As has often been mentioned, the carnage of the battle-field constitutes by no means the greater part of the miseries of war. One of the sufferers from the conflagration of the city of Cüstrin gives the following graphic account of the scene. It was the 15th of August, 1758: It is pleasant to record another incident more creditable to Frederick. In the year 1750 there was a poor and aged schoolmaster, by the name of Linsenbarth, a very worthy man, a veritable Dominie Sampson, residing in the obscure village of Hemmleben. He had been educated as a clergyman, had considerable book learning, was then out of employment, and was in extreme destitution. The pastor of the village church died, leaving a vacant pulpit, and a salary amounting to about one hundred dollars a year. The great man of the place, a feudal lord named Von Werthern, offered the situation to Linsenbarth upon condition that he would marry his ladys termagant waiting-maid. Linsenbarth, who had no fancy for the haughty shrew, declined the offer. The lord and lady were much offended, and in various381 ways rendered the situation of the poor schoolmaster so uncomfortable that he gathered up his slender means, amounting to about three hundred dollars, all in the deteriorated coin of the province, and went to Berlin. His money was in a bag containing nearly nine thousand very small pieces of coin, called batzen.

In the mean time a Venetian embassador, on his way to one of the northern courts, passed a night at a hotel in Berlin. He was immediately arrested, with his luggage, by a royal order. A dispatch was transmitted to Venice, stating that the embassador would be held as a hostage till Barberina was sent to Prussia. A bargain, says Frederick, in his emphatic utterance, is a bargain. A state should have law courts to enforce contracts entered into in their territories.

Together the king and his sturdy general returned to Kesselsdorf, and rode over the field of battle, which was still strewn with the ghastly wrecks of war. Large numbers of the citizens of Dresden were on the field searching for their lost ones among the wounded or the dead. The Queen of Poland and her children remained in the city. Frederick treated them with marked politeness, and appointed them guards of honor. The King371 of Poland, who, it will be remembered, was also Elector of Saxony, applied for peace. Frederick replied: As the king was about to embark upon this enterprise, it was proposed to place upon the banners the words For God and our Country. But Frederick struck out the words For God, saying that it was improper to introduce the name of the Deity into the quarrels of men, and that he was embarking in war to gain a province, not for religion.43 In a brief speech to his soldiers he said,

O my God, help me yet this once. Let me not be disgraced in my old days. But if Thou wilt not help me, dont help those scoundrels, but leave us to try it out ourselves. 370 And now the Prussians from the centre press the foe with new vigor. Leopold, at the head of his victorious division, charged the allied troops in flank, pouring in upon them his resistless horsemen. Whole regiments were made prisoners. Ere nightfall of the short December day, the whole allied army, broken and disordered, was on the retreat back to Dresden. The night alone protected them from utter ruin. They had lost six thousand prisoners, and three thousand in killed and wounded.92 Voltaire seems to have formed a very different estimate of his329 own diplomatic abilities from those expressed by the King of Prussia. Voltaire writes:

The death of George I. affected the strange Frederick William very deeply. He not only shed tears, but, if we may be pardoned the expression, blubbered like a child. His health seemed50 to fail, and hypochondria, in its most melancholy form, tormented him. As is not unusual in such cases, he became excessively religious. Every enjoyment was deemed sinful, if we except the indulgence in an ungovernable temper, which the self-righteous king made no attempt to curb. Wilhelmina, describing this state of things with her graphic pen, writes: