Just after midnight, the prince, seeing his associates soundly asleep, cautiously rose, dressed, and crept out into the open air. He had secretly made arrangements with his valet, a brother of Lieutenant Keith, to meet him with some horses on the village green. He reached the green. His valet soon appeared with the horses. Just at that moment, one of his guard, Rochow, who had been aroused by a servant whom he had left secretly on the watch, came forward through the gloom of the night, and, sternly addressing Keith, inquired, “Sirrah, what are you doing with those horses?” With much self-possession Keith replied, “I am getting the horses ready for the hour of starting.” “His majesty,” Rochow replied, “does not start till five o’clock. Take the horses directly back to the stable.”Thus parted these remarkable men, who were never destined to meet again.
BATTLE OF HOHENFRIEDBERG, JUNE 4, 1745.After the king, swept away in the wreck of his right wing of cavalry, had left the field, and was spurring his horse in his impetuous flight, his generals in the centre and on the left, in command of infantry so highly disciplined that every man would stand at his post until he died, resolutely maintained the battle. Frederick William had drilled these men for twenty years as men were never drilled before or since, converting them into mere machines. They were wielded by their officers as they themselves handled their muskets. Five successive cavalry charges these cast-iron men resisted. They stood like rocks dashing aside the torrent. The assailing columns melted before their terrible fire—they discharging five shots to the Austrians’ two.“I am just arrived here after cruel and frightful marchings. There is nothing desperate in all that. I believe the noise and disquietude this hurly-burly has caused will be the worst of it. Show this letter to every body, that it may be known that the state is not undefended. I have made about one thousand prisoners from Haddick.132 All his meal-wagons have been taken. Finck,133 I believe, will keep an eye on him. This is all I can say. To-morrow I march to within two leagues of Frankfort. Katte must instantly send me two hundred tons of meal and one hundred bakers. I am very tired. For six nights I have not closed an eye. Farewell.
“For the most part, one of his own grenadiers was the model from which he copied. And when the portrait had more color in it than the original, he was in the habit of coloring the cheeks of the soldier to correspond with the picture. Enchanted with the fruits of his genius, he showed them to his courtiers, and asked their opinion concerning them. As he would have been very angry with any one who had criticised them, he was quite sure of being gratified with admiration.Maria Theresa was more and more unreconciled to the loss of Silesia. Never for an hour did she relinquish the idea of eventually398 regaining the province. The various treaties into which she had been compelled to enter she regarded as merely temporary arrangements. Between the years 1752 and 1755 the energetic and persistent queen was making secret arrangements for the renewal of the Silesian war.Gradually the secret treaty which allied France, Bavaria, and Prussia, and it was not known how many other minor powers, against Austria, came to light. Two French armies of fifty thousand men each were on the march to act in co-operation with Frederick. England, trembling from fear of the loss of Hanover, dared not move. The Aulic Council at Vienna, in a panic, “fell back into their chairs like dead men.” The ruin of Maria Theresa and the fatal dismemberment of Austria seemed inevitable.
“You have had the most villainous affair with a Jew. It has made a frightful scandal all over town. For my own part, I have preserved peace in my house until your arrival; and I warn you that, if you have the passion of intriguing and cabaling, you have applied to the wrong person. I like peaceable, quiet people, who do not put into their conduct the violent passions of tragedy. In case you can resolve to live like a philosopher, I shall be glad to see you. But if you abandon yourself to all the violence of your passions, and get into quarrels with all the world, you will do me no good by coming hither, and you may as well stay in Berlin.”“After dinner,” writes Voltaire, “the king retired alone into his cabinet, and made verses till five or six o’clock. A concert commenced at seven, in which the king performed on the flute as well as the best musician. The pieces of music executed were also often of the king’s composition. On the days of public ceremonies he exhibited great magnificence. It was a fine spectacle to see him at table, surrounded by twenty princes of the empire, served on the most beautiful gold plate in Europe, and attended by thirty handsome pages, and as many young heyducs, superbly dressed, and carrying great dishes of massive gold. After these banquets the court attended the opera in the great theatre, three hundred feet long. The most admirable singers and the best dancers were at this time in the pay of the King of Prussia.”“You are a cowardly deserter,” the father exclaimed, “devoid of all feelings of honor.”
Sophie Dorothee tenderly loved her little Fritz, and, with a mother’s fondness, endeavored to shield him, in every way in her power, from his father’s brutality. Wilhelmina also clung to her brother with devotion which nothing could disturb. Thus both mother and daughter incurred in some degree the hatred with which the father regarded his son. It will be remembered that the mother of Fritz was daughter of George I. of England. Her brother subsequently became George II. He had a son, Fred, about the age of Wilhelmina, and a daughter, Amelia, six months older than Fritz. The mother, Sophie Dorothee, had set her heart upon a double marriage—of Wilhelmina with Fred,39 and of Fritz with Amelia. But many obstacles arose in the way of these nuptials.
General Neipperg cautiously advanced toward him, and encamped in the vicinity of Steinau—the same Steinau which but a few weeks before had been laid in ashes as the Prussian troops284 passed through it. The two armies were now separated from each other but by an interval of about five miles. The country was flat, and it was not probable that the contest which Frederick so eagerly sought could long be avoided.“I was shut up in my bedchamber, where I saw nobody, and continued always to fast. I was really dying of hunger. I read as long as there was daylight, and made remarks upon what I read. My health began to give way. I became as thin as a skeleton from want of food and exercise. One day Madam De Sonsfeld and myself were at table, looking sadly at one another, having nothing to eat but soup made with salt and water, and a ragout of old bones, full of hairs and other dirt, when we heard a knocking at the window. Surprised, we rose hastily to see what it was. We found a raven with a morsel of bread in its beak, which it laid down on the sill of the window so soon as it saw us, and flew away. Tears came into our eyes at this adventure. ‘Our lot is very deplorable,’ said I to my governess, ‘since it even touches the creatures devoid of reason. They have more compassion for us than men, who treat us with so much cruelty.’”
492 The Russians did not attempt to march upon Berlin. About the middle of September General Soltikof gathered all his forces in hand, and commenced a march into Silesia to effect a junction with General Daun. Frederick followed, and, by a very rapid march, took possession of Sagan, on the Bober, where he was in direct communication with Henry. On the 24th of September the king wrote to his younger brother Ferdinand, in Berlin:CHAPTER VIII. DEVELOPMENTS OF CHARACTER.
“Let him learn arithmetic, mathematics, artillery, economy, to the very bottom; history in particular; ancient history only slightly, but the history of the last hundred and fifty years to the exactest pitch. He must be completely master of geography, as also of whatever is remarkable in each country. With increasing years you will more and more, to an especial degree, go upon fortification, the formation of a camp, and other war sciences, that the prince may, from youth upward, be trained to act as officer and general, and to seek all his glory in the soldier profession. You have, in the highest measure, to make it your care to infuse into my son a true love for the soldier business, and to impress on him that, as there is nothing in the world which can bring a prince renown and honor like the sword, so he would be a despised creature before all men if he did not love it and seek his glory therein.”详情
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