turned, bringing with her, to his surprise and joy, the daughter he had parted from, as he feared, for the last time. She had been brought to play a part in the projected escape, as more likely to obey the instructions given her with docility. Madame de Lavalette was attired in a merino dress, richly trimmed with fur, such as she was accustomed to wear after balls, and she had brought with her, in her bag, a black stuff petticoat. ! I shall want nothing more," she said, “to completely disguise you." Desiring her daughter to place herself near the window, she then whispered, “ As the clock strikes seven you shall be dressed. Every thing is prepared. You will go out taking Josephine's arm. You must take care to walk very slowly; and as you are crossing the large room, used as an office, you will put on my gloves, and cover your face over with my handkerchief. I thought first of bringing a veil, but, unfortunately, I have never worn one coming here; we must not think of it therefore. Take great care, as you pass under the low doorways, not to catch the feathers on your bonnet, for all would then be lost. I always find the turnkeys in the office, and the porter is in the habit of leading me by the hand as far as my sedan chair, which is always placed near the entrancegate; but to day it will be in the courtyard at the top of the great stair

There you will be met presently by M. Bandus, who will guide you to the cabriolet, and tell you where your hiding-place is to be. Then la yrace de Dieu! Mind and do all I have said. Keep calm. Give me your hand, that I may feel your pulse. Good. Now feel mine, and tell me if


discover any signs of emotion.” The Count says he did so, and perceived that his wife was in a violent fever. Her instructions to her daughter were to walk behind her mother until they reached the large room, and there she was to place herself on the left, as the porter generally presented himself on that side to offer his arm, and her mother, she was told, had a horror of him. When they had passed the gate, she was to place herself on the right, to screen her mother from the staring gaze of the gendarmes in the courtyard.

The plan was executed nearly as it was thus laid down. An old female servant had unexpectedly to take a share in it, and might have spoiled all, had not Madame Lavalette drilled her in a few minutes. At the last moment, when Lavalette's disguise was completed, his wife brought him forward to her daughter, who then, for the first time, learnt the desperate adventure in which she was to perform a part. Having arranged every thing, Lavalette hastily bid his wife adieu; but not daring to trust his firmness to a parting embrace, pulled the bell, which was the signal for the turnkey to open the door and lead out Madame Lavalette. When bis step was heard in the corridor, the real Madame Lavalette hurried behind a screen, where she was to remain until the porter had made his usual visit after the departure of the prisoner's wife, taking care to give some audible token of her presence by moving about, that she might be taken for Lavalette himself. All passed off well till Lavalette reached the spot where the porter was in the habit of leading

the Countess out. His daughter placed herself on the wrong side, so that the official was enabled to advance close to the disguised prisoner; but seeing, as he believed, the deep emotion of the Countess, he merely observed, with evident signs of being himself affected, that she was retiring earlier than usual. Lavalette denies that he and his daughter sobbed aloud as they went along, in the manner usually related. The most trying ordeal was in the courtyard, where the gendarmes and their officers were assembled in the hope of catching a glimpse of Madame de Lavalette's countenance as she passed. Fortunately the daughter was on the right side this time, and the sedan chair was reached safely. Here a provoking delay occurred. One of the men employed to carry it had taken fright, and the friend who was waiting at hand had to fetch a substitute.

As I am not writing the biography of Count Lavalette, I need carry the story of his escape no further. How, by the aid of three brave and noble Englishmen, Sir Robert Wilson, Mr. Bruce, and Captain Hutchinson, he passed the frontiers in the disguise of a British officer, and eventually found shelter and protection in Bavaria, is part of another history than that I have undertaken to tell. Of Madame de Lavalette nothing more now remains to be recorded. From the time of this memorable act her story is a blank. The shock of all these scenes and trials, and the strain upon her nervous system by the supreme effort of saving her husband's life, unsettled the springs of her mind. She became a prey to a melancholy form of insanity, from which, though she recovered to a great extent, she was never entirely exempt. Madame de Lavalette died in 1855, surviving her husband, for whose life she had paid so dear a price, some twenty-four years.

Amari Aliquid.

I have no love, at least no love

As only true love ought to be ; For merely fancies from above

Come o'er my soul as memory.

We cannot love the dead as men

Are wont to love the maids that live ; I only sigh, Ah, live again,

If only, sweet one, to forgive!

Thy heart is cold, as it should be,

To earthly loves and wanton words, And I may never strike for thee

The earthly lyre of fleshly chords.

