LOUISA OF PRUSSIA AND HER TIMES
Part 14 out of 14
"It is impossible," said the king, shaking his head.
"Impossible?" she exclaimed, quickly. "If you, if the king should
order it so?"
"The king must not do so, Louisa. I shall cease for a while to be
king, and shall be nothing but a soldier in the camp. Where should
there be room and the necessary comforts for a queen?"
"If you cease to be king," said Louisa, smiling, "it follows, as a
matter of course, that I cease to be a queen. If you are nothing but
a soldier, I am merely a soldier's wife, and it behooves a soldier's
wife to accompany her husband into the camp. Oh, Frederick, do not
say no!--do not deprive me of my greatest happiness, of my most
sacred right! Did we not swear an oath at the altar to go hand in
hand through life, and to stand faithfully by each other in days of
weal and woe? And now you will forget your oath? You will sever our
"The path of war is hard and rough," said the king, gloomily.
"Therefore I must be with you, to strew sometimes a few flowers on
this path of yours," exclaimed the queen, joyfully. "I must be with
you, so that you may enjoy at least sometimes a calm, peaceful hour
in the evening, after the toils and troubles of the day! I must be
with you to rejoice with you when your affairs are prosperous, and
to comfort you when misfortunes befall you. Do you not feel, then,
dearest, that we belong indissolubly to each other, and that we must
walk inseparably through life, be it for weal or for woe?"
"I am not allowed to think of myself, Louisa," said the king,
greatly affected, "nor of the joy it would afford me in these
turbulent and stormy days to see you by my side--you, my angel of
peace and happiness; I must only think of you, of the queen, of the
mother of my children, whom I must not expose to any danger, and
whom I would gladly keep aloof from any tempest and anxiety."
"When I am no longer with you, anxiety will consume me, and grief
will rage around me like a tempest," exclaimed the queen,
passionately. "I should find rest neither by day nor by night, for
my heart would always long for you, and my soul would always tremble
for you. I should always see you before me wounded and bleeding, for
I know you will not regard your safety, your life, when there is a
victory to be gained or a disgrace to be averted. Bullets do not
spare the heads of kings, and swords do not glance off powerlessly
from their sacred persons. In time of war a king is but a man!
Permit the queen, therefore, at this time, to be but a woman--your
wife, who ought to nurse you if you should be wounded, and to share
your pain and anxiety! Oh, my beloved husband, can you refuse your
She looked at him with her large, tearful, imploring eyes; her whole
beautiful and great soul was beaming from her face in an expression
of boundless love.
The king, overwhelmed, carried away by her aspect, was no longer
strong enough to resist her. He clasped her in his arms, and pressed
a long and glowing kiss on her forehead.
"No," he said, deeply moved, "I cannot refuse your supplication. We
will, hand in hand, courageously and resolutely bear the fate God
has in store for us. Nothing but death shall separate us. Come, my
Louisa, my beloved wife, accompany me wherever I may go!"
The queen uttered a joyful cry; seizing the king's hand, she bent
over it and kissed it reverentially, before the king could prevent
her from doing so.
"Louisa, what are you doing?" exclaimed the king, almost ashamed,
Loud shouts resounding on the street interrupted him. The royal
couple hastened hand in hand to the window.
On the opposite side of the street, in front of the large portal of
the arsenal, thousands of men had assembled; all seemed to be highly
excited, and, with shouts and manifestations of wild curiosity, to
throng around an object in the middle of the densest part of the
Some accident must have happened over yonder. Perhaps, a stroke of
apoplexy had felled a poor man to the ground; perhaps, a murder had
been committed, for the faces of the bystanders looked pale and
dismayed; they clasped their hands wonderingly, and shook their
The king rang the bell hastily, and ordered the footman, who entered
immediately, to go over to the arsenal and see what was the matter.
In a few minutes he returned, panting and breathless.
"Well," said the king to him, "has an accident occurred?"
"Yes, your majesty, not to anybody in the crowd, however. The statue
of Bellona, which stood on the portal of the arsenal, has suddenly
fallen from the roof."
