The town of Cüstrin, it will be remembered, was utterly consumed, being set on fire by the shells of the Russians. The commandant of the citadel was censured for not having prevented the calamity. He immediately sought an interview with the king, endeavoring to apologize for his conduct. The king, perhaps justly, perhaps very unjustly, interrupted him, saying,
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.”The king, who was devotedly attached to his sister, and who was very fond, on all occasions, of composing rhymes which he called poetry, wrote a very tender ode, bidding her adieu. It commenced with the words
In a letter to his friend Lord Marischal, dated Dresden, November 23, 1758, just after the retreat of Daun into Bohemia from Saxony, Frederick writes sadly,An extraordinary Interview.—Carlyle’s Sympathy.—Trifling Demeanor of Frederick.—Conspiracy in Breslau.—Guile of Frederick.—The successful Stratagem.—Crossing the Neisse.—The Co-operation of France.—Anguish of Maria Theresa.—Inflexible Will of Frederick.—Duplicity of the King.—The Surrender of Neisse.The whole allied army was now put wildly to flight, in one of the most humiliating and disastrous retreats which has ever occurred. There is generally some slight diversity of statement in reference to the numbers engaged on such occasions. Frederick gives sixty-three thousand as the allied force. The allies lost, in killed, wounded, and missing, about ten thousand men. The loss of the Prussians was but five hundred. The French, in a tumultuous mass, fled to the west. Crossing the Unstrut River at Freiburg, they burned the bridge behind them. The Prussians rebuilt the bridge, and vigorously pursued. The evening after the battle the king wrote as follows to Wilhelmina. His letter was dated “Near Weissenfels.”
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The Czarina, Anne of Russia, died the 28th of October, 1740,240 just eight days after the death of the emperor. She left, in the cradle, the infant Czar Iwan, her nephew, two months old. The father of this child was a brother of Frederick’s neglected wife Elizabeth. The mother was the Russian Princess Catharine of Mecklenburg, now called Princess Anne, whom Frederick had at one time thought of applying for as his wife. Russia was a semi-barbaric realm just emerging into consideration, and no one could tell by what influences it would be swayed. The minor powers could be controlled by the greater—constrained by terror or led by bribes. Such, in general, was the state of Europe at this time.
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548 “Frederick’s 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 Frederick’s most important acquisition.”It was a dreary winter to Frederick in Breslau. Sad, silent, and often despairing, he was ever inflexibly resolved to struggle till the last possible moment, and, if need be, to bury himself beneath the ruins of his kingdom. All his tireless energies he devoted to the Herculean work before him. No longer did he affect gayety or seek recreations. Secluded, solitary, sombre, he took counsel of no one. In the possession of absolute power, he issued his commands as with the authority of a god.
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Régla différemment la chose.Du dernier jour mena?aient les humains.
“I have just finished a journey intermingled with singular adventures, sometimes pleasant, sometimes the reverse. You know I had set out for Baireuth to see a sister whom I love no less than esteem. On the road Algarotti and I consulted the map to settle our route for returning by Wesel. Frankfort-on-the-202Main comes always as a principal stage. Strasbourg was no great roundabout. We chose that route in preference. The incognito was decided, names pitched upon, story we were to tell. In fine, all was arranged as well as possible. We fancied we should get to Strasbourg in three days.详情
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