Part 8 out of 11
Wreden and Arco, are already at Salzburg. In short, more than fifty
thousand men are coming up from all sides to trample the poor Tyrol
under foot. They are veteran soldiers; they have got artillery and
better arms than we, and are superior to us in numbers, equipments,
and strength. Consider, therefore, whether you are willing to
undertake the heavy task nevertheless; consider that you risk your
property, your blood, and your lives, and that, if you should be so
unfortunate as to fall into the enemy's hands, he would perhaps
punish you as criminals and rebels. It is true, you are ready to
risk your property, your blood, and your lives, for the fatherland
and the liberty of the Tyrol; but then you have also duties to your
families, your parents, your brides; you have a duty to yourselves--
that of not endangering your lives recklessly. It is true, even
though the enemy should punish you as rebels, you would die the
beautiful death of martyrs for your fatherland, and the halo of your
virtue and love of country will immortalize your names; but you must
consider, also, whether your death will be useful to the country,
and whether you will not shed your blood in vain. Ask your hearts,
my friends, whether they will be courageous and strong enough to
brave cheerfully whatever reverses and calamities may befall us, and
whether they really will risk death, imprisonment, and the scaffold,
without flinching and trembling? That is what I wished to say to you
before concerting measures with you and sending an answer to Andreas
Hofer. Consider it all, my friends, and then speak."
"We are to ask our hearts if they will not flinch and tremble?" said
Peter Mayer, almost contemptuously. "When the enemy returned to the
Tyrol last May, he burned down eight houses which belonged to me,
and for some time I did not know but that my wife and children had
perished in the conflagration. Did you see me tremble--did you hear
me complain at that time? Did I not stand up cheerfully in the
battle on Mount Isel, without weeping or murmuring, and bearing in
mind only that I was fighting for liberty, the fatherland, and the
emperor? It was not until we had gained the victory, and obtained
our freedom, that I went home to mourn and weep on the smoking ruins
of my houses. But I found my wife and my children alive and well; a
friend had concealed them and taken care of them; and after thanking
God for our victory, I thanked Him for preserving my wife and
children; and only now, when we were happy and free, did I shed
tears. But since the enemy is re-entering the country, and fresh
misfortunes are to befall us, my tears are dried again; my heart is
full of courage and constancy; and I believe we must risk all,
because otherwise every thing that we have done hitherto will be in
vain. I love my wife dearly; but, if she came now to dissuade me
from taking part in the struggle, and if I felt that my heart was
giving way to her persuasion, I would strangle her with my own
hands, lest she should prevent me from serving the great cause of
the fatherland. It is true, our task is difficult, but it is not
impossible; and that which is not impossible should be tried for the
fatherland! I have given you my opinion; it is your turn now, my
young friends. Peter Kemnater, speak! Tell Father Red-beard whether
your heart is trembling and flinching, and whether you think we had
better keep quiet, because the enemy is so powerful and superior to
"I have an affianced bride of whom I am very fond," said Peter
Kemnater, with flushed cheeks and flashing eyes; "a girl whom I love
better than my parents, than anything in the world, and whom I
intended to marry a fortnight hence; but I swear to God and the Holy
Virgin that my wedding shall not take place until the Tyrol is free
again, and we have expelled the enemy once more from the country.
And if my bride should be angry at this, and demand that I should
think more of her than of the fatherland, and prefer living for her
alone to dying perhaps for the fatherland, I should break with her,
and never look at her again, never speak another word with her. I
have many houses and lands; but even though I knew that my fields
and meadows were to be devastated, and my houses burned down, like
those of Peter Mayer, I should say, nevertheless, we will fight for
the fatherland! We will defeat the enemy, even though we should all
become beggars, and even though I knew that I should die before
seeing my affianced bride again, and that she would curse me in my
grave. That is what I have got to say. Now you may speak, Martin
Schenk; tell the father whether your heart is flinching and
"Yes, it is," cried Martin Schenk, "but only when I think the men of
the Tyrol could be so cowardly and mean-spirited as to keep quiet
and submit to their oppressors, because the latter are powerful and
superior to us in numbers. I have a young wife whom I married only a
year ago, and who gave birth to a little boy a week since, and I
assure you that I love her and her child with all my heart. But if I
knew that their death would be useful to the fatherland, and would
contribute to its salvation, I would shoot them with my own rifle,
and should not weep on seeing their corpses at my feet; but I should
rejoice and exclaim, 'I did it for the sake of the fatherland; I
sacrificed my most precious treasures for the beloved Tyrol.' Even
though the enemy is very strong and numerous, even though the
emperor has abandoned us, God stands by us. The mountains stand firm
yet; they are our fortresses, and we will fight in them until we are
all dead, or until we have defeated the enemy, and delivered the
Tyrol a third time. Now you know my opinion, Father Joachim
The Capuchin made no reply. He stood with hands clasped in prayer
and eyes lifted to heaven, and two large tears rolled down his
bronzed cheeks into his red beard.
"Great God in heaven," he murmured in a voice tremulous with
emotion, "I thank Thee for letting me see this hour, and hear the
soul-stirring words of these patriotic men. What can I say now, what
have I to sacrifice to the fatherland? I have no wife, no children,
no property; I am but a poor Capuchin! I have nothing but my blood
and my life. But I will give it to the country, even though the
bishop and the abbot should excommunicate me for it and condemn my
soul to burn in everlasting fire. It is better that a poor
Capuchin's soul should burn in hell than that the fatherland should
groan with pain and wear the brand of disgrace and slavery on its
forehead. It is better to be a faithless son of the bishop and
abbot, than a faithless son of the fatherland. It is better to be a
bad Christian than a bad patriot. Therefore, whatever may happen, I
shall share every thing with you, danger or victory, triumph or
death. Henceforth I am no longer a Capuchin, but old Red-beard
Joachim Haspinger, the defender of his country; and I swear that I
will no more lay down my head and repose before we have delivered
the country from the enemy and concluded an honorable peace. If that
is your sentiment also, swear here before God that you will fight
henceforth for the country, devote your whole strength to it, and
perish rather than give up the struggle, make peace with the enemy,
and submit to the Bavarian yoke."
And the three men lifted their hands and eyes to heaven, and
exclaimed with one accord, in a loud and solemn tone: "We swear by
God Almighty, and by all that is sacred and dear to us on earth,
that we will fight henceforth for the country, devote our whole
strength to it, and perish rather than give up the struggle, make
peace with the enemy, and submit to the Bavarian yoke!"
"Benedictus! benedictus!" cried Father Haspinger, laying his hands
on those which the three men had joined on taking the oath. "The
Lord has heard and accepted your oath; the Lord will bless you, the
Holy Virgin will protect you! Amen!"
"And now let us concert measures for the struggle, and consider what
we ought to do," said the friar, after a pause. "In the first place,
we will inform Andreas Hofer that his wishes shall be complied with,
and that we will call out the Landsturm and all our forces. Let me
write to him, therefore, and then we will hold a council of war."
The council of war lasted until midnight; and while all Europe was
truckling to the "invincible Emperor Napoleon," while all Germany
was lying humbly prostrate at his feet, and while all the princes
were basking in the sunshine of his favor, four poor men, neither
learned nor even well educated, three peasants and a monk, were
concerting measures to bid defiance to "Bonaparte, the robber of
crowns," and expel his powerful armies from their mountains! All
Germany was subjugated, and had given up all further resistance to
the all-powerful conqueror; only the small Tyrol would not suffer
herself to be subjugated; only the brave sons of the German
mountains were still intent on braving the tyrant, and upholding
their liberty and independence, despite the formidable efforts he
was making to crush them.
Already on the following morning the tocsin sounded in all the
valleys and on all the heights, and called upon the men to fight for
the fatherland. After midnight the three brave men had left Brixen;
each had set out in a different direction to incite the men to
insurrection, inform them of Andreas Hofer's order, and implore them
in the name of the fatherland to take up their rifles again and risk
once more their lives for the deliverance of the Tyrol.
Father Haspinger had walked all night to Latzfons, and on the
following morning he preached to the people at the church of that
place an enthusiastic sermon, in which he called upon them to make
one more effort in behalf of their beloved country, and promised
entire absolution for one year to every one who should kill a dozen
French soldiers, and absolution for five years to any who should
kill twice as many. [Footnote: Mayer's "Speckbacher," p. 151.]
Carried away by the soul-stirring words and promises of the
Capuchin, full of ardor to serve the fatherland, and desirous of
obtaining absolution, the men took up arms, and even a company of
women was formed for the holy service of the fatherland.
