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odorous. I begged the jailer to give us better quarters and a good supper. The sight of a piece of gold was more persuasive than any words: he led us to a comfortable apartment, and allowed me to walk in the garden, which was large and beautiful. In the morning I was surprised by the visit of a Dr Hewitson of the navy, who took me, under his responsibility, into town, and treated me to his family dinner. Three days later we reached Melun, and, as usual, were introduced to the prison courtyard, which was full of rogues and conscripts. Two ragged rascals came forward, and in the name of the rest demanded a franc from each of us-the "footing -to which, as honourable prisoners of war, we never would submit. Our adversaries numbered twenty-two; we, including myself and two young boys, were twelve. We intrenched ourselves in a corner, expecting the issue. In his right hand each Frenchman held a wooden shoe-no trivial missile; during the preliminary parley our boys had loaded some new stockings, bought at Orleans, with a sufficient supply of pebbles. The attack was made with a volley of shoes, the assailants expecting us to stoop and take them up, at which moment they would run in and board us; at last it came to close quarters, and both fists and stockings did notable work that day. Weary as we were, after a long day's march, and facing twice our number, we thought to sue for peace, when the door opened

and in came nine more Englishmen, prisoners like ourselves, who, seeing their countrymen in distress, came forward boldly, and in two minutes the victory was ours. They were the crew of a merchant vessel captured in the Channel, and were, like ourselves, on their way to Verdun. Mutual congratulations followed, and a good dinner, with plenty of wine, made us forget the battle of wooden shoes and worsted stockings.


We all set out together next day, ironed as usual; indeed, we looked for the "darbies" regularly as for our black bread. We traversed a wide and level tract of country, thinly cultivated except near the villages, in which we saw only old men, women, and many young children; the youths of the Empire were gone as soldiers to the wars. When, two days later, we entered the prison at Chalonssur-Marne, the weather being intensely hot, and the roads, along which we had marched, thick with dust, we all ran to the pump, and drank eagerly the cold spring water. I soon felt the evil consequences of this, for that same evening I was seized with ague and fever. The guards still insisted on taking me on to Verdun. I was laid on straw in an open cart, was exposed during the day to a burning sun, and placed for the night in a dismal hole. My fever increased, and I became delirious. When I recovered my reason, I found myself in a comfortable lodging at Verdun, with many of my fellow-countrymen around me.


My vigorous constitution had pulled me through; within a month, although still weak, I was in good health. As soon as I could move, I was ordered to the citadel to sign my parole. They asked me questions many and ridiculous: What was my mother's maiden name? What was my father's state and calling? I told them that he was


marine cheesemonger; and "marchand de fromage pour la marine royale" would have been duly inscribed but that my irreverent joke was discovered. On returning to my lodgings, I considered in what manner I should spend my time. Buonaparte had declared that there should be no exchange of prisoners; with the prospect of a long exile, I resolved to make the best use of my opportunities, and learn whatever might be of advantage to myself and my profession.

Verdun is a fortified town in the province of Lorraine: it contains about 11,000 in habitants, who in consequence of their republican principles were favoured by Buonaparte; as a depot for English gentlemen, Verdun, he knew, would be enriched. The governorgeneral-Wirion-was one of the greatest scoundrels that ever held the rod of power; a man of high abilities and refined education, yet a tyrant, cruel and avaricious. tort money from the prisoners was with him a fine art in which he had grown accomplished; the old or nervous he

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threatened with the fort of Bitche, or solitary confinement in the tower of Angoulême : on one occasion he imprisoned all the midshipmen and masters of merchantmen in the citadel, and kept us there during seven months, stopping from poor allowance 5s. a - month, which, reckoning 300 prisoners, brought him upwards of £70. At length one morning came an order that we should all be at liberty to reside in the town and in comfortable lodgings on the condition that we paid the sum of 30s. each: we readily agreed to the demand; each prisoner, as he handed over the money, went out, and General Wirion profited to the extent of nearly £500. If any prisoner missed his muster-and the roll-call was twice a-day— he had the choice of a 5s. fine or prison for a month. Every week some new exaction was invented, and the general's understrappers followed his example, on a smaller scale, yet with hardly less annoyance to the victims.


At this period the English hostages, detained in the country when the war broke out, were numerous, and many them possessed large fortunes. Verdun resembled a small fashionable town in England. Lodgings were good and not extravagantly dear. The Government had the complaisance to honour Verdun with the presence of a company of Palais Royal black-legs, and to establish a gaming-table- the ruin

of many a bright career. A in Verdun for the management fine racecourse gave further opportunities to the recklessness of folly; the meadow, used for two months, was rented for twelve; the general's permission was obtained at the cost of £20; the compulsory hire of fifteen gendarmes and spies in attendance came to £10 more. Horses were brought at vast expense through Germany from England, and the course in due time was as fashionable and as full of roguery as Newmarket.

Drinking and smoking clubs, set up in various parts of the town, were favourite resorts of the midshipmen, who, young and friendless, were often exposed to the temptation of penury rather than of wealth, yet they always managed to keep up appearances and to look like gentlemen. These were about 120 in number, the finest young fellows that could be seen, true "cutting-out" midshipmen, fit to undertake any enterprise however dangerous. During four years many of them had no more than the French allowance, 24s. a-month, to provide lodgings and everything else. The common sailor fared better, being in a manner fed and clothed, with 1d. aday for tobacco.

The midshipmen were frequently in confinement, either through a caprice of the commandant, or because some of them from time to time had ventured to escape.

