As has often been mentioned, the carnage of the battle-field constitutes by no means the greater part of the miseries of war. One of the sufferers from the conflagration of the city of Cüstrin gives the following graphic account of the scene. It was the 15th of August, 1758:
Twelve days after the battle of Liegnitz Frederick wrote as follows to his friend, the Marquis D’Argens, who was at Berlin. The letter was dated Hermannsdorf, near Breslau, 27th of August, 1760:Frederick.”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:
Another adventurer, by the name of Fassman, who had written books, and who made much literary pretension, had come to Berlin and also got introduced to the Tabagie. He was in character very like Gundling, and the two could never agree. Fassman could be very sarcastic and bitter in his speech. One evening, as the king and his smoking cabinet were sitting enveloped in the clouds which they were breathing forth, and were all muddled with tobacco and beer—for the king himself was a hard drinker—Fassman so enraged Gundling by some cutting48 remarks, that the latter seized his pan of burning peat and red-hot sand and dashed it into the face of his antagonist. Fassman, who was much the more powerful of the two, was seriously burned. He instantly grasped his antagonist, dragged him down, and beat him savagely with his hot pan, amidst roars of laughter from the beer-stupefied bacchanals.“Russia may be counted as the bigger half of all he had to strive with; the bigger, or at least the far uglier, more ruinous, and incendiary; and, if this were at once taken away, think what a daybreak when the night was at the blackest.”170552 “Frederick,” said Kaunitz, “is old and broken. He can not live long. Having suffered so much, he has an absolute horror of war. We need not fear that he will again put his armies in motion.”
a. Advance of Prussians.
178 “Meanwhile Frederick the First died, and with him was buried all his false grandeur, which consisted only in a vain magnificence, and in the pompous display of frivolous ceremonies. My father, who succeeded him, compassionated the general misery. He visited the spot, and saw, with his own eyes, this vast country laid waste, and all the dreadful traces which a contagious malady, a famine, and the sordid avarice of a venal administration leave behind them. Twelve or fifteen towns depopulated, and four or five hundred villages uninhabited, presented themselves to his view. Far from being discouraged by such a sad spectacle, his compassion only became the more lively from it; and he resolved to restore population, plenty, and commerce to this land, which had even lost the appearance of an inhabited country.
It was supposed that his Prussian majesty would now march southwest for the invasion of Bohemia. Austria made vigorous preparations to meet him there. Much to the surprise and bewilderment449 of the Austrians, the latter part of April Frederick directed his columns toward the southeast. His army, about forty thousand strong, was in two divisions. By a rapid march through Neisse and Jagerndorf he reached Troppau, on the extreme southern frontier of Silesia. He then turned to the southwest. It was again supposed that he intended to invade Bohemia, but from the east instead of from the north.Frederick, ever regardless of fatigue and exposure for himself, never spared his followers. It was after midnight of the 28th when the weary column, frostbitten, hungry, and exhausted, reached Olmütz. The king was hospitably entertained in the fine palace of the Catholic bishop, “a little, gouty man,” writes Stille, “about fifty-two years of age, with a countenance open and full of candor.”
FREDERICK AND HIS DOGS.Frederick dispatched messengers to Ohlau to summon the force there to his aid; the messengers were all captured. The Prussians were now in a deplorable condition. The roads were encumbered and rendered almost impassable by the drifted snow. The army was cut off from its supplies, and had provisions on hand but for a single day. Both parties alike plundered the poor inhabitants of their cattle, sheep, and grain. Every thing that could burn was seized for their camp-fires. We speak of the carnage of the battle-field, and often forget the misery which is almost invariably brought upon the helpless inhabitants of the region through which the armies move. The schoolmaster of Mollwitz, a kind, simple-hearted, accurate old gentleman, wrote an account of the scenes he witnessed. Under date of Mollwitz, Sunday, April 9, he writes:
“Is there any battalion which has a mind to follow me to Lissa?”That evening Wilhelmina was taken sick with burning fever and severe pain. Still she was compelled to rise from her bed and attend a court party. The next morning she was worse. The king, upon being told of it, exclaimed gruffly, “Ill? I will58 cure you!” and compelled her to swallow a large draught of wine. Soon her sickness showed itself to be small-pox. Great was the consternation of her mother, from the fear that, even should she survive, her beauty would be so marred that the English prince would no longer desire her as his bride. Fortunately she escaped without a scar.
Frederick immediately sent an announcement of the victory to his friend Voltaire. It does not appear that he alluded to his own adventures. Voltaire received the note when in the theatre at Lisle, while listening to the first performance of his tragedy of Mahomet. He read the account to the audience between the acts. It was received with great applause. “You will see,” said Voltaire, “that this piece of Mollwitz will secure the success of mine.” Vous verrez que cette piece de Mollwitz fera réussir la miene.There were dinner-parties, and military reviews, and operas to beguile the time. The interview lasted three days. The king and the emperor often walked out arm in arm. Frederick wrote:Frederick had not grown old gracefully. He was domineering, soured, and irritable, finding fault with every body and every thing. As his troops were getting into camp at Jaromirtz on the 8th of July, the king, weary with riding, threw himself upon the ground for a little rest, his adjutants being near him. A young officer was riding by. Frederick beckoned to him, and wrote, with his pencil, an order of not the slightest importance, and said to the officer, aloud, in the hearing of all, purposely to wound their feelings,详情
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