"The Imperial Generals were just sitting down to dinner, when it broke out; had intended a Council of War, over their wine, in the Grand-Duke's tent: 'What, won't they let us have our dinner!' cried Prince Karl, in petulant humor, struggling to be mirthful. He rather likes his dinner, this Prince Karl, I am told, and does not object to his wine: otherwise a hearty, talky, free-and-easy Prince,--'black shallow-set eyes, face red, and much marked with small-pox.' Clapping on his hat, faculties sharpened by hunger and impatience, let him do his best, for several hours to come, till the sally abate and go its ways again. Leaving its cannon, and trophies. No sally could hope to rout 60,000 men; this furious sally, almost equal to Sahay, had to return home again, on the above terms. Upon which Prince Karl and the others got some snatch of dinner; and the inexorable pressure of Siege, tightening itself closer and closer, went on as before.
"The eyes of all Europe are turned towards Prag; a big crisis clearly preparing itself there. ... France, or aid in France, is some 500 miles away. In D'Harcourt, merely gathering magazines, with his Khevenhuller near, is no help; help, not the question there! The garrison of Eger, 100 miles to west of us, across the Mountains, barely mans its own works. Other strong post, or support of any kind in these countries, we have now none. We are 24,000; and of available resource have the Magazines in Prag, and our own right hands.
"The flower of the young Nobility had marched in that Oriflamme;-- now standing at bay, they and it, in Prag yonder: French honor itself seems shut up there! The thought of it agitates bitterly the days and nights of old Fleury, who is towards ninety now, and always disliked war. The French public too,--we can fancy what a public! The young Nobility in Prag has its spokes-men, and spokes- women, at Versailles, whose complaint waxes louder, shriller; the whole world, excited by rumor of those furious sallies, is getting shrill and loud. What can old Fleury do but order Maillebois: 'Leave Dunkirk to its own luck; march immediately for relief of Prag!' And Maillebois is already on march; his various divisions (August 9th-20th) crossing the Rhine, in Dusseldorf Country;"--of whom we shall hear.
... "Some time before the actual Bombardment, Fleury, seeing it inevitable, had ordered Belleisle to treat. Belleisle accordingly had an interview, almost two interviews, with Konigseck. [
"In fact, Belleisle, a high-flown lion reduced to silence and now standing at bay, much distinguishes himself in this Siege; which, for his sake, is still worth a moment's memory from mankind. He gathers himself into iron stoicism, into concentration of endeavor; suffers all things, Broglio's domineering in the first place; as if his own thin skin were that of a rhinoceros; and is prepared to dare all things. Like an excellent soldier, like an excellent citizen. He contrives, arranges; leads, covertly drives the domineering Broglio, by rule of contraries or otherwise, according to the nature of the beast; animates all men by his laconic words; by his silences, which are still more emphatic. ... Sechelles, provident of the future, has laid in immense supplies of indifferent biscuit; beef was not attainable: Belleisle dismounts his 4,000 cavalry, all but 400 dragoons; slaughters 160 horses per day, and boils the same by way of butcher's-meat, to keep the soldier in heart. It is his own fare, and Broglio's, to serve as example. At Broglio's quarter, there is a kind of ordinary of horse-flesh: Officers come in, silent speed looking through their eyes; cut a morsel of the boiled provender, break a bad biscuit, pour one glass of indifferent wine; and eat, hardly sitting the while, in such haste to be at the ramparts again. The 80,000 Townsfolk, except some Jews, are against them to a man. Belleisle cares for everything: there is strict charge on his soldiers to observe discipline, observe civility to the Townsfolk; there is occasional 'hanging of a Prag Butcher' or so, convicted of spyship, but the minimum of that, we will hope."
MAILLEBOIS MARCHES, WITH AN "ARMY OF REDEMPTION" OR "OF MATHURINS" (WITTILY SO CALLED), TO RELIEVE PRAG; REACHES THE BOHEMIAN FRONTIER, JOINED BY THE COMTE DE SAXE; ABOVE 50,000 STRONG (August 9th-September 19th).
Maillebois has some 40,000 men: ahead of him 600 miles of difficult way; rainy season come, days shortening; uncertain staff of bread ("Seckendorf's meal," and what other commissariat there may be): a difficult march, to Amberg Country and the top of the Ober-Pfalz. After which are Mountain-passes; Bohemian Forest: and the Event--? "Cannot be dubious!" thinks France, whatever Maillebois think. Witty Paris, loving its timely joke, calls him Army of Redemption, "L'ARMEE DES MATHURINS,"--a kind of Priests, whose business is commonly in Barbary, about Christian bondage:--how sprightly! And yet the enthusiasm was great: young Princes of the Blood longing to be off as volunteers, needing strict prohibition by the King;--upon which, Prince de Conti, gallant young fellow, leaving his wife, his mistress, and miraculously borrowing 2,500 pounds for equipments, rushed off furtively by post; and did join, and do his best. Was reprimanded, clapt in arrest for three days; but afterwards promoted; and came to some distinction in these Wars. [Barbier, ii. 326 (that of Conti, ib. 331); Adelung, &c.]
The March goes continually southeast; by Frankfurt, thence towards Nurnberg Country ("be at Furth, September 6th"), and the skirts of the Pine-Mountains (FICHTEL-GEBIRGE),--Anspach and Baireuth well to your left;--end, lastly, in the OBER-PFALZ (Upper Palatinate), Town of Amberg there. Before trying the Bohemian Passes, you shall have reinforcement. Best part of the "Bavarian Army," now under Comte de Saxe, not under D'Harcourt farther, is to cease collecting victual in the Donau-Iser Countries (Deggendorf, north bank of Donau, its head-quarter); and to get on march,--circling very wide, not northward, but by the Donan, and even by the SOUTH, bank of it mainly (to avoid the hungry Mountains and their Tolpatcheries), --and, at Amberg, is to join Maillebois. This is a wide-lying game. The great Marlborough used to play such, and win; making the wide elements, the times and the spaces, hit with exactitude: but a Maillebois? "He is called by the Parisians, 'VIEUX PETIT-MAITRE (dandy of sixty,' so to speak); has a poor upturned nose, with baboon-face to match, which he even helps by paint." ... Here is one Scene; at Frankfurt-on-Mayn; fact certain, day not given.