On the evening of the 5th his Prussian majesty gave a grand ball. All the nobility, high and low, were invited. The provident king arranged that the expenses, which he was to defray, should not exceed half a guinea for each guest. Early hours were fashionable in those days. Frederick entered the assembly-rooms at six oclock, and opened the ball with a Silesian lady. He was very complaisant, and walked through the rooms with a smile upon his countenance, conversing freely with the most distinguished of his guests. About ten oclock he silently withdrew, but the dancing and feasting continued until a late hour.

The king, upon his return from Charlottenburg to Berlin, made no allusion whatever in his family to the matter. In the court, however, it was generally considered that the question, so far as Wilhelmina was concerned, was settled. Hotham held daily interviews with the king, and received frequent communications from the Prince of Wales, who appears to have been very eager for the consummation of the marriage. Many of these letters were shown to Wilhelmina. She was much gratified with the fervor they manifested on the part of a lover who had never yet seen her. In one of these letters the prince says: I conjure you, my dear Hotham, get these negotiations finished. I am madly in love (amoureux comme un fou), and my impatience is unequaled.

As this report was made to the king, he exclaimed, angrily, Let him lie in ward, then, and await the doom which the laws adjudge to him. He is my colonel. He has attempted to desert. He has endeavored to induce others to desert with him. The law speaks plainly enough as to the penalty for such crimes.

Order me, your majesty, said General Saldern, to attack the enemy and his batteries, and I will cheerfully, on the instant, obey; but I can not, I dare not, act against honor, oath, and duty. For this commission your majesty will easily find another person in my stead. What would become of us without philosophy, without this reasonable contempt of things frivolous, transient, and fugitive, about which the greedy and ambitious make such a pother, fancying them to be solid! This is to become wise by stripes, you will tell me. Well, if one do become wise, what matters it how? I read a great deal. I devour my books, and that brings me useful alleviation. But for my books, I think hypochondria would have had me in Bedlam before now. In fine, dear marquis, we live in troublous times and in desperate situations. I have all the properties of a stage heroalways in danger, always on the point of perishing. One must hope that the conclusion will come, and if the end of the piece be lucky, we will forget the rest.169

On the 29th of July the king joined his brother Henry at Sagan, on the Bober, about sixty miles above or south of Frankfort.480 The marches which had been effected by the king and his brother were the most rapid which had then ever been heard of. Greatly perplexed by the inexplicable movements of the Russians, the king pressed on till he effected a junction with the remnant of Wedells defeated army, near Müllrose, within twelve miles of Frankfort. He reached this place on the 3d of August. To Count Finckenstein he wrote:

On the first of May, 1747, Frederick took formal possession of this beautiful chateau. The occasion was celebrated by quite a magnificent dinner of two hundred covers. Here, for the next forty years, he spent most of his leisure time. He had three other palaces, far surpassing Sans Souci in splendor, which he occasionally visited on days of royal festivities. Berlin and Charlottenburg were about twenty miles distant. The New Palace, so called, at Potsdam, was but about a mile from Sans Souci. He had also his palace at Rheinsberg, some thirty miles north of Berlin, where he had spent many of his early days.

Perhaps never before was a monarch surrounded by difficulties so great. The energy and sagacity Frederick displayed have never been surpassed, if ever equaled.

Of these three women who then held the destinies of Europe in their hands, one only, Maria Theresa, in the estimation of the public, had good cause for war. Frederick was undeniably a highway robber, seeking to plunder her. She was heroically, nobly struggling in self-defense. The guilty Duchess of Pompadour, who, having the entire control of the infamous king, Louis XV., was virtually the Empress of France, stung by an insult from Frederick, did not hesitate to deluge Europe in blood, that she might take the vengeance of a woman scorned upon her foe. Catharine II., Empress of Russia, who in moral pollution rivaled the most profligate of kingswhom Carlyle satirizes as a kind of she Louis XIV.also stung by one of Fredericks witty and bitter epigrams, was mainly impelled by personal pique to push forth her armies into the bloody field.

The king having breathed his last, Frederick, in tears, retired to a private room, there to reflect upon the sad receding past, and upon the opening future, with the vast responsibilities thus suddenly thrown upon him. He was now King of Prussia; and not only absolute master of himself, but absolute monarch over a realm containing two millions two hundred and forty thousand souls. He was restrained by no Parliament, no Constitution, no customs or laws superior to his own resolves. He could take advice of others, and call energetic men to his aid, but his will alone was sovereign.