Citation
William Tell

Material Information

Title:
William Tell the patriot of Switzerland
Creator:
Florian, 1755-1794
Butler, Thomas W ( Engraver )
D. Appleton and Company ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
D. Appleton & Co.
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
240 p. : ill. ; 15 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- Switzerland ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1852 ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1852
Genre:
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) ( rbbin )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
individual biography ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

Funding:
Brittle Books Program
Statement of Responsibility:
translated from the French of M. de Florian ; together with the life of the author, to which is added, Andreas Hoffer, the "Tell" of the Tyrol ; illustrated with engravings on wood, by Butler.

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
027224663 ( ALEPH )
45805619 ( OCLC )
ALK0877 ( NOTIS )

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WILLIAM TELL,

THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.



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, Tél shooting at the Apple on his Son’s Head,



WILLIAM TELL,

THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF M. DE FLORIAN.

TOGETHER WITH

THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.

TO WHICH IS ADDED,

ANDREAS HOFER,

THE “TELL” OF THE TYROL.

ILLUSTRATED WITH ENGRAVINGS ON WOOD, BY BUTLER.





NEW-YORK :
D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 200 BROADWAY.
1852.






WILLIAM TELL.

BOOK THE FIRST.

LisTEN to me, friends of Liberty! you whose
lofty souls and feeling hearts would teach you to
die for your independence, or to live for the happi-
ness of your country! Come, and I will tell you
how a man, born in a barbarous country, in the
midst of a people enslaved under the rod of an
oppressor, alone, with no other aid than his own
courage and magnanimity, gave to his desponding
countrymen Liberty and a new existence, and
taught them to know their birth-right.

This man, whom nature called her son, and
armed to maintain her laws, roused up his powerful



6 WILLIAM TELL,

voice the slumbering spirit of his countrymen,
groaning under the weight of their chains ; taught
them to change their ploughshares for the sword of
the hero, conquered the armed bands which tyrants
sent to oppose him, and founded in a barbarous age,
upon barren rocks, a retreat for Reason and Virtue,
the daughters of Heaven, who descended to console
mankind.

I do not invoke thee now, O divine Poetry! thou
whom I have adored from my infancy ! thou whose
brilliant fables were wont to delight me! thy en-
chanting imagery would but disfigure the hero,
whose deeds I celebrate. Ill would thy fanciful
wreaths become his stern forehead ; and in thy pre-
sence, his calm but terrible features would wear
too mild an expression.

Add no splendour to his mountain pomp! Leave
him his rough grab, and his strong yew bow! and
let him walk alone over his native rocks, or by the .
brink of sparkling torrents! Follow him indeed,
but at a distance, and strew timidly in the paths



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 7

which he has trodden a few flowers of the wild
eglantine.

In the midst of Ancient Helvetia, that country
so renowned for valour, three cantons, enclosed on
all sides by the steepest rocks, had preserved foy many
ages their simple manners. Industry, frugality, truth,
and modesty—those virtues which the conquering
kings of the earth delight to banish—took refuge
among these mountains.

There they remained long concealed, nor com-
plained of their peaceful obscurity. Liberty in her
turn fixed her seat on the summit of shese moun
tains, and from that fortunate moment, none who
are truly brave or wise have pronounced without
respect the names of Uri, of Schwitz, or Under-
walden. The natives of these three cantons pur-
sued their daily labour in the fields, and escaped
for many ages the misery produced by the guilty
madness of those fierce chieftains who conquered
the Roman Empire. They formed out of its ruins
num! -rs of smaller kingdoms, which they governed



a WILLIAM TELL,

by the worst laws that ignorance could invent in
favour of tyranny. But they despised, perhaps, the
poor shepherds and husbandmen of Uri, and on
that account permitted them to keep the cherished
name of freemen. They barely submitted to these
new Caesars, and preserved their ancient customs,
their laws, and their virtues.

Each father of a family, sole master in his peace-
ful hut, grew old surrounded by his children, whose
tonder and grateful care softened the decline of his
days. The young, knowing no evil, fearing God,
and obedient to their parents, had no other hope, no
higher aim, than to resemble those to whom they
owed their birth. To honour and to imitate them,
formed the plan of their lives ; and this simple and
virtuous race was protected by its poverty from the
envy of the wicked.

Not far from Altorff, their capital, on the shore
of the lake which gives its name to the town, is a
high mountain, from which the traveller, who
pauses after the toil of climbing its steep sides, may



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 9

discover a crowd of valleys enclosed by rocks of
different size and shape.

Rivulets, or rapid torrents, sometimes falling in
cascades, across the rocks, sometimes winding
through beds of moss, descend into the valley to
water meadows covered with vast flocks, or to
supply the clear lake, in which the young heifers
delight to cool themselves.

On the summit of this mountain was a poor hut
surrounded by a small field, a vineyard, and an
orchard. A labourer, or rather a hero, though as
yet he knew not his own powers, whose heart
glowed with the love of his country, received from
his father, at the age of twenty years, this small
inheritance. “ My son,” said the old man to him on
his death-bed, “my toils are over, my life is fin-
ished. For sixty years I have lived in this peaceful
dwelling, and never has vice attempted to enter my
doors ; nor has my sleep been disturbed for a single
night by remorse. Be like me, my son; love in-
dustry : choose a wife whose love, whose confidence,



10 WILLIAM ‘TELL,

whose patient friendship, may double thy innocent
pleasures, and deprive misfortune of half its bitter-
ness. Adieu, my son! do not weep for me; death
is only painful to the wicked. When I sent thee to
carry a part of our fruits and bread to our poor
brethren who had none, didst thou not return with
joy to tell me what thou hadst done? Well, my
son! I am going to my Father to give him an ac-
count of the good which he has enabled me to do in
so long a life. He will receive me as I used to re-
ceive thee; and in his presence I trust that you and
I shall meet again. While thou continuest here
below, be virtuous ; and while thou art free, it will
be easy to be so. But if ever a tyrant should dare
to attack our ancient liberty, fear not to die, William,
for thy country, and thou wilt find that death is
not bitter in such a cause.”

These words sank deeply into the feeling heart
of Tell ; he paid the last solemn duties to his revered
parent ; dug his tomb at the foot of the fir-tree that
shaded his cottage ; and there he took a sacred oath,



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 11

which he never violated, to visit alone every day
this honoured tomb; there to call to mind all his
actions, and ask if his father were content with
his son.—How many virtues did Tell owe to this
pious custom! How much did the fear of shame
when he should question the shade of his father,
teach him to curb the fire of youth, and conquer all
his passions! Thus he became the master over
his own desires, and could always turn them to the
side of wisdom. Inheriting his father’s land, he
won a second harvest from the soil by a double
portion of labour, and shared its fruits with his
poorer neighbours.

Rising with the earliest dawn, and holding a
plough which two oxen could scarcely draw, he
plunged the sharp steel into the flinty earth, and
hastened the slow cattle with the goad that he
held in his hand, nor stopped to wipe the drops
of toil from his forehead till he retired home to-
wards evening, pitying those unfortunate people
who had no plough.



12 WILLIAM TELL,

This idea accompanied him as he led home
his oxen, and visited him even in his sleep. The
next morning he would rise still earlier, that he
might, unknown to his poor friends, go and plough
their fields, and sow their seeds while they were
absent, to spare his modesty the pain of being
thanked by his equals. Such was his toil, and
such were his pleasures; kindness and industry
were his employment and his delight.

Nature, who had given Tell this pure and
lofty soul, endowed him also with a strong and
active body. He was a head taller than the tallest
of his companions. He could climb with a firm
step the most stupendous rocks; could leap over
roaring torrents, or chase the wild chamois in
their fullest speed to the top of the icy summits.
His arms could alone bend and break down the
stubborn oak after a few strokes of the axe, and
his shoulders could bear its vast weight with all
its leafy branches. ~

On days of rejoicing,.in the midst of the games



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 13

which the young archers carried on, Tell, who had
no equal in the art of shooting with a bow and
arrow, was obliged to be idle while the prize was
disputed. He was seated in spite of his youth,
among the old men, who were there as judges.
Confused at this honour, he could scarcely stir or
breathe, in his eagerness to watch the flight of the
swift arrows. He applauded with rapture the
archer whose aim was the truest, and held out his
arms as if to embrace a rival worthy of himself.
But if it happened that the quiver was emptied
in vain, and no one had struck the dove; if the
bird, tired of its useless struggles, was perched
upon the top of the mast, and looking down with
a fearless eye upon its feeble enemies, then William
would rise, and taking his great bow with three
of the fallen arrows, with the first he would strike
the mast and put the bird to flight, with the second
he would cut the string which hindered it from
soaring on high, and with the third seek it’ in the
midst of the clouds, and bring it palpitating to the



14 WILLIAM TELL,

feet of the astonished judges.—But Tell was not
vain of his skill: he preferred the remembrance of
- a good action, though known only to himself, to
the most brilliant triumph. He began to be angry
with himself for obeying too slowly his father’s
advice. He resolved to become a husband, and
the youthful Edmea attracted his notice.

Edmea was the loveliest, as well as the most
retiring of the daughters of Uri. Her heart, pure
as the first breath of morning, was the seat of peace,
.Teason, and gentleness. She was an orphan, and
had no portion. From her infancy she had lived
with an old relation, the last of her indigent race.
Edmea took care of the sheep that belonged to this
good old man. Every morning, before the rising
sun had gilded the topmost branches of the dark fir-
trees, Edmea was on the mountains, spinning in the
midst of the flock, to provide linen for her bene-
factor.

She returned in the dusk of evening to put his
cottage in order, prepare his supper and his meals



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 16

for the next day, and see that he would want
nothing in her absence. Then she would give
herself up to repose, happy that on that day she had
fulfilled the sweet obligation of gratitude, and know-
ing that the morrow would bring her the same
content.

Tell knew her, and loved her. He went during
her absence to visit her old relation. With him
he talked with frankness and delight on the subject
of Edmea; and the old man was never better ©
pleased than in sounding her praises, telling of her
most trifling actions, or repeating her very words.
The tears came into his eyes as he told of the
patience, the gentleness, the never-failing goodness,
which rendered this orphan so dear to him.

These praises, which were echoed by Tell’s heart,
increased his affection more than the sight of its
object ; and when Edmea returned in the midst of
their conversation, Tell read in her modest looks
and manner all that he had lately been told.

“ Edmea,” said he to her pne festival-day, as they



36 WILLIAM TELL,

were leaving the temple, “I love, I honour thee;
if thou canst be happy with me, receive my hand
and my heart; come and dwell in my cottage; and
on the grave of my father I will teach thee those
virtues which he taught me.”

Edmea, looking on the ground, blusked for the
first time ; but soon feeling her confidence restored,
and certain that her thoughts might be known,
“William,” she said, “William, I thank thee for
having chosen me. Happy as [am at present, I feel
that I am still more blessed in being able to confess
to thee, that thou wouldest have been the object of
my choice.” At these words she gave him her
hand, which Tell pressed in his own; their eyes
met, and their vows were pronounced in silence.
This marriage completed Tell’s happiness. His
daily toil had new charms, for it was Edmea who
would reap the fruit of it. ‘The good which he was
able to do gave more satisfaction, because it was
known to Edmea. The birth of a son increased
iheir delight; he was at first entirely under the



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 17

care of his mother, but, when he reached his sixth
year, the charming little Gemmi never quitted his
father’s side. He went with him into the fields or
the pastures : and as his father shewed him the earth
covered with corn, the mountains, the waters, the
forests, he made him lift his eyes to Heaven, and
pronounce-with fear the awful name of God! He
taught him that this God, who knows and judges
all our thoughts, has commanded man to be good
only that he may be happy for ever! Every morn-
ing and evening he repeated to him this truth, and
shewed him by his example what it was to be
good. Then, without regard to his childish weak-
ness or fears, he led him among the snows, taught
him to walk on the slippery ice, or with his little
hands to unyoke and caress the oxen, and lead
these formidable animals wherever he ordered
him.

This child, who with his father was serious and
patient, was no longer the same timid silent boy,
when, on returning to the ¢@ottage, he ran to throw

2



18 WILLIAM TELL,

himself into his mother’s arms. Tender, caressing,
and obedient to her slightest wishes, how happy did
this dear child render his mother! Often would
she press him to her bosom, and fondly tell him
that her existence depended upon his life and happi-
ness. ;

Tell, added to these blessings, had one which is
equally valuable in prosperity or adversity. He
had a friend. This friend, nearly of his own age,
lived among the rocks which divided Uri from
Underwalden. It was because their hearts were
both warm and generous, that these friends had
been attached to each other from infancy, and not
because their characters were alike. Melctal, like
Tell, was brave, and capable of great actions; de-
voted besides to his native country ; but the impe-
tuosity of his temper would not allow him to bear
with patience. Too warm and hasty in his feelings
to conceal them, they found relief in words, and
were exhausted by their own violence. But Tell,
when any great emotion filled his soul, increased it



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 19

by confiriing it to his own breast, nor suffered a
word to escape from his lips, or a glance from his
eye, that might lead to its discovery.

Both abhorred tyranny and injustice, but the
former would openly defy the oppressor; while the
latter would observe in silence, that he might re-
. dress the wrong.

Melctal and William would frequently cross the
little space between their dwellings, that they might
spend together their days of rest and leisure. These
days, to which they looked forward with impatience,
were shared between them.

Sometimes Edmea set out with her husband
and son, carrying to Melctal’s cottage fruit, milk, o1
the fresh produce of their vine and their orchard.
At other times Melctal arrived, supporting on one
arm his aged father, and holding by his other hand
his daughter, the only pledge that remained to him
of a wife whose loss he still lamented. ‘Tell waited
for them at the door of his dwelling. A seat was
always ready for the old man, and a cup of wine



20 WILLIAM TELL,

that sparkled in Edmea’s hands. And Gemmi,
whose eyes had long sought for them on the road,
held in his hands a nosegay for Clara.

Oh! how pure and touching were these simple
pleasures, when thus partaken together! And how
would they prolong their cheerful repast, so full of
contentment and glee! As soon as it was finished,
old Melctal, in spite of the burden of eighty years,
with no other aid than his stick, would climb the
highest summit of the mountain, and, seated there,
in the ‘midst of his children and his friends, would
bare his venerable head to receive the warmth of
the sun upon his silver hairs. Then, after satisfy-
ing his eyes with the enchanting prospect, he would
begin to talk of his youthful days ; of his pains and
his pleasures; of the disappointments of life, and
the consolations of virtue.

Tell, Melctal, and Edmea, would listen with at-
tentive respect; while Clara and Gemmi, between
the old man’s knees, would gather instruction from



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 21

Clara and Gemmi grew together, and their love
for each other increased with their age. Already
the happy days which they spent in each other’s
company seemed to come too slowly. Gemmi,
during the long weeks which he passed away from
his friend, would invent excuses to steal away from
his own home in order to fly to that of Clara.
Sometimes he had to tell Melctal that a bear had
been seen on the mountains ready to devour his
flocks ; or that the cold north wind which blew the
night before, had.withered the young buds of his
vine. Melctal listened to him with a smile, and
thanked him for his attentive care ; and Clara made
haste to offer him a bow] of milk fresh from the cow.
Gemmi, content with this visit, and pleased with
his excursion, returned to his father, thinking as
he went along what pretence he should have on the
morrow for another walk to Melctal’s cottage.

Thus lived these two families, and thus a whole
people of brothers ; till all at once the death of Rodol-
phus threatened to put an end to their happiness.



22 WILLIAM TELL,

Rodolphus, whom fortune had seated on the
throne of the Czesars, had always respected the
liberty of Switzerland. The haughty Albert who
succeeded him, puffed up with his vain titles, his
vast dominions, and the command of all the armies
of the empire, was enraged that a few labourers and
herdsmen should dare to think of being independent
of his government. He sent a Governor among
them to subdue their noble spirit: and this Gover-
nor was Gesler, the basest and most insolent of the
new Emperor's servants.

Gesler,. followed by armed slaves, of whom he
made executioners at his pleasure, took up his
abode at Altorff. Of a violent temper, and con-
sumed by a restless spirit, which could only ‘be
gratified by wicked actions, Gesler made himself
still more miserable by tormenting those who were
in his power. ‘Trembling at the very name of Lib-
erty, as a wolf shudders at the whistling of the
arrows which the hunters send after him, he re-
solved, he vowed, to destroy thisempty name. Al-



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 23

lowing his infamous soldiers to glut themselves
with crime, he himself gave them an example of
rapine, murder, and the most horrid insult.

In vain did the people complain ; their murmurs
were punished as guilt. Virtue affrighted, hid her-
self in the interior of the cottages. The labourer
cursed the ground for giving to his toil an abundant
harvest, which he must never reap. The old, re-
joicmg in their feebleness, which promised them
that death would soon come to their release, joined
their prayers to those of their sons, that they might
not survive them. In short, the veil of misery was
extended like a funereal crape over the three Can-
tons by the cruel hand of Gesler; from the instant
of whose arrival, Tell had foreseen the wretchedness
to which his country would be brought. Without
letting Melctal know his thoughts; without alarm-
ing his family, Tell’s great soul prepared itself, not
to suffer slavery, but to rescue his country. Crimes
grew more common ; the three Cantons, struck with
fear, lay trembling at the feet of Gesler. Tell



24 WILLIAM TELL,

trembled not; he was not surprised. He watched
the crimes of the tyrant with the same eye with
which he was accustomed to observe on the rocks
the bramble armed with its thorns. And when
his ardent friend Melctal poured, forth his indigna-
tion in his presence, Tell heard him without reply.
He shed no tears, nor did a single change of coun-
tenance betray his secret project. He esteemed his
friend, and was certain of his honour, but he dis-
trusted his impatience, and dared not yet confide to
him the purpose of his soul. He resolved to conceal
his design from him till the moment of execution,
a moment which he knew must soon arrive. He
grew stern and thoughtful ; spent long days without
embracing his child, or beholding his wife. He
rose even before his usual time ; harnessed his team,
led them into the field, and guided the plough with
an unsteady hand: often he dropped his whip; and
suddenly stopping in the middle of an ill-traced
furrow, his head hung down on his breast, while
his eyes were fixed on the ground. In this thought-



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 25

ful posture he stood, scarcely breathing, considering
the power of the tyrant, and his own feeble means
of opposing him. On the one hand, he had to
weigh the cruel Gesler, surrounded by his creatures,
and armed by boundless power; on the other, a
poor labourer determined to be free !

One evening, as William and his wife were seated
together before their cottage, looking at Gemmi,
who was at a little distance, trying his strength
against the chief ram of their flock, the sight of this
boy abandoning himself to his natural gaiety, and
thoughtless of the misery which slavery was prepar-
ing for him, increased his father’s melancholy, and
made him shed tears for the first time in his life.

Edmea looked at him, and watched him in silence
for some time, but, yielding at last to her love,
which made her desire to share the troubles of one
so dear to her, she drew nearer to him, took hold of
his hand, and looking earnestly at him—‘ What
have I done,” said she, “to merit this distrust ?—to
have lost that confidence which:was always my



26 WILLIAM TELL,

pride? Thou art unhappy, and thy wife is igno-
rant of the cause of thy grief! And thou believest
that it would be more painful for her to bear than
for thee. And yet thou knowest that for fifteen
years even my thoughts have been thine; and I
have felt happy only because all my enjoyments
came from thee! My heart is the same, but thine
is altered. Nothing is changed in our peaceful
dwelling, but thou art gloomy and sad. Look at
our hut; at that field which thou hast dug, and
which has not only supported us, but left us every
year something to give away to our poor neigh-
bours! ee the moon rising in all her splendour
behind the mountains, to announce to us a morrow
as calm and as bright as the day that is now depart-
ing. And yonder is our son, whose innocent merri-
ment seems intended to raise our spinits and bid us
be as happy as himself.”

“ Kdmea,” answered Tell, “talk not to me of
happiness ; thou wilt render more terrible the gloom
that oppresses me every hour of the day. How ]



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 27

pity thee, that thou canst even dream of joy while
Switzerland groans with the weight of her irons,
and the barbarous Gesler, that insolent tool of a still
prouder despot, does but insult her misery! ‘Thou
biddest me look at the harvest which my toil has
obtained—one word from Gesler can snatch it from
me. Thou pointest to the hut where my virtuous
ancestors have lived for three hundred years,—
Gesler can destroy it in a moment —and that child,
so dear to us both, that beloved child, is the proper-
ty of Gesler; my wife, my son, even my father’s
tomb belong to the tyrant, without whose permission
we cannot even breathe our pure native ay-—Oh,
ignominy ! a whole people bend to the caprice of a
sifigle man! But what doI say? aman !—My God !
pardon me for having profaned the name of thy no-
blest work! Nature has nothing in common with
tyrants; but she must bow to them till the moment
when, resuming her rights, she shall revenge the
wrongs of ages. The thought that such an instant
will arrive, consoles and animates me. Scarcely does



28 WILLIAM TELL,

my whole soul suffice to the greatness of my designs.
Disturb not my thoughts by recalling them to thy-
self or my son. A slave has no wife, no son ;—while
I am one, all nature is dead tome. Thy eyes take
pleasure in viewing this hut and this lovely scene,
which has beheld our happiness. Mine, which virtue
has awakened, can only see yon dreadful fortress,
built on the steep rock to keep Uri in chains.”
Edmea replied, “ And couldst thou believe that
I could love thee without hating our tyrants? Am
not I thy wife, and if thou lovest thy country, do not
I adore it for being thy country as well as my own ?
Speak, then, with confidence to me of thy designs,
and, if from the feebleness of my sex I cannot aid
thee, I shall know at least how to die for thee.”
Tell at these words embraced Edmea, and was
beginning to open his most secret soul to her, when
cries and sobs resounded from the side of the hut.
They rose up in haste, and beheld their son pale
and weeping, his arms raised to heaven, and run-
ning towards them with terror. “Oh! father,” cried



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 29

he in a broken voice, “come, come and help him}
Melctal, old Melctal, the barbarians have dared—”
As he was speaking, Clara came forward, supporting
the tottering steps of the wretched old man. His
right arm leaned upon a stick, and his left upon the
arm of the unhappy Clara. At every step he called
upon Tell, and extending his arms to meet him, his
feet stumbled over the flinty stones, and obliged him
once more to seek the support he had quitted.
William ran to his aged friend, caught hold of him,
looked at him, and uttered a piercing cry! His
hair stood on end when he saw, on that venerabie
face, only the bloody sockets of those eyes which
had been barbarously put out. Struck with fear
and horror, Tell drew back, and would have fallen,
but for the rock against which he leaned to support
himself. Edmea fainted, and Gemmi hastened to
assist her : while Clara, calling back William, looked
up to Heaven through her streaming tears.

“Dost thou leave me, my only friend?” said
Melctal with a feeble voice ; “dost thou fear to be



30 WILLIAM TELL,

sprinkled with the blood that falls from my wound ?
Ah! come back that I may embrace thee! My
heart, my heart is not torn from me; let me feel it
beat against thine, that I may know at least that
the barbarians who have taken my sight, have not
robbed me of my friend.”

“Pardon,” cried Tell, rushing into his arms,
“pardon the first emotion of my pity—of my hor-
ror! Oh! virtuous old man! thy sufferings cannot
make me respect thee more, but they add to my
tenderness, and make the bond which unites us
stronger and more sacred. But how and where did
these villains, mad in pursuit of crime, dare to lay
their guilty hands upon old age and virtue? How
hadst thou offended them, Melctal? Did thy son
perish in defending thee, or has he left thee to the
care of a poor weak girl, who, alas! can do nothing
but weep? But I will be to thee as a son; this
day I inherit his tenderness, and his desire of re-
venge.”

“Do not accuse my son,” said the old man; “do



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 31

not judge thy friend without hearing him. Let me
sit down among you all. William, do not quit my
side, nor thou, my Clara; and Edmea and Gemmi,
listen to me with attention.”

They led him to a hillock covered with moss, and
placed him close by William; Edmea sat behind
him, and supported his venerable head. Clara and
Gemmi, sitting at his feet, seized his hand, kissed it,
and bathed it with their tears.

“ And now,” said Melctal, “listen to me, and in-
dulge not this useless grief and indignation. This
morning, when the last sun which I must ever behold
gilded with its beams our mountain tops, Clara, my
son, and myself were in the fields. Clara was help-
ing me to bind the sheaves of our harvest, and my
son lifted them into the-waggon, to which two oxen
were yoked in order to carry it to the cottage. All
at once arrived a soldier, one of Gesler’s guard ; he
came towards us trampling upon our corn, and,
going up to the cart, looked at it, and began to
unfasten the oxen. ‘By what right) said my son



32 WILLIAM TELL, -

to him, ‘would you rob me of those animals, .ny
only riches, by which I support my family, and
enable thy master to pay thee thy wages ?—‘ Obey !’
answered the soldier, ‘and question not thy rulers.’
At these words I saw fury flash from the eyes of my
son. He seized the thong which had fastened the
oxen, and which the soldier had loosened, snatched
it out of his hands, and raising it, was going to strike
him; but, prevented by my cries, ‘ Wretch,’ said he,
‘thou mayest thank my father, that his voice, all-
powerful] over me, has prevented me from ridding
the earth of a foe to humanity! Fly! or tremble
lest this field become thy tomb! The soldier
escaped in an instant. I held Melctal fast, that he
might not follow him. ‘My son,’ I said, ‘withdraw
thyself this instant, in the name of Heaven, from
the rage of Gesler: I know him, he will never for-
give thee. He will pursue thee to death, and my
grey hairs will be sprinkled with thy blood. Oh!
hasten, my son, to preserve my life by saving
thy own.’.—‘No! my father,’ replied he, in a voice



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 33

of mingled piety and rage, ‘no! I will never leave
thee. I would sooner die in defending thee than
tremble one moment for thy safety. My wish, my
duty is’-——‘'To obey me, I answered sternly.
‘You have nothing to fear on my account; leave
me to guard thy cottage, and thy daughter; let it
be my task to preserve for thy child her father and
her inheritance. And do thou conceal thyself for
a’ few days in the mountains of Underwalden.
Clara and I will come to thee, when the storm is
overpast. Go! and lose not another moment, I
implore, I command you! I order you as a father?
At these words the high-spirited Melctal looked
sadly on the ground, threw himself on his knees,
bade me farewell, and begged my blessing. I pressed
him to my heart, and bathed him with my tears.
Clara hung about his neck, and kissed away the
tears which her afflicted father could not conceal.
Then he tore himself from his daughters arms,
and, placing her in mine, hurried away, not daring
to look back. Clara and I returned alone to our
3



34 WILLIAM TELL,

hut. I wished to go that instant to Altorff, to find
out the tyrant, and see if every sentiment of justice
was a stranger to his soul. But all at once my
cottage was surrounded by armed men. They all
demanded Melctal with loud cries; questioned me
angrily, loaded me with chains, and dragged me
before Gesler.

“¢ Where is thy son? said the tyrant furiously.
‘Thou must suffer for his crime, or bring him bg-
fore me.’ ;

“¢Strike,” I replied, ‘and I will offer thanks to
Heaven if thy brutality enables me to give my son
his life a secoud time.’

“Gesler frowned upon me with eyes in which I
could perceive, at once, cold-blooded cruelty, and
uncertainty how to fix upon a method of torture
which the length of my days would not render less
severe.

“ At last, after a long silence, he made a sign to
his assassins ; and these wretches, while he looked
on with that horrid smile by which tyrants shew



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 35

that they glory in crimes for which no mortal can
punish them, seized, bound, and overpowered me,
and then tore out my aged eyes with a red-hot iron.
‘Enough,’ said Gesler, ‘let the blind old criminal
have his life. Loose his fetters, and then let him
seek his son.’ They dragged, they pushed me
rudely out of the palace: I walked on, holding out
my arms, and fell into those of Clara.

.. “She had followed me as far as the outer gate of
the palace, which the guards would not allow her
to enter. In the midst of my agony it was some
relief to hear myself called by a name so dear to my
heart; to feel her embrace, though bathed in her
tears. I tried to stop her cries: I concealed from
her my anguish, and desired that she would lead
me to the house of my friend, of my son’s friend.
‘We are on the road to it, she said; ‘my own
heart directed me to it.’ We arrived here. Oh!
my dear William, I can see thee no longer, but 1
feel thee near me; I press thy hand in my own—it
trembles at the tale of my woes. My son is safe--



36 WILLIAM TELL,

my friend is spared to me:—ah! I have many
blessings left !”

As soon as:the old man had finished, Edmea,
Clara, and Gemmi rushed to embrace him, and
hung over him, sobbing and bathing him with
their tears. Tell stood still, supporting his head
with one hand, while his eyes looked stedfastly
upon the ground. Large tears fell, drop by drop,
from his half-closed eyes ; and, as if oppressed with
a terrible weight, he could scarcely breathe. The
hand upon which his head leaned trembled con-
vulsively. After a long and gloomy silence, he
roused himself suddenly, embraced the blind old
man, tried to speak, but could only utter in a bro-
ken voice these words—“ My father, thou shalt be
avenged.”

Then he once more became thoughtful ; he stood
in gloomy silence. Again and again he thought —
over his secret purpose; and at last, recovering
his spirits, he asked the old man calmly, if he knew
where Melctal had concealed himself? “ Yes !”



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 37

replied the unhappy father, “my son is gone to
hide in the darkest caverns of Mount Faigel;
among those desert rocks which are unknown to
the creatures of the tyrant. Melctal has promised,
has sworn to me, not to quit them till he has my
permission.” “Now is the time then,” said Tell,
“to release him from his oath: it is I who demand
it in his name; and, my son, thou must prepare
this very hour to leave us. By travelling all night,
thou wilt arrive by day-break at the Faigel moun
tain. Seek out Melctal; take no rest till thou hast
discovered him, and, when thou hast found him,
speak thus to him: ‘Thy friend has sent me to
make known to thee new crimes of the execrable
Gesler. He has put but thy father’s eyes !—William
sends thee this sword.”

Tell then drew from his girdle the sword which
never before left his side. Gemmi approached with
respect, took the sword, and concealed it in his
bosom. Edmea and Clara trembled, but dared
not question William. They fixed their anxious



38 WILLIAM TELL,

eyes, first upon Gemmi, then on each other, and
feared to shew their alarm at the thoughts of his
dangerous expedition.

Old Melctal, surprised at the order he had just
heard Tell give his son, asked what were his in-
tentions? “Thy son knows them, Willian replied ;
“and the sight of this sword will be enough to
inform him what to do. Time is precious; let us _
lose it no longer. My father, thou shalt be avenged !”

Then taking Gemmi by the hand, he led him in
silence to his father’s grave; and after he had
obliged him to take an oath, he gave him some
knowledge of his secret plans: told him what assis-
tance he could depend upon ; and what instructions
he was to give to Melctal. They then came back,
fired with a generous purpose. Gemmi was im-
patient to begin his route. Clara asked to accom- —
pany him. She would embrace her father, and
carry to him some nourishment, of which he must
be in want in those bleak mountains. Old Melctal
conséfited to her request, and Edmea soon prepared



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 39

for her a basket of provisions. She added some
milk and wine, and, giving the basket to her son,
she pressed him to her bosom, and bade him adieu.
Again she embraced him, and ehtreated Clara, in
a whisper, to watch over this dear child. Gemmi,
armed with a stick pointed with iron, that his
father had tanght him to use, put the basket on his
head, gave his arm to Clara, and they set out thus,
like two young fawns wandering in the dark in
search of fresh pasture. William, when he had
seen them depart, clad himself in the wolf-skin
which he always wore when he hunted wild
animals at a distance from home. ‘This skin,
fastened to his body by a broad girdle, covered even
his head, and the animal’s teeth shone brightly
upon his forehead. His legs were partly covered
with bearskin trowsers; on his shoulders he bore a
quiver full of the brightest arrows, and on his arm
that terrible bow which he had- never bent in vain.
On this bow he leaned for a few moments, looking
calmly at Edmea. “ My wife,” said he, “I am going



40 WILLIAM TELL,

to leave you : I must set out this instant. ‘To your

‘care I commit our guest; the father of my friend,
the old man whom I revere, whom I cherish as my
parent. You will be his constant attendant; let
it be your delight to watch him from morning till
night, to relieve, to prevent his sufferings. Forget
not for a moment what is due to friendship, to mis-
fortune, to old age! We shall soon meet again;
two days will suffice for my undertaking. Let my
absence be a secret, and let the door of my house
be closed until I return.”—Thus he spoke, and left
the hut, and, taking a different route from that by
which he had sent Gemmi, he hurried abruptly
away.

By this time Clara and Gemmi were half-way
down the mountain in their way towards the
narrow paths which lead to Underwalden. They
went round by Altorff, and knocked at the door of
a fisherman, a friend of Tell’s, in order to ask
him to give them a passage in his boat across the
lake.



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. Al

The good fisherman, fond of children, and glad
to be of use to them, ran to unfasten his boat,
handed them into it, seized the oars, and divided
the clear waters with rapid and equal strokes.

When they reached the opposite shore, the chil-
dren thanked the good fisherman, and began to
climb the hard rocks which surrounded the lake
on every side. Clara wished to carry in her turn
the basket which Gemmi had borne thus far:
Gemmi would not yield this precious burden to
her: and at last they agreed to share it, and each
taking hold of the handle, they shortened the dis-
tance by mutual kindness, and exchanged, while
they talked, looks full of sad but tender feeling,
as they remembered the sufferings of those who
were dearest to them.

The moon had already disappeared; and the
dawn, which in this cold season is so tedious in
its arrival, had already begun to gild the summit
of the snows, when the young travellers arrived at
the foot of Mount Faigel. .



42 WILLIAM TELL,

They looked about while they ascended, in hopes
of finding some goatherd or shepherd who might
shew them the cavern in which Melctat was con-
cealed. But no one appeared among those desert
rocks. In vain did the two children look around
as far as their sight could reach. They saw
nothing but ice, and could only discern the wild
goats hanging over the precipices, and vanishing
as swiftly as the birds of air the moment they were
perceived. .

At last, about the eighth hour, a thin smoke
caught Gemmi’s eye, curling upwards among the
rocks. He pointed it out to Clara; both flew to-
wards this smoke, leaped over frozen torrents,
crossed a wood of fir-trees, and reached a cavern;
and perceived from its entrance a fire that blazed
brightly at the other end. A man who sat by this
fire was feeding the flame with dry branches. A!
the first sound of their footsreps he turned his head, -
rose up, took his axe in his hand, and lifting it up
high, came forward to meet the young travellers.



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 43

“What do you seek?” he asked in an angry
tone. “We are your children, my father,” replied
Clara, running up to him. “Gemmi and your
daughter are come to embrace you, and to bring
you some food.” She threw herself upon her father’s.
neck, who, flinging away his axe, received his child,
pressed her to his heart, and covered her with
kisses. Then turning towards Gemmi, who had
stood looking at him in silence, he caressed him *
also, and bathed him with his tears. Then he pro-
nounced the name of his father, and that of his
friend Tell,—questioned the children with agitation,
and interrupted their answers by his kisses. At
last he led them to the fire, and, seating one of them
on each side of him, he forced himself to restrain
his tears, that he might listen to them calmly.

Clara began to tell him, with great caution, the
errand which brought them so far,—and the sacred
orders of the aged Henry. Her voice soon failed ;
she wished, but was not able to tell him of the
dreadful misfortune for which her tears flowed—of



44 WILLIAM TELL,

Gesler’s horrible cruelty! Three times she began,
and three times she was obliged to pause in the
dreadful story. Gemmi came to her assistance.
“Oh! Melctal,” he said, “behold our tears, which
announce to thee new misfortunes! My father has
ordered me to bring thee the terrible tidings. My
father said that his friend would endure them with
firmness; that, in pity to his daughter Clara, he
would moderate his grief.” Then he told him how
Gesler, the infamous Gesler, had revenged himself °
on the old man. At this news Melctal, the enraged
Melctal, seized his axe, and was on the point of
rushing out of the cavern in order to go that instant
and bathe his hands in the blood of the cruel tyrant.
Clara kneeled to him—Gemmi stood before him.
“Remember my father !” said he; “have you for-
gotten his words? Is he no longer thy friend?
Hear at least what he bade me tell thee. This very
moment he is with Verner, and that alone will tell
thee his purpose. These are my father’s orders—
he repeated them to me three times: ‘Go, my son,



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 46

and when thou hast made known to Melctal this
new crime of the tyrant’s, femind him that fury
alone will not be sufficient to repair our wrongs.
Courage and prudence must be ours. I go to Schwitz,
to find my friend Verner, and to rouse his canton
to arms. Let him repair to Stantz—there are his
friends, and the chiefs of Underwalden. Let him
assemble them, and persuade them to arm; and
then let him await me in the cavern of Grutty,
where Verner and I shall soon follow.’”

While Melctal listened to Gemmi, the sweet joy
of vengeance appeared on his countenance. “I will
obey my friend,” cried he with delight: “T will
hasten to assemble my friends. T'’o-morrow, Gemmi,
your father may depend upon two hundred brave
men, the sons of freedom, who will die to redeem
their liberty: but who before death will not fail to
sacrifice numbers of slaves, and raise in the streets
of Stantz the standard of liberty !—I myself burn
with impatience to attack the perfidious Gesler.
Let him come; Jet him dare to meet us, with hi-



46 WILLIAM TELL,

innumerable band of slavish followers, armed with
all his power. I shatl be stronger than he—strong
in the cause of filial piety and insulted humanity !”

When he had spoken, he would instantly have
taken the road to Stantz; but Clara detained him.
She entreated him to give a few moments at least
to the claims of nature—to grant but one hour to
his daughter and to refresh himself with the nourish-
ment which she had brought him.

