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them to be quiet that he might address them.

The cheers and acclamations ceased immediately, and Hofer spoke
amidst the breathless silence of the crowd in a loud, ringing voice:

"God bless you, dear people of Innspruck! As you wanted me to become
your commander-in-chief, I am now in your midst. But there are many
other Tyrolese who are not inhabitants of Innspruck. All who wish to
be my comrades must fight as brave and honest Tyrolese for God, the
emperor, and our fatherland. Those who are unwilling to do so must
go back to their homes. Those who wish to become my comrades must
never desert me. I shall not desert you either, as sure as my name
is Andreas Hofer! You have seen me now, and heard what I had to say
to you; therefore good-by!" [Footnote: Hofer's own words. - See
"Gallery of Heroes: Andreas Hofer," p.126.]

When Hofer had concluded his speech, thundering cheers rent again
the air; they continued even after he had left the balcony, closed
the door after him, and stepped back into the room.

"That was a very fine speech, Andy," said Niederkircher, shaking
hands with him, and gazing tenderly into his flushed face. "It was
evident that your words were not learned by rote, but came from your
heart, and hence they could not but make a profound impression. But
now, commander-in-chief of the Tyrol, dinner is ready. The soup is
already on the table, and I myself shall have the honor of waiting
on you."

"But Speckbacher is not yet here," said Andreas Hofer, "and we
cannot dine without him. We fought and worked together; now we will
also rest and attend to our comforts together. Do you not think so
too, brother Red-beard?"

But the Capuchin made no reply, or rather he responded only by a
loud and long snore.

"By the Holy Virgin! Haspinger has fallen asleep on the floor
yonder," exclaimed Andreas, smiling.

"Let us waken him, then," said Niederkircher, turning to the

"No, my friend, no, we will not do so," whispered Andreas, drawing
him back. "Our faithful and brave brother Red-beard has been so long
awake and at work that we must let him rest, and it would be very
wrong in us to arouse him from his sleep. Let us defer dinner,
therefore, until Speckbacher is here, and until Haspinger has slept

"But you said you were hungry, Andreas - Why do you want to wait,
then? Why do you not dine now and let the other two dine afterward?
You are commander-in-chief, the highest officer of all, and they
must do as it suits you, and you must not do as it suits them."

"Do not repeat such nonsense," cried Andreas, vehemently.

"I am commander-in-chief only because it is necessary that there
should be one to hold the whole together lest it should fall
asunder. That is what Father Haspinger said, and it is true. But
even though I am commander-in-chief of the Tyrol, I am not
commander-in-chief of my friends in my intimate intercourse with
them. All three of us have worked to the best of our power for the
fatherland, and I have not done more than Speckbacher or the
Capuchin. It is true, I am hungry, but I shall not go to dinner
without my friends; moreover, it is good that they are not here yet,
and that I have a little time left. The cravings of my stomach made
me almost forget my duty to God, and by the absence of my friends He
reminds me that I owe Him something and must come to Him. Keep your
fine soup, therefore, a little while, Niederkircher; I will, in the
mean time, go to the church of the Franciscans to report there to
the Lord as His faithful servant and soldier."

He took his black Tyrolese hat, descended hastily the staircase, and
went into the street. He had not noticed the dissatisfied air of
Niederkircher, and the fact that the innkeeper had not even thanked
him for his greeting; for all his thoughts were now fixed upon God,
and he reproached himself contritely with almost forgetting God,
owing to the cravings of his stomach.

"Forgive me, my Lord and God," he murmured, on entering the gloomy
nave of the church, "for not coming to Thee at once!"

He walked up the aisle with a noiseless, hurried step, in order not
to disturb the worshippers, to one of the small altars, before which
he knelt down devoutly.

