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At this time the whole disposable force of his Prussian majesty did not exceed eighty thousand men. There were marching against him combined armies of not less, in the aggregate, than four hundred thousand. A part of the Prussian army, about thirty thousand strong, under the kings eldest brother, Augustus William, Prince of Prussia, was sent north, especially to protect Zittau, a very fine town of about ten thousand inhabitants, where Frederick had gathered his chief magazines. Prince Charles, with seventy thousand Austrians, pursued this division. He outgeneraled the Prince of Prussia, drove him into wild country roads, took many prisoners, captured important fortresses, and, opening a fire of red-hot shot upon Zittau, laid the whole place, with its magazines, in ashes. The Prince of422 Prussia, who witnessed the conflagration which he could not prevent, retreated precipitately toward Lobau, and thence to Bautzen, with his army in a deplorable condition of exhaustion and destitution.The king soon learned, to his inexpressible displeasure and mortification, that his boy was not soldierly in his tastes; that he did not love the rude adventures of the chase, or the exposure and hardships which a martial life demands. He had caught Fritz playing the flute, and even writing verses. He saw that he was fond of graceful attire, and that he was disposed to dress his hair in the French fashion. He was a remarkably handsome boy, of fine figure, with a ladys hand and foot, and soft blonde locks carefully combed. All this the king despised. Scornfully and indignantly he exclaimed, My son is a flute-player and a poet! In his vexation he summoned Fritz to his presence, called in the barber, and ordered his flowing locks to be cut off, cropped, and soaped in the most rigid style of military cut.

Augustus William, overwhelmed by his disgrace, and yet angered by the rebuke, coldly replied that he desired only that a court-martial should investigate the case and pronounce judgment. The king forbade that any intercourse whatever should take place between his own troops, soldiers, or officers, and those of his brother, who, he declared, had utterly degraded themselves by the loss of all courage and ambition. The prince sent to the king General Schultz to obtain the countersign for the army. Frederick refused to receive him, saying that he had no countersign to send to cowards. Augustus William then went himself to present his official report and a list of his troops. Frederick took the papers without saying a word, and then turned his back upon his brother. This cruel treatment fell with crushing force upon the unhappy prince. Conscious of military failure, disgraced in the eyes of his generals and soldiers, and abandoned by the king, his health and spirits alike failed him. The next morning he wrote a sad, respectfully reproachful letter to423 Frederick, stating that his health rendered it necessary for him to retire for a season from the army to recruit. The reply of the king, which was dated Bautzen, July 30, 1757, shows how desperate he, at that time, considered the state of his affairs. Hopeless of victory, he seems to have sought only death.

We went gravely at a slow pace,a a a. First position of Austrian Army. b b b. Second position to meet the Prussian Attack. c. Prussians under Keith. d d. First position of Prussian Army. e e. Second position of Prussian Army. f. Schwerins Prussians. g. Prussian Horse. h. Mannsteins Attack. i. Place of Schwerins Monument.

Frederick, unaware that Oppeln was in the hands of the enemy, arrived, with the few of his suite who had been able to keep up with him, about midnight before the closed gates of the town. Who are you? the Austrian sentinels inquired. We are Prussians, was the reply, accompanying a courier from the king. The Austrians, unconscious of the prize within their grasp, and not knowing how numerous the Prussian party might be, instantly opened a musketry fire upon them through the iron gratings of the gate. Had they but thrown open the gate and thus let the king enter the trap, the whole history of Europe might have been changed. Upon apparently such trivial chances the destinies of empires and of the world depend. Fortunately, in the darkness and the confusion, none were struck by the bullets.

The stunning news soon reached Frederick that General Fouquet, whom he had left in Silesia with twelve thousand men, had been attacked by a vastly superior force of Austrians. The assault was furious in the extreme. Thirty-one thousand Austrians commenced the assault at two oclock in the morning. By eight oclock the bloody deed was done. Ten thousand of the Prussians strewed the field with their gory corpses. Two thousand only escaped. General Fouquet himself was wounded and taken prisoner. To add to the anguish of the king, this disaster was to be attributed to the king himself. He had angrily ordered General Fouquet to adopt a measure which that general, better acquainted with the position and forces of the foe, saw to be fatal. Heroically he obeyed orders, though he knew that it would prove the destruction of his army.

A hangman such as you naturally takes pleasure in talking of his tools and of his trade, but on me they will produce no effect. I have owned every thing, and almost regret to have done so. I ought not to degrade myself by answering the questions of a scoundrel such as you are.

At table his majesty told the queen that he had letters from Anspach; the young marquis to be at Berlin in May for his wedding; that M. Bremer, his tutor, was just coming with the ring of betrothal for Louisa. He asked my sister if that gave her pleasure, and how she would regulate her housekeeping when married. My sister had got into the way of telling him whatever she thought, and home truths sometimes, without his taking it ill. She answered, with her customary frankness, that she would have a good table, which should be delicately served, and, added she, which shall be better than yours. And if I have children I will not maltreat them like you, nor force them to eat what they have an aversion to.

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In the latter part of April, the weather being very fine, the king decided to leave Berlin and retire to his rural palace at Potsdam. It seems, however, that he was fully aware that his days were nearly ended, for upon leaving the city he said, Fare thee well, then, Berlin; I am going to die in Potsdam. The winter had been one of almost unprecedented severity, and the month of May was cold and wet. As the days wore on the kings health fluctuated, and he was continually struggling between life and death. The king, with all his great imperfections, was a thoughtful man. As he daily drew near the grave, the dread realities of the eternal world oppressed his mind. He sent for three clergymen of distinction, to converse with them respecting his preparation for the final judgment. It seems that they were very faithful with him, reminding him of his many acts of violence and tyranny, alluding particularly to his hanging Baron Schlubhut, at K?nigsberg, without even a trial. The king endeavored to defend himself, saying,

The terror in Vienna was dreadful. I will not attempt to describe the dismay the tidings excited among all ranks of people. Maria Theresa, trembling for her two sons who were in the army, immediately dispatched an autograph letter to Frederick with new proposals for a negotiation.Dickens at length ventured to ask the king directly, What shall I write to England?



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