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Each of these ministers makes a most brilliant figure, and never have I seen one travel with more ease and convenience, more elegance and grandeur, than does the Marquis of Montijo. Wherever he stops to dine or sup, he finds a room hung with the richest tapestry, and the floor covered with Turkey carpets, with velvet chairs, and every other kind of convenience; a table sumptuously served, the choicest wines, and a dessert of fruit and confectionery that Paris itself could not excel. This kind of enchantment, this real miracle in Germany, is performed by means of three baggage-wagons, of which two always go before the embassador, and carry with them every thing necessary for his reception. When they arrive in some poor village, the domestics268 that accompany each wagon immediately clear and clean some chamber, fix the tapestry by rings to the walls, cover the floor with carpets, and furnish the kitchen and cellar with every kind of necessary.54

The Polish Dialogues you speak of are not known to me. I think of such satires with Epictetus, If they tell any truth of thee, correct thyself. If they are lies, laugh at them. I have learned, with years, to become a steady coach-horse. I do my stage like a diligent roadster, and pay no heed to the little dogs that will bark by the way. It was an outrage to which Frederick was not disposed to submit. He entered his remonstrances. The question was referred to the British Court of Admiralty. Month after month the decision was delayed. Frederick lost all patience. English capitalists held Silesian bonds to the amount of about one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

During the previous summer, the philosopher Maupertuis, after weary wanderings in the languor of consumption, and in great dejection of spirits, had been stricken by convulsions while in his carriage at Basel. He had lost favor with the king, and was poor, friendless, and dying. His latter years had been imbittered by the venomous assaults of Voltaire.

Who can imagine the conflicting emotions of joy and wretchedness, of triumph and shame, of relief and chagrin, with which the heart of Frederick must have been rent! The army of Prussia had triumphed, under the leadership of his generals, while he, its young and ambitious sovereign, who had unjustly provoked260 war that he might obtain military glory, a fugitive from the field, was scampering like a coward over the plains at midnight, seeking his own safety. Never, perhaps, was there a more signal instance of a retributive providence. Frederick knew full well that the derision of Europe would be excited by caricatures and lampoons of the chivalric fugitive. Nor was he deceived in his anticipations. There was no end to the ridicule which was heaped upon Frederick, galloping, for dear life, from the battle-field in one direction, while his solid columns were advancing to victory in the other. His sarcastic foes were ungenerous and unjust. But when do foes, wielding the weapons of ridicule, ever pretend even to be just and generous? I wrote to Frederick that his ode was beautiful, but that he had better not make it public, lest it should close all the avenues to a reconciliation with the King of France, incense him irremediably, and thus force him to strain every nerve in vengeance.

It would seem that if ever there were an excuse for suicide it was to be found here. But what folly it would have been! Dark as these days were, they led the prince to a crown, and to achievements of whose recital the world will never grow weary. Fritz, goaded to madness, again adopted the desperate resolve to attempt an escape. A young Englishman, Captain Guy Dickens, secretary of the British embassador, Dubourgay, had become quite the intimate friend of the Crown Prince. They conferred together upon plans of escape. But the precautions adopted by the father were such that no plan which they could devise seemed feasible at that time. Fritz confided his thoughts to his friend, Lieutenant Keith, at Berlin.