Swiss Heroes - George Upton

Saint Jacob's Day

On the twenty-sixth of August, in the year 1473, a lively party passed out through the gate of the old city of Basle and briskly took their way along the road to Saint Jacob, following the course of the river Birs. First came two sturdy burghers, Councillor Hans Irmy, a merchant of some consequence, and the head of a large and wealthy house, the revenues of which were constantly being increased by agents in Venice, Genoa, Augsburg, and Nuremberg; and Ulrich Iseli, landlord of The Bears of Basle, the largest tavern in the city. Iseli was a good customer of Irmy's in foreign wines and provisions. Following them was a band of youths, led by a young apprentice of the house of Irmy, Heini Sussbacher of Aarau. Walter, the Councilor's only son, was the central figure of this group, the others crowding closely about him. He was a lad of some sixteen years, with a frank, good-natured countenance, and of a size and strength beyond his years.

Up hill and down dale they went, till perspiration streamed from the brow of the corpulent Councillor and he could scarcely keep pace with his more youthful companion Iseli, who, unlike the most of his calling, was tall and spare and had preserved much of the elasticity of youth.

"Gently! gently! my friend," said Irmy at length. "Make haste slowly. We shall still reach our journey's end before night."

"As you please," replied the other, "but I would fain be home again in good season. The dignitaries of the town will mark my absence from the guests' room and, doubtless, distinguished persons will have arrived by the time we return. Methinks you are wont to be quick enough in other respects."

"That indeed," returned Irmy, "and well has my quickness served me in life; wherefore it troubles me the less that I can no longer follow you either with my legs or with my hopes and thoughts."

"Nay, let us not return to the French," said the innkeeper, "for on that point we shall never agree. I maintain that Switzerland cannot do better than to place herself under the protection of the French crown. Never has the house of Austria dealt fairly by us, nor should we forget what Tell and his companions did for their country."

"True," replied the magistrate; "but I greatly doubt if we should meet with any better treatment from France than we did from Gessler and his accomplices in those days. Moreover, you must remember 'tis but thirty years since Austria and France formed an alliance against us that might have proved our destruction. You should be ashamed to speak the word 'France' on this day, the anniversary of the battle of Saint Jacob. Those who sleep here would turn in their graves, could they hear you talk so. Think you I bear these scars in vain? Never can I forget the wrongs France has inflicted upon our Confederation, and if need be I will prove to her that my arm is still of use, not only to keep account books and handle pepper sacks, but also to smite French helms till the sparks fly."

"Methinks that will scarcely be needful," answered his companion; "your Walter here is already quite capable of taking your place should occasion demand."

"I should be glad to have him at my side," said Irmy; "he is a good lad, and it pleases me not a little that he seems to take as kindly to the use of arms as I did in my younger days."

The youths by this time had overtaken them.

"Father," called Walter, "are those vineyards we see over yonder on the hill?"

"Truly, my son; and they yield a wine more precious to us Swiss than any in all the world, for upon that hill some of the noblest sons of Switzerland lie buried. From the vines that grow above them is made a wine we call 'Switzer's blood' and drink in remembrance of the battle of Saint Jacob, to honor the fallen and as an inspiration to the present generation to emulate their fathers in courage and devotion to the Fatherland."

"You have often promised to tell us," said Walter, "what happened thirty years ago, when you were so sorely wounded by the French."

"Come then; let us go up the hill and seat ourselves; from there we shall have a better view of the battle-field," replied the Councillor. When this had been done he began as follows:

"Thirty years ago matters stood with us much as they now do. The Confederates were never in harmony: cities and cantons conspired against one another, and the nobles were the enemy of both. Schwyz was at strife with Zurich over some hereditary question; and Zurich, being powerless to cope single-handed against the older cantons, did not scruple to ally herself with Austria, the hereditary foe of the Confederation. Civil strife, the worst of all wars, broke out; many towns and castles were destroyed. One of our most formidable enemies was Thomas von Falkenstein, who from his stronghold at Farnsburg committed constant depredations upon us Confederates, and at last seized upon one of my father's pack-trains going from Genoa to Basle, laden with Indian spices. This roused the people to fury, and together with a force from other cantons we young men of Basle camped before Farnsburg, toward which we sent salute after salute with our carbines.

"Then a report reached us that the Dauphin of France was approaching with a vast army, some said of a hundred thousand, others a hundred and fifty thousand, and still others two hundred thousand men, fierce marauders who had grown wild and lawless during the Thirty Years' War between France and England. 'Arme Gecken,' or miserable beggars, the people called them, because though they subsisted on pillage and plunder they still looked ragged and half starved. Wild confusion arose in camp at this news, and all were eager to rush at once against the foe. There were six thousand of us stout Switzers; why should we fear one hundred thousand Frenchmen? The leaders had hard work to make us listen to reason and consent that the main part of our force should remain before the beleaguered castle, while twelve hundred of us went down into the valley of the Birs to learn the truth of the report.

"Hemmann Seevogel was placed in command, and we rode briskly off down the hill. When we reached the Birsthal we were warned that the enemy was much too strong for us, but we laughed to scorn all caution, and the mighty herdsmen of Schwyz and Uri smote the trees as they passed with their iron-spiked clubs till great pieces flew from them, to show how much stronger they were than any foe could possibly be. A few of the leaders would have turned back, but the scoffs and jeers of their comrades forced them to keep on.

"At Pratteln we found the vanguard of the enemy posted, eight thousand strong, under Count von Dammartin, but it was not long before they abandoned the position and took to their heels, leaving a thousand dead and wounded on the field. They fled to Muttenz, where ten thousand Armagnacs were waiting to receive the fugitives. But we were close behind, and our gigantic herdsmen laid about them with their heavy weapons so lustily that the hearts of the Frenchmen sank into their tattered hose. Out of Muttenz we twelve hundred drove these eighteen thousand so easily there was little pleasure in it.

"Our leaders now were for making a halt, declaring we had won enough and should only lose by a further advance, for the Dauphin with the main army was stationed beyond the Birs at Saint Jacob; and as the bridge over the river had been destroyed, it would be foolhardy to attempt to cross. But intoxicated with our previous successes, we were determined to push on.

"'We will sup in Basle to-night, cost what it may!' we shouted. 'The Evil One with all his legions shall not keep us from the town. He who hangs back is a traitor! No commands shall turn us from our duty to the Fatherland!'

"The Armagnacs had long since disappeared from view. We reached the Birs unmolested, waded through the stream, and gained the further bank. There, however, we were met by such a hail of iron from the French guns that it was impossible to keep our ranks, while all attempts to rally the scattered forces were quickly defeated by the enemy's heavy horsemen. Many now repented their rash determination, but there was no help for it—retreat was no longer possible with honor. Forward we must go to meet the forty thousand men opposed to us. They offered a stout resistance. German knights fought in their front ranks, and there were traitorous noblemen of our country among the enemy; but they did us no harm.

"Five hundred of our number retreated to a meadow which was protected by the river from attack by horsemen, but they were shot down one by one. Another five hundred took refuge in the leper hospital of Saint Jacob, which was over yonder where the little chapel now stands. About the building lay a large orchard surrounded by a wall, which would check for a time the enemy's assault. I was with this party, and glad enough to find myself safe, as I thought, behind this barrier. Soon, however, the muzzles of their guns were pointed toward us; the garden wall and building were quickly demolished, and when the firing had ceased we were attacked by the German knights, who had sworn to slay us all, burgher and peasant. Thrice indeed we repulsed them, and many a high-born lord lay weltering in his blood; but our number was fast diminishing, and as I received the blow on the head to which this scar still bears witness, the enemy burst into the burning hospital over the bodies of the five hundred Switzers.

"When I came to my senses again it was dark; above me shone the stars, and all was silent save for an occasional groan from one of the wounded, or the crackling of flames, which still fed upon the heavy timbers of the building. The night was cold, but by good fortune I lay in such a position among the ruins of the garden wall that I was somewhat sheltered from the wind and almost hidden from sight. Gradually the events of the past day came back to me, and my bosom swelled with pride. We had shown how men should fight who are guardians of their fatherland, their homes, and their families. Not a man lay there that was not covered with wounds: each had fought as long as strength remained in him to smite the foe. Had I not been so weak and faint I could have shouted aloud because of the victory won by the Swiss burgher-folk over the political craft and power of princes. The overwhelming odds had been too much for us, but even in death and defeat we had shown that something higher than the Armagnacs' lust for spoil, or the pride and ambition of the knights, had urged us to battle.

"I had plenty of time to indulge these thoughts, for I was not disturbed for many long hours. At last, toward morning, it seemed to me I heard stealthy footsteps among the debris. Nearer and nearer they came, till in the dim light I saw quite near to me the figure of a man stooping down to give water to one of my wounded comrades. Parched with fever from my wound, I also feebly besought him for a drink. He took a few steps to the angle of the wall where I lay, and stopped short, unable to suppress a low cry of astonishment. 'You here, young sir,' he exclaimed, 'and in such a plight?'

"'Quick! give me some water,' I begged; 'my father will reward you for it. Greet him for me and tell him I died as all true citizens of a free State should die—on the tottering bulwark of freedom and justice.'

"'Nay, you are a long way yet from death,' replied the man; 'with good fortune I shall fetch you safely back to Basle this very night.'

"'Who may you be,' I asked, 'that talk of such impossibilities?'

"He laughed. 'That, methought, you would have known long since, for we have met many times in your father's house. 1 am Gerard, the smuggler of Neuchatel, and have carried many bales of merchandise to him. Indeed I have a pack with me now, which I have just brought through the French camp; but perchance he will not take it amiss if I leave that here and carry you to Basle in its place. Once under your mother's wing you will soon forget these thoughts of death.'

"By this time I had satisfied my thirst, and Gerard stole softly away to reconnoitre, as he said. It was now light, and from my corner I could look over all the surrounding country. The battle-field was deserted save for a few scattered hands of horsemen moving hither and thither. Three of them at length drew near my hiding-place, whom I quickly recognized as Swiss nobles, traitors to their country, and rejoicing in the sufferings of their fellow-countrymen. One, named Werner von Staufen, laughed scornfully as he surveyed the ruins piled with corpses, when suddenly one of my mortally wounded comrades started up, seized a stone from the shattered wall, and with a last effort flung it full at the knight, hurling him to the ground, where he expired together with his assailant.

"The others now began to pry about among the debris to see if there might be other Switzers still alive. Burghard Monch, of Landskron, stepped forward and, pointing to the crimson blood-stains, cried to his companion, 'Look at the roses that have blossomed in the night!' At this, Captain Arnold Schick of Uri lifted himself painfully, a heavy stone in his right hand. 'Here—take this rose!' he cried, and dashed it at the head of the knight, who fell headlong, his armor clanging sharply against the stones. The third quickly abandoned the pleasures of a search for still breathing foes, and, mounting his horse, galloped away so swiftly that the sparks flew.

"Scarcely had he disappeared when Gerard returned. 'We must be quick, young sir,' he said, 'for in another half-hour the whole army will be back again to avenge the death of yonder knights, I have hidden my pack and will come for it again in a few days. Quickly, now, and hold tight to my neck, for I must needs run if we are to reach the Birs in safety.'

So saying, he lifted me carefully upon his back and started off, picking his way cautiously over the stones. He must have been about thirty years old at that time, and was as strong as a giant; yet I doubted much if we should escape, for a couple of horsemen not more than a thousand paces away caught sight of us and gave chase. Luckily the Birs was not far, and Gerard wellnigh flew over the ground with me. Almost swooning, I still heard clearly the thundering hoof-beats behind us, as even now after all these years I often hear them in my dreams. Suddenly Gerard stumbled, and I fell heavily to the ground and rolled down a short declivity into the river. I thought all was over, but the cold water instantly restored me to consciousness. I was dipping it up with both hands and pouring it over my fevered brow and wounds, when my pursuer appeared above me on the bank. Finding his horse unable to clamber down the steep incline he dismounted. Again I took to flight and struggled on till the water rose to my breast; but by that time Gerard was once more at my side. Gaining the farther shore we looked back and found that our pursuer had not ventured into the water at all, but had already remounted and was making his way back to the camp. But my last remnant of strength was exhausted. My senses left me; and when I awoke to consciousness some days later under my father's roof, my mother told me how Gerard had borne me along the river bank to a thicket, where he had waited till darkness fell; then, crossing the stream once more, he had brought me safely to the gates of the town.

"The French had experienced quite enough of Swiss valor, and the Dauphin ordered a retreat, having no wish to sacrifice his people in a war which brought them small thanks from Austria, in whose behalf it was undertaken."

"Father," asked Walter thoughtfully, "why did not the people of Basle come to your aid? Surely there were enough men there to help you, and together you could have defeated the enemy."

"At first," replied the Councillor, "they did not know of our approach, and when the news reached them the Burgomaster and Council hastily met to decide what should be done. But some of the Councillors at that time were not of the bravest, and their first thought was for the safety of their own town. The report of our victories at Pratteln and Muttenz was said to have been spread by the enemy to draw away from Bask all who were capable of defending it. The burghers sat too long in debate, however. A workman in the public square snatched the banner of the town from the banneret's hand in the corn market, shouting to the assembled throng, 'Follow me, all who are true citizens of Basle! '

"More than three thousand burghers hastened to join him, and the rest soon followed. Hans Roth, the Burgomaster, placed himself at the head of this valorous band, each of whom had stuck a wisp of straw in his belt as a badge, and away they marched through the Saint Alban's Gate to attack the foe. Anxiously the magistrates and remaining citizens watched their departure, for none were left within the walls that could wield a weapon or had courage enough to look the enemy in the face. Who was there to protect the town in case of sudden attack? Scarcely a quarter of an hour had passed, when one of the Councillors galloped madly after the champions, with word that an assault had been made on the city and an ambuscade laid for them by the enemy. Thereupon they turned back, only to learn, when too late, that the faint-hearted Council had deceived them. Truly it was no great honor in those days to be a Councillor in the good city of Basle, and it is only within a few years that they have earned the right to he held in respect once more.

The Battle of Saint Jacob.


"Shame on them!" exclaimed Walter. "Father, if the French should come now, I do not believe you would hold the burghers back. You would let me go with them."

"Aye, and go myself withal," said Hans Irmy.

We have that within us which time cannot destroy or change. They thought to tear away a portion of our Confederation, and not the worst part either; but we kept faith with the German Empire and held fast to the soil from which we sprung. No Frenchman shall take that from us, not even our language, which like ourselves has been German from the beginning."

"Do not be too hard upon the French," interposed Iseli; "the French language is by no means to be despised, while French wines and manufactures suit us very well. Nor should we scorn the profit that comes to us therefrom."

"That may all be," said Irmy; "everything in its proper place and manner; but as to your liking for the French, it does not please me. We are still citizens of the German Empire; and deeply as the house of Austria has injured us, we should not forget from what stock we spring, and that cat and dog will sooner be friends than a German and a Frenchman. In individual cases it might happen,—there are good men in both countries,—but in our hearts and in our politics we shall never be one with France."

"Something may he said on that point also," replied Iseli. "What of the Duchy of Burgundy? Are not French and Germans united there under one rule?"

"True, my friend; but if you think it is a voluntary union you greatly err. Nothing but the iron hand of Charles the Bold holds them together. They would separate in an instant, should the powerful Duke chance to close his eyes."

"Well—at least," said Iseli, "I am glad to find you are an admirer of this great man, who appears to me like a rising star in the firmament of the world's history."

This conversation had brought them back to the gate of the good city of Basle, and at the first turning the friends took a kindly leave of each other, their difference of opinion having no effect upon a friendship which had united them for years. Walter was full of curiosity and interest. He wanted to hear more of Charles the Bold, and besieged his father with questions till he could stand it no longer and sent the boy to bed.

At The Bears

An unwonted stir pervaded the streets of Basle, as if some festival were being celebrated. No signs of traffic were visible, and the people were in holiday attire. The streets were full of strangers, who were easily distinguished by the curious glances with which they regarded the houses and public buildings; while at every corner burghers might be seen directing men-at-arms with swords at their sides through the maze of narrow lanes.

Two horsemen slowly made their way through the throng, the foremost of whom wore the uniform of an officer and displayed the badge of the Duke of Burgundy. The other, a few paces behind, was a groom. At length they reined in their steeds.

"Ho there! my friend," cried the officer in good Swiss dialect to a citizen, "can you direct me to an inn called The Bears?"

"Aye, truly, sir," was the answer; "you have only to ride up this street, then turn to the right; again to the left at the next cross street, and you cannot miss it."

"Thank you," said the officer as he rode off followed by his servant, the horses carefully picking their way over the rough pavement, through the centre of which a row of large stones had been laid. Indeed, it was scarcely safe for the riders themselves to leave the middle of the passageway, for long iron bars protruded from the houses, bearing signs denoting the trade of their occupants, such as glass work for a glazier, the horseshoe for a smith, and the key for a locksmith. At one place the signboard of an alehouse almost carried away the officer's iron helm. They turned to the right and then to the left, according to their directions, and found themselves in a street somewhat wider than the rest, where they soon discovered The Bears, a new and well-built tavern, over the door of which hung a sign emblazoned with the beasts that gave the inn its name. A serving man sprang from the huge gateway to assist the officer to dismount, and led his horse away to the stables, while the host himself, Ulrich Iseli, came forward to escort his guest up the stairs.

"This is a fine place you have here," said the latter. "Inns like this, whether Swiss or German, are seldom to be found."

"You are quite right, sir," replied the landlord. "I conduct my business after the French fashion. Having been much in Paris in my' younger days, I learned how distinguished guests should be accommodated; and I try to keep my own house accordingly. Will you go to the public room for the time being? The private parlor is unfortunately occupied by some deputies from the various Swiss States who are holding a council there, and they would doubtless be ill pleased were I to bring a stranger in upon them. A chamber shall be made ready for you at once. I have a houseful of guests, to be sure, but room shall be found for you, depend on it."

He pushed open the door of the public room. "Here, Werni!" he called to a servant, who was engaged at that moment in delivering one of the latest patriotic songs to a number of country people, who crowded about him with shouts of applause, "come and place yourself at this gentleman's service." Then, taking leave of the newcomer, he hastened away to see about a lodging for his guest.

The officer's attendant soon appeared, bringing his master's luggage, and after depositing it in the neatly appointed room assigned to him, went back to the stables, where, ranged in long rows, stood a hundred horses enjoying their fodder. When the latest arrival had also been provided for, the groom betook himself to the public room, where he found his master already partaking of a good breakfast. The officer ordered something to be brought for him at once, and he modestly seated himself at another table where two Burgundian soldiers were vainly endeavoring to enjoy the sour Swiss wine.

Meanwhile it was getting very noisy up in the private parlor, the envoys disagreeing violently in their views regarding France, Germany, and Burgundy.

"We are sent here," declared Hans Vogeli, the deputy from Freiburg, to welcome the Emperor in the name of our country. What is it to us what schemes he may be entertaining? Let him answer for those himself. We will defend our own lives if they attempt to meddle with us."

"That is what you are always saying," objected another of the envoys, who was said to be secretly in the pay of the King of France. "I claim that it is far from being a matter of indifference to us whether the Emperor and Burgundy agree or no. Think of the force they could assemble on our borders, and the Burgundian is a violent man. It would almost seem that he intended to insult us by sending the Governor, Hagenbach, hither to welcome the Emperor in his name, for he must know how we hate him. Did you hear of the insulting speech Hagenbach made against the Bernese? He declared he would strip the skins from their bears to keep himself warm therein."

"Those were indeed insolent words," declared the deputies from Berne, "and he shall yet make amends to us for them. Moreover we will make complaint of him to the Emperor."

"Much good will that do!" retorted the lame magistrate, Heinrich Hassfurter, of Lucerne. "In truth you had best be on your guard against this Hagenbach. I had somewhat to do with him at Salz, when I was sent there a short time ago to negotiate certain matters. What think you? He declared scornfully that the Confederates must lack able-bodied men, since they made envoys of cripples and hunchbacks! 'That I am a cripple,' I answered, 'is the will of God; but I shall yet prove myself able-bodied enough for you.'"

Nay, be not so sure," interposed another, "that the Emperor is in league with Burgundy. It is true indeed that he would gladly marry his son Maximilian to the Duke's only daughter Maria for the sake of acquiring Burgundy as her marriage portion, but Charles the Bold asks too much in return. To be King of Burgundy is not enough; he would fain extend his kingdom to the banks of the Rhine and claim as his own Alsace and Lorraine, which he now holds in fee only."

"It is shameful," yet another declared, "the way the Alsatians are treated. A worse Governor than Hagenbach could not be found; and to add to that, the Duke employs none but foreign mercenaries there, who abuse the people cruelly."

"There are many Switzers also among them," said Hans Vogeli; "indeed my runaway brother Heinrich is said to command a body of Hagenbach's soldiers."

"It is disgraceful," cried old Hassfurter, "that so many Switzers should desert their own land to seek service in foreign armies."

"Who can blame them for it?" replied Iseli the innkeeper. "Are they to sit idle here at home and increase the number of those who find it hard enough already to gain a livelihood in this impoverished land? What would have become of your brother, Herr Vogeli, had he stayed at home? I do not know the gentleman myself, it is true, but travellers have told me that he is popular among the Alsatians, and stands high in the favor, not only of Hagenbach, but also of Duke Charles himself. It is well known to foreign princes that there are no more loyal people to be found than we Switzers."

"And we well know," burst out Vogeli, "that these foreign lords never repay our loyalty. French, Burgundian, or Austrian, they would not long keep their hands off us, had they not so great a respect for our ability to protect ourselves."

"Is it true," asked a deputy, seeking to put an end to the discussion, "that the Emperor and the Burgundians are to unite in an expedition against the Turks?"

"So it is said," replied old Hassfurter, "but who can tell whether it will come to pass? You know how vacillating the Emperor is, and it is certain Charles the Bold will not join him in this enterprise, unless he be made King; and that the princes of the Empire will not consent to, for fear that the Electorate of Treves and other portions of their domains might be included in the new kingdom."

"Once more I say," interrupted Vogeli, "that all this is nothing to us. Let the princes do as they will; we are a free and independent people, and should take no part in their affairs."

"But we already belong to the German Empire," some one objected.

"Even so," retorted Vogeli; "but that does not compel us to comply with all the Emperor's demands. Let us not burn our fingers meddling with things that do not concern the safety of the Confederation."

"He is a poor citizen," said old Hassfurter, "who will not help to extinguish the fire that is consuming his neighbor's house. If the Burgundians treat Alsace in this manner, it will not be long before they attempt to crush us also. Might we not be added to the kingdom that is to be formed for Charles the Bold?"

Thus the discussion went on, while below in the large public room the country folk who had assembled from far and near discussed the same subjects after their own fashion. Coarse as these peasants were in appearance, their great size and strength lent them an air of proud self-consciousness, and they wore their patched hose and jerkins and heavy hobnailed shoes with as much dignity as many a nobleman his silken doublet. Here, too, the conversation soon became heated, and frequent hostile glances were cast toward the Burgundian officer as well as his servant and the two soldiers at the other table; some even hummed to themselves the song Werni had been singing—which contained various contemptuous allusions to Burgundy and its Duke.

These soldiers, who from their appearance might have been Switzers also, were in uniforms of fine gray cloth. They seemed to ignore the scoffs and jeers of the peasants, and as if in defiance of them, turned the sleeves of their jerkins about to show more plainly the badge of the Duke of Burgundy, a pair of dice, displaying the two spots and the five spots. At length, however, as the peasants became more and more audacious, one of the two imitated the lowing of a heifer. This form of insult was familiar to the Switzers and roused them to instant fury. One tall fellow rose, and crossing over to the table where the men in gray were sitting, intentionally stumbled over the legs of one of them, and assailed him with a torrent of abuse. The soldier merely shrugged his shoulders indifferently, which seemed to infuriate the peasant still more; with legs outspread, he planted himself before the Burgundian.

"Truly!" he drawled, "that is a curious ornament you have there on your sleeve! Perchance there was not cloth enough and your lord put those dice on for patches!"

"You scoundrel!" burst out the man in gray, "I will teach you respect for my noble master's arms; and as for patches, look at your own jerkin, you Barenhauter!"

The bold mountaineer looked abashed, and was about to turn away without reply, when another Switzer strode to his side. "And those French words above your noble master's arms, what do they signify?"

"Je guette,"  replied the Burgundian; "that is to say, 'I watch.' One could hardly expect cow-herds to understand French."

"Now you shall not watch long for a flogging!"

shouted the Switzer furiously. "Up, all who call themselves men! We will soon put a stop to his insolence."

"Good friend," said the other, slowly drawing his sword, "take your milking stool between your horns and get you gone, else I will hack that hide of yours till it looks as patched as your jerkin."

"Am I a bull," roared the herdsman, "that I should have horns to carry a milk stool? You shall pay dearly for that, you dog!"

At this moment the officer brought the flat blade of his sword down upon the table with such a clang that all turned to look at him. He sternly bade the soldiers hold their peace and ordered them from the room. But the passions of the Switzers were now fully aroused. One of them seized a heavy oaken stool. "Here, you good for naught!" he cried, "take this milking stool between your horns!" and dashed it violently at the head of the Burgundian. At the same instant the officer flung himself between the combatants just in time to receive the full weight of the blow, which stretched him bleeding on the floor. A wild tumult at once arose that speedily brought the landlord to the spot, closely followed by a throng of curious deputies. Peace was at once restored, and the Burgundians with Iseli rushed to the relief of the victim, Hans Vogeli following.

"Good God!" cried the latter suddenly, "it is my brother Heinrich. I might have known the vagabond would come to some such end."

"For shame!" said old Hassfurter, "to speak in such a way of your own brother."

"Nay, preach not to me," retorted Vogeli; "this man who lies here before us is no longer my brother. I long ago cast him from my heart, and the city of Freiburg has banished all who did not return when they were summoned thither."

"That was no loss to you, methinks," answered Hassfurter, "since you thereby acquired sole possession of your father's house and properties, to which otherwise Heinrich would have been entitled to a share."

"Nonsense!" cried Vogeli furiously; "all the world knows that my father had already disinherited Heinrich." The old man made no reply. He knelt down by the wounded officer, and after carefully examining his injury shook his head gravely, to the innkeeper's great alarm.

"Merciful Heaven!" he cried, "the town guard will soon be here, and I shall be punished for permitting this affray in my house. Hagenbach, too, will not fail to remember what has happened here to his officer."

"Have you no friend?" asked Hassfurter; "I mean one on whom you can rely, who would take care of this fellow for you? As for the Burgundians, gold will keep them silent concerning the affair. They are not altogether guiltless themselves, and would not escape punishment if the facts were known."

"I have indeed such a friend," replied the inn-keeper in a tone of relief, "Hans Irmy, a magistrate of our town. Our places adjoin, and we can easily carry the man thither."

The peasants lent willing aid, and Irmy gladly offered the use of a secret room in his house to the wounded officer. There he lay unconscious for three days; but nature finally triumphed, and his progress toward recovery was rapid, thanks to Walter, Irmy's son, who tended him with the greatest care.

"It does not please me," said the father one day, "that you should sit the whole day at that foreign soldier's bedside; such service could be performed quite as well by the servants."

"But, father," cried Walter, "he is such a fine fellow and can tell such splendid tales of war and the battles he has fought in. It almost makes one long to go away with him."

"Has the stranger suggested that to you?" asked Irmy.

"No, not he," was the answer; "but Iseli, your friend, is always saying that I might make a great success if I were to go out into the world; he seems to think there is something unusual about me."

