类型:奇幻地区:ӷ发布:2020-09-22 12:17:50


At three oclock in the morning of the 20th of August, and after the march of a few hours, the little army of Frederick commenced constructing a fortified camp near the poor little village of Bunzelwitz, about half way between the Silesian fortresses of Schweidnitz and Striegau. Spades were provided. Fifty thousand men were instantly employed, according to a well-matured plan, in digging and trenching. The extraordinary energies of Frederick seemed to nerve every arm. Here there was speedily reared the camp of Bunzelwitz, which has attained world-wide renown.The first glance at the Prince of Baireuth prepossessed the princess in his favor. She subsequently, when better acquainted with him, described him in the following terms:

Early in November he came to Berlin, languid, crippled, and wretched. The death-chamber in the palace is attended with all the humiliations and sufferings which are encountered in the poor mans hut. The king, through all his life, had indulged his irritable disposition, and now, imprisoned by infirmities and tortured with pain, his petulance and abuse became almost unendurable. Miserable himself, he made every one wretched around him. He was ever restlessnow in his bed, now out of it, now in his wheel-chair, continually finding fault, and often dealing cruel blows to those who came within his reach. He was unwilling to be left for a moment alone. The old generals were gathered in his room, and sat around his bed talking and smoking. He could not sleep at night, and allowed his attendants no repose. Restlessly he tried to divert his mind by whittling, painting, and small carpentry. The Crown Prince dared not visit him too often, lest his solicitude should be interpreted into impatience for the king to die, that he might grasp the crown. In the grossest terms the king insulted his physicians, attributing all his sufferings to their wickedness or their ignorance. Fortunately the miserable old man was too weak to attempt to cane them. A celebrated physician, by the name of Hoffman, was sent for to prescribe for the king. He was a man of much intellectual distinction, and occupied an important position in the university. As his prescriptions failed to give relief to his majesty, he was assailed, like the rest, in the vilest language of vituperation. With great dignity Professor Hoffman replied:

The army of General Daun, with its re-enforcements, amounted to one hundred thousand men. The Prussian garrison in the city numbered but ten thousand. The Prussian officer then in472 command, General Schmettau, emboldened by the approach of Frederick, repelled all proposals for capitulation.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.

Whole provinces had been laid waste. Even in those which had not been thus destroyed, internal commerce and industry were almost at an end. A great part of Pomerania and Brandenburg was changed into a desert. There were provinces where hardly any men were to be found, and where the women were therefore obliged to guide the plow. In others women were as much wanting as men. The most fertile plains of Germany, on the banks of the Oder and the Wesel, presented only the arid and sterile appearance of a desert. An officer has stated that he had passed through seven villages without meeting a single person excepting a curate.174There is the forgiveness of enemies. Your majesty is bound to forgive all men. If you do not do this, how can you ask to be forgiven?

The next morning the princess received the following cruel epistle from her mother:On the 4th of July the king rode out for the last time. Not long after, the horse was again brought to the door, but the king found himself too weak to mount. Still, while in this state of extreme debility and pain, he conducted the affairs of state with the most extraordinary energy and precision. The minutest questions received his attention, and every branch of business was prosecuted with as much care and perfection as in his best days.

But at length one of the counselors, Baron Borck, urged the following consideration: Swords will be the weapons used. Your majesty has been very sick, is now weak, and also crippled with gout. The King of England is in health and vigor. There is great danger that your majesty may be worsted in the combat. That would render matters tenfold worse.He now began to speak of religion; and, with eloquent tongue, to recount what mischiefs scholastic philosophy had brought upon the world; then tried to prove that creation was impossible.

Shall we order that to cease, your majesty?338 Just at that time, when all hope seemed lost, it so happened that a cannon-ball crushed the foot of the Austrian commander. This disaster, together with the darkness and the torrents of rain, caused the fire of the enemy to cease. The next morning some Prussian re-enforcements came to the rescue of the king, and he escaped.

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Be firm, my child. Trust in my management. Only swear to me, on your eternal salvation, that never, on any compulsion, will you marry another than the Prince of Wales. Give me that oath.CHAPTER XIV. THE DEFEAT AND FLIGHT OF FREDERICK.



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