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she saw at a glance, how thoroughly unhappy Julia was.

year 2023-12-01 17:00:06766474

One other Note we save, for the sake of poor Major Kleist, "Poet of the Spring," as he was then called. A valiant, punctual Soldier, and with a turn for Literature as well; who wrote really pleasant fine things, new at that time and rapturously welcome, though too much in the sentimental vein for the times which have followed. Major Kleist,--there is a General Kleist, a Colonel Kleist of the Green Hussars (called GRUNE Kleist, a terrible cutting fellow):-- this is not Grune Kleist; this is the Poet of THE SPRING; whose fate at Kunersdorf made a tragic impression in all intelligent circles of Teutschland. Here is Kriele's Note (abridged):--

she saw at a glance, how thoroughly unhappy Julia was.

"Christian Ewald von Kleist, 'Poet of the Spring' [a Pommern gentleman, now in his forty-fourth year], was of Finck's Division; had come on, after those Eight Battalions took the first Russian battery [that is, Muhlberg]; and had been assisting, with zeal, at the taking of three other batteries, regardless of twelve contusions, which he gradually got. At the third battery, he was farther badly hurt on the left arm and the right. Took his Colonel's place nevertheless, whom he now saw fall; led the regiment MUTHIG forward on the fourth battery. A case-shot smashed his right leg to pieces; he fell from his horse [hour not given, shall we say 3 P.M.]; sank, exclaiming: 'KINDER, My children, don't forsake your King!' and fainted there. Was carried to rear and leftward; laid down on some dry spot in the Elsbruch, not far from the Kuhgrund, and a Surgeon brought. The Surgeon, while examining, was torn away by case-shot: Kleist lay bleeding without help. A friend of his, Pfau [who told Kriele], one of Finck's Generals, came riding that way: Kleist called to him; asked how the Battle went; uncommonly glad to hear we are still progressive. Pfau undertook, and tried his utmost, for a carriage to Kleist; did send one of Finck's own carriages; but after such delays that the Prussians were now yielding: poor Kleist's had become Russian ground, and the carriage could not get in.

she saw at a glance, how thoroughly unhappy Julia was.

"Kleist lay helpless; no luck worse than his. In the evening, Cossacks came round him; stript him stark-naked; threw him, face foremost, into the nearest swampy place, and went their way. One of these devils had something so absurd and Teniers-like in the face of him, that Kleist, in his pains, could not help laughing at remembrance of it. In the night some Russian Hussars, human and not Cossack, found Kleist in this situation; took him to a dry place; put a cloak over him, kindled a watch-fire for themselves, and gave him water and bread. Towards morning they hastened away, throwing an 8-GROSCHEN STUCK [ninepenny piece, shilling, say half-crown] on his cloak,--with human farewell. But Cossacks again came; again stript him naked and bare. Towards noon of the 13th, Kleist contrived to attract some Russian Cavalry troop passing that way, and got speech of the Captain (one Fackelberg, a German); who at once set about helping him;--and had him actually sent into Frankfurt, in a carriage, that evening. To the House of a Professor Nikolai; where was plenty of surgery and watchful affection. After near thirty hours of such a lair, his wounds seemed still curable; there was hope for ten days. In the tenth night (22d-23d August), the shivered pieces of bone disunited themselves; cut an artery,--which, after many trials, could not be tied. August 24th, at two in the morning, he died.--Great sorrow. August 26th, there was soldier's funeral; poor Kleist's coffin borne by twelve Russian grenadiers; very many Russian Officers attending, who had come from the Camp for that end; one Russian Staff-Officer of them unbuckling his own sword to lay on the bier, as there was want of one. King Friedrich had Kleist's Portrait hung in the Garnison Kirche. Freemason Lodge, in 1788, set up a monument to him," [Kriele, pp. 39-43.]--which still stands on the Frankfurt pavement, and is now in sadly ruinous state.

she saw at a glance, how thoroughly unhappy Julia was.

