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FREDERICK AND LINSENBARTH.

The English envoy, Sir Guy Dickens, being utterly baffled in all his endeavors to discover the enterprise upon which the king was about to embark, wrote to his court: Monsieur,I believe that it is of the last importance that I should write to you, and I am very sad to have things to say which I ought to conceal from all the earth. But one must take that bad leap, and, reckoning you among my friends, I the more easily resolve to open myself to you. I can well say, he writes, that I never in my life saw any thing more beautiful. They marched with the greatest steadiness, arrow straight and their front like a line, as if they had been upon parade. The glitter of their clear arms shone strangely in the setting sun, and the fire from them went on no otherwise than a continued peal of thunder. The spirits of our army sank altogether, the foot plainly giving way, the horse refusing to come forwardall things wavering toward dissolution.

Thus was commenced the Seven Years War. It proved one of the most bloody and cruel strifes which man has ever waged against his brother man. Through its terrible scenes of conflagration, blood, and despair, Frederick obtained the renown of being one of the ablest generals who ever marshaled armies upon fields of blood.

The Russians were entering Silesia from the northeast by the way of Poland. Frederick, by one of his incredibly rapid marches, for a time prevented the junction of the two hostile armies. After innumerable marchings and man?uvrings, during which Frederick displayed military ability which commanded the admiration even of his foes, the Prussian king found himself, on the 16th of August, at Nicolstadt, in the very heart of Silesia, at the head of fifty-seven thousand men. In front of him, obstructing his advance, there were sixty thousand Russians. In523 his rear, cutting off his retreat, there were seventy-two thousand Austrians. From a commanding eminence Frederick could watch the movements of both of these hostile bands. Both Russians and Austrians stood in such awe of the prowess of their redoubtable antagonist that they moved cautiously, like hounds surrounding the lion at bay. Fortunately for the young mans mother, she was in her grave. His father was at that time commandant of K?nigsberg, in high favor with the king. His illustrious grandfather on his mothers side, Field-marshal Wartensleben, was still living. For half106 a century he had worthily occupied the most eminent posts of honor. The tears, the agonizing entreaties of these friends were not of the slightest avail. The kings heart was as impervious to appeals for mercy as are the cliffs of Sinai. If it be true that you design to attack me again, I declare to you that I have still health enough to find you, wherever you are, and to take the most signal vengeance upon you. Thank the respect and obedience which have hitherto restrained my arm, and saved you from the worst adventure you have ever had.

But the ever-vigilant Frederick had smuggled a false sister into the society of the Catholic ladies, who kept him informed of every measure that was proposed. At the very hour when Frederick was dining with the two English ministers, and making282 himself so merry with jests and banter, he was aware that General Neipperg, with the whole Austrian army, was crossing the River Neisse, on the march, by a route thirty miles west of his encampment, to take Breslau by surprise. But he had already adopted effectual measures to thwart their plans.