To this tumult succeeded a fresh burst of mirth, during which the prince slipped away, and, aided by his pages, retired to his171 apartment; and the princess immediately followed. The day after this adventure the court was at its last gasp. Neither the prince nor any of the courtiers could stir from their beds.

The king, in his anger, ordered all the pamphlets in Berlin to be collected and burned by the common hangman, in front of Voltaires windows. Three months passed away, during which the parties remained in this deplorable state of antagonism. Voltaire was wretched, often confined to his bed, and looked like a skeleton. He was anxious to leave Berlin, but feared that the king would not grant him leave. He wrote to Frederick, stating that he was very sick, and wished to retire to the springs of Plombires for his health. The king curtly replied,

Just after midnight, the prince, seeing his associates soundly asleep, cautiously rose, dressed, and crept out into the open air. He had secretly made arrangements with his valet, a brother of Lieutenant Keith, to meet him with some horses on the village green. He reached the green. His valet soon appeared with the horses. Just at that moment, one of his guard, Rochow, who had been aroused by a servant whom he had left secretly on the watch, came forward through the gloom of the night, and, sternly addressing Keith, inquired, Sirrah, what are you doing with those horses? With much self-possession Keith replied, I am getting the horses ready for the hour of starting. His majesty, Rochow replied, does not start till five oclock. Take the horses directly back to the stable.

Though Fritz wrote a legible business hand, was well instructed in most points of useful knowledge, and had a very decided taste for elegant literature, he never attained correctness in spelling. The father was bitterly opposed to Latin. Perhaps it was the prohibition which inspired the son with an intense desire to learn that language. He took secret lessons. His vigilant father38 caught him in the very act, with dictionary and grammar, and a teacher by his side. The infuriated king, volleying forth his rage, would have caned the teacher had he not in terror fled.5


As we have mentioned, the agents of the King of Prussia were45 eager to kidnap tall men, in whatever country they could find them. This greatly exasperated the rulers of the various realms of all sizes and conditions which surrounded the Prussian territory. Frederick William was always ready to apologize, and to aver that each individual act was done without his orders or knowledge. Still, there was no abatement of this nuisance. Several seizures had been made in Hanover, which was the hereditary domain of George I., King of England. George was very angry. He was increasingly obstinate in withholding his assent to the double marriage, and even, by way of reprisal, seized several of the subjects of Frederick William, whom he caught in Hanover.