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The Prussian people, however, on their part, were clamorous for war; they still prided themselves on the victories of Frederick, called the Great, and the students and the young nobles were full of bravado. But, unfortunately, they had not generals like Frederick to place at the head of their armies, and their military system was entirely obsolete. The Duke of Brunswick, who, in his youth, had shown much bravery in the Seven Years' War, but who had been most unfortunate in his invasion of France, in 1792, was now, in his seventy-second year, placed in chief command, to compete with Napoleon. Nothing could exceed the folly of his plan of the campaign. The whole force of Prussia, including its auxiliaries, amounted only to about one hundred and fifty thousand men. Of these the Saxons, who had reluctantly united with Prussia, and had only been forced into co-operation by the Prussians marching into their country, and, in a manner, compelling them, were worse than lukewarm in the cause; they were ready at any moment to join the French. Besides these, and the troops of Hesse-Cassel, they had not an ally except the distant Russians. On the other hand, Napoleon had a considerably superior army of his own in advance, and he had immense forces behind the Rhine, for he had anticipated a whole year's conscription. He had, moreover, his flanks protected by his friendly confederates of the Rhine, ready to come forward, if necessary. In these circumstances, Prussia's policy ought to have been to delay action, by negotiation or otherwise, till the Russians could come up, and then to have concentrated her troops so as to resist, by their momentum, the onset of the confident and battle-practised French. But, so far from taking these precautions, the Duke of Brunswick rushed forward at once into Franconia, into the very face of Buonaparte, and long before he could have the assistance of Russia. Instead of concentrating his forces, Brunswick had stretched them out over a line of ninety miles in length. He and the king had their headquarters at Weimar; their left, under Prince Hohenlohe, was at Schleitz, and their right extended as far as Mühlhausen. The Prussians, in fact, appeared rather to be occupying cantonments than drawn into military position for a great contest. Besides they had in front of them the Thuringian Forest, behind which Napoleon could man?uvre as he pleased.And so he had to accept it. He rose, with a slight sigh, and returned to the examination of his spoils.
Their general, Lescure, was killed, and most of their other leaders were severely wounded. Kleber triumphed over them by his weight of artillery, and they now fled to the Loire. Amongst a number of royalist nobles who had joined them from the army of the Prince of Cond on the Rhine, was Prince de Talmont, a Breton noble, formerly of vast property in Brittany, and now of much influence there. He advised them, for the present, to abandon their country, and take refuge amongst his countrymen, the Bretons. The whole of this miserable and miscellaneous population, nearly a hundred thousand in number, crowded to the edge of the Loire, impatient, from terror and despair, to cross. Behind were the smoke of burning villages and the thunder of the hostile artillery; before, was the broad Loire, divided by a low long island, also crowded with fugitives. La Roche-Jaquelein had the command of the Vendans at this trying moment; but the enemy, not having good information of their situation, did not come up till the whole wretched and famished multitude was over. On their way to Laval they were attacked both by Westermann and Lchelle; but being now joined by nearly seven thousand Bretons, they beat both those generals; and Lchelle, from mortification and terror of the guillotinenow the certain punisher of defeated generalsdied. The Vendans for a time, aided by the Bretons, appeared victorious. They had two courses open before them: one, to retire into the farthest part of Brittany, where there was a population strongly inspired by their own sentiments, having a country hilly and easy of defence, with the advantage of being open to the coast, and the assistance of the British; the other, to advance into Normandy, where they might open up communication with the English through the port of Cherbourg. They took the latter route, though their commander, La Roche-Jaquelein, was strongly opposed to it. Stofflet commanded under Jaquelein. The army marched on in great confusion, having the women and children and the waggons in the centre. They were extremely ill-informed of the condition of the towns which they approached. They might have taken Rennes and St. Malo, which would have greatly encouraged the Bretons; but they were informed that the Republican troops were overpowering there. They did not approach Cherbourg for the same cause, being told that it was well defended on the land side; they therefore proceeded by Dol and Avranches to Granville, where they arrived on the 14th of November. This place would have given them open communication with the English, and at the worst an easy escape to the Channel Islands; but they failed in their attempts to take it; and great suspicion now having seized the people that their officers only wanted to get into a seaport to desert them and escape to England, they one and all protested that they would return to the Loire. In vain did La Roche-Jaquelein demonstrate to them the fatality of such a proceeding, and how much better it would be to make themselves strong in Normandy and Brittany for the present; only about a thousand men remained with him; the rest retraced their long and weary way towards the Loire, though the Republicans had now accumulated very numerous forces to bar their way. Fighting every now and then on the road, and seeing their wives and children daily drop from hunger and fatigue, they returned through Dol and Pontorson to Angers: there they were repulsed by the Republicans. They then retreated to Mons, where they again were attacked and defeated, many of their women, who had concealed themselves in the houses, being dragged out and shot down by whole platoons. At Ancenis, Stofflet managed to cross the Loire; but the Republicans got between him and his army, which, wedged in at Savenay, between the Loire, the Vilaine, and the sea, was attacked by Kleber and Westermann, and, after maintaining a desperate fight against overwhelming numbers and a terrible artillery, was literally, with the exception of a few hundred who effected their escape, cut to pieces, and the women and children all massacred by the merciless Jacobins. Carrier then proceeded to purge Nantes in the same style as Collot d'Herbois had purged Lyons.In the galaxy of illustrious names that shed light upon this age, not the least conspicuous is that of Mary Somerville, who is known in British science not only as the able commentator of Laplace's "Mcanique Cleste," but as the author of some ingenious experiments on the magnetising power of the violet ray, and on the permeability of different bodies to the chemical rays, similar to those of Melloni on the heating rays; and she found great and seemingly capricious variations in this respect. The beautiful invention of the stereoscope, one of the most interesting contributions made to the theory of vision, was the work of Mr. Wheatstone, who published an account of it in the "Philosophical Transactions" of 1838. In connection with experiments of this class should be mentioned the invention of the daguerreotype, or the production of permanent pictures on plated copper, in 1825, which was brought to perfection in 1839 by Daguerre, whose name it bears. About the same time Henry Fox Talbot applied himself to similar experiments, and invented the calotype, or the production of permanent pictures on paper; and by a subsequent invention he obtained what he justly called "an instantaneous process." The science of photography was, however, in its infancy.
He asked her angrily why she had ever come at all, and she explained, with a piteous whimper, like a penitent child's, that she had left her horse tied in a little hollow and had come to explore. She had often meant to explore before this.