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"You will then take your revenge; that is quite natural. But to-day
WE take our revenge for the long oppressions and insults which we
have endured at the hands of the French. Come, general, let us ride
to Innspruck."

An hour afterward a long and brilliant procession moved through the
triumphal arch. It was headed by the band of the captured Bavarian
regiment, which had to play to glorify its own disgrace to-day; next
came an open carriage in which Martin Teimer sat with a radiant
face, and by his side General Bisson, pale, and hanging his head. In
another carriage followed the staff-officers, escorted by the
municipal authorities and clergy of Innspruck, and afterward
appeared the whole enormous force of the Tyrolese conducting the
disarmed prisoners in their midst. [Footnote: Hormayr's "Life of
Andreas Hofer," vol. i., p. 259.]

All Innspruck had put on its holiday attire; at all the windows were
to be seen gayly-dressed ladies and rejoicing girls, holding in
their hands wreaths, which they threw down on the victors. The bells
of all the churches were ringing, not the tocsin, but peals of joy
and thanksgiving.

For the task was accomplished, the Tyrol was free! In three days
after the insurrection broke out, the Tyrolese, by means solely of
their own valor and patriotism, aided by the natural strength of the
country, had entirely delivered the province from the enemy. The
capitulation of Wiltau crowned the work of deliverance, to the
everlasting glory of the brave Martin Teimer, and to the disgrace of
General Bisson and the French and Bavarians. [Footnote: Major Teimer
was rewarded for this capitulation of Wiltau with the title of Baron
von Wiltau, and with the order of Maria Theresa. The Emperor of
Austria, besides, presented him with valuable estates in Styria.]

There were great rejoicings in Innspruck all the day long; glad
faces were to be met with everywhere, and all shouted
enthusiastically: "We have become Austrians again! We are subjects
of the Emperor of Austria again! Long live the free Tyrol! Long live
the Emperor Francis!"

The streets presented a very lively appearance; all the painters of
the city were occupied in removing the hateful Bavarian colors, blue
and white, from the signs and houses, and putting on them the
Austrian, black and gold; and the Tyrolese marksmen held a regular
target-shooting at the Bavarian lion, which, to the great disgust of
the Tyrolese, had been raised four years ago over the entrance of
the imperial palace. Prizes were awarded for every piece which was
shot from it, and the principal reward was granted to him who
pierced the crown of the lion.

Yes, the northern Tyrol was free; but the South, the Italian Tyrol,
was groaning yet under the yoke of French oppression, and Andreas
Hofer intended to march thither with his forces, as he had concerted
at Vienna with the Archduke John and Hormayr, in order to bring to
the Italian Tyrolese the liberty which the German Tyrolese had
already conquered.

Hence Andreas Hofer, though his heart yearned for it, had refrained
from making his solemn entrance into Innspruck, and had gone on the
17th of April to Meran, where he was to review the Landsturm of that
town and its environs, the brave men who were to accompany him on
his expedition to the Italian Tyrol.

The Tyrolese were drawn up in four lines; at their head was to be
seen Hormayr, surrounded by the priests and civil officers who had
been exiled by the Bavarians, and who were returning now with him
and the Austrian army.

A cloud of dust arose from the neighboring gorges of the Passeyr
valley, and a joyous murmur ran through the ranks of the Tyrolese.
Deafening cheers rent the air then, for Andreas Hofer galloped up on
a fine charger, followed by the men of the Passeyr valley. His face
glowed, his eyes beamed with delight, and his whole bearing breathed
unbounded satisfaction and happiness.

He shook hands with Hormayr, laughing merrily. "We have kept," he
exclaimed, "the promises we made at Vienna, have we not? And our
dear Archduke John, I suppose, will be content with us?"

"He sends the best greetings of his love to his dear Andreas Hofer,"
said Hormayr, "and thanks him for all he has done here."

"He thanks me?" asked Hofer, in surprise. "We have done only what
our hearts longed for, and fulfilled our own wishes. We wished to
become Austrians again, for Austrians means Germans; we wanted no
longer to be Bavarians, for Bavarians meant French; hence, we were
anxious to rid our mountains of the disgrace and make our country
again free and a province of Germany. We have succeeded in doing so,
for the good God blessed our efforts and helped us in our sore
distress. Now we are once more the faithful children of our dear
emperor, and the dear Archduke John will come to us and stay with us
as governor of the Tyrol."

