Friedrich, during those grand victories, is suffering sadly in health, "COLIQUE DEPUIS HUIT JOURS, neither sleep nor appetite;" "eight months of mere anguishes and agitations do wear one down." He is tired too, he says, of the mere business-talk, coarse and rugged, which has been his allotment lately; longs for some humanly roofed kind of lodging, and a little talk that shall have flavor in it. [Letters of his to Prince Henri (December 26th, &c.:
There come various visitors, various gayeties,--King's Birthday (January 24th); quality Balls, "at which Royal Majesty sometimes deigned to show himself." A lively Breslau, in comparison. Sister Amelia paid a beautiful visit of a fortnight or more: Sister Amelia, and along with her, two married Cousins (once Margravines of Schwedt), whose Husbands, little Brother Ferdinand, and Eugen of Wurtemberg, are wintering here. The Marquis d'Argens, how exquisitely treated we shall see, is a principal figure; Excellency Mitchell, deep in very important business just now, is another. Reader de Catt (he who once, in a Dutch River-Boat, got into conversation with the snuffy gentleman in black wig) made his new appearance, this Winter,--needed now, since De Prades is off. "Should you have known me again?" asked Friedrich. "Hardly, in that dress; besides, your Majesty looks thinner." "That I can believe, with the cursed life I have been leading!" [Rodenbeck, i. 285.] There came also, day not given, a Captain Guichard ("Major Quintus Icilius" that is to be) with his new Book on the Art Military of the Ancients, MEMOIRES MILITAIRES SUR LES GRECS ET LES ROMAINS; [a La Haye, 2 tomes, 4to, 1757 (Nicolai,
FRIEDRICH TO D'ARGENS (three different times).
1. ON THE ROAD TO LEUTHEN "(Torgau, 15th November 1757). ... I have been obliged to have the Abbe arrested [De Prades, of whom enough, long since]; he has been playing the spy, and I have many evident proofs of it. That is very infamous and very ungrateful.--I have made a prodigious quantity of verses (PRODIGIEUSEMENT DE VERS). If I live, I will show them you in Winter-quarters: if I perish, they are bequeathed to you, and I have ordered that they be put into your hand. ...
"Adieu, my dear Marquis. I fancy you to be in bed: don't rot there;--and remember you have promised to join me in Winter-quarters;"--on this latter point Friedrich is very urgent, amiably eager; prepared to wrap the poor Marquis in cotton, and carry him and lodge him, like glass with care. [
2. WHILE SETTLING THE WINTER-QUARTERS ("Striegau, 26th December, 1757:" Siege of Breslau done ten days ago). ... "What a pleasure to hear you are coming! Your travelling you can do in your own way. I have chosen a party of Light Horse (JAGER), who will appear at Berlin to conduct you. You can make short journeys: the first to Frankfurt, the second to Crossen, the third to Grunberg, fourth to Glogau, fifth to Parchwitz, sixth to Breslau. I have directed that horses be ordered for you, that your rooms be warmed everywhere, and good fowls ready on all roads. Your apartment in this House [Royal House in Breslau, which the King has built for himself years ago] is carpeted, hermetically shut. You shall suffer nothing from draughts or from noise." [Ib. xix. 48.]--Lucky Marquis; what a Landlord! Came accordingly; stayed till deep in April,--waiting latterly for weather, I perceive; long after the King himself was off. Thus:--
3. FRIEDRICH ON THE FIELD AGAIN FOR FIVE WEEKS PAST ("Munsterberg, 23d April, 1758"). "Adieu, dear Marquis; I fancy you are now in Berlin again. Go to Charlottenburg whenever and how you like; take care of yourself; and be ready for the beginning of October next!-- As to me, MON CHER, I am off to fight windmills and ostriches (AUTRUCHES), that is, Russians and Austrians (AUTRICHIENS). Adieu, MON CHER." [
There circulated in the Newspapers, this Winter, something of what was called a LETTER from Friedrich to Maria Theresa, formally proposing Peace, after these magnificent successes. And certainly, of all things in the Earth, Friedrich would have best liked Peace, this year, last year, and for the next five years: "Go home, then, good neighbors; don't break into my house, don't cut my poor throat, and we will be friends again!" Friedrich, it appears, had actually, finding or making opportunity, sent some polite Letter, of pacific tenor, in his light clever way, to that address;--not without momentary hopes of perhaps getting good from it. [In PREUSS, ii. 130 (Friedrich's Letter mostly given;--bearer a Prince van Lobkowitz, prisoner at Leuthen, now going home on handsome terms) Stenzel, v. 124 (for the PER-CONTRA feeling).] And the Kaiserinn herself, Austria's high Mother, did, they say, after such a Leuthen coming on the back of such a Rossbach, feel discouraged; but the Pompadour (not France's Mother, whatever she might be to France) was of far other mind: "Do not speak of it, MA REINE! Double or quits, that is our game: can we yield for a little ill-luck? Never!"