"Iseli is a fool," growled the old man, "to put such ideas into your head. Stay in your own country and earn an honest living, that is my advice; and if you must be a soldier, no doubt there will he opportunities enough for you to begin your career in the service of the Fatherland, instead of entering that of any foreign prince."

Crestfallen, Walter slipped away, but half an hour later he was sitting beside the officer again, listening with eager interest to his tales. Heini Sussbacher was often in the sick chamber also, and the two boys soon determined to follow their hero out into the world to seek their fortunes. Not long after this the Captain took leave of the Councillor, with kindly thanks for his hospitality, and set out for Treves to join the Governor, who had already reached Strassburg with the Emperor. He was a considerable distance away from Basle, when suddenly the lads sprang out from the roadside and besought him to take them with him to the ducal court that they too might become soldiers like himself, promising to do their best. Heinrich Vogeli reproved them sharply; but what was he to do with them, as they absolutely refused to return home even if he sent them away? There seemed no alternative except to take them along. At the next town, therefore, he hired two horses for them, that the journey to Strassburg might be more quickly accomplished, and also despatched a messenger secretly to old Irmy to reassure him as to his son's whereabouts.

But old Irmy was not to be appeased so easily; he stormed and grumbled continually about the runaways. "And Heini, too," he always ended with, "that rascal! as if his father had not already injured me enough in my business by selling his goods at a loss, that he must now lead my son astray, the only child I have in the world, and induce him to become a vagabond and a traitor like that Vogeli "

But as week after week passed and the boys did not return, the Councillor at length determined, come what might, to go in search of them; he set out also for Treves, where in a few days the Emperor Frederick, with his son Maximilian and Duke Charles the Bold, was to make his formal entry.

The Entry of the Princes

Irmy's journey was not accomplished so easily as he had expected; he was frequently obliged to wait, as all the horses obtainable were needed for the use of those travellers who, as members of the Emperor's household or as envoys or functionaries of the Empire, could claim first consideration. Nor was this a small matter, for fully seven hundred deputies from the various cities assembled at Treves to greet the Emperor, all of noble birth, not to mention the curiosity-seekers.

It was late in the evening of the twenty-ninth of September when the Councillor at last entered Treves. The Emperor had already arrived that morning, and the city was so crowded with strangers that only by paying a large sum was Irmy able to secure even the poorest kind of a lodging. Charles the Bold was expected to appear the following morning, when the Emperor was to ride out to meet him, and the people were eagerly looking forward to the coming spectacle.

"It is there I shall be most likely to find the lad," thought Irmy. "I will rise early and go out to meet the procession; Vogeli will be with the Duke, and wherever he is, Walter will surely not be far away."

He was the first to awake in the house the next morning; quickly rising, he peered out through the round leaded window panes, as well as their dinginess would permit, at the gray sky above. "Everything is dirty here," he growled—" the bed and the furniture as well as the room; and these panes might be any color."

He flung open the sash in a rage and thrust his head out into the cool morning air. Nothing was stirring as yet in the street below, and he might still have enjoyed several hours of slumber without losing anything; but anxiety for his only child had disturbed his natural serenity of mind and made him restless.

"Now I can make my way through the town easily," he thought. He dressed himself and went carefully down the dark stairs of his lodging house, the garret of which had never before been honored by a guest of Irmy's wealth and standing. When he reached the sidewalk he looked up once more at the dark gray sky, then took his way through the deserted streets that reechoed to the sound of his footsteps. No one was in sight but a watchman pacing his rounds.

"It is an old city," said Irmy to himself, "and not so badly built, but it cannot compare with Basle."

At the gate of the town, a small fee procured him ready egress, and the guards showed him the way to the camp that had been pitched for the Duke and his followers. Slowly he wandered about among the tents, sure that here he must find his son, since Hagenbach and his officers had already taken possession of the quarters assigned to them as part of the Duke's retinue. As yet, however, all was still both without and within the tents, and the Councillor turned his steps toward a sutler's wine shop, on the wooden front of which was a large shield bearing in Italian the name and calling of its occupant. A servant with black hair and unmistakably Italian cast of countenance was brushing away the dried leaves from before the door and strewing the path with white sand. Addressing him in his own tongue, Irmy asked for a breakfast of meat, bread, and porridge, with a draught of good wine.

"I ought not to give you anything," replied the Italian, "since you are not of the Burgundian soldiery nor yet in the Duke's service, it is plain. But since none of the soldiers are stirring, belike you may enter."

This the Councillor gladly did, and to pass the time chatted with the friendly waiter, who had been much in Venice and Genoa in former days, and knew of many of the great mercantile houses with which he was connected. He asked him about two lads who must have arrived in camp with one of the Burgundian captains, but the Lombard could tell him nothing of them.

"We came hither with some Italian cuirassiers, levied for Duke Charles in Italy," he replied, "and know nothing of his other followers. But if you will station yourself by the roadside against yonder tree, no part of the procession can escape you."

By this time signs of life began to appear about the camp. Tents were thrown open here and there, and the soldiers could be seen busied with the various offices of their toilet. But none had any news to give of Vogeli and the two boys. One man remembered that the Captain had been sent to Basle, but further than that he knew nothing.

Soon a trumpeter emerged from one of the tents and sounded a call, whereat the whole camp instantly sprang to life. All was bustle and activity as each man bestirred himself to make ready for the day—a more difficult task than usual, for on this occasion everything must appear at its very best. The cuirassiers had already burnished their arms and mail to spotless brilliancy on the previous day, but there still remained more to be done than could well be accomplished in the short time left them. Swiftly they rubbed down the horses, standing in long rows tethered to a rope. The horses of the Italians were magnificent creatures, and each was the individual property of its rider. These cuirassiers were for the most part men of quality; each was entitled to a mounted esquire and one foot-soldier as his escort. None but the rich were permitted to join their ranks; and many nobles, survivors of the old knighthood, were to be found serving in this troop of mercenaries, whose pay was at least thrice that of a lieutenant in these days.

At length all was finished, and it was an imposing array that rode past the wine shop toward the high-road along which the train of the Emperor was already seen approaching. A band of drummers and musicians led the way, and next, preceded by waving banners and pennons, came Frederick himself, followed by a long and brilliant cavalcade, among which Irmy looked in vain for Vogeli. Hagenbach was there indeed; but even had the merchant forced himself to ask for the Captain he would have met with no reply from the haughty Governor, who, riding to-day in attendance on the Emperor, looked even more arrogant and pompous than usual. The Burgundian cuirassiers brought up the rear of the procession, during the passage of which Irmy maintained the position pointed out to him, beside the tree, which afforded him an excellent view.

By this time he was no longer the only spectator. Crowds had been pouring out from the gates of the city and assembling from all the surrounding villages, until the whole road on both sides was lined with sightseers. For hours they waited cheerfully while the two princes, who had met after half an hour's ride, were engaged in a friendly dispute over a question of honor. Frederick wished the Duke to ride at his side, while Charles insisted that he as the lesser potentate should modestly follow. At length the heavens, which had lowered for a full hour upon this ceremonious pretence, opened their flood gates and deluged Duke and Emperor, noble and henchman alike; for Nature at such times is no respecter of persons. Especially inopportune was it now, however, for all were in their most sumptuous array; and many looked upon it as an evil omen.

But sunshine followed close upon the rain, and fair weather smiled upon their entry into the city, their approach to which was greeted by a clashing peal of bells from every church tower, and heralded by the blare of trumpets and the rattle of drums long before anything could be seen of the procession. On it came at last,—first, the musicians, then a long train of archers brought by the Duke of Somerset from England, with whose royal house Charles the Bold was connected through his wife. These were followed by a group of heralds. And now, amid the deafening shouts and acclamations of the multitude, appeared the Emperor and the Duke, riding side by side.

Old Irmy's somewhat elevated position enabled him to look over the heads of the intervening spectators. That rider glittering with gold and jewels, his embroidered doublet thickly set with pearls, sitting his horse so stooped and carelessly—the man with the listless, indifferent expression and heavy, protruding under lip—could he be the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire? Alas! what could be hoped for from one whose utter lack of strength and firmness was so evident? It was far pleasanter to look on the youthful figure behind him, the Grand Duke Maximilian, whose handsome and intelligent face was framed with a mass of fair curling hair. Clad all in velvet and silver, he rode between the Archbishops of Mayence and Treves. Accompanying these Princes of the Church was a singular companion, designated by the onlookers as "the Turk." This was a son of the Sultan, who had been taken captive by the Christians and received the baptismal name of Calixtus. He lived at the Austrian court and was fond of appearing in costumes of startling gorgeousness. These personages did not claim attention long, however, for all eyes quickly turned to the centre of interest, the man who rode at the Emperor's side.

Charles the Bold could certainly never have been called handsome, whatever his flatterers might claim; but fire and energy gleamed in his dark eyes, proud self-confidence, inflexible will, and haughty defiance were stamped upon his countenance. The personality of the Prince denoted an overbearing imperiousness that seemed to challenge at once admiration and repugnance, affection and antipathy. Magnificent, indeed, was the Duke's attire. Over the breastplate of polished steel he wore a cloak so covered with pearls, diamonds, and rubies that the merchant from Basle estimated its value at two hundred thousand gold florins, while in his velvet cap sparkled a single jewel that was priceless. The Duke's charger also called forth universal admiration. It was a black horse of matchless strength and beauty, equipped in full mail and decked with gold and jewelled housings that swept the ground. Behind the princes followed a long train of German and Burgundian nobles, among them the privy councillors of the Emperor and of the Duke, and the envoys of Albert of Brandenburg, who was called Achilles.

"Why is he not there himself?" the people asked of one another; "he is deemed the bravest and wisest prince in all the Empire, and they say the Emperor can do nothing without him."

"How think you," asked another, "it would please the Elector to ride modestly behind the Burgundian among all those princes and counts?"

There seemed no end to the cavalcade. Following the Duke's bodyguard, all sumptuously arrayed, both horse and man, came the flower of the Burgundian army, every man clad in new and glittering armor, their banners floating above them in the blaze of the Autumn sunlight, the whole making a scene of splendor such as the people had never before beheld. Pennon after pennon passed old Irmy, and still the end was not yet in sight, although the two princes had already entered the market place in Treves. There a second discussion arose between them as to which should have the honor of escorting the other to his lodgings, the Emperor as governor of the city wishing to act the part of host, and the Duke protesting. At length they agreed to separate at the market place, and the Duke rode at full speed back to the gates, which the last of his followers were just entering.

Once more the Duke passed Irmy while on his way to the Abbey of Saint Maximin, of which his ancestors had been patrons, and where he had taken up his quarters rather than in the town. This time, however, he rode too swiftly, and the people were too full of all the sights they had seen for him to excite the attention that he had received half an hour before. His retinue, the English archers, the Italian cuirassiers, and the native Burgundians with their varied equipment, followed through the gates. Six culverins were also included in the train, mounted on the wooden carriages which the Duke was accustomed to carry with him in the field, and which had been set up here in the camp also.

Dejected and disheartened, the old man turned his steps toward the camp once more. He had seen nothing of Captain Vogeli nor of his son, and had small hope of finding them here now. Exhausted with the fatigues of the day, and faint with hunger, for he had eaten nothing since morning, his first thought was to seek rest and refreshment, and then continue his search. Slowly he walked on through the camp. Artisans of all sorts had set up their workshops near the tents, bakers and butchers were offering their wares for sale, and there were tap-houses by the dozen. The cuirassiers had removed the trappings from their horses and with handfuls of straw were busy rubbing the foam and sweat from their flanks. The Italian's hospitable wine shop stood open; but the tables were already well filled with soldiers, and the Councillor was about to pass on when the friendly servant beckoned to him and, leading him around to the rear, whispered: "This way; enter with me and seat yourself behind the counter; the soldiers will take you for one of us and make no objection to your presence."

The tired and hungry Irmy gladly followed this suggestion. A good and substantial meal revived his strength; but his unwonted exertions proved too much for him, and he offered the waiter a good sum if he would provide him with a place where he might rest for a short time.

"Come right in here, sir," replied the Italian, leading him to a small compartment; "you can lie down on my bed and no one will disturb you."

The Lost Found

As old Irmy slept, the wine shop gradually filled, while in the large tavern room the landlord was kept equally busy supplying the Burgundian officers with wine, cards, and dice. Duke Charles would permit no gambling among the common soldiers, and regarded it with great disfavor for the officers also; but to-day the players had no fear of discovery.

"You are on duty to-day, Vogeli?" asked one of the men from Freiburg.

"Yes; that is why I was not in the procession. It is a pity I was forced to miss it."

"Nay, waste no regrets on that," was the answer; "between dust and sweat we almost perished. What say you,—shall we have a game?"

"I do not care much for play," replied Vogeli, "but as you please."

They seated themselves accordingly and began to play, while the other tables were lively with all kinds of sport.

"Do you know," said one, "why the Duke sent that magnificent diamond ring to his new page? Faith, it was because he wished the Prince good luck in his pursuit of Fortune."

"All do not get such rich rewards," said another; "the Duke is often displeased by such things."

"Do you remember Lord de Comines?" asked a third; "he stood high in Charles's favor, was his private secretary, and presumed more than any favorite ever had dared, yet even he once excited the wrath of the Duke. After a banquet, one night, he bethought him 'twould be a rare jest to sleep off his drunkenness in his master's bed. But Charles soon awakened him.

"'Good friend,' he said, 'you have forgotten your boots,' and kneeling down he drew them off himself; then he flung them at the head of the now sobered secretary, and ordered him from the room to finish his slumbers in his own bed. Comines was known ever after as 'Puss in Boots,' and was received with scoffs and jeers whenever he ventured to show his face. Now he hobnobs in Paris with King Louis and weaves intrigues against us."

