Still the queen-mother, Sophie Dorothee, clung to the double marriage. Her brother, George II., was now King of England. His son Fred, who had been intended for Wilhelmina, was not a favorite of his fathers, and had not yet been permitted to go to England. In May, 1728, he was twenty-one years of age. He was living idly in Hanover, impatient to wed his cousin Wilhelmina, who was then nineteen years of age. He seems to have secretly contemplated, in conference with Wilhelminas mother, Sophie Dorothee, a trip incognito to Berlin, where he would marry the princess clandestinely, and then leave it with the royal papas to settle the difficulty the best way they could. The plan was not executed. Wilhelmina manifested coquettish indifference to the whole matter. She, however, writes that Queen Sophie was so confidently expecting him that she took every ass or mule for his royal highness.

Wilhelmina endeavored to reply. But the angry mother sternly exclaimed, Silence! and the tortured girl left the apartment, weeping bitterly. Even Fritz took his mothers part, and reproached Wilhelmina for not acceding to her plan. New troubles were thickening around him. He was in debt. The king had found it out. To his fathers stern questioning, Fritz, in his terror, had uttered deliberate falsehood. He confessed a debt of about eight hundred dollars, which his father had detected, and solemnly declared that this was all. In fact, he owed an additional sum of seven thousand dollars. Should the king discover this debt, and thus detect Fritz in a lie, his rage would be tremendous. The king paid the eight hundred dollar debt of his son, and then issued a decree declaring that to lend money to any princes of the blood, even to the prince royal, was a high crime, to be punished, not only by forfeiture of the money, but78 by imprisonment. The king had begun to suspect that Fritz intended to escape. He could not escape without money. The king therefore took special precautions that his purse should be ever empty, and watched him with renewed vigilance.

Of what did he die? he coldly inquired of the messenger.

On Tuesday evening, October 24, 1758, Frederick, in a rapid and secret march, protected by darkness, pushed his whole army around the right wing of the Austrian encampment, and took a very strong position at Reichenbach, in the rear of Marshal Daun, and on the road to Neisse. The Austrian general, astonished at this bold and successful man?uvre, now found that the march of Frederick to Neisse could by no possibility be prevented except by attacking him on his own chosen ground. This he did not dare to do. He therefore resolved to make a rush with his whole army to the west for the capture of Dresden. Frederick, in the mean time, by forced marches, was pressing forward to the east for the relief of Neisse. Thus the two armies were flying from each other in opposite directions.


I have the honor to inform your humanity that we are Christianly preparing to bombard Neisse; and that, if the place will not surrender of good-will, needs must that it be beaten to powder. For the rest, our affairs go the best in the world; and soon233 thou wilt hear nothing more of us, for in ten days it will all be over, and I shall have the pleasure of seeing you and hearing you in about a fortnight.

Nothing touched me so much as that you had not any trust in me. All this that I was doing for the aggrandizement of the house, the army, and the finances, could only be for you, if you made yourself worthy of it. I here declare that I have done all things to gain your friendship, and all has been in vain.

If you wish to come hither you can. I hear nothing of lawsuits, not even of yours. Since you have gained it I congratulate389 you, and I am glad that this scurvy affair is done.96 I hope you will have no more quarrels, either with the Old or the New Testament. Such contentions leave their mark upon a man. Even with the talents of the finest genius in France, you will not cover the stains which this conduct will fasten on your reputation in the long run. I write this letter with the rough common sense of a German, without employing equivocal terms which disfigure the truth. It is for you to profit by it.

It was a sore calamity to Frederick. Had General Schmettau held out only until the next day, which he could easily have done, relief would have arrived, and the city would have been saved. Frederick was in a great rage, and was not at all in the mood to be merciful, or even just. He dismissed the unfortunate general from his service, degraded him, and left him to die in poverty.

139 I beg you labor at this affair. When one hates romantic heroines as heartily as I do, one dreads those timid virtues; and I had rather marry the greatest profligate21 in Berlin than a devotee with half a dozen bigots at her beck. If it were still possible to make her a Calvinist! But I doubt that. I will insist, however, that her grandmother have the training of her. What you can do to help me in this, my dear friend, I am persuaded you will do.

The king smiled, and immediately entered very vigorously upon business. It was not possible, under these circumstances, for him deeply to mourn over the death of so tyrannical a father. Frederick was twenty-eight years of age. He is described as a handsome young man, five feet seven inches in stature, and of graceful presence. The funeral ceremonies of the deceased monarch were conducted essentially according to the programme already given. The body of the king mouldered to dust in the sepulchre of his fathers. His spirit returned to the God who gave it.