“There is the forgiveness of enemies. Your majesty is bound to forgive all men. If you do not do this, how can you ask to be forgiven?”“Never mind,” said the king; “it is a cheap price to pay for escaping an attack from Pandours in the rear, while such a battle was raging in front.”It would seem that Frederick was not very willing to receive, as his guest, the divine Emilie, who occupied so questionable a position in the household of Voltaire; for he wrote again, on the 5th of August, in reply to a letter from Voltaire, saying,
“P.S.—I most humbly beg your majesty not to speak of this323 to the queen-mother, as perhaps she would not approve of the step we are now taking.“Yes, I knew it. Not one of you will forsake me. I rely upon your help and upon victory as sure. The cavalry regiment that does not, on the instant, on order given, dash full plunge into the enemy, I will directly after the battle unhorse, and make it a garrison regiment. The infantry battalion which, meet with what it may, shows the least sign of hesitating, loses its colors and its sabres, and I cut the trimmings from its uniform.“There is nothing left for us, my dear lord, but to mingle and blend our weeping for the losses we have had. If my head were a fountain of tears, it would not suffice for the grief I feel.
Frederick was now in such deep pecuniary embarrassment that he was compelled to humble himself so far as to apply to the King of France for money. “If your majesty,” he wrote, “can not furnish me with any re-enforcements, you must, at least, send me funds to raise additional troops. The smallest possible sum which will enable me to maintain my position here is three million dollars.”
April 10, 1741.“I bequeath eight thousand crowns (00) to my domestics. All that I have elsewhere depends on you. To each of my brothers and sisters make a present in my name; a thousand affectionate regards to my sister at Baireuth. You know what I think on their score; and you know, better than I can tell you, the tenderness and all the sentiments of most inviolable friendship with which I am, dearest brother, your faithful brother and servant till death,
Frederick was so busy cantoning his troops that he did not take possession of his head-quarters in Leipsic until the 8th of December. He occupied the Apel House, No. 16 Neumarkt Street, the same which he had occupied before the battle of Rossbach. The same mistress kept the house as before. Upon seeing the king, the good woman exclaimed, in astonishment, “How lean your majesty has grown!”
“Tantalus never suffered so much while standing in the river, the waters of which he could not drink, as I when, having received your package of the translation of Wolff, I was unable to read it. All the accidents and all the bores in the world were, I think, agreed to prevent me. A journey to Potsdam, daily reviews, and the arrival of my brother in company with Messrs. De Hacke and De Rittberg, have been my impediments. Imagine my horror, my dear Diaphanes,30 at seeing the arrival of this caravan without my having in the least expected them. They weigh upon my shoulders like a tremendous burden, and never quit my side, in order, I believe, to make me wish myself at the devil.”
No man of kindly sympathies could have thus wantonly wounded the feelings of a poor old man who had, according to his capacity, served himself, his father, and his grandfather, and who was just dropping into the grave. A generous heart would have forgotten the foibles, and, remembering only the virtues, would have spoken words of cheer to the world-weary heart, seeking a sad refuge in the glooms of the cloister. It must be confessed that Frederick often manifested one of the worst traits in human nature. He took pleasure in inflicting pain upon others.
His sister Amelia and several other friends visited him at Breslau. Among others was his reader, Henry de Catt.
“I am at the head of an army which has already vanquished the enemy, and which is ready to meet the enemy again. The country which alone I desire is already conquered and securely held. This is all I want. I now have it. I will and must keep it. Shall I be bought out of this country? Never! I will sooner perish in it with all my troops. With what face shall I meet my ancestors if I abandon my right which they have transmitted to me? My first enterprise, and to be given up lightly?“From the Field of Battle of Chotusitz, May 17, 1742.详情
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