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“ A few days, then," replied Rebecca with a smile,“ will suffice to restore them."
“ No!” rejoined Serricourt with great earnestness, “ I cannot live without you; nor without you, will I leave Wileica, though the whole Russian army should come to drive me thence."
“That would only be your own peril, Sir,” answered Rebecca, playfully : “ for I should have nothing to fear from my countrymen."
Unfeeling girl,” exclaimed Serricourt in anger, but instantly altering his tone, and clasping her in his arms : “come with me,” said he; come with me, and leave Wileica."
“ Are you dreaming, Sir ? I follow you ? Never."
“ What can you do here? In the course of a few hours the enemy will be at the gates; all the horrors of war await you, horrors of which pillage and fire are the least dreadful. You are alone-unprotected, unaided. Your father, God knows what may have been his fate—he, probably, will never return from Jary; for though at so short a distance, what token has he sent of being still alive? The poor men, too, whom you despatched after him, have not come back; your aged nurse is the only one left with you, and what protection can you expect from her ?"
“ O, my father!" exclaimed Rebecca, and wept bitterly.
“ Listen, then, to reason,” continued Serricourt. “ Do not expose yourself to the dangers that await you, but confide in me. This very hour I will have you conveyed to a place of safety. Nay more, I offer you my hand. Be my wife. I care not for the tenets of your faith. Renounce them in the eye of the world. Become a Christian.”
“ The faith of my fathers is sacred !” exclaimed Rebecca fervently.
“ Settle that with your conscience," replied Serricourt; “ but don't suppose, you can trifle with me as with a child; the time is urgent. Not a moment is to be lost. Determine, therefore.”
“ My resolution is fixed, answered Rebecca with a firm voice.
“ Wretched Jewess !” stammered Serricourt, his eyes flashing fire, “ cast not such contemptuous looks upon me! Rouse not my anger. Already I regret having debased myself by entreaties, when it rests only with myself to obtain, by force, all that your intolerable pride would fain refuse."
“ Wretch !" retorted the now indignant Rebecca—“ a thousand times would I prefer to wander through the world with the humblest and poorest of my own people, than live in splendour and in opulence with you.
“ Indeed! you mean to settle the matter thus. Learn then, that the meanest of your tribe, whom you would prefer to me, shall turn from you with loathing, so abject a creature will I make of you. In the first place you shall be mine ; in the next, every man of the squadron shall have to boast
Rebecca rushed towards the table on which Serricourt had laid a brace of loaded pistols. “ Monster !” she exclaimed, while she grasped one of them; “move but a step towards me, and I discharge this through my head !"
At that moment the door opened, and the Sergeant entered.
“ How now ?" demanded Serricourt in an angry tone, and advancing towards hiin.
“I come, Sir,” said the Sergeant, with breathless voice,” to report, that the detachment from Jary has just entered Wileica, the enemy in strong columns, following closely at our rear.”
“ Let the squadron be in readiness,” said Serricourt quickly and collectedly; "and a division advance immediately to detain the enemy near the bridge close to the forest.”—The Sergeant turned toward the door.—“Stay," added Serricourt, after a moment's pause : “you return hither immediately,
and bring with you a couple of trusty men and a waggon.”—The Sergeant left the room.
Serricourt paced the apartment to and fro.—“ You see how things are,” said he, turning to Rebecca, who still remained at the side of the table. • The moments are counted; determine—and come with us !” Rebecca shook her head. Serricourt approached nearer to her: “I conjure you, by all that you hold dear, do not urge me to extremes,--resistance is vain, do not compel me to use force.” “ No persuasion,” said Rebecca calmly and firmly, “shall induce me to leave this house."
The sergeant re-entered the room.—“Secure that woman,” said Serricourt to bim; “ put her on a waggon, and make the best of your way in the direction of our retreat!” The sergeant approached Rebecca, who hastily seized the pistol again, which, on his entrance, she had replaced on the table; but Serricourt rushed towards her and disarmed her. “Take her away,” he continued, as Rebecca sank lifeless on a chair—“ Let the men you have brought, assist you, and be off as quickly as you can.
