“And what does the court of Cüstrin do? It orders the mill to be sold, that the nobleman may have his rent! Go you, sir,” addressing the grand chancellor, “about your business, this instant. Your successor is appointed; with you I have nothing more to do.” The other three were assailed in the same way, but still more vehemently, as the king’s wrath flamed higher and higher. “Out of my sight,” he exclaimed at last; “I will make an example of you which shall be remembered.
“Indeed, how many reasons has one at fifty years of age to despise life! The prospect which remains to me is an old age of infirmity and pain, with disappointments, regrets, ignominies, and outrages to endure. In truth, if you really consider my situation, you ought to blame my intentions less than you do. I have lost all my friends. I am unfortunate in all the ways in which it is possible to be so. I have nothing to hope for. I see my enemies treat me with derision, while their insolence prepares to trample me under foot. Alas!In the general alarm, France, Holland, and other neighboring courts interposed and called loudly for a settlement. Frederick William had never wished for war. George II. was thoroughly frightened. As it was certain that he would be severely chastised, he was eager to escape from the difficulty through the mediation of others. An arbitration was agreed upon, and the quarrel was settled without bloodshed.
Maria Theresa was much encouraged by the subsidy she had received from England. She was not yet informed of the formidable alliance into which France, with a portion of Germany, had entered for her destruction. About the 20th of June she left Vienna for Presburg, in Hungary, a drive of about fifty miles. Here, on the 25th of June, 1741, she was crowned Queen of Hungary. She was a very beautiful woman in person, devout in spirit, and those who admire manly developments in the female character must regard her as presenting the highest type of womanhood. She merits the following beautiful tribute to her worth from the pen of Carlyle:Here the young prince made the most solemn promises to try to regain his father’s favor. The king then asked: “Was it thou that temptedst Katte, or did Katte tempt thee?” Fritz promptly replied, “I tempted Katte.” “I am glad,” rejoined the king, “to hear the truth from you, at any rate.”
Are forever lost in these jumbles.)The morning of a hot August day dawned sultry, the wind breathing gently from the south. Bands of Cossacks hovered around upon the wings of the Prussian army, occasionally riding up to the infantry ranks and discharging their pistols at them. The Prussians were forbidden to make any reply. “The infantry457 pours along like a plowman drawing his furrow, heedless of the circling crows.” The Cossacks set fire to Zorndorf. In a few hours it was in ashes, while clouds of suffocating smoke were swept through the Russian lines.Berlin was almost defenseless. All Saxony was rising in arms behind Frederick. The invader of Silesia was in danger of having his own realms invaded and his own capital sacked. Frederick was thoroughly roused. But he never allowed himself to appear agitated or anxious. He ordered Leopold, the Old Dessauer, to march immediately, with all the troops he could rally, to the frontiers of Saxony. He even found it necessary to detach to the aid of Leopold some corps from his own enfeebled forces, now menaced by an Austrian army twice as large as he could oppose to them.
“We are alone,” Fritz replied, “and I will conceal nothing from you. The queen, by her miserable intrigues, has been the source of our misfortunes. Scarcely were you gone when she began again with England. She wished to substitute our sister Charlotte for you, and to contrive her marriage with the Prince of Wales.
“I am also permitted, sire,” said Sir Thomas, “to add the Duchy of Limburg. It is a duchy of great wealth and resources, so valuable that the Elector Palatine was willing to give in exchange for it the whole Duchy of Berg.”The half-intoxicated king gravely suggests that such conduct is hardly seemly among gentlemen; that the duel is the more chivalric way of settling such difficulties. Fassman challenges Gundling. They meet with pistols. It is understood by the seconds that it is to be rather a Pickwickian encounter. The trembling Gundling, when he sees his antagonist before him, with the deadly weapon in his hand, throws his pistol away, which his considerate friends had harmlessly loaded with powder only, declaring that he would not shoot any man, or have any man shoot him. Fassman sternly advances with his harmless pistol, and shoots the powder into Gundling’s wig. It blazes into a flame. With a shriek Gundling falls to the ground as if dead. A bucket of water extinguishes the flames, and roars of laughter echo over the chivalric field of combat.Frederick, in his Histoire de mon Temps, states that, in the negotiations which at this time took place in Berlin, France pressed the king to bring forward his armies into vigorous co-operation; that England exhorted him to make peace with Austria; that Spain solicited his alliance in her warfare against England; that Denmark implored his counsel as to the course it was wise for that kingdom to pursue; that Sweden entreated his aid against Russia; that Russia besought his good offices to make298 peace with the court at Stockholm; and that the German empire, anxious for peace, entreated him to put an end to those troubles which were convulsing all Europe.
It is unquestionable that the mental discipline acquired by this elevated course, to which he consecrated so diligently his hours, prepared him for the wonderful career upon which he soon entered, and enabled him to act with efficiency which filled Europe with his renown.“I replied, ‘You are in such a humor I know not what to make of it.’On Wednesday, April 12, two days after the battle, Frederick wrote to his sister Wilhelmina from Ohlau as follows:详情
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