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   Chapter 22 ELIZA AND ULRICH

Andreas Hofer: An Historical Novel By L. Mühlbach Characters: 41463

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


Schroepfel, the faithful servant, had taken Ulrich von Hohenberg, in obedience to Anthony Wallner's order, back to the small room where he had passed the last eight days as a prisoner. Since he had him again in his custody, no additional precautions were necessary, for Schroepfel knew that he could rely on his own vigilance, and that the prisoner surely would never escape from him. Hence, he loosened the cords with which he had been tied, and removed the handkerchief with which he had been gagged.

"If it affords you pleasure," said Schroepfel, "you may use your mouth and inveigh against Lizzie Wallner, who has saved your life to-day a second time, and whom you rewarded like a genuine Bavarian, that is to say, with black ingratitude and treachery. But I advise you not to abuse her loud enough for me to hear you outside, for I am not a patient as Lizzie, and I shall never permit you to abuse and treat so contemptuously the noblest and best girl in the whole country. She acted toward you to-day as a good Christian and a brave girl, for you insulted her, and she not only forgave you, but protected you and saved your life. And now, sir, abuse her if you cannot help it; but I tell you once more, do not speak too loud lest I should hear you."

And Schroepfel turned with a last threatening glance and left the room. Outside he sat down on the cane-settee which, for the past eight days, had been his seat by day and his couch by night; and he pressed his eye to the middle hole which he had bored in the door. He could distinctly see and watch the captain through it. Ulrich had sunk down on a chair and leaned his head on his hand; he lifted his sombre eyes to heaven, and there was a strange expression of emotion and grief upon his face. But he seemed not to intend availing himself of the permission which Schroepfel had given him to abuse Lizzie Wallner, for his lips were firmly compressed, and not a sound fell from them. Or could Schroepfel, perhaps, not hear him, because the men down in the bar-room were laughing and shouting so merrily, and speaking so loudly and enthusiastically of the Tyrol, and drinking the health of the emperor and the Archduke John, who had again taken possession of the country and solemnly proclaimed that he would restore the ancient and liberal constitution of the Tyrolese?

"How merry they are down-stairs!" growled Schroepfel. "I might be there to; I have amply deserved to have a little exercise and pleasure. Instead of that I must site here with a dry mouth; and if this goes on much longer, I shall surely grow fast to my settee. And all that for the sake of the mean, perfidious Bavarian, who is utterly dishonest, and who treated our beautiful, noble Lizzie in so infamous a manner! Well, if I were in the girl's place, I would not take the perfidious wretch who has denied her twice already. Oh, how merry they are down-stairs! No one thinks of me and gives me a drop of wine that I may likewise drink to the welfare of the fatherland."

But Schroepfel was mistaken for once, for quick footsteps ascended the staircase at this moment, and now appeared the lovely head of Eliza Wallner above the railing, then her whole form, and a second afterward she stood in the passage close before Schroepfel. In her hands she held a plate with a large piece of the fine cake which her mother herself had baked, and a large glass of excellent red wine.

"There, good, faithful Schroepfel," she said in her gentle voice, nodding to him pleasantly, and handing the plate to him, "eat and drink, and let me in the mean time go and see your prisoner."

"What do you want of him?" asked Schroepfel, moodily.

"I want to see him about our wedding to-morrow," said Eliza calmly; "and you know father has given me permission to go to him and speak with him."

"Yes, he did, and I cannot prevent you from entering, which I would do otherwise," growled Schroepfel. "Go in, then, but do not stay too long; and if he should abuse you again, pray call me, and I will assist you."

"Thank you, dear Schroepfel," said Eliza, "but pray admit me now."

Schroepfel withdrew his settee from the door and allowed Eliza to open it, and, entering to the prisoner, closed it again behind her.

Ulrich von Hohenberg still sat, as Schroepfel had seen him, at the table, leaning his head on his hand; only he had now covered his eyes with his hands, and long sighs issued from his breast. He seemed not to know that the door had opened and some one had entered, or rather perhaps he thought it was only Schroepfel, and he did not wish to take any notice of him.

Eliza Wallner stood leaning against the wall, and gazed at him a long time with a wondrous expression of love and grief; for a moment she laid her hand on her bosom, as if to stifle the cry which her lips were already about to utter; then she cast a beseeching glance toward heaven, and, as if strengthened by this mute invocation, she stepped forward.

"Captain Ulrich von Hohenberg!" she said, in her sweet, melodious voice.

