Imagini ale paginilor


save, but cannot alone save us, or be placed in the stead of Christ. But, as I observed, they are necessary features of that character which Christ will save. Without these it will be in vain for a man to cry unto him in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not been called by thy name? He will still answer, you could not have a proper sense of the mercy which I showed, in bearing your sins in my own body on the tree, when

you showed no mercy towards your own brethren, who had not offended you by ten thousand times as heavily as you have offended against your Almighty Father. Neither could you value your knowledge of my Gospel, when you have employed no pains to give others that knowledge; neither could you love your brethren, as I manded you to love them, when you refused to do unto them as ye would they should do unto you: therefore, yours is not the character which shall obtain mercy, nor the character for which my heavenly kingdom is prepared.

My brethren, if any of you are conscious that you have not forgiven a neighbour when he trespassed against you; if any of you are conscious that you have taken a malicious pleasure in making a brother's offences known, and injuring his credit; if any have pushed your rights to an extreme, and insisted on a severity of justice when you might rather have shown mercy and pity; if any have no feeling for their fellow-creatures' wants, and are contented to enjoy themselves, without bestowing a thought on those who have in this life evil things ; you plainly perceive that the blessing bestowed on the merciful is not addressed to you: you must expect judgment without mercy, if you have shown no mercy. Pray therefore to the Lord Jesus Christ, that He who first set the most beautiful example of charity, and displayed his almighty power, not by removing mountains or destroying cities, but went about doing good, reforming the sinner, and curing the diseased, and relieving the distressed, and blessing those who persecuted him, may “pour into your hearts that most excellent gift of charity, without which all other qualities are nothing worth.” Whenever you are tempted to resent an injury, reflect with yourselves, has God no account against you? When you are inclined to speak, or to think, hardly of your neighbour, who may have fallen into sin, reflect, Am I so without sin that I can venture to cast the first stone against another? When you are unwilling to take some trouble, or to spare some little of your substance, to relieve another's wants, remember the sentence

of your Lord and Judge, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these, ye did it not unto me.


DE LATUDE. [In the year 1749, De Latude, who was of a respectable family in Languedoc, and intended for the engineers, came to Paris, and being unsuccessful in obtaining an appointment, he formed a scheme to gain the good will of Madame Pompadour, the king's mistress, by disclosing to her a pretended plot for poisoning her. This artifice being detected, he was seized and confined in the castle of Vincennes, from which he escaped after nine months' confinement, but was retaken and imprisoned in the Bastille. He had for a fellow-prisoner a young man of the name of D'Alegre, who had been in confinement, at the instance of Madame de Pompadour, for three years. These two unfortunate men occupied the same chamber. The then governor of the Bastille, Monsieur Berryer, treated them with humanity, and used his best endeavours to procure their discharge by forwarding and backing their memorials and petitions. At length, however, he was under the painful necessity of announcing to them, that, in consequence of Madame de Pompadour's positive orders never to be spoken to on their behalf, there was no prospect of their release, but with the death or disgrace of that implacable woman. D'Alegre was reduced to despair; but the courage of De Latude was raised by this intelligence, and he resolved to escape or perish in the attempt. We will now let him tell his own story :-)

“To any man who had the least notion of the situation of the Bastille, its extent, its towers, its discipline, and the incredible precautions which despotism had multiplied more surely to chain its victims, the mere idea of escaping from it would appear the effect of insanity, and would inspire nothing but pity for a wretch so devoid of sense as to dare to conceive it. A moment's reflection would suffice to show that it was hopeless to attempt an escape by the gates. Every physical impossibility was united to render this impracticable. We had no resource but by the outside. There was in our chamber a fire-place, the chimney of which came out in the extreme height of the tower— it was full of gratings and bars of iron, which in several parts of it scarcely left a free passage for the smoke. Should we be able to get to the top of the tower, we should have below us a precipice of great height, at the bottom of which was a fosse or broad ditch, surrounded by a very lofty wall, to be got over. We were without assistance, without tools, without materials, constantly watched night and day, and guarded besides by a great number of sentinels, who surrounded the outworks of the Bastille. So many obstacles, so many dangers did not deter me. I hinted my scheme to my comrade; he thought me a madman, and relapsed into despair. I was obliged alone to digest my plan, to anticipate the frightful host of difficulties which opposed its execution, and find the means of remedying them all. To accomplish our object we had to climb to the top of the chimney, notwithstanding the many iron gratings which were opposed to our ascent; and then, in order to descend from the top of the tower into the fossé, we required a ladder of eighty feet at least, and another ladder, necessarily of wood, to get out of the fossé. If I could get these materials I must bide them from every eye, must work without noise, deceive all our spies, and this for months together. Now for the details of my operations. Our first object was to find a place of concealment for our tools and materials, in case we should be so fortunate as to procure any. By dint of reflecting on the subject, a thought struck me which appeared to me a very happy one. I had occupied several different chambers in the Bastille, and had always observed, whenever the chambers either above or below me were inhabited, that I had heard very distinctly any noise made in either. On the present occasion I heard all the movements of the prisoner above, but not of him below, nevertheless I felt confident there was a prisoner there. I conjectured at last that there might be a double floor with a space between each. I took the following means to satisfy myself on the point. There was in the Bastille a chapel, at which, by special favour of Monsieur Berryer, we, as well as the prisoner below, in No. 3, were allowed to hear mass. I resolved to take advantage, when mass should be over, of a moment before the prisoner below was locked up to take a view of his chamber. I pointed out to D'Alegre how he was to assist me. I told him to put his toothpick case in his pocket-handkerchief, and when we should be on the second floor, by pulling out his pocket-handkerchief, to let his toothpick case fall all the way down stairs, and then to request the turnkey to go and pick it up. My little plan succeeded. While the turn

