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instantly given, and all would be discovered. After having had the courage to penetrate thus far, let us have resolution still to wait awhile. At eight o'clock the gate will be opened, and the passage through the court free. We can then steal out by degrees, and mingling with the numbers that are constantly passing and repassing, we can get away without being perceived. It is not till ten o’clock that the prisoners are summoned away to execution ; between eight and ten there will be time for us all to get away. We will return to the cave, and when the time of departure arrives, each of us five will advertise two others of the means of escape offered. We shall then be fifteen, and going out at three at a time, we shall pass unobserved. Let the last three, as they set out, advertise fifteen others, and thus in succession we may all escape.” This plan appeared judicious and safe; it was unanimously agreed to, and the associates returning to the cave, made choice of those who should first be informed of what they had done. “Montellier, a notary, was one to whom the means of escape was offered. “I thank you,” said he to him who offered it, “but I will tell you as a secret, that I have been mistaken for my brother, who has fled the country. Of this the judges have been informed; they are convinced of their mistake, and to-morrow morning I shall be set at liberty. I would not, therefore, hazard the danger of being proscribed by an attempt to escape.” Alas! how deceitful was the vision he had formed to himself! At noon the next day Montellier was no more. “The ci-devant baron de Chaffoy, a man still in the flower of his age, was also instructed in the way of escape that was opened. “No,” he answered, “life has nothing now to offer which can make it worth my acceptance; all my ties in this world are broken. I have felt the sentiments of affection as strongly as any one; they never contributed to my happiness. I had an annual income of thirty thousand livres, I have lost it all. My father has been guillotined; it was a fate he little merited. I do not believe that I merit it myself, yet I shall submit to it.” “The fate of the fifteen who had fled was not entirely similar; and the escape of the rest was prevented by the imprudence of one of them. The last of the fifteen, who, at quitting the cave, was, according to the plan arranged, privately to apprize fifteen others, instead of doing so, cried aloud, “the fiassage is open ; let him that can escafe.” This excited a great movement among the prisoners: they arose in an instant, doubting whether what they heard could be true, or whether he who had uttered these words was not mad. The noise they made alarmed the sentinel without; he called to the turnkeys; they hastened immediately to the cave, perceived what had been done, and closing up the door by which the prisoners had escaped, placed a strong guard before it. Nesple, who had excited this movement, was, with three others, retaken and executed. “Another of the fugitives took refuge in the house of a friend, in an obscure street near the 'Change, who consented to conceal him. Almost at the instant of his entering, a party of those who had been sent in pursuit of the prisoners, came into the house to make a search there. The fugitive, however, was so well concealed that he was not discovered; but the inquisitors finding the picture of a priest in the house, were angry, and ran their bayonets through it. The master of the house remonstrated, saying, that the priest was his brother. The soldiers, to punish him, carried him away with them, and ordered the seals to be put upon the house. The fugitive, left alone, came forth from his hiding-place; and, frightened lest he should perish for want of food, uttered many cries and deep groans. An old woman, who lived at the next door, heard them ; and knowing that the house had been just shut up, was alarmed in her turn, thinking that it was a spirit: she ran in haste to the section, and assured them that she had heard a spirit walking about the house, and turning every thing topsyturvy. Guards were sent again to search, the fugitive was found, brought back, and guillotined. “it was not thus with Porral, the original author of the plan. He was the first that came forth from the cave. As he passed the sentinel in the court, “My good friend,” said he, “it rains and snows very hard; were I in your place, I would not remain out of doors in such villainous weather, but would go to the fire in the guard-room.” The sentinel thanked him, and following his advice, the coast was left more clear for the prisoners. Porral took refuge in the house of one who was considered as a good patriot. A party of the commissaries entered, and related the abominable escape of a number of the rascals des. tined to be guillotined that morning. Porral put a good face upon the matter, and swore at the rascals with them; not forgetting to belabour also the gaolers, who did not look better after their prey. The commissaries after a while retired, and Porral then began to think of making his way out of the city as fast as possible. When he arrived