“From day to day I grow more weary of dwelling in a body worn out and condemned to suffer. I am writing to you in the first moment of my grief. Astonishment, sorrow, indignation, and scorn, all blended together, lacerate my soul. Let us get to the end, then, of this execrable campaign. I will then write to you what is to become of me, and we will arrange the rest. Pity me, and make no noise about me. Bad news goes fast enough of itself. Adieu, dear marquis.”
“Constantinople! never. It is the empire of the world.”“Monsieur,—I believe that it is of the last importance that I should write to you, and I am very sad to have things to say which I ought to conceal from all the earth. But one must take that bad leap, and, reckoning you among my friends, I the more easily resolve to open myself to you.“In the midst of these preparations for a new campaign against a veteran army of two hundred and eighty thousand enemies, Frederick yet found sufficient leisure for peaceable occupations. He consecrated some hours every day to reading, to music, and to the conversation of men of letters.”164
With almost unprecedented rapidity Frederick pressed his troops along, accomplishing “in three marches near upon seventy miles.” The course of the Oder here is, in its general direction, northwest. The army marched along its southwestern banks. On Saturday evening, the last day of the year, the advance-guard took possession of the southern and western suburbs of Breslau.229 The city, of one hundred thousand inhabitants, was spread out over both banks of the stream. Frederick established his headquarters at the palace of Pilsnitz, about five miles from the city. There were many Protestants in Breslau, who rejoiced in the idea of exchanging a Catholic for a Protestant government. It is said that some of the sentinels on the walls would watch their opportunity and present arms to the Prussian soldiers, and even at times exclaim, “Welcome, dear sirs!”CHAPTER XXXIII. THE END OF THE SEVEN YEARS’ WAR.
ATTACK UPON NEISSE.It would be unjust alike to the father and the son to withhold a letter which reflects so much credit upon them both—upon179 the father for his humane measures, and upon the son for his appreciation of their moral beauty.
SOPHIA DOROTHEA.“Say not alas,” added the king. “But how do you know?”
THE MARCH INTO SILESIA.Though Fritz wrote a legible business hand, was well instructed in most points of useful knowledge, and had a very decided taste for elegant literature, he never attained correctness in spelling. The father was bitterly opposed to Latin. Perhaps it was the prohibition which inspired the son with an intense desire to learn that language. He took secret lessons. His vigilant father38 caught him in the very act, with dictionary and grammar, and a teacher by his side. The infuriated king, volleying forth his rage, would have caned the teacher had he not in terror fled.5
BATTLE OF ZORNDORF, AUGUST 25, 1758.
Frederick had now France only for an ally. But France was seeking her own private interests on the Rhine, as Frederick was aiming at the aggrandizement of Prussia on his Austrian frontiers. Neither party was disposed to make any sacrifice for the benefit of the other. Frederick, thus thrown mainly upon his345 own resources, with an impoverished treasury, and a weakened and baffled army, made indirect application to both England and Austria for peace. But both of these courts, flushed with success, were indisposed to listen to any terms which Frederick would propose.CHAPTER IX. THE DEATH OF FREDERICK WILLIAM.
“Not only I,” the aid replied, “but the whole army, firmly believe it of your majesty.”On the 18th of February, 1730, some affairs of state led the king to take a trip to Dresden to see the King of Poland. He decided to take Fritz with him, as he was afraid to leave him behind. Fritz resolved to avail himself of the opportunity which the journey might offer to attempt his escape. He was unwilling to do this without bidding adieu to his sister, who had been the partner of so many of his griefs. It was not easy to obtain a private interview. On the evening of the 17th of February, as Wilhelmina, aided by her governess, was undressing for bed, the door of the anteroom of her chamber was cautiously opened, and a young gentleman, very splendidly dressed in French costume, entered. Wilhelmina, terrified, uttered a shriek, and endeavored to hide herself behind a screen. Her governess, Madam Sonsfeld, ran into the anteroom to ascertain what such an intrusion meant. The remainder of the story we will give in the words of Wilhelmina:详情
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