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Soon after Frederick wrote to Voltaire upon this subject again, still more severely, but in verse. The following is almost a literal translation of this poetic epistle:

Thus affairs continued through the winter. There were two frostbitten armies facing each other on the bleak plains. With apparently not much to be gained in presenting this front of defiance,496 each party breasted the storms and the freezing gales, alike refusing to yield one inch of ground.

Yesterday I wrote to you to come; to-day I forbid it. Daun is marching upon Berlin. Fly these unhappy countries. This news obliges me again to attack the Russians between here and Frankfort. You may imagine if this is a desperate resolution. It is the sole hope that remains to me of not being cut off from Berlin on the one side or the other. I will give these discouraged troops brandy, but I promise myself nothing of success. My one consolation is that I shall die sword in hand.

We were scarcely seated at supper before he began by drinking a number of interesting healths, which there was a necessity of pledging. This first skirmish being over, it was followed by an incessant flow of sallies and repartees. The most contracted countenances became expanded. The gayety was general, even the ladies assisting in promoting our jollity.

Daun has thrown up his cards, so the game is not yet lost. Let us repose ourselves for some days, and then go to the assistance of Neisse.123

You will quickly write me your mind on this. I have purchased the Von Katsch house. The field marshal, as governor of Berlin, will get that to live in. His government house I will have made new for you, and furnish it all, and give you enough to keep house yourself there.

At last, about nine, somebody brought word that my brother had changed his route and gone to Culmbach, there to stay overnight. I was for setting out thither. Culmbach is twenty miles from Berneck. But the roads are frightful, and full of precipices. Every body rose in opposition. And whether I would or not they put me into the carriage for Himmelkron, which is only about ten miles off. We had like to have got drowned on the road, the waters were so swollen. The horses could not cross but by swimming.

The next morning the Prussian troops, led by their indomitable king, were early on the march, groping through the thick mist to find more of the foe. But the blow already given was decisive. The Austrian army was shattered, demoralized, ruined. The king could find nothing but broken tumbrils, abandoned wagons, and the dbris of an utterly routed army. Prince Charles, bewildered by the disaster, had wheeled his columns around, and fled through the passes of the mountains back to Bohemia. Five thousand of his troops he left behind in killed or prisoners.

It was supposed, that Frederick would remain in Saxony on the defensive against the Austrians, who were rapidly gathering their army at Prague, in Bohemia. The city was situated upon the River Moldau, one of the tributaries of the Elbe, and was about sixty miles south of Dresden.