159“Daun has thrown up his cards, so the game is not yet lost. Let us repose ourselves for some days, and then go to the assistance of Neisse.”123
Lord Hyndford, evidently embarrassed, for the facts were strongly against him, endeavored, in some additional remarks, to assume ignorance of any unfriendly action on the part of the British government. The king again, in a loud and angry tone, replied,Secret negotiations were immediately opened at Breslau, in Silesia, between England, Austria, and Prussia. Maria Theresa, harassed by the entreaties of her cabinet and by the importunities of the British court, consented to all that Frederick demanded.
An eye-witness thus describes the tactics by which Frederick executed his design: “It is a particular man?uvre which, up to the present time, none but Prussian troops can execute with the precision and velocity indispensable to it. You divide your line into many pieces. You can push these forward stair-wise, so that they shall halt close to one another. Forming itself in this way, a mass of troops takes up in proportion very little ground. And it shows in the distance, by reason of the mixed uniforms and standards, a totally chaotic mass of men, heaped one on another. But it needs only that the commander lift his finger, and instantly this living coil of knotted intricacies develops itself in perfect order, and with a speed like that of mountain rivers.”112
491 The rumor that Daun was marching upon Berlin proved a false alarm. On the 4th of September the king again wrote D’Argens from his encampment at Waldau, a few leagues south of his last position, just over the border in Saxony:The apartments prepared for the Princess Royal were also very magnificent. Her parlor was twenty feet high. It had six windows, three opening in the main front toward the town, and the other three opening toward the interior court. The spaces between the windows were covered with immense mirrors, so arranged as to display the ceiling, beautifully painted by one of the finest artists of the day. The artist had spread his colors with such delicacy and skill, so exquisitely blending light and shade, that the illusion was almost perfect. The spectator felt that the real sky, with its fleecy clouds and infinite depth of blue, overarched him.On the 29th of December, the Old Dessauer, with thirty-five thousand men, crossed the frontiers and entered Saxony. He marched rapidly upon Leipsic, and seized the town, from which a division of Rutowski’s army precipitately fled. Leopold found here quite a supply of commissary and ordnance stores. He also replenished his empty army-chest by levying a contribution of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars upon the inhabitants.368 Then, by a rapid march northeast to Torgo, on the Elbe, he captured another imperial magazine. Turning south, he pressed his troops along up the river to Myssen, which was within two days’ easy march of Dresden. Here there was a bridge across the Oder. Frederick was pushing his troops, by forced marches, from Hennersdorf, to effect a junction with Leopold at Myssen. Unitedly they were to fall upon Grüne and Rutowski at Dresden. In the mean time, also, Prince Charles, a despondent man, crushed by domestic woe and humiliating defeats, was moving, by not very energetic steps, to re-enforce the allied troops at Dresden.
It was Frederick’s aim to reach Oppeln, a small town upon the River Oder, about thirty miles from the field of battle. He supposed that one of his regiments still held that place. But this regiment had hurriedly vacated the post, and had repaired, with all its baggage, to Pampitz, in the vicinity of Mollwitz. Upon the retirement of this garrison a wandering party of sixty Austrian hussars had taken possession of the town.
“My very dear Sister,—It would be impossible to leave this place without signifying, dearest sister, my lively gratitude for all the marks of favor you showed me in the House on the Lake. The highest of all that it was possible to do was that of procuring me the satisfaction of paying my court to you. I beg millions of pardons for so incommoding you, dearest sister, but I could not help it, for you know my sad circumstances well enough. I entreat you write me often about your health. Adieu, my incomparable and dear sister. I am always the same to you, and will remain so till my death.
MAP ILLUSTRATING THE CAMPAIGN IN MORAVIA.It was a peculiarity quite inexplicable which led Frederick to exclude females from his court. His favorites were all men—men of some peculiar intellectual ability. He sought their society only. With the exception of his sister, and occasionally some foreign princess, ladies were seldom admitted to companionship with him. He was a cold, solitary man, so self-reliant that he seldom asked or took advice.
With coursers lank-sided,Upon the reception of this letter, the prince, without replying to it, verbally asked leave, through one of his officers, to throw up his commission and retire to his family in Berlin. The king scornfully replied, “Let him go; he is fit for nothing else.” In the deepest dejection the prince returned to his home. Rapidly his health failed, and before the year had passed away, as we shall have occasion hereafter to mention, he sank into the grave, deploring his unhappy lot.“It will have been easy for you to conceive my grief when you reflect upon the loss I have had. There are some misfortunes which are reparable by constancy and courage, but there are others against which all the firmness with which one can arm one’s self, and all the reasonings of philosophers, are only vain and useless attempts at consolation.121 Of the latter kind is the one with which my unhappy fate overwhelms me, at a moment the most embarrassing and the most anxious of my whole life. I have not been so sick as you have heard. My only complaints are colics, sometimes hemorrhoidal, and sometimes nephritic.
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