NAPOLEON AND BLUCHER
Part 6 out of 12
remain pure and true in the service of so righteous a cause. The
thoughts of the audience were with God; to Him their hearts had all
turned. But now Schleiermacher's voice grew softer; his eyes, which
had hitherto been raised toward heaven, looked upon the wives and
mothers, who sat in long lines before him. "Rejoice in the Lord, ye
mothers," he said, "blessed are you in having given birth to such
sons! blessed your breasts that nourished such children! God gave
them to you, and you give them to the fatherland! Rejoice in the
Lord, for He will achieve great things through them! Rejoice, and do
not weep!" But now they could restrain no longer their tears and
sobs. The words addressed to them had touched their feelings. They
felt their hearts' wounds, and wept aloud. An electric shock, as it
were, pervaded the whole assembly; not an eye remained dry, not a
heart was unmoved; even Schleiermacher's voice was tremulous when he
uttered his "Amen!"
They departed from the church to the Potsdam gate, and along the
road leading to Potsdam, continuing their march on the following
day, after being joined by the company which La Motte Fouque had
recruited in that city. The grief of their separation from their
dear ones was forgotten as they hastened toward the future--a future
of battles and victories.
"Now, no more tears, no more sighs! Let us sing a merry song!" said
the young volunteers.
"Yes. Where is a poet who can sing us a song such as we need now?"
"Fouque is here; let him sing! Yes, Fouque is among us! We have
elected him captain! He is a chivalrous soldier, and gained his
spurs in 1794, during the war against the French. He deserves to be
"But he deserves, too, to be our bard, for by his 'Undine' he has
also won his laurels as a poet."
"Let us have a song, brave La Motte Fouque!" shouted all the
volunteers. "There is Father Jahn, who will persuade him. Ask Fouque
to sing us a war-song!"
Jahn galloped up to the poet, who was riding in thoughtful silence
at the head of his company; it is true, he had heard the
solicitations of the young men, but continued his way, smiling and
muttering to himself. "Fouque," shouted Jahn, in his stentorian
voice; "do you not hear the requests of our bold youths? Give some
expression to the enthusiasm burning in their hearts. Let us have a
song, then, my poet!"
"Well," replied Fouque, quickly raising his head, and smiling on his
friend; "I have just composed a poem. Listen to me, my friends!" He
turned his horse, and in a loud voice commanded the volunteers to
"You wish me to sing. I will give you a song just as it has sprung
up in my heart during the march, and I have also composed the air.
When I have finished repeat it with me!" And he began to sing in a
"Frisch auf zum frohlichen Jagen,
Es ist schon an der Zeit!
Es fangt schon an zu tagen,
Der Kampf ist nicht mehr weit!"
"Auf lasst die Faulen liegen,
Gonnt ihnen ihre Ruh;
Wir rucken mit Vergnugen
Dem lieben Konig zu."
"Der Konig hat gesproehen:
Wo sind meine Jager nun?
Da sind wir aufgebrochen,
Ein wackeres Werk zu thun."
"Wir woll'n ein Heil erbauen
Fur all das deutsche Land,
Im frohen Gottvertrauen
Mit rustig starker Hand."
"Schlaft ruhig nun, Ihr Lieben!
Am vaterlichen Heerd,
Derweil mit Feindeshieben
Wir ringen Keck bewehrt."
"O Wonne die zu schlutzen,
Die uns das Liebste sind!
Hei! Lasst Kanonen hlitzen.
Ein frommer muth gewinnt!"
"Die mehrsten zieh'n einst wieder
Zuruck in Siegerreih'n;
Dann toen Jubellieder
Dess' wird'ne Freude sein!"
"Wie gluh'n davon die Herzen
So froh und stark und weich.
Wer fallt, der kann's verschmerzen,
Der hat das Himmelreich!"
[Footnote: La Motte Fouque composed this poem on the march from
Potsdam to Breslau, whither he conducted the first companies of
volunteers. It was the first song of liberty published in 1813:
Mount! mount! for sacred freedom fight!
The battle soon must be.
The night is past, and red the light
Streams o'er the dewy lea.
Up! let the coward idlers sleep!
Who envies them their rest?
We march with joyful hearts to keep
Our honored king's request.
To us he said: "My brave ones all!--
My chasseurs! where are they?"
Responsive to his patriot call
We hastened to obey.
We vowed to strike with mighty hand
As it becomes the free--
A safeguard for our native land
With Heaven's grace to be.
Sleep calmly, wives and children dear
To God your sorrows tell.
The hour, alas! of blood is near,
But all your fears dispel.
Approved we hasten to the field;
What though the strife begins!
'Tis joy our loved ones thus to shield,
For pious courage wins.
Returning, all may not be found!
But some, in glory's grave,
Shall never hear the songs resound
Of those they died to save.
Come, glowing heart! despise the pain
Of death; for, evermore,.
Shall he who falls, a kingdom gain
On heaven's eternal shore!]
Old Sergeant Prohaska sat sad and musing in his old easy-chair near
the stove; before him lay a copy of the Vossische Zeitung, which he
had just perused. He laid it aside with a sigh; supporting his head
on the leathern cushion, he puffed clouds of smoke from his short
clay pipe. Close to him, at the small table standing in the niche of
the only window which admitted light into the small, dark room, sat
a young girl, busily engaged in drawing threads from a large piece
of linen, and putting them carefully on the pile of lint on the
table. She was scarcely eighteen years old, but her noble, pale
countenance wore an expression of boldness and energy; her forehead
was high, and vigorous thoughts seemed to dwell there. Large black
eyes were flashing under her finely-arched eyebrows, which almost
touched each other above her beautifully-chiselled, slightly-curved
nose. Round her crimson lips was an expression of melancholy, and
her cheeks seemed to have been bleached by grief rather than
sickness. She was tall and well formed, but her whole appearance was
more remarkable for the stern and heroic character it indicated than
for grace and loveliness. While she was thus at work, and engaged in
preparing lint, troubled thoughts seemed to pass from time to time
across her face, and she raised her eyes to heaven with an angry and
reproachful expression. She impulsively cast aside the linen, and
jumped up. "No, father," she exclaimed, drawing a deep breath, "I
cannot bear it any longer!"
"What is it that you cannot bear any longer, Leonora?" exclaimed her
"To sit here and prepare lint while the whole world is astir, while
every heart is swelling with patriotism and warlike enthusiasm! And
I cannot do any thing, I cannot join in the universal exultation--I
can do nothing but prepare lint! Father, it is heart-rending, and I
cannot bear it!"
"Must not I bear it?" asked her father in a tremulous voice. "Must
not I sit still behind the stove, while all my old comrades are
taking up arms and marching into the field? My right leg was buried
at Jena, and I must limp about now as a miserable cripple; I cannot
even take revenge for the disgrace of Jena; I cannot even pay the
French for my leg by cutting off the heads of some of their accursed
soldiers. I am a cripple, while others are hastening into the field!
When _I_ must bear that, a girl like you ought assuredly not to
"Father," said Leonora, with flashing eyes, "do not despise me
because I am a girl! Did you not tell me of the heroic women of
Spain and the Tyrol, and of their glorious deeds? Did you not tell
me that, by their intrepid patriotism, they had set a sublime
example to the men. and that by their influence their country was to
be saved? Was not the heroine of Saragossa a woman? Did not women
and girls fight like heroes in the gorges of the Tyrol?"
"Yes, that is true," exclaimed her father, smiling, "but then they
were Spanish and Tyrolese girls. They have fire in their veins, and
love their country with an undying patriotism."
"Ah, one need not be born in the South to have warm blood,"
exclaimed Leonora, ardently, "It is not the sun that gives love of
country, and patriotic hearts may throb even under the snow." "Have
you such a heart, Leonora?" asked her father, casting on her a long
and searching look.
"Father," she said, pressing her hands on her bosom, "there is
something burning here like fire; and at times when I hear how all
are rallying round the flag--and how the warlike enthusiasm is
pervading the whole country, I feel as if the blood would burst from
my heart and head. It is true I am no Spanish girl, but I am a
"Ah, I would you were a Prussian boy!" sighed her father, shaking
his head. "If you were, I believe you would look well in the ranks
of the volunteers; they would not likely reject the young soldier of
"I am quite tall and strong, although I am but a girl," exclaimed
Leonora, with flashing eyes; "I have seen among the soldiers who
started yesterday many volunteers who were a great deal shorter and
slighter than I am."
"But, at all events, they had shorter hair and a stronger voice than
you have," laughed her father.
"Oh, I can cut off my hair," she said, quickly; "and as for my
voice, Kalbaum, the tailor, who accompanied the volunteers, has a
voice no stronger than mine, and yet he was accepted. And then--"
"Hush!" interposed her father quickly. "I hear your mother coming.
Do not speak of such things when she is present. It would alarm her.
Bold thoughts must be locked up in our hearts, for, if we speak of
them, it looks like braggadocio; we are only allowed to speak of
bold deeds. Do not forget that, my daughter, and give me a kiss!"
Leonora hastened to her father, and encircling him with her arms,
pressed a glowing kiss on the lips of the old invalid.
"Father," she whispered, "I believe you understand me, and can read
"God alone is able to read our thoughts," said her father, solemnly,
"and it is only from Him that we must not conceal any thing. But
what is that? Is not your mother weeping outside?" And old Prohaska
jumped up and limped, as quickly as his wooden leg permitted, toward
At this moment the door was noisily opened, and a woman appeared on
the threshold. Behind her was a tall, slender, and pale boy,
scarcely fourteen years of age. Both entered the room with tearful
eyes and loud lamentations.
"Wife, what is the matter--what has happened?" exclaimed Old
"Why do you weep, my brother?" asked Leonora, hastening to the boy,
and clasping him in her arms. He laid his head on her breast and
"What has happened?" wailed his mother. "All our hopes are blasted;
we have been rejected!"
"Rejected? Where? And by whom?" asked the invalid, in amazement.
"By the military commission!" cried his wife, drying her tears with
her long apron.
"What did you want of the military commission? Did you desire to
become a vivandiere, old woman?"
"No, but Charles wanted to enlist, father! Yes, you must know all
now. We thought we would prepare a joyous surprise for you, but the
good Lord and the military commission would not let us do so. Look,
old man! I perceived very well how painful it was to you, and how it
was gnawing at your heart, that your wooden leg compels you to
remain here at Potsdam, and prevents your marching out with the
soldiers who are hurrying to the headquarters of their king at
"Yes, it is true, it is very sad! My general, old Blucher, under
whom I fought in 1806, is also at Breslau, and what will he say when
he looks for his old hussars of 1806, and does not find Prohaska! He
will say, 'Prohaska has become a coward--a lazy old good-for-
"No, father, he will not say so," exclaimed Leonora, ardently; "if
he knows you, he cannot say so.--But speak, mother, tell us what
makes you weep, and what has so afflicted my dear brother?"
