Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

the French police were to send her prisoner of war to the fortress of Valenciennes ! At the moment when she was anxiously waiting to receive a passport, to enable her to quit Venice, she was arrested by a party of gendarmes, told of her destination to Valenciennes, and placed in a state of close confinement in her chamber, previously to being conducted to France.

The friends of Mrs. Smith were struck with consternation and grief at this change in her fate; but, endued herself with an admirable degree of fortitude, she roused the courage of those who wept around her; nor once appeared shaken till her lovely infants came running to her arms, to ask their mamma why she was so sad ? She wished, by any sacrifice, to preserve them from the fate to which she was doomed. But how was this to be done? Who was able to help her by saving them ? In evident anguish she looked round on each of the small circle of her friends, who sympathized with her situation, and in mournful silence her eyes explained her supplication to them all.

Among the number of these friends was a young Sicilian nobleman, the Marquis de Salvo. Overcome by the sensations which so tender a scene excited, he rushed from the room; and when he had recovered composure sufficiently to return, it was to intimate privately to Mrs. Smith, that he had formed and resolved to execute at all hazards, the generous design of effecting the escape both of herself and of her children.

The children not having been placed under the immediate vigilance of the police, the Marquis succeeded, without any great difficulty, in getting them conveyed away to Gratz, where the Countess Strazzoldo, a sister of Mrs. Smith, resided; but he did not think it prudent to make the attempt to effect Mrs. Smith's own escape, till she had left Venice, and was on her way to the Alps.

It was necessary to the success of the project, that the Marquis de Salvo should accompany Mrs. Smith on the road ; and nothing being more reasonable than her request, that a friend might be permitted to travel with her, it was readily complied with, and the Marquis took his seat beside Mrs. S. in the gondola which conveyed her a prisoner from Venice.

It was at Brescia that the Marquis had determined to accomplish Mrs. Smith's deliverance, it being the nearest place to a neutral territory. The party were to stop here two days. The room of the inn in which Mrs. Smith was confined, was fifty feet from the ground, and the gendarmes were posted in the room adjoining, with the door open. The Marquis de Salvo occupied an apartment in another part of the house. Early on the morning after their arrival, the Marquis slipped out unseen by the gendarmes; and wbile the police of Brescia were yet in ignorance of his arrival with Mrs. Smith, went and got a passport signed for the Tyrol. From the police he hastened to survey the outlets of the city ; but, to his sorrow, could see no other passage than through the gates, which were all strongly guarded. He was not, however, dismayed, but immediately set about procuring all the means for their escape; a light carriage, which could travel any where; horses, to spare them the necessity of waiting at the post-houses; a man's dress for the disguise of Mrs. Smith; and, finally, a bill of health, which would be requisite on entering another country. All this he accomplished before ten o'clock in the morning, when he returned to Mrs. Smith, and availed bimself of an hour, while the soldiers were at the street-door, to' settle with her all that was to be prepared and attempted. It was agreed that he should go next day to reconnoitre the environs of Brescia, and collect all the information possible, respecting the places through which it would be necessary to pass; and that on the ensuing night, at eleven o'clock, Mrs. Smith was to let down a string from the window to the ground, to which the Marquis was to be ready to tie a paper, communicating what further discoveries and arrangements he had made.

Returning down stairs, the Marquis told the guards that his affairs prevented him from continuing any longer in the company of this woman; that the slow manner in which she travelled greatly retarded his journey ; that he had to go to Paris with all possible despatch, and besides, (flattering them by apparent confidence,) he assured them that he did not like to be exposed to the stigma of being the friend of a woman, whose arrest was demanded by the Emperor of the French. He added that it was his intention to leave Brescia that very evening; and that as he did not like to tell the lady that such was his intention, he begged as a favour, that they would have the goodness to inform her of it themselves. The guards murmured their opinions to one another; and turning to the Marquis, in a friendly tone, commended his design, and promised to be the faithful bearers of his apology to the lady.

At four o'clock next morning, the Marquis passed the gates of Brescia, and directed his steps to Salo. On his arrival there, no officer appeared at the gate to demand his passport, nor did he perceive any crowd of idle gazers about his chaise, to look at the stranger, as is the custom in the small towns and villages of Italy ; circumstances which made him at once fix on the place as one which it would be an easy matter to pass

4

VOL. II.

through without observation. He then hastened to the borders of the Lake di Garda, where he engaged a covered boat with twelve oars to be ready next morning at six o'clock, for passing the lake with all expedition.

At eleven o'clock in the forenoon nothing further remained to be prepared at Salo, and as he could not well return to Brescia before the evening, he employed the interval in making a ladder of rope and pieces of wood, and succeeded in making one as long as he thought would be required. When this important implement was finished, he wrote a letter of instructions to Mrs. Smith; and, as the night closed in, returned to Brescia, which he entered just as the gates were shutting. He left the horse and chaise at an Inn, situated in a solitary square, telling the ostler that he would return by three o'clock in the morning.

It was near 12 o'clock when, dressed as a Brescian postillion, and with the rope ladder and letter under his cloak, he advanced through the most lonely streets towards the Inn called the Two Towers, where Mrs. Smith was. He stopped before he approached to the window ; listened for sometime to the noise of the soldiers ; and after convincing himself that they were occupied in drinking, he drew near and felt for the string with his hand. Having found it, he tied the ladder and Jetter to it; and on pulling it gently, it was instantly drawn up. He then retired, overjoyed at seeing the first danger so well got

over.