at the Place Belle-cour, he found parties of the gendarmerie dispersed every where. Porral went into a house, and making known who he was, entreated an asylum. The inhabitants were women, timid to excess; but the desire of saving an innocent person rendered them courageous. They conducted him into a garret, and concealed him behind some planks standing up in a corner. The gens-d'armes arrived; they searched the house; they came into the garret where Porral was concealed. Here they found a large cask, the top of which was fastened down with a padlock. They asked for the key: the women had not got it about them, and went down stairs for it. While they were gone, one of the gens-d'armes leaned against the planks, while a second said, “”Twould be droll enough if we were to find one of the fugitives in this cask.”—“More likely plate or money,” says a third, “ for it seems devilish heavy.” The key at length arrived; the cask was unlocked, and was found to be full of salt. The gens-d'armes swore at the disappointment, visited the roof of the house, and retired. ln the evening, Porral dressed in woman's clothes, with a basket on his head, and another on his arm, passed the bridge of La Guillotiere, and quitted the city. “Gabriel, another of the fugitives, concealed himself among some bushes in the marshes of the Travaux Perache. The snow fell; he was almost covered with it. In the evening, when he would have
quitted his inhospitable lodging, his feet and hands were so benumbed that he could not use them; he seemed to have escaped the guillotine but to be frozen to death. By a great effort, however, he contrived to disengage himself from the bushes; and rolling himself well in the snow, he found warmth and life begin to return to his limbs: at last they so far recovered, that he was able to walk, and got away from the city into a place of safety. “The young Couchoux, who was one of the five that had opened the way for escape, made choice of his father, near eighty years old, as one of the fifteen; but the poor old man's legs were swelled and full of ulcers. “Fly, my son,” said he, “if thou hast the opportunity; fly, this instant; I command it thee as an act of duty; but it is impossible that I should fly with thee. I have lived long enough ; my troubles will soon be finished; and death will be deprived of its sting if I can know that thou art in safety.” His son assured him that he would not quit the prison without him, and that his persisting in his refusal would only end in the destruction of both. The father, overcome by his à affection, yielded, and supported by his son, made his way to the bottom of the staircase; but to ascend it was out of his power: he could just drag his legs along the ground, but to lift them up was impossible. His son, though low in stature, and not strong, took him up in his arms; the desire of saving his father gave him strength, and he carried him to the top of the stairs. His filial piety was rewarded, and both escaped.” p. 346.
We not unreluctantly repeat, that a great deal of entertaining matter occurs in these volumes, and that numerous anecdotes might have been selected of great and peculiar interest; but in every page we are disgusted with the impertinence, flippancy, and self-conceit of the writer.
The elaborate vindication of Bonaparte, with which the volumes conclude, the superficial knowledge of the real political conditions of the various states of Europe, accompanied with the presumptuous and peremptory tone with which judgment is pronounced on questions the most delicate and the most difficult, cannot but excite mingled sensations of pity and contempt.
The writer has unquestionably talents which, properly cultivated and properly directed, might have been ornamental to literature and useful to herself. She must now be satisfied with the scanty portion of praise, limited to the very small circle in which she, in all probability, is doomed to move; of her Frenchified countrymen, or of natives of France domiciliated among us. We the more lament this, as we understand Mrs. or Miss Plumptre is the daughter of a dignitary of the church of England, revered for his piety, and beloved for his domestic virtues, and who would deeply and bitterly have lamented, could he have foreseen the result of an excellent education, bestowed for very different purposes, and with far different expectations, vol. VIII, 2 E
or Rom THE LADY’s Monthly Museum.
Temper, a Tale, in three Vols. by Mrs. Opie. Published by Messrs. Longman; Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Browne, 1812.
MRS. OPIE will increase the reputation she has so deservedly acquired by her present production. The fair Author has, in this work, exemplified the influence of Temper upon various cha. racters under the various circumstances of discipline, want of discipline, and trying situations; the effect is to ameliorate and improve the heart, temper, and understanding. There is a chasteness in the language, a self-command, a propriety and unaffectedness, in all that is said and done by the prominent characters, intended for examples and imitation, that impresses us with great respect and veneration for them.