"Was it shattered?" asked the queen, whose cheeks had turned pale.
"No, your majesty, but its right arm is broken."
The king beckoned him to withdraw, and commenced pacing the room.
The queen had returned to the window, and her eyes, which she had
turned toward heaven, were filled with tears.
After a long pause, the king approached her again. "Louisa," he
said, in a low voice, "will you still go with me? The day is clear
and sunny; not a breath is stirring, and the statue of Bellona falls
from the roof of our arsenal and breaks its arm. That is a bad omen!
Will you not be warned thereby?"
The queen gave him her hand, and her eyes were radiant again with
love and joyfulness. "Where you go, I shall go," she said,
enthusiastically! "Your life is my life, and your misfortunes are my
misfortunes. I am not afraid of bad omens!" [Another bad omen
occurred on that day. Field-Marshal von Mullendorf, who was to
accompany the troops, after being lifted on the left side of his
charger, fell down on the other.]
BEFORE THE BATTLE.
It was long after nightfall. A cold and dismal night. The mountains
of the forests of Thuringia bordered the horizon with their snow-
clad summits, and a piercing wind was howling over the heights and
through the valleys.
The Prussian army seemed at length to have reached its destination,
and here, on the hills and in the valleys of Jena and Auerstadt, the
great conflict was to be decided, for the Prussian army was now
confronting the legions of Napoleon.
The principal army, with the commander-in-chief, the Duke of
Brunswick, the king, and the staff, was encamped at Auerstadt.
The second army, commanded by the Prince von Hohenlohe, was in the
immediate neighborhood of Jena.
It was still firmly believed that Prussia would accomplish her great
purpose, and defeat Napoleon. The disastrous skirmish of Saalfeld,
and the death of Prince Louis Ferdinand, had made a bad impression,
but not shaken the general confidence.
It is true, the Prussians were cold, for they had no cloaks; it is
true, they were hungry, for, owing to the sudden lack of bread, they
had received only half rations for the last few days; but their
hearts were still undismayed, and they longed only for one thing--
for the decisive struggle. The decision, at all events, could not
but put an end to their hunger, either by death or by a victory,
which would open to them large army magazines and supplies.
The Prussian troops encamped at Jena stood quietly before their
tents and chatted about the hopes of the next day; they told each
other that Bonaparte with his French, as soon as he had heard that
the Prussians were already at Jena, had hastily left Weimar again
and retreated toward Gera.
"Then it will be still longer before we get hold of the French,"
exclaimed several soldiers. "We thought we had got him sure at last,
and that he could not escape any more, and when he scented us, he
again found a mouse-hole through which he might get away."
"But we will close this mouse-hole for him, so that he cannot get
out of it," said a powerful voice behind them, and when the soldiers
turned anxiously around, they beheld their general, the Prince von
Hohenlohe, who, walking with his adjutants through the camp, just
reached their tents.
The soldiers faced about and respectfully saluted the general, who
kindly nodded to them.
"You would be glad then to meet the French soon?" he asked the
soldiers, whose conversation he had overheard.
"Yes, we should be glad," they exclaimed; "it would be a holiday for
"Well, it may happen very soon," said the prince, smiling, and
continued his walk.
"Long live the Prince von Hohenlohe!" shouted the soldiers. The
prince walked on, everywhere greeting the soldiers and receiving
their salutations; everywhere filling the men with exultation by
promising them that they would soon have a battle and defeat the
Now he stopped in front of the grenadiers, who were drawn up in line
"Boys," he said, loudly and joyously, "you will have to perform the
heaviest part of the work. If need be, you must make a bayonet
charge, and I know you will rout the enemy wherever you meet with
him. I am sure you will do so!"
"Yes, we will!" shouted the grenadiers; "most assuredly we will!
Would we had already got hold of the French!"
"We will soon enough," exclaimed the prince; and when he then walked
along the ranks, he asked a tall, broad-shouldered grenadier. "Well,
how many French soldiers will you take?"
"Five," said the grenadier.
"And you?" said the prince, to another grenadier.
"Three," he replied.
"I shall not take less than seven!" shouted another.
