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"But why do you want to take me away from here? I tell you I like
the play very well, and have never seen any thing like it. It is
true, Cherubino, the boy, is an arrant liar, but he is a jolly
fellow, and I do not want him to come to grief. And Figaro is a sly
fox, and withal a brave man. I should like to make his acquaintance
and ask him if he really promised old Marielle to marry her; for it
would be wrong if he did not keep his word now, and refused to make
her his wife because he likes the young woman better than her. If I
knew where he lives, I would go to him this very night and tell him
what he ought to do."

"Oh, you foolish old child of Nature! what you saw on the stage was
nothing but a play. Figaro never existed; and even though he did,
you would not go to him, but accompany me and take supper with me."

"I am sorry." said Andreas, gravely, "I cannot do so; for, in the
first place, I must stay here and wait for the countryman who has
arrived here with the horses and wine."

"Jesus Maria! what do you say? The countryman? Did I not tell you
that it is I, Andy?"

"Oh, yes, I had already forgotten it. But, second, I cannot go
because I must see the remainder of the play. Let me, therefore,
return to my seat, for I paid for the whole performance; I believe I
have already missed a great deal; but they will assuredly not return
to me at the office a penny for what I did not hear." [Footnote:
Hofer's own words. - See Hormayr, "Andreas Hofer," vol. i., p. 810.]

"They will not, and shall not either," cried Hormayr, angrily. "You
will not return to your seat, Andy, but go and take supper with me.
For you know, my dear fellow, that you have come to Vienna, not to
go to the theatre, but to ask the dear Archduke John's assistance
and succor for the beloved Tyrol, and inquire of the emperor if he
will not aid his loyal Tyrolese in their attempt to become his
subjects once more. And the emperor and the archduke will help you;
they promise to send soldiers and guns in time to the Tyrol. But, in
return, you must do what the archduke asked you to do; you must
carefully conceal yourself, Andy, in order to prevent the Bavarians
from learning of your trip to Vienna; otherwise they would arrest
you and your friends after your return to the Tyrol. Hence you must
not return to your seat, where so many persons would see you, and
unfortunately have seen you already."

"Well, if it must be so, let us go, sir," sighed Andreas. "But just
listen how they are singing, shouting, and cheering inside! Jesus
Maria! Figaro, I believe, will have to marry old Marielle after all,
and give up pretty little Susanne. Ah, my God! she will die heart-
broken, for she loves him so dearly. Pray, sir, let me go in once
more, that I may see whether or not he must marry old Marielle."

"No, Andy," said Hormayr, smiling, "you need not be uneasy; Figaro
will not marry old Marielle, for she is his own mother."

"What!" cried Andreas, in dismay; "she his mother, and he has
promised to marry her! That is most sinful and infamous! No good
Christian should listen to such things. Come along, sir. I do not
want to hear another word of it. Good heavens! what will Anna
Gertrude say when I tell her what I have seen here, and that there
are here in Vienna men infamous enough to promise to marry their
mothers?"

"But they never do so in reality, Andy, but only on the stage.
Otherwise the police would be after them at once. For the emperor is
a very pious and virtuous gentleman, and he does not permit any
infractions of the sacred laws of God and the Church in his
dominions."

"Yes, the emperor is a very pious and virtuous gentleman," exclaimed
Andreas Hofer, enthusiastically, "and that is the reason why the
Tyrolese love him and wish to be again his subjects and children.
Come, I will go home with you. I do not want to hear any more of the
theatrical nonsense. Let us speak of our emperor and our dear
Archduke John. God grant that we may soon be able to say he is our
emperor again, and the archduke is our John, and his Tyrolese are
again his subjects, because they fought well for their liberty, and
because God blessed their efforts and crowned them with victory.
Come, we will go home, and to-morrow I shall return to the Tyrol, to
my wife and children, and mountain and valley shall know that the
time has come, and that we shall become Austrians again. May the
Holy Virgin protect us and grant us a safe return; may she prevent
the Bavarians from waylaying us and frustrating our great and noble
purpose!" [Footnote: The delegates of the Tyrolese left Vienna on
the following morning; their presence there, however, had been
reported to the Bavarian officers, who, during their homeward
journey, almost succeeded in arresting them. John von Graff, a
banker of Botzen, was apprised of their arrival in Vienna by his
correspondent in that city and informed the commissary-general at
Brixen of what he had learned. A warrant for the arrest of the three
delegates was issued, but they escaped in time into the mountains. -
Hormayr, vol. i., p. 191.]


