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line of underground dungeons beneath it. There was also another wing appropriated to justice business, designated as “ The Audience Chamber,” where petty disputes were settled, and the residence of the concierge and his family, these our friends were not allowed to visit.
The room assigned to Léon and his companion was a large, square, stone apartment, with one small door, and two middle-sized grated windows; the walls were weeping damp, and the concierge told them that there had not been a fire in the chamber for more than twenty years; there was a stove, two small beds, a large round table, and three chairs, to which the old concierge politely added a fourth, “ in case,” as he said, “ any other friend besides himself should choose at the same time to visit them.” On inquiring if the prison contained any other company than themselves, they were informed that there was a young soldier, a captain of infantry, who had lost his rank for disobedience, a Parisian cockney, and a lady, and that it was likely they would remain longer than usual, as the gens-d'armes, the usual escort of the prisoners, were either
aten and skulking about to hide themselves, or all murdered by the people, who thus naturally resented the infamous and brutal manner in which, during their prosperity, they had exercised the authority delegated to them. “ The troops cannot be spared as yet,” said the old man,
so that I suppose you will all wait here till the revolution be entirely ended, which, as everything is to be entirely changed, will certainly take some time.”
“ Everything is to be entirely changed ?” repeated Harry Falconer. No, my good friend, only the persons: they will still have a King, I suppose; only the same brow will not wear the crown; they will only modify, I presume, not change the form of government?”
“O! we intend to rectify everything," said the old man; and to prove it, we shall begin to reckon from this month—the past is to be annihilated.”
“ I should think you would find that somewhat difficult,” observed the Englishman.
“ Not at all, Sir, not at all," and then, with the overweening, but characteristic vanity of the nation, the old man added, “ Everything is possible to Frenchmen!”
In the morning Léon rose early to take a turn in the court, but Falconer, who had received several severe bruises at the hands of the patriots, and who had in consequence suffered during the night from fever, kept quietly his bed, and tried to compose himself to sleep. The servant whom they had hired to attend them was busy in her avocations, when Falconer heard himself addressed in a rough soldierly voice by some one who stood in the door-way behind him, and who inquired after his health. He thanked the inquirer, observing that his illness was nothing, merely the consequence of the fatigue of the day before, and would, no doubt, pass away without difficulty.
May be so; and, for your sake, I wish it may,” replied the visitor; “ but I understand you have got a trump or two in your play of yesterday, and I know, by experience, that they are not so easily cured, especially in such a hole as this, to which there never is but one doctor, and he has nobody to overlook him, or trouble their heads whether he
Trump-Atout, military slang for a wound.
kill or cure. Dame! I am sorry for you,” continued the friendly voice; “ but why, in the name of trumpets and kettledrums, do you scald your fingers with other people's pottage? You are an Englishman, as I understand; what had you to do with the French row of yesterday ?”
“ Why, in good truth, my friend, nothing at all. It was, as you say, the conduct of a fool,” replied Falconer.
“ Heaven defend me from saying anything so uncivil, whatever I may have thought!" replied his interlocutor. Every man, moreover, has a right to his opinion, for it is the only thing he can truly call his own in this rascally world of ours; and when he gives up that, he may look upon himself as dead, for certainly he is good for nothing afterwards. I have had some experience of that, too, for I once, only once, gave up my opinion in compliance to that of others, and here l'am in consequence.
Ah! ah!" thought Falconer, as he listened attentively, “this is the poor young soldier, a little repentant of his follies ;” and, turning round to take a look of his physiognomy, beheld, to his astonishment, a woman, tolerably well dressed, and of a most masculine style of beauty. She was tall, square-built, broad-shouldered, and well-made, with large features, bright eyes, olive-coloured complexion, and a most astounding voice : she was leaning, or rather lolling, against the chamber door with a halfsmoked cigar in her mouth, a loaf of the black prison bread was lying on one arm, and a bottle of most muddy-looking ordinaire was reposing on the other. Henry stared in astonishment for a moment; but, too wellbred to express any surprise, laid down again on his pillow, and allowed the lady to go on with her observations without any interruption.
“I suppose,” said his fair companion, “ that though I neither meddled nor mixed in this whirlabout of a revolution, I shall not get out of this den of thieves sooner than you. Now, as I am entirely without cash, having only a few copper republics in my pocket when they took me, and neither intending to beg nor steal, in spite of the place and company, I stand a capital chance of being starved to death on the prison rations, and this infernal compound of bone dust, powdered lime, and treacle, miscalled bread, unless I can earn a little cash by making myself useful : therefore if you have anything to do in my way, it will be a real charity to employ me. I am a good tailor, a tolerable shoemaker, can mend anything in the way of clothing, can shave, cut and dress hair, teach dancing, fencing, the trumpet, and French horn. I can even beat a drum upon a pinch, and give young gentlemen an idea of the manual. It was by practising all these things in their turn that I made a good round sum during the eight years that I served.”
