Page:The Hessians and the other German auxiliaries of Great Britain in the revolutionary war.djvu/22

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10
THE HESSIANS.


desert, thieving about his court, or poaching; but his military executions were barbarous. The Margrave was regular in his attendance at church, and given to endowing churches, schools, and hospitals. He might, therefore, have been beloved of his subjects, but for his ungoverned temper, and for the excesses into which it led him. Thus, having heard that his dogs were not well fed, he rode to the house of the man who had them in charge, called him to the door, and shot him on his own threshold. An inn-keeper, having complained of some petty theft, the Margrave had the thief hanged before mine host's door. In 1747 a servant-girl was hanged without trial for having helped a soldier to desert. As the Margrave was riding out of his castle one day, he stopped and asked the sentinel on guard, who happened to be one of the city watch, and not a regular soldier, for his musket. The poor fellow, unsuspectingly, gave it up; whereupon the Margrave called him a coward and a scoundrel, and had two hussars drag him through the mill-pond at their horses' tails, of which treatment he died. One of his equerries, Von Reitzenstein by name, although avaricious and corruptible, was a favorite with the people for sometimes moderating these excesses. On one occasion a shepherd with a flock of sheep did not clear the road for the Margrave quickly enough, and made his Most Serene Highness's horse shy. The Margrave asked the equerry for his pistols to shoot the fellow. “They are not loaded,” answered Von Reitzenstein. When the party got near home, however, the equerry took out both pistols and fired them into the air. Bang! bang! “What's the matter?” cried the startled