Early in October, the Crown Prince, not socially or morally improved by his campaigning, set out on his return to Berlin. He was by no means insensible to the fact that the crown of Prussia would soon rest upon his brow. On the 5th he called again upon his sister at Baireuth. She was sick and very sad. The following is Wilhelminas account of the interview:

Frederick was a great snuff-taker. He always carried two large snuff-boxes in his pocket. Several others stood upon tables around in his rooms, always ready for use. The cheapest of these boxes cost fifteen hundred dollars. He had some richly studded with gems, which cost seven thousand five hundred dollars. At his death one hundred and thirty snuff-boxes appeared in the inventory of his jewels.

573 He left a small sum for the support of his amiable, blameless, and neglected queen, saying, She never gave me the least uneasiness during my whole reign, and she merits every attention and respect for her many and unshaken virtues.

I forget how the conversation changed. But I know that it grew so free that, seeing somebody coming to join in it, the king warned him to take care, saying that it was not safe to converse with a man doomed by the theologians to everlasting fire. I felt as if he somewhat overdid this of his being doomed, and that he boasted too much of it. Not to hint at the dishonesty of these free-thinking gentlemen, who very often are thoroughly afraid of the devil, it is at least bad taste to make display of such things. And it was with the people of bad taste whom he had about him, and some dull skeptics of his own academy, that he had acquired the habit of mocking at religion.

I have at length seen Voltaire, whom I was so anxious to205 know. But, alas! I saw him when under the influence of my fever, and when my mind and my body were equally languid. With persons like him one ought not to be sick. On the contrary, one ought to be specially well. He has the eloquence of Cicero, the mildness of Pliny, and the wisdom of Agrippa. He unites, in a word, all the collected virtues and talents of the three greatest men of antiquity. His intellect is always at work. Every drop of ink that falls from his pen is transformed at once into wit. He declaimed his Mahomet to us, an admirable tragedy which he has composed. I could only admire in silence.

Sir Thomas hastened back to Presburg in despair. Feeling the game was up, and that there was no more hope, he asked permission to return home. The British cabinet was in a state of consternation. France, the dreaded rival of England, was attaining almost sovereign power over the Continent of Europe. Frederick himself was uneasy. He had sufficient penetration to be fully aware that he was aiding to create a resistless power, which might, by-and-by, crush him. Sir Thomas, in a state of great agitation, which was manifest in his disordered style, wrote from Presburg to Lord Hyndford at Breslau as follows. The letter was dated September 8, 1741.