While these coronation splendors were transpiring, Frederick was striving, with all his characteristic enthusiasm, to push forward his Moravian campaign to a successful issue. Inspired by as tireless energies as ever roused a human heart, he was annoyed beyond measure by the want of efficient co-operation on the part of his less zealous allies. Neither the Saxons nor the French could keep pace with his impetuosity. The princes who led the Saxon troops, the petted sons of kings and nobles, were loth to abandon the luxurious indulgences to which they had been accustomed. When they arrived at a capacious castle where they found warm fires, an abundant larder, and sparkling wines, they would linger there many days, decidedly preferring those comforts to campaigning through the blinding, smothering snowstorm, and bivouacking on the bleak and icy plains, swept by the gales of a northern winter. The French were equally averse to these terrible marches, far more to be dreaded than the battle-field.
Again M. Jordan wrote, a week later, on the 20th of December:
“Heir is a gallant enough young gentleman. Frederick judges that he probably will have haggled to sign any Austrian convention for dismemberment of Baiern, and that he will start into life upon it so soon as he sees hope.The End
Frederick’s Attempt to Rescue his Brother.—Captured Dispatches.—Battle of Hochkirch.—Defeat and Retreat of Frederick.—Death of Wilhelmina.—Letter to Voltaire.—Rejoicings at Vienna.—The Siege of Neisse.—The Siege of Dresden.—Conflagrations and Terror.—The Siege raised by Frederick.—Results of the Third Campaign.—Unavailing Efforts for Peace.—Despair of Frederick.“General Neipperg halted here at Mollwitz with the whole254 army before the village, in mind to quarter. And quarter was settled, so that a plow-farmer got four to five companies to lodge, and a spade-farmer two or three hundred cavalry. The houses were full of officers, and the fields full of horsemen and baggage; and all around you saw nothing but fires burning. The wooden railings were instantly torn down for firewood. The hay, straw, barley were eaten away, and brought to nothing. Every thing from the barns was carried out. As the whole army could not lodge itself with us, eleven hundred infantry quartered at Laugwitz. B?rzdorf got four hundred cavalry; and this day nobody knew what would come of it.”
“The Crown Prince begs his Britannic majesty not to reject the king’s proposals, whatever they may be, for his sister Wilhelmina’s sake. For, though the Crown Prince is determined to lose his life sooner than marry any body but the Princess Amelia, yet, if this negotiation were broken off, his father would go to extremities to force him and his sister into other engagements.”“There was no need of that pretext about the waters of Plombières in demanding your leave. You can quit my service when you like. But, before going, be so good as to return me the key, the cross, and the volume of verses which I confided to you.160 After this interview the Crown Prince hurried away on his route to Philipsburg. He reached Nürnberg that night, where he wrote the following brief but affectionate letter to his sister:
F.”Wilhelmina was appalled in view of the difficulty and danger of the enterprise. It was a long distance from Dresden to the coast. Head winds might detain the vessel. The suspicious king would not long remain ignorant that he was missing. He would be pursued with energy almost demoniac. Being captured,80 no one could tell how fearful would be his doom. The sagacious sister was right. Fritz could not but perceive the strength of her arguments, and gave her his word of honor that he would not attempt, on the present occasion, to effect his flight. Fritz accordingly went to Dresden with his father, and returned.
“Others have made roads for us. We make them for posterity. But Christ has opened for us all a road to heaven.”46
“I have just been to see the King of Prussia. I have seen him as one seldom sees kings, much at my ease, in my own room, in the chimney-corner, whither the same man who has gained two battles would come and talk familiarly, as Scipio did with Terence. You will tell me I am not Terence. True; but neither is he altogether Scipio.”
“Well, my children,” said Frederick, “how do you think that it will be with us now? The Austrians are twice as strong as we.”We have now reached the year 1726. The Emperor of Germany declares that he can never give his consent to the double marriage with the English princes. Frederick William, who is not at all fond of his wife’s relatives, and is annoyed by the hesitancy which his father-in-law has manifested in reference to it, is also turning his obstinate will against the nuptial alliance. A more imperative and inflexible man never breathed. This year the unhappy wife of George I. died, unreconciled, wretched, exasperated, after thirty years’ captivity in the castle of Ahlden. Darker and darker seemed the gloom which enveloped the path of Sophie Dorothee. She still clung to the marriages as the dearest hope of her heart. It was with her an ever-present thought. But Frederick William was the most obdurate and obstinate of mortals.
Three volunteered. It was so dark that the landlord of a little country inn walked with a lantern by the side of Frederick’s horse. Lissa was on the main road to Breslau. The landlord supposed that he was guiding one of Frederick’s generals, and was very communicative.“For the event I can not answer. If I had more lives than one, I would sacrifice them all to my country. But, if this stroke fail, I think I am clear scores with her, and that it will be permissible to look a little to myself. There are limits to every490 thing. I support my misfortune. My courage is not abated by it. But I am well resolved, after this stroke, if it fail, to open an outgate to myself, and no longer be the sport of any chance.”140详情
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