Maillebois with his 40,000, we have seen how they got to Osnabruck, and effectually stilled the war-fervor of little George II.; sent him home, in fact, to England a checkmated man, he riding out of Osnabruck by one gate, the French at the same moment marching in by the other. There lies Maillebois ever since; and will lie, cantoned over Westphalia, "not nearer than three leagues to the boundary of Hanover," for a year and more. There let Maillebois lie, till we see him called away else-wither, upon which the gallant little George, check-mate being lifted, will get into notable military activity, and attempt to draw his sword again,—though without success, owing to the laggard Dutch. Which also, as British subjects, if not otherwise, the readers of this Book will wish to see something of. Maillebois did not quite keep his stipulated distance of "three leagues from the boundary" (being often short of victual), and was otherwise no good neighbor. Among his Field-Officers, there is visible (sometimes in trouble about quarters and the like) a Marquis du Chatelet,—who, I find, is Husband or Ex-Husband to the divine Emilie, if readers care to think of that! [Campagnes (i. 45, 193); and French Peerage-Books,? DU CHATELAT.] Other known face, or point of interest for or against, does not turn up in the Maillebois Operation in those parts.
As for the other still grander Army, Army of the Oriflamme as we have called it,—which would be Belleisle's, were not he so overwhelmed with embassying, and persuading the Powers of Germany,—this, since we last saw it, has struck into a new course, which it is essential to indicate. The major part of it (Four rear Divisions! if readers recollect) lay at Ingolstadt, its place of arms; while the Vanward Three Divisions, under Maurice Comte de Saxe, flowed onward, joining with Bavaria at Passau; down the Donau Country, to Linz and farther, terrifying Vienna itself; and driving all the Court to Presburg, with (fabulous) "MORIAMUR PRO REGE NOSTRO MARIA THERESIA," but with actual armament of Tolpatches, Pandours, Warasdins, Uscocks and the like unsightly beings of a predatory centaur nature. Which fine Hungarian Armament, and others still more ominous, have been diligently going on, while Karl Albert sat enjoying his Homagings at Linz, his Pisgah-views Vienna-ward; and asking himself, "Shall we venture forward, and capture Vienna, then?"
The question is intricate, and there are many secret biasings concerned in the solution of it. Friedrich, before Klein-Schnellendorf time, had written eagerly, had sent Schmettau with eager message, "Push forward; it is feasible, even easy: cut the matter by the root!" This, they say, was Karl Albert's own notion, had not the French overruled him;—not willing, some guess, he should get Austria, and become too independent of them all at once. Nay, it appears Karl Albert had inducements of his own towards Bohemia rather. The French have had Kur-Sachsen to manage withal; and there are interests in Bohemia of his and theirs,—clippings of Bohemia promised him as bribes, besides that "Kingdom of Moravia," to get his 21,000 set on march. "Clippings of Bohemia? Interests of Kur-Sachsen's in that Country?" asks Karl Albert with alarm: and thinks it will be safer, were he himself present there, while Saxony and France do the clippings in question! Sure enough, he did not push on. Belleisle, from the distance, strongly opined otherwise; Karl Albert himself had jealous fears about Bohmen. Friedrich's importunities and urgencies were useless: and the one chance there ever was for Karl Albert, for Belleisle and the Ruin of Austria, vanished without return.
Karl Albert has turned off, leftwards, towards his Bohemian Enterprises: French, Bavarians, Saxons, by their several routes, since the last days of October, are all on march that way. We will mark an exact date here and there, as fixed point for the reader's fancy. Poor Karl Albert, he had sat some six weeks at Linz,—about three weeks since that Homaging there (October 2d);—imaginary Sovereign of Upper Austria; looking over to Vienna and the Promised Land in general. And that fine Pisgah-view was all he ever had of it. Of Austrian or other Conquests earthly or heavenly, there came none to him in this Adventure;—mere MINUS quantities they all proved. For a few weeks more, there are, blended with awful portents, an imaginary gleam or two in other quarters; after which, nothing but black horror and disgrace, deepening downwards into utter darkness, for the poor man. Belleisle is an imaginary Sun-god; but the poor Icarus, tempted aloft in that manner into the earnest elements, and melting at once into quills and rags, is a tragic reality!—Let us to our dates:—
"OCTOBER 24th, The Bavarian Troops, who had lain at Mautern on the Donau some time, forty miles from Vienna and the Promised Land, got under way again;—not FORWARD, but sharp to left, or northward, towards the Bohemian parts. Thither all the Belleisle Armaments are now bound; and a general rallying of them is to be at Prag; for conquest of that Country, as more inviting than Austria at present. Comte de Saxe, who had lain at St. Polten, a march to southward of Mautern, he with the Vanward of the great Belleisle Army, bestirred himself at the same time; and followed steadily (Karl Albert in person was with Saxe), at a handy distance by parallel roads. To Prag may be about 200 miles. Across the Mannhartsberg Country, clear out of Austria, into Bohmen, towards Prag. At Budweis, or between that and Tabor, Towns of our old friend Zisca's, of which we shall hear farther in these Wars; Towns important by their intricate environment of rock and bog, far up among the springs of the Moldau,—there can these Bavarians, and this French Vanward of Belleisle, halt a little, till the other parties, who are likewise on march, get within distance."
For in these same days, as hinted above, the Rearward of the Belleisle Army (Four Divisions, strength not accurately given) pushes forward from Donauworth, well rested, through the Bavarian Passes, towards Bohemia and Prag: these have a longer march (say 250 miles)? to northeast; and the leader of them is one Polastron, destined unhappily to meet us on a future occasion. With them go certain other Bavarians; accompanying or preceding, as in the Vanward case. And then the Saxons (21,000 strong, a fine little Army, all that Saxony has) are, at the same time, come across the Metal Mountains (ERZGEBIRGE), in quest of those Bohemian clippings, of that Kingdom of Moravia: and march from the westward upon Prag,—Rutowsky leading them. Comte de Rutowsky, Comte de Saxe's Half-Brother, one of the Three Hundred and Fifty-four:—with whom is CHEVALIER de Saxe, a second younger ditto; and I think there is still a third, who shall go unnamed. In this grand Oriflamme Expedition, Four of the Royal-Saxon Bastards altogether." Who cost us more distinguishing than they are worth!
Chief General of these Saxons, says an Authentic Author, is Rutowsky; got from a Polish mother, I should guess: he commands in chief here;—once had a regiment under Friedrich Wilhelm, for a while; but has not much head for strategy, it may be feared. But mark that Fourth individual of the Three Hundred and Fifty-four, who has a great deal. Fourth individual, called Comte de Saxe, who is now in that French Vanward a good way to east, was (must I again remind you!) the produce of the fair Aurora von Konigsmark, Sister of the Konigsmark who vanished instantaneously from the light of day at Hanover long since, and has never reappeared more. It was in search of him that Aurora, who was indeed a shining creature (terribly insolvent all her life, whose charms even Charles XII. durst not front), came to Dresden; and,—in this Comte de Saxe, men see the result. Tall enough, restless enough; most eupeptic, brisk, with a great deal of wild faculty,—running to waste, nearly all. There, with his black arched eyebrows, black swift physically smiling eyes, stands Monseigneur le Comte, one of the strongest-bodied and most dissolute-minded men now living on our Planet. He is now turned of forty: no man has been in such adventures, has swum through such seas of transcendent eupepticity determined to have its fill. In this new Quasi-sacred French Enterprise, under the Banner of Belleisle and the Chateauroux, he has at last, after many trials, unconsciously found his culmination: and will do exploits of a wonderful nature,—very worthy of said Banner and its patrons.
"Here, then, are Three streams or Armaments pouring forward upon Prag; perhaps some 60,000 men in all:—a good deal uncertain what they are to do at Prag, except arrive simultaneously so far as possible. Belleisle, far off, has fallen sick in these critical days. Comte de Saxe cannot see his way in the matter at all: 'What are we to live upon,' asks Comte de Saxe, 'were there nothing more!'—For, simultaneously with these Three Armaments on march, there is an important Austrian one, likewise on the road for Prag: that of Grand-Duke Franz, who has left Presburg, with say 30,000 (including the Pandour element); and duly meets the Neipperg, or late Silesian Army;—well capable, now, to do a stroke upon the Three Armaments, if he be speedy? 'November 7th' it was when Grand-Duke Franz picked up Neipperg, 'at Frating' deep in Moravia (November 7th, the very day while Friedrich was getting homaged in Breslau), and turned him northwestward again. The Grand-Duke, in such strength, marches Rag-ward what he can; might be there before the French, were he swift; and is at any rate in disagreeable proximity to that Budmeis-Tabor Country, appointed as one's halting-place."
And Belleisle, in these critical days, is—consider it!—"Poor Belleisle, he has all the Election Votes ready; he has done unspeakable labors in the diplomatic way; and leaves Europe in ebullition and conflagration behind him. He has all these Armies in motion, and has got rid of 'that Moravia,'—given it to Saxony, who adds the title 'King of Moravia' to his other dignities, and has set on march those 21,000 men. 'Would he were ready with them!' Belleisle had been saying, ever since the Treaty for them,—Treaty was, September 19th. Belleisle, to expedite him, came to Dresden [what day is not said, but deep in October]; intending next for the Prag Country, there to commence General, the diplomacies being satisfactorily done. Valori ran over from Berlin to wait upon him there. Alas, the Saxons are on march, or nearly so; but the great man himself, worn down with these Herculean labors, has fallen into rheumatic fever; is in bed, out at Hubertsburg (serene Country Palace of his Moravian Polish Majesty); and cannot get the least well, to march in person with the Three Armaments, with the flood of things he has set reeling and whirling at such rate.
"The sympathies of Valori go deep at this spectacle. The Alcides, who was carrying the axis of the world, fallen down in physical rheumatism! But what can sympathies avail? The great man sees the Saxons march without him. The great man, getting no alleviation from physicians, determines, in his patriotic heroism, to surrender glory itself; writes home to Court, 'That he is lamed, disabled utterly; that they must nominate another General.' And they nominate another; nominate Broglio, the fat choleric Marshal, of Italian breed and physiognomy, whom we saw at Strasburg last year, when Friedrich was there. Broglio will quit Strasburg too soon, and come. A man fierce in fighting, skilled too in tactics; totally incompetent in strategy, or the art of LEADING armies, and managing campaigns;—defective in intelligence indeed, not wise to discern; dim of vision, violent of temper; subject to sudden cranks, a headlong, very positive, loud, dull and angry kind of man; with whose tumultuous imbecilities the great Belleisle will be sore tried by and by. 'I reckon this,' Valori says, 'the root of all our woes;' this Letter which the great Belleisle wrote home to Court. Let men mark it, therefore, as a cardinal point,—and snatch out the date, when they have opportunity upon the Archives of France. [See Valori, i. 131.]
"Monseigneur the Comte de Saxe, before quitting the Vienna Countries, had left some 10,000 French and Bavarians, posted chiefly in Linz, under a Comte de Segur, to maintain those Donau Conquests, which have cost only the trouble of marching into them. Count Khevenhuller has ceased working at the ramparts of Vienna, nothing of siege to be apprehended now, civic terror joyfully vanishing again; and busies himself collecting an Army at Vienna, with intent of looking into those same French Segurs, before long. It is probable the so-called Conquests on the Donau will not be very permanent.