He gave a start, dropped his hand from his face, and jumped up.

"Eliza Wallner!" he said, breathlessly and in great confusion.

She only nodded her head, and fixed her clear, piercing eyes with a proud, reproachful expression on his face; he dropped his eyes before her gaze. On seeing this, Eliza smiled, and, crossing the room with a rapid step, went to the window.

"Come here, sir, and look at that. What do you see yonder?"

Ulrich stepped to her and looked out. "I see the mountains and the summits of the glaciers," he said; "and in the direction in which you are pointing your finger, I see also my uncle's castle."

"Do you see also the balcony, Ulrich von Hohenberg?" she asked, somewhat sarcastically.

"I do," he replied, almost timidly.

She looked at him with the proud and lofty air of a queen.

"When we met last and spoke with each other, we stood on yonder balcony," added Eliza. "Do you remember what we said at the time, sir?"

"Eliza," he murmured-

"You remember it no longer," she interrupted him, "but I do. On yonder balcony you swore to me that you loved me boundlessly; and when I laughed at you, you invoked heaven and earth to bear witness of your love. Now, sir, heaven and earth gave you an opportunity to prove your ardent love for Eliza Wallner. Did you profit by that opportunity?"

"No," he said, in a low voice; "it is true, I acted harshly and cruelly toward you, I occasioned you bitter grief, I-"

"I do not complain," she exclaimed, proudly. "I do not speak of myself, but only of you. You swore eternal love to me at that time, but you did so as a mendacious Bavarian; I did not believe you, and knew full well that you had no honest intentions toward me. For this reason I laughed at you, and said the peasant-girl was no suitable match for you, and rejected all your oaths and protestations of passionate love."

"But afterwards, to punish me for venturing to speak of love to you," he exclaimed, impetuously, "you feigned to have believed my protestations and oaths; and although you had previously laughed at me, you wished now to become my wife."

"No," she said, with a fiery glance of disdain; "no, afterwards I only wished to save your life. You have utterly mistaken Eliza Wallner's character, Ulrich von Hohenberg. You thought Lizzie Wallner would deem herself exceedingly fortunate to become the wife of an aristocratic gentleman, even though he took her only by compulsion: you thought she would be content to leave the Tyrol by the side of the nobleman who disdained her, and go to the large foreign city of Munich, where the aristocracy would scorn and mock the poor Tyrolese girl. No, sir, I tell you, you have utterly mistaken my character. I attach no value whatever to your aristocratic name, nor to the distinguished position of your family; when I marry, I shall choose a husband who loves me with all his heart, and who does not wish to live without me, and takes me of his own accord, and with the full enthusiasm of a noble heart. But he would have to remain in the mountains and be a son of the Tyrol; for my heart is attached to the mountains, and never would I or could I leave them to remove to a large city. You see, therefore, Ulrich, that a marriage with you would by no means appear to me a very fortunate thing; and, moreover, if you had allowed yourself to be compelled to marry me, had you not refused to do so, I should have despised you all my life long as a miserable coward. I thank you, therefore, for resisting the men so bravely, for I should have been sorry to be obliged to despise you; you are my dear Elza's cousin, and I myself have always liked you so well."

"Eliza," he exclaimed, impetuously, "you are an angel of goodness and lenity, and I stand before you filled with shame and grief. You say you always liked me so well, and I treated you with so much ingratitude and disdain! Oh, let me press this dear hand to my lips, let me thank you for all that you have done for me!"

He tried to seize her hand, but she withdrew it from him quickly.

"Captain von Hohenberg," she said, "we are no longer on the balcony yonder; nor is it necessary that you should kiss my hand. That may be suitable when you have fair ladies from the city before you, but not when you are speaking with a Tyrolese girl. Besides, I did not tell you all this to obtain praise and admiration from you, but to prevent you from taking me for a mean-spirited girl, respecting herself so little as to try to get a husband in so dishonorable a manner. No, by the Holy Virgin, I would rather die and be buried under an avalanche than act so meanly and disgracefully. But when the peasants were going to kill you, there was no other way for me to save your life than that of saying that you were my betrothed, and that was the only reason why I said so. How. ever, I had no idea that the wedding was to take place to-day, for my dear father had concealed it from me, and wished to surprise me, because he really believed that I loved you. If I had known beforehand what father had in view, I should have devised some way of preventing him from carrying his plan into effect. But I swear to you, I had no inkling of it. Therefore, I beg your pardon, sir, for the harsh treatment you received at their hands for my sake."

