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类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-08-15 06:51:22

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Frederick remained at Sohr five days. The country was scoured in all directions to obtain food for his army. It was necessary that the troops should be fed, even if the poor inhabitants starved miserably. No tongue can tell the sufferings which consequently fell upon the peasantry for leagues around. Prince Charles, with his shattered army, fell back to K?niggr?tz, remorselessly plundering the people by the way. Frederick, ordering his army to retire to Silesia, returned to Berlin.The ability which Frederick displayed in striking his enemies where they would most keenly feel the infliction, and in warding off the blows they attempted in return, excited then the surprise of Europe, and has continued to elicit the astonishment of posterity. It would but weary the reader to attempt a description of these conflicts at the outposts, terrible as they often were.CHAPTER VII. THE MARRIAGE OF THE CROWN PRINCE.

His diet was regulated at a sum which made it barely sufficient to prevent actual starvation. His apartment was most miserable, and almost entirely devoid of furniture. He was in great want of linen, and of others of the first necessaries of life. At nine oclock at night his candle was taken from him, while pen, ink, paper, and books were alike denied him.You speak of Maupertuis. Do not trouble the ashes of the dead. Let the grave, at least, put an end to your unjust hatreds. Reflect that even kings make peace after long battling. Can not you ever make it? I think you would be capable, like Orpheus, of descending to hell, not to soften Pluto, and bring back your beautiful Emilie, but to pursue into that abode of woe an enemy whom your wrath has only too much persecuted in this world. For shame!144But the young King Frederick was very ambitious of enlarging the borders of his Liliputian realm, and of thus attaining a higher position among the proud and powerful monarchs who surrounded him. Maria Theresa, who had inherited the crown of Austria, was a remarkably beautiful, graceful, and accomplished216 young lady, in the twenty-fourth year of her age. She was a young wife, having married Francis, Duke of Lorraine. Her health, as we have mentioned, was at that time delicate. Frederick thought the opportunity a favorable one for wresting Silesia from Austria, and annexing it to his own kingdom. The queen was entirely inexperienced, and could not prove a very formidable military antagonist. Her army was in no respect, either in number, discipline, or materiel, prepared for war. Her treasury was deplorably empty. There was also reason for Frederick to hope that several claimants would rise in opposition to her, disputing the succession.

As Frederick received the tidings of this death, he rose, dressed himself, and his ague disappeared, to return no more. A courier was immediately dispatched, at the top of his speed, to summon to his presence General Schwerin and M. Podewils, his chief minister. Two days must elapse before they could reach him. In the mean time, the king, taking counsel of no one, was maturing his plans, and making quiet but vigorous preparations for their execution. He wrote the next day to Voltaire, in allusion to the emperors death,The monarchic, if the king is just and enlightened.

A large portion of the train was utterly destroyed. The remainder was driven back to Troppau. The disaster was irreparable. The tidings were conveyed to Frederick the next day, July 1. They must have fallen upon him with crushing weight. It was the annihilation of all his hopes for the campaign, and454 rendered it necessary immediately to raise the siege and retreat. This extraordinary man did not allow himself to manifest the slightest despondency. He assembled his officers, and, with a smiling face, and hopeful, cheering words, announced his decision.Yesterday, July 3d, the king sent for me, in the afternoon, the first time he has seen any body since the news came. I had the honor to remain with him in his closet. I must own I was most sensibly affected to see him indulging his grief, and giving way to the warmest filial affections; recalling to mind the many obligations he had to her late majesty; all she had suffered, and how nobly she had borne it; the good she did to every body;419 the one comfort he now had, that he tried to make her last years more agreeable.Then came another strain of verse. Thus the prose and the doggerel were interspersed through the long narrative. Though very truthful in character, it was a school-boy performancea very singular document indeed to be sent to the most brilliant genius of that age, by one who soon proved himself to be the ablest sovereign in Europe.

It was in these hours of apparently insurmountable difficulty that the marvelous administrative genius of Frederick was displayed. No modern reader can imagine the difficulties of Frederick at this time as they already lay disclosed, and kept gradually disclosing themselves, for months coming; nor will ever know what perspicacity, what patience of scanning, sharpness of340 discernment, dexterity of management, were required at Fredericks hands; and under what imminency of peril toovictorious deliverance or ruin and annihilation, wavering fearfully in the balance, for him more than once, or rather all along.78

Her sisters were now permitted occasionally to visit her, and her situation became somewhat ameliorated. On the 10th of May Wilhelmina received a letter from her mother which caused her to wring her hands in anguish. It informed her that the next day a deputation was to call upon her from the king, to insist upon her giving her consent to marry the Prince of Baireuth.A spy was sent to Saxony, who reported that there were but twenty thousand troops there. All necessary information was promptly and secretly obtained in reference to roads and fortresses. It required three weeks to receive an answer from Vienna.404 The reply was evasive, as Frederick knew that it would be. In the mean time, his Prussian majesty, with characteristic energy, had mustered on the frontier an army numbering in the aggregate nearly one hundred and fifty thousand men. These troops, in three divisions, with two thousand pieces of artillery, were to make a rush upon Saxony. Among the directions given by Frederick to the leaders of these divisions were the following:

There was no alternative left the young princess. Unless there were an immediate consummation of the marriage contract with the English Frederick, she was, without delay, to choose between Weissenfels and Schwedt. The queen, in response to this communication, said, I will immediately write to England; but, whatever may be the answer, it is impossible that my daughter should marry either of the individuals whom the king has designated. Baron Grumkow, who was in entire accord with the king, began, says Wilhelmina, quoting Scripture on her majesty, as the devil can on occasion. Wives, be obedient to your husbands, said he. The queen very aptly replied, Yes; but did not Bethuel, the son of Milcah, when Abrahams servant asked his daughter in marriage for young Isaac, answer, We will call the damsel, and inquire of her mouth? It is true, wives must obey their husbands, but husbands must command things just and reasonable.

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Frederick William, in his extreme exasperation, seriously contemplated challenging George II. to a duel. In his own mind he arranged all the detailsthe place of meeting, the weapons, the seconds. With a stern sense of justice, characteristic of the man, he admitted that it would not be right to cause the blood61 of his subjects to flow in a quarrel which was merely personal. But the eight cart-loads of hay had been taken under circumstances so insulting and contemptuous as to expose the Prussian king to ridicule; and he was firm in his determination to settle the difficulty by a duel. The question was much discussed in the Tobacco Parliament. The Prussian ministers opposed in vain. The true method, I tell you, said the king, is the duel, let the world cackle as it may.What do you mean? exclaimed the king, with an air of real or affected surprise. Then, turning to his secretary, M. Podewils, he inquired, How much of Guelderland is theirs, and not ours already?

His contempt, writes Sir Thomas in his narrative, was so great, and was expressed in such violent terms, that now, if ever, was the time to make the last effort. A moment longer was not to be lost, to hinder the king from dismissing us.This I would not do; my awe was too great. They thereupon laid hands upon me. One took me by the right arm, another by the left, and led me to the garden. Having got me there, they looked out for the king. He was among the gardeners examining some rare plant, and had his back to us. Here I had to halt. The officers began in an under tone to put me382 through my drill. Take your hat under your left arm; put your right foot foremost; breast well forward; hold your head up; hold your papers aloft in your right hand; there, sosteadysteady!The queen commands me to give you a thousand regards from her. She appeared much affected at your illness. But I can not warrant you how sincere it was, for she is totally changed, and I no longer comprehend her. She has done me all the hurt with the king she could. As to Sophie, she is no longer the same. She approves all the king says or does, and is charmed with her big clown of a bridegroom.

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