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类型:奇幻地区:发布:2020-10-30 22:09:14

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Frederick.

Leitmeritz, July 13, 1757.

Early on the morning of the 4th the prince left Nürnberg, and reached the camp at Weisenthal on the 7th. Here the imperial and Prussian troops were collected, who had been sent to attempt to raise the siege of Philipsburg. But the French lines investing the city were so strong that Prince Eugene, in command of the imperial army, did not venture to make an attack. The Crown Prince almost immediately rode out to reconnoitre the lines of the foe. As he was returning through a strip of forest a cannonade was opened, and the balls went crashing around him through the trees. Pride of character probably came to the aid of constitutional courage. The prince did not in the slightest degree quicken his pace. Not the least tremor could be perceived in his hand as he held the reins. He continued conversing with the surrounding generals in perfect tranquillity, as if unconscious of any danger.It must be borne in mind that these words were written after Voltaire had quarreled with Frederick, and when it seems to have been his desire to represent all the acts of the king in as unfavorable a light as possible. Frederick himself, about eight years after the settlement of the Herstal difficulty, gave the following as his version of the affair:

Our general conclusion was that neither the king nor General520 Saldern could well be called in the wrong. General Saldern, in obeying the inner voice, did certainly right. But the king, also, in his place, might judge such a measure expedient. Perhaps General Saldern himself would have done so had he been King of Prussia.166Voltaire has given a detailed account of the incidents connected with this visit to his Prussian majesty. It is a humiliating exhibition of the intrigues and insincerity which animated the prominent actors in those scenes.

General Dauns army, numbering ninety thousand men, occupied very strong positions in a line extending north and south about five miles. On the 10th, Frederick, having obtained the needful supplies, resolutely, rashlybut, situated as he was, what the world deemed rashness was prudenceadvanced with but twenty-eight thousand men to assail this foe of ninety thousand behind his intrenchments. About five miles to the north, in the rear of the heights of Weissenberg, Frederick had a reserve of ten or twelve thousand men under General Retzow.Early the next morning, Czernichef, greatly admiring the exploit Frederick had performed, commenced his march home. Just before this there was a change in the British ministry, and the new cabinet clamored for peace. England entered into a treaty with France, and retired from the conflict. Frederick, vehemently upbraiding the English with treacherythe same kind533 of treachery of which he had repeatedly been guiltymarched upon Schweidnitz. After a vigorous siege of two months he captured the place.The exigency demanded the most decisive action. Frederick promptly gathered his army, and dashed across the Moldau, resolved, with the energies of despair, to smite down the troops of Prince Charles; but no foe could be found. For four days he sought for them in vain. He then learned that the Austrian army had crossed the Moldau several miles north of him, thus cutting off his communications with Prague.

548 Fredericks share, writes Mr. Carlyle, as an anciently Teutonic country, and as filling up the always dangerous gap between his Ost Prussen and him, has, under Prussian administration, proved much the most valuable of the three, and, next to Silesia, is Fredericks most important acquisition.Seckendorf (the embassador of the emperor) sometimes sends me money, of which I have great need. I have already taken measures that he should procure some for you. My galleons arrived yesterday, and I will divide their contents with you.A single servant lighted his fire, shaved him, and dressed his195 hair. He always wore the uniform of his guards, and allowed only fifteen minutes for his morning toilet. He did not indulge in the luxury of slippers or dressing-gown, though occasionally, when ill, he put on a sort of linen wrapper, but even then he wore his military boots. Only on one day in the year did he appear in silk stockings, and that was on the birthday of his neglected wife, when he formally called upon her with his congratulations.

315 The cardinal, he said, takes me for a fool. He wishes to betray me. I will try and prevent him.117 A deputation of four ministers, headed by Baron Grumkow, the next day presented themselves to the princess. To overawe Wilhelmina, they approached her with all the solemnity of state. Grumkow opened the conference:

To his brother Henry he wrote, I have had a bad time of it, my dear brother; our means are so eaten away; far too short for opposing the prodigious number of our enemies set against us. If we must fall, let us date our destruction from the infamous day of Maxen. My health is a little better, but I have still hmorro?des aveugles. That were nothing, however, were it not for the disquietudes I feel. For these three days I have had so terrible a cramp in continuance that I thought it would choke me. It is now a little gone. No wonder that the chagrins and continual disquietudes I live in should undermine, and at length overturn, the most robust constitution.

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Frederick still sought recreation in writing verses which he called poetry. To DArgens he wrote, I have made a prodigious quantity of verses. If I live I will show them to you. If I perish they are bequeathed to you, and I have ordered that they be put into your hand.About thirty miles southeast of Breslau is the pleasant little town of Ohlau, situated in the delta formed by the junction of the Ohlau River with the Oder. It was a place of some strength, and the Austrian authorities had thrown into it a garrison of three hundred men. Frederick appeared before its gates on the morning of January the 9th. He immediately sent in the following summons to the garrison:293 Of the political morality of this game of fast-and-loose what have we to say, except that the dice on both sides seem to be loaded; that logic might be chopped upon it forever; that a candid mind will settle what degree of wisdom (which is always essential veracity) and what of folly (which is always falsity) there was in Frederick and the others; whether, or to what degree, there was a better course open to Frederick in the circumstances; and, in fine, it will have to be granted that you can not work in pitch and keep hands evidently clean. Frederick has got into the enchanted wilderness populous with devils and their work, alas! It will be long before he get out of it again; his life waning toward night before he get victoriously out, and bequeath his conquest to luckier successors!

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