At night on the same day three hundred sharpshooters had rallied
around the martial friar, and with them he marched toward Unterau,
constantly receiving re-enforcements on the road; for the
inhabitants everywhere rose again as one man, and with their
redoubted rifles on their shoulders descended every lateral glen and
ravine, and joined his command to conquer or die under him.
And joyful news arrived from all sides, announcing that the
inhabitants were rising throughout the Tyrol. Already Peter Mayer
and Peter Kemnater had gathered around them all the sharpshooters of
the neighboring towns and villages, and their four companies now
united with the friar's troops. News also came from Andreas Hofer:
he had emerged again from the cave, and at his call all the
sharpshooters of the Passeyr valley had rallied around him, and
companies had flocked to him from all parts of the country to fight
again under their beloved commander-in-chief. Andreas Hofer had
marched with them across the crest of the precipitous Janfen, and
his army gathering strength like a mountain-torrent from every
tributary stream which crossed its course, soon embraced all the
able-bodied men of Passeyr, Meran, and Algund.
The Tyrolese bad risen a third time to defend the independence of
THE FIRST BATTLE.
What the four men had sworn at the inn of Brixen, and what Andreas
Hofer had agreed upon with his friend Speckbacher, had succeeded.
The whole Tyrol had risen and was eager for the fray. A small army,
commanded by Father Haspinger, was encamped near Brixen, and
received hourly fresh accessions. Peter Kemnater and Peter Mayer
were still traversing the country, and calling upon the peasants to
repair to Father Red-beard's camp near Brixen, and their appeals
were readily complied with. The brave peasants of Rodeneck,
Weitenthal, and Schoneck, led by their courageous pastor, George
Schoneck, came into camp; and so did Anthony Wallner with the four
hundred men who had followed him from the Puster valley.
Father Haspinger received these brave men exultingly, and folded
their leader, Anthony Wallner, tenderly to his heart.
"You have fought again like a hero," he exclaimed, patting his
cheeks affectionately; "the whole Tyrol is extolling your exploits
at the murderous battle of Taxenbach, and they are telling wonderful
stories about the surpassing heroism and bravery you displayed on
"It is true, we fought bravely," said Anthony Wallner, sighing; "but
it did not do much good, for the enemy was ten to one, and we were
finally unable to check his advance. But we followed him, and will
now unite with you, reverend father, in order to expel him once more
from the country. I believe there will be another battle on Mount
Isel, for the enemy is always intent on forcing his way to
Innspruck, believing that the whole Tyrol is subjugated so soon as
the capital has fallen into his hands. We must strive, therefore, to
meet him there once more; for you know the old prophecy, saying that
Mount Isel will be a lucky place for the Tyrolese."
"I do know it," said the friar; "and if it please God we will verify
it. The freedom of the Tyrol is buried on Mount Isel near Innspruck,
and we will disinter the golden treasure there and cause it to shed
its lustre once more on our mountains and valleys. You shall help me
to do it, Anthony Wallner, you and your famous sharpshooters of
Windisch-Matrey. But previously I think, my friend, we shall have
something to do here; for our scouts have returned with the news
that the enemy is approaching. His column is headed by Saxon and
Bavarian troops under the French general, Royer; his forces are
followed by the main army under the commander-in-chief, Marshal
Lefebvre, or as he proudly call himself, the Duke of Dantsic.
General Royer has got already as far as Sterzing, and if we do not
interfere the Saxons will soon reach Brixen."
"But we will interfere," cried Anthony Wallner; "we will not allow
them to advance to Brixen, and I will occupy immediately with my
sharpshooters the mountain-passes on the route of the enemy. We will
receive the Duke of Dantsic with fireworks which will sadden his
"Do so, dear Anthony," exclaimed Haspinger, joyfully. "I myself will
first go to Brixen and teach the members of the municipality better
manners. Their terror and anguish have rendered them quite eloquent,
and they have dissuaded many hundred peasants, who were passing
through Brixen to join my command, from so doing, and induced them
to return to their homes. I shall speak a serious word with those
gentlemen, and teach them a little patriotism."
Haspinger nodded kindly to Anthony Wallner, and calling ten of his
best sharpshooters to him repaired to the city hall of Brixen, where
the members of the municipality were assembled. He made them a
furious speech, which, however, did not impress the gentlemen as
forcibly as the threats which he added to it. He swore that, if the
members of the municipality would not have the tocsin sounded
immediately and send out mounted messengers to call out the peasants
and send them to him, he would cause every one of them to be hanged
or shot in the morning! And this oath was effectual enough, for the
terrified gentlemen knew full well that Father Haspinger had the
power and the will to fulfil his oaths. Hence, the tocsin was
sounded, mounted messengers were Neat out in all directions, and on
the following morning upward of two thousand able-bodied men arrived
at Haspinger's camp. [Footnote: "Gallery of Heroes: Andreas Hofer,"
"All right," said the friar; "if Andreas Hofer and Speckbacher join
us with their forces, I believe we shall succeed, and St. Cassian
will have understood our prayers."
While Anthony Wallner and his sharpshooters occupied the mountain-
gorges this side of Brixen on the road to Mittewald, Joseph
Speckbacher and his men had penetrated far beyond Mittewald toward
Sterzing, and had learned that the Saxons, under General Royer, were
resting at Sterzing with the intention of advancing in the morning
through the wild valley of the Eisach toward Brixen.
"Well, if the Saxons are resting we must work in order to prepare
eternal repose for them," said Joseph Speckbacher, gayly. "Now come,
my brave lads, we must take the Saxons between two fires. They are
miserable scoundrels and traitors. Ah, they do not shrink from
serving the rapacious conqueror Bonaparte, and turning their arms
against their German countrymen, merely because the French emperor
orders them to do so, and because we refuse to submit to the foreign
yoke. and are determined to preserve our German tongue and our
German rights! How disgraceful it is that Germans should attack
Germans at the bidding of the foreign oppressor! Therefore, we will
punish the Saxons and Bavarians in the name of God and the Holy
Virgin. We will let them advance down the defile, and attack them
only after they are in it. They cannot retrace their steps, for we
are behind them; nor can they advance very far, for Father Red-beard
will meet them in front. Now come and let us make festive
preparations, as it behooves those who are expecting distinguished
guests. We will erect a few triumphal arches to them, and show them
how avalanches roll down our mountains. Ah, we will build up for
them artificial ruins which will excite their sincere admiration!"
"Yes, yes, we will!" shouted the peasants, who went to work, singing
and laughing. In the first place, they erected "triumphal arches" to
the enemy; that is to say, they obstructed the road by raising a
number of abatis, besmeared with pitch the wooden railing of the
bridge built across the Eisach near the village of Pleis, loosened
the planks of the bridge, and began to build "avalanches." They
felled a considerable number of tall larches, tied ropes to both
ends of them, lowered them half-way down the precipitous side of the
mountain, and fastened the ropes above to the strong branches of
trees firmly rooted in the soil of the crest. Then they threw huge
masses of rock and heaps of rubbish on these hanging scaffolds; and
after the "avalanches" had thus been completed, they withdrew
cautiously and rapidly into the mountain-gorges. Only Zoppel, Joseph
Speckbacher's servant, and an old peasant remained near the
"avalanches." They stood on both sides of the ropes, hatchet in
hand, casting fiery glances into the defile on the bank of the
Eisach, and between overhanging wood-clad precipices.
Profound silence reigned all around; only from time to time a
rustling noise was heard in the shrubbery; the flashing barrel of a
rifle was then seen, and it seemed as though the fleet-footed
chamois appeared on the heights above. But they were Tyrolese
sharpshooters who had climbed up to the watch-towers of their
natural fortresses to espy the enemy and on his appearance to
welcome him with the bullets of their rifles.
Profound silence reigned all around, and the two men were still
standing, hatchet in hand, by the side of the ropes holding the
All at once a loud, shrill whistle resounded in front of the
entrance to the defile; it was repeated all around the gloomy gorge.
"That is the signal that the enemy has passed the inn am Sack and is
entering the defile of the Eisach," murmured Zoppel, examining once
more the edge of his hatchet with his hand. Then he looked down
attentively into the depth, where only a footpath meandered close
along the bank of the foaming Eisach.
A few soldiers were now seen entering the defile yonder, where the
road projected between two jutting rocks forming the background of
The form of a Tyrolese sharpshooter appeared at the same moment on
the top of the precipitous rock. He stepped close to the edge of the
rock, allowed the soldiers, who looked around slowly and
distrustfully, to advance a few steps, and then raised his rifle. He
fired; one of the soldiers fell immediately to the ground, and the
Tyrolese sharpshooter reloaded his rifle. He fired again, and laid
another soldier prostrate.