I shall detain the enemy till you have left the place." He hastened away.
As he galloped down the street, the balls already whistled past him. The squadron was formed.—“ Prepare to charge! March !”' was the word. The men received him with a loud hurrah ! “We must clear the field of these saucy whipsters,” said he, pointing to the skirmishers that were already close upon them. “ Sound to the charge, trumpeters”—at the same time brandishing his sword at the head of his troops, who dashed after him, and drove the enemy back into the forest, through which their reinforcements were advancing. “'Sdeath !” he exclaimed, when the squadron bad formed for the second charge, and he chanced to cast a look behind toward Wileica ; " 'Sdeath! they mean to cut us off! Engage them yet a while,” he cried, to the officer next in command,“ till I have cleared yonder ground, that we may pass unmolested.”—With a division he threw himself on the surprised enemy. The combatants, engaged hand to hand, entered Wileica; balls flew in every direction; the affrighted inhabitants retreated to their cellars for safety; the door of Isaac's house was alone open, as Serricourt galloped past, and observed that his men had already pillaged it. “ The rascals !” thought he, “they have not forgotten to serve themselves !"—With a small remnant of his troop he fought his way through the place, beyond which, in an open field, they formed again as well as they could. They are not joining us,” said one of the men, as Serricourt raised himself in the stirrup, to see what had become of the other half of the squadron; "they are not joining us- - 1 saw they were cut off, when we forced our way through the town.” Uttering loud curses, Serricourt gave the word « to the right about"—for the enemy were again advancing in superior
bers from the town But they followed cautiously, and Serricourt effected his retreat without further molestation.
(To be concluded in our next.)
ACCOUNT OF A SINGULAR ESCAPE FROM THE BASTILLE.
[The extraordinary narrative we are about to lay before our readers, may be familiar to some of them; to others, constituting, we are inclined to think, by far the larger portion, it will not be so; and even they who may beretofore have perused the “ History of an imprisonment of thirty. nine years, in the state prisons of France, written by the prisoner himself,” published at Amsterdam, 1787, may read it again and again, with unabated interest; for no romance can be compared with it. We shall follow this narrative with several other interesting ones, contained in a scarce volume now in our possession, consisting of papers that were found in the Bastille when that fortress was demolished by the Parisian populace in the year 1789. Among them is one, exceedingly curious, relating to the celebrated prisoner with the “ Iron Mask,” respecting whom so many strange and mysterious circumstances are to be found in the French historical writers of the last century. Without further preface, we proceed to translate the marvellous memoirs before us, written, as already mentioned, by the individual who is the subject of them.]
I look the possibility of being able
to give these memoirs to the world, together with some details of my long sufferings, as a favor bestowed by heaven.
I was born in 1725, at Montagnac, in Languedoc. My name, is Henry Masers de Latude; my father, was a knight of the royal and military order of St. Louis, and Lieutenant Colonel of the Orleans regiment of dragoons. I had hardly attained my three and twentieth year, when my father, wishing to complete my education, and to gratify the predilection I had manifested for mathematics, sent me to Paris, in order that I might there pursue my studies.
At that time, Madame de Pompadour had become the favorite of the King (Louis XV,) and public attention was fixed upon her : she was celebrated for her wit and beauty : she loved talent in others, and took an interest in the welfare of those who possessed it: but persons of austere principles condemned her, spoke strongly of her conduct, and predicted that her pernicious example would entail upon France the most signal calamities, The spirit of party, of fanaticism, even, was excited, and many wished her death.
