Keith, trembling in every limb, returned to the stable. Though Rochow pretended not to suspect any attempt at escape, it was manifestly pretense only. The prince had provided himself with a red overcoat as a disguise to his uniform, the gray one having been left with Katte at Potsdam. As Fritz was returning to the barn with Rochow, wearing this suspicious garment, they met the minister Seckendorf, whom Fritz and his mother thoroughly hated as one of the counselors of the king. Very coolly and cuttingly Rochow inquired of Seckendorf, How do you like his royal highness in the red overcoat? It was a desperate game these men were playing; for, should the king suddenly91 die, Fritz would surely inherit the crown, and they would be entirely at his mercy. All hope of escape seemed now to vanish, and the prince was quite in despair.

Frederick, having regained Silesia, was anxious for peace. He wrote a polite letter to Maria Theresa, adroitly worded, so as to signify that desire without directly expressing it. The empress queen, disheartened by the disasters of Rossbach and Leuthen, was rather inclined to listen to such suggestions; but the Duchess448 of Pompadour verified the adage that hell has no fury like a woman scorned. She governed the wretched Louis XV., and through him governed France. In her intense personal exasperation against Frederick she would heed no terms of compromise, and infused new energy into all warlike operations. Large subsidies were paid by France to Austria, Sweden, and Russia, to prepare for the campaign of 1758. Early the next morning, Czernichef, greatly admiring the exploit Frederick had performed, commenced his march home. Just before this there was a change in the British ministry, and the new cabinet clamored for peace. England entered into a treaty with France, and retired from the conflict. Frederick, vehemently upbraiding the English with treacherythe same kind533 of treachery of which he had repeatedly been guiltymarched upon Schweidnitz. After a vigorous siege of two months he captured the place.

Voltaire embraced the opportunity of giving vent to his malice in epigrams and lampoons. Frederick was by no means insensible to public opinion, but he was ever willing to brave that opinion if by so doing he could accomplish his ambitious ends.

The Emperor Joseph had been embarrassed in his ambitious plans by the conscientious scruples of his mother. He now entered into a secret alliance with the Czarina Catharine, by which he engaged to assist her in her advance to Constantinople, while she, in her turn, was to aid him in his encroachments and annexations to establish an empire in the West as magnificent as the czarina hoped to establish in the East. My dearest Brother,Your letter and the one you wrote to Voltaire have nearly killed me. What fatal resolutions, great God! Ah! my dear brother, you say you love me, and you drive a dagger into my heart. Your epistle, which I did receive, made me shed rivers of tears. I am now ashamed of such weakness. My misfortune would be so great that I should find worthier resources than tears. Your lot shall be mine. I shall not survive your misfortunes, or those of the house I belong to. You may calculate that such is my firm resolution. 530

At Wesel the king met Maupertuis, to whom we have already alluded, who was then one of the greatest of European celebrities. His discovery of the flattening of the earth at the poles had given him such renown that the kings of Russia, France, and Prussia were all lavishing honors upon him. It was a great gratification to Frederick that he had secured his services in organizing the Berlin Academy. While at Wesel the king was seized by a fever, which shut him up for a time in the small chateau of Moyland. He had never yet met Voltaire, and being very anxious to see him, wrote to him as follows, under date of September 6th, 1740:

Frederick speedily concentrated all his strength at Bautzen, and strove to draw the Austrians into a battle; but in vain. The heights upon which they were intrenched, bristling with cannon, he could not venture to assail. After three weeks of impatient man?uvring, Frederick gathered his force of fifty thousand424 men close in hand, and made a sudden rush upon Bernstadt, about fifty miles to the east of Bautzen. Here he surprised an Austrian division, scattered it to the winds, seized all its baggage, and took a number of prisoners. He also captured the field equipage, coach, horses, etc., of General Nadasti, who narrowly escaped.

Of these three women who then held the destinies of Europe in their hands, one only, Maria Theresa, in the estimation of the public, had good cause for war. Frederick was undeniably a highway robber, seeking to plunder her. She was heroically, nobly struggling in self-defense. The guilty Duchess of Pompadour, who, having the entire control of the infamous king, Louis XV., was virtually the Empress of France, stung by an insult from Frederick, did not hesitate to deluge Europe in blood, that she might take the vengeance of a woman scorned upon her foe. Catharine II., Empress of Russia, who in moral pollution rivaled the most profligate of kingswhom Carlyle satirizes as a kind of she Louis XIV.also stung by one of Fredericks witty and bitter epigrams, was mainly impelled by personal pique to push forth her armies into the bloody field.