THE BATTLE OF PRAGUE, MAY 6, 1757.“My dear Papa,—I have not, for a long while, presumed to come near my dear papa, partly because he forbade me, but chiefly because I had reason to expect a still worse reception than usual; and for fear of angering my dear papa by my present request, I have preferred making it in writing to him. 万瞳 “He condemned all pleasures; damnable all of them, he said. You were to speak of nothing but the Word of God only. All other conversation was forbidden. It was always he who carried on the improving talk at table, where he did the office of reader, as if it had been a refectory of monks. The king treated us to a sermon every afternoon. His valet de chambre gave out a psalm, which we all sang. You had to listen to this sermon with as much devout attention as if it had been an apostle’s. My brother and I had all the mind in the world to laugh. We tried hard to keep from laughing, but often we burst out. Thereupon reprimand, with all the anathemas of the Church hurled on us, which we had to take with a contrite, penitent air—a thing not easy to bring your face to at the moment.” The sun had just risen above the horizon when the conflict commenced. It reached its meridian. Still the storm of battle swept the plains and reverberated over the hills. Heights had been taken and retaken; charges had been made and repelled; the surges of victory had rolled to and fro; over many leagues the thunderbolts of battle were thickly flying; bugle peals, cries of onset, shrieks of the wounded crushed beneath artillery wheels, blended with the rattle of musketry and the roar of artillery; riderless horses were flying in all directions; the extended plain was covered with the wreck and ruin of battle, and every moment was multiplying the victims of war’s horrid butchery.
On the 6th of July, the trunk having arrived, the volume of poems was recovered and Voltaire was allowed to go on his way. His pen, dipped in gall, was an instrument which even a monarch might fear. It inflicted wounds upon the reputation of Frederick which will probably never be healed. Four years passed away, during which Voltaire and Frederick were almost entirely strangers to each other. 五百 This volume is intended to give a clear and correct idea of the man—of his public and private character, and of his career. It would be difficult to find, in the whole range of English literature, a theme more full of the elements of entertainment and instruction. On the 4th of July the king rode out for the last time. Not long after, the horse was again brought to the door, but the king found himself too weak to mount. Still, while in this state of extreme debility and pain, he conducted the affairs of state with the most extraordinary energy and precision. The minutest questions received his attention, and every branch of business was prosecuted with as much care and perfection as in his best days.
Quite unexpectedly, the latter part of January the virulence of the king’s complicated diseases of gout, dropsy, and ulcers seemed to abate. Though but forty-seven years of age, he was, from his intemperate habits, an infirm old man. Though he lingered along for many months, he was a great sufferer. His unamiability filled the palace with discomfort. 河太 The court at Vienna received with transports of joy the tidings of the victory of Hochkirch. The pope was greatly elated. He regarded the battle as one between the Catholic and Protestant powers. The holy father, Clement XIII., sent a letter of congratulation to Marshal Daun, together with a sword and hat, both blessed by his holiness. The occurrence excited the derision of Frederick, who was afterward accustomed to designate his opponent as “the blessed general with the papal hat.” Frederick remained at Doberschütz ten days. During this time his brother Henry joined him from Dresden with six thousand foot470 and horse. This raised his force to a little above thirty thousand men. General Finck was left in command of the few Prussian troops who remained for the defense of the capital of Saxony. A year and a day had elapsed since the father had seen the123 son. On the 15th of August, the king, being on a journey, stopped for a couple of hours at Cüstrin, and held an interview with Fritz. The monarch was attended by a retinue of several hundred persons. The scene which ensued is described by Grumkow in his summary of what took place at Cüstrin on the 15th of August, 1731. The king sent for the prince to be brought before him at the government house. As Fritz entered he fell upon his knees at his father’s feet. The king coldly ordered him to rise, saying,
The consternation at Berlin, as contradictory reports of victory and defeat reached the city, was indescribable. M. Sulzer, an eye-witness of the scene, writes under date of Berlin, August 13th, 1759: 回低 A ROYAL EXECUTIONER. ”
In the suburbs of Glogau there was a Protestant church which Count Wallis deemed it a military necessity to order to be burned down, lest it should protect the Prussians in their attack. “The Prussians,” said Wallis, “will make a block-house of it.” The Protestants pleaded earnestly for a brief respite, and sent a delegation to Frederick to intercede for the safety of their church. The king very courteously, and with shrewd policy, replied, 黑暗 Forming his army in two parallel lines, nearly five miles long, facing the foe, he prepared to open the battle along the whole369 extent of the field. While thus engrossing the attention of the enemy, his main attempt was to be directed against the village of Kesselsdorf, which his practiced eye saw to be the key of the position. It was two o’clock in the afternoon ere all his arrangements were completed. The Old Dessauer was a devout man—in his peculiar style a religious man, a man of prayer. He never went into battle without imploring God’s aid. On this occasion, all things being arranged, he reverently uncovered his head, and in presence of the troops offered, it is said, the following prayer: ”