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      General Neipperg halted here at Mollwitz with the whole254 army before the village, in mind to quarter. And quarter was settled, so that a plow-farmer got four to five companies to lodge, and a spade-farmer two or three hundred cavalry. The houses were full of officers, and the fields full of horsemen and baggage; and all around you saw nothing but fires burning. The wooden railings were instantly torn down for firewood. The hay, straw, barley were eaten away, and brought to nothing. Every thing from the barns was carried out. As the whole army could not lodge itself with us, eleven hundred infantry quartered at Laugwitz. B?rzdorf got four hundred cavalry; and this day nobody knew what would come of it.


      It was a dreary winter to Frederick in Breslau. Sad, silent, and often despairing, he was ever inflexibly resolved to struggle till the last possible moment, and, if need be, to bury himself beneath the ruins of his kingdom. All his tireless energies he devoted to the Herculean work before him. No longer did he affect gayety or seek recreations. Secluded, solitary, sombre, he took counsel of no one. In the possession of absolute power, he issued his commands as with the authority of a god.


      Above everything in France ridicule is to be avoided, he had remarked.The Marchale dEtre, daughter of M. de Puisieux, died, and left all her large fortune, not to the spendthrift Marquis de Genlis, but to the Count, who, finding himself now very rich, wished to retire from the Palais Royal and live on his estates, and tried to induce his wife to accompany him. He said with truth that her proper and natural place [412] was with him, and he tried by all means in his power to persuade her to do what one would suppose a person constantly talking of duty, virtue, self-sacrifice, and the happiness of retirement, would not have hesitated about.


      The victory of Sohr filled Europe with the renown of Frederick. Still his peril was great, and the difficulties before him apparently insurmountable. His treasury was exhausted. His only ally, France, would furnish him with no money, had no confidence365 in him, and was in heart exasperated against him. Not a single court in Europe expressed any friendship for Frederick. On the contrary, nearly all would have rejoiced at his downfall. There seemed to be no end to the campaigns which were opening before him. Yet Frederick knew not where to obtain the money to meet the expense even of a single campaign.

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      On Tuesday night, the 12th of December, 1740, there was a very splendid masked ball in Berlin. The king and queen were both present. The mind of the king was evidently preoccupied, though he endeavored to assume an air of gayety. Privately quitting the ball at a late hour, he set out, early in the morning, to place himself at the head of forty thousand troops whom he had assembled near the Silesian frontier. A small escort only accompanied him. It was a cold winters day. Driving rapidly, they reached Frankfort that night, sixty miles distant. In the dawn of the next day the king was again upon the road, and, after a drive of forty miles, reached Crossen, a border town, where he established his head-quarters.

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      The king, smothering his wrath, did not immediately seek an interview with his son. But the next day, encountering him, he said, sarcastically, Ah! you are still here, then; I thought that by this time you would have been in Paris. The prince, somewhat emboldened by despair, ventured to reply, I certainly could have been there had I wished it.

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      THE RETREAT OF THE AUSTRIANS.[451]


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