to see scarcely a rod before them. At a little hamlet called Leipe the vanguard encountered a band of Austrian251 hussars. They took several captives. From them they learned, much to their chagrin and not a little to their alarm, that the Austrian army was already in possession of Grottkau.498 “He is as potent and as malignant as the devil. He is also as unhappy, not knowing friendship.”“We had just arrived there when it began to rain heavily, and the night became exceedingly dark. About nine o’clock one of the Austrian generals approached us with his light troops, and set fire to the houses close to which we were posted. By the blaze of the conflagration he soon discovered us, and began firing at us from the windows. The town was so full that it was impossible for us to find a place in it. Besides, the gate was barricaded, and from the top they were firing at us with our small field-pieces, which they had captured.
Some of our readers may think that the above narrative is quite incredible; that a young sovereign, who had just written the Anti-Machiavel, and who knew that the eyes of the world were upon him, could not be guilty of such perfidy. But, unhappily, there is no possible room for doubt. The documentary evidence is ample. There is no contradictory testimony.220 “From all persons who return from Reinsberg the unanimous report is that the king works the whole day through with an assiduity which is unique, and then, in the evening, gives himself to the pleasures of society with a vivacity of mirth and sprightly humor, which makes those evening parties charming.”
CHAPTER XXIX. THE THIRD CAMPAIGN OF THE SEVEN YEARS’ WAR.Just after dispatching this letter he received one from D’Argens, to which he immediately, on the same day, returned the following reply:
“Retire from Silesia!” exclaimed the king, vehemently. “And277 for money? Do you take me for a beggar? Retire from Silesia, in the conquest of which I have expended so much blood and treasure! No, sir, no. That is not to be thought of. If you have no better proposals to suggest, it is not worth while talking.”
Poor Linsenbarth had a feather bed, a small chest of clothes, and a bag of books. He went to a humble inn, called the “White Swan,” utterly penniless. The landlord, seeing that he could levy upon his luggage in case of need, gave him food and a small room in the garret to sleep in. Here he remained in a state verging upon despair for eight weeks. Some of the simple neighbors advised him to go directly to the king, as every poor man could do at certain hours in the day. He wrote a brief statement of the facts, and started on foot for Potsdam. We give the result in the words of Linsenbarth:
“We had just arrived there when it began to rain heavily, and the night became exceedingly dark. About nine o’clock one of the Austrian generals approached us with his light troops, and set fire to the houses close to which we were posted. By the blaze of the conflagration he soon discovered us, and began firing at us from the windows. The town was so full that it was impossible for us to find a place in it. Besides, the gate was barricaded, and from the top they were firing at us with our small field-pieces, which they had captured.“I forewarn you of this, that, if we should meet again in flesh and bone, you might not feel yourself too violently shocked by my appearance. There remains nothing to me unaltered but my heart, which, as long as I breathe, will retain sentiments of esteem and tender friendship for my good mamma. Adieu.”159
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Frederick’s Motives for the War.—Marriage of William Augustus.—Testimony of Lord Macaulay.—Frederick and his Allies.—Visit to Dresden.—Military Energy.—Charles Albert chosen Emperor.—The Coronation.—Effeminacy of the Saxon Princes.—Disappointment and Vexation of Frederick.—He withdraws in Chagrin.—The Cantonment on the Elbe.—Winter Campaigning.—The Concentration at Chrudim.
“I wish that my works, and only they, had been what K?nig attacked. I could sacrifice them with a great deal of willingness to persons who think of increasing their own reputation by lessening that of others. I have not the folly nor vanity of certain authors. The cabals of literary people seem to me the disgrace of literature. I do not the less esteem the honorable cultivators of literature. It is the cabalers and their leaders that are degraded in my eyes.dd. Prussian Cavalry.详情
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