“Since you speak so much of marriages,” said the general, “I suppose you wish to be married?”
Sieges, skirmishes, battles innumerable ensued. The Russians and the Austrians, in superior numbers and with able leaders, were unwearied in their endeavors to annihilate their formidable foe. The conflict was somewhat analogous to that which takes place between the lion at bay in the jungle and a pack of dogs. The details could scarcely be made intelligible to the reader, and would certainly prove tedious.153“I wish you too, my lord, to hear every word I speak to General Neipperg. His Britannic majesty knows, or should know, my intentions never were to do him hurt, but only to take care of myself. And pray inform him that I have ordered my army in Brandenburg to go into winter quarters, and break up that camp at G?ttin.”
At ten o’clock at night on the 9th of September, the Russian camp went up in flame. The next morning not a Russian was526 to be seen. The whole army had disappeared over the hills far away to the north. Frederick immediately dispatched eight thousand men under General Platen to attack the flank of the retreating foe, and destroy his baggage-wagons. The feat was brilliantly accomplished. On the 15th of September, before the dawn of the morning, General Platen fell upon the long train, took nearly two thousand prisoners, seven cannon, and destroyed five thousand heavily-laden wagons.
“Yesterday, July 3d, the king sent for me, in the afternoon, the first time he has seen any body since the news came. I had the honor to remain with him in his closet. I must own I was most sensibly affected to see him indulging his grief, and giving way to the warmest filial affections; recalling to mind the many obligations he had to her late majesty; all she had suffered, and how nobly she had borne it; the good she did to every body;419 the one comfort he now had, that he tried to make her last years more agreeable.
“If my destiny refuse me the happiness of being able to possess you, may I at least hope one day to see the man whom I have admired so long now from afar, and to assure you, by word of mouth, that I am, with all the esteem and consideration due those who, following the torch of truth for guide, consecrate their labors to the public, Monsieur, your affectionate friend,In the ranks all of the army were equally entitled to distinction. Promotion was conferred upon merit, not upon the accident of birth. This principle, which was entirely ignored in the other European despotisms, probably contributed to the success of Frederick’s armies. A Hanoverian count wrote to him, soliciting a high position in the army for his son, in favor of his exalted birth. Frederick dictated the following reply:“You are now,” said Frederick, “by consent of the allies, King of Moravia. Now is the time, now or never, to become so in fact. Push forward your Saxon troops. The Austrian forces are weak in that country. At Iglau, just over the border from Austria, there is a large magazine of military stores, which can299 easily be seized. Urge forward your troops. The French will contribute strong divisions. I will join you with twenty thousand men. We can at once take possession of Moravia, and perhaps march directly on to Vienna.”
“I added that my niece had burned his ode from fear that it should be imputed to me. He believed me and thanked me; not, however, without some reproaches for having burned the best verses he had ever made.”128Again the next day he wrote:The prospects of Frederick were now gloomy. The bright morning of the campaign had darkened into a stormy day. The barren region around afforded no supplies. The inhabitants were all Catholics; they hated the heretics. Inspired by their priests, they fled from their dwellings, taking with them or destroying every thing which could aid the Prussian army. But most annoying of all, the bold, sagacious chieftain, General Bathyani, with hordes of Pandours which could not be counted—horsemen who seemed to have the vitality and endurance of centaurs—was making deadly assaults upon every exposed point.
Wilhelmina had never seen the Prince of Wales. Her mother had not attempted to conceal from her that he was exceedingly plain in person, slightly deformed, weak in intellect, and debased by his debaucheries. But the ambitious queen urged these considerations, not as objections, but as incentives to the marriage. “You will be able,” she said, “to have him entirely under your direction. You will thus be virtually King of England, and can exert a powerful control over all the nations of Europe.” These considerations, however, did not influence the princess so much as they did her mother. She had never taken any special interest in her marriage with the Prince of Wales. Indeed, at times, she had said that nothing should ever induce her to marry him.In the latter part of June a large train of over three thousand four-horse wagons, laden with all necessary supplies, left Troppau for Olmütz. It is difficult for a reader unfamiliar with such scenes to form any conception of the magnitude of such an enterprise. There are twelve thousand horses to be shod, harnessed, and fed, and watered three or four times a day. There are three thousand wagons to be kept in repair, rattling over the stones and plowing through the mire. Six thousand teamsters are required. There is invariably connected with such a movement one or two thousand camp-followers, sutlers, women, vagabonds. A large armed force is also needed to act as convoy.
“M. le President,—I have had the honor to receive your letter. You inform me that you are well, and that, if I publish La Beaumelle’s letter,97 you will come and assassinate me. What ingratitude to your poor Doctor Akakia! If you exalt your soul so as to discern futurity, you will see that, if you come on that errand to Leipsic, where you are no better liked than in other places, you will run some risk of being hanged. Poor me, indeed, you will find in bed. But, as soon as I have gained a little strength, I will have my pistols charged, and, multiplying the394 mass by the square of velocity, so as to reduce the action and you to zero, I will put some lead into your head. It appears that you have need of it. Adieu, my president.Louis XV. wrote a very unsatisfactory letter in reply. He stated, with many apologies, that his funds were terribly low,359 that he was exceedingly embarrassed, that it was impossible to send the sum required, but that he would try to furnish him with a hundred thousand dollars a month.详情
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