Vogeli had been winning steadily, and not wishing to take any more of his comrade's money, he arose and left the tavern to attend to his duties as officer of the day. Meanwhile it had been getting very noisy in the wine shop. The good Burgundy dispensed by Giacomo, the host, was greatly enjoyed by the cuirassiers, and they applied themselves to it industriously. Here, too, dice were thrown and cards dealt, but with more caution than the officers displayed. At length the door opened and six English archers entered, who quietly took their places at a table and called for wine.

"What business have they here?" asked the cuirassiers of one another. "Giacomo, you are our sutler and shall serve no others."

As the tavern-keeper paid no heed to this, however, but prepared to supply the wants of the new-comers, one of the esquires, a Lombard of graceful but almost boyish figure sprang up from a table. "Hark you, Giacomo!" he shouted, "if you dare to serve these English curs we will run you through and afterwards burn your shop over your head!"

This threat was approved by loud shouts and vigorous oaths from all sides.

"All honor to my countrymen!" said the Italian, deprecatingly, "but the English must also live; nor do they lack good gold."

"Nay—they have far too much, the dogs, the slanderers!

The archers meanwhile, scarcely comprehending the import of this discourse, sat waiting patiently for the liquor they had ordered.

"Ralph," said one of them to his neighbor, "can you make out what that little devil yonder is saying?"

"Never a word," was the reply. "I only know I have a precious thirst and am kept waiting too long for my wine."

With some difficulty the host succeeded in making his way to the Englishmen's table; but before he could set down the jugs two Lombards planted themselves before him and shouted threateningly: "The Devil take you, Giacomo! Give them nothing, or it shall be the worse for you, do you hear?

At this Giacomo lost his patience. "Nay, go to the Devil yourselves, dear countrymen," he retorted, "or whither you please! As for me, the Englishmen's gold is as good as your own. Give way!"

By this time the archers had grasped the situation, for they had been once praised by the Duke and held up as examples to the disorderly Lombards, who ever since had been their bitter enemies; and when the two cuirassiers proceeded to knock the jugs from Giacomo's hand, spilling the wine upon the floor, Ralph with another tall archer sprang up, seized them by the throat in their iron grasp, and hurled them against the door with such violence that it burst open, and the Lombards rolled out head over heels just at the feet of Captain Vogeli, who was making his rounds through the camp to see that all was in order. This unexpected encounter was far from pleasing to the cuirassiers, for any breach of peace was severely punished. They attempted to explain, but the uproar within was so great, Vogeli did not stop to listen. Hastily entering the tavern he found the Englishmen surrounded on all sides with threatening fists and gleaming knives. Instant silence followed his appearance, for the strictness of the Duke's discipline was well known among his followers, and the officer of the day was therefore a person much to be feared. Each man gave a different account of what had happened; but as all agreed that the two Lombards who had been flung out of the door and who by this time had picked themselves up out of the dust were the chief offenders, the Captain concluded to keep the affair to himself for this once, and merely ordered the archers to leave the wine shop. Before they had departed, however, the door of the servant's sleeping-room opened and old Irmy made his appearance, roused at last by all the commotion.

"What! you here at last?" exclaimed Vogeli, holding out his hand to greet the merchant. "Truly you have kept us waiting long. But how came you here? ''

That is no concern of yours," growled Irmy, refusing the proffered hand. "Where is my child, whom you enticed away from me in return for the hospitality I showed you?"

"My good sir," said the officer, "'twas but in kindness to your friend, the host of The Bears, that you took me in, for it would have fared ill with him had news of that affair become known. As for your son, nothing was farther from my thoughts than to persuade him to leave you. 1 did not believe the lad would return to his home even had I refused to take him with me, and then you might have searched for him, who knows where? If you will go with me to the city, he shall be restored to you at once. Moreover, I have managed already to disgust him with the idea of soldiering. The other youth refuses to be converted, however, and is in a fair way to become a pikeman."

"I care naught for him," replied Irmy, as they left the wine shop; "he was always a good-fornaught. His father settled in the village of Aarau, and thought to ruin us merchants of Basle by his low prices; and when he finally died, himself a bankrupt, nothing would do but I must have the boy brought up in my house. But he never could be taught anything; he is as full of foolish pranks as a donkey is of gray hairs, though not altogether bad at heart,—not so bad as his father was."

"Now you are talking sensibly," said Vogeli. "Methinks you might have spared me your abuse just now."

"Nay, do not judge me too harshly," answered the old man; "it is my nature to grumble, and in a large business like mine one is vexed by so many people every day, one becomes used to quarrelling. Consider, too, that I had lost my only child, the boy who is to succeed to my name and to my business when I no longer have time or strength to carry it on. I am glad to find him here with you, and thank you with all my heart for the wisdom and prudence you have shown."

"Truly that has a different sound," declared the officer; "but let us turn up this street. My lodgings are yonder on the market place, and there we shall find the lad."

Old Irmy hurried on in advance of his companion, till he reached the doorway of the house Vogeli had pointed out; he rushed up the stairway, and the next moment father and son were clasped in each other's arms. The Councilor's forgiveness was easily won, for he had already given his anger full vent, and when, half an hour later, the two Irmys found themselves seated with the Captain at the well spread table of the best inn the town afforded, the last trace of his resentment vanished.

"You ought to remain here with us a few days longer and see all the festivities," said Vogeli—"the tournament, at least."

But Irmy refused, declaring he must return at once to look after his people, who would be out of all bounds were he too long absent.

"It is a gay life you lead here," he continued, "and one cannot much blame a lad of sixteen for longing to join in it."

"All is not gold that glitters," replied the Captain. "I often feel a distaste for my profession; indeed, I should never have left my native land had I been on better terms with my brother Hans. He was always domineering and, being the elder, determined to have his own way in everything. Moreover, he well understood how to win over our father by his flattery, while I with my straightforward disposition could not get on with him at all. I was obliged to submit myself dutifully to my brother's orders and weigh raisins and pour vinegar in my father's grocery shop, with no prospect of ever becoming anything more than a clerk—for Hans always reserved the profits for himself. So I said to myself, ' You had better try some other country,' and though I well knew how deserters were despised, I left my home and took service with Burgundy. Nor have I reason to regret it, for in truth I have prospered better than most. My father disinherited me, it is true, and the city of Freiburg has banished all deserters, but I care little for that. I willingly yield to Hans my share of our inheritance, and should I ever return to Freiburg to visit the graves of my parents, as a Burgundian officer, I shall enter and depart without question. Yet for many reasons I do not like this service, for there is much wrong and injustice, and it often revolts me to be forced to obey Hagenbach's commands. Moreover, it is a sad life to be always wandering among strangers, without a country, without a home, without a family. Here one lives from hand to mouth, and to save enough from one's pay to return at last to the Fatherland to end one's days in peace is scarcely to be thought of."

"Then why not quit this service and go with us?" said Irmy; "surely some place can be found for you, in your own land, that will suit you."

"Nay, I am forbidden to return to Freiburg, and you know I am a Switzer. It must go hard with us before we abandon the masters to whom we have pledged ourselves."

So their talk ran on till the shades of evening began to fall, when they parted, Irmy returning with Walter to what had hitherto been the Captain's lodgings, while the latter hastened back to the camp and took up his quarters in the tent that had been assigned to him there.

On the following morning the merchant and his son bade farewell to their friend and, riding out through the gate of the city, took their way along the highroad that led from Strassburg to Basle.

The Emperor's Flight

Festivities of all sorts, tournament, parades, and banquets followed in rapid succession in the city of Treves. Even the festivals of the Church afforded the clergy an opportunity of displaying their wealth and magnificence. The Archbishop, however, was not altogether pleased with what was going on within the walls of his court; for the people talked openly of Charles's coronation, an event as much opposed to the interests of the ecclesiastical Elector of Treves as of all the princes of the German Empire. Either the Elector of Brandenburg or the Elector of Saxony could lay quite as just a claim to a king's crown as could the Burgundian. Moreover, was it not whispered that the Electorate of Treves was to form part of the new kingdom? The Archbishop a vassal of Charles the Bold! Nay, that must be prevented at any cost.

Meanwhile the negotiations between the two potentates made little progress. Week after week went by, and still the Councillors could come to no agreement concerning the Turkish war, as it was given out, but in reality, as to the marriage of Maximilian and the coronation of Charles the Bold, though this was known only to the initiated. At last, however, the end seemed near: the Councillors met to complete the final arrangements; that evening the contracts were to be signed; and the next morning Charles would awake as King, Maximilian as the betrothed of Burgundy's heiress.

The Emperor reclined contentedly in his armchair. He had been repeatedly annoyed by the Duke's arrogance and extravagance of display, but comforted himself with the reflection that all Charles's wealth and possessions would eventually fall to his own son and heir by marriage with the much courted Maria of Burgundy. That here in this old city events were to prove propitious to him had been foretold by the stars. His entry had been made under a fortunate conjunction, and since then there had been no change in the favorable aspect of the planets. Yet he could not permit this night to pass without again consulting the heavens as to the further progress of his affairs. Rising listlessly, therefore, from the writing table upon which he was wont to scribble and had to-day scrawled with especial conviction fully a hundred times the words, "The whole earth is a vassal of Austria," he was about to seek a private conference with the court astrologer, when a light knock was heard at the door, and the venerable Archbishop of Treves entered, evidently in great agitation. Approaching the Emperor, he bowed respectfully and said:

"May a faithful servant crave leave to speak a few words with Your Majesty?"

"We were about to retire," replied Frederick indifferently, "but will not refuse you, if it be on a matter of great import."

"Not otherwise, sire, would I have presumed to intrude myself in the chamber of our most illustrious Emperor," said the Archbishop. Then standing erect before the monarch and assuming a resolute expression, he began:

"For many weeks past, in our good city of Treves, great preparations have been made both in the cathedral and on the market place, and people in the streets talk of a coronation. The Princes and Electors of the Empire have paid no heed to this idle chatter, nor deemed that aught else was in question than another of those splendid pageants of which we feel we have already seen more than enough. But reliable news has just reached us that these rumors are not entirely without foundation, and I have hastened hither to implore Your Majesty in the name of my fellow-princes to put an end to our apprehensions with one word of assurance."

"What if we cannot speak that word?" asked Frederick calmly.

"Then God help the unhappy Empire, and the illustrious house of Austria as well! But I can scarce believe that His Roman Majesty has formed a decision or pledged himself as yet in so weighty an affair as this. To create a King without a council of the chief members of the Empire! That were unheard of. But no! pardon me, Your Majesty, if I have gone too far."

"Nay, go on," replied the Emperor. "What you say is nothing new. All these objections have been laid before us a thousand times by our loyal subject and Privy Councillor, Count Werdenberg."

Thus encouraged, Archbishop John continued: "Were it merely the question of a new kingdom, of what countries would you form it? Powerful princes of the Church forced to submit to Burgundian sovereignty? Lorraine?—I cannot believe you would wrest that from the knightly young Duke Rene. Nay, should Your Imperial Majesty permit such a crime against a minor, 'twould justify the pettiest freebooter's unlawful depredations."

Here Frederick looked away, unable to meet the stern glance of the prelate, who continued: "And in the end, even should Your Majesty succeed, contrary to all precedent, in forming a new kingdom, and making the proud Burgundian your ally, would not all his enemies and backbiters then become the foes of Austria likewise? I beseech Your Majesty to consider: cut off from all the members of the Empire, menaced by foes from without, the Lord of Christendom will be forced to yield to the commands or desires of the King he has created."

"That may all be true," answered Frederick, quite unmoved; "but since you discourse so sagely of these things mayhap you can show us some way out of the tangle; for ourselves, we can find none."

"Nothing easier," returned the Archbishop. "Speak of this to no one: at midnight we will take a boat and depart secretly from Treves. You will thus escape from your dilemma. Duke Charles will not be crowned, the Empire will suffer no wrong, and Your Majesty will be freed from all obligations and once more master of your own actions."

Frederick was speechless with surprise, but after some deliberation he agreed to follow this counsel. An emissary was secretly despatched to the Imperial Councillors, who were still arguing with the Burgundians. To the amazement of the latter, Count Werdenberg suddenly declared negotiations broken off, nor were all their efforts to secure a future resumption of the discussion of any avail. Half an hour later the Burgundian Chancellor stood beside the Duke's bed in the Abbey of St. Maximin and related what had passed, his report being frequently interrupted by outbursts of fury from his lord.

Just at this time a door of the archiepiscopal palace in Treves was softly opened and Archbishop John issued forth followed by young Maximilian and Frederick, with a few attendants. Silently and cautiously they crept away and betook themselves with all speed to the banks of the Moselle, where a boat was waiting for them. Like fugitives the princes silently embarked, and protected by the veil of night that still hung heavy over the old city, the boat glided smoothly down the dark river toward the green waters of the Rhine.

Half an hour after their departure a troop of horsemen approached the spot where the skiff had been moored. They were Burgundian cuirassiers, led by Captain Vogeli, who had been on guard in the Duke's antechamber. "The Devil!" he growled, "could I but have carried the Roman Emperor prisoner to my Duke, I need have yearned no longer to end my days comfortably in the Fatherland."

The Rising at Brisach

Since the days of Tell and Gessler there had been no alliance between Austria and the Swiss Confederation. Occasionally, it is true, the Swiss had shown a friendly spirit toward the Emperor, who was a member of that royal house, and they had never really ceased to regard themselves as belonging to the German Empire. About this time, however, a peace was concluded between the two countries, called the "Everlasting Compact," which has never been broken from that day to this.

The Swiss States had advanced to the Austrian Archduke Sigismund the sum required to redeem his Alsatian possessions, and notified Charles the Bold, who held them in pledge, that it was awaiting his acceptance in Basle. But Charles continually made evasions. While at Treves, he had visited these mortgaged lands and concluded they would form a valuable addition to his own dominions. He urged the Hapsburger to defer a settlement of the affair until he should have time to receive the money at Besancon or some other designated place; under no circumstances would he come to Basle. This was brief and to the point; in reality he had no notion of granting a release at any time.

