杭州—浙江大学城市研究中心

But the exertion, and the emotion occasioned by the interview with his son, prostrated him again. He was taken back into his palace and to his bed more dead than alive. Reviving a little in the afternoon, he dictated to Frederick all the arrangements he wished to have adopted in reference to his funeral. This curious document is characteristic, in every line, of the strange man. His coffin, which was of massive oak carpentry, had been made for some time, and was in the kings chamber awaiting its occupant. He not unfrequently, with affected or real complacency, fixed his eyes upon it, saying, I shall sleep right well there. In the minute directions to his son as to his burial, he said,

However, madam, my sentence has failed to calm the minds. The schism continues, and the number of damnatory theologians prevail over the others.180

He appeared, she writes, quite discountenanced at this last part of my narrative. He returned thanks for the obligations I have laid on him, with some caressings which evidently did not proceed from the heart. To break this conversation he started some indifferent topic, and, under pretense of seeing my apartment, moved into the next room, where the prince, my husband, was. Him he surveyed with his eyes from head to foot for some time; then, after some constrained civilities to him, he went his way.

I have passed my winter like a Carthusian monk. I dine alone. I spend my life in reading and writing, and I do not sup. When one is sad, it becomes, at last, too burdensome to hide ones grief continually. It is better to give way to it than to carry ones gloom into society. Nothing solaces me but the vigorous application required in steady and continuous labor. This distraction does force one to put away painful ideas while it lasts. But alas! no sooner is the work done than these fatal companions present themselves again, as if livelier than ever. Maupertuis was right; the sum of evil does certainly surpass that of good. But to me it is all one. I have almost nothing more to lose; and my few remaining dayswhat matters it much of what complexion they be?