“ Served!” thought Falconer; “ shave, cut hair, the trumpet, and French horn! Heavens and earth! what a stupid blunder I might have made. I presume from his dress he was arrested in carnival time, poor fellow! in the midst of a joke, perhaps.” He turned round to re-consider the young officer, and the lady at the moment squirting out of her mouth an ounce of liquid tobacco, he was quite satisfied that the petticoat must be a disguise; nevertheless, on looking again he was puzzled : the person,
attitude, and manner, were masculine enough, but, independent of the absence of beard and whisker, the olive-coloured skin did not look coarse, and there was another sign rather more convincing. The personage appeared to have the intention shortly to usher in to the
world a little tailor, shoemaker, or dancing-master. Harry's curiosity grew intense, he could no longer refrain a question.
“ You say you have served,” said he, gravely, raising his head, and contemplating the outward visible sign of an inward material increase; “ may I ask in what capacity ?”
“To be sure you may,” replied his companion, with something between a smile and a sigh: “ but I see how it is—you doubt my story because of my present condition, and this unlucky burden which I am compelled to bear about with me, and which is really the cause of my present trouble: but for this stupid folly, this consenting to choose a husband, I should still be happy in my own way. Now, I am a prisoner, and when my liberty shall be restored to me, shall have another being tacked to my existence. I have had my revenge, however, that is always a consolation; and though I am shut up in a prison, I have soundly thrashed the rascal who is the cause of my being so.”
“Mercy upon me!” thought Falconer, “I must not argne too sharply with this lady, or she may think it necessary to convince me upon my ribs, how much she is in the right. Well, but Madame”
He was going to say more to his companion, when she suddenly advanced a step or two into the chamber, and looking fixedly at him
“Stop, my good friend,” said she, “I beseech you ; before you say another word, I must beg you not to 'Madame' me; I have a particular objection to the distinction; it reminds me of all my former troubles. Call me anything else you please, but if you would address me as I please, then call me nothing but Joseph, which is the name I bore during the eight years I served Napoleon, the happiest part of my life.”
“Why then, Joseph,” replied the Englishman, “my good, dear, extraordinary Joseph, take a chair by my bed-side, take a good draught from that bottle of wine which stands near you, and then, take compassion
upon the curiosity of a man in a huge fever, and tell him somewhat of your mystery, why petticoats and kettle-drums should ever rub against ench other, and why you, in particular, should have served, instead of being served, and waited upon, as every fair lady ought to be.”
" I will satisfy your curiosity to oblige you,” replied his companion ; "and therefore, to begin from the beginning, I must tell you, that I am from the eastern side of our beautiful France, I am a Lorrainer born, but of French parents, who were settled in that country; they soon lost all traces of their French character, and adopted that of the heaviest of the Germans, becoming dull, quiet, and silent enough to drive a Frenchman to despair. In revenge, however, the good qualities which they had lost, were all found again in me; I was a true Frenchmanwoman, I mean to say-a half-mad, lively, laughing, galloping girl, who found nothing in the creation so dull as a German papa and mamma-except a German lover.
“My father was a small farmer, a regular-living, hard-working man, as much occupied in making money, as my mother was in saving it; for my part, I liked working in the fields well enough, but I loved hunting and gallopping over the country still more. I certainly did not exhibit any wife-like virtues or attractions; and yet, for all that, and despite my gallopping babits, I had a great number of suitors, ay, and serious ones, too, and this was the first thing that gave me a disgust to matri
Dec.-YOL, LIV. NO. CCXVI.
mony, since I had a strong suspicion that it was more to my fortune than myself that these gentlemen made court, seeing that I was anything but amiable or agreeable, and that it was scarcely possible that any of them could love me. Then I had also a great dread of giving up my liberty and independence, to an animal perhaps not half so good as myself; so that all these considerations weighed, when my father mentioned to me half a dozen aspirants, and told me I might make my choice, I resolutely refused them all; and in consequence, my father, my mother, and myself, did nothing but quarrel from morning till night.
“I remember, long after that, hearing one of our captains, who was a great scholar, tell of a Miss Penny-Lopes, a Spanish lady, I suppose, by her name, who, when pressed very much by her papa and mamma to marry against her own inclination, promised that she would when she should have finished a shirt that she was making; but every night, when all the world was in bed, she unstitched the wristbands that she had done in the day, so that the shirt did not get on, nor her marriage neither. Now, though I had never heard of Miss Pen in those days, yet, like her, I cast about to think how I might avoid being married, and yet not have such continual battles with my father and mother. Why the latter should have been so anxious about my marriage I never could comprehend, for my father used to thrash her regularly once a-week, and he was reckoned by her, and everybody else, the kindest husband in the vicinity; perhaps she thought I had no right to escape what she so quietly suffered. I was of a different opinion, but no ideas came to my assistance ; the more I thought, the more I saw of difficulty, and the less chance of escaping my detestable destiny. I do assure you, that though naturally as gay as a grasshopper, I soon grew as melancholy as a mole.
