TELL'S SECOND SHOT
 As soon as Gessler landed, he called for his horse, and
silent and gloomy, his heart full of bitter hate
against Tell and all the Swiss, he mounted and rode
towards his castle at Küssnacht.
But Tell's heart, too, was full of hate and anger. That
morning he had been a gentle, peace-loving man. Now all
was changed. Gessler's cruel jest had made him hard and
angry. He could not forget that he might have killed
his own boy. He seemed to see always before him Walter
bound to the tree with the apple on his head. Tell made
up his mind that Gessler should never make any one else
suffer so much. There was
 only one thing to do. That was to kill Gessler, and
that Tell meant to do.
If Gessler escaped from the storm, Tell was sure that
he would go straight to his castle at Küssnacht. There
was only one road which led from the lake to the
castle, and at a place called the Hollow Way it became
very narrow, and the banks rose steep and rugged on
either side. There Tell made up his mind to wait for
Gessler. There he meant to free his country from the
Without stopping for food or rest, Tell hurried through
the woods until he came to the Hollow Way. There he
waited and watched. Many people passed along the road.
There were herds with their flocks, and travellers of
all kinds, among them a poor woman whose husband had
been put in prison by Gessler, so that now she had no
home, and had to wander about with her children
begging. She stopped and spoke
 to Tell, and the story she told of Gessler's cruelty
made Tell's heart burn with anger, and made him more
sure than ever that the deed he meant to do was just
The day went on, and still Gessler did not come, and
still Tell waited. At last he heard the distant tramp
of feet and the sound of voices. Surely he had come at
last. But as the sounds came nearer, Tell knew that it
could not be Gessler, for he heard music and laughter,
and through the Hollow Way came a gaily dressed crowd.
It was a wedding-party. Laughing and merry, the bride
and bridegroom with their friends passed along. When
they were out of sight the wind brought back the sound
of their merry voices to Tell, as he waited upon the
bank. They, at least, had for a time forgotten Gessler.
At last, as the sun was setting, Tell heard the tramp
of horses, and a herald dashed
 along the road, shouting, "Room for the Governor. Room,
As Gessler came slowly on behind, Tell could hear him
talking in a loud and angry voice to a friend.
"Obedience I will have," he was saying. "I have been
far too mild a ruler over this people. They grow too
proud. But I will break their pride. Let them prate of
freedom, indeed. I will crush——." The sentence was never
finished. An arrow whizzed through the air, and with a
groan Gessler fell, dead.
Tell's second arrow had found its mark.
Tell's second arrow had found its mark
Immediately everything was in confusion. Gessler's
soldiers crowded round, trying to do something for
their master. But it was useless. He was dead. Tell's
aim had been true.
"Who has done this foul murder?" cried one of Gessler's
friends, looking round.
"The shot was mine," answered Tell, from where he stood
on the high bank. "But no
 murder have I done. I have but freed an unoffending
people from a base and cowardly tyrant. My cause is
just, let God be the judge."
At the sound of his voice every one turned to look at
Tell, as he stood above them calm and unafraid.
"Seize him!" cried the man who had already spoken, as
soon as he recovered from his astonishment. "Seize him,
it is Tell the archer."
Five or six men scrambled up the steep bank as fast as
they could. But Tell slipped quietly through the
bushes, and when they reached the top he was nowhere to
The short winter's day was closing in fast, and Tell
found it easy to escape in the darkness from Gessler's
soldiers. They soon gave up the chase, and, returning
to the road, took up their master's dead body and
carried it to his castle at Küssnacht. There
 was little sorrow for him, for he had been a hard
master. The Austrian soldiers did not grieve, and the
Swiss, wherever they heard the news, rejoiced.
As soon as he was free of the soldiers, Tell turned and
made for Stauffacher's house. All through the night he
walked, until he came to the pretty house with its red
roofs and many windows which had made Gessler so angry.
Now there was no light in any of the windows, and all
was still and quiet. But Tell knew in which of the
rooms Stauffacher slept, and he knocked softly upon the
window until he had aroused his friend.
"William Tell!" said Stauffacher in astonishment. "I
heard from Walter Fürst that you were a prisoner. Thank
Heaven that you are free again."
"I am free," said Tell; "you, too, are free. Gessler is
"Gessler dead!" exclaimed Stauffacher.
 "Now indeed have we cause for thankfulness. Tell me,
how did it happen?" and he drew William Tell into the
Tell soon told all his story. Then Stauffacher, seeing
how weary he was, gave him food and made him rest.
That night Tell slept well. All next day he remained
hidden in Stauffacher's house. "You must not go," said
his friend, "Gessler's soldiers will be searching for
you." But when evening came Tell crept out into the
dark again, and kind friends rowed him across the lake
back to Fluelen. There, where a few days before he had
been a prisoner, he landed, now free.
Tell went at once to Walter Fürst's house, and soon
messengers were hurrying all through the land to gather
together again the Confederates, as those who had met
on the Rütli were called.
This time they gathered with less fear and less
secrecy, for was not the dreaded
 Governor dead? Not one but was glad, yet some of the
Confederates blamed Tell, for they had all promised to
wait until the first of January before doing anything.
"I know," said Tell, "but he drove me to it." And every
man there who had left a little boy at home felt that
he too might have done the same thing.
Now that Tell had struck the first blow, some of the
Confederates wished to rise at once. But others said,
"No, it is only a few weeks now until New Year's Day.
Let us wait."
So they waited, and everything seemed quiet and
peaceful in the land, for the Emperor sent no Governor
to take Gessler's place, as he was far away in Austria,
too busy fighting and quarrelling there to think of
Switzerland in the meantime. "When I have finished this
war," he said, "it will be time enough to crush these
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