CHAPTER VIII.

CONSECRATION OF THE FLAGS, AND FAREWELL.


The die was cast, then. The war with France was to break out again.
There was to be no more procrastination and hesitation. The time for
action was at hand.

Already the French ambassador, Andreossi, had left Vienna, and all
the members of the legation had followed him. Already Clement Count
Metternich had arrived at Vienna but he had not left Paris as Count
Andreossi had left Vienna, quietly and unmolested, but Napoleon had
caused him to be escorted to the French frontier by a detachment of
gens d'armes.

And to-day, on the 9th of March, Austria was to proclaim to all
Germany, by means of a public festival, that she was resolved to
renew the struggle with France and risk once more the blood of her
people and the existence of her imperial dynasty in order to deliver
Germany from the usurper who was intent on crushing in his iron
hands the liberty and independance of the German nation.

A solemn ceremony was to take place to-day on the Glacis of Vienna.
The flags of the militia were to be consecrated by the Archbishop of
Vienna, and the whole imperial family was to be present at the
solemnity. Hence, all Vienna presented a festive appearance; all
stores were closed, and no one was seen following his every-day
avocations. The Viennese had made a holiday; no one would toil for
his daily bread; all wished to refresh themselves only with mental
food, and greet with their glances and acclamations the noble men
who were to take the field for the salvation of the fatherland.

The people were surging in dense masses toward the glacis, rushing
with irresistible impetuosity into the empty ditches, and climbing
the trees on their edges, or gaining some other standpoint whence
they could survey the solemnity which was to take place on the broad
promenade of the glacis. On the large rondel of the glacis had been
erected a tribune whose golden-broidered velvet canopy was
surmounted by a very large imperial crown; four golden double-headed
eagles adorned the four corners of the canopy, and held in their
beaks the colors of Austria and Hungary. Under the canopy stood gilt
arm-chairs, with cushions of purple velvet. This was the tribune
destined for the emperor and his family; all eyes were riveted upon
it, and all hearts longed to greet the sovereign, and thank him for
the proud happiness of this hour.

Further on rose other and no less splendidly decorated tribunes, the
seats of which had been sold at enormous rates to the aristocracy
and wealthy citizens of Vienna for the benefit of the militia; and
thousands had found seats on the trees surrounding the broad
promenade and the rondel, and paid for their airy perches only with
some pains and bruises.

Since early dawn this pilgrimage to the glacis had been going on; by
ten o'clock all seats, roads, tribunes, trees, ditches, and bridges,
were occupied by a dense crowd; and, in order to prevent accidents,
the authorities had already ordered all approaches to the glacis to
be closed.

On the broad promenade, too, matters assumed a very lively aspect.
The militia marched up with banners unfurled and drums beating. They
drew up in line on both sides of the road, and their officers and
standard-bearers repaired to the large rondel where another had been
constructed in face of the imperial tribune. They ranged themselves
around the altar, on whose steps priests in full vestments were
kneeling, and which was surmounted by a gigantic crucifix, visible
to all spectators far and near, and waving to all its blessings and
love-greetings.

And now all the church-steeples commenced ringing their peals; the
iron tongues of their bells proclaimed to the inhabitants of Vienna,
and to the many thousands of strangers who had come to witness the
solemnity, that the emperor with his con-art and his children had
left the Hofburg, and was approaching the glacis, followed by his
suite. The militia assumed a stiff military attitude, the drums
rolled, the cannon boomed, the bugles sounded merry notes, and the
emperor, leading his consort by the hand, entered the tribune. He
looked pale; his form was bent, and trembling as if shaken by an
inward fever; and even more singular appeared his down-hanging
under-lip and the gloomy, morose expression of his lustreless blue
eyes. But the people did not see this; they saw only that their
emperor had arrived - their emperor, who had resolved to deliver
Austria from the ignominious foreign yoke; who would die with his
subjects rather than longer bear the arrogance of France; and who
boldly and courageously staked all in order to win all, to restore
at length a lasting peace to Austria and Germany, and vindicate
their honor and independence. For this reason all hearts greeted the
Emperor Francis with love and exultation, and he was received with
deafening and constantly-renewed cheers.

