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ANDREAS HOFER

An HISTORICAL NOVEL

by Lousia Muhlbach


CONTENTS.

CHAPTER
I 1809
II The Emperor Francis
III The Courier and the Ambassador
IV The Emperor and his Brothers
V The Performance of "The Creation"
VI Andreas Hofer
VII Andreas Hofer at the Theatre
VIII Consecration of the Flags, and Farewell
IX Tis Time!
X Anthony Wallner of Windisch-Matrey
XI The Declaration of Love
XII Farewell!
XIII The Bridegroom
XIV The Bridge of St. Lawrence
XV The Bridge of Laditch
XVI On the Sterzinger Moos
XVII The Hay-Wagons
XVIII Capture of Innspruck
XIX The Capitulation of Wiltau
XX Eliza Wallner's Return
XXI The Catastrophe
XXII Eliza and Ulrich
XXIII The Triumph of Death
XXIV The Archduke John at Comorn
XXV The Emperor Francis at Wolkersdorf
XXVI The Reply of the King of Prussia
XXVII The Battle of Wagram
XXVIII The Armistice of Znaym
XXIX Hofer and Speckbacher
XXX The Capuchin's Oath
XXXI The First Battle
XXXII The Fifteenth of August at Innspruck
XXXIII Andreas Hofer, the Emperor's Lieutenant
XXXIV The Fifteenth of August at Comorn
XXXV A Day of the Emperor's Lieutenant
XXXVI The Lovers
XXXVII Elza's Return
XXXVIII The Wedding
XXXIX The Treaty of Peace
XL Dreadful Tidings
XLI Betrayal and Seizure of Hofer
XLII The Warning
XLIII The Flight
XLIV Andreas Hofer's Death


CHAPTER I.

1809.


The year 1809 had come; but the war against France, so intensely
longed for by all Austria, had not yet broken out, and the people
and the army were vainly waiting for the war-cry of their sovereign,
the Emperor Francis. It is true, not a few great things bad been
accomplished in the course of the past year: Austria had armed,
organized the militia, strengthened her fortresses, and filled her
magazines; but the emperor still hesitated to take the last and most
decisive step by crowning his military preparations with a formal
declaration of war.

No one looked for this declaration of war more intensely than the
emperor's second brother, the Archduke John, a young man of scarcely
twenty-seven. He had been the soul of all the preparations which,
since the summer of 1808, had been made throughout Austria; he had
conceived the plan of organizing the militia and the reserves; and
had drawn up the proclamation of the 12th of May, 1808, by which all
able-bodied Austrians were called upon to take up arms. But this
exhausted his powers; he could organize the army, but could not say
to it, "Take the field against the enemy!" The emperor alone could
utter this word, and he was silent.

"And he will be silent until the favorable moment has passed,"
sighed the Archduke John, when, on returning from a very long
interview with the emperor, he was alone with his friend, General
Nugent, in his cabinet.

He had communicated to this confidant the full details of his
interview with the emperor, and concluded his report by saying, with
a deep sigh, "The emperor will be silent until the favorable moment
has passed!"

Count Nugent gazed with a look of heart-felt sympathy into the
archduke's mournful face; he saw the tears filling John's large blue
eyes; he saw that he firmly compressed his lips as if to stifle a
cry of pain or rage, and that he clinched his hands in the agony of
his despair. Animated by tender compassion, the general approached
the archduke, who had sunk into a chair, and laid his hand gently on
his shoulder. "Courage, courage!" he whispered; "nothing is lost as
yet, and your imperial highness - "

"Ah, why do you address me with `imperial highness'?" cried the
archduke, almost indignantly. "Do you not see, then, that this is a
miserable title by which Fate seems to mock me, and which it
thunders constantly, and, as it were, sneeringly into my ears, in
order to remind me again and again of my deplorable powerlessness?
There is nothing 'imperial' about me but the yoke under which I am
groaning; and my `highness' is to be compared only with the crumbs
of Lazarus which fell from the rich man's table. And yet there are
persons, Nugent, who envy me these crumbs - men who think it a
brilliant and glorious lot to be an 'imperial highness,' the brother
of a sovereign emperor! Ah, they do not know that this title means
only that I am doomed to everlasting dependence and silence, and
that the emperor's valet de chambre and his private secretary are
more influential men than the Archduke John, who cannot do anything
but submit, be silent, and look on in idleness."

