"The School of patience I am at is hard, long-continued, cruel, nay barbarous. I have not been able to escape my lot: all that human foresight could suggest has been employed, and nothing has succeeded. If Fortune continues to pursue me, doubtless I shall sink; it is only she that can extricate me from the situation I am in. I escape out of it by looking at the Universe on the great scale, like an observer from some distant Planet; all then seems to me so infinitely small, and I could almost pity my enemies for giving themselves such trouble about so very little. What would become of us without philosophy, without this reasonable contempt of things frivolous, transient and fugitive, about which the greedy and ambitious make such a pother, fancying them to be solid! This is to become wise by stripes, you will tell me; well, if one do become wise, what matters it how?--I read a great deal; I devour my Books, and that brings me useful alleviation. But for my Books, I think hypochondria would have had me in bedlam before now. In fine, dear Marquis, we live in troublous times and in desperate situations:--I have all the properties of a Stage-Hero; always in danger, always on the point of perishing. One must hope the conclusion will come; and if the end of the piece be lucky, we will forget the rest. Patience then, MON CHER, till February 20th [By which time, what far other veritable star-of-day will have risen on me!]. ADIEU, MON CHER.--F." [
TIFF OF QUARREL BETWEEN KING AND HENRI (March-April, 1762).
In the Spring months Prince Henri is at Hof in Voigtland, on the extreme right of his long line of "Quarters behind the Mulda;" busy enough, watching the Austrians and Reich; levying the severe contributions; speeding all he can the manifold preparatives;-- conscious to himself of the greatest vigilance and diligence, but wrapt in despondency and black acidulent humors; a "Doctor SO MUCH THE WORSE," who is not a comforting Correspondent. From Hof, towards the middle of March, he becomes specially gloomy and acidulous; sends a series of Complaints; also of News, not important, but all rather in YOUR favor, my dearest Brother, than in mine, if you will please to observe! As thus:--
HENRI (at Hof, 10th-13th March). ... "Sadly off here, my dearest Brother.! Of our '1,284 head of commissariat horses,' only 180 are come in; of our '287 drivers,' not one. Will be impossible to open Campaign at that rate."--"Grenadier Battalions ROTHENBURG and GRANT demand to have picked men to complete them [of CANTONIST, or sure Prussian sort]. ... I find [NOTA BENE, Reader!] there are eight Austrian regiments going to Silesia [off my hands, and upon YOURS, in a sense], eight instead of four that I spoke of: intending, probably, for Glatz, to replace Czernichef [a Czernichef off for home lately, in a most miraculous way; as readers shall hear!]--to replace Czernichef, and the blank he has left there? Eight of them: Your Majesty can have no difficulty; but I will detach Platen or somebody, if you order it; though I am myself perilously ill off here, so scattered into parts, not capable of speedy junction like your Majesty."
FRIEDRICH (14th-16th March). "Commissariat horses, drivers? I arranged and provided where everything was to be got. But if my orders are not executed, nor the requisitions brought in, of course there is failure. I am despatching Adjutant von Anhalt to Saxony a second time, to enforce matters. If I could be for three weeks in Saxony, myself, I believe I could put all on its right footing; but, as I must not stir two steps from here, I will send you Anhalt, with orders to the Generals, to compel them to their duty." [Schoning, iii. 301, 302.] "As to Grenadier Battalions GRANT and ROTHENBURG, it is absurd." (Henri falls silent for about a week, brooding his gloom;--not aware that still worse is coming.) King continues:--
KING (22d March). "Eight regiments, you said? Here, by enclosed List, are seventeen of them, names and particulars all given", which is rather a different view of the account against Silesia! Seventeen of them, going, not for Glatz, I should say, but to strengthen our Enemies hereabouts.
HENRI. "Hm, hah [answers only in German; dry military reports, official merely;--thinks of writing to Chief-Clerk Eichel, who is factotum in these spheres]. ... Artillery recruits are scarce in the extreme; demand bounty: five thalers, shall we say?"
KING. "Seventeen regiments of them, beyond question, instead of eight, coming on us: strange that you did n't warn me better. I have therefore ordered your Major-General Schmettau hitherward at once. As he has not done raising the contributions in the Lausitz, you must send another to do it, and have them ready when General Platen passes that way hither."--"'Five thalers bounty for artillery men" say you? It is not to be thought of. Artillery men can be had by conscription where you are." Henri (in silence, still more indignant) sends military reports exclusively. March 26th, Henri's gloom reaches the igniting point; he writes to Chief- Clerk Eichel:--