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      CHAPTER VI. THE MARRIAGE OF WILHELMINA.As to the brave young Queen of Hungary, my admiration goes with that of all the world. Not in the language of flattery, but of evident fact, the royal qualities abound in that high274 young lady. Had they left the world, and grown to mere costume elsewhere, you might find certain of them again here. Most brave, high and pious minded; beautiful too, and radiant with good-nature, though of temper that will easily catch fire; there is, perhaps, no nobler woman then living. And she fronts the roaring elements in a truly grand, feminine manner, as if Heaven itself and the voice of Duty called her. The inheritances which my fathers left me, we will not part with these. Death if it so must be, but not dishonor.

      Well, then, that is all the more reason why you should not refuse what I offer you.

      I have the labors of Hercules to perform, at an age, too, when my strength is leaving me, when my infirmities increase, and, to speak the truth, when hope, the only consolation of the unhappy, begins to desert me. You are not sufficiently acquainted with the posture of affairs to know the dangers which threaten the state. I know them, but conceal them. I keep all my fears to myself, and communicate to the public only my hopes and the trifle of good news I may now and then have. If the blow I now meditate succeeds, then, my dear marquis, will be the time to express our joy. But, till then, do not let us flatter ourselves, lest unexpected bad news deject us too much.Never before could he have so clearly understood what was meant by the "bands" of sins, committed, not of deliberate intent, but through frailty. How painfully he felt the pressure of those bands! how certainly they would cramp his efforts and hinder his progress! And how singularly distinct they had become to his sight, both in their nature and their effects, by means of that old, oft-repeated, yet ever new, Collect!

      511 After having sacrificed my youth to my father, and my maturer age to my country, I think that I have acquired the right to dispose of my old age as I please. I have told you, and I repeat it, my hand shall never sign a disgraceful peace. I shall continue this campaign with the resolution to dare all, and to try the most desperate things, either to succeed or to find a glorious end.

      It afflicted me a little that the king still has doubts of me, while I am obeying in such a matter diametrically opposite to my own ideas. In what way shall I offer stronger proofs? I may give myself to the devil, it will be to no purpose. Nothing but the old song over again, doubt on doubt. Dont imagine I am going to disoblige the duke, the duchess, or the daughter, I beseech you. I know too well what is due to them, and too much respect their merits, not to observe the strictest rules of what is proper, even if I hated their progeny and them like the pestilence.

      Thus was Silesia reunited to the dominions of Prussia. Two years of war sufficed for the conquest of this important province. The treasure which the late king had left was nearly exhausted. But it is a cheap purchase, where whole provinces are bought for seven or eight millions of crowns. The union of circumstances at the moment peculiarly favored this enterprise. It was necessary for it that France should allow itself to be drawn into the war; that Russia should be attacked by Sweden; that, from timidity, the Hanoverians and Saxons should remain inactive; that the successes of the Prussians should be uninterrupted; and that the King of England, the enemy of Prussia, should become, in spite of himself, the instrument of its aggrandizement. What, however, contributed the most to this conquest was an army which had been formed for twenty-two years, by means of a discipline admirable in itself, and superior to the troops of the316 rest of Europe. Generals, also, who were true patriots, wise and incorruptible ministers, and, finally, a certain good fortune which often accompanies youth, and often deserts a more advanced age.70


      DArgens spent the winter with the king at Leipsic. He gives the following incident: One day I entered the kings apartment, and found him sitting on the floor with a platter of fried meat, from which he was feeding his dogs. He had a little rod, with which he kept order among them, and shoved the best bits to his favorites.


      You will find his book on the third shelf in the library; look it over.The negro pointed to the Major's cottage. "Ole massa is thar," he answered. "He tole me, when you's t'rough, to ax you to come an' see him."