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Her sisters were now permitted occasionally to visit her, and her situation became somewhat ameliorated. On the 10th of May Wilhelmina received a letter from her mother which caused her to wring her hands in anguish. It informed her that the next day a deputation was to call upon her from the king, to insist upon her giving her consent to marry the Prince of Baireuth.

Under these circumstances, it was evidently impossible for Frederick to retain Silesia unless he could again rally France and other powers to his aid. It was always easy to rouse France against England, its hereditary foe. Thus influenced, Frederick, early in the spring of 1744, entered into a new alliance with France and the Emperor Charles Albert against Maria Theresa. The two marriages which he had so adroitly consummated constrained330 Russia and Sweden to neutrality. While France, by the new treaty, was engaged to assail with the utmost energy, under the leadership of Louis XV. himself, the triumphant Austrian columns upon the Rhine, Frederick, at the head of one hundred thousand troops, was to drive the Austrians out of Bohemia, and reseat Charles Albert upon his hereditary throne. For this service Frederick was to receive from the Bohemian king three important principalities, with their central fortresses near upon the borders of Silesia.

General Stille, one of the aids of Frederick on this expedition, says that the king, with his retinue, mounted and in carriages, pushed forward the first day to Landskron. It was, he writes, such a march as I never witnessed before. Through the ice and through the snow, which covered that dreadful chain of mountains between B?hmen and M?hren, we did not arrive till very late. Many of our carriages were broken down, and others were overturned more than once.63 I have seen neither my brother48 nor Keyserling.49 I left them at Breslau, not to expose them to the dangers of war. They perhaps will be a little angry, but what can I do? the rather as, on this occasion, one can not share in the glory unless one is a mortar! I have been to Lebus. There is excellent land there; fine weather for the husbandmen. Major R?der passed this way, and dined with me last Wednesday. He has got a fine fellow for my most all-gracious fathers regiment. I depend on my most all-gracious fathers grace that he will be good to me. I128 ask for nothing, and for no happiness in the world but what comes from him; and hope that he will some day remember me in grace, and give me the blue coat to put on again.

Frederick had now France only for an ally. But France was seeking her own private interests on the Rhine, as Frederick was aiming at the aggrandizement of Prussia on his Austrian frontiers. Neither party was disposed to make any sacrifice for the benefit of the other. Frederick, thus thrown mainly upon his345 own resources, with an impoverished treasury, and a weakened and baffled army, made indirect application to both England and Austria for peace. But both of these courts, flushed with success, were indisposed to listen to any terms which Frederick would propose. 59 While the king was thus suffering the pangs of the gout, his irascibility vented itself upon his wife and children. We were obliged, says Wilhelmina, to appear at nine oclock in the morning in his room. We dined there, and did not dare to leave it even for a moment. Every day was passed by the king in invectives against my brother and myself. He no longer called me any thing but the English blackguard. My brother was named the rascal Fritz. He obliged us to eat and drink the things for which we had an aversion. Every day was marked by some sinister event. It was impossible to raise ones eyes without seeing some unhappy people tormented in one way or other. The kings restlessness did not allow him to remain in bed. He had himself placed in a chair on rollers, and was thus dragged all over the palace. His two arms rested upon crutches, which supported them. We always followed this triumphal car, like unhappy captives who are about to undergo their sentence.

I think Berlin is now in safety. You may return thither. The barbarians are in the Lausitz. I keep by the side of them, between them and Berlin, so that there is nothing to fear for the capital. The imminency of danger is passed. But there will be still many bad moments to get through before reaching the end of the campaign. These, however, only regard myself. Never mind these. My martyrdom will last two months yet. Then the snows and the ices will end it. Frederick dispatched messengers to Ohlau to summon the force there to his aid; the messengers were all captured. The Prussians were now in a deplorable condition. The roads were encumbered and rendered almost impassable by the drifted snow. The army was cut off from its supplies, and had provisions on hand but for a single day. Both parties alike plundered the poor inhabitants of their cattle, sheep, and grain. Every thing that could burn was seized for their camp-fires. We speak of the carnage of the battle-field, and often forget the misery which is almost invariably brought upon the helpless inhabitants of the region through which the armies move. The schoolmaster of Mollwitz, a kind, simple-hearted, accurate old gentleman, wrote an account of the scenes he witnessed. Under date of Mollwitz, Sunday, April 9, he writes:

Friedrich Wilhelm feels this sad contrast very much; the127 more, as the soldier is his own chattel withal, and of superlative inches. Friedrich Wilhelm flames up into wrath; sends off swift messengers to bring these judges, one and all, instantly into his presence. The judges are still in their dressing-gowns, shaving, breakfasting. They make what haste they can. So soon as the first three or four are reported to be in the anteroom, Friedrich Wilhelm, in extreme impatience, has them called in; starts discoursing with them upon the two weights and two measures. Apologies, subterfuges, do but provoke him farther. It is not long till he starts up growling terribly, Ye scoundrels, how could you? and smites down upon the crown of them with the royal cudgel itself. Fancy the hurry-scurry, the unforensic attitudes and pleadings! Royal cudgel rains blows right and left. Blood is drawn, crowns cracked, crowns nearly broken; and several judges lost a few teeth and had their noses battered before they could get out. The second relay, meeting them in this dilapidated state on the staircases, dashed home again without the honor of a royal interview. This is an actual scene, of date, Berlin, 1731, of which no constitutional country can hope to see the fellow. Schlubhut he hanged, Schlubhut being only Schlubhuts chattel. This musketeer, his majestys own chattel, he did not hang, but set him shouldering arms again after some preliminary dusting.

CHAPTER I PARENTAGE OF FREDERICK THE GREAT.

The French army so handled this place as not only to take from its inhabitants, by open force, all bread and articles of food, but likewise all clothes, bed-linens, and other portable goods. They also broke open, split to pieces, and emptied out all chests, boxes, presses, drawers; shot dead in the back-yards and on the roofs all manner of feathered stock, as hens, geese, pigeons. They carried off all swine, cows, sheep, and horses. They laid violent hands on the inhabitants, clapped swords, guns, and pistols to their breasts, threatening to kill them unless they brought out whatever goods they had; or hunted them out of their houses, shooting at them, cutting, sticking, and at last driving them away, thereby to have freer room to rob and plunder. They flung out hay and other harvest stock into the mud, and had it trampled to ruin under the horses feet.

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 Fredericks 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 greaterconstrained by terror or led by bribes. Such, in general, was the state of Europe at this time.

THE WINTER CAMP.

The head of Medusa, writes the princess, never produced such horror as did this piece of news to the queen. For some time she could not utter a word, and changed color so often that we thought she would faint. Her state went to my heart. I remained as immovable as she. Every one present appeared full of consternation.