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Lafayette, Lord Cornwallis, and the Duke of York were his565 guests at the dinner-table that day. The king suffered from his exposure, was very feverish, and at an early hour went to bed. The next day he completed his review; and the next day wentround by Neisse, inspection not to be omitted there, though it doubles the distanceto Brieg, a drive of eighty miles, inspection work included.196

An eye-witness thus describes the tactics by which Frederick executed his design: It is a particular man?uvre which, up to the present time, none but Prussian troops can execute with the precision and velocity indispensable to it. You divide your line into many pieces. You can push these forward stair-wise, so that they shall halt close to one another. Forming itself in this way, a mass of troops takes up in proportion very little ground. And it shows in the distance, by reason of the mixed uniforms and standards, a totally chaotic mass of men, heaped one on another. But it needs only that the commander lift his finger, and instantly this living coil of knotted intricacies develops itself in perfect order, and with a speed like that of mountain rivers.112Rgla diffremment la chose.

I have seen it, was the reply; but it is only a scratch, which your majesty will soon heal again.Ann Amelia.72

The unsuccessfulest negotiation well imaginable by a public man. Strehlen, Monday, 7th August, 1741Frederick has vanished into the interior of his tent, and the two diplomatic gentlemen, the wind struck out of them in this manner, remain gazing at one another. Here, truly, is a young, royal gentleman that knows his own mind, while so many do not. Unspeakable imbroglio of negotiations, mostly insane, welters over all the earth; the Belleisles, the Aulic Councils, the British Georges, heaping coil upon coil; and here, notably in that now so extremely sordid murk of wiggeries, inane diplomacies, and solemn deliriums, dark now and obsolete to all creatures, steps forth one little human figure, with something of sanity in it, like a star, like a gleam of steel, sheering asunder your big balloons, and letting out their diplomatic hydrogen. Salutes with his hat, Gentlemen, gentlemen, it is of no use! and vanishes into the interior of his tent.

The king was a very busy man. In addition to carrying on quite an extensive literary correspondence, he was vigorously engaged in writing his memoirs. He was also with great energy developing the wealth of his realms. In the exercise of absolute power, his government was entirely personal. He had no constitution to restrain him. Under his single control were concentrated all legislative, judicial, and executive powers. There was no senate or legislative corps to co-operate in framing laws. His ministers were merely servants to do his bidding. The courts had no powers whatever but such as he intrusted to them. He could at any time reverse their decrees, and flog the judges with his cane, or hang them.

Frederick was so busy cantoning his troops that he did not take possession of his head-quarters in Leipsic until the 8th of December. He occupied the Apel House, No. 16 Neumarkt Street, the same which he had occupied before the battle of Rossbach. The same mistress kept the house as before. Upon seeing the king, the good woman exclaimed, in astonishment, How lean your majesty has grown!

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Daily for five hours the universality of his conversation completed my enchantment at his powers. The arts, war, medicine, literature, religion, philosophy, morality, history, and legislation passed in review by turns. The great times of Augustus and Louis XIV.; the good society among the Romans, the Greeks, and the French; the chivalry of Francis I.; the valor of Henry IV.; the revival of letters, and their changes since Leo X.; anecdotes of men of talent of former days, and their errors; the eccentricities of Voltaire; the sensitive vanity of Maupertuis; the agreeableness of Algarotti; the wit of Jordan; the hypochondriacism of the Marquis DArgens, whom the king used to induce to keep his bed for four-and-twenty hours by merely telling him he looked illand what not besides? All that could be said of the most varied and agreeable kind was what came from him, in a gentle tone of voice, rather low, and very agreeable from his manner of moving his lips, which possessed an inexpressible grace.198Loss of time was one of the losses Frederick could least stand. In visits, even from his brothers and sisters, which were always by his own express invitation, he would say some morning (call it Tuesday morning), You are going on Wednesday, I am sorry to hear (what you never heard before). Alas! your majesty, we must. Well, I am sorry; but I will lay no constraint on you. Pleasant moments can not last forever. This trait is in the anecdote-books; but its authenticity does not rest on that uncertain basis. Singularly enough, it comes to me individually, by two clear stages, from Fredericks sister, the Duchess of Brunswick, who, if any body, would know it well.



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