"I shall not take less than ten!" said still another.
The prince laughed and passed on.
When the night had further advanced, he rode with his staff to a
hill near Kapellendorf, where he had established his headquarters.
From this hill he closely scanned the position of the enemy, whose
camp was marked only by a few lights and bivouac-fires.
"We shall have nothing to do to-morrow," said the prince, turning to
his officers. "It seems the principal army of the French is moving
toward Leipsic and Naumburg. At the best, we shall have a few
skirmishes of no consequence to-morrow. We may, therefore, calmly go
to bed, and so may our soldiers. Good-night, gentlemen."
And the prince rode with his adjutants down to his headquarters at
Kapellendorf, to go to bed and sleep. An hour later, profound
silence reigned in the Prussian camp near Jena. The soldiers were
sleeping, and so was their general.
And profound silence reigned also in the Prussian camp at Auerstadt.
The king had held a council of war late in the evening, and
conferred with the Duke of Brunswick, Field-Marshal von Mullendorf,
and the other generals about the operations of the following day.
The result of this consultation had been that nobody believed in the
possibility of a battle on the following day; and hence, it had been
decided that the army was quietly to advance, follow the enemy, who
seemed to retreat, and prevent him from crossing the Saale.
The council of war had then adjourned, and the Duke of Brunswick
hastened to his quarters, in order, like the Prince von Hohenlohe,
to go to bed and sleep.
An hour lafer, profound silence reigned also in the Prussian camp at
Auerstadt. The Duke of Brunswick slept, and so did his soldiers.
The king alone was awake.
With a heavy heart and a gloomy face, he was walking up and down in
his tent. He felt indescribably lonesome, for his wife was no longer
with him. Yielding, with bitter tears, to the supplications of her
husband, she had left the camp to-day and gone toward Naumburg.
The king had implored her to go, but his heart was heavy; and when
he at last, late at night, repaired to his couch, slumber kept aloof
from his eyes.
At the same time, while the Prussian army and its generals were
sleeping, a wondrous scene took place not far from them, and a
singular procession moved across the fields at no great distance
Silence, darkness, and fog reigned all around. But suddenly the fog
parted, and two torch-bearers, with grave faces, appeared
accompanying a man clad in a green overcoat, with white facings,
with a small three-cornered hat on his head, and mounted on a white
horse. The blaze of the torches illuminated his pale face; his eyes
were as keen as those of an eagle, and seemed to command the fog to
disappear, so that he might see what it was concealing from him. At
his side, whenever the torches blazed up, two other horsemen, in
brilliant uniforms, were to be seen; but their eyes did not try to
pierce the fog, but to fathom the face of the proud man at their
side; their eyes were fixed on him, on his pale face, on which, even
at this hour of the night, the sun of Austerlitz was shedding his
While the Prussian army and its generals were sleeping, Napoleon was
awake and was arranging the plans for the impending battle. The
postmaster of Jena and General Denzel were his torch-bearers;
Marshal Lannes and Marshal Soult were his companions.
The Emperor Napoleon was reconnoitering, in the dead of night, the
ground on which he was to gain a battle over the Prussians on the
morrow, as he had recently gained a battle over the Austrians.
Austria had had her Austerlitz; Prussia was to have her Auerstadt
Napoleon had fixed his plan; to-morrow was the day when he would
take revenge on the King of Prussia for the treaty of Potsdam and
the alliance with Russia.
Arriving at the foot of the hill of Jena, the emperor stopped and
alighted, in order to ascend it on foot. When he reached the summit,
he stood for a long while absorbed in his reflections. The two
torch-bearers were at his side; the two marshals stood a little
behind them. The emperor's eyes were fixed on the mountains,
especially on the Dornberg which he had previously passed.
