81 The object of Colonel Hothams mission was well known. The cordial reception he had met from the king indicated that his message was not an unwelcome one to his Prussian majesty. In the indecent hilarity of the hour, it was assumed that the marriage contract between Wilhelmina and the Prince of Wales was settled. Brains addled with wine gave birth to stupid jokes upon the subject. A German ducat was to be exchanged for an English half guinea. At last, in the semi-delirium of their intoxication, one proposed as a toast, To the health of Wilhelmina, Princess of Wales. The sentiment was received with uproarious jollity. Though all the company were in the same state of silly inebriation, neither the king nor the British ministers, Hotham and Dubourgay, for a moment lost sight of their settled policy. The king remained firm in his silent resolve to consent only to the marriage of Wilhelmina and the Prince of Wales. Hotham and Dubourgay could not swerve from the positive instructions which they had received, to insist upon both marriages or neither. Thus, notwithstanding this bacchanal jollification, neither party was disposed to swerve a hairs breadth from its fixed resolve, and the question was no nearer a settlement than before.

Yes, I knew it. Not one of you will forsake me. I rely upon your help and upon victory as sure. The cavalry regiment that does not, on the instant, on order given, dash full plunge into the enemy, I will directly after the battle unhorse, and make it a garrison regiment. The infantry battalion which, meet with what it may, shows the least sign of hesitating, loses its colors and its sabres, and I cut the trimmings from its uniform.

In the autumn of 1750 Frederick held a famous Berlin carousal, the celebrity of which filled all Europe. Distinguished guests flocked to the city from all the adjoining realms. Wilhelmina came to share in the festivities. Voltaire was also present, the observed of all observers. An English gentleman, Sir Jonas Hanway, in the following terms describes the appearance of Frederick at this time: But the exertion, and the emotion occasioned by the interview with his son, prostrated him again. He was taken back into his palace and to his bed more dead than alive. Reviving a little in the afternoon, he dictated to Frederick all the arrangements he wished to have adopted in reference to his funeral. This curious document is characteristic, in every line, of the strange man. His coffin, which was of massive oak carpentry, had been made for some time, and was in the kings chamber awaiting its occupant. He not unfrequently, with affected or real complacency, fixed his eyes upon it, saying, I shall sleep right well there. In the minute directions to his son as to his burial, he said, They have a daughter, Sophie-Frederike, now near fifteen, and very forward for her age; comely to look upon, wise to listen to. Is not she the suitable one? thinks Frederick in regard to this matter. Pier kindred is of the oldestold as Albert the Bear. She has been frugally brought up, Spartan-like, though as a princess by birth. Let her cease skipping ropes on the ramparts yonder with her young Stettin playmates, and prepare for being a czarina of the Russias, thinks he. And communicates his mind to the czarina, who answers, Excellent! How did I never think of that myself!

Prince Charles was en route for Berlina winters march of a hundred and fifty miles. He was not aware that the King of Prussia was near him, or that the king was conscious of his bold design. On Saturday night, November 20, the army of Prince Charles, forty thousand strong, on its line of march, suspecting no foe near, was encamped in villages, extending for twenty miles along the banks of the Queiss, one of the tributaries of the Oder. Four marches would bring them into Brandenburg. It was the design of Frederick to fall with his whole force upon the centre of this line, cut it in two, and then to annihilate the extremities. Early in the morning of Sunday, the 21st, Frederick put his troops in motion. He marched rapidly all that day, and Monday, and Tuesday. In the twilight of Tuesday evening, a dense fog enveloping the landscape, Frederick, with his concentrated force, fell impetuously upon a division of the Austrian army encamped in the village of Hennersdorf.

The Russians were entering Silesia from the northeast by the way of Poland. Frederick, by one of his incredibly rapid marches, for a time prevented the junction of the two hostile armies. After innumerable marchings and man?uvrings, during which Frederick displayed military ability which commanded the admiration even of his foes, the Prussian king found himself, on the 16th of August, at Nicolstadt, in the very heart of Silesia, at the head of fifty-seven thousand men. In front of him, obstructing his advance, there were sixty thousand Russians. In523 his rear, cutting off his retreat, there were seventy-two thousand Austrians. From a commanding eminence Frederick could watch the movements of both of these hostile bands. Both Russians and Austrians stood in such awe of the prowess of their redoubtable antagonist that they moved cautiously, like hounds surrounding the lion at bay.

Before the sun went down the Austrian army was every where flying from the field in hopeless confusion. Their rush was in four torrents toward the east, to reach the bridges which crossed the Schweidnitz Water. There were four of them. One was on the main road at Lissa; one a mile north at Stabelwitz; and two on the south, one at Goldschmieden, and the other at Hermannsdorf. The victory of Frederick was one of the most memorable in the annals of war. The Austrians lost in killed and wounded ten thousand men. Twenty-one thousand were taken prisoners. This was a heavier loss in numbers than the whole army of Frederick. The victors also took fifty-one flags, and a hundred and sixteen cannon.

The town of Cüstrin, it will be remembered, was utterly consumed, being set on fire by the shells of the Russians. The commandant of the citadel was censured for not having prevented the calamity. He immediately sought an interview with the king, endeavoring to apologize for his conduct. The king, perhaps justly, perhaps very unjustly, interrupted him, saying,

On the 10th of October Frederick was attacked by the gout, and for three weeks was confined to his room. This extraordinary man, struggling, as it were, in the jaws of destruction, beguiled the weary hours of sickness and pain by writing a treatise upon Charles XII. and his Military Character. On the 24th of October, the Russian commander, quarreling with General Daun, set out, with his whole force, for home. On the 1st of November the king was carried in a litter to Glogau. Cold weather having now set in, General Daun commenced a march for Bohemia, to seek winter quarters nearer his supplies. Frederick, his health being restored, rejoined his troops under Henry, which were near Dresden. The withdrawal of both the Russians and Austrians from Silesia greatly elated him. On the 15th of November he wrote to DArgens from Maxen, a village a little south of Dresden:

The case was much canvassed in the army. It was the topic in every tent among officers and men. And among us army chaplains, too, the question of conflicting duties arose. Your king ordering one thing, and your conscience another, what ought a man to do? And what ought an army chaplain to preach or advise?

On the morning of the 9th of November Frederick set out for Berlin, visiting Glogau by the way. On the 11th he entered Berlin, where he was received by the whole population with enthusiastic demonstrations of joy. For a short time he probably thought that through guile he had triumphed, and that his troubles were now at an end. But such victories, under the providence of God, are always of short duration. Frederick soon found that his troubles had but just begun. He had entered295 upon a career of toil, care, and peril, from which he was to have no escape until he was ready to sink into his grave.