This surely is a remarkable Dialogue; far beyond any of the Gellert kind. An absolute King and Commander-in-Chief, and of such a type in both characters, getting flat refusal once in his life (this once only, so far as I know), and how he takes it:--one wishes Kuster, or somebody, had been able to go into more details!-- Details on the Quintus-Icilius procedure, which followed next day, would also have been rather welcome, had Kuster seen good. It is well known, Quintus Icilius and his Battalion, on order now given, went cheerfully, next day, in Saldern's stead. And sacked Hubertsburg Castle, to the due extent or farther: 100,000 thalers (15,000 pounds) were to be raised from it for the Field-Hospital behoof; the rest was to be Quintus's own; who, it was thought, made an excellent thing of it for himself. And in hauling out the furnitures, especially in selling them, Quintus having an enterprising sharp head in trade affairs, "it is certain," says Kuster, as says everybody, "various SCHANDLICHKEITEN (scandals) occurred, which were contrary to the King's intention, and would not have happened under Saldern." What the scandals particularly were, is not specified to me anywhere, though I have searched up and down; much less the net amount of money realized by Quintus. I know only, poor Quintus was bantered about it, all his life after, by this merciless King; and at Potsdam, in years coming, had ample time and admonition for what penitence was needful.
"The case was much canvassed in the Army," says poor Kuster; "it was the topic in every tent among Officers and common Men. And among us Army-Chaplains too," poor honest souls, "the question of conflicting duties arose: Your King ordering one thing, and your own Conscience another, what ought a man to do? What ought an Army- Chaplain to preach or advise? And considerable mutual light in regard to it we struck out from one another, and saw how a prudent Army-Chaplain might steer his way. Our general conclusion was, That neither the King nor Saldern could well be called wrong. Saldern listening to the inner voice; right he, for certain. But withal the King, in his place, might judge such a thing expedient and fit; perhaps Saldern himself would, had Saldern been King of Prussia there in January, 1761."
Saldern's behavior in his retirement was beautiful; and after the Peace, he was recalled, and made more use of than ever: being indeed a model for Army arrangements and procedures, and reckoned the completest General of Infantry now left, far and near. The outcries made about Hubertsburg, which still linger in Books, are so considerable, one fancies the poor Schloss must have been quite ruined, and left standing as naked walls. Such, however, we by no means find to be the case; but, on the contrary, shall ourselves see that everything was got refitted there, and put into perfect order again, before long.
THERE ARE SOME WAR-MOVEMENTS DURING WINTER; GENERAL FINANCIERING DIFFICULTIES. CHOISEUL PROPOSES PEACE.
February 15th, there fell out, at Langensalza, on the Unstrut, in Gotha Country, a bit of sharp fighting; done by Friedrich's people and Duke Ferdinand's in concert; which, and still more what followed on it, made some noise in the quiet months. Not a great thing, this of Langensalza, but a sudden, and successfully done; costing Broglio some 2,000 prisoners; and the ruin of a considerable Post of his, which he had lately pushed out thither, "to seize the Unstrut," as he hoped. A Broglio grasping at more than he could hold, in those Thuringen parts, as elsewhere! And, indeed, the Fight of Langensalza was only the beginning of a series of such; Duke Ferdinand being now upon one of his grand Winter-Adventures: that of suddenly surprising and exploding Broglio's Winter-quarters altogether, and rolling him back to Frankfurt for a lodging. So that, since the first days of February, especially since Langensalza day, there rose suddenly a great deal of rushing about, in those regions, with hard bits of fighting, at least of severe campaigning;--which lasted two whole-months;-- filling the whole world with noise that Winter; and requiring extreme brevity from us here. It was specially Duke Ferdinand's Adventure; Friedrich going on it, as per bargain, to the Langensalza enterprise, but no farther; after which it did not much concern Friedrich, nor indeed come to much result for anybody.
"Strenuous Ferdinand, very impatient of the Gottingen business and provoked to see Broglio's quarters extend into Hessen, so near hand, for the first time, silently determines to dislodge him. Broglio's chain of quarters, which goes from Frankfurt north as far as Marburg, then turns east to Ziegenhayn; thence north again to Cassel, to Munden with its Defiles; and again east, or southeast, to Langensalza even: this chain has above 150 miles of weak length; and various other grave faults to the eye of Ferdinand,--especially this, that it is in the form, not of an elbow only, or joiner's- square, which is entirely to be disapproved, but even of two elbows; in fact, of the PROFILE OF A CHAIR [if readers had a Map at hand]. FOOT of the chair is Frankfurt; SEAT part is from Marburg to Ziegenhayn; BACK part, near where Ferdinand lies in chief force, is the Cassel region, on to Munden, which is TOP of the back,--still backwards from which, there is a kind of proud CURL or overlapping, down to Langensalza in Gotha Country, which greedy Broglio has likewise grasped at! Broglio's friends say he himself knew the faultiness of this zigzag form, but had been overruled. Ferdinand certainly knows it, and proceeds to act upon it.
"In profound silence, namely, ranks himself (FEBRUARY lst-12th) in three Divisions, wide enough asunder; bursts up sudden as lightning, at Langensalza and elsewhere; kicks to pieces Broglio's Chair-Profile, kicks out especially the bottom part which ruins both foot and back, these being disjointed thereby, and each exposed to be taken in rear;--and of course astonishes Broglio not a little; but does not steal his presence of mind.
"So that, in effect, Broglio had instantly to quit Cassel and warm lodging, and take the field in person; to burn his Magazines; and, at the swiftest rate permissible, condense himself, at first partially about Fulda (well down the leg of his chair), and then gradually all into one mass near Frankfurt itself;--with considerable losses, loss especially of all his Magazines, full or half full. And has now, except Marburg, Ziegenhayn and Cassel, no post between Gottingen and him. Ferdinand, with his Three Divisions, went storming along in the wild weather, Granby as vanguard; pricking into the skirts of Broglio. Captured this and that of Corps, of Magazines that had not been got burnt; laid siege to Tassel, siege to Ziegenhayn; blocked Marburg, not having guns ready: and, for some three or four weeks, was by the Gazetteer world and general public thought to have done a very considerable feat;--though to himself, such were the distances, difficulties of the season, of the long roads, it probably seemed very questionable whether, in the end, any feat at all.