After waiting three hours, he returned under the window, at which, shortly after, a figure appeared; it was Mrs. Smith; the Marquis drew near: Mrs. S. asked in a low voice, “if he was her friend?” De Salvo replied, “I am that friend, and wait for you.” Mrs. Smith instantly proceeded to fasten the ladder. “Scarcely was this done,” says the Marquis,“ when I saw Mrs. Smith take hold of the window, and cling to the wall, pressing with uncertain foot the first step. I perceived she was reluctant in trusting herself upon it; the unhappy lady stood tottering upon the step, and seemed to tremble so much, that I was afraid of her falling. But I was agreeably undeceived when I beheld her grasping the ladder, and boldly determined to descend. What an interesting spectacle ! A forlorn woman, anxious to escape from captivity, committing herself from a height to ropes, which, even while they tore her delicate fingers, she kissed in ecstasy, because they were instrumental to her release. And at the same time, armed sen, tinels in the adjoining apartment, who were ready to dart upon her if interrupted by the least noise. Happily the silence of the night, and its intense gloom, remained undisturbed; and she reached the ground without receiving any essential injury.”

Mrs. Smith and her gallant liberator now hurried in breathless haste from street to street, till they reached the summit of the fortress of Brescia. Here the violence of Mrs. Smith's desire to save herself was such, that she actually offered to attempt scaling the walls; but on the Marquis acquainting her that a chaise was in waiting at the Inn near the gates, her agitation was somewhat calmed. They found the chaise ready, but the hour for opening the gates had not yet arrived ; at their earnest entreaties, however, the guard opened them, and they passed through on the 3d of May, at four o'clock in the morning

They reached Salo at half an hour after six the same morning; hastened on board the boat which the Marquis had engaged to convey them across the Lake di Garda, and in eight hours more, reached the Tyrolean frontier in safety.

CURIOUS MEDICAL CASES.

THE VAPOURS.

A very delicate lady of fashion, who had, till her beauty began to decay, been flattered egregiously by one sex, and vehemently envied by the other, began to feel, as years approached, that she was shrinking into nobody. Disappointment produces ennui, and ennui disease ; a train of nervous symptoms succeeded each other with alarming rapidity, and after the advice and the consultations of all the physicians in Ireland, and the correspondence of the most eminent in England, this poor lady had recourse, in the last resort, to Lord Trimblestone. He declined interfering : he hesitated; but at last, after much intercession, he consented to hear the lady's complaints, and to endeavour to effect her cure; this concession was made upon a positive stipulation, that the patient should remain three weeks in his house without any attendants but those of his own family, and that her friends should give her up entirely to his management. The case was desperate ; and any terms must be submitted to, where there was a prospect of relief. The lady went to Trimblestone; was received with the greatest attention and politeness. Instead of a grave and forbidding physician, her host she found was a man of most agreeable manners. Lady Trimblestone did every thing in her power to entertain her guest, and for two or three days the demon of ennui was banished. At length the lady's vapours returned ; every thing appeared changed. Melancholy brought on a return of alarming nervous complaints, convulsions of the limbs,

manner.

perversion of the understanding, a horror of society ; in short, all the complaints that are to be met with in an advertisement enumerating the miseries of a nervous patient. In the midst of one of her most violent fits, four mutes, dressed in white, entered her apartment, slowly approaching; they took her without violence in their arms, and without giving her time to recollect herself, conveyed her into a distant chamber hung with black, and lighted with green tapers. From the ceiling, which was of a considerable height, a swing was suspended, in which she was placed by the mutes, so as to be seated at some distance from the ground. One of the mutes set the swing in motion; and as it approached one end of the room, she was opposed by a grim, menacing figure, armed with a huge rod of birch. When she looked behind her, she saw a similar figure at the other end of the room, armed in the same

The terror, notwithstanding the strange circumstances which surrounded her, was not of that sort which threatens life; but every instant there was an immediate hazard of bodily pain. After some time, the mutes appeared again, with great composure took the lady out of the swing, and conducted her to her apartment. When she had reposed sometime, a servant came to inform her that tea was ready. Fear of what might be the consequence of a refusal, prevented her from declining to appear. No notice was taken of what had happened, and the evening and the next day, passed without any attack of her disorder. On the third day, the vapours returned; the mutes reappeared, the menacing flaellanto gain afrighted her, and again she enjoyed a remission of her complaints. By degrees, the fits of her disorder became less frequent, the ministration of her tormentors less necessary, and in time, the habits of hypochondriacism were so often interrupted, and such a new series of ideas was introduced into her mind, that she recovered perfect health, and preserved to the end of her life, sincere gratitude to her adventurous physician.

HYPOCHONDRIACS.-NERVES. -BLUE DEVILS. The spleen, the vapours, blue devils, the bile, and so on, are all terms given to the tedium vitæ, which idle and luxurious people are subject to, beyond all others, but which have afflicted some who are even studious. The rich and powerful, by way of soothing their griefs and diappointments, prescribe to themselves a thousand remedies. Gaming, riding, sparring, bathing, Solomon's Balm of Gilead, champaigne and opium, mineral waters, &c. &c. &c. But with their inferiors,

« ElőzőTovább »