“The prince is tall, well made, and has a noble air. His features are neither handsome nor regular; but his countenance, which is open, engaging, and very agreeable, stands him in the place of beauty. He is of a hasty temper, and replies with quickness and without embarrassment. Though his nature is inclined to anger, he knows so well how to overcome it that it is never perceived, and no one has ever suffered by it. He is very gay. His conversation is very agreeable, though he has some difficulty in making himself intelligible from lisping so much. His conception is quick, and his intellect penetrating. The goodness of his heart gains him the attachment of all who know him. He is generous, charitable, compassionate, polite, engaging, and enjoys very equal spirits. The only fault I know in him is too much levity, which I must mention here, as otherwise122 I should be accused of partiality. He has, however, much corrected himself of it.”
“I am too tired to reply to your delightful verses, and shivering too much with cold to taste all the charm of them. But that will come round again. Do not ask poetry from a man who is actually doing the work of a wagoner, and sometimes even of a wagoner stuck in the mud. Would you like to know my way of life? We march from seven in the morning till four in the afternoon. I dine then; afterward I work—I receive tiresome visits; with these comes a detail of insipid matters of business. ’Tis wrong-headed men, punctiliously difficult, who are to be set right; heads too hot which must be restrained, idle fellows that must be urged, impatient men that must be rendered docile, plunderers to be restrained within the bounds of equity, babblers to hear babbling, dumb people to keep in talk; in fine, one has to drink with those that like it, to eat with those who are hungry; one has to become a Jew with Jews, a pagan with pagans. Such are my occupations, which I would willingly make over to another if the phantom they call glory did not rise on me too often. In truth, it is a great folly, but a folly difficult to cast away when once you are smitten by it.
“The empress, then,” added Wilhelmina, “is a better exorcist than other priests.”
On the 20th of June, Voltaire dressed himself in disguise, and, with a companion, M. Coligny, entered a hackney-coach, and ordered the driver to leave the city by the main gate. M. Freytag was immediately informed of this by his spies. With mounted men he commenced the pursuit, overtook the carriage as it was delayed a moment at the gate, and arrested the fugitive in the king’s name. Voltaire’s eyes sparkled with fury, and he raved insanely. The scene gathered a crowd, and Voltaire was taken by a guard of soldiers to another inn, “The Billy-Goat,” as the landlord of the “Golden Lion” refused any longer to entertain so troublesome a guest.
In a pet Frederick left the room. The heroic general, who had flatly refused to obey a positive command, found it necessary to resign his commission. The next day another officer plundered the castle. Seventy-five thousand dollars of the proceeds of the sale were appropriated to the field hospitals. The remainder, which proved to be a large sum, was the reward of the plundering general.The Prussian troops, meeting with no opposition, spread over the country, and a strong division reached Weichau on Saturday, the 17th. There they spent Sunday in rest. Frederick was anxious to win to his cause the Protestant population. He consequently favored their religious institutions, and ordered that Protestant worship should be held in the villages which he occupied, and where there was no Protestant church edifice, one part of the day in the Catholic churches. This plan he continued through the campaign, much to the gratification of the chaplains of his regiments and the Protestant community in Silesia. Though the Austrian government had not been particularly oppressive to the Protestants, still it leaned decidedly against what224 it deemed heresy. The Jesuits, favored by the governmental officials, were unwearied in their endeavors to promote the interests of their Church. Frederick, by allowing the impression to be spread abroad that he was the champion of Protestantism, was enabled to secure the sympathies of quite a strong party in Silesia in his favor. It is said that two thirds of the inhabitants of Silesia were Protestants, and therefore favorable to Frederick.
The king kicked him, and struck him several heavy blows with his cane. He was hit repeatedly in the face, and blood gushed from the wounds. With his own hands the king tore from Katte’s breast the cross of the Order of Saint John. After this disgraceful scene the interrogatory commenced. Katte confessed all the circumstances of the prince’s intended escape, but denied that there had been any design against the king or the state. His own and the prince’s letters were examined, but nothing was found in them to criminate either. Katte was then100 remanded to prison. Wilhelmina, after receiving the grossest possible insults from her father, who accused her, in coarsest terms, of being the paramour of Lieutenant Katte, was ordered to her room. Two sentries were placed at her door, and directions were given that she should be fed only on prison fare.
At the custom-house the poor man’s coin was seized as contraband. He was informed that the king, had forbidden the circulation of that kind of money in Berlin. The heartless officials laughed at the poor man’s distress, paid no regard to his remonstrances and pleadings, and locked up his confiscated coin.
The apartments prepared for the Princess Royal were also very magnificent. Her parlor was twenty feet high. It had six windows, three opening in the main front toward the town, and the other three opening toward the interior court. The spaces between the windows were covered with immense mirrors, so arranged as to display the ceiling, beautifully painted by one of the finest artists of the day. The artist had spread his colors with such delicacy and skill, so exquisitely blending light and shade, that the illusion was almost perfect. The spectator felt that the real sky, with its fleecy clouds and infinite depth of blue, overarched him.FREDERICK AND THE OLD DESSAUER.
As we have mentioned, the army advanced mainly in two columns.228 While the left was briefly delayed at Glogau, the right, under the command of General Schwerin, was pushed rapidly forward a few leagues, to Liegnitz. They reached the city, unexpectedly to its inhabitants, just at the dawn of a drear, chill winter’s morning, the rain having changed to freezing cold. It was Wednesday, December 28. The Prussian grenadiers stole softly upon the slumbering sentinels, seized them, and locked them in the guard-house. Then the whole column marched into the heart of the city silently, without music, but with a tramp which aroused all the sleepers in the streets through which they passed—many of whom, in their night-caps, peered curiously out of their chamber windows. Having reached the central square, or market-place, the forces were concentrated, and the drums and bugles pealed forth notes of triumph. The Prussian flag rose promptly from rampart and tower. Liegnitz was essentially a Protestant town. The inhabitants, who had received but few favors from the Catholic Austrian government, welcomed their invaders with cautious demonstrations of joy.The ceremony of coronation was attended, near Presburg, on the 25th of June, with much semi-barbaric splendor, as the Iron Crown58 of St. Stephen was placed upon the pale, beautiful brow of the young wife and mother. All the renowned chivalry of Hungary were assembled upon that field. They came in gorgeous costume, with embroidered banners, and accompanied by imposing retinues. At the close of the ceremonies, the queen, who was distinguished as a bold rider, mounted a swift charger, and, followed by a long retinue of Magyar warriors, galloped to the top of a small eminence artificially constructed for the occasion, called the K?nigsburg, or King’s Hill, where she drew her sword, and, flourishing it toward the four quarters of the heavens, bade defiance to any adversary who should venture to question her claims. The knightly warriors who crowded the plain flashed their swords in the sunlight, as with one accord, with chivalric devotion, they vowed fidelity to their queen.
A brief account of this interview has been given by Frederick,59 and also a very minute narrative by Sir Thomas Robinson, in his official report to his government. There is no essential discrepancy between the two statements. Frederick alludes rather contemptuously to the pompous airs of Sir Thomas, saying that “he negotiated in a wordy, high, droning way, as if he were speaking in Parliament.” Mr. Carlyle seems to be entirely in sympathy with Frederick in his invasion of Silesia. The reader will peruse with interest his graphic, characteristic comments upon this interview:详情
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