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[284] moment took from Frederic his mother, whom he
chap. XII.} 1757.
loved most tenderly. A few friends remained faithful to him, cheering him by their correspondence. ‘O, that Heaven had heaped all ills on me alone!’ said his affectionate sister; ‘I would have borne them with firmness.’

Having vainly attempted to engage the enemy in

Silesia in a pitched battle, Frederic repaired to the West, to encounter the united army of the Imperialists and French. ‘I can leave you no large garrison,’ was his message to Fink at Dresden; ‘but be of good cheer; to keep the city will do you vast honor.’ On his way, he learns that the Austrians have won a victory over Winterfeld and Bevern, his generals in
Silesia, that Winterfeld had fallen, that Bevern had retreated to the lake near Breslau, and was opposed by the Austrians at Lissa. On the eighth of September, the day after the great disaster in Silesia, the Duke of Cumberland, having been defeated and compelled to retire, signed for his army and for Hanover a convention of neutrality.1 ‘Here,’ said George the Second, on meeting the Duke, ‘is my son, who has ruined me and disgraced himself.’ Voltaire advised Frederic to imitate Cumberland. ‘If every string breaks,’ wrote Frederic to the Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, ‘throw yourself into Magdeburg. Situated as we are, we must persuade ourselves that one of us is worth four others.’ Morning dawned on new miseries;2 night came without a respite to his cares. He spoke serenely of the path to eternal rest, and his own resolve to live and die free. ‘O my ’

1 Oeuvres de Fred. II., III. 132, 133.

2 Épitre au Marquis d'argens, Oeuvres VII. 176, 178, 180.

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