The Alsatians themselves were far from content with this state of things, for while Duke Sigismund was by no means a model sovereign, the harsh rule of Peter von Hagenbach pleased them still less. The hated Governor resided at Brisach, and on this particular evening had summoned all his officers to a council. Striding restlessly up and down the spacious apartment where a number of fierce bearded soldiers, Walloons and Picards for the most part, were already assembled, he at last burst out: "Where is that fellow Vogeli? Can he mean to play us false, as I have been warned? Pah! I know my Switzers very well. They will lend themselves to anything, provided they are but paid and managed properly."

Scarcely had he uttered the words, when Vogeli entered and, passing the Governor and his fellow-officers with a respectful greeting, took his place at the lower end of the table.

"Marry, sir!" cried Hagenbach smiling, "'tis plain you are no fool and know how to make yourself of importance. By right you should no longer be entitled to share our councils, for I have released your disorderly followers from their oath."

"Nevertheless, until they have been paid their arrears I am still their Captain and yours," quietly answered Vogeli.

Hagenbach darted an evil glance at the bold speaker, but made no reply, and turning at once to the matter in hand, addressed his leaders as follows: "You are all well aware of the mutinous spirit that exists among the inhabitants of this cursed country. If we delay they will soon be in open revolt. It is our business to maintain the allegiance due our mighty lord, the Duke, may God preserve him, and to seize by force whatever towns or castles may be necessary."

The foreign captains here expressed their lively approval, but Vogeli was silent. Hagenbach continued: "What these churls have in mind is plain from the fact that even to-day, on the holy Easter festival, they went fully armed to church. But, by my soul, it shall not be! This good city of Brisach must be held for our lord at any cost. There is no lack of provisions, and the stores would suffice for a year were there fewer mouths to devour them. This, then, is my plan: Early on the morrow a proclamation shall be made to the citizens, that their refusal to aid in the work of fortification will avail them naught; all those who are not outside the gates by midday prepared to labor in the trenches shall be dragged thither by force, be they men or women. For the execution of this order, gentlemen, you will answer to me, and if any one can suggest a better plan—let him speak." The Governor paused.

"Pardon me, my lord," said Vogeli deprecatingly, "but if the burghers are forced to do this work, will they not return to their homes exasperated by the indignity inflicted on them and yet more determined upon mischief?"

"Have no fear, my friend," replied Hagenbach with a sinister smile, "they will make no trouble for us in Brisach, for the reason that when all are without the walls the gates shall be closed and none permitted to return again at night."

"And their children and their property?" inquired Vogeli.

"God-a-mercy! What does that concern you? Their brats shall be sent after them, and their possessions serve as a reward to our brave followers. Those who stay behind shall be strung up as rebels; and should there be too many of these, faith, our good friend Joseph Broschi here he nodded to one of the officers] well understands how to dispose of a superfluous population."

The details of this cruel scheme were listened to in silence and without a sign of disfavor from those present; no objections were made, for all were accustomed to obey. Moreover, the Governor was in the right in one respect. Only the most extreme measures could break the rebellious spirit of the Alsatians; so the city of Brisach must be made a warning example. The conference therefore was soon ended, and the captains separated with many coarse jests. Hagenbach clapped Vogeli roughly on the shoulder, saying:

"What is the matter with you to-day? You are as soft-hearted as an old woman. But hark you, sir! I have no use for such officers, nor yet has our lord of Burgundy."

Vogeli looked inquiringly at the Governor. "Does that mean I am dismissed, my lord?" he asked.

"Nay, methinks we shall stick together for some time yet; for if you intend to remain in the Duke's service till your men are paid, you are like to wait till Doomsday!"

With these words Hagenbach turned abruptly to one of the Italians, with whom he conversed for some time in an undertone.

"Keep a watchful eye on him," said Hagenbach to the others, as Vogeli left. "Heretofore I have turned a deaf ear to all whispers against him; now I no longer trust him. I will consider the matter to-morrow. He is a good soldier, and the people like him; but be on your guard as befits the service of our most noble Duke."

Thoughtfully Vogeli took his way back to the dwelling of his friendly host, Hans Wild, where a cordial reception awaited him. The children came running out to meet the soldier guest who could tell such fine tales of war and adventure, and hailed him with shouts of joy; but to-night he was gloomy and silent and paid no heed to them. Tearfully the little ones hastened to their mother, who chided them gently for troubling the Captain, although she herself was concerned at his appearance, as he moodily bade her good-evening. Woman-like, she endeavored by kindly questioning to discover the cause of his trouble, and abused the Governor for denying his officers an Easter holiday, but all to no purpose; Vogel continued in a silent and gloomy mood. Indeed, when Frau Katharine pressed him too closely his brow grew so dark that saucy little Anne Marie cried out: "Oh see, mother! What an old growler he looks like! He is not so nice after all. The Duke is wicked, and the Governor is wicked, and now the Captain looks as if he wanted to eat us all up, you and me and little Peter too!"

The mother would have punished the child for her pertness, but she fled for protection to Vogeli, who stroked her smooth yellow locks as he pacified Frau Katharine. "Children know not what they say," he graciously declared. "Alas! did we elders but know always what was best to do or say—No!" he cried out suddenly, "I will not do it, come what may!" And he brought his fist down on the table with such force that the dishes rattled and Anne Marie and her mother looked at each other in surprise. At that moment Hans Wild, a respectable rope-maker, entered.

"Let your family leave the room," commanded Vogeli sternly. "I must speak with you alone."

"God help us!" wailed Frau Katharine, "our lives must be at stake. It is true that my good husband went to the minister and did not lay aside all his arms; but be merciful to him, sir! Surely he is not more to blame than the other citizens."

"If it be a sin to fulfil an honest man's duty toward the welfare of our good city, then I am guilty," said Hans calmly. "Proceed! God sends no man more than he can bear, and the God of our fathers still lives, despite Hagenbach and his Duke."

When the door was closed, Vogeli approached his host and held out his hand, saying: "You have a stout heart, I know; how is it with the other citizens?"

Hans gave him a searching glance. "Doubtless through you the Governor seeks to find me out and ruin me. But this I tell you frankly: you may do with me as you will; but when the others strike, the blow will be a cruel one."

Vogeli smiled kindly. "Rest assured, my friend, I mean you no harm. But since you are already so certain of success, perchance you will not need the aid of myself and my two hundred men—should you come to blows."

"What!" cried Master Hans, in astonishment, "do you mean that you would help us?"

"Certainly, and without delay—to-morrow, in truth, else it may be too late," replied the Captain quickly.


Impossible! We are all armed, it is true, but must wait for re-enforcements from Ensisheim and other towns."

"Very well then, wait, and perish! But first listen to what I tell you. To-morrow morning you and your wives will be driven from the city to work in the trenches. Once gone, you with all the rest will be forbidden to reenter the gates; if you stay behind you will be slain. Your property will be divided among the foreign mercenaries, and your children perchance sent after you, should the spoilers see fit to spare them. Take tender leave to-night of Anne Marie and Peter. You may never see them again, Master Hans."

In answer to his anxious questions, Vogeli explained the extent and imminence of the danger.

"But what would you advise us to do? We are not yet prepared to strike," said Hans.

"Trust to our help, my friend; it shall not fail you. Early in the morning, before the proclamation can be published, I will go to the Governor and once more demand of him the pay for my men. If he refuse, as he surely will, sound the great drum and be ready. We will take him prisoner."

"If that is done," cried Hans joyfully, "you will have the city's lasting gratitude. You may depend upon us to do our part. For some weeks we have had a secret understanding among ourselves, so that any news, good or bad, can be spread throughout the town like wildfire. I will see to that, but do not leave us in the lurch, sir Captain!"

Vogeli repeated his assurances, and the two men parted with a firm hand-clasp, the one to seek his fellow citizens, the other to kindle the increased anger of his men, who were already quarrelling in a tavern over their discharge.

The citizens spent an anxious night. Would the morrow bring freedom or ruin?—Scarce had the iron tongues of the bells sounded their first summons to the faithful, when Vogeli betook himself to Hagenbach's quarters. The guard at the door refused to admit him, but Vogeli with one sweep of his muscular arm hurled the man aside and walked unannounced into the bedchamber of the Governor, who, reclining half dressed in a deep armchair, was meditating upon his plans for the day. His thoughts had just turned to Vogeli and he was debating whether it would not be best to have him placed under immediate arrest, when suddenly the Captain himself stood before him.

"In God's name, Vogeli," he shouted, "what are you doing here at this hour? and why do you enter unannounced? In future wait till you are summoned." The veins on his forehead swelled and his voice shook with rage. But Vogeli did not move.

"Be not angry with me, my lord," he said. "I come not of my own will, nor on my own errand; but my men will give me no peace."

"Send them to the Evil One, whose children they are!" roared the Governor.

"It would be a hard task to get the two hundred ready," retorted Vogeli with seeming good-nature; "moreover the evil one of dice and drink, to whom I should send them, loves full pockets, as your lordship well knows."

"How should I know that, scoundrel? You are hounding me again for your fellows' beggarly pay. Know, sir, that our lord Duke has not a farthing for lukewarm or treacherous servants like yourself. But I will give you and them the kind of pay you well deserve!"

"So? What will you give us?" asked Vogeli deliberately.

"Something that will proclaim you all vile curs," shouted Hagenbach. "And now begone, if you would not have the Evil One take you likewise!"

Vogeli looked steadily at the Governor. He was inwardly raging and on the point of uttering a fatal threat, but controlled himself in time, and merely answered: "May you never repent this, my lord. I go as you command."

The Governor hurled some furious oaths after him, then flung himself back in his chair and pondered afresh. "'Twere better, methinks, had I kept the fellow here. Who knows what mischief he may breed?" Sir Peter on this occasion seemed to have lacked his wonted decision, for he hesitated and delayed putting his scheme against the people into execution, until much precious time had been irrevocably lost.

After leaving the Governor, Vogeli repaired directly to the market place, where his followers were anxiously awaiting him. "Have you brought us our pay?" shouted one boisterous fellow, as soon as he caught sight of the Captain.

"Fine pay indeed," was the reply. "Our noble lord told me to send you all to the Evil One."

A storm of angry shouts arose. "Let us go and get it ourselves!" yelled one.

"He shall give us a ton of gold and his life to boot!" cried another.

"Peace!" commanded Vogeli. Silence ensued, when lo, a singular spectacle presented itself. At the beat of a drum throngs of armed citizens began to issue from all the houses; rapidly the number increased, being swelled by women and half-grown lads also, bearing any sort of implement that would serve as a weapon.

"To the Governor! To Hagenbach's quarters!" was the general cry. "Long live the illustrious House of Austria!" and therewith the Hapsburg banner floated lightly in the breeze. Renewed shouts greeted the well-known emblem—"Long live our noble lord, Duke Sigismund! hurrah! hurrah!" On they moved toward their destination, when suddenly a troop of glittering horsemen blocked the way. They were nobles from the surrounding country on their way to complain to the Governor of injuries on the part of the Burgundian officers.

"Stay, in God's name!" shouted the foremost of the riders. "What would you do?"

"Long live Austria! Long live Archduke Sigismund!" was the only response.

"The Archduke himself would be the first to condemn such action on your part. Bethink you how long he has been allied to Burgundy. He is Duke Charles's friend and would never countenance any act of hostility toward him."

"He will not readily pardon the use of his name for your unlawful purposes," added another of the nobles. "Desist, I charge you, nor presume to lay violent hands on the Duke's most distinguished officer, else you will—"

Here his words were drowned by a roar of indignation from the populace; and Hans Wild, raised aloft by two of his fellow tradesmen, shouted in ringing tones: "Give way, my lords! You have lent us no aid in the past, nor will we brook interference from you now. Our crime, if such you deem it, be on our own heads. Long live Austria, say I, and down with the Governor!"

Thundering applause greeted these words. The horsemen fell back dismayed, and on swept the throng. Soldiers stood in the doorways looking on in amazement, at first unable to comprehend the meaning of it. They had received no orders. Access to Hagenbach's quarters was already cut off; and finally, seeing what was afoot and that they stood no chance against the infuriated citizens supported by Vogeli's followers, they deemed it best to abandon the scene of their offences, and took to their heels, singly or in small companies, without even stopping to gather up their belongings or their booty. The insurgents paid no heed to them, intent only on capturing the person of the detested Governor. He should be made to atone for all his crimes and cruelties, and woe to him if he should be found in his quarters!

Greatly to their rage and chagrin, however, the nest was empty. Hagenbach had been warned in time to make his escape by a side door. Could he be already beyond their reach? The discovery of the open wicket left no doubt as to the direction of his flight; and some of the more active burghers, quickly mounting, hastened in pursuit, the others, with the soldiers, following and carefully searching every house along the roadside.

Suddenly a triumphant shout arose: "We have him, we have him!" and at the same moment the Governor, accompanied by one faithful attendant, was seen dashing out from a farmyard. Forcing his way through the crowd, he crossed the road and set off at full speed across the fields, thinking to escape that way. A lively chase followed; but Hagenbach, who had flung himself on an ordinary cart horse, had small chance against the better mounted burghers, and was soon overtaken. A few powerful but well-parried sword strokes, and he was a prisoner. But even then his insolence did not desert him.

"Make haste and fling me to the bloodthirsty dogs that they may gorge themselves! Marry, 'tis far too noble game for such folk," he cried. Then turning on Vogeli, who with a dozen of his followers had hastened to the spot, he sneeringly exclaimed: "So this is Swiss loyalty and valor, sir Captain! A hundred against one! And for a few paltry florins you forsake the colors to which you swore allegiance. I wish you joy of the reward this peasant rabble will doubtless pay you for your treachery."