"NOVEMBER 19th-21st, The Three Belleisle Armaments, Karl Albert's first, have, simultaneously enough for the case, arrived on three sides of Prag; and lie looking into it,—extremely uncertain what to do when there. To Comte de Saxe, to Schmettau, who is still here, the outlook of this grand Belleisle Army, standing shelterless, provisionless, grim winter at hand, long hundreds of miles from home or help, is in the highest degree questionable, though the others seem to make little of it: 'Fight the Grand-Duke when he comes,' say they; 'beat him, and—' 'Or suppose, he won't fight? Or suppose, we are beaten by him?' answer Saxe and Schmettau, like men of knowledge, in the same boat with men of none. (We have no strong place, or footing in this Country: what are we to do? Take Prag!' advises Comte de Saxe, with earnestness, day after day. [His Letters on it to Karl Albert and others (in Espagnac, i. 94-99).)] 'Take Prag: but how?' answer they. 'By escalade, by surprise, and sword in hand, answers he: 'Ogilvy their General has but 3,000, and is perhaps no wizard at his trade: we can do it, thus and thus, and then farther thus; and I perceive we are a lost Army if we don't!' So counsels Maurice Comte de Saxe, brilliant, fervent in his military views;—and, before it is quite too late, Schmettau and he persuade Karl Albert, persuade Rutowsky chief of the Saxons; and Count Polastron, Gaisson or whatever subaltern Counts there are, of French type, have to accede, and be saved in spite of themselves. And so,
"SATURDAY NIGHT, 25th NOVEMBER, 1741, brightest of moonshiny nights, our dispositions are all made: Several attacks, three if I remember; one of them false, under some Polastron, Gaisson, from the south side; a couple of them true, from the northwest and the southeast sides, under Maurice with his French, and Rutowsky with his Saxons, these two. And there is great marching 'on the side of the Karl-Thor (Charles-Gate),' where Rutowsky is; and by Count Maurice 'behind the Wischerad;'—and shortly after midnight the grand game begins. That French-Polastron attack, false, though with dreadful cannonade from the south, attracts poor Ogilvy with almost all his forces to that quarter; while the couple of Saxon Captains (Rutowsky not at once successful, Maurice with his French completely so) break in upon Ogilvy from rearward, on the right flank and on the left; and ruin the poor man. Military readers will find the whole detail of it well given in Espagnac. Looser account is to be had in the Book they call Mauvillon's." [Derniere Guerre de Boheme, i. 252-264. Saxe's own Account (Letter to Chevalier de Folard) is in Espagnac, i. 89 et seqq.]
One thing I remember always: the bright moonlight; steeples of Prag towering serene in silvery silence, and on a sudden the wreaths of volcanic fire breaking out all round them. The opposition was but trifling, null in some places, poor Ogilvy being nothing of a wizard, and his garrison very small. It fell chiefly on Rutowsky; who met it with creditable vigor, till relieved by the others. Comte Maurice, too, did a shifty thing. Circling round by the outside of the Wischerad, by rural roads in the bright moonshine, he had got to the Wall at last, hollow slope and sheer wall; and was putting-to his scaling-ladders,—when, by ill luck, they proved too short! Ten feet or so; hopelessly too short. Casting his head round, Maurice notices the Gallows hard by: "There, see you, are a few short ladders: MES ENFANS, bring me these, and we will splice with rope!" Supplemented by the gallows, Maurice soon gets in, cuts down the one poor sentry; rushes to the Market-place, finds all his Brothers rushing, embraces them with "VICTOIRE!" and "You see I am eldest; bound to be foremost of you!"
"No point in all the War made a finer blaze in the French imagination, or figured better in the French gazettes, than this of the Scalade of Prag, 25th November, 1741. And surely it was important to get hold of Prag; nevertheless, intrinsically it is no great thing, but an opportune small thing, done by the Comte de Saxe, in spite of such contradiction as we saw."
It was while news of this exploit was posting towards Berlin, but not yet arrived there, that Friedrich, passing through the apartment, intimated to Hyndford, "Milord, all is divulged, our Klein-Schnellendorf mystery public as the house-tops;" and vanished with a shrug of the shoulders,—thinking doubtless to himself, "What is OUR next move to be, in consequence?" Treaty with Kur-Baiern (November 4th) he had already signed in consequence, expressly declaring for Kur-Baiern, and the French intentions towards him. This news from Prag—Prag handsomely captured, if Vienna had been foolishly neglected—put him upon a new Adventure, of which in following Chapters we shall hear more.
THE FRENCH SAFE IN PRAG; KAISERWAHL JUST COMING ON.
Grand-Duke Franz, with that respectable amount of Army under him, ought surely to have advanced on Prag, and done some stroke of war for relief of it, while time yet was. Grand-Duke Franz, his Brother Karl with him and his old Tutor Neipperg, both of whom are thought to have some skill in war, did advance accordingly. But then withal there was risk at Prag; and he always paused again, and waited to consider. From Frating, on the 16th, [Espagnac, i. 87.] he had got to Neuhaus, quite across Mahren into Bohemian ground, and there joined with Lobkowitz and what Bohemian force there was; by this time an Army which you would have called much stronger than the French. Forward, therefore! Yes; but with pauses, with considerations. Pause of two days at Neuhaus; thence to Tabor (famed Zisca's Tabor), a safe post, where again pause three days. From Tabor is broad highway to Prag, only sixty miles off now:—screwing their resolution to the sticking-point, Grand-Duke and Consorts advance at length with fixed determination, all Friday, all Saturday (November 24th, 25th), part of Sunday too, not thinking it shall be only PART; and their light troops are almost within sight of Prag, when—they learn that Prag is scaladed the night before, and quite settled; that there is nothing except destruction to be looked for in Prag! Back again, therefore, to the Tabor-and-Budweis land. They strike into that boggy broken country about Budweis, some 120 miles south of Prag; and will there wait the signs of the times.
Grand-Duke Franz had seen war, under Seckendorf, under Wallis and otherwise, in the disastrous Turk Countries; but, though willing enough, was never much of a soldier: as to Neipperg, among his own men especially, the one cry is, He ought to go about his business out of Austrian Armies, as an imbecile and even a traitor. "Is it conceivable that Friedrich could have beaten us, in that manner, except by buying Neipperg in the first place? Neipperg and the generality of them, in that luckless Silesian Business? Glogau scaladed with the loss of half a dozen men; Brieg gone within a week; Neisse ditto: and Mollwitz, above all, where, in spite of Romer and such Horse-charging as was never seen, we had to melt, dissolve, and roll away in the glitter of the evening sun!" The common notion is, they are traitors, partial-traitors, one and all. [Guerre de Boheme, saepius.] Poor Neipperg he has seen hard service, had ugly work to do: it was he that gave away Belgrade to the Turks (so interpreting his orders), and the Grand Vizier, calling him Dog of a Giaour: spat in his face, not far from hanging him; and the Kaiser and Vienna people, on his coming home, threw him into prison, and were near cutting off his head. And again, after such sleety marchings through the Mountains, he has had to dissolve at Mollwitz; float away in military deluge in the manner we saw. And now, next winter, here is he lodged among the upland bogs at Budweis, escorted by mere curses. What a life is the soldier's, like other men's; what a master is the world! Aulic Cabinet is not all-wise; but may readily be wiser than the vulgar, and, with a Maria Theresa at his head, it is incapable of truculent impiety like that. Neipperg, guilty of not being a Eugene, is not hanged as a traitor; but placed quietly as Commandant in Luxemburg, spends there the afternoon of his life, in a more commodious manner. Friedrich had, of late, rather admired his movements on the Neisse River; and found him a stiff article to deal with.
The French, now with Prag for their place of arms, stretched themselves as far as Pisek, some seventy miles southwestward; occupied Pisek, Pilsen and other Towns and posts, on the southwest side, some seventy miles from Prag; looking towards the Bavarian Passes and homeward succors that might come: the Saxons, a while after, got as far as Teutschbrod, eighty miles on the southeastward or Moravian hand. Behind these outposts, Prag may be considered to hang on Silesia, and have Friedrich for security. This, in front or as forecourt of Friedrich's Silesia, this inconsiderable section, was all of Bohemian Country the French and Confederates ever held, and they did not hold this long. As for Karl Albert, he had his new pleasant Dream of Sovereignty at Prag; Titular of Upper Austria, and now of Bohmen as well; and enjoyed his Feast of the Barmecide, and glorious repose in the captured Metropolis, after difficulty overcome. December 7th, he was homaged (a good few of the Nobility attending, for which they smarted afterwards), with much processioning, blaring and TE-DEUM-ing: on the 19th he rolled off, home to Munchen; there to await still higher Romish-Imperial glories, which it is hoped are now at hand.
A day or two after the Capture of Prag, Marechal de Belleisle, partially cured of his rheumatisms, had hastened to appear in that City; and for above four weeks he continued there, settling, arranging, ordering all things, in the most consummate manner, with that fine military head of his. About Christmas time, arrived Marechal de Broglio, his unfortunate successor or substitute; to whom he made everything over; and hastened off for Frankfurt, where the final crisis of KAISERWAHL is now at hand, and the topstone of his work is to be brought out with shouting. Marechal de Broglio had an unquiet Winter of it in his new command; and did not extend his quarters, but the contrary.
BROGLIO HAS A BIVOUAC OF PISEK; KHEVENHULLER LOOKS IN UPON THE DONAU CONQUESTS.
Grand-Duke Franz edged himself at last a little out of that Tabor-Budweis region, and began looking Prag-ward again;—hung about, for some time, with his Hungarian light-troops scouring the country; but still keeping Prag respectfully to right, at seventy miles distance. December 28th, to Broglio's alarm, he tried a night-attack on Pisek, the chief French outpost, which lies France-ward too, and might be vital. But he found the French (Broglio having got warning) unexpectedly ready for him at Pisek,—drawn up in the dark streets there, with torrents of musketry ready for his Pandours and him;—and entirely failed of Pisek. Upon which he turned eastward to the Budweis-Tabor fastnesses again; left Brother Karl as Commander in those parts (who soon leaves Lobkowitz as Substitute, Vienna in the idle winter-time being preferable);—left Brother Karl, and proceeded in person, south, towards the Donau Countries, to see how Khevenhuller might be prospering, who is in the field there, as we shall hear.
Of Pisek and the night-skirmish at Pisek, glorious to France, think all the Gazettes, I should have said nothing, were it not that Marechal Broglio, finding what a narrow miss he had made, established a night-watch there, or bivouac, for six weeks to come; such as never was before or since: Cavalry and Infantry, in quantity, bivouacking there, in the environs of Pisek, on the grim Bohemian snow or snow-slush, in the depth of winter, nightly for six weeks, without whisper of an enemy at any time; whereby the Marechal did save Pisek (if Pisek was ever again in danger), but froze horse and man to the edge of destruction or into it; so that the "Bivouac of Pisek" became proverbial in French Messrooms, for a generation coming. [Guerre de Boheme, ii. 23, &c.] And one hears in the mind a clangorous nasal eloquence from antique gesticulative mustachio-figures, witty and indignant,—who are now gone to silence again, and their fruitless bivouacs, and frosty and fiery toils, tumbling pell-mell after them. This of Pisek was but one of the many unwise hysterical things poor Broglio did, in that difficult position; which, indeed, was too difficult for any mortal, and for Broglio beyond the average.
One other thing we note: Graf von Khevenhuller, solid Austrian man, issued from Vienna, December 31st, last day of the Year, with an Army of only some 15,000, but with an excellent military head of his own, to look into those Conquests on the Donau. Which he finds, as he expected, to be mere conquests of stubble, capable of being swept home again at a very rapid rate. "Khevenhuller, here as always, was consummate in his choice of posts," says Lloyd; [General Lloyd, History of Seven-Years War, &c. (incidentally, somewhere).]—discovered where the ARTERIES of the business lay, and how to handle the same. By choice of posts, by silent energy and military skill, Khevenhuller very rapidly sweeps Segur back; and shuts him up in Linz. There Segur, since the first days of January, is strenuously barricading himself; "wedging beams from house to house, across the streets;"—and hopes to get provision, the Donau and the Bavarian streams being still open behind him; and to hold out a little. It will be better if he do,—especially for poor Karl Albert and his poor Bavaria! Khevenhuller has also detached through the Tyrol a General von Barenklau (BEAR'S-CLAW, much heard of henceforth in these Wars), who has 12,000 regulars; and much Hussar-folk under bloody Mentzel:-across the Tyrol, we say; to fall in upon Bavaria and Munchen itself; which they are too like doing with effect. Ought not Karl Albert to be upon the road again? What a thing, were the Kaiser Elect taken prisoner by Pandours!
In fine, within a short two weeks or so, Karl Albert quits Munchen, as no safe place for him; comes across to Mannheim to his Cousin Philip, old Kur-Pfalz, whom we used to know, now extremely old, but who has marriages of Grand-daughters, and other gayeties, on hand; which a Cousin and prospective Kaiser—especially if in peril of his life—might as well come and witness. This is the excuse Karl Albert makes to an indulgent Public; and would fain make to himself, but cannot. Barenklau and Khevenhuller are too indisputable. Nay this rumor of Friedrich's "Peace with Austria," divulged Bargain of Klein-Schnellendorf, if this also (horrible to think) were true—! Which Friedrich assures him it is not. Karl Albert writes to Friedrich, and again writes; conjuring him, for the love of God, To make some thrust, then, some inroad or other, on those man-devouring Khevenhullers; and take them from his, Karl Albert's, throat and his poor Country's. Which Friedrich, on his own score, is already purposing to do.
Chapter VIII. — FRIEDRICH STARTS FOR MORAVIA, ON A NEW SCHEME HE HAS.
The Austrian Court had not kept Friedrich's secret of Klein-Schnellendorf, hardly even for a day. It was whispered to the Dowager Empress, or Empresses; who whispered it, or wrote it, to some other high party; by whom again as usual:—in fact, the Austrian Court, having once got their Neipperg safe to hand, took no pains to keep the secret; but had probably an interest rather in letting it filter out, to set Friedrich and his Allies at variance. At all events, in the space of a few weeks, as we have seen, the rumor of a Treaty between Austria and Friedrich was everywhere rife; Friedrich, as he had engaged, everywhere denying it, and indeed clearly perceiving that there was like to be no ground for acknowledging it. The Austrian Court, instead of "completing the Treaty before Newyear's-day," had broken the previous bargain; evidently not meaning to complete; intent rather to wait upon their Hungarian Insurrection, and the luck of War.
There is now, therefore, a new turn in the game. And for this also Friedrich has been getting the fit card ready; and is not slow to play it. Some time ago, November 4th,—properly November 1st, hardly three weeks since that of Klein-Schnellendorf,—finding the secret already out ("whispered of at Breslau, 28th October," casually testifies Hyndford), he had tightened his bands with France; had, on November 4th, formally acceded to Karl Albert's Treaty with France. [Accession agreed to, "Frankfurt, Nov. 1st," 1741; ratified "Nov. 4th."] Glatz to be his: he will not hear of wanting Glatz; nor of wanting elsewhere the proper Boundary for Schlesien, "Neisse River both banks" (which Neipperg had agreed to, in his late Sham-Bargain);—quite strict on these preliminaries.
And furthermore, Kur-Sachsen being now a Partner in that French-Bavarian Treaty,—and a highly active one (with 21,000 in the field for him), who is "King of Moravia" withal, and has some considerable northern Paring of Bohemia thrown in, by way of "Road to Moravia,"—Friedrich made, at the same time, special Treaty with Kur-Sachsen, on the points specially mutual to them; on the Boundary point, first of all. Which latter treaty is dated also November 1st, and was "ratified November 8th."
Treaty otherwise not worth reading; except perhaps as it shows us Friedrich putting, in his brief direct way, Kur-Sachsen at once into Austria's place, in regard to Ober-Schlesien. "Boundary between your Polish Majesty and me to be the River Neisse PLUS a full German mile;"—which (to Belleisle's surprise) the Polish Majesty is willing to accept; and consents, farther, Friedrich being of succinct turn, That Commissioners go directly and put down the boundary-stones, and so an end. "Let the Silesian matter stand where it stood," thinks Friedrich: "since Austria will not, will you? Put down the boundary-pillars, then!"—an interesting little glance into Friedrich's inner man. And a Prussian Boundary Commissioner, our friend Nussler the man, did duly appear;—whom perhaps we shall meet,—though no Saxon one quite did. [Busching, Beitrage, i. 339 (? NUSSLER).] It is this boundary clause, it is Friedrich's little decision, "Put down the pillars, then," that alone can now interest any mortal in this Saxon Bargain; the clause itself, and the bargain itself, having quite broken down on the Saxon side, and proved imaginary as a covenant made in dreams. Could not be helped, in the sequel!—
Meanwhile, the preliminary diplomacies being done in this manner, Friedrich had ordered certain of his own Forces to get in motion a little; ordered Leopold, who has had endless nicety of management, since the French and Saxons came into those Bohemian Circles of his, to go upon Glatz; to lay fast hold of Glatz, for one thing. And farther eastward, Schwerin, by order, has lately gone across the Mountains; seized Troppau, Friedenthal; nay Olmutz itself, the Capital of Mahren,—in one day (December 27th), garrison of Olmutz being too weak to resist, and the works in disrepair. "In Heaven's name, what are your intentions, then?" asked the Austrians there. "Peaceable in the extreme," answered Schwerin, "if only yours are. And if they are NOT—!" There sits Schwerin ever since, busy strengthening himself, and maintains the best discipline; waiting farther orders.
"The Austrians will not complete their bargain of Klein-Schnellendorf?" thinks this young King; "Very well; we will not press them to completion. We will not ourselves complete, should they now press. We will try another method, and that without loss of time."—It was a pungent reflection with Friedrich that Karl Albert had not pushed forward on Vienna, from Linz that time, but had blindly turned off to the left, and thrown away his one chance. "Cannot one still mend it; cannot one still do something of the like?" thinks Friedrich now: "Schwerin in Olmutz; Prussian Troops cantoned in the Highlands of Silesia, or over in Bohemia itself, near the scene of action; the Saxons eastward as far as Teutschbrod, still nearer; the French triumphant at Prag, and reinforcement on the road for them: a combined movement on Vienna, done instantly and with an impetus!" That is the thing Friedrich is now bent upon; nor will he, like Karl Albert, be apt to neglect the hour of tide, which is so inexorable in such operations.
At Berlin, accordingly, he has been hurrying on his work, inspection, preparation of many kinds,—Marriage of his Brother August Wilhelm, for one business; [6th January, 1742 (in Bielfeld, ii. 55-69, exuberant account of the Ceremony, and of B.'s part in it).]—and (January 18th), after a stay of two months, is off fieldward again, on this new project. To Dresden, first of all; Saxony being an essential element; and Valori being appointed to meet him there on the French side. It is January 20th, 1742, when Friedrich arrives; due Opera festivities, "triple salute of all the guns," fail not at Dresden; but his object was not these at all. Polish Majesty is here, and certain of the warlike Bastard Brothers home from Winter-quarters, Comte de Saxe for one; Valori also, punctually as due; and little Graf von Bruhl, highest-dressed of human creatures, who is factotum in this Court.
"Your Polish Majesty, by treaty and title you are King of Moravia withal: now is the time, now or never, to become so in fact! Forward with your Saxons:" urges Friedrich: "The Austrians and their Lobkowitz are weak in that Country: at Iglau, just over the Moravian border, they have formed a Magazine; seize that, snatch it from Lobkowitz: that gives us footing and basis there. Forward with your Saxons; Valori gives us so-many French; I myself will join with 20,000: swift, steady, all at once; we can seize Moravia, who knows if not Vienna itself, and for certain drive a stroke right home into the very bowels of the Enemy!" That is Friedrich's theme from the first hour of his arrival, and during all the four-and-twenty that he stayed.
In one hour, Polish Majesty, who is fonder of tobacco and pastimes than of business, declared himself convinced;—and declared also that the time of Opera was come; whither the two Majesties had to proceed together, and suspend business for a while. Polish Majesty himself was very easily satisfied; but with the others, as Valori reports it, the argument was various, long and difficult. "Winter time; so dangerous, so precarious," answer Bruhl and Comte de Saxe: There is this danger, this uncertainty, and then that other;—which the King and Valori, with all their eloquence, confute. "Impossible, for want of victual," answers Maurice at last, driven into a corner: "Iglau, suppose we get it, will soon be eaten; then where is our provision?"—"Provision?" answers Valori: "There is M. de Sechelles, Head of our Commissariat in Prag; such a Commissary never was before." "And you consent, if I take that in hand?" urges Friedrich upon them. They are obliged to consent, on that proviso. Friedrich undertakes Sechelles: the Enterprise cannot now be refused. [OEuvres de Frederic, ii. 170; Valori, i. 139; &c. &c.] "Alert, then; not a moment to be lost! Good-night; AU REVOIR, my noble friends!"—and to-morrow many hours before daybreak, Friedrich is off for Prag, leaving Dresden to awaken when it can.
At Prag he renews acquaintance with his old maladroit Strasburg friend, Marechal de Broglio, not with increase of admiration, as would seem; declines the demonstrations and civilities of Broglio, business being urgent: finds M. de Sechelles to be in truth the supreme of living Commissaries (ready, in words which Friedrich calls golden, "to make the impossible possible"): "Only march, then, noble Saxons: swift!"—and dashes off again, next morning, to northeastward, through Leopold's Bohemian cantonments, Glatz-ward by degrees, to be ready with his own share of the affair; no delay in him, for one. January 24th, after Konigsgratz and other Prussian posts,—January 24th, which is elsewhere so notable a day,—his route goes northeast, to Glatz, a hundred miles away, among the intricacies of the Giant Mountains, hither side of the Silesian Highlands; wild route for winter season, if the young King feared any route. From Berlin, hither and farther, he may have gone well-nigh his seven hundred miles within the week; rushing on continually (starts, at say four in the winter morning); doing endless business, of the ordering sort, as he speeds along.
