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The year 1739 was spent by the prince mostly at Reinsberg. Many distinguished visitors were received at the chateau. Frederick continued busily engaged in his studies, writing both prose and verse, and keeping up a lively correspondence with Voltaire and other literary friends. He engaged very earnestly in writing a book entitled Anti-Machiavel, which consisted of a refutation of Machiavels Prince. This book was published, praised, and read, but has long since been forgotten. The only memorable thing about the book now is that in those dark days of absolutism, when it was the almost universally recognized opinion that power did not ascend from the people to their sovereign, but descended from the monarch to his subjects, Frederick should have spoken of the king as the born servant of his people.
Many of Mrs. Lyte's old friends and neighbors gathered round to assist in the last solemn rites, and some of them came afterward to say a few words of sympathy and regret to Astra. She was not surprised that Doctor Remy was not of the number, but she did wonder a little that she saw nothing of Carice. She had observed Mrs. Bergan standing near the foot of the grave, looking strangely old and altered; but she seemed to have disappeared as soon as the service was ended.
"Poor Astra!"As he was upon the point of setting off, seven Austrian deserters came in and reported that General Neippergs full army was advancing at but a few miles distance. Even as they were giving their report, sounds of musketry and cannon announced that the Prussian outposts were assailed by the advance-guard of the foe. The peril of Frederick was great. Had Neipperg known the prize within his reach, the escape of the Prussian king would have been almost impossible. Frederick had but three or four thousand men with him at Jagerndorf, and only three pieces of artillery, with forty rounds of ammunition. Bands of Austrian cavalry on fleet horses were swarming all around him. Seldom, in the whole course of his life, had Frederick been placed in a more critical position.
Many cases there were of romantic devotion and loyalty, by which the property of a family had been partly saved for the owners by their faithful servants. Such was the story of the Marquis de , whose castle was burnt, and who with his wife perished in the flames. Their two boys managed to escape, but not together. One took refuge in England; the other in Germany, neither of them knowing of the existence of the other.Major Bergan gave a short laugh. "Who will know," he asked, "that Carice is to have Bergan Hall? I expect you to keep my counsel in this matter. That is why I asked you to do the business. I had an idea that you were closer-mouthed, both by nature and training, than those lawyers in Berganton."