The mountain lay dark and silent before him--a lonely, sleeping
The emperor raised his arm and pointed at the Dornberg. "The
Prussians have left the heights," he said, turning slowly to Marshal
Lannes; "they were probably afraid of the cold night-air, and have
descended into the valley to sleep. They believe we shall not take
advantage of their slumber. But they will be dreadfully mistaken,
those old wigs! [Napoleon said: "Ils se tromperent formidablement
ces vieux perruques."] As soon as the fog has descended a little
post your sharpshooters on the heights of the Dornberg, that they
may bid the Prussians good-morning when they want to march up
He turned his eyes again to the gorge; suddenly his eyes flashed
fire and seemed to pierce the darkness.
"What is going on in the gorge below?" he asked, hastily.
The torch-bearers lowered their torches; the emperor and the
marshals looked anxiously at a long black line moving forward in the
middle of the gorge, illuminated here and there by a yellow pale
light which seemed to burn in large lanterns.
Napoleon turned with an angry glance to Marshal Lannes. His face was
pale--his right shoulder was quivering, a symptom that he was highly
incensed. "It is the artillery of your corps," he said. "It has
stuck in the gorge! If we cannot get it off, we shall lose
tomorrow's battle! Come!"
And he hastened down-hill in so rapid and impetuous a manner that
the torch-bearers and marshals were scarcely able to follow him.
Like an apparition, with flashing eyes, with an angry, pale face,
his form suddenly emerged from the darkness before the artillerists
who vainly tried to move the field-pieces, the wheels of which sank
deeply into the sand. The whole column of cannon and caissons behind
them had been obliged to halt, and an inextricable confusion would
have ensued unless immediate and energetic steps had been taken to
open a passage.
This was to be done immediately, for Napoleon was there.
He called in a loud voice for the general commanding the artillery;
he repeated this call three times, and every time his voice became
more threatening, and his face turned paler.
But the officers he called for did not appear. The emperor did not
say a word; his right shoulder was quivering, and his eyes flashed
He commanded all the gunners in a loud voice to come to him, and
ordered them to get their tools and light their large lanterns.
The emperor had himself seized the first lantern that was lighted.
"Now take your pick-axes and spades," he shouted. "We must widen the
gorge in order to get the field-pieces off again."
It was hard and exhausting work. Large drops of perspiration ran
down from the foreheads of the gunners, and their breath issued
painfully from their breasts. But they worked on courageously and
untiringly, for the emperor stood at their side, lantern in hand,
and lighted them during their toilsome task.
At times the gunners would pause and lean on their spades--not,
however, for the purpose of resting, but of looking with wondering
eyes at this strange spectacle, this man with his pale marble face
and flaming eyes, this emperor who had transformed himself into an
artillery officer, and, lantern in hand, lighted his gunners.
["Memoires du Duc de Rovigo," vol. ii., p. 278.]
Only when the wagons and field-pieces, thanks to the energy of the
gunners, had commenced moving again, the emperor left the gorge and
returned to his bivouac. He took his supper hastily and
thoughtfully; then he summoned all his generals and gave them their
instructions for to-morrow's battle as lucidly and calmly as ever.
"And now let us sleep, for we must be up and doing to-morrow morning
at four o'clock!" said the emperor, dismissing his generals with a
A few minutes later profound silence reigned all around; the emperor
lay on his straw and slept. Roustan sat at some distance from him,
and his dark eyes were fixed on his master with the expression of a
faithful and vigilant St. Bernard's dog. The flames of the bivouac-
fire enveloped at times, when they rose higher, the whole form of
the emperor in a strange halo, and when they sank down again the
shades of the night shrouded it once more. Four sentinels were
walking up and down in front of the emperor's bivouac.
Morning was dawning; it was the morning of the 14th of October,
The Prussians were still asleep in their tents. But the French were
awake, and the emperor was at their head.
At four o'clock, according to the orders Napoleon had given, the
divisions that were to make the first attack were under arms.
The emperor on his white horse galloped up; an outburst of the most
rapturous enthusiasm hailed his appearance.
"Long live our little corporal! Long live the emperor!" shouted
thousands of voices.