The emperor received with a forced smile the flattering homage which
was rendered to him, but more radiant was the smile of his consort;
in her dark and glowing eyes glistened tears of joyful emotion, when
she glanced at this jubilant mass of spectators and the enthusiastic
regiments of the militia. She was also full of exultation; she did
not, however, give vent to her feelings, but pent them up in her
heart, owing to the moroseness of her imperial husband.

In the midst of a fresh outburst of popular enthusiasm, Francis bent
over the empress. "I suppose you are well satisfied now, empress?"
he asked. "You have attained your object; all of you have fanned the
flame until war is ready to break out, and every thing will go again
topsy-turvy. But I tell you, empress, we shall fail again; I do not
believe that we shall conquer."

"Well, your majesty, then we shall succumb and die, but it will be
an honorable defeat. It is better to perish in a just and honorable
struggle than submit patiently to foreign usurpation."

"A very nice phrase, but the practical execution of such ideas is
sometimes by far more unpleasant than the theory which they express.
I am afraid you will have good reason to regret this day, and - but
what fearful noise is this again? The people are cheering as though
they were welcoming God Almighty Himself. What is it?"

"Your majesty," said Ludovica, gazing timidly into her husband's
face, "I believe the people are cheering the Archdukes Charles and
John, for they are just walking along the ranks of the militia."

"Ah, my brothers!" murmured the emperor, with an angry expression,
which, however, disappeared again immediately; "the people are
cheering my brothers as though they were two divinities from whom
alone they expect salvation and prosperity."

"Your majesty, the people cheer the archdukes because they are the
brothers of the emperor, and because the confidence of your majesty
has placed them at the head of the Austrian armies to lead them to
battle, and, if it please God, to victory. It is your majesty alone
that appointed the Archduke Charles generalissimo of all your
forces, and the Archduke John commander of the army of Lower
Austria."

"Yes, I did so, for, blessed as I am with brothers so heroic and
spirited, I must of course distinguish and employ them in accordance
with their merits; otherwise they might believe I was jealous of
their glory and splendor. This would be entirely false, for, so far
from being jealous of them, I love them dearly, and give them now
again another opportunity to gain laurels, as they did in 1805. It
is true, my brother the generalissimo, was not victorious at
Austerlitz, and my brother John has likewise sustained many a
defeat; but that does not prevent them from being heroes and great
men. Just listen to the roars with which the people greet them!
Jesus Maria! I hope the generalissimo will not have his fits from
excessive joy."

Ludovica cast a quick, mournful glance on the maliciously smiling
face of her husband. "Your majesty need not be alarmed," she said;
"your tender apprehensions will fortunately not be fulfilled. You
see that the archduke is quite well; he is just addressing his
troops."

"Yes, yes, I know his speech. M. von Gentz wrote it for him and I
permitted him to deliver it. Ah, it abounds with fine phrases, and
my dear Austrians will be astonished on hearing what liberal men we
have become all of a sudden, and what grand ideas of liberty,
equality, and popular sovereignty we have adopted. Just listen to
him! the conclusion is very fine, and sounds just as though the
Marseillaise had been translated into the language of the
Austrians."

"Soldiers," shouted the archduke, at this moment, in a loud, ringing
voice. "the liberty of Europe has taken refuge under the flag of
Austria; the rights, freedom, and honor of all Germany expect their
salvation only of our armies. Never shall they, instruments of
oppression, carry on in foreign countries the endless wars of a
destructive ambition, annihilate innocent nations, and with their
own corpses pave for foreign conquerors the road leading to usurped
thrones. Soldiers, we take up arms only for the liberty, honor, and
rights of all Germany; it is these sacred boons that we have to
defend!" [Footnote: Hormayr, "Allgemeine Geschichte," vol. iii., p.
219.]

A long-continued, deafening outburst of applause both of the
soldiers and the people was the reply to the stirring address of the
generalissimo; but suddenly every sound was hushed, for at the
altar, yonder by the side of the tall crucifix, appeared now the
archbishop, accompanied by the whole body of the high clergy.

