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and with what seemed to me the same motion, he caught me by the foot, and dragged me over the precipice. I clasped him in my arms, as I fell, and tore him from the rock. A yell of rage and terror burst from his lips. The providence of God interfered miraculously between me and what seemed inevitable destruction ; for my strongly embroidered military jacket was caught in a point of the cliff, and I hung for some time helpless—and alone.
When I descended to the surface of the earth, I found the two females hanging in distraction over the mangled body of Rusen, to the breast of which the lantern was still fastened and uninjured.
“ Dorathen !” said I.
“ Yes — it is a dream which we must all forget. Away! You, at least, should have nothing to do with guilt and death.”
She did not reply, but stooped down, and unfastened the lantern from the dead body.
“ Unhand me!” said she, in feverish agitation, “I have a sacred duty to perform.-Since Rusen failed, I will myself undertake the adventure !”
“ This is madness! You are not in a condition to act, or even to think at present; and I must charge myself with your safety. Come, let us leave this accursed spot, and speedily, - for I, too, have a duty to perform.”
“ What?” said she, with sudden animation, “to disclose the conspiracy of women, and send the Dorathen whom you affected to love to the scaffold ? ”
“ No, by heaven ! not a word—not a look-"
“ But there are other witnesses! The castle above contains a-a— paper, which I must burn to ashes, before I can sleep again in this world.”
“I myself will do it. Give me the light.” “ You! Oh, no-no-no!”
“ Time presses—give me the light, Dorathen, I entreat-I insist!” She wrung her hands, and wept.
“Do you fear that I shall read the document, and betray your accomplices ?”
“ Yes, I fear it !” said she quickly. “ Shall I swear ? "
“ No!-promise on your faith—on your honour-on your love! The document lies upon a small box, on a table near the window of the tower. Promise, that without reading its address, without touching it even with your finger, you will set fire to it with this lantern, and see both box and paper consumed to ashes. Do you promise ?"
“I do, so help me heaven!” I seized the lantern, and sprang for the second time upon the stair. I reached the giddy height of the castle without accident, and ascended the crumbling stair-case of the tower. In the highest apartment, I saw the fatal packet, as described by Dorathen, and looking beyond it to the window, that I might not read the address, I fixed my eyes upon the dark valley below me, surrounded by its darker mountains.
I could not readily touch the packet with the flame of the lamp without looking, and turned my eyes for a moment upon the table. The packet had no address. A nervous tremor seized me at this instant, I knew not why; but the paper had already ignited. It blazed like gunpowder; and the fire communicating to the box, a column of steady flame rose up. I overthrew the table, in a transport of rage and terror, and trampled the fatal apparatus to pieces. But it was too late. The signal had been given! From every rock
—from every mountain top, answering lights glared forth, like spectres in the night; the roll of the drum --and the shrill call of the bugle_and the thunder of artillery, entered through the valleys. That night the Southern Tyrol was lost to Bavaria !
I descended the rock, I know not how. I broke from the arms of Dorathen, and rushed like a madman towards the village. I arrived in time to see my brave fellows cut in pieces by the infuriated peasantry. Every where the cry resounded—S'ist zeit-S'ist zeit! It is time! It is time! I remember no more:-when I awoke from a raging fever, the Tyrol was again in the arms of its beloved Austria. Dorathen was my nurse. Soon afterwards Dorathen was my wife!