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In reference to this campaign the king subsequently wrote: At the death of the emperor there were but two Austrian regiments in Silesia. Being determined to assert my right to that duchy, I was obliged to make war during the winter, that I might make the banks of the Neisse the scene of action. Had I waited till the spring, what we gained by one single march would certainly have cost us three or four difficult campaigns.44

One week after the reception of this letter the Crown Prince wrote to Baron Grumkow in the following flippant and revolting strain. He probably little imagined that the letter was to be read by all Europe and all America. But those whose paths through life lead over the eminences of rank and power can not conceal their words or deeds from the scrutiny of the world. Grumkow, a very shrewd man, had contrived to secure influence over both the father and the son. The princes letter was dated Cüstrin, February 11, 1732:

It was supposed that his Prussian majesty would now march southwest for the invasion of Bohemia. Austria made vigorous preparations to meet him there. Much to the surprise and bewilderment449 of the Austrians, the latter part of April Frederick directed his columns toward the southeast. His army, about forty thousand strong, was in two divisions. By a rapid march through Neisse and Jagerndorf he reached Troppau, on the extreme southern frontier of Silesia. He then turned to the southwest. It was again supposed that he intended to invade Bohemia, but from the east instead of from the north.

Monsieur Keith, said the king to him, I am sorry we had to spoil Madames fine shrubbery by our man?uvres; have the goodness to give her that, with my apologies, and handed him a pretty casket with key to it, and in the interior 10,000 crowns. The next morning, in the intense cold of midwinter, Frederick set out several hours before daylight for the city of Prague, which the French and Bavarians had captured on the 25th of November. Declining all polite attentions, for business was urgent, he eagerly sought M. De Schelles, the renowned head of the commissariat department, and made arrangements with him to perform the extremely difficult task of supplying the army with food in a winters campaign.

But, in the midst of these scenes of gayety, the king was contemplating the most complicated combinations of diplomacy. Europe was apparently thrown into a state of chaos. It was Fredericks one predominant thought to see what advantages he could secure to Prussia from the general wreck and ruin. Lord Macaulay, speaking of these scenes, says:

I am authorized to offer your majesty two million guilders [,000,000] if your majesty will consent to relinquish this enterprise and retire from Silesia.

Amiti, plaisir des grandes ames; Amiti, que les rois, ces illustres ingrats Sont assez malheureux de ne conna?tre pas!

437 Yes, death or victory, they shouted. Then from loving lips the cheer ran along the line, Good-night, Fritz.

On the 15th of June Frederick gave a grand dinner to his generals at his head-quarters. In an after-dinner speech he said to them,

On the 18th of February, 1730, some affairs of state led the king to take a trip to Dresden to see the King of Poland. He decided to take Fritz with him, as he was afraid to leave him behind. Fritz resolved to avail himself of the opportunity which the journey might offer to attempt his escape. He was unwilling to do this without bidding adieu to his sister, who had been the partner of so many of his griefs. It was not easy to obtain a private interview. On the evening of the 17th of February, as Wilhelmina, aided by her governess, was undressing for bed, the door of the anteroom of her chamber was cautiously opened, and a young gentleman, very splendidly dressed in French costume, entered. Wilhelmina, terrified, uttered a shriek, and endeavored to hide herself behind a screen. Her governess, Madam Sonsfeld, ran into the anteroom to ascertain what such an intrusion meant. The remainder of the story we will give in the words of Wilhelmina: