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September 10 , 2008

Frederick the Great and His Family


The king laid his flute aside, and with his hands folded behind his back, walked thoughtfully up and down his room in Sans-Souci. His countenance was now tranquil, his brow cloudless; with the aid of music he had harmonized his soul, and the anger and displeasure he had so shortly before felt were soothed by the melodious notes of his flute. The king was no longer angry, but melancholy, and the smile that played on his lip was so resigned and painful that the brave Marquis d'Argens would have wept had he seen it, and the stinging jest of Voltaire have been silenced. But neither the marquis nor Voltaire, nor any of his friends were at present in Potsdam. D'Argens was in France, with his young wife, Barbe Cochois; Voltaire, after a succession of difficulties and quarrels, had departed forever; General Rothenberg had also departed to a land from which no one returns—he was dead! My lord marshal had returned to Scotland, Algarotti to Italy, and Bastiani still held his office in Breslau. Sans-Souci, that had been heretofore the seat of joy and laughing wit—Sans-Souci was now still and lonely; youth, beauty, and gladness had forsaken it forever; earnestness and duty had taken their place, and reigned in majesty within those walls that had so often echoed with the happy laugh and sparkling jest of the king's friends and contemporaries
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