"Austrian Dragoon of the regiment Althan, native of Kriesewitz in this neighborhood, who was billeted in Christopher Schonwitz's, had been much in want of a clean shirt, and other interior outfit; and had, last night, imperatively despatched the man Scholzke, a farm-servant of the said Christopher's, off to his, the Dragoon's, Father in Kriesewitz, to procure such shirt or outfit, and to return early with the same; under penalty of--Scholzke and his master dare not think under what penalty. Scholzke, floundering homewards with the outfit from Kriesewitz, flounders at this moment into Saldern's sphere of vision: 'Whence, whither?' asks Saldern: 'Dost thou know where the Austrians are?' (RECHT GUT: in Mollwitz, whither I am going!' Saldern takes him to the King,--and that was the first clear light his Majesty had on the matter." [Fuchs, pp. 6, 7.] That or something equivalent, indisputably was; Saldern and "a Peasant," the account of it in all the Books.
The King says to this Peasant, "Thou shalt ride with me to-day!" And Scholzke, Ploschke others call him,--heavy-footed rational biped knowing the ground there practically, every yard of it,--did, as appears, attend the King all morning; and do service, that was recognizable long years afterwards. "For always," say the Books, "when the King held review here, Ploschke failed not to make appearance on the field of Pogarell, and get recognition and a gift from his Majesty."
At break of day the ranking and arranging began. Pogarell clock is near striking ten, when the last squadron or battalion quits Pogarell; and the Four Columns, punctiliously correct, are all under way. Two on each side of Ohlau Highway; steadily advancing, with pioneers ahead to clear any obstacle there may be. Few obstacles; here and there a little ditch (where Ploschke's advice may be good, under the sleek of the snow), no fences, smooth wide Plain, nothing you would even call a knoll in it for many miles ahead and around. Mollwitz is some seven miles north from Pogarell; intermediate lie dusty fractions of Villages more than one; two miles or more from Mollwitz we come to Pampitz on our left, the next considerable, if any of them can be counted considerable.
"All these Dorfs, and indeed most German ones," says my Tourist, "are made on one type; an agglomerate of dusty farmyards, with their stalls and barns; all the farmyards huddled together in two rows; a broad negligent road between, seldom mended, never swept except by the elements. Generally there is nothing to be seen, on each hand, but thatched roofs, dead clay walls and rude wooden gates; sometimes a poor public-house, with probable beer in it; never any shop, nowhere any patch of swept pavement, or trim gathering-place for natives of a social gossipy turn: the road lies sleepy, littery, good only for utilitarian purposes. In the middle of the Village stands Church and Churchyard, with probably some gnarled trees around it: Church often larger than you expected; the Churchyard, always fenced with high stone-and-mortar wall, is usually the principal military post of the place. Mollwitz, at the present day, has something of whitewash here and there; one of the farmer people, or more, wearing a civilized prosperous look. The belfry offers you a pleasant view: the roofs and steeples of Brieg, pleasantly visible to eastward; villages dotted about, Laugwitz, Barzdorf, Hermsdorf, clear to your inquiring: and to westward, and to southward, tops of Hill-country in the distance. Westward, twenty miles off, are pleasant Hills; and among them, if you look well, shadowy Town-spires, which you are assured are Strehlen, a place also of interest in Friedrich's History.--Your belfry itself, in Mollwitz, is old, but not unsound; and the big iron clock grunts heavily at your ear, or perhaps bursts out in a too deafening manner, while you study the topographies. Pampitz, too, seems prosperous, in its littery way; the Church is bigger and newer,"--owing to an accident we shall hear of soon;-- "Country all about seems farmed with some industry, but with shallow ploughing; liable to drought. It is very sandy in quality; shorn of umbrage; painfully naked to an English eye." That is the big champaign, coated with two feet of snow, where a great Action is now to go forward.鈥n鈥o鈥鈥榶