The first character, Torrington, exhibits all the dire effects, from infancy to age, of an ill-governed temper, both as it affects her conduct, and the disasters of her life, originating in and proceeding from the over indulgence of a weak and fond parent. Agatha is drawn with life, spirit, and fidelity; in her misfortunes, the consequence of unbridled temper, which are truly pitiable, she discovers many noble and amiable qualities; and the catastrophe of her life is extremely tragic and affecting. She marries, against her mother's consent, to a stranger, who, after the birth of a daughter, named Emma, and having squandered her property, treats her with neglect, and she discovers that he is attempting to deceive and marry another woman for her fortune, to relieve his present wants. Agatha, with her infant daughter, flies from his roof; and the villain, her husband, to prevent her having the protection of her mother, contrives to have the register of their marriage torn from the parish register book, and to make her parent believe that her daughter, his wife, has not been married to him, and is abandoned and worthless. The mother becomes exasperated against her child, refuses to read her letters; and hence an infinity of wo, which terminates only with the existence of the unfortunate sufferer,
Agatha, in the climax of her misery and misfortunes, meditates her own and child's destruction; on this subject, our author says, “There is little doubt that suicides have been often, very often, occasioned merely by the vindictive wish of planting an everlasting thorn in the breast of the parent, the lover, the mistress, the wife, or the husband, whose conduct has, in the opinion of the weak sufferer, the slave of an ill-governed temper, excited the terrible cravings of a vicious resentment. Sure is it, that Temper, like the unseen but busy subterranean fires in the bosom of a volcano, is always at work where it has once gained an existence, and is for ever threatening to explode, and scatter ruin and desolation around it. Parents, beware how you omit to check the first evidences of its empire in your children; and tremble, lest the powerless hand, which is only lifted in childless anger against you should, if its impotent fury remains uncorrected, in future life, be armed with more destructive fury against its own existence, or that of a fellow creature" This part of the tale gives occasion for the introduction of two most benevolent persons, Mr. and Mrs. Orwell, whose example, we cannot help regretting, is not more frequently to be found in real life. We shall anticipate no more; much depends upon the difficulty of proving this marriage; and the fate of Agatha's only daughter, Emma, the heroine of the work, is, in consequence, frequently held in doubtful suspense. Your interest in the life of Agatha, which is concluded before you have read half the first volume, is so strongly excited, that, unfortunately, it is considerably diminished for the remainder of the tale, till you arrive at the third and last volume; and yet this defect, if defect it can be called, appears to be almost unavoidable, from the necessity of contrasting this character with that of her daughter, Emma, who, with the same strong passions as her mother, under the more happy auspices and instructions of an amiable and intelligent instructor, Mr. Egerton, displays the ef: fects of a well-regulated temper and conduct. * Whenever Mr. Egerton speaks, instruction drops from his lips: he says, “I consider Temper as one of the most busy and universal agents in all human actions. Philosophers believe that the electric fluid, though invisible, is every where in the physical: world; so I believe that Temper is equally at work, though sometimes unseen, except in its effects, in the moral world. Perhaps inothing is rarer than a single motive; almost all our motives are compound; and if we examine our own hearts and actions with that accuracy and diffidence which become us as finite and responsible beings, we shall find that, of our motives to bad actions, Temper is very often a principal ingredient, and that it is not unfrequently one incitement to a good one. I am also convinced,’ added he, “that the crimes, both of private individuals and of sovereigns, are to be traced up to an uncorrected and uneducated temper as their source.” St. Aubin, who becomes enamoured of Emma, is a highly finished portrait; his forbearance, his filial piety, his exemplary conduct, as a son, a friend, a lover, and a man, are admirable lessons. The story is carried on with the aid of sundry inferior personages; and Mr. Hargrave, a rich and over-bearing uncle, Mrs. f