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!"
France dismisses its D'Argenson, "What Armies are these of his; flying home on us, like draggled poultry, across the Rhine!"-- summons the famed Belleisle to be War-Minister, and give things an eagle-quality: ["26th February, 1758" (BARBIER, iv. 258).] France engages to pay its subsidies better (France now the general paying party, Austria, Sweden, Russia itself, all looking to France,--would she were as punctual as England used to be!),--in a word, engages to be magnanimous extremely, and will hear of nothing but persistence. "Shall not we reap, then, where there is such a harvest standing white to us?" Kaunitz admits that there never will again be such a chance.--Peace, it is clear enough, will not be got of these people by any Letter, or human device whatever, except simply by uttermost, more or less miraculous fighting for it. Friedrich is profoundly aware of this fact;--is busy completing his Army: 145,000 for the field, this Year, 53,000 the Silesian part, "a good many of them Austrian deserters;" [Stenzel, v. 155.] and is closing an important Subsidy Treaty with England,--of which more anon.
And if this is the mood in France and Austria, think what Russia's will be! The Czarina is not dead of dropsy, as some had expected, but, on the contrary, alive, and fiercer than ever; furious against Apraxin, and determined that Fermor, his successor, shall defy Winter, and begin work at once. She has indignantly dismissed Apraxin (to be tried by Court-Martial, he); dismisses Bestuchef the Chancellor; appoints a new General, Fermor by name; orders Fermor to go and lose not a moment, now in the depth of Winter since it was not done in the crown of Summer, and take possession of East Preussen in her name.