"The king, in the midst of the confusion and horror of the flight, had called him, and commanded him to gallop to Berlin, and bear the fatal news to Minister Herzberg. He had then galloped by him, exactly against the enemy, as if he wished their balls to strike him; a little troop of his most faithful soldiers had followed!"
"The king is lost! the king is a prisoner--wounded--perhaps dead!" cried the terrified people.
Suddenly, the mad tumult was interrupted by loud shouts of joy, which swelled and thundered like an avalanche from the other side of the square. A fifth courier had arrived, and brought the news of the complete defeat of the Russians, and a glorious Prussian victory. Now, one of those memorable, wondrous--grand scenes took place, which no earthly phantasy could contrive or prepare, to which only Providence could give form and color. As if driven by the storm- winds of every powerful earthly passion, this great sea of people fluctuated here and there. At one point, thousands were weeping over the news which the unhappy messenger had brought. Near by, thousands were huzzaing and shouting over the joyful intelligence brought by the fifth courier, while those who had been near enough to the fourth courier to understand his words, turned aside to give the sad news to those who were afar off. Coming at the same time from the other side, they were met by a mighty mass of men, who announced, with glad cries, the news of victory, brought by the fifth courier. Here you could see men, with their arms raised to heaven, thanking God for the hardly-won victory. A little farther on, pale, frightened creatures, motionless, bowed down, and grief-stricken. Here were women, with glowing cheeks and sparkling eyes, shouting over their hero king. There, the people wept and moaned; their king had disappeared, was a prisoner, or dead. As at the Tower of Babel, the people spoke in a thousand tongues, and no one listened to another; every one was lost--blinded by his own passionate hopes and fears.
At last the two couriers were called upon to come face to face and decide these important questions. Strong men lifted them upon their shoulders and brought them together; a profound and fearful silence ensued, every man felt that he stood upon the eve of a mighty revelation; fifty thousand men were waiting breathlessly for news of happiness beyond compare, or of unspeakable woe. The conversation of the two horsemen standing upon the shoulders of their townsmen was quick and laconic.
"At what hour did the king send you off?" said the fourth courier to the fifth.
"At six. The king himself commissioned me"
"Where stood our army at that time?" said the fourth courier.
"They stood before the hollow ground, and the Russians had withdrawn to the intrenchments of Zudenberg; we had taken a hundred and twenty cannon, and many of our soldiers were wandering about the battle- field looking at the batteries they had taken." [Footnote: Bodman.]