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"No, thank you," replied Carice, letting her eyes go back to the far, dark line of the pine forest.
Frederick cautiously refused to sign his name to any paper. Verbally, he agreed that in one week from that time, on the 16th, General Neipperg should have liberty to retire to the south through the mountains, unmolested save by sham attacks in his rear. A small garrison was to be left in Neisse. After maintaining a sham siege for a fortnight, they were to surrender the291 city. Sham hostilities, to deceive the French, were to be continued until the year was out, and then a treaty was to be signed and ratified.From this exhausting journey for so old a man the king returned to Potsdam through a series of state dinners, balls, and illuminations. On the night of the 18th of September he was awoke by a very severe fit of suffocation. It was some time before he could get any relief, and it was thought that he was dying. The next day gout set in severely. This was followed by dropsy. The king suffered severely through the winter. There is no royal road through the sick-chamber to the tomb. The weary months of pain and languor came and went. The renowned Mirabeau visited the king in his sick-chamber on the 17th of April, 1786. He writes:
He could now see that he stood in a wide and lofty entrance-hall, decorated with a profusion of carved woodwork; panels, cornices, and casements, being ornamented with garlands of oaken roses, or quaint heads of animals, stiff as petrifactions, and almost ebon-black with time and rubbing. The furniture consisted of a small table, a cumbrous cabinet, and ponderous, high-backed chairs, of the Elizabethan age, or perhaps earlier, brought from England, as heir-looms, by the first emigrant Bergan. There was also a tall, spectral clock, which, to Bergan's intense astonishment, suddenly began to fill the hall with a loud, monotonous tick, as if the march of time, long ago arrested in the deserted mansion, was now duly resumed:doubtless the rusty wheels had been jarred into spasmodic motion by the violent closing of the door. By way of decoration, there were a few dingy pictures, in dark, carved frames; and in two of the oaken panels hung complete suits of armor,helmets, cuirasses, gorgets, greaves, and gauntlets,memorials, not only of long-buried Bergans, but of long-vanished days.There was but one short war in which Frederick William engaged during his reign of twenty-seven years. That was with Charles XII. of Sweden. It lasted but a few months, and from it the Prussian king returned victorious. The demands of Frederick William were not unreasonable. As he commenced the brief campaign, which began and ended with the siege of Stralsund, he said: Why will the very king whom I most respect compel me to be his enemy? In his characteristic farewell order to his ministers, he wrote: My wife shall be told of all things, and counsel asked of her. And as I am a man, and may be shot dead, I command you and all to take care of Fritz, as God shall reward you. And I give you all, wife to begin with, my curse that God may punish you in time and eternity if you do not, after my death, bury me in the vault of the palace church at Berlin. And you shall make no grand to-do on the occasion. On your body and life no festivals and ceremonials, except that the regiments, one after the other, fire a volley over me. I am assured that you will manage every thing with all the exactness in the world, for which I shall ever, zealously, as long as I live, be your friend.
It was the first time that Doctor Remy had entered upon the territory of Bergan Hall. He was surprised both at its extent, and its signs of opulence. As he passed the stately, deserted mansion,showing so fair in the moonlight, under its grand, sheltering oaks,and came in sight of the populous negro-quarter, and the far stretch of cultivated fields beyond, his face was alive not only with interest, but with something deeper still; it might be calculation.
It seems that the Crown Prince had an inquiring mind. He was interested in metaphysical speculations. He had adopted, perhaps, as some excuse for his conduct, the doctrine of predestination, that God hath foreordained whatsoever cometh to pass. The idea that there is a power, which Hume calls philosophical necessity, which Napoleon calls destiny, which Calvin calls predestination, by which all events are controlled, and that this necessity is not inconsistent with free agency, is a doctrine which ever has commanded the assent, and probably ever will, of many of the strongest thinkers in the world.
Tempted him, though immortal. Nathless