“A droll incident happened during our dialogue. My gentleman wanted to let down a little sash window, and could not manage it. ‘You do not understand that,’ said I; ‘let me do it.’ I tried to get it down, but succeeded no better than he.
Wilhelmina’s purse was generally empty, and she was often in great want of money. Her penurious father had married her below her rank that he might escape settling upon her a dowry. Though her husband was heir to the marquisate of Baireuth, his father was still living. That father was a drunkard and a miser. It seems that the son received but little more than his wages as colonel in the army. Wilhelmina records that one day her brother Fritz came to her and said,
246As he was upon the point of setting off, seven Austrian deserters came in and reported that General Neipperg’s full army was advancing at but a few miles’ distance. Even as they were giving their report, sounds of musketry and cannon announced that the Prussian outposts were assailed by the advance-guard of the foe. The peril of Frederick was great. Had Neipperg known the prize within his reach, the escape of the Prussian king would have been almost impossible. Frederick had but three or four thousand men with him at Jagerndorf, and only three pieces of artillery, with forty rounds of ammunition. Bands of Austrian cavalry on fleet horses were swarming all around him. Seldom, in the whole course of his life, had Frederick been placed in a more critical position.“As you pass through Neisse, please present my compliments to Marshal Neipperg; and you can say, your excellency, that I hope to have the pleasure of calling upon him one of these days.”
General Daun, in command of the Austrian forces, rapidly concentrated his troops around Leutomischel, where he had extensive magazines. But Frederick, leaving Leutomischel far away on his right, pressed forward in a southerly direction, and on the 12th of May appeared before Olmütz. His march had been rapidly and admirably conducted, dividing his troops into columns for the convenience of road and subsistence.“My dear Brother, my dear Sister,—I write you both at once for want of time. I have as yet received no answer from Vienna. I shall not get it till to-morrow. But I count myself surer of war than ever, as the Austrians have named their generals, and their army is ordered to march to K?niggr?tz. So that, expecting nothing else but a haughty answer, or a very uncertain one, on which there will be no reliance possible, I have arranged every thing for setting out on Saturday next.To his sister, Fritz wrote, about the same time, in a more subdued strain, referring simply to his recent life in Cüstrin: “Thus far my lot has been a tolerably happy one. I have lived quietly in the garrison. My flute, my books, and a few affectionate friends have made my way of life there sufficiently agreeable. They now want to force me to abandon all this in order to marry me to the Princess of Bevern, whom I do not know. Must one always be tyrannized over without any hope of a change? Still, if my dear sister were only here, I should endure all with patience.
“The empress, then,” added Wilhelmina, “is a better exorcist than other priests.”a a a. First Position of the Austrian Army. b b. Extreme Left, under Loudon. c c. Austrian Reserve, under Baden-Durlach. d d d. Prussian Army. e e. The two main Prussian Batteries. f. Ziethen’s Cavalry. g g. Prussian Vanguard, under Retzow. h h h. Advance of Austrian Army. i. Right Wing, under D’Ahremberg. k k k. Position taken by the Prussians after the battle.
“His obstinate perverse disposition which does not love his father; for when one does every thing, and really loves one’s father, one does what the father requires, not while he is there to see it, but when his back is turned too. For the rest he knows very well that I can endure no effeminate fellow who has no human inclination in him; who puts himself to shame, can not ride or shoot; and, withal, is dirty in his person, frizzles his hair like a fool, and does not cut it off. And all this I have a thousand times reprimanded, but all in vain, and no improvement in nothing. For the rest, haughty; proud as a churl; speaks to nobody but some few, and is not popular and affable; and cuts grimaces with his face as if he were a fool; and does my will in nothing but following his own whims; no use to him in any thing else. This is the answer.On the 28th of June, 1729, the population of Bühlitz, a Hanoverian border village, sallied forth with carts, escorted by a troop of horse, and, with demonstrations both defiant and exultant, raked up and carried off all the hay. The King of Prussia happened to be at that time about one hundred miles distant from Bühlitz, at Magdeburg, reviewing his troops. He was thrown into a towering passion. Sophie Dorothee, Wilhelmina, Fritz, all felt the effects of his rage. Dubourgay writes, under date of July 30, 1729:
CHAPTER XXXII. THE END OF THE FIFTH CAMPAIGN.
Thus affairs continued through the winter. There were two frostbitten armies facing each other on the bleak plains. With apparently not much to be gained in presenting this front of defiance,496 each party breasted the storms and the freezing gales, alike refusing to yield one inch of ground.189 Quite an entire change seemed immediately to take place in the character of the young king. M. Bielfeld was the first who was introduced to his apartment after the death of Frederick William. Frederick was in tears, and seemed much affected.
The queen was at this time in a delicate state of health, and anxiety and sorrow threw her upon a sick-bed. The king, who felt as much affection for “Phiekin” as such a coarse, brutal man could feel for any body, was alarmed; but he remained obdurate. He stormed into her room, where, in the fever of her troubles, she tossed upon her pillow, and obstreperously declared that Wilhelmina should be married immediately, and that she must take either Weissenfels or Schwedt. As both mother and daughter remained firm in their refusal to choose, he resolved to decide the question himself.
As we have mentioned, the agents of the King of Prussia were45 eager to kidnap tall men, in whatever country they could find them. This greatly exasperated the rulers of the various realms of all sizes and conditions which surrounded the Prussian territory. Frederick William was always ready to apologize, and to aver that each individual act was done without his orders or knowledge. Still, there was no abatement of this nuisance. Several seizures had been made in Hanover, which was the hereditary domain of George I., King of England. George was very angry. He was increasingly obstinate in withholding his assent to the double marriage, and even, by way of reprisal, seized several of the subjects of Frederick William, whom he caught in Hanover.“His Prussian majesty has unquestionably talent, but what361 a character! He is frivolous in the extreme, and sadly a heretic in his religious views. He is a dishonorable man, and what a neighbor he has been! As to Silesia, I would as soon part with my last garment as part with it.”详情
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