"Both of us noticed father's secret grief, and comprehended how
painful it was for him to be unable to participate in the war." said
her mother. "I had not mentioned it to any one, and to God alone I
had complained how grievous it is that I have no full-grown son,
who, instead of his father, might serve his king at the present
time. Last night, when all of you were asleep, Charles came to my
bedside. 'Mother,' he said to me, 'mother, I must tell you
something! I will and must enlist! It would be an eternal disgrace
for me to stay at home, particularly as father is disabled, and
cannot fight any more. Mother, the honor of the family is at stake;
I must enlist or die!'"
"Ah, you are a true brother of mine," exclaimed Leonora, with a
radiant face, drawing the boy closer to her heart.
"And what did you reply to Charles, mother?" asked the invalid.
"'You are my only son, and my heart would break if I should lose
you. But you are right; it would be a disgrace for our whole family
if it did not furnish a single soldier to the king and the
fatherland, and if no substitute should enlist in your father's
place, and revenge him on the French for crippling hiin at Jena. I
will go with you to the military commission to-morrow, and we will
pray the gentlemen to accept you, although you are still under age.
We will pray them until they overlook your youth and enroll your
name. But say nothing about it to father until we have been
successful; then, tell him all.'"
"And you really went with him to the commission?" asked the old man,
His wife responded by nodding and sighing, and burst again into
"Yes, father," exclaimed the boy, raising his head from Leonora's
shoulder, and drying his eyes with an angry gesture, "we went to the
military commission. We begged, implored, and wept! It was all in
vain! They said they were not allowed to accept boys of fourteen; I
was too young, and looked too feeble. In our despair we went to
Eylert, the preacher, and begged him to intercede for me. He is
always kind to me, and often praises me for my industry in preparing
for confirmation. I revealed my whole heart to him; I told him I
must consider myself disgraced, if now, that every one who is not a
coward is taking the sword, I am compelled to go to school. I told
him I should not dare to raise my eyes, and should think all the
inhabitants would point with their fingers at me; the children in
the streets would deride me; and the old men would contemptuously
avert their heads when I passed them."
"Ah, my beloved brother," exclaimed Leonora, enthusiastically,
"hitherto I have loved you as a child, but henceforth I shall love
as a hero!"
"But it was all in vain," cried Charles, sobbing aloud in his grief
and anger. "Even M. Eylert could not give us any comfort. He said it
was impossible for the commission to accept me, for, though they
overlooked my youth and my somewhat feeble health, they could not
enroll me because I had not yet been confirmed. But as we begged so
very hard, and shed so many tears, M. Eylert had at last pity on me,
and went with us once more to the military commission. But it was of
no avail. I am under age and have no certificate of confirmation,
and M. Eylert's intercession was fruitless. [Footnote: Eylert,
"Frederick William III.," vol. ii., p. 160.] They rejected me!
Father, what am I to do now? I am doomed to remain here at Potsdam,
with my tall figure, which will charge me with cowardice in the eyes
of every one, while my schoolmates, who are much shorter than I am,
are allowed to enlist and fight for their country. Oh, mother, why
am I not your eldest child'? Then I should he preserved from the
disgrace of running about as a coward, or of being obliged to have
my certificate of birth constantly in my pocket!"
"My brother," said Leonora, laying her strong white hand on her
brother's light hair, "if I could give you the four years by which I
am older than you, I would do so, though it should cost me my life,
for I comprehend your grief. But I am innocent of your affliction,
and I pray you, therefore, not to be angry with me. It was God's
will that I should be older, and have your place. You must take into
consideration that the war may last a long time; six months hence
you will be confirmed, and then it will be time for you to enlist in
the king's army, and fight for liberty. Besides, my dear brother, it
is not even settled yet whether all these warlike preparations are
really intended for France. To be sure, every one is in hope that
such is the case, but as yet no one is sure of it, for the king has
not declared his intentions, and he is still at peace with France."
"No, the king has declared his intentions," cried Charles,
impetuously. "And that is exactly what causes my distress and my
despair. It is certain now that there will be war with France. You
do not know, then, what has occurred?"
"No," exclaimed father and daughter at the same time, "we do not--we
have not yet seen any one. Tell us the news, Charles."
"Well, we heard already at the office of the military commission
that a courier had just arrived from Breslau, and brought a
proclamation, addressed by the king to his people; they said it had
immediately been sent to the printing-office, and was to be posted
on all the street corners. The courier, besides, brought the news
that the Emperor of Russia had arrived at Breslau, and that the
first visit was to Baron von Stein, who secretly lived at Breslau."
"Hurrah!" shouted old Prohaska. "Prussia is safe now, for Baron von
Stein is back again, and he will know how to expel Napoleon and his
French from the country. Where Minister von Stein is he tolerates no
French, and that is the reason why Bonaparte hates him, and has
always been afraid of him. My boy, this is glorious news! Stein is
back again; now we shall be all right! Have you any other news?"
"Yes, there is a great deal yet, father, but the tears burst from my
eyes when I think of it, because I am unable to participate in the
"Oh, what is it?" begged Leonora. "What else has happened at
"Well," said Charles, in a tremulous and melancholy voice, "the
courier reports that many hundreds of volunteers are arriving every
day, not only from all parts of Prussia, but the whole of Germany,
and that the city is rejoicing as though a festival were to be
celebrated, and not as though we were on the eve of a terrible war.
Above all, there is Major von Lutzow, round whose standard hosts of
young men are rallying, enlisting a corps of volunteer riflemen, to
whom he has given the name of 'The Legion of Vengeance.' They are to
wear a black uniform as sign of the sorrow and disgrace that have
weighed down the fatherland since 1806, and which they intend to
avenge before discarding it."
"Oh, that is a grand idea," exclaimed Leonora, with flashing eyes.
"To march out in mourning--to rush to the battlefield like angels of
death and shout, 'We are the legion of avengers, sent by Prussia to
atone for her disgrace! Our uniform is black, but we intend to dye
it red in the blood of the French!' And then to fight exultantly in
the thickest of the fray for the fatherland, and for our queen,
whose heart was broken by the national dishonor and wretchedness!
Oh, it must be blissful, indeed, to march with that legion to avenge
the tears of Queen Louisa, and--"
"But Leonora!" cried her mother, staring in amazement at the young
girl who stood before her with glowing cheeks, panting bosom, and
uplifted right arm, as if she had just drawn the sword--"but,
Leonora! what is the matter with you? What does your impulsiveness
mean? Has Charles infected you with his enthusiasm? Do you want to
increase the excitement and despair of the poor boy? He cannot join
the 'Legion of Venegance;' he cannot be one of Lutzow's riflemen!"
"No," said Leonora, vehemently and almost triumphantly, "HE cannot
be one of Lutzow's riflemen!"
"Leonora!" cried her father, in a warning tone, "Leonora, what are
She started and dropped her arm. "It is true," she muttered to
herself, "we should not betray our thoughts; God alone must know
Her father limped to her, and, laying his hands on her shoulder,
looked into her excited and glowing face. "Come, my daughter," he
said, "let us go out into the street and read what the king says to
his people. For I believe the king's proclamation must have been
printed by this time. Come, Leonora!"
"No, it is unnecessary for you to go into the street for that
purpose, father," said Charles, "we have brought a copy of the
proclamation; the man who was to post them gave us one for you,
saying it would no doubt gladden your heart. Where did you leave it,
"I put it into my pocket. Here it is!" said the mother, taking a
large printed sheet from the pocket hanging under her apron. "There,
father, read it."
The old man took the paper and handed it to Leonora.
"Read it to us, my child," he said, tenderly. "I like best to hear
from your lips what the king says to his people."
JOAN OF ORLEANS.
Leonora took the paper and read as follows, with crimson cheeks, and
her heart aglow with enthusiasm:
"To my People!--I need not state the causes of the impending war
either to my faithful people or to the Germans in general.
Unprejudiced Europe is fully aware of them. We succumbed to the
superior strength of France. The peace which wrested from me one-
half of my subjects, did not confer any blessings upon us, but
inflicted deeper wounds upon us than war itself. The enemy was bent
on exhausting the resources of the country; the principal fortresses
remained in his hands; agriculture was paralyzed, and so were the
manufactures of our cities, which had formerly reached so proud an
eminence; trade was everywhere obstructed, and the sources of
prosperity were thus almost entirely ruined. The country was rapidly
impoverished. By the most conscientious fulfilment of the
engagements I had taken upon myself, I hoped to mitigate the onerous
burdens imposed upon my people, and to convince the French emperor
at length that it was to his own advantage to leave Prussia in the
enjoyment of her independence; but my best intentions were foiled by
arrogance and perfidy; and we saw only too plainly that Napoleon's
treaties, even more than his wars, would slowly and surely ruin us.
The moment has come when all deceptions have ceased.
Brandenburgians, Prussians, Silesians, Pomeranians, Lithuanians! you
know what you have suffered for seven years past; you know what your
fate would be if we should not succeed in the struggle about to
begin. Remember the history of the past; remember the noble elector;
the great and victorious Frederick; remember what our ancestors
conquered with their blood--freedom of conscience, honor,
independence, commerce, industry, and science; remember the great
examples of our powerful allies, especially the Spaniards and the
Portuguese. Even smaller nations, for the same blessings, entered
into a desperate struggle with more powerful foes, and achieved a
glorious victory. Remember the heroic Swiss and Dutch. Great
sacrifices will be required of all classes, for our undertaking is a
great one, and the numbers and resources of our enemies are not to
be underrated. You will prefer to make these sacrifices for the
fatherland and your legitimate king rather than for a foreign ruler,
who, as is proved by many examples, would devote your sons and your
last resources to objects entirely foreign to you. Confidence in
God, courage, perseverance, and the assistance of our allies, will
crown our honest exertions with victory. But whatever sacrifices may
be required, they are not equivalent to the sacred objects for which
we make them, and for which we must fight and conquer, if we do not
wish to cease being Prussians and Germans. It is the last, decisive
effort which we make for our existence, our independence, our
prosperity. There is no other issue than an honorable peace or a
glorious overthrow. You would not shrink even from the latter, for
honor's sake. But we may confidently hope for the best. God and our
firm determination will make us victorious, and we shall then obtain
peace and the return of happier times."
