Frederick raised his head, and was in the act of answering hastily, then said: "Yes, I need night-quarters." He looked around and saw an empty peasant's house by the wayside, drew near and entered silently.
"I will pass the night here," said he, "the place appears deserted; we will disturb no one."
The king was right. The miserable old hut was empty. No one advanced to meet him as he entered. In one corner of the room there was some dirty straw; in the other a wooden table and stool--this was all.
"It suffices for me," said the king, smiling. "I will pass the night here. Have you my writing materials with you?"
"I sent Adjutant von Goltz for them, sire, as I did not wish to leave you alone."
Goltz now entered with the king's portfolio, and informed him that he had brought two grenadiers to guard the house.
"Have I still grenadiers?" murmured the king, in a trembling voice. His head fell upon his breast, and he stood thus lost in deep thought for a while. "Gentlemen," said he, at length, "inspect the house. See if there is a more comfortable room than this; if not, I suppose we can manage to sleep here. Send one of the guard for some soldiers, by whom I can forward my dispatches."
The adjutants bowed, and left the room. The king was alone. He could at last give way to his despair--his grief.