The emperor raised his hat a little and thanked the soldiers with a
smile which penetrated like a warm sunbeam into all hearts. He waved
his right hand, commanding them to be silent, and then his powerful,
sonorous voice resounded through the stillness of the autumnal
"Soldiers," he shouted in his usual imperious tone, "soldiers, the
Prussian army is cut off, like that of General Mack a year ago at
Ulm. That army will only fight to secure a retreat and to regain its
communications. The French corps, which suffers itself to be
defeated under such circumstances, disgraces itself. Fear not that
celebrated cavalry; meet it in square and with the bayonet!"
"Long live the emperor! Long live the little corporal!" shouted the
soldiers jubilantly, on all sides. The emperor nodded smilingly, and
galloped on to give his orders here and there, and to address the
It was six o'clock in the morning; the Prussians were still asleep!
But now the first guns thundered; they awakened the sleeping
THE GERMAN PHILOSOPHER.
Profound silence reigned in the small room; books were to be seen
everywhere on the shelves, on the tables, and on the floor; they
formed almost the only decoration of this room which contained only
the most indispensable furniture.
It was the room of a German SAVANT, a professor at the far-famed
University of Jena.
He was sitting at the large oaken table where he was engaged in
writing. His form, which was of middle height, was wrapped in a
comfortable dressing-gown of green silk, trimmed with black fur,
which showed here and there a few worn-out, defective spots. A small
green velvet cap, the shape of which reminded the beholder of the
cap of the learned Melancthon, covered his expansive, intellectual
forehead, which was shaded by sparse light-brown hair.
A number of closely-written sheets of paper lay on the table before
him, on which the eyes of the SAVANT, of the philosopher, were
This SAVANT in the lonely small room, this philosopher was George
Frederick William Hegel.
For two days he had not left his room; for two days nobody had been
permitted to enter it except the old waitress who silently and
softly laid the cloth on his table, and placed on it the meals she
had brought for him from a neighboring restaurant.
Averting his thoughts from all worldly affairs, the philosopher had
worked and reflected, and heard nothing but the intellectual voices
that spoke to him from the depths of his mind. Without, history had
walked across the battle-field with mighty strides and performed
immortal deeds; and here, in the philosopher's room, the mind had
unveiled its grand ideas and problems.
On the 14th of October, and in the night of the 14th and 15th, Hegel
finished his "Phenomenology of the Mind," a work by which he
intended to prepare the world for his bold philosophical system, and
in which, with the ringing steps of a prophet, he had accomplished
his first walk through the catacombs of the creative intellect.
All the power and strength of reality, in his eyes, sprang from this
system, which he strove to found in the sweat of his intellectual
brow,--and his system had caused him to forget the great events that
had occurred in his immediate neighborhood.
Now he had finished his work; now he had written the last word. The
pen dropped from his hands, which he folded over his manuscript as
if to bless it silently.
He raised his head, which, up to this time, he had bent over the
paper, and his blue eyes, so gentle and lustrous, turned toward
heaven with a silent prayer for the success of his work. His fine,
intellectual face beamed with energy and determination; the
philosopher was conscious of the struggle to which his work would
give rise in the realm of thought, but he felt ready and prepared to
meet his assailants.
"The work is furnished," he exclaimed, loudly and joyfully; "it
shall now go out into the world!"
He hastily folded up his manuscript, wrapped a sheet of paper around
it, sealed it and directed it.
Then he looked at his watch.
"Eight o'clock," he said, in a low voice; "if I make haste, the
postmaster will forward my manuscript to-day."
He divested himself of his gown, and dressed. Then he took his hat
and the manuscript and hastened down into the street toward the
post-office. Absorbed as he was in his reflections, he saw neither
the extraordinary commotion reigning in the small university town,
nor the sad faces of the passers-by; he only thought of his work,
and not of reality.
He now entered the post-office; all the doors were open; all the
employes were chatting with each other, and no one was at the desk
to attend to the office business and to receive the various letters.
Hegel, therefore, had to go to the postmaster, who had not noticed
him at all, but was conversing loudly and angrily with several
gentlemen who were present.
"Here is a package which I want you to send to Hamburg," said the
philosopher, handing his package to the postmaster. "The stage-coach
has not set out yet, I suppose?"
The postmaster stared at him wonderingly. "No," he said, "it has not
set out yet, and will not set out at all!"