Neipperg, all this while, is much at his ease on this white resting-day, He is just sitting down to dinner at the Dorfschulze抯 (Village Provost, or miniature Mayor of Mollwitz), a composed man; when--rockets or projectiles, and successive anxious sputterings from the steeple-tops of Brieg, are hastily reported: what can it mean? Means little perhaps;--Neipperg sends out a Hussar party to ascertain, and composedly sets himself to dine. In a little while his Hussar party will come galloping back, faster than it went; faster and fewer;--and there will be news for Neipperg during dinner! Better here looking out, though it was a rest-day?--鈥n鈥o鈥鈥榶
The truth is, the Prussian advance goes on with punctilious exactitude, by no means rapidly. Colonel Count van Rothenburg,-- the same whom we lately heard of in Paris as a miracle of gambling, --he now here, in a new capacity, is warily leading the Vanguard of Dragoons; warily, with the Four Columns well to rear of him: the Austrian Hussar party came upon Rothenburg, not two miles from Mollwitz; and suddenly drew bridle. Them Rothenburg tumbles to the right-about, and chases;--finds, on advancing, the Austrian Army totally unaware. It is thought, had Rothenburg dashed forward, and sent word to the rearward to dash forward at their swiftest, the Austrian Army might have been cut in pieces here, and never have got together to try battle at all. But Rothenburg had no orders; nay, had orders Not to get into fighting;--nor had Friedrich himself, in this his first Battle, learned that feline or leonine promptitude of spring which he subsequently manifested. Far from it! Indeed this punctilious deliberation, and slow exactitude as on the review-ground, is wonderful and noteworthy at the first start of Friedrich;--the faithful apprentice-hand still rigorous to the rules of the old shop. Ten years hence, twenty years hence, had Friedrich found Neipperg in this condition, Neipperg's account had been soon settled!-- Rothenburg drove back the Hussars, all manner of successive Hussar parties, and kept steadily ahead of the main battle, as he had been bidden.鈥n鈥o鈥鈥榶
Pampitz Village being now passed, and in rear of them to left, the Prussian Columns halt for some instants; burst into field-music; take to deploying themselves into line. There is solemn wheeling, shooting out to right and left, done with spotless precision: once in line,--in two lines, "each three men deep," lines many yards apart,--they will advance on Mollwitz; still solemnly, field- music guiding, and banners spread. Which will be a work of time. That the King's frugal field-dinner was shot away, from its camp- table near Pampitz (as Fuchs has heard), is evidently mythical; and even impossible, the Austrians having yet no cannon within miles of him; and being intent on dining comfortably themselves, not on firing at other people's dinners.鈥n鈥o鈥鈥榶
Fancy Neipperg's state of mind, busy beginning dinner in the little Schulze's, or Town-Provost's house, when the Hussars dashed in at full gallop, shouting "DER FEIND, The Enemy! All in march there; vanguard this side of Pampitz; killed forty of us!"--Quick, your Plan of Battle, then? Whitherward; How; What? answer or perish! Neipperg was infinitely struck; dropt knife and fork: "Send for Romer, General of the Horse!" Romer did the indispensable: a swift man, not apt to lose head. Romer's battle-plan, I should hope, is already made; or it will fare ill with Neipperg and him. But beat, ye drummers; gallop, ye aides-de-camp as for life! The first thing is to get our Force together; and it lies scattered about in three other Villages besides Mollwitz, miles apart. Neipperg's trumpets clangor, his aides-de-camp gallop: he has his left wing formed, and the other parts in a state of rapid genesis, Horse and Foot pouring in from Laugwitz, Barzdorf, Gruningen, before the Prussians have quite done deploying themselves, and got well within shot of him. Romer, by birth a Saxon gentleman, by all accounts a superior soldier and excellent General of Horse, commands this Austrian left wing, General Goldlein, [(Anonymous) MARIA THERESA (already cited), p. 8 n.] a Swiss veteran of good parts, presiding over the Infantry in that quarter. Neipperg himself, were he once complete, will command the right wing.鈥n鈥o鈥鈥榶