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compasses, a square, a carpenter's rule, &c., &c., and hid them in our magazine.”
De Latude goes on to detail the precautions which he and his companion in misfortune took, in case any of the jailors should be listening, to give feigned names for every thing they used in their work, and states the names used by them for each article. He then proceeds with his narrative:
“ These things being complete we set about our principal ladder, which was to be at least eighty feet long. We began by unravelling our linen; shirts, napkins, nightcaps, stockings, drawers, pocket-handkerchiefs - every thing which could supply thread or silk. made a ball we concealed it in Polyphemus, (the name they called the hiding-place,) and when we had a sufficient quantity we employed a whole night in twisting it into a rope; and I defy a rope-maker to have done it better. The upper part of the building of the Bastille overhangs three or four feet. This would necessarily occasion our ladder to wave and swing about as we came down it, enough to turn the strongest head. To obviate this, and to prevent our fall, we made a second rope 160 feet long. This rope was to be reeved through a kind of double block without sheaves, in case the person descending should be suspended in the air without being able to get down lower. Besides these we made several other ropes of shorter lengths, to fasten our ladder to a cannon, and for other unforeseen occasions. When all these ropes were finished we measured them—they amounted to 1400 fcet. We then made 208 rounds for the
and wooden ladders. To prevent the noise which the rounds would make against the wall during our descent, we gave them coverings formed of pieces of the linings of our morning gowns, of our waistcoats, and our under-waistcoats. In all these preparations we employed eighteen months, but still they were incomplete. We had provided means to get to the top of the tower, to get into and out of the fosse : two more were wanting – -one to climb up on the parapet; from the parapet into the governor's garden; from thence to get down into the fosse of the Port St. Antoine ; but the parapet which we had to cross was always well furnished with sentinels. We might fix on a dark and rainy night, when the sentinels did not go their rounds, and escape by those means, but it might rain when we climbed our chimney, and might clear up at the very moment when we arrived
at the parapet: we should then meet with the chief of the rounds, who constantly inspected the parapet, and he being always provided with lights, it would be impossible to conceal ourselves, and we should be inevitably ruined. The other plan increased our labours, but was the less dangerous of the two. It consisted in making a way through the wall which separates the fosse of the Bastille from that of the Port St. Antoine. I considered that in the numerous floods, during which the Seine had filled this fossé, the water must have injured the mortar, and rendered it less difficult, and so we should be enabled to break a passage through the wall. For this purpose we should require an auger to make holes in the mortar, so as to insert the points of the two iron bars to be taken out of our chimney, and with them force out the stones, and so make our way through. Accordingly we made an auger with one of the feet of our bedsteads, and fastened a handle to it in the form of a cross. We fixed on Wednesday, the 25th February, 1756, for our flight: the river had overflowed its banks: there were four feet of water in the fosse of the Bastille, as well as in that of the Port St. Antoine, by which we hoped to effect our deliverance.
I filled a leathern portmanteau with a change of clothes for both, in case we were so fortunate as to escape.
Dinner was scarcely over when we set up our great ladder of ropes, that is, we put the rounds to it, and hid it under our beds; then we arranged our wooden ladder in three pieces. We put our iron bars in their cases to prevent their making a noise ; and we packed up our bottle of usquebaugh to warm us, and restore our strength during our work in the water, up to the neck, for nine hours. These precautions taken, we waited till our supper was brought up. I first got up the chimney. I had the rhemuatism in my left arm, but I thought little of the pain : I soon experienced one much more severe. I had taken none of the precautions used by chimney sweepers. nearly choked by the soot; and having no guards on my knees and elbows, they were so excoriated that the blood ran down on my legs and hands. As soon as I got to the top of the chimney I let down a piece of twine to D'Alegre: to this he attached the end of the rope to which our portmanteau was fastened. I drew it up, unfastened it, and threw it on the platform of the Bastille. In the same way we hoisted up the wooden ladder, the two iron bars, and all our other articles : we finished by the ladder of ropes, the end of which I allowed to hang
down to aid D'Alegre in getting up, while I held the upper part by means of a large wooden peg which we had prepared on purpose. I passed it through the cord and placed it across the funnel of the chimney. By these means my companion avoided suffering what I did. This done, I came down from the top of the chimney, where I had been in a very painful position, and both of us were on the platform of the Bastille. We now arranged our different articles. We began by making a roll of our ladder of ropes, of about four feet diameter, and one thick. We rolled it to the tower called La Tour du Treson, which appeared to us the most favourable for our descent. We fastened one end of the ladder of ropes to a piece of cannon, and then lowered it down the wall; then we fastened the block, and passed the rope of 160 feet long through it. This I tied round my body, and D'Alegre slackened it as I went down. Notwithstanding this precaution I swung about in the air at every step I made. Judge what my situation was, when one shudders at the recital of it. At length I landed without accident in the fossé. Immediately D'Alegre lowered my portmanteau and other things. I found a little spot uncovered by water, on which I put them. Then my companion followed my example; but he had an advantage which I had not had, for I held the ladder for him with all my strength, which greatly prevented its swinging. It did not rain; and we heard the sentinel marching at about four toises' distance, and we were therefore forced to give up our plan of escaping by the parapet and the governor's garden. We resolved to use our iron bars. We crossed the fosse straight over to the wall which divides it from the Port St. Antoine, and went to work sturdily. Just at this point there was a small ditch about six feet broad and one deep, which increased the depth of the water. Elsewhere it was about up to our middles; here, to our armpits. It had thawed only a few days, so that the water had yet floating ice in it: we were nine hours in it, exhausted by fatigue, and benumbed by the cold. We had hardly begun our work before the chief of the watch came round with his lantern, which cast a light on the place we were in: we had no alternative but to put our heads under water as he passed, which was every half-hour.