Vogeli was silent, but one of the soldiers shouted angrily: "Why do we stand gaping here? Is there no one to silence the scoundrel's vile calumnies? If not, I will teach you to insult my master!" Raising his arm he was about to deal the Governor a mighty blow, when one of the burghers restrained him, saying: Nay, my good friend, to make such short work of it were to lose half the pleasure. This is matter for the executioner."

At these words Hagenbach turned pale and said no more. But he was not to go immediately to the scaffold. With frenzied shouts of joy, they took their way back to Brisach, which had been entirely deserted by its inhabitants, women and children, who now accompanied the procession with jeers and taunts at the prisoner.

"Hagenbach, you Judas! you bloodhound! at last we have you safe where you can no longer torment us." The executioner, usually an object of aversion, was now hailed in the most friendly manner by all. "Master Peter," they shouted to him, this is work for you!" and Peter, grinning, tucked up his sleeves and struck at the air with his sword, before the eyes of Hagenbach.

"It seems I am to do that man one more favor," he declared with a sneering laugh.

When they reached the gates of the city, the excited populace would have conducted the prisoner at once to the place of execution, but some of the more cool-headed citizens succeeded in dissuading them. "We are Austrians," they said, "and our lord Duke Sigismund must pronounce sentence upon the Governor. It is not for us to judge him." Accordingly, four soldiers, four burghers, and four of the nobles were chosen to guard the prisoner, while Vogeli with some of the citizens hastened to Basle to acquaint Duke Sigismund with what had occurred.

Two days later, toward evening, the Captain rode slowly through the streets of that city on his way to the inn of The Bears. How things had changed since he had come this way for the first time! Then he was an honored and honorable officer, favored by the Duke, and a loyal servant to Hagenbach. To-day he was a rebel. The Duke would never pardon his disloyalty, and Hagenbach, who had formerly valued him for his ability, was now his mortal enemy, and through his agency a prisoner. And all this for a few paltry florins, as the Governor had said. Yet though he well knew not one of his former comrades would credit him with any other reason for his defection, he could not altogether reproach himself. Were it all to be done again he knew he should act no differently.

This time Iseli himself came out to meet his guest and assist him to dismount. "I am glad," said he, as they ascended the stairway together, "to find that you bear me no ill will for what befell you in my house, though truly it was through no fault of mine."

"Why should I be angry with you for that?" asked Vogeli. "But what news of your neighbor, the good Councillor Irmy?"

Thereupon the innkeeper proceeded to give a detailed report concerning the welfare of his friend and Walter. "And you, Captain," he continued inquisitively, "what brings you to us again? Perchance you have been sent by your Duke to collect the sum advanced by the Swiss States for the redemption of Alsace?"

"Hardly that," said Vogeli; "but tell me, is it true that Duke Sigismund comes hither to-morrow?"

"So it is said," replied Iseli. Doubtless you have matters of importance to lay before the Archduke?"

Vogeli would fain have concealed his errand, but the innkeeper plied his questions so adroitly that he soon succeeded in extracting the whole story; and when the Captain, wearied with his long ride, retired to his chamber to rest, the news quickly spread through the town that Hagenbach, the oppressor of the Alsatians, the enemy of Switzerland as of every right-minded man, had been taken prisoner and the Archduke was to pronounce judgment on him.

When Sigismund drew near the town the following morning, he found the magistrates already at the gates to welcome him.

Vogeli had been riding at the Duke's side for half an hour, having gone out earlier to meet him with the news of Hagenbach's capture, and when Sigismund dismissed him kindly, he turned his horse's head toward The Bears once more. But the acclamations that had followed the Duke were now centred on the Captain, and his horse could make but slow progress through the densely packed throngs that filled the streets. When he at last dismounted he was raised aloft on the shoulders of the sturdy burghers and borne into the inn, where a number of the patricians and citizens of Basle had assembled to meet him. Among these were old Irmy and Walter, with whom Vogeli soon retired to his own chamber to escape the praise and adulation so distasteful to his modest nature.

"Iseli shall bring us some wine," said the Councillor, "and then I have something to propose that I hope will please you."

The host soon appeared with brimming tankards and Irmy began: "First of all, Captain, I beg you will do me the honor to make my house your home as often and as long as you may chance to be in Basle. I have learned to esteem you highly, and greatly desire that our friendship and our relations in life should become closer. Walter is now seventeen years old, and ever since I brought him back from Treves he has been faithful and industrious, and has learned something of business. But he lacks a knowledge of much that cannot be acquired by the fireside; the lad must travel, first to Italy,—Genoa and Venice,—and when he has mastered the Italian language and method of book-keeping I shall send him to Nuremberg and Augsburg, to Anton Fugger. This will mean an absence of some years; but I am still active and can perform the duties of my position without difficulty. Walter is so young, however, that I am unwilling to send him out into the world alone, and I should be very glad if you would go with him and keep a curb on the reckless fellow so that he shall not fall into bad company or play any foolish pranks. As to money, you shall have all that is needful, and when you return there will be room for you both in the business. Your experience in Freiburg will serve you in good part there. I know Walter is attached to you and will obey you as willingly as he does me. If you are agreed, let us shake hands on it!"

Vogeli gladly grasped the merchant's extended palm, and the next morning he took up his abode in the house, under whose hospitable roof he had once been carried wounded and bleeding. The landlord of The Bears flatly refused to accept any pay for board and lodging, declaring he was already far too much in the Captain's debt.

Death of the Governor

Archduke Sigismund decreed that Hagenbach should be publicly tried for his offences. Among the judges appointed from Basle were Hans Irmy and Ulrich Iseli, and with them came old Hassfurter representing the city of Lucerne.

The judges assembled at Brisach, where they were welcomed by Sigismund, who had already been there for a fortnight inquiring into the case of the prisoner. Full confession had been extorted from Hagenbach by means of the rack, but there were few proofs obtainable, even of his plot against the lives and property of the citizens of Brisach. Multitudes flocked thither from Switzerland, Alsace, and the Black Forest to witness the trial of the hated Governor. Along the whole length of the Rhine from Basle to Strassburg he had not a single friend. Little mercy could be expected from his Alsatian judges, and even among the strangers invited there were many whom he had greatly wronged.

A platform had been erected in the public square for the judges and the accused; and facing it a bench was placed upon which, shunned by all, yet objects of universal interest, were seated seven headsmen, rivals for the honor of executing sentence upon the country's oppressor. Clad alike in long red cloaks, they were in their places long before the judges appeared. When these had finally assembled, Swiss, Alsatians, and Sundgauers, the accused was led thither, escorted by his guard and surrounded by surging crowds. He walked with a firm step, not heeding the taunts and jeers heaped upon him save by an occasional contemptuous glance at the people.

"Now you shall reap your reward," shrieked a woman's voice, "for plotting to sink all the women and children to the bottom of the Rhine in leaky boats!"

"Ho! you would give our possessions as booty to your mercenaries, would you?" cried a well-to-do baker, whose property was of considerable value. "It shall go ill with you for that!"

Pursued by such speeches, Hagenbach reached the market place and took his seat while the tribunal was forming. The Austrian deputy appointed Ulrich Iseli as advocate for Archduke Sigismund, while Peter von Hagenbach himself chose Irmy, whose impartial love of justice was well known to him. Thomas Schutz, the magistrate of Ensisheim, opened the proceedings. About him were ranged the twenty-six judges, among whom were included sixteen knights, though to judge by their looks the presence of these equals in rank lent the prisoner but small hope of their clemency. Slowly the trial proceeded. The advocate for the accused did his best, but the verdict of death was certain from the beginning.

A storm of applause rent the air as the magistrate of Ensisheim announced the result. The executioners, who had hitherto remained passive, almost indifferent spectators, suddenly became all attention to learn in what manner the vengeance of their countrymen was to be wrought upon Hagenbach. Meanwhile the knights present required that the condemned should be publicly stripped of the dignities of his rank. Whereupon the Imperial herald advanced and, causing the Governor to be brought before him, demanded:

"Who stands before me?"

"The knight, Sir Peter von Hagenbach," was the answer.

Thrice the herald repeated: "That is false. No knight see I here, but a miscreant and a liar. Let his sword be broken and his shield dragged in the dust at a horse's tail." Then turning to the accused, he said:

"Peter Hagenbach, your conduct has been far from knightly. It was your duty to render justice; to protect the widow and orphan; to honor the Church and its holy servants; to restrain all violence and outrage; but you have yourself committed those crimes which you should have punished in others. Having broken, therefore, the oaths which you have sworn, and forfeited the noble order of knighthood, the knights her present have ordained that you shall be deprived of its insignia. Let a true knight come hither and take from him his arms and honors."

Sir Hermann von Eptingen advanced. "Peter Hagenbach, I proclaim you unworthy knight of the holy order of Saint George, and deprive you of your sword, ring, collar, poniard, and spurs." Then seizing a gauntlet, he struck the Governor on the right cheek, saying: "I pronounce you dishonored and disarmed, and so shall you remain until your death."

Turning to the knights, he added: "Noble sirs, I have, according to your decree, deprived Peter Hagenbach of his insignia and caused him to be publicly degraded. May this punishment serve as an example to you, and may you ever live in accordance with the dignity of knighthood and the honor of your name."

At the conclusion of this scene, the composure displayed by the Governor throughout the whole trial forsook him. The scornful gleam in his eyes died out, his head sank upon his breast, and he seemed to lose all consciousness of his surroundings. But as he clearly realized the discussion concerning the mode of his death, he broke down completely groaning: "Mercy, mercy, your worships! Grant me honorable death by the sword!"

Shouts of triumph again rose from the people when they beheld the proud nobleman bowed humbly to the dust, but some of those in the front ranks were moved to pity, and many secretly shed tears. The judges unanimously agreed on death by the sword. Preparations were made at once for the execution of the sentence, which, greatly to his joy and the envy of his fellows, was intrusted to the headsman of Colmar, a short, thickset fellow, accounted an expert with the sword.

Hagenbach's Execution


Night had long since fallen and darkness covered the earth, when Peter Hagenbach was conducted to the scaffold. The judges rode in advance. Two priests walked beside the condemned man, urging him to confess his sins that his soul might not perish with his body. Torches illuminated the dismal scene. A vast crowd hemmed in the sad procession, which, passing out through the Cooper's Gate, reached an open meadow, where it halted. Hagenbach conversed earnestly with the priests for some moments, openly declared his repentance, and bequeathed to the church of Brisach his sixteen horses, his valuables, and his gold chain, for absolution from his sins. With a firm step he mounted the scaffold and, facing his judges and the people, spoke thus with manly courage:

I fear not death. Too often have I faced it on the battle-field. I regret alone the blood which mine will cause to be shed; for think not my master will permit this day to pass unavenged. Grant me your forgiveness, for Christ's and Our Lady's sake. I am not guilty of all you have charged against me, yet I humbly confess myself a sinner. Pray for me!"

He knelt and received the death stroke. The executioner of Colmar performed his duty well, but not a shout arose, not a murmur of applause was heard. Peter Hagenbach had shown he knew how to die, and his death atoned for all.

The Battle of Granson

For a time it appeared as if the death of Hagenbach were to remain unavenged. His brother, it is true, made some attempt at retaliation and laid waste parts of the country, but the cities felt secure behind their walls, and laughed at the threats of the Burgundians. Charles himself was occupied with other matters and had no time to punish the judges of his faithful servant. With his whole army of sixty thousand men he lay encamped for nine long months before the town of Neuss on the Lower Rhine, wasting his time and his forces in a vain endeavor to reduce its brave garrison to submission. The Emperor meanwhile collected an army and, crossing the Rhine, advanced to meet him. But Frederick had no intention of fighting; after a few skirmishes he deserted his allies, the King of France, Duke Rene of Lorraine, and the Swiss Confederates, and made peace with the Duke of Burgundy. Possibly he was not unwilling to abandon them to Charles's vengeance; moreover, Burgundy would thereby acquire valuable additions to her territory; and Burgundy—so ran the treaty—was to be the inheritance of Princess Maria, betrothed to the young Archduke Maximilian.

Charles's first move was to take possession of Lorraine, after which he marched into Switzerland and laid siege to Granson. A large part of his court had followed him to the camp, where the utmost luxury and extravagance prevailed. The Duke's table was laid with massive gold plate, the costliest wines were drunk from golden beakers, and the Burgundian knights and nobles vied with one another in splendor of display.

Far otherwise was it in the beleaguered town, where the wretched fare and scanty rations grew daily less, and still the promised relief did not appear. The commander lacked firmness and decision, moreover, while the garrison, which consisted chiefly of the soldiers that had formerly revolted at Brisach, looked back longingly on the flesh-pots of the Burgundian camp. Meanwhile the Confederates were assembling their forces with a deliberation strongly opposed by the more sagacious leaders, but they were powerless against the obstinate independence of the free Swiss. When the army finally moved to the relief of Granson, and was but a day's march from the enemy, it was only to learn that the town had already surrendered, and that the entire garrison had been hanged, in direct violation of the terms of the capitulation.

Overwhelmed with shame and fury at the consequences of their delay, they swore vengeance on the Duke; and the next day a battle was fought, in which the Burgundians were totally defeated and driven out of Switzerland in confusion, leaving the camp and all its treasures with four thousand wagon-loads of provisions in the hands of the Swiss. The first duty of the victors, however, was to bestow honorable burial on the murdered garrison. By tens and dozens the Burgundians had hanged them to the branches of trees,—here father and son or brothers side by side, there friends and relatives together. In solemn procession the bodies were borne to the monastery of the barefooted friars and laid in a common grave, each with his arms beside him, according to an old custom.