The two reports had accelerated the march of the enemy. The soldiers
entered the defile with a hasty step; in order to advance, they had
to remove the two soldiers who were writhing in the agony of death
and obstructing the narrow path, and throw them into the waters of
the Eisach, which received with a wild roar the two corpses, the
first victims of the reopening struggle.
Meanwhile the Tyrolese sharpshooter on the height above had reloaded
his rifle and shot another soldier. On seeing this, he uttered a
loud Jodler, made a leap of joy, and nodded laughingly to the enemy,
who cast threatening glances on him. But he did not see that one of
the officers below called four soldiers to him, pointed his hand at
the top of the rock, and gave them a quick order. The four soldiers
sprang at once from the ranks and disappeared in the shrubbery
covering the base of the rock.
The sharpshooter was reloading his rifle, when the shrubbery behind
him rustled, and, on turning hastily, be saw one of the soldiers
rushing toward him. A cry of rage burst from the lips of the
sharpshooter. He then raised his rifle and fired. The soldier fell,
but at the same moment one of his comrades hastened from the thicket
toward the top of the rock. Another cry burst from the
sharpshooter's lips, but this time it sounded like a death-cry. He
saw that he was lost, for already the uniforms of the other two
soldiers were glittering among the trees, and the second soldier was
only a few steps from the edge of the rock where the sharpshooter
was standing. The Tyrolese cast a last despairing glance around him,
as if to take leave of heaven and earth, and of the mountains and
Valleys of his beloved Tyrol. Then he threw down his rifle and
seized the soldier furiously. His arms encircled the body of his
enemy like iron clasps, and he forced him with irresistible
impetuosity toward the edge of the rock.
"In God's name, then," he shouted in a loud voice echoed by the
rocks all around. "In God's name, then!"
With a last effort he threw himself with the soldier into the depth,
and both disappeared in the waters of the Eisach.
Speckbacher's servant the faithful Zoppel, had seen and understood
everything; and when the two sank into the foaming torrent, he wiped
a tear from his eyes.
"He died like a brave son of the Tyrol," he murmured, "and the Holy
Virgin will assuredly bid him kindly welcome. But we, Hisel, will
avenge his death on the accursed enemy below."
"Yes, we will," cried the peasant grimly; and he raised his hatchet
with a furious gesture.
"It is not yet time," said Zoppel thoughtfully. "Just wait until a
larger body of troops has entered the defile. See, Hisel, how
splendid they look in their gorgeous uniform, and how proudly they
are marching on!"
The Saxons did march on proudly, but not with drums beating. They
advanced in silence, filled with misgivings by the profound
stillness which surrounded them all at once, listening attentively
to every sound, and examining anxiously the top of every projecting
The head of the serried column had arrived now directly under the
hanging "avalanche" in the middle of the gloomy defile. The silence
was suddenly broken by a loud angry voice, which seemed to resound
in the air like the croaking of the death-angel.
This voice asked, "Zoppel, shall I cut the rope now?"
"Not yet! not yet!" replied another voice; and the precipitous rocks
all around echoed "Not yet! not yet!"
The Saxons gave a start and looked up. Whence came these voices?
What meant that huge black mass suspended on the precipitous side of
the mountain right over their heads?
Thus they asked each other shudderingly and stood still, fixing
their eyes on the black mass of rock and rubbish, which filled their
hearts with wonder and dismay.
"Let us retrace our steps! Let us not penetrate farther into the
defile," murmured the soldiers with trembling lips, but in so low a
tone that the officers marching by their sides could not hear them.
But the officers, too, were filled with strange misgivings; they
ordered the soldiers to halt, and hastened back to General Royer to
report to him the mysterious words which they had heard, and to ask
him whether they were to halt or retrace their steps.
"Advance at the double-quick!" commanded the general, sternly.
"Advance at the double-quick!" they repeated to their soldiers along
the whole line; the latter, in obedience to this order, hurried on
under the black mass which still hung threateningly over their
All at once a powerful voice above shouted out: "Now, Hisel, in the
name of the Holy Trinity, cut the ropes!" Thereupon they heard the
strokes of two hatchets.
The soldiers, who were rushing forward in serried ranks, looked up
again, and indescribable horror seized them. The black mass of rock
and rubbish which had hitherto hung over them, commenced moving and
rolling down with a terrible crash. A cloud of dust rose and filled
the gloomy defile as with the smoke of powder. At the same time a
heavy fire burst forth on all sides, and from amid the leafy screen
the deadly bullets of the sharpshooters brought death with every
discharge into the allied ranks. A death-like silence then ensued
for a moment, for out of the depths rose the wails and lamentations
of the hundreds of soldiers who had been crushed and mutilated by
the "avalanche." The Tyrolese, filled with curiosity and compassion,
looked down into the defile. The smoke and dust had disappeared, and
they could distinctly survey the scene of horror, devastation, and
death, in the gorge.
Happy those whom the falling "avalanche" had hurled from the narrow
footpath into the foaming torrent! It is true, death had been in
store for them there, but it had quickly put an end to their
sufferings. But what was the agony of those who lay buried under the
fragments of the rocks, their limbs fearfully mutilated! What were
the sufferings of the hundreds of soldiers lying on the road, on
this narrow, gory path, upon which the "avalanche" had thundered
It was a horrible sight; even the Tyrolese trembled on beholding
this rubbish, these fragments, whence large numbers of bloody
corpses protruded, and amidst which torn, mutilated limbs were
moving, while here and there soldiers, covered all over with dust,
and bleeding from fearful wounds, tried painfully to raise
themselves from the ground.
Those of the Saxons who had not been struck by the terrible
avalanche, fell back shuddering. When the Tyrolese saw this, their
compassion at the cruel fate of the dead gave way, and with
deafening shouts they burst forth from their concealment, and,
mingling with the enemy, a frightful slaughter took place.
The Saxons rallied, however; courageous discipline presided over
unskilled valor, and the column advanced slowly and painfully in the
direction of the bridge, through a murderous fire, and surmounting
the ruins which obstructed the road and covered the bodies of their
All at once exultant shouts and cheers resounded at the entrance of
the defile, and the clarion-notes of martial music joined in these
stirring acclamations. Fresh troops, re-enforcements of the Saxons,
were coming up from the rear. The Bavarians had arrived with their
artillery, which they had placed in a very favorable position; they
had already taken the two farm-houses at the entrance of the gorge
where the Tyrolese had taken position, and were now rushing into the
defile. The Tyrolese, dismayed at this impetuous advance, retreated
into the mountains.
For two days the struggle was continued in these gorges near
Mittewald. For two days Saxons and Tyrolese opposed each other in
this fratricidal contest, in which Germans fought against Germans in
obedience to the behests of the tyrant who had subjugated all
Germany, and to whom only the undaunted Tyrol still offered a
The victory was long undecided. Once the forces of the Duke of
Dantsic succeeded at one extremity of the defile in driving back the
sharpshooters under Joachim Haspinger, the Capuchin, and clearing a
passage for the Saxons struggling in the gorge. But the Capuchin had
retreated only to bring up fresh forces, dispatch messengers to
Speckbacher, Peter Mayer, Andreas Hofer, and Anthony Wallner, sound
the tocsin, and concentrate more armed peasants. And Speckbacher
came up with his brave sharpshooters in the rear of the Saxons:
Anthony Wallner and his men made their appearance like-wise; Peter
Mayer brought up fresh forces; and Andreas Hofer sent word that he
would be on hand speedily. But the Saxons were likewise re-enforced,
both by the French, who moved up from Brixen, and the Bavarians, who
approached from Sterzing.
The contest was continued with unabated violence, and both sides
struggled obstinately for the victory. But the Tyrolese fought for
their rights, their liberty, their German country; the Saxons and
Bavarians fought for tyranny, for the foreign oppressor, and the
subjugation of their countrymen. God granted victory to the
Tyrolese, and in the defile of Mittewald upward of a thousand Saxons
had to atone by their death for having fought at the bidding of the
French conqueror on German soil against their German countrymen.
The Tyrolese fought for their rights, their liberty, their German
country; and the Duke of Dantsic, the proud marshal of France, was
defeated by the despised peasants; he had to flee from their wrath,
and arrived without his cloak and hat, trembling and deathly pale,
on his foaming horse at Sterzing, which he had left a few hours
previously with the firm conviction that he would inflict a crushing
defeat upon the "haughty peasant-rabble." Now this "haughty peasant-
rabble" had defeated him.