"Eliza," he said, mournfully, "your words rend my heart. Oh, do not be so gentle and generous! Be angry with me, call me an infamous villain, who, in his blindness, did not penetrate your magnanimity and heroic self-sacrifice; do not treat me with this charming mildness which crushes me! You acted like an angel toward me, and I treated you like a heartless barbarian."

"I forgive you with all my heart, and therefore you may forgive yourself," she said, with a gentle smile. "But let us speak no longer of the past; let us think only of the future. You heard what father said: 'To-morrow morning there will be a wedding or an execution.'"

"Well, then, there will be a wedding to-morrow morning," exclaimed Ulrich, casting an ardent glance on the young girl; "yes, there will be a wedding to-morrow morning. Pray, Eliza, save my life a third time to-morrow; become my wife!"

"I will save your life," she said, throwing back her head, proudly; "but fortunately it is unnecessary for me to become your wife for that purpose. I have come here only to save you. Sir, you must escape to-night."

"Escape," he said, shrugging his shoulders; "escape, when Schroepfel is guarding my door?"

"Hush! do not speak so loud, sir; he might hear you, and he must know nothing about it. Bend your head closer to me and listen: Go to bed early this evening, but extinguish your light beforehand, lest Schroepfel should see any thing. My mother told me Schroepfel had bored holes in the door, and was watching you all the time. Therefore, go to bed early, and leave your window open. When the church-clock strikes two, listen for any noise, and hold yourself in readiness. That is all I have to say to you, and now good-by."

She nodded to him, and turned to the door.

"But I. Eliza-I have to tell you many things yet," said Ulrich, detaining her. "Pray, stay yet awhile and listen to me!"

"No, sir, it is time for me to go; my mother is waiting for me," replied Eliza, withdrawing her hand from his. "Good-by, and if you can pray, pray to God to protect you to-night!"

She opened the door hastily and stepped out, and smiled at

Schroepfel, but the old servant looked at her gloomily.

"You stayed a long while with the Bavarian," he growled.

"And yet you did not eat your cake nor empty your glass in the mean time," said Eliza, with a smile. "You looked again through the hole in the door, did you not? You saw, then, Schroepfel, that we stood together like a pair of sensible lovers."

"I did not see any thing," exclaimed Schroepfel, angrily, "for you placed yourself close to the window, and my hole does not enable me to look around the corner; nor did I hear any thing, for you whispered as softly as though you were a couple of sparrows which understand each other when billing and cooing."

"Fie, Schroepfel! do not talk such nonsense," cried Eliza, blushing deeply. "Behave yourself, Schroepfel, and I will bring you another bottle of wine to-day, and beg father to let you come down to supper to-night, and permit you to sleep in your bedchamber."

"I shall take good care to do no such thing," growled Schroepfel. "I am a sentinel here, and must not desert my post."

"But you may take your sentry-box with you," said Eliza, pointing to his settee. "When a soldier remains close to his sentry-box, he does not desert his post. Well, good-by, Schroepfel; the sentinel will be relieved to-night."

Eliza's words were fulfilled. Toward nightfall she informed Schroepfel that her father permitted him to take his supper at the table down-stairs, and afterward go to bed in his own chamber.

"Well, and who is to watch the prisoner in the mean time?" asked

Schroepfel.

"You yourself! Look, you will lock the door and put the key in your pocket. In addition, you may put that heavy box yonder against the door; then you will be sure that your prisoner cannot get out, for I think his chamber has no other outlet."

"Yes, it has-the window!"

"Do you think the Bavarian has wings and will fly out of the window to-night?"

"It is true he cannot fly out, nor can he jump out, for he would simply break his neck. But, nevertheless, I do not like this arrangement at all. Something tells me that it will turn out wrong. I shall, at least, unchain the watch-dog, who will prevent the Bavarian from escaping through the window. For the rest, I feel that all my limbs are stiff, and that I have at length deserved some repose. As it is your father's will, I will go down-stairs, take supper, and afterward go to bed in my chamber. If any thing happens, I shall wash my hands of it."

"Wash them as much as you please, Schroepfel, but come down to supper," cried Eliza, hastening down-stairs with the agility of a bird.

Schroepfel looked after her, shaking his head; he then locked the door, put the key in his pocket, and placed the heavy iron-bound box against the door.

