Frederick William.The letter was as follows:
338 Just at that time, when all hope seemed lost, it so happened that a cannon-ball crushed the foot of the Austrian commander. This disaster, together with the darkness and the torrents of rain, caused the fire of the enemy to cease. The next morning some Prussian re-enforcements came to the rescue of the king, and he escaped.“There was no need of that pretext about the waters of Plombières in demanding your leave. You can quit my service when you like. But, before going, be so good as to return me the key, the cross, and the volume of verses which I confided to you.
The king exerted all his powers of fascination to gain the affections of the people. Though he dismissed all the Austrian public functionaries, and supplied their places by his own friends, he continued to the Catholics their ancient privileges, and paid marked attention to the bishop and his clergy. At the same time, he encouraged the Protestants with the expectation that he would prove their especial friend. At the assemblies which he gave each evening that he was in the city, he lavished his smiles upon the ladies who were distinguished either for exalted rank or for beauty. But there is no evidence that, during this campaign, he wrote one line to his absent, neglected wife, or that he expended one thought upon her.68
On the 3d of October the vanguard of this army, three thousand strong, was seen in the distance from the steeples of Berlin. The queen and royal family fled with the archives to Magdeburg. The city was summoned to an immediate surrender, and to pay a ransom of about four million dollars to rescue it from the flames. The summons was rejected. General Tottleben, in command of the advance, erected his batteries, and at five o’clock in the afternoon commenced his bombardment with red-hot balls. In the night a re-enforcement of five thousand Prussians, under Prince Eugene of Würtemberg, who had marched forty miles that day, entered the city, guided by the blaze of the bombardment, to strengthen the garrison. Tottleben retired to await the allied troops, which were rapidly on the march. In the mean time, on the 8th, General Hülsen arrived with nine thousand Prussian troops, increasing the garrison in Berlin to fifteen thousand. Frederick was also on the march, to rescue his capital, with all the troops he could muster. But the Russians had now arrived to the number of thirty-five thousand. The defenses were so weak that they could easily take or destroy the place.“Friedrich Wilhelm.
The unhappy Crown Prince was in an agony of despair. Again and again he frantically exclaimed, “In the name of God, I beg you to stop the execution till I write to the king! I am ready to renounce all my rights to the crown if he will pardon Katte!” As the condemned was led by the window to ascend the scaffold, Fritz cried out to him, in anguish as intense as a generous heart can endure, “Pardon me, my dear Katte, pardon me! Oh that this should be what I have done for you!”“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.”The secret was now out. The tidings flew in all directions that the King of Prussia was in Strasbourg incognito. The king, not yet aware of the detection, called upon the marshal. A crowd of officers gathered eagerly around. The marshal was much embarrassed in his desire to respect the incognito, and also to manifest the consideration due to a sovereign. No one yet ventured to address him as king, though there were many indications that his rank was beginning to be known. Frederick therefore decided to get out of the city as soon as possible. To conceal his design, he made arrangements to attend the theatre with the marshal in the evening. The marshal went to the theatre with all his officers. The building was crowded with the multitude hoping to see the king. Bonfires began to blaze in the streets, and shouts were heard of “Long live the King of Prussia.” Frederick hastily collected his companions, paid his enormous bill at the Raven, “shot off like lightning,” and was seen in Strasbourg no more.
“You never can believe, my adorable sister, how concerned I am about your happiness. All my wishes centre there, and every moment of my life I form such wishes. You may see by this that I preserve still that sincere friendship which has united our hearts from our tenderest years. Recognize at least, my dear sister, that you did me a sensible wrong when you suspected me of fickleness toward you, and believed false reports of my listening to tale-bearers—me, who love only you, and whom neither absence nor lying rumors could change in respect of you. At least, don’t again believe such things on my score, and never mistrust me till you have had clear proof, or till God has forsaken me, or I have lost my wits.Frederick returned to Ruppin. Though he treated his wife with ordinary courtesy, as an honored member of the court, his attentions were simply such as were due to every lady of the royal household. It does not appear that she accompanied him to Ruppin or to Reinsberg at that time, though the apartments to which we have already alluded were subsequently provided for her at Reinsberg, where she was ever treated with the most punctilious politeness. Lord Dover says that after the accession of the prince to the throne he went to see his wife but once a year, on her birthday. She resided most of the time at Berlin, surrounded by a quiet little court there. However keen may have been her sufferings in view of this cruel neglect, we have165 no record that any word of complaint was ever heard to escape her lips. “This poor Crown Princess, afterward queen,” says Carlyle, “has been heard, in her old age, reverting in a touching, transient way to the glad days she had at Reinsberg. Complaint openly was never heard of her in any kind of days; but these, doubtless, were the best of her life.”“Here, take that order to General Lossow, and tell him that he is not to take it ill that I trouble him, as I have none in my suite that can do any thing.” It often seemed to give Frederick pleasure, and never pain, to wound the feelings of others.
“I shall be in the front and in the rear of the army. I shall fly from one wing to the other. No squadron and no company will escape my observation. Those who act well I will reward, and will never forget them. We shall soon either have beaten the enemy or we shall see each other no more.”Frederick.”“You will quickly write me your mind on this. I have purchased the Von Katsch house. The field marshal, as governor of Berlin, will get that to live in. His government house I will have made new for you, and furnish it all, and give you enough to keep house yourself there.
“Their king” (Wilhelmina’s grandfather) “was of extreme gravity, and hardly spoke a word to any body. He saluted Madam Sonsfeld, my governess, very coldly, and asked if I was always so serious, and if my humor was of a melancholy turn. ‘Any thing but that, sire,’ answered Madam Sonsfeld; ‘but the respect she has for your majesty prevents her from being as sprightly as she commonly is.’ He shook his head and said nothing. The reception he had given me, and this question, gave me such a chill that I never had the courage to speak to him.”
The Austrians, on the careless and self-confident march toward Parchwitz, had crossed the Schweidnitz River, or Water, as it438 was called, when they learned that Frederick, with a tiger-like spring, had leaped upon Neumarkt, an important town fourteen miles from Parchwitz. Here the Austrians had a bakery, protected by a guard of a thousand men. Seven hundred of the guard were instantly sabred or taken prisoners. The rest fled wildly. Frederick gathered up eighty thousand hot bread rations, with which he feasted his hungry troops.“I depend with complete confidence on your soldierly and patriotic zeal, which is already well and gloriously known to me, and which, while I live, I will acknowledge with the heartiest satisfaction. Before all things I recommend to you, and prescribe as your most sacred duty, that in every situation you exercise humanity on unarmed enemies. In this respect, let there be the strictest discipline kept among those under you.MARIA THERESA AT THE HEAD OF HER ARMY.
“The king did a beautiful thing to Lieutenant Keith the other day—that poor Keith who was nailed to the gallows, in effigy, for him at Wesel, long ago, and got far less than he expected. The other day there had been a grand review, part of it extending into Madame Knyphausen’s grounds, who is Keith’s mother-in-law.Frederick.”详情
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