“As Frederick’s seven years’ struggle of war may be called superhuman, so was there also, in his present labor of peace, something enormous, which appeared to his contemporaries almost preternatural, at times inhuman. It was grand, but also terrible, that the success of the whole was to him, at all moments, the one thing to be striven after. The comfort of the individual was of no concern at all.”189
After the fifth charge, the Austrians, dispirited, and leaving the snow plain crimsoned with the blood and covered with the bodies of their slain, withdrew out of ball range. Torn and exhausted, they could not be driven by their officers forward to another assault. The battle had now lasted for five hours.262 Night was at hand, for the sun had already set. The repulsed Austrians were collected in scattered and confused bands. The experienced eye of General Schwerin saw that the hour for decisive action had come. He closed up his ranks, ordered every band to play its most spirited air, and gave the order “Forward.” An Austrian officer, writing the next week, describes the scene.“Yesterday I wrote to you to come; to-day I forbid it. Daun is marching upon Berlin. Fly these unhappy countries. This news obliges me again to attack the Russians between here and Frankfort. You may imagine if this is a desperate resolution. It is the sole hope that remains to me of not being cut off from Berlin on the one side or the other. I will give these discouraged troops brandy, but I promise myself nothing of success. My one consolation is that I shall die sword in hand.”Frederick on the 17th, the day after the departure of the Austrian army, invested Neisse. He had an embarrassing part to play. He was to conduct a sham siege in the presence of M. Valori, who was not only a man of ability, but who possessed much military intelligence. Feigning the utmost zeal, Frederick opened his trenches, and ostentatiously man?uvred his troops. He sent the young Prince Leopold, with fifteen thousand horse and foot, into the Glatz country, many leagues to the east, to guard against surprise from an enemy, where no enemy was to be found. He marked out his parallels, sent imperious summonses for surrender, and dispatched reconnoitring parties abroad. M. Valori began to be surprised—amazed. “What does all this mean?” he said to himself. “They have great need of some good engineers here.”
Ann Amelia.”72CHARGE OF GENERAL SEIDLITZ AT ZORNDORF.
“I am punctual in answering, and eager to satisfy you. You shall have a breakfast-set, my good mamma; six coffee-cups, very pretty, well diapered, and tricked out with all the little embellishments which increase their value. On account of some pieces which they are adding to the set, you will have to wait a few days. But I flatter myself this delay will contribute to your satisfaction, and produce for you a toy that will give you pleasure, and make you remember your old adorer.
“You will quickly write me your mind on this. I have purchased the Von Katsch house. The field marshal, as governor of Berlin, will get that to live in. His government house I will have made new for you, and furnish it all, and give you enough to keep house yourself there.On the 15th of September, two days before Frederick had written the despairing letter we have just given, Wilhelmina wrote again to him, in response to previous letters, and to his poetic epistle.Still centuries elapsed, leaving little for history to record but war and woe. Fierce tribes swept in all directions. Battle was life’s great business. Man, ignorant, degraded, brutal, could have had but few if any joys. Perhaps, through his degradation, his woes were only such as beasts feel. By degrees, from this chaos, a certain kind of governmental order emerged. Small tribes became united under powerful chieftains. Kings arose. There were all varieties of political organizations, dukedoms, principalities,18 marquisates, and electorates. It is recorded that Adalbert, bishop of Prag, about the year 997, with two companions, as apostles of Christianity, first penetrated these wilds. Like Christian heroes they went, with staff and scrip, regardless of danger. The bishop was fifty years of age, and his gray hairs floated in the breeze. As he landed a stout savage struck him with the flat of his oar, and sent him headlong to the ground.
Again he wrote D’Argens on the 26th of December, “What a pleasure to hear that you are coming. I have sent a party of light horse to conduct you. You can make short journeys. I have directed that horses be ordered for you, that your rooms be warmed every where, and good fowls ready on all roads. Your apartment in this house is carpeted, hermetically shut. You shall suffer nothing from draughts or from noise.”Very vigorous measures were immediately adopted to establish an Academy of Sciences. The celebrated French philosopher Maupertuis, who had just obtained great renown from measuring a degree of the meridian at the polar circle, was invited to organize this very important institute. The letter to the philosopher, written by the king but a few days after his accession, was as follows:
“My situation changes every moment. Sometimes I am in favor, sometimes in disgrace. My chief happiness consists in my being absent from him. I lead a quiet and tranquil life with my regiment at Ruppin. Study and music are my principal occupations. I have built me a house there, and laid out a garden where I can read and walk about.116
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“The heresy about predestination,” writes Carlyle, “or the election by free grace, as his majesty terms it, according to which a man is preappointed, from all eternity, either to salvation or the opposite, which is Fritz’s notion, and indeed Calvin’s, and that of many benighted creatures, this editor among them, appears to his majesty an altogether shocking one. What! may not deserter Fritz say to himself, even now, or in whatever other deeps of sin he may fall into, ‘I was foredoomed to it? How could I or how can I help it?’ The mind of his majesty shudders as if looking over the edge of an abyss.”With the last day threatened mankind.The entertainment was prolonged until a late hour of the night. The delighted guests, as they retired, urged their host to attend parade with them in the morning, offering to come in person to conduct him to the ground. The count, with pleasure, accepted the invitation. In the morning he was escorted to the parade-ground. His fame spread rapidly. Friends multiplied. He was invited to sup with the officers in the evening, and accepted the invitation. Marshal Broglio, a very stately gentleman of seventy years, was military governor at Strasbourg. The count and one of his companions, the distinguished philosopher Count Algarotti, were invited to dine with the marshal. The supper given in the evening by the officers was brilliant. They then repaired to the opera. A poor little girl came to the box with a couple of lottery tickets for sale. Frederick gave her four ducats (), and tore up the tickets.
“The princess has an open countenance; her eyebrows are neat and regular; her nose is small and angular, but very elegantly defined; and her coral lips and well-turned neck are equally admirable. Goodness is strongly marked in her countenance; and we may say, from her whole figure, that the Graces have exerted themselves in forming a great princess. Her highness talks but little, especially at table, but all she says is sterling sense. She appears to have an uncommon genius, which she ornaments by the continual study of the best French authors.The Marquis D’Argens, another of Frederick’s infidel companions, one whom Voltaire described as “the most frank atheist in Europe,” after a very ignoble life of sin and shame, having quarreled with the king, found himself aged, poor, friendless, and infirm. He then, experiencing need of different support from any which infidelity could give, became penitent and prayerful. Renouncing his unbelief, he became an openly avowed disciple of Jesus.99BATTLE OF HOCHKIRCH, OCTOBER 14, 1758.详情
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