“It seems that in Poland the Austrians have only to stoop and pick up what they like. If the court of Vienna has the intention to dismember that kingdom, its neighbors will have the right to take their share.”185The Russians, with empty meal-wagons and starving soldiers, had taken possession of Frankfort-on-the-Oder on the 29th of July. The city contained twelve thousand inhabitants. The ransom which the Russian general demanded to save the city from pillage by the Cossacks was four hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Pillage by the Cossacks! No imagination can conceive the horrors of such an event. Nearly one hundred thousand men, frenzied with intoxication, brutal in their habits, restrained by no law, would inflict every outrage which fiends could conceive of. Well might fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, turn pale and feel the blood curdle in their veins at the thought. Four hundred and fifty thousand dollars ransom! That was nearly forty dollars for each individual, man, woman, and child! Compliance with the demand was impossible. Frankfort, in its impoverishment, could by no possibility raise a tenth part of the sum. Dreadful was the consternation. There was no relenting; the money or the pillage!Soon after this, Frederick’s next younger brother, Augustus William, who was heir-presumptive to the throne in default of a son by Frederick, was betrothed to Louisa Amelia of Brunswick, younger sister of Frederick’s bride.
Still Wusterhausen was but a hunting-lodge, which was occupied by the king only during a few weeks in the autumn. Fritz had many playmates—his brothers and sisters, his cousins, and the children of General Finkenstein. To most boys, the streams, and groves, and ponds of Wusterhausen, abounding with fish and all kinds of game, with ponies to drive and boats to row, with picturesque walks and drives, would have been full of charms. But the tastes of Fritz did not lie in that direction. He does not seem to have become strongly attached to any of his young companions, except to his sister Wilhelmina. The affection and confidence which united their hearts were truly beautiful. They encountered together some of the severest of life’s trials, but heartfelt sympathy united them. The nickname which these children gave their unamiable father was Stumpy.“Constantinople! never. It is the empire of the world.Frederick did what he could to divert the attention of the court at Reinsberg by multiplying gayeties of every kind. There was feasting, and music, and dancing, and theatric exhibitions, often continuing until four o’clock in the morning. In the mean time couriers were coming and going. Troops were moving. Provisions and the materiel of war were accumulating. Anxious embassadors watched every movement of the king’s hand, weighed every word which escaped his lips, and tried every adroit measure to elicit from him his secret. The Danish minister, Pr?torius, wrote to his court from Berlin:
125 Grumkow then goes on to relate, quite in detail, that the king took up the subject of theology. “He set forth the horrible results of that absolute decree notion which makes God the author of sin; and that Jesus Christ died only for some.” The prince declared that he had thoroughly renounced that heresy. The king then added:The next morning the Prussian troops, led by their indomitable king, were early on the march, groping through the thick mist to find more of the foe. But the blow already given was decisive. The Austrian army was shattered, demoralized, ruined. The king could find nothing but broken tumbrils, abandoned wagons, and the débris of an utterly routed army. Prince Charles, bewildered by the disaster, had wheeled his columns around, and fled through the passes of the mountains back to Bohemia. Five thousand of his troops he left behind in killed or prisoners.“I am a poor heretic. I have never been blessed by the holy father. I never attend church. I worship neither God nor the devil. Often have those shaven scoundrels, the priests, declared that I had become extinct.
The king was by no means pleased with the costly luxuries with which his son was surrounding himself. But he had, in a very considerable degree, lost his control over the Crown Prince. Frederick was now twenty-one years of age. He had married the niece of the Emperor of Germany. The emperor had probably once saved his life, and was disposed particularly to befriend him, that he might secure his alliance when he should become King of Prussia. Frederick was now the rising sun, and his father the setting luminary. All the courts in Europe were interested in winning the regards of the Crown Prince.
Frederick.In burning the suburbs, one of the mansions of the bishop, a few miles from Neisse, had escaped the general conflagration. The Prussians had taken possession of this large and commodious structure, with its ample supply of winter fuel. General Roth employed a resolute butcher, who, under the pretense of supplying the Prussians with beef, visited the bishop’s mansion, and secretly applied the torch. It was a cold winter’s night. The high wind fanned the flames. Scarcely an hour passed ere the whole structure, with all its supplies, was in ashes. The Prussian officers who had found a warm home were driven into the icy fields.
“Grumkow led me to the young man in gray. Coming near, I recognized him, though with difficulty. He had grown much stouter, and his neck was much shorter. His face also was much changed, and was no longer as handsome as it had been. I fell upon his neck. I was so overcome that I could only speak in an unconnected manner. I wept, I laughed like a person out of her senses. In my life I have never felt so lively a joy. After these first emotions were subsided I went and threw myself at the feet of the king, who said to me aloud, in the presence of my brother,The French minister at the court of Berlin, Count Rothenburg, was a Prussian by birth. He was a man of much diplomatic ability, and a very accomplished gentleman. Having spent much of his life in Paris, he had acquired the polished manners of the French court, and wore the costume appropriate to the Tuileries and Versailles. He and his associates in the embassy attracted much attention as they appeared in their cocked hats, flowing wigs, laced coats, and other gorgeous trimmings. The king, in his homespun garb, was apprehensive that the example so obnoxious to him might spread.
BATTLE OF LEUTHEN, DECEMBER 5, 1757.“My complaint increases so much that I no longer even hope to recover from it. I feel strongly, in the situation in which I at present find myself, the necessity of an enlightened religion arising from conviction. Without that, we are the beings on earth most to be pitied. Your majesty will, after my death, do me the justice to testify that if I have combated superstition with vehemence, I have always supported the interests of the Christian religion, though differing from the ideas of some theologians. As it is only possible when in danger to discover the169 necessity of bravery, so no one can really have the consoling advantage of religion except through sufferings.”
437 “Yes, death or victory,” they shouted. Then from loving lips the cheer ran along the line, “Good-night, Fritz.”“‘That is true,’ I replied, ‘and I beg your pardon. I was too rash in accusing you of a want of expertness.’“Compact as a wall, and with an incredible velocity, Seidlitz, in the blaze of rapid steel, is in upon them.” From the first it was manifest that the destruction of the advance-guard was certain. The Prussian cavalry slashed through it again and again, throwing it into inextricable disorder. In less than half an hour this important portion of the allied troops was put to utter rout, “tumbling off the ground, plunging down hill in full flight, across its own infantry, or whatever obstacle, Seidlitz on the hips of it, and galloping madly over the horizon.”详情
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