The Austrian left wing, stormed in upon in this manner, swags and sways, threatening to tumble pell-mell upon the right wing; which latter has its own hands full. No Chotusitz or point of defence to hold by, Prince Karl is eminently ill off, and will be hurled wholly into the Brtlinka, and the islands and gullies, unless he mind! Prince Karl,--what a moment for him!--noticing this undeniable phenomenon, rapidly gives the word for retreat, to avoid worse. It is near upon Noon; four hours of battle; very fierce on both the wings, together or alternately; in the centre (westward of Chotusitz) mostly insignificant: "more than half the Prussians" standing with arms shouldered. Prince Karl rolls rapidly away, through Czaslau towards southwest again; loses guns in Czaslau; goes, not quite broken, but at double-quick time for five miles; cavalry, Prussian and Austrian, bickering in the rear of him; and vanishes over the horizon towards Willimow and Haber that night, the way he had come.
This is the battle of Chotusitz, called also of Czaslau: Thursday, 17th May, 1742. Vehemently fought on both sides;--calculated, one may hope, to end this Silesian matter? The results, in killed and wounded, were not very far from equal. Nay, in killed the Prussians suffered considerably the worse; the exact Austrian cipher of killed being 1,052, while that of the Prussians was 1,905,--owing chiefly to those fierce ineffectual horse-charges and bickerings, on the right wing and left; "above 1,200 Prussian cavalry were destroyed in these." But, in fine, the general loss, including wounded and missing, amounted on the Austrian side (prisoners being many, and deserters very many) to near seven thousand, and on the Prussian to between four and five. [Orlich, i. 255;
Buddenbrock's charge, I since hear, was ruined by the DUST; [
"King Friedrich purchased Nine Acres of Ground, near Chotusitz, to bury the slain; rented it from the proprietor for twenty-five years. [
"The Country, as you descend by dusty intricate lanes from Kuttenberg, with your left hand to the Elbe, and at length with your back to it, would be rather pretty, were it well cultivated, the scraggy litter swept off, and replaced by verdure and reasonable umbrage here and there. The Field of Chotusitz, where you emerge on it, is a wide wavy plain; the steeple of Chotusitz, and, three or four miles farther, that of Czaslau (pronounce 'KOTusitz,' 'CHASlau'), are the conspicuous objects in it. The Lakes Friedrich speaks of, which covered his right, and should cover ours, are not now there,--'all, or mostly all, drained away, eighty years ago,' answered the Czechs; answered one wiser Czech, when pressed upon, and guessed upon; thereby solving the enigma which was distressful to us. Between those Lakes and the Brtlinka Brook may be some two miles; Chotusitz is on the crown of the space, if it have a crown. But there is no 'height' on it, worth calling a height except by the military man; no tree or bush; no fence among the scrubby ryes and pulses: no obstacle but that Brook, which, or the hollow of which, you see sauntering steadily northward or Elbe-ward, a good distance on your left, as you drive for Chotusitz and steeple. Schuschitz, a peaked brown edifice, is visible everywhere, well ahead and leftwards, well beyond said hollow; something of wood and 'deer-park' still noticeable or imaginable yonder.
"Chotusitz itself is a poor littery place; standing white-washed, but much unswept: in two straggling rows, now wide enough apart (no Konigseck need now get burnt there): utterly silent under the hot sun; not a child looked out on us, and I think the very dogs lay wisely asleep. Church and steeple are at the farther or south end of the Village, and have an older date than 1742. High up on the steeple, mending the clock-hands or I know not what, hung in mid- air one Czech; the only living thing we saw. Population may be three or four hundred,--all busy with their teams or otherwise, we will hope. Czaslau, which you approach by something of avenues, of human roads (dust and litter still abounding), is a much grander place; say of 2,000 or more: shiny, white, but also somnolent; vast market-place, or central square, sloping against you: two shiny Hotels on it, with Austrian uniforms loitering about;-- and otherwise great emptiness and silence. The shiny Hotels (shine due to paint mainly) offer little of humanly edible; and, in the interior, smells strike you as--as the OLDEST you have ever met before. A people not given to washing, to ventilating! Many gospels have been preached in those parts, aud abstruse Orthodoxies, sometimes with fire and sword, and no end of emphasis; but that of Soap-and-Water (which surely is as Catholic as any, and the plainest of all) has not yet got introduced there!" [Tourist's Note (13th September, 1858).]
Czaslau hangs upon the English mind (were not the ignorance so total) by another tie: it is the resting-place of Zisca, whose drum, or the fable of whose drum, we saw in the citadel of Glatz. Zisca was buried IN his skin, at Czaslau finally: in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul there; with due epitaph; and his big mace or battle-club, mostly iron, hung honorable on the wall close by. Kaiser Ferdinand, Karl V.'s brother, on a Progress to Prag, came to lodge at Czaslau, one afternoon: "What is that?" said the Kaiser, strolling over this Peter-and-Paul's Church, and noticing the mace. "Ugh! Faugh!" growled he angrily, on hearing what; and would not lodge in the Town, but harnessed again, and drove farther that same night. The club is now gone; but Zisca's dust lies there irremovable till Doomsday, in the land where his limbs were made. A great behemoth of a war-captain; one of the fiercest, inflexiblest, ruggedest creatures ever made in the form of man. Devoured Priests, with appetite, wherever discoverable: Dishonorers of his Sister; murderers of the God's-witness John Huss; them may all the Devils help! Beat Kaiser Sigismund SUPRA- GRAMMATICAM again and ever again, scattering the Kitter hosts in an extraordinary manner;--a Zisca conquerable only by Death, and the Pest-Fever passing that way.
His birthplace, Troznow, is a village in the Budweis neighborhood, 100 miles to south. There, for three centuries after him, stood "Zisca's Oak" (under shade of which, his mother, taken suddenly on the harvest-field, had borne Zisca): a weird object, gate of Heaven and of Orcus to the superstitious populations about. At midnight on the Hallow-Eve, dark smiths would repair thither, to cut a twig of the Zisca Oak: twig of it put, at the right moment, under your stithy, insures good luck, lends pith to arm and heart, which is already good luck. So that a Bishop of those parts, being of some culture, had to cut it down, above a hundred years ago,--and build some Chapel in its stead; no Oak there now, but an orthodox Inscription, not dated that I could see. [Hormayr,