"And before going to bed I shall unchain Phylax," he said, as if to console himself, while he was going slowly and stiffly down-stairs.

Schroepfel kept his word. Weary and exhausted as he was, he waited until all the inmates of the house bad gone to bed, and until all noise had died away. He then went into the yard and unchained the formidable and ill-humored watch-dog. Phylax howled and trembled with joy and delight at being released; but Schroepfel seized his ear and pointed his other hand at the prisoner's window, which was brightly illuminated by the moon.

"Watch that window well, Phylax," he said, "watch it well; and if you see anything suspicious, call me at once. I shall not sleep so fast as not to hear your basking. Watch it well, Phylax."

The dog looked up to the window as if he had understood the order; he then fixed his clear, lustrous eyes on Schroepfel, and uttered a threatening growl.

"Very well," said Schroepfel, "you have understood me. You will watch him, and I may go to bed."

He dropped the ear of the dog, who thereupon bounded wildly through the yard, while Schroepfel limped back into the house. He was heard slowly ascending the staircase and opening the creaking door of his bed-chamber, and then all became silent.

Night spread its pall over the weary, the sleepers, and the weeping; the moon stood with silvery lustre high in the heavens, and illuminated the snow-clad summits of the mountains rising in the rear of the outbuildings in Wallner's yard. Hour after hour passed by, and all remained silent; not a sound broke the holy stillness of night.

Hour after hour passed by; nothing stirred in the yard; the dog sat, as if he had really understood Schroepfel's words, in the middle of the yard, and stared steadfastly at the prisoner's window. Phylax watched, as Schroepfel had gone to bed; Phylax watched, and did not avert his eyes from the window on which his whole attention seemed to be concentrated, for he did not stir, he did not even disturb the flies buzzing round his ears; be was all attention and vigilance. All at once something occurred that had never happened to him during his nocturnal service; a wondrous, appetizing scent was wafted to him on the wings of the night-breeze. Phylax averted his eyes for a moment from the window and glanced searchingly round the yard. Nothing stirred in it, but this wonderful scent of a roast sausage still impregnated the air, and seemed to grow even stronger and more tempting; for Phylax pricked up his ears, raised his nose, snuffing eagerly to inhale the scent, and rose from the ground. He glanced again round the yard, and then advanced a few steps toward the window yonder on the side of the house. This window was open, and the keen nose of the dog told him that the appetizing scent had come from it. All at once, however, Phylax stood still, as if remembering his master's orders, and looked again toward the prisoner's window.

At this moment a low voice called him: "Phylax! come here, Phylax!"

The dog hesitated no longer; he had recognized the voice of his friend and playmate, Eliza Wallner. With two tremendous bounds he was at the window, and, raising himself up, laid his forepaws on the window-sill, and stretched out his head, waiting longingly for the appetizing sausage.

"Come, Phylax, come," whispered Eliza, and she stepped back with the sausage into the interior of the room. "Come to me, Phylax, come to me."

The temptation was too strong. Phylax hesitated no longer; he moved back a step, and leaped through the window into the room.

The window was closed behind him immediately, and the four-footed custodian of the prisoner was now a prisoner himself.

The yard was empty now. Schroepfel slept soundly in his bed-chamber up-stairs, and Phylax was revelling in epicurean joys in the larder.

The yard was empty now, but not long, for the door of the house opened noiselessly, and a human form stepped out. For a moment it stood still near the door, and two voices were heard whispering in a low tone.

"Good-by, dearest mother," said one voice. "It is time now, I must go."

"God and the Holy Virgin will protect you, dear Lizzie," said the other voice: "for that which you are going to do is right and noble; and father himself will see before long that you did right. Go, Lizzie, and return safely."

"I shall be back at eight in the morning," whispered Lizzie. "Until then, you must say nothing about it, dear mother, but tell father I wished to be alone in my chamber till the wedding-hour. Good-by until then."

She imprinted a kiss on her mother's lips, and hastened into the yard. The door was closed softly. At this moment the church-clock struck two.

Eliza glided noiselessly across the yard toward the large ladder leaning against the stable. She lifted it up with vigorous hands, carried it across the yard, and placed it against the dwelling- house, so that its top reached the open window of the prisoner. She examined if the ladder stood firm, laid a few stones at its foot, to prevent it from sliding, and then ascended it with cat-like agility, carrying a small bundle on her arm, while she had put down another in the yard.

Now she had reached the captain's window.

"Are you awake, sir?" she asked, in a low voice.

