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      Frederick.


      People were presented first to the King, then to the Queen, in different salons; of course magnificently dressed. The King, now that he was Louis XVI., very often did not speak but always made a friendly, gracious gesture, and kissed the lady presented, on one cheek only if she was a simple femme de qualit; on both if she was a duchess or grande dEspagne, or bore the name of one of the families who possessed the hereditary right to the honours of the Louvre and the title of cousin of the King.

      The River Neisse is quite narrow. In preparation for the bombardment, Frederick planted his batteries on the south side of the stream, and also approached the city from the north. It will be remembered that Frederick had an army in Silesia at his command of about forty thousand men, abundantly provided with all the munitions of war. The little Austrian garrison hurriedly thrown into Neisse consisted of but sixteen hundred men, but poorly prepared either for battle or for siege. The Austrian commandant, General Roth, determined upon a heroic resistance. To deprive the assailants of shelter, the torch was applied to all the beautiful suburbs. In a few hours the cruel flames destroyed the labor of ages. Many once happy families were impoverished and rendered homeless. Ashes, blackened walls, and smouldering ruins took the place of gardens, villas, and comfortable homes.

      Mme. de Genlis never went to the Imperial court, but led a quiet literary life; quiet, that is to say, so far as the word can be applied to one whose salon was the resort of such numbers of people.It was on the night of the 25th of November, cold and dreary, that General Einsiedel commenced his retreat from Prague. He pushed his wagon trains out before him, and followed with his horse and foot. The Austrians were on the alert. Their light horsemen came clattering into the city ere the rear-guard had left. The Catholic populace of the city, being in sympathy with the Austrians, immediately joined the Pandours in a fierce attack upon the Prussians. The retreating columns were torn by a terrific fire from the windows of the houses, from bridges, from boats, from every point whence a bullet could reach them. But the well-drilled Prussians met the shock with the stern composure of machines, leaving their path strewn with the dying and the dead.


      To his sister, Fritz wrote, about the same time, in a more subdued strain, referring simply to his recent life in Cüstrin: Thus far my lot has been a tolerably happy one. I have lived quietly in the garrison. My flute, my books, and a few affectionate friends have made my way of life there sufficiently agreeable. They now want to force me to abandon all this in order to marry me to the Princess of Bevern, whom I do not know. Must one always be tyrannized over without any hope of a change? Still, if my dear sister were only here, I should endure all with patience.

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      The scene was even more strange and weird than picturesque. The dark figures of the negroes, filing noiselessly up the shadowed slope, suddenly grew distinct, wild, and fantastic, within the circle of enchantment made by the flaring light of the torch, only to become dim and spectral again when received back into the dusk. They might have passed for embodiments of those vagaries of the mind, which come from no one knows whither, play their fitful parts within the illuminated circle of the imagination, and vanish as they came. The young man would almost have taken it as a matter of course, had the whole spectacle suddenly melted into thin air.

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      As we have mentioned, the army advanced mainly in two columns.228 While the left was briefly delayed at Glogau, the right, under the command of General Schwerin, was pushed rapidly forward a few leagues, to Liegnitz. They reached the city, unexpectedly to its inhabitants, just at the dawn of a drear, chill winters morning, the rain having changed to freezing cold. It was Wednesday, December 28. The Prussian grenadiers stole softly upon the slumbering sentinels, seized them, and locked them in the guard-house. Then the whole column marched into the heart of the city silently, without music, but with a tramp which aroused all the sleepers in the streets through which they passedmany of whom, in their night-caps, peered curiously out of their chamber windows. Having reached the central square, or market-place, the forces were concentrated, and the drums and bugles pealed forth notes of triumph. The Prussian flag rose promptly from rampart and tower. Liegnitz was essentially a Protestant town. The inhabitants, who had received but few favors from the Catholic Austrian government, welcomed their invaders with cautious demonstrations of joy.


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