他们,让这个春天更温暖

The latter part of April Prince Charles had gathered a large force of Austrian regulars at Olmütz, with the manifest intention of again invading Silesia. The King of Poland had entered into cordial alliance with Austria, and was sending a large army of Saxon troops to co-operate in the enterprise. Fredericks indignation was great, and his peril still greater. Encamped in the valley of the Neisse, assailed on every side, and menaced with still more formidable foes, he dispatched orders to the Old Dessauer immediately to establish an army of observation (thirty thousand strong) upon the frontiers of Saxony. He was to be prepared instantly, upon the Saxon troops leaving Saxony, to ravage the country with the most merciless plunderings of war.

At last, whether by accident or design, the princess broke a glass. This was the signal for our impetuous jollity, and an example that appeared highly worthy of our imitation. In an instant170 all the glasses flew to the several corners of the room. All the crystals, porcelain, mirrors, branches, bowls, and vases were broken into a thousand pieces. In the midst of this universal destruction, the prince stood, like the man in Horace who contemplates the crush of worlds, with a look of perfect tranquillity.

I can well say, he writes, that I never in my life saw any thing more beautiful. They marched with the greatest steadiness, arrow straight and their front like a line, as if they had been upon parade. The glitter of their clear arms shone strangely in the setting sun, and the fire from them went on no otherwise than a continued peal of thunder. The spirits of our army sank altogether, the foot plainly giving way, the horse refusing to come forwardall things wavering toward dissolution. Frederick dispatched messengers to Ohlau to summon the force there to his aid; the messengers were all captured. The Prussians were now in a deplorable condition. The roads were encumbered and rendered almost impassable by the drifted snow. The army was cut off from its supplies, and had provisions on hand but for a single day. Both parties alike plundered the poor inhabitants of their cattle, sheep, and grain. Every thing that could burn was seized for their camp-fires. We speak of the carnage of the battle-field, and often forget the misery which is almost invariably brought upon the helpless inhabitants of the region through which the armies move. The schoolmaster of Mollwitz, a kind, simple-hearted, accurate old gentleman, wrote an account of the scenes he witnessed. Under date of Mollwitz, Sunday, April 9, he writes: Again, on the 19th of February, 1732, the Crown Prince wrote from Cüstrin to Baron Grumkow. From his letter we make the following extracts:

He seemed embarrassed, and added, But the universe is eternal.

Prisoners, captive soldiers, if at all likely fellows, writes Archenholtz, were by every means persuaded and even compelled to take Prussian service. Compelled, cudgel in hand, not asked if they wished to serve, but dragged to the Prussian colors, obliged to swear there, and fight against their countrymen.147

The King of Prussia can not sleep. The officers sit up with him every night, and in his slumbers he raves and talks of spirits and apparitions.

By the most extraordinary exertions, which must have almost depopulated his realms of all the young men and those of middle age, Frederick succeeded in so filling up his depleted ranks as to have in the opening spring of 1759 two hundred thousand men in field and garrison. Indeed, regardless of all the laws of nations, he often compelled the soldiers and other men of conquered provinces to enlist in his armies. How he, in his poverty, obtained the pecuniary resources requisite to the carrying on of such a war, is to the present day a matter of amazement.

I waver between hope and fear of paying my court to you. I hope it might still be at Berneck, if you could contrive a road into the Nürnberg highway again, avoiding Baireuth; otherwise I dare not go. The bearer, Captain Knobelsdorf, will apprise you of every particular. Let him settle something that may be possible. This is how I stand at present: instead of having to expect some favor from the king, I get nothing but chagrin. But what is more cruel upon me than all is that you are ill. God, in his grace, be pleased to help you, and restore that health which I so much wish for you.

Alas! your majesty, the man replied, we are so few, and the Austrians are so many, that defeat is certain.