Friedrich's march to Landshut is, again, much admired. Daun had beset the three great roads, the two likeliest especially, with abundant Pandours, and his best Loudons and St. Ignons: Friedrich, making himself enigmatic to Daun, struck into the third road by Skalitz, Nachod; circuitous, steep, but lying Glatz-ward, handy for support of various kinds. He was attempted, once or more, by Pandours, but used them badly; fell in with Daun's old abatis (well wind-dried now), in different places, and burnt them in passing. And in five days was in Kloster-Grussau, safe on his own side of the Mountains again. One point only we will note, in these Pandour turmoilings. From Skalitz, the first stage of his march, he answers a Letter of Brother Henri's:--
TO PRINCE HENRI (at Tachopau in Saxony). "What you write to me of my Sister of Baireuth [that she has been in extremity, cannot yet write, and must not be told of the Prince of Prussia's death lest it kill her] makes me tremble! Next to our Mother, she is what I have the most tenderly loved in this world. She is a Sister who has my heart and all my confidence; and whose character is of price beyond all the crowns in this universe. From my tenderest years, I was brought up with her: you can conceive how there reigns between us that indissoluble bond of mutual affection and attachment for life, which in all other cases, were it only from disparity of ages, is impossible. Would to Heaven I might die before her;--and that this terror itself don't take away my life without my actually losing her!" [
At Grussau (August 9th) he writes to his dear Wilhelmina herself: "O you, the dearest of my family, you whom I have most at heart of all in this world,--for the sake of whatever is most precious to you, preserve yourself, and let me have at least the consolation of shedding my tears in your bosom! Fear nothing for US, and"-- O King, she is dying, and I believe knows it, though you will hope to the last! There is something piercingly tragical in those final Letters of Friedrich to his Wilhelmina, written from such scenes of wreck and storm, and in Wilhelmina's beautiful ever-loving quiet Answers, dictated when she could no longer write. ["July 18th" is the last by her hand, and "almost illegible;"--still extant, it seems, though withheld from us. Was received at Grussau here, and answered at some length (
Friedrich had last left Grussau April 18th; he has returned to it August 8th: after sixteen weeks of a very eventful absence. In Grussau he stayed two whole days;--busy enough he, probably, though his people were resting! August 10th he draws up, for Prince Henri, "under seal of the most absolute secrecy," and with admirable business-like strictness, brevity and clearness, forgetting nothing useful, remembering nothing useless, a Paper of Directions in case of a certain event: "I march to-morrow against the Russians: as the events of War may lead to all sorts of accidents, and it may easily happen to me to be killed, I have thought it my duty to let you know what my plans were," and what you are to do in that event,--"the rather as you are Guardian of our Nephew [late Prince of Prussia's Son] with an unlimited authority." Oath from all the armies the instant I am killed: rapid, active, as ever; the enemy not to notice that there is any change in the command. I intend to "beat the Russians utterly [A PLATE COUTURE, splay-seam], if it be possible;" then to &c.:-- gives you his "itinerary," too, or probable address, till "the 25th" (notably enough); in short, forgets nothing useful, nor remembers anything that is not, in spite of his hurry. ["DISPOSITION TESTAMENTAIRE" (so they have labelled it); given in
With Margraf Karl, and Fouquet under him, who are to guard Silesia, he leaves in two Divisions about Half the late Olmutz Army:--added to the other force, this will make about 40,000 for that service. [Stenzel, v. 163.] Keith has the chief command here; but is ordered to Breslau, in the mean time, for a little rest and recovery of health. Friday, 11th August, Friedrich himself, with the other Half, pushes off towards Fermor and the Cossack demons; through Liegnitz, through Hohenfriedberg Country, straight for Frankfurt, with his best speed.
Sunday, 20th August, Friedrich, with his small Army, hardly above 15,000 I should guess, arrived at Frankfurt-on-Oder: "his Majesty," it seems, "lodged in the Lebus Suburb, in the house of a Clergyman's Widow; and was observed to go often out of doors, and listen to the cannonading, which was going on at Custrin." [Rodenbeck, i. 347.] From Landshut hither, he has come in nine days; the swiftest marching; a fiery spur of indignation being upon all his men and him, for the last two days fierier than ever,-- longing all to have a blow at those incendiary Russian gentlemen. Five days ago, the Russians, attempting blindly on the Garrison of Custrin, had burnt,--nothing of the Garrison at all,--but the poor little Town altogether. Which has filled everybody with lamentation and horror. And, listen yonder, they are still busy on the solitary Garrison of Custrin;--audible enough to Friedrich from his northern or Lebus Suburb, which lies nearest the place, at a distance of some twenty miles.
Of Fermor's red-hot savagery on Custrin, it is lamentably necessary we should say something: to say much would he a waste of record; as the thing itself was a waste of powder. A thing hideous to think of; without the least profit to Fermor, but with total ruin to all the inhabitants, and to the many strangers who had sought refuge there. One interior circumstance is memorable and lucky to us. Artillery-Captain Tielcke happened to be with these people; had come in the train of "two Saxon Princes, serving as volunteers;" and, with a singular lucidity, and faithful good sense, not scientific alone, he illuminates these biack Russian matters for such as have to do with them.
Tielcke's Book of