The Prussian loss, in this Battle, was, besides all the cannon and field-equipages: 6,000 killed, 13,000 wounded (of which latter, 2,000 badly, who fell to the Russians as prisoners); in all, about 19,000 men. Nor was the Russian loss much lighter; of Russians and Austrians together, near 18,000, as Tempelhof counts: "which will not surprise your Majesty," reports Soltikof to his Czarina; "who are aware that the King of Prussia sells his defeats at a dear rate." And privately Soltikof was heard to say, "Let me fight but another such Victory, and I may go to Petersburg with the news of it myself, with the staff in my hand." The joy at Petersburg, striving not to be braggart or immodest, was solemn, steady and superlative: a great feat indeed for Russia, this Victory over such a King,--though a kind of grudge, that it was due to Loudon, dwelt, in spite of Loudon's politic silence on that point, unpleasantly in the background. The chase they had shamefully neglected. It is said, certain Russian Officers, who had charge of that business stept into a peasant's cottage to consult on it; contrived somehow to find tolerable liquor there; and sat drinking instead. [Preuss, ii. 217.]


Friedrich's despair did not last quite four days. On the fourth day,--day after leaving Reitwein,--there is this little Document, which still exists, of more comfortable tenor: "My dear Major- General von Wunsch,--Your Letter of the 16th to Lieutenant-General von Finck punctually arrived here: and for the future, as I am now recovered from my illness, you have to address your Reports directly to Myself.--F." ["Madlitz," on the road to Furstenwalde, "17th August:" in Preuss, Friedrich der Grosse; eine historische Portrait-Skizze (kind of LECTURE, so let us call it, if again citing it; Lecture delivered, on Friedrich's Birthday, to Majesty and Staff-Officers as Audience, Berlin, 24th January, 1855), p. 18.] Finding that, except Tottleben warily reconnoitring with a few Cossacks, no Russians showed themselves at Reitwein; that the Russians were encamping and intrenching on the Wine-Hills south of Frankfurt, not meaning anything immediate,--he took heart again; ranked his 23,000; sent for General Kleist from Pommern with his Anti-Swedish handful (leave the Swedes alone, as usual in time of crisis); considered that artilleries and furnishings could come to him from Berlin, which is but 60 miles; that there still lay possibility ahead, and that, though only a miracle could save him, he would try it to the very last.

A great relief, this of coming to oneself again! "Till death, then;--rage on, ye elements and black savageries!" Friedrich's humor is not despondent, now or afterwards; though at this time it is very sad, very angry, and, as it were, scorning even to hope: but he is at all times of beautifully practical turn; and has, in his very despair, a sobriety of eyesight, and a fixed steadiness of holding to his purpose, which are of rare quality. His utterances to D'Argens, about this time and onward,--brief hints, spontaneous, almost unconscious,--give curious testimony of his glooms and moody humors. Of which the reader shall see something. For the present, he is in deep indignation with his poor Troops, among other miseries. "Actual running away!" he will have it to be; and takes no account of thirst, hunger, heat, utter weariness and physical impossibility! This lasts for some weeks. But in general there is nothing of this injustice to those about him. In general, nothing even of gloom is manifested; on the contrary, cheerfulness, brisk hope, a strangely continual succession of hopes (mostly illusory); --though, within, there is traceable very great sorrow, weariness and misery. A fixed darkness, as of Erebus, is grown habitual to him; but is strictly shut up, little of it shown to others, or even, in a sense, to himself. He is as a traveller overtaken by the Night and its tempests and rain-deluges, but refusing to pause; who is wetted to the bone, and does not care farther for rain. A traveller grown familiar with the howling solitudes; aware that the Storm-winds do not pity, that Darkness is the dead Earth's Shadow:--a most lone soul of a man; but continually toiling forward, as if the brightest goal and haven were near and in view.

Once more the world was certain of Friedrich's ruin;--Friedrich himself we have seen certain of it, for some few desperate hours:-- but the world and he, as had been repeatedly the world's case, were both disappointed. Intrinsically there could be little doubt but Friedrich's enemies might now have ruined him, had they been diligent about it. Now again, and now more than ever, they have the winning-post in sight. At small distance is the goal and purpose of all these four years' battlings and marchings, and ten years' subterranean plottings and intriguings. He himself says deliberately, "They had only to give him the finishing stroke (COUP-DE-GRACE)." [ OEuvres de Frederic, v. 20.] But they never gave him that stroke; could not do it, though heartily desirous. Which was, and is, matter of surprise to an observant public.

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