In August, 1785, the king again visited Silesia to review his troops. A private letter, quoted by Carlyle, gives an interesting view of his appearance at the time:

Yes, the Crown Prince replied; and I promise you that she will drive away your demon as well as mine.

I am not afraid in contemplating the dread tribunal before which I must now so soon appear. I am certain of my cause. Look at me! A man that is certain of his cause can enter on such a journey with good courage and a composed mind. A smile flitted across Kattes pallid features as he replied, Death is sweet for a prince I love so well. With fortitude he ascended the scaffold. The executioner attempted to bandage his eyes, but he resisted, and, looking to heaven, said, Father, into thy hands I surrender my soul! Four grenadiers held Fritz with his face toward the window. Fainting, he fell senseless upon the floor. At the same moment, by a single blow, Kattes head rolled upon the scaffold. As the prince recovered consciousness, he found himself still at the window, in full view of the headless and gory corpse of his friend. Another swoon consigned him to momentary unconsciousness.16

Coarse brown clothes of plainest cut were furnished him. His flute was taken from him, and he was deprived of all books but the Bible and a few devotional treatises. He was allowed a daily sum, amounting to twelve cents of our money, for his foodeight cents for his dinner and four for his supper. His food was purchased at a cook-shop near by, and cut for him. He was not permitted the use of a knife. The door was opened three times a day for ventilationmorning, noon, and nightbut not for more than four minutes each time. A single tallow-candle was allowed him; but that was to be extinguished at seven oclock in the evening. On Saturday morning, August 28, 1756, the Prussian army, over one hundred thousand strong, entered Saxony at three different points on the northern frontier. Frederick, with about sixty thousand troops, crossed the Elbe at Torgau, and seized upon Leipsic. Duke Ferdinand, of Hanover, led his columns405 across the frontier about eighty miles to the right. The Duke of Brunswick-Bevern crossed about the same distance to the left. Each column was stronger than the whole Saxon army. The appointed place of rendezvous for the three divisions was the city of Dresden, the capital of Saxony. By the route marked out, each column had a distance of about one hundred and fifty miles to traverse. 383 My good Thuringian, said the king, you came to Berlin seeking to earn your bread by the industrious teaching of children, and here at the custom-house they have taken your money from you. True, the batzen are not legal here. They should have said to you, You are a stranger and did not know of the prohibition. We will seal up the bag of batzen. You can send it back to Thuringia and get it changed for other coin. Be of good heart, however. You shall have your money again, and interest too. But, my poor man, in Berlin they do not give any thing gratis. You are a stranger. Before you are known and get to teaching, your bit of money will be all gone. What then?


The eastern half of the immense quadrangle endeavored to reform itself, so as to present a new front to the foe. But, before this could be done, Frederick hurled his right wing, his centre, and all that remained disposable of his left wing upon it. His cavalry plunged into the disordered mass. His batteries, with almost unprecedented rapidity of fire, tore the tumultuous and panic-stricken ranks to shreds; and his line of infantry, like a supernatural wall of bristling steel, unwaveringly advanced, pouring in upon the foe the most deadly volleys.

There they informed her that they had each received a letter the night before from the king, the contents of which they were73 forbidden, under penalty of death, from communicating to any one but to her. The king wished them to say to her majesty that he would no longer endure her disobedience in reference to the marriage of Wilhelmina; that, in case this disobedience continued, there should be an entire separation between him and his wifea divorceand that she and her daughter should both be banished to the chateau of Oranienburg, about twenty miles from Berlin, and there held in close imprisonment. The king was willing that Sophie Dorothee should write once more, and only once more, to her brother, George II., and demand of him a categorical answer, yes or no, whether he would consent to the immediate marriage of the Prince of Wales and Wilhelmina. The king would wait a fortnight for an answer, or, if the winds were contrary, three weeks; but not a day more. Should no answer in that time be returned, or a negative or an evasive answer, then Wilhelmina was to make her immediate choice of a husband between either the Duke of Weissenfels or the Marquis of Schwedt, and to be married without delay.9

His Prussian majesty rides much about, often at a rapid rate, with a pleasant business aspecthumane, though imperative; handsome to look upon, though with a face perceptibly reddish. His age, now thirty-eight gone; a set appearance, as if already got into his forties; complexion florid; figure muscular, almost tending to be plump.

During this time, in May, the king wrote a very bitter and satirical ode against Louis XV.the plaything of the Pompadour, polluted with his amours, and disgracefully surrendering the government of his realms to chance. The ode he sent to Voltaire. The unprincipled poet, apprehending that the ode might come to light, and that he might be implicated, treacherously sent it to the prime minister, the Duke De Choiseul, to be shown to the king. At the same time, he wrote to Frederick that he had burned the ode. In the account which Voltaire himself gives of this disgraceful transaction, he writes:

Frederick William was very anxious that little Fritz should be trained to warlike tastes and habits; that, like himself, he should scorn all effeminacy; that, wearing homespun clothes, eating frugal food, despising all pursuits of pleasure and all literary tastes, he should be every inch a soldier. But, to the bitter disappointment of the father, the child manifested no taste for soldiering. He was gentle, affectionate, fond of books and music,4 and with an almost feminine love clung to his sister. The29 stern old king was not only disappointed, but angered. These were qualities which he deemed unmanly, and which he thoroughly despised.

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.