On the following morning the spoils were divided; and great was the amazement of the Confederates at the richness and splendor that everywhere met their gaze. Here, piled in great heaps, was the massive plate that had adorned the Duke's board at Treves; there stood the silver chair heavily inlaid with gold, valued at eleven thousand florins, in which he was wont to receive foreign envoys; Charles's headpiece, and his magnificent sword set with priceless gems: all these treasures were tossed about by the rough hands of the Switzers. Curious throngs forced their way into the royal pavilion and marvelled at the costly hangings interwoven with gold and silver, upon which were depicted scenes from Roman mythology. Upon the wall gleamed Burgundy's escutcheon, emblazoned with the cross of St. Andrew, and above it the Duke's proud motto, "I Watch." Watched? Aye, and lost! was but too plain.

"Who wants tin plates?" cried an honest countryman, contemptuously. "I have plenty of those at home," and he sold the silver plates that had fallen to his share for two silver groschen apiece; while an archer proudly exhibited a shirt of mail he had just received in exchange for a jewelled diadem, saying, "What could I have done with such trumpery?"

There you were wise, my friend," declared the dealer, who had willingly made the trade, for the crown was worth thirty thousand thalers; "and if any others find these shining things somewhat heavy to carry, come to me. I will give you good round coin for them."

"So? Then mayhap we may strike a bargain," said a Strassburger. "Would ten florins be too much for these twelve bright goblets? They are much too heavy for gold, but any one not knowing would easily buy them of you for that."

After the capture of Castle Granson


The trader weighed the cups in his hand. They might have been worth eighty marks in gold. "Truly they are heavy enough," he said doubtfully, "and I dare not overload my cart, for who knows what profitable bargains are yet to be made? Yet I would not have your ill will, and since it is you I will do the best I can for you. Come, let us say half a guilder apiece."

The Strassburger looked doubtfully at his companions. "If they should be gold, though—"

"Nay, be not a fool, Thomas. You are not likely to have another offer as good as that. What if they be really gold? Gold is as cheap here as hazel nuts with us at Martigny." At this the Strassburger hesitated no longer, but gladly pocketed his six guilders, and the trader went on his way.

"'Tis like the masqueraders at carnival time," he said to himself as he met a group of cowherds with costly garments of velvet, silk, and cloth of gold flung over their smock-frocks.

"Look at Ruodi! Is he not fine?" gleefully shouted one, pointing to the leader of the band, who wore on his head a costly cap with waving plumes, while upon his breast gleamed the gold chain of the noble order of the Golden Fleece. In another part of the camp a party of victorious Switzers quarrelled and shouted over some casks of Burgundy which they were drawing into gold and silver flagons. "Will you hold your good-for-nothing tongues or shall I read you a text?" shouted one drunken fellow, waving aloft the Duke's own prayer-book, bound in red velvet.

"Give us a song, Werni," cried several voices, "that will stop their noise. Come, strike up!"

"'Strike up—strike up!' That is easily said," growled Werni; "for my part I would rather drink than sing." Nevertheless he felt flattered by the challenge, and without further protest began:

"Your camp with all its treasures rare

Has fallen to the Switzers' share:

Oh fie! Duke Charles, for shame!

Yes—fie! Duke Charles, for shame!"

all joined in rousing chorus.

"Should such disgrace not break your pride,

Come back, fresh armies at your side,

We'll serve you just the same."

"We'll serve you just the same,"

echoed the singers enthusiastically. Then others gathering about the rude minstrel took up the strain, till far and wide resounded the triumphant notes of the ballad of the battle of Granson. How every heart swelled as Werni, hoarse and weary, concluded:

"The Confederation, whate'er betide,

Doth ever fast and firm abide,

As this day well bath proven;

The fame of Granson's martial band

Shall ring triumphant through the land,

With praises interwoven."

The Hero of Murten

Before midsummer Charles the Bold had repaired his losses as well as his means would permit, and levied a new army. His subjects had begun to murmur and lose faith in his success, but the Duke himself remained undaunted. He had advanced dangerously near to the Cantons of Berne and Freiburg, and was now laying siege to Murten, a strongly fortified town on the lake of that name. He expected it to share the fate of Granson; but the commander, Adrian von Bubenberg, was a very different sort of man from the leader of that ill-fated garrison. In vain the besiegers shot arrows into the town wound with slips of paper bearing such inscriptions as: "You are shut up here like rats in a hole. The Bernese churls cannot save you, and all the gold in the world would not buy you escape."

Threats and promises were alike of no avail. "The perjurers of Granson will never find credence in Murten," was the commander's reply to all proposals of surrender; nor was he less firm in suppressing all signs of wavering within the walls. Summoning the citizens and soldiers before him, he addressed them sternly:

"Hark ye, all! I hereby proclaim that he who dares to whisper of surrender, be he of the town or of the garrison, is a dastard and a poltroon, and shall be struck down on the spot. So shall we separate the wheat from the chaff. And if one word of fear or weakening escape my lips, let me be made the first example." This effectually silenced all murmurs or complaints; and the Confederates at last assembled an army and advanced to their relief.

Rough, mountainous country and thick forests separated the Swiss from the Burgundian camp, which had been pitched on the plateau of Grisach behind rising ground, and was protected by a so-called "hedge," a palisade surrounded on the outside by a wide trench, while within the earth had been thrown up to form a sort of breastwork for the defenders, and only the narrowest openings were left for outlet in case of need; to break through it in face of the mounted guns would seem wellnigh impossible. Moreover, behind this fortification stood the English archers ready with their deadly shafts to repulse any attempt at approach. The position was not badly chosen, and was disadvantageous only in that it afforded the cavalry no proper field for action.

Through these mountains two travellers were making their way. One of them was evidently laboring under some stress of mind, for he alternately spurred on and abruptly reined in his fiery steed, which was covered with foam, while the animal ridden by his more youthful companion still appeared fresh. He spoke little and kept his eyes fixed gloomily on the road that led to the camp of the Confederates. Soon they were challenged by the outposts, and the elder rider asked to be guided to the forces furnished by the city of Freiburg. A servant conducted them to that part of the encampment, and Hans Vogeli, the Captain of the band, stepped forward to learn their errand. Speech forsook him, however, when his eyes fell upon the older of the two horsemen, who reached down his hand kindly, saying, "You know me, then, brother Hans? I have come hither to fight beside you. That I am an exile from my native city, I well know, but to-morrow I hope to win back with my sword my right to citizenship."

A scornful look came over the face of Hans Vogeli. "So!" he said contemptuously, "now that your master is on the verge of destruction, you deem it well to work with us for the Fatherland! Now the vagabond comes back and expects us to believe that he means fairly by us—as fairly, no doubt, as by his Duke and by the Governor whom he betrayed for the sake of a few months' pay."

Heinrich made no reply to these harsh words. He knew it was useless to attempt to change his brother's sentiments toward him, but turning to his countrymen he reminded them of their boyhood days together; explained his reasons for entering the service of Burgundy, and besought permission to join them in the coming struggle, declaring he would prove himself not unworthy to fight in their ranks. Many were inclined in his favor, but Hans Vogeli cut matters short by roughly ordering both the riders to leave the camp at once. Perceiving the fruitlessness of his efforts, Heinrich turned his horse's head.

"Come, Walter," he said simply, and they made their way back through the camp to the outposts again. Walter Irmy, for he it was, did not venture to address his moody companion, and they galloped off in silence to the nearest farmhouse, where they obtained lodgings for the night. Early the next morning they were again in the saddle and rode back to the camp, only to find it already broken up and the army advancing to meet the enemy. From some horse-boys Vogeli learned that the Freiburgers were in the vanguard and were to begin the attack that day. Slowly they followed after, and soon overtook the Confederates, who had halted where a thick forest concealed them from the eyes of the enemy, to observe their old custom of knighting before battle those most deserving of the honor. The first to receive it was Rene the dispossessed Duke of Lorraine, who had joined the Confederates with three hundred faithful followers to fight against Charles the Bold.

The impatient Switzers loudly protested against this delay, the more so as a heavy rain had been falling for some time. But the solemn ceremonies were not to be curtailed, nor was Duke Rene, the new knight, sparing in conferring the coveted honor. Many an honest fellow, indeed, without the necessary means to maintain his dignities, was forced to submit to the stroke of knighthood. It came to an end at last, however, and the handsome young prince remounted and rode slowly back to join his friends, followed by the admiring gaze of the Swiss.

"'Tis a pity," they declared, "the noble lord is not of German blood: we cannot understand a word of his French gabble." The delay that had been so irksome to the Swiss proved to their advantage in the end, for the Burgundians, after waiting drawn up for battle in the drenching rain six long hours, with no sign of the enemy's approach, had been ordered to return to the camp, where they quickly laid aside arms and armor and dispersed in search of rest or refreshment. The jaded chargers were also divested of their trappings and fed; even the Duke himself, usually so vigilant, retired to his pavilion at some distance from the camp and seated himself with his officers at the board.

Suddenly the Confederates issued from the forest which had concealed their approach and, halting once more, after the custom of their forefathers, knelt to invoke the aid of the God of Battles. An old gray-beard made the short prayer, all devoutly joining in the "Amen." Just at that moment the sun broke through the clouds. "Heaven has heard our prayer!" shouted the leaders joyfully. "Comrades, be stanch and bold! Think of your wives, your children, and your sweethearts! Forward, Confederates!"

They fling themselves furiously against the breastwork, but the enemy's guns tear great gaps in their ranks, and arrow after arrow is sped with deadly aim by the English bowmen. Vainly the assailants strive to surmount or demolish the sharp palisades. The bannerman of Freiburg is struck down. Suddenly the sound of galloping hoofs approaches, and the powerful voice of Heinrich Vogeli is heard shouting encouragement to his wavering countrymen. Hailing his appearance with shouts of joy, they rally, and like a torrent the Swiss vanguard sweeps through a gap in the "hedge," Vogeli at their head. Hans is forgotten; all eyes are fixed on the gallant soldier fighting so bravely in the foremost rank, as gun after gun is captured and turned against the enemy's camp. On clatter the squadrons of Lombard cuirassiers, but the deadly fire of their own guns, and a furious assault from the Swiss foot soldiers, led by Vogeli, soon put them to rout.

Still the Confederates pour through the intrenchment. Charles retreats, hoping to obtain a better position, but close upon him press the Freiburgers, Vogeli bearing their banner aloft in his left hand while with the right he wields his victorious sword. The English archers rally once more; but their ranks are thinning fast, and when their leader, the Duke of Somerset, is slain they break and give way. Only one band still holds its ground, the Swiss pikemen, who will not yield. Vogeli, loath to continue this unnatural warfare, promises them pardon, but they reject his offer and fight on more fiercely than before. Suddenly one of them, whom both he and Walter Irmy—who has never left his side—recognize as Heini Sussbacher, springs at Vogeli.

"Traitor!" he shouts, and with one blow brings Heinrich's horse to the ground. Others now have recognized the Captain, and he and Walter are instantly surrounded and cut off from their comrades. Heini's hand is already outstretched to seize the banner when Vogeli's sword cleaves his helm and down he falls. Like a wounded boar, the Freiburger struggles to defend his standard, and Walter keeps stoutly at his side, while the Swiss strive to come to their rescue. Hacking and hewing madly, they cut their way through the throng that presses about the two heroes, and reach them just as Heinrich, mortally wounded, sinks beside his horse, still clutching firmly the banner of his native city, while the enemy turn and flee.

Hans Vogeli kneels beside his dying brother and, taking the hand that holds the banner, implores forgiveness for all the wrongs he has done him. Tightly clasping the other, young Irmy, speechless with grief, awaits the death of the man who for two years has been the best and kindest of friends to him.

"Hans," says Heinrich faintly, "will you acknowledge now my right to citizenship?"

"Aye, truly, Heinrich," his brother assures him, sobbing, and in hushed tones the Freiburgers standing by confirm the promise. With a sigh of content the dying man sinks back and soon expires, his pallid features lit with a smile of blissful peace.

Meanwhile the victorious Confederates had reached the shore of Lake Murten, where a singular spectacle met their eyes. The Burgundians, finding their retreat by the south shore cut off, were endeavoring by wading and swimming to reach the other side and join the Count de Rornont's force, which had been lying before the city of Murten, but was now skirting the shore of the lake in rapid retreat. It was a mad attempt. Already hundreds of the heavily armed soldiers were sticking fast in the oozy bed of the lake, while those who succeeded in reaching deep water soon sank or were slain by the arrows despatched at every head that showed above the surface. Even the trees afforded no safety. Many of the despairing Lombards had sought concealment among the dense foliage, but they were soon discovered.

Ho, look at the crows," shouted the pursuers, jocularly, "and yonder are some squirrels!" and the unfortunate fugitives were remorselessly shot down, despite their prayers for mercy.

That night the conquerors camped upon the field of battle, rejoicing over their easy and decisive victory, but much disappointed at the lack of plunder. The following morning the Freiburgers and all who had loved Captain Vogeli assembled about his bier. Supported by a band of his faithful followers, the body was borne in solemn procession to Freiburg, whither news of the event had already preceded them. Beside the bier rode Hans Vogeli and Walter Irmy. Tolling of bells greeted their approach to the city, at the gates of which the Mayor and Council awaited the return of the wanderer; and when some days later all that was mortal of Heinrich Vogeli was laid to rest in the family vault, the banner of Freiburg was draped about his coffin, while at the dead man's head lay a certificate of citizenship placed there by order of the Council. Thus was Vogeli's dearest wish accomplished, and in his beloved Fatherland he rested forever from the storms of life.

Faithful Unto Death

Duke rene was pacing restlessly to and fro in the guest room of the inn of The Bears at Basle. "Nancy will surely hold out," he murmured half aloud; "it must. The burghers know I am coming to their relief as soon as possible. In truth it has been no easy matter to induce the Swiss to repay the assistance I have lent them; but at last all is ready, and I must find some way of warning my good subjects of Nancy that relief is at hand. But neither Siffrein nor yet the youth from Basle shall risk his life in such an attempt."

At that moment the door opened and Siffrein de Baschi, the Duke's faithful steward, entered. He was dressed as for a journey, and his dark eyes gleamed triumphantly as he said to his master: "How does my new travelling costume please Your Highness? Truly, 'tis somewhat soiled; but a minstrel must not be too fine, and tarnished finery will attract the less suspicion."

