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brother."

"As a brother!" he cried mournfully. "But I do not want you to love
me as a brother. I want your heart, your whole heart, Eliza; and it
is mine in spite of you - mine! But you are vindictive, and cannot
forget and forgive; and because I denied and misunderstood you once
in my blind stubbornness, you wish to wreak vengeance on me, drive
me to despair, and make me unhappy for my whole life!"

"I!" she exclaimed, mournfully; "I wish to make you unhappy?"

"Yes, you," he said bitterly; "you see my sufferings, and gloat over
them; you feel that I love you boundlessly, and with cold, sneering
pride you try to resent my former contemptible haughtiness. You
oppose your peasant pride to my insensate aristocratic pride; you
want to make me go mad or die heart-broken, and your coolness never
leaves you for a moment, and my grief makes no impression on you;
for, when I am dead, you will be able to exclaim: 'I fought for my
country as a brave daughter of the Tyrol! I killed a Bavarian, I
broke his heart laughingly!'"

"You lie, I shall never say so!" cried Eliza, in an outburst of
generous indignation; "you lie if you think me capable of so
miserable a revenge; you lie if you believe that I have a cold and
cruel heart. I wish I had, for then I should not suffer what I am
suffering now, and I should at least be able to forget you. You
really charge me with having a cold heart, with hating and despising
you? Do you not see, do you not even suspect what I am suffering for
your sake? Look at me, then; see how pale my cheeks are; see how dim
my eyes are! I do not take any notice of it, I do not look at myself
in the mirror - why should I, and for whom? - but mother tells me so
every day, and weeps for me. And why am I so pale and thin, and why
are my eyes so dim? Because my heart is full of grief; because I
have no rest day or night; because there is in my heart a voice
which I can never silence, not even when I am praying or kneeling in
the confessional. Do you think I am grieving for the sake of the
country or the bloody war? What does the country concern me? I think
no longer of it, and yet every battle makes me tremble; and on
nearing the booming of artillery, I kneel down and pray with tears
of anguish to the Holy Virgin. Oh, may God forgive me! I do not pray
for my father, nor for our soldiers; I pray for a Bavarian, I pray
for you!"

"Eliza!" exclaimed Ulrich, radiant with joy, and stretching out his
arms toward her, "Eliza!"

"Hush!" she said, stepping back proudly, "do not speak. I have told
you the truth, for I do not want you to accuse and curse me, when I
am blessing you every day. But now go, sir; forget what I have said,
but remember me always as one who never hated you, and never thought
of revenging herself upon you."

"Eliza," said Ulrich, gravely, taking her hand, and gazing deeply
into her eyes, "let us now be honest and frank toward each other.
Our hearts have spoken with each other, and God has heard them. You
love me, and I love you. Do you remember what I said to you; when
taking leave of you on the mountain?"

"I do not, sir," she whispered, dropping her eyes.

"But I do," he continued, gravely and firmly. "I said to you: 'I
will go now, but I shall return and ask you: "Do you remember me?
Will you become my wife?'" Now, Eliza, I have returned, and ask you
as I asked you on the mountain, Eliza, will you become my wife?"

"And I reply as I replied to you on the mountain," she said
solemnly. "We can never belong to each other as husband and wife,
but we can remember each other as good friends. And so, sir, I will
always remember you, and it will always gladden my heart to hear
that you are well and happy."

"Is that your last word?" asked Ulrich, angrily.

"Yes, sir, it is my last word."

"Then you are intent on making us unhappy?" he cried, mournfully.
"Oh, you crystal-heart, so transparent and clear, so hard, so hard!
Will you never, then, allow yourself to be softened by the sunbeams
of love? Will they always only harden your heart?"

"I cannot act otherwise, sir, I assure you I cannot," she said,
beseechingly.

"Well, then, I cannot act otherwise either," he cried. "I shall not
accept this mission, I shall not go to Munich, I shall stay here."

"No, no, I implore you to go!" exclaimed Eliza. "Save my imprisoned
countrymen; save, above all, my Elza and her father! Oh, she is
unhappy, she longs for her home; she is weeping for me, for you,
sir! Make haste, make haste; have mercy upon Elza and myself!"

"Why should I have mercy when you have none?" he asked, quickly.
"Let the prisoners die of grief; I am a prisoner too, and shall know
also how to die. I shall not leave Innspruck unless you promise me
that you will become my wife on my return, and plight me your faith
before the altar of God. I swear by all that is sacred to me, I will
not leave this city unless I take with me your solemn pledge that
you will overcome your pride and become my wife."