Melctal at last consented to sit down between the
two children, close to the fire, and partook along
with them of a slight repast. Then, taking the
children in his arms, he embraced them again and
again, and giving way for a moment to his tears,
seemed to forget the vengeance which had roused
him before. Then he bade them adieu, after re-
minding them once more of what they were to say
to William ; seized his axe, and taking the road to
Stantz, was soon at a distance from the cave.

The children remained alone, trembling with a
thousand fears and presentiments. Gemmi, who



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 47

was the first to recover his presence of mind, said to
Clara, “Let us go back to my mother, to give her
an account of our journey, and comfort thy poor old
grandfather with the hope of a speedy revenge”
Clara could not answer, but, taking hold of his
hand, they left the cavern.

The sun had as yet completed but half of its
daily course; and, nevertheless, it only darted a
few pale beams across the dark increasing clouds.
A misty veil that seemed to be thrown over every
part of the sky, concealed its pure azure, while
flakes of snow flying through the air like wool that
brambles have torn from the fleece, came thicker
from the North. Soon a bleak wind sprang up,
and increased the force of this dazzling snow. It
fell like a violent storm of rain: it filled every path ;
covered and concealed each precipice ; and weighed
down the eyelids of the poor young travellers, who
had not strength to bear its violence. They could
go no farther, and were driven to the rocks in
search of shelter; but the snow followed them into



48 WILLIAM TELL.

their retreat, and fell upon their heads. Gemmi
was fearful on Clara’s account; and she, to lessen
his alarm, only smiled when she found herself
covered with the snow-flakes, or shook them off her
clothes.

At last the storm seemed to have spent its rage;
and the bright star of day piercing through the
misty veil that hid its splendour, shed its rays
on the snow, which appeared to sparkle with dia-
monds. The children once more began their walk,
but were no longer able to find the path, which
was concealed by a thick white carpet spread all
over the rocks. Gemmi, holding Clara’s hand,
walked on carefully, finding with his stick the depth
of the snow; and this long and toilsome walk, full
of fresh dangers at every step, had still charms for
the affectionate Clara.

Forced to take a winding path, and to follow
the course of torrents, the rapidity of whose waters
had left their channels dry, the wanderers wore
out the day, and did not arrive till towards evening



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 49

at the village of Erfeld. Then Gemmi remembered
the road, and knew that before night they must
arrive at Altorff. He encouraged his more timid
companion, and made her observe the rising moon,
which would prevent them from losing their path
any more. They then followed with more safety
the left branch of the river that crosses the Canton
of Uri; when they were suddenly joined by a man
armed with a long cross-bow, and covered with a
cloak that entirely enveloped his figure. They
could only perceive the snow and the ice that shone
at the top of the cap which he wore upori his head,
on his cloak, and even on his hair, “which was
entirely frozen.

This man came up close to the children, who
stopped on seeing him, and speaking in a feigned
voice, “My young friends,” he said, “you see a
hunter who has lost his road ; my companions have
left me, and I have no one to direct me how to
reach Altorff, where I am certain that my absence
gives much alarm. If you, my children, will be

4



60 WILLIAM TELL,

my guides, I will amply reward your readiness and -
- diligence.”

“The service will be its own reward,” answered
Clara; “we know the road to Altorff, and shall
be as much pleased to bring you back to your
family, as you could be in restoring us to our dear
parents. Follow us, and in one hour you will
certainly arrive there.” The hunter then joined
the children, and, observing them attentively by
the moonlight, walked silently on with them.

Soon he turned to Gemmi and said, “ My boy,
who are your parents? and in what part of Altorff
do they live ?”—“J am the son of a peasant,” said
Gemmi, without looking at him, “and my father
does not live in the town.”—“ Where then is his
dwelling ?’—“ Among the mountains, in a solitary
desert, where he digs the ground and practises
virtue.” ™

“Virtue!” replied the hunter, with an ironical
smile; “I should not have thought that thou
couldst know the meaning of such a word.”



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 51

“It was the first word that I was taught to
speak,” replied Gemmi, firmly.—“ You know, then,
what it signifies ?”—“I hope so.”—“Explain it
then to me.”—‘“ Three words are sufficient. ‘I'o
fear God, to love mankind, and to hate their oppres-
sors.”——“ And whom do you call their oppressors ?”
—‘ Tyrants and their flatterers.”—“ There are no
tyrants in Switzerland.”—At these words Clara
uttered a cry of horror ; Gemmi was silent ; and the
hunter, holding down his head, walked on for some
time without speaking. As they drew near to Al-
torff, they saw the shining spears that belonged
to the guards who kept watch at the gates. Sud-
denly the gloomy stranger said fiercely to Gemmi,
“What is thy father’s name?” Clara, trembling,
pressed Gemmi’s hand, and he, to whom falsehood
was impossible, paused for a moment. But when
the stranger repeated the question, looking boldly
at him, he replied, “ We have agreed to shew you
your road, but beyond that we can place no con-
fidence in you; nor will I inform you of my father’s



52 WILLIAM TELL,

name—only his friends shall know it.”—“ Rash
boy !” exclaimed the hunter, in an angry tone, “ thy
father shall not escape me—chains await thee,
which thou shalt wear till thou hast consented to
name the rebellious family to which thou belongest.
Come with me, and thou shalt find I have means
to discover and to punish the guilty.”

As he spoke they arrived at the gates; the
hunter pronounced the name of Gesler, at which
the servile guard came instantly, and presented
their lances to him. “Seize these children,” said
he, “drag them into prison, and be careful to bring
before me the first inhabitant of Altorff who shall
claim them as his own.”

He was obeyed; the guard surrounded Clara
and Gemmi, led them into the fort, and, without
pity for their youth, and the fatigue they suffered
after so long a walk, they locked them up together
in a dungeon.

The children were calm, and, looking affection-
ately at one another, gave secret thanks to their



fll
j va) met i # 4
> lie “






i (hi cr
Mm Mihh HH) ] li ms
M - j ‘ i hil

ith,



" cof rt Ht

HH |

y al 4

‘»
td

The Children in Prison.



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 53

tormentors for not having put them in separate —
dungeons: they listened undismayed to the heavy
clanging of their prison gates; sat down on the
straw which a small touch of compassion haa
allowed them, and shared together the coarse bread
which had been provided for their food. They
had no terror, because they felt no remorse; and
their only uneasiness was for the fate of their
parents, and the dangers which would befall Wil
liam if he should offer to claim them from the
tyrant. They hoped, they prayed, that Edmea
and the elder Melctal might believe them still in
the ‘cavern with Melctal; that ignorant of their
adventure, it might prove unfortunate to themselves
alone. Consoled with this pious thought, these
two children, though in prison, and in the power
of an unmerciful tyrant, slept peaceably by each
other’s side; and, undisturbed by dismal dreams,
enjoyed that calm, that sweet repose, which belongs
to virtue even in chains ;—while the Governor,
in the depth of his palace, guarded by numerous



64. WILLIAM TELL,

soldiers, armed with power, and able by one word
to destroy all who offended him—the Governor
could not sleep, and the darkest terrors agitated his
soul.

He said within himself, “Oh! how unbounded
must the hatred of my subjects be, when even their
children betray it to the traveller whom chance
leads to converse with them! What then would
be the language of their fathers and their grand-
fathers? What have I not to fear from this race
of rebels, all of whom, from the old man to the
infant, cherish the hope of depriving me of my
power, perhaps of my life! Ah! I must prevent
their rebellion ; I must strike with awe the wretches
who would escape the arm of justice ! - The boldest
of them, at least, shall be the first to fall under
the sword of my vengeance.” Then giving him-
self up to the wild rage and pride that possessed
him, he turned in his mind various absurd plans ;
and seized upon the most ridiculous, asif to shew
to the utmes* the contempt which he felt for u



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 55

people whom he could not help fearing. At last
he thought of the stupid project of setting up in
the market-place the hat which he usually wore,
that all who passed might humble themselves to
his power by bowing lowly to this sign of his
authority. He did not listen to reason, which
would have shewn him the dangers to which this
vain and foolish command would expose him.
Reason, indeed, seemed to desert him entirely. He
called together the chiefs of his guards, and anx-
iously questioned them about the zeal and fidelity
of his hirelings. His fears conquered even his
avarice, and he lavished his gold upon the soldiers,
and placed at their head Sarnem, the guilty tool of
all his secret crimes.

‘To-morrow, by day-break,” said he, “thou
must cause a long pole to be set up in the midst
of Altorff; on the top of that pole thou shalt place
the hat which I wear; and now I give it unto thy
hands, that thou mayest fix it where all the people
may behold it. My soldiers must guard every



56 WILLIAM TELL,

entrance to the market-place, that they may oblige
all passengers to bow with reverence to this sign
of the majesty and power of the Governor of the
three Cantons. The least murmur, the smallest
opposition to this command, must be punished with
chains. Thou wilt read in the countenances, in
the eyes of this vile people, whom Nature intended
for slaves, the secret feeling of hatred and inde-
pendence, or even of courage ;—for courage itself
is criminal in those who have only to obey. Go!
hasten to put my order in execution, and let my
soldiers endeavour, above all, to discover who are
the parents of the two children whom I have sent
to prison.”

He spoke, and Sarnem Sew to obey his orders.
The soldiers were paid beforehand the price of
the crimes they were expected to commit. Gold
and wine were bestowed on them freely. Spies
were scattered about the city and its suburbs, who
introduced themselves artfully into families, in order
to become. acquainted with their secret opinions.



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 57

With pretended compassion these wretches told
the people the story of the two children whom
Gesler had used so cruelly; then, observing their
looks and expressions, they reported every emotion
of pity or indignation as a crime.

But Heaven in its justice watched over Tell’s cot-
tage, and concealed it from these infamous. spies.
They did not find Edmea, who, with the good
old Melctal, was counting the hours as they passed
in the absence of her husband and son. She passed
the night in watchfulness, nor ever extinguished
the lamp which lighted her cottage, nor took a
moment’s repose. ‘The old Melctal was equally
impatient ; and they could speak of nothing but
their absent chiléren. A hundred times they left
off talking, that they mi-ht listen to the least noise
that was heard near their door. The cold wind
that whistled among the bare branches of the trees,
or the barking of the faithful dog that was taking
his walks round the house, continually startled
Edmea, and she rose every time to open the door,



58 WILLIAM TELL,

believing that it might be Gemmi. When she
looked out and saw only the darkness of night—
when she listened in silence, and only heard the
torrent roar, then she went mournfully back to the
distracted old man, and tried to conceal from him
her terrors.

“They are with your son,” she said to him,
sighing; “he detains them; sleep, good old man,
and I will keep watch till morning.”

“ Yes, my daughter,” answered Henry, “my son
must have kept them with him. I will try to sleep;
do not think of me, but try to calm the agitation
of thy spirits.” Then, that he might not add to
her uneasiness, the good old Melctal would appear
as if he slept in tranquillity.

Both kept silence, in hopes of deceiving each
other ; but, if they heard the least noise, they rose,
and found that they could dissemble no longer. ,



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 59

BOOK THE SECOND.

Meantime Tell pursued his journey, and long
before day-break he had reached the walls of
Schwitz. He knocked at Verner’s door; the dogs
that kept watch in the court filled the air with
their barking. Verner had risen already, and was
standing before a wood-fire in anxious thought.
He hastened to the door, and, hearing the voice
of his friend, he opened it, embraced him, and led
him to the hearth. The noisy dogs no sooner
remembered their master’s friend than they came
fawning around him, and offered their enormous
heads to be stroked by his benumbed hands.

“My friend!” said the hero to Verner, “the
moment is arrived in which we must give freedom
to our country, or perish in the attempt. I come
not now to consult with prudence, nor to ask wis-



60 WILLIAM TELL,

dom or advice from thee. It is time to act, and I
bring thee arms. Our watch-word shall be the
Tyrant’s Last Crime.”

As soon as Tell had spoken these words, he laid
at Verner’s feet a heavy bundle of lances, arrows,
cross-bows, and sharp-edged swords, which he had
borne upon his shoulders. Verner looked at thern
with calm satisfaction. “Before I hear more,” said
he, “ let us go and hide this treasure in a place
of safety. Here it might be taken from us unex-
pectedly ; for, in a country which is governed by
tyrants, no man can call his house his own.”

They then lifted the bundle together, and carried
it to a cave below; then returning and seating
themselves by the hearth, William gave Verner
the history of Gesler’s barbarity, the agony of old
Melctal, and the flight of his son—how he had sent
Gemmi to the latter, who was perhaps at that very
moment giving him instructions to meet them at
Grutti that evening, that they might be certain of
ample revenge.



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 61

Verner, after listening with attention, made Wil-
liam repeat all the particulars of his great design ;
weighed and considered them with him, and brought
forward all the obstacles which he imagined they
might have to overcome. Satisfied at last with
Tell’s replies, who had foreseen every thing, and
was prepared for the worst, “Let us begin our
work, my friend,” he said, “I am ready!” Then
they separated, and each went singly to carry to his
friends the arms which they had hidden; with
which they supplied not only those of their par-
tisans who lived in the town of Schwitz, but also
those of the villages in the neighbourhood.

Thus they gave to the enemies of tyranny the
means of destroying their oppressors: and were
grateful to the hoar-frost, and the abundant snow,
which darkened the air, and prevented them from
meeting with any one who might suspect their
designs. A hundred times they went backward
and forward, not daring to carry bundles of arms
at once. They spent twelve hours in carrying



62 WILLIAM TELL,

these weapons, and in trying to give vigour and
courage to the hearts of those on whom they
bestowed them. They received their oaths in the
sight of Heaven, while they informed them of the
tyrant’s fresh crime.

Their ardour in the cause of liberty gave them
on every occasion fresh strength, and new words
to animate the courage of those with whom they
conversed, and inspire them with the love of free-
dom.

After a whole day of such laborious toil, their
arms were distributed. Tell reserved for himself
only his strong bow ; Verner a single lance. They
returned excessively weary to Verner’s cottage, took
a hasty meal in order to recruit their strength ; and,
urged by the flight of time, and their promise to
Melctal, they hastened, without taking a moment’s
rest, to the cave of Grutti.

They marched through snows which the North
wind drifted around them. They arrived at the
shore of the lake, and, seeking a boat in the dark,



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 63

they discovered a small one, moored by strong
cords, and tost by the violence of the waves against
the shore.

Verner, saeing the agitation of the lake, paused a
little, and asked Tell if his skill in managing a
boat, which was so famous, could struggle with
the tempest’s rage. ‘“Melctal is expecting us,” an-
swered Tell, “and the fate of our country depends
upon our meeting with him—how canst thou in-
quire, then, if I have courage to cross the lake !
That I shall be, able to brave the tempest, I know
not ; but that it is my duty to do so, I know full
well. I rely not on my own skill, but I trust in
the God of Heaven, who guards the pure in
heart, and will protect those to whom liberty is
dear !”

He said, then leaped into the boat, and Verner
quickly followed him. ‘Tell cut the cord, seized
the oar, and darted away froin the land. KEither
from chance, or because the just and powerful
Being whom Tell’s heart invoked, protected the



64 WILLIAM TELL,

deliverers of Switzerland, the wind became suddenly
calm, the waves rolled no longer, and the boat, im-
pelled by the arm of Téll, who made it fly like an
arrow, glided peaceably over the smooth lake, and
soon arrived at the opposite shore. They left the
boat in safe mooring, and hastened to the cavern
which had long been familiar to them.

Melctal awaited them at the entrance. When
he saw Tell, he ran to meet him, embraced him,
bathed him with his tears, and, naming with emo-
tion his father and his friend, could hardly restrain
the feelings that oppressed him.

William’s tears fell likewise; he took hold of
his hand, pressed it with warmth ; led him to the
bottom of the cavern, and there, while darkness
surrounded them as they sat on the steep rock,
they dismissed all thoughts of their private wrongs,
their private interests, and considered the welfare of
their country alone.

Tell spoke first.

“ Melctal,” he said, “ your father is alive ; he is in



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 65

my house; set thy tenderness, thy filial piety at
rest. Let us examine, let us try to discover the
surest means of rescuing Our country ; of restoring
its freedom ; of revenging the injuries it has long
endured from the barbarity of its rulers. Each of
us enjoys the confidence, the esteem of the Canton
to which we belong. The brave inhabitants of
Schwitz will rise at the call of Verner,—nor will
they want for arms; since Verner and myself have
furnished them with plenty this very day; two
hundred soldiers will obey Verner as their captain,
—we have their word, their oath, and may rely
upon them as upon themselves.

“In Uri, within the very walls of Altorff, where
the presence of the tyrant makes the danger greatest
—where he has built that dreadful fort, which
seems to secure his power for ever—TI have found
it more difficult to procure comrades. Every heart
sighs for freedom; but Gesler’s armed followers,
and his secret spies, watch with fresh vigilance to
detect and punish the least spark of so sacred a flame.

5



66 WILLIAM TELL,

« Ag yet, I dare not depend upon the citizens of
Altorff. Trembling, groaning under the rod of a
despot, they dare not attack, but they will not
defend him. I have found in the villages around
a hundred brave men, ready to die for me. They
have arms, and they are valiant ; and that is all
that I can offer—-And now, Melctal, it is thy turn
to speak: tell us what success thou hast had in
Underwalden, and let us decide at last upon the
moment, when, uniting our forces, we shall hasten
to death or liberty !”

“My friend,” said Melctal, scarcely master ot
his feelings, “I expected not the assistance you
have obtained, and yet I was certain of success. A
hundred and fifty youths of Underwalden are al-
ready in arms,—I have beheld them this very day.
"They have chosen me for their chief; they burn
for combat. My friends, let us lose not a moment:
let us march this very night to the walls of Altorff,
—Jet us assemble our warriors in the heart of that
city,—let us instantly attack the fort, the people



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 67

will second us, and we shall be revenged on the
infamous Gesler. I will have his eyes torn out on
the spot where my father———But I am confused ;—
pardon the most unhappy of sons. My advice is,
I repeat it,—in spite of darkness, spite of the snows
that cover the ground and conceal the roads,—that
we should march before day-break into Altorff,
and bring on a battle that may make us instantly
masters of the fortress, or destroy us at once.”
“Yes! destroy us,” replied Verner calmly ; “and
how will this death, a glorious one certainly, avail
our country? Didst thou not listen, Melctal, to
William? The hundred youths whom he has
armed in Uri, dispersed about the villages, will
require time in order to unite—while the tyrant
is incessantly surrounded with his base soldiers.
The people of Altorff; driven to despair by the pre-
sence of the tyrant, will want courage to join us.
And our small troop, reaching the place one by
one in disorder, would be cut to pieces under its
walls. Trust to my experience: let us be certain



68 WILLIAM TELL,

of aid before we attempt any dangerous enterprise.
Do you think that we are the only Swiss whose
hearts pant for liberty? Do not Zurich, Lucerne,
and the mountaineers of Zug—do not Glaris and Ap-
penzel, detest, like ourselves, the thoughts of slavery ?

Doubt it not; like us, these brave people sigh for
| freedom; and my heart tells me, that one day they
will unite in a body with our three Cantons, and
form a republic, whose name shall be respected,
and shall be dreaded by all the kings in the world.
Let us hasten these glorious days, let us send de-
puties to Lucerne, to Zug, to Zurich ; let them be
invited to join their forces to ours. Let a day, a
sacred day, be fixed on which at the same
hour all the Swiss, all the friends of liberty, shall
attack their tyrants. Then we will declare our-
selves; then Altorff shall awake, and the frightened
Governor, surrounded by our arms, shall fall an
easy prey to our valour, before his messengers,
stopped in every direction, shall have had time to
inform the Emperor of is danger !”



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 69

Here Verner ended; but Melctal still uttered a
faint murmur : he would have disputed with Verner,
but Tell began to speak, and both listened to him
with attention. ,

“ Melctal,” he said, “I love thy courage, I excuse
thy impetuosity ; but it might nevertheless be fatal
to our cause. Verner, I admire thy prudence, but
that might also be dangerous. No hope would be
left for our sacred project, did we suffer it to depend
upon time or the secrecy of more than a few faith-
ful hearts. The slightest mistake, a word, a trifling
accident, often overturns the labour of years. If
but a single traitor in all the towns thou hast
named were associated with us, he would have
power to enslave his countrymen once more, and to
behold the torture of her chosen sons. No! Let
our generous purpose be confined to ourselves
alone! Let us suffer, as I trust we shall have
courage to suffer, in the cause of freedom; and
when Uni, Schwitz, and Underwalden, shall have
reared the standard of liberty upon their moun-



70 WILLIAM TELL,

tains, we or our children shall find that the rest of
the Cantons will be eager to fight under our ban-
hers, or repose under their protection.

“Verner, it is time to act—but I ask of you,
Melctal, a short delay; in the mean time listen
to my scheme,—Schwitz and Underwalden are in
arms. Three hundred and fifty warriors are, you
say, in readiness to follow your command. Let
them assemble, not in the midst of a town or a
village, but in a low valley, a desert spot, where
they may unite, and from whence they may begin
their march. This care belongs to you; I shall
return into Uri, and aided by the brave Furst, to
whom alone I have confided our secret, I shall
assemble, if I can, the hundred enemies of the
tyrant whose spirit and whose courage shew them
worthy to conquer with us. ‘The brave Furst
shall seek them in Maderan and Urseren, in the
mountains which give rise to the Aar, the Tesino,
the Rhine, and the Rhone. [ alone will remain in
Altorff, and will await a messenger from Furst to



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 71

inform me of the moment when his troop are ready
to march. At that moment I will set fire to an
immense pile, which I have already prepared, on
the mountain on which my dwelling is situated.
You will see the flame, Verner; you, Melctal, will
see it; and both must hasten to the place of rendez-
vous: thence march instantly to Altorff with your
united troops. I have calculated the time and the dis-
tance. Furst with the patriots of Uri, Verner with his
friends from Schwitz, and Melctal with the warriors
of Underwalden, will arrive almost at the same
moment at the north, south, and east gates of the
city. I shall be there, my friends; I alone shall
be there, in the midst of a people whom my voice,
my efforts, will rouse to assert their liberty. Yes!
my tongue shall proclaim that sacred name which
is become our war-cry! You shall pronounce it
as you enter ; and atsuch a sight and sech a sound,
the astonished people, when they behold Uri, Schwitz,
’ and Underwalden, shall fly at once to their succour,
and then, listening to their hatred alone, shall turn



72 WILLIAM TELL,

all their fury against Gesler, and swell the number
of our valiant troops. Then shall our banners
be soon seen floating on the top of that terrible
bulwark, and all Switzerland, animated by this
first success, shall come impatiently to share our
future victories.”

Thus spoke Tell, and Melctal rushed into the
arms of his heroic friend, and bathed him with tears
of joy. Even Verner was convinced. Verner
adopted his advice. No new oaths were wanting
to bind the faith of these three heroes, to whose
great souls such forms were useless. ‘They sepa-
rated, after repeating that they would not begin
their march till the flaming signal should be given
by William.

Melctal returned into Stantz to prepare his
friends. Verner and Tell went back to their boat,
recrossed the lake, which was still calm, and, when
they reached the opposite shore, Verner took the
road to Schwitz, and William hastened to Altorff.
He walked along the shore of the lake. Before he





Tell refusing to bow to Gesler’s Hat.



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 73

saw Edmea he wished to talk with his friends in
Altorff, and inform them of his great designs.

He entered the town, and advanced into the
market-place ; the first object he saw was, on the
top of a long upright pole, a hat richly embrodiered
with gold. Numerous soldiers ranged around the
pole, and walking in silence, seemed to guard with
respect this ensign of power. ‘William approached
with amazement: but when he saw the citizens
of Altorff bow down before this hat, before the pole—
when he beheld the soldiers forcing them with
their spears to crouch closer to the ground, hardly
master of his indignation, he stopped short at the
sight. He could not believe his eyes—he remained
dumb and motionless, leaning on his bow, and
surveying with scorn the base crowd and the
infamous soldiers.

Sarnem commanded these guards,—Sarnem,
whose fierce zeal delighted to exceed the orders
of the tyrant. He soon perceived the man who,
alone in the midst of the kneeling crowd, stood, with



74 WILLIAM TELL,

his head proudly erect. He flew towards him, and
glancing upon him eyes inflamed with rage, “ Who-
ever thou art,” said he, “tremble, lest I punish thy
slowness in obeying the orders of Gesler. Dost
thou not know that a law is published to oblige
every citizen of Altorff to bow with reverence to
this sign of his power ?”

“TI knew no such law,” replied Tell, “noi could
lever have believed to what an excess of tyranny
and madness the possession of unbounded power
would lead. But when I see the base submission
of this people, I could almost excuse, nay approve
of Gesler’s folly. Well may he call us slaves!
he can never sufficiently despise those who will
thus degrade themselves. As for me, I bow to God
alone !” ;

“Rash man!” replied Sarnem, “soon wilt thou
repent of thy insolence. Fall instantly on thy
knees, if thou wouldst prevent this arm from chas-
tising thee.”

“My own arm shall punish me,” said Tell, look-



A} |
A

. Y
\\\
\\

\\\

\
\

\\
AKI



Tell before the Tyrant Gesler.



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 15

ing sternly upon him, “ were I capable of obeying
thee.”

At these words the cruel Sarnem made a sign
to his soldiers, who instantly seized upon William.
They snatched from him his bow and his quiver ;
they pointed their shining swords to his breast,
and led, or rather dragged him, to the palace of the
Governor.

Calm in the midst of the soldiers, deaf to their
rude threats, and folding his arms across his
breast, William stood before the tyrant. He re-
garded him disdainfully, and allowed his. eager
accusers to speak without interruption, waiting in
proud silence till Gesler should think fit to question
him.

His aspect, his manner, his undisturbed air,
astonished and appalled the Governor. A kind
of terror, a secret presentiment, warned him that
the man who then stood before him was come to
avenge his crimes. Scarcely dared he to look
towards him; much less to speak to him. At last.



76 WILLIAM TELL,

with a faltering voice, “What motive,” he said,
‘hadst thou to disobey my command, and refuse
to the emblem of my power, whatever it might
be, the respect which is due to myself? Speak
if thou hast any thing to say in thy defence. Re-
member I have power to pardon !”

Tell, at these words, fixed his eyes upon him,
and bitter was the smile that accompanied that
look. “Punish me,” he replied, “but seek not to
dive into my thoughts. How couldst thou, to
whom truth is a stranger, endure to listen to its
voice ?”

“T would hear the truth from thyself,” said the
Governor; “from thee I seek to know my failings
and my duties.”

“T pretend not to instruct tyrants, although the
horror that I feel in their presence does not deprive
me of my courage. I can remind them of their
crimes, and I can shew them what their end will
be. Listen then, Gesler, to me, since thou hast
commanded me to speak.



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 77

“ Our measure is full. The cup of misery, which
the angry Heavens have placed in thy hands,
overflows on all sides. God, who has made thee
his instrument to punish our guilt, has now pre-
pared a thunderbolt for thee. Hear the cries of
the innocent whom thou hast imprisoned—of the
widows and orphans who demand of thee their
husbands and their fathers, who have perished in
torments by thy inhuman orders. Their bloody
shadows haunt thy dwelling, pursue thee in dreams,
and point to their open wounds, to their mangled
and distorted limbs! Their blood sprinkles thy
hands, and awakens thee in the midst of the night
Even the dgrkness cannot hide from thee this .
horrid sight ; and vainly dost thou close thine eyes
in the hope of forgetting it. Those few whom thou
hast permitted to live, wandering far from their
homes, and leaving to thy avarice their wealth,
which was earned by their toil, fly to conceal
themselves in the hollows of rocks, or in the depths
of forests. And how do these miserable people em.



78 WILLIAM TELL,

ploy themselves in their retreat? Fearing the sound
of thy name more than the noise of the falling
avalanche, that buries villages under its weight,
how do they spend their days, their nights? On
the rocks they kneel, with uplifted hands ; and pray-
ing to the God of vengeance, they implore him to
destroy the scourge of their country! Well, Ges-
ler, it is for me to inform thee, that the prayers of
our people, the cries of those innocent men who
have been prosecuted, plundered, slaughtered by
thy commands, the blood which thou hast never
ceased to shed, and which still sprinkles all thy paths,
the cry of this blood has reached unto Heaven ; our
complaints have ascended to the throne of the High-
est; His justice is ready to strike thee ; my country
will soon be free !

* Such are my hopes, such my prayers and my
- thoughts. Thou hast desired to hear them. I
have satisfied thee, and now I have nothing left
to tell thee, for I will not debase my reason by
touching even for a moment on the caprice, the



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 79

folly, which has this day obliged all the citizens
of Uri to bend their knees to the hat which thou
hast worn. Thou knowest all that passed, and
mayest command my death.”

Gesler listened without speaking. He restrained
his anger, however, only that he might be more
certain of his vengeance. His rage was suspended
awhile, by the hope of discovering or inventing
some new mode of tormenting a man who seemed
to despise death. He thought of the two children,
whom the evening before he had loaded with
chains. Comparing their freedom of speech with
what he had just heard, his fury quickening, his
sagacity made him at first suspect, and afterwards
be certain, that these children who bore so lofty
a contempt for tyrants, could belong to him only —
who had just had the boldness to defy him. Wish-
ing to discover that instant the truth of his suspi-
cion, he gave a secret order for these children
to be brought before him. Sarnem flew to bring
them. Meanwhile the artful Gesler, dissembling



80 WILLIAM TELL,

his rage, and feigning not to have been troubled
by the words of Tell, coolly began to question him
about his condition, his family, and the rank which
he held in Uri.

William told his name; and that name, so re-
nowned in Altorff, struck and alarmed the Go
vernor. “ What!” said he, with surprise, “is it
thou, whose skill in guiding a boat is so famous ?
thou, whose arrow was never known to miss its
aim ?’—“It is I” replied Tell “and I blush that
my name should only be known by triumphs so use-
less to my country. Such vain exploits have far less
value in my eyes than the death which I must soon
suffer only for pronouncing the name of Liberty !”

At this moment Sarnem appeared, bringing with
him Clara and Gemmi. When Tell perceived his
son, he uttered a cry, and sprang towards him.
“Qh! Gemmi,” he said, “oh! my son, I may
embrace thee, then, once more: but in what a place!
how, and why—” “No! no!” replied Gemmi, “ you
are not my father; no! I do not know you; my



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 81

family are far from hence,” said the boy abruptly,
for he saw the danger of William, and knew the
fate prepared by Gesler for his unhappy -parents.
William remained in astonishment, with his arms
. still extended, and unable to understand why his
son refused his caresses, and dared to disown him.
Clara added to his amazement by repeating what
Gemmi had declared, that Tell did not belong to
them. His heart murmured at all this ; he began to
feel angry with the children; and Gesler, whose
fierce eyes observed all his emotions—Gesler, who
perceived clearly what to Tell seemed mysterious
—-the cruel Gesler enjoyed at once the ferror,
the surprise, and the agony, of the parent and the
child.

His countenance betrayed the infernal joy which
filled his savage heart. “Iam not deceived,” said
he ; “ William, this boy is thy son ; and thy son has
displeased me. I have borne with patience all thy
insulting language, till I could find a punishment
that might equal thy audacity; hear now what

6



82 WILLIAM TELL,

I have decreed for thee. I desire, even while I
chastise thy insolence, to do homage to that rare
skill which is the boast of thy happy country ! and
that the citizens of Altorff, while they witness my
rigid justice, may ‘applaud thy dexterity. Thy
bow shall be returned to thee. Thy son shall stand
before thee at the distance of a hundred paces.
On his head shall be placed an apple, as a mark
for thine arrow to hit. If thy hand, so proud of its
steadiness, shall carry off the apple from thy son’s
head, I will pardon both him and yourself ; but if
thou refusest this trial, he must instantly be put to
death in thy sight.”

“ Barbarian,” answered Tell, “what demon from
hell has inspired thee with this horrible idea? And
thou, O just God, who hearest it, wilt thou suffer
such an impious excess of cruel tyranny? No! I
will not accept this trial—I will not expose myself
to become the murderer of my child. I demand
to die, Gesler! I implore death by the hands of
thine assassins, whom I here behold ready to imbrue



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 83

once more in blood those hands that have been
guilty of so many murders. I demand, I intreat,
that I may die innocent as a man and a father!
Hear me, Gesler! Thy numerous guards, the
example of all my fellow-citizens, the certainty of
death, have not prevailed upon me to bow before
the emblem of thy power. I -chose death before
such abasement. Well! now I am ready, in order
to obtain such a death, and escape the dreadful risk
of piercing with my own hand my son’s heart,
to prostrate myself before thee, tyrant as thou art.
Promise me but death, Gesler, and I will do homage
to thy power.”

“No!” cried Gemmi at that instant, with a voice
that touched even the soldiers who surrounded
him; “no! do not humble thyself to a tyrant, my
father. I accept, I rejoice at. the trial. Whatever
be the result, thou, my father, wilt-be at liberty.
Take courage then; fear not, and Heaven will
direct thy hand—thy son will not perish, he is safe,
be certain ; and pardon him if for a moment he dared



8A WILLIAM TELL,

to disown thee ! I feared for thy life, for thine only;
and with the hope of saving what is dearest to me
on earth, I resigned the cherished name of thy son.
Forgive me, oh! my father! and suffer me now to
repent a hundred times the name which I dare not
utter. Take courage, my father! thou wilt not
kill me—a secret voice informs me that I shall be
safe. Let them lead me to the spot—let them take
me there this instant ; and, Clara, do thou return to
thy home, but let not my mother know what has
happened.” Gemmi then threw himself on the
bosom of Tell, who received him, embraced him,
and pressed him to his heart. He tried to speak to
him, but could only bathe him with his tears, while
he uttered his name with a trembling and _half-
choked voice—“No! my son; no, my dear son !”
Clara fainted; the soldiers carried her into the
palace, and the hard-hearted Gesler, without feeling
any pity at the sight, repeated his dreadful order,
offering William for the last time the fatal choice,



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 85

either to see his son expire or make the barbarous
trial of his own skill.

For some moments William heard him without
reply ; looking on the ground as if in despair, and
still holding Gemmi in his arms. Then suddenly
raising his head and turning on Gesler, his eyes
red with weeping, which darted fire through their
tears—“1 will obey,” he exclaimed, “let me be
taken to the place of trial!’ Instantly the guards
surrounded the father and the son, who held each
other by the hand, and were taken from the palace
together under the command of Sarnem. Already
crowds of people, who had heard the report of the —
horrible transaction, had assembled in the market-
place. Almost all groaned inwardly, but no one
dared to utter a single word of compassion. Their
timid eyes sought William, and discovered him:
through the naked swords of the soldiers, walking
with Gemmi, who looked up to his father with
smiles,



86 WILLIAM TELL,

Tears sprang to their eyes on beholding Tell’s .
countenance ; but terror obliged them to conceal
these signs of pity from the soldiers. Gesler would
have punished them as a crime. All fixed their
eyes on the ground ; a sullen silence reigned among
the people: they groaned, they suffered, but they
dared not to complain.

The fierce Sarnem quickly measured the ground.
A space was inclosed on three sides with a double
file of soldiers. The people pressed closely behind
them.—Gemmi with calm looks surveyed these
preparations from the farthest end of the space.

Gesler stood at a distance behind Tell, surround-
ed by his guards, and could not drive from his
troubled mind the fears with which the silence
of the people had occupied it. William remained
in the midst of the glittering spears of the soldiery,
his eyes cast down, and motionless as a statue.
His bow was given to him with one arrow only,
the point of which he tried, it broke, and he threw
it away, demanding his quiver. It was brought



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 87

to him: as it lay at his feet, he stooped down,
and appeared to be making choice of an arrow;
but when he had a favourable opportunity, he hid
one in his clothes, and seized another with which
he meant to shoot. ‘Sarnem ordered the remainder
to be carried away, and Tell began slowly to bend
his bow. He looked at his son—he paused ; lifted
his eyes to Heaven, threw away his bow and arrow,
and demanded to speak with Gemmi.

Four soldiers conducted him to his child. “My
son,” said he, “I must once more fold thee in my
arms, and repeat to thee what I have said before.
Thou must not stir, my son; thou must be firm— —
test one knee on the ground, for so it appears
to me thou wilt be less likely to move. Thou
must pray to God, my child, to protect thy unhappy
father! No! pray only for thyself; let no thought
of me soften thee, and depress that high-souled
courage which I admire, but cannot imitate. Oh !
my son, why cannot I shew myself as great as
thyself? Do not lose this firmness, of which I



88 WILLIAM TELL,

cannot give theeean example. Yes! stand thus,
my son; this is just what I desire—what I desire!
unhappy as I am! And wilt thou suffer it, oh!
just God ?—Hear me, turn away thy face,—thou
dost not know, thou canst not foresee the effect
which this arrow’s point will produce-on thee ;—
this sharp steel aimed at thy forehead ;—turn thy
head, my child, and do not look at me.”

“Yes ! yes!” replied Gemmi, “I will, I must look
at thee—I shall not see the arrow; I shall only
behold my father !”

“Oh! my dear son,” cried Tell, “speak not to
me—speak not; thy voice, thy words will deprive
me of my strength. Be silent, pray to God, and do
not stir !”

While he spoke, William embraced him, tried to.
leave him, embraced him again—repeated his last
words, placed the apple on his head; then turning
hastily from him, he walked with hurried steps to
his former post.