"I am, Eliza," whispered a voice inside. "I have been awake and waiting for you an hour."

"Take this, sir," she said, handing the bundl

e into the window. "It is a suit of clothes which you must put on. It is my father's holiday dress, for you must not wear the Bavarian uniform now. You must put up for a few days with being disguised as a Tyrolese. Put it on quickly, and then wrap up your uniform in the blanket in which I brought the suit of clothes. But make haste, and when you are ready, descend the ladder, and come down into the yard, where I shall await you. Bring the package with the uniform with you, and, above all things, make haste."

She gave the captain no time for reply, but glided rapidly and noiselessly down the ladder. On arriving in the yard, she took the haversack which she had left there, hung it over her shoulder, and took up the rifle. Then she seated herself quietly on a large log close to the ladder, and looked up to the moon, which illuminated her face and her whole form. Her face wore a wonderfully calm expression; only round her crimson lips quivered at times something like hidden grief, and a tear glistened in her large, dark eyes. But when this tear rolled down her cheek slowly, Eliza shook her head indignantly, and brushed it away with her hand.

"Foolish girl!" she murmured, "how can you weep now? You must bravely take your heart in your hands now, and hold it so firmly that it can neither cry nor tremble. You must be proud and stiff, and never forget what is due to your honor, and what you owe to your friend Elza. Therefore, do not weep, but be a brave Tyrolese girl. To-morrow night you may weep in your chamber, for nobody will see you there; but not to-night-no, no, not to-night!"

She shook her head violently, forced herself to smile, and gazed pleasantly up to the moon. "God bless thee, golden, rapid wanderer!" she said. "Thou shalt accompany us to-night, and pray, dear moon, send all clouds home, and remain as bright and clear as now; for our route is a dangerous one, and if thou dost not help us, we may easily fall into an abyss, and-Hush, hush, he is coming."

She rose and looked up to the window, whence the captain emerged at this moment, and appeared on the ladder.

"Throw down your package, sir-I will catch it," whispered Eliza.

"Thank you, I can carry it myself," said Ulrich, in a low voice; and he was soon at the foot of the ladder, and standing in the yard close to Eliza.

"Now come," she said; "tread lightly, and do not speak, but go softly behind me."

She left him no time for reply, but walked across, opened the door of the small shed, which was ajar, went quickly through it, and passed through the opposite door into the orchard lying behind it. She stood still in front of the door of the shed, and when Ulrich had emerged from it, she locked it, and put the key into her pocket.

"Now let us walk as fast as possible, sir," she whispered. "We must walk for three hours. Keep your eyes on me, and follow me wherever I go."

"I will follow you, Eliza," said the captain, earnestly, "wherever you go. You see I have implicit confidence in you, for I do not even ask whither you intend to conduct me, or what you wish to do with me. I place my life and my future in your hands, and shall do whatever you want me to."

"It will be the best for you," she said, nodding her head slightly.

"Now come."

And with the quick, firm step peculiar to the Tyrolese, she advanced through the garden, out of the gate, and into the narrow path leading through the valley and up to the mountains rising on the opposite side. The moon still shone brightly upon the valley, and illuminated the two forms rapidly walking behind each other, casting their long, dark shadows on the side of the road.

Ulrich yon Hohenberg saw in the moonlight that Eliza was carrying the haversack and rifle; he therefore advanced quickly until he stood by her side, and laid his hand on her arm.

"Eliza," he said, vehemently. "pray let me carry the rifle and the haversack; let me take your burden upon myself!"

She looked at him with a singular expression. "Every one has to carry his own burden," she said; "you have yours, and I have mine."

"But what are the arms for, Eliza? You have armed yourself against me?"

She shrugged her shoulders carelessly. "Were I afraid of you, I would not allow you to walk behind me. But grant me one request, will you? "

"Speak, Eliza, and whatever it may be, I will comply with it."

"Well, then, sir, be so kind as not to speak with me. Speaking exhausts us and makes us absent-minded. We have a long march before us, and must save our breath, and devote our whole attention to the route; for it will lead us over the narrow paths of the chamois- hunters, and a single false step may hurl us into an abyss. Therefore, sir, pray do not address me until I speak to you."

"I will obey," said Ulrich, humbly. "Lead the way; I will follow."

