This is what Loudon had done, without any Russians, except Russians to give him eight-and-forty hours colic, and put him on his own shifts. And the way in which the Kriegshofrath, and her Imperial Majesty the Kaiserinn, received it, is perhaps still worth a word. The Kaiser, who had alone known of Loudon's scheme, and for good reason (absolute secrecy being the very soul of it) had whispered nothing of it farther to any mortal, was naturally overjoyed. But the Olympian brow of Maria Theresa, when the Kaiser went radiant to her with this news, did not radiate in response; but gloomed indignantly: "No order from Kriegshofrath, or me!" Indignant Kriegshofrath called it a CROATEN-STREICH (Croat's-trick); and Loudon, like Prince Eugen long since, was with difficulty excused this act of disobedience. Great is Authority;-- and ought to be divinely rigorous, if (as by no means always happens) it is otherwise of divine quality!
Friedrich's treatment of Zastrow was in strong contrast of style. Here is his Letter to that unlucky Gentleman, who is himself clear that he deserves no blame: "My dear Major-General von Zastrow,-- The misfortune that has befallen me is very grievous; but what consoles me in it is, to see by your Letter that you have behaved like a brave Officer, and that neither you nor the Garrison have brought disgrace or reproach on yourselves. I am your well- affectioned King,--FRIEDRICH." And in Autograph this Postscript: "You may, in this occurrence, say what Francis I., after the Battle of Pavia, wrote to his Mother: 'All is lost except honor.' As I do not yet completely understand the affair, I forbear to judge of it; for it is altogether extraordinary.--F." [
And never meddled farther with Zastrow; only left him well alone for the future. "Grant me a Court-Martial, then!" said Zastrow, finding himself fallen so neglected, after the Peace. "No use," answered Friedrich: "I impute nothing of crime to you; but after such a mishap, it would be dangerous to trust you with any post or command;"--and in 1766, granted him, on demand, his demission instead. The poor man then retired to Cassel, where he lived twenty years longer, and was no more heard of. He was half-brother of the General Zastrow who got killed by a Pandour of long range (bullet through both temples, from brushwood, across the Elbe), in the first year of this War.
Friedrich's Army was to have cantoned itself round Neisse, October 3d: but on the instant of this fatal Schweidnitz news proceeded (3d-6th October) towards Strehlen instead,--Friedrich personally on the 5th;--and took quarters there and in the villages round. General cantonment at Strehlen, in guard of Breslau and of Neisse both; Loudon, still immovable at Kunzendorf, attempting nothing on either of those places, and carefully declining the risk of a Battle, which would have been Friedrich's game: all this continued till the beginning of December, when both parties took Winter- quarters; [Tempelhof, v. 349.] cantoned themselves in the neighboring localities,--Czernichef, with his Russians, in Glatz Country; Friedrich in Breslau as headquarter;--and the Campaign had ended. Ended in this part, without farther event of the least notability;--except the following only, which a poor man of the name of Kappel has recorded for us. Of which, and the astounding Sequel to which, we must now say something.
Kappel is a Gentleman's Groom of those Strehlen parts; and shall, in his own words, bring us face to face with Friedrich in that neighborhood, directly after Schweidnitz was lost. It is October 5th, day, or rather night of the day, of Friedrich's arrival thereabouts; most of his Army ahead of him, and the remainder all under way. Friedrich and the rearward part of his Army are filing about, in that new Strehlen-ward movement of theirs, under cloud of night, in the intricate Hill-and-Dale Country; to post themselves to the best advantage for their double object, of covering Breslau and Neisse both; Kappel LOQUITUR; abridged by Kuster, whom we abridge:--
"MONDAY NIGHT, OCTOBER 5th, 1761, The King, with two or three attendants, still ahead of his Army, appeared at Schonbrunn, a Schloss and Village, five or six miles south from Strehlen; [THIS is the Warkotsch Schonbrunn; not the other near Schweidnitz, as Archenholtz believes: see ARCHENHOLTZ, ii. 287, and the bit of myth he has gone into in consequence.] and did the owner, Baron von Warkotsch, an acquaintance of his, the honor of lodging there. Before bedtime,--if indeed the King intended bed at all, meaning to be off in four hours hence,--Friedrich inquired of Warkotsch for 'a trusty man, well acquainted with the roads in this Country.' Warkotsch mentioned Kappel, his own Groom; one who undoubtedly knew every road of the Country; and who had always behaved as a trusty fellow in the seven years he had been with him. 'Let me see him,' said the King. Kappel was sent up, about midnight, King still dressed; sitting on a sofa, by the fire; Kappel's look was satisfactory; Kappel knows several roads to Strehlen, in the darkest night. 'It is the footpath which goes so-and-so that I want' (for Friedrich knows this Country intimately: readers remember his world-famous Camp of Strehlen, with all the diplomacies of Europe gathered there, through summer, in the train of Mollwitz). 'JA, IHRO MAJESTAT, I know it!' 'Be ready, then, at 4.'
"Before the stroke of 4, Kappel was at the door, on Master's best horse; the King's Groom too, and led horse, a nimble little gray, were waiting. As 4 struck, Friedrich came down, Warkotsch with him. 'Unspeakable the honor you have done my poor house!' Besides the King's Groom, there were a Chamberlain, an Adjutant and two mounted Chasers (REITENDE JAGER), which latter had each a lighted lantern: in all seven persons, including Kappel and the King. (Go before us on foot with your lanterns,' said the King. Very dark it was. And overnight the Army had arrived all about; some of them just coming in, on different roads and paths. The King walked above two miles, and looked how the Regiments were, without speaking a word. At last, as the cannons came up, and were still in full motion, the King said: 'Sharp, sharp, BURSCHE; it will be MARCH directly.' 'March? The Devil it will: we are just coming into Camp!' said a cannonier, not knowing it was the King.
"The King said nothing. Walked on still a little while; then ordered, 'Blow out the lanterns; to horseback now!' and mounted, as we all did. Me he bade keep five steps ahead, five and not more, that he might see me; for it was very dark. Not far from the Lordship Casserey, where there is a Water-mill, the King asked me, 'Have n't you missed the Bridge here?' (a King that does not forget roads and topographies which may come to concern him!)--and bade us ride with the utmost silence, and make no jingle. As day broke, we were in sight of Strehlen, near by the Farm of Treppendorf. 'And do you know where the Kallenberg lies?' said the King: 'It must be to left of the Town, near the Hills; bring us thither!'