The emperor rose from his seat and bowed humbly and devoutly to the
prelate who had been the teacher of his youth, and had afterward
married him three times, the last time only a few months ago.

And now the archdukes marched the troops into the middle of the
place, and the consecration of the flags commenced amid the peals of
all the church-bells and the booming of artillery.

The emperor looked on, standing, bareheaded, and with hands clasped
in prayer. Ludovica turned her eyes heavenward, and her lips moved
in a low, fervent prayer. Behind them stood the young archdukes and
archduchesses, muttering prayers, and yet glancing around curiously;
and the cavaliers of the imperial couple, looking gloomy, and
plainly showing in their sombre faces the rage that filled their
hearts.

The ceremony being finished, the archbishop lifted up his hands and
stretched them out toward the soldiers. "Adieu, until we meet
again," he exclaimed with a radiant air, and in a voice of joyful
enthusiasm; "adieu, until we meet again at the hour of danger!"

"Adieu, until we meet again at the hour of danger!" echoed the
soldiers with enthusiasm. Seeing then that the archbishop bent his
knees, they knelt likewise and bowed their heads in prayer. Hushed
was every sound on the vast place. Only the church-bells were
pealing and the artillery was booming in the distance, and the
murmur of the devout prayers which rose to God from so many pious
hearts broke the silence.

In the fervent enthusiasm of this hour no one felt the least
timidity, no one looked anxiously into the future. Even the mothers
did not shed tears for their sons who were about to take the field;
the affianced brides allowed their lovers to depart without uttering
complaints or weeping at the thought of their impending departure;
wives took leave of their husbands with joyous courage, pressing
their infants to their breasts and commending them trustingly to
God's protection. The patriotic enthusiasm had seized all, and
carried away even the coldest and most selfish hearts. The rich
contributed their money with unwonted liberality; those who were in
less favorable circumstances laid down their plate and valuables on
the altar of the country; the mechanics offered to work gratuitously
for the army; the women scraped lint and organized associations for
the relief of the wounded; the young men offered their life-blood to
the fatherland, and considered it as a favor that their services
were not rejected.

The long-concealed hatred against France burst forth in bright
flames throughout Austria and Germany; the war was hailed with
rapturous enthusiasm, and every heart longed to take part in this
struggle, which seemed to all a war of holy vengeance and
retribution. For the first time in long years Austria felt again
thoroughly identified with Germany, while the other Germans were
looking upon Austria as a German state and holding out their hands
to their Austrian brethren, telling them that they sympathized most
vividly with the ends which then were trying to attain.

But while the utmost exultation was reigning among the people and
the soldiers on this joyful day, a gloomy silence prevailed in the
imperial palace. The joyous mask with which the generalissimo, the
Archduke Charles, had covered his face while on the glacis, had
disappeared from it so soon as he had returned to his rooms. Pale
and faint, he rested in an easy-chair, and, fixing his sombre eyes
an his quartermaster-general, Count Gruenne, he said: "My friend,
listen to that which I am going to say to you now, and which you
will remember one day. I have objected three times in the most
emphatic manner to this declaration of war, for I know that our
preparations are not sufficiently matured, and I know also that I
have here in Austria powerful enemies who are intent on impeding all
my efforts, and who will shrink from nothing in order to ruin me,
and with me you too, my poor friend. The whole aristocracy is
hostile to me, and will never allow the emperor's brothers to set
bounds to its oligarchy by their merits and influence; it will
always oppose us, even though it should endanger thereby the power
and honor of the fatherland. I know all the perils and intrigues
surrounding me, and because I know them I tried to avoid them,
opposed the war, and strove to get rid at least of the command-in-
chief. But the emperor would not allow me to do so; he ordered me to
accept the arduous position of generalissimo of his forces, and, as
his subject, I had to obey him. But I repeat it, this will be a
disastrous war for Austria, and I look with gloomy forebodings into
the future."

And as gloomy as the generalissimo's face was that of his brother,
the Emperor Francis. He had retired into his cabinet, and strode
growlingly up and down, holding the fly-flap in his hand, and
striking savagely at the flies which his searching eyes discovered
here and there on the wall.

Suddenly the door opened, and the footman announced the Archduke
John. The emperor's face became even more morose. He cast the fly-
flap aside, and murmured to himself, "My brothers never leave me any
rest." He then said in a loud voice, "Let him come in."