She nodded to him, and advanced through the narrow valley. The road soon became steeper, and led them past precipices, from one rock to another, all of which were spanned by narrow planks, under which unfathomable chasms yawned. Then it led through thickets of shrubbery and pine-forests, or down precipitous slopes, and over small fragments of rock, which gave way at every step, and rolled into the depth. Eliza suddenly stood still and broke the silence for the first time.

"You must not go behind me here, sir," she said, "for the loose stones would not permit you to advance. Come to me, and give me your hand. We must walk side by side."

He was immediately by her side, and took her hand. "May I speak now,

Eliza?" he asked.

"No," she said, imperatively, "we have no time for chatting.

Forward!"

And they continued ascending the mountain. The valley, and even the mountain-forest, lay already deep under them. Only scattered and stunted trees stood here and there, and finally even these disappeared entirely. The moon commenced paling in the heavens, and yet it did not become darker, for the gray twilight was lit up at times with a purple lustre; the small, scudding clouds began to turn red; the pale, foggy mountain-peaks colored, and a strange whispering passed through the air.

Now they had reached the summit, and the peak on which they were standing afforded them a strikingly beautiful view.

"This is the place where we may rest," said Eliza, drawing a deep breath.

"And may I speak now, Eliza?" asked Ulrich.

"No," she said; "do you not see that God is speaking now?"

And she pointed to the part of the horizon which, radiant in its crimson lustre, lay at the end of the lovely valley opening before them. Gazing at it, Eliza sank noiselessly down on the fragment of a rock, and clasping her hands on her knees, she contemplated the glorious spectacle by which God speaks to man every morning.

The valley was still wrapped in the gloom of twilight, but behind the flat and gently-rounded mountains yonder rose the flaming glow of radiant crimson, and sent a few purple clouds as heralds of the approaching majesty into the azure sky. A rosy hue covered the glaciers of the Venediger and Gross-Glockner, which looked down in proud majesty on the mountains bordering the valley, and which had hitherto wrapped their summits in veils of glistening silver. On beholding the divine majesty of the sun, they dropped their veils, their summits crimsoned and loomed up to the sky in dazzling splendor. The rays gilding them shed a lustre on the lower wooded mountains, greeted the spires of the churches rising amidst the villages, dissipated the mist which had hitherto filled the valley, and converted the waters of the foaming Isel, meandering through the valley, into liquid gold. The gloom entirely disappeared, and the whole landscape was radiant in its morning beauty. God had willed that there should be light, and the earth lay smiling and surpassingly beautiful under the first glowing rays of the sun.

Eliza gazed with a rapt smile upon the sublime scene; the clouds had disappeared from her brow also, and the gloom had vanished from her eyes.

"Oh, how beautiful is the world! how beautiful is my dear Tyrol!" she exclaimed, fervently. "I greet you, beloved mountains guarding our frontiers! I greet you, Gross-Glockner and Venediger! Yes, gaze upon the Tyrol, for now you may rejoice over it! The enemy is no longer in the country, and I am bringing you the last Bavarian who is still here, that you may send him across the border. Sir," she added, turning her face, illuminated by the sun, slowly to the young man, who had not contemplated the sun, but only her face, "we must part here. I only intended to conduct you hither, to the Kalser Thoerl. You will now descend to the village of Kals, which you see in the valley yonder. Look, back there, its red roofs are rising out of the green shrubbery. You will go to the inn there, and give this letter to Lebrecht Panzl, the innkeeper. He is my mother's brother, and she writes him in this letter to give you a reliable guide, who is to conduct you over the Pruschler Thoerl and the Katzenstein to Heiligenblut. You will reach Heiligenblut in seven hours. Its inhabitants speak Bavarian German; your Bavarian dialect will not be suspicious to them, and you will easily find there a guide to conduct you wherever you wish to go. You will find some food for to- day in the haversack here, and also some money, and powder and lead. Take it, sir; here is the rifle, and here the haversack. Unless you have them with you, no one will take you for a genuine Tyrolese. There. Put your clothes into the sack, you can carry them better that way; hang the rifle round your shoulder, and then adieu?"

"And you think, Eliza, I can accept all this kindness and magnanimity?" cried Ulrich, vehemently; "you think I can accept at your hands food, money-nay, more, my life, my honor, and leave you with a cold 'thank you,' after denying and insulting you in the despair of my wounded military honor? No, Eliza, you have mistaken my character. I will not go, I will not leave you. I followed you here to see how far your magnanimity and noble self-abnegation would go; but now I shall return with you to Windisch-Matrey. Your father invited to the wedding the men who wished to kill me yesterday; they will await us at the church at nine this morning, and they shall not wait in vain. Come, Eliza, let us return to Windisch-Matrey; for all your kindness and magnanimity I shall give you the only thing I have to give, my name. You will, you shall become my wife! Come, your father and your friends await us at the church; I will conduct you thither and to the altar."

