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The King of Prussia can not sleep. The officers sit up with him every night, and in his slumbers he raves and talks of spirits and apparitions.

Frederick. 525

Frederick had hardly reached Berlin ere he was astonished to learn, from dispatches from the Old Dessauer, that the Austrians, not content with driving him out of Bohemia, had actually invaded Silesia. Amazed, or affecting amazement, at such audacity, he sent reiterated and impatient orders to his veteran general to fall immediately upon the insolent foe and crush him.

The case is this: I am treated in an unheard of manner by the king; and I know that there are terrible things in preparation against me touching certain letters which I wrote last winter, of which I believe you are informed. In a word, to speak frankly to you, the real, secret reason why the king will not consent to this marriage is, that he wishes to keep me on a low footing85 constantly, and to have the power of driving me mad whenever the whim takes him, throughout his life. Thus he will never give his consent.

The betrothed princess, bewildered, wounded, heart-broken, returned with her parents to her home, there to await the consummation of her sacrifice by being married to a man who had never addressed to her a loving word, and who, in his heart, had resolved never to receive her as his wife. The Crown Prince, unfeeling and reckless, returned to his dissolute life in garrison at Ruppin. The queen continued an active correspondence with England, still hoping to break the engagement of her son with Elizabeth, and to secure for him the Princess Amelia.

The loss of Silesia she regarded as an act of pure highway robbery. It rankled in her noble heart as the great humiliation and disgrace of her reign. Frederick was to her but as a hated and successful bandit, who had wrenched from her crown one of318 its brightest jewels. To the last day of her life she never ceased to deplore the loss. It is said that if any stranger, obtaining an audience, was announced as from Silesia, the eyes of the queen would instantly flood with tears. But the fortunes of war had now triumphantly turned in her favor. Aided by the armies and the gold of England, she was on the high career of conquest. Her troops had overrun Bohemia and Bavaria. She was disposed to hold those territories in compensation for Silesia, which she had lost.

Country, for two days back, was in new alarm by the Austrian garrison of Brieg, now left at liberty, who sallied out upon the villages about, and plundered black cattle, sheep, grain, and whatever they could come at. But this day in Mollwitz the whole Austrian army was upon us. First there went three hundred hussars through the village to Grüningen, who quartered themselves there, and rushed hither and thither into houses, robbing and plundering. From one they took his best horses; from another they took linen, clothes, and other furnitures and victual.

The weal or woe of a single human polyp was, in the view of Frederick, entirely unimportant in comparison with the great enterprises he was ambitious of achieving. For this dismemberment of Poland Frederick was severely assailed in a book entitled Polish Dialogues. In answer to a letter from Voltaire, he wrote, under date of March 2, 1775:

Wilhelmina and her husband soon left for Baireuth. Though the princess thus left the splendors of a royal palace for the far more quiet and humble state of a ducal mansion, still she was glad to escape from a home where she had experienced so many sorrows.