“In a word, I see all black, as if I were at the bottom of a tomb. Have some compassion on the situation I am in. Conceive that I disguise nothing from you, and yet that I do not detail to you all my embarrassments, my apprehensions, and troubles. Adieu, my dear marquis. Write to me sometimes. Do not forget a poor devil who curses ten times a day his fatal existence, and could wish he already were in those silent countries from which nobody returns with news.”
A few days afterward, in an official document, she writes: “I consent, since so many great and learned men will have it so. But long after I am dead, it will be known what this violating of all that was hitherto held sacred and just will give rise to.”187A stern military commission was, however, appointed to interrogate the prince from questions drawn up by the king. The examination took place the next day. The prince confessed that94 it was his intention to cross the Rhine at the nearest point, and to repair to Strasbourg, in France. There he intended to enlist incognito as a volunteer in the French army. He refused to tell how he obtained his money, or to make any revelations which would implicate his friends Katte and Keith.
“She made me a courtesy on the model of that of Agnes in the Ecole des Femmes. I took her back to the queen’s apartment, little edified by such a display of talent.”The carousal presented a very splendid spectacle. It took place by night, and the spacious arena was lighted by thirty thousand torches. The esplanade of the palace, which presented an ample parallelogram, was surrounded by an amphitheatre of rising seats, crowded with the beauties and dignitaries of Europe. At one end of the parallelogram was a royal box, tapestried with the richest hangings. The king sat there; his sister, the Princess Amelia, was by his side, as queen of the festival. Where the neglected wife of Frederick was is not recorded. The entrance for the cavaliers was opposite the throne. The jousting parties consisted of four bands, representing Romans, Persians, Carthaginians, and Greeks. They were decorated with splendid equipments of jewelry, silver helmets, sashes, and housings, and were mounted on the most spirited battle-steeds which Europe could furnish. The scene was enlivened by exhilarating music, and by the most gorgeous decorations and picturesque costumes which the taste and art of the times could create. The festivities were closed by a ball in the vast saloons of the palace, and by a supper, where the tables were loaded with every delicacy.
Dr. Zimmermann, whose work on Solitude had given him some renown, had been sent for to administer to the illustrious patient. His prescriptions were of no avail. On the 10th of August, 1786, Frederick wrote to his sister, the Duchess Dowager of Brunswick:
“Write to me when you have nothing better to do. And don’t forget a poor philosopher who, perhaps to expiate his incredulity, is doomed to find his purgatory in this world.
As soon as Hotham had left Berlin the Crown Prince held a secret midnight interview with Captain Dickens and Lieutenant Katte, to devise some new plan of escape during the journey to the Rhine, which was to commence in a few days. He made arrangements to leave all his private papers with Katte, provided himself with a large gray overcoat as a partial disguise, and, with much difficulty, obtained about a thousand ducats to defray his expenses. Lieutenant Keith was at Wesel. He was written to with the utmost secrecy, as he might be able to render efficient aid, could the Crown Prince reach him.“The evenings are devoted to music. The prince has a concert in his saloon, where no one enters who is not invited, and such invitation is regarded as an extraordinary favor. The prince has commonly performed a sonata and a concert for the flute, on which he plays in the greatest perfection. He fills the flute admirably well, has great agility with the fingers, and a vast fund of music. He composes himself sonatas. I have had the honor of standing behind him more than once while he was playing, and was charmed with his taste, especially in the adagio. He has a continual creation of new ideas.”Commencement of the Sixth Campaign.—The Fortified Camp at Bunzelwitz.—Skillful Engineering.—Unintermitted Toil of the Soldiers.—Retreat of the Russians.—Loss of Schweidnitz.—Peculiar Treatment of General Zastrow.—Close of the Sixth Campaign.—The King at Breslau.—Desponding Letter to D’Argens.—Death of Elizabeth of Russia.—Accession of Peter III.—His Marriage with the Daughter of a Prussian General.—Takes the Baptismal Name of Catharine.—Assassination of Peter III.—Curious Proclamation by the Empress.—Commencement of the Seventh Campaign.—Alliance of Russia with Prussia.—Withdrawal from the Alliance.—Termination of the War.
“I have already,” he wrote, “given your majesty my word of honor never to wed any one but the Princess Amelia, your daughter. I here reiterate that promise, in case your majesty will consent to my sister’s marriage.“‘Well,’ said he, ‘let him quit soldiering then, and give back his regiment to the king. But quiet yourself as to the fears you may have about him if he do; for I know, by certain information, that there will be no blood spilt.’
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“It is not my purpose to lose battles by the base conduct of my generals; wherefore I hereby appoint that you, next year, if I be alive, assemble the army between Breslau and Ohlau; for four days before I arrive in your camp, carefully man?uvre with the ignorant generals, and teach them what their duty is. Regiment Von Arnim and regiment Von Kanitz are to act the enemy; and whoever does not then fulfill his duty shall go to court-martial; for I should think it a shame of any country to keep such people, who trouble themselves so little about their business.”“You are too good. I am ashamed to abuse your indulgence. But do, since you are willing, try and sound the French, and learn what conditions of peace they would demand. Send that Mirabeau103 to France. Willingly will I pay the expense. He may offer as much as five million thalers [,750,000] to the Favorite104 for peace alone.”
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