The king seemed surprised, raised his hand, opening and shutting the fingers, and then said, “It is impossible. How could I move my fingers so if the pulse were gone?”
43During the winter Russia and France interposed in behalf of peace. The belligerents agreed to submit the question to their decision. Austria was permitted to take a small slice of Bavaria, and for a time the horrors of war were averted.
“But it is time to end this long, dreary letter. I have had some leisure, and have used it to open to you a heart filled with admiration and gratitude toward you. Yes, my adorable sister, if Providence troubled itself about human affairs, you ought to be the happiest person in the universe. Your not being such confirms me in the sentiments expressed in my epistle.”
Again, on the 8th, Dr. Zimmermann wrote: “The king is extraordinarily ill. On the 4th erysipelas appeared on the leg. This announces bursting and mortification. He has much oppression, and the smell of the wound is very bad.”
370 And now the Prussians from the centre press the foe with new vigor. Leopold, at the head of his victorious division, charged the allied troops in flank, pouring in upon them his resistless horsemen. Whole regiments were made prisoners. Ere nightfall of the short December day, the whole allied army, broken and disordered, was on the retreat back to Dresden. The night alone protected them from utter ruin. They had lost six thousand prisoners, and three thousand in killed and wounded.92General Schmettau had in Dresden a garrison of but three thousand seven hundred men. It will be remembered that he would doubtless be compelled to capitulate, and to do so on the best terms he could. But his Prussian majesty, being now a little more hopeful, wrote to him again, urging him to hold out to the last extremity, and informing him that he had dispatched to his aid General Wunsch, with a re-enforcement of eight thousand men, and General Finck with six thousand. The courier was cut off. General Schmettau, entirely unconscious that relief was coming, closely besieged, and threatened with the massacre of his whole garrison should the place be taken by storm, on Tuesday evening, the 4th of September, surrendered the city.Early in January, 1730, the king, returning from a hunt at Wusterhausen, during which he had held a drinking carouse and a diplomatic interview with the King of Poland, announced his intention of being no longer annoyed by matrimonial arrangements for Wilhelmina. He resolved to abandon the English alliance altogether, unless an immediate and unequivocal assent were given by George II. for the marriage of Wilhelmina with the Prince of Wales, without any compact for the marriage of Fritz with the Princess Amelia. Count Finckenstein, Baron Grumkow, and General Borck were sent to communicate this, the king’s unalterable resolve, to the queen. The first two were friends of the queen. Grumkow was understood to be the instigator of the king. Wilhelmina chanced to be with her mother when the gentlemen announced themselves as the bearers of a very important message from the king to her majesty. Wilhelmina trembled, and said in a low tone to her mother, “This regards me. I have a dreading.” “No matter,” the worn and weary mother replied; “one must have firmness, and that is not what I shall want.” The queen retired with the ministers to the audience-chamber.
On Saturday, the 25th of October of this year, George II., King of England, died. The poor old gentleman, who had been endowed with but a very ordinary share of intelligence, was seventy-seven years of age. On Monday he had presided at a review of troops in Hyde Park. On Thursday he stood upon the portico of his rural palace in Kensington to see his Guards march by for foreign service. Saturday morning he rose at an early hour, took his cup of chocolate as usual, and, opening his windows, said the morning was so fine he would take a walk in his garden. It was then eight o’clock. His valet withdrew with the cup and saucer. He had hardly shut the door when he heard a groan and a fall. Hurrying back, he found the king upon the floor. Faintly the death-stricken monarch exclaimed, “Call Amelia,” and instantly died.Prince Bevern, aware that the battle would be renewed upon the morrow, and conscious that he could not sustain another435 such struggle, withdrew with his Prussian troops in the night, through the silent streets of Breslau, to the other side of the Oder, leaving eighty cannon behind him. The next morning, in visiting one of the outposts, he was surprised by a party of the Austrians and taken prisoner. It was reported that, fearing the wrath of the king, he had voluntarily allowed himself to be captured. General Kyau, the next in rank, took the command. He rapidly retreated. Breslau, thus left to its fate, surrendered, with its garrison of four thousand men, ninety-eight pieces of cannon, and vast magazines filled with stores of war. The next day was Sunday. Te Deums were chanted by the triumphant Austrians in the Catholic churches in Breslau, and thanks were offered to God that Maria Theresa had reconquered Silesia, and that “our ancient sovereigns are restored to us.”
“The risk is too great,” said he; “Soltikof has seventy thousand men, and no end of artillery. We have but twenty-six thousand, and know not that we can bring a single gun to where Soltikof is.”
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“Having been not quite well lately, my physician has advised me to take more exercise than I have hitherto done. This has obliged me to mount my horse and take a gallop every morning. But, in order not to be obliged on that account to change my ordinary way of life, I get up earlier, in order to regain on the one hand what I lose on the other.”
Besides the garrison of fifty thousand there were eighty thousand inhabitants in the city, men, women, and children. Large numbers perished. Some died of starvation; some were burned to death in their blazing dwellings; some were torn to pieces by shot and shell; some were buried beneath the ruins of their houses. In the stillness of the night the wails and groans of the sufferers were borne on the breeze to the ears of the Prussians in their intrenched camp. Starvation brought pestilence, which caused the death of thousands. The inhabitants, reduced to this state of awful misery, entreated the Austrian general to surrender. He refused, but forced out of the gates twelve thousand skeleton, starving people, who consumed the provisions, but could not contribute to the defense. Frederick drove the poor creatures back again at the point of the bayonet, threatening to shoot them all. The cruel act was deemed a necessity of war.About seven o’clock in the morning the king ascended an eminence, and carefully scanned the field, where sixty thousand men were facing each other, soon to engage in mutual slaughter. There were two spectacles which arrested his attention. The one was the pomp, and pageantry, and panoply of war, with its serried ranks, its prancing steeds, its flashing armor, its waving banners, its inspiriting bugle-peals—a scene in itself beautiful and sublime in the highest conceivable degree.“M. le President,—I have had the honor to receive your letter. You inform me that you are well, and that, if I publish La Beaumelle’s letter,97 you will come and assassinate me. What ingratitude to your poor Doctor Akakia! If you exalt your soul so as to discern futurity, you will see that, if you come on that errand to Leipsic, where you are no better liked than in other places, you will run some risk of being hanged. Poor me, indeed, you will find in bed. But, as soon as I have gained a little strength, I will have my pistols charged, and, multiplying the394 mass by the square of velocity, so as to reduce the action and you to zero, I will put some lead into your head. It appears that you have need of it. Adieu, my president.详情
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