About the middle of October Wilhelmina came to Berlin to see her brothers again. Nine years had passed since her marriage, and seven since her last sad visit to the home of her childhood, in which inauspicious visit the wretchedness of her early years had been renewed by the cruelty of her reception. In211 Wilhelmina’s journal we find the following allusion to this her second return to Berlin:Wilhelmina, with flooded eyes, entered her carriage, bidding a final adieu to the home of her childhood, where she had passed through so many scenes, eventful and afflictive. Though she afterward visited Berlin, it was her home no more. The Crown Prince returned to Cüstrin, where he impatiently awaited his future destinies.
After the concert, which usually continued an hour, he engaged197 in conversation until ten o’clock. He then took supper with a few friends, and at eleven retired to his bed.
In a very triumphant mood, the king, on the 19th of November, wrote a boastful and irreverent “Ode to Fortune,” in that easy rhyme which he called poetry. The substance of this ode, translated into prose, was as follows:
The captive Crown Prince was conveyed from Wesel to the castle of Mittenwalde, where he was imprisoned in a room without furniture or bed. An old chest which chanced to be there was his only seat. One of the king’s favorite ministers, Grumkow, with other officials, was sent to interrogate him. The prince, probably aware that nothing which he could now do could make matters worse than they actually were, displayed much spirit in the interview. Frankly avowing his intention to escape, he refused to make any disclosures which should implicate his friends. Grumkow insolently informed him that the101 use of the rack was not yet abolished in his majesty’s dominions, and that, if he were not more pliant, the energies of that instrument might be called into requisition. Frederick admitted afterward that his blood ran cold at that suggestion. Still he had the nerve to reply, according to the testimony of Wilhelmina,
Establishment of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.—Religious Toleration.—A Free Press.—Sternness of the young King.—Domestic Habits of the King.—Provision for the Queen-mother.—Absolutism of the King.—Journey to Strasbourg.—First Interview with Voltaire.“‘Are you content with me? You see that I have kept my word with you.’
“Raising his eyes,” says Archenholtz, “he surveyed, with speechless emotion, the small remnant of his life-guard of foot, his favorite battalion. It was one thousand strong yesterday morning, hardly four hundred now. All the soldiers of this chosen battalion were personally known to him—their names, their age, their native place, their history. In one day death had mowed them down. They had fought like heroes, and it418 was for him they had died. His eyes were visibly wet. Down his face rolled silent tears.”A few days after her arrival at Berlin, Fritz, on short leave of absence, ran over from Ruppin, and had a brief interview with his sister, whom he had not seen since her marriage. The royal family supped together, with the exception of the king, who was absent. At the table the conversation turned upon the future princess royal, Elizabeth. The queen said, addressing Wilhelmina, and fixing her eyes on Fritz,In this terrible emergence, the queen, resolute as she was, was almost compelled, by the importunity of her counselors, to permit Sir Thomas Robinson, who was acting for England far more than for Austria, to go back to Frederick with the offer so humiliating to her, that she would surrender to him one half of Silesia if he would withdraw his armies and enter into an alliance with her against the French. The high-spirited queen wrung her hands in anguish as she assented to this decision, exclaiming passionately,
“Each of these ministers makes a most brilliant figure, and never have I seen one travel with more ease and convenience, more elegance and grandeur, than does the Marquis of Montijo. Wherever he stops to dine or sup, he finds a room hung with the richest tapestry, and the floor covered with Turkey carpets, with velvet chairs, and every other kind of convenience; a table sumptuously served, the choicest wines, and a dessert of fruit and confectionery that Paris itself could not excel. This kind of enchantment, this real miracle in Germany, is performed by means of three baggage-wagons, of which two always go before the embassador, and carry with them every thing necessary for his reception. When they arrive in some poor village, the domestics268 that accompany each wagon immediately clear and clean some chamber, fix the tapestry by rings to the walls, cover the floor with carpets, and furnish the kitchen and cellar with every kind of necessary.”54
“Daun has thrown up his cards, so the game is not yet lost. Let us repose ourselves for some days, and then go to the assistance of Neisse.”123详情
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