God is with those who fight for the rights and liberty of Germany.
God is with those who rise boldly against French tyranny and French
THE FIFTEENTH OF AUGUST AT INNSPRUCK.
God is with those who fight for the rights and liberty of Germany.
He had granted another victory to the Tyrolese.
Animated by their brilliant successes, the patriots no longer stood
on the defensive, but, flocking from all quarters to the standard of
Hofer, assembled in great multitudes on Mount Isel, the scene of
their former triumphs, and destined to be immortalized by a still
more extraordinary victory. Lefebvre had collected his whole force,
consisting of twenty-six thousand men, of whom two thousand were
horse, with forty pieces of cannon, on the little plain which lies
between Innspruck and the foot of the mountains on the southern side
of the Inn. They were far from being animated, however, by their
wonted spirit; the repeated defeats they had experienced had
inspired them with that mysterious dread of the mountaineers with
which regular troops are so often seized, when, contrary to
expectation, they have been worsted by undisciplined bodies of men;
and a secret feeling of the injustice of their cause, and the
heroism with which they had been resisted, paralyzed many an arm
which had never trembled before a regular army.
The Tyrolese consisted of eighteen thousand men, three hundred of
whom were Austrian soldiers who had refused to follow their
officers, and remained to share the fate of the inhabitants. They
were tolerably supplied with ammunition, but had little provisions,
in consequence of which several hundred peasants had already gone
back to their homes.
Joseph Speckbacher commanded the right wing, whose line extended
from the heights of Passberg to the bridges of Hall and Volders;
Hofer was with the centre, and had his headquarters at the inn of
Spade, on the Schoenberg; Haspinger directed the left, and advanced
At four in the morning, the brave Capuchin roused Hofer from sleep,
and, having first united with him in fervent prayer, hurried out to
communicate his orders to the outposts.
The battle commenced at six, and continued without intermission till
midnight, the Bavarians constantly endeavoring to drive the Tyrolese
from their position on Mount Isel, and they, in their turn, to force
the enemy back into the town of Innspruck.
For a long time the contest was undecided, the superior discipline
and admirable artillery of the enemy prevailing over the impetuous
but disorderly assaults and deadly aim of the mountaineers; but
toward nightfall the bridge of the Sill was carried after a
desperate struggle, and their left flank being thus turned, the
French and Bavarians gave way on all sides, and were pursued with
great slaughter into the city. They lost six thousand men, of whom
seventeen hundred wounded fell into the hands of the Tyrolese, while
on the side of the latter not more than nine hundred had fallen.
Lefebvre had to retreat hastily toward Salzburg, where his whole
army was collected on the 20th.
This great victory was immediately followed by the liberation of the
whole Tyrol; and when, on the morning of the 15th of August, the sun
rose over Innspruck, Andreas Hofer and his victorious host stood on
Mount Isel, gazing with profound emotion on the reeking, gory
battle-field, on which, two days ago, war had raged with all its
horrors, and on the city of Innspruck, whose smoking and burning
houses betokened the last outburst of the rage of the fugitive
French marshal. [Footnote: "Gallery of Heroes: Andreas Hofer," p.
"See how much blood it has cost, and how many wrongs had to be
committed, that we might obtain our rights!" sighed Andreas Hofer,
pointing to the battle-field. "My heart overflows with pity on
seeing these horrors, and I implore you all to be merciful with the
wounded and to treat the prisoners leniently. Among these prisoners
are about one thousand Bavarians and Saxons. See, they are standing
down yonder in dense groups, and our men surround them, mocking and
abusing them. Go down to them, dear Secretary Doeninger; tell them
to be merciful and compassionate, and to bear always in mind that
the prisoners are no longer their enemies, but their German
brethren; that they are Saxons and Bavarians, speak one and the same
language with us, and are our countrymen. Repeat this to our men,
Doeninger, and say to them in my name, 'Do not injure the prisoners;
they are Saxons and Bavarians, and good and brave men!'" [Footnote:
Andreas Hofer's own words.--Ibid., p. 125.]
"They are not exactly good men," said Speckbacher, who was standing
on the right side of Andreas Hofer; "no, they are not exactly good
men, Andy; otherwise they would not have fought against us, who are
assuredly good men and have done nothing but defend our dear
Instead of replying to him, Andreas Hofer turned smilingly to the
Capuchin, who was standing on his left side. "Brother Joachim," he
said gently, "you ought to exhort our Joseph here a little, that he
may comply with the Redeemer's precept and forgive his enemies. He
is a very good, but very stubborn fellow; a brave and excellent
soldier, but it would do him no harm if he were a better Christian."
"If we had been good Christians latterly we should never have
defeated the enemy," growled the Capuchin, shaking his head. "If we
were good Christians, we should have to love our enemies, do good to
them that hate us, and pray for those who despitefully use us and
persecute us. So long as we are soldiers, Andy, we cannot be good
Christians; and I thank God for it that we fought like downright
brave heathens. But after the enemy has been expelled from the
country, and peace prevails again everywhere, and I have returned to
my tedious convent at Seeben, I will become again a pious Capuchin,
and exhort our dear brave Joseph Speckbacher to become as good a
Christian as our Andreas Hofer."
"No, no, brother Joachim, we will not wait until then to show to the
world that we are good Christians," exclaimed Andreas. "God stood by
us in the battle of Mount Isel and made us victorious over our
enemies. Let us thank Him, therefore, for His surpassing goodness
and mercy; let us pray Him to bless our victory and grant a glorious
resurrection to those who had to sacrifice their lives for it."
He drew his large rosary from his bosom, and, lifting his eyes
devoutly to heaven, sank down on his knees.
"Yes, let us pray God to bless our victory," said Father Haspinger,
bending his knees like Andreas Hofer; and Joseph Speckbacher
followed his example.
And the pious Tyrolese, seeing their leaders kneeling on the height
above, were filled with devout emotion; they knelt likewise; their
cheers and Jodlers, their shouts and laughter died away; only
prayers were heard from their lips, and, as an accompaniment to
them, the melodious peals of the bells, with which the people of
Innspruck were celebrating the departure of the French marshals, and
the approach of the defenders of the country.
At this moment the sun burst forth from the clouds, and shed a
radiant lustre on this whole sublime scene--the three kneeling
heroes on the height above, and all around the Tyrolese, clad in
their picturesque national costume, kneeling and thanking God, with
tears in their eyes, for the victory He had vouchsafed to them.
The Bavarian and Saxon prisoners, carried away by this spectacle,
knelt down like the Tyrolese, and prayed to God, like their enemies-
-not thanking Him, as the latter did, for the victory, but for
having made them prisoners, of good and pious victors. [Footnote:
Mayer's "Joseph Speckbacher," p. 196.]
All at once this pious scene was interrupted by loud cheers, shouts,
and Jodlers, and a long, imposing procession of singing, jubilant
men ascended the mountain. The new-comers were the students of
Innspruck, who came to congratulate Andreas Hofer on his brilliant
victory, and accompany him on his triumphal entry into the city.
Many persons followed them, and all shouted exultingly, "Where is
Andreas Hofer, the savior of the country? Where is Andreas Hofer,
The band heading the procession of the students, struck up a ringing
flourish on beholding Andrews, who had risen from his knees at their
approach. But he raised his arm imperatively; the band ceased
playing immediately, and the cheers died away on the lips of the
students, who bowed respectfully to the tall, imposing form of the
"Hush, hush," said Andreas, gravely; "pray! No cheers, no music!
Neither I nor any of us did it; all the glory is due to Him above!"
[Footnote: Andreas Hofer's own words, Ibid., p. 197.]
"But you helped the good God a little," said the speaker of the
students, "and therefore you must submit to accept the thanks of the
whole Tyrol, and to being called the savior and liberator of the
country. We come to you as messengers of the capital of the Tyrol,
and are instructed to request you to tarry no longer, but make your
triumphal entry into the city."
"Yes, I will come," exclaimed Andreas, joyfully; "what I implored of
the Lord as the highest boon has been realized now: we shall make
our triumphal entry into the city, where the mean enemy behaved so
shamefully. Return to Innspruck, my friends, and say to the
inhabitants that we shall be in the city in the course of an hour--
old Red-beard, Speckbacher, and I--and that we shall be glad to meet
all our excellent friends there again."
And an hour afterward Andreas Hofer and his friends made their entry
into Innspruck. He sat in a gorgeous carriage, drawn by four
splendid white horses, which he himself had taken from a French
colonel during his flight across the Brenner. By the side of the
Sandwirth sat Joachim Haspinger, the Capuchin, and beside the
carriage rode Joseph Speckbacher, with a radiant face, and his dark,
fiery eyes beaming with triumphant joy, he was mounted on the proud
magnificently-caparisoned charger that had borne the haughty Duke of
Dantsic two days ago.