There, grasping his bow and arrow, and turning



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 89

his eyes towards the beloved mark to which he
must direct his aim, twice he endeavoured to shoot,
but in vain. The bow fell from his hands. At
last, rousing all his skill, his strength, his courage,
and wiping away the tears which had dimmed
his sight, he invoked that all-powerful Being, who
beholds from the highest Heaven parental anguish :
then nerving his trembling arm, he forced, he
accustomed his eye to look only at the apple.
Seizing the moment, as rapid as thought, in which
he could forget his son’s danger, he took his aim;
he drew his bow, and struck the apple, which
the arrow carried with it as it flew.—The market-
place echoed with shouts of joy! Gemmi ran to
his father’s arms, who, pale and motionless, exhaust-
ed by this amazing effort, could not return his
embrace. He looked wildly about him; he could
not speak ; and hardly heard the voice of his child.
He could scarcely stand, and would have fallen
but for Gemmi, who supported him. The arrow
concealed in his clothes fell to the ground, and



90 WILLIAM TELL,

was perceived by Gesler, who was instantly by
his side. Tell, who was beginning to recover
his senses, turned away his head at the sight of the
tyrant.

“ Incomparable archer !” said Gesler to him, “I
shail keep my promise, and pay thee the price
of thy ‘matchless skill. But, first, let me hear for
what purpose thou hast reserved this arrow which
thou hadst concealed? One only sufficed for thee,
why then didst thou hide this ?”—“ Tyrant,” said
Tell, “this arrow was to have pierced thy heart,
if my ill-fated hand had been the cause of my son’s
death!” At these words, wrung from a father’s
agony, the terrified Gesler retreated into the midst
of his guard.

Revoking his promise, he ordered the cruel
Samem instantly to load Tell with chains, and
conduct him to the fort. He was obeyed. They
tore him from Gemmi’s embrace, who vainly de-
manded to accompany his father. The guards
drove him away. ‘The people murmured, and



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 91

appeared moved: Gesler hastened to his palace,
and ordered all his soldiers to arms. Vast bodies
of Austrian troops marched in all parts of the
city, and obliged the terrified people to hide them-
selves in their habitations. Terror reigned in every
street; and the soldiers were ready to glut them-
selves with the blood of new victims.



92 WILLIAM TELL,

BOOK THE THIRD.

—

Waite the restless tyrant shut himself up in
his fortress, and surrounded it with troops, the
wretched Gemmi ran about distracted, and de-
manded with loud cries to be taken to his father.
Repulsed by the cruel soldiers, he ran about the
walls of the fort, giving vent to his grief in tears
and bewailings.

Clara, who had been detained in the palace
during the dreadful scene, escaped at last, and
sought for Gemmi on all sides. She no sooner
discovered him, than she ran into his arms, and
tried to console him. “My father is in prison,”
he said to her: “my unfortunate father will be
murdered. Hear me, Clara; I have lost all hope
of joining him in his dungeon, of there waiting
upon him, of dying with him. I am going to try



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 93

now the only means that remain to me of saving
his life. I will go into Underwalden; I will warn
thy father of his friend’s danger: Melctal has cou-
rage, he has arms, and he has friends; he will
come to my father’s rescue. And do thou, my
good Clara, return to my mother,—tell her what
has happened, and where Iam going. Go, Clara;
console her, and tell her that I will not return
without Melctal—I will perish, or I will save my
father :—thou must support my mother instead of
me.” He said, and, instantly departing, he walked
with hurried steps out of the city. Clara took
immediately the road to Tell’s cottage, where the
aged Henry, and the virtuous Edmea, far from their
children, and ignorant what had become of them,
were consuming the time in fruitless anxiety.
Clara, who arrived pale, terror-struck, and bathed
in tears, only redoubled Edmea’s alarm. She rose,
and running to meet her cried out, “Gemmi! oh!
what is become of Gemmi ?”

“He is alive, he is at liberty,” replied Clara



94 WILLIAM TELL,

immediately, as she rushed into the arms of her
blind old grandfather. She embraced him, then
Edmea, and with a broken voice she told them
all that the cruel Gesler had done; how she and
Gemmi had been taken from their prison into his
presence—and the horrible trial to which the father
and son had been exposed. She knew not the
event, except that William was in chains, and that
Gemmi was gone to find Melctal and implore him
to assist his father. 'Tell was threatened with death,
~—so the governor had sworn.

At this account Edmea’s heart failed, and she
fell almost senseless into the seat which she had
quitted. The blind old man, almost distracted,
began to utter loud lamentations. He desired that
his son might come to him—that he might fight by
his side, and die in the attempt, or rescue Tell.

Clara quitted the old man, and soothed Edmea,
but her efforts were hardly sufficient to console both
these unhappy beings.

At last, after the first moments of such deep and



THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 95

piercing grief, the old Melctal, recovering at once
his reason, his courage, and his prudence, seized
both the hands of Edmea, and pressing them to his |
heart, “Weep not, oh! my virtuous friend,” said
he; “let us not lose in tears the time which may
be precious to us if we employ it. Gemmi is gone
to Underwalden. A few hours will bring him to
my son. I know Melctal; this very night I am
certain that he and his friends. will take the yoad
to Altorff. To-morrow by day-break he will be
there, and he will attempt every exploit to save
William. But his friends, so few in number, will
be unequal to the enterprise. I have friends in
Altorff,—I will go myself and rouse their courage ;
I will inspire them with ardour. They shall guide
me into the market-place, by the first dawn of day ;
they shall lead me into the midst of the people.
There will I speak; there will I shew the wounds
‘still fresh which the cruel Gesler has inflicted
upon me. I will point to these empty sockets
whence my eyes have been torn by his ferocious



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WILLIAM TELL,

THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND.
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, Tél shooting at the Apple on his Son’s Head,
WILLIAM TELL,

THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF M. DE FLORIAN.

TOGETHER WITH

THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.

TO WHICH IS ADDED,

ANDREAS HOFER,

THE “TELL” OF THE TYROL.

ILLUSTRATED WITH ENGRAVINGS ON WOOD, BY BUTLER.





NEW-YORK :
D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 200 BROADWAY.
1852.
WILLIAM TELL.

BOOK THE FIRST.

LisTEN to me, friends of Liberty! you whose
lofty souls and feeling hearts would teach you to
die for your independence, or to live for the happi-
ness of your country! Come, and I will tell you
how a man, born in a barbarous country, in the
midst of a people enslaved under the rod of an
oppressor, alone, with no other aid than his own
courage and magnanimity, gave to his desponding
countrymen Liberty and a new existence, and
taught them to know their birth-right.

This man, whom nature called her son, and
armed to maintain her laws, roused up his powerful
6 WILLIAM TELL,

voice the slumbering spirit of his countrymen,
groaning under the weight of their chains ; taught
them to change their ploughshares for the sword of
the hero, conquered the armed bands which tyrants
sent to oppose him, and founded in a barbarous age,
upon barren rocks, a retreat for Reason and Virtue,
the daughters of Heaven, who descended to console
mankind.

I do not invoke thee now, O divine Poetry! thou
whom I have adored from my infancy ! thou whose
brilliant fables were wont to delight me! thy en-
chanting imagery would but disfigure the hero,
whose deeds I celebrate. Ill would thy fanciful
wreaths become his stern forehead ; and in thy pre-
sence, his calm but terrible features would wear
too mild an expression.

Add no splendour to his mountain pomp! Leave
him his rough grab, and his strong yew bow! and
let him walk alone over his native rocks, or by the .
brink of sparkling torrents! Follow him indeed,
but at a distance, and strew timidly in the paths
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 7

which he has trodden a few flowers of the wild
eglantine.

In the midst of Ancient Helvetia, that country
so renowned for valour, three cantons, enclosed on
all sides by the steepest rocks, had preserved foy many
ages their simple manners. Industry, frugality, truth,
and modesty—those virtues which the conquering
kings of the earth delight to banish—took refuge
among these mountains.

There they remained long concealed, nor com-
plained of their peaceful obscurity. Liberty in her
turn fixed her seat on the summit of shese moun
tains, and from that fortunate moment, none who
are truly brave or wise have pronounced without
respect the names of Uri, of Schwitz, or Under-
walden. The natives of these three cantons pur-
sued their daily labour in the fields, and escaped
for many ages the misery produced by the guilty
madness of those fierce chieftains who conquered
the Roman Empire. They formed out of its ruins
num! -rs of smaller kingdoms, which they governed
a WILLIAM TELL,

by the worst laws that ignorance could invent in
favour of tyranny. But they despised, perhaps, the
poor shepherds and husbandmen of Uri, and on
that account permitted them to keep the cherished
name of freemen. They barely submitted to these
new Caesars, and preserved their ancient customs,
their laws, and their virtues.

Each father of a family, sole master in his peace-
ful hut, grew old surrounded by his children, whose
tonder and grateful care softened the decline of his
days. The young, knowing no evil, fearing God,
and obedient to their parents, had no other hope, no
higher aim, than to resemble those to whom they
owed their birth. To honour and to imitate them,
formed the plan of their lives ; and this simple and
virtuous race was protected by its poverty from the
envy of the wicked.

Not far from Altorff, their capital, on the shore
of the lake which gives its name to the town, is a
high mountain, from which the traveller, who
pauses after the toil of climbing its steep sides, may
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 9

discover a crowd of valleys enclosed by rocks of
different size and shape.

Rivulets, or rapid torrents, sometimes falling in
cascades, across the rocks, sometimes winding
through beds of moss, descend into the valley to
water meadows covered with vast flocks, or to
supply the clear lake, in which the young heifers
delight to cool themselves.

On the summit of this mountain was a poor hut
surrounded by a small field, a vineyard, and an
orchard. A labourer, or rather a hero, though as
yet he knew not his own powers, whose heart
glowed with the love of his country, received from
his father, at the age of twenty years, this small
inheritance. “ My son,” said the old man to him on
his death-bed, “my toils are over, my life is fin-
ished. For sixty years I have lived in this peaceful
dwelling, and never has vice attempted to enter my
doors ; nor has my sleep been disturbed for a single
night by remorse. Be like me, my son; love in-
dustry : choose a wife whose love, whose confidence,
10 WILLIAM ‘TELL,

whose patient friendship, may double thy innocent
pleasures, and deprive misfortune of half its bitter-
ness. Adieu, my son! do not weep for me; death
is only painful to the wicked. When I sent thee to
carry a part of our fruits and bread to our poor
brethren who had none, didst thou not return with
joy to tell me what thou hadst done? Well, my
son! I am going to my Father to give him an ac-
count of the good which he has enabled me to do in
so long a life. He will receive me as I used to re-
ceive thee; and in his presence I trust that you and
I shall meet again. While thou continuest here
below, be virtuous ; and while thou art free, it will
be easy to be so. But if ever a tyrant should dare
to attack our ancient liberty, fear not to die, William,
for thy country, and thou wilt find that death is
not bitter in such a cause.”

These words sank deeply into the feeling heart
of Tell ; he paid the last solemn duties to his revered
parent ; dug his tomb at the foot of the fir-tree that
shaded his cottage ; and there he took a sacred oath,
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 11

which he never violated, to visit alone every day
this honoured tomb; there to call to mind all his
actions, and ask if his father were content with
his son.—How many virtues did Tell owe to this
pious custom! How much did the fear of shame
when he should question the shade of his father,
teach him to curb the fire of youth, and conquer all
his passions! Thus he became the master over
his own desires, and could always turn them to the
side of wisdom. Inheriting his father’s land, he
won a second harvest from the soil by a double
portion of labour, and shared its fruits with his
poorer neighbours.

Rising with the earliest dawn, and holding a
plough which two oxen could scarcely draw, he
plunged the sharp steel into the flinty earth, and
hastened the slow cattle with the goad that he
held in his hand, nor stopped to wipe the drops
of toil from his forehead till he retired home to-
wards evening, pitying those unfortunate people
who had no plough.
12 WILLIAM TELL,

This idea accompanied him as he led home
his oxen, and visited him even in his sleep. The
next morning he would rise still earlier, that he
might, unknown to his poor friends, go and plough
their fields, and sow their seeds while they were
absent, to spare his modesty the pain of being
thanked by his equals. Such was his toil, and
such were his pleasures; kindness and industry
were his employment and his delight.

Nature, who had given Tell this pure and
lofty soul, endowed him also with a strong and
active body. He was a head taller than the tallest
of his companions. He could climb with a firm
step the most stupendous rocks; could leap over
roaring torrents, or chase the wild chamois in
their fullest speed to the top of the icy summits.
His arms could alone bend and break down the
stubborn oak after a few strokes of the axe, and
his shoulders could bear its vast weight with all
its leafy branches. ~

On days of rejoicing,.in the midst of the games
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 13

which the young archers carried on, Tell, who had
no equal in the art of shooting with a bow and
arrow, was obliged to be idle while the prize was
disputed. He was seated in spite of his youth,
among the old men, who were there as judges.
Confused at this honour, he could scarcely stir or
breathe, in his eagerness to watch the flight of the
swift arrows. He applauded with rapture the
archer whose aim was the truest, and held out his
arms as if to embrace a rival worthy of himself.
But if it happened that the quiver was emptied
in vain, and no one had struck the dove; if the
bird, tired of its useless struggles, was perched
upon the top of the mast, and looking down with
a fearless eye upon its feeble enemies, then William
would rise, and taking his great bow with three
of the fallen arrows, with the first he would strike
the mast and put the bird to flight, with the second
he would cut the string which hindered it from
soaring on high, and with the third seek it’ in the
midst of the clouds, and bring it palpitating to the
14 WILLIAM TELL,

feet of the astonished judges.—But Tell was not
vain of his skill: he preferred the remembrance of
- a good action, though known only to himself, to
the most brilliant triumph. He began to be angry
with himself for obeying too slowly his father’s
advice. He resolved to become a husband, and
the youthful Edmea attracted his notice.

Edmea was the loveliest, as well as the most
retiring of the daughters of Uri. Her heart, pure
as the first breath of morning, was the seat of peace,
.Teason, and gentleness. She was an orphan, and
had no portion. From her infancy she had lived
with an old relation, the last of her indigent race.
Edmea took care of the sheep that belonged to this
good old man. Every morning, before the rising
sun had gilded the topmost branches of the dark fir-
trees, Edmea was on the mountains, spinning in the
midst of the flock, to provide linen for her bene-
factor.

She returned in the dusk of evening to put his
cottage in order, prepare his supper and his meals
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 16

for the next day, and see that he would want
nothing in her absence. Then she would give
herself up to repose, happy that on that day she had
fulfilled the sweet obligation of gratitude, and know-
ing that the morrow would bring her the same
content.

Tell knew her, and loved her. He went during
her absence to visit her old relation. With him
he talked with frankness and delight on the subject
of Edmea; and the old man was never better ©
pleased than in sounding her praises, telling of her
most trifling actions, or repeating her very words.
The tears came into his eyes as he told of the
patience, the gentleness, the never-failing goodness,
which rendered this orphan so dear to him.

These praises, which were echoed by Tell’s heart,
increased his affection more than the sight of its
object ; and when Edmea returned in the midst of
their conversation, Tell read in her modest looks
and manner all that he had lately been told.

“ Edmea,” said he to her pne festival-day, as they
36 WILLIAM TELL,

were leaving the temple, “I love, I honour thee;
if thou canst be happy with me, receive my hand
and my heart; come and dwell in my cottage; and
on the grave of my father I will teach thee those
virtues which he taught me.”

Edmea, looking on the ground, blusked for the
first time ; but soon feeling her confidence restored,
and certain that her thoughts might be known,
“William,” she said, “William, I thank thee for
having chosen me. Happy as [am at present, I feel
that I am still more blessed in being able to confess
to thee, that thou wouldest have been the object of
my choice.” At these words she gave him her
hand, which Tell pressed in his own; their eyes
met, and their vows were pronounced in silence.
This marriage completed Tell’s happiness. His
daily toil had new charms, for it was Edmea who
would reap the fruit of it. ‘The good which he was
able to do gave more satisfaction, because it was
known to Edmea. The birth of a son increased
iheir delight; he was at first entirely under the
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 17

care of his mother, but, when he reached his sixth
year, the charming little Gemmi never quitted his
father’s side. He went with him into the fields or
the pastures : and as his father shewed him the earth
covered with corn, the mountains, the waters, the
forests, he made him lift his eyes to Heaven, and
pronounce-with fear the awful name of God! He
taught him that this God, who knows and judges
all our thoughts, has commanded man to be good
only that he may be happy for ever! Every morn-
ing and evening he repeated to him this truth, and
shewed him by his example what it was to be
good. Then, without regard to his childish weak-
ness or fears, he led him among the snows, taught
him to walk on the slippery ice, or with his little
hands to unyoke and caress the oxen, and lead
these formidable animals wherever he ordered
him.

This child, who with his father was serious and
patient, was no longer the same timid silent boy,
when, on returning to the ¢@ottage, he ran to throw

2
18 WILLIAM TELL,

himself into his mother’s arms. Tender, caressing,
and obedient to her slightest wishes, how happy did
this dear child render his mother! Often would
she press him to her bosom, and fondly tell him
that her existence depended upon his life and happi-
ness. ;

Tell, added to these blessings, had one which is
equally valuable in prosperity or adversity. He
had a friend. This friend, nearly of his own age,
lived among the rocks which divided Uri from
Underwalden. It was because their hearts were
both warm and generous, that these friends had
been attached to each other from infancy, and not
because their characters were alike. Melctal, like
Tell, was brave, and capable of great actions; de-
voted besides to his native country ; but the impe-
tuosity of his temper would not allow him to bear
with patience. Too warm and hasty in his feelings
to conceal them, they found relief in words, and
were exhausted by their own violence. But Tell,
when any great emotion filled his soul, increased it
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 19

by confiriing it to his own breast, nor suffered a
word to escape from his lips, or a glance from his
eye, that might lead to its discovery.

Both abhorred tyranny and injustice, but the
former would openly defy the oppressor; while the
latter would observe in silence, that he might re-
. dress the wrong.

Melctal and William would frequently cross the
little space between their dwellings, that they might
spend together their days of rest and leisure. These
days, to which they looked forward with impatience,
were shared between them.

Sometimes Edmea set out with her husband
and son, carrying to Melctal’s cottage fruit, milk, o1
the fresh produce of their vine and their orchard.
At other times Melctal arrived, supporting on one
arm his aged father, and holding by his other hand
his daughter, the only pledge that remained to him
of a wife whose loss he still lamented. ‘Tell waited
for them at the door of his dwelling. A seat was
always ready for the old man, and a cup of wine
20 WILLIAM TELL,

that sparkled in Edmea’s hands. And Gemmi,
whose eyes had long sought for them on the road,
held in his hands a nosegay for Clara.

Oh! how pure and touching were these simple
pleasures, when thus partaken together! And how
would they prolong their cheerful repast, so full of
contentment and glee! As soon as it was finished,
old Melctal, in spite of the burden of eighty years,
with no other aid than his stick, would climb the
highest summit of the mountain, and, seated there,
in the ‘midst of his children and his friends, would
bare his venerable head to receive the warmth of
the sun upon his silver hairs. Then, after satisfy-
ing his eyes with the enchanting prospect, he would
begin to talk of his youthful days ; of his pains and
his pleasures; of the disappointments of life, and
the consolations of virtue.

Tell, Melctal, and Edmea, would listen with at-
tentive respect; while Clara and Gemmi, between
the old man’s knees, would gather instruction from
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 21

Clara and Gemmi grew together, and their love
for each other increased with their age. Already
the happy days which they spent in each other’s
company seemed to come too slowly. Gemmi,
during the long weeks which he passed away from
his friend, would invent excuses to steal away from
his own home in order to fly to that of Clara.
Sometimes he had to tell Melctal that a bear had
been seen on the mountains ready to devour his
flocks ; or that the cold north wind which blew the
night before, had.withered the young buds of his
vine. Melctal listened to him with a smile, and
thanked him for his attentive care ; and Clara made
haste to offer him a bow] of milk fresh from the cow.
Gemmi, content with this visit, and pleased with
his excursion, returned to his father, thinking as
he went along what pretence he should have on the
morrow for another walk to Melctal’s cottage.

Thus lived these two families, and thus a whole
people of brothers ; till all at once the death of Rodol-
phus threatened to put an end to their happiness.
22 WILLIAM TELL,

Rodolphus, whom fortune had seated on the
throne of the Czesars, had always respected the
liberty of Switzerland. The haughty Albert who
succeeded him, puffed up with his vain titles, his
vast dominions, and the command of all the armies
of the empire, was enraged that a few labourers and
herdsmen should dare to think of being independent
of his government. He sent a Governor among
them to subdue their noble spirit: and this Gover-
nor was Gesler, the basest and most insolent of the
new Emperor's servants.

Gesler,. followed by armed slaves, of whom he
made executioners at his pleasure, took up his
abode at Altorff. Of a violent temper, and con-
sumed by a restless spirit, which could only ‘be
gratified by wicked actions, Gesler made himself
still more miserable by tormenting those who were
in his power. ‘Trembling at the very name of Lib-
erty, as a wolf shudders at the whistling of the
arrows which the hunters send after him, he re-
solved, he vowed, to destroy thisempty name. Al-
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 23

lowing his infamous soldiers to glut themselves
with crime, he himself gave them an example of
rapine, murder, and the most horrid insult.

In vain did the people complain ; their murmurs
were punished as guilt. Virtue affrighted, hid her-
self in the interior of the cottages. The labourer
cursed the ground for giving to his toil an abundant
harvest, which he must never reap. The old, re-
joicmg in their feebleness, which promised them
that death would soon come to their release, joined
their prayers to those of their sons, that they might
not survive them. In short, the veil of misery was
extended like a funereal crape over the three Can-
tons by the cruel hand of Gesler; from the instant
of whose arrival, Tell had foreseen the wretchedness
to which his country would be brought. Without
letting Melctal know his thoughts; without alarm-
ing his family, Tell’s great soul prepared itself, not
to suffer slavery, but to rescue his country. Crimes
grew more common ; the three Cantons, struck with
fear, lay trembling at the feet of Gesler. Tell
24 WILLIAM TELL,

trembled not; he was not surprised. He watched
the crimes of the tyrant with the same eye with
which he was accustomed to observe on the rocks
the bramble armed with its thorns. And when
his ardent friend Melctal poured, forth his indigna-
tion in his presence, Tell heard him without reply.
He shed no tears, nor did a single change of coun-
tenance betray his secret project. He esteemed his
friend, and was certain of his honour, but he dis-
trusted his impatience, and dared not yet confide to
him the purpose of his soul. He resolved to conceal
his design from him till the moment of execution,
a moment which he knew must soon arrive. He
grew stern and thoughtful ; spent long days without
embracing his child, or beholding his wife. He
rose even before his usual time ; harnessed his team,
led them into the field, and guided the plough with
an unsteady hand: often he dropped his whip; and
suddenly stopping in the middle of an ill-traced
furrow, his head hung down on his breast, while
his eyes were fixed on the ground. In this thought-
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 25

ful posture he stood, scarcely breathing, considering
the power of the tyrant, and his own feeble means
of opposing him. On the one hand, he had to
weigh the cruel Gesler, surrounded by his creatures,
and armed by boundless power; on the other, a
poor labourer determined to be free !

One evening, as William and his wife were seated
together before their cottage, looking at Gemmi,
who was at a little distance, trying his strength
against the chief ram of their flock, the sight of this
boy abandoning himself to his natural gaiety, and
thoughtless of the misery which slavery was prepar-
ing for him, increased his father’s melancholy, and
made him shed tears for the first time in his life.

Edmea looked at him, and watched him in silence
for some time, but, yielding at last to her love,
which made her desire to share the troubles of one
so dear to her, she drew nearer to him, took hold of
his hand, and looking earnestly at him—‘ What
have I done,” said she, “to merit this distrust ?—to
have lost that confidence which:was always my
26 WILLIAM TELL,

pride? Thou art unhappy, and thy wife is igno-
rant of the cause of thy grief! And thou believest
that it would be more painful for her to bear than
for thee. And yet thou knowest that for fifteen
years even my thoughts have been thine; and I
have felt happy only because all my enjoyments
came from thee! My heart is the same, but thine
is altered. Nothing is changed in our peaceful
dwelling, but thou art gloomy and sad. Look at
our hut; at that field which thou hast dug, and
which has not only supported us, but left us every
year something to give away to our poor neigh-
bours! ee the moon rising in all her splendour
behind the mountains, to announce to us a morrow
as calm and as bright as the day that is now depart-
ing. And yonder is our son, whose innocent merri-
ment seems intended to raise our spinits and bid us
be as happy as himself.”

“ Kdmea,” answered Tell, “talk not to me of
happiness ; thou wilt render more terrible the gloom
that oppresses me every hour of the day. How ]
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 27

pity thee, that thou canst even dream of joy while
Switzerland groans with the weight of her irons,
and the barbarous Gesler, that insolent tool of a still
prouder despot, does but insult her misery! ‘Thou
biddest me look at the harvest which my toil has
obtained—one word from Gesler can snatch it from
me. Thou pointest to the hut where my virtuous
ancestors have lived for three hundred years,—
Gesler can destroy it in a moment —and that child,
so dear to us both, that beloved child, is the proper-
ty of Gesler; my wife, my son, even my father’s
tomb belong to the tyrant, without whose permission
we cannot even breathe our pure native ay-—Oh,
ignominy ! a whole people bend to the caprice of a
sifigle man! But what doI say? aman !—My God !
pardon me for having profaned the name of thy no-
blest work! Nature has nothing in common with
tyrants; but she must bow to them till the moment
when, resuming her rights, she shall revenge the
wrongs of ages. The thought that such an instant
will arrive, consoles and animates me. Scarcely does
28 WILLIAM TELL,

my whole soul suffice to the greatness of my designs.
Disturb not my thoughts by recalling them to thy-
self or my son. A slave has no wife, no son ;—while
I am one, all nature is dead tome. Thy eyes take
pleasure in viewing this hut and this lovely scene,
which has beheld our happiness. Mine, which virtue
has awakened, can only see yon dreadful fortress,
built on the steep rock to keep Uri in chains.”
Edmea replied, “ And couldst thou believe that
I could love thee without hating our tyrants? Am
not I thy wife, and if thou lovest thy country, do not
I adore it for being thy country as well as my own ?
Speak, then, with confidence to me of thy designs,
and, if from the feebleness of my sex I cannot aid
thee, I shall know at least how to die for thee.”
Tell at these words embraced Edmea, and was
beginning to open his most secret soul to her, when
cries and sobs resounded from the side of the hut.
They rose up in haste, and beheld their son pale
and weeping, his arms raised to heaven, and run-
ning towards them with terror. “Oh! father,” cried
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 29

he in a broken voice, “come, come and help him}
Melctal, old Melctal, the barbarians have dared—”
As he was speaking, Clara came forward, supporting
the tottering steps of the wretched old man. His
right arm leaned upon a stick, and his left upon the
arm of the unhappy Clara. At every step he called
upon Tell, and extending his arms to meet him, his
feet stumbled over the flinty stones, and obliged him
once more to seek the support he had quitted.
William ran to his aged friend, caught hold of him,
looked at him, and uttered a piercing cry! His
hair stood on end when he saw, on that venerabie
face, only the bloody sockets of those eyes which
had been barbarously put out. Struck with fear
and horror, Tell drew back, and would have fallen,
but for the rock against which he leaned to support
himself. Edmea fainted, and Gemmi hastened to
assist her : while Clara, calling back William, looked
up to Heaven through her streaming tears.

“Dost thou leave me, my only friend?” said
Melctal with a feeble voice ; “dost thou fear to be
30 WILLIAM TELL,

sprinkled with the blood that falls from my wound ?
Ah! come back that I may embrace thee! My
heart, my heart is not torn from me; let me feel it
beat against thine, that I may know at least that
the barbarians who have taken my sight, have not
robbed me of my friend.”

“Pardon,” cried Tell, rushing into his arms,
“pardon the first emotion of my pity—of my hor-
ror! Oh! virtuous old man! thy sufferings cannot
make me respect thee more, but they add to my
tenderness, and make the bond which unites us
stronger and more sacred. But how and where did
these villains, mad in pursuit of crime, dare to lay
their guilty hands upon old age and virtue? How
hadst thou offended them, Melctal? Did thy son
perish in defending thee, or has he left thee to the
care of a poor weak girl, who, alas! can do nothing
but weep? But I will be to thee as a son; this
day I inherit his tenderness, and his desire of re-
venge.”

“Do not accuse my son,” said the old man; “do
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 31

not judge thy friend without hearing him. Let me
sit down among you all. William, do not quit my
side, nor thou, my Clara; and Edmea and Gemmi,
listen to me with attention.”

They led him to a hillock covered with moss, and
placed him close by William; Edmea sat behind
him, and supported his venerable head. Clara and
Gemmi, sitting at his feet, seized his hand, kissed it,
and bathed it with their tears.

“ And now,” said Melctal, “listen to me, and in-
dulge not this useless grief and indignation. This
morning, when the last sun which I must ever behold
gilded with its beams our mountain tops, Clara, my
son, and myself were in the fields. Clara was help-
ing me to bind the sheaves of our harvest, and my
son lifted them into the-waggon, to which two oxen
were yoked in order to carry it to the cottage. All
at once arrived a soldier, one of Gesler’s guard ; he
came towards us trampling upon our corn, and,
going up to the cart, looked at it, and began to
unfasten the oxen. ‘By what right) said my son
32 WILLIAM TELL, -

to him, ‘would you rob me of those animals, .ny
only riches, by which I support my family, and
enable thy master to pay thee thy wages ?—‘ Obey !’
answered the soldier, ‘and question not thy rulers.’
At these words I saw fury flash from the eyes of my
son. He seized the thong which had fastened the
oxen, and which the soldier had loosened, snatched
it out of his hands, and raising it, was going to strike
him; but, prevented by my cries, ‘ Wretch,’ said he,
‘thou mayest thank my father, that his voice, all-
powerful] over me, has prevented me from ridding
the earth of a foe to humanity! Fly! or tremble
lest this field become thy tomb! The soldier
escaped in an instant. I held Melctal fast, that he
might not follow him. ‘My son,’ I said, ‘withdraw
thyself this instant, in the name of Heaven, from
the rage of Gesler: I know him, he will never for-
give thee. He will pursue thee to death, and my
grey hairs will be sprinkled with thy blood. Oh!
hasten, my son, to preserve my life by saving
thy own.’.—‘No! my father,’ replied he, in a voice
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 33

of mingled piety and rage, ‘no! I will never leave
thee. I would sooner die in defending thee than
tremble one moment for thy safety. My wish, my
duty is’-——‘'To obey me, I answered sternly.
‘You have nothing to fear on my account; leave
me to guard thy cottage, and thy daughter; let it
be my task to preserve for thy child her father and
her inheritance. And do thou conceal thyself for
a’ few days in the mountains of Underwalden.
Clara and I will come to thee, when the storm is
overpast. Go! and lose not another moment, I
implore, I command you! I order you as a father?
At these words the high-spirited Melctal looked
sadly on the ground, threw himself on his knees,
bade me farewell, and begged my blessing. I pressed
him to my heart, and bathed him with my tears.
Clara hung about his neck, and kissed away the
tears which her afflicted father could not conceal.
Then he tore himself from his daughters arms,
and, placing her in mine, hurried away, not daring
to look back. Clara and I returned alone to our
3
34 WILLIAM TELL,

hut. I wished to go that instant to Altorff, to find
out the tyrant, and see if every sentiment of justice
was a stranger to his soul. But all at once my
cottage was surrounded by armed men. They all
demanded Melctal with loud cries; questioned me
angrily, loaded me with chains, and dragged me
before Gesler.

“¢ Where is thy son? said the tyrant furiously.
‘Thou must suffer for his crime, or bring him bg-
fore me.’ ;

“¢Strike,” I replied, ‘and I will offer thanks to
Heaven if thy brutality enables me to give my son
his life a secoud time.’

“Gesler frowned upon me with eyes in which I
could perceive, at once, cold-blooded cruelty, and
uncertainty how to fix upon a method of torture
which the length of my days would not render less
severe.

“ At last, after a long silence, he made a sign to
his assassins ; and these wretches, while he looked
on with that horrid smile by which tyrants shew
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 35

that they glory in crimes for which no mortal can
punish them, seized, bound, and overpowered me,
and then tore out my aged eyes with a red-hot iron.
‘Enough,’ said Gesler, ‘let the blind old criminal
have his life. Loose his fetters, and then let him
seek his son.’ They dragged, they pushed me
rudely out of the palace: I walked on, holding out
my arms, and fell into those of Clara.

.. “She had followed me as far as the outer gate of
the palace, which the guards would not allow her
to enter. In the midst of my agony it was some
relief to hear myself called by a name so dear to my
heart; to feel her embrace, though bathed in her
tears. I tried to stop her cries: I concealed from
her my anguish, and desired that she would lead
me to the house of my friend, of my son’s friend.
‘We are on the road to it, she said; ‘my own
heart directed me to it.’ We arrived here. Oh!
my dear William, I can see thee no longer, but 1
feel thee near me; I press thy hand in my own—it
trembles at the tale of my woes. My son is safe--
36 WILLIAM TELL,

my friend is spared to me:—ah! I have many
blessings left !”

As soon as:the old man had finished, Edmea,
Clara, and Gemmi rushed to embrace him, and
hung over him, sobbing and bathing him with
their tears. Tell stood still, supporting his head
with one hand, while his eyes looked stedfastly
upon the ground. Large tears fell, drop by drop,
from his half-closed eyes ; and, as if oppressed with
a terrible weight, he could scarcely breathe. The
hand upon which his head leaned trembled con-
vulsively. After a long and gloomy silence, he
roused himself suddenly, embraced the blind old
man, tried to speak, but could only utter in a bro-
ken voice these words—“ My father, thou shalt be
avenged.”

Then he once more became thoughtful ; he stood
in gloomy silence. Again and again he thought —
over his secret purpose; and at last, recovering
his spirits, he asked the old man calmly, if he knew
where Melctal had concealed himself? “ Yes !”
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 37

replied the unhappy father, “my son is gone to
hide in the darkest caverns of Mount Faigel;
among those desert rocks which are unknown to
the creatures of the tyrant. Melctal has promised,
has sworn to me, not to quit them till he has my
permission.” “Now is the time then,” said Tell,
“to release him from his oath: it is I who demand
it in his name; and, my son, thou must prepare
this very hour to leave us. By travelling all night,
thou wilt arrive by day-break at the Faigel moun
tain. Seek out Melctal; take no rest till thou hast
discovered him, and, when thou hast found him,
speak thus to him: ‘Thy friend has sent me to
make known to thee new crimes of the execrable
Gesler. He has put but thy father’s eyes !—William
sends thee this sword.”

Tell then drew from his girdle the sword which
never before left his side. Gemmi approached with
respect, took the sword, and concealed it in his
bosom. Edmea and Clara trembled, but dared
not question William. They fixed their anxious
38 WILLIAM TELL,

eyes, first upon Gemmi, then on each other, and
feared to shew their alarm at the thoughts of his
dangerous expedition.

Old Melctal, surprised at the order he had just
heard Tell give his son, asked what were his in-
tentions? “Thy son knows them, Willian replied ;
“and the sight of this sword will be enough to
inform him what to do. Time is precious; let us _
lose it no longer. My father, thou shalt be avenged !”

Then taking Gemmi by the hand, he led him in
silence to his father’s grave; and after he had
obliged him to take an oath, he gave him some
knowledge of his secret plans: told him what assis-
tance he could depend upon ; and what instructions
he was to give to Melctal. They then came back,
fired with a generous purpose. Gemmi was im-
patient to begin his route. Clara asked to accom- —
pany him. She would embrace her father, and
carry to him some nourishment, of which he must
be in want in those bleak mountains. Old Melctal
conséfited to her request, and Edmea soon prepared
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 39

for her a basket of provisions. She added some
milk and wine, and, giving the basket to her son,
she pressed him to her bosom, and bade him adieu.
Again she embraced him, and ehtreated Clara, in
a whisper, to watch over this dear child. Gemmi,
armed with a stick pointed with iron, that his
father had tanght him to use, put the basket on his
head, gave his arm to Clara, and they set out thus,
like two young fawns wandering in the dark in
search of fresh pasture. William, when he had
seen them depart, clad himself in the wolf-skin
which he always wore when he hunted wild
animals at a distance from home. ‘This skin,
fastened to his body by a broad girdle, covered even
his head, and the animal’s teeth shone brightly
upon his forehead. His legs were partly covered
with bearskin trowsers; on his shoulders he bore a
quiver full of the brightest arrows, and on his arm
that terrible bow which he had- never bent in vain.
On this bow he leaned for a few moments, looking
calmly at Edmea. “ My wife,” said he, “I am going
40 WILLIAM TELL,

to leave you : I must set out this instant. ‘To your

‘care I commit our guest; the father of my friend,
the old man whom I revere, whom I cherish as my
parent. You will be his constant attendant; let
it be your delight to watch him from morning till
night, to relieve, to prevent his sufferings. Forget
not for a moment what is due to friendship, to mis-
fortune, to old age! We shall soon meet again;
two days will suffice for my undertaking. Let my
absence be a secret, and let the door of my house
be closed until I return.”—Thus he spoke, and left
the hut, and, taking a different route from that by
which he had sent Gemmi, he hurried abruptly
away.

By this time Clara and Gemmi were half-way
down the mountain in their way towards the
narrow paths which lead to Underwalden. They
went round by Altorff, and knocked at the door of
a fisherman, a friend of Tell’s, in order to ask
him to give them a passage in his boat across the
lake.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. Al

The good fisherman, fond of children, and glad
to be of use to them, ran to unfasten his boat,
handed them into it, seized the oars, and divided
the clear waters with rapid and equal strokes.

