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      Frederick wished to enlarge his Liliputian realms, and become one of the powers of Europe. This he could only do by taking advantage of the apparent momentary weakness of Austria, and seizing a portion of the territory of the young queen. In order to accomplish this, it was for his interest to oppose the election of Maria Theresas husband, the Grand-duke Francis, as emperor. The imperial crown placed upon the brow of Francis would invest Austria with almost resistless power. Still, Frederick was ready to promise his earnest concurrence in this arrangement if Maria Theresa would surrender to him Silesia. He had even moderated his terms, as we have mentioned, to a portion of the province.Gentlemen, gentlemen, it is of no use to think about it.

      Though Frederick the First had reared and originally furnished this Berlin palace, yet the masses of solid silver wrought into its ornamentation were mainly the work of Frederick William. Conscious that his influence in Europe depended not only upon the power of his army, but also upon the fullness of his treasury, he had been striving, through all his reign, to accumulate coin. But the money, barreled up and stored away in the vaults of his palace, was of no service while thus lying idle. Banking institutions seem not then to have been in vogue in his realms. But the silver, wrought into chandeliers, mirror-frames, and music balconies, added to the imposing splendor of his court, gave him the reputation of great wealth, and could, at any time when necessary, be melted down and coined. The wealth thus hoarded by the father afterward saved the son from ruin, when involved in wars which exhausted his treasury.Who do you mean.

      As Frederick received the tidings of this death, he rose, dressed himself, and his ague disappeared, to return no more. A courier was immediately dispatched, at the top of his speed, to summon to his presence General Schwerin and M. Podewils, his chief minister. Two days must elapse before they could reach him. In the mean time, the king, taking counsel of no one, was maturing his plans, and making quiet but vigorous preparations for their execution. He wrote the next day to Voltaire, in allusion to the emperors death,

      We! friends! Allons donc!

      Who can imagine the conflicting emotions of joy and wretchedness, of triumph and shame, of relief and chagrin, with which the heart of Frederick must have been rent! The army of Prussia had triumphed, under the leadership of his generals, while he, its young and ambitious sovereign, who had unjustly provoked260 war that he might obtain military glory, a fugitive from the field, was scampering like a coward over the plains at midnight, seeking his own safety. Never, perhaps, was there a more signal instance of a retributive providence. Frederick knew full well that the derision of Europe would be excited by caricatures and lampoons of the chivalric fugitive. Nor was he deceived in his anticipations. There was no end to the ridicule which was heaped upon Frederick, galloping, for dear life, from the battle-field in one direction, while his solid columns were advancing to victory in the other. His sarcastic foes were ungenerous and unjust. But when do foes, wielding the weapons of ridicule, ever pretend even to be just and generous?

      Many anecdotes are related illustrative of the kind feelings of378 the king toward the peasants. He was much interested in ameliorating their condition, and said to the Bishop of Varmia, Believe me, if I knew every thingif I could read every thing myselfall my subjects should be happy. But alas! I am but a man.


      Her aunt, Mme. de Montesson, had, since her marriage, been on very friendly and intimate terms with her, although the two had never any real affection for each other, and now, M. de Montesson having died, his widow was aiming at nothing less than becoming the Duchess of Orlans, and found her niece a most useful and sympathetic confidant. For it had suited Mme. de Montesson to have a niece so well placed in society and so much sought after as the young Comtesse de Genlis. Flicit, on her part, was by no means blind to the advantage of having her aunt married to the first prince of the blood, and did everything in her power to forward her plans. The Duke had long been an admirer of Mme. de Montesson, who encouraged his devotion, was continually in his society, but had no intention whatever that their love-making should [380] end in any way but one. It was an ambition that seemed barred with almost insuperable difficulties, and yet it succeeded, though not to the full extent she desired.


      All negotiation in reference to the marriages was now apparently88 at an end. Lieutenant Katte remained at Potsdam. In the absence of Lieutenant Keith he became more than ever the friend and confidant of the Crown Prince. Wilhelmina, aware of the dissipated character of Katte, mourned over this intimacy. The king was very much annoyed by the blunder of which he himself had been guilty in insulting the court of England in the person of its embassador. He declared, in his vexation, that he would never again treat in person with a foreign minister; that his hot temper rendered it unsafe for him to do so.


      I will not sing jeremiades to you, nor speak of my fears or anxieties; but I can assure you that they are great. The crisis I am in changes in appearance, but nothing decisive happens. I am consumed by a slow fire; I am like a living body losing limb after limb. May Heaven assist us, for we have much need of it.In temperaments like Trubie's, the transition from grief to anger is often curiously direct; the one is the natural outlet of the other; and in this instance, the sound of Roath's voice seemed to afford the bereaved and horrified young man the object of indignation that he so sorely needed. Springing quickly forward, and clenching his fist, he confronted the speaker with a convulsive rage and excitement in strong contrast with Roath's grave composure.