《方圆剧阵》 20200330 千里送子(第三集)

The next morning the princess received the following cruel epistle from her mother:

This rude, coarse discipline was thoroughly uncongenial to the Crown Prince. He was a boy of delicate feelings and sensitive temperament. The poetic nature very decidedly predominated in him. He was fond of music, played the flute, wrote verses, and was literary in his tastes. He simply hated chasing boars, riding on the sausage car, and being drenched with rain and spattered with mud. The old king, a mere animal with an active intellect, could not appreciate, could not understand even, the34 delicate mental and physical organization of his child. It is interesting to observe how early in life these constitutional characteristics will develop themselves, and how unavailing are all the efforts of education entirely to obliterate them. When Frederick William was a boy, he received, as a present, a truly magnificent dressing-gown, of graceful French fashion, richly embroidered with gold. Indignantly he thrust the robe into the fire, declaring that he would wear no such finery, and demanded instead a jacket of wholesome homespun. Fritz, on the contrary, could not endure the coarse homespun, but, with almost girlish fondness, craved handsome dress. He had no money allowance until he was seventeen years of age. A minute account was kept of every penny expended for him, and the most rigid economy was practiced in providing him with the mere necessaries of life. When Fritz was in the tenth year of his age, his father gave the following curious directions to the three teachers of his son in reference to his daily mode of life. The document, an abridgment of which we give, was dated Wusterhausen, September 3, 1721: 220 From all persons who return from Reinsberg the unanimous report is that the king works the whole day through with an assiduity which is unique, and then, in the evening, gives himself to the pleasures of society with a vivacity of mirth and sprightly humor, which makes those evening parties charming.

He drank deeply, wandering about by night as if possessed by fiends. He has not, writes Captain Dickens, gone to bed sober for a month past. Once he rose, about midnight, and, with a candle in his hand, entered the apartment of the queen, apparently in a state of extreme terror, saying that there was something haunting him. His agitation was so great that a bed was made up for him there.

The withdrawal of Russia from the alliance against Frederick, though hailed by him with great joy, still left him, with wasted armies and exhausted finances, to struggle single-handed against Austria and France united, each of which kingdoms was far more powerful than Prussia. The winter passed rapidly away without any marked events, each party preparing for the opening of the campaign in the ensuing spring. On the 8th of June, 1762, Frederick wrote to DArgens: Louis XV. felt insulted by this message, and responded in a similar strain of irritation. Thus the two monarchs were alienated from each other. Indeed, Frederick had almost as much cause to be dissatisfied with the French as they had to be dissatisfied with him. Each of the monarchs was ready to sacrifice the other if any thing was to be gained thereby.

But she returned the next moment accompanying the cavalier, who was laughing heartily, and whom I recognized for my brother. His dress so altered him he seemed a different person. He was in the best humor possible. I am come to bid you farewell once more, my dear sister, said he; and as I know the friendship you have for me, I will not keep you ignorant of my designs. I go, and do not come back. I can not endure the usage I suffer. My patience is driven to an end. It is a favorable79 opportunity for flinging off that odious yoke. I will glide out of Dresden and get across to England, where, I do not doubt, I shall work out your deliverance too, when I am got thither. So I beg you calm yourself. We shall soon meet again in places where joy shall succeed our tears, and where we shall have the happiness to see ourselves in peace, and free from these persecutions.

At eight oclock in the evening his body was borne, accompanied by a battalion of the Guards, to Potsdam; eight horses drew the hearse. An immense concourse, in silence and sadness, filled the streets. He was buried in a small chapel in the church of the garrison at Potsdam. There the remains of Frederick and his father repose side by side.

Two days after the death of Katte, the king wrote to Chaplain Müller, under date of November 7th, 1730, a letter closing with the following words:

It was early in January, 1760, that the two hostile armies went into winter quarters. General Daun, with his seventy-two thousand triumphant troops, held Dresden. He encamped his army in an arc of a circle, bending toward the southwest from the city, and occupying a line about thirty miles in extent. Frederick, with thirty-two thousand troops depressed by defeat, defiantly faced his foe in a concave arc concentric to that of Daun. The two antagonistic encampments were almost within cannon-shot of each other.

The rule, in such cases, was that a certain number of companies were to be admitted at a time. The gate was then to be closed until they had marched through the city and out at the opposite gate. After this another detachment was to be admitted, and so on, until all had passed through. But General Schwerin so contrived it, by stratagem, as to crowd in a whole regiment at once. Instead of marching through Breslau, to the surprise of the inhabitants, he directed his steps to the market-place, where he encamped and took possession of the city, admitting the remainder of his regiments. In an hour and a half the whole thing was done, and the streets were strongly garrisoned by Prussian troops. The majority of the inhabitants, being Protestant, were well pleased, and received the achievement with laughter. Many cheers resounded through the streets, with shouts of Frederick and Silesia forever. All the foreign ministers in Breslau, and the magistrates of the city, had been lured to Strehlin to witness the grand review.

But this victory on the Rhine was of no avail to Frederick in Bohemia. It did not diminish the hosts which Prince Charles was gathering against him. It did not add a soldier to his diminished columns, or supply his exhausted magazines, or replenish his empty treasury. Louis XV. was so delighted with the victory that he supposed Frederick would be in sympathy with him. He immediately dispatched a courier to the Prussian king with the glad tidings. But Frederick, disappointed, embarrassed, chagrined, instead of being gratified, was irritated by the news. He sent back the scornful reply that a victory upon the Scamander,84 or in the heart of China, would have been just as important to him.

The battle of Zorndorf was the most bloody of the Seven Years War. It is often considered the most furious battle which was ever fought. While Frederick was engaged in this arduous campaign in the extreme north, driving the Russians from the Prussian territory, an Austrian army, ninety thousand strong, under General Daun, was endeavoring to reconquer Saxony. The Prussian king had left his brother Henry in defense of the province, with a small force garrisoned in the city of Dresden.

The carousal presented a very splendid spectacle. It took place by night, and the spacious arena was lighted by thirty thousand torches. The esplanade of the palace, which presented an ample parallelogram, was surrounded by an amphitheatre of rising seats, crowded with the beauties and dignitaries of Europe. At one end of the parallelogram was a royal box, tapestried with the richest hangings. The king sat there; his sister, the Princess Amelia, was by his side, as queen of the festival. Where the neglected wife of Frederick was is not recorded. The entrance for the cavaliers was opposite the throne. The jousting parties consisted of four bands, representing Romans, Persians, Carthaginians, and Greeks. They were decorated with splendid equipments of jewelry, silver helmets, sashes, and housings, and were mounted on the most spirited battle-steeds which Europe could furnish. The scene was enlivened by exhilarating music, and by the most gorgeous decorations and picturesque costumes which the taste and art of the times could create. The festivities were closed by a ball in the vast saloons of the palace, and by a supper, where the tables were loaded with every delicacy.