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Frederick wrote to Wilhelmina: Voltaire picks Jews pockets, but he will get out of it by some somersault.

Frederick still sought recreation in writing verses which he called poetry. To DArgens he wrote, I have made a prodigious quantity of verses. If I live I will show them to you. If I perish they are bequeathed to you, and I have ordered that they be put into your hand.

Frederick was a trig, slender young man of twenty-nine years. He was dressed in a closely-fitting blue coat, with buff breeches and high cavalry boots. He wore a plumed hat, which he courteously raised as the embassadors entered his tent. The scene276 which ensued was substantially as follows, omitting those passages which were of no permanent interest. After sundry preliminary remarks, Sir Thomas Robinson said, 51 Some of the courtiers, in order to divert the king from his melancholy, and from these ideas of abdication, succeeded in impressing upon him the political necessity of visiting Augustus, the King of Poland, at Dresden. The king did not intend to take Fritz with him. But Wilhelmina adroitly whispered a word to Baron Suhm, the Polish embassador, and obtained a special invitation for the Crown Prince. It is a hundred miles from Berlin to Dresdena distance easily traversed by post in a day. It was the middle of January, 1728, when the Prussian king reached Dresden, followed the day after by his son. They were sumptuously entertained for four weeks in a continuous round of magnificent amusements, from which the melancholic King of Prussia recoiled, but could not well escape.

Fritz had been for some time confined to his chamber and to his bed. He was now getting out again. By his mothers persuasion he wrote to his aunt, Queen Caroline of England, expressing, in the strongest terms, his love for her daughter the Princess Amelia, and his unalterable determination never to marry unless he could lead her to the altar. Though Frederick William knew nothing of these intrigues, he hated his son with daily increasing venom. Sometimes, in a surly fit, he would not speak to him or recognize him. Again he would treat him with studied contempt, at the table refusing to give him any food, leaving him to fast while the others were eating. Not unfrequently, according to Wilhelminas account, he even boxed his ears, and smote him with his cane. Wilhelmina gives us one of the letters of her brother to his father about this time, and the characteristic paternal answer. Frederick writes, under date of September 11, 1728, from Wusterhausen: Frederick had caused signal cannon to be placed at suitable points between Breslau and Strehlin, which, by transmitting reports, should give him as early intelligence as possible of the success of the enterprise. About noon, in the midst of the grand man?uvrings on the parade-ground, one distant cannon-shot was heard, to the great satisfaction of Frederick, who alone understood its significance.

He then requested to be shown the cup in which his heart would be placed after that operation. His daughter, Maria Theresa, who had married the Grand-duke Francis, was in a delicate state of health. The death of her father would place the weighty crown upon her youthful brow. Grief and agitation threw her helpless upon her bed. So important was her life to the world that the emperor was unwilling that, in her214 then condition, she should enter the death-chamber. Tell my Theresa, said he, in faint and dying accents, that I bless her, notwithstanding her absence. If it be true that you design to attack me again, I declare to you that I have still health enough to find you, wherever you are, and to take the most signal vengeance upon you. Thank the respect and obedience which have hitherto restrained my arm, and saved you from the worst adventure you have ever had.