"Now your imperial highness slanders yourself," exclaimed Count
Nugent. "You have not been silent, you have not looked on in
idleness, but have worked incessantly and courageously for the
salvation of your people and your country. Who drew up the original
plan for the organization of the militia and the reserves? Who
elaborated its most minute details with admirable sagacity? It was
the Archduke John - the archduke in whom all Austria hopes, and who
is the last refuge and comfort of all patriots!"

"Ah, how much all of you are to be pitied, my friend, if you hope in
me!" sighed John. "What am I, then? A poor atom which is allowed to
move in the glare of the imperial sun, but which would be
annihilated so soon as it should presume to be an independent
luminary. Pray, Nugent, do not speak of such hopes; for, if the
emperor should hear of it, not only would my liberty be endangered,
but also yours and that of all who are of your opinion. The emperor
does not like to see the eyes of his subjects fixed upon me; every
kind word uttered about me sours him and increases the ill-will with
which he regards me."

"That is impossible, your highness," exclaimed the count. "How can
our excellent emperor help loving his brother, who is so gifted, so
high-minded and learned, and withal so modest and kind-hearted? How
can he help being happy to see that others love and appreciate him
too?"

"Does the emperor love my brother Charles, who is much more gifted
and high-minded than I am?" asked John, shrugging his shoulders.
"Did he not arrest his victorious career, and recall him from the
army, although, or rather BECAUSE, he knew that the army idolized
him, and that all Austria loved him and hoped in him? Ah, believe
me, the emperor is distrustful of all his brothers, and all our
protestations of love and devotedness do not touch him, but rebound
powerlessly from the armor of jealousy with which he has steeled his
heart against us. You see, I tell you all this with perfect
composure, but I confess it cost me once many tears and inward
struggles, and it was long before my heart became calm and resigned.
My heart long yearned for love, confidence, and friendship. I have
got over these yearnings now, and resigned myself to be lonely, and
remain so all my life long. That is to say," added the archduke,
with a gentle smile, holding out his hand to the count, "lonely,
without a sister, without a brother - lonely in my family. However, I
have found a most delightful compensation for this loneliness, for I
call you and Hormayr friends; I have my books, which always comfort,
divert, and amuse me; and last, I have my great and glorious hopes
regarding the future of the fatherland. Ah, how could I say that I
was poor and lonely when I am so rich in hopes, and have two noble
and faithful friends? I am sure, Nugent, you will never desert me,
but stand by me to the end - to the great day of victory, or to the
end of our humiliation and disgrace?"

"Your imperial highness knows full well that my heart will never
turn from you; that I love and revere you; that you are to me the
embodiment of all that is noble, great, and beautiful; that I would
be joyfully ready at any hour to suffer death for you; and that
neither prosperity nor adversity could induce me to forsake you. You
are the hope of my heart, you are the hope of my country - nay, the
hope of all Germany. We all need your assistance, your heart, your
arm; for we expect that you will place yourself at the head of
Germany, and lead us to glorious victories!"

"God grant that the hour when we shall take the field may soon come!
Then, my friend, I shall prove that I am ready, like all of you, to
shed my heart's blood for the fatherland, and conquer or die for the
liberty of Austria, the liberty of Germany. For in the present state
of affairs the fate of Germany, too, depends on the success of our
arms. If we succumb and have to submit to the same humiliations as
Prussia, the whole of Germany will be but a French province, and the
freedom and independence of our fatherland will be destroyed for
long years to come. I am too weak to survive such a disgrace. If
Austria falls, I shall fall too; if German liberty dies, I shall die
too." [Footnote: The Archduke John's own words. - See "Forty-eight
Letters from Archduke John of Austria to Johannes von Muller," p.
90.]

"German liberty will not die!" exclaimed Count Nugent,
enthusiastically; "it will take the field one day against all the
powerful and petty tyrants of the fatherland. Then it will choose
the Archduke John its general-in-chief, and he will lead it to
victory!"

