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Frederick speedily concentrated all his strength at Bautzen, and strove to draw the Austrians into a battle; but in vain. The heights upon which they were intrenched, bristling with cannon, he could not venture to assail. After three weeks of impatient man?uvring, Frederick gathered his force of fifty thousand424 men close in hand, and made a sudden rush upon Bernstadt, about fifty miles to the east of Bautzen. Here he surprised an Austrian division, scattered it to the winds, seized all its baggage, and took a number of prisoners. He also captured the field equipage, coach, horses, etc., of General Nadasti, who narrowly escaped.
Now, however, Frederick, in that downward path through which the rejecters of Christianity invariably descend, had reached the point at which he renounced all belief in the immortality of the soul and in the existence of God. In a poetic epistle addressed to Marshal Keith, he declares himself a materialist, and affirms his unwavering conviction that the soul, which he says is but the result of the bodily organization, perishes with that body. He declares suicide to be the only remedy for man in his hour of extremity.534 On the 24th of November the belligerents entered into an armistice until the 1st of March. All were exhausted. It was manifest that peace would soon be declared. Commissioners to arrange the terms of peace met at the castle of Hubertsburg, near Dresden. On the 15th of February, 1763, peace was concluded. Frederick retained Silesia. That was the result of the war.
Yet herein, he remembered, was his strongest motive for perseverance in the path upon which he had entered. He could not leave a tarnished reputation behind him in the place founded by his ancestors,the very dust of which, blowing about the streets, doubtless held many particles closely akin to his own earthly substance, and dimly capable of pride or shame on his account. At whatever cost of present pain or ulterior loss, he must stay in Berganton long enough to set himself right in the public eyes.
Norto represent him fairlywas the young man himself wholly insensible of his absurdity. "Well!" said he, at last, "I can't afford to spend my morning in this way. I must go back to my room, and set to work. When Arling comes in, tell him I've been here." And away he went through the dancing elm-shadows, more quickly than he had come.
But Nix, if he heard, certainly did not heed. He was fawning upon the lady, in a way to indicate a previous acquaintance of considerable standing and intimacy. She, on her part, received his rude caresses quite as a matter of course, and cordially patted his rough head. Then she turned to Bergan.
First, appeared a black hand and a nondescript hat; next, a woolly head and a wide, delighted grin; finally, a loose, slouching form, in a shapeless suit of plantation gray. No client was this. It was only his would-be property, Brick.The young observer felt this bareness and dilapidation to his heart's core,felt it all the more keenly because an image of the avenue's pristine grandeur, derived from the surrounding fragments (or from some other source), continually rose before his mind's eye, to heighten its present desolation by contrast. His brow contracted as he gazed; and the expression of his face changed rapidly from surprise to dissatisfaction, from dissatisfaction to perplexity, from perplexity to doubt. Once, he turned as if half-minded to retrace his steps; but the next moment, he shook off his irresolution with a gesture of disdain, and immediately hastened forward.