"FREDERICK WILLIAM. BRESLAU, March 17, 1813."
[Footnote: This proclamation was drawn up by Counsellor von Hippel,
who proposed that the king should apply to his people directly, and
call upon them to rise against the French. He communicated it to the
chancellor of state at one of the conferences held every evening at
Breslau, at Hardenberg's rooms, in presence of Gneisenau,
Scharnhorst, Thile, and a few others. Hardenberg and all the rest
approved it, and so did the king, when it was laid before him on the
following day.--Vide Hippel's work on the "Life of Frederick William
III.," p. 63.]
A pause ensued when Leonora ceased reading. Her father, who was
standing by her side, and was supporting his hands on his crutch,
heard her with a very grave face. Her mother sank down on one of the
cane chairs, and listened devoutly, her hands clasped, and her eyes
turned toward heaven; while her son, who was sitting by her side,
leaned his arms on the table, and buried his face in his hands.
"Is that all?" asked the invalid, after a while. "I should really
like to hear more of it, for it sounds as sacred as a church organ.
Did you read it all, Leonora?"
"No, father, there is still another manifesto. It is printed under
the one I read to you. You yourself must read it, for my heart is
throbbing as if about to burst. In his second manifesto the king
orders a 'landwehr' and a 'landsturm' to be formed. Listen to what
he says at the end of this second manifesto: 'My cause,' he says,
'is the cause of my people, and of all patriots in Europe.'"
"Yes, he is right," said old Prohaska; "the king's cause is our
"Queen Louisa died for us all," exclaimed Leonora; "we should all
join the Legion of Vengeance--that is, to avenge her death!"
"And I--I cannot do any thing," wailed Charles, raising his face,
which was bathed in tears, and lifting up his hands as if
supplicating God to help him. "I must wait and suffer here; I am
doomed to remain a boy while my school-fellows have become men."
"Hush," said his mother, "an idea strikes me; we may, after all, be
somewhat useful to our country, though we are unable to furnish
soldiers for it. There is a great deal to be done besides fighting.
The king's manifesto says expressly: 'Great sacrifices will be
required of all classes.' Well, then, my dear ones, let us make
sacrifices for the fatherland and our king!"
"What sacrifices do you mean, mother?" asked the invalid. "What have
we, if we cannot furnish any soldiers?"
"We have our labor," exclaimed his wife, with pride. "When there is
war, and battles are fought, there are wounded soldiers, I suppose?"
"Of course, and cripples, too," said the invalid, pointing to his
"And the wounded are brought home and conveyed to the hospitals, are
they not? Who is to attend to them, to dress their wounds, give them
food, and nurse them? We women will do so! That is our task! I will
nurse the first wounded brought to Potsdam. The first maimed
soldier, however, whom I meet at the hospital, and whose right leg
has been amputated as that of my dear husband, we shall take to our
house. You may nurse him here, old man; console him and show him
that he may live quite happily, though with but one leg, and that
wife and children will love their husband and father no less
ardently, provided he is a true man, and has a courageous heart."
"You are right, mother," exclaimed Prohaska. "Let us take a wounded
soldier into our house, and I will nurse him as a brother, teaching
him how to use his wooden leg, while you are at the hospital,
attending to the other sufferers. But you have not thought of the
children. What are Leonora and Charles to do while we are thus
"They can help us," said his wife, quickly. "Leonora will have a
great deal to do. She will prepare lint, make nourishing soups, wash
bandages, and sew shirts and clothing."
The invalid cast a quick glance on Leonora. She stood, drawn up to
her full height, in the middle of the room; a proud, contemptuous
smile was playing about her lips, which uttered no word in reply to
her mother's plans.
"But what will Charles do?" asked Prohaska, quickly. "He cannot be
as useful as his sister."
"Father!" ejaculated Leonora, somewhat reproachfully.
"Hush!" he said, almost sternly, "mother is right; it behooves you
women to prepare lint, cook soups, nurse the wounded, and sew shirts
for them. But war itself is the task of the men. But, my wife,
before telling me what Charles is to do for our wounded, I must ask
a very sad question. Where shall we find money for the expenses we
shall have to incur? We are unfortunately poor, dependent on the
labor of our hands. This small house and my pension of three dollars
a month constitute our whole fortune, and if you were not the most
skilful hair-dresser in Potsdam--if I could not besides earn a few
dollars by making baskets, and if Leonora were not the best
seamstress in town, I should like to know how we could live and send
Charles to the Lyceum. But if we are to nurse the wounded, and
devote our labor to them alone, we shall unfortunately soon lack the
necessaries of life."
"I have thought of all that, husband," said his wife, eagerly. "But,
listen to me! Charles wants also to have his share in our
sacrifices, he does not intend to be idle while all are at work to
promote the welfare of the country. As he cannot enlist and fight,
he must use his head. He will, therefore, publish this
advertisement: 'As I have unfortunately been rejected by the
military commission on account of my youth, and because I have not
yet been confirmed, I request generous patriots to allow me to give
private lessons to their children, that I may earn a sufficient sum
to nurse and support a wounded soldier till his complete recovery.'"
"Yes, I will do that!" exclaimed Charles. "The citizens will learn
then why I have not enlisted, and I shall, moreover, be able to earn
money for the country. I shall certainly get pupils, for my teachers
are pleased with me, and I am already in the first class. I can give
lessons in Latin, Greek, mathematics, and history; I have good
testimonials, and, for the sake of the noble object I have in view,
parents will assuredly intrust their children to me, and pay me well
for my trouble."
"All of you will have employment, then," said Leonora, "and your
labor will benefit the country. But I also want to render myself
useful to the country."
"Well, you can assist me," said her mother; "you can prepare food,
wash, and sew shirts."
"However industrious I might be, mother, I could in that way earn
only as much as my own support would cost," said Leonora, shaking
her head. "I can be of no use to you, I am superfluous; I will go
therefore to another place, where I can render myself useful and
"But whither do you intend to go, and what do you wish to do?" asked
her mother in amazement, while her father cast searching glances
"To Berlin, and seek a situation as saleswoman," said Leonora. "What
money I earn I shall send to you, and you will spend it for your
wounded soldier. You know, mother, my godfather, Rudolph
Werkmeister, who is a merchant at Berlin, has often asked me to go
to see him, and take such a situation at his house. I have always
refused, because I did not like to leave you, but thought I would
stay with you and devote my whole life to nursing you; but God has
decreed otherwise. Yesterday my godfather wrote again, stating that
his wife had been taken sick, and that he was greatly embarrassed
because he had no one at his house on whom he could depend. He
offers me a salary of eighty dollars a year. Now, I pray you, dear
parents, let me go! Let me pursue my own paths, and do my duty as I
understand it. Dear mother, I am sure you will not refuse your
consent? You will permit me to go this very day to Berlin, and make
money for our wounded soldiers?"
"I will, my child," said her mother, her voice trembling with
emotion. "I have no diamonds and golden chains to give my country,
so I give to it the most precious and beautiful jewels I have--my
children. Yes, go, my Leonora; take the situation offered you, and
give the money you earn to the fatherland and its soldiers."
"Oh, thanks, mother!" exclaimed Leonora, hastening to her and
clasping her in her arms--"thanks, for permitting me to put my mite
on the altar of the country!" She kissed her mother with fervent
tenderness, and then turned toward her father. "And you, father,"
she said, in a low and almost timid tone--"you do not say a word--
you do not give your consent."
The invalid stood leaning on his crutch, and looked thoughtfully
into the noble face of his daughter. He then slowly raised his right
hand and laid it on Leonora's shoulder. "I repeat what your mother
said. Like her, I have no treasures to give my country except this
jewel, my Leonora! Go, my daughter!--do what you believe to be your
duty, and may God bless you!" Opening his arms, she threw herself
into them and leaned her head on his breast.
"And now," said Prohaska, gently disengaging himself from a long and
tearful embrace, "let us be calm. These are the first tears I have
wept since the death of our dear Queen Louisa--the first for your
sake, my Leonora! May the Lord forgive them to a poor father who has
but one daughter! The heart will yield to its emotions, but now I
must again be a soldier, who knows no tears!"
"But, husband, Leonora will not leave us immediately," said her
mother. "She must remain yet a day with us. Alas! we discover what
treasures we possessed only when we lose them. I believe I have
never loved Leonora so intensely as I do at this hour, and my heart
is unable to part with her so suddenly. I must first accustom myself
to the separation, and engrave her image upon my soul, that I may
never forget her dear features. Let her stay, then, until to-
The invalid gravely shook his head. "No," he said; "what is to be
done must be done at once; otherwise, our hearts will grow weak, and
our tears soften our resolutions. To-day I can permit Leonora to
leave us; whether I shall be able to do so to-morrow, I do not
"Father, the stage-coach starts for Berlin in two hours, and I shall
take passage in it!" exclaimed Leonora, quickly. "You are right,
what is to be done must be done now, and when we have taken a
resolution, we must not hesitate to carry it into effect. I will go
to my chamber and pack my trunk."
"I will go and help you," said her mother, hastening toward the
door, and leaving the room with Leonora.
"And I will write my advertisement," said Charles. "It must be
published to-morrow, that I am obliged to stay here because my
country will not accept me as a soldier, and that I desire to give
private lessons, the proceeds of which are to be devoted to the
support of a wounded soldier."
"And I--what shall I do?" asked the old invalid, when he was alone.
"I must swallow my tears, and tell no one my thoughts. I shall
quietly accustom myself to the idea that the darling of my heart, my
Leonora, is to leave me, and that my old eyes are to see no more her
dear face, or my ears hear her voice. Ah, when she looked at me, I
felt as though it were spring in my heart, and the sun shining
there; and when I heard her voice I thought it music rejoicing my
soul. Now, how quiet and gloomy all around me will be in the small
house--no more sunshine or music! all will be gone when Leonora is
gone. And will she come back, then?--will not some bullet, some
sword-blade--hush, my thoughts! I must not betray them! Be still, my
heart, and weep! Be still and--" Tears choked his voice, and the
strong man, overwhelmed with grief, sank into his easy-chair and
sobbed aloud. After a long time he raised himself again and dried
his tears. "Fie, Sergeant Prohaska!" he said aloud. "You sit here
and cry like an old woman, and wring your hands in grief, instead of
being glad and thanking the Lord that a substitute has been found
for the invalid sergeant with the wooden leg. Thunder and lightning,
Sergeant Prohaska! I advise you to behave yourself, and not be weak
and foolish, while women are becoming men. Keep your head erect,
turn your eyes on the enemy, and then, 'Charge them!' as old father
Blucher used to say. I will go to work now," he continued, drawing a
deep breath, after repeatedly pacing the small room with measured
steps. "Yes, I will go to work, and that no one may discover that I
have wept, I will sing a beautiful song I learned yesterday from a
volunteer. Yes, I will work and sing!" He hastened to the chamber
adjoining the sitting-room, and brought from it a neat half-finished
basket upon which he had been at work the day before. "It must be
finished to-day; I have promised it," he said, sitting down on his
old easy-chair. He then commenced working assiduously, and sang in a
"Nun mit Gott! Es ist beschlossen!
