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      The impetuous Frederick made no delay at Prague. The day after the capture, leaving five thousand men, under General Einsiedel, to garrison the city, he put his troops in motion, ascending the right bank of the Moldau. It would seem that he was about to march boldly upon Vienna. Wagons of meal, drawn by oxen, followed the army. The heavy artillery was left behind. The troops were forced along as rapidly as possible. They advanced in two columns. One was led by Frederick, and the other by young Leopold. The country through which they passed was dreary, desolate, barren in the extremea wild waste of precipitous rocks, and bogs, and tangled forest. The roads were wretched. No forage could be obtained. The starved oxen were continually dropping, exhausted, by the way; the path of the army was marked by their carcasses.

      The king, writes Stille, though fatigued, would not rest satisfied with reports or distant view. Personally he made the tour of the whole camp, to see that every thing was right, and posted the pickets himself before retiring.Should it chance that my army in Saxony were beaten, or that the French should get possession of Hanover, and threaten us with invasion from that quarter, or that the Russians should get through by Neumark, you are to save the royal family and the archives. Should we be beaten in Saxony, remove the royal family to Cüstrin. Should the Russians enter by Neumark, or a misfortune befall us in the Lausitz, all must go to Magdeburg, but not till the last extremity. The garrison, the royal family, and the treasure must be kept together. In such a case, the silver plate and the gold plate must at once be coined into money.

      I am abandoned by all. Hostile invasion threatens the kingdom of Hungary, our person, our children, our crown. I have no resource but in your fidelity and valor. I invoke the ancient Hungarian virtue to rise swiftly and save me.

      But this victory on the Rhine was of no avail to Frederick in Bohemia. It did not diminish the hosts which Prince Charles was gathering against him. It did not add a soldier to his diminished columns, or supply his exhausted magazines, or replenish his empty treasury. Louis XV. was so delighted with the victory that he supposed Frederick would be in sympathy with him. He immediately dispatched a courier to the Prussian king with the glad tidings. But Frederick, disappointed, embarrassed, chagrined, instead of being gratified, was irritated by the news. He sent back the scornful reply that a victory upon the Scamander,84 or in the heart of China, would have been just as important to him.You are in a circle, said I. How will you get out of it?

      On the 18th of January, 1742, Frederick visited Dresden, to confer with Augustus III., King of Poland, who was also Elector of Saxony, and whose realms were to be increased by the annexation of Moravia. His Polish majesty was a weak man, entirely devoted to pleasure. His irresolute mind, subjected to the dominant energies of the Prussian king, was as clay in the hands of the potter.In the midst of ftes, operas, and suppers, my secret negotiation advanced. The king allowed me to speak to him on all subjects. I often intermingled questions respecting France and Austria in conversations relating to the ?neid and Livy. The discussion was sometimes very animated. At length the king said to me, Let France declare war against England, and I will march. This was all I desired. I returned as quickly as possible to the court of France. I gave them the same hopes which I had myself been led to entertain at Berlin, and which did not prove delusive.

      Frederick was silenced, humiliated. He returned to Berlin, having accomplished nothing, and having lost four days in his fruitless adventure. Leopold was left to accumulate his resources as rapidly as he could, and to attack the Austrians at his discretion.

      The torments of Tantalus, the pains of Prometheus, the doom of Sisyphus, were nothing to the torments I have suffered for the last ten days. Death is sweet in comparison with such a life. Pity me, and believe that I still keep to myself a great many evil things, not wishing to afflict or disquiet any body with them. Believe me that I would not counsel you to fly these unlucky countries if I had any ray of hope. Adieu, mon cher.


      The young officers in the Saxon army, having disposed their troops in comfortable barracks, had established their own head-quarters in the magnificent castle of Budischau, in the vicinity303 of Trebitsch. Nothing like this superb mansion, writes Stille, is to be seen except in theatres, on the drop-scene of the enchanted castle. Here these young lords made themselves very comfortable. They had food in abundance, luxuriously served, with the choicest wines. Roaring fires in huge stoves converted, within the walls, winter into genial summer. Here these pleasure-loving nobles, with song, and wine, and such favorites, male and female, as they carried with them, loved to linger.


      In the following letter, which Frederick wrote at this time to his friend DArgens, he unbosoms his sorrows with unusual frankness. The letter was dated Breslau, March 1, 1759:


      Old Prince Leopold of Dessau, whom he had left in command of the army in Silesia, was one of the most extraordinary men of any age. He invented the iron ramrod, and also all modern military tactics. The soldiery of every civilized country still receives from this man, on the parade-fields and battle-fields, its word of command. Out of his rough head proceeded the essential of all that the innumerable drill-sergeants in various languages repeat and enforce.80