"Not so," said the king, "the moon will watch over us all. Come in."
"But it is impossible that your majesty should sleep thus, entirely unguarded. The first Cossack that dashes by could take aim at your majesty through the window."
Frederick shook his head gravely. "The ball which will strike me will come from above, [Footnote: The king's own words.--See Nicolai, p. 118.] and that you cannot intercept. No, it is better to have no watch before the door; we will not draw the attention of troops passing by to this house. I think no one will suppose that this miserable and ruinous barrack, through which the wind howls, is the residence of a king. Come, then, messieurs." He stepped into the hut, followed by the two adjutants, who dared no longer oppose him. "Put out that light," said the king, "the moon will be our torch, and will glorify our bed of straw." He drew his sword, and grasping it firmly in his right hand, he stretched himself upon the straw. "There is room for both of you--lie down. Good-night, sirs."
Frederick slightly raised his three-cornered hat in greeting, and then laid it over his face as a protection from the moonlight and the cold night air. The adjutants laid down silently at his feet, and soon no sound was heard in the room but the loud breathing of the three sleepers.
Hand in hand the two grenadiers advanced directly toward the battle- field. Before they could approach the enemy's camp they must borrow two Austrian uniforms from the dead upon the plain. It was not difficult, amongst so many dead bodies, to find two Austrian officers, and the two Prussian grenadiers went quickly to work to rob the dead and appropriate their garments.
"I don't know how it is," said Charles Henry, shuddering, "a cold chill thrills through me when I think of putting on a coat which I have just taken from a dead body. It seems to me the marble chillness of the corpse will insinuate itself into my whole body, and that I shall never be warm again."
Fritz Kober looked up with wide-open eyes! "You have such curious thoughts, Charles Henry, such as come to no other man; but you are right, it is a frosty thing." And now he had removed the uniform and was about to draw off his own jacket and assume the white coat of the Austrian. "It is a great happiness," said he, "that we need not change our trousers, a little clearer or darker gray can make no difference in the night."
Charles Henry was in the act of drawing on the coat of the dead man, when Fritz Kober suddenly seized his arm and held him back. "Stop," said he, "you must do me a favor--this coat is too narrow, and it pinches me fearfully; you are thinner than I am, and I think it will fit you exactly; take it and give me yours." He jerked off the coat and handed it to his friend.