第二十一章 王命大于天

His majesty gave it to her at the moment when she was about to take leave of the two queens. The princess threw her eyes on it and fell into a faint. The king had almost done the like. His tears flowed abundantly. The princes and princesses were overcome with sorrow. At last Gotter judged it time to put an end to this tragic scene. He entered the hall almost like Boreas in the ballet of The Rosethat is to say, with a crash. He made one or two whirlwinds, clove the press, and snatched away the princess from the arms of the queen-mother, took her in his own, and whisked her out of the hall. All the world followed. The carriages were waiting in the court, and the princess in a moment found herself in hers.

Meanwhile the King of Englands time of arrival was drawing nigh. We repaired on the 6th of October to Charlottenburg to receive him. My heart kept beating. I was in cruel agitations. King George arrived on the 8th about seven in the evening. The King of Prussia, the queen, and all their suite received him in the court of the palace, the apartments being on the ground floor. So soon as he had saluted the king and queen I was presented to him. He embraced me, and, turning to the queen, said, Your daughter is very large of her age. He gave the queen his hand and led her into her apartment, whither every body followed them. As soon as I came in he took a light from the table and surveyed me from head to foot. I stood motionless as a statue, and was much put out of countenance. All41 this went on without his uttering the least word. Having thus passed me in review, he addressed himself to my brother, whom he caressed much and amused himself with for a good while. General Daun directed the energies of his ninety thousand troops upon the right wing of the Prussians, which could not number more than twenty thousand men. As soon as it was dark on Friday night, the 13th, he sent thirty thousand men, under guides familiar with every rod of the country, by a circuitous route, south of the Prussian lines, through forest roads, to take position on the west of the Prussian right wing, just in its rear. General Daun himself accompanied this band of picked men.

The pulse is gone, the physician said, sadly. I shall not attempt to describe the battle which ensuedso bloody, so disastrous to the Prussians. It was, like all other desperate battles, a scene of inconceivable confusion, tumult, and horror. At eight oclock in the morning, General Finck (who was in command of the right wing of the Prussians) was in position to move upon the extreme northern point of attack. It was not until half past eleven that Frederick, in command of the main body of the army, was ready to make a co-operative assault from the east. At the point of attack the Russians had seventy-483two cannons in battery. The Prussians opened upon them with sixty guns. Templeton describes the cannonade as the loudest which he had yet ever heard.

But this victory on the Rhine was of no avail to Frederick in Bohemia. It did not diminish the hosts which Prince Charles was gathering against him. It did not add a soldier to his diminished columns, or supply his exhausted magazines, or replenish his empty treasury. Louis XV. was so delighted with the victory that he supposed Frederick would be in sympathy with him. He immediately dispatched a courier to the Prussian king with the glad tidings. But Frederick, disappointed, embarrassed, chagrined, instead of being gratified, was irritated by the news. He sent back the scornful reply that a victory upon the Scamander,84 or in the heart of China, would have been just as important to him.

The Marquis of Schwedt was a very indifferent young man, living under the tutelage of his dowager mother. She was a cousin of the King of Prussia, and had named her son Frederick74 William. Having rendered herself conspicuously ridiculous by the flaunting colors of her dress, which tawdry display was in character with her mind, both she and her son were decidedly disagreeable to Wilhelmina.

383 My good Thuringian, said the king, you came to Berlin seeking to earn your bread by the industrious teaching of children, and here at the custom-house they have taken your money from you. True, the batzen are not legal here. They should have said to you, You are a stranger and did not know of the prohibition. We will seal up the bag of batzen. You can send it back to Thuringia and get it changed for other coin. Be of good heart, however. You shall have your money again, and interest too. But, my poor man, in Berlin they do not give any thing gratis. You are a stranger. Before you are known and get to teaching, your bit of money will be all gone. What then?

A hangman such as you naturally takes pleasure in talking of his tools and of his trade, but on me they will produce no effect. I have owned every thing, and almost regret to have done so. I ought not to degrade myself by answering the questions of a scoundrel such as you are.

He conversed cheerfully upon literature, history, and the common topics of the day. But he seemed studiously to avoid any allusion to God, to the subject of religion, or to death. He had from his early days very emphatically expressed his disbelief in any God who took an interest in the affairs of men. Throughout his whole life he had abstained from any recognition of such a God by any known acts of prayer or worship. Still Mr. Carlyle writes:

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.