When they reached the opposite shore, the chil-
dren thanked the good fisherman, and began to
climb the hard rocks which surrounded the lake
on every side. Clara wished to carry in her turn
the basket which Gemmi had borne thus far:
Gemmi would not yield this precious burden to
her: and at last they agreed to share it, and each
taking hold of the handle, they shortened the dis-
tance by mutual kindness, and exchanged, while
they talked, looks full of sad but tender feeling,
as they remembered the sufferings of those who
were dearest to them.

The moon had already disappeared; and the
dawn, which in this cold season is so tedious in
its arrival, had already begun to gild the summit
of the snows, when the young travellers arrived at
the foot of Mount Faigel. .
42 WILLIAM TELL,

They looked about while they ascended, in hopes
of finding some goatherd or shepherd who might
shew them the cavern in which Melctat was con-
cealed. But no one appeared among those desert
rocks. In vain did the two children look around
as far as their sight could reach. They saw
nothing but ice, and could only discern the wild
goats hanging over the precipices, and vanishing
as swiftly as the birds of air the moment they were
perceived. .

At last, about the eighth hour, a thin smoke
caught Gemmi’s eye, curling upwards among the
rocks. He pointed it out to Clara; both flew to-
wards this smoke, leaped over frozen torrents,
crossed a wood of fir-trees, and reached a cavern;
and perceived from its entrance a fire that blazed
brightly at the other end. A man who sat by this
fire was feeding the flame with dry branches. A!
the first sound of their footsreps he turned his head, -
rose up, took his axe in his hand, and lifting it up
high, came forward to meet the young travellers.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 43

“What do you seek?” he asked in an angry
tone. “We are your children, my father,” replied
Clara, running up to him. “Gemmi and your
daughter are come to embrace you, and to bring
you some food.” She threw herself upon her father’s.
neck, who, flinging away his axe, received his child,
pressed her to his heart, and covered her with
kisses. Then turning towards Gemmi, who had
stood looking at him in silence, he caressed him *
also, and bathed him with his tears. Then he pro-
nounced the name of his father, and that of his
friend Tell,—questioned the children with agitation,
and interrupted their answers by his kisses. At
last he led them to the fire, and, seating one of them
on each side of him, he forced himself to restrain
his tears, that he might listen to them calmly.

Clara began to tell him, with great caution, the
errand which brought them so far,—and the sacred
orders of the aged Henry. Her voice soon failed ;
she wished, but was not able to tell him of the
dreadful misfortune for which her tears flowed—of
44 WILLIAM TELL,

Gesler’s horrible cruelty! Three times she began,
and three times she was obliged to pause in the
dreadful story. Gemmi came to her assistance.
“Oh! Melctal,” he said, “behold our tears, which
announce to thee new misfortunes! My father has
ordered me to bring thee the terrible tidings. My
father said that his friend would endure them with
firmness; that, in pity to his daughter Clara, he
would moderate his grief.” Then he told him how
Gesler, the infamous Gesler, had revenged himself °
on the old man. At this news Melctal, the enraged
Melctal, seized his axe, and was on the point of
rushing out of the cavern in order to go that instant
and bathe his hands in the blood of the cruel tyrant.
Clara kneeled to him—Gemmi stood before him.
“Remember my father !” said he; “have you for-
gotten his words? Is he no longer thy friend?
Hear at least what he bade me tell thee. This very
moment he is with Verner, and that alone will tell
thee his purpose. These are my father’s orders—
he repeated them to me three times: ‘Go, my son,
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 46

and when thou hast made known to Melctal this
new crime of the tyrant’s, femind him that fury
alone will not be sufficient to repair our wrongs.
Courage and prudence must be ours. I go to Schwitz,
to find my friend Verner, and to rouse his canton
to arms. Let him repair to Stantz—there are his
friends, and the chiefs of Underwalden. Let him
assemble them, and persuade them to arm; and
then let him await me in the cavern of Grutty,
where Verner and I shall soon follow.’”

While Melctal listened to Gemmi, the sweet joy
of vengeance appeared on his countenance. “I will
obey my friend,” cried he with delight: “T will
hasten to assemble my friends. T'’o-morrow, Gemmi,
your father may depend upon two hundred brave
men, the sons of freedom, who will die to redeem
their liberty: but who before death will not fail to
sacrifice numbers of slaves, and raise in the streets
of Stantz the standard of liberty !—I myself burn
with impatience to attack the perfidious Gesler.
Let him come; Jet him dare to meet us, with hi-
46 WILLIAM TELL,

innumerable band of slavish followers, armed with
all his power. I shatl be stronger than he—strong
in the cause of filial piety and insulted humanity !”

When he had spoken, he would instantly have
taken the road to Stantz; but Clara detained him.
She entreated him to give a few moments at least
to the claims of nature—to grant but one hour to
his daughter and to refresh himself with the nourish-
ment which she had brought him.

Melctal at last consented to sit down between the
two children, close to the fire, and partook along
with them of a slight repast. Then, taking the
children in his arms, he embraced them again and
again, and giving way for a moment to his tears,
seemed to forget the vengeance which had roused
him before. Then he bade them adieu, after re-
minding them once more of what they were to say
to William ; seized his axe, and taking the road to
Stantz, was soon at a distance from the cave.

The children remained alone, trembling with a
thousand fears and presentiments. Gemmi, who
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 47

was the first to recover his presence of mind, said to
Clara, “Let us go back to my mother, to give her
an account of our journey, and comfort thy poor old
grandfather with the hope of a speedy revenge”
Clara could not answer, but, taking hold of his
hand, they left the cavern.

The sun had as yet completed but half of its
daily course; and, nevertheless, it only darted a
few pale beams across the dark increasing clouds.
A misty veil that seemed to be thrown over every
part of the sky, concealed its pure azure, while
flakes of snow flying through the air like wool that
brambles have torn from the fleece, came thicker
from the North. Soon a bleak wind sprang up,
and increased the force of this dazzling snow. It
fell like a violent storm of rain: it filled every path ;
covered and concealed each precipice ; and weighed
down the eyelids of the poor young travellers, who
had not strength to bear its violence. They could
go no farther, and were driven to the rocks in
search of shelter; but the snow followed them into
48 WILLIAM TELL.

their retreat, and fell upon their heads. Gemmi
was fearful on Clara’s account; and she, to lessen
his alarm, only smiled when she found herself
covered with the snow-flakes, or shook them off her
clothes.

At last the storm seemed to have spent its rage;
and the bright star of day piercing through the
misty veil that hid its splendour, shed its rays
on the snow, which appeared to sparkle with dia-
monds. The children once more began their walk,
but were no longer able to find the path, which
was concealed by a thick white carpet spread all
over the rocks. Gemmi, holding Clara’s hand,
walked on carefully, finding with his stick the depth
of the snow; and this long and toilsome walk, full
of fresh dangers at every step, had still charms for
the affectionate Clara.

Forced to take a winding path, and to follow
the course of torrents, the rapidity of whose waters
had left their channels dry, the wanderers wore
out the day, and did not arrive till towards evening
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 49

at the village of Erfeld. Then Gemmi remembered
the road, and knew that before night they must
arrive at Altorff. He encouraged his more timid
companion, and made her observe the rising moon,
which would prevent them from losing their path
any more. They then followed with more safety
the left branch of the river that crosses the Canton
of Uri; when they were suddenly joined by a man
armed with a long cross-bow, and covered with a
cloak that entirely enveloped his figure. They
could only perceive the snow and the ice that shone
at the top of the cap which he wore upori his head,
on his cloak, and even on his hair, “which was
entirely frozen.

This man came up close to the children, who
stopped on seeing him, and speaking in a feigned
voice, “My young friends,” he said, “you see a
hunter who has lost his road ; my companions have
left me, and I have no one to direct me how to
reach Altorff, where I am certain that my absence
gives much alarm. If you, my children, will be

4
60 WILLIAM TELL,

my guides, I will amply reward your readiness and -
- diligence.”

“The service will be its own reward,” answered
Clara; “we know the road to Altorff, and shall
be as much pleased to bring you back to your
family, as you could be in restoring us to our dear
parents. Follow us, and in one hour you will
certainly arrive there.” The hunter then joined
the children, and, observing them attentively by
the moonlight, walked silently on with them.

Soon he turned to Gemmi and said, “ My boy,
who are your parents? and in what part of Altorff
do they live ?”—“J am the son of a peasant,” said
Gemmi, without looking at him, “and my father
does not live in the town.”—“ Where then is his
dwelling ?’—“ Among the mountains, in a solitary
desert, where he digs the ground and practises
virtue.” ™

“Virtue!” replied the hunter, with an ironical
smile; “I should not have thought that thou
couldst know the meaning of such a word.”
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 51

“It was the first word that I was taught to
speak,” replied Gemmi, firmly.—“ You know, then,
what it signifies ?”—“I hope so.”—“Explain it
then to me.”—‘“ Three words are sufficient. ‘I'o
fear God, to love mankind, and to hate their oppres-
sors.”——“ And whom do you call their oppressors ?”
—‘ Tyrants and their flatterers.”—“ There are no
tyrants in Switzerland.”—At these words Clara
uttered a cry of horror ; Gemmi was silent ; and the
hunter, holding down his head, walked on for some
time without speaking. As they drew near to Al-
torff, they saw the shining spears that belonged
to the guards who kept watch at the gates. Sud-
denly the gloomy stranger said fiercely to Gemmi,
“What is thy father’s name?” Clara, trembling,
pressed Gemmi’s hand, and he, to whom falsehood
was impossible, paused for a moment. But when
the stranger repeated the question, looking boldly
at him, he replied, “ We have agreed to shew you
your road, but beyond that we can place no con-
fidence in you; nor will I inform you of my father’s
52 WILLIAM TELL,

name—only his friends shall know it.”—“ Rash
boy !” exclaimed the hunter, in an angry tone, “ thy
father shall not escape me—chains await thee,
which thou shalt wear till thou hast consented to
name the rebellious family to which thou belongest.
Come with me, and thou shalt find I have means
to discover and to punish the guilty.”

As he spoke they arrived at the gates; the
hunter pronounced the name of Gesler, at which
the servile guard came instantly, and presented
their lances to him. “Seize these children,” said
he, “drag them into prison, and be careful to bring
before me the first inhabitant of Altorff who shall
claim them as his own.”

He was obeyed; the guard surrounded Clara
and Gemmi, led them into the fort, and, without
pity for their youth, and the fatigue they suffered
after so long a walk, they locked them up together
in a dungeon.

The children were calm, and, looking affection-
ately at one another, gave secret thanks to their
fll
j va) met i # 4
> lie “






i (hi cr
Mm Mihh HH) ] li ms
M - j ‘ i hil

ith,



" cof rt Ht

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td

The Children in Prison.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 53

tormentors for not having put them in separate —
dungeons: they listened undismayed to the heavy
clanging of their prison gates; sat down on the
straw which a small touch of compassion haa
allowed them, and shared together the coarse bread
which had been provided for their food. They
had no terror, because they felt no remorse; and
their only uneasiness was for the fate of their
parents, and the dangers which would befall Wil
liam if he should offer to claim them from the
tyrant. They hoped, they prayed, that Edmea
and the elder Melctal might believe them still in
the ‘cavern with Melctal; that ignorant of their
adventure, it might prove unfortunate to themselves
alone. Consoled with this pious thought, these
two children, though in prison, and in the power
of an unmerciful tyrant, slept peaceably by each
other’s side; and, undisturbed by dismal dreams,
enjoyed that calm, that sweet repose, which belongs
to virtue even in chains ;—while the Governor,
in the depth of his palace, guarded by numerous
64. WILLIAM TELL,

soldiers, armed with power, and able by one word
to destroy all who offended him—the Governor
could not sleep, and the darkest terrors agitated his
soul.

He said within himself, “Oh! how unbounded
must the hatred of my subjects be, when even their
children betray it to the traveller whom chance
leads to converse with them! What then would
be the language of their fathers and their grand-
fathers? What have I not to fear from this race
of rebels, all of whom, from the old man to the
infant, cherish the hope of depriving me of my
power, perhaps of my life! Ah! I must prevent
their rebellion ; I must strike with awe the wretches
who would escape the arm of justice ! - The boldest
of them, at least, shall be the first to fall under
the sword of my vengeance.” Then giving him-
self up to the wild rage and pride that possessed
him, he turned in his mind various absurd plans ;
and seized upon the most ridiculous, asif to shew
to the utmes* the contempt which he felt for u
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 55

people whom he could not help fearing. At last
he thought of the stupid project of setting up in
the market-place the hat which he usually wore,
that all who passed might humble themselves to
his power by bowing lowly to this sign of his
authority. He did not listen to reason, which
would have shewn him the dangers to which this
vain and foolish command would expose him.
Reason, indeed, seemed to desert him entirely. He
called together the chiefs of his guards, and anx-
iously questioned them about the zeal and fidelity
of his hirelings. His fears conquered even his
avarice, and he lavished his gold upon the soldiers,
and placed at their head Sarnem, the guilty tool of
all his secret crimes.

‘To-morrow, by day-break,” said he, “thou
must cause a long pole to be set up in the midst
of Altorff; on the top of that pole thou shalt place
the hat which I wear; and now I give it unto thy
hands, that thou mayest fix it where all the people
may behold it. My soldiers must guard every
56 WILLIAM TELL,

entrance to the market-place, that they may oblige
all passengers to bow with reverence to this sign
of the majesty and power of the Governor of the
three Cantons. The least murmur, the smallest
opposition to this command, must be punished with
chains. Thou wilt read in the countenances, in
the eyes of this vile people, whom Nature intended
for slaves, the secret feeling of hatred and inde-
pendence, or even of courage ;—for courage itself
is criminal in those who have only to obey. Go!
hasten to put my order in execution, and let my
soldiers endeavour, above all, to discover who are
the parents of the two children whom I have sent
to prison.”

He spoke, and Sarnem Sew to obey his orders.
The soldiers were paid beforehand the price of
the crimes they were expected to commit. Gold
and wine were bestowed on them freely. Spies
were scattered about the city and its suburbs, who
introduced themselves artfully into families, in order
to become. acquainted with their secret opinions.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 57

With pretended compassion these wretches told
the people the story of the two children whom
Gesler had used so cruelly; then, observing their
looks and expressions, they reported every emotion
of pity or indignation as a crime.

But Heaven in its justice watched over Tell’s cot-
tage, and concealed it from these infamous. spies.
They did not find Edmea, who, with the good
old Melctal, was counting the hours as they passed
in the absence of her husband and son. She passed
the night in watchfulness, nor ever extinguished
the lamp which lighted her cottage, nor took a
moment’s repose. ‘The old Melctal was equally
impatient ; and they could speak of nothing but
their absent chiléren. A hundred times they left
off talking, that they mi-ht listen to the least noise
that was heard near their door. The cold wind
that whistled among the bare branches of the trees,
or the barking of the faithful dog that was taking
his walks round the house, continually startled
Edmea, and she rose every time to open the door,
58 WILLIAM TELL,

believing that it might be Gemmi. When she
looked out and saw only the darkness of night—
when she listened in silence, and only heard the
torrent roar, then she went mournfully back to the
distracted old man, and tried to conceal from him
her terrors.

“They are with your son,” she said to him,
sighing; “he detains them; sleep, good old man,
and I will keep watch till morning.”

“ Yes, my daughter,” answered Henry, “my son
must have kept them with him. I will try to sleep;
do not think of me, but try to calm the agitation
of thy spirits.” Then, that he might not add to
her uneasiness, the good old Melctal would appear
as if he slept in tranquillity.

Both kept silence, in hopes of deceiving each
other ; but, if they heard the least noise, they rose,
and found that they could dissemble no longer. ,
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 59

BOOK THE SECOND.

Meantime Tell pursued his journey, and long
before day-break he had reached the walls of
Schwitz. He knocked at Verner’s door; the dogs
that kept watch in the court filled the air with
their barking. Verner had risen already, and was
standing before a wood-fire in anxious thought.
He hastened to the door, and, hearing the voice
of his friend, he opened it, embraced him, and led
him to the hearth. The noisy dogs no sooner
remembered their master’s friend than they came
fawning around him, and offered their enormous
heads to be stroked by his benumbed hands.

“My friend!” said the hero to Verner, “the
moment is arrived in which we must give freedom
to our country, or perish in the attempt. I come
not now to consult with prudence, nor to ask wis-
60 WILLIAM TELL,

dom or advice from thee. It is time to act, and I
bring thee arms. Our watch-word shall be the
Tyrant’s Last Crime.”

As soon as Tell had spoken these words, he laid
at Verner’s feet a heavy bundle of lances, arrows,
cross-bows, and sharp-edged swords, which he had
borne upon his shoulders. Verner looked at thern
with calm satisfaction. “Before I hear more,” said
he, “ let us go and hide this treasure in a place
of safety. Here it might be taken from us unex-
pectedly ; for, in a country which is governed by
tyrants, no man can call his house his own.”

They then lifted the bundle together, and carried
it to a cave below; then returning and seating
themselves by the hearth, William gave Verner
the history of Gesler’s barbarity, the agony of old
Melctal, and the flight of his son—how he had sent
Gemmi to the latter, who was perhaps at that very
moment giving him instructions to meet them at
Grutti that evening, that they might be certain of
ample revenge.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 61

Verner, after listening with attention, made Wil-
liam repeat all the particulars of his great design ;
weighed and considered them with him, and brought
forward all the obstacles which he imagined they
might have to overcome. Satisfied at last with
Tell’s replies, who had foreseen every thing, and
was prepared for the worst, “Let us begin our
work, my friend,” he said, “I am ready!” Then
they separated, and each went singly to carry to his
friends the arms which they had hidden; with
which they supplied not only those of their par-
tisans who lived in the town of Schwitz, but also
those of the villages in the neighbourhood.

Thus they gave to the enemies of tyranny the
means of destroying their oppressors: and were
grateful to the hoar-frost, and the abundant snow,
which darkened the air, and prevented them from
meeting with any one who might suspect their
designs. A hundred times they went backward
and forward, not daring to carry bundles of arms
at once. They spent twelve hours in carrying
62 WILLIAM TELL,

these weapons, and in trying to give vigour and
courage to the hearts of those on whom they
bestowed them. They received their oaths in the
sight of Heaven, while they informed them of the
tyrant’s fresh crime.

Their ardour in the cause of liberty gave them
on every occasion fresh strength, and new words
to animate the courage of those with whom they
conversed, and inspire them with the love of free-
dom.

After a whole day of such laborious toil, their
arms were distributed. Tell reserved for himself
only his strong bow ; Verner a single lance. They
returned excessively weary to Verner’s cottage, took
a hasty meal in order to recruit their strength ; and,
urged by the flight of time, and their promise to
Melctal, they hastened, without taking a moment’s
rest, to the cave of Grutti.

They marched through snows which the North
wind drifted around them. They arrived at the
shore of the lake, and, seeking a boat in the dark,
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 63

they discovered a small one, moored by strong
cords, and tost by the violence of the waves against
the shore.

Verner, saeing the agitation of the lake, paused a
little, and asked Tell if his skill in managing a
boat, which was so famous, could struggle with
the tempest’s rage. ‘“Melctal is expecting us,” an-
swered Tell, “and the fate of our country depends
upon our meeting with him—how canst thou in-
quire, then, if I have courage to cross the lake !
That I shall be, able to brave the tempest, I know
not ; but that it is my duty to do so, I know full
well. I rely not on my own skill, but I trust in
the God of Heaven, who guards the pure in
heart, and will protect those to whom liberty is
dear !”

He said, then leaped into the boat, and Verner
quickly followed him. ‘Tell cut the cord, seized
the oar, and darted away froin the land. KEither
from chance, or because the just and powerful
Being whom Tell’s heart invoked, protected the
64 WILLIAM TELL,

deliverers of Switzerland, the wind became suddenly
calm, the waves rolled no longer, and the boat, im-
pelled by the arm of Téll, who made it fly like an
arrow, glided peaceably over the smooth lake, and
soon arrived at the opposite shore. They left the
boat in safe mooring, and hastened to the cavern
which had long been familiar to them.

Melctal awaited them at the entrance. When
he saw Tell, he ran to meet him, embraced him,
bathed him with his tears, and, naming with emo-
tion his father and his friend, could hardly restrain
the feelings that oppressed him.

William’s tears fell likewise; he took hold of
his hand, pressed it with warmth ; led him to the
bottom of the cavern, and there, while darkness
surrounded them as they sat on the steep rock,
they dismissed all thoughts of their private wrongs,
their private interests, and considered the welfare of
their country alone.

Tell spoke first.

“ Melctal,” he said, “ your father is alive ; he is in
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 65

my house; set thy tenderness, thy filial piety at
rest. Let us examine, let us try to discover the
surest means of rescuing Our country ; of restoring
its freedom ; of revenging the injuries it has long
endured from the barbarity of its rulers. Each of
us enjoys the confidence, the esteem of the Canton
to which we belong. The brave inhabitants of
Schwitz will rise at the call of Verner,—nor will
they want for arms; since Verner and myself have
furnished them with plenty this very day; two
hundred soldiers will obey Verner as their captain,
—we have their word, their oath, and may rely
upon them as upon themselves.

“In Uri, within the very walls of Altorff, where
the presence of the tyrant makes the danger greatest
—where he has built that dreadful fort, which
seems to secure his power for ever—TI have found
it more difficult to procure comrades. Every heart
sighs for freedom; but Gesler’s armed followers,
and his secret spies, watch with fresh vigilance to
detect and punish the least spark of so sacred a flame.

5
66 WILLIAM TELL,

« Ag yet, I dare not depend upon the citizens of
Altorff. Trembling, groaning under the rod of a
despot, they dare not attack, but they will not
defend him. I have found in the villages around
a hundred brave men, ready to die for me. They
have arms, and they are valiant ; and that is all
that I can offer—-And now, Melctal, it is thy turn
to speak: tell us what success thou hast had in
Underwalden, and let us decide at last upon the
moment, when, uniting our forces, we shall hasten
to death or liberty !”

“My friend,” said Melctal, scarcely master ot
his feelings, “I expected not the assistance you
have obtained, and yet I was certain of success. A
hundred and fifty youths of Underwalden are al-
ready in arms,—I have beheld them this very day.
"They have chosen me for their chief; they burn
for combat. My friends, let us lose not a moment:
let us march this very night to the walls of Altorff,
—Jet us assemble our warriors in the heart of that
city,—let us instantly attack the fort, the people
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 67

will second us, and we shall be revenged on the
infamous Gesler. I will have his eyes torn out on
the spot where my father———But I am confused ;—
pardon the most unhappy of sons. My advice is,
I repeat it,—in spite of darkness, spite of the snows
that cover the ground and conceal the roads,—that
we should march before day-break into Altorff,
and bring on a battle that may make us instantly
masters of the fortress, or destroy us at once.”
“Yes! destroy us,” replied Verner calmly ; “and
how will this death, a glorious one certainly, avail
our country? Didst thou not listen, Melctal, to
William? The hundred youths whom he has
armed in Uri, dispersed about the villages, will
require time in order to unite—while the tyrant
is incessantly surrounded with his base soldiers.
The people of Altorff; driven to despair by the pre-
sence of the tyrant, will want courage to join us.
And our small troop, reaching the place one by
one in disorder, would be cut to pieces under its
walls. Trust to my experience: let us be certain
68 WILLIAM TELL,

of aid before we attempt any dangerous enterprise.
Do you think that we are the only Swiss whose
hearts pant for liberty? Do not Zurich, Lucerne,
and the mountaineers of Zug—do not Glaris and Ap-
penzel, detest, like ourselves, the thoughts of slavery ?

Doubt it not; like us, these brave people sigh for
| freedom; and my heart tells me, that one day they
will unite in a body with our three Cantons, and
form a republic, whose name shall be respected,
and shall be dreaded by all the kings in the world.
Let us hasten these glorious days, let us send de-
puties to Lucerne, to Zug, to Zurich ; let them be
invited to join their forces to ours. Let a day, a
sacred day, be fixed on which at the same
hour all the Swiss, all the friends of liberty, shall
attack their tyrants. Then we will declare our-
selves; then Altorff shall awake, and the frightened
Governor, surrounded by our arms, shall fall an
easy prey to our valour, before his messengers,
stopped in every direction, shall have had time to
inform the Emperor of is danger !”
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 69

Here Verner ended; but Melctal still uttered a
faint murmur : he would have disputed with Verner,
but Tell began to speak, and both listened to him
with attention. ,

“ Melctal,” he said, “I love thy courage, I excuse
thy impetuosity ; but it might nevertheless be fatal
to our cause. Verner, I admire thy prudence, but
that might also be dangerous. No hope would be
left for our sacred project, did we suffer it to depend
upon time or the secrecy of more than a few faith-
ful hearts. The slightest mistake, a word, a trifling
accident, often overturns the labour of years. If
but a single traitor in all the towns thou hast
named were associated with us, he would have
power to enslave his countrymen once more, and to
behold the torture of her chosen sons. No! Let
our generous purpose be confined to ourselves
alone! Let us suffer, as I trust we shall have
courage to suffer, in the cause of freedom; and
when Uni, Schwitz, and Underwalden, shall have
reared the standard of liberty upon their moun-
70 WILLIAM TELL,

tains, we or our children shall find that the rest of
the Cantons will be eager to fight under our ban-
hers, or repose under their protection.

“Verner, it is time to act—but I ask of you,
Melctal, a short delay; in the mean time listen
to my scheme,—Schwitz and Underwalden are in
arms. Three hundred and fifty warriors are, you
say, in readiness to follow your command. Let
them assemble, not in the midst of a town or a
village, but in a low valley, a desert spot, where
they may unite, and from whence they may begin
their march. This care belongs to you; I shall
return into Uri, and aided by the brave Furst, to
whom alone I have confided our secret, I shall
assemble, if I can, the hundred enemies of the
tyrant whose spirit and whose courage shew them
worthy to conquer with us. ‘The brave Furst
shall seek them in Maderan and Urseren, in the
mountains which give rise to the Aar, the Tesino,
the Rhine, and the Rhone. [ alone will remain in
Altorff, and will await a messenger from Furst to
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 71

inform me of the moment when his troop are ready
to march. At that moment I will set fire to an
immense pile, which I have already prepared, on
the mountain on which my dwelling is situated.
You will see the flame, Verner; you, Melctal, will
see it; and both must hasten to the place of rendez-
vous: thence march instantly to Altorff with your
united troops. I have calculated the time and the dis-
tance. Furst with the patriots of Uri, Verner with his
friends from Schwitz, and Melctal with the warriors
of Underwalden, will arrive almost at the same
moment at the north, south, and east gates of the
city. I shall be there, my friends; I alone shall
be there, in the midst of a people whom my voice,
my efforts, will rouse to assert their liberty. Yes!
my tongue shall proclaim that sacred name which
is become our war-cry! You shall pronounce it
as you enter ; and atsuch a sight and sech a sound,
the astonished people, when they behold Uri, Schwitz,
’ and Underwalden, shall fly at once to their succour,
and then, listening to their hatred alone, shall turn
72 WILLIAM TELL,

all their fury against Gesler, and swell the number
of our valiant troops. Then shall our banners
be soon seen floating on the top of that terrible
bulwark, and all Switzerland, animated by this
first success, shall come impatiently to share our
future victories.”

Thus spoke Tell, and Melctal rushed into the
arms of his heroic friend, and bathed him with tears
of joy. Even Verner was convinced. Verner
adopted his advice. No new oaths were wanting
to bind the faith of these three heroes, to whose
great souls such forms were useless. ‘They sepa-
rated, after repeating that they would not begin
their march till the flaming signal should be given
by William.

Melctal returned into Stantz to prepare his
friends. Verner and Tell went back to their boat,
recrossed the lake, which was still calm, and, when
they reached the opposite shore, Verner took the
road to Schwitz, and William hastened to Altorff.
He walked along the shore of the lake. Before he


Tell refusing to bow to Gesler’s Hat.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 73

saw Edmea he wished to talk with his friends in
Altorff, and inform them of his great designs.

He entered the town, and advanced into the
market-place ; the first object he saw was, on the
top of a long upright pole, a hat richly embrodiered
with gold. Numerous soldiers ranged around the
pole, and walking in silence, seemed to guard with
respect this ensign of power. ‘William approached
with amazement: but when he saw the citizens
of Altorff bow down before this hat, before the pole—
when he beheld the soldiers forcing them with
their spears to crouch closer to the ground, hardly
master of his indignation, he stopped short at the
sight. He could not believe his eyes—he remained
dumb and motionless, leaning on his bow, and
surveying with scorn the base crowd and the
infamous soldiers.

Sarnem commanded these guards,—Sarnem,
whose fierce zeal delighted to exceed the orders
of the tyrant. He soon perceived the man who,
alone in the midst of the kneeling crowd, stood, with
74 WILLIAM TELL,

his head proudly erect. He flew towards him, and
glancing upon him eyes inflamed with rage, “ Who-
ever thou art,” said he, “tremble, lest I punish thy
slowness in obeying the orders of Gesler. Dost
thou not know that a law is published to oblige
every citizen of Altorff to bow with reverence to
this sign of his power ?”

“TI knew no such law,” replied Tell, “noi could
lever have believed to what an excess of tyranny
and madness the possession of unbounded power
would lead. But when I see the base submission
of this people, I could almost excuse, nay approve
of Gesler’s folly. Well may he call us slaves!
he can never sufficiently despise those who will
thus degrade themselves. As for me, I bow to God
alone !” ;

“Rash man!” replied Sarnem, “soon wilt thou
repent of thy insolence. Fall instantly on thy
knees, if thou wouldst prevent this arm from chas-
tising thee.”

“My own arm shall punish me,” said Tell, look-
A} |
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Tell before the Tyrant Gesler.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 15

ing sternly upon him, “ were I capable of obeying
thee.”

At these words the cruel Sarnem made a sign
to his soldiers, who instantly seized upon William.
They snatched from him his bow and his quiver ;
they pointed their shining swords to his breast,
and led, or rather dragged him, to the palace of the
Governor.

Calm in the midst of the soldiers, deaf to their
rude threats, and folding his arms across his
breast, William stood before the tyrant. He re-
garded him disdainfully, and allowed his. eager
accusers to speak without interruption, waiting in
proud silence till Gesler should think fit to question
him.

His aspect, his manner, his undisturbed air,
astonished and appalled the Governor. A kind
of terror, a secret presentiment, warned him that
the man who then stood before him was come to
avenge his crimes. Scarcely dared he to look
towards him; much less to speak to him. At last.
76 WILLIAM TELL,

with a faltering voice, “What motive,” he said,
‘hadst thou to disobey my command, and refuse
to the emblem of my power, whatever it might
be, the respect which is due to myself? Speak
if thou hast any thing to say in thy defence. Re-
member I have power to pardon !”

Tell, at these words, fixed his eyes upon him,
and bitter was the smile that accompanied that
look. “Punish me,” he replied, “but seek not to
dive into my thoughts. How couldst thou, to
whom truth is a stranger, endure to listen to its
voice ?”

“T would hear the truth from thyself,” said the
Governor; “from thee I seek to know my failings
and my duties.”

“T pretend not to instruct tyrants, although the
horror that I feel in their presence does not deprive
me of my courage. I can remind them of their
crimes, and I can shew them what their end will
be. Listen then, Gesler, to me, since thou hast
commanded me to speak.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 77

“ Our measure is full. The cup of misery, which
the angry Heavens have placed in thy hands,
overflows on all sides. God, who has made thee
his instrument to punish our guilt, has now pre-
pared a thunderbolt for thee. Hear the cries of
the innocent whom thou hast imprisoned—of the
widows and orphans who demand of thee their
husbands and their fathers, who have perished in
torments by thy inhuman orders. Their bloody
shadows haunt thy dwelling, pursue thee in dreams,
and point to their open wounds, to their mangled
and distorted limbs! Their blood sprinkles thy
hands, and awakens thee in the midst of the night
Even the dgrkness cannot hide from thee this .
horrid sight ; and vainly dost thou close thine eyes
in the hope of forgetting it. Those few whom thou
hast permitted to live, wandering far from their
homes, and leaving to thy avarice their wealth,
which was earned by their toil, fly to conceal
themselves in the hollows of rocks, or in the depths
of forests. And how do these miserable people em.
78 WILLIAM TELL,

ploy themselves in their retreat? Fearing the sound
of thy name more than the noise of the falling
avalanche, that buries villages under its weight,
how do they spend their days, their nights? On
the rocks they kneel, with uplifted hands ; and pray-
ing to the God of vengeance, they implore him to
destroy the scourge of their country! Well, Ges-
ler, it is for me to inform thee, that the prayers of
our people, the cries of those innocent men who
have been prosecuted, plundered, slaughtered by
thy commands, the blood which thou hast never
ceased to shed, and which still sprinkles all thy paths,
the cry of this blood has reached unto Heaven ; our
complaints have ascended to the throne of the High-
est; His justice is ready to strike thee ; my country
will soon be free !

* Such are my hopes, such my prayers and my
- thoughts. Thou hast desired to hear them. I
have satisfied thee, and now I have nothing left
to tell thee, for I will not debase my reason by
touching even for a moment on the caprice, the
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 79

folly, which has this day obliged all the citizens
of Uri to bend their knees to the hat which thou
hast worn. Thou knowest all that passed, and
mayest command my death.”

Gesler listened without speaking. He restrained
his anger, however, only that he might be more
certain of his vengeance. His rage was suspended
awhile, by the hope of discovering or inventing
some new mode of tormenting a man who seemed
to despise death. He thought of the two children,
whom the evening before he had loaded with
chains. Comparing their freedom of speech with
what he had just heard, his fury quickening, his
sagacity made him at first suspect, and afterwards
be certain, that these children who bore so lofty
a contempt for tyrants, could belong to him only —
who had just had the boldness to defy him. Wish-
ing to discover that instant the truth of his suspi-
cion, he gave a secret order for these children
to be brought before him. Sarnem flew to bring
them. Meanwhile the artful Gesler, dissembling
80 WILLIAM TELL,

his rage, and feigning not to have been troubled
by the words of Tell, coolly began to question him
about his condition, his family, and the rank which
he held in Uri.

William told his name; and that name, so re-
nowned in Altorff, struck and alarmed the Go
vernor. “ What!” said he, with surprise, “is it
thou, whose skill in guiding a boat is so famous ?
thou, whose arrow was never known to miss its
aim ?’—“It is I” replied Tell “and I blush that
my name should only be known by triumphs so use-
less to my country. Such vain exploits have far less
value in my eyes than the death which I must soon
suffer only for pronouncing the name of Liberty !”

At this moment Sarnem appeared, bringing with
him Clara and Gemmi. When Tell perceived his
son, he uttered a cry, and sprang towards him.
“Qh! Gemmi,” he said, “oh! my son, I may
embrace thee, then, once more: but in what a place!
how, and why—” “No! no!” replied Gemmi, “ you
are not my father; no! I do not know you; my
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 81

family are far from hence,” said the boy abruptly,
for he saw the danger of William, and knew the
fate prepared by Gesler for his unhappy -parents.
William remained in astonishment, with his arms
. still extended, and unable to understand why his
son refused his caresses, and dared to disown him.
Clara added to his amazement by repeating what
Gemmi had declared, that Tell did not belong to
them. His heart murmured at all this ; he began to
feel angry with the children; and Gesler, whose
fierce eyes observed all his emotions—Gesler, who
perceived clearly what to Tell seemed mysterious
—-the cruel Gesler enjoyed at once the ferror,
the surprise, and the agony, of the parent and the
child.

His countenance betrayed the infernal joy which
filled his savage heart. “Iam not deceived,” said
he ; “ William, this boy is thy son ; and thy son has
displeased me. I have borne with patience all thy
insulting language, till I could find a punishment
that might equal thy audacity; hear now what

6
82 WILLIAM TELL,

I have decreed for thee. I desire, even while I
chastise thy insolence, to do homage to that rare
skill which is the boast of thy happy country ! and
that the citizens of Altorff, while they witness my
rigid justice, may ‘applaud thy dexterity. Thy
bow shall be returned to thee. Thy son shall stand
before thee at the distance of a hundred paces.
On his head shall be placed an apple, as a mark
for thine arrow to hit. If thy hand, so proud of its
steadiness, shall carry off the apple from thy son’s
head, I will pardon both him and yourself ; but if
thou refusest this trial, he must instantly be put to
death in thy sight.”

“ Barbarian,” answered Tell, “what demon from
hell has inspired thee with this horrible idea? And
thou, O just God, who hearest it, wilt thou suffer
such an impious excess of cruel tyranny? No! I
will not accept this trial—I will not expose myself
to become the murderer of my child. I demand
to die, Gesler! I implore death by the hands of
thine assassins, whom I here behold ready to imbrue
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 83

once more in blood those hands that have been
guilty of so many murders. I demand, I intreat,
that I may die innocent as a man and a father!
Hear me, Gesler! Thy numerous guards, the
example of all my fellow-citizens, the certainty of
death, have not prevailed upon me to bow before
the emblem of thy power. I -chose death before
such abasement. Well! now I am ready, in order
to obtain such a death, and escape the dreadful risk
of piercing with my own hand my son’s heart,
to prostrate myself before thee, tyrant as thou art.
Promise me but death, Gesler, and I will do homage
to thy power.”

