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It would seem that Frederick was not very willing to receive, as his guest, the divine Emilie, who occupied so questionable a position in the household of Voltaire; for he wrote again, on the 5th of August, in reply to a letter from Voltaire, saying, The Crown Prince, with what degree of sincerity we know not, was now in tears. Prostrating himself before his majesty, he kissed his feet. The king, much moved, was in tears also, and retired to another room.

His young daughter Louisa, bride of Victor Leopold, reigning Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg, lay dying of a decline. A few days before her death she said, I wish I could see my father at the head of his regiment once again before I die. The remark was reported to Leopold. He was then with his regiment at Halle, thirty miles distant. Immediately the troops were called out, and marched at rapid pace to Bernburg. With banners flying, music playing, and all customary display of military pomp, they entered the court-yard of the palace. The dying daughter, pale and emaciate, sat at the window. The war-worn father rose in his stirrups to salute his child, and then put his regiment through all its most interesting man?uvrings. The soldiers were then marched to the orphan-house, where the common men were treated with bread and beer, all the officers dining at the princes table. All the officers except Leopold alone, who stole away out of the crowd, sat himself upon the Saale bridge, and wept into the river. 209 The poor old bishop called loudly upon the Emperor of Germany for help. The territory of the Bishop of Liege was under the protection of the empire. The Emperor Charles VI. immediately issued a decree ordering Frederick to withdraw his troops, to restore the money which he had extorted, and to settle the question by arbitration, or by an appeal to the laws of the empire. This was the last decree issued by Charles VI. Two weeks after he died. We have settled our winter quarters. I have yet a little round to take, and afterward I shall seek for tranquillity at Leipsic, if it be to be found there. But, indeed, for me tranquillity is only a metaphysical word which has no reality.

That may well be, rejoined the king, with the cursed life I have been leading.

This roused Voltaire. He did not venture to attack the king, but he assailed M. Maupertuis again, anonymously, but with greatly increased venom. A brief pamphlet appeared, entitled, The Diatribe of Doctor Akakia, Physician to the Pope. It was a merciless satire against M. Maupertuis. Voltaire was entirely unscrupulous, and was perfect master of the language of sarcasm. No moral principle restrained him from exaggerating, misrepresenting, or fabricating any falsehoods which would subserve his purpose. M. Maupertuis was utterly overwhelmed with ridicule. The satire was so keen that few could read it without roars of laughter. Voltaire, the kings guest, was thus exposing to the contempt of all Europe the president of the Berlin Academy, the reputation of which Academy was dear to the king above almost every thing else. An edition of the pamphlet was printed in Holland, and copies were scattered all over Berlin. Another edition was published in Paris, where thirty thousand copies were eagerly purchased. Frederick was in very weak health in these months; still considered by the gazetteers to be dying. But it appears he is not yet too weak for taking, on the instant necessary, a world-important resolution; and of being on the road with it, to this issue or to that, at full speed before the day closed. Desist, good neighbor, I beseech you. You must desist, and even you shall: this resolution was entirely his own, as were the equally prompt arrangements he contrived for executing it, should hard come to hard, and Austria prefer war to doing justice.191

In reference to this event, the prince wrote to his mother from Potsdam, I am in the utmost despair. What I had always apprehended has at last come on me. The king has entirely forgotten that I am his son. This morning I came into his room as usual. At the first sight of me he sprang forward, seized me by the collar, and struck me a shower of blows with his rattan. I tried in vain to screen myself, he was in so terrible a rage, almost out of himself. It was only weariness that made him give up. I am driven to extremity. I have too much honor to endure such treatment, and I am resolved to put an end to it in one way or another.

I forget how the conversation changed. But I know that it grew so free that, seeing somebody coming to join in it, the king warned him to take care, saying that it was not safe to converse with a man doomed by the theologians to everlasting fire. I felt as if he somewhat overdid this of his being doomed, and that he boasted too much of it. Not to hint at the dishonesty of these free-thinking gentlemen, who very often are thoroughly afraid of the devil, it is at least bad taste to make display of such things. And it was with the people of bad taste whom he had about him, and some dull skeptics of his own academy, that he had acquired the habit of mocking at religion.

Do you see the man in the garden yonder, sitting, smoking his pipe? said he to me. That man, you may depend upon it, is not happy.

Berlin, she writes, had become as odious to me as it once was dear. I flattered myself that, renouncing grandeurs, I might lead a soft and tranquil life in my new home, and begin a happier year than the one which had just ended.

I am in the condition of a traveler who sees himself surrounded421 and ready to be assassinated by a troop of cut-throats, who intend to share his spoils. Since the league of Cambrai105 there is no example of such a conspiracy as that infamous triumvirate, Austria, France, Russia, now forms against me. Was it ever before seen that three great princes laid plot in concert to destroy a fourth who had done nothing against them? I have not had the least quarrel either with France or with Russia, still less with Sweden.

We have been unfortunate, my dear marquis, but not by my fault. The victory was ours, and would even have been a complete one, when our infantry lost patience, and at the wrong moment abandoned the field of battle. The Russian infantry is almost totally destroyed. Of my own wrecks, all that I have been able to assemble amounts to thirty-two thousand men. With these I am pushing on to throw myself across the enemys road, and either perish or save the capital. This is not what you will call a deficiency of resolution.