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A great many other questions were applied, to most of which I answered evasively. At the termination of these I felt dry and parched, and asked for a glass of water. I was refused somewhat abruptly, and the General turned to the gendarme, directing him in almost the same tone of voice to take me to his, the General's, wife, and bid her give me the best bottle of wine in his cellar. I asked for my parole, promising that if I received it I should respect it; but this he explained was out of his powers to grant.

In the course of this process a tin case was brought into the room, which invested me with anything but favourable anticipations; for Whitehurst had repeatedly terrified me with the prospect of compulsory confession elicited by those means which of all things I most dreaded-namely, the thumbscrews. However, there was nothing so terrible as this in store. I was merely handcuffed and led away along the ramparts of the town to the Porte Chaussée-a prison situated over the gates of the town.


On arrival at my new prison I found there were three occupants, one of them being a music master. I suspected one of the other two of being a spy, but he called himself a Captain in the English Army, an old joke even in those days. Nevertheless it was largely due to the kind assistance of this friend whom I was now misjudging that I was enabled subsequently to make good my escape from France, as will be explained later. The third occupant was a Lieutenant in the East Indian Service, and bore a despicable character. So much for my associates-so far I stuck to the music master. While at Porte Chaussée I became acquainted with a military Lieutenant outside, named George Beamish, who tendered me his good offices in attempting to escape. He visited me

frequently, always bringing with him a piece of line. I was to let him know when I was prepared for action, and began my designs at once. In the planks above our heads I detected an unsound corner, and by standing on the shoulder of a companion, who in his turn was elevated upon the bed, I established a hole there one evening through which I squeezed, and then fastened the line to the parapet. having been accomplished, I went back to help the others. It was then understood that each should wait until the others had ascended, and then slip down the parapet in order. I first assisted up the East Indian and then the "Military Captain," who, being stout and awkward, made a great noise getting through the hole. This scared the East Indian, who,


in complete defiance of the previous arrangement, rushed to the rope, and let himself down into the embrace of a gendarme. The stout party, ignorant of his companion's mishap, quickly emulated his example, but not being an expert in the art of gymnastics, he let the rope slide through his fingers and fell heavily to the ground, breaking his thigh in the fall.

The gendarmes were now gathered round the spot, and in the confusion the East Indian seized a favourable opportunity and eluded his captor, getting clear away to the appointed place where Beamish was expecting us, from whom he derived the benefit intended for me. Seeing the game up, I made for the room again, and was snug under the bed-clothes when the jailor opened the door. Appearances are deceptive.

So thought the jailor, I presume, for he approached the bed and drew off the sheets, of course discovering me habited for a journey. "Ah!" he exclaimed, I knew you had a hand in it-I was sure that nobody thought of breaking out unless you put it into their heads."


This little affair brought the Lieutenant of the gendarmes down about the middle of the night, perhaps called from the enjoyment of a pleasant party, as he was in anything but a mild humour. I was the main object of his strictures, and he spared no pains to convince me of his displeasure. He said,


'You have given us all a great deal of trouble, Mr Jackson-I have already doubled the sentries on your account, and now I must add fresh precautions. I have therefore given them strict injunctions, should you repeat to-night's experiment, to fire at you

without hesitation, and I leave it entirely at the discretion of the jailor to place you or not in the black hole."


"And I, sir," I retorted,

beg to inform you that I have not had my parole, and, despite all your threats, I am determined to escape if I can, whether your sentries fire or not."

The jailor didn't presume upon his authority, but allowed me to go quickly to bed. The only penalty I suffered after all was being called upon to pay for the damage done to the rotten planks. A fresh accession. to our small circle in the prison of Porte Chaussée was soon made by new-comers in two relays. On arrival of the second batch we were put under orders for Bitche.

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requested the music master accepted, and I set to.
to play on the piano which
one of the prisoners was al-
lowed to keep in the room,
and to select the loudest piece
he could choose. All hands
then proceeded at my instiga-
tion to make a rope out of
the sheets. It was rapidly
done, and each wound a por-
tion of it round his body
beneath his clothes.

The prisoners in the adjoining room were indulging in a somewhat boisterous mirth, and so between them and the piano, upon which our friend was doing most laudable execution, we had plenty of noise.

The rope disposed of, we rang for the jailor, and supplied him with the usual reason for allowing us to leave the room. We gained by this means access into the next compartment, where I had previously scented out another spot in the planks above; and we would be left here until we chose to summon the jailor to reconduct us to our own quarters, not so conveniently appointed. I arrested the conviviality for a moment to introduce the subject in contemplation, and it was gladly accepted nem. con. I then begged them to continue their jollification, and to sing and shout as if nothing was in the wind.

To prevent surprise I asked a doctor who was present, a very timid man, to watch the gratings in the door, and when the jailor or his wife approached, to pop out his head and call for a jug of beer. This post he


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plank was started in a few
minutes, and I was shoving
away with all my heart when
I heard sundry smothered re-
marks on all sides, such as
"Hush, hush, Jackson . . .'
I, not dreaming of danger,
merely turned my head for a
moment, when lo! the poor
cowardly doctor had bolted,
and the jailor's wife was calmly
watching my proceedings from
the deserted gratings. Down
I dropped like a stone from
my eminence and tried hard
to look unconcerned, with very
lame results, I am afraid. The
jailor came and restored us to
our proper places, and the
question arose what should be
done with the ten ropes and
how account for the missing
sheets, as we were to start
in the morning.

