Andreas Hofer


Consequently, I am entirely isolated, and Napoleon has numerous allies.""But your majesty has a powerful ally in the universal enthusiasm of the Austrians and Germans, in the universal indignation of the nations against Napoleon. You have public opinion on your side, and that is the most powerful ally.""Ah, let me alone with that abominable ally," cried the emperor, vehemently; "I do not want to hear of it nor to have anything to do with it. Public opinion is the hobby which my brother, the popular Archduke John, is riding all the time; but it will throw him one day into the mire, and then he will find out what it really amounts to.

Pray, never speak to me again of public opinion, for I detest it. It smells of revolution and insurrection, and, like a patient donkey, suffers itself to be led by whosoever offers it a thistle as a bait.

I renounce once for all the alliance of public opinion, and I do not care whether it blesses or crucifies me, whether it calls me emperor or blockhead. You see now, empress, that I am entirely isolated, for the ally which you offer to me will do me no good; I do not want it, and I have no other allies. I thought it necessary to arm, in view of the formidable armaments of France, and show our adversary that Iam not afraid of him, but am prepared for every thing. I therefore put my army on the war footing, and showed Bonaparte that Austria is able to cope with him, and that money and well-disciplined armies are not wanting to her. But just now I shall not proceed any further, and, unless something important should occur, all this war-clamor and all importunities will make no impression on me. The important event to which I alluded would be Napoleon's defeat in Spain, whereby he would be compelled to keep his armies there. In that event, I should no longer be isolated, but Spain would be my ally, and I should probably declare war. But if matters should turn out otherwise, if fortune should favor Napoleon there as everywhere else, necessity alone will determine my course. I shall not attack, and thereby challenge fate of my own accord; but I shall wait, sword in hand, for Napoleon to attack me. If he does, God and my good right will be on my side, and whatever may be the result of the struggle, people will be unable to say that I rashly plunged into war and broke the peace. If we succumb, it is the will of God and the Holy Virgin, and not, our fault. And now, empress," said the emperor, drawing a deep breath, "I have complied with your wishes and talked politics with you. I think it will be enough once for all, and you and you political friends will perceive that you cannot do any thing with me, and that it will be best for you to let me entirely alone; for I am so stubborn as not to allow others to lead me, but pursue my own course. You have promised me, empress, to be a faithful friend tome. I ask you now to give me a proof of your friendship. Let us speak of something else than polities; that is all that I ask of your friendship.""Well, then, let us drop the subject," said the empress, with a deep sigh. "Your majesty will be kind enough to permit me now to ask a favor of you?""Ah, you speak as if there were anything that I could refuse you,"exclaimed the emperor, smiling.

Lousia Muhlbach