So that there is marching, detaching, miscellaneous difficulty for Friedrich in this quarter, more than had been expected. If the fate of Brieg and Neisse be inevitable, Browne does wonders to delay it.
Before adopting this line I had to consider that there was a risk of missing Tiler and his quarry; that is to say, of being too late for them; for the lady might decide to push on directly she reached Brieg, taking a special carriage extra post as far as the Simplon at least, even into Domo Dossola.
This bad moment, however, proved to be the last and worst, and when they emerged upon the high valley in which stands the village of Simplon, the rain was already lessening and the clouds rolling up the great sides and peaks of the Fletschhorn. Ashe promised himself a comparatively fine evening and a rapid run down to Brieg.
A very strong resolution, they and the Gazetteers think it; and ask themselves, Is it not likely to have some effect? Belleisle had passed through Breslau while Hyndford was there: "am unable to inform your Lordship what success he has had." Brieg Siege is done only three days ago; Castle all lying black; and the new trenching and fortifying hardly begun.
It had been despatched from Vevey about 2 P.M., and it said: "Lost her somewhere between this and Lausanne. Am trying back. Shall wire you again to Brieg. Wait there or leave address." My face must have betrayed my abject despair. I was so completely knocked over that I offered no opposition when the Colonel impudently took the telegram out of my hand and read it coolly.
So with tragic farewells from those they left behind them, who, hoping to keep them longer, predicted all manner of misfortunes, the three strong-minded ladies rumbled away in the coupé of a diligence to Brieg. A lovely day's journey up the valley of the Rhone, and a short night's rest in the queer little town at the foot of the mountains.
The road appears to be commanded by no spot where avalanches could accumulate, as on the precipice where you first overlook Brieg, and must, therefore, during the winter, be rather difficult than dangerous.
The first stop was at Biel or Bienne, its French name, and there was a halt of ten minutes or more. I made my way to the telegraph office in the station, where to my great satisfaction I found a message from Falfani, informing me that he should make the best of his way to Brieg, unless I could suggest something better.
November 1st, the Prussian soldiers entered the place; and Friedrich, after diligent inspection and what orders were necessary, left for Brieg on the following day; where general illuminating and demonstrating awaited him, amid more serious business.
I noted the time of despatch, 4.17 P.M. It would surely reach Falfani before the last train left Brieg coming my way, and I hardly trusted myself to anticipate the comfort and relief his appearance would bring me. Combined we could tie ourselves to our quarry, and never let her out of sight until our principals could take over and settle the business.