"Here I am, my Lord and God," he murmured, clasping his hands, "to
render homage to Thee and thank Thee for delivering us from the
enemy and granting victory to us. I thank Thee for it from the
bottom of my heart, for Thy mercy was with us, and Thou didst lead
us as a true general. Guide us henceforth likewise, my Lord and God,
and stand by Thy faithful servant, that he may not fail in the
difficult task which he has now taken upon himself. Lord, Thou
knowest that vanity and pride do not prompt me to become more than I
ought to be; Thou knowest that I would rather be quietly at home
with my wife and children, than play the distinguished gentleman
here and assume an aristocratic title. But the Capuchin, who is
wiser than I, says it must be so, and I must be commander-in-chief.
Hence, I submit patiently, and consent to play the ruler here until
Thou, my Lord and God, allowest me again to be Thy humble and simple
servant, and to return to my beloved Anna Gertrude, my three little
daughters, and my dear little boy. O Holy Virgin, watch with
maternal care over my dear ones at home; protect them, and grant
peace to their hearts, that they may not tremble for my safety.
Grant peace to us all, Holy Mother of God, and - "

"Look, look, there he is!" shouted a loud voice behind him,
interrupting him in his prayer. "See, there is the great hero! How
humbly he is kneeling before the altar! Look at Andreas Hofer."

Andreas Hofer turned, indignant at the interruption and the words so
loudly uttered in that sacred place. He saw several hundred persons
thronging the aisle and fixing their eyes upon him. All crowded
forward and raised their heads to see Andreas Hofer, admire his fine
beard, and examine his whole appearance. They bad followed him
quietly, and as the news that Andreas Hofer, commander-in-chief of
the Tyrol, had gone to the church of the Franciscans, spread
rapidly, all had hastened thither to see him and render him homage.

But Andreas Hofer thought this homage decidedly irksome, and he was
angry that the spectators had disturbed his prayer. He, therefore,
made a bitter-sweet face in response to the enthusiastic
demonstrations and affectionate greetings of the people, and elbowed
his way hastily toward the door.

"I thank you for your attachment," he said to those who were close
to him, "but I should have been better pleased if you had allowed me
quietly to pursue my way, and had not interrupted my prayer. But now
pray let me go home alone, and do not follow me. It may be becoming
for aristocratic gentlemen to have a large suite behind them, but I
am only a simple Tyrolese like you all, and do not want to be any
thing else. Moreover, I am a very ordinary-looking man, and there is
no reason whatever why you should stare at me in this manner. Pray,
therefore, do not go with me, but let the return quietly to
Niederkircher's tavern, where I am going to dine."

They obeyed, of course, and opened a passage for him to step out of
the church door. But thereupon they rushed out to look after him and
shout, "Long live Andreas Hofer, the pious commander-in-chief of the
Tyrol!" But no one ventured to follow him; all gazed affectionately
and reverentially after his tall form, as he walked with a slow and
dignified step down the street.

"There are strange people in these cities," murmured Hofer to
himself, while walking along; "they do not even let me pray quietly,
and are as curious as swallows. They follow me everywhere, and stare
at me as though I were a wild beast. If that is being a famous man,
I do not care for fame; and for the whole world I would not be an
aristocratic or famous man all my lifetime. When peace has been
restored to the country, and there is no longer an enemy to fight,
they will forget my humble services, and I shall live again quietly
at my inn in the Passeyr valley. No one will then run after the
Sandwirth when he comes to Innspruck to sell horses; and I shall sit
again in Niederkircher's back room, eat dumplings, and drink native
wine. Ah, Holy Virgin, let it soon be so again, that the commander-
in-chief may be again Sandwirth Andreas Hofer."

"Hurrah, long live the commander-in-chief of the Tyrol!" shouted at
this moment some men who had recognized him, and stood still to do
homage to him as though he were a sovereign prince.

Andreas Hofer accelerated his step, and was very glad on reaching
the tavern soon afterward.



Andreas ascended the staircase hastily, and entered the balcony-

The Capuchin had now risen from the carpet; Joseph Speckbacher was
with him, and both hastened to meet Andreas Hofer.

"You have kept us waiting a long while, brother," said the Capuchin,
indignantly; "you ought to have borne in mind that we have not eaten
any thing, and are, therefore, very hungry."

"Yes, Father Andy," exclaimed Speckbacher, smiling, "you hung our
bread-basket very high; we are quite weak from waiting and hunger."

"Now they blame ME for keeping THEM waiting," said Andreas mildly.
"And yet I think they kept me waiting, and hunger drove me to the
church. Well, never mind, my dear friends and comrades; we are
together now, and I am very glad of it. Look at Niederkircher and
his large dish! How splendidly it smokes and smells, and how good it
will be to eat! Well, Niederkircher, put the dish on the table here,
and sit down and dine with us."

"No, no, commander-in-chief, it is my duty to-day to wait on you,
for you are now a highly distinguished gentleman, and so are the
other two; hence, it would not behoove me to dine with you."

"If you refuse to do so. I shall not eat at all," cried Andreas

"And I shall run away," said Speckbacher, jumping up from his chair.

"I shall sit still," growled the Capuchin, "but I shall henceforth
turn my back upon Neiderkircher if he allows our soup to become cold
instead of sitting down at once and dining with us."

"I will do so," cried Niederkircher, moving a chair to the table,
and seating himself on it. "But now my friends, permit me at least
to fill your plates."

"We will not object to that!" exclaimed the three friends, laughing;
"and pray fill them well, Niederkircher."

There was a long pause now; nothing was heard but the rattling of
the spoons on the plates. All at once this comfortable silence was
broken by deafening cheers and shouts uttered on the street.

Hofer dropped his spoon, frowned, and listened. "I believe they are
calling me again," he sighed, dolefully.

He was not mistaken. Hundreds of youthful voices were heard shouting
Andreas Hofer's name, and their cheers were followed by a loud,
ringing flourish of violins, fifes, bugles, and trumpets.

"They have musicians with them," exclaimed Hofer, anxiously. "Holy
Virgin, just listen how they are roaring! It seems as if they were
intent on upsetting the house."

"They are calling you, they want to see you," said Niederkircher,
who had stepped to the window. "They are the students of the
university; they have come in their holiday attire to serenade you."

"And why do they want to serenade ME?" asked Andreas Hofer, almost
indignantly. "Why not Speckbacher, or the Capuchin, or Peter Mayer,
or Anthony Wallner? They all did just as much as I did, and perhaps
even more."

"But you are the people's favorite, brother," said the Capuchin,
smiling; "the people believe in you, and it would be cruel and
short-sighted in us to shake their faith in you. Every thing must
come from you; you must have done and accomplished every thing."

"And what we others did, we did only in your name, Father Andy!"
exclaimed Speckbacher; "the people and the sharpshooters would not
have obeyed us so well, had they not believed that you had issued
all the orders and instructions which we gave them. On hearing your
name they obeyed, fought well, and were confident that we should
succeed. And for this reason they are justified in coupling your
name with the celebration of the victory. Just listen how they are
shouting your name! It is true, the dear boys have tremendous lungs,
and if you do not comply with their wishes, and show yourself on the
balcony, I am afraid they will make us deaf and themselves quite

"Well, I do not care," sighed Andreas; "open the door again,
Niederkircher, I must step out on the balcony."

"And make another fine speech as before," said the innkeeper,
throwing open the folding-doors.

Andreas made no reply, but went to the balcony with a grave and
almost angry face. Deafening cheers greeted him, and the dense crowd
assembled in the street shouted: "Long live Andreas Hofer, the
commander-in-chief! Long live Andreas Hofer, the liberator!"

"My brave son, Joseph Speckbacher," said the Capuchin, filling his
glass, "you see every one gets his due in the end. Day before
yesterday, while we were fighting in the sweat of our brows on Mount
Isel, my dear brother Andreas Hofer sat up at his friend Etschmann's
tavern. A bottle of wine stood before him, and his rosary lay on the
table; and while we were fighting, he prayed and drank, and sent us
from time to time his orders, which sounded like oracles, which no
one understood, and which every one interpreted as he deemed
prudent. Now he must toil in his turn and fight with his tongue,
while we are sitting here snugly and drinking our wine. There is
another flourish outside! Trara! trara!"

And the Capuchin waved his glass and emptied it at one draught.

Suddenly the crowd in the street became silent; a student came
forward and advanced several steps toward the balcony.

"Andreas Hofer, beloved commander-in-chief of the Tyrol," he said,
in a loud, solemn voice, "our hearts are full of love for you and
praise of your heroic deeds, and our lips, too, would like to
overflow. Permit us, therefore, noble, hero, beloved liberator, to
sing before you a song glorifying your exploits; a song praising
your struggles and victories; a song which will henceforth be sung
by every man, woman, and child, throughout the Tyrol. We students
wrote the song, for your heroic deeds filled our hearts with
enthusiasm, and our attachment to you taught us the finest music for
it, Permit us, therefore, to sing before you the song of the
victorious hero Andreas Hofer."

"No, no, my dear friends, do not sing," exclaimed Hofer, gravely and
almost angrily. "Do not sing, and do not play any longer on your
fifes and violins. We did not take the field to sing and dance, and
I did not leave my wife and children at home with a light heart, but
with tears and anxiety. But I did it because it was the Lord's will;
and as He accompanied me into battle we succeeded in defeating the
enemy. But it was a hard and mournful task; many brave and excellent
men lost their limbs or even their lives, and many wounded patriots
are yet imploring God to relieve them of their terrible agony. And
while they are groaning and wailing, can you wish to sing? While so
many fathers and mothers are lamenting their fallen sons, can you
wish to exult here and make music? No, my dear friends, that would
not be becoming for a Christian and charitable people. You had
better lay your violins aside and take up your rosaries. Do not
sing, but pray. Pray aloud and fervently for our beloved emperor,
and, if you like, you may add a low prayer for poor Andreas Hofer.
But you shall not sing any songs in his honor, for God alone
accomplished it all, and homage should be rendered to none but Him.
Therefore, do not sing, but pray. Pray in my name, too, for I have
not much time now, and cannot pray as much as I should like to do.
Say to the good God that we toiled honestly and bravely; say to Him
that we suffered privations, watched, fought, and conquered, for the
fatherland; and pray to Him for the brave men who accompanied us to
the holy struggle, and who will never return, but have succumbed to
their mortal wounds. Do not sing, but pray for their poor souls.
Play your merry melodies no longer, but go home quietly and pray God
to protect us henceforth as He has heretofore. That is what I wish
to tell you, my dear friends. And now God bless you, and accept my
heart-felt thanks for your love and attachment." [Footnote: "Gallery
of Heroes: Andreas Hofer," p. 130.]

The students, seized with profound emotion, and deeply impressed by
the simple yet soul-stirring words of Andreas Hofer, complied
quietly and willingly with his request. Their fifes, violins, and
bugles became silent, and the crowd dispersed noiselessly, without
uttering any more cheers and acclamations.

"They are fine, dear lads," said Andreas Hofer, looking after them
with beaming eyes; "strong and hearty lads, full of spirits and
impetuosity, but on the other hand so gentle and submissive! - Well,
now," he exclaimed joyfully, stepping back into the room, "I hope we
shall have some rest, and shall be able to finish our dinner in

This hope, however, was not to be fulfilled. The dinner was not yet
over by any means, when cheers and loud noise resounded once more in
the street, and another solemn procession approached the tavern.
This time, however, the members of the procession did not remain in
the street, but entered the house, and the landlord, who had just
gone down stairs to fetch some more bottles of wine from the cellar,
hastened back to the balcony-room and announced that all the
commanders of the Landsturm, and the municipal officers had arrived
to pay their respects to the commander-in-chief of the Tyrol and
communicate a request to him.

"Well, then," sighed Hofer, rising, "let them come in here. I see
that our dinner is spoiled anyhow. Let them come in here,

"God forbid! there are so many of them that they would not have room
here; besides, it would not be becoming for you to receive all these
gentlemen here where there is a dinner-table. I have conducted them
all to the large ballroom; they await you there, Andreas Hofer."

"I would I knew what they want of me," sighed Hofer, stroking his
long beard.

" I know what they want, Father Andy," said Speckbacher, smiling. "I
myself suggested to the commanders of the Landsturm the plan of
asking of you what they are going to communicate to you now. And you
must not refuse to comply with their request, Father Andy; for the
good of the country demands that you should yield, and the emperor
himself will thank you for so doing."

"I know likewise what these gentlemen want of you, brother Andy,"
exclaimed the Capuchin, filling his glass. "I was yesterday already
in Innspruck, where I conferred with the mayor and the members of
the city council, and they will tell you now what we resolved then.
You must not resist, brother; you must, on the contrary, comply with
their request; for it is God's will that you should, and therefore
you must. Now go to the ballroom, dear Andy."

"I shall not, unless you two accompany me thither," answered Andreas
Hofer, emphatically. "They will finally believe I wish to monopolize
all honors, and will charge me with forgetting that Haspinger and
Speckbacher, day before yesterday, did a great deal more than myself
at the battle of Mount Isel, and that we should never have gained a
victory there without them. Therefore, you must walk side by side
with me, one on my right, the other on my left hand; and we will
enter the ballroom just as we fought in battle."

