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- soft time：2021-02-26 03:02:41
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From the church the prince was conducted, not back to his prison in the fortress, but to a town mansion, which was assigned as his residence. His sword was restored to him. But he was still not fully liberated. Officials, appointed by his father, surrounded him, who watched and reported all his movements. The first act of the young prince, upon reaching his apartment after this partial liberation, was to write as follows to his father. We give the letter as translated by Carlyle:
CHAPTER X. THE ACCESSION OF FREDERICK THE SECOND.
178 “Meanwhile Frederick the First died, and with him was buried all his false grandeur, which consisted only in a vain magnificence, and in the pompous display of frivolous ceremonies. My father, who succeeded him, compassionated the general misery. He visited the spot, and saw, with his own eyes, this vast country laid waste, and all the dreadful traces which a contagious malady, a famine, and the sordid avarice of a venal administration leave behind them. Twelve or fifteen towns depopulated, and four or five hundred villages uninhabited, presented themselves to his view. Far from being discouraged by such a sad spectacle, his compassion only became the more lively from it; and he resolved to restore population, plenty, and commerce to this land, which had even lost the appearance of an inhabited country.
CHAPTER XIII. THE CAMPAIGN OF MOLLWITZ.
“The king did a beautiful thing to Lieutenant Keith the other day—that poor Keith who was nailed to the gallows, in effigy, for him at Wesel, long ago, and got far less than he expected. The other day there had been a grand review, part of it extending into Madame Knyphausen’s grounds, who is Keith’s mother-in-law.
Soon after, the king returned to Berlin and summoned his daughter to his presence. He received her very graciously. The queen, however, remained quite unreconciled, and was loud in the expression of her anger: “I am disgraced, vanquished, and my enemies are triumphant!” she exclaimed. Her chagrin was so great that she fell quite sick. To a few words of sympathy which her child uttered, she replied, “Why do you pretend to weep? It is you who have killed me.”The Prussians advanced in their long double line, trampling the deep snow beneath their feet. All their banners were waving. All their bands of music were pealing forth their most martial airs. Their sixty pieces of artillery, well in front, opened a rapid and deadly fire. The thoroughly-drilled Prussian artillerymen discharged their guns with unerring aim, breaking gaps in the Austrian ranks, and with such wonderful rapidity that the unintermitted roar of the cannons drowned the sound of drums and trumpets.
Early in January, 1730, the king, returning from a hunt at Wusterhausen, during which he had held a drinking carouse and a diplomatic interview with the King of Poland, announced his intention of being no longer annoyed by matrimonial arrangements for Wilhelmina. He resolved to abandon the English alliance altogether, unless an immediate and unequivocal assent were given by George II. for the marriage of Wilhelmina with the Prince of Wales, without any compact for the marriage of Fritz with the Princess Amelia. Count Finckenstein, Baron Grumkow, and General Borck were sent to communicate this, the king’s unalterable resolve, to the queen. The first two were friends of the queen. Grumkow was understood to be the instigator of the king. Wilhelmina chanced to be with her mother when the gentlemen announced themselves as the bearers of a very important message from the king to her majesty. Wilhelmina trembled, and said in a low tone to her mother, “This regards me. I have a dreading.” “No matter,” the worn and weary mother replied; “one must have firmness, and that is not what I shall want.” The queen retired with the ministers to the audience-chamber.148 “Your brother is in despair at the idea of marrying her. And he is not wrong. She is an actual fool. She can only answer whatever is said to her by yes or no, accompanied by a silly laugh, which is painful to hear.”CHAPTER XV. THE WAR IN SILESIA.
109 The body of Katte remained upon the scaffold during the short wintry day, and at night was buried in one of the bastions of the fortress. This cruel tragedy was enacted more than a century ago; but there are few who even now can read the record without having their eyes flooded, through the conflicting emotions of sympathy for the sufferers and indignation against the tyrant who could perpetrate such crimes.In the summer of 1738 the infirm old king undertook a journey to Holland, on a visit of diplomacy to the Prince of Orange. The Crown Prince accompanied him. It does not, however, appear that they had much intercourse with each other on the journey. They spent several days at the beautiful palace of176 Loo, in Geldern, occupied by the Prince of Orange and his English bride, a niece to his Prussian majesty. The palace was imposing in its architectural structure, containing many gorgeous saloons, and surrounded with beautiful gardens. In a letter which Frederick wrote from Loo to Voltaire, dated August 6th, we find the following sentiments:“When I am dead,” he said, petulantly, “you will see Berlin full of madmen and freethinkers, and the sort of people who walk about the streets.”
During all the day of Wednesday weeping friends stood around the bed, as the lamp of life flickered in its socket. Every moment it was expected that the emperor would breathe his last. At two o’clock the next morning the spirit took its flight, and the lifeless clay alone remained. The grief-stricken empress closed the eyes of her departed husband, kissed his hands, and “was carried out more dead than alive.” Thus ended the male line of the house of Hapsburg, after five centuries of royal sway. The emperor died on the 20th of October 1740, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.e. Austrian Infantry.“A glance which I gave that way filled me with terror. There sat the queen, in a corner of the room, paler than death, in low conference with Madam Sonsfeld and Countess Finckenstein. As my brother was most in my anxieties, I asked if it concerned him. Madam Bulow shrugged her shoulders, answering, ‘I do not know at all.’”