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Therefore, instead of marching upon Neisse, the king directed his course to Steinau, twenty miles east of Neisse. The siege was abandoned, and the whole Prussian army, so far as was possible, was gathered around the king. On the 5th of April Frederick established his head-quarters at Steinau. On that same day, General Neipperg, with the advanced corps of his army, triumphantly entered Neisse. Apprehensive of an immediate attack, Frederick made all his arrangements for a battle. In the confusion of those hours, during which the whole Prussian army, with all its vast accumulation of artillery and baggage-wagons, was surging like an inundation through the streets of Steinau, the village took fire and was burned to ashes. With great difficulty the artillery and powder were saved, being entangled in the narrow streets while the adjoining houses were enveloped in flames. The night was intensely cold. The Prussian army bivouacked in the open frozen fields. Frederick William.

The next morning Frederick hastened to greet his sister. Wilhelmina was not pleased with his appearance. The cares of his new reign entirely engrossed his mind. The dignity of an absolute king did not sit gracefully upon him. Though ostentatiously demonstrative in his greeting, the delicate instincts of Wilhelmina taught her that her brothers caresses were heartless. He was just recovering from a fit of the ague, and looked emaciate and sallow. The court was in mourning. During those funereal days no festivities could be indulged in. The queen-mother was decorously melancholy; she seems to have been not only disappointed, but excessively chagrined, to find that she was excluded by her son from the slightest influence in public affairs. The distant, arrogant, and assuming airs of the young king soon rendered him unpopular.

The rich abbeys of the Roman Catholics were compelled to establish manufactures for weaving damasks and table-cloths. Some were converted into oil-mills, or workers in copper, wire-drawers, the flaxes and metals, with water-power, markets, and so on.

The exigency demanded the most decisive action. Frederick promptly gathered his army, and dashed across the Moldau, resolved, with the energies of despair, to smite down the troops of Prince Charles; but no foe could be found. For four days he sought for them in vain. He then learned that the Austrian army had crossed the Moldau several miles north of him, thus cutting off his communications with Prague.