The carriage was preceded by a crowd of rejoicing peasants, and a
band of fifers and fiddlers; carpets and banners hung from all the
windows and balconies; ladies in beautiful attire greeted the
conquering hero with waving handkerchiefs; and the people in the
streets, the ladies on the balconies, and the boys on the roofs and
in the trees, shouted enthusiastically, "Long live Andreas Hofer!
Long live the commander-in-chief of the Tyrol!" And the bells
pealed, the cannon posted on the market-place thundered, and the
fifers and fiddlers made as much noise as possible.
"Listen, brother Haspinger," said Andreas Hofer, turning to the
Capuchin, while the carriage was moving on slowly, "I should really
dislike to enter the city always amid such fuss and noise; and I
believe it is heavy work for princes always to look well pleased and
cheerful when they are so much molested by the enthusiasm of the
people. I looked forward with a great deal of joy to the day when we
should make our entry into the city, and I thought it would be much
more beautiful; but now I am greatly tired of the whole thing; I
should be glad if they would cease fiddling, and clear a passage for
the carriage to move on more rapidly. I am hungry, and I would I
were already at the tavern of my dear friend Niederkircher."
"Well, you must learn to put on a pleasant face when the people
cheer you," said Haspinger, laughing. "You have now become a prince
too, and I think your people will love you dearly."
"What nonsense is that, brother?" asked Hofer, angrily.
"It is no nonsense at all, Andy; on the contrary, it is quite true.
Just listen to their acclamations."
"Long live Andreas Hofer!" shouted the crowd, which was dancing and
singing around the carriage. "Long live the commander-in-chief of
"They call me commander-in-chief of the Tyrol," said Andreas,
musingly. "Tell me, Joachim, is it necessary for me to assume that
"Yes, it is. There must be a head of the state, a man to whom the
people may look up as its star, and to whom it may apply as its
comfort, support, and judge. And as the people have confidence in
you and love you, you must be the man to hold the whole together,
lest it should fall asunder. You shall be the head, and we others
will be your hands and thoughts, and will work and fight, and think
for you and the Tyrol. We must have a leader, a commander-in-chief
of the Tyrol, and you are the man, Andy."
"If you say so, it must be so," said Andreas, nodding his head
gently. "Well, then, I shall be commander-in-chief of the Tyrol
until order and peace are restored, and until the enemy has been
expelled from the country for evermore. But see, we have arrived in
front of Niederkircher's tavern, and there is Niederkircher himself
with his dear round face. God bless you, Niederkircher, why do you
look at me so solemnly, and why have you dressed up so nicely? Why,
you wear your holiday clothes, and yet I think this is neither
Sunday nor a holiday."
"It is a great holiday," exclaimed Niederkircher, "the commander-in-
chief of the Tyrol, the great Andreas Hofer, is making his triumphal
entry into the city. That is why I have put on my Sunday clothes and
look so solemn; for it would not be becoming for me to embrace the
distinguished commander-in-chief of the Tyrol, as I should like to
do under other circumstances."
"You are a fool, old fellow!" said Andreas, encircling his friend's
neck with his arm; "if I am commander-in-chief before the world, I
am, before my friends, always Andreas Hofer, the Sandwirth and
humble peasant. Let us go into the house, my dear friend; and you
Joachim, come with us. There! Take me to the small back room which I
always occupy during my stay in the city."
"God forbid!" exclaimed the innkeeper; "you never must occupy the
back room again; that would not be becoming for the commander-in-
chief of the Tyrol. You must take my best room with the balcony
opening on the street; besides, all is there in readiness for your
"Must I take it, Joachim?" said Andreas to the Capuchin, almost
"Yes, Andy, you must," replied the friar. "You must do honor to your
new dignity, and to us all."
"It is a pity that I must do so," sighed Andreas. "I was so glad
that I should soon be in the old back room, where it is so cozy and
quiet, and where you do not hear any thing of the noise and shouting
outside. But, if it cannot be helped, let us go to the best room;
but pray, if it is possible, give us something to eat there. Some
sound dumplings and a glass of native wine, friend Niederkircher."
"No, no, Andreas Hofer, that will not do today," replied the
innkeeper; "I have had all my servants at work in the kitchen ever
since sunrise, and you will have a dinner suitable for the
commander-in-chief of the Tyrol."
"I should have preferred dumplings and native wine in the small back
room," said Andreas Hofer, dolefully, while he ascended with the
innkeeper and the Capuchin to the best room on the first floor.
This was a very fine room indeed, and even though it was not as cozy
as the back room for which Hofer bad longed, it was at all events
very agreeable to him to be once more under a hospitable roof, and
enjoy a little rest and tranquillity. In the middle of the room
stood a table handsomely festooned with flowers, and covered with
bottles of wine, cake, and all sorts of fruit.
"Now, my distinguished friends, make yourselves as comfortable as
possible," said Niederkircher, cheerfully; "lie down awhile on the
silken divan and repose. Meanwhile I will go to the kitchen and
order dinner to be served to the commander-in-chief and his two
generals, Haspinger and Speckbacher."
"I shall comply with your request," growled the Capuchin, "and make
myself as comfortable as possible."
He burled his heavy, dusty leathern shoes quickly from his feet into
a corner of the room; he then lay down on the carpet in front of the
divan, and stretching his limbs, exclaimed, "Forsooth, I have not
been able for a long while to make myself as comfortable as to-day!"
"But you, commander-in-chief," said Niederkircher, beseechingly, "I
hope, will not disdain my divan? Rest there a little, Andy, until
the waiters bring you your dinner."
"God forbid! I must first attend to my horses," exclaimed Andreas.
"I suppose, Niederkircher, you saw my four splendid white horses?
They are honest war-spoils; I will keep them forever and never sell
them, although I could get a round sum for them, for they are fine
animals; only the first horse on the right-hand side, I believe, is
a little weak in the chest, and ought not to be overworked. Before
going to dinner and making myself comfortable, I must go and feed
the horses and see if they are comfortable. You know, Niederkircher,
I have always fed my horses myself, and will do so to-day also."
And he hastened toward the door; but Niederkircher ran after him and
kept him back.
"For God's sake. Hofer," he cried in dismay, "what are you going to
do? Why, you are not a horse-trader nor the Sandwirth to-day, but
commander-in-chief of the Tyrol."
"It is true, I forgot it," sighed Andreas. "Go, then, dear friend,
get us our dinner, and have a large bundle of hay put into the
manger of the horses.--But, great God! what dreadful noise is that
in the street? Why, those men are shouting so loudly that the walls
are shaking and the windows rattling! What do they want? Why do they
always repeat my name? Look out, Niederkircher, and see what is the
Niederkircher hastened to the window and drew the curtain aside in
order to look out into the street. A dense crowd was assembled in
front of the tavern; it was incessantly cheering and shouting:
"Andreas Hofer! Come out! Long live the commander-in-chief of the
Tyrol, the liberator! We want to see him, we must thank him for
delivering us from the enemy. Andreas Hofer! Andreas Hofer!"
"You cannot get around it, Andy; you must step out on the balcony,"
said Niederkircher, stepping back from the window. "The people are
perfectly beside themselves with love and enthusiasm, and will not
keep quiet until you come out and make a speech to them. Do, my
friend, step out on the balcony!"
"Must I do it?" asked Andreas, dolefully, turning to the Capuchin,
who was stretching himself comfortably on the carpet.
"You must, brother," said Haspinger, gravely. "The people wish to
see their beloved leader, and it would be ungrateful not to accept
Andreas Hofer sighed, but he yielded and approached the balcony, the
doors of which were thrown open by the innkeeper.
No sooner had the thousands assembled in front of the house beheld
the tall form of their favorite leader, than thundering cheers rent
the air; all waved their hats and shouted, "Long live Andreas Hofer!
Long live the commander-in-chief of the Tyrol!"
And now a feeling of profound emotion overcame the tender, grateful
heart of Andreas Hofer; joy and ecstasy filled his soul in the face
of so much love and enthusiasm, and tears of the most unalloyed
bliss glistened in his eyes, which greeted the jubilant people with
tender, loving glances. He was anxious to thank these kind people
and give utterance to his love; and he lifted up his arm, asking
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
"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 HOFER, THE EMPEROR'S LIEUTENANT.
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
"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
" 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
"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
"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,"
exclaimed all, in joyful excitement.