"He certainly will, and I know that he longs to live again in the
midst of his faithful Tyrolese. But for this reason, Andy, we must
help him that he may soon come to us, and aid him in delivering the
Southern Tyrol. I have great news for you, Andy, from the Archduke
John. I wished to communicate it to you first of all. No one was to
hear of it previous to you."

"I hope it is good news, Baron von Hormayr," said Andreas Hofer,
anxiously. "The dear archduke, I trust, has not met with a disaster?
Tell me quick, for my heart throbs as though one of my dear children
were in imminent peril."

"You yourself are a child, Andy. Do you suppose I should look so
cheerful if our dear archduke had met with a disaster? And even
though such were the case, would I then be so stupid as to inform
you of it now, at this joyful hour, when it is all-important that we
should be in high spirits? No, Andy, I bring splendid news. The
Archduke John achieved yesterday glorious victory at Sacile over the
Viceroy of Italy, Eugene Beauharnais; it was a great triumph, for he
took eight thousand prisoners, and captured a great many guns. But
amidst this triumph he thought of his dear Tyrolese, and dispatched
from the battle-field a courier who was to bring to me the news and
his order to tell his dear Tyrolese that he defeated the French
yesterday."

Andreas Hofer, overjoyed and with his countenance full of sunshine
and happiness, galloped down the long line of his sharpshooters.

"Hurrah! my dear friends and brethren," he shouted, "the Archduke
John sends his greetings to you. and informs you that he defeated
the French yesterday at Sacile and took eight thousand prisoners and
a great many guns. Hurrah! long live the Archduke John, the future
governor of the Tyrol!"

And the Tyrolese repeated, with deafening cheers: "Hurrah! long live
the Archduke John, the future governor of the Tyrol!"

"And I have to bring you still another greeting from the Archduke
John," shouted Baron von Hormayr. "But you shall not hear it here in
the plain, but up at the ancient castle of Tyrol. It is true, the
Bavarians and the miserable French have destroyed the fine castle,
but the ruins of the ancient seat of our princes remain to us. We
will now ascend to those ruins, and up there you shall hear the
message which the Archduke John sends to you."

The whole force of the Tyrolese thereupon moved up the mountain-path
leading to the castle of Tyrol, headed by Andreas Hofer and Baron
von Hormayr.

On reaching the crest of the hill, Hofer stopped and alighted from
his horse. He knelt down amidst the ruins of the castle with a
solemn, deeply-moved face, and holding the crucifix on his breast
between his hands, and lifting his eyes to heaven, he exclaimed with
fervent devotion: "Thanks, Lord God, thanks for the aid that thou
halt hitherto vouchsafed to us! Thanks for delivering the country
and permitting us to be Austrians again! O God, grant now stability
to our work - and preserve it from falling to ruin! If Thou art
content with me, let me further serve and be useful to my native
country! I am but a weak instrument in Thy hand, my God, but Thou
hast used it, and I pray Thee not to cast it aside now, but impart
to it strength and durability, that it may last until the enemy has
been driven from the country, and the whole Tyrol is free again for
evermore! I kiss the dear soil where our princes walked in former
times, and where they swore to their Tyrolese that they should be
freemen, and that their free constitution should be sacred for all
time to come!"

He bent down, kissed the moss-grown stones, and encircled them
tenderly with his arms as though they were an altar before which he
was uttering devout vows and prayers. The Tyrolese, who had
gradually reached the summit, had silently knelt down behind Andreas
Hofer, and were praying like him.

One sentiment animated them all and illuminated their faces with the
radiant lustre of joy: the Tyrol was delivered from the foreign
yoke, and they, the sons of the country, had alone liberated their
beloved fatherland.

"Now, men of the Tyrol," shouted Hormayr, "listen to the message
which the Archduke John sends to you."

And amid the solemn silence of the Tyrolese, and the peals of the
Meran church - bells penetrating up to them, Hormayr read to them a
document drawn up by the Archduke John, by virtue of which he
resumed possession of the Tyrol in the name of the emperor, declared
it to be incorporated with the imperial states, and solemnly vowed
that, as a reward of its loyalty, it should remain united with
Austria for all future time. At the same time, the ancient
constitution and the former privileges were restored to the
Tyrolese, and Baron von Hormayr was appointed governor of the Tyrol.


CHAPTER XX.

ELIZA WALLNER'S RETURN.


All Windisch-Matrey was again in joyful commotion to-day; for a
twofold festival was to be celebrated: the return of the men of
Windisch-Matrey, who had so bravely fought for the country and so
aided in delivering it; and then, as had been resolved previous to
their departure, Eliza Wallner's wedding was to come off to-day.

She had redeemed her pledge, she had proved that she was a true and
brave daughter of the Tyrol, and Anthony Wallner, her father, was no
longer angry with her; he wished to reward her for her courage and
intrepidity, and make her happy. Therefore, he had sent a messenger
secretly and without her knowledge to Windisch-Matrey, and had
ordered his wife to decorate the house festively, and request the
curate to repair to the church and perform the marriage rites. The
returning Tyrolese were to march to the church, and, after thanking
God for the deliverance of the Tyrol, the curate was to marry Eliza
Wallner and her lover in presence of the whole congregation.

Since early dawn, therefore, all the married women and girls of
Windisch-Matrey, dressed in their handsome holiday attire, had been
in the street, and had decorated the route which the returning men
were to take, and adorned the church with wreaths and garlands of
flowers.

Wallner's wife alone had remained at home, for she had to attend to
the preparations for the wedding-banquet, with which she and her
servant-girls had been occupied during the whole of the previous
day. There were a great many things to be done yet; the table had to
be set in the large bar-room for the wedding-guests; the roasts had
to be looked after in the kitchen; and the whole house had to be
decorated, and festoons of flowers to be suspended round its
entrance.

"Schroepfel might render me good service now," said Wallner's wife,
eagerly. "I have so many things to attend to, and he does not move
his hands, but sits like a log at the door of dear Ulrich von
Hohenberg, and cares for nothing else. Oh, Schroepfel, Schroepfel,
come here! I want to see you!"

At the staircase leading down into the hall appeared the sunburnt,
furrowed face of old Schroepfel.

"If you want to see me, you must come up here," he shouted. "I have
been told to stand guard here, and I will not desert my post, even
for the sake of Mrs. Wallner, until I am relieved."

"He is a queer fellow," said Mrs. Wallner, laughing, "but I must do
what he says."

She hastened up-stairs. At the door of the room where the prisoner
was confined stood the servant, pressing his face to the brown
panels of the door.

"Now, Schroepfel," asked Mrs. Wallner, laughing, "can you see
through the boards? For you put your eyes to the door as though it
were a window."

"It is a window," said Schroepfel, in a low voice, limping up a few
steps to his mistress. "I have bored four small holes in the door,
and through them I am able to see the whole room and all that the
prisoner is doing. Look, Mrs. Wallner! the hole below there is my
window when he is in bed and asleep; I can see his face through it.
The hole a little above it enables me to watch him while he is
seated at the table, and writing or reading; and through the hole up
here I can see his face when he is pacing the room."

"You are a strange fellow," said Mrs. Wallner, shaking her head.
"You watch the poor sick prisoner as though he were an eagle, always
ready to fly from the nest."

"He is about what you say," said Schroepfel, thoughtfully. "He is no
longer sick, and his wings have grown a great deal during the week
since he was here, I believe he would like to fly from here."

"Oh, no," said Mrs. Wallner, with a shrug. "He loves my Lizzie, and
I do not believe that he who loves that girl will wish to fly away
before she flies with him."

"I do not know about that; I have my own notions about it," said
Schroepfel. "He is a Bavarian for all that, and the Bavarians are
all faithless and dishonest. I swore to watch him and not lose sight
of him, and I must keep my oath; hence, I shall not leave the door
until I am relieved."

"Then you will not come down-stairs and help me fix the wreaths and
garlands, set the table, and clean the knives?"

"No, dear Mrs. Wallner, I am not allowed to do so, much as I would
like to assist you. A sentinel must never leave his post, or he will
be called a deserter, and Mr. Wallner always told me that that was a
great disgrace for an honest fellow. Now, as I am an honest fellow,
and, owing to my lame leg, cannot serve the country in any other way
than watching this prisoner, I shall stay here as a sentinel and
take good care not to desert."

"Well, do so, then," exclaimed Mrs. Wallner, half angrily, half
laughingly. "But you may go in to the gentleman and tell him to be
of good cheer, for Eliza will come back to-day, and the wedding will
take place immediately after her return, when he will be free. Tell
him to prepare for the ceremony; for, when the bells commence
ringing the returning defenders of the country will have reached the
village, and we are to go with him to the church, where the curate
will await us."