Glatz, a southwestern mountainous Appendage to Silesia, abutting on Moravia and Bohemia, is a small strong Country; upon which, ever since the first Friedrich times, we have seen him fixed; claiming it too, as expenses from the Austrians, since they will not bargain. For he rises Sibyl-like: a year ago, you might have had him with his 100,000 to boot, for the one Duchy of Glogau; and now—! At Glatz or in these adjacent Bohemian parts, the Young Dessauer has been on duty, busy enough, ever since the late Siege of Neisse: Glatz Town the Young Dessauer soon got, when ordered; Town, Population, Territory, all is his,—all but the high mountain Fortress (centre of the Town of Glatzj), with its stiff-necked Austrian Garrison shut up there, which he is wearing out by hunger. We remember the little Note from Valori's waistcoat-pocket, "Don't give him Glatz, if you can possibly help it!" In his latest treaties with the French and their Allies, Friedrich has very expressly bargained for the Country (will even pay money for it); [OEuvres de Frederic, ii. 85.] and is determined to have it, when the Austrians next take to bargaining. Of Glatz Fortress, now getting hungered out by Leopold's Prussian Detachment, I will say farther, though Friedrich heeds these circumstances little at present, that it stands on a scarped rock, girt by the grim intricate Hills; and that in the Arsenal, in dusty fabulous condition, lies a certain Drum, which readers may have heard of. Drum is not a fable, but an antique reality fallen flaccid; made, by express bequest, as is mythically said, from the skin of Zisca, above 300 years ago: altogether mythic that latter clause. Drum, Fortress, Town, Villages and Territory, all shall be Friedrich's, had hunger done its work. [Town already, after short scuffle, 14th January, 1742; Fortress, by hunger (no firing nor being fired on, in the interim), 25th April following,—when the once 2,000 of garrison, worn to about 200, pale as shadows, marched away to Brunn; "only ten of them able for duty on arriving." (Orlich, i. 174.)]
Friedrich, while at Glatz this time, gave a new Dress to the Virgin, say all the Biographers; of which the story is this. Holy Virgin stood in the main Convent of Glatz, in rather a threadbare condition, when the Prussians first approached; the Jesuits, and ardently Orthodox of both sexes, flagitating Heaven and her with their prayers, that she would vouchsafe to keep the Prussians out. In which case pious Madame Something, wife of the Austrian Commandant, vowed her a new suit of clothes. Holy Virgin did not vouchsafe; on the Contrary, here the Prussians are, and Starvation with them. "Courage, nevertheless, my new friends!" intimates Friedrich: "The Prussians are not bugaboos, as you imagined: Holy Virgin shall have a new coat, all the same!" and was at the expense of the bit of broadcloth with trimmings. He was in the way of making such investments, in his light sceptical humor; and found them answer to him. At Glatz, and through those Bohemian and Silesian Cantonments, he sets his people in motion for the Moravian Expedition; rapidly stirs up the due Prussian detachments from their Christmas rest among the Mountains; and has work enough in these regions, now here now there. Schwerin is already in Olmutz, for a month past; and towards him, or his neighborhood, the march is to be.
January 26th, Friedrich, now with considerable retinue about him, gets from Glatz to Landskron, some fifty miles Olmutz-ward; such a march as General Stille never saw,—"through the ice and through the snow, which covered that dreadful Chain of Mountains between Bohmen and Mahren: we did not arrive till very late; many of our carriages broken down, and others overturned more than once." [Stille (Anonymous, Friedrich's Old-Tutor Stille), Campagnes du Roi de Prusse (English Translation, 12mo, London, 1763), p. 5. An intelligent, desirable little Volume,—many misprints in the English form of it.] At Landskron next day, Friedrich, as appointed, met the Chevalier de Saxe (CHEVALIER, by no means Comte, but a younger Bastard, General of the Saxon Horse); and endeavored to concert everything: Prussian rendezvous to be at Wischau, on the 5th next; thence straightway to meet the Saxons at Trebitsch (convenient for that Iglau),—if only the Saxons will keep bargain.
January 28th, past midnight, after another sore march, Friedrich arrived at Olmutz; a pretty Town,—with an excellent old Bishop, "a Graf von Lichtenstein, a little gouty man about fifty-two years of age, with a countenance open and full of candor; [Stille, p. 8.] in whose fine Palace, most courteously welcomed, the King lodged till near the day of rendezvousing. We will leave him there, and look westward a little; before going farther into the Moravian Expedition. Friedrich himself is evidently much bent on this Expedition; has set his heart on paying the Austrians for their trickery at Klein-Schnellendorf, in this handsome way, and still picking up the chance against them which Karl Albert squandered. If only the French and Saxons would go well abreast with Friedrich, and thrust home! But will they? Here is a surprising bit of news; not of good omen, when it reaches one at Olmutz!
"LINZ, 24th JANUARY, 1742 [day otherwise remarkable]. After the much barricading, and considerable defiance and bravadoing, by Comte de Segur and his 10,000, he has lost this City in a scandalous manner [not quite scandalous, but reckoned so by outside observers]; and Linz City is not now Segur's, but Khevenhuller's. To Khevenhuller's first summons M. de Segur had answered, 'I will hang on the highest gallows the next man that comes to propose such a thing!'—and within a week [Khevenhuller having seized the Donau River to rear of Linz, and blasted off the Bavarian party there], M. de Segur did himself propose it ('Free withdrawal: Not serve against you for a year'); and is this day beginning to march out of Linz." [Campagnes des Trois Marechaux, iii. 280, &c.; Adelung, iii. A, p. 12, and p. 15 (a Paris street-song on it).] Here is an example of defending Key-Positions! If Segur's be the pattern followed, those Conquests on the Donau are like to go a fine road!—There came to Friedrich, in all privacy, during his stay in Olmutz at this Bishop's, a Diplomatic emissary from Vienna, one Pfitzner; charged with apologies, with important offers probably;—important; but not important enough. Friedrich blames himself for being too abrupt on the man; might perhaps have learned something from him by softer treatment. [OEuvres de Frederic, ii. 109.] After three days, Pfitzner had to go his ways again, having accomplished nothing of change upon Friedrich.
Chapter IX. — WILHELMINA GOES TO SEE THE GAYETIES AT FRANKFURT.
On the day when Friedrich, overhung by the grim winter Mountains, was approaching Glatz, same day when Segur was evacuating Linz on those sad terms, that is, on the 24th day of January, 1742,—two Gentlemen were galloping their best in the Frankfurt-Mannheim regions; bearing what they reckoned glad tidings towards Mannheim and Karl Albert; who is there "on a visit" (for good reasons), after his triumphs at Prag and elsewhere. The hindmost of the two Gentlemen is an Official of rank (little conscious that he is preceded by a rival in message-bearing); Official Gentleman, despatched by the Diet of Frankfurt to inform Karl Albert, That he now is actually Kaiser of the Holy Romish Empire; votes, by aid of Heaven and Belleisle, having all fallen in his favor. Gallop, therefore, my Official Gentleman:—alas, another Gentleman, Non-official, knowing how it would turn, already sat booted and saddled, a good space beyond the walls of Frankfurt, waiting till the cannon should fire; at the first burst of cannon, he (cunning dog) gives his horse the spur; and is miles ahead of the toiling Official Gentleman, all the way. [Adelung, iii. A, 52.]
In the dreary mass of long-winded ceremonial nothingnesses, and intricate Belleisle cobwebberies, we seize this one poor speck of human foolery in the native state, as almost the memorablest in that stupendous business. Stupendous indeed; with which all Germany has been in travail these sixteen months, on such terms! And in verity has got the thing called "German Kaiser" constituted, better or worse. Heavens, was a Nation ever so bespun by gossamer; enchanted into paralysis, by mountains of extinct tradition, and the want of power to annihilate rubbish! There are glittering threads of the finest Belleisle diplomacy, which seem to go beyond the Dog-star, and to be radiant, and irradiative, like paths of the gods: and they are, seem what they might, poor threads of idle gossamer, sunk already to dusty cobweb, unpleasant to poor human nature; poor human nature concerned only to get them well swept into the fire. The quantities of which sad litter, in this Universe, are very great!—
Karl Albert, now at the top-gallant of his hopes: homaged Archduke of Upper Austria, homaged King of Bohemia, declared Kaiser of the German Nation,—is the highest-titled mortal going: and, poor soul, it is tragical, once more, to think what the reality of it was for him. Ejection from house and home; into difficulty, poverty, despair; life in furnished lodgings, which he could not pay;—and at last heart-break, no refuge for him but in the grave. All which is mercifully hidden at present; so that he seems to himself a man at the top-gallant of his wishes; and lives pleasantly, among his friends, with a halo round his head to his own foolish sense and theirs.
"Karl Albert, Kurfurst of Baiern [lazy readers ought to be reminded], whose achievements will concern us to an unpleasant extent, for some years, is now a lean man of forty-five; lean, erect, and of middle stature; a Prince of distinguished look, they say; of elegant manners, and of fair extent of accomplishment, as Princes go. His experiences in this world, and sudden ups and downs, have been and will be many. Note a few particulars of them; the minimum of what are indispensable here.
"English readers know a Maximilian Kurfurst of Baiern, who took into French courses in the great Spanish-Succession War; the Anti-Marlborough Maximilian, who was quite ruined out by the Battle of Blenheim; put under Ban of the Empire, and reduced to depend on Louis XIV. for a living,—till times mended with him again; till, after the Peace of Utrecht, he got reinstated in his Territories; and lived a dozen years more, in some comparative comfort, though much sunk in debt. Well, our Karl Albert is the son of that Anti-Marlborough Kurfurst Maximilian; eldest surviving son; a daughter of the great Sobieski of Poland was his mother. Nay, he is great-grandson of another still more distinguished Maximilian, him of the Thirty-Years War,—(who took the Jesuits to his very heart, and let loose Ate on his poor Country for the sake of them, in a determined manner; and was the First of all the Bavarian KURFURSTS, mere Dukes till then; having got for himself the poor Winter-King's Electorship, or split it into two as ultimately settled, out of that bad Business),—great-grandson, we say, of that forcible questionable First Kurfurst Max; and descends from Kaiser Ludwig, 'Ludwig the BAIER,' if that is much advantage to him.
"In his young time he had a hard upcoming; seven years old at the Battle of Blenheim, and Papa living abroad under Louis XIV.'s shelter, the poor Boy was taken charge of by the victorious Austrian Kaisers, and brought up in remote Austrian Towns, as a young 'Graf von Wittelsbach' (nothing but his family name left him), mere Graf and private nobleman henceforth. However, fortune took the turn we know, and he became Prince again; nothing the worse for this Spartan part of his breeding. He made the Grand Tour, Italy, France, perhaps more than once; saw, felt, and tasted; served slightly, at a Siege of Belgrade (one of the many Sieges of Belgrade);—wedded, in 1722, a Daughter of the late Kaiser Joseph's, niece of the late Kaiser Karl's, cousin of Maria Theresa's; making the due 'renunciations,' as was thought; and has been Kurfurst himself for the last fourteen Years, ever since 1726, when his Father died. A thrifty Kurfurst, they say, or at least has occasionally tried to be so, conscious of the load of debts left on him; fond of pomps withal, extremely polite, given to Devotion and to BILLETS-DOUX; of gracious address, generous temper (if he had the means), and great skill in speaking languages. Likes hunting a little,—likes several things, we see!—has lived tolerably with his Wife and children; tolerably with his Neighbors (though sour upon the late Kaiser now and then); and is an ornament to Munchen, and well liked by the population there. A lean, elegaut, middle-sized gentleman; descended direct from Ludwig the ancient Kaiser; from Maximilian the First Kurfurst, who walked by the light of Father Lammerlein (LAMBKIN) and Company, thinking IT light from Heaven; and lastly is son of Maximilian the Third Kurfurst, whom learned English readers know as the Anti-Marlborough one, ruined out by the Battle of Blenheim.