"I will not do it," she exclaimed proudly; "for, as sure as there is a God in heaven, I should say 'no' before the altar, and reject your hand."

"Well, then, do that," he said, gently; "I have deserved this humiliation; I owe you an opportunity to wreak your vengeance on me."

"I do not want to avenge myself. I have sworn to myself and to my dear Elza to save you, and I will. Go, sir; time is fleeting, and you have a march of seven hours before you."

"No, I will not go," cried Ulrich, vehemently; "I cannot go, for I love you, Eliza, Oh, I have loved you a long while, but my haughty heart revolted at this love, and would not yield to it; and yet I was deeply, passionately enamoured of you. But my heart did not know itself, it believed at last that it might hate you, when all at once your generosity, lenity, and magnanimity dissipated all mists concealing my heart from my eyes, and I perceived how passionately I loved you. Oh, Eliza, beloved girl, do not turn from me! Give me your hand; let us go home; accept my hand, become my wife! Love beseeches of you now what pride refused to you before accept my hand, my name! Let us descend into the valley, go to the church, and be married."

She shook her head slowly. "I have already told you," she said, "that I should say 'no' before the altar. We do not belong together. You are a nobleman, and I, as you have often called me in your anger, am a peasant girl; you are a Bavarian, and I, thank God, am again an Austrian. We do not belong together, and I believe it would not behoove you to appear with me now before the altar and marry me. For every one would think you took me only to save your life, and your honor would be lost, not only in Bavaria, but also here among us. The brave men would despise you, and the tempt-I felt it when you looked at me so disdainfully yesterday-is worse than death. Go, therefore, my dear sir; your honor requires it."

"Well, then, you are right: I will go. I see that I must not apply for your hand at this juncture. But I shall return so soon as peace is restored to the country, and when all these troubles are over. Promise me, Eliza, that you will wait for me and not forget me. For I swear to you, I shall return and marry you, in spite of the whole world."

"You will not," she said, shaking her bead, "for I shall not take you. I do not love you."

"Eliza," he cried, seizing her hand impetuously, and gazing deep into her eyes, "you are just as much mistaken as I was myself. I loved you a long time without knowing it, and thus, sweet one, you love me too!"

"No," she exclaimed, vehemently, and turning very pale, "no, I do not love you!"

"Yes, you do," he said, tenderly. "I felt it, and knew it by the tone in which, stepping before me, and shielding me with your body, you exclaimed yesterday, 'If you shoot him, you shall kill me too.' Pity and compassion do not speak thus; only love has such tones of anguish, despair, and heroism. I felt it at that moment, and the blissful delight which filled my heart on recognizing it, made me at length conscious of my own love. I confessed to myself that I never should be able to love any other woman on earth, and never would marry any other woman than you. Ob, Eliza, let us no longer resist the happiness that is in store for us. Let the whole past be buried behind us. Let the future be ours, and with it love and happiness!"

She shook her head slowly. "You have read badly in my heart," she said; "you do not understand the letters written in it, and what you spell from it is false. I do not love you, and would never consent to become your wife. Let us drop the subject. We two can never be husband and wife, but we may remember each other as good friends. And so, sir, I will always remember you, and shall be glad to hear that you are well and happy. But let us say no more about it, and go. You have a march of seven hours before you; I must be at home again by eight o'clock, in order not to keep the men waiting. Let us part, therefore."

"Well, then," sighed Ulrich, "it is your will, and we must part, but not forever. I swear, by God Almighty and my love, I shall return when the war is over, and when the quarrels of the nations are settled. I shall return to ask you if you will be mine, my beloved wife, and if you will at last crown my love with happiness. Hush, do not contradict me, and do not tell me again that you do not love me. I hope in the future, and we shall see whether it will bring me happiness or doom me to despair. Farewell, then, Eliza; and if you will yet give to the poor wanderer, to whom you have given life, food, money, and clothes, a priceless treasure, a talisman that will shield him from all temptations of the world, then give me a kiss!"

"No, sir; an honest Tyrolese girl never kisses any man but the one whose wife she is to be. You see, therefore, that I cannot give you a kiss. Go, sir. But have you no commissions to give me for your uncle and my dear Elza?"