“No!” cried Gemmi at that instant, with a voice
that touched even the soldiers who surrounded
him; “no! do not humble thyself to a tyrant, my
father. I accept, I rejoice at. the trial. Whatever
be the result, thou, my father, wilt-be at liberty.
Take courage then; fear not, and Heaven will
direct thy hand—thy son will not perish, he is safe,
be certain ; and pardon him if for a moment he dared
8A WILLIAM TELL,

to disown thee ! I feared for thy life, for thine only;
and with the hope of saving what is dearest to me
on earth, I resigned the cherished name of thy son.
Forgive me, oh! my father! and suffer me now to
repent a hundred times the name which I dare not
utter. Take courage, my father! thou wilt not
kill me—a secret voice informs me that I shall be
safe. Let them lead me to the spot—let them take
me there this instant ; and, Clara, do thou return to
thy home, but let not my mother know what has
happened.” Gemmi then threw himself on the
bosom of Tell, who received him, embraced him,
and pressed him to his heart. He tried to speak to
him, but could only bathe him with his tears, while
he uttered his name with a trembling and _half-
choked voice—“No! my son; no, my dear son !”
Clara fainted; the soldiers carried her into the
palace, and the hard-hearted Gesler, without feeling
any pity at the sight, repeated his dreadful order,
offering William for the last time the fatal choice,
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 85

either to see his son expire or make the barbarous
trial of his own skill.

For some moments William heard him without
reply ; looking on the ground as if in despair, and
still holding Gemmi in his arms. Then suddenly
raising his head and turning on Gesler, his eyes
red with weeping, which darted fire through their
tears—“1 will obey,” he exclaimed, “let me be
taken to the place of trial!’ Instantly the guards
surrounded the father and the son, who held each
other by the hand, and were taken from the palace
together under the command of Sarnem. Already
crowds of people, who had heard the report of the —
horrible transaction, had assembled in the market-
place. Almost all groaned inwardly, but no one
dared to utter a single word of compassion. Their
timid eyes sought William, and discovered him:
through the naked swords of the soldiers, walking
with Gemmi, who looked up to his father with
smiles,
86 WILLIAM TELL,

Tears sprang to their eyes on beholding Tell’s .
countenance ; but terror obliged them to conceal
these signs of pity from the soldiers. Gesler would
have punished them as a crime. All fixed their
eyes on the ground ; a sullen silence reigned among
the people: they groaned, they suffered, but they
dared not to complain.

The fierce Sarnem quickly measured the ground.
A space was inclosed on three sides with a double
file of soldiers. The people pressed closely behind
them.—Gemmi with calm looks surveyed these
preparations from the farthest end of the space.

Gesler stood at a distance behind Tell, surround-
ed by his guards, and could not drive from his
troubled mind the fears with which the silence
of the people had occupied it. William remained
in the midst of the glittering spears of the soldiery,
his eyes cast down, and motionless as a statue.
His bow was given to him with one arrow only,
the point of which he tried, it broke, and he threw
it away, demanding his quiver. It was brought
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 87

to him: as it lay at his feet, he stooped down,
and appeared to be making choice of an arrow;
but when he had a favourable opportunity, he hid
one in his clothes, and seized another with which
he meant to shoot. ‘Sarnem ordered the remainder
to be carried away, and Tell began slowly to bend
his bow. He looked at his son—he paused ; lifted
his eyes to Heaven, threw away his bow and arrow,
and demanded to speak with Gemmi.

Four soldiers conducted him to his child. “My
son,” said he, “I must once more fold thee in my
arms, and repeat to thee what I have said before.
Thou must not stir, my son; thou must be firm— —
test one knee on the ground, for so it appears
to me thou wilt be less likely to move. Thou
must pray to God, my child, to protect thy unhappy
father! No! pray only for thyself; let no thought
of me soften thee, and depress that high-souled
courage which I admire, but cannot imitate. Oh !
my son, why cannot I shew myself as great as
thyself? Do not lose this firmness, of which I
88 WILLIAM TELL,

cannot give theeean example. Yes! stand thus,
my son; this is just what I desire—what I desire!
unhappy as I am! And wilt thou suffer it, oh!
just God ?—Hear me, turn away thy face,—thou
dost not know, thou canst not foresee the effect
which this arrow’s point will produce-on thee ;—
this sharp steel aimed at thy forehead ;—turn thy
head, my child, and do not look at me.”

“Yes ! yes!” replied Gemmi, “I will, I must look
at thee—I shall not see the arrow; I shall only
behold my father !”

“Oh! my dear son,” cried Tell, “speak not to
me—speak not; thy voice, thy words will deprive
me of my strength. Be silent, pray to God, and do
not stir !”

While he spoke, William embraced him, tried to.
leave him, embraced him again—repeated his last
words, placed the apple on his head; then turning
hastily from him, he walked with hurried steps to
his former post.

There, grasping his bow and arrow, and turning
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 89

his eyes towards the beloved mark to which he
must direct his aim, twice he endeavoured to shoot,
but in vain. The bow fell from his hands. At
last, rousing all his skill, his strength, his courage,
and wiping away the tears which had dimmed
his sight, he invoked that all-powerful Being, who
beholds from the highest Heaven parental anguish :
then nerving his trembling arm, he forced, he
accustomed his eye to look only at the apple.
Seizing the moment, as rapid as thought, in which
he could forget his son’s danger, he took his aim;
he drew his bow, and struck the apple, which
the arrow carried with it as it flew.—The market-
place echoed with shouts of joy! Gemmi ran to
his father’s arms, who, pale and motionless, exhaust-
ed by this amazing effort, could not return his
embrace. He looked wildly about him; he could
not speak ; and hardly heard the voice of his child.
He could scarcely stand, and would have fallen
but for Gemmi, who supported him. The arrow
concealed in his clothes fell to the ground, and
90 WILLIAM TELL,

was perceived by Gesler, who was instantly by
his side. Tell, who was beginning to recover
his senses, turned away his head at the sight of the
tyrant.

“ Incomparable archer !” said Gesler to him, “I
shail keep my promise, and pay thee the price
of thy ‘matchless skill. But, first, let me hear for
what purpose thou hast reserved this arrow which
thou hadst concealed? One only sufficed for thee,
why then didst thou hide this ?”—“ Tyrant,” said
Tell, “this arrow was to have pierced thy heart,
if my ill-fated hand had been the cause of my son’s
death!” At these words, wrung from a father’s
agony, the terrified Gesler retreated into the midst
of his guard.

Revoking his promise, he ordered the cruel
Samem instantly to load Tell with chains, and
conduct him to the fort. He was obeyed. They
tore him from Gemmi’s embrace, who vainly de-
manded to accompany his father. The guards
drove him away. ‘The people murmured, and
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 91

appeared moved: Gesler hastened to his palace,
and ordered all his soldiers to arms. Vast bodies
of Austrian troops marched in all parts of the
city, and obliged the terrified people to hide them-
selves in their habitations. Terror reigned in every
street; and the soldiers were ready to glut them-
selves with the blood of new victims.
92 WILLIAM TELL,

BOOK THE THIRD.

—

Waite the restless tyrant shut himself up in
his fortress, and surrounded it with troops, the
wretched Gemmi ran about distracted, and de-
manded with loud cries to be taken to his father.
Repulsed by the cruel soldiers, he ran about the
walls of the fort, giving vent to his grief in tears
and bewailings.

Clara, who had been detained in the palace
during the dreadful scene, escaped at last, and
sought for Gemmi on all sides. She no sooner
discovered him, than she ran into his arms, and
tried to console him. “My father is in prison,”
he said to her: “my unfortunate father will be
murdered. Hear me, Clara; I have lost all hope
of joining him in his dungeon, of there waiting
upon him, of dying with him. I am going to try
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 93

now the only means that remain to me of saving
his life. I will go into Underwalden; I will warn
thy father of his friend’s danger: Melctal has cou-
rage, he has arms, and he has friends; he will
come to my father’s rescue. And do thou, my
good Clara, return to my mother,—tell her what
has happened, and where Iam going. Go, Clara;
console her, and tell her that I will not return
without Melctal—I will perish, or I will save my
father :—thou must support my mother instead of
me.” He said, and, instantly departing, he walked
with hurried steps out of the city. Clara took
immediately the road to Tell’s cottage, where the
aged Henry, and the virtuous Edmea, far from their
children, and ignorant what had become of them,
were consuming the time in fruitless anxiety.
Clara, who arrived pale, terror-struck, and bathed
in tears, only redoubled Edmea’s alarm. She rose,
and running to meet her cried out, “Gemmi! oh!
what is become of Gemmi ?”

“He is alive, he is at liberty,” replied Clara
94 WILLIAM TELL,

immediately, as she rushed into the arms of her
blind old grandfather. She embraced him, then
Edmea, and with a broken voice she told them
all that the cruel Gesler had done; how she and
Gemmi had been taken from their prison into his
presence—and the horrible trial to which the father
and son had been exposed. She knew not the
event, except that William was in chains, and that
Gemmi was gone to find Melctal and implore him
to assist his father. 'Tell was threatened with death,
~—so the governor had sworn.

At this account Edmea’s heart failed, and she
fell almost senseless into the seat which she had
quitted. The blind old man, almost distracted,
began to utter loud lamentations. He desired that
his son might come to him—that he might fight by
his side, and die in the attempt, or rescue Tell.

Clara quitted the old man, and soothed Edmea,
but her efforts were hardly sufficient to console both
these unhappy beings.

At last, after the first moments of such deep and
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 95

piercing grief, the old Melctal, recovering at once
his reason, his courage, and his prudence, seized
both the hands of Edmea, and pressing them to his |
heart, “Weep not, oh! my virtuous friend,” said
he; “let us not lose in tears the time which may
be precious to us if we employ it. Gemmi is gone
to Underwalden. A few hours will bring him to
my son. I know Melctal; this very night I am
certain that he and his friends. will take the yoad
to Altorff. To-morrow by day-break he will be
there, and he will attempt every exploit to save
William. But his friends, so few in number, will
be unequal to the enterprise. I have friends in
Altorff,—I will go myself and rouse their courage ;
I will inspire them with ardour. They shall guide
me into the market-place, by the first dawn of day ;
they shall lead me into the midst of the people.
There will I speak; there will I shew the wounds
‘still fresh which the cruel Gesler has inflicted
upon me. I will point to these empty sockets
whence my eyes have been torn by his ferocious
96 WILLIAM TELL,

orders. My old age, my grey head, my clothes
still smeared with blood, the tears of my helpless
grandchild, will aid my words. I hope—I am
certain, that the people will be moved to avenge
my wrongs. They will increase the number of
those friends who will already have followed me.
My son and yours shall join us, and, finding a
troop ready to fight with theirs, they will attack
the fortress. I will plunge into the thickest of the
battle, to encourage our brave soldiers ; 1 will cry
out to them Vengeance! I will fill the air with
this word, and with the names of our Country and
of Liberty! And, if I am unable to follow them,
they shall carry me, they shall bear me to thy
husband, whom we will restore to thy arms. Yes!
I do not doubt of success; God, who inspires me
with courage, already promises victory to my ef-
forts. Come, my daughter, let us go this instant.
Come, give me my stick, and lend me also the
support of thy arm. The night draws on: come,
the night will be our best safe-guard.”
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 97

“I approve thy project,” Edmea replied, “and I
will myself be your guide; but, before we set out,
deign to listen to me, and give me thy advice. I
have long known, though not from my husband,
that he has formed a plan to rescue his country.
His secret journeys into Schwitz, Underwalden,
and Urseren ; the store of arms which he has con-
cealed, his absence at night, and the deep thought
that his countenance betrayed, have convinced me
long before now that William is at the head ofa
conspiracy which these three Cantons have formed
against our tyrants. I know not who are the other
chiefs, but that there are others I cannot doubt,
and that they have appointed a time for action,
and agreed upon a signal among themselves.
What this signal is I know not, but I was struck,
as by a flash of lightning, the other day, by a word
that escaped from my husband. This word, and
some others of the same kind, have made me sus-
pect, have made me believe, that the signal agreed
upon is to light a pile of wood on the summit

7
98 WILLIAM ‘TELL,

of this mountain. To raise such a pile to-night
would require more time and greater strength
than belongs to us; and yet a secret voice has
told me, that if by any means we could raise
such a flame, the friends of my husband, mistaliaag
it for his own signal, would hasten to his rescue.
Advise me, Melctal. Even my weak hand might
set fire to the hut we dwell in. It is on the
highest part of the mountain, and would make a
flame that could be scen by all the inhabitants
of the three Cantons. And of what value is my
house, or all that I possess, compared with my
husband’s safety? If I save his life, thy cottage
will receive us; if he perish, one tomb will suffice
for us both.”

She finished, and: old Melctal approved her
scheme; upon which Edmea, seizing a bundle
of dry branches, lighted it in the hearth, threw
the blazing wood around her, and stirring it with
her owu hand, saw without regret her child’s
cradle and the nuptial bed enveloped in flames.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 99

Then, when she was certain that the fire could
not be extinguished, she took hold of her aged
friend’s arm, who leaned likewise upon Clara, and
descending their steep mountain they walked on
towards Altorff.

They reached the city, in which terror had
caused a deep silence—no sound was heard by
the old man, the fond wife, and the unhappy
child, as they proceeded to knock at the door of
one of their friends. Meanwhile the flame which
Edmea’s hand had kindled, rose rapidly till it reached
the straw by which the cottage was thatched. The
roof caught fire, and the sparkling straw increased
the brightness of the flame, which, throwing a
vast light all around, might be seen far and near.
Verner saw it in Schwitz—the impatient Melctal,.
whom Gemmi had not yet reached, leaped with
joy at the sight—and Furst, in the mountains of
Urseren, doubted not that Tell, at the head of
the brave inhabitants of Altorff, was expecting him
to obey his signal.
100 WILLIAM TELL,

These three chiefs armed themselves almost at
the same instant; left their dwellings to seek out
their faithful followers, and rouse them in the
name of Liberty! 'Their friends, awakening from
sleep, seized their arms, assembled in silence, and
formed into battalions. From three different quar-
ters, at the same hour, these three chieftains began
their march to Altorff, fellowed by troops who
made up for want of numbers by their courage and
resolution to die or deliver their country.

All pressed forward with impatience. They
dreaded lest the snows, the torrents, the untracked
roads, should retard their march, and occasion
them to arrive too late at the fort—at that gloomy
fortress which they have resolved to attack- and to
conquer, along with the tyrant.

But Gesler, whose fears never slumbered, alarmed
at the signs of revolt which he had witnessed in
the multitude, fearing to lose his prisoner, and
trembling for his own safety, had already taken
measures of which one alone was sufficient to dis.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 101

appoint his brave enemies. 'Towards the close
of that day, considering that the fort, crowded
with soldiers, had not provisions enough for a
long siege; fearing, not that so strong a citadel
should be taken, but that its communication with
the rest of the army might be cut off, he called
Sarnem to him to give him this new order.

“My friend,” he said to him, “I shall leave
this place, where thou shalt command in my ab-
sence, and my brave soldiers shall obey thy voice
alone. I am going to seek reinforcements, to awe
a vile people and punish their insolent murmurs.
I shall bring a force that will soon overwhelm
a slavish race.—Cause a great boat to be in readi-
ness for me, into which thou shall put the rash
William as soon as the shades of night descend.
Let him be loaded with irons and guarded by fifty
chosen soldiers ; I myself will conduct him to the
strong tower of Kusnach, at the other end of the
lake of Lucerne. There he shall remain, more
secure than he could be on this spot, till returning
102 WILLIAM TELL,

with fresh troops to Altorff, I can teach its inhab-
itants by his lingering torments what they would
gain by daring to insult their Governor.”

Sarnem, proud of being chosen to command
instead of Gesler, hastened to obey his orders.
The boat was soon ready; fifty chosen archers
were quickly led by Sarnem himself to the gate of
Tell’s dungeon.

The hero, scarcely able to move under the heavy
weight of his irons, was placed under the guard
of these bowmen ; who led him, as soon as night
had spread her veil over the earth, in silence to-
wards the shore. Gesler, who had arrived there
alone and in disguise, awaited them with im-
patience. He caused the captive to be thrown
to the bottom of the boat, and placing the archers
around him, he seated himself at the prow; then
layishing wine and money on the soldiers, they
stole away unperceived from the shore.

The boat flew across the waves; the air was
pure, the water calm, and the stars shone brightly
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND 103

in the heavens. A slight gale arose from the
south, that aided the efforts of the rowers, and
tempered the severity of the cold, which at that
season would otherwise have been rendered in-
supportable by the night air, and the ices in the
neighbourhood of the lake.

Every thing favoured Gesler’s wishes: having
crossed the narrow length of the first lake of the
four cantons, he directed the boat towards Brum-
men, in order to cross the strait, which would
conduct him into the second lake. ‘Tell, all this
time overpowered by his irons, and lying on the
ground in the midst of his guard, distinguished
on the left shore the desert rocks of Grutti, and
the cavern in which the evening before he and
his friends had planned the liberty of his country.

At this sight and the recollections it brought,
his courage failed, and his eyes were suffused with
tears of which he was ashamed. Stifling them
instantly, and turning away his head, he looked
up towards Heaven, which appeared to have aban-
104 WILLIAM TELL,

doned him. At that very moment he saw on the
side of Altorff a red and streaming light, which
increased as he looked, till it rose at last in a
long column above Uri. His heart bounded at
the sight; but he could not comprehend how this
signal could be given, since he had confided the
secret to no one. Doubtful of some mistake, he
looked again, and was convinced that this flame
proceeded from the mountain on which his cottage
stood. He thanked Heaven for it without yet
knowing if it were a blessing or not ;—he thought
not for a moment that this event might save his
life, but that it might give freedom to his country;
and this thought made him forget his own danger.

Gesler and his creatures beheld this flame like-
wise. They pointed it out to each other with
amazement, but attributing it to accident, they soon
ceased to feel concern for a misfortune that could
only affect their enemies. Gesler, impatient for
the end of the voyage, urged on his rowers, and
bade them redouble their efforts.
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 105

The boat steered westward, passed the strait
and glided into the deepest waters of the dangerous
lake of Underwalden. There, on a sudden, the
south wind ceased to favour the rapid vessel. The
north and the west winds disturbed the tranquillity
of the air. The north wind sending storms before
it stirred up the waves into mountains, and carried
them roaring to the side of the vessel, where
they broke, and by redoubling their attacks, forced
it to yield to their violence. Forsaking its path
in spite of the efforts of the rowers, it flew sideways
towards the coast, while the west wind bringing
clouds, hoar frost, and snow, covered the sky as
with a funeral veil, spread darkness over the
waters, and striking the faces and hands of the
rowers with icy darts, forced them to row more
feebly, and, obliging them to hold down their eyes,
concealed from them the sight of their danger.
The boat was soon filled with ice and abundance
of snow; and this cruel wind opposing its pro-
gress, combatted the north wind which attacked it
106 WILLIAM TELL,

towards the side, and, forcing it rapidly to turn
on its keel, kept it suspended on the foaming
waves ; then abandoning it for a time, threatened to
hurl it to the bottom of the lake !

The pale and terrified soldiers, not doubting that
death was near, fell on their knees to implore the
aid of that God whom they had so long forsaken.
The base Gesler, more cowardly than the rest, ©
went from one boatman to another, promising them
all his treasures if they would give him hopes
of saving his life. Sullen and motionless, they
answered him only by their silence. Tears, the
disgraceful tears of weakness and cowardice, bathed
for the first time the eyes of the fierce Gesler.
Certain that his end drew near, neither his riches
nor his power, his tortures, nor his assassins, could
secure him from a watery grave. He wept, he
wished for life, and lost his thirst for blood.

Tell, tranquil where he was first laid, and far
less disturbed by the cries of the soldiers, the noise
of the waves, or the roaring of the unchained
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 107

Boreas, than he had been on perceiving the cavern
of Grutti—Tell awaited death, considering only the
advantage which his country might obtain by the -
death of the tyrant.

He was listening with silent contempt to the
groans and lamentations of Gesler, when one of
the boatmen suddenly addressed himself to Gesler
in these words: “We cannot steer the boat any
longer among the waves; the north wind threatens
to drive it immediately on shore, where it must
split on the rock. There is only one man, the
most renowned, the most expert in all the cantons
in braving the storms of the lakes, who can save
us from instant death. This man is here— he lies
in this boat loaded with thy fetters. Choose, Ges-
ler, choose quickly between death and his freedom.”

Gesler shuddered at this speech. Even in his
cowardly soul, his hatred of Tell combatted with
the love of life; he hesitated—he did not reply ;
but the prayers, the murmurs of the soldiers and
he boatmen, who implored him to save his and
108 WILLIAM TELL,

their own lives, by giving liberty to his prisoner.
The fear of being disobeyed if he should refuse,
and the increasing rage of the tempest, determined
at last the wavering Gesler. “Strike off his fetters,”
said he, “I pardon all his crimes, and grant him
his life and his liberty, on condition that his skill
shall bring us safe into port.”

The soldiers and sailors hastened to set Tell at
liberty ; his irons fell off—he rose, and, without
speaking a word, seized the rudder. Guiding the
boat with his hand as a child bends at his will
the wand that he plays with, he opposed its prow
to both winds, and thus dividing their force, he
kept it equally balanced. Just then profiting by
a moment’s calm, he rushed like lightning from
the prow to the stern, kept the boat in the direction
which alone could save it, made the boatmen take
their oars once more, and, directing their labours,
advanced in spite of the winds and the waves
into the strait through which he wished to return.
The darkness prevented Gesler from perceiving
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 109

that he was going back to the place from whence
he began his voyage.

William continued his course; night was nearly
over, but they were once more .in the lake of Uri.
He saw the expiring flame of the signal given on
the mountain of Altorff. This light was his guid-
ing star; he had long known the lake, and avoided
its dangerous rocks, though he approached the
shore which bordered on the Canton of Schwitz.
He thought of Verner, and was certain that he
must already be on his march, and that the snow
which covered the roads would oblige him to keep
close to the lake-side. With this feeble hope, he
steered the boat along, and, to increase the terror
of Gesler and his soldiers, seemed to be ignorant
where the tempest had carried them.

At last the east began to grow red, and the
storm to abate at the approach of dawn. 'The day-
light discovered to Tell the rocks near to Altorff,
before the dreaded tyrant had time to recognize
them. William steered towards them with greater
110 WILLIAM TELL.

velocity. Gesler, whose cruelty returned as the
danger grew less, watched Tell with gloomy
frowns. He wished, but had not yet courage to
chain him again. His soldiers and sailors soon
perceived where they were, and informed the’
Governor, who, approaching Tell with anger, de-
manded in a terrible voice, “why he had rowed the
boat back to Altorff ?”

William, without replying, pushed the boat a-
gainst a rock very near to the shore, and, seizing
hastily the bow and arrow which one of the
guards held in his hand, darted like lightning
from the boat to the rock, over which he bounded
like the wild chamois, and leaped from it to another
rock which was nearer to the shore. This he
climbed with a firm step, and stood on the sum-
mit like the eagle of the Alps, which rests its
wing among the clouds, and surveys with pierc-
ing eyes the flocks of the valley.

_ The astonished Governor uttered a cry of fury
and of rage; he commanded his men to land in-
IH i

Y ’
7

\\

ANY SN
\



ww

Tell shooting Gesler.


PHE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 11)

stantly and surround the rock on which he saw
the hero. They obeyed; the archers descended,
and had already bent their bows. Gesler, march-
ing along with them, wished that their united
arrows might drink the life-blood of his heroic
enemy. Tell was prepared for them—he stopped,
he shewed himself only to draw on the enemy ;
he suffered this armed body to approach till they
were within reach of his deadly arrow. Then
looking sternly at Gesler, he fixed his arrow in the
string, and aiming at the tyrant’s heart, he bent
his bow. The weapon, whistling as it flew, made
its way through the heart of Gesler, who fell vomit-
ing black blood, and stammering out his hatred
and his rage.

While he breathed out his atrocious soul in
curses, Tell had already disappeared. Lighter
than the fawn, he rushed from the summit of the
rock; he ran, he flew over the ice; he gained
and crossed the solitary paths that led to Altorif.
He soon discovered in the snow the fresh traces
112 WILLIAM TELL,

of the footsteps made by Verner’s friends, whom he
had conducted that very night from Schwitz. Fol-
lowing these traces, he soon approached them, and
his ear was struck with tumult, cries, and the clash
ing sound of arms. He flew to the market-place,
and found it full,—occupied by three battalions
of heroes. Verner, at the head of the warriors
from Schwitz, was eager to secure the city gates
before the attack upon the fort. Furst, with the
brave troops of Uri, desired to be placed at the
most dangerous post. Melctal, with the brave men
of Underwalden, raising his battle-axe in the air,
cried out loudly for the assault. Gemmi was at
his-side. Armed with a long spear, he uttered
the name of William, and, calling on the soldiers
to rescue his father, he pointed to the distant prison
in which he believed that he was still immured.
The aged Henry and Edmea, mixing with the
brave: soldiers, went from rank to rank, from troop
to troop, urging them on to the attack.

All at once William appeared in the midst of
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 113

the battalions. A general cry is heard and re-
echoed amyng the mountains. A deep silence fol-
lowed. All awaited Tell’s orders, and would be
guided by him alone.

“My friends,” cried the hero, “Gesler is no
more! This bow, this hand, has punished him
as his crimes deserved. I left his body lying on
the shore of the lake, surrounded by his vile at.
tendants, whom fear has already put to flight.
Our country is revenged, but it is not yet free.
It will not be free as long as there remains a sin-
gle stone of that fortress which is so odious in
our sight. Let us attack that dreadful fortress,
the only hope, the ony resource of the fierce Aus-
trians. Let our three tronps ascend together, and
let the bravest begin the attack.” He said, and
seizing with his left hand the standard of Uni,
grasped with his right a battle-axe, and rushed
towards the mountain. Furst and his troop fol-
lowed closely. The men of Schwitz, commanded
by Verner, rushed on with impetuosity, Melctal

8
114 WILLIAM TELL,

and those of Underwalden were already half-way
up the mountain; and Gemmi was at his father’s
side.

Sarnem was prepared to receive tuem. A cloud
of darts and arrows fell instantly from the ram-
parts. The besiegers despised their arrows; they
continued their ascent, without deigning to notice
them. They gained the fovt of the battlements.
Then the terrible Sarnem, by a signal to his men,
caused masses of rock and stones to be flung from
the ramparts, followed by boiling pitch and oil.
The heroes of the three Cantons were struck down
on all sides. The oil consumed them under their
clothes; they expired in dreadful agonies. They
bit the rock, and uttered piercing cries: but these
their latest cries were for Liberty! In the midst
of their dying anguish, they called upon their
companions to march over their bodies, and make
ef them ladders to reach the top of the rampart.

_ The Austrians insulted their misery. Sarnem,
coking down from the battlements, laughed at their
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 116

fruitless toil. His presence gave double fury to -
his soldiers; his courage prolonged the dreadful
attack.

William, in the midst of the dying and the dead,
maintained his usual intrepidity; but all at once,
alarmed at the slaughter among his soldiers, he
paused, and calling to Melctal, he blamed his own
rashness in having ventured upon a single attack.
He entreated, he commanded his friend to leave
the scene of action, and to lead off his brave men
to make another attempt towards the east, while
he and Verner would redouble their fury to prevent
Sarnem from noticing this movement.

Melctal obeyed; William and Verner renewed
their signals, muttered still louder cries, and kept
Sarnem and his soldiers occupied in resisting this
fresh assault. Meanwhile Melctal and his followers
flew towards the east gate, which they found feebly
defended by a slight guard. Melctal struck it with
his battle-axe—he called for fire—the gate was
burnt down, and Melctal rushed in. “He entered
116 WILLIAM TELL,

the fort: along with the men of Underwalden. All
yielded to their valour—fied, or perished. Sarnem,
engaged in fighting against Tell, heard the cry
of the flying, and that of the conquerors. ‘Turning
round’ to meet them, he saw Melctal. Rapid as
the thunder, Melctal, with one stroke of his axe,
cleaved in two his odious head, and advancing
to the battlements waved his hand, and shouted
for victory! William soon joined him; and the
standard of Uri waved triumphantly at the top of
this dreadful fort !

William, Melctal, and Verner, standing on the
dead bodies of their enemies, rendered to God their
devout thanksgivings, and returned the acclamations
of the people whom they had delivered.

The fort was soon cleared of the dead by which
it was strewed. The inhabitants of the three
Cantons pressed round their chiefs, and carried them
into the midst of the people of Altorff, who assembled

- from all parts to behold their deliverers, and confide
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 117

to their genius, their courage, and their wisdom,
the defence of their liberty.

But William commanded silence ;—he spake to
them as follows :

“Citizens! you are free; but this freedom, so
precious, is still more difficult to preserve than to
conquer. Courage will suffice to acquire, but, to
keep it,-demands austere, never-failing, invincibie
intregrity! You must beware of the pride of
victory! Beware, above all, how you flatter those
who have gained it with you. You speak alreadg
of making us your chiefs; but the reward I seek
for my. labours, the sole desire of my heart,
js to rank with my fellow-soldiers—is to share
once more that equality, which has the purest,
sweetest charm for republican hearts. In a republic,
my frierifs, we are all useful to each other; but
woe to the man who thinks we cannot exist with-
out him! Woe to the people who do not punish
such presumption.
118 WILLIAM TELL,

“ Assemble together, that you may consult with
deliberation on your true interests and your future
plans.

“ Make laws; for what will become of ycu with-
out laws? And what is liberty but subjection to
wise laws? Preserve the purity of your manners ;
let them become even more severe. Liberty can-
not exist without virtue. As for me, my fellow
citizens, I demand, I will accept from you only
the title of brother, and the right of combatting
along with you. Prepare for fresh struggles.
Remember that the Emperor will strive to recover
the sceptre we have broken. Prepare to resist
him! Prepare for battle. Rely upon God and
your own valour; but summon the rest of the
Cantons to share your victory. Either I am de-
ceived, or they will gladly obey your call; then
with your united labour, virtue, and courage, you
will form a republic which will become the terror

‘and admiration of all Europe.
“Then kings will court your alliance as an
THE PATRIOT OF SWITZERLAND. 119

honour, and will believe themselves invincible when
they have the Swiss for their defenders. Then,
while you enjoy the glory of being valiant and
wise, you will prefer that of being happy and
free |”

He said, and all the people applauded him.
They proceeded immediately to the choice of mag-
istrates. Tell, Verner, and Melctal, once more
became simple citizens, and received for their recom-
pense a crown of oak.

They returned to their former peaceful lives,
and their names are preserved in the history of a
people who have resisted for two hundred years the
efforts of the Empire, and founded their liberties on
their victories.
LIFE OF FLORIAN

Joun Peter Cxiaris DE Fiorian was born in
1755, at the castle of Florian, in the Lower Ce.
vennes, not very far from Anduze and St. Hip-
polyte.

This castle was built by his grandfather, a coun-
sellor of the Board of Finance at Montpelier, who
having ruined his fortune by building so splendid
a dwelling upon a small estate, died in debt, leaving
two sons.

To the second of these sons Florian owed his
birth ; and his grandfather seems to have been very
partial to him when a child, and to have delighted -
to watch his growth and improvement.

Florian took no less .pleasure in following his
grandfather through his fields and plantations, and
122 LIFE OF FLORIAN.

often charmed him by the admiration he expressed
for the latter. Grateful for his grandfather's kind-
ness to him in his childhood, Florian often calls
to mind in his writings the pleasant walks he
used to take with him; and perhaps it was from
veing in infancy so much accustomed to the society
of the aged, that his disposition, naturally lively,
became pensive and inclined to melancholy. But
another cause may be found for this thoughtful
turn of mind, in his having had to lament, fiom
his earliest days, the loss of a mother whom he
never saw, but who fully deserved the sorrow he
felt at being deprived of her. This regret was
kept alive in his mind, by the idea that she would
have been his best guide to those paths of know-
ledge for which he shewed very early a strong
inclination. His father, besides being too much
occupied with the cultivation of his land to bestow
much time upon the mind of his son, had not the
talents of his mother, from whom Florian believed
that he inherited all his own. He loved his father,
but he felt that he should have loved his mother
‘more; and so much did his mind dwell upon this
idea, that he gathered from those who knew her
LIFE OF FLORIAN. 123

best a description of her features, from which he
caused her picture to be painted, and preserved
it with the tenderest respect. This attachment
to a mother whom he had never been so happy
as to behold, may have been one cause of the effect
produced by his writings, which abound in na-
tural tenderness.

If Florian has succeeded in giving to the French
language the beauties of the Spanish authors; if
he has translated and improved the Galatea of
Cervantes; if he has borrowed ingenious fables
_ from Yriarte, and given Don Quixote a new
charm; if he planned, in the decline of his life,
a History of Spain, which we have not yet pos-
sessed; if, in short, he imbibed in his childhood
a lively affection for the Spanish people, it was
his veneration for his mother’s memory that in-
spired him, for she was by birth a Spaniard. He
loved to speak a language which was spoken by
his mother, and hence his early fondness for Span-
ish literature—a fondness which, springing from
the goodness of his heart, opened a new path to
his genius, and laid the foundation for his future
renown.

After the death of his grandfather, Florian was
124 LIFE OF FLORIAN.

removed to a boarding school at St. Hippolyte.
He learnt but little at that school; but his lively
fancy and qujck parts soon distinguished him from
his companions. ‘The reports of his happy dis-
position and promising talents induced his relations
to give him an education that might bring them’
sooner into action.

His father’s eldest brother had married a niece
of Voltaire’s, who, having frequently heard Florian’s
talents spoken of, had a great curiosity to see him.
Florian was sent to pay him a visit, and his first
introduction to the world was at Ferney.

“Voltaire was diverted with Florian’s gaiety,
pleased with his gentleness and his talent for re-
partee, and soon felt a warm regard for him. It
has even been said that he was related to him;
but there was no other relationship between them
than the marriage of Florian’s uncle with the niece
of Voltaire.

From Ferney, Florian went to Paris, and had
masters to cultivate his natural abilities. He re-
mained there several years, making now and then an
excursion to Hornoy, a country-house belonging
to his aunt, in Picardy. As he was at that time
intended for the army, he thought it right te
LIFE OF FLORIAN. 125

practise the art of war in his amusements, which
generally consisted of combats of one kind or
other.

He read romances likewise, which, being full
of knight-errantry, heated his imagination, and
gave him so strong a taste for chivalry, that, in-
stead of being diverted with Don Quixote at that
time of his life, he was almost disgusted with it, and
angry with what he thought the insolence of
Michael Cervantes, for daring to ridicule his much-
admired heroes.

As his family were not rich, he became in 1768,

page to the Duke of Penthiévre, his friends hoping
by this means to complete his education, and after-
wards to obtain for him some honourable employ- -
ment.
But the education of pages was then very little
attended to; and, had it not been for the resources
of his own mind, he would never have been brought
into notice.

The prince, who was an attentive master of his
family, and had a good judgment, soon distin-
guished Florian from the rest of his pages. His
frankness, his wit, always within proper bounds,
ris lively and ingenious conversation, sometimes
126 LIFE OF F)ORIAN.

entertained a nobleman, who, with all his riches
and the power he possessed of doing good, was sub-
ject to frequent attacks of weariness.

While young Florian was still in the situation
of page, and only fifteen years old, he composed
the first lines for which we are indebted to his
pen. ‘The occasion on which he wrote them, and
the subject which he chose, are remarkable, be-
cause they shew how, as I have before observed,
melancholy was united with the gaiety of his
disposition.

One day, as the prince was conversing with
him, the discourse happened to fall upon sermons,
and Florian gave it ‘as his opinion that there was
no difficulty in composing them; he added, that if
he were obliged to write one, he had no doubt of
succeeding without difficulty.

The prince took him at his word, and betted
fifty louis-d’or that he would fail in his attempt.
The Vicar of St. Eustache, who was in the -oom,
was chosen to decide upon the wager.

Florian lost no time in beginning his sermon,
-and brought it in a few days for the approval of
the judges, who were perfectly astcnished at hear-
ing so young a man recite a sermon upon Death,
LIFE OF FLORIAN. 127

which would have impressed the most hardened
mind.

At the age when boys cease to be pages, Florian
was for some time undecided about his future desti-
nation ; and his relations were equaliy perplexed.
His romantic disposition led him to prefer the
army; and his young mind dwelt upon the idea
of the splendour and renown attached to a military
life. He entered what was then called the Royal
Artillery corps. He went to learn mathematics
at the military school of Bapaume, and soon’ made
himself master of that science, from the ease with
which he overcame all difficulties in learning.
But his mind was not formed for the habit of cal-
culation. Nature had given him a lively and
brilliant imagination, which required to be nourish-
ed and excited. Mathematics only impeded its
powers, and Florian forgot as soon as he had ac-,
quired them.

The school of Bapaume was full of young men
who were not wanting in spirit or ability, but
among whom good sense was rare. ‘That they
studied hard cannot be doubted, from the skill of
numbers who have been educated there; but one
may picture to oneself a multitude of youths who
128 LIFE OF FLORIAN.

set no bounds to the follies of their age, and were
guilty of every extravagance. Nothing could calm
these fiery spirits: one quarrel gave birth tc
another, and these daily disputes seldom ended
but by battles. Florian received many wounds,
and, in short, the disorder in this school arose to
such a height, that it was at last abolished. Who
would have thought that in such a school the
poet who sung so sweetly of Estelle and Galatea
was educated !

About this time Florian obtained a company of
cavalry in the regiment of Penthiévre, then in gar-
rison at Maubeuge.

When he arrived at this city, being captivated
with the gentle virtues of a lovely canoness, he
would have married her, but his friends and re-
lations persuaded him, with difficulty, to give up
a design that would have been unsuitable to his
fortune and his age. Perhaps, however, this early
attachment served to render his disposition less
violent than it might otherwise have been, on quit-
ting such a school as that of Bapaume.

His friends, not being able to provide for him,
wished to procure him a situation in the family
of some man of power, and, unknown to him, tried
LIFE OF FLORIAN. 129

once more to obtain for him the place of gentlemen
to the Duke of Penthiévre. But Florian loved
the army, and the Duke could not endure that his
chamberlain should be obliged to serve. However,
as he earnestly wished for Florian’s society, he
obtained permission for him to remain near his
person without losing his commission.