A minute afterward the archduke entered the cabinet. His face was
still joyously lit up by the soul-stirring solemnity in which he had
participated in the morning; his eye was yet radiant with noble
enthusiasm and exultation, and a serene smile played around his
lips. Thus he appeared before his brother, whose face seemed doubly
gloomy in the presence of his own.

"I come to take leave of your majesty and bid farewell to my brother
Francis," he said, in a mild, tender voice. "I intend to set out to-
night for Gratz, and organize my staff there."

"God bless you, commander of the Southern army!" said the emperor,
dryly; "God bless you, brother. You were all eager for war; now you
have it!"

"And your majesty has witnessed the enthusiasm with which the
Austrian people hailed the declaration of war. And not only the
people of Austria, but all Germany, looks now with joy, hope, and
pride toward Austria, and participates most cordially in our warlike
enthusiasm."

"I do not care for that," said the emperor, dryly. "Thank God, I
cast off the crown of Germany three years ago, and am no longer
Emperor of Germany."

"But one day, when your armies have conquered France and delivered
the world from the insatiable usurper, Germany will gratefully lie
down at your majesty's feet and beseech you to accept the imperial
crown again at her hands."

"Much obliged, sir, but I would not take it," exclaimed the emperor,
with a shrug. "But say, brother, are you really convinced that we
can and shall conquer Bonaparte?"

"I am. We shall conquer, if - "

"Well, if - "asked the emperor, when the archduke hesitated.

"If we are really determined to do so," said John, looking the
emperor full in the face; "if we act harmoniously, if we do not
impede each other, if no petty jealousies favor the efforts of one
and frustrate those of the other. Oh, brother, permit me at this
farewell hour to utter a few frank and truthful words, and I beg
your majesty to forgive me if my heart opens to you in unreserved
confidence. Brother, I confess frankly all is not as it should be
here. Where concord should reign; there is discord; where all should
have their eyes fixed only on the great goal, and avail themselves
of all means and forces, they are split up into factions bitterly
hostile to each other. Oh, my gracious emperor, I beseech you, do
not listen to these factions, do not confide in those who would like
to arouse your suspicion against your brothers. Believe me, you have
no more loyal, devoted, and obedient subject than I am; therefore,
confide in me, who wish only to contribute to the greatness, honor,
and glory of my country and my emperor, to the best of my power,
however insignificant it may be. My brother, there has long been a
gulf between us; God knows that I did not dig it. But let us fill it
up forever at this farewell hour. I implore you, believe in my love,
my devoted loyalty; take me by the hand and say, `John, I trust you!
I believe in you!' See, I am waiting for these words as for the
blessing which is to accompany me into battle, and rest on my heart
like a talisman. Brother, speak these words of love and confidence!
Give me your hand - open your arms to your brother!"

"Why should we enact here a sentimental scene?" asked the emperor,
harshly. "I do not like such things, and want to see family dramas
only performed on the stage. Thank God, I am not a theatrical
emperor, but a real one, and will have nothing to do with scenes
from plays. Nor do I know of any gulfs existing between you and me.
I never perceived them, and was never disturbed thereby. But why do
you protest your love and loyalty in so passionate a manner to me?
Who tells you, then, that I suspect them? That would be equivalent
to considering my brother a traitor, and it would be very
unfortunate for him; for toward traitors I shall always be
inexorable, whosoever they may be, and whether they be persons of
high or low rank. Let us speak no longer of it. But, besides, you
have again advised me, without being requested to do so, and demand
that I should not listen to any factions. I never do, brother. I
never listen to any factions, neither to yours, nor to that of the
others. I listen only to myself, and require submissiveness and
obedience of my servants. You are one of the latter; go, then, and
obey me. I have resolved on war; go, then, to your corps and fight,
as you are in duty bound, for your emperor and for Austria; Defeat
Napoleon if you can. You are playing a game which may easily become
dangerous to ourselves. You have stirred up an insurrection in the
Tyrol; you will have to bear the responsibility if this insurrection
shall be unsuccessful."

"I will bear it, and God will forgive what I have done!" said John,



Online LibraryL. MühlbachAndreas Hofer → online text (page 8 of 43)