General Stille, one of the aids of Frederick on this expedition, says that the king, with his retinue, mounted and in carriages, pushed forward the first day to Landskron. “It was,” he writes, “such a march as I never witnessed before. Through the ice and through the snow, which covered that dreadful chain of mountains between B?hmen and M?hren, we did not arrive till very late. Many of our carriages were broken down, and others were overturned more than once.”63The young prince had also become dissolute in life. The sacred110 volume denounced such a career as offensive to God, as sure to bring down upon the guilty prince the divine displeasure in this life, and, if unrepented of, in the life to come. No man who believes the Bible to be true can, with any comfort whatever, indulge in sin. The prince wished to indulge his passions without restraint. He therefore, thus living, found it to be a necessity to renounce that religion which arrayed against his sinful life all the terrors of the final judgment. A wicked life and true Christian faith can not live in peace together. The one or the other must be abandoned. Frederick chose to abandon Christian faith.
CHAPTER XXI. BATTLES AND VICTORIES.“Among the women were many of distinction, who had neither shoes nor stockings, nor hardly any thing else on, thinking only of saving their lives. When I had seen my family in the open field, I endeavored to return and save something, if possible, but in vain. I could not force my way through the multitude of people thronging out at the gate, some few with horses and carriages, and others with the sick and bedridden on their backs. The bombs and red-hot balls fell so thick that all thought themselves happy if they could but escape with their lives.
With wonderful skill, Frederick conducted his retreat about four miles to the northwest. Here he took a strong position at Doberschütz, and again bade defiance to the Austrians. Slowly, proudly, and in perfect order he retired, as if merely shifting his ground. His cavalry was drawn up as on parade, protecting his baggage-wagons as they defiled through the pass of Drehsa. The Austrians gazed quietly upon the movement, not venturing to renew the attack by daylight upon such desperate men.
“The empress, then,” added Wilhelmina, “is a better exorcist than other priests.England, while endeavoring to subsidize Russia against Frederick, entered secretly into a sort of alliance with Frederick, hoping thus to save Hanover. The Empress Elizabeth, of Russia, heartily united with Maria Theresa against Frederick, whom she personally disliked, and whose encroachments she dreaded. His Prussian majesty, proud of his powers of sarcasm, in his poems spared neither friend nor foe. He had written some very severe things against the Russian empress, which had reached her ears.100
Leopold, in early youth, fell deeply in love with a beautiful young lady, Mademoiselle Fos. She was the daughter of an apothecary. His aristocratic friends were shocked at the idea of so unequal a marriage. The sturdy will of Leopold was unyielding. They sent him away, under a French tutor, to take the grand tour of Europe. After an absence of fourteen months he returned. The first thing he did was to call upon Mademoiselle Fos. After that, he called upon his widowed mother. It was in vain to resist the will of such a man. In 1698 he married her, and soon, by his splendid military services, so ennobled his bride that all were ready to do her homage. For half a century she was his loved and honored spouse, attending him in all his campaigns.“Friedrich Wilhelm.“If it had depended upon me, I would willingly have devoted myself to that death which those maladies sooner or later bring upon one, in order to save and prolong the life of her whose eyes are now closed. I beseech you never to forget her. Collect all your powers to raise a monument to her honor. You need only do her justice. Without any way abandoning the truth, she will afford you an ample and beautiful subject. I wish you more repose and happiness than falls to my lot.
Frederick William, in his extreme exasperation, seriously contemplated challenging George II. to a duel. In his own mind he arranged all the details—the place of meeting, the weapons, the seconds. With a stern sense of justice, characteristic of the man, he admitted that it would not be right to cause the blood61 of his subjects to flow in a quarrel which was merely personal. But the “eight cart-loads of hay” had been taken under circumstances so insulting and contemptuous as to expose the Prussian king to ridicule; and he was firm in his determination to settle the difficulty by a duel. The question was much discussed in the Tobacco Parliament. The Prussian ministers opposed in vain. “The true method, I tell you,” said the king, “is the duel, let the world cackle as it may.”104
While these scenes were transpiring, the Crown Prince was at Cüstrin, upon probation, being not yet admitted to the presence of his father. He seems to have exerted himself to the utmost to please the king, applying himself diligently to become familiar with all the tedious routine and details of the administration of finance, police, and the public domains. Fritz was naturally very amiable. He was consequently popular in the little town in which he resided, all being ready to do every thing in their power to serve him. The income still allowed him by his father was so small that he would have suffered from poverty had not the gentry in the neighborhood, regardless of the prohibition to lend money to the prince, contributed secretly to replenish his purse.Matrimonial Intrigues.—Letters from the King to his Son.—Letter from Fritz to Grumkow.—Letter to Wilhelmina.—The Betrothal.—Character of Elizabeth.—Her cruel Reception by the Prussian Queen.—Letter from Fritz to Wilhelmina.—Disappointment and Anguish of Elizabeth.—Studious Habits of Fritz.—Continued Alienation of his Father.—The Marriage.—Life in the Castle at Reinsberg.
“The King of Prussia can not sleep. The officers sit up with him every night, and in his slumbers he raves and talks of spirits and apparitions.”
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.“‘This is a sister I adore, and to whom I am obliged beyond measure. She has the goodness to promise me that she will take care of you and help you with her good counsel. I wish you to respect her beyond even the king and queen, and not to take the least step without her advice. Do you understand?’详情
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