"His most important transaction hitherto has been the marriage with Kaiser Joseph's Daughter;—of which, in Pollnitz somewhere, there is sublime account; forgettable, all except the date (Vienna, 5th October, 1722), if by chance that should concern anybody. Karl Albert (KURPRINZ, Electoral Prince or Heir-Apparent, at that time) made free renunciation of all right to Austrian Inheritances, in such terms as pleased Karl VI., the then Kaiser; the due complete 'renunciations' of inheriting in Austria; and it was hoped he would at once sign the Pragmatic Sanction, when published; but he has steadily refused to do so; 'I renounced for my Wife,' says Kurfurst Karl, 'and will never claim an inch of Austrian land on her account; but my own right, derived from Kaiser Ferdinand of blessed memory, who was Father of my Great-grandmother, I did not, do not, never will renounce; and I appeal to HIS Pragmatic Sanction, the much older and alone valid one, according to which, it is not you, it is I that am the real and sole Heir of Austria.'
"This he says, and has steadily said or meant: 'It is I that am to be King of Bohemia; I that shall and will inherit all your Austrias, Upper, Under, your Swabian Brisgau or Hither Austria, and what of the Tyrol remained wanting to me. Your Archduchess will have Hungary, the Styrian-Carinthian Territories; Florence, I suppose, and the Italian ones. What is hers by right I will be one of those that defend for her; what is not hers, but mine, I will defend against her, to the best of my ability!' This was privately, what it is now publicly, his argument; from which he never would depart; refusing always to accept Kaiser Karl's new Pragmatic Sanction; getting Saxony (who likewise had a Ferdinand great-grandmother) to refuse,—till Polish Election compelled poor Saxony, for a time. Karl Albert had likewise secretly, in past years, got his abstruse old Cousin of the Pfalz (who mended the Heidelberg Tun) to back him in a Treaty; nay, still better, still more secretly, had got France itself to promise eventual hacking:—and, on the whole, lived generally on rather bad terms with the late Kaiser Karl, his Wife's Uncle; any reconciliation they had proving always of temporary nature. In the Rhenish War (1734), Karl Albert, far from assisting the Kaiser, raised large forces of his own; kept drilling them, in four or three camps, in an alarming manner; and would not even send his Reich's Contingent (small body of 3,000 he is by law bound to send), till he perceived the War was just expiring. He was in angry controversy with the Kaiser, claiming debts,—debts contracted in the last generation, and debts going back to the Thirty-Years War, amounting to hundreds of millions,—when the poor Kaiser died; refusing payment to the last, nay claiming lands left HIM, he says, by Margaret Mouthpoke: [Michaelis, ii. 260; Buchholz, ii. 9; Hormayr, Anemonen, ii. 182; &c.] 'Cannot pay your Serene Highness (having no money); and would not, if I could!' Leaving Karl Albert to protest to the uttermost;"—which, as we ourselves saw in Vienna, he at once honorably did.
Karl Albert's subsequent history is known to readers; except the following small circumstance, which occurred in his late transit, flight, or whatever we may call it, to Mannheim, and is pleasantly made notable to us by Wilhelmina. "His Highness on the way from Munchen," intimates our Princess, "passed through Baireuth in a very bad post-chaise." This, as we elsewhere pick out, was on January 16th; Karl Albert in post-haste for the marriage-ceremony, which takes place at Mannheim to-morrow. [Adelung, iii. A, 51.] "My Margraf, accidentally hearing, galloped after him, came up with him about fifteen miles away: they embraced, talked half an hour; very content, both." [Wilhelmina, ii. 334.]
And eight days afterwards, 24th January, 1742, busy Belleisle (how busy for this year past, since we saw him in the OEil-de-Boeuf!) gets him elected Kaiser;—and Segur, in the self-same hours, is packing out of Linz; and one's Donau "Conquests," not to say one's Munchen, one's Baiern itself, are in a fine way! The marriage-ceremony, witnessed on the 17th, was one of the sublimest for Kur-Pfalz and kindred; and it too had secretly a touch of tragedy in it for the Poor Karl Albert. A double marriage: Two young Princesses, Grand-daughters, priceless Heiresses, to old Kur-Pfalz; married, one of them to Duke Clement of Baiern, Karl Albert's nephew, which is well enough: but married, the other and elder of them, to Theodor of Deux-Ponts, who will one day—could we pierce the merciful veil—be Kurfurst of Baiern, and succeed our own childless Son! [Michaelis, ii. 265.]
"Kaiser Karl VII.," such the style he took, is to be crowned February 12th; makes sublime Public Entry into Frankfurt, with that view, January 31st;—both ceremonies splendid to a wonder, in spite of finance considerations. Which circumstance should little concern us, were it not that Wilhelmina, hearing the great news (though in a dim ill-dated state), decided to be there and see; did go;—and has recorded her experiences there, in a shrill human manner. Wishful to see our fellow-creatures (especially if bound to look at them), even when they are fallen phantasmal, and to make persons of them again, we will give this Piece; sorry that it is the last we have of that fine hand. How welcome, in the murky puddle of Dryasdust, is any glimpse by a lively glib Wilhelmina, which we can discern to be human! Hear what Wilhelmina says (in a very condensed form):—
WILHELMINA AT THE CORONATION.
Wilhelmina, in the end of January, 1742,—Karl Albert having shot past, one day lately, in a bad post-chaise, and kindled the thought in her,—resolved to go and see him crowned at Frankfurt, by way of pleasure-excursion. We will, struggling to be briefer, speak in her person; and indicate withal where the very words are hers, and where ours.
The Marwitz, elder Marwitz, her poor father being wounded at Mollwitz, [Militair-Lexikon, iii. 23; and Preussische Adels-Lexikon, iii. 365.] had gone to Berlin to nurse him; but she returned just now,—not much to my joy; I being, with some cause, jealous of that foolish minx. The Duchess Dowager of Wurtemberg also came, sorrow on her; a foolish talking woman, always cutting jokes, making eyes, giggling and coquetting; "HAS some wit and manner, but wearies you at last: her charms, now on the decline, were never so considerable as rumor said; in the long-run she bores you with her French gayeties and sprightliness: her character for gallantry is too notorious. She quite corrupted Marwitz, in this and a subsequent visit; turned the poor girl's head into a French whirligig, and undermined any little moral principle she had. She was on the road to Berlin,"—of which anon, for it is not quite nothing to us;—"but she was in no hurry, and would right willingly have gone with us." And it required all our female diplomacy to get her under way again, and fairly out of our course. January 28th, SHE off to Berlin; WE, same day, to Frankfurt-on-Mayn. [Wilhelmina, ii. 334; see pp. 335, 338, 347, &c. for the other salient points that follow.]
Coronation was to have been (or we Country-folk thought it was), January 31st: Let us be there INCOGNITO, the night before; see it, and return the day after. That was our plan. Bad roads, waters all out; we had to go night and day;—reached the gates of Frankfurt, 30th January late. Berghover, our Legationsrath there, says we are known everywhere; Coronation is not to be till February 12th! I was fatigued to death, a bad cold on me, too: we turned back to the last Village; stayed there overnight. Back again to Berghover, in secret (A LA SOURDINE), next night; will see the Public Entry of Karl Albert, which is to be to-morrow (not quite, my Princess; January 31st for certain, [Adelung, iii. A, 63; &c. &c.] did one the least care). "It was a very grand thing indeed (DES PLUS SUPERBES); but I will not stop describing it. Masked ball that night; where I had much amusement, tormenting the masks; not being known to anybody. We next day retired to a small private House, which Berghover had got for us, out of Town, for fear of being discovered; and lodged there, waiting February 12th, under difficulties."
The weather was bitterly cold; we had brought no clothes; my dames and I nothing earthly but a black ANDRIENNE each (whatever that may be), to spare bulk of luggage: strictest incognito was indispensable. The Marwitzes, for giggling, raillery, French airs, and absolute impertinence, were intolerable, in that solitary place. We return to Frankfurt again; have balls and theatres, at least: "of these latter I missed none. One evening, my head-dress got accidentally shoved awry, and exposed my face for a moment; Prince George of Hessen-Cassel, who was looking that way, recognized me; told the Prince of Orange of it;—they are in our box, next minute!"
Prince George of Hessen-Cassel, did readers ever hear of him before? Transiently perhaps, in Friedrich's LETTERS TO HIS FATHER; but have forgotten him again; can know him only as the outline of a shadow. A fat solid military man of fifty; junior Brother of that solid WILHELM, Vice-regent and virtual "Landgraf of Hessen"—(VICE an elder and eldest Brother, FRIEDRICH, the now Majesty of Sweden, who is actual Hereditary Landgraf, but being old, childless, idle, takes no hold of it, and quite leaves it to Wilhelm),—of whom English readers may have heard, and will hear. For it is Wilhelm that hires us those "subsidized 6,000," who go blaring about on English pay (Prince George merely Commandant of them); and Wilhelm, furthermore, has wedded his Heir-Apparent to an English Princess lately; [Princess Mary (age only about seventeen), 28th June, 1740; Prince's name was Friedrich (became Catholic, 1749; WIFE made family-manager in Consequence, &c. &c.).] which also (as the poor young fellow became Papist by and by) costs certain English people, among others, a good deal of trouble. Uncle George, we say, is merely Commandant of those blaring 6,000; has had his own real soldierings before this; his own labors, contradictions, in his time; but has borne all patiently, and grown fat upon it, not quarrelling with his burdens or his nourishments. Perhaps we may transiently meet him again.
As to the Prince of Orange, him we have seen more than once in times past: a young fellow in comparison, sprightly, reckoned clever, but somewhat humpbacked; married an English Princess, years ago ("Papa, if he were as ugly as a baboon!")—which fine Princess, we find, has stopt short at Cassel, too fatigued on the present occasion. "His ESPRIT," continues Wilhelmina, "and his conversation, delighted me. His Wife, he said, was at Cassel; he would persuade her to come and make my acquaintance;"—could not; too far, in this cold season. "These two Serene Highnesses would needs take me home in their carriage; they asked the Margraf to let them stay supper: from that hour they were never out of our house. Next morning, by means of them, the secret had got abroad. Kur-Koln [lanky hook-nosed gentleman, richest Pluralist in the Church] had set spies on us; next evening he came up to me, and said, 'Madam, I know your Highness; you must dance a measure with me!' That comes of one's head-gear getting awry! We had nothing for it but to give up the incognito, and take our fate!"
