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      The next morning Frederick hastened to greet his sister. Wilhelmina was not pleased with his appearance. The cares of his new reign entirely engrossed his mind. The dignity of an absolute king did not sit gracefully upon him. Though ostentatiously demonstrative in his greeting, the delicate instincts of Wilhelmina taught her that her brothers caresses were heartless. He was just recovering from a fit of the ague, and looked emaciate and sallow. The court was in mourning. During those funereal days no festivities could be indulged in. The queen-mother was decorously melancholy; she seems to have been not only disappointed, but excessively chagrined, to find that she was excluded by her son from the slightest influence in public affairs. The distant, arrogant, and assuming airs of the young king soon rendered him unpopular. M. le President,I have had the honor to receive your letter. You inform me that you are well, and that, if I publish La Beaumelles letter,97 you will come and assassinate me. What ingratitude to your poor Doctor Akakia! If you exalt your soul so as to discern futurity, you will see that, if you come on that errand to Leipsic, where you are no better liked than in other places, you will run some risk of being hanged. Poor me, indeed, you will find in bed. But, as soon as I have gained a little strength, I will have my pistols charged, and, multiplying the394 mass by the square of velocity, so as to reduce the action and you to zero, I will put some lead into your head. It appears that you have need of it. Adieu, my president.

      In the midst of these preparations for a new campaign against a veteran army of two hundred and eighty thousand enemies, Frederick yet found sufficient leisure for peaceable occupations. He consecrated some hours every day to reading, to music, and to the conversation of men of letters.164Most of the faces had the austerity of aspect common to old portraits, as if time had delighted to bring into clearer view the hard, stern traits of character which the painter had dared but faintly to delineate, and had even then done his best to cover up with pleasant coloring, and a final coat of lustrous varnish. Nowhere was this effect more striking than in the portrait of Sir Harry Bergan, earliest emigrant of the name, and father of the American line. The younger son of a noble English house, he had early fallen under the displeasure of a stern father, by reason of careless and spendthrift habits; and had finally been banished, in disgrace, to a small continental town, upon an allowance barely sufficient to keep body and soul together. Under this severe discipline,smarting, too, with a rankling sense of injustice in the treatment that he had received,his character underwent a complete transformation. His carelessness and extravagance, as well as the generosity and frankness of which they had been the rank, ill-trained outgrowth, fell from him like worn-out garments; he became bitter, morose, and dogged.

      "Let me say what I want to say; I shall be so much easier in my mind. Do you know how we came to leave Berganton?"

      Feeling that this was no time to argue with Astra, Bergan turned to the table, which was littered with drawings and sketches, plaster reliefs, and small clay models, to a degree that implied no lack of patient industry, despite the want of encouragement, and the absence of faith.

      "It strikes me that a man must needs judge things beforehand, where his own conscience is concerned," observed Mrs. Bergan, thoughtfully. "You would not expect him to act first, and decide afterward whether he had done right or wrong."

      Chapter 7 OVERBURDENED.


      Frederick was elated with his victory. He had taken three thousand three hundred prisoners, twenty-one cannon, and twenty-two standards. He had added to the renown of his name, and strengthened his hold upon Silesia.


      Heir is a gallant enough young gentleman. Frederick judges that he probably will have haggled to sign any Austrian convention for dismemberment of Baiern, and that he will start into life upon it so soon as he sees hope.


      There was no alternative left the young princess. Unless there were an immediate consummation of the marriage contract with the English Frederick, she was, without delay, to choose between Weissenfels and Schwedt. The queen, in response to this communication, said, I will immediately write to England; but, whatever may be the answer, it is impossible that my daughter should marry either of the individuals whom the king has designated. Baron Grumkow, who was in entire accord with the king, began, says Wilhelmina, quoting Scripture on her majesty, as the devil can on occasion. Wives, be obedient to your husbands, said he. The queen very aptly replied, Yes; but did not Bethuel, the son of Milcah, when Abrahams servant asked his daughter in marriage for young Isaac, answer, We will call the damsel, and inquire of her mouth? It is true, wives must obey their husbands, but husbands must command things just and reasonable.On the 29th of December, the Old Dessauer, with thirty-five thousand men, crossed the frontiers and entered Saxony. He marched rapidly upon Leipsic, and seized the town, from which a division of Rutowskis army precipitately fled. Leopold found here quite a supply of commissary and ordnance stores. He also replenished his empty army-chest by levying a contribution of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars upon the inhabitants.368 Then, by a rapid march northeast to Torgo, on the Elbe, he captured another imperial magazine. Turning south, he pressed his troops along up the river to Myssen, which was within two days easy march of Dresden. Here there was a bridge across the Oder. Frederick was pushing his troops, by forced marches, from Hennersdorf, to effect a junction with Leopold at Myssen. Unitedly they were to fall upon Grüne and Rutowski at Dresden. In the mean time, also, Prince Charles, a despondent man, crushed by domestic woe and humiliating defeats, was moving, by not very energetic steps, to re-enforce the allied troops at Dresden.