"Greet them both; tell them that I love you, Eliza, and that you rejected my proposals."

"That does not concern anybody, and only we two and the good God shall know it, but no one else. But, sir, give me a souvenir for Elza; it will gladden her heart."

"I have nothing to give her," he said, shrugging his shoulders.

She pointed to the crimson Alpine roses blooming at their feet amidst the grass and moss.

"Gather some of these flowers, and give them to me," she said; "I will take them to Elza, and tell her that you gathered the flowers for her."

He knelt down, gathered a handful of Alpine roses, and tied them together with a few blades of grass. "I would," he said, still kneeling in the grass, "they were myrtles that I was gathering for you, Eliza, for you, my affianced bride, and that you would accept them at my hands as the sacred gift of love. There, take the bouquet for Elza, and give it to her with my greetings."

She stretched out her hand to take it; but Ulrich, instead of giving it to her, pressed the bouquet to his lips, and imprinted an ardent kiss on the flowers; then only did he hand it to Eliza.-"Now, Eliza," he said, "take it. You refused me a kiss, but you will carry my glowing kiss home with you, and with it also my heart. I shall come back one day to demand of you your heart and my kiss. Farewell! It is your will, and so I must go. I do not say, forget me not; but I shall return, and ask you then: `Have you forgotten me? Will you become my wife?' Until then, farewell!"

He gazed at her with a long look of love and tenderness; she avoided meeting his look, and when he saw this, a smile, radiant as sunshine and bliss, illuminated his features.

"Go, sir," she said, in a low voice, averting her face.

"I am going, Eliza," he exclaimed. "Farewell!"

He seized her hand impetuously, imprinted on it a burning kiss before she was able to prevent him, dropped it, and turned to descend the slope with a slow step.

Eliza stood motionless, and as if fascinated; she gazed after him, and followed with an absorbed look his tall, noble form, descending the mountain, surrounded by a halo of sunshine.

All at once Ulrich stood still and turned to her. "Eliza," he shouted, "did you call me? Shall I return to you?"

She shook her head and made a violent gesture indicating that he should not return, but said nothing; the words choked in her breast.

He waved his hand to her, turned again, and continued descending the slope.

Eliza looked after him; her face turned paler and paler, and her lips quivered more painfully. Once they opened as if to call him back with a cry of anguish and love; but Eliza, pressing her hand violently upon her mouth, forced the cry back into her heart, and gazed down on Ulrich's receding form.

Already he had descended half the slope; now he reached the edge of the forest, and alas! disappeared in the thicket.

Eliza, uttering a loud cry, knelt down, and tears, her long- restrained, scalding tears, streamed like rivers down her cheeks. She lifted her arms, her clasped bands, to heaven, and murmured with quivering lips: "Protect him, my God, for Thou knowest how intensely I love him!"

She remained a long time on her knees, weeping, praying, struggling with her grief and her love. But then all at once she sprang to her feet, brushed the tears from her eyes, and drew a deep breath.

"I must and will no longer weep," she said to herself in a loud, imperative voice. "Otherwise they would see that I had been weeping, and no one must know that. I must descend in order to be at home in time, and then I will tell father and the other men that Ulrich never was my betrothed, and that I said so only to save his life. They will forgive me for helping him to escape when I tell them that I never loved him nor would have taken him, because he is a Bavarian, but that I saved him because he is a near relative of my dear Elza. And after telling and explaining all this to the men, I shall go to Elza, give her the flowers, and tell her that Ulrich sent them to her, and that his last word was a love-greeting for her. God, forgive me this falsehood! But Elza loves him, and it will gladden her heart. She will preserve this bouquet to her wedding- day, and she will not notice that I kept one flower from it for myself. It is the flower which he kissed; it shall be mine. I suppose, good God, that I may take it, and that it is no theft for me to do so?"

She looked up to heaven with a beseeching glance; then she softly drew one of the flowers from the bouquet, pressed it to her lips, and concealed it in her bosom.

"I will preserve this flower while I live," she exclaimed. "God strengthened my heart so that I was able to reject him; but I shall love him forever, and this flower is my wedding-bouquet. I shall never wear another!"

She extended her arms in the direction where Ulrich had disappeared. "Farewell!" she cried. "I greet you a thousand times, and my heart goes with you!"

Then she turned and hastily descended the path which she had ascended with Ulrich von Hohenberg.

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