Circumstances had already rendered Frederick one of the most important personages in Europe. He could ally himself with France, and humble Austria; or he could ally himself with England and Austria, and crush France. All the lesser lights in the Continental firmament circulated around these central luminaries. Consequently Frederick was enabled to take a conspicuous part in all the diplomatic intrigues which were then agitating the courts of Europe.
But the exertion, and the emotion occasioned by the interview with his son, prostrated him again. He was taken back into his palace and to his bed more dead than alive. Reviving a little in the afternoon, he dictated to Frederick all the arrangements he wished to have adopted in reference to his funeral. This curious document is characteristic, in every line, of the strange man. His coffin, which was of massive oak carpentry, had been made for some time, and was in the king’s chamber awaiting its occupant. He not unfrequently, with affected or real complacency, fixed his eyes upon it, saying, “I shall sleep right well there.” In the minute directions to his son as to his burial, he said,
On the 11th, Brieg was summoned to surrender. The prompt and resolute response was “No.” The place was found unexpectedly strong, and a gallant little garrison of sixteen hundred men had been assembled behind its walls. Frederick was much annoyed by the delay thus occasioned. He promptly invested the city so as to cut off all supplies, and dispatched an order to Glogau to have the field artillery sent, as speedily as possible, up the Oder to Brieg.
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The raven was a tame one, which had got lost and was seeking for its home. The story, however, spread, and created great sympathy for the imprisoned princess. There was a large number of French refugees in Berlin. With characteristic kindness, at the risk of incurring the royal displeasure, they sent daily a basket of food, which was placed in a situation from which Wilhelmina’s maids could easily convey the contents to her, while compassionate sentries kindly looked the other way. The princess wrote to her father, imploring permission to receive the sacrament, from which she had been debarred for nearly a year. The reply from her-father was couched in the following terms:. “There is the forgiveness of enemies. Your majesty is bound to forgive all men. If you do not do this, how can you ask to be forgiven?”
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