"Well, then," she said, blushing deeply, "go, then. Procure my
Elza's release, bring her home, and then - "

"And then?" he asked, as she hesitated.

"Then you shall receive at the hands of the priest a bride who loves
you, loves you with infinite tenderness," she said, in a low voice.

He uttered a cry of joy, and folded her to his heart. But she
disengaged herself gently. "Make haste now," she said; "for the
sooner yon depart, the sooner you will return."

"I will set out immediately," he cried, radiant with joy. "But swear
to me, Eliza, that I shall receive, immediately on my return, even
though it should be early in the morning, at the hands of the
priest, my bride - the bride who loves me with infinite tenderness."

"I swear by the Holy Virgin," said Eliza, solemnly, "that if you
bring my Elza to me here, you shall receive your bride at the hands
of the priest on the day of your return, whether it be early in the
morning or late at night."

"Captain Ulrich," shouted Cajetan Doeninger, opening the door, "it
is high time for you to set out. The carriage has been at the door
for upward of an hour."

"I am ready," said Ulrich, holding out his hand to Eliza with a
happy smile. "Farewell, Eliza; I shall return with your Elza in two
weeks."


CHAPTER XXXVII.

ELZA's RETURN.


A splendid festival was being celebrated at Innspruck on the 3d of
October, and there were great rejoicings in the city. A message of
love and joy had reached Innspruck from the headquarters of the
Emperor Francis at Totis. Three of the former leaders of the
Tyrolese insurrection, who had escaped to Austria at the time of the
second invasion of the Bavarians - Sieberer, Frischmann, and
Eisenstecken - had arrived at Innspruck as couriers of the emperor.
They had succeeded in passing through Styria and Carinthia, although
both these provinces were occupied by French troops, and had safely
arrived at Innspruck amid the jubilant acclamations of the
population. They brought cheering news from the Emperor Francis. He
sent to the commander-in-chief of the Tyrol, his beloved and
faithful Andreas Hofer, a large gold chain and medal containing the
emperor's portrait; and he sent also three thousand florins as a
gift to the brave sharpshooters. But better than all this was an
autograph letter from the emperor, who extolled in it the bravery of
the Tyrolese, called upon them to persevere in their resistance, and
promised that Austria would succor them vigorously with money and
troops. The letter stated that the emperor would soon dispatch Baron
von Reschmann with funds and full instructions to the Tyrol, where
he would act as commissioner and intendant of the army, and that the
Tyrolese might confidently look for the speedy resumption of
hostilities.

These joyful tidings were received with unbounded enthusiasm, and
Andreas Hofer's face beamed with delight when he was formally
invested with the gold medal and chain in the great church of
Innspruck, at the foot of the tomb of Maximilian, by the Abbot of
Wiltau, amid the tears and acclamations of a vast concourse of
spectators, who afterward, preceded by the municipal authorities,
accompanied him in solemn procession to the imperial palace. Andreas
presented a splendid appearance in the fine gold-embroidered uniform
which he wore to-day in honor of the celebration, in place of his
Tyrolese costume; his heavy gold chain and the medal with the
emperor's portrait, glittered under his fine black beard on his
breast, and he wore a black hat with a plume and inscription to him
as the commander-in-chief of the Tyrol, the gift of the holy
sisterhood of Innspruck.

Andreas Hofer's face shone with happiness as he walked along in this
manner amid the acclamations of the whole population and the ringing
of all the bells; but his heart was nevertheless full of humility,
and lifting his beaming eyes to heaven, he murmured to himself, "O
my Lord and God, Thou hast accomplished every thing; Thou hast
protected us and vouchsafed us victory! Glory to Thee alone!
Preserve me. O Lord, from pride and arrogance, and let me recognize
always that I am nothing but Thy unworthy servant, and that Thou
alone vouchsafest us victory and blessest our cause!"

The imperial palace was festively decorated to-day, and a splendid
banquet was to take place there in honor of the celebration. All the
functionaries of Innspruck had been invited; a brilliant ball was to
be given at night in the large throne-hall, and the beautiful girls
of Innspruck were to dance to the inspiring notes of the orchestra
in honor of the festive day. For the first time Andreas Hofer had
permitted music and dancing, and all the beautiful girls of
Innspruck were preparing to take part in the brilliant festival and
enjoy the rare amusement.

