Winter was now approaching. The Austrians in Saxony made a desperate attack upon Prince Henry, and were routed with much loss. The shattered Austrian army retired to Bohemia for winter quarters. Under the circumstances, it was a victory of immense importance to Frederick. Upon receiving the glad tidings, he wrote to Henry:
“Their king” (Wilhelmina’s grandfather) “was of extreme gravity, and hardly spoke a word to any body. He saluted Madam Sonsfeld, my governess, very coldly, and asked if I was always so serious, and if my humor was of a melancholy turn. ‘Any thing but that, sire,’ answered Madam Sonsfeld; ‘but the respect she has for your majesty prevents her from being as sprightly as she commonly is.’ He shook his head and said nothing. The reception he had given me, and this question, gave me such a chill that I never had the courage to speak to him.”“But he interrupted me hastily with the word, ‘Nothing more of kings, sir—nothing more. What have we to do with them? We will spend the rest of our voyage on more agreeable and cheering objects.’ And now he spoke of the best of all possible worlds, and maintained that in our planet, earth, there was more evil than good. I maintained the contrary, and this discussion brought us to the end of the voyage.“The king,” writes Stille, “though fatigued, would not rest satisfied with reports or distant view. Personally he made the tour of the whole camp, to see that every thing was right, and posted the pickets himself before retiring.”
THE YOUNG LORDS OF SAXONY ON A WINTER CAMPAIGN.On Wednesday, April 12, two days after the battle, Frederick wrote to his sister Wilhelmina from Ohlau as follows:“The king respects his mother,” the same writer adds. “She is the only female to whom he pays any sort of attention. She is a good, fat woman, who moves about in her own way.”
To obviate the difficulty of the Crown Prince becoming the head of a party in Berlin antagonistic to the king, the plan was suggested of having him appointed, with his English princess, vice-regent of Hanover. But this plan failed. Hotham now84 became quite discouraged. He wrote home, on the 22d of April, that he had that day dined with the king; that the Crown Prince was present, but dreadfully dejected, and that great sympathy was excited in his behalf, as he was so engaging and so universally popular. He evidently perceived some indications of superiority in the Crown Prince, for he added, “If I am not much mistaken, this young prince will one day make a very considerable figure.”General Seidlitz, with five thousand horsemen, immediately dashed in among them. Almost in an instant the shouts of victory458 sank away in groans of death. It was an awful scene—a maelstrom of chaotic tumult, shrieks, blood, and death. The stolid Russians refused to fly. The Prussians sabred them and trampled them beneath their horses’ feet until their arms were weary. This terrible massacre lasted until one o’clock. The whole of the western portion of the quadrilateral was destroyed. The Russian soldiers at a little distance from the scene of carnage, reckless and under poor discipline, broke open the sutlers’ brandy-casks, and were soon beastly drunk. The officers, endeavoring to restrain them, dashed in many of the casks. The soldiers, throwing themselves upon the ground, lapped the fiery liquid from the puddles. They killed many of their own officers, and became almost unresisting victims of the sabres and bayonets of their assailants. The Prussians, exasperated by the awful acts of cruelty which had been perpetrated by the Russians, showed no mercy. In the midst of the butchery, the word ran along their lines, “No quarter.”
“Should you have known me?” the king inquired of De Catt.It would seem that Frederick was not very willing to receive, as his guest, the divine Emilie, who occupied so questionable a position in the household of Voltaire; for he wrote again, on the 5th of August, in reply to a letter from Voltaire, saying,
CHAPTER II. LIFE IN THE PALACE.At the same time that the tidings of the death of Augustus William were communicated to the king, he received also the tidings, which to him were truly heart-rending, that Wilhelmina, worn down with care and sorrow, was fast sinking into the grave.“The king did a beautiful thing to Lieutenant Keith the other day—that poor Keith who was nailed to the gallows, in effigy, for him at Wesel, long ago, and got far less than he expected. The other day there had been a grand review, part of it extending into Madame Knyphausen’s grounds, who is Keith’s mother-in-law.
“Ah!” said the king, gayly, “we must have them back from him again.”On the 29th of July the king joined his brother Henry at Sagan, on the Bober, about sixty miles above or south of Frankfort.480 The marches which had been effected by the king and his brother were the most rapid which had then ever been heard of. Greatly perplexed by the inexplicable movements of the Russians, the king pressed on till he effected a junction with the remnant of Wedell’s defeated army, near Müllrose, within twelve miles of Frankfort. He reached this place on the 3d of August. To Count Finckenstein he wrote:详情
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