I was young:my passions were strong; Iknew not why, but so it was, this woman took a singular hold of my imagination. Perhaps it was because Isaw she was on the point of becoming the victim of persecution. Chance threw me among some young hot-headed partisans, who talked freely of their determination to get rid, ere long, of this blood-sucker, even at the hazard of employing the most desperate means. I learned, also, that she dreaded being poisoned, and that the fear of it constantly haunted her. The interest I felt for her became redoubled ; and at last I resolved to make myself useful to her, and at the same time, to inspire feelings of regard towards myself. A most extravagant project entered my head; a ridiculous, a childish one; a project calculated to render me odious instead of amiable in her eyes, and which, in the end, caused all my misery.
I sought an interview with her at Versailles, to apprize her that I had seen a packet dropped into the post, addressed to her; I disclosed my fears with respect to this packet, and urged her to be on her guard; expressed how much anxiety I felt respecting her, in consequence of conversations which I had heard, and how happy I was to think that I had been enabled thus acquaint her with her danger. She appeared touched by my attentions, and after expressing her grateful acknowledgments, nade me an offer of her services.
The packet arrived, for I myself put it into the post. It was filled with a powder perfectly harmless. But remembering my admonitions, they resolved to try its effect upon some animals; and finding no ill consequences to result, the Marchioness de Pompadour at once saw through my stratagem, She denounced me; and I was conveyed to the Bastille on the first of May, 1749.
In the month of September following, I was transferred to Vincennes. M. Berryer, who was then the Lieutenant General of Police, felt kindly disposed towards me. He assigned me the best room in the prison; and allowed me to walk for two hours every day in one of the two gardens contained within the walls. The window of my room looked out upon the governor's house : that of a small closet attached to it, upon Paris. From this latter window I could see all that passed in the other garden, which had been assigned, as a promenade, to a Jansenist curate. This curate enjoyed a great deal of liberty. The widow of the late Lieutenant of the King, Madame de St. Sauveur, with one of her sons, an abbé, came every day to see him. This curate taught reading and writing to the son of the Maitre d'Hotel, of the Marquis du Chatelet, and to that of one of the turnkeys. The elder of these two pupils was not more than sixteen, and they used to play together in the garden. I was always on the alert; my mind never slumbered; nothing escaped me; the frolics and freedom of these youths tormented me: but from watching their pranks, their goings and comings, I conceived the idea of making my own escape. As I have said, M. Berryer gave orders that I should take exercise in the garden for two hours, every day. There were two turnkeys; and at a stated hour each day, the elder one waited for me in the garden, while the younger came to unlock my door and let me out. Having formed my design, I made it a rule, for several successive days, to descend before the turnkey, so that when he arrived in the garden, he always found me there along with his comrade. Gradually I increased in the rapidity of my movements; and when I had thoroughly accustomed him to this little contrivance, I effected my escape, on the 25th of June, 1750, in the following manner.
The moment he opened my door, I rushed past him, hastened down stairs, and fastened the door at the bottom, as well to gain time, as to prevent his comrade from hearing him cry out, I then knocked loudly at the outer gate, on the other side of which a sentinel was placed. He opened it; and without giving him time to speak to me, I exclaimed, “ Confound it! Here's the curate been waiting more than two hours for the Abbé de St. Sauveur. Have you seen the silly fellow pass? I am seeking him every where : but he shall pay me for my trouble.” With these words I passed through, and crossed the vault beneath the clock. There I found another sentinel, and I put the same question. He said he knew nothing about it, and let me pass. I demanded of a third sentinel, who was stationed on the other side of the drawbridge, whether he had seen the Abbé de St. Sauveur pass that way? He replied in the negative. “Oh, I shall soon find him," I continued, still walking along. I was young, and without any beard. At four paces from this sentinel, I began to caper, like a school-boy, and at fifty, pursued my course, passing by the fourth sentinel, without his having the least suspicion that I was a prisoner.
