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The king, upon receiving these strange and unexpected tidings, immediately rode into Lowen. It was an early hour in the261 morning. He entered the place, not as a king and a conqueror, but as a starving fugitive, exhausted with fatigue, anxiety, and sleeplessness. It is said that his hunger was so great that he stopped at a little shop on the corner of the market-place, where widow Panzern served him with a cup of coffee and a cold roast fowl. Thus slightly refreshed, the intensely humiliated young king galloped back to his victorious army at Mollwitz, having been absent from it, in his terror-stricken flight, for sixteen hours.

It was in these hours of apparently insurmountable difficulty that the marvelous administrative genius of Frederick was displayed. No modern reader can imagine the difficulties of Frederick at this time as they already lay disclosed, and kept gradually disclosing themselves, for months coming; nor will ever know what perspicacity, what patience of scanning, sharpness of340 discernment, dexterity of management, were required at Fredericks hands; and under what imminency of peril toovictorious deliverance or ruin and annihilation, wavering fearfully in the balance, for him more than once, or rather all along.78 The death of George I. affected the strange Frederick William very deeply. He not only shed tears, but, if we may be pardoned the expression, blubbered like a child. His health seemed50 to fail, and hypochondria, in its most melancholy form, tormented him. As is not unusual in such cases, he became excessively religious. Every enjoyment was deemed sinful, if we except the indulgence in an ungovernable temper, which the self-righteous king made no attempt to curb. Wilhelmina, describing this state of things with her graphic pen, writes:

It is probable that even Seckendorf was somewhat moved by this pathetic appeal. Fritz succeeded in sending a letter to the post-office, addressed to Lieutenant Keith at Wesel, containing simply the words Sauvez vous; tout est decouvert (Save yourself; all is found out). Keith received the letter but an hour or so before a colonel of gens darmes arrived to arrest him. Seckendorf had an interview with the king, and seems to have endeavored to mitigate his wrath. He assured the infuriate monarch of his sons repentance, and of his readiness to make a full confession if his father would spare those who had been led by their sympathies to befriend him. The unrelenting father received this message very sullenly, saying that he had no faith that his son would make an honest confession, but that he would see what he had to say for himself.

The king did a beautiful thing to Lieutenant Keith the other daythat 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 Knyphausens grounds, who is Keiths mother-in-law.

An embassador, Count De Gotter, was sent to Vienna to present this demand to Maria Theresa. He was authorized, in case these terms were not accepted, to declare war. But in the mean time, before the count could possibly reach Vienna, consequently before there was any declaration of war, or even any demand presented, Frederick, at the head of his troops, had entered Silesia, and was seizing its defenseless fortresses.42

Frederick.

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.