“At table his majesty told the queen that he had letters from Anspach; the young marquis to be at Berlin in May for his wedding; that M. Bremer, his tutor, was just coming with the ring of betrothal for Louisa. He asked my sister if that gave her pleasure, and how she would regulate her housekeeping when married. My sister had got into the way of telling him whatever she thought, and home truths sometimes, without his taking it ill. She answered, with her customary frankness, that she would have a good table, which should be delicately served, and, added she, ‘which shall be better than yours. And if I have children I will not maltreat them like you, nor force them to eat what they have an aversion to.’CHAPTER XXXIII. THE END OF THE SEVEN YEARS’ WAR.
Frederick was probably not surprised at this act on the part of the emperor. He undoubtedly had sufficient candor to admit that it was exactly what he should have done under similar circumstances.
Lord Hyndford, evidently embarrassed, for the facts were strongly against him, endeavored, in some additional remarks, to assume ignorance of any unfriendly action on the part of the British government. The king again, in a loud and angry tone, replied,On the 20th of June, Voltaire dressed himself in disguise, and, with a companion, M. Coligny, entered a hackney-coach, and ordered the driver to leave the city by the main gate. M. Freytag was immediately informed of this by his spies. With mounted men he commenced the pursuit, overtook the carriage as it was delayed a moment at the gate, and arrested the fugitive in the king’s name. Voltaire’s eyes sparkled with fury, and he raved insanely. The scene gathered a crowd, and Voltaire was taken by a guard of soldiers to another inn, “The Billy-Goat,” as the landlord of the “Golden Lion” refused any longer to entertain so troublesome a guest.In burning the suburbs, one of the mansions of the bishop, a few miles from Neisse, had escaped the general conflagration. The Prussians had taken possession of this large and commodious structure, with its ample supply of winter fuel. General Roth employed a resolute butcher, who, under the pretense of supplying the Prussians with beef, visited the bishop’s mansion, and secretly applied the torch. It was a cold winter’s night. The high wind fanned the flames. Scarcely an hour passed ere the whole structure, with all its supplies, was in ashes. The Prussian officers who had found a warm home were driven into the icy fields.
“Not a shrub of Madame’s had been cut or injured. But the king, you see, would count it ￡1500 of damage done, and here is acknowledgment for it, which please accept. Is not that a gracious little touch?”
To obviate the difficulty of the Crown Prince becoming the head of a party in Berlin antagonistic to the king, the plan was suggested of having him appointed, with his English princess, vice-regent of Hanover. But this plan failed. Hotham now84 became quite discouraged. He wrote home, on the 22d of April, that he had that day dined with the king; that the Crown Prince was present, but dreadfully dejected, and that great sympathy was excited in his behalf, as he was so engaging and so universally popular. He evidently perceived some indications of superiority in the Crown Prince, for he added, “If I am not much mistaken, this young prince will one day make a very considerable figure.”This signal achievement raised the military fame of Frederick higher than ever before. Still it did not perceptibly diminish the enormous difficulties with which he was environed. Army after army was marching upon him. Even by a series of successful battles his forces might be annihilated. But the renown of the great victory of Rossbach will ever reverberate through the halls of history.
Voltaire’s visit lasted about thirty-two months. He was, however, during all this time, fast losing favor with the king. Instead of being received as an inmate at Sans Souci, he was assigned to a small country house in the vicinity, called the Marquisat. His wants were, however, all abundantly provided for at the expense of the king. It is evident from his letters that he was a very unhappy man. He was infirm in health, irascible, discontented, crabbed; suspecting every one of being his enemy, jealous of his companions, and with a diseased mind, crowded with superstitious fears.
Voltaire promptly replied to this letter in corresponding terms of flattery. His letter was dated Cirey, August 26th, 1736:
Lord Hyndford here came to the rescue of his colleague, and said, meekly,The battle of Rossbach was fought on the 5th of November, 1757. Frederick had but little time to rejoice over his victory. The Austrians were overrunning Silesia. On the 14th of the month, the important fortress of Schweidnitz, with all its magazines, fell into their hands. Then Prince Charles, with sixty thousand Austrian troops, marched upon Breslau, the principal city of Silesia, situated on the Oder. The Prince of Bevern held the place with a little over twenty thousand Prussian troops. His army was strongly intrenched outside of the walls, under the guns of the city.
The leader of an Austrian band of five hundred dragoons was on the watch. As the detachment of one hundred and fifty horse approached Baumgarten, the Austrians, from their ambuscade, plunged upon them. There was a short, sharp conflict, when the Prussians fled, leaving ten dead, sixteen prisoners, one standard, and two kettle-drums in the hands of the victors. The king had just sat down at the dinner-table, when he heard, at the distance of a few miles, the tumult of the musketry. He sprang from the table, hurriedly mustered a small force of forty hussars and fifty foot, and hastened toward the scene. Arriving at the field, he found it silent and deserted, and the ten men lying242 dead upon it. The victorious Austrians, disappointed in not finding the king, bore their spoils in triumph to Vienna. It was a very narrow escape for Frederick. Had he then been captured it might have changed the history of Europe, and no one can tell the amount of blood and woe which would have been averted.详情
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