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received information that most of our English acquaintance were conducted to prison. At length night came ; and no commissaries appearing, we began to flatter ourselves that, being a family of women, it was intended that we should be spared ; for the time was only now arrived when neither sex nor age gave any claim to compassion. Overcome with fatigue and emotion, we went to bed with some faint hopes of exemption from the general calamity of our countrymen. These hopes were however but of short duration. At two in the morning we were awakened by a loud knocking at the gate of the hotel, which we well knew to, be the fatal signal of our approaching captivity ; and a few minutes after, the bell of our apartments was rung with violence. My sister and myself hurried on our clothes, and went with trembling steps to the anti-chamber, when we found two commissaries of the revolutionary committee of our section, accompanied by a guard, two of whom were placed at the outer door with their swords drawn, while the rest entered the room. One of these constituted authorities held a paper in his hand, which was a copy of the decree of the con- » vention, and which he offered to read to us, but we declined hearing it, and told him we were - ready to obey the law. Seeing us pale and trembling, he and his colleague endeavoured to comfort us; they begged us to compose ourselves; they i repeated that our arrestation was only part of a general political measure, and that innocence had nothing to fear.---Alas ! innocence was no longer any plea for safety. They took a procès-verbal of our names, ages, the country where we were born, the length of time we had lived in France; and when this register was finished, we were told that we must prepare to depart. We were each of us allowed to take as much clean linen as we could
in a bandkerchief, and which was all the. property which we could now call our own; the rest; in consequence of the decree, being seized by the nation. Sometimes, under the pressure of a great calamity, the most acute sensations are excited by little circumstances which form a part of the whole, and serve in the retrospect of memory, like certain points in a landscape, to call up the surrounding scenery: such is the feeling with which I recal the moments wben, baving got out of our apartments, we stood upon the stair case sur : rounded with guards, while the commissaries placed the seals on our doors. The contrast between the prison where we were going to be led, and that home which was now closed against us, perhaps for years, filled my heart with a pang for which language bas no utterance. Some of the guards were disposed to treat us with rudeness; which the commissaries sternly repressd, and, ordering them to kcep at some distance, made us lean on their arms, for they saw we stood in need of support, in our way to the committee-room. We found this place crowded with commissaries and soldiers, sume sleeping, some writing, and .others amusing themselves with pleasantries of a revolutionary nature, to which we listened trem-bling. Every half hour a guard.entered, conducting English prisoners, among whom were no women but ourselves. Here we passed the long night, and at eight in the morning our countrymen were taken to the prison of the Madelonettes, while we were still detained at the committee.' We dis.covered afterwards that this was owing to the humanity of the commissaries who arrested us, and who sent to the municipality to know if we might not be taken to the Luxembourg, where we should find good accommodations, while at the MadeJonettes scarcely a bed could be procured. All
that compassion could dictate, all the lenity which it was in the power of these commissaries to display without incurring ten years imprisonment, the penalty annexed to leavivg us at liberty, we experienced. Humanity from members of a revolutionary committee! You will perhaps exclaim in the language of the Jews, “ Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?" It is certain, however, strange as it
may seem, that our two commissaries behaved towards us as if they remembered that we were defenceless women in a land of strangers; that we were accused of no crime except that of being born 'on the soil of England ; and that if we were punished, we had only deserved it by trusting with too easy a belief in that national faith which was now violated. By the way, when I tell you that we experienced compassion from revolutionary committees, you will not suppose I mean to assert that compassionate men formed the majority of their committees. The greater part of mankind in all ages, even when accustomed to the most elevated rank, have abused power : how then could it be hope that unlimited power would not be abused, which was confided to men who were, for the most part, ignorant and unenlightened: men whọ, till that period, confined to their shops and their manual occupations, were suddenly transported into splendid hotels, with authority to unlock cabinets blazing with jewels, to seize upon heaps of uncounted gold, and with a stroke of their pens to disperse as many warrants for imprisonment as caprice, envy, or mistaken zeal might prompt; who were made arbiters of the liberty, property, and even lives of their fellow-citizens; and who were incited, nay even compelled, to acts of violence under the penalty of being branded with the guilt of moderatism? When such was the new established system, when it required the most
daring courage to be humane, and when to be cruel was to be safe, can you wonder, that among the reyolutionary committees in general there was not % as much pity to be found as would fill the eye of a wren?" After passing the whole day., as we had done the night, in the comunittee-room, orders arrived from the municipality to send us to the former palace, now the prison of the Luxembourg, where we were attended by, two, guards within each coach, while two walked on each side. What strange sensations I felt as I passed through the streets of Paris, and ascended the steps of the Luxembourg, a sad spectacle to the crowd! We were conducted to the
apartments above the former rooms of state, where we were received with the utmost civility by the keeper of the prison, Benoit, a name which many a wretch has blessed, for many a sorsow his compassion and gentleness have softened. His heart was indeed but ill suited to his office; and often he incurred the displeasure of those savages by whom he was employed, and who wished their victims to feel the full extent of their calamity, unpritigated by any detail of kindness, any attention to those little wants which this benevolent person was anxious to remove, or those few comforts which he had the power to bestow. The barbarians thought it not enough to load their victims with iron, unless " it entered into their souls.” But Benoit was not to be intimidated into cruelty. Without deviating from his duty, he pursued his steady course of humanity; and may the grateful benedictions of the unhappy have ascended for him to heaven!
We had a good apartment allotted us, which a few weeks before had been inhabited by Valazé, one of the deputies of the convention, who was now transferred to the prison of the Conciergerie. Our apartment, with several adjoining, had soon
after the event of the 31st of May been prepared for the imprisonment of the deputies of the coté droit; and for that purpose the windows which commanded a fine view of the Luxembourg-gardens bad been blocked up to the upper panes, which were barred with iron. Mattrasses were provided for us in this gloomy chamber, the door of which was locked by one of our jailors; and we had suffered too much fatigue of body, as well as disturbance of mind, not to find a refuge from sorrow in some 'hours of profound sleep.
I am, &c.
Miss Williams to a friend, in continuation..
MY DEAR SIR, THE next morning the sun arose with unusual brightness; and with the aid of a table on which I mounted, I saw through our grated windows the beautiful gardens of the Luxembourg. Its tall majestic trees had not yet lost their foliage ; and though they were fallen, like our fortunes, “into the sear, the yellow leaf," they still presented those rich gradations of colouring, which belong to
The sun gilded the gothic spires of the surrounding convents, which lifted 'up their tall points above the venerable groves, while 'on the back ground of the scenery arose the hills of Meudon. "It seemed to me as if the declining season had shed its last interesting graces over the landscape to sooth my afflicted spirit'; and such was the effect it produced. It is scarcely possible to contemplate the beauties of nature without that en. thusiastic pleasure which swells into devotion; and when such dispositions are excited in the mind,