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But he interrupted me hastily with the word, Nothing more of kings, sirnothing more. What have we to do with them? We will spend the rest of our voyage on more agreeable and cheering objects. And now he spoke of the best of all possible worlds, and maintained that in our planet, earth, there was more evil than good. I maintained the contrary, and this discussion brought us to the end of the voyage.

A bomb bursting in the room could scarcely have created a greater panic. Katte and Quantz seized the flutes and music-books, and rushed into a wood-closet, where they stood quaking with terror. Fritz threw off his dressing-gown, hurried on his military coat, and sat down at the table, affecting to be deeply engaged with his books. The king, frowning like a thunder-cloudfor he always frowned when he drew near Fritzburst into the room. The sight of the frizzled hair of his son kindled the paternal wrath into a tornado pitch. The king had a wonderful command of the vocabulary of abuse, and was heaping epithets of vituperation upon the head of the prince, when he caught sight of the dressing-gown behind a screen. He seized the glittering garment, and, with increasing outbursts of rage, crammed it into the fire. Then searching the room, he collected all the French books, of which Fritz had quite a library, and, sending for a bookseller near by, ordered him to take every volume away, and sell them for what they would bring. For more than an hour the king was thus raging, like a maniac, in the apartment of his son. Fortunately he did not look into the wood-closet. Had he done so, both Quantz and Katte would have been terribly beaten, even had they escaped being sent immediately to the scaffold.Frederick, leaving his army safe for a short time, quartered, as he supposed, for the winter, in his strong fortresses of Silesia, returned hastily to Berlin. It was necessary for him to make immediate preparation for another campaign. From December 13, 1744, writes Carlyle, when he hastened home to Berlin, under such aspects, to June 4, 1745, when aspects suddenly changed, are probably the worst six months Frederick had yet had in the world.77CHAPTER XXXV. LIFES CLOSING SCENES.


In this frame of mind, the king began to talk seriously of abdicating in favor of Frederick, and of retiring from the cares of state to a life of religious seclusion in his country seat at Wusterhausen. He matured his plan quite to the details. Wilhelmina thus describes it:

Augustus William, overwhelmed by his disgrace, and yet angered by the rebuke, coldly replied that he desired only that a court-martial should investigate the case and pronounce judgment. The king forbade that any intercourse whatever should take place between his own troops, soldiers, or officers, and those of his brother, who, he declared, had utterly degraded themselves by the loss of all courage and ambition. The prince sent to the king General Schultz to obtain the countersign for the army. Frederick refused to receive him, saying that he had no countersign to send to cowards. Augustus William then went himself to present his official report and a list of his troops. Frederick took the papers without saying a word, and then turned his back upon his brother. This cruel treatment fell with crushing force upon the unhappy prince. Conscious of military failure, disgraced in the eyes of his generals and soldiers, and abandoned by the king, his health and spirits alike failed him. The next morning he wrote a sad, respectfully reproachful letter to423 Frederick, stating that his health rendered it necessary for him to retire for a season from the army to recruit. The reply of the king, which was dated Bautzen, July 30, 1757, shows how desperate he, at that time, considered the state of his affairs. Hopeless of victory, he seems to have sought only death.Wilhelmina and her husband soon left for Baireuth. Though the princess thus left the splendors of a royal palace for the far more quiet and humble state of a ducal mansion, still she was glad to escape from a home where she had experienced so many sorrows.

Still the queen-mother, Sophie Dorothee, clung to the double marriage. Her brother, George II., was now King of England. His son Fred, who had been intended for Wilhelmina, was not a favorite of his fathers, and had not yet been permitted to go to England. In May, 1728, he was twenty-one years of age. He was living idly in Hanover, impatient to wed his cousin Wilhelmina, who was then nineteen years of age. He seems to have secretly contemplated, in conference with Wilhelminas mother, Sophie Dorothee, a trip incognito to Berlin, where he would marry the princess clandestinely, and then leave it with the royal papas to settle the difficulty the best way they could. The plan was not executed. Wilhelmina manifested coquettish indifference to the whole matter. She, however, writes that Queen Sophie was so confidently expecting him that she took every ass or mule for his royal highness.General Fermor was now informed, through his roving Cossacks, of the position of Frederick. Immediately he raised the siege of Cüstrin, hurried off his baggage train to Klein Kamin, on the road to Landsberg, and retired with his army to a very strong position near the village of Zorndorf. Here there was a wild, bleak, undulating plain, interspersed with sluggish streams, and forests, and impassable bogs. General Fermor massed the Russian troops in a very irregular hollow square, with his staff baggage in the centre, and awaited an attack. This huge quadrilateral of living lines, four men deep, with bristling bayonets, prancing horses, and iron-lipped cannon, was about two miles long by one mile broad.BATTLE OF MAXEN, NOVEMBER 20, 1759.

On the 26th of January Frederick set out from Glatz, with a strong cortge, for Olmütz, far away to the southeast. This place his troops had occupied for a month past. His route led through a chain of mountains, whose bleak and dreary defiles were clogged with drifted snow, and swept by freezing gales. It was a dreadful march, accompanied by many disasters and much suffering.Sir Thomas hastened back to Presburg in despair. Feeling the game was up, and that there was no more hope, he asked permission to return home. The British cabinet was in a state of consternation. France, the dreaded rival of England, was attaining almost sovereign power over the Continent of Europe. Frederick himself was uneasy. He had sufficient penetration to be fully aware that he was aiding to create a resistless power, which might, by-and-by, crush him. Sir Thomas, in a state of great agitation, which was manifest in his disordered style, wrote from Presburg to Lord Hyndford at Breslau as follows. The letter was dated September 8, 1741.

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409 Frederick was much embarrassed in deciding what to do with his captives. They numbered about fourteen thousand. To guard and feed them was too troublesome and expensive. They could not be exchanged, as the King of Poland had no Prussian prisoners. To set them at liberty would speedily place them in the Austrian ranks to fight against him. Under these circumstances, Frederick compelled them all to enlist as Prussian soldiers. He compelled them to do this voluntarily, for they had their choice either to enlist under his banners or to starve. The King of Poland was permitted to return to Warsaw. The electorate of Saxony, nearly as large as the State of Massachusetts, and containing a population of one and a half millions, was annexed to Prussia. The captured soldiers, prisoners of war, were dressed in Prussian uniform, commanded by Prussian officers, and either placed in garrison or in the ranks of the army in the field. The public voice of Europe condemned Frederick very severely for so unprecedented an act.I will defend myself, he said, by the known rules of war and honor to the last possible moment.

Upon the return of the Crown Prince to Cüstrin after the marriage of Wilhelmina, several of the officers of the army sent in a petition to the king that he would restore to the prince his uniform and his military rank. The king consented, and made out his commission anew as colonel commandant of the Goltz regiment at Ruppin. This was a small town about seventy-five miles northeast of Berlin. His commission was signed on the 29th of February, 1732, he being then twenty years of age. In this little hamlet, mainly engaged in the dull routine of garrison duties, the prince passed most of his time for the next eight years.After a long search, I at length found him in a tower of a church, with a telescope in his hand. Never had I seen him in so much perplexity and anxiety as at this moment. The order he gave me was, You must get out of this scrape as well as you can. I had hardly got back to my post when his adjutant337 followed me with a new order to cross the town, and to remain on horseback with my squadron in the opposite suburb.


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