"No, no, my friend," said John, mournfully; "Fate refuses to let me
play a decisive part in the history of the world. My role will
always be but a secondary one; my will will always be impeded, my
arm will be paralyzed forever. You know it. You know that I am
constantly surrounded by secret spies and eavesdroppers, who watch
me with lynx-eyed mistrust and misrepresent every step I take. It
was always so, and will remain so until I die or become a decrepit
old man, whose arm is no longer able to wield the sword or even the
pen. That I am young, that I have a heart for the sufferings of my
country, a heart not only for the honor of Austria, but for that of
Germany - that is what gives umbrage to them, what renders me
suspicious in their eyes, and causes them to regard me as a
revolutionist. I had to suffer a good deal for my convictions; a
great many obstacles were raised against all my plans; and yet I
desired only to contribute to the welfare of the whole; I demanded
nothing for myself, but every thing for the fatherland. To the
fatherland I wished to devote my blood and my life; for the
fatherland I wished to conquer in the disastrous campaign of 1805.
However, such were not the plans of my adversaries; they did not
wish to carry on the war with sufficient energy and perseverance;
they would not give my brother Charles and me an opportunity to
distinguish ourselves and gain a popular name. Whenever I planned a
vigorous attack, I was not permitted to carry it into effect.
Whenever, with my corps, I might have exerted a decisive influence
upon the fortunes of the war, I was ordered to retreat with my
troops to some distant position of no importance whatever; and when
I remonstrated, they charged me with rebelling against the emperor's
authority. Ah, I suffered a great deal in those days, and the wounds
which my heart received at that juncture are bleeding yet. I had to
succumb, when the men who had commenced the war at a highly
unfavorable time, conducted it at an equally unfavorable moment, and
made peace. And by that peace Austria lost her most loyal province,
the beautiful Tyrol, one of the oldest states of the Hapsburgs; and
her most fertile province, the territory of Venetia and Dalmatia,
for which I did not grieve so much, because it always was a source
of political dissensions and quarrels for the hereditary provinces
of Austria. What afflicted me most sorely was the loss of the Tyrol,
and even now I cannot think of it without the most profound emotion.
It seemed as though Fate were bent on blotting out from our memory
all that might remind us of our ancestors, their virtues, their
patriotism, and their perseverance in the days of universal
adversity; and as though, in consequence of this, the spirit, of the
Hapsburgs had almost become extinct, and we were to lose all that
they bad gained in the days of their greatness. [Footnote: John's
own words. - See "Forty-eight Letters from Archduke John to Johannes
von Muller," p. 103.] But now Fate is willing to give us another
opportunity to repair our faults and show that we are worthy of our
ancestors. If we allow this to pass too, all is lost, not only the
throne of the Hapsburgs, but also their honor!"

"This opportunity will not pass!" exclaimed the count. "The throne
of the Hapsburgs will be preserved, for it is protected by the
Archdukes John and Charles, a brave army that is eager for a war
with France, and a faithful, intrepid people, which is sincerely
devoted to its imperial dynasty, which never will acknowledge
another ruler, and which never will desert its Hapsburgs."

"Yes, the people will not desert us," said John, "but worse things
may happen; we may desert ourselves. Just look around, Nugent, and
see how lame we have suddenly become again; how we have all at once
stopped half way, unable to decide whether it might not be better
for us to lay down our arms again and surrender at discretion to the
Emperor of the French."

"Fortunately, it is too late now to take such a resolution; for
Austria has already gone so far that a hesitating policy at this
juncture will no longer succeed in pacifying the Emperor of the
French. And it is owing to the efforts of your imperial highness
that it is so; we are indebted for it to your zeal, your energy, and
your enthusiasm for the good cause, which is now no longer the cause
of Austria, but that of Germany. And this cause will not succumb;
God will not allow a great and noble people to be trampled under
foot by a foreign tyrant, who bids defiance to the most sacred
treaties and the law of nations, and who would like to overthrow all
thrones to convert the foreign kingdoms and empires into provinces
of his empire, blot out the history of the nations and dynasties,
and have all engulfed by his universal monarchy."

