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In the midst of ftes, operas, and suppers, my secret negotiation advanced. The king allowed me to speak to him on all subjects. I often intermingled questions respecting France and Austria in conversations relating to the ?neid and Livy. The discussion was sometimes very animated. At length the king said to me, Let France declare war against England, and I will march. This was all I desired. I returned as quickly as possible to the court of France. I gave them the same hopes which I had myself been led to entertain at Berlin, and which did not prove delusive.

The marriage took place in the Grand Saloon. The moment the benediction was pronounced, a triple discharge of cannon announced the event to the inhabitants of Berlin. Then the newly-married pair, seated under a gorgeous canopy, received the congratulations of the court. A ball followed, succeeded by a supper. After supper there came, according to the old German custom, what was called the dance of torches. This consisted of the whole company marching to music in procession through the rooms, each holding a lighted torch. The marriage festivities were continued for several days, with a succession of balls each night. Wilhelmina had not yet been permitted to see her brother since his arrest. But the king had promised Wilhelmina, as her reward for giving up the wretched Prince of Wales, that he132 would recall her brother and restore him to favor. On Friday evening, the 23d, three days after the wedding, there was a brilliant ball in the Grand Apartment. Wilhelmina thus describes the event which then took place:

The Austrian army, which outnumbered the Prussian over three to one, was in a camp, very strongly fortified, near Breslau. A council of war was held. Some of the Austrian officers, dreading the prowess of their redoubtable opponent, advised that they should remain behind their intrenchments, and await an attack. It would, of course, be impossible for less than thirty thousand men to storm ramparts bristling with artillery, and defended by nearly ninety thousand highly disciplined and veteran troops. I added that my niece had burned his ode from fear that it should be imputed to me. He believed me and thanked me; not, however, without some reproaches for having burned the best verses he had ever made.128

Inarticulate notions, fancies, transient aspirations, he might have, in the background of his mind. One day, sitting for a while out of doors, gazing into the sun, he was heard to murmur, Perhaps I shall be nearer thee soon; and, indeed, nobody knows what his thoughts were in these final months. There is traceable only a complete superiority to fear and hope; in parts, too, are half glimpses of a great motionless interior lake of sorrow, sadder than any tears or complainings, which are altogether wanting to it.

These engagements, said Sir Thomas, are good as against the French, your majesty. But the Barrier treaty, confirmed at Utrecht, was for our benefit and that of Holland. FREDERICKS FIRST INTERVIEW WITH VOLTAIRE. 246

And notwithstanding our impatience,