"Of course, I shall tell him all this," growled Schroepfel, and Mrs.
Wallner hastened down-stairs again.

"Yes, I shall tell him," murmured Schroepfel to himself, "but I
wonder if it will gladden his heart? During the first few days, when
he had the wound-fever, he talked strange things in his delirium,
and derided and scorned our beautiful Lizzie, who, he said, was bent
upon becoming an aristocratic lady. Since he is well again, he
abuses her no longer, but he looks very sombre, and during the whole
week he has not once inquired after his betrothed. God blast the
accursed Boafok if he should love the girl no longer, and if he did
not honestly intend to make her his wife! I will go in to him and
see how he receives the news."

Ulrich von Hohenberg was seated in his armchair, and gazing musingly
out of the window. He did not turn when the old servant entered his
room; he seemed not to have noticed his arrival, but continued
staring at the sky even when Schroepfel stood close to him. The face
of the young man was still pale and wan, and under his eyes,
formerly so clear and cheerful, were to be seen those bluish circles
indicative of internal sufferings of the body or the soul. However,
since the wound-fever had left him, he had never uttered a
complaint, and the wound, which was not very severe, had already
closed and was healing rapidly. Hence, it was doubtless grief that
imparted so gloomy and sickly an appearance to Captain Ulrich von
Hohenberg, and it was this very suspicion that rendered Schroepfel
distrustful, and caused him to watch his prisoner night and day with
sombre vigilance.

He stood a few minutes patiently, and waited for the captain to
address him; but Hohenberg continuing to take no notice of him, he
resolutely laid his hand on his shoulder.

"Sir, awake!" he exclaimed sullenly.

The captain gave a slight start, and pushed the servant's hand with
an angry gesture from his shoulder.

"I am awake," he said; "it is therefore quite unnecessary for you to
lay hands on me. What is it? What do you want of me?"

"I want to tell you only that our men will return this morning, and
that this will be a great holiday in Windisch-Matrey. For our men
are victorious, and the country is delivered from the enemy. Mr.
Wallner has written to us that the brave Tyrolese delivered the
whole country in three days, that they have taken prisoners eight
thousand infantry and one thousand cavalry, and captured eight guns,
two stands of colors, and two French eagles. Besides, several
thousand French and Bavarians have perished in the gorges and on the
battle-fields. Very few of our own men have been killed, and not one
of them made prisoner. Now the whole country is free, and our
victorious men are coming home."

Not a muscle in the captain's face had betrayed that he had heard
Schroepfel's report. He still stared quietly at the sky, and his
features expressed neither grief nor surprise at the astounding
news.

"You do not ask at all, sir, if Eliza Wallner will return with the
men?" asked Schroepfel, angrily. "I should think you ought to take
some interest in that, for Lizzie is your betrothed."

"She is not!" cried the captain, starting up indignantly, with
flushed cheeks and flashing eyes.

"Yes, she is," said Schroepfel, composedly. "I myself heard the girl
say to her father and the men of Windisch-Matrey: 'He is my
bridegroom; I love him, and you must not kill him.' And because she
said so, the men spared your life, although Anthony Wallner-
Aichberger was very angry, and would not forgive his daughter for
having given her heart to an enemy of her country, a Bavarian, and,
moreover, a nobleman, and not to an honest peasant. But Lizzie
begged and wailed so much that her father could not but yield, and
promised her to forgive all if she proved that she was no traitoress
to her country, but a true and brave daughter of the Tyrol; after
doing so, he would permit her to marry her Bavarian betrothed. And
now she has proved that she is a true and brave daughter of the
Tyrol, and the whole country is full of the heroic deeds performed
by Lizzie Wallner, and of the intrepidity which she displayed under
the most trying circumstances. And to-day, captain, you will meet
again your betrothed, who saved your life, and who went with the men
only to perform heroic deeds that would induce her father to consent
to her union with you. I tell you, sir, beautiful Lizzie Wallner,
your betrothed, will return in an hour or two."

The young man's face crimsoned for a moment, and when the color
disappeared from his cheeks, their pallor was even more striking and
ghastly than before.

"Eliza Wallner fought, then, very bravely against - against my
countrymen?" he asked, pantingly.

"No, she did not fight, sir, but she went into the thickest shower
of bullets to carry away the wounded Tyrolese, and attend to their
injuries; and she drove a hay-wagon directly toward the enemy, and
our men were concealed behind the hay, and she brought a keg of wine
to our men while the bullets were whistling round her; and, finally,
she and the other women escorted the Bavarian prisoners to Castle
Steinach."