Auf, Ihr wackern Streitgenossen,
Endlich kommt der Ehrentag!
Besser flugs und f rohlich sterben,
Als so langsam bin verderben,
Und versiechen in der Schmach."
"Endlich darf das Herz sich regen,
Sich die Zunge frei bewegen,
Alle Fesseln sind eutzwei.
Ach, da Alles schier zerstoben,
Kam der Retterarm from oben,
Neugeboren sind wir, fred!"
"Tag der Freiheit, Tag der Wonne!
Bruder, seht! es tanzt die Sonne,
Wie am ersten Ostertag!
Todte sprengen ihre Grufte,
Und durch Berg und Thai und Klufte
Hallt ein freudig Jauchzen nach!"
Aus der Knechtschaft Todesbanden,
Streiter Gottes, nun zu Hauf!
Unsre Adler! Ha sie wittern
Ihrer Raub--die Feinde zittern,
Unsre Adler fahren auf!"
"Zu den Waff en, zu den Rossen,
Auf, Ihr wackern Kampfgenossen
Er ist da, Der Ehrentag!
Besser flugs und frohlich sterben,
Als so langsam hin verderben,
Und versiechen in der Schmach!"
It is resolved in God's great name!
Up, comrades! to the field of fame!
This day of glory save.
Quickly and merrily to die
Is better than the sick-bed sigh,
And an unhonored grave.
Our heart at last resumes its life--
Our tongues now urge to holy strife;
The broken chains we see.
When all seemed lost, a saving hand
From heaven vouchsafes to bless our land,
And make us strong and free.
O happy day! The sun new-born
Is dancing as on Easter morn!
See, risen brothers, see!
"We come from slavery's grave unbound,
And mountains and the vales resound
With songs of jubilee.
Ascending from Oppression's night,
Behold the dawn of freedom's light!
Soldiers of God, arise!
The enemy will rue this day,
For victory's eagle scents the prey
And onward quickly flies.
To arms! to horse! my comrades brave!
And let the battle-standard wave,
For now is honor's day.
The dying shout of bloody strife
Is better than the pining life
That sinks by slow decay."]
"Yes, it is better to die quickly and merrily than slowly pine away
and perish in disgrace," repeated a sonorous voice behind him. It
was Leonora, who had just entered the room, unnoticed by her father,
and had listened to the last verse of his song. "Yes, the song is
right," she said, enthusiastically. "But I, father, have already
been pining away for a long time. The first volunteer I saw was as a
dagger that pierced my soul, and ever since I have been ill and
suffering, and in my heart a voice has been continually singing the
words I once heard at the theatre: 'I wish to be a man!'"
"And why do you wish to be a man?" asked her father, bowing his
head, and seemingly devoting his whole attention to his work.
"Because a man is allowed to do freely and boldly what he deems
right and good," replied Leonora; "because, when the fatherland
calls him, he may step forth with a bold front, and reply: 'Here I
am! To thee, my country, belongs my arm--my blood! For thee I am
ready to fight, and if need be to die!' Father, when a man talks
thus, his words are sublime--the women clasp their hands and listen
devoutly to him, and the children fall on their knees and pray for
him. But if a girl talk thus, it would be as mockery; the women
would deride their heroic sister, and the children point at and
shout after her, 'Look at the foolish girl who wants to do what is
solely the task of man! Look at the crazy one, who imagines she can
do men's work!' Her most sacred sentiments, her most patriotic
desires and resolutions, would be mercilessly ridiculed!"
"That is the reason, my child," said her father, calmly laboring at
his basket, "why she should not betray her sentiments, and confide
her thoughts to God alone. Have you forgotten what Charles read to
us about Joan of Orleans? She left her parents silently and
secretly, and went whither God called her."
"But her father cursed and disowned her for it," said Leonora, in a
tremulous voice. "Do you think her father was right, merely because
she followed the voice of God, and went out to deliver her king and
"No," said Prohaska, laying his basket aside and rising, "I do not;
I was always indignant when that particular passage was read to us."
"And what would you have said, father?" asked Leonora, in a tone of
profound emotion. "Imagine me to be Joan, the inspired maid of
Orleans, and that I say: 'Father, I cannot remain any longer in this
narrow dwelling. The voice of the king and the fatherland has
penetrated my heart also, and has called me. I must obey it, for I
feel courageous and strong enough, and it would be cowardly to
disobey.' What would you say if I were Joan of Orleans, and should
talk thus to you?"
"I should say, 'Kneel down, my Leonora, and receive my last
blessing,'" replied Prohaska, straightening himself and approaching
Leonora knelt down, and, raising her tearful eyes to her father,
whispered: "What blessing would you give me if I were Joan of
Orleans? Oh, think I am she, and give me your blessing!"
"If you were Joan of Orleans," responded the old man, solemnly, "and
should kneel before me as you do now, and ask my blessing, I should,
as I do now, lay my hands on your head, and say to you: 'God the
Lord, who holds heaven and earth in His hand, and without whose will
not a hair falls from our head, watch over you and protect you! May
He be with you on the battle-field! May He give you a brave heart, a
strong arm, and a steady eye! May He give you courage to brave
death! Yon have chosen men's work, you have pledged your love and
your life to the fatherland; go, then, and be a man; love your
country like a man, fight like a man, and, if need be, die like a
man!' But when your last hour has come, my daughter, think of your
father, and pray to God with your last thoughts that He may soon
deliver me also, and take me away, for I shall feel lonely on earth
when you are no more, and even the victorious shouts of the
returning would no longer gladden my old soldier's heart if I find
you not among the conquerors. But, hush! let no tear desecrate this
secret hour of our last farewell! God has called all strong and
courageous hearts--follow His call! It is incumbent on every one to
love his country more intensely than parents, brothers, and sisters.
Go, then, my daughter; do your duty, and remember that your father's
blessing will be with you in life as well as in death! And now, give
me a last kiss."
Leonora rose from her knees, and, encircling his neck with her arms,
pressed a glowing kiss on his lips. "Father," she said, looking at
him with a beaming face, "my lips have not yet kissed any man's lips
but yours, and here I swear to you--and may God have mercy on me at
my last hour if I do not keep my oath!--I swear to you that I shall
kiss no man until I am permitted to return to you, my father!"
"I believe you, dear Leonora," said Prohaska, solemnly.
"Leonora, my child, it is time now!" exclaimed her mother, hastily
entering the room. "The postilion has already passed our house, and
in a quarter of an hour the stage-coach will stop at our door. I
have myself gone to the postmaster, and he granted it as a favor
that the stage-coach should stop here, and thus save you the trouble
of going to the post-office. This will enable you to remain with us
fifteen minutes yet."
"But my trunk, mother; we have to take it to the post-office?" asked
"Oh, it would have been too heavy for us," said Mrs. Prohaska;
"Charles and two of his school-mates are just carrying it to the
post-office. Leonora's trunk is quite heavy, father. Thank God, she
is well provided, and for the first year it will be quite
unnecessary for her to buy any thing."
"My dear mother would indeed have packed up all her own things and
dresses for me if I had not prevented her," said Leonora, smiling.
"I should like best to pack up my own heart for you, my dear child,"
exclaimed her mother, deeply moved, "but, as I could not do so, I
put my bridal dress into your trunk. It is a nice silk dress, and I
have worn it only three times in my life--on my wedding-day, and on
the days when my two children were baptized; it is as good as new. I
suppose, husband, you will permit me to give it to her?"
"Of course, but what is she to do with it?" asked Prohaska.
"Why, what a question!" exclaimed Mrs. Prohaska, "she is to wear it,
and look pretty when she goes to parties on Sundays. Leonora, I
suppose you will know what to do with it?" "Yes, mother, I thank
you from the bottom of my heart for the beautiful present, and I
promise you that I shall use it only in a noble and worthy manner,"
said Leonora, gravely. "My mother's bridal dress shall not be worn
for frivolous purposes, but it shall serve me to attain the highest
and purest objects."
"Oh, I know," whispered the mother, who was scarcely able to
restrain her tears, "I know that you are an excellent girl, and a
good daughter, and that you will never do any thing of which your
old parents would have to be ashamed. You have always been my pride
and joy, and never would I consent to part with you unless every one
had now to make the greatest sacrifices for the king and the
fatherland. But still it is very painful, and--"
"Wife," interposed the old sergeant, "no tears now! When we are
alone we shall have time enough for weeping. As long as Leonora is
here, let us gaze at and rejoice in her.--I have to give you a
commission yet. Go to my general, old Blucher, and tell him he ought
not to be angry with me--that he must not believe me a lazy coward
because I do not go to the war. Tell him that my leg had to be
amputated some time after the battle, and that he ought to excuse my
absence when the roll is called."
"I will assuredly repeat your words to the general, father."
"Why!" asked Mrs. Prohaska, wonderingly, "is General Blucher now at
"No," said her husband, carelessly, "he is at Breslau, whither all
the volunteers are marching."
"But how is Leonora, then, to repeat your words to him?" asked his
wife, in amazement.
"Father means that I shall tell General Blucher when he comes to
Berlin?" said Leonora, quickly. "They say Blucher will come soon to
expel the French from the capital, and father thinks I might then
repeat those words to his old chieftain."
"Sister, sister, the stage-coach is coming," shouted Charles,
rushing breathlessly into the room. "The postilion has already blown
his bugle for the third time!"
"Well, then, my child, we must part," said the old sergeant, deeply
moved, and clasping Leonora in his arms. "God bless you, my
daughter! Your father's thoughts will always be with you!" He
disengaged himself from her arms, and pushed her gently toward her
mother. The two women remained a long time locked in each other's
arms. Neither of them said a word, but their tears and their last
looks were more eloquent than words.
"And you forget me?" asked Charles, reproachfully. "You do not care
to take leave of me?"