Florian then settled at Paris, and this unvaried
life, which he had dreaded so much, was the chief
cause of his becoming an author.

To amuse his weary hours he began to write,
and his former taste for the Spanish language re-
turned.. Finding the Galatea of Cervantes inter-
esting, he resolved, in spite of its many faults, to
give it a French dress, and made many happy
improvements on the original. Some scenes, in-
deed, he added of his own; such as the exchange
of the crooks, a charming incident in the first
book ; the rual féte, and story of the turtle doves,
in the second; and Alicio’s farewell to his dog in
the third: the whole of the last canto he composed
as a sortof finish to the poem, which Cervantes had
left incomplete. .

Galatea was much admired, which made Florian
resolve to continue this style of writing, that is to

9
130 LIFE OF FLORIAN.

say, the old pastoral style, which had been much
neglected, but which Florian brought into fashion
once more.

Estelle was of his own invention, and was as
successful as Galatea; indeed, many preferred
Estelle to Galatea, and most people looked upon
them as two sisters, both so lovely that it was hard
to choose between them.

He next composed an Essay on Pastoral Poetry,
in which he commended the Pastor Fido of
Guarini, the Arcadia of Sannazaro, and the Astrea
.£ D'Urfé.

Having a taste for the theatre, he composed
some pieces for the stage, in almost all of which
he introduced Harlequin, his favourite character,
to whom he gave much originality and interest.
His greatest amusement was to play this part him-
self; and when he wore a mask, he performed it
with matchless grace and sensibility, but he could
never succeed with his face uncovered.

So much did Florian delight in the stage, that
he would have devoted more of his time to it,
had not this inclination greatly displeased his pa-
tron, He followed him, therefore, into the country,
LIFE OF FLORIAN. 131

and found leisure in retirement to compose his Six
Nouvelles, or tales.

His next and more important work was Numa,
which has been more admired by foreigners than
by the French. Perhaps it is to be lamented that
he introduced the character of Zoroaster into a
part of history where it appears so much out of
place. One of his friends advised him to choose
Pythagoras as a philosopher, who, though he lived
in a different century from Numa, was yet an in-
habitant of the same country. But Florian pre-
ferred Zoroaster, because his imagination was more
at liberty to represent him as he found convenient ;
and he said he knew too little of Pythagoras.

It is useless to mention each of his writings.
They are generally read, and are as popular as
they are numerous.

His habit of writing was now so fixed, that he
devoted a part of every day to this labour, and
sometimes wrote from morning till night. While
he was employed about one work, he formed the
plan of another; and being one day advised by the
Duke of Penthiévre to compose fables, he resolved
to try; and though it was some years before he
132 LIFE OF FLORIAN.

published any, yet before he died he gave some
to the world that were more perfect than any that
had appeared since the days of La Fontaine. His
own portrait is placed at the beginning of the
volume.

Besides his love for the Spanish language and
the Spanish people, he had a great partiality for
the Jews. He knew their history perfectly, and
composed from it a little volume very like Galatea.
It is styled Eliezer and Naphtali, and is a work of
the imagination, but very interesting.

Florian’s last work was the translation of Don
Quixote, by which he shewed that he had en-
tirely conquered his childish dislike to that admira-
ble work.

As to Florian’s private life, it was not eventful
enough to be very interesting, although, if it had
been written by himself, such was his skill in
adorning the most trifling incident, that every body
would have desired to read it.

Those who knew but little of him could not form
any idea of the differences between Florian when
writing, and Florian engaged in conversation with
those he loved. When, free from restraint, he
found himself in the midst of those with whom
LIFE OF FLORIAN. 133

he was intimate, no one could be more agreeable
or more animated; at such times he could force
a smile from the gloomiest of mortals: but when
with strangers, or those for whom he had little
esteem, his manner was grave and reserved; and
those who knew him well were always struck
with this contrast. It was the same when he be-
gan to write: his natural gaiety forsook him, and
he was guided by sentiment alone. {

His favourite apartment was one in the Hétel de
Toulouse, fitted up according to his taste ; there,
together with his library, he had a small aviary
full of birds, whose chirping enlivened his labours.
Thus he passed the most cheerful part of his life,
in composing charming works, and practising the
social duties of mani. For never did the unfortunate
implore his assistance in vain ; when his own purse
was empty, he would go to the Prince, and employ
his favour with him only to do good.

His means were small, but his talent for writing,
and his economy, enabled him often to practise
benevolence; and whenever he received a sum of
money from his bookseller, his first care was to send
part of it to his friend the Vicar of St. Eustatius, that
he might distribute it to the poor.
134 ‘LIFE OF FLORIAN.

Such was Florian; as amiable in his life as in
his writings. When the Revolution began he re-
tired to Sceaux, and, giving himself up to literary
pursuits, how could he foresee that envy would
pursue him in his retirement? He expected it so
little, that his arrest reached him like a thunder-
bolt. He shuddered when told that he was no
longer free, and felt that the injustice of mankind
would shorten his days.

A short time after the memorable 9th of 'Thermi-
dor, he left the prison of Port-Libre at Paris, where
he had been confined, and eagerly returned to his
country-house. There he hoped to breathe once
more a pure air, untroubled by the world: the
melancholy which had grown upon his mind made
him sigh more than ever for solitude.

But his health was injured, either by the dejec-
tion occasioned by his imprisonment, or by the bad
air and coarse diet he had endured. Whatever
was the cause, he soon took to his bed, from which
he was never to rise !

Florian died: but so entirely were all minds en-
grossed at that time with politics, and so sorely did
every heart bleed for private sorrows, that an event
which at another period would have been the gen-
LIFE OF FLORIAN. 135

eral topic of discourse, was then scarcely noticed
by the journals of the day, and on the next it was
entirely forgotten !

I visited Sceaux, however, to indulge my grief
for the loss of an author I had loved, and whose
writings had given me so many happy moments.
I strolled down the avenues where he took his
walks, and sat down with tearful eyes on the gar-
den-seats close to his house—seats where he had
so often rested! I wandered by the side of that
fine canal in which he took so much delight; and
resting at last under the shade of some aspen trees
of amazing height, I viewed with mournful pleasure
the scene which the poet loved.
ANDREAS HOFER,

THE TYROLESE.
PREFACE.

Kotzesve’s Travels to Italy through the Tyrol,
the Edinburgh Annual Register for 1810, The Life
of Hofer translated from the German by Charles
Henry Hall, Esq. and a few notices from other pub-
lications, have furnished the materials of the follow-
ing little Work. ‘The memoirs of Hofer here given
may, therefore, be deemed authentic in all the lead-
ing particulars.

The smallest incidents, which form the connect-
ing links between important circumstances, were
imagined by the Author—imagined, not as “ base.
less fabrics,” of fancy, but as the natural and most
probable events that must have occurred, under
such circumstances, to such personages. Every
trait of zharacter, or expression of feeling, is ground-
ed or arises from the facts given in one or other of
the above publications,

In common justice to Hofer, it is earnestly re-
140 PREFACE.

quested, whoever reads, or has read his Life, as given
by his German biographer, wil] also read the ac-
count of him given in the Edinburgh Annual Reg-
ister for 1810, commencing at page 640.

The German work is supposed to have been writ-
ten by Baron Hormayr, who was high in command
before Hofer was called from an inferior situation
to be Supreme Chief, py the united voice of his
countrymen. Hormayr may, therefore, be consid-
ered to have written under the influence of some
feelings of jealousy at the elevation of a man once
his inferior. These feelings may be traced through- —
out his publication, and must prevent entire belief
of many of his remarks.

The Edinburgh Annual Register seems to have
published an account from public documents : do-
cuments which may therefore be relied on with
more confidence.

The candid reader will compare these accounts,
and find that all the facts in both volumes are
favourable to the character and conduct of Hofer ;
and that, even in the German work, the only un-
favourable parts are given as insinuations, supposi-
tions, hearsay evidence.

See note, p. 148 of the Life: “He is said to have
PREFACE. 141

caused his initials to be stamped on a new coin.»
This is hearsay evidence. In full contradiction of
it, see a fact stated in the Register in these words :
«“ He struck money bearing the Tyrolese eagle on
one side, crowned with laurels; and on the other,
the value of the coin, with the words— According
to the Convention,—1809.’ ”

In the Life he is accused of inaction, page 164.
A note in the same work, three pages farther, 157,
by giving his spirited answer to Lefebvre, proves
that he must have been actively employed, collect-
ing those forces with which he soon afterwards
drove Lefebvre before him

Numerous other instances might be given to
vindicate the conduct of Hofer. These hints may
arouse the candid reader to discover them for him-
self.

The intelligent translator of the German work
candidly remarks in his preface :—“I certainly was
not without suspicion that, in more than one in-
stance, the fame of Hofér has been sacrificed by the
writer (of his Life) to that of his more fortunate
rival, Hormayr.”

Be it remembered, this “writer” was conjectured
to be Baron Hormayr himself !
142 PREFACE.

It was once resolved to affix, in the margin of
each page of the following work, the authority for
each incident and each trait of character there given ;
but this was abandoned as unnecessary, after the
assertion that this “ Life may be deemed authentic
in all leading particulars.

Many passages are given in the precise words of
the writer quoted, and not one public action inserted
but upon authority.

In the scenes of private life only, the Author has
sometimes taken the liberty of finding words and
expression for what was spoken and thought. The
old father is the only person introduced who is nat
named in one or other of the publications.
HOFER.

Trot! thou shield of Austria! justly, dost
thou merit that name. Thy sheltering, inaccessible
mountains, thy firm and valiant sons, present an
impregnable front to the invading foe, a safe re-
fuge to the confiding friend. Thy long-withdraw-
ing vales, smiling in peace and plenty, and guarded
by snow-clad Alps frowning in towering grandeur,
are worthy of the inhabitants they own—a hardy
race, calm and gracious as their own tranquil vales
in peace; in war, stern and lofty as their own
rugged and aspiring mountains. Prompt and in-
vincible in defensive warfare, the only warfare
rational creatures should wage, thy brave sons, O
Tyrol ! uncursed by ambition, untouched by the de-
sire of conquest, rush not uncalled upon offensive
144 HOFER,

war. Content with their own domain, they seek
no farther acquisition; loving peace, they respect
that of their neighbours ; and, whilst guarding their
own freedom, spread their protecting barrier over
Austria’s plains.

Land of the mountain and the vale! let a stranger-
hand depict thy varied surface. Here, rich in woods
and corn-fields; there, in meads and vineyards.
Now the eye wanders over plains, where the
soft azure blossoms of the flax wave amidst its
own bright grassy verdure; now it rests on vast
plantations of the Indian weed, whose tall stems
and spreading foliage depict a mimic forest. Now
it pauses on the graceful clumps of mulberry-trees,
whose leaves nourish the beauteous tribes of silk-
worms; now expatiates on flaunting orchards, gay
with Spring’s bloom or Autumn’s fruits. Deep in
the sheltered valley, the village peeps from its woody
coverture ; the little hamlet smiles tranquil by the
clear river’s brink; the lone chalet uprears its
simple roof on the rocky cliff, or by the mountain’s
side, or in the sheltered nook.

The expanded lake spreads its wide bosom, bound-
ed by woodlands, pastures, bushy dells and dingles,
and smooth sloping lawns, thickly decked by farms,
THE TYROLESE. 145

and cots, and villages. Thence issues the river,
at first gently flowing, soon foaming over rocks,
and rushing down the mountain’s side,—its rapid
wave, again tranquillized, meanders calmly through
the lowly vale. At the foot of Alpine heights,
the trickling mountain-rills unite, and form a
stream, which, passing forward, receives the tribute
of brooks and rivulets; and thus swollen to a river,
majestically flows through the plain, and washes
the edifices of the city, bearing on its bosom the
bounding bark and stately vessel. Thus the Inn,
a tuft-bound rivulet in the Innthal, flows a noble
stream through Innspruck, and thence passing
out of Tyrol, crosses Bavaria, and falls into the
Danube at Passau. Rich fields and forests lie
on its banks, whilst here and there the ruins of a
fort or castle frown in shattered majesty upon the
summit of some rugged precipice. Rows of chest-
nuts-tree border the roads; whilst the craggy
pinnacles of the Brenner, the loftiest of the Tyrolese
Alps, form a stately ridge behind the city of Inn-
spruck, a frame worthy of the picture it incloses.
Whilst the playful kid and bounding goat browse
on the cliffs, and spring from point to point, the
dark woods are tenanted by bears, wolves, and
10
146 HOFER,

foxes. Extensive glaciers lie a short ride from
Innspruck, so that the wanderer who leaves all the
bloom of summer in the valley, can in a few hours
transport himself to the sterility of winter. Glaciers
have been finely described as the tumultuous waves
of ocean suddenly frozen—-a wide undulated ex-
panse of ice, bounded by majestic mountains capped
with snow—the white glittering level here and there
broken by dark points of rock, arising’ sharp and
sterile amid the frost-bound motionless sea. A
few wild birds sometimes flit across the rude icy
desert, their cry the only sound that breaks the
awful stillness, save when the tempest lowers,
and the caves and rocks receive or oppose the
howling blast—save when the thunder roars, and
the stupendous mountains echo the awful sounds—
now near now distant—approaching, receding, and
dying away in the far valley.

Such the country—What then the people ?—
worthy surely of the interesting land they inhabit.

It was a saying of the Emperor Maximilian,
“that the Tyrol was like a peasant’s frock, coarse
indeed, but right warm.”

In every invasion of foreign force, the Tyrolese
distinguished themselves by their courage and pa-
THE TYROLESE. 147

triotism, and by their devotion to the house of Aus-
tria. Even women and children joined their hus-
bands and fathers in protecting their native land.
The Bavarians have been repeatedly foiled in their
attempts on the Tyrol; and, in 1774, the French
allies of Prussia were completely routed by those
hardy mountaineers. 'The princes of Austria, with
the title of Counts of Tyrol, appear to have go-
verned this brave and generous people ‘with mild-
ness and good policy; for we have a delightful
picture of the state of this country previous to the
late revolution of France?

The Tyrol, bounded on the west by Switzerland,
has much similitude to that enchanting country,
in the character of its inhabitants and the peculiar-
ities of its landscapes. An ardent love of liberty—
a spirit of hardy independence, frankness, loyalty—
a serious but cheerful demeanour—these are the lead-
ing traits that distinguish the Tyrolese equally with
the Swiss. They have also a national melody
peculiar to themselves ; and the wild deep notes of
these Alpine shepherds, as they wander amid their
rock-bound valleys, are echoed by the herdsmen
roving on the towering mountain’s brow. Snow-
clad Alps stretch their proud summits in every di-
148 HOFER,

rection, and in every direction inclose smiling vales
enriched with hamlets and cottages.

The Tyrolese employ the summer in rearing
silkworms—in pursuing the chase, (their favourite
occupation, and one which assists to render them
most admirable marksmen)—in cultivating the vine,
the maize, hemp, flax, and tobacco. When the
business of their own rural domain is finished, some
of them wander to other lands to earn a humble
subsistence. These roving groups are often seen
beguiling the fatigues of travelling with the sounds
of the hurdy-gurdy, each rambler carrying his knap-
sack and his little hoard of oaten bread. By the
winter every scattered family is again collected in
its sheltered cot, and the rigours of that gloomy
season are forgotten amidst the occupations of do-
mestic life. Spinning, knitting, embroidery, employ
the women, while the turning lathe and other
manly labours occupy the men. These domestic
occupations, which draw and keep together the
members of families, appear evidently to ameliorate
the human character, and to cherish the social
and kindly feelings; for wherever they are pre-
valent, there the better virtues dwell. Amid the
ice-bound solitudes of Tyrol, the Alpine guarded
THE TYROLESE. 149

valleys of Switzerland, the long dark nights of
Iceland, we hear of much social virtue and diffused
knowledge. Legislators would do well to look to
these striking facts, and, in their decrees, counten-
ance whatever shall endear nome to the beings they
desire to benefit.

The isolated situation of their chalets and vil-
lages obliges the T'yrolese to exert their ingenuity
and labour to supply all their dwn wants. . Hence
much mechanical skill is often displayed by these
industrious mountaineers ; and their cabins are sel-
dom deficient in whatever conduces to the comfort
of existence. The wide mountain streams, dashing
from cliff to cliff, are guided to turn the mill, and
irrigate the soil. The stones torn from the tower-
ing rock, are fashioned into statues to grace their
churches and private sanctuaries. That these pieces
of sculpture are sometimes completed with extra-
ordinary skill and elegance, is proved by the re-
mark of a modern traveller, Kotzebue, who says
that there is a stone in the Cabinet of Antiquities at
Paris, so exquisitely cut by Pichler, a native of
Tyrol, that the first connoisseur in antiquities,
Winkelman, was so completely deceived, that he
wrote a treatise on it, and had a copper-plate en-
150 HOFER,

graving made of it, feeling confident it was of an-
cient workmanship.

Other travellers also speak with high commen-
dation of Pierre Arick, as the first geographer in
Germany—Pierre Arick, a simple Tyrolese herds-
man! Numerous other instances might be given
of superior talent and superior skill displayed by
the natives of the Tyrol; but it is impossible to
know their character and the habits of their life,
without judging that perfection in some art or
science must often be the result. A spirit of free-
dom and independence, and the constant view of
magnificent mountain-scenery, must engender high
heroic thoughts; and the constant exertion of in-
vention and industry must give the mechanical
power of embodying those thoughts in grand or
beautiful designs.

In one of the proclamations issued in 1809 by
the Archduke John to the Tyrolese, he reminds
them that the Tyrol was called “the shield of Aus-
tria” by the Emperor Maximilian I.; and that
Charles V. of renowned memory, still more empha-
tically named it “the heart of Austria.”

The peace and happiness of these brave moun-
taineers had been more than once invaded, and,
THE TYROLESE. 151

by their loyalty and valour, had been more than
once defended and preserved. In 1805 the united
forces of France and Bavaria were successfully
opposed by the Tyrolese; but in the peace that
followed, the Emperor of Austria yielded the Tyrol
to: the demand of the Corsican Usurper, who, after
draining it of ali the wealth he could wrench from
it, made over the unhappy province to his vassal
the King of Bavaria.

The Tyrolese, justly indignant at this base and
cruel transaction, were farther goaded to desperation
by the rapacious measures of their new sovereign.
The Prince of Bavaria, disloyal to the imperial
house of Germany, and treacherous to his former
fellow-subjects the Tyrolese, acted as the tyrant
rather than the monarch of his unjustly-acquired
dominion. New impositions were daily levied and
cruelly extorted, ancient laws abolished, and free-
dom and independence diminished and fettered by
fresh enactments. The churches were robbed, and
public edifices destroyed or sold. 'The people were
every where treated with the most unfeeling bru-
tality ; the women insulted, and the men defied.

Yor three years the Tyrolese endured these mani-
fold injuries with a stern and gloomy composure,
152 HOFER,

arising from their anticipation of the proper moment
ofrevenge. It was the lull of the tempest muster-
ing its forces to burst forth with deadly and concen-
trated strength. The impatiently desired moment
arrived: Austria permitted an insurrection, and in
an instant the Tyrol was in arms.

As chief and director of these valorous bands, the
name of Horer is handed down to posterity in the
annals of fame. Just when his country needed a
guiding head and valiant arm, this hero started
from his humble rank to rally the patriotic sons of
Tyrol! Who was he ?—A simple herdsman, and
the son of a simple herdsman. Let us turn a mo-
ment from the bloody page of war, to trace the gen-
tle and guileless history of this lowly mountaineer
—of him who is named among the first of the small
patriot band who planned, and for a while effected,
the liberation of Tyrol.

In the sheltered and beautiful vailey* of Passeyr,
Andreas Hofer drew his first breatht—the village
of Sands his birth-place—the name of his mother,
Marie Aignetleiterin. The dwelling of his father

* This charming valley is so romantic, that it has been called <
the Tyrolean Switzerland.
+ 2nd of November, 1767.
rHE TYROLESE. 153

had often given shelter to the wearied and bewil-
dered wanderer. Unlike the proud hotel or wretch-
ed auberge of other climes," the resting-places for
travellers amid the hills and vales of Tyrol are
generally the residence of some respectable farmer, -
who, in addition to his other rural duties, opens a
hospitable door, where rest is most needed, to the
tired and friendless pilgrim.

Andreas Hofer, no doubt, pursued the plan of
ready hospitality his father had adopted ; and hence
those unacquainted with his country and its cus-
toms have deemed him a common innkeeper. It
was not so; but, had it been so, the circumstance
would have added to, rather than detracted from his
merit.

The education of Hofer had been superior to that
usually given to persons in his rank of life. He
spoke the Italian language fluently, and was uni-
versally respected for his piety, his honesty, and
his loyalty. At an early age he distinguished him-
self as one of tht Tyrolese representatives in the
‘ Diet of 1790, where he appeared as the chosen de-
puty of the valley of Passeyr. In his youthful

® See Richard Lassel’s Voyage of Italy, 1670; Paris
154 HOFER,

days, he had taken an active part in those valorous
efforts by which the French and Bavarians were
repeatedly opposed and defeated; and for such his
gallant services the Emperor rewarded him with a
gold medal of honour, and with the Order of Maria
Theresa. .

During the three terrible years of slavery, Hofer
thrice appeared at the Court of Vienna, to represent
the misery of his injured countrymen, and to im-
plore the aid of Austria to avenge their wrongs, or
permission for them to emancipate themselves.

Chosen by his valesmen to head them in every
warlike enterprise, he had also been elected by them
to a post of magisterial dignity. Thus possessing
pre-eminence of station, he resolved also to demon-
stiate pre-eminence of merit: to demonstrate, not to
display ; for, in all his actions, Hofer proved himself
a inan of singular modesty and humility.

A knowledge of public affairs informed him of
the season when an effort to recover the indepen-
dence of his country might be most favourably
made: a slight gleam of encouragement from Aus-
tria decided his movements.

_At-this interesting moment, Hofer was in the
prime of manhood, his form herculean, his eye dark
THE TYROLESE. 155

and penetrating, his step firm and majestic. Such
were his attractions as a soldier. As aman and a
commander, he possessed, with these military quali-
fications, others singularly adapted to render him
beloved and popular. His voice was soft and gra-
cious, and calculated to inspire confidence and
esteem; whilst a singular expression of benignity
in his smile won every heart, and cheered
every bosom. When engaged in the offices of de-
votion, he displayed the meek humility and resig-
nation of a Christian. “In every action,” says
the historian, “his talents were as remarkable as his
courage.”

His usual dress was that of his country—a dark
green coat, the neck and part of the breast open; a
broad-brimmed green hat; and a black girdle, to
which appended his sword. In the field of battle,
he was simply distinguished, as commander, by
wearing a long heron’s feather in his hat. On days
of festival and public rejoicing, he appeared with
the gold medal of honour, and the cross of Maria
Theresa hanging by a large golden chain upon his
breast. He had permitted his beard to grow; and
when on horseback, was especially considered a
most imposing figure.
156 HOFER,

Such was his tender and passionate attachment
to his country, that a word relating to the prosrerity
of Tyrol, a reference to the persons or the fortunes
of the house of Austria, would draw the ready tear
to his dark eye, and render him incapable of utter-
ing a single word ; although, according to the testi-
mony of those who witnessed his fate, he acted
under the most trying moments of selfish strug-
gles—

«Come un erce Cristiano, e martire intrepido.”*

During a short visit to Vienna, Hofer assisted in
devising the spirited and able scheme for the restor-
ation of his country to her legitimate sovereign; a
scheme which, though known to many, was by none
betrayed.

Austria gave the signal of encouragement, and in
an instant the Tyrol was in arms! Hofer, awaiting
this signal, was devoting himself to social and do-
mestic duties. It is easy to picture his state :—His
vine-clad dwelling placed beneath the mountain’s
sheltering covert, surrounded by rural sheds and
rural implements ; his herds wandering in the home

® As a Christian hero, and an intrepid martyr.
THE TYROLESE. 157

pasture, his flocks straying on the Alpine heights; a
wife, a son, a daughter, perchance a grey-haired fath-
er, seated within his lowly cottage—that cottage, the
scene where all the best affections of the human heart
had been long exerted and enjoyed—where all its
noblest duties had been long understood and fulfilled.
Amid the storms of winter, haply some benighted
traveller shared the comforts of the warm stove and
hospitable meal, whilst near the lamp Hofer pursued
in quiet, not suilen silence, the labours of his lathe,
and looked up only to smile a welcome to the stran-
ger guest. By his side, his wife—let us name her
Constance—plied the humming wheel, answering
each speaking glance of her husband by looks of
love and duty, and stopping her wheel to superin-
tend domestic business—to dispense social comfort,
to hear, arid pity, and relieve a neighbour’s plaints.
The little ones, now at their grandsire’s knee, now
at their father’s ; now kissing their mother’s cheek,
now kindly pressing the stranger’s hand, and now
tottering to the door, loaded with food or fuel for
the imploring beggar. The aged grandsire with a
few silvery locks sprinkled on his high bold fore-
head, with loquacious earnestness amusing the
guest with tales of other times, when Tyrol was
158 HOFER,

free, and happy, and independent, under the sove-
reignty of her legitimate lords. Haply the old man
would have intermingled in his tale some instances
of his son’s prowess and his son’s glory, but that
that modest son would check with a glance, a blush,
those effusions of garrulous old age. So of Tyrol
only could the veteran speak; and as he narrated
sad or inspiriting events, Constance would sigh,
and shudder, and look upon Hofer with tearful
eyes ; whilst Hofer’s flushing brow, and indignant
start, and muttered imprecation, expressed the
varied emotions pent up in his bosom.

In summer, the evening sun would behold the
assembled family beneath the shade of the dark
chestnuts that embowered their cabin. It was the
hour of rest and relaxation ; and the merry villagers
would mark the hour by the mirthful music pecu-
liar to their country, and by the light-hearted dance
common to all rustic revelry. The gay sounds,
floating on the gale, would reach the domestic
group, and awaken social sympathy. The children
frolicked to the well-known air; and the old grand-
sire, to please them, would “ frisk beneath the bur-
den of fourscore.” ‘The distaff would fall from the
hand of Constance; and, lost in tender musings,
THE TYROLESE. 159

she would, yield her softened soul to the full infiu-
ence of the peaceful moment. Meanwhile Hofer,
calm, grave, and thoughtful, as he marked the sun
descend in effulgent glory behind the Alpine heights,
would gaze in silence on those rude bulwarks of his
country, and compute how many times that orb
must sink and rise ere Freedom once again should
smile on Tyrol. With folded arms, leaning on the
majestic tree beneath whose spreading branches his
family reposed, long meditating, would Hofer stand,
his countenance faithfully expressing his mental
abstraction ;—his lip curled high with disdain—his
eye darting defiance—the pallid hue of deep re-
venge blanching his cheek—or the glowing warmth
of generous passion mantling his brow. ll around
respected the silence of the mountain hero; and
not even a menial dared to interrupt his frequent
musings.

Suddenly, however, it was observed that these
fits of abstraction had disappeared—that slow and
heavy movements had given place to an unusual
quickness of motion and a peculiar brightness of
look. Constance observed this change in her hus-
band with a prophetic anxiety of spirit. She did
not dare to question ; for, though on his own affairs
160 HOFER,

Hofer had not one secret for his wife, yet on public
matters he was strictly reserved, even to her. The
early spring was showing its first tender buds, the
storms of winter were hushed, and the snow had
disappeared in the valleys and was thawing on the
mountain’s side. The valesmen of Passeyr were
daily assembling, sooner in the sedson than was
their custom, to shoot at a mark and practise their
military exercises. Among these Hofer was con-
stantly seen; and being the best marksman in the
valley, his counsel and approbation instructed and
encouraged his rustic associates. In their mimic
battles he was always elected commander : but, the
diurnal service finished, he resigned his rank; and
he who was the vigilant and active chieftain at
noon, was in the evening the unassuming and social
fellow-valesman.

Some peasants had been observed to pass be-
tween the village of Sands, the residence of Hofer
in Passeyr, and Innspruck, the capital of Tyrol. It
was thought these men were the bearers of letters
between this popular hero and his military friends
in the capital. The old man, to whom alone his
son respectfully confided all important secrets, was
seen to step with an air of renovated youth, and
THE TYROLESE. 161

with a look of mysterious triumph. He no longer
talked of Tyrol’s slavery and T'yrol’s oppression.
The recollection of freedom and of happiness, as
things past, and not likely to be recovered, was no
longer the theme of his evening tale. He had
ceased to sigh and to look fearful. He spoke of
liberty, and felicity, and independence; and his
rustic hearers kindled as he spoke. Their spirits,
hushed by a sense of duty and prudence, but never
quenched by fear, were ready to arouse and sparkle
at the slightest signal. Of those who encircled
the aged Hofer in his nightly conferences, or joined
his ardent son in his matin exercises, all were
noticed to retire with flushed cheeks and eyes
darting defiance. Nothing had been developed ;
the secret, if there. was a secret, had been religiously
concealed by hundreds ; not one of the uninitiated
ever thought to ask a question; all seemed con-
fident that whatever Hofer planned must be for
the good of all; and that therefore to be prepared
and prompt, at the first signal, to fulfil his bidding,
was all that remained for them to do.

Such was the state of men’s minds, and such the
posture of affairs, when the memorable 10th of
April, 1809, approached. T'wo evenings preceding

11
162 . HOFER,

that day, a courier galloped into Sands, and shouted
aloud to Hofer, that sawdust was seen floating on
the river Inn, the concerted signal of revolt.

In announcing this intelligence, so well under-
stood by Hofer, the messenger gave him copies of a
proclamation he had assisted the other chiefs in pre-
paring, and which were now to be distributed :—-

« Tyrolese !

“Be brave, be unanimous! It is necessary for
the redemption of your country. Powder and
shot shall be the food of your enemies; they will
find a surer way to their hearts than your prayers
or your misfortunes. We will oppose them with
arms, and the ancient Tyrolese courage. Every
thing may the enemy plunder. We promise you
compensation and vengeance. He is a traitor and
a coward who leserts to their standard. In the
fields, the forests, and the mountains, which .God
hath given you, where your children have sought
refuge from oppression, we your deliverers are at
hand to receive you with open arms, and to bring
you, in a few days, back to your houses.

“Take care that you are prepared, as the Aus-
trians are within your frontiers. But be cautious,
and let not idle reports deceive you. Brave not
THE TYROLESE. 163

openly the power of your enemies, but let them not
gain the heights ;—there you must remain masters,
to keep them day and night in perpetual anxiety,
and to harrass them by constant skirmishes.

“ Cut off all their communications ; that, deprived
of provisions and intelligence, they may become
alarmed and fly before you. As soon as you see
the Austrians at your frontiers, announce the joy-
ous intelligence throughout the whole country by
beacon-fires and alarm-bells. Young and old, to
arms! for your liberty, your welfare, your deliv-
erance !”

Private letters at the same time informed Hofer,
that the Archduke John was at Grotz, and Field-
Marshal Chastellar at Clagenfurt—both generals
at the head of some Austrian troops, and both
ready to receive Tyrolese volunteers. Such was
the momentous information conveyed to the moun-
tain chief and his valesmen. However prepar-
ed for the intelligence, Hofer received it with
emotions of the most lively gratitude, and, throwing
the bonnet from his head, as if in respect to the
news he was about to disclose, he briefly harangued
the crowd in that short instant collected around
him. “'Tyrolese !” he exclaimed, “the moment of
464 HOFER,

deliverance is at hand; our Emperor is ready to
protect us—our friends at Innspruck are in arms—
shall our hands long be weaponiess?” A patriotic
shout ran along the listening line, and ere the
dawn developed the mountain’s dark brow or valley’s
silver stream, the warlike bands were formed and
armed, and Hofer was their selected chief. The
hands of Constance trembled as she aided to arm
her soldier, and the blood had forsaken her quiver-
ing lip, but she uttered no enfeebling plaint. She
even sought to meet his resplendent smile with an-
swering smiles. Hofer saw the struggle, and loved
her more dearly for the heroic effort. His words
breathed nothing but hope, and joy, and confidence,
and one warm parting kiss on her pale cheek went
glowing to her heart. He left her; she saw his
plumed cap and glittering sabre leading and guiding
the ardent troops; she watched till the windings
of the valley hid the last glimpse of the last warrior;
she listened till the interposing rocks obstructed
the last sounds of warlike music ; then, taking her
little ones by the hand, she knelt down in a corner
Jf her cottage, and prayed for her husband and her
country.

Whilst night yet contended with morning, and
THE TYROLESE. 165

a dim light enveloped the landscape, the dark sum-
mit of the mountains, along their extended range,
was suddenly illuminated with a hundred bonfires.
As the assembled crowd of women and children,
and grey-haired peasants, gazed on this prodigy, a
distant shout was heard, as from Hofer and his
band rejoicing at the blazing signal ; and then some
among the crowd explained that these flames were
the concerted sign, how far the insurrection ex
tended. Instantly all hands were occupied in rais-
ing a pile on the nearest heights, and soon a volume
of flame was ascending, the signal of revolt in the
Passeyr. Some heard, or fancied they heard, the
_ approving shout of their marching valesmen greet-
ing the blaze.

A long, long day of intense anxiety slowly passed
—another followed—the third brought tidings of
joyful import. All Tyrol was in arms; at Inn-
spruck, Halle, and Sterzing, the French and Bava-
rians had been attacked and everywhere defeated.
Numbers had been slain, still greater numbers
taken prisoners. The entry of the Austrian troops,
under their brave general, Marshal Chastellar, was
one continued triumph, for the Tyrolese had al-
ready mastered their tyrants. The small detach-
166 HOFER,

ments of the enemy’s forces, well armed and disci-
plined, had been everywhere cut to pieces by the
rude undisciplined peasantry. The mountain chiefs
had everywhere defeated their foreign foes. Chas-
tellar arrived to share the sweets of victory, without
having suffered the perils of contest. This was
as the Tyrolese desired it should be. They
needed but Austria’s permission to liberate them-
selves. That granted, and, as the lion throws off
the puny fetters imposed by man, so Tyrol shook
off its chains and was free. Chastellar and his Aus-
trians were welcomed with acclamations of loyalty
at every village, town, and hamlet, through which
they passed in their way to the capital. Bells rang
and cannons roared ; old age, and youth, and child-
hood, gr2eted them as dear friends come to share
in their prosperity and rejoice in their emancipa-
tion.

Hofer, in the mean time, was on full march to
meet a fresh invading force at Sterzing. In spite
of his utmost exertion, he could not reach the fron-
tier before a partial skirmish had taken place; a
detachment of the French had penetrated to Brixen.
The bridge of Laditch, formed of a single arch,
suspended between two tremendous rocks, over
THE TYROLESE. 167

which the road passes from Innspruck to Italy, was
the point of contention. In spite of the vast supe-
riority of numbers and of discipline on the side of
the French, they attempted in vain to break the
line of the Tyrolese by a severe and continued
fire; the brave mountaineers firmly stood their
ground. in the evening, of French infantry and cavalry;
enabled them rather to overwhelm than conquer the
defenders of their country. At this critical moment,
a few Austrian light horse and chasseurs appeared
on the heights. The dismayed enemy fled on all
sides, and the reanimated Tyrolese pursued them
towards Botzen, and made nearly the whole of them
prisoners.

Hofer and his valesmen had now arrived on the
mountains above Sterzing. The Bavarians im-
mediately attacked him and his patriot band. The
Tyrolese soldiers made a desperate charge; the
peasants, armed with spears and rural implements,
rushed like a torrent on the foe—some hurling
rocks and trunks of trees from the overhanging
heights. In the heat of the engagement, a female
peasant, Josephine Negretti, appeared encouraging
her countrymen, and herself taking an active part
168 HOFER,

in the bloody struggle. What skill, what physicat
force, can conquer men fighting for their country ?
The Tyrolese were victors. Hofer flew from post
to post, to guide rather than inspire courage ; and
the combat finished, he speeded to circulate in every
quarter, that mercy was the brightest floweret in
the victor’s wreath. In obedience to this heaven-
taught maxim, the work of slaughter was stayed,
and the residue of the defeated enemy was saved.
Nearly six hundred prisoners were conducted to the
castle of Baron Sternach, at Wolfsthrun, a league
distant from the field of battle.

Scarcely had Hofer accepted the surrender of
these discomfited troops, and provided for their
safety—scarcely had he surveyed his own brave
followers, and given directions for the care of the
‘wounded and the refreshment of the fatigued, when
other claims demanded his attention. The blood
yet unwiped from his sabre, the dust yet unwashed
from his brow, he relieved the exhaustion of his
frame by a little coarse food taken standing, and
with undecayed energy of mind prepared to com-
mence new efforts. The French had entered by
Mantua, and joined the Bavarians at Brixen. In
their march they had committed every act of:
THE TYROLESE. 169

brutality which lawless power and ruffian cruelty
could devise. With the earliest peep of dawn,
Hofer gave orders for a general march upon Brixen.
As he headed his troops through the mountain
defile, what a scene met his view !—cottages, farms,
villages, smouldering in their ashes, or casting
up volumes of flames. He could not utter the
agony of his soul, but, tightly clenching his sword,
he pointed to the havock, and spurred his horse
into a gallop. In descending into the ravaged
vale, he met numerous parties of the ill-fated beings
whom a base enemy had driven from their desolated
dwellings. Youth and manhood were not there
—and scarcely an aged peasant, for every veteran
able to wield a sword or handle a spear had joined
the army. On decrepit age, on feeble womanhood,
on trembling infancy, the base barbarians had
spent that fury they dared not wreak on men. The
tottering grandsire, leaning on a weeping daughter’s
arm—the distracted mother, huddling around her
shrieking babes—the tender virgin, supporting the
steps of a grey-haired parent—and trembling girls,
bearing in their arms some favourite kid or petted
chicken—and daring boys, half-mad with rage and
- impotence, roaring aloud deep threats of future
170 HOFER,

vengeance ; such were the objects that arrested Ho-
fer in his speed. Suddenly reigning in his horse,
his eyes were cast upwards, as if to ask, “Is there
no thunder in heaven, that this should be?’ But
the trembling fugitives have surrounded him, one
grasping his knee, another seizing his hand, another
hanging in powerless despondency with arms around
his waist. Not a word is spoken. The silent plead-
ing is beyond the power of words. Hofer, touched
to his inmost soul, wipes from his pallid cheek the
sweat of agony—the tear of pity. One deep moan
bursts in low tones from his oppressed bosom, and a
few scarce intelligible words issue from his lips.
“Great God! help me!”