This dancing Elector of Koln, a man still only entering his forties, is the new Emperor's Brother: [Clement August (Hubner, t. 134).] do readers wonder to see him dance, being an Archbishop? The fact is certain,—let the Three Kings and the Eleven Thousand Virgins say to it what they will. "He talked a long time with me; presented to me the Princess Clemence his Niece [that is to say, Wife of his Nephew ClemENT; one of the Two whom his now Imperial Majesty saw married the other day], [Michaelis, ii. 256, 123; Hubner, tt. 141, 134.] and then the Princess"—in fact, presented all the three Sulzbach Princesses (for there is a youngest, still to wed),—"and then Prince Theodor [happy Husband of the eldest], and Prince Clement [ditto of the younger];" and was very polite indeed. How keep our incognito, with all these people heaping civilities upon us? Let us send to Baireuth for clothes, equipages; and retire to our country concealment till they arrive.
"Just as we were about setting off thither, I waiting till the Margraf were ready, the Xargraf entered, and a Lady with him; who, he informed me, was Madame de Belleisle, the French Ambassador's Wife:"—Wife of the great Belleisle, the soul of all these high congregatings, consultations, coronations, who is not Kaiser but maker of Kaisers: what is to be done!—"I had carefully avoided her; reckoning she would have pretensions I should not be in the humor to grant. I took my resolution at the moment [being a swift decisive creature]; and received her like any other Lady that might have come to me. Her visit was not long. The conversation turned altogether upon praises of the King [my Brother]. I found Madame de Belleisle very different from the notion I had formed of her. You could see she had moved in high company (SENTAIT SON MONDE); but her air appeared to me that of a waiting-maid (SOUBRETTE), and her manners insignificant." Let Madame take that.
"Monseigneur himself," when our equipages had come, "waited on me several times,"—Monseigueur the grand Marechal de Belleisle, among the other Principalities and Lordships: but of this lean man in black (who has done such famous things, and will have to do the Retreat of Prag within year and day), there is not a word farther said. Old Seckendorf too is here; "Reich's-Governor of Philipsburg;" very ill with Austria, no wonder; and striving to be well with the new Kaiser. Doubtless old Seckendorf made his visit too (being of Baireuth kin withal), and snuffled his respects: much unworthy of mention; not lovely to Wilhelmina. Prince of Orange, hunchbacked, but sprightly and much the Prince, bore me faithful company all the Coronation time; nor was George of Hessen-Cassel wanting, good fat man.
Of the Coronation itself, though it was truly grand, and even of an Oriental splendor,[Anemonen, ubi supra.] I will say nothing. The poor Kaiser could not enjoy it much. He was dying of gout and gravel, and could scarcely stand on his feet. Poor gentleman; and the French are driven dismally out of Linz; and the Austrians are spreading like a lava-flood or general conflagration over Baiern—Demon Mentzel, whom they call Colonel Mentzel, he (if we knew it) is in Munchen itself, just as we are getting crowned here! And unless King Friedrich, who is falling into Mahren, in the flank of them, call back this Infernal Chase a little, what hope is there in those parts!—The poor Kaiser, oftenest in his bed, is courting all manner of German Princes,—consulting with Seckendorfs, with cunning old stagers. He has managed to lead my Margraf into a foolish bargain, about raising men for him. Which bargain I, on fairly getting sight of it, persuade my Margraf to back out of; and, in the end, he does so. Meanwhile, it detains us some time longer in Frankfurt, which is still full of Principalities, busy with visitings and ceremonials.
Among other things, by way of forwarding that Bargain I was so averse to, our Official People had settled that I could not well go without having seen the Empress, after her crowning. Foolish people; entangling me in new intricacies! For if she is a Kaiser's Daughter and Kaiser's Spouse, am not I somewhat too? "How a King's Daughter and an Empress are to meet, was probably never settled by example: what number of steps down stairs does she come? The arm-chair (FAUTEUIL), is that to be denied me?" And numerous other questions. The official people, Baireuthers especially, are in despair; and, in fact, there were scenes. But I held firm; and the Berlin ambassadors tempering, a medium was struck: steps of stairs, to the due number, are conceded me; arm-chair no, but the Empress to "take a very small arm-chair," and I to have a big common chair (GRAND DOSSIER). So we meet, and I have sight of this Princess, next day.
In her place, I confess I would have invented all manner of etiquettes, or any sort of contrivance, to save myself from showing face. "Heavens! The Empress is below middle size, and so corpulent (PUISSANTE), she looks like a ball; she is ugly to the utmost (LAIDE AU POSSIBLE), and without air or grace." Kaiser Joseph's youngest Daughter,—the gods, it seems, have not been kind to her in figure or feature! And her mind corresponds to her appearance: she is bigoted to excess; passes her nights and days in her oratory, with mere rosaries and gaunt superstitious platitudes of that nature; a dark fat dreary little Empress. "She was all in a tremble in receiving me; and had so discountenanced an air, she could n't speak a word. We took seats. After a little silence, I began the conversation, in French. She answered me in her Austrian jargon, That she did not well understand that language, and begged I would speak to her in German. Our conversation was not long. Her Austrian dialect and my Lower-Saxon are so different that, till you have practised, you are not mutually intelligible in them. Accordingly we were not. A by-stander would have split with laughing at the Babel we made of it; each catching only a word here and there, and guessing the rest. This Princess was so tied to her etiquette, she would have reckoned it a crime against the Reich to speak to me in a foreign language; for she knew French well enough.
"The Kaiser was to have been of this visit; but he had fallen so ill, he was considered even in danger of his life. Poor Prince, what a lot had he achieved for himself!" reflects Wilhelmina, as we often do. He was soft, humane, affable; had the gift of captivating hearts. Not without talent either; but then of an ambition far disproportionate to it. "Would have shone in the second rank, but in the first went sorrowfully eclipsed," as they say! He could not be a great man, nor had about him any one that could; and he needed now to be so. This is the service a Belleisle can do; inflating a poor man to Kaisership, beyond his natural size! Crowned Kaiser, and Mentzel just entering his Munchen the while; a Kaiser bedrid, stranded; lying ill there of gout and gravel, with the Demon Mentzels eating him:—well may his poor little bullet of a Kaiserinn pray for him night and day, if that will avail!—
THE DUCHESS DOWAGER OF WURTEMBERG, RETURNING FROM BERLIN FAVORS US WITH ANOTHER VISIT.
I am sorry to say this is almost the last scene we shall get out of Wilhelmina. She returns to Baireuth; breaks there conclusively that unwise Frankfurt bargain; receives by and by (after several months, when much has come and gone in the world) the returning Duchess of Wurtemberg, effulgent Dowager "spoken of only as a Lais:" and has other adventures, alluded to up and down, but not put in record by herself any farther.—Sorrowfully let us hear Wilhelmina yet a little, on this Lais Duchess, who will concern us somewhat. Dowager, much too effulgent, of the late Karl Alexander, a Reichs-Feldmarschall (or FOURTH-PART of one, if readers could remember) and Duke of Wurtemberg,—whom we once dined with at Prag, in old Friedrich-Wilhelm and Prince-Eugene times:—
"This Princess, very famous on the bad side, had been at Berlin to see her three Boys settled there, whose education she [and the STANDE of Wurtemberg, she being Regent] had committed to the King. These Princes had been with us on their road thither, just before their Mamma last time. The Eldest, age fourteen, had gone quite agog (S'ETOIT AMOURACHE) about my little Girl, age only nine; and had greatly diverted us by his little gallantries [mark that, with an Alas!]. The Duchess, following somewhat at leisure, had missed the King that time; who was gone for Mahren, January 18th. ... I found this Princess wearing pretty well. Her features are beautiful, but her complexion is faded and very yellow. Her voice is so high and screechy, it cuts your ears; she does not want for wit, and expresses herself well. Her manners are engaging for those whom she wishes to gain; and with men are very free. Her way of thinking and acting offers a strange contrast of pride and meanness. Her gallantries had brought her into such repute that I had no pleasure in her visits." [Wilhelmina, ii. 335.] No pleasure; though she often came; and her Eldest Prince, and my little Girl—Well, who knows!
Besides her three Boys (one of whom, as Reigning Duke, will become notorious enough to Wilhelmina and mankind), the Lais Duchess has left at Berlin—at least, I guess she has now left him, in exchange perhaps for some other—a certain very gallant, vagabond young Marquis d'Argens, "from Constantinople" last; originally from the Provence countries; extremely dissolute creature, still young (whom Papa has had to disinherit), but full of good-humor, of gesticulative loyal talk, and frothy speculation of an Anti-Jesuit turn (has written many frothy Books, too, in that strain, which are now forgotten): who became a very great favorite with Friedrich, and will be much mentioned in subsequent times.
"In the end of July," continues Wilhelmina, "we went to Stouccard [Stuttgard, capital of Wurtemberg, O beautiful glib tongue!], whither the Duchess had invited us: but—" And there we are on blank paper; our dear Wilhelmina has ceased speaking to us: her MEMOIRS end; and oblivious silence wraps the remainder!—
Concerning this effulgent Dowager of Wurtemberg, and her late ways at Berlin, here, from Bielfeld, is another snatch, which we will excerpt, under the usual conditions:
"BERLIN, FEBRUARY, 1742 [real date of all that is not fabulous in Bielfeld, who chaotically dates it "6th December" of that Year]. ... A day or two after this [no matter WHAT] I went to the German Play, the only spectacle which is yet fairly afoot in Berlin. In passing in, I noticed the Duchess Dowager of Wurtemberg, who had arrived, during my absence, with a numerous and brilliant suite, as well to salute the King and the Queens [King off, on his Moravian Business, before she came], and to unite herself more intimately with our Court, as to see the Three Princes her Children settled in their new place, where, by consent of the States of Wurtemberg, they are to be educated henceforth.
"As I had not yet had myself presented to the Duchess, I did not presume to approach too near, and passed up into the Theatre. But she noticed me in the side-scenes; asked who I was [such a handsome fashionable fellow], and sent me order to come immediately and pay my respects. To be sure, I did so; was most graciously received; and, of course, called early next day at her Palace. Her Grand-Chamberlain had appointed me the hour of noon. He now introduced me accordingly: but what was my surprise to find the Princess in bed; in a negligee all new from the laundress, and the gallantest that art could imagine! On a table, ready to her hand, at the DOSSIER or bed-bead, stood a little Basin silver-gilt, filled with Holy Water: the rest was decorated with extremely precious Relics, with a Crucifix, and a Rosary of rock-crystal. Her dress, the cushions, quilt, all was of Marseilles stuff, in the finest series of colors, garnished with superb lace. Her cap was of Alencon lace, knotted with a ribbon of green and gold. Figure to yourself, in this gallant deshabille, a charming Princess, who has all the wit, perfection of manner—and is still only thirty-seven, with a beauty that was once so brilliant! Round the celestial bed were courtiers, doctors, almoners, mostly in devotional postures; the three young Princes; and a Dame d'Atours, who seemed to look slightly ENNUYEE or bored." I had the honor to kiss her Serene Highness's hand, and to talk a great many peppered insipidities suitable to the occasion.