"Well, if it please God. I will take up my residence in the imperial
palace," exclaimed Andreas Hofer, solemnly, giving his hand to the
mayor and stepping with him to the door of the ballroom.
He was followed by the Capuchin, Joseph Speckbacher, Anthony
Wallner, the other commanders of the Landsturm, and the municipal
authorities. On stepping into the street, they were received with
thundering cheers by the people who thronged the street and the
neighboring place; and amid singing and deafening acclamations, and
the ringing of all the church-bells, the emperor's lieutenant and
commander-in-chief of the Tyrol, Andreas Hofer, was conducted to the
magnificent imperial palace, where the Sandwirth was to take up his
THE FIFTEENTH OF AUGUST AT COMORN.
While the people of Innspruck set no bounds to their rejoicings on
the 15th of August, and accompanied Andreas Hofer, the emperor's
lieutenant, amid the most rapturous manifestations of enthusiasm, to
the imperial palace; while the Emperor Napoleon was celebrating the
15th of August, his birthday, by a great parade at Schoenbrunn, and
the bestowal of orders and rewards on many distinguished persons,
the Emperor Francis was at the fortress of Comorn. Only a few of his
faithful adherents had followed him thither; only his servants and
officers surrounded him at his mournful court there. The Empress
Ludovica and the archduchesses had already repaired to Totis, a
country-seat of Prince Lichtenstein, in Hungary, whither the emperor
intended to follow her in the course of a few days.
"I should set out this very day," he said, pacing his cabinet, to
his confidential agent Hudelist, the Aulic councillor, "but I should
like to see previously Count Bubna, whom I have sent to Bonaparte."
"I hope, your majesty, that the count will yet return today,"
replied Hudelist, in his humble bland voice.
"God grant it!" sighed the emperor. "It is very tedious here, and I
hope our sojourn at Totis will not be so mournful and wearisome.
Prince Lichtenstein told me there were excellent fishing-ponds
there, and he added that he had caused to be built a laboratory
where I might manufacture sealing-wax. I think, Hudelist, we shall
be very industrious there, and manufacture new and beautiful
"I received to-day a new receipt for making carmine sealing-wax,
perfumed a la rose," said Hudelist, smiling.
"Ah, that is nice," exclaimed the emperor; "give it to me--let me
The Aulic councillor drew a paper from his bosom and handed it with
a low bow to the emperor. Francis took it quickly, and fixed his
eyes smilingly on it.
His features, however, suddenly became very gloomy, and he threw the
paper indignantly on the table. "What do you give me this for?" he
asked, angrily. "In speaking of the receipt, I had forgotten the
abominable political situation for a moment, but you must at once
remind me of it."
"My God!" faltered out Hudelist, "what did I do, then, to excite
your majesty's indignation?"
The emperor took the paper from the table and handed it to him.
"See," he said, already half pacified, "is that a receipt for making
"Good heavens!" groaned Hudelist, in dismay, "I made a mistake. In
place of the receipt, I handed to your majesty the draft of the
proclamation to your subjects, which your majesty ordered me to
write. Oh, I humbly beg your majesty's pardon for having made so
lamentable a blunder; I--"
"Well, never mind," interrupted the emperor; "there is no harm done.
You handed me one receipt, in place of another; and it is true, the
sealing-wax receipt may remain in your pocket until we arrive at
Totis, but the other receipt is needed immediately, for it is
destined to reduce the people to submissiveness and tranquillity.
Well, read the proclamation you have drawn up."
"Your majesty, I have carried out carefully the orders of your
majesty, and the instructions of your minister, Count Metternich,
and written only what your majesty had agreed upon with the
"Read it," said the emperor, taking the fly-flap from the table;
and, while he was slowly gliding along the walls, and killing now
and then a fly, Hudelist read as follows:"
"To my people and my army!--My beloved subjects, and even my enemies
know that, in entering upon the present war, I was induced to take
up arms neither by thirst for conquest nor by mortified personal
"Self-preservation and independence, a peace which would be
compatible with the honor of my crown, and which would give security
and tranquillity to my people, were the lofty and only objects which
I strove to attain."
"The fickle fortunes of war have not fulfilled my expectations; the
enemy penetrated into the heart of my states, and exposed them to
the devastations of a war carried on with the most relentless
exasperation and barbarity; but, at the same time, he became
acquainted with the patriotic spirit of my people and the bravery of
"This experience, which he purchased after fearful bloodshed, and my
unvarying solicitude for the happiness of my subjects, brought about
mutual advances for peace negotiations. My plenipotentiaries met
with those of the French emperor."
"I am desirous of concluding an honorable peace, the terms of which
offer the possibility and prospect of its duration. The bravery of
my army, its unwavering courage, its ardent patriotism, its emphatic
wish not to lay down its arms prior to the conclusion of an
honorable peace, prevent me from submitting to terms which would
shake the foundations of the empire, and dishonor us after such
great and generous sacrifices and so much bloodshed."
"The noble spirit animating the army is a sufficient guaranty that,
if the enemy should after all mistake our intentions and strength,
we shall certainly obtain the reward of constancy in the end."
[Footnote: See Hormayr's "Andreas Hofer," vol. ii., p. 440.]
"There," cried the emperor at this moment, striking with the fly-
flap at the wall, "that will at length put an end to your humming,
with which you have dinned my ears for a quarter of an hour. Come
here, Hudelist, and look at this bluebottle fly. The whole time
while you were reading I was chasing it, and have only just got it.
Did you ever see so large a fly?"
"It is a very large fly indeed," said Hudelist, with a grin.
"I do not believe that it is a bluebottle fly," exclaimed the
emperor. "It is Bonaparte, who has transformed himself into a
bluebottle fly, as Jove once transformed himself into an ox; and he
came hither to annoy me and din my ears until I am quite sick. Yes,
yes, Hudelist, believe me, Bonaparte is a huge bluebottle fly, which
drives all Europe mad. Ah, would I could treat him as I treat this
abominable bluebottle fly now, and crush him under my foot!"
And the emperor crushed the writhing insect under his heel.
"Your majesty will surely enjoy one day the pleasure of crushing
Bonaparte, the huge bluebottle fly, under your heel," said Hudelist.
"Only your majesty must be gracious enough to have patience, and not
now try to attain what you will surely accomplish at a later time.
At this juncture Bonaparte is strong and superior to us; but let us
wait until there is a moment when he is weak; your majesty will
profit by this moment, and crush him."
"See, see how kind you are!" exclaimed the emperor, with a sardonic
smile; "you are so obliging as to give me advice which I did not ask
for. I thank you, Mr. Aulic Councillor, but I believe it will be
better for me to follow my own understanding. As God Almighty has
placed me at the head of Austria and made me emperor, He must
confide in my ability to discharge the duties of my imperial office.
Well, you need not look so dismayed; I know that your intentions are
good, and I confide in you."
"Your majesty knows that I am ready to die for you, and that I
should shed my blood for you unhesitatingly and joyously," exclaimed
Hudelist, enthusiastically. "It was, therefore, only my intense love
and veneration which made me venture to communicate my views freely
and openly to your majesty; but I shall never do so again, for I was
unfortunate enough to displease your majesty thereby."
"On the contrary, you shall always do so, you shall always tell me
your opinion freely and openly," cried the emperor, vehemently. "You
shall tell me all that you believe, all that you know, and all that
you hear and learn from others. Your ears, eyes, and tongue, shall
belong to me."
"And my heart, above all things, belongs to my adored emperor, your
"Have you really got a heart?" asked the emperor, smiling. "I do not
believe it, Hudelist; you are a clever, sagacious man, but you had
better say nothing about your heart, for I think you have used it up
in your countless love-affairs. Moreover, I do not care for it. I do
not think a great deal of men who have too much heart, and who
always allow their rash heart to influence their actions. My
distinguished brother, the Archduke John, for instance, has this
fault and weakness; his heart frequently runs away with his head,
and his legs finally run after it."
"But he is a very brave general," said Hudelist, gently; "a
courageous captain, and a most defiant and foolhardy enemy of
France. How unwavering were the courage and intrepidity with which
he met the Viceroy of Italy everywhere, and attacked him, even
though he knew beforehand that he would be unable to worst the
superior enemy! How great was the magnanimity with which he risked
all, and did not shrink from sacrificing the lives of thousands in
attempting to carry out an insignificant coup against the enemy! And
how sublime was the heroism with which he has often dared to brave
the orders of the commander-in-chief and pursue his own way, on
finding that these orders were dangerous and pernicious to his
"Yes," cried the emperor, bursting into scornful laughter, "it was
owing to this disobedience and stubbornness that we lost the battle
of Wagram. If the Archduke John had been more obedient, and arrived
with his troops in time, we should have gained the battle. I should
not be in this miserable hole and it would not be necessary for me
to sue Bonaparte so humbly and contritely for generous terms of
peace. The good heart of my distinguished brother subjected me to
this unpleasant necessity, and I shall one day manifest to him my
gratitude for it."