Rene gazed in astonishment at the transformation. Had not every feature of the handsome face with its winning smile been so familiar to him he would never have recognized the knight.

"In travelling dress! What means this, Siffrein? Surely you will not persist in your mad resolve to go to Nancy? Abandon it, I charge you. Think of the grief it would cause me were any harm to befall you!

"Nay, gracious lord," entreated Siffrein, "grant me leave to go. Even should they capture me I shall not lose my head upon the spot, and they will do well if they catch me, I promise you. Young Irmy waits without. Will you not hear his plan at least?

Without waiting for an answer he flung open the door and beckoned to Walter to enter. The Duke's eyes rested approvingly on the youth's stalwart figure and honest German face. Extending his hand to him, he said kindly: Methinks, sir, we are already acquainted. I saw you fight beside Heinrich Vogeli at Murten."

"As I, too, saw Your Highness," replied Walter; "and there is not a Switzer but would gladly serve you."

"For those fair words I give you thanks," said the Duke, "but this service you now would render me I cannot accept; 'tis a foolish and a useless risk."

"Craving Your Highness's pardon, I do not think it so," answered the youth. "Old Gerard has agreed to get us safely into Nancy, and he may be depended on to keep his word. He is a smuggler by trade and has often fetched merchandise for my father through the enemy's camp. The Burgundian mercenaries know him well, and he is quite safe among them."

"If there is the slightest risk of danger I cannot consent to your going," declared the Duke, "for it is not needful."

Nay," interposed Siffrein, "surely it is most imperative that the citizens of Nancy be informed that relief is at hand; else they may surrender the town, and so through our fault be delivered over to the vengeance of Charles the Bold, who will not easily pardon them that the siege has already lasted well into the winter." Walter also continued to urge the dependence that might be placed on old Gerard, till the Duke finally yielded and reluctantly gave them leave to depart.

Siffrein had donned the garb of a troubadour with a lute slung over his shoulder, deeming that the safest guise in which to make his way through the enemy's camp; but Walter convinced him that it would be of little avail, since even a minstrel would scarcely be permitted to pass the outposts. Accordingly, when they set out on their errand an hour later, it was in ordinary travelling dress, but each was well armed. At Vandemont they met Gerard with some of his comrades, who for high pay had been engaged to smuggle powder into the besieged city, and were therefore accustomed to risking their lives. The two newcomers were also given a leather sack of powder to carry on their shoulders, and when night had fallen the little band set forth. Following silently one behind the other, they crept along sword in hand, ready to sell their lives dearly if need were, until they reached an abbey in the depths of the forest. Here Siffrein made himself known, and they were given a ready welcome by the monks, who offered refreshments to the adventurers to fortify them for the last stage of their perilous journey. Old Gerard vanished, to reappear half an hour later with the information that there were no sentries visible on that side of the camp, and there seemed a good chance of their reaching the town unobserved.

Preparations for departure were hastily completed, and the little band cautiously made their way to the camp. True enough, the sentries had all vanished, either because the bitter cold had driven them into their tents or because Gerard had won them over. The old man whistled softly three times, which may have been a prearranged signal. At all events the silent figures glided unmolested through the rows of tents. Not so much as a head was thrust forth into the cold air to spy on the nocturnal visitors, and they soon reached the outworks.

Yonder is the spot," whispered Gerard, pointing to a bulwark the dark outlines of which stood out against the walls of the city. Now the moat lay before them.

"Vive Lorraine!" shouted Siffrein, as Gerard carefully lowered himself to its icy surface.

But the thoughtless cry aroused the sentries, who came running from all sides. Walter and the smugglers were already climbing up the wall and Siffrein had sprung upon the ice to follow them, when alas! it gave way. Down he sank to his shoulders in the water, and before help from Nancy could reach him the Burgundians had dragged him forth and borne him back to the camp shaking in an ague from his icy bath.

Gerard tried to reassure Walter as to the fate of his companion. "Have no fear," he said soothingly; "he is a nobleman and Duke Rene's steward. They will not dare to harm a hair of his head. Had it been one of us, now, they would have made short work of us."

Great were the rejoicings in Nancy at the news of speedy relief, and at daybreak one of the cannoniers loaded his gun with some of the powder brought by the smugglers, muttering to himself: "It is long since I was able to feed this big fellow. Much good may it do the Burgundians," he added, and thrusting a ball into the mouth of his cannon, took long and careful aim. "I n God's name," he said, doffing his cap, while a gunner held the match to the touchhole. Crash! went the shot, and a cloud of dust and splinters rose as it struck one of the enemy's batteries. The Burgundians were slow in responding, for they too were short of powder. Charles's army had suffered greatly. The siege of Neuss, and the battles of Granson and Murten, together with the severity of the weather and the lack of proper provisions, had reduced the number of his troops to six thousand.

Toward evening a rumor spread through the city that Siffrein de Baschi had been hanged by order of Charles the Bold. It was scarcely credited, but the next morning brought melancholy proof. The Burgundians were induced with difficulty to deliver up the corpse of the faithful steward, which was drawn up the walls in a silken cloth amid the tolling of bells, and buried with solemn ceremonies. Great was the mourning of the people over his untimely end, for the favorite of their adored young Duke was universally beloved and had no enemies.

Death of Charles the Bold

Night had fallen and silence brooded over the Burgundian camp, upon which the snow was falling in heavy flakes. In the forest near the abbey a man stood leaning against a tree striving to penetrate the thick snow clouds that filled the air. "Why does not Giacomo come?" he muttered to himself in Italian. "It is too cold in this cursed country to wait long."

"You shall not have to," replied a voice near him, "for I am here already and have brought with me as much as I could carry away from my canteen. It will soon he up with them over yonder," he added, motioning toward the camp, "and methinks we shall do well to join the Swiss. Then at least there will be some hope of getting back to our own beautiful land."

The first speaker wore the uniform of a cuirassier, and was no other than the former servant in the wine shop at Treves. "I wonder," he said musingly, "how long our comrades will stand by the Duke. It is long since he gave us any pay. Our fare is wretched, and the cold unbearable to us all."

Giacomo produced some food from his bundle, and the two men walked on through the forest, eating as they went. Suddenly they paused. Was that the trampling of horses' hoofs they heard? The cuirassier laid his ear to the ground. Yes, there was no doubt a large body of horsemen was approaching.

"Can they be following us?" asked Giacomo anxiously.

"Surely not," replied his companion, "but something must be afoot. It may be a night attack on the Swiss. In any case we shall do well to conceal ourselves behind these juniper bushes."

Nearer and nearer came the horsemen, the hard-frozen ground reechoing to the heavy tread of armored steeds. Deeper into the thicket shrank the two deserters, as the clang of arms resounded so close to them they almost feared to be trampled upon. But the troop passed on.

Did you recognize any one?" asked Giacomo.

"No," replied the other, "but it seemed to me I heard the voice of our commander, Campo Basso."

"So I thought too," said the sutler. "Can it be that they are deserting? It is said the Count has been mortally offended by the Duke of Burgundy, and it is possible they are going over to the Swiss."

They said no more but followed the riders along the road to Saint Nicholas. On their arrival the next day they found the wildest excitement prevailing. The Confederates had occupied the town on the preceding day, and the Count of Campo Basso with one hundred and eighty lances had come early that morning to proffer his services to Duke Rene. The offer had been accepted, so Giacomo and his companion returned to the society of their comrades.

At daybreak on the fifth of January, 1477, the Burgundians prepared for battle, for Duke Rene and the Swiss were close at hand. As Charles the Bold was arming himself; the golden lion of Burgundy fell from his helm into the dust. "It is a sign from Heaven," he said gloomily; and so indeed it proved, for at the first onslaught of the enemy, panic seized the Burgundians and they fled in confusion, while the citizens of Nancy sallied forth to attack them in the rear.

Walter Irmy was one of the first outside the gates of the city and soon found ample opportunity to prove his valor; for the combined forces of the Swiss, with Duke Rene and the Alsatians, drove the whole of Charles's fast diminishing army back upon Nancy. Most of the faithless mercenaries followed Count Campo Basso's example; but the Burgundian nobles, who formed a large part of the army, still fought on with the courage of despair. Many a stroke did Walter parry and return ere the burghers of Nancy could gain any advantage; but at last the foe began to weaken. Smiting one of the Burgundian knights from his horse, Walter swung himself into the empty saddle from whence he could overlook the scene of conflict. The Swiss and Alsatians were now but a few hundred feet away, and the enemy took to flight, hotly pursued by the conquerors on horse and foot.

Suddenly the shout arose, "Yonder is the Duke! Stop him, stop him!" and on still faster pressed the pursuers. But Charles was better mounted than most of his foes, and soon but a handful of riders were left in pursuit of the flying Prince, whose followers had by this time dwindled to some thirty men.

"Can no one capture the Duke?" cried one of the Alsatian leaders in despair.

"I will try," said Walter; "h must reckon with me for the death of Siffrein de Baschi," and spurring to furious speed the superb animal he had just captured, he soon overtook the fugitives. Paying no heed to the others, he urged his steed close beside that of the Duke, and the next moment their swords had crossed. In the frantic flight no one thought of the Duke, and the two antagonists now found themselves on a meadow, the icy surface of which had been thawed out by the noonday sun, so that the horses' feet sank deep into the ground at every step. Charles dealt one mighty blow at his assailant, but it was his last, for the next instant the Switzer's blade had pierced his helm, and the great Duke sank lifeless to the ground. Walter had no time to rejoice over his victory, however; the Prince's followers now attacked him, and after exchanging a few blows he too fell sorely wounded.

By this time others of the pursuers had come up and a hand-to-hand conflict began, in which fifteen more of the Burgundian nobles were slain. But no one heeded the fallen, and when the survivors again took to flight the conquerors raced after, still supposing the Duke to be among them.

After sundown it grew bitter cold. Walter tried to shield himself from it, but in vain. He was too weak even to loosen a cloak from the saddle of a horse that lay beside him. Between cold and hunger and the pain of his wounds he fell into a sort of stupor. Visions of the past floated through his mind. Now he seemed to see his own father lying with his brave comrades among the ruins of the hospital at Saint Jacob; again, he was a boy at home in his own warm bed, while the mother, whom he had followed to her grave seven years before, bent over her loved one to kiss him good-night. He could see her eyes shining down upon him—but no! it was not his mother's warm breath he felt upon his cheek. He started up in terror, and the wolf whose eyes he had seen shining above him in the darkness slunk away scared. By good fortune Walter had his sword beside him.

The visions and fantasies that had haunted his brain were swept away by the frightful reality. He was lying wounded and alone amid a pile of corpses, upon which the wolves had already begun to appease their hunger. No longer conscious of pain or weakness, he sat upright and grasped the handle of his sword, firmly resolved to defend his life to the last against the horrible beasts. But the dead horses were sufficient prey for the wolves, and it was only now and then that one came to sniff at the wounds of some fallen knight. They held aloof from the young Swiss, and as the morning light dawned at last; they slunk away one after another to their lairs in the dark ravines of the mountains. Walter fell back senseless, and was still unconscious when some hours later he was lifted in strong arms and carried back within the walls of Nancy, whither he had come a few weeks previously to bring the glad tidings of relief.

It was long before the body of Charles the Bold was discovered. It had been so mutilated by the wolves that none but a page and the Duke's own physician, who had been taken prisoner, could identify it. Enveloped in a white cloth, the corpse was borne to the city on a bier by some of the nobles of Lorraine. The following day all that remained of Charles the Bold was laid upon a black velvet bed of state, ornamented with a cross of white satin and six escutcheons.

The dead man was wrapped in a white satin robe, the jewelled ducal coronet upon his head, over which a red cap had been drawn to conceal its disfigurement. The feet were encased in scarlet hose, with golden spurs. Between two heralds stood two magnificent stools, on which a consecrated cushion and a red cross were placed. Four other heralds stood with lighted torches at the corners of the bed of state. The room was hung with black, and two tapers burned on an altar before which the services for the dead were to be performed. Ranged about the walls were seats, also draped in black, for the use of Rene and the nobles of Alsace and Lorraine, who were to assist at the ceremonies.

Beside the bed, and bowed with grief, knelt Anton, a half-brother of Charles. Though reviled by the Duke as a bad and ungrateful kinsman, he now refused to be parted from the dead. His sobs, the outpouring of the grief of a brave soldier, penetrated the hearts of all who entered the room. Last came Duke Rene clad in deepest mourning, but wearing, in accordance with the old knightly custom, a long beard of spun gold, in token of victory over a princely foe who had fallen in battle. With deep emotion he grasped the hand of the dead, saying in a low voice: "God rest your soul, fair cousin! Much sorrow and trouble have you caused us, yet 'twas by no will of ours that you were brought to this."

After sprinkling the corpse with holy water he knelt before the altar, where he remained in prayer while the knights and courtiers of Burgundy and Lorraine paid the last honors to Charles the Bold.

On the twelfth of January, 1477, the last Duke of Burgundy was laid to rest in St. George's Church at Nancy, whence he was removed in 1550 by his mighty great-grandson the Emperor Charles the Fifth, who wished that the remains of his ancestor might be buried in his native town of Bruges.

Freed at last from their bitterest enemy, and crowned with victory, the Swiss returned to their homes and exchanged the implements of war for those of peace. With his youth and strength, Walter Irmy was soon restored to health and to the arms of his father, whose large business he conducted to the entire satisfaction of the worthy Councillor. Honored by his fellow-citizens and beloved by his people, he lived long and happily with his good wife, surrounded by a group of children who were the joy and delight of their grandfather.

Who knows? Perchance his spirit lingers yet about the good city of Basle, ready to prove to the enemies of his country that the victors of Granson and Murten have not perished, but still live on in the courage and valor of their descendants.