“It was a beautiful sight,” writes Tempelhof. “The heads of the columns were constantly on the same level, and at the distance necessary for forming. All flowed on exact as if in a review. And you could read in the eyes of our brave troops the temper they were in.
Frederick angrily replied, “You can have no instructions to ask that question. And if you had, I have an answer ready for you. England has no right to inquire into my designs. Your great sea armaments, did I ask you any question about them? No! I was, and am, silent on that head.”40New columns were formed. Soon after three another charge was ordered. It was sanguinary and unsuccessful as the first. Frederick himself was wounded by a nearly spent case-shot which struck him on the breast. The blow was severe and painful. Had the ball retained a little more impetus it would have passed through his body. It is said that the ball struck him to the earth, and that for some time he was void of consciousness. Upon reviving, his first words to his adjutant, a son of Old Dessauer, who was sorrowfully bending over him, were, “What are you doing here? Go and stop the runaways.”
“The snow lies ell-deep,” writes Archenholtz; “snow-tempests, sleet, frost. The soldiers bread is a block of ice, impracticable to human teeth till you thaw it.CHAPTER I PARENTAGE OF FREDERICK THE GREAT.These solemn tones of sacred psalmody fell impressively upon the ear of the king when his earthly all was trembling in the balance. Religionless and atheistic as he was, he could not repress some visible emotion. One of his officers, aware of the king’s avowed contempt for every thing of a religious nature, inquired,
“Tantalus never suffered so much while standing in the river, the waters of which he could not drink, as I when, having received your package of the translation of Wolff, I was unable to read it. All the accidents and all the bores in the world were, I think, agreed to prevent me. A journey to Potsdam, daily reviews, and the arrival of my brother in company with Messrs. De Hacke and De Rittberg, have been my impediments. Imagine my horror, my dear Diaphanes,30 at seeing the arrival of this caravan without my having in the least expected them. They weigh upon my shoulders like a tremendous burden, and never quit my side, in order, I believe, to make me wish myself at the devil.”“He condemned all pleasures; damnable all of them, he said. You were to speak of nothing but the Word of God only. All other conversation was forbidden. It was always he who carried on the improving talk at table, where he did the office of reader, as if it had been a refectory of monks. The king treated us to a sermon every afternoon. His valet de chambre gave out a psalm, which we all sang. You had to listen to this sermon with as much devout attention as if it had been an apostle’s. My brother and I had all the mind in the world to laugh. We tried hard to keep from laughing, but often we burst out. Thereupon reprimand, with all the anathemas of the Church hurled on us, which we had to take with a contrite, penitent air—a thing not easy to bring your face to at the moment.”
The Saxons were compelled to a precipitate retreat. Their march was long, harassing, and full of suffering, from the severe cold of those latitudes, and from the assaults of the fierce Pandours, every where swarming around. Villages were burned, and maddened men wreaked direful vengeance on each other. Scarcely eight thousand of their number, a frostbitten, starving, emaciate band, reached the borders of Saxony. Curses loud and deep were heaped upon the name of Frederick. His Polish majesty, though naturally good-natured, was greatly exasperated in view of the conduct of the Prussian king in forcing the troops into the severities of such a campaign. Frederick himself was also equally indignant with Augustus for his want of co-operation. The French minister, Valori, met him on his return from these disasters. He says that his look was ferocious and dark; that his laugh was bitter and sardonic; that a vein of suppressed rage, mockery, and contempt pervaded every word he uttered.FREDERICK CONCENTRATING HIS ARMY AT CHRUDIM.
The tidings of the death of the king’s mother reached him on the 2d of July, 1757. Sir Andrew Mitchell, the English embassador in Berlin, gives the following account of an interview he had with Frederick on that occasion:The king then questioned him very closely respecting the place where he had studied, during what years, under what teachers, and to what branches he had devoted special attention. While thus conversing the clock struck twelve. This was the dinner-hour of his majesty. “Now I must go,” said the king. “They wait for their soup.”
149 “The queen can not console herself for this reverse. She vents her despair in the abuse of that poor princess. She wanted me to refuse the marriage decidedly, and told me that she should not mind my quarreling again with the king provided I would only show firmness, in which case she would be well able to support me. I would not follow her advice, and declared to her plainly that I did not choose to incur the displeasure of my father, which had already caused me so much suffering.Dr. Moore gives the following account of a surprising scene, considering that the king was an infirm and suffering man seventy-three years of age:详情
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