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the coveted prize. We had hardly touched the boat's side when, to our dismay, up jumped half a dozen Frenchmen. We pulled away for our lives. There was a spanking breeze from the south, and we hoisted our sheet and sped away as fast as a flat-bottomed boat under difficulties could go. Our sail was a lamentable resource, and took her through the water not much faster than we could have rowed. We still had the oars at liberty, as the spars for the sail were lying in the boat when we took her, so I took them in hand, and Whitehurst steered. We were quite in sight when morning broke, and had the satisfaction of seeing the boat we had disturbed get away and follow in pursuit. It was only a question of a few hours; at about 11 o'clock they were close on our heels, and a few moments later I was being hauled into the fishing boat under a salute of as many fists as could get at me. The Captain of her came to my rescue, and ordered them to desist, and I was passed aft. Whitehurst came after the saving clause had been introduced by the Captain, and so was allowed to go aboard peacefully. It was late in the afternoon when landed, and a crowd of people received us on the shore. We were led up to a respectable looking house just as we were with our wet shirts and trousers on, anything but a reviving spectacle. The first question put to us on getting


ashore was, "Where are your clothes?" Our reply explained a mystery which had hung over a heap of clothes discovered that morning early, unclaimed, by the edge of the sea.

Whitehurst was placed at a table presided over by a functionary, when the apartment rapidly filled to excess, all anxious to have a stare at that fine-looking man. When our nationality was revealed it seemed to cause some regret at our misfortunes, the women especially showing great sympathy. What with one thing and another in the crush I was gradually squeezed into a corner, where I awaited my turn. Whitehurst being asked in the course of examination what his companion was, and having replied "Lieutenant de Vaisseau," all eyes were directed to myself, and the women now began in earnest to bestir themselves into more active demonstrations of kind feeling. One of them got a needle and thread and applied herself on the spot to the rents in my shirt, while another devoted herself in a like manner to anything else you may like to mention. Our discarded garments from the "sea-beach shore" were brought to light, and ere we left the room of justice, our appearance was quite à la mode.

The examination concluded, we were removed to prison at Caen, and there taken before the Governor, where, to our almost irrepressible joy, we

found the padre. I was ordered the padre evidently put a word

to appear first, and the padre was called upon to interpret. The ordeal was a stiff and unpleasant one. I refused to admit that I knew the names of any of the places at which we had stayed or the names of those who had given us assistance. This put the Governor at last out of patience, and he made the padre ask me, "Do you mean to say that you are the Second Lieutenant of an English frigate, and that you do not know any of the places in France at which you have stayed during the last fourteen or fifteen months ? I maintained an obstinate denial, and

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in to my credit, as I was presently dismissed without further criticism. Whitehurst must have come in for a double share of interview, as the Governor kept him a very long while in his presence. Our stay here was not prolonged, but short as it was, we managed to conciliate our keeper, because he despatched us from Caen as "English prisoners and not as deserters," which would have subjected us to the inconvenience of chains. We were ordered to the prison at Verdun, the questionable celebrity of which had reached us already.

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On the following day our long march commenced. Owing to our lengthy confinement we had become bad walkers, and could scarcely keep up with the convicts who formed the companions of our march. Indeed by the time we had reached our first halt, Whitehurst and I were completely done up.

There was no inn this time for accommodation, but a square unsightly building containing one door and one window, the latter defying all hope. There was only one room for convicts and the rest of us, twelve in number, but plenty of space and very little straw. Two sides were boarded like a guard-house for the purpose of sleeping on;


the floor the floor was composed of stone flags; a large round tub devoted to sanitary purposes stood in one corner. The boards provided for our repose were almost concealed under a cloak of vermin of the vilest description. This prevented us, tired as we were, from entertaining any idea of sleep, and so we determined to remain standing; but nature was not to be superseded. I began to fail in my strength, and finally was obliged to declare to Whitehurst that vermin or no vermin I must lie down, and down I went. I was aroused by Whitehurst after a slight rest. "For goodness sake, Jackson," he said, "get up; you're literally swarming with lice." Up I jumped and tried to shake off

the pests, while the convicts, clean. We were an exception enjoying our misery, laughed to the prevailing rule, I grieve

and joked heartily. They were not so dainty in their tastes, and seemed to care nothing for these filthy hosts.

In the morning we were brought round to the front of the prison and supplied with large kids of soup, and a horn and a wooden spoon for each. The latter, however, happened to be short in number, and we were glad to obtain for ourselves in any way we could some of this slush, which really was fitter for pigs than men. At the time we partook of this soupe as though it were a luxury, so keenly do hardships and deprivation whet the appetite. This meal being over, the gendarmes marshalled us, and we began another weary march.


We continued thus, marching from prison to prison, until we reached where we ceived a pleasant surprise at finding ourselves at last in a jail which was the very picture of cleanliness. Our joy met with a repulse, however, because we were left to ourselves, Whitehurst and I, for such a weary length of time that we began to fear that we had been forgotten, and hunger now made us feel the neglect more acutely. There was nothing in our cell of any description with the exception of what we stood in. The jailor eventually came, and food and other things followed, everything corresponding with the place and being delightfully

to say, having still about our persons many a living memorial of our late prison experiences.