All faces were radiant; even Eliza's sweet countenance was lit up
to-day with the sunshine of happiness. A great joy had fallen to her
share to-day, for Ulrich von Hohenberg had arrived early in the
morning, and with him his uncle, old Baron von Hohenberg, and his
daughter Elza. Ulrich bad redeemed his promise; precisely two weeks
had elapsed since his departure, and now, after these terrible days
of suspense, which Eliza had passed in tears, in silence, and at the
same time in mysterious activity, Ulrich had returned, and with him
Elza, Eliza's dearest friend.

Ulrich had looked on with an expression of quiet happiness when
Eliza embraced her Elza, again and again with tears of joy; she
knelt down repeatedly by the side of the couch on which had been
laid the old baron, whose strength had been utterly exhausted by the
journey, the excitement, and the sufferings he had endured in
prison; she pressed his hands to her lips tenderly, and withal
humbly, and thanked God that her good old friend and her Elza, the
better half of her life, bad been restored to her.

But after this impetuous and joyous meeting, the old baron felt so
very feeble that he urgently needed repose and silence, and Elza had
to conduct him to the bedroom which had been prepared for him.

Eliza and Ulrich were alone now. She trembled, and, wishing to avoid
this tete-a-tete, glided softly to the door; but Ulrich hastened
after her and seized her hand.

"Eliza," he said, solemnly, "I have fulfilled all your wishes. I
have brought back with me my uncle and your friend Elza; the King of
Bavaria accepted the exchange which I offered; he released the baron
and his daughter, and Andreas Hofer sets me free in his turn. I am,
therefore, no longer a prisoner, and as a free man I ask you now, do
you remember the oath you swore to me on the day of my departure?"

"I do," she whispered in a low voice.

"Repeat the oath to me," he said, imperatively.

"My oath was as follows: 'I swear by the Holy Virgin that, if you
bring my Elza to me here, you shall receive your bride, who loves
you with infinite tenderness, at the hands of the priest.'"

"You have not forgotten the words, Eliza. But will you fulfil them
now?"

"You insist on it?" she asked, looking up to him timidly and
mournfully.

"Yes, I do," he said, with a blissful smile.

"Well, then," she whispered, almost inaudibly, "I shall keep my
oath."

He uttered a joyous cry, pressed her hand to his lips, and gazed
with an expression of infinite tenderness into her blushing,
quivering face.

"Oh, do not tremble, love," he said; "do not look anxiously into the
future. I shall know how to protect my wife from grief and
humiliation. To make you happy shall be my sweetest joy; to see you
honored and recognized by society will be my incessant effort, as it
will be my bounden duty. You will fulfil your oath, and you must do
it this very day. Let me go, then, and get a priest; and you, my
sweet girl, place a myrtle-wreath on your head, for I shall call for
you soon and conduct you triumphantly to the great church of
Innspruck; for our marriage shall take place publicly and in the
face of the whole population."

"No, sir," she said, shaking her head gently. "I will redeem my
promise, but I beg, nay, I implore you, permit me to make all
necessary arrangements, and let me have for once my own way."

"And what do you wish, then, beloved?"

"I wish that no one should learn of our plan, and that you should
conceal it all day long from every one, and speak of it to no one,
neither with your uncle, nor with Elza, nor with Andreas Hofer."

"But how am I to get a priest to marry us?"

"Leave it all to me, sir. I will get a priest. I have confided only
to my dear old friend Joachim Haspinger, the Capuchin, who was
lately in Innspruck, what would take place in case you should return
with my Elza, and he promised that he himself would marry us.
Accordingly, on being informed this morning by the courier of your
speedy arrival, I sent at once a mounted messenger to Father
Haspinger, and I am sure that he will come to Innspruck to-day."

"You intended, then, to redeem your promise of your own accord!"
exclaimed Ulrich, joyfully; "you thought of it without being
reminded of it. Oh, I thank you, my Eliza, for I see now that you
really love me."

"Yes, sir, I really love you," said Eliza, solemnly. "You will find
it out this very day. Will you promise me now to conceal our plan
from every one, and let me make all necessary arrangements?"

"I do, my sweet girl. Tell me what I am to do, and I will obey you
silently and unconditionally."

"Well, then, dear Ulrich," she said, in a tremulous voice, "come to-
night, at nine o'clock, to the chapel here in the imperial palace.
As a witness, I hope you will find there our dear commander-in-
chief, Andreas Hofer. Father Haspinger will stand before the altar,
and your betrothed will kneel before the altar too, ready to become
your wife, and love and serve you all her life."

"And I shall find there my betrothed, to whom I shall plight my
faith before the altar, and whom I will love and cherish all my
life!" exclaimed the captain, in profound emotion.