Thy heart is cold within thy tomb,

And mine is cold upon the earth; Yet I keep murmuring in the gloom

Some foolish words of thy true worth. . Ah, love, wake up, and warm my heart,

And wake an echo through my soul; I live yet die alone, apart,

I faint in struggling through my dole.

Sweet soul, I cannot think you sleep,
I cannot think


rest apart: Oh, surely, love, you still must keep

Some ancient echo in your heart;

Some tale of troth I told thee, sweet,

When we were young, both man and maid, And I lay smiling at your feet,

And you were blushing in the glade.

The roses bloom, love, o'er your grave,

I plant them fresh, sweet, every year, And they bloom sweetest, only save

The buds I twined once in your hair.

Ah, well ! perhaps ’tis better so,

And you are better in your grave, Than living, love, maybe to know

What fickle heart to thee I gave.



JULY 1862.

The Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerons.






TOR I had decided that he was to be my Master. “I can bear with his strange ways," I said to myself. “ John Dangerous has seen

” stranger, young as he is; and it will go hard if this droll creature does not furnish forth some sport, aye and some Profit too, before long.” For now that I had put my Gentility in my pocket, I began to remember that Hay is a very pleasant and toothsome thing for Fodder, to say nothing of its having a most pleasant odour, and that the best time to make hay was while the sun did shine.

After I had assisted in conveying the Little Man to bed, I came down again to the Saloon, finding there Mr. Hodge, who was comforting himself with a last bumper of punch before seeking bed.

“Well, Youth,” he accosts me, “have you thought better of your surly, huffing manner of this morning and this afternoon ?"

I told him that I had, and that I desired nothing better than to enter forthwith into the service of Bartholomew Pinchin, Esquire, of Hampstead.

“That's well,” says his Reverence, nodding at me over his punch. “You've had your supper behind yon screen, haven't you ?”

I answered, “Yes, and my Burgundy likewise."

“That you mustn't expect every day,” he continues, “but only on extraordinary occasions such as that of to-night. What the living is like, you have seen. The best of fish, flesh, and fowl, and plenty of it. As to

, your Clothes and your Wages, we will hold discourse of that in the morning; for 'twill take your Master half the morning to beat you down a penny a Month, and quarrel with a Tailor about the cheapest kind of serge for your Livery. Leave it to me, however, and I'll engage that you have no reason to complain either of one or the other. What did you say your name was, friend? As for Recommendations, you have none to Give, and I seek not any from you. I will be content to take your character from your Face and Speech."

I began to stammer and bow and thank his Honour's Reverence for his good opinion.

“Don't thank me before you're asked,” answers Mr. Hodge, with a grin. “The academy of compliments is not held here. By your speech you have given every sign of being a very Saucy Fellow, and, to judge from your face, you have all the elements in you of a complete Scoundrel.”

I bowed, and was silent.
“But your name,” he pursued, “ that has escaped me.”

I answered Respectfully that I had used to be called John Dangerous.

“Tut, tut !" Mr. Hodge cried out hastily. “Fie upon the name! John is all very well; but Dangerous will never do. Why, our Patron

, would think directly he heard it that you were bent on cutting his throat, or running away with his valise.

I submitted, again with much respect, that it was the only name I had.

“Well, thou art a straightforward youth,” said the Chaplain goodhumouredly, "and I will not press thee to take up an alias. John will serve excellently well for the present; and, if more be wanted, thou shalt be John D. But understand that the name of Dangerous is to remain a secret between me and thee and the Post."

“With all my heart," I cried, “ so long as the Post be not a gallows."

“Well said, John D.,” murmured Mr. Hodge, upon whom by this time the punch had taken some little effect. “A good Lad, John. And now thou mayst help me up to bed.”

And so I did, for his Reverence had begun to stagger. Then a pallet was found for me high up in the Roof of the Inn of the Three Archduchesses. I forbore to grumble, for I had been used from my first going out into the world to Hard Lodging. And that night I slept very soundly

, and dreamt that I was in the Great Four-post Bed at my Grandmother's in Hanover Square.

Never had a Man, I suppose, in this Mortal World, ever so droll a master as this Bartholomew Pinchin, of Hampstead, Esquire. "Tis Tame, and may be Offensive, for me to be so continually telling that he wrote himself down Armiger, after my Promise to forego for the future such recapitulation of his Title; but Mr. Pinchin was himself never tired of dubbing himself Esquire, and you could scarcely be five Minutes in bis company without hearing of his Estate, and his Mamma, and bis Right to bear Arms. I, who was by birth a Gentleman of Long Descent, could

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »