These two events so exasperated his Prussian majesty that the next morning, at an early hour, he reopened upon the doomed236 city with renewed vigor his fire of bombshells and red-hot shot. Fire companies were organized throughout the city, to rush with their engines wherever the glowing balls descended, and thus the flames which frequently burst out were soon extinguished. All day Thursday, Thursday night, Friday, and until nine in the morning of Saturday, the tempest of battle, with occasional lulls, hurled its bolts and uttered its thunders. There was then a short rest until four oclock on Sunday afternoon, when the batteries again opened their action more vigorously than ever, nine bombs being often in the air at the same time.

My lord, there seems to be a contradiction in all this. The King of England, in his letter, tells me you are instructed as to every thing, and yet you pretend ignorance. But I am perfectly informed of all. And I should not be surprised if, after all these fine words, you should receive some strong letter or resolution for me. Then, turning to his secretary, he added, sarcastically, Write down that my lord would be surprised to receive such instruction.

A brief account of this interview has been given by Frederick,59 and also a very minute narrative by Sir Thomas Robinson, in his official report to his government. There is no essential discrepancy between the two statements. Frederick alludes rather contemptuously to the pompous airs of Sir Thomas, saying that he negotiated in a wordy, high, droning way, as if he were speaking in Parliament. Mr. Carlyle seems to be entirely in sympathy with Frederick in his invasion of Silesia. The reader will peruse with interest his graphic, characteristic comments upon this interview:

While these coronation splendors were transpiring, Frederick was striving, with all his characteristic enthusiasm, to push forward his Moravian campaign to a successful issue. Inspired by as tireless energies as ever roused a human heart, he was annoyed beyond measure by the want of efficient co-operation on the part of his less zealous allies. Neither the Saxons nor the French could keep pace with his impetuosity. The princes who led the Saxon troops, the petted sons of kings and nobles, were loth to abandon the luxurious indulgences to which they had been accustomed. When they arrived at a capacious castle where they found warm fires, an abundant larder, and sparkling wines, they would linger there many days, decidedly preferring those comforts to campaigning through the blinding, smothering snowstorm, and bivouacking on the bleak and icy plains, swept by the gales of a northern winter. The French were equally averse to these terrible marches, far more to be dreaded than the battle-field. On the evening of Tuesday, the 14th, Frederick, with his advanced guard, reached Myssen. All the next day, Wednesday, he was hurrying up his troops from the rear. In the afternoon he heard the deep booming of the cannon far up the Elbe. In the evening the sky was ablaze with the glare of the watch-fires of Leopolds victorious troops. The next morning Frederick pressed forward with all haste to join Leopold. Couriers on the way informed him of the great victory. At Wilsdruf, a few miles from the field of battle, he met Leopold, who had advanced in person to meet his king. Frederick dismounted, uncovered his head, and threw his arms around the Old Dessauer in a grateful embrace. The French army so handled this place as not only to take from its inhabitants, by open force, all bread and articles of food, but likewise all clothes, bed-linens, and other portable goods. They also broke open, split to pieces, and emptied out all chests, boxes, presses, drawers; shot dead in the back-yards and on the roofs all manner of feathered stock, as hens, geese, pigeons. They carried off all swine, cows, sheep, and horses. They laid violent hands on the inhabitants, clapped swords, guns, and pistols to their breasts, threatening to kill them unless they brought out whatever goods they had; or hunted them out of their houses, shooting at them, cutting, sticking, and at last driving them away, thereby to have freer room to rob and plunder. They flung out hay and other harvest stock into the mud, and had it trampled to ruin under the horses feet.

Singularly enough, the very next day Frederick received an express from the Divan requesting him, with the aid of Austria, to mediate peace with Russia. The Turks had encountered such reverses that they were anxious to sheathe the sword. Frederick with great joy undertook the mediation. But he found the mediation far more difficult than he had imagined. Catharine and Maria Theresa, so totally different in character, entertained a rooted aversion to each other. The complications were so great that month after month the deliberations were continued unavailingly. Maria Theresa was unrelentingly opposed to the advance of Russia upon Constantinople.

I have been unhappy all my life, and I think it is my destiny to continue so. One must be patient, and take the time as it comes. Perhaps a sudden tract of good fortune, on the back of all the chagrins I have encountered since I entered this world, would have made me too proud. I have suffered sufficiently, and I will not engage myself to extend my miseries into future times. I have still resources. A pistol-shot can deliver me from my sorrows and my life, and I think a merciful God would not damn me for that, but, taking pity on me, would, in exchange for a life of wretchedness, grant me salvation. This is whitherward despair can lead a young person whose blood is not so quiescent as if he were seventy.

It is probable that even Seckendorf was somewhat moved by this pathetic appeal. Fritz succeeded in sending a letter to the post-office, addressed to Lieutenant Keith at Wesel, containing simply the words Sauvez vous; tout est decouvert (Save yourself; all is found out). Keith received the letter but an hour or so before a colonel of gens darmes arrived to arrest him. Seckendorf had an interview with the king, and seems to have endeavored to mitigate his wrath. He assured the infuriate monarch of his sons repentance, and of his readiness to make a full confession if his father would spare those who had been led by their sympathies to befriend him. The unrelenting father received this message very sullenly, saying that he had no faith that his son would make an honest confession, but that he would see what he had to say for himself.