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      Sir Thomas, somewhat discomposed, apologetically intimated that that was not all he had to offer.


      La MuetteSunriseItalyNocturnal adventureGoverness to the children of OrlansScandalous reportsMarriages of her daughtersDeath of the elder oneThe Comte de Valence


      With the utmost secrecy Frederick matured his plans. It could not be concealed that he was about to embark in some important military enterprise. The embassadors from other courts exerted all their ingenuity, but in vain, to ascertain in what direction the army was to march. Though the French had an embassador at Berlin, still it would seem that Voltaire was sent as a spy, under the guise of friendship, to attempt to ferret out the designs of the king. These men, who did not profess any regard to the principles of religion, seem also to have trampled219 under feet all the instincts of honor. Voltaire endeavored to conceal his treachery beneath smiles and flattery, writing even love verses to the king. The king kept his own secret. Voltaire was not a little chagrined by his want of success. In his billet of leave he wrote:

      The stately order, the devotion and charity which filled the lives of the sisters de Noailles; the absorbing passion for her art which made the happiness, [282] the safety, and the renown of Louise Vige, were not for Trzia. Her very talents were an additional danger and temptation, for they increased the attraction of her extraordinary beauty; and in the set of which her friends were composed there could be no principles of right and wrong, because there was no authority to determine them. For if God did not exist at all, or only as a colourless abstraction, then the words right and wrong meant nothing, and what, in that case, was to regulate peoples lives? Why not injure their neighbours if it were convenient to themselves to do so? Why should they tell the truth if they preferred to tell lies? To some it would seem noble to forgive their enemies; to others it would seem silly. To some, family affection and respect for parents would appear an indispensable virtue; to others an exploded superstition. It was all a matter of opinion; who was to decide when one mans opinion was as good as another? But, however such theories might serve to regulate the lives of a few dreamy, cold-blooded philosophers occupied entirely with their studies and speculations, it seems difficult to understand that any one could really believe in the possibility of their controlling the average mass of human beings; who, if not restrained by the fear of a supernatural power which they believe able to protect, reward, or punish them, are not likely to be influenced by the exhortations of those who can offer them no such inducements. Nevertheless, these ideas were very prevalent until Napoleon, who regarded them with contempt, declared that without religion no [283] government was possible, and, whether he believed in it or not, re-established Christianity.

      To his brother Henry he wrote, I have had a bad time of it, my dear brother; our means are so eaten away; far too short for opposing the prodigious number of our enemies set against us. If we must fall, let us date our destruction from the infamous day of Maxen. My health is a little better, but I have still hmorro?des aveugles. That were nothing, however, were it not for the disquietudes I feel. For these three days I have had so terrible a cramp in continuance that I thought it would choke me. It is now a little gone. No wonder that the chagrins and continual disquietudes I live in should undermine, and at length overturn, the most robust constitution.


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      Prussian Lithuania is a hundred and twenty miles long, by from forty to sixty broad. It was ravaged by pestilence at the beginning of this century, and they say three hundred thousand people died of disease and famine. The disorder carried off the people, and the lands remained uncultivated and full of weeds. The most flourishing of our provinces was changed into the most miserable of solitudes.

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      WHILE Mme. de Genlis was safe and enjoying herself in England terrible events were happening in France. The Duke of Orlans, already infamous in the eyes of all decent people, was beginning to lose his popularity with the revolutionists. He [125] could not doubt the discredit into which he had fallen, the flight of his son [126] exposed him to dangerous suspicions; it was decided to get rid of him. He had demanded that his explanations should be admitted, but he was advised to ask rather, in the interest of your own safety, for a decree of banishment for yourself and your family.

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      It was well understood that a verdict was to be returned in accordance with the wishes of the king, and also that the king desired that no mercy should be shown to his son.15 After a session of six days the verdict of the court was rendered. The crime of the Crown Prince, in endeavoring to escape from the brutality of his father, was declared to be desertion, and the penalty was death. Lieutenant Keith was also declared to be a deserter, and doomed to die. But as he had escaped, and could not be recaptured, he was sentenced to be hanged in effigy, which effigy was then to be cut in four quarters and nailed to the gallows at Wesel. Lieutenant Katte, who certainly had not deserted, and whose only crime was that he had been a confidant of the Crown Prince in his plan to escape, was condemned to imprisonment in a fortress for two years, some say for life.It being his majestys birthday, writes Grumkow, the prince, in deep emotion, followed his father, and, again falling prostrate, testified such heartfelt joy, gratitude, and affection over this blessed anniversary as quite touched the heart of the king, who at last clasped him in his arms, and hurried out to avoid sobbing aloud. The Crown Prince followed his majesty, and, in the presence of many hundred people, kissed his majestys feet, and was again embraced by his majesty, who said, Behave well, as I see you mean, and I will take care of you. Which words, writes Grumkow, threw the Crown Prince into such an ecstasy of joy as no pen can express.


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