FREDERICK’S FIRST INTERVIEW WITH VOLTAIRE.The marshal glanced his eye over the document, and retired, overwhelmed with confusion. Thus ended the alliance between Prussia and France. “Each party,” writes Frederick, “wished to be more cunning than the other.”69“Seigneur Jordan,” the king writes, “thy letter has given me a great deal of pleasure in regard to all these talkings thou reportest. To-morrow I arrive at our last station this side of Glogau, which place I hope to get in a few days. All things favor my designs; and I hope to return to Berlin, after executing them, gloriously, and in a way to be content with. Let the ignorant227 and the envious talk. It is not they who shall ever serve as load-star to my designs; not they, but glory. With the love of that I am penetrated more than ever. My troops have their hearts big with it, and I answer to thee for success. Adieu! dear Jordan. Write me all the ill the public says of thy friend, and be persuaded that I love and will esteem thee always.”
“I think you will not be sorry if I say a few words to you respecting our rural amusements, for with persons who are dear to us we love to enter even into the smallest details. We have divided our occupations into two classes, of which the first consists of what is useful, and the second of what is agreeable. I reckon in the list of the usefuls the study of philosophy, history, and languages. The agreeables are music, the tragedies and comedies which we represent, the masquerades and presents which we give. The serious occupations, however, have always the prerogative of going before the others. And I think I can say that we make a reasonable use of our pleasures, only indulging in them to relieve the mind, and to prevent moroseness and too much philosophic gravity, which is apt not to yield a smile even to the graces.”
The doge and senate were brought to terms. They seized the beautiful Barberina, placed her carefully in a post-chaise, and, under an escort of armed men, sent her, from stage to stage, over mountain and valley, till she arrived at Berlin. The Venetian embassador was then discharged. The young English gentleman, James Mackenzie, a grandson of the celebrated advocate, Sir George Mackenzie, eagerly followed his captured inamorata, and reached Berlin two hours after Barberina. The rumor was circulated that he was about to marry her.
b. Where Rothenburg met the Hussars.MAP OF SILESIA.461 Immediately after the battle Sir Andrew Mitchell called upon the king to congratulate him upon his great victory. General Seidlitz, who had led the two decisive cavalry charges, was in the royal tent. The king, in reply to the congratulations of the English minister, pointed to General Seidlitz and said,
Hotham, quite indignant, sent this dispatch, dated May 13, to London, including with it a very earnest letter from the Crown Prince to his uncle, in which Fritz wrote:“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.
We went gravely at a slow pace,The battle, thus commenced, continued to rage for four long312 hours, with all its demon energies, its blood, its wounds, its oaths, its shrieks, its death; on the right wing, on the left wing, in the centre; till some ten or twelve thousand, some accounts say more, of these poor peasant soldiers lay prostrate upon the plain, crushed by the hoof, torn by the bullet, gashed by the sabre. Many were dead. Many were dying. Many had received wounds which would cripple them until they should totter into their graves. At the close of these four hours of almost superhuman effort, the villages all around in flames, the Austrians slowly, sullenly retired from the contest. Prince Charles, having lost nearly seven thousand men, with his remaining forces breathless, exhausted, bleeding, retired through Czaslau, and vanished over the horizon to the southwest. Frederick, with his forces almost equally breathless, exhausted, and bleeding, and counting five thousand of his soldiers strewn over the plain, in death or wounds, remained master of the field. Such was the famous battle of Chotusitz.
The Prussian minister, Baron P?llnitz, in a letter from Berlin dated June 6, 1729, writes: “The king’s prime minister is the king himself, who is informed of every thing, and is desirous to know every thing. He gives great application to business, but does it with extraordinary ease; and nothing escapes his penetration nor his memory, which is a very happy one. No sovereign in the world is of more easy access, his subjects being actually permitted to write to him without any other formality than superscribing the letter To the King. By writing underneath, To be delivered into his Majesty’s own hands, one may be sure that the king receives and reads it, and that the next post he will answer it, either with his own hands or by his secretary. These answers are short, but peremptory. There is no town in all the King of Prussia’s dominions, except Neufchatel, where he has not been; no province which he does not know full well; nor a court of justice but he is acquainted with its chief members.”But to Frederick the importance of the achievement was very great. The exploit was justly ascribed to his general direction. Thus he obtained a taste of that military renown which he had so greatly coveted. The king was, at this time, at his head-quarters at Schweidnitz, about one hundred and twenty miles from Glogau. A courier, dispatched immediately from the captured town, communicated to him, at five o’clock in the afternoon, the glad tidings of the brilliant victory.Thus Frederick found himself in a barren, hostile country, with a starving army, incessantly assailed by a determined foe, groping his way in absolute darkness, and with the greatest difficulty communicating even with his own divisions, at the distance of but a few leagues. He knew not from what direction to anticipate attack, or how formidable might be his assailants. He knew not whether the French, on the other side of the Rhine, had abandoned him to his own resources, or were marching to his rescue. He knew that they were as supremely devoted to their own interests as he was to his, and that they would do nothing to aid him, unless by so doing they could efficiently benefit themselves.
It was a glorious victory. What was the price? Five thousand six hundred Prussian young men lay in their blood upon the field, dead or wounded. Six thousand seven hundred young men from Austrian homes lay by their side, silent in death, or groaning in anguish, lacerated by the missiles of war.Quatre bons jours en pénitence
A few days after this interview, the Dutch embassador, General Ginckel, arrived with the Resolution from the English and Dutch courts, demanding that the king should evacuate Silesia. Lord Hyndford was much embarrassed, apprehending that the presentation of the summons at that time would work only mischief. He persuaded General Ginckel to delay the presentation until he could send a courier to England for instructions. In a fortnight the courier returned with the order that the Resolution was immediately to be presented to his Prussian majesty.
Thus the summer of 1732 passed away. In November Wilhelmina returned from Baireuth to Berlin on a visit. She remained at home for ten months, leaving her babe, Frederica, at Baireuth. There must have been some urgent reason to have147 induced her to make this long visit, for her reception, by both father and mother, was far from cordial. Neither of them had been really in favor of the match with the young prospective Margraf of Baireuth, but had yielded to it from the force of circumstances. The journey to Berlin was long and cold. Her mother greeted her child with the words, “What do you want here? What is a mendicant like you come hither for?” The next day her father, who had been upon a journey, came home. His daughter had been absent for two years. And yet this strange father addressed her in the following cruel and sarcastic words:“The king, as was not unnatural, had begun to get angry at her first answer. This last put him quite in a fury. But all his anger fell on my brother and me. He first threw a plate at my brother’s head, who ducked out of the way. He then let fly another at me, which I avoided in like manner. A hail-storm of abuse followed these first hostilities. He rose into a passion against the queen, reproaching her with the bad training which she gave her children, and, addressing my brother, said,详情
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