It was there that I saw one of the most amiable men in the world, who forms the charm of society, who would be every where sought after if he were not a king; a philosopher without austerity, full of sweetness, complaisance, and obliging waysnot remembering that he is king when he meets his friends; indeed, so completely forgetting it that he made me too almost forget it, and I needed an effort of memory to recollect that I here saw, sitting at the foot of my bed, a sovereign who had an army of a hundred thousand men.

There was an institution, if we may so call it, in the palace of the King of Prussia which became greatly renowned, and which was denominated The Tobacco College, or Tobacco Parliament. It consisted simply of a smoking-room very plainly furnished,46 where the king and about a dozen of his confidential advisers met to smoke and to talk over, with perfect freedom and informality, affairs of state. Carlyle thus quaintly describes this Tabagie:

There was a small garrison at Glatz, at Silesia, which, though closely besieged, still held out against the Austrians. Frederick thought that if he could by any stratagem draw General Daun from Dresden, he could, by a sudden rush, break down its walls and seize the city. He moved with celerity which completely deceived the Austrian commander. At two oclock in the morning of Wednesday, July 2d, his whole army was almost on the run toward Silesia. They marched as troops never marched before.502 For twelve hours their speed was unintermitted. The next day, in utter exhaustion, they rested. But on Friday, as the village clocks were tolling the hour of midnight, all were again on the move, the king himself in front. Again it was a run rather than a march through a dreary realm of bogs, wild ravines, and tangled thickets. At three oclock on Saturday morning the march was resumed.

403 Frederick was in great perplexity. To wait for his enemies to complete their arrangements, and to commence the attack at their leisure, placed him at great disadvantage. To begin the attack himself, and thus to open anew the floodgates of war, would increase the hostility with which the nations were regarding him. As the diplomacy of the foreign cabinets had been secret, he would universally be regarded as the aggressor. England was Fredericks only allya treacherous ally, influenced not by sympathy for Frederick, but by hatred of France, and by fear of the loss of Hanover. The British cabinet would abandon Prussia the first moment it should see it to be for its interest to do so.

A few days after her arrival at Berlin, Fritz, on short leave of absence, ran over from Ruppin, and had a brief interview with his sister, whom he had not seen since her marriage. The royal family supped together, with the exception of the king, who was absent. At the table the conversation turned upon the future princess royal, Elizabeth. The queen said, addressing Wilhelmina, and fixing her eyes on Fritz, Sir Thomas, deeply chagrined, hastened back to Presburg. Acting in behalf of the English cabinet, he trembled in view of the preponderance of the French court and of the loss of Hanover. With the most impassioned earnestness he entreated the queen to yield to the demands of Frederick, and thus secure his alliance.

How is it possible, my lord, to believe things so contradictory? It is mighty fine, all this that you now tell me, on the part of the King of England. But how does it correspond with his last speech in Parliament, and with the doings of his ministers at Petersburg and at the Hague, to stir up allies against me? I have reason to doubt the sincerity of the King of England. Perhaps he means to amuse me. But (with an oath55)269 he is mistaken. I will risk every thing rather than abate the least of my pretensions.

The king was scrupulously clean, washing five times a day. He would allow no drapery, no stuffed furniture, no carpets in27 his apartments. They caught dust. He sat upon a plain wooden chair. He ate roughly, like a farmer, of roast beef, despising all delicacies. His almost invariable dress was a close military blue coat, with red cuffs and collar, buff waistcoat and breeches, and white linen gaiters to the knee. A sword was belted around his loins, and, as we have said, a stout rattan or bamboo cane ever in his hand. A well-worn, battered, triangular hat covered his head. He walked rapidly through the streets which surrounded his palaces at Potsdam and Berlin. If he met any one who attracted his attention, male or female, he would abruptly, menacingly inquire, Who are you? A street-lounger he has been known to hit over the head with his cane, exclaiming, Home, you rascal, and go to work. If any one prevaricated or hesitated, he would sternly demand, Look me in the face. If there were still hesitancy, or the king were dissatisfied with the answers, the one interrogated was lucky if he escaped without a caning.3

I got to Berneck at ten. The heat was excessive. I found myself quite worn out with the little journey I had taken. I alighted at the house which had been got ready for my brother. We waited for him, and in vain waited till three in the afternoon. At three we lost patience; had dinner served without157 him. While we were at table there came on a frightful thunder-storm. I have witnessed nothing so terrible. The thunder roared and reverberated among the rocky cliffs which begirdle Berneck, and it seemed as if the world were going to perish. A deluge of rain succeeded the thunder.

The reception of the princess was so cruel, by Queen Sophie and her younger daughter Charlotte, that the inexperienced maiden of but seventeen summers must have been perfectly wretched. But she could only bear her anguish in silence. There was nothing for her to say, and nothing for her to do. She was led, by resistless powers, a victim to the sacrifice.

Let us deceive the fever, my dear Voltaire, and let me have at least the pleasure of embracing you. Make my best excuses to Madame the Marquise that I can not have the satisfaction of seeing her at Brussels. All that are about me know the intention I was in, which certainly nothing but the fever could make me change.

As the ladies of the court were gazing upon this spectacle, an121 officer rode up to the royal carriage, cap in hand, and said that he was directed to present to the queen and princess his Highness the Prince of Baireuth. Immediately a tall young man, in rich dress and of very courtly air, rode up to the carriage and saluted his future mother and his destined bride. His reception was very chilling. The queen, with frigid civility, scarcely recognized his low bow. Wilhelmina, faint from fasting, anxiety, and sleeplessness, was so overcome by her emotions that she fell back upon her seat in a swoon.

General Finck was stationed at Maxen, with about fifteen thousand men, to cut the communications of Daun with Bohemia. Frederick, in his undue elation, was quite sure of inflicting terrible blows upon Daun. He issued imperative commands to General Finck to fight the allies regardless of their numbers. The Prussian general did not dare to disobey this command and withdraw from his commanding position, even when he saw himself being surrounded with such superior forces as would almost certainly crush him.