"Oh, your majesty," said Hudelist, in his blandest voice, "if the
archduke should have unwittingly committed a blunder on this
occasion, he has made a thousand amends for it. Your majesty should
bear in mind all that the noble Archduke John accomplished in the
Tyrol. Your majesty owes it only to the archduke that the Tyrol rose
as one man, that it fought, and is fighting still, with the utmost
heroism. He arranged it all; he organized a conspiracy in the Tyrol
while the country was yet under the Bavarian yoke--a vast, gigantic
conspiracy; owing to his secret instigation, the revolution broke
out simultaneously in all parts of the Tyrol, and it is the name of
the Archduke John which fills this people of heroes with the sublime
courage which it displays in the most murderous battles."
"It is bad enough that it is so," exclaimed the emperor, striding
uneasily up and down the room. "The Archduke John sowed the seeds of
pernicious weeds, and played a very dangerous game."
"It is true, it is dangerous to preach rebellion to a people, and
teach it how to rise in insurrection," said Hudelist, thoughtfully.
"And it cannot be denied that the insurrection of the Tyrolese sets
a deplorable example in some respects. It is true, the archduke
organized the conspiracy only for the good of Austria and her
emperor; but what the Tyrolese are doing to-day FOR the emperor,
they might another time do AGAINST him; and if the archduke were not
so exceedingly loyal and entirely above suspicion, one might think
he had stirred up the insurrection for his own purposes and benefit.
At all events, it only depends on him to have himself proclaimed
King of the Tyrol, for his influence is all-powerful in that
The emperor uttered a cry of rage. His eyes shot fire, his lips
quivered and muttered incoherent threats, his cheeks had turned
livid, and be paced his room in indescribable agitation. Then, as if
to give vent to the rage filling his breast, he took up the fly-flap
and struck violently at the flies seated here and there on the wall.
Hudelist followed his every motion with his cold, stealthy eyes, and
an expression of scorn and malicious joy illuminated his sombre face
for a moment.
"It was effectual," he murmured to himself; "jealousy and suspicion
have struck roots in his heart, and we shall succeed in neutralizing
the influence of the archduke, who constantly preaches war, and war
at any cost."
Suddenly the emperor cast his fly-flap aside, and turned to
Hudelist, whose face had quickly resumed its quiet, humble, and
"Hudelist," said the emperor, in a low and mysterious tone, "always
tell me all you know about the archduke, and do not conceal any
thing from me. I must know all, and count upon your sincerity and
talent of observation."
"Your majesty," cried Hudelist, ardently, "I swear that I will
faithfully carry out the orders of my emperor. Not a word, not a
step, not a manifestation of public opinion shall be concealed from
your majesty; for, as your majesty was gracious enough to observe,
my ears, eyes, and tongue, belong to your majesty."
At this moment the door of the anteroom opened, and a footman
announced Count Bubna.
"Let him come in," said the emperor; and he dismissed, with a quick
wave of his hand, Hudelist, who, bowing respectfully, and walking
backward, left the emperor's cabinet at the same moment that Count
Bubna appeared on the threshold of the opposite door.
The emperor hastened to meet him. "Now speak, count!" he exclaimed,
eagerly; "did you see Bonaparte? Did he admit you?"
"Yes, your majesty," said Count Bubna, with gloomy gravity, "the
Emperor Napoleon did admit me. I had a long interview with him."
The emperor nodded his head. "Did he offer you terms of peace?"
"He did, but I cannot conceal from your majesty that the Emperor
Napoleon will impose very harsh and oppressive conditions. He is
exceedingly irritated, and the heroic resistance which our army
offered to him, our brilliant victory at Aspern, and the fact that
his victory at Wagram was after all little better than a drawn
battle, seem to have exasperated him in the extreme. For this reason
he is resolved to impose rigorous terms of peace on us, because, if
Austria should submit to them, she would thereby admit that the
Emperor of the French gained a great victory at Wagram."
"Well, I am glad that he is irritated," said the emperor, shrugging
his shoulders; "so am I, and I shall not accept any peace which
would impose humiliating terms on Austria. That is what I have
promised this very day to my people in the proclamation lying on the
table yonder; and I owe it, moreover, to myself. Either an honorable
peace, or a decision by the fortune of war. If need be, I will call
upon my whole people to take up arms; I will place myself at the
head of this grand army, and either defeat Bonaparte, or succumb
"Ah, if your people could see your majesty in your generous
excitement, with how much enthusiasm they would follow their emperor
and expel the enemy!" exclaimed Count Bubna. "And yet even the most
intense enthusiasm might fail, for circumstances are more powerful
than your majesty's heroism. The Emperor Napoleon is determined to
follow up his success to its most extreme consequences, and we are
at this juncture unable to cope with him in the long run. All the
gaps in his army have been filled up, and his soldiers are flushed
with victory, and eager to meet our own forces. Our army is greatly
weakened, disorganized, and disheartened; and, moreover, it has no
commander-in-chief, inasmuch as your majesty has accepted the
resignation of the generalissimo. To continue the war would be
equivalent to endangering the existence of Austria and the imperial
"Ah, you mean that Bonaparte would be pleased to say of my dynasty
what he said of Naples and Spain: 'The Bourbons have ceased to
"Your majesty, although the Emperor Napoleon did not dare to use
such unmeasured language, he did not fail to hint at such an event.
Having admitted me after repeated refusals and hearing my first
words, 'My august master, the Emperor of Austria,' the Emperor
Napoleon interrupted me, and cried vehemently, 'There is no longer
an Emperor of Austria, but only a Prince of Lorraine!'"
"Ah, indeed, he permits me at least to retain the title of a Prince
of Lorraine! And what else did he say? Do not conceal any thing from
me, Count Bubna, but bear in mind that I must know all, in order to
take my resolutions accordingly."
"Your majesty, if I did not bear this in mind, I should never
venture to repeat what the Emperor Napoleon permitted himself to say
to me. He seemed to speak quite unreservedly in my presence; lying
on the floor by the side of his maps, or sitting on the table and
placing his feet on a chair, or standing before me with folded arms,
he spoke to me with a frankness which almost frightened me, and
which at times seemed to me quite involuntary."
"There you were mistaken, at all events," said Francis, shrugging
his shoulders. "Bonaparte never does any thing unintentionally, and
not a word escapes him but what he wants to utter. I know him better
than you all, though I have seen him only once in my life; and God
knows that, after my interview with him subsequent to the battle of
Austerlitz, my heart was filled with intense hatred against him.
Now, my heart is more constant in hatred than in love; and if it is
said that love makes us blind, hatred, on the other hand, renders us
keen-sighted, and that is the reason why I am able to see through
Bonaparte and know him better than you all. Tell me, therefore, what
he said so frankly to you, and I shall know what to think of his
statements which seem to you unintentional expressions of his real
sentiments. What does he think of the armistice? Is he really intent
on drawing the sword once more, or is he inclined to conclude
"Inclined, your majesty, is not the right word. He intends to GRANT
peace to your majesty in return for heavy sacrifices. Your majesty
will have to sacrifice much territory, many fortresses, and finally
a great deal of money, in order to obtain peace."
"And what if I should not do so?" cried Francis, impetuously. "What
if I should prefer to resume hostilities and die honorably on the
ruins of my empire rather than purchase a dishonorable peace? What
would he say then?"
"Then he would resume hostilities with his strong and enthusiastic
army; he would, as he told me more than once in his thundering
voice, be inexorable, and no considerations of generosity would
prevent him from wreaking vengeance on his personal enemy; for as
such he would regard your majesty in that event."
"But the people of Nuremberg do not hang any one before they have
got him," said the emperor, calmly. "Bonaparte has not got me yet,
and I think he will not catch me soon. Despite all his braggadocio,
he will be obliged to allow the continued existence of the Austrian
Empire, for all Europe would rise against him; even Russia herself
would become his enemy, and draw the sword against him, if he should
be daring enough to appropriate the Austrian Empire and swallow it
as he swallowed Italy."
"Your majesty, I also do not believe that he would menace Austria in
case he should be driven again to hostilities; he threatens only the
Emperor of Austria."
