报告预测:英德经济受重创 短期难恢复(2)

The whole city of Berlin was agitated by the rumor of these events. The violent scene in the palace had taken place in an apartment on the ground floor. The loud and angry tones of the king, the shrieks of the queen, the cries of the children, the general clamor, had so attracted the attention of the passers-by that a large crowd had assembled before the windows. It was necessary to call out the guard to disperse them. Difficult as it was to exaggerate outrages so infamous, still they were exaggerated. The report went to all foreign courts that the king, in his ungovernable rage, had knocked down the Princess Wilhelmina and trampled her to death beneath his feet.

The allies represented a population of ninety millions. The realms of Frederick embraced scarcely five millions of inhabitants. The allies decided that they would no longer make an exchange of prisoners. It was manifest that, by merely protracting the war, even without any signal successes on the part of the allies, Frederick would find all his resources of men exhausted. Frederick, who was never very scrupulous with regard to the means which he employed for the promotion of his ends, immediately compelled his prisoners of war, of whatever nationality, to enlist in his service. On Sunday he is to rise at seven oclock, and, as soon as he has got his slippers on, shall kneel at his bedside and pray to God, so as all in the room may hear, in these words:

Very well, said the king, impatiently; let us see, then, what there is more.

If the English Princess Amelia come here as the bride of my son, she will bring with her immense wealth. Accustomed to grandeur, she will look contemptuously upon our simplicity. With her money she can dazzle and bribe. I hate my son. He hates me. Aided by the gold of England, my son can get up a party antagonistic to me. No! I will never, never consent to his marrying the Princess Amelia. If he is never married it is83 no matter. Fortunately I have other sons, and the succession will not be disturbed.10

Prince Charles had married the only sister of Maria Theresa. She was young, beautiful, and amiable. While the prince was conducting his arduous campaign on the Moldau, his wife, grief-stricken, consigned her new-born babe to the tomb. The little stranger, born in the absence of his father, had but opened his eyes upon this sad world when he closed them forever. The princess sank rapidly into a decline.

Here the king interrupted him, and with scornful gesture, laying his finger on his nose, and in loud tones, exclaimed,

Done, that Sterbohol work; those foot-chargings, horse-chargings; that battery of Homoly Hill; and, hanging upon that, all manner of redoubts and batteries to the rightward and rearward; but how it was done no pen can describe, nor any intellect in clear sequence understand. An enormous mle there: new Prussian battalions charging, and ever new, irrepressible by case-shot, as they successively get up; Marshal Browne, too, sending for new battalions at double-quick from his left, disputing stiffly every inch of his ground, till at length (hour not given), a cannon shot tore away his foot, and he had to be carried into Prague, mortally wounded. Which probably was a most important circumstance, or the most important of all.

There still remained to Frederick twenty-three years of life. He now engaged very vigorously in the endeavor to repair the terrible ravages of war by encouraging agriculture, commerce, and all useful arts. He invited the distinguished French philosophers Helvetius and DAlembert to visit his court, and endeavored, though unavailingly, to induce them to take up their residence in Berlin. They were both in sympathy with the king in their renunciation of Christianity.

In the mean time, the queen and Wilhelmina, at Berlin, unconscious of the dreadful tidings they were soon to receive, were95 taking advantage of the absence of the king in seeking a few hours of social enjoyment. They gave a ball at the pretty little palace of Monbijou, on the banks of the Spree, a short distance out from Berlin. In the midst of the entertainment the queen received, by a courier, the following dispatch from Frederick William:

Immediately after his return he wrote again: I am now a peaceable inhabitant of Reinsberg, applying myself to study and reading almost from morning till night. With regard to the news of this world, you will learn them better through the gazetteers than through me. They contain the history of the madness and folly of the great, the wars of some, the quarrels of others, and the childish amusements of all. These news are as little worthy the attention of a man of sense as the quarrels of rats and mice would be.25