A cry of rapture burst from every lip. "The king is victorious! he has defeated the Russians!"
Onward flew the courier to the palace; after him streamed the mad people. "The days of mourning are over--the blood of our sons has not been shed in vain, they are the honored dead--their death brought victory to the fatherland; they have drenched the soil with the blood of our barbarous enemies. We whipped the French at Minden, the Russians at Kunersdorf, and now we have defeated the Austrians and won back the trophies of their victory at Hochkirch!"
The people surrounded the castle shouting and triumphing. The courier had entered to give to the queen the joyful news. Soon the royal messengers were flying into every corner of the city to summon the ministers and officers of state to the castle. On foot, on horseback, in carriages, they hastened on, and the people received them with joyful shouts. "The king is victorious; the Russians are defeated!"
And now a door opened on a balcony, and Minister Herzberg stepped out. He waved his hat joyfully high in the air. The people returned this greeting with a roar like an exulting lion. He waved his hand, and the lion ceased to roar--there was death-like silence. He then told them that the king had offered battle to the Russians, yesterday, not far from Frankfort. The Russian army was greatly superior in numbers; they received the Prussians with a fearful, deadly fire! Unrestrainable, regardless of cannon-balls, or of death, the Prussians rushed on, stormed all the strongholds, and drove the Russian militia with fearful slaughter back to the graveyard of Kunersdorf. At five o'clock the king sent off the courier and the victory was assured.
"The victory was assured!" reechoed the mighty voice of the people. With warm and kindly eyes they looked upon each other. Proud, glad, happy, men who did not know each other, who had never met, now felt that they were brothers, the sons of one fatherland, and they clasped hands, and shouted their congratulations.
Suddenly, at the end of the street, another horseman appeared. He drew nearer and nearer. It is a second courier, a second message of our king to his family and his Berliners.
The people looked at him distrustfully, anxiously. What means this second courier? What news does he bring?
His countenance gay, his brow clear, with a flashing smile he greets the people. He brings news of victory--complete, assured victory.