In carrying forward these intrigues at the camp of Frederick, the Count of Belleisle had an associate minister in the embassy, M. De Valori. A slight incident occurred in connection with this minister which would indicate, in the view of most persons, that Frederick did not cherish a very high sense of honor. M. Valori was admitted to an audience with his Prussian majesty. During the interview, as the French minister drew his hand from his pocket, he accidentally dropped a note upon the floor. Frederick, perceiving it, slyly placed his foot upon it. As soon as the minister had bowed himself out, Frederick eagerly seized the273 note and read it. It contained some secret instructions to M. Valori from the French court, directing him not to give Glatz to his Prussian majesty if it could possibly be avoided. Frederick did not perceive any thing ignoble in this act of his, for he records it himself;56 neither does Mr. Carlyle condemn him.57 Most readers will probably regard it as highly dishonorable. Retire from Silesia! exclaimed the king, vehemently. And277 for money? Do you take me for a beggar? Retire from Silesia, in the conquest of which I have expended so much blood and treasure! No, sir, no. That is not to be thought of. If you have no better proposals to suggest, it is not worth while talking.

When did you get rid of your guests? inquired the king.

About six miles from Ruppin there was the village of Reinsberg, containing about one thousand inhabitants, clustered around an ancient dilapidated castle. Frederick was with his regiment in Ruppin. The Princess Royal, his wife, resided in Berlin. There was an ostensible reason for this separation in the fact that there was no suitable mansion for the royal couple at Ruppin. The castle, with its extensive grounds, belonged to a French refugee. The king purchased it, and assigned it to his son. As the whole estate was in a condition of extreme dilapidation, Frederick immediately commenced improvements and repairs.153 The building, the gardens, the forests, and the surrounding lands rapidly assumed a new aspect, until Reinsberg became one of the most attractive spots in Europe. A few days ago I happened to take a very early walk about a mile from Potsdam, and seeing some soldiers under arms in a field at a small distance from the road, I went toward them. An officer on horseback, whom I took to be the major, for he gave the word of command, was uncommonly active, and often rode among the ranks to reprimand or instruct the common men. When I came nearer I was much surprised to find that this was the king himself.

Frederick. At one moment the Russian horse dashed against this line and staggered it. Frederick immediately rushed into the vortex to rally the broken battalions. At the same instant the magnificent squadrons of Seidlitz, five thousand strong, flushed with victory, swept like the storm-wind upon the Russian dragoons. They were whirled back like autumn leaves before the gale. About four oclock the firing ceased. The ammunition on both sides was nearly expended. For some time the Prussians had been using the cartridge-boxes of the dead Russians.

The young lady was not beautiful, and there was no evidence of the slightest improprieties, or of any approach even to flirtation. But the infuriate king, who, without the shadow of reason, could accuse his own daughter of infamy, caused this young lady, under the pretext that she had been the guilty intimate of his son, to be taken from her parents, to be delivered to the executioners, and to be publicly conveyed in a cart and whipped on the bare back through the principal streets of the town. She was then imprisoned, and doomed to beat hemp as a culprit for three years. The king could be very courteous. He gave a dinner-party, at which General Loudon, one of the most efficient of the Austrian generals, and who had often been successfully opposed to Frederick, was a guest. As he entered the king said, A spy was sent to Saxony, who reported that there were but twenty thousand troops there. All necessary information was promptly and secretly obtained in reference to roads and fortresses. It required three weeks to receive an answer from Vienna.404 The reply was evasive, as Frederick knew that it would be. In the mean time, his Prussian majesty, with characteristic energy, had mustered on the frontier an army numbering in the aggregate nearly one hundred and fifty thousand men. These troops, in three divisions, with two thousand pieces of artillery, were to make a rush upon Saxony. Among the directions given by Frederick to the leaders of these divisions were the following: