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until the keg was empty.

"Now you have refreshed yourselves," cried Eliza, "and you must
bravely return to the struggle."

And the Tyrolese took position on the river-bank, with redoubled
courage and enthusiasm, to prevent the French from finishing the
temporary bridge.

But the fire of the enemy thinned the ranks of the Tyrolese
fearfully; their shots became few and far between, and gradually a
regular panic seized them. They began to give way; even the scornful
cries of the women, who tried to obstruct their path, were powerless
to keep them back. They pushed the women aside, and rushed
resistlessly up the mountain-path.

At this moment loud cheers burst from the lips of the enemy. The
Tyrolese started. They looked back, and saw to their dismay that the
engineers had succeeded in finishing the temporary bridge across the
Eisach, and that nothing prevented the enemy now from passing over
to their side of the river.

"Surrender! Lay down your arms!" shouted Lieutenant-Colonel von
Wreden, on the other bank.

The Tyrolese were silent, and gazed with mute dismay upon the
bridge. All at once they heard a voice resounding on the hills above
them as it were from the clouds. This voice shouted. "The
imperialists are coming! The Austrians, our saviours, are coming!"

And at the same time a detachment of light-horse appeared on the
heights of Schaps. They galloped down the slope, and were followed
by several companies of chasseurs and infantry, who rushed down at
the double-quick.

Loud, exulting cheers burst from the lips of the Tyrolese, and found
thundering echoes in the mountains and gorges.

The French and Bavarians started, for this sudden apparition took
them completely by surprise; they had not even suspected that the
Austrians had already invaded the Tyrol. They hesitated, and did not
venture to cross the river.

This hesitation of the enemy and the arrival of the Austrians filled
the Tyrolese with transports. Some threw down their rifles to
embrace each other and swing their hats merrily, while others were
dancing with their rifles as though they were their sweethearts; and
others again sang and warbled ringing Tyrolese Jodlers. Finally,
some of them, filled with profound emotion and fervent gratitude,
sank down on their knees to thank God for this wonderful rescue and
the long-wished-for sight of the dear Austrian uniforms.

The French and Bavarians, in the mean time, thunderstruck at the
sudden arrival of the Austrians, whose numbers they were as yet
unable to ascertain, had made a retrograde movement in their first
terror. But this did not last long. "If we do not want to perish
here to the last man, we must try to force a passage," said General
Bisson. "Forward, therefore, forward!"

The troops moved, and began to march across the bridge.

But now the Austrians had come close up to them. The Tyrolese
received them with deafening shouts of "Long live the Emperor
Francis! Long live Austria!"

Then they turned once more with fervent enthusiasm toward the enemy.
"Down with the base Bavarians! Forward! forward! Down with them!"
they shouted on all sides; and the Tyrolese rushed with furious
impetuosity upon the enemy. Their scythes and flails mowed down
whole ranks, and many soldiers were soon laid prostrate by the
unerring aim of the mountain sharpshooters. Mountains of corpses
were piled up, rivers of blood flowed down into the waters of the
Eisach, and the crimson-colored waves carried down through the Tyrol
the intelligence that the struggle for the fatherland had commenced.

Nevertheless, the forces of the enemy were too numerous for the
Tyrolese and the small advanced guard of the Austrians to annihilate
them entirely. The Bavarians and French forced a passage through the
ranks of their enthusiastic enemies with the courage and wrath of
despair; hundreds of them remained dead on the bloody field, but
nearly two thousand ascended the Eisach toward Sterzing.

Anthony Wallner beckoned to his daughter, and stepped with her
behind a jutting rock. "First, Lizzie, my heroic girl, give me a
kiss," he said, encircling her with one of his arms, and pressing
her fondly to his broad breast. "You have been your father's joy and
pride to-day, and I saw that the dear little angels were protecting
you, and that the bullets for this reason whistled harmlessly around
you. Hence, you are now to render an important service to the
fatherland. I must send a messenger to Andreas Hofer, but I need the
men for fighting here; and, moreover, the enemy might easily catch
my messenger. But he will allow a Tyrolese girl like you to pass
through his lines, and will not suspect any thing wrong about her.
Now will you take my message to Andreas Hofer?"

"I will, father."

"Run, then, my daughter, run along the mountain-paths; you can climb
and leap like a chamois, and will easily get the start of the enemy,
who is marching on the long roads in the valley. Hasten toward
Sterzing. If all has passed off as agreed upon, you will find
Andreas Hofer there. Tell him now in my name that the Austrians are
coming up from Salzburg and that I have done my duty and redeemed my
pledge. Tell him further that the whole Puster valley is in
insurrection, and that we are bravely at work, and driving the
Bavarians and French from the country. But tell him also to be on
his guard, for we have not been able to annihilate the enemy
entirely, and they will soon make their appearance at Sterzing. Let
him be ready to receive the enemy there as they deserve it."

"Is that all, dearest father?"

"Yes, Lizzie, it is. Tell Andy what has happened here, and do not
forget to tell him how you brought down the keg of wine that the
boys might drink courage from it."

"No, father, I shall not tell him that. It would look as though I
thought I had done something great, and wished to be praised for it.
But now, farewell, dearest father. I will hasten to Andreas Hofer."

"Farewell, dearest Lizzie. The angels and the Holy Virgin will
protect you. I have no fears for your safety."

"Nor I either, dearest father. The good spirits of the mountain will
accompany me. Farewell!"

She kissed her hands to him, and bounded up the mountain-path with
the speed and gracefulness of a gazelle.


CHAPTER XVI.

ON THE STERZINGER MOOS.


While these events were going on below Brixen, Andreas Hofer had
marched with the men of the Passeyr valley across the Janfen. The
inhabitants everywhere had received him with loud exultation; they
had risen everywhere, ready to follow him, to fight under him for
the deliverance of the fatherland, and to stake their fortunes and
their lives for the emperor and the beloved Tyrol. Hofer's column
accordingly gained strength at every step as it advanced. He had set
out with a few hundred men on the 9th of April; and now, on the
morning of the 11th of April, already several thousand men had
rallied around him, and with them he had reached the heights of
Sterzing. Andreas Hofer halted his men here, where he had a splendid
view of the whole plain, and ordered his Tyrolese to encamp and
repose after their long and exhausting march. He himself did not
care for repose, for his heart was heavy and full of anxiety; and
his glance, usually so serene, was clouded and sombre.

While the others were resting and partaking gayly of the wine and
food which the women and girls of the neighboring villages had
brought to them with joyous readiness, Andreas Hofer ascended a peak
from which he had a full view of the mountain-chains all around and
the extensive plain at his feet. His friend and adjutant, Anthony
Sieberer, had followed him noiselessly; and on perceiving him,
Andreas Hofer smiled and nodded pleasantly to him.

"See, brother," he said, pointing with a sigh down to the valley,
"how calm and peaceful every thing looks! There lies Sterzing, so
cozy and sweet, in the sunshine; the fruit-trees are blossoming in
its gardens; the daisies, primroses, and hawthorns have opened their
little eyes, and are looking up to heaven in silent joy. And now I
am to disturb this glorious peace and tranquillity, tear it like a
worthless piece of paper, and hurl it like Uriah's letter, into the
faces of the people. Ah, Sieberer, war is a cruel thing; and when I
take every thing into consideration, I cannot help thinking that men
commit a heavy sin by taking the field in order to slay, shoot, and
stab, as though they were wild beasts bent on devouring one another,
and not men whom God created after His own likeness; and I ask
myself, in the humility of my heart, whether or not I have a right
to instigate my dear friends and countrymen to follow me and attack
men who are our brethren after all."

"If you really ask yourself such questions, and have lost your
courage, then we are all lost," said Sieberer, gloomily. "It is
Andreas Hofer in whom the men of the Passeyr valley believe, and
whom they are following into the bloody struggle. If Hofer
hesitates, all will soon despond; and it would be better for us to
retrace our steps at once, and allow Bonaparte and the French to
trample us again in the dust, instead of lifting our heads like
freemen, and fighting for our rights."

"We have gone too far, we can no longer retrace our steps," said
Andreas Hofer, shaking his head gently, and lifting his eyes to
heaven. After a pause he added in a loud, strong voice: "And even
though it were otherwise, even through we still retrace our steps, I
should not consent to it. I shall never repent of having raised my
voice in behalf of the Tyrol and the emperor; nor have I lost my
courage, as you seem to think, brother Sieberer. I know full well
that we owe it to our good emperor and the fatherland to defend it
to the last breath, and I do not tremble for myself. I have
dedicated my life to the dear fatherland; I have taken leave of my
wife and my children, and belong now only to the Tyrol and the
emperor. If my blood were sufficient to deliver our country, I
should joyously and with a grateful prayer throw myself down from
this peak and shatter my bones; and dying, I should thank God for
vouchsafing such an honor to me, and allowing me to purchase the
liberty of the country with my blood. But I am but a poor and humble
servant and soldier of the Lord, and my blood will not be
sufficient; but many will have to spill theirs and die, that the
rest maybe free and belong again to our dear emperor. And this is
the reason why, on contemplating the brave men and courageous lads
who have followed my call, I feel pity, and ask myself again and
again, Had I a right to call them away from their homes, their wives
and children, and lead them, perhaps, into the jaws of death? Will
not the Lord curse me for preaching insurrection and war instead of
submissiveness and humility?"

"Well, you are a pious man, Andy," said Sieberer, with a reproachful
glance," and yet you have forgotten what our Redeemer said to the
Pharisees."

"What do you mean, Anthony? Tell me, if it will comfort me."

"He said, `Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and
unto God the things that are God's.' Now, I think that our Tyrol is
the emperor's, and that the Bavarians and French have nothing to do
with it, but have merely stolen it from the emperor. Therefore, we
act only in accordance with the precepts of our Lord Jesus Christ,
if we stake our lives and fortunes to restore to the emperor that
which is the emperor's. And I think, too, that the churches and
convents are the houses of the Lord and belong to Him alone. Now,
the Bavarians have stolen the houses of the Lord in the Tyrol, and
have ignominiously driven out His servants. Hence we act again in
accordance with the precepts of our Lord Jesus Christ, if we stake
our lives and fortunes to restore to God that which is God's; and
if, in doing so, we should all lose our lives, we should die in the
holy service of God and the emperor!"

"You are right, brother Sieberer," exclaimed Hofer, joyfully, "and I
thank you for comforting and strengthening my heart. Yes, we are in
the service of God, our emperor, and the beloved Tyrol."

"And God and the emperor have imposed on Andreas Hofer the duty of
acting at the same time as prophet of the Lord and as captain of the
emperor. Go, then, Andreas, and do your duty!" said Sieberer,
solemnly.

"I shall do my duty bravely and faithfully to the last!" exclaimed
Hofer, enthusiastically. Then he raised the small crucifix from his
breast, kissed it devoutly, and prayed in a low voice.

A sarcastic smile overspread Anthony Sieberer's face, but it
disappeared quickly when he happened to turn his eyes to the
neighboring mountains. He looked keenly and searchingly toward the
mountain-path leading to Mittewald. He saw there a small black speck
which was advancing with great rapidity. Was it a bird? No, the
speck had already become larger; he saw it was a human being - a
woman speeding along the mountain-path. Now she was so close to them
that he could distinguish her face; it was that of a young girl; her
cheeks flushed, her eyes radiant; bold and intrepid as a chamois,
she hastened forward; her long, black tresses were waving round her
head, and her bosom heaved violently under the folds of her white
corset.

Now, she stood still for a moment, and seemed to listen; then she
bent far over the precipice, on the brink of which she was standing,
and below which the Tyrolese were encamped. No sooner had she
perceived them than she uttered a loud cry of exultation, and
bounding forward, she exclaimed joyously: "There are the men of the
Passeyr valley! Now I shall find their leader, Andreas Hofer, too! -
Andreas Hofer where are you, Andreas Hofer?"

"Here I am!" shouted Andreas Hofer, starting up from his fervent
prayer, and advancing a few steps.

The young girl gave a start on discovering the two men, who had
hitherto been concealed from her by a large rock; but she looked at
them searchingly, and did not seem to be frightened or anxious.

"Are you really Andreas Hofer" she asked, breathlessly.

"Ask him if I am," said Hofer, smiling and pointing to Sieberer.

"That is unnecessary," she replied calmly; "I see that you are
Andreas Hofer. You look precisely as my father described you to me.
There is the long beard, the crucifix, the saint's image on your
breast; and there are the kind eyes, and the whole dear face. God
bless you, Andreas Hofer! I bring you many cordial greetings from my
father, Anthony Wallner-Aichberger."

"God bless you, maiden," exclaimed Andreas Hofer, holding out both
his hands to her. Eliza took them, bent over Hofer's right hand, and
imprinted a glowing kiss on it.

"Girl, what are you doing?" asked Hofer, blushing with confusion.

"I kiss the dear hand which the Lord has chosen to deliver the
Tyrol," she said; "the dear hand which holds the rosary so piously
and the sword so bravely; the hand into which my father laid his
hand, as if on an altar, when he swore to God that he would assist
in delivering the Tyrol from the enemy and restoring it to the
emperor." "Look at this girl, Sieberer; how well she knows how to
flatter me," exclaimed Andreas, smilingly patting her flushed cheek.
"And you say your father sent you to me?"

"Yes, he did, Andreas Hofer. I ran all day yesterday; and this
morning I rose with the sun and continued my trip in order to reach
you as soon as possible, and deliver my father's message to you."

"You must be tired, poor little girl!" said Hofer, compassionately.
"Sit down on the rock yonder. There! And now speak!"

"In the first place, Anthony Wallner sends greeting, and informs you
that he has kept his word faithfully. The whole Puster valley has
already risen in insurrection; all the men followed him, and were
ready and eager to fight for the Tyrol and the dear Emperor Francis.
We have fought already a bloody battle at the bridge of St.
Lawrence, and another at the bridge of Laditch. Many soldiers of the
enemy were killed in the gap of Brixen, and many French and
Bavarians fell at the bridge of Laditch; but we also lost a great
many men there. Our men fought bravely, but there were too many of
the Bavarians and French, and so they finally succeeded in breaking
through our ranks and continued their march toward Sterzing. Hence,
my father sent me to you in the greatest haste to inform you of what
has occurred, and tell you to be on your guard. There are several
thousand Bavarians and French on the march to Sterzing. It is true,
our men have occupied the Muhlbach pass; but the enemy is too
strong, our men will not be able to annihilate him entirely."

"Then he will come hither," exclaimed Andreas Hofer.

"Yes, and we shall have a fight at length," said Anthony Sieberer,
joyously. "I am glad that our men will at length be face to face
with the enemy and see bloodshed."

"And the Austrians are not coming yet," sighed Andreas Hofer.

"Yes! they are!" exclaimed Eliza. "Anthony Wallner instructed me to
tell you that too. Several hundred Austrians joined us already at
the bridge of Laditch. It was their advanced guard, and they said
that all the others would follow them soon."

"It is General Hiller with the troops moving up from Salzburg," said
Hofer. "But where are Chasteler and Hormayr, who were to join us
from Carinthia? I think they are tarrying too long."

"But the Bavarians do not tarry," said Eliza, "and they are savage
and cruel men. I did not enter the town of Sterzing, but the people
on the road told me how the Bavarians killed, burned, and plundered
there yesterday; and those who told me cried with rage and grief.
The whole town is in insurrection; all have armed for the Emperor
Francis, and will die rather than longer obey the Bavarians and
French. Major von Baerenklau, the commander of the Bavarians in
Sterzing, finally got frightened; and on being informed that Andreas
Hofer moving against him on one side with the men of the Passeyr
valley, and that Anthony Wallner with the men of the Puster valley,
on the other side, had occupied the bridge of Laditch, he deemed it
prudent to evacuate Sterzing and await our men in the open plain. I
saw his troops marching through the valley while I was walking on
the heights; and I think it will not be long until we can see them
below in the plain."

"See, there they are already!" exclaimed Anthony Sieberer, who,
while Eliza was speaking, had spied with his keen eyes far into the
plain called the Sterzinger Moos.

In fact, a large, motley mass was to be seen moving up in the
distance yonder; yes, they were Bavarian soldiers, and they were
drawing nearer and nearer.

"Hurrah! the Bavarians are coming, the struggle begins," exclaimed
Anthony Sieberer, joyously; and the Tyrolese encamped below echoed
his shout with loud exultation: "The Bavarians are coming! The
struggle begins!"

"The struggle begins," said Hofer, "and God grant, in His mercy,
that not too much blood may be shed, and that we may be victorious!
Come, dear girl, I will take you under my protection, for you cannot
immediately set out for home, but must stay here with me. I shall
see to it that no harm befalls you, and, while we are fighting, we
will try to find a cave or nook in the rocks where we may conceal
you."

"I do not want to conceal myself, Andreas Hofer," said Eliza,
proudly. "The priests and women have likewise to perform their parts
in war-times: they must carry the wounded out of the range of the
enemy's bullets and dress their wounds; they must pray with the
dying, and nurse those whose lives are spared."

"You are a brave daughter of the Tyrol; I like to listen to your
soul-stirring words," exclaimed Andreas Hofer. "Now come, we will
speak with our men."