"God may not decree this, but He may perhaps allow it if the will of
the nations and the princes should not be strong enough to set
bounds to such mischief. When the feeling of liberty and
independence does not incite the nations to rise enthusiastically
and defend their rights, God sends them a tyrant as a scourge to
chastise them. And such, I am afraid, is our case. Germany has lost
faith in herself, in her honor; she lies exhausted at the feet of
the tyrant, and is ready to be trampled in the dust by him. Just
look around in our German fatherland. What do you see there? All the
sovereign princes have renounced their independence, and become
Napoleon's vassals; they obey his will, they submit to his orders,
and send their armies not against the enemy of Germany, but against
the enemies of France, no matter whether those enemies are their
German brethren or not. The German princes have formed the
Confederation of the Rhine, and the object of this confederation is
not to preserve the frontier of the Rhine to Germany, but to secure
the Rhine to France. The German princes are begging for honors and
territories at the court of Napoleon; they do not shrink from
manifesting their fealty to their master, the Emperor of the French,
by betraying the interests of Germany; they are playing here at
Vienna the part of the meanest spies; they are watching all our
steps, and are shameless enough to have the Emperor Napoleon reward
their infamy by conferring royal titles on them, and to accept at
his hands German territories which he took from German princes.
Bavaria did not disdain to aggrandize her territories at our
expense; Wurtemberg accepts without blushing the territories of
other German princes at the bands of Napoleon, who thus rewards her
for the incessant warnings by which the King of Wurtemberg urges the
Emperor of the French to be on his guard against Austria, and always
distrust the intentions of the Emperor Francis. [Footnote:
Schlosser, "History of the Eighteenth Century," vol. vii., p. 488.]
In the middle of the German empire we see a new French kingdom;
Westphalia, established by Napoleon's orders; it is formed of the
spoils taken from Prussia and Hanover; and the German princes suffer
it, and the German people bow their heads, silently to the
disgraceful foreign yoke! Ah, Nugent, my heart is full of grief and
anger, full of the bitterness of despair; for I have lost faith in
Germany, and see shudderingly that she will decay and die, as Poland
died, of her own weakness. Ah, it would be dreadful, dreadful, if we
too, had to fall, as the unfortunate Kosciusko did, with the
despairing cry of 'Finis Germaniae!'"

"No, that will never happen!" cried Nugent. "No, Germany will never
endure the disgrace and debasement of Poland; she will never sink to
ruin and perish like Poland. It is true, a majority of the German
princes bow to Napoleon's power, and we may charge them with
infidelity and treason against Germany; but we can not prefer the
same charge against the German people and the subjects of the
traitorous German princes. They have remained faithful, and have not
yet lost faith in their fatherland. They are indignantly champing
the bit with which their despots have shut their mouth; and, in
silence, harmony, and confidence in God, they are preparing for the
great hour when they will rise, for the sacred day when they will
break their shackles with the divine strength of a united and high-
minded people. Everywhere the embers are smouldering under the
ashes; everywhere secret societies and leagues have been formed;
everywhere there are conspirators, depots of arms, and passwords;
everywhere the people of Germany are waiting only for the moment
when they are to strike the first blow, and for the signal to rise.
And they are in hopes now that Austria will give the signal. Our
preparations for war have been hailed with exultation throughout
Germany: everywhere the people are ready to take up arms so soon as
Austria draws the sword. The example of Spain and Portugal has
taught the Germans how the arrogant conqueror must be met; the
example of Austria will fill them with boundless enthusiasm, and
lead them to the most glorious victories!"

"And we are still temporizing and hesitating," exclaimed John,
mournfully; "we are not courageous enough to strike the first blow!
All is ready; the emperor has only to utter the decisive word, but
he refuses to do so!"

"The enthusiasm of his people will soon compel him and his advisers
to utter that word," said Nugent. "Austria can no longer retrace her
steps; she must advance. Austria must lead Germany in the sacred
struggle for liberty; she can no longer retrace her steps."

"God grant that your words may be verified!" cried John, lifting his
tearful eyes to heaven; "God grant that - "

A low rapping at the door leading to the small secret corridor
caused the archduke to pause and turn his eyes with a searching
expression to this door.

The rapping was repeated, more rapidly than before.

"It is Hormayr," exclaimed the archduke, joyfully; and he hastened
to the secret door and opened it quickly.

A tall young man, in the uniform of an Austrian superior officer,
appeared in the open door. The archduke grasped both his hands and
drew him hastily into the cabinet.

"Hormayr, my friend," he said, breathlessly, "you have returned from
the Tyrol? You have succeeded in fulfilling the mission with which I
intrusted you? You have carried my greetings to the Tyrolese? Oh,
speak, speak, my friend! What do my poor, deserted Tyrolese say?"