While I was thus making my escape, a different scene, as I afterwards learned, was taking place inside the prison. The over-reached turnkey began to knock violently at the door, and roared out like any devil. His comrade, in the garden, was the first that came to his assistance. They both inquired in a breath, “ Where's the prisoner ?" The one who had been locked in, said it was I, no doubt, who had fastened the door, (he was right); the other replied he had not seen me. Away they both posted to the outer door, and inquired of the sentinel whether he had seen the prisoner who was coming down to walk in the garden? The man replied, with great simplicity," I'll lay two to one that it is the chap who has this instant passed through.” “ But you should have stopped him, and not let him pass through.” “ Pooh! I did'nt know that the young gentleman was a prisoner. He told me he was
going to look for the Abbé de St. Sauveur. Had you been in my place, and not knowing his person, wouldn't you have let him pass through ?” I never learned what answer the two turnkeys made, but, in truth, they were not to blame.
Six days after my escape, feeling that I had been guilty of nothing but a little imprudence, I surrendered myself, (through the intervention of one of the physicians in ordinary to the King,) like a lamb, into the paternal hands of his Majesty, trusting that no ungenerous advantage would be taken of my confidence and good faith. Nevertheless—I was conducted to the Bastille.
M. de Berryer came to interrogate me.“ They are very much pleased,” said this amiable magistrate, “ with the confidence you have shewn, in the King's clemency: and you will soon feel the good effects of it. In causing you to be arrested and conveyed to the Bastille, it is solely for the purpose of knowing how you escaped from Vincennes, because prisoners of note are frequently sent there, and it is important we should know whether the persons who have the custody of them are trustworthy. Tell me, therefore, candidly, in what manner you got out.”
If any one ha lent me assistance, I would have suffered my heart to be torn out, rather than betray him : but, as my escape was solely the fruit of my own contrivance, I gave him ingenuously, just the same account of it as this which I have written. M. de Berryer laughed heartily at the manner in which I had fastened in the turnkey, and deceived the sentinels. Convinced that all I had said was the truth, he left me, after some further conversation, with the assurance that he would speak to Madame the Marchioness de Pompadour, and that in a few days she would obtain my release.
But Madame the Marchioness was nettled, because I had shewn that I relied more upon the King's clemency than upon her's; and in spite of the benevolent intercessions of M. Berryer, she caused me to be confined for eighteen months in a dungeon. At the end of that time, M. Berryer obtained permission to place me in one of the ordinary apartments of the Bastille, along with another prisoner, named Dalegre, who, like myself, was detained at the instance of the Marchioness. I wrote letter after letter to M. Berryer, imploring him to use his influence in obtaining my liberty. My importunities brought him at last to the prison, and taking me with him into another room, “ You are wrong," said he,“ if you suppose my heart is insensible to your situation. I feel deeply for you; and had I been the arbiter of your fate, you would long since have been free. But you have to do with a woman, who holds in her hands the sovereign power. Ask me for indulgences, and nothing that can be granted to a prisoner shall be denied you. That is all I can do for you.” My fellow prisoner had been told, long since, that he must wait patiently, until the Marchioness chose to relent.
When we are in misery, days appear longer than years : and the misfortune of the miserable is, that they always paint everything at the worst. We knew the ascendancy which the Marchioness had acquired over the King, and we felt, that if she remained four, six, ten, fifteen years at court—alas! we should have to pass our whole youth in captivity, and perish, where we
Was it possible, then, to effect an escape? When we cast our eyes upon the walls of the Bastille, more than six feet in thickness; the windows strongly barred with iron, as well as the chimney; and considered the large military force by which the prison was guarded, the height of the walls, and the depth of the ditches (often filled with water) it seemed morally impossible that two prisoners, shut up in a room, and cut off from all assistance, could ever accomplish such a project. M. de la Borde, the celebrated banker, could not have succeeded in bribing the officers of the prison with all his enormous wealth : judge then what effect words would have upon them.Nevertheless, I am now about to shew, that a little ingenuity, and unconquerable perseverance, can accomplish all things.
There were two of us in one room. In the Bastille they never allow the