Leonora released herself from her mother's embrace, and encircled
her brother's neck with her arms. "Farewell, darling of my heart!"
she cried. "Be a good son to father and mother, and remember that
you must henceforth love them for both of us. Farewell, brother, and
forgive me for being born earlier than you, and thus preventing your
being in my place. God decreed it thus, putting us in our own
places, and we must both fill them worthily."
"Yes," said Charles, amid his tears, "certainly we will."
A carriage was rattling over the pavement, and stopped in front of
the house. A bugle sounded.
"Father, mother, and brother, farewell!" exclaimed Leonora. Then,
raising her arms to heaven, she added: "God in heaven, watch over
them, and, if such be Thy will, let me return to them!" She hastily
wrapped herself in her cloak, and, without looking at them again,
rushed out of the room, and jumped into the coach.
"Farewell, farewell!" shouted father, mother, and brother, who had
followed her, and were standing in front of the house.
She leaned her head out of the coach window. "Farewell," she
exclaimed, "and God--" The bugle drowned her words; the carriage
The loving relatives gazed after it until it had disappeared around
the next corner, and then returned sighing into the small house.
Charles hastened to his little chamber up-stairs to give vent to his
grief. The parents returned to their sitting-room. "Oh, how still it
is here now, as still as in the grave," sighed Mrs. Prohaska, "for I
miss my child, and will miss her everywhere. Oh, husband, my heart
aches, and I feel as though I had lost my Leonora forever! Ah, why
did we allow her to go? Why did we not keep her here, our child, our
only daughter? Oh! if she should never return, if she should die! O
God, have mercy on a poor mother's heart--protect my dear child!"
She sank down on a chair, and, covering her face with her apron,
The old sergeant paced the room in silence. He scarcely knew that
the tears, like large pearls, were running down his cheeks into his
gray beard. The loud sobs of his wife aroused him. "Hush, wife;
hush!" he said, standing in front of her. "It is too late now for
weeping. Let us rather be glad, for Leonora is possessed of a brave
heart, and has done her duty toward her country and her old invalid
father. Let us, therefore, be glad, and sing!" And he commenced to
sing in a tremulous voice, while the tears were still rolling from
"Ihr Deutsche auf in Sud und Nord!
Hinweg gemeiner Neid!
Wir alle reden eine Sprach'
Und stehen air fur eine Sach'
Im ehrenvoilen Streit!"
"Und wer sich feig entzieht dem Kampf
Fur Freiheit und fur Ehr',
Wer nicht das Schwertergreift zur Stund!
Der leb' und sterb' als schlechter Hund,
Der sei kein Deutscher mehr!"
Arise, ye Germans, North and South!
And honor's path pursue.
Since all one common language speak
And all one sacred object seek,
Your jealousies subdue.
Let him who shirks his country's call,
To freedom and to fame,
Both live and die a cowardly hound,
Despised wherever may be found
A man of German name.]
THE NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVES.
Leonora Prohaska reached Berlin at four o'clock in the afternoon. On
the way, closing her eyes, she leaned back on the cushions, so that
her companions paid little attention to her, whom they believed to
be asleep. But Leonora heard every word, and every conversation of
her fellow-travellers strengthened her soul and restored her former
courage. They spoke of the enthusiasm in every city, village, and
house--an enthusiasm spreading far beyond the frontiers of Prussia,
and carrying all away as an irresistible torrent, drawing with it
even the most cautious and timid, and filling the most desponding
and disheartened with joyous hopes. One of the travellers was just
returning from Breslau, and dwelt with impassioned eloquence on the
bustle prevailing there; on the volunteers who were flocking in vast
numbers to that city and parading every day under the king's
windows; and on brave Major von Lutzow, who, with his beautiful
young wife, had come to Breslau, and was endeavoring to live at a
miserable tavern, because no other accommodations were to be had.
"And in the bar-room," he said, "beautiful Madame von Lutzow
receives the names of the volunteers who wish to enlist in the
Legion of Vengeance. Her husband is busily engaged, from dawn till
late at night, in organizing his corps; in trying to procure arms,
horses, and equipments for his men, and his handsome wife is his
recruiting officer. She is as charming as an angel, the daughter of
a wealthy count, and has, by her marriage with Major von Lutzow,
contrary to her parents' wishes, so much exasperated her proud
father that he gave her no dower, but imposed it as a condition of
his consent that Major von Lutzow should marry without any. But the
count's daughter joyously descended from the proud castle to the
humble dwelling of the Prussian major, whom she loved on account of
his bravery, and the scars which he bore on his forehead, and which
he had received in 1806, in the war against the French."
"I know the lady," said the second traveller; "she is a daughter of
the Danish Count von Ahlefeldt, a wonder of loveliness, grace, and
refined manners. She hates the French as intensely as her husband,
and it was precisely this common hatred of the French that brought
"How so?" asked the other. "Pray tell us all about it."
"Several years ago, the young countess, attended by her governess,
made a journey to a fashionable German watering-place. Both took
dinner at the table d'hote of the 'Kurhaus,' where a crowd of
persons from all countries were assembled. The neighbor of the young
countess at the table happened to be a French officer, who managed
to involve the young lady in a highly animated and interesting
conversation. He told her in a very attractive manner of his
campaigns and travels, and the young countess listened to him with
pleasure and manifested her sympathy for him. The Frenchman dared to
seize her hand and kiss it. The young countess started; a deep blush
suffused her fair face, and, without reflecting, obeying only her
first impulse, she took a glass of water which stood before her, and
poured it over the hand which the Frenchman had dared to kiss.
Several Prussian officers, seated near her had witnessed the
occurrence, and, on noticing how she removed the stain of the French
kiss from her hand, could not refrain from bursting into a loud
cheer. One of them was Major von Lutzow. After dinner he approached
the countess, was introduced to her by a mutual acquaintance, and
expressed his ardent thanks, in the name of all Germans, for the
bold rebuke she had administered to the Frenchman. That was the
beginning of her acquaintance with Major von Lutzow, and the end of
it was her marriage with him. [Footnote: I am indebted for an
account of this occurrence to the Countess Ahlefeldt (formerly
Madame Major von Lutzow) herself, who related it to me with charming
naivete and grace.--L.] She is now at Breslau, and you have seen
"Yes, for I went to the major's headquarters with a friend who
wished to enlist in his corps. We met there, however, only herself.
She received my friend's request to enlist under her husband with so
much grace, with such a look of joy--she dwelt in such soul-stirring
words on the great and holy national war about to break out, and in
which every one ought to participate, that I was quite fascinated by
her eloquence, and would have enlisted at once if I had not already
entered a landwehr regiment."
Not a word of this conversation escaped Leonora, and she said to
herself: "I must make the acquaintance of this lady. I will go to
her, mid she will enlist me for the German fatherland!"
The travellers continued their conversation, relating that Frederick
William had not believed in the success of the first manifesto, in
which he called for volunteers; and, for this reason, had not signed
the manifesto which Chancellor von Hardenberg had drawn up; that
four days afterward the king, who had just explained with unusual
vehemence to General Scharnhorst the utter uselessness of this call,
was interrupted by a strange noise in the street; and that, anxious
to discover what was the cause, he stepped to the window, and
General Scharnhorst followed him; that a line of at least eighty
wagons had come in sight, and in them none but armed men were
seated, who halted in front of the palace, and an aide-de-camp, who
entered the room at that moment, informed the king that they were
volunteers just arrived from Berlin; that Scharnhorst turned to him,
and exclaimed triumphantly: "Will your majesty be convinced now that
your people are ready to fight for you and the fatherland?" and that
the king made no reply, but a flood of tears rushed from his eyes,
and he smiled amidst his emotion.
At length Leonora arrived at Berlin. She stood alone beside her
trunk in the court-yard of the royal post-office building. No notice
was taken of her; no one manifested any sympathy for her; but she
did not flinch, and her heart was free from doubt or anxiety. She
sent for a hackney-coach by one of the boys playing in the court-
yard, and then drove away. But she did not order the coachman to
convey her to her godfather, Werkmeister, the merchant on Jager
Street. Driving first to Tauben Street, the carriage stopped in
front of a large, gloomy house. She alighted, and, begging the
coachman to wait for her, slipped into the house. Quickly ascending
three narrow flights of stairs, she reached a silent corridor, on
both sides of which were small doors, and on each a number had been
painted. Knocking at the door of number three, a female voice
inquired, "Who is there?"
"It is I, Leonora Prohaska!"
A loud cry of joy resounded; the door was hastily opened, and a
young soldier in full uniform appeared on the threshold. It was now
Leonora who uttered a cry, and blushing drew back. "Pardon me," she
said, timidly; "there must be a mistake. I am looking for my friend,
a young milliner, named Caroline Peters."
The young soldier laughed, but it was the fresh, ringing laughter of
a girl. "Then you really do not recognize me, Leonora?" he
exclaimed. "You really take me for what I like to be and am not--a
"Great Heaven! is it you?" exclaimed Leonora. "You--"
"Hush!" whispered the other, hastily drawing her into the room, and
carefully locking the door. "For mercy's sake, let no one hear us!
What a scandal it would be, if it should be discovered that
Volunteer Charles Petersen receives the visits of pretty girls at
his room! This hotel is entirely occupied by volunteers, and none of
them suspect that I am a woman, nor shall they ever find it out. But
now welcome, my dear Leonora, and tell me what has brought you to
Berlin. Did you receive my letter?"
"Yes, Caroline, I did," said Leonora, gravely, "and it gave me pain,
for you called me cowardly and destitute of honor, because I
intended to stay at home when my country was in need of the arms of
all its children, and when every one of any courage was
participating in this holy struggle."
"And that is the truth, Leonora," exclaimed Caroline; "the
fatherland has called us all, and those who do not listen to this
call are cowards!"
"But who told you that I did not listen to it?" asked Leonora.
"What!" ejaculated Caroline, joyously. "Leonora, you, too--"
"Hush!" interrupted Leonora, "we must talk about all this afterward.
I am in haste now, for there is a hackney-coach waiting for me at
the door, and my trunk is on it. Tell me now quickly, Caroline, can
I stay with you over night?"
"In female dress, Leonora? That would be hardly prudent."
"No, in male attire, Caroline."
"Oh, then you are a thousand times welcome here," exclaimed
Caroline, encircling her with her arms, and drawing her to her
"But I have not yet my male attire," said Leonora, smiling, "nor
have I money to buy it. Give me, therefore, quickly, the name of
some one who buys dresses, for I will drive to him immediately with
my trunk, and sell all I have brought with me."
