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Frederick, pressing forward directly east, toward Leuthen, ascended an eminence, the height of Scheuberg, whence he beheld,439 directly before him, the whole majestic Austrian army. It extended for a distance of about five miles, drawn up in battle-array across his path, from the village of Nypern on the north, through Leuthen, to the village of Sagschütz on the south. So distinctly were their military lines spread out before the eye that Frederick, with his glass, could count them, man by man. Carefully the king studied the position of the enemy, and formed his plan of attack. He designed, while bewildering the Austrians by his man?uvres, to direct the whole concentrated strength of his army upon their extreme left wing. He hoped thus, by the desperate impetuosity of his attack, to roll that whole left wing together in utter ruin before the centre or the right could come to its aid. He would then press on, with numbers ever overpowering the Austrians at the point of attack, until the whole line, five miles in length, was annihilated.

His Prussian majesty carefully examined the position of the Saxons. They were in a region of precipices and chasms, broken into a labyrinth of sky-piercing and craggy rocks. The eminences, in some cases, rose two thousand feet, and were covered with pine forests. There is no stronger position in the world, Frederick writes. All these passes were fortified, mile after mile, by batteries, ramparts, palisades, and abattis. But the Saxon troops, taken unawares, had but a small supply of provisions. Frederick decided to block every entrance to their encampment, and thus to starve them out. His Polish majesty sent frantic cries to France and Austria for help. Frederick was assailed with the title of the Prussian robber. The queen was alone, in his majestys apartment, waiting for him as he approached. As soon as he saw her at the end of the suite of rooms, and long before he arrived in the one where she was, he cried out, Your unworthy son has at last ended himself. You have done with him. Frederick, under the tutelage of his stern father, had not enjoyed the privileges of foreign travel. While other princes of far humbler expectations were taking the grand tour of Europe, the Crown Prince was virtually imprisoned in the barracks, day after day, engaged in the dull routine of drilling the giant guard. After the death of his father he did not condescend to be crowned, proudly assuming, in contradiction to some of his earlier teachings, that the crown was already placed upon his brow by divine power. He, however, exacted from the people throughout his realms oaths of allegiance, and in person visited several of the principal cities to administer those oaths with much pomp of ceremony. The Danish envoy, writing home to his government respecting the administration of Frederick, says,

Meanwhile the King of Englands time of arrival was drawing nigh. We repaired on the 6th of October to Charlottenburg to receive him. My heart kept beating. I was in cruel agitations. King George arrived on the 8th about seven in the evening. The King of Prussia, the queen, and all their suite received him in the court of the palace, the apartments being on the ground floor. So soon as he had saluted the king and queen I was presented to him. He embraced me, and, turning to the queen, said, Your daughter is very large of her age. He gave the queen his hand and led her into her apartment, whither every body followed them. As soon as I came in he took a light from the table and surveyed me from head to foot. I stood motionless as a statue, and was much put out of countenance. All41 this went on without his uttering the least word. Having thus passed me in review, he addressed himself to my brother, whom he caressed much and amused himself with for a good while.

The next morning they learned that Lieutenant Katte had been arrested. All the private papers of Fritz were left, under Kattes charge, in a small writing-desk. These letters would implicate both the mother and the daughter. They were terror-stricken. Count Finckenstein, who was in high authority, was their friend. Through him, by the aid of Madam Finckenstein, they obtained the desk. It was locked and sealed. Despair stimulated their ingenuity. They succeeded in getting the letters. To destroy them and leave nothing in their place would only rouse to greater fury the suspicion and rage of the king. The letters were taken out and burned. The queen and Wilhelmina immediately set to work writing new ones, of a very different character, with which to replace them. For three days they thus labored almost incessantly, writing between six and seven hundred letters. They were so careful to avoid any thing97 which might lead to detection that paper was employed for each letter bearing the date of the year in which the letter was supposed to be written. Fancy the mood, writes Carlyle, of these two royal women, and the black whirlwind they were in. Wilhelminas dispatch was incredible. Pen went at the gallop night and day. New letters of old date and of no meaning are got into the desk again, the desk closed without mark of injury, and shoved aside while it is yet time. I shall send you a curious pamphlet, the only work I almost ever knew that changed the opinions of many. It is called Considerations on the present German War. The confirmation of the King of Prussias victory near Torgau does not prevent the disciples of the pamphlet from thinking that the best thing which could happen for us would be to have that monarchs head shot off.162 148 Your brother is in despair at the idea of marrying her. And he is not wrong. She is an actual fool. She can only answer whatever is said to her by yes or no, accompanied by a silly laugh, which is painful to hear.

Thrice Frederick in person led the charge against the advancing foe. He had three horses shot under him. A gold snuffbox in his pocket was flattened by a bullet. His friends entreated him not thus to peril a life upon which every thing depended. He was deaf to all remonstrances. It is manifest that, in his despair, he sought a soldiers grave.

Prince Charles was en route for Berlina winters march of a hundred and fifty miles. He was not aware that the King of Prussia was near him, or that the king was conscious of his bold design. On Saturday night, November 20, the army of Prince Charles, forty thousand strong, on its line of march, suspecting no foe near, was encamped in villages, extending for twenty miles along the banks of the Queiss, one of the tributaries of the Oder. Four marches would bring them into Brandenburg. It was the design of Frederick to fall with his whole force upon the centre of this line, cut it in two, and then to annihilate the extremities. Early in the morning of Sunday, the 21st, Frederick put his troops in motion. He marched rapidly all that day, and Monday, and Tuesday. In the twilight of Tuesday evening, a dense fog enveloping the landscape, Frederick, with his concentrated force, fell impetuously upon a division of the Austrian army encamped in the village of Hennersdorf.

Frederick was overjoyed. He regarded the day as his own, and the Russian army as at his mercy. He sent a dispatch to anxious Berlin, but sixty miles distant: The Russians are beaten. Rejoice with me. It was one of the hottest of August days, without a breath of wind. Nearly every soldier of the Prussian army had been brought into action against the left wing only of the foe. After a long march and an exhausting fight, they were perishing with thirst. For twelve hours many of them had been without water. Panting with heat, thirst, and exhaustion, they were scarcely capable of any farther efforts.

Fritz, having thus established his outposts, was accustomed to retire to his room with his teacher, lay aside his tight-fitting Prussian military coat, which he detested, and called his shroud, draw on a very beautiful, flowing French dressing-gown of scarlet, embroidered with gold, and decorated with sash and tags, and, with his hair dressed in the most fashionable style of the French court, surrender himself to the indulgence of his own luxurious tastes for sumptuous attire as well as for melodious sounds. He was thus, one day, in the height of his enjoyment, taking his clandestine music-lesson, when Lieutenant Katte came rushing into the room in the utmost dismay, with the announcement that the king was at the door. The wily and ever-suspicious monarch had stolen the march upon them. He was about to make his son a very unwelcome surprise visit.