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FLIGHT OF FREDERICK.
The king approved of the first two sentences of the court. The mildness of the last roused his indignation. Katte, he exclaimed, is guilty of high treason. He shall die by the sword of the headsman. It is better that he should die than that justice depart out of the world. His doom was thus fixed as irreversible as fate.
The rule, in such cases, was that a certain number of companies were to be admitted at a time. The gate was then to be closed until they had marched through the city and out at the opposite gate. After this another detachment was to be admitted, and so on, until all had passed through. But General Schwerin so contrived it, by stratagem, as to crowd in a whole regiment at once. Instead of marching through Breslau, to the surprise of the inhabitants, he directed his steps to the market-place, where he encamped and took possession of the city, admitting the remainder of his regiments. In an hour and a half the whole thing was done, and the streets were strongly garrisoned by Prussian troops. The majority of the inhabitants, being Protestant, were well pleased, and received the achievement with laughter. Many cheers resounded through the streets, with shouts of Frederick and Silesia forever. All the foreign ministers in Breslau, and the magistrates of the city, had been lured to Strehlin to witness the grand review.
On Friday, the 1st of October, 1756, the Prussian army under Frederick, leaving the Saxons besieged in their encampment, marched up the river to meet the foe advancing to the aid of the Saxons. They encountered the Austrians, under Marshal Browne, at Lobositz, about thirty miles south of Pirna. A terrible battle of seven hours duration ensued. The opposing generals were of nearly equal ability. The soldiers were equal in courage. The carnage of the bloody conflict was almost equal on either side. The desperation of the Prussian assault was resistless. Bayonet often crossed bayonet. The Austrians were driven from their strong position into the city. The Prussians laid the city in ashes. As the Austrians fled from the blazing streets, many, endeavoring to swim across the Elbe, were drowned. At the close of this bloody strife General Browne withdrew his army to the rear, where he still presented a defiant front to the Prussians. He had lost from his ranks, in killed and wounded, two thousand nine hundred and eighty-four. The loss of Frederick was still greater; it numbered three thousand three hundred and eight. Neither party would confess to a defeat.
But the exertion, and the emotion occasioned by the interview with his son, prostrated him again. He was taken back into his palace and to his bed more dead than alive. Reviving a little in the afternoon, he dictated to Frederick all the arrangements he wished to have adopted in reference to his funeral. This curious document is characteristic, in every line, of the strange man. His coffin, which was of massive oak carpentry, had been made for some time, and was in the kings chamber awaiting its occupant. He not unfrequently, with affected or real complacency, fixed his eyes upon it, saying, I shall sleep right well there. In the minute directions to his son as to his burial, he said,There was no need of that pretext about the waters of Plombires in demanding your leave. You can quit my service when you like. But, before going, be so good as to return me the key, the cross, and the volume of verses which I confided to you.
Her first child, the only one that lived, was born in February, 1780.While Louise and Adrienne were still children projects of marriage for them were, of course, discussed, and they were only about thirteen and fourteen when two sons-in-law were approved of and accepted by their parents, with the condition that the proposed arrangements should not be communicated to the young girls for a year, during which they would be allowed often to meet and become well acquainted with their future husbands.