CHAPTER XXXIV. THE PARTITION OF POLAND.
The half-intoxicated king gravely suggests that such conduct is hardly seemly among gentlemen; that the duel is the more chivalric way of settling such difficulties. Fassman challenges Gundling. They meet with pistols. It is understood by the seconds that it is to be rather a Pickwickian encounter. The trembling Gundling, when he sees his antagonist before him, with the deadly weapon in his hand, throws his pistol away, which his considerate friends had harmlessly loaded with powder only, declaring that he would not shoot any man, or have any man shoot him. Fassman sternly advances with his harmless pistol, and shoots the powder into Gundling’s wig. It blazes into a flame. With a shriek Gundling falls to the ground as if dead. A bucket of water extinguishes the flames, and roars of laughter echo over the chivalric field of combat.New 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.”“All-serenest and All-graciousest Father,—To your royal majesty, my all-graciousest Father, I have, by my disobedience as Their subject and soldier, not less than by my undutifulness as Their son, given occasion to a just wrath and aversion against me. With the all-obedientest respect I submit myself wholly to the grace of my most All-gracious Father, and beg him most All-graciously to pardon me, as it is not so much the withdrawal of my liberty, in a sad arrest, as my own thoughts of the fault I have committed that have brought me to reason, who, with all-obedientest respect and submission, continue till my end my All-graciousest king’s and Father’s faithfully-obedientest servant and son,
About the middle of October Wilhelmina came to Berlin to see her brothers again. Nine years had passed since her marriage, and seven since her last sad visit to the home of her childhood, in which inauspicious visit the wretchedness of her early years had been renewed by the cruelty of her reception. In211 Wilhelmina’s journal we find the following allusion to this her second return to Berlin:
“‘No,’ I answered; ‘but I should like to make that journey. I am very curious to see the Prussian states and their king, of whom one hears so much.’ And now I began to launch out on Frederick’s actions.The king smiled, and immediately entered very vigorously upon business. It was not possible, under these circumstances, for him deeply to mourn over the death of so tyrannical a father. Frederick was twenty-eight years of age. He is described as a handsome young man, five feet seven inches in stature, and of graceful presence. The funeral ceremonies of the deceased monarch were conducted essentially according to the programme already given. The body of the king mouldered to dust in the sepulchre of his fathers. His spirit returned to the God who gave it.During the night bands of barbarian, half-drunken Cossacks ranged the field, plundering the wounded and the dead, friends and foes alike, and thrusting their bayonets through those who presented any remonstrance, or who might, by any possibility, call them to account. Four hundred of these wretches the equally merciless Prussians drove into a barn, fastened them in, set460 fire to the building, and burned them all to ashes. During the carnage of this bloody day the Russians lost, in killed, wounded, and missing, 21,539. The Prussians lost 11,390, more than one third of their number.
a a. Austrian Army, b b. Prussian Army. c. Ziethen’s Hussars. d. Nadasti’s Hussars. e. The Oak Wood.The rule, in such cases, was that a certain number of companies were to be admitted at a time. The gate was then to be closed until they had marched through the city and out at the opposite gate. After this another detachment was to be admitted, and so on, until all had passed through. But General Schwerin so contrived it, by stratagem, as to crowd in a whole regiment at once. Instead of marching through Breslau, to the surprise of the inhabitants, he directed his steps to the market-place, where he encamped and took possession of the city, admitting the remainder of his regiments. In an hour and a half the whole thing was done, and the streets were strongly garrisoned by Prussian troops. The majority of the inhabitants, being Protestant, were well pleased, and received the achievement with laughter. Many cheers resounded through the streets, with shouts of “Frederick and Silesia forever.” All the foreign ministers in Breslau, and the magistrates of the city, had been lured to Strehlin to witness the grand review.
“Daun.“I assure you he is a prince who has talent, but who will be the slave of his passions, and will like nobody but such as encourage him therein. For me, I think all princes are cast in the same mould. There is only a more and a less.”
“‘That is not the question,’ I answered. ‘The question is, whether such a being as God can, or can not, give existence to what, as yet, has none.’A council of war was held. It was decided to commence an immediate and rapid retreat to Silesia. Prague, with its garrison of five thousand men, and its siege artillery, was to be abandoned to its fate. Word was sent to General Einsiedel to spike his guns, blow up his bastions, throw his ammunition into the river, and to escape, if possible, down the valley of the Moldau, to Leitmeritz.
And peasants as postillions disguised,
Frederick paid but little regard to his allies save as he could make them subservient to the accomplishment of his purposes. He pushed his troops forward many leagues south into Moravia, and occupied the important posts of Troppau, Friedenthal, and Olmütz. These places were seized the latter part of December. The king hoped thus to be able, early in the spring, to carry the war to the gates of Vienna.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:“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.详情
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