It sounds revolting and nasty to an English ear to describe such a condition, but do what we would we found it impossible to keep the enemy under. Every fold and crease in our garments boasted a colony of those hideous little crawlers; and what we expelled during the day when we when we had an opportunity was repaid sevenfold during the night. We could obtain no change of clothes, and had to make the best of it. Here at least we might do execution with some prospects of success so long as we were permitted to remain, and we commenced a crusade without delay.

A few days' rest at and our prospects darkened. More dirty prisons awaited us, and in one where we were incarcerated for a week another kind of plague revealed itself. Instead of lice, we had to war against a larger and more elastic foe. The room allotted to us and the others was capacious, full of dirty beds, and alive with fleas. Variety may be charming, but I confess I shrank from the contact of those ravenous little vampires, and would have almost preferred the infliction to which we had already become habituated.

Whitehurst was as loth as myself to encounter them, but

necessity deprived us of any choice in the matter, so we braced up our energies to fresh herculean tasks. In the morning we easily procured brooms and a bucket and access to a pump, when, to the amazement of our fellow prisoners, who appeared in succession resentful, bewildered, and finally tickled beyond endurance, we doused about the water and rubbed and scrubbed until we almost flooded the apartment. We repeated this for three mornings, and succeeded in getting a night's uninterrupted rest before we left, our idle companions deriving an unappreciated benefit from our labours.

The idea of cleanliness was quite an abstract one with them, and nothing contributed more to excite their mirth than the daily practice observed by Whitehurst and myself of alternately pumping cold water over each other. A Russian amongst them afforded a slight exception to the rest, and was averse to dirt. He was an amusing fellow, and would scrape off his living tormentors whenever we were on the eve of quitting a prison, and solemnly dedicate them to the next occupier.


The masters of the prisons were as indulgent as their limited powers would permit them to be. The custom of waiting in ranks for the turn of the spoon, when articles of this description were scarce,

an ordeal as unpleasant as any to which we were sub


jected; and on some occasions it was positively insupportable, the spoon bearing unmistakable signs of its transit through a dozen abominable stages.

The soup was always brought out into the middle of the yard, contained in a great kid or tub, and the rush made at it resembled the conduct of a pack of hounds rather than a gang of human beings. I never see a number of hungry pigs being fed now but the spectacle recalls to my mind the scene in the prison yard. Fastidious persons suffering from delicate stomachs would derive a salutary cure after a few months' experience such as we encountered. The vicissitudes of our march from Caen to Verdun were extended over a period of two months, the length of our detention at the intermediate prisons varying with circumstances.

Towards the conclusion of our journey I suffered acutely on one occasion from exhaustion, and implored the gendarmes to let me sit down for a few minutes. They peremptorily refused. I then asked to be allowed to get something to drink as we passed a publichouse, with the same result. On reaching the next prison I fairly sank to the ground, and gave myself entirely up, careless what they might do. After some considerable trouble I was taken within, and the gendarme then came to me and said that he did not intend any unkindness in refusing to


let me rest on the road, but he knew only too well that when a prisoner in a similar

condition was allowed to halt, it was next to impossible to get him to move again.

At the bureau at Verdun the authorities at first refused to acknowledge me as an officer at all; and well they might refuse, for my personal appearance betokened anything but a respectable caste. My boots were toeless, and had not enjoyed contact with a brush for eighteen months. My trousers, despite the friendly offices of the women at Caen, had broken into instalments, and my shirt was a curiosity. My coat was a model of good ventilation, and my hair, which curled over my head, had forgotten the application of any other comb save what nature permitted me to adapt in my fingers.

Upon being satisfied at last of my respectability, I was committed to the citadel, where I was put into a comfortable room and treated as became my rank.


fact I had the most fortunate situation that was possible. It had struck me as being peculiar that on several occasions I had found more than one of the parties dodging about the vicinity of my apartment; and once on returning there I must have unexpectedly given an alarm, as a fellow bolted suddenly from a door which stood opposite to mine in the corridor, and in his hurry omitted to close it fast. I then took the liberty of looking, and, to my astonishment, discovered the whole plot. They had removed the stones from the wall on one side of the room, and made an opening of quite 2 feet square, which led to another chamber, where there was a little den with a curiously devised window.

The place had originally been a convent, and it struck me that the cell to which I allude must have been adapted for the solitary confinement of the nuns. The window that pierced the massive wall described in its course the segment of a circle, so that the light from without was reflected but scantily into the cell. Beyond the curve of the arch it was impossible to see. The aperture, however, was of sufficient dimensions to allow the forced In passage of a slight figure. So

I had not been there for more than two or three days when I remarked that certain fellow prisoners were chalking out a plan of escape. I therefore resolved to keep my weather eye upon them without exciting suspicion. My room was in a part of the building appropriated to officers of higher rank than that held by my fellow prisoners who were in the conspiracy.

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