403 Frederick was in great perplexity. To wait for his enemies to complete their arrangements, and to commence the attack at their leisure, placed him at great disadvantage. To begin the attack himself, and thus to open anew the floodgates of war, would increase the hostility with which the nations were regarding him. As the diplomacy of the foreign cabinets had been secret, he would universally be regarded as the aggressor. England was Fredericks only allya treacherous ally, influenced not by sympathy for Frederick, but by hatred of France, and by fear of the loss of Hanover. The British cabinet would abandon Prussia the first moment it should see it to be for its interest to do so.

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.

It is probable that even Seckendorf was somewhat moved by this pathetic appeal. Fritz succeeded in sending a letter to the post-office, addressed to Lieutenant Keith at Wesel, containing simply the words Sauvez vous; tout est decouvert (Save yourself; all is found out). Keith received the letter but an hour or so before a colonel of gens darmes arrived to arrest him. Seckendorf had an interview with the king, and seems to have endeavored to mitigate his wrath. He assured the infuriate monarch of his sons repentance, and of his readiness to make a full confession if his father would spare those who had been led by their sympathies to befriend him. The unrelenting father received this message very sullenly, saying that he had no faith that his son would make an honest confession, but that he would see what he had to say for himself. 256 It was now about noon. The sun shone brightly on the glistening snow. There was no wind. Twenty thousand peasants, armed and drilled as soldiers, were facing each other upon either side, to engage in mutual slaughter, with no animosity between themno cause of quarrel. It is one of the unrevealed mysteries of Providence that any one man should thus have it in his power to create such wide-spread death and misery. The Austrians had a splendid body of cavalry, eight thousand six hundred in number. Frederick had but about half as many horsemen. The Prussians had sixty pieces of artillery, the Austrians but eighteen. The next morning Frederick crossed the river to Reitwein, on the western bank. Here, during the day, broken bands of his army came in to the number of twenty-three thousand. It would seem that a night of refreshing sleep had so far recruited the exhausted energies of the king that he was enabled to look a little more calmly upon the ruin which enveloped him. He that day wrote as follows from Reitwein to General Schmettau, who was in command of the Prussian garrison at Dresden:

He has done us all a great deal of ill. He has been king for his own country, but a trouble-feast for those about himsetting up to be the arbiter of Europe, always assailing his neighbors, and making them pay the expense. As daughters of Maria Theresa, it is impossible we can regret him; nor is it the court of France that will make his funeral oration.197 Frederick had seen many dark days before, but never one so dark as this. In the frenzy of his exertions to retrieve the lost battle, he cried out to his soldiers, his eyes being flooded with tears, Children, do not forsake me, your king, your father, in this pinch! The retreat became a flight. In endeavoring to cross the little stream called the Hen-Floss, there was such crowding and jamming at the bridges that the Prussians were compelled to leave one hundred and sixty-five guns of various calibre behind them. Had the Russians pursued with any vigor, scarcely a man of the Prussian army could have escaped. But General Soltikof stood in such fear of his opponent, who had often wrested victory out of defeat, that he attempted no pursuit.

I shall be in the front and in the rear of the army. I shall fly from one wing to the other. No squadron and no company will escape my observation. Those who act well I will reward, and will never forget them. We shall soon either have beaten the enemy or we shall see each other no more.

Monsieur, there is nothing I wish so much as to possess all your writings. Pray do communicate them to me without reserve. If there be among your manuscripts any that you wish to conceal from the eyes of the public, I engage to keep them in profoundest secrecy.

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 whole of Lower Silesia; the River Neisse for the boundary; the city of Neisse for us, as also Glutz; on the other side of the Oder, the ancient boundary between the Duchies of Brieg and Oppeln. Namslau for us. The affairs of religion in statu quo. No dependence upon Bohemia. Cession eternal. In exchange we will go no farther. We will besiege Neisse for form. The commandant shall surrender and depart. We will quietly go into winter quarters; and they (the Austrians) can take their army where they will. Let all be finished in twelve days.