She bent her head gently, as if to accept his solemn vow. "Then you
will come to the chapel at nine?" she asked.

"I will," he said, smilingly, "and you may be sure that I shall be
promptly on hand. I shall be as punctual as the digger after a
hidden treasure, who must disinter it at the stated hour, if he does
not want to lose it entirely. I shall be at the chapel at nine
o'clock."

"Very well, at nine o'clock. And now farewell until then, sir. I
have a great deal to attend to yet in getting up the bridal dress
and ornaments, for I do not want you to be ashamed of me to-day,
Ulrich. Your bride must not look like a peasant-girl. She must be
dressed up beautifully, like an aristocratic lady - like Elza, for
instance."

"Dress as you please," he said, smilingly, "but do not believe that
I shall ever be ashamed of the peasant-girl, and try to conceal the
descent of my sweet, lovely wife."

"And will you ride with me to-morrow to my father's house?" she
asked. "Will you present yourself to my father, Anthony Wallner,
commander of the Puster valley, as his son-in-law? Oh, you know full
well, Anthony Wallner is a hero; not only the Tyrol, but all Germany
is familiar with the heroic deeds which he performed at the battle
of Taxenbach against the Bavarians. He has taken the field again,
and, after joining the forces under Joseph Speckbacher, and Father
Haspinger, he will attack the Bavarians at the Pass of Lueg, and, if
it please God, defeat them. I suppose, Ulrich, you will accompany me
to my father, Anthony Wallner, and ask your father-in-law to give
you his blessing?"

"But you told me just now, Eliza, that he is not at home?"

"Well, then," she exclaimed, earnestly, "we will ride to the Pass of
Lueg."

Ulrich was silent, and looked down in evident confusion; he did not
see that Eliza fixed her eyes on him with a searching, mournful
expression.

"Eliza," he said, after a pause, lifting his head slowly, "you
possess a magnanimous heart and a delicate soul. Your heart will
forgive me, therefore, for not fulfilling your wish, and your soul
will understand that I cannot fulfil it. Your father is the
commander of the Tyrolese, who have risen in rebellion against
Bavaria, and he is fighting against the Bavarians, my countrymen and
comrades. I have recovered my liberty, but I had to swear not to
take up arms again during the present war against the Tyrolese. The
King of Bavaria permitted me to take this oath, and ordered me to
return to Munich, where I am to remain till the end of the war. I
must set out for the Bavarian capital to-morrow, and my sweet,
beloved wife will accompany me. After the war is over, and when
there is peace again in the beautiful Tyrol, I shall return with my
Eliza to her home, and ask my father-in-law, Anthony Wallner, to
give me his blessing. I shall be at liberty then to praise his
heroism loudly, and love and honor him as my wife's father. Do you
understand that I cannot act otherwise, beloved?"

"I do," she replied; "I do understand that the Bavarian Captain
Ulrich von Hohenberg cannot now go to the Tyrolese commander,
Anthony Wallner, ask him, while he is fighting against the
Bavarians, to bless him, and call him father-in-law. Let us leave it
to the future to grant us peace and happiness."

"You understand that I cannot act otherwise," he said, anxiously.
"But you are sad? I see a cloud on your forehead, Eliza."

"No, not a cloud," she exclaimed, shaking her head. "Every thing is
clear in my mind, and I see distinctly what I must do. Come, then,
to the chapel at nine; every thing will be in readiness there."

"You will be there, my lovely bride," exclaimed Ulrich, blissfully,
opening his arms to her. "Oh, do not avoid me, Eliza; you are mine
now, your place is on my heart, do not avoid me! See, I am
submissive and obedient, and I will not take what you do not give me
of your own accord. But give me now your bridal present, Eliza; give
me the first kiss of love!"

"No, sir," she said, almost anxiously; "on the wedding-day no pious
bride must desecrate her lips by kissing or partaking of food before
going to the altar. Only devout thoughts should fill her heart; and
she ought to pray and implore the saints to vouchsafe happiness to
her. Let me go, therefore, and fulfil my sacred duties."

"Yes, my sweet, innocent dove, I will let you go," said Ulrich,
gently. "Pray to God and the saints for you and me, but be punctual
to-night."

"I shall, sir. Now, farewell. Go out by this door, for Elza is
coming to me. I have to tell her a great many things yet."

"She will know your secret then? You will confide to her what I am
not to betray to any one?"

