Compact as a wall, and with an incredible velocity, Seidlitz, in the blaze of rapid steel, is in upon them. From the first it was manifest that the destruction of the advance-guard was certain. The Prussian cavalry slashed through it again and again, throwing it into inextricable disorder. In less than half an hour this important portion of the allied troops was put to utter rout, tumbling off the ground, plunging down hill in full flight, across its own infantry, or whatever obstacle, Seidlitz on the hips of it, and galloping madly over the horizon.


As we have stated, Frederick had declared that if any rumor should be spread abroad of the fact that he had entered into a secret treaty with Austria, he would deny it, and would no longer pay any regard to its stipulations. He had adopted the precaution not to affix his signature to any paper. By this ignoble stratagem he had obtained Neisse and Silesia. The rumor of the secret treaty had gone abroad. He had denied it. And now, in accordance with the principles of his peculiar code of honor, he felt himself at liberty to pursue any course which policy might dictate. The King an Artist.Cruel Exactions of the King.Conflicts of Etiquette.Quarrel with George II.Nuptial Intrigues.Energetic Action of Frederick William.Marriage of Frederica Louisa.Fritz and his Flute.Wrath of the King.Beats Wilhelmina and Fritz.Attempts to strangle Fritz.The Hunt at Wusterhausen.Intrigues in reference to the Double Marriage.Anguish of Wilhelmina.Cruelty of her Mother.Resolve of Fritz to escape to England.

The sun had just risen above the horizon when the conflict commenced. It reached its meridian. Still the storm of battle swept the plains and reverberated over the hills. Heights had been taken and retaken; charges had been made and repelled; the surges of victory had rolled to and fro; over many leagues the thunderbolts of battle were thickly flying; bugle peals, cries of onset, shrieks of the wounded crushed beneath artillery wheels, blended with the rattle of musketry and the roar of artillery; riderless horses were flying in all directions; the extended plain was covered with the wreck and ruin of battle, and every moment was multiplying the victims of wars horrid butchery. May a miller, he exclaimed, fiercely, who has no water, and consequently can not grind, have his mill taken from him? Is that just? Here is a nobleman wishing to make a fish-pond. To get more water for his pond, he has a ditch dug to draw into it a small stream which drives a water-mill. Thereby the miller loses his water, and can not grind. Yet, in spite of this, it is pretended that the miller shall pay his rent, quite the same as at the time when he had full water for his mill. Of course he can not pay his rent. His incomings are gone. When the king, after the Seven Years War, now and then in carnival season dined with the queen in her apartments, he usually said not a word to her. He merely, on entering, on sitting down at table, and leaving it, made the customary bows, and sat opposite to her. Once the queen was ill of gout. The table was in her apartments, but she was not there. She sat in an easy-chair in the drawing-room. On this occasion the king stepped up to the queen and inquired about her health. The circumstance occasioned among the company present, and all over the town, as the news spread, great wonder and sympathy. This is probably the last time he ever spoke to her.193

I found him much grown; an air of health and gayety about him. He caressed me greatly. We went to dinner. He asked me to sit beside him. Among other things, he said that he liked the great world, and was charmed to observe the ridiculous, weak side of some people.

The companions of the king were well-bred men, of engaging manners, commanding intelligence, and accustomed to authority. The entertainment was superb, with an abundance of the richest wines. The conversation took a wide range, and was interesting and exciting to a high degree. The French officers were quite bewildered by the scene. The count was perfect master of the French language, was very brilliant in his sallies, and seemed perfectly familiar with all military affairs. He was treated with remarkable deference by his companions, some of whom were far his superiors in years.

The months rolled rapidly on, and Fritz, having entered his fourteenth year, was appointed by his father, in May, 1725, captain in the Potsdam Grenadier Guard. This giant regiment has attained world-wide renown, solely from the peculiarity of its organization. Such a body of men never existed before, never will again. It was one of the singular freaks of the Prussian king to form a grenadier guard of men of gigantic stature. In the prosecution of this senseless aim not only his own realms were ransacked, but Europe and even Asia was explored in search of giants. The army was with Frederick William the great object of life, and the giant guard was the soul of the army. This guard consisted of three battalions, 800 in each, 2400 in all. The shortest of the men were nearly seven feet high. The tallest were almost nine feet in height. They had been gathered, at an enormous expense, out of every country where they could be found. No greater favor could be conferred upon the king than to obtain for him a giant. Many amusing anecdotes are related of the stratagems to which the king resorted to obtain these mammoth soldiers. Portraits were painted of all of them. Frederick William paid very little regard to individual rights or to the law of nations if any chance presented itself by which he could seize upon one of these monster men. Reigning in absolutism, compared with which the despotism of Turkey is mild, if he found in his domains any young woman of remarkable stature, he would compel her to marry one of his giants. It does not, however, appear that he thus succeeded in perpetuating a gigantic race.

On the 15th, after a restless night, he did not wake until eleven oclock in the morning. For a short time he seemed confused. He then summoned his generals and secretaries, and gave his orders with all his wonted precision. He then called in his three clerks and dictated to them upon various subjects. His directions to an embassador, who was about leaving, filled four quarto pages.

After having restored peace to my kingdom; after having conquered countries, raised a victorious army, and filled my treasury; after having established a good administration throughout my dominions; after having made my enemies tremble, I resign, without regret, this breath of life to Nature.