╄═猳紆 ぃ璶═猳紆

The king, writes Küster, fell ill of the gout, saw almost nobody, never came out. It was whispered that his inflexible heart was at last breaking. And for certain there never was in his camp and over his dominions such a gloom as in this October, 1761, till at length he appeared on horseback again, with a cheerful face; and every body thought to himself, Ha! the world will still roll on, then. General Daun was proverbially slow-footed. For thirteen days the wretched city burned and bled. In a memorial to the world, which the King of Poland, as Elector of Saxony, published on the occasion, he said,

The head of Medusa, writes the princess, never produced such horror as did this piece of news to the queen. For some time she could not utter a word, and changed color so often that we thought she would faint. Her state went to my heart. I remained as immovable as she. Every one present appeared full of consternation.

I was glad to receive you in my house. I esteemed your genius, your talents, and your acquirements. I had reason to think that a man of your age, weary of fencing against authors, and exposing himself to the storm, came hither to take refuge, as in a safe harbor. The unhappy princess, distracted by these griefs, had grown thin and pale. It was soon rumored throughout the court that the king had written to Weissenfels, and that the duke was on his way to seize his reluctant bride. In this emergence, the queens friend, Baron Borck, suggested to her that, in order to get rid of the obnoxious Weissenfels, she should so far yield to the wishes of the king as to give up the English alliance, and propose a third party, who might be more acceptable to Wilhelmina. But who shall this substitute be?

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.

CHAPTER XXX. FOURTH CAMPAIGN OF THE SEVEN YEARS WAR.

The general voice of history has severely condemned the Prussian king for this invasion of Silesia. Frederick probably217 owed his life to the interposition of the father of Maria Theresa, when the young prince was threatened with the scaffold by his own father. Prussia was bound by the most solemn guarantees to respect the integrity of the Austrian states. There was seemingly a great want of magnanimity in taking advantage of the extreme youth, inexperience, and delicate health of the young queen, who was also embarrassed by an empty treasury and a weakened and undisciplined army. Frederick had also made, in his Anti-Machiavel, loud protestations of his love of justice and magnanimity. Mr. Carlyle, while honestly stating these facts, still does not blame Frederick for seizing the opportunity which the death of the emperor presented for him to enlarge his dominions by plundering the domain of Maria Theresa.

The terror in Vienna was dreadful. I will not attempt to describe the dismay the tidings excited among all ranks of people. Maria Theresa, trembling for her two sons who were in the army, immediately dispatched an autograph letter to Frederick with new proposals for a negotiation.

Russia may be counted as the bigger half of all he had to strive with; the bigger, or at least the far uglier, more ruinous, and incendiary; and, if this were at once taken away, think what a daybreak when the night was at the blackest.170

It is probable that even Seckendorf was somewhat moved by this pathetic appeal. Fritz succeeded in sending a letter to the post-office, addressed to Lieutenant Keith at Wesel, containing simply the words Sauvez vous; tout est decouvert (Save yourself; all is found out). Keith received the letter but an hour or so before a colonel of gens darmes arrived to arrest him. Seckendorf had an interview with the king, and seems to have endeavored to mitigate his wrath. He assured the infuriate monarch of his sons repentance, and of his readiness to make a full confession if his father would spare those who had been led by their sympathies to befriend him. The unrelenting father received this message very sullenly, saying that he had no faith that his son would make an honest confession, but that he would see what he had to say for himself.