Baron von Hormayr fixed his flashing dark eyes with an expression of
joyful tenderness on the excited face of the archduke.

"The Tyrolese send greeting to the Archduke John," he said; "the
Tyrolese hope that the Archduke John will deliver them from the
hateful yoke of the Bavarians; the Tyrolese believe that the hour
has arrived, when they may recover their liberty; and to prove this-
-"

"To prove this?" asked the archduke, breathlessly, when Hormayr
paused a moment.

"To prove this," said Hormayr, in a lower voice, stepping up closer
to the prince, "some of the most influential and respectable
citizens of the Tyrol have accompanied me to Vienna; they desire to
assure your imperial highness of their loyal devotedness, and
receive instructions from you."

"Is Andreas Hofer, the landwirth, among them?" asked the archduke,
eagerly.

"He is, and so are Wallner and Speckbacher. I bring to your imperial
highness the leading men of the Tyrolese peasants, and would like to
know when I may introduce them to you, and at what hour you will
grant a private audience to my Tyrolese friends?"

"Oh, I will see them at once!" exclaimed John, impatiently. "My
heart longs to gaze into the faithful, beautiful eyes of the
Tyrolese, and read in their honest faces if they really are still
devoted and attached to me. Bring them to me, Hormayr; make haste -
but no, I forgot that it is broad daylight, and that the spies
watching me have eyes to see, ears to hear, and tongues to report to
the emperor as dreadful crimes all that they have seen and heard
here. We must wait, therefore, until the spies have closed their
eyes, until dark and reticent night has descended on earth, and - .
Well, Conrad, what is it?" the archduke interrupted himself, looking
at his valet de chambre, who had just entered hastily by the door of
the anteroom.

"Pardon me, your imperial highness," said Conrad; "a messenger of
her majesty the empress is in the anteroom. Her majesty has ordered
him to deliver his message only to the archduke himself."

"Let him come in," said the archduke.

Conrad opened the door, and the imperial messenger appeared on the
threshold.

"Her majesty the Empress Ludovica sends her respects to the
archduke," said the messenger, approaching the archduke
respectfully. "Her majesty thanks your imperial highness for the
book which you lent her; and she returns it with sincere thanks."

An expression of astonishment overspread John's face, but it soon
disappeared, and the archduke received with a calm smile the small
sealed package which the messenger handed to him.

"All right," he said; "tell her majesty to accept my thanks."

The messenger returned to the anteroom, and Conrad closed the door
behind him.

"Place yourself before the door, Nugent, that nobody may be able to
look through the key-hole," whispered John, "for you know that I do
not trust Conrad. And you, Hormayr, watch the secret door."

The two gentlemen hastened noiselessly to obey. The archduke cast a
searching glance around the walls, as if afraid that even the silken
hangings might contain somewhere an opening for the eyes of a spy,
or serve as a cover to an ear of Dionysius.

"Something of importance must have occurred," whispered John;
"otherwise the empress would not have ventured to send me a direct
message. I did not lend her a book, and you know we agreed with the
ladies of our party to communicate direct news to each other only in
cases of pressing necessity. Let us see now what it is."

He hastily tore open the sealed package and drew from it a small
prayer-book bound in black velvet. While he was turning over the
leaves with a smile, a small piece of paper fluttered from between
the gilt-edged leaves and dropped to the floor.

"That is it," said John, smiling, picking up the paper, and fixing
his eyes on it. "There is nothing on it," he then exclaimed,
contemplating both sides of the paper. "There is not a word on it.
It is only a book-mark, that is all. But, perhaps, something is
written in the book, or there may be another paper."

"No, your imperial highness," whispered Nugent, stepping back a few
paces from the door. "The Princess Lichtenstein whispered to me
yesterday, at the court concert, that she had obtained an excellent
way of sending a written message to her friends and allies, and
that, if we received a piece of white paper from the ladies of our
party, we had better preserve it and read it afterward near the
fireplace."

"Ah, sympathetic ink," exclaimed John; "well, we will see."

He hastily approached the fireplace, where a bright fire was
burning, and held the piece of paper close to the flames.
Immediately a number of black dots and lines appeared on the paper;
these dots and lines assumed gradually the shape of finely-written
words.

The archduke followed with rapt attention every line, every letter
that appeared on the white paper, and now he read as follows:



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