The ropes were ultimately packed into two of the Midshipmen's bags, and I undertook to manage about the sheets.

The jailor took his inventory before we left, and I explained that the sheets had been sent on an emergency to the washerwoman, but as it was not probable she would return them when she knew of our departure, I honourably offered to pay for them. This honest conduct on my part raised me considerably in the estimation of the jailor, who was perfectly contented with the arrangement, and took quite an affecting leave of me.

A new system was adopted for our security on the road

in the march now impending, and one not at all favourable to our ideas of pleasant locomotion. We were handcuffed in pairs, and a long chain run through all the irons, thus ensuring close quarters to all. Some of the handcuffs were small and exceedingly painful. Mine were of this character, and I suffered severely.

Our journey to Bitche was accomplished in seven days. The aspect of the place was not inviting. The prison has The prison has been described as like a ship bottom upwards in a saucer. Our new quarters were good enough, considering all things. We were packed sixteen into one room with three beds, under which the fuel was stocked. During the first night a Midshipman named H. Leworthy, a tall, powerful, young fellow, possessing also good qualities of mind as well as of body, was my bedfellow. When he awoke in the morning he began to attack me, saying, "Hallo, Jackson, have you been bunging up my eyes in your sleep? What on earth is wrong with my face?' A general cry of "bugs was now raised. Every one was more or less affected by their visitation except me. This time, marvellous to say, for I was generally marked out as a signal victim to misfortune, I had unwittingly defied the enemy. How it was I can't explain, because poor Leworthy was a mass of bites, and unable to see for them. We had been expecting this evil

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sooner or later as a sort of necessary sequence to our vermin troubles.

After an interval we were better accommodated. I had a room to myself, and belonged to a mess of eight persons, all of whom were tacitly resolved to make our connections as pleasant as possible. We were divided from the other half of our fellow prisoners by mutual consent, on account of a quarrel which had arisen between us and a man named C- -, who had played me a dirty trick soon after our arrival at the prison. It was the habit of those who could afford it to hire furniture from some dealer in the town, to replace that supplied by the authorities ; and I sent for what articles I required as soon as a room had been placed at my service. Amongst the things was a French bedstead, and on its way to my quarters it was levied upon by Mr C his own use; and in spite of all representation, he persisted in keeping possession of it. When this came to my ears I accused him of committing a mean ungentlemanly action, and this caused no small indignation to himself and his friends. Upon this disagreement we split ourselves into different communities.


Some merchant Captains, several midshipmen, an elderly gentleman - a détenu-named Throgmorton, a Mr Melville, and myself constituted our mess.

Almost from the moment of

our entrance I commenced to was kicked, cuffed, or tossed

prepare for my escape. Economy was my first consideration, and, in pursuit of it, I made every sacrifice consistent with propriety. I wore the coarsest and commonest things, and purchased nothing I could by reasonable means do without. My prison allow ance was 50 francs a month (£2 1s. 8d.), and upon this I managed to live, independently of my English pay, which it was my object to save for an emergency. In drawing my quarterly bill I lost almost one-third of it in the exchange, which was, however, refunded to me eventually by the English Government.

Our occupations and amusements at Bitche were limited to those of the most primitive nature. No gambling was tolerated amongst us, our principal recreations were out-of-doors, where we practised athletic and other games, such as lay in our power to promote.

Bitche had been used as a prison for the lower class of English prisoners, but most of them had been removed before we had been sent there, and only sufficient left to perform the duties of servants. These were placed in the Souterraines, where they reigned supreme and legislated for their community upon principles of their own, administering reward and punishment to all who deserved one or the other; but woe betide the offender whoever and whatever he might be. He was allowed no money, and

in the blanket as the contingency required. The latter system of retribution was that most frequently adopted and most dreaded. The rank of a man was of no avail as soon as he appeared in the Souterraines; and if any one with a voice amongst the men owed the visitor a grudge, master or no master, the latter was sure to pay the penalty. A man named Spillier was the presiding genius of this place, and to him were referred all questions of arbitration. When any remarkable act of justice was on the eve of consummation, he usually apprised me of the event. And if I felt inclined, as I am sorry to say I always was, to witness the spectacle, I repaired forthwith to the scene under his convoy. There was a Lieutenant at Bitche who was an especial object of aversion to the underground community, and they never were so anxious to get a man into their power as they were to catch him. He was of an exclusive overbearing disposition, and in some way or other had raised their ire; but he was far too knowing to trespass on their limits, and so avoided their vengeance.

All through the winter I had my eye on a future plan of escape, which I communicated to Mr Throgmorton, inviting him to join me in the attempt. He, however, declined, and I then spoke to Lieutenant L'Estrange, and reminded him of an old under

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