"What do you mean, Bubna?" asked the emperor, vehemently.
"Your majesty," said Count Bubna, in a low, timid voice, "the
Emperor Napoleon thinks you are his personal and inexorable enemy,
and he believes if a monarch more favorable to him were seated on
the throne of Austria, he would not only soon conclude peace with
Austria, but also have a faithful ally in her hereafter. If
hostilities should be resumed, and if the fortune of war should
decide in favor of the Emperor Napoleon--"
"Proceed, proceed," cried the emperor, impatiently, when Count Bubna
hesitated; "I must know all, and am not so cowardly as to be
frightened by mere words."
"But I, your majesty, am afraid of uttering words whose meaning
fills me with loathing and horror--words which, thank God, will
never become deeds!"
"No preamble, count, but speak out," cried the emperor, impatiently.
"What would Bonaparte do in case he should defeat us again?"
"Your majesty, he would place another emperor on the Austrian
"Ah, always the same old strain," exclaimed the emperor,
contemptuously. "One of his brothers or brothers-in-law is to become
Emperor of Austria, I suppose? 'The Hapsburg dynasty has ceased to
reign'--that is it, is it not?"
"No, another prince of the Hapsburg dynasty is to be placed on the
throne, one of the brothers of the Emperor Francis."
"Ah, ah! he thinks of my brothers," murmured the emperor, whose
cheeks turned very pale. "Well, which of my brothers did he
designate as future Emperor of Austria?"
"He thought it would be best for France if the throne were ceded to
the Grand-duke of Wurtzburg, the Archduke Ferdinand. He said he had
had confidence in the grand-duke ever since he had been in Tuscany,
and he believed that the grand-duke was likewise friendly to him. He
would make him Emperor of Austria, and add the grand duchy of
Wurtzburg to the kingdom of Bavaria."
"And the Tyrol?" asked the Emperor Francis. "Will Bonaparte, in his
liberality, give that also to Bavaria, or will he leave it to my
brother Ferdinand, the future Emperor of Austria?"
"No, your majesty. The Emperor Napoleon seems to have entirely new
and rather singular plans in regard to the Tyrol. According to these
plans. Bavaria is not to keep it, for Napoleon said angrily that
Bavaria had not at all known how to deal with the simple and honest
Tyrolese. He added that profound tranquillity should reign in the
mountains; hence, he could not restore the Tyrol to Bavaria, against
which the Tyrolese were animated by intense hatred. As the Tyrolese
had manifested their attachment and fidelity to Austria in so
admirable a manner, it would be best to make the Tyrol an
independent principality, and give it also to one of the arch-dukes,
the brothers of the emperor." [Footnote: Napoleon's own words.--See
"Lebensbilder," vol. v., p. 217.]
"By the Eternal! my brothers seem to be the special favorites of the
Emperor Napoleon," exclaimed the emperor. "Which of the archdukes is
to receive the new principality of the Tyrol at Bonaparte's hands?"
"Your majesty, he said the Tyrol should be given to that archduke
for whom the Tyrolese had always manifested the greatest love and
enthusiasm, the Archduke John."
"John!" cried the emperor, giving a start; "John is to become
sovereign of the Tyrol? Ah, my sagacious and learned brother has
speculated correctly, then! He first stirred up a rebellion in the
Tyrol in the shrewdest manner, and he will now quiet the beloved
Tyrol, by becoming its sovereign and ruler."
"Your majesty," exclaimed the count, in dismay, "it is not the noble
Archduke John who conceived such plans, but the Emperor Napoleon."
"He seems at least to keep up a touching understanding with my
brothers. I should like to know whether his generosity will not
provide crowns and states for the other arch-dukes too. And then,
you have not told me yet what he intends to do with me after hurling
me from the throne. Does he want to keep me confined like the King
of Spain and Pope Pius, or will he permit me to live as a refugee in
foreign lands, like the King of Naples?"
"Your majesty, Napoleon only dreamed of the future, and dreams never
are logical and consistent. I myself listened to his dreams in
silence, and they amused me as the merry fairy-stories of my
childhood did--fairy-stories invented only for the purpose of making
"Yes, let us laugh at them," exclaimed the emperor, bursting into
loud laughter, which, however, sounded so unnatural that Count Bubna
did not join in it. "And now," said the emperor, whose face suddenly
became very gloomy, "having spoken enough about Bonaparte's funny
dreams, let us turn to more serious matters. What are the terms on
which the Emperor of the French would make peace with me? What does
"Your majesty, his demands are so exorbitant that I scarcely dare to
"Never mind," said the emperor, dryly. "If I could listen quietly to
the plan regarding my brothers, I believe I shall be able to bear
the rest. Speak, therefore. What are the terms on which Napoleon
would conclude peace?"
"He demands the cession of all the provinces actually occupied by
the French armies; the surrender of the fortresses still occupied by
our troops in these provinces, with their magazines, arsenals,
stores, and supplies; the surrender of the fortresses of Gratz and
Brunn; and large contributions in kind, to be collected by M. Daru,
the French intendant-general."
"He intends to spoliate Austria as mercilessly as he formerly
plundered Hamburg and the whole of Northern Germany," said the
emperor, shrugging his shoulders. "And does not Bonaparte demand any
money this time? Will he content himself with provinces, fortresses,
and contributions in kind? Will he extort no money from us?"
"Your majesty, he demands an enormous sum. He demands the immediate
payment of two hundred and thirty-seven millions of francs."
[Footnote: See Schlosser's "History of the Nineteenth Century," vol.
viii., p. 115.]
"Well, well, he will take less than that," exclaimed the emperor.
"Then your majesty will graciously negotiate with him on his terms
of peace?" asked Count Bubna, joyously. "Bearing in mind only the
welfare of your monarchy, you will not reject his rigorous demands
entirely, and not allow the armistice to lead to a resumption of
hostilities, which, under the present circumstances, could not but
involve Austria in utter ruin?"
"I shall think of it," said the emperor; "at all events, I have
already shown my desire for peace by sending my ministers, Counts
Stadion and Metternich, to Altenburg, to negotiate there with
Bonaparte's minister Champagny. I shall not recall them, but allow
them to continue the negotiations. They are skilled diplomatists,
and men of great sagacity. The labors of diplomatists generally make
slow headway; hence, it will be good for us to lend them a little
secret assistance. While the plenipotentiaries are negotiating
publicly at Altenburg in Hungary, I will secretly begin to negotiate
with the emperor himself; and you, Count Bubna, shall be my agent
for this purpose."
"Your majesty," exclaimed Count Bubna, in a tone of surprise rather
than joy, "your majesty reposes in me so much confidence--"
"Which, I hope, you will appreciate, and strive to render yourself
worthy of," interrupted the emperor. "I count on your skill, your
zeal, and, above all, your discretion. You will take new proposals
of peace to-morrow, on my part, to the headquarters of the Emperor
Napoleon, at Schoenbrunn. But no one must learn of your mission,
and, least of all, my two ministers who are negotiating at
"Sire, I shall keep as silent as the grave."
"A bad comparison, Bubna, for new life is to blossom for Austria
from your secret negotiations. Well, go now and repose; we will
afterward confer again in regard to this matter, and I will explain
my views to you. But say, Bubna, do you really think that Bonaparte
was in earnest about his dreams, and that, in case he should defeat
us again, he would seriously think of carrying into effect his plans
regarding the Archdukes Ferdinand and John?"
"I am afraid, your majesty, he was in earnest."
"The Emperor Napoleon, then, hates me intensely?"
"He believes that your majesty hates him intensely. He told me once
frankly that only your majesty's personal hatred had brought about
this war, and that he was afraid this hatred would frustrate all
peace negotiations. I ventured to contradict him, but be shook his
head vehemently and exclaimed, 'The Emperor Francis hates me so
intensely, that I believe he would lose his crown and empire sooner
than ally himself with me in a cordial manner, even though he should
derive the greatest advantages therefrom. Do you think, for
instance, that the Emperor Francis, if I wished to become his son-
in-law, would give me the hand of his daughter, even though I should
relinquish half the war contribution, and restore to him all the
provinces occupied by my armies?'"
"What? Did Napoleon really say that?" asked the emperor, with
unusual, almost joyful vivacity. "But," he added, gloomily, "this is
nothing but one of Napoleon's dreams. He has a wife, and the Empress
Josephine is so young and gay yet that she does not think of dying."
"But the Emperor Napoleon, I have been told, thinks a great deal of
getting a divorce from her."
"The pope, whom he keeps imprisoned, will never grant it to him,"
exclaimed the emperor.