Dinner followed, more properly supper, with lights kindled: "Only I cannot dress, you know," her Highness had said; "I never do, except for the Queen-Mother's parties;"—and rang for her maids. So that you are led out to the Anteroom, and go grinning about, till a new and still more charming deshabille be completed, and her Most Serene Highness can receive you again: "Now Messieurs! Pshaw, one is always stupid, no ESPRIT at all except by candlelight!"—After which, such a dinner, unmatchable for elegance, for exquisite gastronomy, for Attic-Paphian brilliancy and charm! And indeed there followed hereupon, for weeks on weeks, a series of such unmatchable little dinners; chief parts, under that charming Presidency, being done by "Grand-Chamberlain Baron de" Something-or-other, "by your humble servant Bielfeld, M. Jordan, and a Marquis d'Argens, famous Provencal gentleman now in the suite of her Highness:" [Bielfeld, ii. 74-78.]—feasts of the Barmecide I much doubt, poor Bielfeld being in this Chapter very fantastic, MISDATEful to a mad extent; and otherwise, except as to general effect, worth little serious belief.
We shall meet this Paphian Dowager again (Crucifix and Myrtle joined): meet especially her D'Argens, and her Three little Princes more or less;—wherefore, mark slightly (besides the D'Argens as above):—
"1. The Eldest little Prince, Karl Eugen; made 'Reigning Duke' within three years hence [Mamma falling into trouble with the STANDE]: a man still gloomily famous in Germany [Poet Schiller's Duke of Wurtemberg], of inarticulate, extremely arbitrary turn,—married Wilhelmina's Daughter by and by [with horrible usage of her]; and otherwise gave Friedrich and the world cause to think of him.
"2. The Second little Prince, Friedrich Eugen, Prussian General of some mark, who will incidentally turn up again, He was afterwards Successor to the Dukedom [Karl Eugen dying childless]; and married his Daughter to Paul of Russia, from whom descend the Autocrats there to this day.
"3. Youngest little Prince, Ludwig Eugen, a respectable Prussian Officer, and later a French one: he is that 'Duc de Wirtemberg' who corresponds with Voltaire [inscrutable to readers, in most of the Editions]; and need not be mentioned farther." [See Michaelis, iii. 449; Preuss, i. 476; &c. &c.]
But enough of all this. It is time we were in Mahren, where the Expedition must be blazing well ahead, if things have gone as expected.
Chapter X. — FRIEDRICH DOES HIS MORAVIAN EXPEDITION WHICH PROVES A MERE MORAVIAN FORAY.
While these Coronation splendors had been going on, Friedrich, in the Moravian regions, was making experiences of a rather painful kind; his Expedition prospering there far otherwise than he had expected. This winter Expedition to Mahren was one of the first Friedrich had ever undertaken on the Joint-stock Principle; and it proved of a kind rather to disgust him with that method in affairs of war.
A deeply disappointing Expedition. The country hereabouts was in bad posture of defence; nothing between us and Vienna itself, in a manner. Rushing briskly forward, living on the country where needful, on that Iglau Magazine, on one's own Sechelles resources; rushing on, with the Saxons, with the French, emulous on the right hand and the left, a Captain like Friedrich might have gone far; Vienna itself—who knows!—not yet quite beyond the reach of him. Here was a way to check Khevenhuller in his Bavarian Operations, and whirl him back, double-quick, for another object nearer home!—But, alas, neither the Saxons nor the French would rush on, in the least emulous. The Saxons dragged heavily arear; the French Detachment (a poor 5,000 under Polastron, all that a captious Broglio could be persuaded to grant) would not rush at all, but paused on the very frontier of Moravia, Broglio so ordering, and there hung supine, or indeed went home.
Friedrich remonstrated, argued, turned back to encourage; but it was in vain. The Saxon Bastard Princes "lived for days in any Schloss they found comfortable;" complaining always that there was no victual for their Troops; that the Prussians, always ahead, had eaten the country. No end to haggling; and, except on Friedrich's part, no hearty beginning to real business. "If you wish at all to be 'King of Moravia,' what is this!" thinks Friedrich justly. Broglio, too, was unmanageable,—piqued that Valori, not Broglio, had started the thing;—showed himself captious, dark, hysterically effervescent, now over-cautious, and again capable of rushing blindly headlong.
To Broglio the fact at Linz, which everybody saw to be momentous, was overwhelming. Magnanimous Segur, and his Linz "all wedged with beams," what a road have they gone! Said so valiantly they would make defence; and did it, scarcely for four days: January 24th; before this Expedition could begin! True, M. le Marechal, too true:—and is that a reason for hanging back in this Mahren business; or for pushing on in it, double-quick, with all one's strength? "But our Conquests on the Donau," thinks Broglio, "what will become of them,—and of us!" To Broglio, justly apprehensive about his own posture at Prag and on the Donau, there never was such a chance of at once raking back all Austrians homewards, post-haste out of those countries. But Broglio could by no means see it so,—headstrong, blusterous, over-cautious and hysterically headlong old gentleman; whose conduct at Prag here brought Strasburg vividly to Friedrich's memory. Upon which, as upon the ghost of Broglio's Breeches, Valori had to hear "incessant sarcasms" at this time.
In a word, from February 5th, when Friedrich, according to bargain, rendezvoused his Prussians at Wischau to begin this Expedition, till April 5th, when he re-rendezvoused them (at the same Wischau, as chanced) for the purpose of ending it and going home,—Friedrich, wrestling his utmost with Human Stupidity, "MIT DER DUMMHEIT [as Schiller sonorously says], against which the very gods are unvictorious," had probably two of the most provoking months of his Life, or of this First Silesian War, which was fruitful in such to him. For the common cause he accomplished nearly nothing by this Moravian Expedition. But, to his own mind, it was rich in experiences, as to the Joint-Stock Principle, as to the Partners he now had. And it doubtless quickened his steps towards getting personally out of this imbroglio of big French-German Wars,—home to Berlin, with Peace and Silesia in his pocket,—which had all along been the goal of his endeavors. As a feat of war it is by no means worth detailing, in this place,—though succinct Stille, and bulkier German Books give lucid account, should anybody chance to be curious. [Stille, Campaigns of the King of Prussia, i. 1-55; Helden-Geschichte, ii. 548-611; OEuvres de Frederic, ii. 110-114; Orlich, ii.; &c. &c.] Only under the other aspect, as Friedrich's experience of Partnership, and especially of his now Partners, are present readers concerned to have, in brief form, some intelligible notion of it.
IGLAU IS GOT, BUT NOT THE MAGAZINE AT IGLAU.
Friedrich was punctual at Wischau; Head-quarters there (midway between Olmutz and Brunn), Prussians all assembled, 5th February, 1742. Wischau is some eighty miles EAST or inward of Iglau; the French and Saxons are to meet us about Trebitsch, a couple of marches from that Teutschbrod of theirs, and well within one march of Iglau, on our route thither. The French and Saxons are at Trebitsch, accordingly; but their minds and wills seem to be far elsewhere. Rutowsky and the Chevalier de Saxe command the Saxons (20,000 strong on paper, 16,000 in reality); Comte de Polastron the French, who are 5,000, all Horse. Along with whom, professedly as French Volunteer, has come the Comte de Saxe, capricious Maurice (Marechal de Saxe that will be), who has always viewed this Expedition with disfavor. Excellency Valori is with the French Detachment, or rather poor Valori is everywhere; running about, from quarter to quarter, sometimes to Prag itself; assiduous to heal rents everywhere; clapping cement into manifold cracks, from day to day. Through Valori we get some interesting glimpses into the secret humors and manoeuvres of Comte Maurice. It is known otherwise Comte Maurice was no friend to Belleisle, but looked for his promotion from the opposite or Noailles party, in the French Court: at present, as Valori perceives, he has got the ear of Broglio, and put much sad stuff into the loud foolish mind of him.
To these Saxon gentlemen, being Bastard-Royal and important to conciliate, Friedrich has in a high-flown way assigned the Schloss of Budischau for quarters, an excellent superbly magnificent mansion in the neighborhood of Trebitsch, "nothing like it to be seen except in theatres, on the Drop-scene of The Enchanted Island;" [Stille, Campaigns, p. 14.] where they make themselves so comfortable, says Friedrich, there is no getting them roused to do anything for three days to come. And yet the work is urgent, and plenty of it. "Iglau, first of all," urges Friedrich, "where the Austrians, 10,000 or so, under Prince Lobkowitz, have posted themselves [right flank of that long straggle of Winter Cantonments, which goes leftwards to Budweis and farther], and made Magazines: possession of Iglau is the foundation-stone of our affairs. And if we would have Iglau WITH the Magazines and not without, surely there is not a moment to be wasted!" In vain; the Saxon Bastard Princes feel themselves very comfortable. It was Sunday the 11th of February, when our junction with them was completed: and, instead of next morning early, it is Wednesday afternoon before Prince Dietrich of Anhalt-Dessau, with the Saxon and French party roused to join his Prussians and him, can at last take the road for Iglau. Prince Dietrich makes now the reverse of delay; marches all night, "bivouacs in woods near Iglau," warming himself at stick-fires till the day break; takes Iglau by merely marching into it and scattering 2,000 Pandours, so soon as day has broken; but finds the Magazines not there. Lobkowitz carted off what he could, then burnt "Seventeen Barns yesterday;" and is himself off towards Budweis Head-quarters and the Bohemian bogs again. This comes of lodging Saxon royal gentlemen too well.
THE SAXONS THINK IGLAU ENOUGH; THE FRENCH GO HOME.
Nay, Iglau taken, the affair grows worse than ever. Our Saxons now declare that they understand their orders to be completed; that their Court did not mean them to march farther, but only to hold by Iglau, a solid footing in Moravia, which will suffice for the present. Fancy Friedrich; fancy Valori, and the cracks he will have to fill! Friedrich, in astonishment and indignation, sends a messenger to Dresden: "Would the Polish Majesty BE 'King of Moravia,' then, or not be?" Remonstrances at Budischau rise higher and higher; Valori, to prevent total explosion, flies over once, in the dead of the night, to deal with Rutowsky and Brothers. Rutowsky himself seems partly persuadable, though dreadfully ill of rheumatism. They rouse Comte Maurice; and Valori, by this Comte's caprices, is driven out of patience. "He talked with a flippant sophistry, almost with an insolence" says Valori; "nay, at last, he made me a gesture in speaking,"—what gesture, thumb to nose, or what, the shuddering imagination dare not guess! But Valori, nettled to the quick, "repeated it," and otherwise gave him as good as he brought. "He ended by a gesture which displeased me"—"and went to bed." [Valori, i. 148, 149.] This is the night of February 18th; third night after Iglau was had, and the Magazines in it gone to ashes. Which the Saxons think is conquest enough.