"Come, Leonora, I will accompany you," said Caroline. "I know at the
Hospital Bridge a very patriotic and kind-hearted old Jew, to whom I
have also sold my wearing apparel, and who paid me a very liberal
price for it, when I told him that I wanted to buy a uniform for my
brother. Let us drive there, but I will remain in the carriage while
you go into the store, for he might recognize me. You will also find
men's clothing, which you may purchase for your brother--that is to
say, for yourself."
"Come, then, and let us make haste," said Leonora, drawing her
friend with her.
Fifteen minutes afterward the hackney-coach halted in front of one
of the second-hand clothing-stores near the Hospital Bridge, and
Leonora alighted, holding in her arms a large package of dresses,
shawls, skirts, and aprons, which she had taken from her trunk
during the drive. Mr. Hirsch, the dealer in second-hand clothing,
who was standing in front of his store, received her with a pleasant
greeting, and invited her to enter and tell him what she wanted.
Leonora put the wearing apparel on the counter, and, drawing a deep
breath, said in a tone of embarrassment, "I should like to sell
these things, sir."
The Jew put his spectacles slowly on his nose, and then lifted up
the dresses, one after another, contemplating them with scrutinizing
"If he should not give me as much money as I need?" Leonora asked
herself, anxiously, "if these things should not amount to so much
that I cannot purchase a uniform?"
And old Hirsch, as if he heard the anxious question of her heart,
said, shaking his head: "I cannot give very much for these few
calico dresses and aprons. They are all very nice and well
preserved, but of no value whatever."
"But there is also a silk dress, sir," said Leonora, in a tremulous
voice, "an entirely new silk dress."
"New?" asked the Jew, shrugging his shoulders, drawing out the
dress, and unfolding it with a sneer. "The dress is not new, for it
is made after such an old fashion that it could be worn only at a
masked ball; and the stuff is not worth any thing, either, for it is
only half silk. It was just made to look at. It appears like heavy
silk, but the oblique threads that make it look so heavy are all
cotton. How much do you want for the whole, my pretty miss?"
"I do not know," said Leonora, in a low voice, "as much as you can
give me for it."
"Yes, yes," grumbled the old man, "I am to give a great deal of
money for very poor goods; that is what they all ask me to do. I
will tell you, I cannot give you more than twelve dollars for the
"Twelve dollars!" ejaculated Leonora, with such an expression of
dismay that the Jew started, raising his green spectacles to his
forehead, and fixing his small, twinkling eyes on Leonora.
"Twelve dollars!" repeated Leonora, and, no longer able to restrain
her tears, she wrung her hands, and muttered: "It is all in vain,
then! Twelve dollars arc not sufficient to buy a uniform and arms."
Hirsch heard her words. "What?" he asked, hastily. "You want to sell
the dresses in order to buy a uniform and arms?"
"Yes, sir," replied Leonora, "my mother and I wanted to sell our
dresses, because we hoped we would get money enough to buy my
brother a complete uniform--a rifle, sword, and shako; for my
brother intends to enlist in Lutzow's corps of riflemen."
"Your brother intends to enlist in Lutzow's corps of riflemen?"
asked Hirsch, quickly. "Is that no pretext, eh? Do you not tell me
so merely for the purpose of extorting money from me? Can you swear
to me that that is why you wish to sell the dresses?"
"I can swear it by the great God in heaven, in whom we all believe,"
said Leonora, solemnly. "But I can prove it to you, too--"
"How so? In what way?"
"By buying a uniform for my brother here at your store. He is of the
same height as I am, and has precisely the same figure: we are
"And your brother intends to enlist in Lutzow's corps? Why did he
not himself come to select a uniform?"
"He is at Potsdam, sir, and does not know that I am here. To-morrow
is his birthday, and we want to surprise him by giving him his
"And he shall have it!" exclaimed the Jew; "yes, he shall have it! I
read in your eyes that you have told me the truth, my child, and
that you do not want the money for frivolous purposes, but for the
great cause of the German fatherland. I have also a heart for my
country, and no one shall say that we Israelites do not feel and act
like true Germans--that our hearts did not suffer under the disgrace
which, for long years, has weighed down all Germany, and that we
will not joyfully sacrifice our blood and our life; and, what is
still more, our property, for the sake of the fatherland. Who was
the first man at Berlin to make a voluntary contribution to this
object? It was a Jew! The president of the Jewish congregation, M.
Gumpert, made the first patriotic contribution. He sent three
hundred dollars to the military commission, with the request that
this amount might be spent for buying equipments for poor
volunteers. [Footnote: Historical.] Our Gumpert was the first man
who made a sacrifice for the benefit of the fatherland, and I do not
wish to be the last. I made a mistake in appraising your things; I
will do it over again, and what I can give I will give." He glanced
again at the dresses; then shaking his head, and stroking the silk
dress with his long, lean hand, he said, "How could I make such a
mistake, and believe this stuff to be only half silk? It is all
silk, heavy silk--and two dresses of the now fashionable tight cut
can easily be made out of this splendid one. For this alone I will
give you twenty dollars, and as for the other things, well, I will
give you twenty dollars more."
"Oh," exclaimed Leonora, radiant with joy, and giving both her hands
to the old Jew--"oh, you are a noble, generous man, a true patriot!
I thank you, and may the delivered land some day reward you!"
"Ah, poor Hirsch cannot deserve great rewards at the hands of the
fatherland," said the old man, sighing. "I am poor, I have not even
a son whom I might give to the country, and intrust with the task of
avenging me. I had a son, a good, dear boy; but, in 1807, when the
French arrived here, he wished to defend our property against the
soldiers who broke into our house; he grew very angry with the
infamous ruffians, and called them and their emperor murderers and
robbers. Thereupon they mortally stabbed him--they killed him before
my own eyes! He was my only child, my only joy on earth! But, hush!
this is no time for lamentations. I will rejoice--yes, rejoice, for
the hour of vengeance has come, and we will pay the French for what
wrongs they have inflicted on us. If I were not so old and feeble, I
should myself willingly fight, but now I am only able to assist in
equipping soldiers. Your brother shall become a soldier, my child;
we will equip him for the Legion of Vengeance. He shall avenge my
son, my innocent, beloved son, upon Napoleon the tyrant, and the
French rabble, who have trampled us under foot so long and so
disgracefully. Yes, yes, I will give you forty dollars for your
things, but I will not give you the whole amount in cash. Look at
this black uniform; it is quite new, the tailor delivered it only
yesterday. Did not you tell me that your brother is of the same
stature as you are?"
"Of the same stature and figure, for he is my twin-brother."
"Well, let us see if this uniform fits you."
Mr. Hirsch took out his tape-line, and measured Leonora's figure
with the skill of au experienced tailor. He then applied the tape-
line to the trousers and the coat of black cloth. "It fits
splendidly," he exclaimed. "And here is also a nice silk vest that
belongs to it. Now, listen to me! I charge you twelve dollars for
the whole suit; you will, therefore, receive twenty-eight dollars in
money. Now you will, in the first place, buy your brother a fine
rifle, such as Lutzow's riflemen need. You will pay ten dollars for
it; besides a sword and a shako, which will cost together five
dollars. You will have thirteen dollars left. For this amount you
will put a pair of good shirts and a new pair of boots into your
brother's knapsack, and the remainder you will give him for pocket-
money. Is it to be so? Is the bargain struck?" "Yes, the bargain is
"Very well. Here is your uniform, and here are the twenty-eight
dollars." He counted the shining dollars on the counter, and then
pushed the money and the clothing toward Leonora. "Here is our
Luztow's rifleman's uniform," he exclaimed.
"And here are the dresses, sir," said Leonora, handing the wearing
apparel to the old man, but, while doing so, she quickly bent over
it, and pressed a kiss on the silk dress.
Old Hirsch looked at her with amazement.
"It is my mother's bridal dress, sir," said Leonora, as if
apologetically. "It was our greatest treasure, and I gave it only a
The Jew looked down musingly. "Listen, my child," he said; "I must
not sell this dress. I shall keep it until the war is over. If your
brother gets safely back, you may bring him here, and, as a greeting
of welcome, I will present your mother's bridal dress to him. But in
return, he must do me a favor."
"Whenever he cuts down a Frenchman, he is to shout, 'Moses Hirsch is
avenged!' Moses was the name of my dear, unfortunate son, and I
think he will sleep more calmly in his grave when he hears that his
father has sent out an avenger of his death. Will you promise me, in
your brother's name, that he will not forget to shout what I tell
"I promise it! Whenever my brother cuts down a Frenchman, he will
shout, 'Moses Hirsch is avenged!'"
"Thank you!" said Hirsch, greatly moved. "My son will hear it, and
he will smile down from heaven on his old, lonely father. And now,
my dear, beautiful child, good-by! Give me the package; I will take
it for you to the carriage!"
"No, no, give it back to me," exclaimed Leonora, anxiously. But the
old man did not listen to her. He took the package, and hastened
with it out of his store to the hackney-coach.
Charles Petersen, at this moment, looked impatiently out of the
window, and shouted to her friend to make haste.
Old Hirsch uttered a cry and stared at Caroline. "Great Heaven!" he
exclaimed, "you in uniform--you a volunteer?"
"Ah," said Caroline, concealing her confusion by loud laughter, "I
see what astonishes you. You confound me with my sister. I know she
sold her dresses to you to buy a uniform and arms for me. Yes, it is
difficult to distinguish us, for we greatly resemble each other. The
reason is, we are twins."
"He has a twin-sister as you have a twin-brother," said Hirsch,
turning to Leonora with a strange smile. "Hush! I understand all
now. God protect the courageous twins! Coachman, start!"
"Whither?" asked the coachman.
"To M. Werkmeister's house, 23 Jager Street," replied Leonora,
nodding a last greeting to the old Jew. The carriage wheeled away.
"What do you want at M. Werkmeister's?" asked Caroline.
"To pay him my last visit as a girl," said Leonora.
"Returning from his house, I shall divest myself of my female
costume and become your comrade. Let us then go out together and buy
"But would it not be better for me to drive back to our hotel while
you are Werkmeister's?" asked Caroline. "You have had the hackney-
coach already above an hour, and we volunteers must be as economical
as possible, in order to support ourselves as long as we can, and
not become a burden to the state."