At length, after nine hours of incessant alarm and exertion, after having worked out the stones one by one, we succeeded in making, in a wall of four feet six inches thick, a hole sufficiently wide, and we both crept through. We were giving way to our trans
ports when we fell into a danger which we had not foreseen, and which had nearly been fatal to us. In crossing the fossé St. Antoine, to get into the road to Bercy, we fell into the aqueduct which was in the middle. This aqueduct had ten feet water over our heads, and two feet of mud on the side. D'Alegre fell on me, and had nearly thrown me down : had that misfortune happened we were lost, for we had not strength enough left to get up again, and we must have been smothered. Finding myself laid hold of by D'Alegre, I gave him a blow with my fist, which made him let go, and at the same instant throwing myself forward I got out of the aqueduct. I then felt for D'Alegre, and getting hold of his hair, drew him to me; we were soon out of the fosse, and just as the clock struck five were on the high road. Penetrated by the same feeling, we threw ourselves into each others arms, and after a long embrace we fell on our knees to offer our thanks to the Almighty, who had snatched us from so many dangers.”
101.-RURAL LIFE IN ENGLAND.
WASHINGTON IRVING. [WASHINGTON IRVING may be considered the head of that numerous band of prose writers which the United States have produced during the last thirty years.
His · Sketch Book,' which was published in England in 1820, at once raised him to a distinguished eminence as a writer of elegant tastes and just feelings. Many of the papers in that work are on subjects of English manners and scenery. The sentiments which Mr. Irving expressed of the land of his fathers have done much to cherish in America a kind regard for our habits and associations. Other writers have taken less friendly views; and it must be owned that we have many sins to answer for ourselves, of fomenting differences, and encouraging prejudices, which ought never to exist amongst those who speak a common language, have a common literature, and are brethren “ by titles manifold.” Mr. Irving is also the author of a very clever and original work of fiction, · Knickerbocker's History of New York,'—of. Bracebridge Hall;' of Tales of a Traveller;' of The Life and Voyages of Columbus ;' of · The Conquest of Granada ;' of ' Astria,' &c. &c.]
The stranger who would form a correct opinion of the English character, must not confine his observations to the metropolis. He
must go forth into the country; he must sojourn in villages and hamlets; he must visit castles, villas, farm-houses, cottages; he must wander through parks and gardens; along hedges and green lanes; he must loiter about country churches; attend wakes and fairs, and other rural festivals; and cope with the people in all their conditions, and all their habits and humours.
In some countries the large cities absorb the wealth and fashion of the nation; they are the only fixed abodes of elegant and intelligentsociety, and the country is inhabited almost entirely by boorish peasantry. In England, on the contrary, the metropolis is a mere gathering place, or general rendezvous, of the polite classes, where they devote a small portion of the year to a hurry of gaiety and dissipation, and having indulged this carnival, return again to the apparently more congenial habits of rural life. The various orders of society are therefore diffused over the whole surface of the kingdom, and the most retired neighbourhoods afford specimens of the different ranks.
The English, in fact, are strongly gifted with the rural feeling. They possess a quick sensibility to the beauties of nature, and a keen relish for the pleasures and employments of the country. This passion seems inherent in them. Even the inhabitants of cities, born and brought up among brick walls and bustling streets, enter with facility into rural habits, and evince a turn for rural occupation. The merchant has his snug retreat in the vicinity of the metropolis, where he often displays as much pride and zeal in the cultivation of his flowergarden, and the maturing of his fruits, as he does in the conduct of his business and the success of his commercial enterprizes. Even those less fortunate individuals, who are doomed to pass their lives in the midst of din and traffic, contrive to have something that shall remind them of the green aspect of nature. In the most dark and dingy quarters of the city, the drawing-room window resembles frequently a bank of flowers; every spot capable of vegetation has its grass-plot and flower-bed; and every square its mimic park, laid out with picturesque taste and gleaming with refreshing verdure.
Those who see the Englishman only in town, are apt to form an unfavourable opinion of his social character. He is either absorbed in business, or distracted by the thousand engagements that dissipate time, thought, and feeling, in this huge metropolis : he has, therefore,