Out of my ten years of life as a prisoner of war, I can say that I passed seven in close confinement.

A committee had been formed

of moneys, subscribed throughout the United Kingdom, for the relief of prisoners. Instead of being vested in the hands of senior officers, naval and military, the subscription was intrusted to the hostages, and was distributed among rascals who never dared show their faces in their native land again for fear of the gallows. One fellow, in receipt of two guineas a-month, had been a noted highwayman, who escaped the new drop by flight to the Continent; being skilled in horses, he was appointed clerk of the racecourse. A tailor, a barber, a shoemaker, a mutton - pie maker-part of Despard's gang

received their several allowances. One Rainsford, a wouldbe gentleman, who pocketed £3 a-month, felt deeply hurt that his name should appear in the charity-book. Not a midshipman obtained one penny from the fund.


I had been in Verdun nearly year and a half when Buonaparte passed through, on his way from the camp at Boulogne against Austria, at the head of 100,000 troops. Within a short time we heard of his entry into the city of Ulm, on the day (October 21, 1805) of the memorable battle of Tra

falgar. It was nearly two months before news reached us of Nelson's glorious victory; about seventy mids. were confined in the citadel; a subscription for supper and wine was immediately set on foot: although borne down with sorrow and oppression, we participated in the joy of victory and shed a

tributary tear for the fate of Nelson. The French newspapers had claimed the triumph in that battle, and in many parts of France public rejoicings had

been held!

Three years had been passed by me as a prisoner in this depot-two of these years in close confinement, owing to desertions that had taken place

among the midshipmen. It is true that we signed a parole ; but a parole ceases to be of force with men obliged to muster twice a-day, and it was only the midshipmen and masters of merchantmen who were subjected to this rule. In the fear of being sent to that dreadful place, Bitche, we had not a moment of peace.


I came at last to a resolution to try my fortune, venture a long march, and regain, if possible, my native land. In seeking a companion the utmost caution was necessary, for we were surrounded with spies. After a time I came to an understanding with a Dr Porteous of the navy: : we were both eager for the enterprise, and set about procuring £40 in gold, good maps of the departments we intended to pass through, two oilskin bags for our provisions, and a rope. All was accomplished in the course of a day; and about eight o'clock on the evening of October 8, 1807, we succeeded in getting over the citadel ramparts. We had passed several sentinels; sometimes we crawled on hands and knees, for discovery would have been our death-warrant. At the point of descent, the height was about 60 feet; our rope was made fast to a spikenail thrust into a chink of masonry. The doctor went down first; he shook the rope as a signal, and I followed. I descended the nail gave way, and I fell some 20 feet on stones,


The noise

spraining an ankle. of my fall alarmed one of the sentinels, who satisfied himself with the cry "Qui vive?" I rose and limped along; at the dawn of day we were near St Mihiel, seven leagues from Verdun.

Finding that the opposite side of the river afforded the shelter of a wood, we put our clothes upon our heads, and crossed, sometimes wading and sometimes swimming. The water was bitterly cold, and it had begun to rain. My ankle was much swollen and very painful; when we bivouacked in the wood, I was apprehensive as to my being able for some days to go any farther. The rain fell in torrents; we shivered under the dripping autumnal leaves. By this time, we were assured, our escape must be known at Verdun; gendarmes and peasantry must be on the alert; we thought it prudent to lurk in shelter during the day. In the evening we left our retreat, and, to avoid pursuit, we marched across country. About nine o'clock we passed through Commercy, and still it rained

hard. Before we entered the the wheel and the wall. As town we had overheard some workmen close behind us in conversation; they spoke of the two fugitives from Verdun, and we learnt that a brigade of soldiers in Commercy were on the look-out for us. We hastened forward, walked into a millstream, and hid ourselves, up to the middle in water, between

soon as the talkers had gone by, we consulted as to the propriety of venturing near the town: to avoid it we must again have crossed the Meuse; the stormy night was favourable to our attempt; we plucked up courage, and passed through Commercy without meeting a soul.


On gaining the highroad we pushed on rapidly, encouraged every hour by a mouthful of brandy. Having passed, about eleven o'clock, a small house, we walked on some two miles, only to discover by the turn of the river that we were out of the right track. We retraced our steps, knocked at the door of the house, and in a short time were let in by a sturdy old man. The lamp was still burning; he trimmed it, and examined us by its light. “I guess who you are," he said, "but you are safe." We proWe professed not to understand his meaning, and declared that we were merchants from Dunkirk. "No," he replied, “you are Englishmen from Verdun; you escaped yesterday; the gendarmes have been here, and have left orders that if any suspiciouslooking persons should arrive, I should give them notice." We thought of retreat, but were soon convinced that the old man had no hostile designs. His good wife got up, kindled a fire to dry our clothes, and procured all that was needed to refresh us. The man opened

the door and went out; even still I suspected that he might have gone for the gendarmes: I followed, and found him plugging with clay certain chinks in the door and windows, that the light might not show through. Such precaution on his part gave us a feeling of complete security. He told us that as long as he had life he would protect an Englishman in distress; he had cause, he said, to be grateful to our nation of his five sons four had fallen in Buonaparte's campaigns; the survivor had been saved from the cruelty of the Russians under Suwarrow by a countryman of ours.

After an excellent supper of ham and eggs, we went to bed and rested for two hours. On rising we found that our clothes had been dried: our host gave us to understand that, if we would be entirely guided by him, he would conduct us past Vaucoleur; we assented, and promised to recompense him for his trouble. At about a quarter past two, armed each with a stout cudgel, we started; the way was enlivened by the

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