It was now the philosopher's turn to look wonderingly at the
"It will not set out?" he asked. "Why not?"
"It is impossible, in the general confusion and excitement. There
are neither horses nor men to be had to-day. Everybody is anxious
"But what has happened?" asked the philosopher, in a low voice.
"What? Then you do not know yet the terrible events of the day, Mr.
Professor?" exclaimed the postmaster, in dismay.
"I do not know any thing about them," said the philosopher, timidly,
and almost ashamed of himself. "Perhaps you did not hear, in your
study, the thunders of the artillery?"
"I heard occasionally a dull, long-continued noise, but I confess I
did not pay any attention to it. What has occurred?"
"A battle has occurred," exclaimed the postmaster, "and when I say a
battle, I mean two battles; one was fought here at Jena, and the
other at Auerstadt; but here they did not know that a battle was
going on at Auerstadt, and at Auerstadt, like you, Mr. Professor,
they did not hear the artillery of Jena."
"And who has won the battle?" asked Hegel, feelingly.
"Who but the conqueror of the world, the Emperor Napoleon!"
exclaimed the postmaster. "The Prussians are defeated, routed,
dispersed; they are escaping in all directions; and when two French
horsemen are approaching, hundreds of Prussians throw their arms
away and beg for mercy! The whole Prussian army has exploded like a
soap-bubble. The king was constantly in the thickest of the fray; he
wished to die when he saw that all was lost, but death seemed to
avoid him. Two horses were killed under him, but neither sword nor
bullet struck him. He is retreating now, but the French are at his
heels. God grant that he may escape! The commander-in-chief, the
Duke of Brunswick, was mortally wounded; a bullet struck him in the
face and destroyed his eyes. Oh, it is a terrible disaster! Prussia
is lost, and so is Saxe-Weimar, for the Emperor Napoleon will never
forgive our duke that, instead of joining the Confederation of the
Rhine, he stood by Prussia and fought against France. Our poor state
will have to atone for it!"
Hegel had listened sadly to the loquacious man, and his features had
become gloomier and gloomier. He felt dizzy, and a terrible burden
weighed down his breast. He nodded to the postmaster and went out
again into the street.
But his knees were trembling under him. He slowly tottered toward
All at once a brilliant procession entered the lower part of the
street. Drums and cheers resounded. A large cavalcade was now
At its head, mounted on a white horse with a waving mane and
quivering nostrils, rode the man of the century, the man with the
marble face of a Roman IMPERATOR, the Julius Caesar of modern
His eyes were beaming with courage and pride; a triumphant smile was
playing on his lips. It was the TRIUMPHATOR making his entry into
the conquered city.
The philosopher thought of the history of ancient Rome, and it
seemed to him as though the face of the modern Caesar were that of a
resuscitated statue of antiquity.
Napoleon now fixed his flashing eyes on the philosopher, who felt
that this glance penetrated into the innermost depths of his heart.
[The writer heard the account of this meeting with the Emperor
Napoleon from the celebrated philosopher himself in 1829. He
described in plain, yet soul-stirring words, the profound,
overwhelming impression which the appearance of the great emperor
had made upon him, and called this meeting with Napoleon one of the
most momentous events of his life. The writer, then a young girl,
listened at the side of her father with breathless suspense to the
narrative which, precisely by its simplicity made so profound an
impression upon her, that, carried away by her feelings, she burst
into tears. The philosopher smiled, and placed his hand on her head.
"Young folks weep with their hearts," he said, "but we men wept at
that time with our heads." The authoress.]
Seized with awe, Hegel took off his hat and bowed deeply.
The emperor touched his hat smilingly, and thanked him; then he
galloped on, followed by the whole brilliant suite of his marshals
The German philosopher stood still, as if fixed to the ground, and
gazed after him musingly and absorbed in solemn reflections.
He himself, the Napoleon of ideas, had yet to win his literary
battles in the learned world of Germany.
The emperor, the Napoleon of action, had already won his battles,
and Germany lay at his feet. Vanquished, crushed Germany seemed to
have undergone her last death-struggle in the battles of Jena and
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