Friedrich intends no pause in those Meissen Countries. JULY 30th, on his march northward, he detaches Hulsen with the old 10,000 to take Camp at Schlettau as before, and do his best for defence of Saxony against the Reichsfolk, numerous, but incompetent; he himself, next day, passes on, leaving Meissen a little on his right, to Schieritz, some miles farther down,--intending there to cross Elbe, and make for Silesia without loss of an hour. Need enough of speed thither; more need than even Friedrich supposes! Yesterday, July 30th, Loudon's Vanguard came blockading Breslau, and this day Loudon himself;--though Friedrich heard nothing, anticipated nothing, of that dangerous fact, for a week hence or more.
Soltikof's and Loudon's united intentions on Silesia he has well known this long while; and has been perpetually dunning Prince Henri on the subject, to no purpose,--only hoping always there would probably be no great rapidity on the part of these discordant Allies. Friedrich's feelings, now that the contrary is visible, and indeed all through the Summer in regard to the Soltikof-Loudon Business, and the Fouquet-Henri method of dealing with it, have been painful enough, and are growing ever more so. Cautious Henri never would make the smallest attack on Soltikof, but merely keep observing him;--the end of which, what can the end of it be? urges Friedrich always: "Condense yourselves; go in upon the Russians, while they are in separate corps;"--and is very ill-satisfied with the languor of procedures there. As is the Prince with such reproaches, or implied reproaches, on said languor. Nor is his humor cheered, when the King's bad predictions prove true. What has it come to? These Letters of King and Prince are worth reading,--if indeed you can, in the confusion of Schoning (a somewhat exuberant man, loud rather than luminous);--so curious is the Private Dialogue going on there at all times, in the background of the stage, between the Brothers. One short specimen, extending through the June and July just over,--specimen distilled faithfully out of that huge jumbling sea of Schaning, and rendered legible,--the reader will consent to.
DIALOGUE OF FRIEDRICH AND HENRI (from their Private Correspondence: June 7th-July 29th, 1760).
FRIEDRICH (June 7th; before his first crossing Elbe: Henri at Sagan; he at Schlettau, scanning the waste of fatal possibilities). ... Embarrassing? Not a doubt, of that! "I own, the circumstances both of us are in are like to turn my head, three or four times a day." Loudon aiming for Neisse, don't you think? Fouquet all in the wrong.--"One has nothing for it but to watch where the likelihood of the biggest misfortune is, and to run thither with one's whole strength."
henri ... "I confess I am in great apprehension for Colberg:"-- shall one make thither; think you? Russians, 8,000 as the first instalment of them, have ARRIVED; got to Posen under Fermor, June 1st:--so the Commandant of Glogau writes me (see enclosed).
FRIEDRICH (June 9th). Commandant of Glogau writes impossibilities: Russians are not on march yet, nor will be for above a week.
"I cross Elbe, the 15th. I am compelled to undertake something of decisive nature, and leave the rest to chance. For desperate disorders desperate remedies. My bed is not one of roses. Heaven aid us: for human prudence finds itself fall short in situations so cruel and desperate as ours." [Schoning, ii. 313 ("Meissen Camp, 7th June, 1760"); ib. ii. 317 ("9th June").]
HENRI. Hm, hm, ha (Nothing but carefully collected rumors, and wire-drawn auguries from them, on the part of Henri; very intense inspection of the chicken-bowels,--hardly ever without a shake of the head).