On entering the ballroom, where the commanders of the Landsturm in
their uniforms and the officers of the municipality had ranged
themselves along the walls, the three heroes were received with
three deafening cheers; and this time Andreas Hofer was not bold
enough to tell the enthusiastic gentlemen to be silent, but he
looked quite respectfully at the mayor in his long black robe, who
was approaching him with a grave step between two members of the
city council.

"We come," he said, solemnly, "not only to thank you for the heroic
deeds which you have performed, but to pray you to do still more for
us and the fatherland. You have delivered the country from the
enemy, but there is lacking to it a head, a crown. The Bavarian
government commission, and Count Rechberg the king's lieutenant,
have escaped from Innspruck with the French forces. We are free from
the Bavarian yoke; we are no longer governed by the king's
lieutenant, and in his place we want a lieutenant of the emperor.
There must be one in whose hands all power is concentrated, and who
rules over the country in the emperor's name. You must fill this
position, Andreas Hofer. The authorities and the people of Innspruck
elect you the emperor's lieutenant. You shall govern the country in
his name, and we will all swear to you obedience, fidelity, and

After he had concluded his address, Anthony Wallner stepped forth
from the ranks of the commanders of the Landsturm. "Yes," he
exclaimed. "you shall be the emperor's lieutenant. We will all swear
to you obedience, fidelity, and love. We commanders of the Landsturm
wished to say this to our commander-in-chief, and this was the
reason why we came hither. We want to pray you to govern the Tyrol
in the emperor's name. Your consent would give us the greatest

"We want to pray you," said one of the members of the city council,
coming forward from the midst of his colleagues, "to take up your
residence as the emperor's lieutenant in the imperial palace on the

"That will never do," cried Andreas Hofer, in dismay. "How could I
be so impudent as to reside in the palace of his majesty the
emperor? No, no, that will never do; I cannot consent to it."

"It will do very well, and you must consent to it," said Haspinger,
solemnly. "You shall reside in the imperial palace, not to gratify
your own vanity, but to reassure the people, and show them that they
are not entirely destitute of a ruler and protector. You shall
govern the country for God and the emperor until all our enemies are
worsted and the war is at an end. The emperor has not time at this
juncture to take care of us: he must devote his whole attention to
the reorganization of his army and prepare for the resumption of
hostilities. The armistice expires at the end of this month, and war
will then, of course, break out once more, for the French emperor
will not keep quiet and submit before he is worsted and crushed
entirely; and we have still a great deal to do, a great deal to
fight, and much more blood will have to be shed, before we have
delivered the whole Southern Tyrol, Carinthia, and Carniola, from
the yoke of the tyrant. In order to do so, Speckbacher, Wallner, and
I, will lead the brave Tyrolese against the enemy. Now, if the
country is to be governed properly while we are fighting, a man in
whom both the people and the authorities have confidence must be at
the head of the government. You are this man, Andreas Hofer. The
people, the authorities, and the defenders of the country, pray you
to consent to it; but God commands you through my mouth to accept
the position."

"Well, then," exclaimed Andreas, enthusiastically, lifting his eyes
devoutly to heaven, "I will do joyfully what God commands, and what
you request me to do. I will take upon myself this arduous duty; I
will comply with your wishes. You say it is necessary for the good
of the country and the emperor that there should be a lieutenant of
the emperor; and if there is no other and better man than I, and if
you have confidence in me, I will accept the position. I am nothing
but an instrument in the hand of God my Lord, and I do what He wants
me to do, even though it should cost my life. My life is in His
hand, and what I am, and have, and can be, belongs to my emperor and
my country. I will be, then, the emperor's lieutenant in the Tyrol
until the emperor issues orders to the contrary, or until peace is
restored to the country, and the emperor is able again to take
charge of the government. Let us pray God and the Holy Virgin that
that day may soon dawn upon us!"

"Long live the emperor's lieutenant!" shouted the whole assembly,

"Now," exclaimed the mayor, "give me your hand, Andreas Hofer,
lieutenant of the emperor, and commander-in-chief of the Tyrol. We
will conduct you in solemn procession to the imperial palace, for
the lieutenant must take up his residence there."

"Yes, yes, let us accompany Andreas Hofer to the imperial palace,"

Online LibraryL. MühlbachAndreas Hofer → online text (page 32 of 43)