中央战“疫”日志【18】

After having restored peace to my kingdom; after having conquered countries, raised a victorious army, and filled my treasury; after having established a good administration throughout my dominions; after having made my enemies tremble, I resign, without regret, this breath of life to Nature.

Yes, the prince replied.

Frederick had now under his command twenty-four thousand men. They were mostly on the road between Frankfort and Berlin, for the protection of the capital. His brother Henry, in the vicinity of Landshut, with his head-quarters at Schm?ttseifen, was in command of thirty-eight thousand. The Russians and Austrians numbered one hundred and twenty thousand. There was, however, but little cordial co-operation among the allies. Each was accused of endeavoring to crowd the other to the front of the battle against the terrible Frederick. The king, upon receiving these strange and unexpected tidings, immediately rode into Lowen. It was an early hour in the261 morning. He entered the place, not as a king and a conqueror, but as a starving fugitive, exhausted with fatigue, anxiety, and sleeplessness. It is said that his hunger was so great that he stopped at a little shop on the corner of the market-place, where widow Panzern served him with a cup of coffee and a cold roast fowl. Thus slightly refreshed, the intensely humiliated young king galloped back to his victorious army at Mollwitz, having been absent from it, in his terror-stricken flight, for sixteen hours. On the 8th of March Leopold summoned all his generals at noon, and informed them that Glogau, at all hazards, must be taken that very night. The most minute directions were given to each one. There were to be three attacksone up the river on its left bank, one down the river on its right bank, and one on the land side perpendicular to the other two. The moment the clock on the big steeple in Glogau should give the first stroke of midnight, the three columns were to start. Before the last stroke should be given they were all to be upon the silent, rapid advance.

One wretched man, who had been the guilty accomplice of the Crown Prince in former scenes of guilt and shame, was so troubled by the neglect with which he was treated that he hanged himself.

From day to day I grow more weary of dwelling in a body worn out and condemned to suffer. I am writing to you in the first moment of my grief. Astonishment, sorrow, indignation, and scorn, all blended together, lacerate my soul. Let us get to the end, then, of this execrable campaign. I will then write to you what is to become of me, and we will arrange the rest. Pity me, and make no noise about me. Bad news goes fast enough of itself. Adieu, dear marquis.

This movement of Frederick took place on the 1st of October, 1758. On the 5th, General Daun, who stood in great dread of the military ability of his foe, after holding a council of war, made a stealthy march, in a dark and rainy night, a little to the south of Fredericks encampment, and took a strong position about a mile east of him, at Kittlitz, near L?bau. With the utmost diligence he reared intrenchments and palisades to guard himself from attack by a foe whom he outnumbered more than two to one. He thus again blocked Fredericks direct communication with Silesia.

ASSASSINATION OF PETER III.

Several years now passed away with nothing specially worthy of record. Frederick did not grow more amiable as he advanced in years. Though Frederick was often unreasonable, petulant, and unjust, and would seldom admit that he had been in the wrong, however clear the case, it can not be doubted that it was his general and earnest desire that justice should be exercised in all his courts.

The king was so impressed by this firm attitude of his physician that he even made an apology for his rudeness. As Frederick William was now convinced that ere long he must appear before the tribunal of God, he gradually became a little more calm and resigned.29 It is, however, evident that the Crown Prince still had his share of earthly annoyances, and certainly his full share of earthly frailties. In a letter to his friend Suhm, written this summer, he says:

After the battle of Chotusitz, Frederick called upon General Pallant, an Austrian officer, who was wounded and a prisoner. In the course of the conversation, General Pallant stated that France was ready at any moment to betray his Prussian majesty, and that, if he would give him six days time, he would furnish him with documentary proof. A courier was instantly dispatched to Vienna. He soon returned with a letter from Cardinal Fleury, the prime minister of Louis XV., addressed to Maria Theresa, informing her that, if she would give up Bohemia to the emperor, France would guarantee to her Silesia. Frederick, though guilty of precisely the same treachery himself, read the document with indignation, and assumed to be as much amazed at the perfidy as he could have been had he been an honest man.