But his troops have pressed forward, and now
joined him. In an instant each rapid step is halted.
The music stops—a deadly pause ensues—a mo-
mentary pause; yet time has been given for every
heart to bind itself by solemn oaths to avenge the
misery before it. Another moment, and Hofer’s
gleaming sabre, waving over his head, seems the
signal that every oath has been heard and register-
ed. A piercing universal shout bursts forth, and
with the cry of “Vengeance! vengeance !” the war-
like band rush forward. The poor fugitives, assured
THE TYROLESE. 171

of succour and protection, now stand aside, and feel
that Hofer is plighted to their service ; and whilst he
speeds to recover their homes, they sit down in
groups upon the mountain in patient stillness to
watch his steps—now confident that no enemy dare
approach them.

Arrived in the vale, the troops form in military
order, and Hofer, afraid lest in the fury of awakened
wrath they should in turn commit the excesses they
deprecate, now seeks to tranquillise their feelings, by
addressing to them the proclamation prepared in the
spirit of mercy by his friend Hormayr :

“Tyrolese ! You have proved yourselves worthy
to be free ; do not therefore give way to indignation
and become ungovernable. Act with coolness and
unanimity, determined to die, or to be free. To in-
jure the feeble,.s contemptible. No Tyrolese will
allow himself to be accused of such baseness. Who-
ever commits any excess, even against the foe, shall
be treated as an enemy to his country ; his strength
is to be used only in her defence.”

Such was the address of Hormayr, and, delivered
as it was with impressive energy by Hofer, its effect
was instantaneous. As the waves of the ocean lull
after a storm, when the calm gale smoothes every
172 HOFER,

ruffle, so the angry passions were hushed by the
tranquillising voice of mercy. Hofer saw around
him men, not ruffians—men with all the kindly af-
fections of men, courage, pity, fortitude—not ruf-
fians, devoted solely to butchery and destruction.
Hofer arrived in the Innthal just at the moment
all the peasants there were rushing to arms. The
women and children were running about the valley
presenting to every one small billets, containing the
words, “Svist zeit”——It is time. This wassthe pre-
concerted signal to denote that all was ready, that
hostilities had commenced. A tremendous conflict
ensued. ‘Twenty thousand Tyrolese appeared in
arms. All the roads through which the enemy
could retreat were broken up or barricadoed by trees.
The peasants began the attack, waving their hats
and crying aloud, “ Long live the Emperor Francis!
—down with the Bavarians!” Colonel Dittfurt, at
the head of some Bavarians, alternately menaced and
encouraged his troops. Two desperate wounds
brought him to the ground: he continued to fight
on his knees till loss of blood rendered him sense-
less. He was made prisoner, and carried to Inn-
spruck. As he lay dying in the guard-house, he
asked who had been the leader of the peasants.
THE TYROLESE. 173

“No one,” was the answer ; “we fought equally for
God, the Emperor, and our native Country.”
“That is surprising,” answered Dittfurt, “for I
saw your General frequently pass me on his white
steed.”

The superstitious peasantry believed indeed some
saint had appeared amidst them; but in a combat
in which such men as Hofer commanded and fought,
the rational observer will conclude the expiring
officer had seen a mortal man, though making god-
like efforts.

The victory was decisive. After three days’
desperate fighting, the Tyrolese found themselves
undisputed masters of Innspruck and the country
adjoining. All the enemy were disarmed and had
surrendered. Every Tyrolese made prisoner in
former skirmishes was restored to liberty. The
vanquished foe marched to strong places of confine-
ment under a female escort, as men could not be
spared to guard them; and amidst the universal
rejoicing that followed this glorious conquest, there
was one cause of gratulation worthy of a brave and
generous people; the Tyrolese could not be taxed
with any act of cruelty or revenge on a nation from
whom they had suffered so many brutal and un-
174 HOFER,

provoked injuries. ‘The French attempted in vain
to affix on them the stain of conduct inhuman as
their own. 'The charge could not be substantiated ;
the prisoners could not deny that they were treated
with clemency. 'The wounded were not unwilling
to acknowledge the kindness and benevolence they
had experienced; and though a few Tyrolese,
goaded by their wrongs beyond mortal patience,
might have for a moment forgotten the dictates
of mercy, yet such instances were rare, and (the
provocation considered) not difficult to forgive.
Thus, whilst the courage and patriotism of the
Tyrolese command the homage of posterity, their
clemency and forbearance shall long be the example
and the boast of Europe.

Hofer now led his valesmen of Passeyr into Bot-
zen, where he was soon after appointed to command
the right wing of the army, consisting of the pea-
sants of Etschtal and of his own valley, and with
these troops proceeded to station himself between
Trent and Romagnano. Desperate but inconclu-
sive skirmishes witt the enemy kept alive the
spirit of this little band of patriots ; and their com-
mander, hearing at that time that his friend Leinin-
gen was greatly harrassed by the enemy at Lavis.
THE TYROLESE. 176

by rapid marches suddenly joined him. This
union of two favourite chiefs was hailed by the
people as a most propitious omen. Field-Marshal
Chastellar, general of the Austrian forces, presented
Hofer with a handsome sword and a pair of pistols,
as a testimony of his approbation ; for while many
peasants, deceived by a false report, circulated by
the French, that Austria had deserted the cause of
Tyrol, retired to their homes and fastnesses, Hofer
kept together his valiant band, inspiring them with
his own resolution—to forsake his country only
with his life.

Leiningen, after mature consultation with his
friend, made Trent his head-quarters, and began to
fortify Castella, whilst Hofer carried on the war in
the open country with unabated vigour and activity.
The T'yrolese -had sustained many disasters on
their frontiers, and the French and Bavarians were
gaining ground daily. Hofer marched his troops
wherever the danger seemed most pressing, and al-
most everywhere victory attended his steps. Deroy,
a Bavarian general, boasted of having conquered
him, because, though his own troops were twice
driven from their ground by the impetuous Tyrol-
ese, yet, after sustaining a long contest, the latter
176 HOFER,

appeared to be giving way about five in the after-
noon. A tremendous storm, which just then inter-
vened, might be considered the real victor, for both
armies retired before its violence, and next day De-
roy thought proper to retreat before the troops he
said he had conquered! During the absence of
Hofer, Innspruck had again fallen into the hands of
the enemy, but it was destined to be soon recovered
from their power. On the 29th of May the engage-
ment took place, which a second time delivered
Tyrol from the Bavarians. On the evening pre-
ceding this glorious day, Hofer addressed a short
energetic letter to the surrounding peasantry, cha-
racteristic of himself :—
“ Dear brethren of the Innthal,

“For God, the Emperor, and our dear native
Land,—To-morrow is fixed for the attack. Come
to our assistance, or we will do without you.

“ Horer.”

In some such words ran the brief and energetic
address. Ad] who heard it, obeyed the summons.
At four in the morning the Tyrolese commenced
their march, and the battle raged at once in many
quarters. During a conflict near a farm, a young
‘girl brought out a small cask of wine to refresh the
THE YROLESE. 177

peasants. Regardless of the tremendous fire of the
Bavarians, she boldly advanced towards the scene
of action, bearing the barrel on her head. A bullet
struck it, and compelled her to stop. Undaunted
by this circumstance, she remained on the spot
urging the soldiers to accept of the refreshment she
had brought. Another girl, aged only eighteen,
assumed man’s attire, and used a rifle with the ut-
most dexterity. When such undaunted courage
was displayed by women, little hope could be ex-
pected of conquering the men. In fact, Tyrol was
never conquered. It was merely ceded by Austria
in her several treaties with France; and only by
the command of their own Sovereign did the Tyrol-
ese ever sheathe the sword.

Hofer advanced with the main body of the army
towards the town, in the midst of the enemy’s out-
posts. These were immediately carried, but the
enemy continued to make desperate exertions to
recover them. But these and every other effort
failed. Hofer and his brother chiefs entered Inn-
spruck in triumph, for the second time, the follow-
ing morning ; and had Austria taken just advantage
of this success, essential consequences must have
resulted. But Austria was blind to her true inter-

12
178 HOFER,

ests; and whilst the Tyrolese were thus magnani-
mously struggling for her and for themselves,
they were allowed to become the prey of the Gallic
chief.

The recovery of Innspruck served to revive the
drooping spirits of those who had despaired of suc-
cess, and had retired in dejection to their homes. Of
these, numbers again rallied around their native
banners, and thus a formidable force soon appeared
m arms. Baron Hormayr, one of the principal
chiefs, applied to his friend and coadjutor Hofer in
all cases of emergency. This mountain hero had
just been proclaimed commander-in-chief of the
whole of the South of the Tyrol, and well had he
earned this honourable rank ; his zeal and undeviat-
ing adherence to the cause of his country rendered
him the idol of the army, and his influence over
the minds of his countrymen enabled him to rule
and guide them as best suited their own interests,
and the views of their superior officers.

But the prosperity which now seemed within the
grasp of the Tyrolese, they were not permitted to
attain. Austria was in the power of France. Ten
thousand of her captured people, escaping from the
merciless foe, were received and clothed and fed
THE TYROLESE. 179

by the generous Tyrolese: yet the Tyrol was ceded
to Bavaria! ‘I'he despair of the Tyrolese at these
tidings knew no bounds. Assured that Austria had
worse than abandoned—had given them up to the
hated foe, some, deeming all offorts vain, retired,
oppressed with melancholy forebodings, to their
native fortresses, while the greater part resolved to
spill the last drop of their blood, rather than submit
to Bavaria.

Innspruck was now the rallying point of all who
despaired not of their country. Among them Hofer
failed not to appear, and was joyfully greeted as
their beloved and favourite chief. The general
murmur that ran along the crowd announced the
universal wish that he should accept the supreme
command. It was necessary, therefore, that he
should stand forth from the crowd, that he should
quit the modest obscurity in which he had stationed
himself, as only one among the many, and speak
aloud his sentiments. This he did simply and
briefly :—* My dear fellow-countrymen !—I have
heard your wishes, and am ready to obey them, for
I come here in any and in every way to serve my
native land. But let me remind you that my
gallant companion in arms, Count Leiningen, has
{80 HOFER,

stronger claims to your selection. Choose him for
your chief, brave Tyrolese, and assure yourselves
that your Hofer is prepared and willing to draw his
sword as simple commandant of the Passeyr vales
men. Whatever my station, whilst it pleases God
to spare my life, Tyrol will never want an arm, a
heart devoted to her service !”

Such an address was received, as it may be sup-
posed, with the loudest applause ; and Hofer’s manly
modesty was rewarded with its due meed. He was
instantly chosen commander-in-chief of the Tyrol-
ese by universal acclamation.

This was a proud moment for Hofer. From
among many brave and experienced generals he
had been elected to the first post in the gift of the
people. That people looked to him for their deliv-
erance from slavery, for their restoration to the rule
of their legitimate Sovereign. His was to be the
directing head, the guiding arm. This was indeed
a proud moment for Hofer. All hearts reposed on
him, all eyes were directed to him. In the glowing
transport of his joy, and gratitude, and laudable
triumph, all difficulties were forgotten or obviated.
His bosom, full of hope and ardour and courage,
swelled with a panting desire to do all that man
THE TYROLESE. 181

could do, whilst his confiding piety taught him to
resign the event to Him who alone can command
the issue of battles.

The instant it was known who was elected com-
mander-in-chief, hundreds of peasants flocked to
his standard, all relying on his valour, his good
fortune, and his mild government. Very soon, there-
fore, he found himself at the head of a formidable
body of men, panting to follow him and sacrifice
life in his service. The Austrian soldiers daily
deserted their own commanders, and hastened to
place themselves under Hofer. Whole regiments
at his approach quitted their posts, and marching in
good order to meet him, ranged themselves under
his banners. The whole of the Tyrol was thus at
once rendered unanimous in patriotism, and con-
fident that all must be well when Hofer command-
ed :—one spirit seemed to animate every bosom.

As money had long been wanting to procure
arms and other necessaries for the troops, Hofer
caused a new coin to be struck, bearing on one side
the Tyrolese eagle, crowned with laurels; and on
the other, the value of the piece, with these words,
“ According to the Convention—1809.”

Though Austria had signed an armistice with
182 HOFER,

France, yel, as the Tyrol never acknowledged this
treaty, Hofer had little leisure, during his supreme
command, for cultivating the arts of peace. All
that could be effected he did effect; thus giving
evidence that opportunity was alone wanting, for
him to prove useful as a statesman, as he had
proved valiant as a chief. The public records of
the time relate, that he encouraged commerce, and
discouraged luxury. He organized a formidable
army to guard the country in peace and defend it
in war; and such was his popularity and such the
confidence of the people in his ability and courage,
that hundreds daily flocked to his standard. In
this elevated situation, he preserved the same sim-
plicity of dress and manners that had distinguished
him when a humble valesmen of Passeyr. He re-
sided indeed in the Palace of Innspruck, because
his rank made it necessary that he should do so;
the head-quarters of the chief being also, of course,
the place for the accommodation and reception of
civil and military officers and subalterns.

The Duke of Dantzig (the detestable General
Lefebvre) now entered Tyrol to seize and retain it
for the Prince of Bavaria. At this inroad many of
the T'yrolese once more considered the cause of
THE TYROLESE. 183

freedom as lost, and retired from the scene of con-
tention. Even the gallant Hormayr, who had so
long struggled for his country, felt so acutely its
distressed state, that with a few of his friends he
accompanied the Austrian troops, when, according
to the treaty, they evacuated the Tyrol.

Before his departure he used his utmost endea-
vours to persuade Hofer not only to abandon his
project of carrying on so hopeless a war, but to
attend him in his retreat. His persuasions, how-
ever, had no effect. He had no other answer than
that “Hofer had vowed he would live or die with
his country, and that he would keep his vow.”

Hofer now retired to his native village: that the
motive which led him to do so was connected with
his public duty, is undeniably proved by this pub-
lished record, that whilst at Passeyr he was sum-
moned by Lefebvre to appear at Innspruck on the
llth of August. “I will do so,” replied the gallant
chief, “but it shall be at the head of ten thousand
riflemen.”

Was it with pain or pleasure that Constance once
more beheld her husband? ‘Were they sweet or
bitter tears that she shed upon his bosom? Assu-
redly the good predominated over the evil of that
184 HOFER,

trying moment, for he was safe, he was honoured,
he was faithful. The boy gazed with delight on
the plumed cap, the garnished sabre, and the few
splendid insignia of rank that adorned his father.
He smiled, delighted at the increased homage and
respect shown to their loved chief by his attending
troops; and the love of pomp and power then first
germed in his young heart. The old man held out
a shaking but an eager hand to welcome the deliv-
erer of his country. That that deliverer should be
his son, warmed his aged bosom with a joy the
most pure and exquisite. His wife, hanging on his
neck ; his son gazing up to him as if to catch the
inspiration of his spirit, whilst with boyish eager-
ness he strove to wield his well-tried sword ; his
father clasping his hand ;—thus placed, Hofer en-
joyed a few moments of such concentrated bliss,
as would have spread out to years of common
happiness.

A few days only could Hofer remain in the
Passeyr: it needed indeed but a few days to effect
all he desired—for the instant his arrival was an-
nounced his troop was completed. Again he ap-
peared in arms at the head of* his thousands, ready
for departure. Constance prayed to attend him—
THE TYROLESE. 1865

“Other women have dune so, why should not I?”
—“ And my old father, and our little ones ?” replied
Hofer. Her hand relaxed its grasp upon his arm.
The old man and the children hung around her,
she covered her eyes with her hand, and Hofer de-
parted.

Scarcely had this mountain hero marched his
band through the rocky defiles that guarded his
native valley, when, from the heights that overhang
the moor of Sterzing, he beheld the enemy approach-
ing in formidable numbers. Lefebvre lost no time
in attacking the patriots. Three times he assaulted
them, and three times was he repulsed with loss.
Ten thousand of his men were killed, fifteen hun-
dred taken prisoners, and eight pieces’ of cannon
lost. After four engagements, in every one of
which he was ‘worsted, he retreated towards Sterz-
ing. Hofer pursued and attacked him on the moor,
and after an immense loss, Lefebvre was driven
back to Innspruck, within the walls of which city
he was glad to take refuge on the 11th of August,
the very day he had summoned Hofer to appear at
Innspruck! Hofer’s return from the Passeyr.was
now known and hailed throughout the valley. His
presence inspired the patriots with new courage, his
186 HOFER,

army da'ly advanced in numbers and in enthusiasm.
The name of Hofer was sufficient to arouse those to
activity who still hesitated, and this success, which
marked the commencement of the war, confirmed
the most sanguine hopes of success.

Thus, without the aid of Austria, the Tyrolese
were rapidly driving the foe from their land; and
there can be no question that these brave patriots
would have regained and preserved their country
from their cruel invaders, had they been unshackled
by the claims of the Emperor. Hofer was every
day more beloved, and deemed the cause of every
success. The next victory he obtained, ever me-
* morable in the annals of Tyrol, caused him to be
considered as a deity; and Hofer’s famous battle
of the 12th of August is mentioned to this day
in Tyrol, with a degree of exultation not easy to
describe.

Aware of the approaching contest, Hofer had
made every previous disposition for battle with more
than his wonted caution and ingenuity. The
Tyrolese were posted on the mountain of Isel, the
scene of a former victory in the preceding spring.
Hofer, exhausted by his exertions, passed a night
of calm repose; and when Haspinger, one of his
THE TYROLESE. 187

faithful associates, came to receive his orders with
the earliest dawn, he found the warrior, so lately
enveloped in all the ardour and authority of com-
mand, so soon to be arrayed in all the energy and
distinction of supreme military rank, sleeping as
calmly as a tired and innocent child! one whis-
pered word awoke the sleeper. ‘The eye that
lay quiet beneath the lid, now was sparkling with
enthusiasm. The features that had been rest-
ing in peaceful repose, were now beaming with
strong and varied expression ; the gentle breath, that
scarce would have moved the down upon the feather,
was now drawn with quick and eager panting.
The wearied man had slept—the ardent soldier was
awake.

The two friends knelt down together, and united
in fervent prayer: that sacred duty fulfilled, Has-
pinger hastened to communicate to the dispersed
officers the latest orders of their chief. At ‘six in
the morning, a discharge of musketry announced
the bloody work begun. Hofer commanded in per-
son. Let us extract the historian’s detail of the
bloody day :—“ The Tyrolese were posted on the
heights which overhang the road, through which
the enemy seemed rather desirous to urge a safe re-
188 HOFER,

treat than to hazard a battle ; the river Inn, there an
impetuous torrent, flows along the bottom of this
rugged hollow. Hofer had prepared stones and
trunks of trees to be hurled down upon the passing
foe. 'The advanced guard were suffered to pass in
safety, but were instantly made prisoners on issuing
from the defile. A slight skirmishing took place
with small bodies on either side. A grey-headed
man, full eighty years old, took his post with his
back to a rock, and at every shot brought down an
enemy of Tyrol. Some Bavarians climbed the rock,
and attacked him behind. Finding now that his
life was about to end, he resolved to close it like a
true hero; setting up, therefore, a loud shout, he
laid the foremost assailant dead at his feet with his
last shot; then grasping the next firmly in his yet
nervous arm, he threw himself with him from the
crags into the precipice, exclaiming, ‘ For my Coun-
try Y n

The principal body of the army rapidly advanced
into the defile, when a voice was heard from above,
saying, “Shall I strike the blow?” A loud answer
of “ No, no!” gave the reply from a neighbouring
eminence. The alarmed Bavarians, not seeing nor
having seen a human being, terrified at these por-
THE TYROLESE. 189

tentous words issuing as from the spirits of air, or
demons of the cave, sent in all haste to inform their
advancing general of the ominous mystery. But
he and the rear-guard were already in the pass; to
return was impossible, to halt was madness—all
rushed forward. Once more the deep silence of the
terrified assailants was broken by awful sounds.
“For Tyrol!” were the two simple but appalling
words murmured in the air. “Then for Tyrol—
strike !” responded answering tones. For an in-
stant all was deadly stillness: the appalled enemy
gazed on each other with pallid cheeks and haggard
eyes. Another instant, and the deadly silence
yields to murderous warfare. Rocks, trees, stones,
are wrenched from the borders of the ravine, and
fall with overwhelming force upon the foe. From
behind every cliff and every bush starts forth an
armed Tyrolese. It is a pursuit, not a battle; a
flight, and not a combat. Boys and girls join in
driving the enemy through the pass. Hundreds
were taken prisoners, thousands slain. When the
victory was completed, the mountaineers fell on their
knees and returned thanks to the Giver of all good
for the deliverance of their country. , So awful and
190 HOFER,

so sudden had been the work of extirpation, that
the bewildered prisoners joined in the act of prayer !

Hofer followed up this success by continued and
unwearied efforts. On the 15th August he made his
triumphal entry unto Innspruck, having a THIRD
TIME delivered his country from the justly-hated des-
potism of Bavaria. He arrived in a happy moment,
to save the capital from a general plunder. The
people, probably considering the cause of indepen-
dence hopeless, were about to seize on all that was
movable and valuable. The presence of Hofer
alone would have checked these depredations—the
victory he had just obtained, by giving them some
glimmerings of hope, still further increased his in-
fluence. Wherever he appeared, the work of spoli-
ation was stayed—whenever he spoke, his bidding
was obeyed. His manly heart could, under no cir-
cumstances, quietly endure the acts of rapine—how
much more was he alive to the evil when perpetrated
by his beloved Tyrolese,—the Tyrolese, who in all
things, he desired, should act without crime and
without disgrace! He instantly issued peremptory
orders that nothing should be purloined from friend
or foe, and that whatever had been already taken
THE TYROLESE. 191

should be restored within eight days, under pain of
a heavy penalty for disobedience. This imperious
act of duty performed, Hofer once more took up his
residence in the imperial palace. A public thanks-
giving for the late important and unexpected victory
was among the first of his edicts. It was observed
with solemn gratitude throughout the country, and
by no native with more true and ardent piety than
by the supreme chief. The people, eager that his
honours should increase in proportion to his ser-
vices, now proclaimed him Imperial Commandant of
all the Tyrol. Aides-de-camp and honorary atten-
dants surrounded him: he had no need of guards—
the hearts of the people were his sureties, their arms
his defence. Elevated beyond regal power, his
commands were’respectfully received, and promptly
and religiously obeyed. Yet in this possession of
supreme authority, no whisper was heard of a single
act of tyranny and oppression. “He was never
known,” says his German biographer, “ to abuse the
powers he was entrusted with.” No open or con-
cealed enemy, directly or indirectly, awoke one
murmur of discontent, or whispered one tale dis-
honourable to the private or public character and
conduct of Hofer. Had the smallest cause been
192 HOFER,

given, nd doubt there were abundance of spirits, as
there always is, to spread abroad petty anecdotes
of error and mistake. That no such anecdotes were
promulgated, is therefore abundant proof, that, in
his elevation, Hofer bore his faculties meekly, and
that he assumed no more pomp and dignity than
what his rank rendered necessary. Can this be al-
ways said for those suddenly and unexpectedly
raised to power and splendour? Can it be always
said for those born to honours and dominion ?
Without having evinced any other ambition but
that of serving and benefitting his country, Hofer
had risen beyond the elevation the most ambitious
presume to desire. But he found, as thousands of
the great have found before him, that the envied
pre-eminence is not one of enjoyment, that the
couch of state is not a bed of roses. His situation
was indeed one of extreme difficulty : deserted by
Austria, surrounded by foes, without money, arms,
or ammunition, the Tyrol was besides torn by inter-
nal factions. Where Hofer appeared, all was uniop
and hope ; but in districts unsupported by his efforts,
and unenlivened by his presence, the natives, de-
spairing of success, too often indulged in riot, or
vielded to despondency. In the south these symp-
THE TYROLESE, 193

toms of turbulence were most alarming. To the
south, therefore, Hofer hastened ; and taking up his
quarters at Botzen, thence issued a proclamation,
couched in the following terms :—

“ Beloved South Tyroleans !

“It is with severe regret I have heard of your
excesses. I publish, therefore, my dear‘brave coun-
trymen and brothers in arms, this proclamation,
that the well-thinking may know how to behave to
those who are conducting themselves so ill. From
my heart, which beats for you all, I detest robbery
and depredation of every sort—I hate contributions
and extortions; and be assured, I will not pardon
any such mean actions.

“It is the duty of every brave defender of his
country to watch over the honour and cultivate the
affections of his neighbour, that he may not incur
the displeasure of the Almighty, who so graciously
blesses us. Dear brothers in arms! recollect your-
selves ;—against whom should we fight ?—against
friends or foes? Against our enemies we have
fought and conquered, and against them we will
still fight—but not against our brethren, not against
those already too much oppressed. Consider that
we ought to protect and assist our fellow-creatures,

13
194 HOFER,

who are unable to carry arms and protect them-
selves. What would the world, the witness of our
conduct—what would our posterity say, were we
not to fulfil these duties? The glory of the Tyrol-
ese would be lost for ever.

« Dear countrymen! The whole world is aston-
ished at our deeds. The name of the Tyrolese is
already immortalized, and it is only necessary now
to fulfil our duty towards God and our neighbour,
to complete a course so gloriously begun.

«Brave countrymen and brothers in arms! Sup-
licate the great Creator of all things, who is able
alike to defend or destroy kingdoms at his pleasure,
and He will guide you. Who at this’: moment would
wish to disturb our tranquillity ?

J summon the clergy, and all those who are un-
able to bear arms, to assist and protect my troops ;
and such as cannot otherwise help them, to implore
God on their knees to bless our endeavours.

“J farther acquaint all public bodies, towns, vil-
lages, and my troops in general, that, as so many
irregularities have happened in consequence of the
conduct of commandants of their own choosing,
during the absence of Joseph Morandell, whom 1
liad appointed, I hereby order, that no proclamations,
THE TYROLESE. 196

or arrangements, or commands, are to be regarded
unless issued and signed by him.
“ Horer,
« Commander-in-Chief of the Tyrol.
“ Botzen, 4th Sept. 1809.”

It is impossible not to pause and comment on this
admirable address—an address worthy to be dissem-
inated among all nations, and among all classes of
people. Who could read it, untouched by virtuous
emotion? ‘Who could study it, and be unawakened
to honourable exertion? Which is most to be ad-
mired—the sentiments, or the manner in which
those sentiments are expressed? A simple peasant,
rapidly raised to the highest point of fame, and
honours, and power, setting aside these dazzling
advantages, addresses his fellow-patriots in the same
artless style of simplicity and equality, as if he were
still but one among the many. “ My dear brothers
in arms—beloved countrymen,”—such are the terms .
of his address.

And what are the precepts which he desires to
promulgate. The purest Christian forbearance and
kindness, true brotherly love and union ; and all this
in a strain of such manly and unadorned eloquence,
in the spirit of such genuine courage and firmness.
196 HOFER,

Hofer gave the necessary orders with a promp-
titude and decision,- which, greatly increasing the
respect of the people for his character, assured him
a ready and exact obedience. He closely adhered
to the form of government established by Austria,
and issued no command but in the name of the Em-
peror—a striking proof of modesty and disinterested-
ness. He levied taxes to support the war, issued a
new coinage, divided his army into regular detach-
ments, and, to the best of his power, acted upon the
mild principles of the ancient Imperial administra-
tion, so dear to every T'yrolese.

The distant provinces looked anxiously to Hofer
for advice and assistance, and he was assiduous to
meet every demand. ‘To the inhabitants of Salzburg
he issued an animated address, which induced num-
bers to take up arms, and produced a spirit of union
among al] ranks. His influence on the multitude
seems indeed to have been unbounded, for his various
proclamations appear to have produced precisely
whatever effect he proposed. The patriots, under
the command of Speckbocher, were suddenly sur-
rounded by so large a division of the enemy, that a
contest was impossible. Twenty of them, wit!
their commandant, gallantly cut their way throw. -
THE TYROLESE. 197

the enclosing troops. The son of Speckbocher, a
boy not twelve years old, had been directed by his
father to keep close to his side during the struggle.
But the spirit of his country was too strong in the
bosom of the young soldier to render him disposed
to escape without striking a blow. Youthful as he
was, he was an excellent marksman ; and he lingered
a few paces in the rear of the battling troop, to have
a shot at the Bavarian general. He fired, and brought
down his enemy. But the momentary delay sepa-
rated him from his father, and threw him into the
hands of the enemy. He was distinguished from
the other prisoners by his youth, his beauty, and
daring courage; and the soldiers presented him to
their prince. The King of Bavaria was unworthy
of appreciating his singular and gallant captive. In
hopes of intimidating him, and forcing him to ex-
press his fear, he sternly asked him, “If he would
kill any more Bavarians should he again be free ?”
— Yes,” answered the undaunted boy, “and you
among them, if ever I should meet you in Tyrol.”
Speckbocher, having hastily collected a force, re-

turned to attack the enemy on more equal terms,
and obtained a complete victory. One of his soldiers,
seeing a Bavarian officer of very high rank attempt-
198 HOFER,

ing to escape by swimming the river ‘Saal, neat
which the affair happened, plunged into the stream,
and, whilst both were struggling in the water, made
the officer his prisoner.

Females of every rank were seen mingling in the
work of warfare, to rescue, if possible, their country
from the hated yoke of Bavaria. The beautiful
Countess of Sternbach was taken captive whilst
leading her tenantry to the charge. She was after-
wards exchanged for two ladies of rank, captured in
one of the camps of the enemy.

Hofer continued for some.time stationary at Inn-
spruck, after having quelled the dissensions at Bot-
zen. But, though fixed, he was not supine; the
success of the T'yrolese arms in all quarters was
doulstless owing to the advice and assistance con-
veyed from the capital, and from the spirit-stirring
knowledge, that the supreme command was in the
hands of so beloved and popular a chief. When the
intelligence of success reached those who had re-
tired from Tyrol as hopeless of its cause, the greater
number panted to return and share the dangers and
the honour of their prosperous brethren. Many did
return; and one among them, EHisenstecken, was
THE TYROLESE. 199

charged by the Emperor to convey new dignities
and rewards to Hofer.

On the 4th of October a grand festival was held
at Innspruck, in honour ef Hofer, who was on that
day formally invested with a gold chain and medal
sent to him from Vienna. The ceremony took place
in the great church, at the foot of the tomb of Max-
imilian. The Abbot of Wiltau blessed and placed
the glittering pledge of his Imperial Master’s favour
on the breast of the mountain chief, whilst applaud-
ing crowds testified how well the meed had been
earned. A day of revelry and rejoicing followed.
Alas ! another such was not fated to gild the life of
Hofer.

But, ere we turn from the brightness of joy to the
shadows of adversity, let us not fail to record the
embassy about this time sent to Britain. Miller
and Schaner were despatched as deputies from the
Tyrolese to implore the assistance of the English.
This embassy was most honourable to those ad-
dressed. It marked how truly Europe estimated
their character, and valued their interference ; it
marked that Britons were known to love liberty,
and were ready to protect it. But when the willing
200 HOFER,

English consulted with the deputies what aid to
send, it was discovered that this part of the negotia-
tion was not easy, was not possible. Money would
have been largely subscribed, but money was little
worth. Arms and ammunition were the desired
gifts ; but how could these be transported to so re-
mote a country, to a country hedged round by foes?
It is easy to imagine the sincere regrets with which
the Britons found they could not befriend a cause
so dear and congenial to them.

Hofer, disappointed of foreign succour, but not
therefore hopeless of success, now turned all his
views with freshened earnestness on his internal
resources. His whole soul was devoted to make
the best of every advantage, and turn to profit every
available means. Ardent, active and vigilant, his
looks inspired confidence, and his language hope.
He was thus cheering and invigorating all around
him, and buoying up his own undaunted mind with.
expectations for futurity, founded on the success of
the past, when a messenger from Austria was an-
nounced. Hofer had written to the Emperor for
succours, and deeming this messenger the herald of
approaching aid, he eagerly summoned him. The
man appeared, and presented a paper signed by the
THE TYROLESE. 201

Imperial hand. Hofer eagerly seized, it and with
glowing ardour began to read the address; but he
paled and staggered as he perused the cold and
brief mandate :—

“ Tyrolese !

“TI wish, you to be tranquil. I have been obliged
to make peace, partly on account of the dissension
of my brothers, and partly because Russia has taken
the field against me. FRANCIS.”

This was all. Not one word of approbation for
years of matchless fidelity,—but that could be borne ;
not one gleam of future support,—but that too
could be endured, for Tyrol could defend herself.
But to be thus coldy commanded to cease from
struggling for freedorn—to be thus calmly told they
were no longer free—was this expected to be borne ?
Could this be patiently endured ?

Can words describe the agony of Hofer’s soul, the
maddening despair of that terrible moment? He
saw at once the distracting truth ;—-sold, betrayed,
ceded to France, enslaved to Bavaria, his loved
country deserted, and its freedom lost.

Every fresh courier confirmed the appalling fact
_ =the French troops were to take possession of the
203 fOFER,

Tyrol for Bavaria. As chief of that abused country,
Hofer was the first called upon to resign all farther
efforts, and submit to foreign domination. The pomp
and authority of command it was easy to resign : Ho-
fer resigned them as simply as he had accepted them.
But to cease struggling for freedom, to submit to
the Bavarians’ yoke, this he could not do. His
heart swelled with intolerable, unutterable misery,
as the bare idea crossed his mind. Yet, single-
handed, what could he do? The people were re-
tiring on all sides, some in obedience to the orders
of their ancient Imperial sovereign, some in the
despondency of despair.

Proclamations poured in from the French general,
and Hofer saw that the cause was for the present
hopeless. His generous spirit disdained to continue
a warfare in which the best blood of Tyrol would
be vainly shed. After having, therefore, made every
inquiry to discover whether the smallest chance of
success could in any way, or from any quarter, be
descried, and after finding all his inquiries tend to
confirm the hopeless state of his country, he fulfilled
the mournful duty before him.

He widely spread around the information he had
received, apprized his countrymen of the Emperor's
THE TYROLESE. 203

orders, and exhorted them to obedience. He quietly
resigned the supreme command, and demanded
from the French generals a cessation of hostilities,
and a promise that the Tyrolese might retire un-
molested to their homes. In reading the letters,
however, published in his name, great care must be
taken that those perused are genuine ; for it is now
well known that the Corsican, aware of his influence,
and dreading his firmness, published a paper in his
name addressed to the Tyrolese, exhorting them to
the most loyal submission to their new master, and
expressing his own regret for the guilt of risihg in
rebellion. “ But,” we copy the historian’s precise
terms, “the imposition was too gross to be success-
Jul.” Hofer himself seems to have detected the
forgery, for he shortly afterwards published a most
animated remonstrance, by which it plainly appears
that he had been before deluded. In resigning the
contest, he had believed that he had previously
secured safety and good treatment for his country.
On hearing that the invaders, with the most shame-
less breach of faith, treated the Tyrolese as an en-
slaved and vanquished people, with every form of
cruelty and oppression that malice could devise or
power inflict, he made one more appeal :—
204 HOFER,

“ Tyrolese !

“I felt inclined to lay down my arms, prevailed
upon by men whom I considered as friends to my
country, but who, as I now find, are its enemies
and traitors. I therefore think it right to inform
you, that all the Passeyr valley is again in insurrec-
tion. All the inhabitants, both young and old, have
taken up arms again, and the enemy were yesterday
defeated with great loss. I therefore call on you,
brethren, to rejoin us. Were we to surrender to the
enemy, we should see all the youths of the Tyroi
dragged away from their homes; our churches and
our converts destroyed ; divine worship abolished,
and ourselves overwhelmed with eternal shame.
Fight, therefore, in defence of your native land: I
shall fight with you, and for you, as a father for his
children.”

The knowledge that Hofer was still friendly to
the cause, armed hundreds in its defence, and seve-
ral skirmishes proved that Tyrol could yet have re-
covered and preserved her freedom, had she been
left fairly to the contest.

Near Zirl, in the Innthal, the injured and afflict-
ed Tyrolese were about to disperse, according to
the orders of their legitimate sovereign, whose right
THE TYROLESE. 205

of command they acknowledged by this melancholy
submission, when the advancing Bavarians wanton-
ly burnt to the ground their large and thriving
village of Zirl. The frenzied Tyrolese avenged
the wrong, and obtained one more day of victory
and vengeance. In this dreadful conflict the wife
fought by the husband, and the sister by her
brother,—the maiden by her father, and the virgin
by her lover. It was the last convulsive effort of
despair, and conquest crowned their arms; but
what could despair and bravery avail against a pre-
ponderating host of foes—against treachery, cruelty,
and power? Yet, as great as was the slaughter
among the patriots, the slaughter of the enemy was
still greater. Three hundred and twenty Tyrolese |
women were cut down by the Italian cavalry, who,
in their turn, were slaughtered in vast numbers by
the frenzied patriots. This was the last collective
effort of the Tyrolese !

