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Therefore, instead of marching upon Neisse, the king directed his course to Steinau, twenty miles east of Neisse. The siege was abandoned, and the whole Prussian army, so far as was possible, was gathered around the king. On the 5th of April Frederick established his head-quarters at Steinau. On that same day, General Neipperg, with the advanced corps of his army, triumphantly entered Neisse. Apprehensive of an immediate attack, Frederick made all his arrangements for a battle. In the confusion of those hours, during which the whole Prussian army, with all its vast accumulation of artillery and baggage-wagons, was surging like an inundation through the streets of Steinau, the village took fire and was burned to ashes. With great difficulty the artillery and powder were saved, being entangled in the narrow streets while the adjoining houses were enveloped in flames. The night was intensely cold. The Prussian army bivouacked in the open frozen fields.
CAMPAIGN OF HOCHKIRCH.I saw for myself personally a future darker than it proved to be; I felt that party spirit and the misfortune of having been attached to the house of Orlans would expose me to all kinds of calumnies and persecutions; I resigned myself in submission to Providence, for I knew that I deserved it, because if I had kept my promise to my friend, Mme. de Custine, if I had done my duty and remained with my second mother, Mme. de Puisieux, instead of entering the Palais Royal, or if, at the death of the Marchale dEtre, I had left Belle Chasse as my husband wished, no emigre could have been more peaceful and happy than I in foreign countries; with the general popularity of my books, my literary reputation, and the social talents I possessed.
Two events occurred at this time highly characteristic of the king. There was a nobleman by the name of Schlubhut, occupying a high official position, who was found a defaulter to the amount of a sum equal to twenty-five thousand dollars. The supreme court sentenced him to three or four years imprisonment. The king was indignant at the mildness of the sentence. What, said he, when the private thief is sent to the gallows, shall a nobleman and a magistrate escape with fine and imprisonment? Schlubhut was immediately sent to prison. All night long he was disturbed with the noise of carpentering in the castle square in front of his cell. In the morning he saw directly before his window a huge gallows erected. Upon that126 gallows he was immediately hung, and his body was left to swing in the wind for several days, some say for weeks.
He rang the bell, and sent for Leclerc.
The King regarded them with nearly, if not quite, as great affection as his legitimate children, and even tried, though in vain, to alter the laws of succession in their favour, and allow them to inherit the crown failing his lawful issue.
Pauline received a letter from Rosalie, written on the night of August 10th. They had left the h?tel de Noailles, which was too dangerous, and were living in concealment. My father, wrote Rosalie, only left the King at the threshold of the Assembly, and has returned to us safe and sound ... but I had no news of M. de Grammont till nine oclock in the evening.... I got a note from my husband telling me he was safe (he had hidden in a chimney). Half an hour later he arrived himself.... I hasten to write to you at the close of this terrible day....The Austrian centre was pushed rapidly forward to the aid of the discomfited left. It was too late. The soldiers arrived upon the ground breathless and in disorder. Before they had time to form, Frederick plowed their ranks with balls, swept them with bullets, and fell upon them mercilessly with sabre and bayonet. The carnage was awful. Division after division melted away in the fire deluge which consumed them. Prince Charles made the most desperate efforts to rally his dismayed troops in and around the church-yard at Leuthen. Here for an hour they fought desperately. But it was all in vain. The left wing was destroyed. The centre was destroyed. The right wing was pushed forward only to be cut to pieces by the sabres, and to be mown down by the terrific fire of the triumphant Prussians.