water had grown perceptibly louder. George clattered down
The king shook his head angrily.
"No!" said he, "let them alone. With such an army, God can but give me victory."
Nearer and nearer came the enemy, covering the plain with their numbers, and gazing with amazement at the little army that dared to oppose them. By the Austrian generals, smiling so contemptuously upon their weak opponents, one thing had been forgotten. The Austrians, confident of success, were not in the least enthusiastic; the Prussians, aware of their danger, and inspired by love for their king, had nerved themselves to the contest. The armies now stood before each other in battle array. The king was at the front, the generals were flying here and there, delivering their orders. In obedience to these orders, the army suddenly changed its position, and so strange, so unsuspected was the change, that General Daun, turning to the Prince Lothringen, said:
"The Prussians are retreating! we will not attack them."
Certain of this fact, they were off their guard, and disorder reigned in their camp. This security was suddenly changed to terror. They saw the Prussians rapidly approaching, threatening at once both wings of their army. Messenger upon messenger was sent, imploring help from General Daun and Charles of Lothringen. The Prussians were upon them, felling them to the earth, regardless of danger regardless of the numerous cannon which were playing upon them. Daun, with a part of his command, hurried to the aid of General Luchesi, but he was too late; Luchesi had fallen, and terror and disorder were rapidly spreading in the right wing, while from the left, Nadasky had already dispatched ten messengers, imploring assistance from Charles of Lothringen. In doubt as to which most needed help, he at last determined upon the right wing, whose ranks were thinning rapidly; he sent them aid, and took no notice of Nadasky's messengers. And now the Prussians fell upon the left wing of the Austrians. This attack was made with fury, and the Austrians retreated in wild disorder. It was in vain that other regiments came to their aid; they had no time to arrange themselves before they were forced back. They stumbled upon one another, the flying overtaking and trampling upon the flying. Again and again the imperial guards endeavored to place themselves in line of battle; they were at once overpowered by the Prussian cavalry, who, intoxicated with victory, threw themselves upon them with demoniac strength. Yes, intoxicated--mad with victory, were these Prussians. With perfect indifference they saw their friends, their comrades, fall beside them; they did not mourn over them, but revenged their death tenfold upon the enemy. Those even who fell were inspired by enthusiasm and courage. Forgetful of their wounds, of their torn and broken limbs, they gazed with joy and pride at their comrades, joining in their shouts and hurrahs, until death sealed their lips.
A Prussian grenadier, whose left leg had been shot off in the early part of the battle, raised himself from the ground: using his gun as a crutch, he dragged himself to a spot which the army had to pass, and cried to the comrades who were looking pityingly upon his bleeding limb: "Fight like brave Prussians, brothers! Conquer or die for your king!"
Another grenadier, who had lost both legs, lay upon the ground weltering in his blood, quietly smoking his pipe. An Austrian general galloping by held in his horse and looked in amazement at the soldier. "How is it possible, comrade," said he, "that in your fearful condition you can smoke? Death is near to you."
Taking the pipe from his mouth, the grenadier answered with white, trembling lips: "Well, and what of it? Do I not die for my king?"