Poor Polish Majesty, poor Karl Albert, above all, now "Kaiser Karl VII.," with nothing but those French for breath to his nostrils! With his fine French Army of the Oriflamme, Karl Albert should have pushed along last Autumn; and not merely "read the Paper" which Friedrich sent him to that effect, "and then laid it aside." They will never have another chance, his French and he,—unless we call this again a chance; which they are again squandering! Linz went by capitulation; January 24th, the very day of one's "Election" as they called it: and ever since that day of Linz, the series of disasters has continued rapid and uniform in those parts. Linz gone, the rest of the French posts did not even wait to capitulate; but crackled all off, they and our Conquests on the Donau, like a train of gunpowder, and left the ground bare. And General von Barenklau (BEAR'S-CLAW), with the hideous fellow called Mentzel, Colonel of Pandours, they have broken through into Bavaria itself, from the Tyrol; climbing by Berchtesgaden and the wild Salzburg Mountains, regardless of Winter, and of poor Bavarian militia-folk;—and have taken Munchen, one's very Capital, one's very House and Home!—Poor Karl Albert,—and, what is again remarkable, it was the very day while he was getting "crowned" at Frankfurt, "with Oriental pomp," that Mentzel was about entering Munchen with his Pandours. [Coronation was February 12th; Capitulation to Mentzel, "Munchen, February 13th," is in Guerre de Boheme, ii. 56-59.] And this poor Archduke of the Austrian, King of Bohemia, Kaiser of the Holy Romish Reich Teutsch by Nation, is becoming Titular merely, and owns next to nothing in these extensive Sovereignties. Judge if there is not call for despatch on all sides!—The Polish Majesty sent instant rather angry order to his Saxons, "Forward, with you; what else! We would be King in Mahren!"
The Saxons then have to march forward; but we can fancy with what a will. Rutowsky flings up his command on this Order (let us hope, from rheumatism partly), and goes home; leaving the Chevalier de Saxe to preside in room of him. As for Polastron, he produces Order from Broglio, "Iglau got, return straightway;" must and will cross over into Bohemia again; and does. Nay, the Comte de Saxe had, privately in his pocket, a Commission to supersede Polastron, and take command himself, should Polastron make difficulties about turning back. Poor Polastron made no difficulties: Maurice and he vanish accordingly from this Adventure, and only the unwilling Saxons remain with Friedrich. Poor Polastron ("a poor weak creature," says Friedrich, "fitter for his breviary than anything else") fell sick, from the hardships of campaigning; and soon died, in those Bohemian parts. Maurice is heard of, some weeks hence, besieging Eger;—very handsomely capturing Eger: [19th April, 1742 (Guerre de Boheme, ii. 78-65).]—on which service Broglio had ordered him after his return. The former Commandant of the Siege, not very progressive, had just died; and Broglio, with reason (all the more for his late Moravian procedures) was passionate to have done there. One of the first auspicious exploits of Maurice, that of Eger; which paved the way to his French fortunes, and more or less sublime glories, in this War. Friedrich recognizes his ingenuities, impetuosities, and superior talent in war; wrote high-flown Letters of praises, now and then, in years coming; but, we may guess, would hardly wish to meet Maurice in the way of joint-stock business again.
FRIEDRICH SUBMERGES THE MORAVIAN COUNTRIES; BUT CANNOT BRUNN, WHICH IS THE INDISPENSABLE POINT.
February 19th, these sad Iglau matters once settled, Friedrich, followed by the Saxons, plunges forward into Moravia; spreads himself over the country, levying heavy contributions, with strict discipline nevertheless; intent to get hold of Brunn and its Spielberg, if he could. Brunn is the strong place of Moravia; has a garrison of 6 or 7,000; still better, has the valiant Roth, whom we knew in Neisse once, for Commandant: Brunn will not be had gratis.
Schwerin, with a Detachment of 6,000 horse and foot, Posadowsky, Ziethen, Schmettau Junior commanding under him, has dashed along far in the van; towards Upper Austria, through the Town of Horn, towards Vienna itself; levying, he also, heavy contributions,—with a hand of iron, and not much of a glove on it, as we judge. There is a grim enough Proclamation (in the name of a "frightfully injured Kaiser," as well as Kaiser's Ally), still extant, bearing Schwerin's signature, and the date "STEIN, 26th Feb. 1742." [In Helden-Geschichte, ii. 556.] Stein is on the Donau, a mile or two from Krems, and twice as far from Mautern, where the now Kaiser was in Autumn last. Forty and odd miles short of Vienna: this proved the Pisgah of Schwerin in that direction, as it had done of Karl Albert. Ziethen, with his Hussars coursed some 20 miles farther, on the Vienna Highway; and got the length of Stockerau; a small Town, notable slightly, ever since, as the Prussian NON-PLUS-ULTRA in that line.
Meanwhile, Prince Lobkowitz is rallying; has quitted Budweis and the Bohemian Bogs, for some check of these insolences. Lobkowitz, rallying to himself what Vienna force there is, comes, now in good strength, to Waidhofen (rearward of Horn, far rearward of Stein and Stockerau), so that Ziethen and Schwerin have to draw homeward again. Lobkowitz fortifies himself in Waidhofen; gathers Magazines there, as if towards weightier enterprises. For indeed much is rallying, in a dangerous manner; and Moravia is now far other than when Friedrich planned this Expedition. And at Vienna, 25th February last, there was held Secret Council, and (much to Robinson's regret) a quite high Resolution come to,—which Friedrich gets to know of, and does not forget again.
THE SAXONS HAVE NO CANNON FOR BRUNN, CANNOT AFFORD ANY; THERE IS A HIGH RESOLUTION TAKEN AT VIENNA (February 25th): FRIEDRICH QUITS THE MORAVIAN ENTERPRISE.
Friedrich keeps his Head-quarter, all this while, closer and closer upon Brunn. First, chiefly at a Town called Znaim, on the River Taya; many-branched river, draining all those Northwestern parts; which sends its widening waters down to Presburg,—latterly in junction with those of the Morawa from North, which washes Olmutz, drains the Northern and Eastern parts, and gives the Country its name of "Moravia." Brunn lies northeast of Friedrich, while in Znaim, some fifty miles; the Saxon head-quarter is at Kromau, midway towards that City. After Znaim, he shifts inward, to Selowitz, still in the same Taya Valley, but much nearer Brunn; and there continues. [At Znaim, 19th February-9th March; at Selowitz, 13th March-5th April (Rodenbeck, i. 65).]
Striving hard for Brunn; striving hard, under difficulties, for so many things distant and near; we may fancy him busy enough;—and are surprised at the fractions of light Jordan Correspondence which he still finds time for. Pretty bits of Letters, in prose and doggerel, from and to those Moravian Villages; Jordan, "twice a week," bearing the main weight; Friedrich, oftener than one could hope, flinging some word of answer,—very intent on Berlin gossip, we can notice. "Vattel is still here, your Majesty," [OEuvres, xvii. 163, &c.] insinuates Jordan:—young Vattel, afterwards of the DROIT DES GENS, whom his Majesty might have kept, but did not.—What more of your D'Argens, then; anything in your D'Argens? Friedrich will ask. "For certain, D'Argens is full of ESPRIT," answers Jordan, in a dexterous way; and How the Effulgent of Wurtemberg" has quarrelled outright with her D'Argens, and will not eat off silver (D'ARGENT), lest she have to name him by accident!"—with other gossip, in a fine brief airy form, at which Jordan excels. Cheering the rare leisure hour, in one's Tent at Selowitz, Pohrlitz, Irrlitz, far away!—There are also orders about CICERO and Books. Of Business for most part, or of private feelings, nothing: Berlin gossip, and Books for one's reading, are the staple. But to return.
Out from Head-quarters, diligent operations shoot forth, far enough, along those Taya-Morawa Valleys, where Hungarian "Insurgents" are beginning to be dangerous. South of Brunn, all round Brunn, are diligent operations, frequent skirmishings, constant strict levyings of contributions. The saving operation, Friedrich well sees, would be to get hold of Brunn: but, unluckily, How? Vigilant Roth scorns all summoning; sallies continually in a dangerous manner; and at length, when closer pressed, burns all the Villages round him: "we counted as many as sixteen villages laid in ashes," says Friedrich. Here is small comfort of outlook.
And then the Saxons, at Kromau or wherever they may be: no end of trouble and vexation with these Saxons. Their quarters are not fairly allotted, they say; we make exchange of quarters, without improvement noticeable. "One fine day, on some slight alarm, they came rushing over to us, all in panic; ruined, merely by Pandour noises, had not we marched them back, and reinstated them." Friedrich sends to Silesia for reinforcements of his own, which he can depend upon. Sends to Silesia, to Glatz and the Young Dessauer;—nay to Brandenburg and the Old Dessauer? ultimately. Finding Roth would not yield, he has sent to Dresden for Siege-Artillery: Polish Majesty there, titular "King of Moravia," answers that he cannot meet the expense of carriage. "He had just purchased a green diamond which would have carried them thither and back again:" What can be done with such a man?—And by this time, early in March, Hungarian "MORIAMUR PRO REGE" begins to show itself. Clouds of Hungarian Insurgents, of the Tolpatch, Pandour sort, mount over the Carpathians on us, all round the east, from south to north; and threaten to penetrate Silesia itself. So that we have to sweep laboriously the Morawa-Taya Valleys; and undertake first one and then another outroad, or sharp swift sally, against those troublesome barbarians.
And more serious still, Prince Karl and the regular Army, quickened by such Khevenhuller-Barenklau successes in the Donau Countries, are beginning to stir. Prince Karl, returning from Vienna and its consultations, took command, 4th March; [Helden-Geschichte, ii. 557.] with whom has come old Graf von Konigseck, an experienced head to advise with; Prince Karl is in motion, skirting us southward, about Waidhofen, where Lobkowitz lay waiting him with Magazines ready. Rumor says, the force in those parts is already 40,000, with more daily coming in. Friedrich has of his own, apart from the Saxons, some 24,000. Prince Karl, with so many heavy troops, and with unlimited supply of light, is very capable of doing mischief: he has orders (and Friedrich now knows of it) To go in upon us;—such their decision in Secret Council at Vienna, on the 25th of February last, That he must go and fight us:—"Better we met him with fewer thrums on our hands!" thinks Friedrich; and beckons the Old Dessauer out of Brandenburg withal. "Swift, your Serenity; hitherward with 20,000!" Which the Old Dessauer (having 30,000 to pick from, late Camp-of-Gottin people) at once sets about. Will be a security, in any event! [Orlich, i. 221: Date of the Order, "13th March, 1742."] To finish with Brunn, Friedrich has sent for Siege-Artillery of his own; he urges Chevalier de Saxe to close with him round Brunn, and batter it energetically into swift surrender. Is it not the one thing needful? Chevalier de Saxe admits, half promises; does not perform. Being again urged, Why have not you performed? he answers, "Alas, your Majesty, here are Orders for me to join Marshal Broglio at Prag, and retire altogether out of this!"
"Altogether out of it," thinks Friedrich to himself: "may all the Powers be thanked! Then I too, without disgrace, can go altogether out of it;—and it shall be a sharp eye that sees me in joint-stock with you again, M. le Chevalier." Friedrich has written in his HISTORY, and Valori used to hear him often say in words, Never were tidings welcomer than these, that the Saxons were about to desert him in this manner. Go: and may all the Devils—But we will not fall into profane swearing. It is proper to get out of this Enterprise at one's best speed, and never get into the like of it again! Friedrich (on this strange Saxon revelation, 30th March) takes instant order for assembling at Wischau again, for departing towards Olmutz; thence homewards, with deliberate celerity, by the Landskron mountain-country, Tribau, Zwittau, Leutomischl, and the way he came. He has countermanded his Silesian reinforcements; these and the rest shall rendezvous at Chrudim in Bohemia; whitherwards the two Dessauers are bound:—in Brunn, with its wrecked environs, famed Spielberg looking down from its conical height, and sixteen villages in ashes, Roth shall do his own way henceforth.