"That is true," said Leonora. "I will alight here, and you will be
so kind as to take my trunk and the package to your quarters." The
hackney-coach halted, and Leonora, wrapping herself in her shawl,
leaped out of the carriage. "Drive back to Tauben Street, now," she
said, "and assist the gentleman in carrying this trunk up to his
room. But previously I will pay you the whole fare. How much do I
"From the post-office to Tauben Street, four groschen," said the
"How so--nothing else? You waited a good while in Tauben Street; we
then drove hither, where you waited a long while again, and now you
are about to return to Tauben Street."
"Yes; but in Tauben Street we took in a volunteer," said the
coachman, whipping his horses in a gentle, caressing manner. "We
hackmen never take any money for driving a volunteer. Every one must
do as much for the fatherland as he can. You owe me, therefore, only
"Here they are," said Leonora, handing the money to the hackman,
"and we are much obliged to you."
"Oh, you are not obliged to me at all," said the hackman, "for you
see I do not drive girls for nothing--only volunteers."
"To-morrow he will drive me, too, for nothing," said Leonora, gazing
after the hackney-coach. "To-morrow I will no longer be a girl! For
I am going now to bid a last adieu to my outward maidenhood and my
past!" And she walked with resolute steps across the Gendarmes
Market toward Jager Street.
"I must tell my dear godfather that I cannot accept his offer," she
said to herself; "for, if I should not, he might perhaps write
another letter to me to Potsdam, and mother: would then learn
prematurely that I told her a falsehood, and am not now at my
godfather's house; but when he knows that I cannot come, he will not
write again, and no one will discover my plans."
There was an unusual throng to-day in front of the house No. 23 on
Jager Street, where Werkmeister the merchant lived. It was not
without difficulty that Leonora penetrated through the crowd to the
door, where was to be seen a large placard, containing the following
words: "Gold wedding-rings exchanged for iron ones here." Somewhat
astonished at this strange inscription, Leonora entered the house,
and stepped across the hall to the open door of her godfather's
M. Rudolph Werkmeister, without looking attentively at her,
presented her a small box containing a large number of glittering
rings. "Please select one of these, and drop the gold ring into the
aperture of the locked box," he said.
Leonora looked at him smilingly. "It is I, godfather," she said,
offering him her hand.
"Ah, it is you, Leonora Prohaska," exclaimed M. Werkmeister, putting
down the box. "You have received my letter, then, my child? You have
at length made up your mind to comply with my wishes--to come to my
house, and to assist my wife at the store and in the household?
Well, you could not have come at a better hour, and I thank you for
Leonora fixed her large dark eyes with an affectionate expression on
the good-natured, pleasant face of the merchant, and stepping up to
him laid both her hands on his shoulders. "Godfather, dear
godfather," she said, greatly moved, "do not be angry with me, and
forgive me for coming only to tell you I cannot accept your offer.
Do not ask me why I cannot. I am not allowed to tell you the reason,
but I know that, when you learn it some day, you will certainly
approve what I have done. I really am no ungrateful girl, but I
cannot come to you, dear M. Werkmeister. I have greater and holier
duties to fulfil--duties to which God Himself has called me!"
"That is to say, my child, you do not wish to leave your poor old
parents?" asked Mr. Werkmeister, in great emotion. "You will stay
with them at their small house and eat the invalid's brown bread
rather than live luxuriously at the beautiful capital of Prussia?
You are right, perhaps, my child. You are the only joy of your
parents, and I was selfish, perhaps, in trying to rob them of you.
But, in doing so, I thought more of yourself, and desired to give a
better and brighter sphere to your youth. But we must all pursue the
paths which God and our conscience have marked out for us."
"Yes," exclaimed Leonora, enthusiastically, "you are right. Let me,
therefore, pursue my own path, and may Heaven accompany me! You are
not angry with me, then, godfather? You really are not? No? Now give
me your hand, godfather, and let me take leave of you with an
affectionate kiss!" She threw her arms round the old man's neck, and
kissed him tenderly.
"But you do not intend to leave immediately?" asked M. Werkmeister,
surprised. "You have not even seen my sick wife, and talk already of
"Ah, I must go. I have still much to attend to, and must leave
Berlin to-night. But, tell me one thing! What is the meaning of the
inscription at your door, and why is there such a crowd in front of
"They are reading the placard which I have hung out," said M.
Werkmeister--"the request which I addressed to all patriots."
"And what do you request of them to do, godfather?"
"I request all families, and especially all wives and affianced
brides, to bring their gold wedding-rings to me and receive iron
ones in return; and in commemoration of these times, I have had ten
thousand iron rings made, and the royal authorities approved my
scheme and intrusted me with the collection of the gold ones. My
request was published in the papers of this morning, and already
more than thirty gold rings have been exchanged. Look, here are the
iron ones. They are very neat, are they not?--the exact shape of
genuine wedding-rings; only in place of the names, the inside
contains the words, 'I gave gold for iron, 1813.' Read!"
"Oh, that is a very beautiful idea," exclaimed Leonora,
contemplating the ring which he had handed her. "Such a memento will
henceforth be the most precious ornament of all wives, and no gold
will shine so brilliantly and be so valuable as these iron rings
with which our women pledge their love to their native land. Ah,
dear godfather, I would like to ask a favor of you. I am no wife,
nor am I an affianced bride, and I have, therefore, no wedding-ring
to give you. I have nothing but my heart, and in this heart there is
no other love than that of country. Let me, therefore, offer it to
the fatherland instead of gold, and give me for it an iron ring with
the beautiful inscription: 'I gave gold for iron, 1813.'"
"There is a ring, my child; your heart is pure gold; let it remain
so; then you will well deserve your ring!" He placed it on her
finger, and she thanked him with a blissful smile.
"And now I go, dear godfather," said Leonora. "Farewell, and do not
forget me! And--"
At this moment a lady entered the room. Her dress indicated poverty,
and her face was pale and sunken, but her eyes were lit up with a
noble enthusiasm. "The wedding-rings are exchanged here?" she asked.
She quickly drew two from her finger, and handed them to M.
Werkmeister. "Take them," she cried. "One of these rings belongs to
me, the other I drew from the finger of my dear husband. Ten years
have elapsed since then; I have always worn them, and, although I
have often suffered great privations, I could never part with my
only treasure. But to-day I do so joyously. Give me my iron rings!"
She took those handed her, and placed them on her finger. "Farewell,
sir," she said. "These will be my daughter's heirloom, and I know
she will rejoice over them." She had not yet crossed the threshold
when another lady appeared, and another, and more followed in rapid
succession. The newspapers, containing the request, had been read in
the whole city; all the married women hastened to comply with it,
and to lay down their wedding-rings on the altar of the fatherland.
Leonora stood as if fascinated by the beautiful and soul-stirring
scene. With radiant eyes she gazed at the ladies who came and
received with joyous pride iron rings in exchange for gold ones--at
the young women, who, blushing and with tearful eyes, gave up their
first love-pledge--at the old matrons who came totteringly to
exchange the golden reminiscences of the days of their youth for
iron ornaments. [Footnote: On the first day about two hundred
wedding-rings were exchanged.--Vide Beitzke, vol. i.] Tears of
profound emotion fell from Leonora's eyes. She wished to embrace
these women and thank them for their patriotism.
"I will also prove to the country how ardently I love it," she said
to herself. "I will also make my sacrifices. I must go, Caroline is
waiting for me. I must buy arms for the soldiers whom I intend to
furnish." She shook hands with her godfather in silence. The crowd
in front of the door receded before her, and allowed her to pass,
filled with reverence for the women who returned from the solemn
sacrifice they had made. She passed on, absorbed in her reflections.
Once she raised her hand, and contemplated the iron ring on her
finger. "I gave gold for iron!" she said, raising her dark eyes
toward heaven. "I am now a bride, too, the bride of my country! Will
it give me only iron for the gold of my love? Only a bullet or a
sword-cut? No matter! I am the bride of the fatherland! I will live
and die for it!" She was aroused from her musings by cheers suddenly
resounding from the side of the Gendarmes Market. An immense crowd
had assembled there, and shouted frantically, their faces beaming
"What is it?"
And a hundred jubilant voices replied: "General York is coming with
the Prussians! The king has reinstated York! The court-martial has
acquitted him!" [Footnote: York made his entry into Berlin at the
head of the Prussian troops on the 17th of March, 1813, and was
received with boundless enthusiasm.]
"Long live noble General York!" shouted the crowd. "York was the
first man to take heart, and brave the French!"
"York is coming to Berlin!" shouted others, hurrying from the
adjoining streets to the market-place. "York, with his Prussians, is
outside the King's Gate, and to-morrow he will make his entry into
"Long live the brave general! All Berlin will meet him to-morrow,
and cheer him who first drew his sword against the French! The new
era is dawning on Prussia!"
"Yes, the new era is dawning on Prussia!" exclaimed Leonora. "We
have long walked in sadness. But morning is breaking--the morning of
freedom. Now we shall boldly raise our heads. The country has called
us, and we all have heard the call, and are ready to conquer or die.
Hail, brave York! The time of thraldom is past! We shall rise from
the dust, and the Germans will now reconquer the sacred right of
being Germans. Oh, my heart, rejoice! I am no longer a girl, I am
one of Lutzow's riflemen, and to-morrow I shall go to Breslau, and
add another soldier to the Legion of Vengeance. Farewell, Leonora
Prohaska, farewell! Now you are a man, and your soul must be manly,
strong, and hopeful. Long live Prussia!"
WAR AND AN ARMISTICE.
Another corps of volunteers leaving Berlin had arrived at Breslau,
and just alighted from their wagons on the large market-place,
called the "Ring," and received their tickets for quarters at the
city hall. Two of these volunteers, emerging from the building,
descended arm in arm the steps of the front staircase. They were two
young men of slight forms and strangely youthful appearance. Not the
faintest down was around their fresh lips, and white and delicate
were their foreheads. But no one was surprised at their tender age,
for people were accustomed nowadays to see lads emulate manhood,
believing that courage did not depend on years. By the side of aged
men, boys who had just been confirmed were seen to enter the ranks
of the volunteers, and handle their muskets with the same strength
and energy as veteran soldiers. No one, therefore, particularly
noticed the youthful age of the two volunteers who came forth from
the city hall, and were now crossing the place arm in arm.
"Now our lot is cast," said one of them, with a smile. "We are
"Yes, we are soldiers," cried the other, "and we shall be brave
"Caroline!" echoed the other, in dismay. "How imprudent! Did we not
leave our female names with our wearing apparel at Berlin with the
"Ah, and you call me, too, by my female name," said Leonora, with a
gentle smile. "No matter! it is all right enough so long as no one
hears it. We have no secrets from each other, and we are, therefore,
allowed to call each other by the names received at the baptismal
"But before the world we call ourselves differently now; I am
Charles Petersen, and you--what is your name now, Leonora?"
