类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-29 18:18:15


His companions had no heart to witness the bloody execution of their friend and brother-officer. The chaplain, Müller, who had accompanied the condemned to Cüstrin, and also Besserer, the chaplain of the garrison there, were either obliged by their official position, or were constrained by Christian sympathy, to ride by his side in the death-cart to the scaffold. Of the rest of his friends he took an affectionate leave, saying, “Adieu, my brothers; may God be with you evermore!” He was conveyed to the rampart of the castle dressed in coarse brown garments precisely like those worn by the prince.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:“My dearest Brother,—I know not if it is not too bold to trouble your majesty on private affairs. But the great confidence my sister and I have in your kindness encourages us to lay before you a sincere avowal of our little finances, which are a good deal deranged just now. The revenues, having for two years and a half past been rather small, amounting to only four hundred crowns (0) a year, could not be made to cover all the little expenses required in the adjustment of ladies. This circumstance, added to our card-playing, though small, which we could not dispense with, has led us into debt. Mine amounts to fifteen hundred crowns (25); my sister’s, to eighteen hundred crowns (50). We have not spoken of it to the queen-mother, though we are sure she would have tried to assist us. But as that could not have been done without some inconvenience to her, and as she would have retrenched in some of her own little entertainments, I thought we should do better to apply directly to your majesty. We were persuaded you would have taken it amiss had we deprived the queen of her smallest pleasure, and especially as we consider you, my dear brother, the father of the family, and hope you will be so gracious as to help us. We shall never forget the kind acts of your majesty. We beg you to be persuaded of the perfect and tender attachment with which we are proud to be, all our lives, your majesty’s most humble sisters and servants,

Dessau was a little independent principality embracing a few square miles, about eighty miles southwest of Prussia. The prince had a Liliputian army, and a revenue of about fifty thousand dollars. Leopold’s mother was the sister of the great Elector of Brandenburg’s first wife. The little principality was thus, by matrimonial alliance as well as location, in affinity with Prussia.Catharine was at this time engaged vigorously in a war with the Turks. Frederick, by his treaty with the czarina, was compelled to assist her. This ambitious woman, endowed with extraordinary powers, was pushing her conquests toward Constantinople, having formed the resolve to annex that imperial city to the empire, and thus to open through the Straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles new avenues for Russian commerce.

It was a cold, dreary autumnal morning. The Austrian army, according to Frederick’s statement, amounted to sixty thousand men.86 But it was widely dispersed. Many of the cavalry were scouring the country in all directions, in foraging parties and as skirmishers. Large bodies had been sent by circuitous roads to occupy every avenue of retreat. The consolidated army, under Prince Charles, now advancing to the attack, amounted to thirty-six thousand men. Frederick had but twenty-six thousand.87He could not but respect his wife. Her character was beyond all possible reproach. She never uttered a complaint, was cheerful and faithful in every duty. She had rooms assigned her on the second floor of the Berlin palace, where she was comfortably390 lodged and fed, and had modest receptions every Thursday, which were always closed at nine o’clock. A gentleman writes from Berlin at this time:

Wilhelmina and her husband soon left for Baireuth. Though the princess thus left the splendors of a royal palace for the far more quiet and humble state of a ducal mansion, still she was glad to escape from a home where she had experienced so many sorrows.Under these circumstances, Frederick made indirect but vigorous exertions to bring the war to a close. “I am ready and desirous now,” he said, “as at all times, for peace. I will immediately sheathe the sword if I can be guaranteed the possession of Silesia.”

“Grumkow led me to the young man in gray. Coming near, I recognized him, though with difficulty. He had grown much stouter, and his neck was much shorter. His face also was much changed, and was no longer as handsome as it had been. I fell upon his neck. I was so overcome that I could only speak in an unconnected manner. I wept, I laughed like a person out of her senses. In my life I have never felt so lively a joy. After these first emotions were subsided I went and threw myself at the feet of the king, who said to me aloud, in the presence of my brother,The fourth day after this dreadful defeat the king received the tidings of the death of Wilhelmina. It was apparently the469 heaviest blow he had ever encountered. The anguish which her death caused him he did not attempt to conceal. In a business letter to Prince Henry we find this burst of feeling:

These sufferings bound the brother and sister very intimately together. “This dear brother,” Wilhelmina writes, “passed all his afternoons with me. We read and wrote together, and occupied ourselves in cultivating our minds. The king now never saw my brother without threatening him with the cane. Fritz repeatedly told me that he would bear any thing from the king except blows; but that, if he ever came to such extremities with him, he would regain his freedom by flight.”“In fine, my dear marquis, the job ahead of me is hard and difficult, and nobody can say positively how it will all go. Pray for us; and don’t forget a poor devil who kicks about strangely in his harness, who leads the life of one damned.The king turned upon his heel, and, with angry voice and gesture, said, “Saldern, you refuse to become rich.”

Again M. Jordan wrote, a week later, on the 20th of December:With almost unprecedented rapidity Frederick pressed his troops along, accomplishing “in three marches near upon seventy miles.” The course of the Oder here is, in its general direction, northwest. The army marched along its southwestern banks. On Saturday evening, the last day of the year, the advance-guard took possession of the southern and western suburbs of Breslau.229 The city, of one hundred thousand inhabitants, was spread out over both banks of the stream. Frederick established his headquarters at the palace of Pilsnitz, about five miles from the city. There were many Protestants in Breslau, who rejoiced in the idea of exchanging a Catholic for a Protestant government. It is said that some of the sentinels on the walls would watch their opportunity and present arms to the Prussian soldiers, and even at times exclaim, “Welcome, dear sirs!”

“But, after this avowal, allow me to entreat you to look back at what was the pitiable state of your enemy when you lay before Prague. It is the sudden whirl of fortune for both parties. The like can occur again when one is the least expecting it. C?sar was the slave of pirates, and yet he became master of the world. A great genius like yours finds resources even when all is lost.321 “First he asked me ‘if it were true that the French nation were so angered against him, if the king was, and if you were.’ I answered ‘that there was nothing permanent.’ He then condescended to speak fully upon the reasons which induced him to make peace. These reasons were so remarkable that I dare not trust them to this paper. All that I dare say is, that it seems to me easy to lead back the mind of this sovereign, whom the situation of his territories, his interest, and his taste would appear to mark as the natural ally of France. He said, moreover, ‘that he earnestly desired to see Bohemia in the emperor’s hands, that he renounced all claim on Berg and Jülick, and that he thought only of keeping Silesia.’ He said ‘that he knew well enough that the house of Austria would one day wish to recover that fine province, but that he trusted he could keep his conquest. That he had at that time a hundred and thirty thousand soldiers perfectly prepared for war; that he would make of Neisse, Glogau, and Brieg fortresses as strong as Wesel; that he was well informed that the Queen of Hungary owed eighty million German crowns (,000,000); that her provinces, exhausted and wide apart, would not be able to make long efforts; and that the Austrians for a long time to come could not of themselves be formidable.’”71



I shall not attempt to describe the battle which ensued—so bloody, so disastrous to the Prussians. It was, like all other desperate battles, a scene of inconceivable confusion, tumult, and horror. At eight o’clock in the morning, General Finck (who was in command of the right wing of the Prussians) was in position to move upon the extreme northern point of attack. It was not until half past eleven that Frederick, in command of the main body of the army, was ready to make a co-operative assault from the east. At the point of attack the Russians had seventy-483two cannons in battery. The Prussians opened upon them with sixty guns. Templeton describes the cannonade as the loudest which he had yet ever heard.



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