"No, sir, I shall tell her nothing about it. No one but God must
know my secret. For the last time, then, farewell, sir!"

"Farewell, Eliza! Oh, give me your hand! Let me press it once to my
heart! Oh, fear nothing, Eliza, my unholy lips shall not desecrate
even your hand to-day. Now I will go, my child; farewell until to-
night, my sweet love!"

He bowed to her with a blissful smile, and left the room quickly.
Eliza looked after him, motionless, breathless, listening to his
footsteps, and heaving a deep sigh when they died away in the
distance. Then she laid both her hands convulsively on her heart.

"Oh, it is in great pain!" she murmured. "It seemed at one time as
though it would break, and as though I should die on the spot. But I
must not die, nor even weep. And I feel that the good God helps me,
and that he approves of what I am going to do. It was God Himself
who prompted me to ask Ulrich if he would accompany me to my father.
He was obliged to reply that he could not go to the enemy, though
this enemy was to become his father-in-law. When he told me that, my
heart bridled up, and was once more glad and strong. I knew all at
once that I was doing right, and I will carry out my plan to the
bitter end. But hush, hush! here comes Elza! I must put on a
cheerful face now."

"Lizzie, my Lizzie, are you here?" asked Elza, opening the door.

"Yes, here I am, Elza," exclaimed Eliza, who hastened with a smiling
face to her friend.

"And where is Ulrich? Why is he not here? Oh, I sat with such a
throbbing heart at father's bedside; I longed so much for him to
fall asleep! Oh, Lizzie, I have to tell you so many things! Ah, you
do not know how happy I was during this splendid, charming journey!
To be always by Ulrich's side, what a bliss! And how tenderly and
attentively he took care of my dear old father, just like a good,
grateful son, who would like to guess from his father's eyes every
wish he might entertain. I often wept tears of joy on seeing him
support my father, almost carrying him into the carriage, and
arranging his seat for him, and on hearing him comfort the old man
in gentle yet manly words. Ulrich did not speak of God and the
saints, and yet what he said was pious, pious as a prayer of holy
charity. Oh, how noble, good, brave, and gentle, Ulrich is!"

"And you love him, Elza, do you not?"

"Yes. I love him with all my heart, and shall for evermore. But
where is he? Where is Ulrich? Was he not with you?"

"He was, Elza; he left me at the moment when you came."

"He was here so long? And what did you speak of? Oh, tell me, Eliza,
what did you speak of?"

"Of you, Elza," said Eliza, with a wondrous, radiant expression.

"Ah, of me!" exclaimed Elza, joyfully. "Oh, tell me, Lizzie, do you
think he loves me?"

"I do not believe it, Elza, I know it for certain. He intrusted me
with an important commission for you, and asks of you a great proof
of your love. Come, Elza, let us go to my room. We will be sure
there not to be overheard by any one. I will tell you everything
there."


CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE WEDDING.


Night had come, and the people of Innspruck had not yet set bounds
to their rejoicings. All the streets were brilliantly illuminated; a
festive performance was played at the theatre, and the apartments at
the imperial palace began to fill with the guests who had been
invited to the ball.

But while the palace was shining with splendid lustre for the first
and last time during the reign of Andreas Hofer, one of its wings
had remained gloomy and silent. It seemed as though the loud voices
of the world shrank from penetrating hither. Even the sentinel
pacing the long, deserted corridor, trod more softly and crossed
himself every time he reached the end of the passage. For the
imperial chapel lay at the end of the corridor in this wing of the
palace, and through the high windows there one could look down upon
the altar and the holy lamp.

The sentinel had just walked up the corridor once more slowly and
dreamily, when he suddenly saw two men coming along. He stood still
respectfully and presented arms. These two men were Andreas Hofer,
the commander-in-chief, and Old Red-beard, Joachim Haspinger, who
was walking by his side, in his brown cowl and his heavy leather
shoes. On approaching the sentinel, Andreas Hofer stood still and
nodded kindly to him. "It is not necessary for you, Joe, to stand
here all alone and present arms. I know you are one of the best
dancers in the Passeyr valley, and as there is a ball at the palace,
you had better go there and dance. I believe the good God Himself
will watch over His chapel here."

"Much obliged to you, commander-in-chief - much obliged to you!"
exclaimed the soldier, joyfully; and he ran down the corridor as
fast as his feet would carry him. "How gay and high-spirited these
young folks are!" sighed Hofer.

"And why are you not merry too, brother Andy?" asked the Capuchin.
"A great honor was conferred upon you to-day; they paid you homage



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