On this occasion it was not necessary to restrain his luxurious desires and tastes. Honor demanded that the court should show itself in full pomp and splendor, and prove to the world that this long, wearisome war had not exhausted the royal treasury, nor the royal table service of silver; in short, that it was an easy thing to carry on the war, without resorting to the private treasures of the royal house.
It was, therefore, necessary to bring out for this great occasion the golden service which had been the king's inheritance from his mother. Frederick's portion had been lately increased by the death of the Margravino of Baireuth, who had explicitly willed her part to her brother Frederick. [Footnote: When the court fled, after the battle of Kunendorf, to Magdeburg, they took the golden service which the king inherited from his mother with them; that portion given to Frederick by the margravino was left in Berlin, and the next year, 1760, was seized by the Russians and carried to Petersburg--"Geschichte Berlins," vol. v., p. 2.]
The queen and the princesses were to appear in all the splendor of their jewels, and by their costly and exquisite toilets impose upon these proud and haughty officers, whom fate had sent as prisoners of war to Berlin, and who would not fail to inform their respective governments of all they saw in the capital.
This fete was a demonstration made by the king to his over-confident enemies. He would prove to them that if he wished for peace it was not because the gold failed to carry on the war, but because he wished to give rest and the opportunity to recover to Europe, groaning and bleeding from a thousand wounds. Besides this, the king wished to show his subjects, by the celebration of his brother's birthday, how highly he honored the prince--how gladly he embraced the opportunity to distinguish the young general who, during the whole war, had not lost a single battle; but, by his bold and masterly movements, had come to the king's help in the most difficult and dangerous moments.
This celebration should be a refutation of the rumors spread abroad by the king's enemies, that Frederick regarded the success and military talent of his brother with jealous envy.
There were, therefore, many reasons why Pollnitz should make this a luxurious and dazzling feast; he knew also that Prince Henry would receive a detailed account of the celebration from his adjutant, Count Kalkreuth, who had lingered some months in Berlin because of his wounds, was now fully restored, and would leave Berlin the morning after the ball to return to the army.
And now the important hour had arrived. Pollnitz wandered through the saloons with the searching glance of a warrior on the field of battle; he pronounced that all was good.
The saloons were dazzling with light; pomp and splendor reigned throughout, and on entering the supper-room you were almost blinded by the array of gold and silver adorning the costly buffet, on whose glittering surface the lights were a thousand times reflected.