In the mean time a Venetian embassador, on his way to one of the northern courts, passed a night at a hotel in Berlin. He was immediately arrested, with his luggage, by a royal order. A dispatch was transmitted to Venice, stating that the embassador would be held as a hostage till Barberina was sent to Prussia. “A bargain,” says Frederick, in his emphatic utterance, “is a bargain. A state should have law courts to enforce contracts entered into in their territories.”General Daun was soon informed of this energetic movement. He instantly placed himself at the head of sixty thousand troops, and also set out, at his highest possible speed, for Glatz.There was a young lady in Potsdam by the name of Doris Ritter. She was the daughter of highly respectable parents, and was of unblemished character. As Fritz was extremely fond of music, and she played sweetly on the harpsichord, he loaned her pieces of music, and occasionally, under the eye of her parents, accompanied her with the flute. The life of a colonel in garrison at Potsdam was so dull, that this innocent amusement was often quite a help in beguiling the weary hours.
414 “This battle,” writes Frederick, “which began toward nine in the morning, was one of the bloodiest of the age. The enemy lost twenty-four thousand men, of whom four thousand were prisoners. The Prussian loss amounted to eighteen thousand fighting men, without counting Marshal Schwerin, who was alone worth above ten thousand. This day saw the pillars of the Prussian infantry cut down.”Thus influenced, she yielded. Tears flooded her eyes, and her voice was broken with sobs as she said, “I am ready to sacrifice myself for the peace of the family.” The deputation withdrew, leaving the princess in despair. Baron Grumkow conveyed to the king the pleasing intelligence of her submission.
“The army,” writes Prince Charles, mournfully, “was greatly dilapidated. The soldiers were without clothes, and in a condition truly pitiable. So closely were we pursued by the enemy that at night we were compelled to encamp without tents.”In broken bands the Prussians retreated down by the way of Oetscher to the bridges at G?ritz, where they had crossed the Oder, and where their heavy baggage was stationed. Frederick was among the last to quit the fatal field. As a swarm of Cossacks approached the spot where he stood, a party of his friends charged them fiercely, cutting to the right and left, and held them for a moment at bay. One of Frederick’s adjutants seized the bridle of his horse, and galloped off with the unresisting monarch.
George II. was far from popular in England. There was but little in the man to win either affection or esteem. The Prince of Wales was also daily becoming more disliked. He was assuming haughty airs. He was very profligate, and his associates were mainly actresses and opera girls. The Prussian minister at London, who was opposed to any matrimonial connection whatever between the Prussian and the English court, watched the Prince of Wales very narrowly, and wrote home quite unfavorable reports respecting his character and conduct. He had searched out the fact that Fritz had written to his aunt, Queen Caroline, pledging to her his word “never to marry any body in the world except the Princess Amelia of England, happen what will.” This fact was reported to the king, greatly exciting his wrath.
“For the most part, one of his own grenadiers was the model from which he copied. And when the portrait had more color in it than the original, he was in the habit of coloring the cheeks of the soldier to correspond with the picture. Enchanted with the fruits of his genius, he showed them to his courtiers, and asked their opinion concerning them. As he would have been very angry with any one who had criticised them, he was quite sure of being gratified with admiration.He was particularly fond of dogs of the graceful greyhound breed, and might often be seen with book and pencil in his hand, in the shady walks, with three or four Italian greyhounds gamboling around him, apparently entirely absorbed in deep meditation. A page usually followed at a short distance behind, to attend his call. At twelve o’clock he dined with invited guests. As quite a number of distinguished men always met at his table, and the king was very fond of good living, as well as of the “feast of reason and the flow of soul,” the repast was frequently prolonged until nearly three o’clock. At dinner he was very social, priding himself not a little upon his conversational powers.
“My dear Voltaire,—In spite of myself, I have to yield to the quartan fever, which is more tenacious than a Jansenist. And whatever desire I had of going to Antwerp and Brussels, I find myself not in a condition to undertake such a journey without risk. I would ask of you, then, if the road from Brussels to Cleves would not to you seem too long for a meeting? It is the one means of seeing you which remains to me. Confess that I am unlucky; for now, when I could dispose of my person, and nothing hinders me from seeing you, the fever gets its hand into the business, and seems to intend disputing me that satisfaction.“‘Sir,’ said he, ‘allow me to remark, on my side, that you understand as little of it as I.’详情
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