“ Í had, as I have already observed to you, about half a dozen suitors all tenderly amoureux of my dowry, which, as I was an only child, was, for a small farmer's daughter, very considerable. Tired out at length by their compliments, my mother's entreaties, and my father's threats, I consented to make a choice, and this fell upon the youngest of the set, a mild, soft-looking, blue-eyed boy, who always said what I believed to be true, that he never would have any other will than mine; and that by making me happy, he would reconcile me to wedlock. He had almost by this means persuaded me to believe all the rest of his assertions, that it was me, and not my fortune that he loved; when, one night, the very night before our wedding, going to spend an hour with his sister, with whom I was very intimate, I heard their voices talking together as I was about to enter. I stopped an instant upon the threshold in order to hear and enjoy the tender things which I knew my gentle lover was saying of me, when I heard his sister remark to him, 'Well, you are very lucky, Arnold, to have gained her, that is her fortune, but you will be more lucky still, if you can manage her afterwards, which I doubt exceedingly, for your gentle bride is, in everybody's opinion, and to my certain knowledge, a very devil incarnate.'
“0 I know all that perfectly well,' replied my blue-eyed adorer, and shall take my measures accordingly. I am resolved to be master all my life, and therefore shall begin to teach her obedience immediately; I'll not spare the horsewhip, depend upon it, for the very first oflence, anl I
intend to pick a quarrel with her to-morrow after the ceremony, on purpose to have an excuse for giving her a threshing even on her weddingday.' 'Don't wait for that,' said I, springing forward and catching him firmly by the collar, “I'll give you an excuse immediately, and a threshing into the bargain before the wedding-day; and, as I had my whip in my hand, I laid it about him with such hearty good will, that instead of resisting, he could only cry for mercy, while his sister ran squalling out of the house, to find help for her half-murdered brother. You may be sure I did not wait her return; springing on my horse, I gallopped home, put on my male habiliments, took what money I could find, and getting again into the saddle, was soon out of the reach of immediate pursuit, and three days after put my person out of all danger by engaging as trumpeter in a regiment of Lancers, being already an excellent performer on that instrument.”
“Joseph,” said the Englishman, interrupting her curious narrative,
dear, tender, and threefold gentle Joseph, thou art a man after my own heart, and a valiant woman after Solomon's! Beshrew me, but I dearly love that tough spirit, and sturdy little fist! But go on, Joseph, my wellbeloved, for I do hope to hear that you shot the colonel, kicked the captains, and horsewhipped every private in your troop! Go on, most un-patriarchal Joseph, for you are no dreamer like your namesake of old, but a good solid dealer in fisty-cuff's, and hard blows-go on, dear Joseph, I beseech thee."
“ If you expect all that from me, master Englishman,” replied the heroine, after taking a long tug at the bottle of wine placed at her elbow, “you will be greatly disappointed, though I should not have hesitated to attempt so much, if so much had been necessary. Happily it was not, for the peace of the regiment, and my own peace in particular; for, not being teased by love-making, I was no longer quarrelsome, but on the contrary a most excellent specimen of a well-regulated trumpeter. I was never idle; constant and attentive in the discharge of my duties, clean in my person and habits, sober, quiet, and obliging; my hours of vacancy were all filled up by practising other arts, which I soon found would be very useful to me in my career, as I had now made up my mind never to quit the service. Well, by degrees, my reputation---my manly one I meanincreased so much, that I was chosen, in preference to other soldiers, to fill the office of servant to the senior captain, who, being a grave steady man, knew the value of similar virtues in a domestic. I remained with him some months, and was then, for my good conduct, appointed to wait upon the colonel himself, with whom I soon grew a very great favourite, and in whose service I was, at the beginning of the disastrous campaign of Russia. I was at this time just eighteen years of age, strong, healthy, happy, full of life and activity; and now that I had got over the affair of my marriage, not understanding the meaning of the word difficulty,' which I should only have explained by the word 'dis-inclination,' for I should as soon have thought of being conquered by a kitten, as by a circumstance; and these feelings made me oppose the reasonings of older and wiser heads than mine, among whom this Russian invasion was unpopular. But though many disapproved, none opposed the plan, for the Emperor was with us, and so confident were we in the resources of his genius, and the immovability of his power, that if he had commanded us to march into Vesuvius, we should have done so without a murmur,