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Early the next morning, Czernichef, greatly admiring the exploit Frederick had performed, commenced his march home. Just before this there was a change in the British ministry, and the new cabinet clamored for peace. England entered into a treaty with France, and retired from the conflict. Frederick, vehemently upbraiding the English with treacherythe same kind533 of treachery of which he had repeatedly been guiltymarched upon Schweidnitz. After a vigorous siege of two months he captured the place.
The queen was radiantly beautiful in form and features. Her eyes were filled with tears. The scene and the words roused the zeal of these wild Magyar warriors to the highest pitch. They drew their sabres, flourished them over their heads, and with united voice shouted Moriamur pro nostro rege, Maria TheresaLet us die for our king, Maria Theresa. They always, writes Voltaire, give the title of king to their queen. In fact, no princess ever better deserved that title.
Major Bergan's face grew grave and troubled. Thus far, it had been easy work, merely giving away what he did not care for, and should not miss. But now that the bulk of his property, real and personal, was to come in question, he groaned inwardly at the necessity of bequeathing it to any one. Did it not represent all the hopes, energies, labors and results of his whole life? What a naked, shivering, miserable soul he would be without it! He had a feeling that he should never be quite certain of his own identity, in eternity, without the houses and the lands, the negroes and the gold, for which he had lived in time.
"Mr. Trubie," said he, turning round, with the open phial in his hand, "did your friend ever say anything to you, that indicated a disposition to suicide?"
"Not very well," good-naturedly replied the young man, taking pity on his companion's inveterate habit of translation, and the delight which it plainly afforded him.
But the young King Frederick was very ambitious of enlarging the borders of his Liliputian realm, and of thus attaining a higher position among the proud and powerful monarchs who surrounded him. Maria Theresa, who had inherited the crown of Austria, was a remarkably beautiful, graceful, and accomplished216 young lady, in the twenty-fourth year of her age. She was a young wife, having married Francis, Duke of Lorraine. Her health, as we have mentioned, was at that time delicate. Frederick thought the opportunity a favorable one for wresting Silesia from Austria, and annexing it to his own kingdom. The queen was entirely inexperienced, and could not prove a very formidable military antagonist. Her army was in no respect, either in number, discipline, or materiel, prepared for war. Her treasury was deplorably empty. There was also reason for Frederick to hope that several claimants would rise in opposition to her, disputing the succession.