The young man uttered a cry, and buried his face in his hands.

"What a disgrace, oh, what a disgrace!" he groaned, despairingly;
and in his grief he seemed to have entirely forgotten the presence
of the servant, for he wept, wept so bitterly that large scalding
tears trickled down between his fingers. "Our brave soldiers were
defeated by miserable peasants," he wailed. "The Bavarian prisoners
were marched off under an escort of women!"

Schroepfel stood as if petrified, and this outburst of the grief of
the usually haughty and laconic young man filled him with the utmost
surprise and confusion.

However, the captain suddenly dried his tears and dropped his hands
from his face.

"And Eliza Wallner, you say, led the women who escorted the Bavarian
prisoners?" he asked, in a firm, almost menacing voice.

"Yes, sir, she did," said Schroepfel. "And now her father is
reconciled with her, and, to prove it, he will marry his daughter to
you to-day."

The captain said nothing; only a proud, scornful smile played around
his lips for a moment.

"Yes," added Schroepfel, "the wedding will come off to-day.
Immediately after their return the procession will move to the
church, where a thanksgiving service will be held; it will be
followed by the marriage ceremony. Mr. Wallner wrote to his wife to
send you to the church as soon as the bells commenced ringing, and
to keep you in the vestry until you were sent for. Remember,
therefore, as soon as the bells commence ringing, I shall call for
you and take you to the vestry."

The young man was silent, and gazed thoughtfully before him; be then
threw back his head with an air of bold resolution.

"All right," he said, "I shall accompany you. Did you not say that
my baggage had been sent hither from the castle?"

"Yes, yes, Miss Elza sent every thing hither by her servants, and
she herself came with them. And during the first days, when you had
the wound-fever, she came here at least three times a day and asked
how you were, and cried and lamented, and entreated me for God's
sake to admit her to your room only for a brief moment. But I had
sworn not to admit any one to my prisoner, nor to permit him to
speak with any one; hence, I could not make an exception even in
favor of the kind-hearted young lady. She comes nevertheless every
day and inquires about you; and she begged hard and long until Mrs.
Wallner permitted her to send your dinner always from the castle. As
you will be free to-day, I may tell you all this, for it will no
longer do any harm."

"No, it will no longer do any harm," said the captain, with a
peculiar smile. "Listen, I wish to dress up for to-day's ceremony,
and don my gala uniform. Therefore be so kind as to fetch it."

"I will, captain, I will fetch the uniform and be back directly,"
said Schroepfel, cheerfully, limping hastily toward the door. But
outside he stood still and pressed his finger thoughtfully to his
nose. "I do not know exactly what to think of it," he murmured to
himself. "At first he uttered a loud cry and said Lizzie Wallner was
not his betrothed; afterward he lamented piteously because Lizzie
Wallner escorted the Bavarian prisoners; and finally he asked for
his gala uniform in order to dress up for the ceremony. Well, we
shall see very soon if he has honest intentions toward Lizzie and
really loves her. If he thinks he can play her a trick, he had
better, beware, for I shall never lose sight of him; I shall always
be behind him, and if he does not treat the girl as he ought to, I
will strike him down with my fists like a mad bull! I will do it, so
help me God!"


CHAPTER XXI.

THE CATASTROPHE.


The bells were ringing, the men were rejoicing, and the girls of
Windisch-Matrey and its environs took position with baskets of
flowers on both sides of the street. For the victorious defenders of
the country were approaching; their cheers were already heard at a
distance; and they already saw the merry boys who had gone out to
meet them, and who now headed the procession amid manifestations of
the liveliest delight. Yes, they were coming, they were coming!
Yonder, down the mountain-slope, moved the motley procession of the
Tyrolese, resembling a glittering serpent of gigantic proportions.
How their rifles flashed in the sun! How beautifully the bouquets
adorned their pointed green hats! And now they were already able to
distinguish the faces and the individual forms. Immediately behind
the boys, at the head of the procession, walked Anthony Wallner-
Aichberger. How splendid the commander-in-chief looked; and how
beautiful was Lizzie, walking by his side, handsomely dressed, and
wearing a beautiful bouquet in her bosom! Her attentive father had



Online LibraryL. MühlbachAndreas Hofer → online text (page 19 of 43)