[ocr errors]

key was going after the tooth-pick case, I ran quickly up to No. 3. I drew back the bolt of the door-I examined the height of the chamber from the floor, and found it about ten feet six inches. I shut the door, and from this room to ours I counted, thirty-two steps, measured the height of one of them, and making my calculation, I came to the conclusion, that there must be between the floor of our chamber and the ceiling of that below a space of five feet six inches, which could 'not be filled up either by stones or wood on account of their weight. As soon as we were shut up, and bolted in, I embraced D'Alegre with delight. “My friend,' said I, 'patience and courage-we are saved ! We can hide our ropes and materials—that is all that is wanted! We are saved !' •What,' said he, ‘have you not given up your dreams? Ropes and materials! where are they, and where shall we get them ?''

Ropes,' said I, “why we have more than we want, that trunk (showing him mine) contains a thousand feet of them.' Looking at me stedfastly, he replied, 'My good friend, endeavour to regain your senses and to calm the frenzy which agitates you. I know the contents of your trunk, there is not a single inch of rope in it.' 'Ay,' said I, • but have I not a large stock of linen-twelve dozen of shirts, a great number of napkins, stockings, nightcaps, and other things ;--will not they supply us? We will unravel them, and we shall have ropes enough.''But how are we to extract the iron gratings of our chimney?' said D'Alegre; “where are we to get the materials for the wooden ladder which we shall want? where obtain tools for all these works? we cannot create things.' My friend,' I replied, “it is genius which creates, and we have that which despair gives, that will guide our hands; once more, we are saved !' We had a flat table, supported by iron legs; we gave them an edge by rubbing them on the tiled floor; of the steel of our tinder-box, we made, in less than two hours, a good knife with which we formed two handles to these iron legs ; the principal use of these was to force out the gratings of our chimney. In the evening, the daily inspection being over, with these iron legs we raised some tiles of our floor, and by digging for about six hours we discovered that our conjectures were well founded, and that there was a vacant space between the floor and ceiling of about four feet. We replaced the tiles, so that they scarcely appeared to have been raised. This done, we ripped the seams and hems of two shirts, and drew out the threads of them one by one.

These we tied together

and wound them on a number of small balls, which we afterwards rewound on two larger balls, each of which was composed of fifty threads sixty feet long. We twisted these and formed a cord about fifty-five feet long, and with it constructed a rope ladder which was intended to support us aloft, while we drew out of the chimney the bars and spikes of iron with which it was armed. This was the most painful and troublesome of our labours, and cost us six months' toil, the recollection of which makes one shudder. We could only work by bending our bodies in the most painful positions; an hour at a time was all we could bear, and we never came down without hands covered with blood. The iron bars were fastened with an extremely hard mortar which we had no means of softening but by blowing water with our mouths into the holes as we worked them. Judge what this work must have been, when we were well pleased, if, in a whole night, we had worked away the eighth of an inch of this mortar. When we got a bar out we replaced it in its holes, that when we were inspected, the deficiency might not appear, and so as to enable us to take all of them out at once should we be in a situation to escape. After six months of this obstinate and cruel work, we applied ourselves to the wooden ladder which was necessary to mount from the fosse upon the parapet, and from thence into the governor's garden. This ladder required to be twenty feet long. We devoted to this part of our work nearly all our fuel ; it consisted of round logs about eighteen or twenty inches long. We found we should want blocks or pulleys, and several other ings, for which a saw was indispensable. I made one with an iron candlestick by means of half of the steel of the tinder-box from which I had made the knife ; with this piece of the steel, the saw, and the iron legs of our table, we reduced the size of our logs; we made tenons and mortices in them to join them one into the other, with two holes through each, and two joints, to prevent swagging. We made the ladder with only one upright, through which we put twenty rounds, each round being fifteen inches long. The upright was three inches diameter, so that each round projected, clear, six inches on each side of the upright. To every piece of which the ladder was composed, the proper round of each joint was tied with a string, to enable us to put it together readily in the dark. As we completed each piece we concealed it between the two floors. With the tools we had made we completed the tools of our workshop. We had a pair of

« ÎnapoiContinuați »