类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-11-01 09:16:56


“For a hundred miles around,” writes St. Germain, “the country434 is plundered and harried as if fire from heaven had fallen on it. Scarcely have our plunderers and marauders left the houses standing.”“Your majesty,” replied the gunner, “the devil stole them all last night.”As they marched their voices burst forth simultaneously in a German hymn. The gush of their rude and many-voiced melody was borne distinctly on the wind to the eminence where Frederick stood, anxiously watching those movements which were to decide his own fate, that of his family, and of his kingdom. The following is a translation of one of the verses of this hymn:

Though General Soltikof had lost an equal number of men, he was still at the head of nearly eighty thousand troops flushed with victory. He could summon to his standard any desirable re-enforcements. An unobstructed march of but sixty miles would lead his army into the streets of Berlin. The affairs of Frederick were indeed desperate. There was not a gleam of hope to cheer him. In preparation for his retirement from the army, from the throne, and from life, he that evening drew up the following paper, placing the fragments of the army which he was about to abandon in the hands of General Finck. By the death of the king, the orphan and infant child of his brother Augustus William (who had died but a few months before) would succeed to the throne. Frederick appointed his brother Henry generalissimo of the Prussian army.

“‘Here is his instruction, if so,’ adds the king, handing him an autograph of the necessary outline of procedure—not signed, nor with any credential, or even specific address, lest accident happen. ‘Adieu, then, herr general lieutenant; rule is, shoes of swiftness, cloak of darkness: adieu!“Salzdahlum, Noon, June 12, 1733.

Such was the Tobacco Parliament in its trivial aspects. But it had also its serious functions. Many questions were discussed there which stirred men’s souls, and which roused the ambition or the wrath of the stern old king to the utmost pitch.

The early governess of little Fritz was a French lady of much refinement and culture, Madame Racoule. She was in entire sympathy with her pupil. Their tastes were in harmony. Fritz became as familiar with the French language as if it were his mother tongue. Probably through her influence he acquired that fondness for French literature and that taste for French elegance which continued with him through life.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.307 Elsewhere, Frederick, speaking of these two winter campaigns, says: “Winter campaigns are bad, and should always be avoided, except in cases of necessity. The best army in the world is liable to be ruined by them. I myself have made more winter campaigns than any general of this age. But there were reasons. In 1740 there were hardly above two Austrian regiments in Silesia, at the death of the Emperor Charles VI. Being determined to assert my right to that duchy, I had to try it at once, in winter, and carry the war, if possible, to the banks of the Neisse. Had I waited till spring, we must have begun the war between Crossen and Glogau. What was now to be gained by one march would then have cost us three or four campaigns. A sufficient reason, this, for campaigning in winter. If I did not succeed in the winter campaigns of 1742, a campaign which I made to deliver Moravia, then overrun by Austrians, it was because the French acted like fools, and the Saxons like traitors.”64

This train filled the road for a distance of twenty miles. To traverse the route of ninety miles required six days. The road453 led through forests and mountain defiles. A bold and vigorous foe, well equipped and well mounted, watched the movement. To protect such a train from assault is one of the most difficult achievements of war. The enemy, suddenly emerging from mountain fastnesses or gloomy forests, can select his point of attack, and then sweep in either direction along the line, burning and destroying.Deceptive Measures of Frederick.—Plans for the Invasion of Silesia.—Avowed Reasons for the Invasion.—The Ball in Berlin.—The March of the Army.—Hardships and Successes.—Letter to Voltaire.—Capture of Glogau.—Capture of Brieg.—Bombardment of Neisse.These considerations probably weighed heavily upon the mind of Frederick; for, after having so peremptorily repulsed the queen’s messenger, he sent, on the 9th of September, Colonel Goltz with a proposition to Lord Hyndford, which was substantially the same which the queen in her anguish had consented to make. The strictest secrecy was enjoined upon Colonel Goltz. The proposition was read from a paper without signature, and was probably in the king’s handwriting, for Lord Hyndford was287 not permitted to see the paper. He took a copy from dictation, which was as follows:

“‘Alive to it, he? Yes, with a witness, were there hope in the world!’ which threw G?rtz upon instant gallop toward Zweibrück Schloss in search of said heir, the young Duke August Christian; who, however, had left in the interim (summoned by his uncle, on Austrian urgency, to consent along with him), but whom G?rtz, by dexterity and intuition of symptoms, caught up by the road, with what a mutual joy! As had been expected, August Christian, on sight of G?rtz, with an armed Frederick looming in the distance, took at once into new courses and activities. From him no consent now; far other: treaty with Frederick; flat refusal ever to consent: application to the Reich, application even to France, and whatever a gallant young fellow could do.The queen was at this time in a delicate state of health, and anxiety and sorrow threw her upon a sick-bed. The king, who felt as much affection for “Phiekin” as such a coarse, brutal man could feel for any body, was alarmed; but he remained obdurate. He stormed into her room, where, in the fever of her troubles, she tossed upon her pillow, and obstreperously declared that Wilhelmina should be married immediately, and that she must take either Weissenfels or Schwedt. As both mother and daughter remained firm in their refusal to choose, he resolved to decide the question himself.

“‘No, no,’ said he; ‘you shall have those one hundred thousand thalers. I have destined them for you. People will be much surprised to see me act quite differently from what they had expected. They imagine I am going to lavish all my treasures, and that money will become as common as pebbles in Berlin. But they will find that I know better. I mean to increase my army, and to leave all other things on the old footing. I will have every consideration for the queen, my mother, and will satiate her with honors. But I do not mean that she shall meddle with my affairs. If she try it she will find so.’



“You are quite right,” responded the king. “We will manage Daun. What I lament is the number of brave men who have died this morning.”

The town of Cüstrin, it will be remembered, was utterly consumed, being set on fire by the shells of the Russians. The commandant of the citadel was censured for not having prevented the calamity. He immediately sought an interview with the king, endeavoring to apologize for his conduct. The king, perhaps justly, perhaps very unjustly, interrupted him, saying,The River Neisse is quite narrow. In preparation for the bombardment, Frederick planted his batteries on the south side of the stream, and also approached the city from the north. It will be remembered that Frederick had an army in Silesia at his command of about forty thousand men, abundantly provided with all the munitions of war. The little Austrian garrison hurriedly thrown into Neisse consisted of but sixteen hundred men, but poorly prepared either for battle or for siege. The Austrian commandant, General Roth, determined upon a heroic resistance. To deprive the assailants of shelter, the torch was applied to all the beautiful suburbs. In a few hours the cruel flames destroyed the labor of ages. Many once happy families were impoverished and rendered homeless. Ashes, blackened walls, and smouldering ruins took the place of gardens, villas, and comfortable homes.


Copyright © 2020