He grasped Eliza's hand, beckoned to his adjutant Sieberer, and
descended with them the path toward the Tyrolese.

They were no longer reposing, but all had risen and were looking
with rapt attention in the direction of the enemy. On beholding
Hofer, they burst into loud cheers, and asked him enthusiastically
to lead them against the enemy.

"Let us ascertain first where he is going, and what his intentions
are," said Hofer, thoughtfully. "Perhaps he does not know that we
are here, and intends to continue his march. In that case we will
let him pass us, follow him, and attack him only after he has
entered the Muhlbach pass."

"No, he does not intend to continue his march," exclaimed Sieberer.
"Look, he takes position in the plain and forms in squares as he has
learned to do from Bonaparte. Oh, brethren, let us attack him now.
Never fear. I know such squares, for, in 1805, I often attacked them
with our men, and we broke them. Forward, then, my friends, forward!
Now let us fight for God and our emperor!"

"For God and our emperor!" shouted the Tyrolese; and all seized
their arms and prepared for the struggle.

"Hold on!" cried Hofer, in a powerful voice. "As you have elected me
commander, you must be obedient to me and comply with my orders."

"We will, we will!" shouted the Tyrolese. "Just tell us, commander,
what we are to do, and we shall obey."

"You shall not descend into the plain, nor attack the enemy on all
sides. For you see, the squares are ready to shoot in all
directions, and if you attack them on all sides in the open plain,
you will be exposed to their most destructive fire; moreover, as
they are by far better armed than we, and have cannon, many of our
men would be uselessly sacrificed in such an attack."

"What the commander says is true," growled the Tyrolese. "It is by
far better for us to attack the enemy from a covered position, and
have our rear protected by the mountains."

"And I will show you now such a covered position from which you are
to attack the enemy," said Andreas Hofer, with impressive calmness.
"Look there, to the left. Do you see the ravine leading into the
mountains yonder? Well, we will now ascend the mountain-path
rapidly, descend into the ravine, and thence rush upon the enemy."

"Yes, yes, that is right! We will do so. Andreas Hofer is a good
captain!" said the Tyrolese to each other.

Hofer waved his hand imperatively toward them. "Now keep very
quiet," he said, "that we may not attract the attention of the enemy
prematurely, and thereby cause him to occupy the ravine before we
have reached it. Forward, then, quickly through the forest, and then
descend noiselessly into the valley. But before setting out, we will
pray two rosaries. If we long for success in battle, we must invoke
God's assistance."

He took his rosary and prayed; and the Tyrolese bent their heads
devoutly, and prayed like their commander. Then they glided quickly
and noiselessly through the thick forest, headed by Andreas Hofer,
who led Eliza Wallner with tender solicitude by the hand. At length
they reached the gorge, and Andreas Hofer was just about entering it
with the others, when Anthony Sieberer, Jacob Eisenstocken, and a
few other prominent Tyrolese, stepped to him and kept him back with
tender violence.

"A general does not accompany his soldiers into the thickest of the
fight," said Eisenstocken. "That is not his province. He has to
direct the battle with his head, but not to fight it out with his
arm."

"But bear in mind that Bonaparte does not leave his soldiers even in
battle," said Andreas Hofer, trying to push them aside and advance.

"No, dearest commander," exclaimed Anthony Sieberer, "you must not
go down with the men. Think of it, what would become of us and our
cause if an accident befell our commander and a bullet shattered his
beloved head! Our friends and sharpshooters would feel as though
that bullet had shattered all their beads; they would be discouraged
and give up our cause as lost. No, no, Andreas Hofer, you owe it to
your fatherland, your emperor, and your Tyrolese, not to expose
yourself to too great dangers; for your life is necessary to us, and
you are the standard which the Tyrolese are following. If our
standard sinks to the ground, our Tyrolese will be panic-stricken
and run away. Consequently you must not go into battle, either to-
day or at any time hereafter." "You are right, I see it," said
Hofer, mournfully. "They would be thunderstruck if a bullet should
hit their commander; hence I submit, and shall stay here. You will
stay with me, Lizzie Wallner, and Ennemoser, my secretary, shall do
so too. Now go, all of you, and God grant that we may all meet
again. I shall stay at this very spot, and he who wants to see me
must come hither. I can survey from here the whole plain of the
Sterzinger Moos. Now, my dear friends and brethren," he shouted in a



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