Next day (August 17th), Friedrich encamps at Hermannsdorf, head- quarter the Schloss of Hermannsdorf, within seven miles of Breslau; continues a fortnight there, resting his wearied people, himself not resting much, watching the dismal miscellany of entanglements that yet remain, how these will settle into groups,--especially what Daun and his Soltikof will decide on. In about a fortnight, Daun's decision did become visible; Soltikof's not in a fortnight, nor ever clearly at all. Unless it were To keep a whole skin, and gradually edge home to his victuals. As essentially it was, and continued to be; creating endless negotiations, and futile overtures and messagings from Daun to his barbarous Friend, endless suasions and troubles from poor Montalembert,--of which it would weary every reader to hear mention, except of the result only.
Friedrich, for his own part, is little elated with these bits of successes at Liegnitz or since; and does not deceive himself as to the difficulties, almost the impossibilities, that still lie ahead. In answer to D'Argens, who has written ("at midnight," starting out of bed "the instant the news came"), in zealous congratulation on Liegnitz, here is a Letter of Friedrich's: well worth reading,-- though it has been oftener read than almost any other of his. A Letter which D'Argens never saw in the original form; which was captured by the Austrians or Cossacks; [See
FRIEDRICH TO MARQUIS D'ARGENS (at Berlin).
"HERMANNSDORF, near Breslau, 27th August, 1760.
"In other times, my dear Marquis, the Affair of the 15th would have settled the Campaign; at present it is but a scratch. There will be needed a great Battle to decide our fate: such, by all appearance, we shall soon have; and then you may rejoice, if the event is favorable to us. Thank you, meanwhile, for all your sympathy. It has cost a deal of scheming, striving and much address to bring matters to this point. Don't speak to me of dangers; the last Action costs me only a Coat [torn, useless, only one skirt left, by some rebounding cannon-ball?] and a Horse [shot under me]: that is not paying dear for a victory.
"In my life, I was never in so bad a posture as in this Campaign. Believe me, miracles are still needed if I am to overcome all the difficulties which I still see ahead. And one is growing weak withal. 'Herculean' labors to accomplish at an age when my powers are forsaking me, my weaknesses increasing, and, to speak candidly, even hope, the one comfort of the unhappy, begins to be wanting. You are not enough acquainted with the posture of things, to know all the dangers that threaten the State: I know them, and conceal them; I keep all the fears to myself, and communicate to the Public only the hopes, and the trifle of good news I may now and then have. If the stroke I am meditating succeed [stroke on Daun's Anti- Schweidnitz strategies, of which anon], then, my dear Marquis, it will be time to expand one's joy; but till then let us not flatter ourselves, lest some unexpected bit of bad news depress us too much.
"I live here [Schloss of Hermannsdorf, a seven miles west of Breslau] like a Military Monk of La Trappe: endless businesses, and these done, a little consolation from my Books. I know not if I shall outlive this War: but should it so happen, I am firmly resolved to pass the remainder of my life in solitude, in the bosom of Philosophy and Friendship. When the roads are surer, perhaps you will write me oftener. I know not where our winter-quarters this time are to be! My House in Breslau is burnt down in the Bombardment [Loudon's, three weeks ago]. Our enemies grudge us everything, even daylight, and air to breathe: some nook, however, they must leave us; and if it be a safe one, it will be a true pleasure to have you again with me.
"Well, my dear Marquis, what has become of the Peace with France [English Peace]! Your Nation, you see, is blinder than you thought: those fools will lose their Canada and Pondicherry, to please the Queen of Hungary and the Czarina. Heaven grant Prince Ferdinand may pay them for their zeal! And it will be the innocent that suffer, the poor officers and soldiers, not the Choiseuls and--... But here is business come on me. Adieu, dear Marquis; I embrace you.--F." [