The French generals, Baraguay D’Hilliers and
Eugene Beauharnois, seeing that severe measures
would never make them masters of the Tyrol, re-
solved to try the effect of mildness and clemency
They sent a courier to invite Hofer to their camp,
promising a safe conduct, a full pardon, and every
206 HOFER,

possible indulgence. Buoyed up with the hope of
ultimately rescuing his beloved country, Hofer was
deaf to all entreaties. In vain the generous Gallic
chiefs offered him a safe retreat ; Hofer was inflexi-
ble. Fresh invading troops poured in on every
side. The patriots were hemmed in by powerful
armies; many were cut to pieces; to preserve the
faithful remnant, Hofer suddenly disappeared, as-
sured that they would not disperse while he re-
mained.

The first duty in his patriot heart—that to his
country—having been fulfilled to the uttermost, he
now looked to secondary claims—those of himself;
and the principal among these were his ties as hus-
band, father, son :—he turned towards his home.

With arms folded on his bosom, and eyes bent to
the earth, he passed through each well-remembered
dell and craggy ravine. He paused not to recall
the delightful visions of his youthful days, which
sanctified every spot with gay hopes and brilliant
anticipations: all thoughts were bound up in the
terrible present. He felt not the keen autumnal
breeze that blew chilly upon him from his own
dear show-clad mountains, nor stopped to compare
the bleak landscape of November, now spread a
THE TYROLESE. 207

round him, with the bright scenes which, full of
hope, he had quitted in the spring. Now and then
he started, as if an adder crossed his path, at some
cruel recollection of his country’s wrongs : now and
then he halted and groaned aloud, when busy Mem-
ory mustered up her past happiness, her present
misery.

The first sight of his native village went sicken-
ing to his heart. How soon might it be flaming in
the spoiler’s grasp; and his powerless hand—the
hand of Hofer—he so often hailed his country’s
deliverer—cruel boast and false!—he could not
even save his own poor hamlet! Such piercing
thoughts must be subdued, ere he could face his
aged. sire and trembling wife, or their violence
might take from him the little power of consolation
left. But where repose himself? He feared to
meet the gaze of friendly sympathy, or obtrusive
curiosity. He saw, and shivered as he saw, that
few stragglers were passing in the roads. Death
had been busy : men, women, and children, even in
Passeyr, had fought and died for freedom. Where
then repose?—-where all repose. He turned into
the small secluded cemetery belonging to his native
village, and sought a sheltered corner. ‘There was
208 HOFER,

a new-made grave, freshly sodded ; a faded garland
hung upon the plain black cross that stood at its
head. He sighed: some friend lay there, for every
valesmen was his friend. He passed on. Short as
had been his absence, how many now reposed in
that quiet resting-place whom he had left gay, and
vigorous and healthy ! He feared to search too long
and too closely.

Sheltered by an aged yew-tree, he passed some
hours in prayer and meditation. 'The terrible chain
of past events unfolded, link by link, before his busy
memory ; and it needed all the aids of religion and
philosophy united, to sustain him beneath the ap-
palling review—religion that inspires resignation—
philosophy which teaches indifference. Long did
Hofer commune with his heart, and tutor its swell-
ing emotions. The past was passed forever; all
had been done that could be done. The present
was consigned to submission and inaction. It were
rashness, cruelty, now to wage unequal warfare,
and spill the dear blood of his countrymen in vain
and hopeless struggles. The future might yet beam
with renovated lustre : for the future, then, must be
reserved remaining life and strength. Thus closing
his long musings, Hofer sprang from his resting-
THE TYROLESE. 202

place prepared for duty. The safety and welfare of
his little family insured, he would preserve himself
for Tyrol.

The shadows of night had gathered around him
as he slowly descended into the valley. Few, very
few, lights gleamed from the shattered cottages of
his native village. No sounds of business or mer-
riment arose and broke the unnatural stillness ; no
light buoyant footsteps paced the mountain paths ;
an air of extended desolation pervaded the scene.
He approached his own cabin, it was as cheerless
as every other. He opened the door; Constance
was seated near the wood-fire, silently and dejected-
ly gazing on the decaying embers. No implements
of industry were near her—no busy circle of menials
surrounded her—her boy and girl were eating their
simple supper by her side.

The short fondling bark of his favourite dog re-
cognising his master, announced Hofer’s entrance.
In an instant his wife was in his arms, and his little
ones clinging around him. Infinitely precious are
the feelings of such a moment! 'The meeting of
dear friends, after long absence, after variety of suf-
ferings, after vicissitude of anxiety, is perhaps the
purest and most exquisite joy the human heart can

14
210 HOFER,

feel. E'ven under the pressure of affliction, Hofer
and his Constance found it so. In the overwhelm-
ing transport of re-union, sorrows past, present, and
to come, wére swept for a few moments from each
happy and grateful bosom.

For a few moments! ‘We count joy by moments,
and affliction by years. The tears of delight on the
cheeks of the rejoicing group were doomed, even
ere they dried, to mingle with the tears of sorrow.
The old man’s chair was empty—he was no more.

It was a deprivation that might have been antici-
pated. Yet Hofer was stunned by it, as by unex-
pected misery. His mind, however, early and
deeply imbued with a simple but genuine piety,
gradually recovered its equanimity. His father had
lived and died in peace; he had escaped the crue)
view of his country’s present abasement and slavery ;
he was taken away before the beginning of evil
days.

The consolation he felt, he instilled into the bo-
som of his mourning wife and weeping little ones.
It was soothing to talk together of the good old
man, to point out his excellences and repeat his
admonitions. “He died blessing you, my Hofer;
blessing you, as the deliverer of his country.”—
THE TYROLESE. 211

“The deliverer of my country ! Oh! Constance !”
—“ Have you not been her deliverer !’—“ And what
am 1? and where is my country? in chains, in
abasement, in oppression.”——Constance gently calm-
ed the patriot’s agony, and drew back her husband
to the milder contemplation of his father’s virtues.
She led him to join with her in thinking over to-
gether every motive of consolation. It was mid-
night, and the littles ones in profound slumber, ere
the husband and wife could talk on any other sub-
ject. But the bell announcing the hour, aroused
Hofer to a sense of his situation. In wandering
homewards, he had repeatedly heard that a price
was set upon his head. Constance had heard this
too; and the first transport of joy and sorrow past,
she implored her husband to seek safety in im-
mediate flight. It certainly was not his intention
to remain with her, and by thus remaining, involve
her in his ruin. But, he knew, the only mode of
compelling her to stay in the security of her native
valley was by quitting her without her knowledge.
This could only be done whilst she slept ; he, there
fore, besought her to postpone all idea of flight, tilla
night of needed rest had refreshed him.

There was something too reasonable in this re-
212 HOFER,

quest for Constance to oppose it; she therefore pre-
pared the evening meal and homely couch. Hofer
ate heartily, and talked cheerfully; but the keen
eye of affection observed that this cheerfulness was
forced, that too many hints for future conduct and
future management mingled in Hofer’s remarks.—
“ Why tell me how to act in coming circumstances ?
Will you not be with me to direct and advise ?”— -
Hofer tried in vain to give evasive and deluding
answers : he was too little used to feigning, to feign
successfully. Constance was as much a novice in
artifice as himself; her plain sense went direct to
the point.

“Hofer—you are about to quit me—you will
not let your wife share your destiny, and yet she is
bound by holiest vows to do so! Would you have
me fail in my first duty ?”

Hofer was silent; such reasoning he could not
hope to subvert.

Constance, mustering her spirits, spoke again :
“There is now no helpless parent.” She paused ;
she was not so equal to that retrospection as she
had believed. Hofer profited by this pause, to point
to his sleeping babes : Constance understood him.—
“They can be left with friends.”—“ I know them
THE TYROLESE. 213

better, Constance: they will wither and die, if torn
from you.”—* Then let them share our fate. They
have a dauntless spirit, Hofer—worthy of their
father.”

Hofer saw that there was but one expedient.
“Constance,” said he solemnly, “you have sworn
to obey me. Do you remember your oath ?”.

“T do,” answered she, appalled by the question,
and the result to which it tended.

“Then, by my sacred right to your obedience, I
command you—stay—”

Constance, pale, heart-struck, threw herself inte
his arms: “I will obey you, Hofer,” said she—* ip
death obey you.”

He pressed her tenderly to his bosom, kissed her
cold forehead—embraced her—thanked her—en-
deavoured to awaken every maternal affection—
spoke of his return, of their future re-union. He
might have spoken forever : the effort she had made
seemed to have exhausted all force, all energy. He
began to regret his command; it was likely to be
obeyed, even as she said, at the price of life.

Constance withdrew from his endearments, and
began a few preparations for his journey—she col-
lected food, clothes. arms, yet did so as if mechanic-
214 HOFER,

ally and in utter absence of mind. He watched
her movements, saw the selection was for him solely,
resolved to recall his order—anticipated her danger
—returned to his first determination, and occupied
himself in assisting her.

A soldier's knapsack is soon ready: before the
dawn of day, all was prepared for departure. He
had only to give the parting kiss, to speak the last
farewell,—only, to do what was least practicable. He
had embraced his sleeping children, he turned now
to his wife ; she was standing pale, upright, motion-
less, holding in her hand his unplumed hat. “ Fare-
well—my dearest Constance !’—her lips moved,
but the blessing she would have uttered, was inau-
dible. Hofer was deeply affected ;—to leave her in
this state was impossible ; to remain with her was
risking her safety. He took his hat from her passive
hand. “Not one word, Constance ?’—She made a
violent effort, and articulated in a low broken tone.
—‘‘ Leave me, Hofer : I may not, dare not trust my-
self to say more—Leave me.”—“ Never, never, dear
and faithful being! Oh! Constance, pardon my
mistaken love. Henceforth our fate shall be united
—we will go together.”

She lived, she moved—a burst of grateful tears
THE TYROLESE. 215

relieved her overcharged heart: she had not words
to thank her Hofer, but his safety mastering even
her love and joy and gratitude, she flew to prepare
herself and her children for flight. One short hour
sufficed! and as the first streak of dawn gleamed
on the eastern Alpine heights, the little family issued
from their cottage. Hofer loaded a mule with the
few most useful articles of furniture, and some store
of food; his knapsack on his back, and a basket in
one hand—the other guided the charged beast.
Constance held a packet on one arm, and led her
gitl with the other hand. Her boy frisked along,
unburdened in body as in mind, except that a
favourite pigeon was perched upon his shoulder,
picked crumbs from his mouth, and occasionally
fluttered around him, and called forth his laughter
and endearments ; the faithful dog followed close at
his master’s heels.

Hofer, leading the party, struck quickly into the
most retired mountain-paths: he knew each rocky
pass and craggy defile, and threaded the maze with
skill and safety. Alone, he could have sped by
shorter roads, either where the mountain stream
had worn a narrow and precipitous path, or where
starting roots, and overhanging bushes, would have
216 HOFER,

admitted a vigorous arm to mount the almost per-
pendicular mountains. But Constance and his girl
were unfit for such rude travelling, and the mule
their presence had rendered necessary, however
sure-footed, could not follow his master over rugged
steeps. Possessing all her worldly wealth—her
husband and her children; fulfilling her dearest
duty—faithful attendance on one beloved and per-
secuted,—Constance moved on lightly and quickly.
She knew not whither they were going; she never
thought of asking. Hofer knew best; and where
he led, it was joy to follow.

The boy was charmed with all he saw—the kids,
the birds, the flowers. All was pleasure to him;
and to have his sister at his side, to share his won-
der and answer all his questions, was such perfection
of felicity !

A slight repast and short repose at mid-day re-
freshed the wanderers. They had been continually
ascending, and continued to do so till the setting
sun warned them to seek shelter for the night. A
hollowed cave was happily at hand. Hofer cut wood
for firing, whilst Constance collected heath and
moss, over which to spread the blanket that formed
their bed. The blazing faggot was truly acceptable ;
THE TYROLESE. 217

for the cold was severe, and Constance could not
believe her girl and boy could be warm anywhere
but in her bosom. They slept so sweetly, that it
refreshed their wearied mother to look upon them
and hear their gentle breathings. Hofer, too, was
soon stretched in profound slumber by her side.
What blessed consolation to gaze on the sleepers,
heap fuel on the fire that was to keep them warm,
then look up to the clear dark firmament spangled
with stars, and pray for a blessing on their slum-
bers! She could not be cold—her children were
nestling in her arms; she could not be sad—Hofer
was with her, safe and well. These sweet thoughts
soothed her waking ; and when tired nature sank to
repose, gave her calm dreams and quiet rest.

The day had long beamed, and the sun had
mounted above the summit of the opposite cliffs,
when his slanting beams dissipated the light slum-
ber of the invigorated boy : his merry waking excla-
mations aroused his parents, and all was soon ready
for removal. Another long morning of exertion
brought them to the edge of a deep ravine. How pro-
ceed ? But wherefore proceed? Hofer calculated that
they were a eady four leagues, German leagues,
from theirh me. The spot appeared inaccessible
218 HOFER,

but by the wild path they had ascended; and
that was so covered with thickets, and overhung by
crags, that, looking down, they could scarcely trace
it. Approach on the other side was rendered im-
practicable by the intervening ravine, which was
deep and craggy, and had an impetuous current
dashing and foaming along its base: a little dell on
the side of the mountain. offered a level space ; that
it was thickly studded with fir trees and copse wood,
rendered it, as a hiding-place, peculiarly eligible.
Constance gazed around her, then looked on Hofer;
he replied to her look“ Yes, it will do ; we cannot
expect to meet a safer or better refuge.”

The mule was unloaded, and turned to graze.
Little André, and his sister, and his pigeon, and his
dog, played themselves to sleep in a dry sunny nook,
where his mother had placed them. Hofer doffed
his coat, unpacked his axe, and began to toil.

In a few days he had reared a hut, rude indeed,
but large enough to contain his family. With
moistened earth and broken stones he contrived to
raise four walls, over which he placed a sloping
roof, thatched with fir branches and dried heath cut
from the mountain’s brow. He constr icted a chim-
ney, and his house was finished. Cr istance aided
THE T'YROLESE. 219

him in all his labours, and even André carried piles
of tuft and faggots. As he had proposed and planned,
their food was supplied by Hofer’s bow and arrows:
and roots and berries, well known to hunters, eked
out the frugal board. Thus passed the first days of
concealment. But November commenced with a
heavy fall of snow ; the tops of the mountains were
covered many feet deep, and it required daily atten-
tion and labour to prevent the little cabin being
buried beneath the wintry mass. No roots or
berries were now to be obtained; the mule had
wandered to pastures below; Hofer’s dog and bow
furnished scanty nourishment; their store of bread
was exhausted. The girl was fading beneath the
rigours of the climate, and the privation of accus-
tomed nourishment. How often did Constance gaze
upon her, and wish that she was still an infant at
the breast! Thgt source seemed to her one that
could never: fail of yielding nourishment. Hofer
looked wistfully upon the far-stretching distant
valleys: but to leave Constance for an indefinite
period, in the hazardous enterprise of entering a
guarded precinct—to leave her without food, even
in.search of food for her—was a peril not to be rash-
ly encountered. It was better to die together.
220 HOFER,

A day of storm and tempest prevented all possi-
bility of searching for game. Nor man nor beast
could stand the raging elements. Hofer essayed
more than once, but the air was darkened with
drifting snow ; no bird was on the wing ; no animal
could face the howling gale. Constance heaped
faggots on the hearth, gave her last morsel to her
hungry little ones, and melting the snow, drank the
warm liquid with her husband. The night passed
mournfully, except that the children slept, and the
mother did not murmur. The pile of faggots, hoard-
ed beneath the extended eaves of the cabin, was fast
diminishing. Again and again Hofer faced the
buffeting storm; again and again he was driven

‘back to his home.

As the sun set, the tempest calmed: but in the
dusky hour, what hope of finding aught that would
yieid nourishment ? Constance strove to cheer him:
with the earliest dawn he could search the wood,
and some bird, some wild beast, must be found.
André was calm, and his sister uncomplaining ; they
slept much. All might yet be well. “ Dearest
Hofer, be comforted ; a little longer and you can
procure us food; do not waste your strength in
these terrible struggles.” She smiled as she spoke,
THE TYROLESE. 221

and took his hand: he wrung it bitterly, then pur-
sued his rapid strides across the hut. Suddenly he
stopped: he listened; it is no delusion—human
voices are heard. His feelings were all joy—hers
all agony. “Constance, you will be saved !”—
“And you, my Hofer, lost :—these are enemies !”—
“Not if they bring you food.”

The sounds approached. Faint, sick, and des-
pairing, Constance sat motionless. Hofer sprang to
the door, opened it wide, and exclaimed, “ Enter,
whoever you are; enter, and save my famishing
wife and children.”--They did enter. Constance
closed her eyes, and fainted. When she recovered
her senses, she found herself stretched upon her
heath-bed, Hofer kneeling and holding her head
upon his bosom. There were lights in the cottage,
and a sound of merry voices. She looked the ques-
tion she could not ask. Hofer, bending over her,
softly whispered, “ Friends, Constance—friends come
to save us.” His word was as holy writ. Constance
knew he would not save even her life at the price
of truth. Her fluttering nerves were instantly calm-
ed. She wept plentifully; and having seen her
husband and her children take food, she swallowed
some herself.
222 HOFER,

It was, indeed, as Hofer had said : his friends had
discovered him, and had arrived to save him. Un-
easy at his absence, the re-appearance Of his mule
in his native pastures led those who knew the beast
to guess where rested the master. 'T'wo or three
vigorous youths undertook a commission to search
for Hofer, and convey food tohim. The absence
of Constance and her children assured them that
the little family were together, and quickened their
sympathy. After three days’ wandering, they des-
cried and reached the lonely hut.

They brought food and clothing, and an assur-
ance of future regular sapplies. They brought let-
ters, imploring Hofer to fly into Austria, and share
the destiny of his expatriated comrades. He steadily
refused all proposals for flight ; he would not even
submit to cut off his beard, and thus render himself
less liable to be recognised. “I am saving myself
for my country’s future service,” said he: “if they
find me, they must take me; but it shall be on my
post—not as a deserter.”

Every week a friendly supply was sent, and with
every supply, letters full of entreaty that he would
fly. He warmly thanked his generous friends, but
remained firm in his first decision. With more
THE TYROLESE. 223

than one deputation a confidential messenger trom
the court of Austria entered Hofer’s cabin. These
brought him billets, written by the Emperor him-
self, urging him to escape to Vienna, and assuring
him of safe conduct through the enemy’s camp.
However gratified by the Imperial notice, yet it was
not likely that Hofer would grant that to his faith-
less sovereign, which he had denied to his faithfui
friends. He had but one answer for every entreaty
—“T will never desert my country.”

The depth of the surrounding snow almost con-
cealed the cabin from the eyes of those knowing
its position ; for it looked like a natural mound rising
amidst hundreds of rocky prominences of nearly
similar form. No uninformed observer could possi-
bly distinguish it from surrounding snow-clad em-
inences. Constance was well assured of this ; and
equally confident of the faith of those Tyrolese who
visited them, her mind reposed in a state of tran-
quillity and content, nearly allied to happiness.
The children, accustomed to brave cold and wind,
throve and grew fast, and were as merry as when
in their snug natal home. Their smiles and caresses
were a compensation to their parents for many de-
privations ; whilst the care they needed, yielded
224 HOFER,

delightful and salutary occupation. For these in-
nocent beings, and their heroic mother, Hofer could
not divest himself of anxiety ;—for the wretched
state of his oppressed country, he could not divest
himself of intolerable, because useless pity ; of never-
cooling, because unexpressed revenge.

Terrible were the moments when Constance, a
prisoner, flitted across his imagination ; more terrible
those hours when the wrongs of Tyrol pressed on
his fancy. In vain the soothing anticipations of
Constance—in vain the tender kisses and endear-
ments of his children!—they added fuel to his
flame. Was that gentle one to be the spoiler’s prey ?
Were these dear ones to live oppressed and en-
slaved? In the darkness of night he would rush
forth and utter his imprecations, when the tempest
drowned his voice. In the gloom of a distant cave
he would sit and brood over his agonizing thoughts.
The burst of passion passed, the fit of despondency
overcome, he would return to his cottage—grave
indeed, but self-possessed ; calm, gracious, tender ;
able to converse with Constance, smile on his boy,
and fondle his girl. ‘The month of December passed
in peace and safety : January commenced dark and
stormy. On the nineteenth of that month, Hofer
THE TYROLESE. 225

and his family had retired early to rest. Mournful
thoughts kept him awake, and Constance listened in
patient sorrow to his ill-suppressed groans. Suddenly
some hand tried to open the door of the hut. Ho-
fer sprang up ;a gentle knock was heard,—Constance
checked the loud appeal he was about to make.
“Our foes! be silent, for Heaven’s sake.”—“ Foes
approach not so cautiously, Constance.”——“ Say, so
cunningly: as you love me, be still.”—The knock
was softly repeated, and a low murmuring voice
was heard. Both had clothed themselves; and as
Constance listened to the voice, she recognized that
ofa friend. She opened the door—it was indeed a
friend: but horror and agony were painted on his
face. “Fly, Hofer, fly! you are betrayed, your
enemies are at hand--—fly !"—“Fly? never!” an-
swered Hofer calmly and steadily. Constance sank
at his feet, looked up to him, with clasped hands, as
if imploring him to fly ; but the mighty agony was
beyond her mortal powers : she fell senseless on the
ground. Hofer, more alive to her state than his
own, raised and bore her to the bed. His friend
barricadoed the door ; then approaching Hofer, said
more calmly, “It is too late—they are here ; but we
may yet evade them. Give me your clothes, and
15
226 HOFER,

hide yourself.” Hofer motioned with his hand, as
if declaring such an arrangement impossible. His
friend was more importunate—“ At least conceal
yourself."—-“ And _ be dragged from my hiding-
place? No, Antoine, no! For Tyrol I have saved
inyself; with her let me die.” Approaching foot-
steps were now distinctly heard. “It is a military
force,” said Antoine. Hofer placed Constance in
the arms of his friend, and rushed to the door: he
began to unbar it. “Madman! what are you
doing ?” exclaimed Antoine. “Armed men, you
say! they will fire—my wife, my little ones will
perish !” cried Hofer, continuing his efforts. In
vain his friend tried to arrest him. The last bolt
was yet undrawn. Hofer turned to Antoine—
“ Excellent friend! you will not forsake these dear
ones : to your care I confide my wife, my children.”
_A loud knocking was heard at the door. Antoine
flew to the alarmed children and their shrieking
mother. Hofer opened the door and stepped forward.
—The surprised assailants drew back ; their officer
loudly demanded Hofer. “I am here,” said he;
“do not fire upon the hut.” There was a moment-
ary pause. The moon shone brightly upon some
hundreds of soldiers, yet not one approached to

THE TYROLESE. 227

seize the prisoner; and he stood for a few seconds
calm, quiet, and untouched, amidst them. The
officer then made a signal, and the troop advancing,
some stood under arms, whilst the rest seized and
began to bind him. He submitted without struggle
or remonstrance; but when he saw the care with
which he was bound, when he heard that sixteen
hundred men were in the detachment that seized
him, and two thousand more in the valley ready to
support them, he smiled disdainfully—somewhat
proudly, and stood erect and looked lofty.

Half an hour elapsed in various necessary ar-
rangements. Hofer remained the whole time steady
and dignified. His equanimity was then for a
moment shaken, by perceiving his wife and children
were to be the sharers of his captivity. “Do you
war with women and children?’ exclaimed he, in
a tone so like that of one used to command, that the
officer answered, as if excusing himself to his
superior: “Sir, they would have it so.”—‘ Con-
stance”—-began Hofer: she interrupted him, and,
flinging herself passionately at his feet, in all the
vehemence of concentrated affection exclaimed,
“ Beloved Hofer, utter no command ; or, for the first
time in my life, I must disobey you : permit me to
228 HOFER,

attend you; it is the last duty I can fulfil.” The
sternest heart present was touched. Hofer found it
impossible to resist such an appeal : he raised her
with his fettered hand, placed her arm in his, and,
calling his children to his side, intimated that he
was ready to depart.

In making the necessary dispositions for the
march, Hofer observed that the man who acted as
guide seemed very sedulous to avoid his observation.
He discovered, from the remarks of the soldiers and
the hints of Antoine—now suffered to approach
him—that the man was his betrayer, and, for a
bribe of two hundred lJouisd’ors, had discovered and
guided the French to his abode. An intended or
accidental stroke from a soldier’s musket threw the
villain’s hat from his head, and Hofer started to
behold the face of a man who had been his cherished
friend! Holy friendship! pardon that thus thy
sacred name is used for such a monster. “ Donay !
you !”—exclaimed Hofer. The indignant hero for
a few moments was overcome by this detection of
matchless treachery, in one he had loved and trust-
ed and protected ; and his lofty mind, unmoved by
captivity and approaching death, was shaken by
this traitorous act of base ingratitude. Donay—
THE TYROLESE. 229

accursed be the name !—-Donay hastened to conceal
himself from the beaming eye of him he had be-
trayed. Hofer mastered his anger and contempt,
and recovering himself, simply said, “ God forgive
him !”

The party moved forward with as much despatch
as the nature of the road and the inclemency of the
season permitted. When it reached the inhabited
valley, it was welcomed with shouts by the two
thousand brave Frenchmen, who were to aid their
fellows in this glorious capture! These shouts
were so many testimonies of the value of the prize
secured ; yet stronger evidences of his worth was
expressed in the tear-swollen eyes of his gallant
and lamenting countrymen. Hofer, sustained by an
unshrinking and magnanimous firmness, was grate-
ful for kindness, and impervious to insult. He
smiled, nay laughed, at the mean scoffs of men
whom his unfettered arm could have felled to the
ground, and whom his eye even now could tutor to
respectful carriage.

The whole soul of Constance was so bound up in
her husband, that she saw nothing but him—heard
no one but him: unconscious that she moved in a
crowd, insensible that friends and foes gazed on her
230 HOFER,

with pity, admiration, or insolence, she walked
mechanically forward, pressing close to Hofer, and
occasionally gazing intently on his altered form and
features. Altered indeed! Months of sorrow had
passed like years of wearing life. Now in the very
prime of manhood, grey hairs were sprinkled amid
his dark locks; his face was pale, and his form
emaciated. But his dark eye expressed the un-
quenched lustre of ‘his invincible spirit, and yet
beamed terrible on insulting foes ; his wonted serene
look and gracious smile still greeting his admiring
and pitying friends. These last he cheered by
assurances of his safety : “I am innocent,” said he,
“of every crime but patriotism. Men do not kill
their fellows for that sin.”—“ None but those void
of faith, of honesty, of humanity, such as—— .”
The approach of the Gallic sentinel interrupted the
answer of Antoine, and left posterity to fill the blank.

The road lay through Meran to Botzen. At this
city the illustrious prisoner was received with the
respect due to his merit. The Commandant, Bara-
guay D/Hilliers, the very officer who once before
essayed to save him, was now doomed to guard him
as a prisoner to the state. Hofer had been at first
thrown into a miserable dungeon ; but the General
THE TYROLESE. 231

ordered his instant removal into a more commodious
apartment, and the subordinate French officers
assisted their superior in alleviating the gloom of
confinement. Many of the Tyrolese were admitted
to the noble captive. Some of these Hofer feared
he had offended in the busy days of his former life,
and he besought that all his errors might be for-
given, as freely as from his heart he forgave all who
had offended or injured him.

Orders were now received to forward the prisoner
under a strong escort to Mantua, where he was to
be tried. Strong assurances were, however, every-
where expressed, that this trial was a mere matter
of form, and that the life of the gallant captive was
in no peril. The simple fact was, that the Corsican
was too well aware of the popularity of his noble
prisoner to risk his trial taking place in his native
land, where assuredly every arm would have been
raised in his defence. He also knew that it was
only under an assurance of his perfect safety, that
the Tyrolese would permit their beloved chief to be
removed from his country. Such deceptions and
delusions cost nothing to the most accomplished e“
dissemblers.

The parting of Hofer from his family was a scene
232 HOFER,

of that profound and exquisite misery which mocks
all description. His son, exhausted by fatigue and
various forms of suffering, had sickened, and was
dangerously ill. ‘The wretched Constance, divided
between the intense agonies of maternal and conju-
gal affection, was almost stupified under the weight
of her sorrows. Her little daughter, weeping and
emaciated, could only shed innocent but unavailing
tears of sympathy. The hand that could particu-
_larise the incidents of the parting hour, must share
the iron nerve of him who caused it. Were it writ-
ten, who could read the torturing detail ?—a detail,
too, of Facts.

The manly fortitude of a husband and a father,
hushing the woes of a beloved wife, and embracing,
perhaps for the last time, his helpless little ones.
The wife—the mother !—but let us draw a veil
over the sacred image of supreme human misery—
the wrenching of the tenderest ties of the human
heart ; of affliction, which no human fortitude can
sustain ; of suffering, no human consolation can
soothe. ‘The feeling mind needs but this simple
line—The wife of Hofer saw him depart in chains
into the power of a merciless despot, whilst her only
son lay dying before her in a prison.
THE TYROLESE. 233

But what the hand, enfeebled by sympathy, can-
not write, shall be faithfully borrowed from the
historian’s page. Hofer reached Mantua, and was
immediately tried by a court martial. It was as
difficult to define his crime as to procure an unani-
mous sentence of condemnation. 'There were, it
seems, some men of honour and common sense
amongst his judges. A telegraph from Milan decided
the question—he was to die within twenty-four
hours. To throw some light on a character respect-
ing which, no doubt, posterity will be inquisitive, it
is as well to say, that at the moment the Corsican
sent the above command, his minister at Vienna
had orders to express extreme regret at the hasty
execution, and to declare his master would never
have permitted it, could he only have been aware
of it in time to have prevented it! . This is given
from authentic uncontradicted public documents.

ilofer heard his condemnation with the same un-
shaken firmness that had marked his character
throughout. Depending on his innocence, and the
assurances voluntarily held out to him, he never
anticipated a sentence of death; yet when it was
pronounced, he listened to it with surprise, unmin-
gled with dismay. For him to die was easy—he
234 HOFER,

was closing a glorious life by an honourable death—
honourable, because incurred by his fidelity to his
country.

Submitting in dignified silence to the decree of
the court, he calmly returned to his dungeon, and
requested the attendance of a priest. A worthy man
of this order, Manifesti, immediately hastened to
him, and remained with him till the moment of his
death. ‘T'o this kind friend he confided his last ten-
der and solemn adieu to his family. That trying
duty performed, he engaged in the holy offices of
religion, and presented before his Creator the most
acceptable sacrifice—the sacrifice of a confiding and
resigned spirit. During the short interval that fol-
lowed, he spoke of Tyrol and her fate—prophesied
her restoration to her legitimate sovereign, and en-
tered with undecayed interest on the story of her
rights and her claims.

The fatal morning dawned. The generale sound-
ed; a battalion of grenadiers was drawn out in front
of the prison ; and before mid-day, the officers who
were to attend the execution entered his dungeon.
Calm and prepared, Hofer was ready for the sum-
mons. The solemn procession was formed : muffled
drums beat a mournful roll ; the bell of the neigh-


Hofer going to Execution.
THE TYROLESE. 235

pouring church tolled the knell for the departing
spirit ; the prisoner appeared amidst his guards. He
was easily distinguished : unarmed, and in the simple
dress of a Tyrolese soldier, he walked calmly by
the side of his holy friend. His arms were folded
on his bosom, not in the attitude of defiance, but of
submission ; his step was firm, not daring: his eye
was bent on the ground, except that occasionally it
was raised to acknowledge some burst of compassion,
or applause, from the surrounding crowd.

In moving past the Porta Molina, a fort in which
many Tyrolese were confined, his fortitude sustain-
ed a severe trial. The mourning prisoners, collect-
ed together, were on their knees weeping aloud, and
praying for their beloved Hofer. A severer trial
awaited him at the citadel. Those of his country-
men who were at large on their parole were here
assembled, and pressing as near to him as possible,
knelt and implored his blessing. He stopped in-
voluntarily ; his escort yielded to mur, and halted. Hofer profited by the brief delay
to address a few words of comfort to his country-
men:

“ Dear countrymen—beloved Tyrolese !
«You must be as I am—-which God forbid !—to
236 HOFER,

feel all I feel at this moment—my undiminished
love for Tyrol, my heartfelt gratitude to you! You
ask me for my blessing—I stand more in need of.
yours; but as approaching death sanctifies my
words, be those last words a blessing on my coun-
trymen.”—

He paused a moment, as if intent in secret pray-
er ; then resumed :

“ Perhaps there are among you some whom I have
offended : they will, I hope, pardon whatever J have
said or done amiss. And all of you, beloved Tyrol-
ese! all will, [ trust, forgive me for having been
so active in a war so disastrous. The time, I fore-
see, is not far distant, when you will return to the
blessings of your ancient government, and cry
aloud, as I do. now—‘ Long live the Emperor Fran-
cis "”

He spoke this last sentence with a clear and steady
voice, and falling back into his station, gave a sig-
nal for the procession to advance.

On a broad bastion, at a little distance from the
Porta Ceresa—(no traveller will henceforth visit
Mantua without repairing to this now hallowed
spot)—on this broad bastion, the commanding officer
halted his men. Hofer now delivered to Manifesti
THE TYROLESE. 237

all the valuables he possessed, imploring him to
distribute them among his unfortunate countrymen.
This wealth consisted of five hundred florins in
Austrian bank-notes, his silver snuff-box, and his
beautiful rosary. 'To his faithful attendant he gave
the small silver rosary which he always carried
about him.

The grenadiers formed a square, open in the rear.
Twelve men and a corporal stepped forward, while
Hofer remained standing alone in the centre. No
one in the circle was so caim and self-possessed as
he appeared at that awful moment. A soldier
offered him a white handkerchief to bind his eyes,
and suggested to him that on these’ occasions it was
customary for the sufferer to kneel. Hofer declined
the handkerchief, and refused to kneel. “I have
been used,” said he, “to stand upright before my
Creator, and in that posture I will deliver up my
spirit to him.”

He now addressed the corporal, cautioned him to
perform his duty well, and then gave him the only
piece of money he had about him—a coin worth
twenty kreutzers. As his last earthly farewell, he
spoke .a few words expressive of his unshaken at-
tachment to his country. He stood a few moments
238 HOFER,

in mental prayer, anc then looked intently on the
small band before him. The sergeant marshalled
its preparing movement. The muskets are charged
—presented: Hofer spoke in a firm voice—‘ Fire !”
They fired—he sank on his knee wounded, but
alive. Another volley was discharged, and he was
stretched lifeless on the ground.

The spot hallowed by his fall is still, and must
forever be, sacred to every true-born ‘T'yrolese.

His body, instead of being left on the place of ex-
ecution, or carried around the assembled troops, as
is usually the case of military executions, was borne
on a black bier, by the grenadiers, to the church of
St. Michael. There it lay in state, and a guard of
honour was appointed to watch it.

Thus perished Hofer in the prime of life—beloved
by his friends, respected by his enemies. “ Amidst
the numerous crimes,” says the historian, “ that
stain the name of Napoleon, there is not one of a
deeper dye than the murder of Hofer.” And who
says not so with him ?

It is impossible to contemplate the various actions
of this mountain Chief without emotions of mingled
astonishment and admiration. A simple peasant at
the head of rude undisciplined troops, successfully
rHE TYROLESE. 239

opposing the united and enormous power of France
and Bavaria! His humble name will occupy no
obscure corner in the page of history; for who
better earned the meed of fame? Few, very few,
so well. In his own country, and by those who
knew him and could justly estimate his merits, or
had benefitted by his kindness or his power, he will
never be forgotten. Justly is he regarded as the
saviour of his country. But for him, how much
sooner would her thraldom have commenced ? but
for him, how much longer would it have continued ?
The spirit he had awakened and cherished died not
with him—Tyrol is again free! Oh! that her
Hofer could behold her freedom! He laid the
corner-stone, for he showed the Tyrolese what they
could do, and bade her enemies respect her resources.
To this day his name is never mentioned in the T'y-
rol without tears of grateful affection and admiration.

A simple tomb has been erected to his memory
on the Brenner mountain, not far from his own
humble habitation. It contains nv other, it needs
no other inscription than that of his name. Is there
another Hofer? ‘The traveller, wandering over the
majestic height, pauses to read on a plain marble
tablet these few words :—
240 HOFER, THE TYROLESE.

ANDREAS HOFER,

BORN 22p NovemBeER, 1767;

piep 247TH resruary, 1810,
azrat. 43.

Whoever he be, will he read this simple inscrip-
tion without emotion? If, turning from the con-
secrated spot, he descends into the valley, will he
listen unmoved to the heartfelt praises of their be-
loved Chief, uttered by his fellow-mountaineers ?
Let every man who loves freedom and his country,
go and light the flame of patriotism at Hofer’s tomb !

The Emperor of Austria, too late apprized of
Hofer’s fate, could do nothing to avert it; but he
instantly made provision for his wretched family,
on whom a pension of two thousand florins was
immediately settled. In the first days of her wi-
dowhood, Constance buried her son. The Emperor
made her splendid offers of an establishment in
Austria; but with her daughter she retired to her
humble cottage in the Passeyr, there patiently to
await the ouly welcome moment that can greet her
in this world—the moment that dismisses her tried
spirit to that abode “where the wicked cease trom
troubling, and the weary are at rest.”
ISHYU9IO



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