"My name is Charles Renz," said Leonora, smiling. "That was the name
of my dear teacher, to whom I am indebted for what little knowledge
I have acquired, and who originally induced me to take the step I
have ventured upon. He had been a soldier a long time, and loved his
country and the royal family. History was his favorite study, and he
told me of the heroic deeds of ancient nations in their struggles
for liberty. His eyes beamed with transcendent ardor, and the words
flowed from his lips like a stream of poetry. He taught me that,
when the country was in danger, it was the duty of the women to take
up arms in its defence, and that there was no more beautiful death
than that on the field of honor. Joan of Orleans and the Maid of
Saragossa were his favorite heroines, and he always called Queen
Louisa the martyr of German liberty. When she died, three years ago,
the first idea that struck me was, how my old teacher would bear up
under this grief, and that it was incumbent upon me to comfort him.
I hastened to him, and found him sad and disheartened. 'Now my hopes
for Germany are gone,' he said, 'for the genius of German liberty
has left us and fled to heaven. Beautiful and noble Queen Louisa
might, perhaps, have still inspired the Germans to rise in arms
against the tyrant; but she is dead, and liberty has died with her.'
'No,' I cried, 'no! liberty will blossom from her grave. Germany
will rise to avenge the martyrdom of the queen; Germany's wrath will
be kindled anew by the sufferings of this august victim that
Napoleon's tyranny has wrung from us. Yes, the country will rise to
avenge Louisa.' He gazed at me a long while, and his tears ceased to
flow. After a prolonged pause he said: 'If it be as you say, if
Germany take up arms, what will you do, Leonora? Will you stay at
home, knit stockings, and scrape lint, or will you sacrifice your
heart, your blood, your life, and be a heroine?' I exclaimed,
joyously: 'I will sacrifice all to the fatherland, and help to
achieve the victory, or die on the battle-field!' The eyes of my old
teacher were radiant with delight. 'Swear it to me, Leonora,' he
cried, 'swear to me, by all that is sacred--swear by the memory of
our sainted Queen Louisa!' I laid my hand on the Bible, and swore by
the memory of Queen Louisa to fight like a man and a hero. I am now
about to fulfil my oath, and, as my dear old teacher has died, I
have adopted his name as my inheritance, and call myself Charles
Renz. It seems to me it is a doubly sacred duty now to be brave, for
I must do honor to my teacher's name."
"And you will do so, I am sure," cried Caroline. "And I will do so,
too, Leonora. No teacher has impelled me to love my native land.
This sentiment is spontaneous; perhaps because I have nothing else
to love. I am alone in the world; my dear parents are dead; I have
no brothers or sisters, no lover; and inasmuch as I have nothing to
love, I gave up my heart to hatred. I hate the French, and, above
all, Napoleon, who has brought so much misery on Europe, and for ten
years has spilt rivers of blood. It is hatred that has incited me--
hatred has forced the sword into my hand, and when we go into
battle, I shall not only call, like you, 'Long live the fatherland!'
but add, 'Death to the tyrant Napoleon, the enemy of the Germans!'
Yes, I hate this Bonaparte more intensely than I love my own life;
and, as I could not stab him with the needle, with which I made caps
and bonnets for the fair ladies of Berlin, I have cast it aside, and
taken up the sword. That is my whole history--the history of the ci-
devant milliner Caroline Peters, the future horseman Charles
"What!" ejaculated Leonora, in amazement. "You intend to enlist in
"If they will accept me. I am well versed in horsemanship, for when
my father was still living I rode out with him every day. He was a
much-respected farmer in the suburbs of Stralsund, and owned many
horses. During the siege of Stralsund he lost every thing, and we
were reduced to extreme poverty. My father died of grief, and since
that time I have not again mounted a horse. But I think I still know
how to manage one, and am not afraid of doing so."
"But why will you? Why not remain in the infantry, which would be
much more natural and simple?"
"Why? Shall I tell you the truth, Leonora? Let me tell you, then,
confidentially; it is because long marches would incommode me. And
you? Would it not be better for you to follow my example?"
"No," said Leonora, "I shall remain in the infantry, and become one
of Lutzow's riflemen--a member of the Legion of Vengeance.--I
believe we have arrived at the house designated to us. Major von
Lutzow lives here; the numerous volunteers who are going in and out
show that we have reached his headquarters. Now, Caroline, farewell!
and let me greet you, friend Charles Petersen!"
"Leonora, farewell! and let me greet you, friend Charles Renz!" They
shook hands and looked into each other's glowing faces.
"Forward now, comrade!" said Caroline, walking toward the house
"Forward!" echoed Leonora, jubilantly.
Arm in arm they walked across the gloomy hall to the low, brown
door, entering the room pointed out to them as Major von Lutzow's
recruiting-office. It was a large, low room; long tables, painted
brown, such as are to be found in small taverns or beer-saloons,
stood on both sides of the smoky whitewashed walls; low stools, of
the same description, were beside them, and constituted, with the
tables, the only furniture of this hall, where the citizens and
mechanics had formerly taken their beer, and where now the
volunteers came to take the oath of fidelity to the fatherland and
Major von Lutzow. In the middle of this room stood a young lady of
rare beauty. A plain black dress enveloped her form, reaching to her
neck and veiling her bust. Her face was very white and delicate, a
complexion to be found only among the fair daughters of the North;
her blond hair fell down in heavy ringlets beside her faintly-
flushed cheeks; a fervent light was beaming from her large light-
"That is Madame von Lutzow, to whom the travellers in the stage-
coach alluded," said Leonora to herself; "it is the count's noble
daughter, who poured a glass of water over her hand because a
Frenchman had kissed it, and who descended from her father's castle
to marry a poor Prussian officer, whom she loved for the scars on
The beautiful lady approached the two young volunteers with a sweet,
winning smile. "You wish to see Major von Lutzow, do you not?" she
inquired. "Unfortunately, he is not at home; pressing business
matters prevent him from personally welcoming the young heroes who
wish to join him. He has charged me with doing so in his place, and
you may believe that I bid you welcome with as joyous a heart as my
husband would do."
"Oh, we are so happy to be received by you," said Leonora, smiling,
"for we were told at Berlin of noble and beautiful Madame von Lutzow
enlisting the Legion of Vengeance, and who is so true a
representative of the great idea of our struggle. For our struggle
is one both of vengeance and love. Since then we have longed to be
enlisted by you, madame, and to take our oath of fidelity."
"I accept it in the name of Major von Lutzow," said the lady, with a
gentle smile. "Here are your numbers, and now give me your names
that I may enter them in the recruiting book." She approached the
table on which the large open book was lying, and quickly noted down
the names which the two volunteers gave, affixing the numbers
already given. "Now, then," she said, kindly, nodding to them, "you
are enlisted in the sacred service of the fatherland, and I hope you
will do your duty. I hope you--"
At this moment the door was opened hastily, and a young man rushed
into the room.
"Theodore Korner!" ejaculated the lady, greeting him cordially.
"Yes, Madame von Lutzow, it is I," exclaimed the young man, saluting
the two volunteers--"it is I, and I come to you a prey to boundless
Madame von Lutzow hastened to him, and looked with an expression of
heart-felt sympathy into his handsome, pale face.
"Yes, indeed," she said, "your face looks like a cloud from which
thunder and lightning may be expected at any moment. What is the
matter? What has happened to you, my poet and hero?"
"Come, let us go," whispered Caroline to her friend.
"No, let us stay," said Leonora, in a low voice. "If it is a secret,
they will bid us go; but I should like to know what ails the fine-
looking young man whom Madame von Lutzow calls a poet and a hero.
Oh, I have never yet seen a poet, and this one is so handsome!"
"Let us sit down on this bench," whispered Caroline, "and--"
"Hush, let us listen!" said Leonora, sitting down.
"It is not that, then?" exclaimed the lady, who in the mean time had
continued her conversation with the young man. "Your father has not
rebuked his son for the quick resolve he had taken."
"No, no," said Theodore Korner, hastily, "on the contrary, my father
approves my determination to enlist, and sends me his blessing. I
received a very touching letter from him this morning."
"It is his affianced bride, then, that has driven our poet to
despair, because he loves her more ardently than the fatherland,"
said Madame von Lutzow. "It is true, I cannot blame her for it, for
the woman that loves has but one country--the heart of her lover,
and she is homeless as soon it turns from her. But this is precisely
the grand and beautiful sacrifice--that you give up for the sake of
your country all that we otherwise call the greatest and holiest
blessings of life--your affianced bride; your pleasant, comfortable
existence; a fine, honorable position, and a future full of a poet's
fame and splendor. It is, indeed, a sacrifice, but a sacrifice for
which the fatherland will thank you, and which will incite thousands
to emulate your noble example."
"Would it were so!" exclaimed Korner, enthusiastically, raising his
large black eyes to heaven; "would that our patriotic ardor struck
all hearts like a thunderbolt, and kindled a conflagration, whose
flames would shed a lustre over the remotest times! I do not deny
that I felt how great was the sacrifice I made, but this very
feeling filled me with enthusiasm. All the stars of my happiness
were shining upon me in mild beauty, but I was not allowed to look
up to them because it was the night of adversity; but now that this
night is about to vanish, and a new morning is dawning, my stars,
too, must fade before the sun of liberty. That was the sacred
conviction which drove me away from Vienna, from my betrothed bride,
and caused me to cast aside all that otherwise imparts value to
life. A great era requires great hearts. I felt strong enough to go
out and bare my breast to the storm. Could I do nothing but sing
songs in honor of my victorious brethren? No one would have then
loved and esteemed me any longer; my parents would have been ashamed
of me, and my affianced bride would have contemptuously turned away
from the cowardly poet. Therefore, I gave up every thing for the
sake of my native land. It is true, my parents and my Emma will weep
for me. May God comfort them! I could not spare them this blow. It
is not much that I risk my life; but that this life is adorned with
love, friendship, and joy, and that I nevertheless risk it, is a
sacrifice that can be compensated only by love of country, more
sacred than any other love, and to it we should devote our life.
[Footnote: His own words.--Vide "Theodore Korner's Works," edited by
Carl Streckfuss p. 54] My noble father feels and knows this, and so
does my betrothed."
"And yet, agreed though you are with yourself and your dear ones,
why this despair?" asked Madame von Lutzow, with a smile.
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