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to learn that his friend had safely arrived in London, and the knowledge of his safety made his own captivity the more endurable.
The commodore would also willingly have effected the exchange of his secretary, but that estimable gentleman was opposed to all mention of it, as he would have looked upon it as an infraction of that friendship of which he had given so many proofs.
His principal did not very forcibly press the matter, as he, unlike Mr. De T., had no other dangers to apprehend than those that were common to all prisoners of
On the 18th Fructidor of republican France, the 4th of September of Christianity, for some reasons never fully understood, the rigour of Sir Sidney's confinement was still further increased. That paragon of jailers, with whom we have become so well acquainted, and whose name, which ought to be immortalised, was Lasne, was suddenly displaced, and his successor immediately made the commodore actually a close prisoner. Thus were Sir Sidney's hopes of a peace, which had just then been much talked of, and of his own release, crushed together. He now saw in this wanton severity a demonstration in the Directory of the most hostile character to the English nation, and a new barrier to future ac
commodation thrown up by this cruel treatment of distinguished English subjects.
But, amidst all these present adversities and gloomy apprehensions for the future, another proposal was made to the gallant captive, which, as a last resource, he was resolved to accept. The plan was simple, and could not but be effective, if wisely conducted. It was merely, by proper forged official documents, to order the removal of the prisoner to another place of confinement, and, in the supposititious transit, to convey him first to a place of safety, from whence he might ultimately make his escape. A French gentleman, enthusiastically attached to the royal cause, a M. de Phélypeaux, whom the reader will again meet in these Memoirs, was the author of this scheme. As he was a gentleman not only distinguished by generosity, but by acumen in judgment and activity in conduct, the execution of the project was cheerfully confided to him. The order for removal having been accurately imitated, and, by means of a bribe, the real stamp of the minister's signature having been procured, nothing remained but to find men bold and trustworthy enough to simulate the necessary characters that should be employed to effect the removal. Mr. Phélypeaux and Charles l'Oiseau would have eagerly undertaken this part of the stratagem also, but both being well known, and even notorious at the Temple, it was absolutely necessary to employ others. Messrs B-and therefore, both persons of tried courage, accepted the office with pleasure and alacrity.
With this forged order they boldly came to the Temple, M. B- in the disguise of an adjutant, and M. L-- as an officer. They presented their order, which the keeper having perused, and of which he carefully examined the seal and the minister's signature, he went into another room, leaving the two gentlemen in the most cruel suspense. After a considerable time, which anxiety increased into hours, he returned, accompanied by the greffier or register of the prison, and ordered Sir Sidney to be sent for. When the greffier informed the prisoner of the order of the Directory, Sir Sidney pretended to be much concerned at it, as it appeared to him to argue further persecutions on their part. Hearing this, the adjutant assured him in the most serious manner, that “the government were very far from intending to aggravate his misfortunes, and that he would be very comfortable in the place to which he was ordered to conduct him.” After this farcical exhibition, the commodore expressed his gratitude to all the servants employed about the prison, and then, with a very commendable despatch, he commenced packing up his clothes.
On his return, all ready for the approaching liberty, the greffier remarked that, at least six men from the guard must accompany the prisoner; with which precaution the soi-disant adjutant coincided, and, without the least appearance of confusion, ordered them immediately to be called out. No sooner, however, had he given these orders, than he seemed, on a sudden, to have called to his mind the law of chivalry and of honour; so turning abruptly to Sir Sidney, he thus addressed him : “Commodore, you are an officer-I am an officer also. Your parole will be sufficient. Give me but that, and I have no need of an escort.”
Sir," replied the prisoner, “if that is sufficient, I swear on the faith of an officer to accompany you wherever you choose to conduct
Every one applauded these noble sentiments; and the only hardship that Sir Sidney felt in doing them sufficient justice, was in the difficulty that he found in suppressing his laughter. The keeper now asked for a discharge, and the greffier,
handing the book to M. B-he boldly signed it, with an imposing flourish, “L'Oger, adjutantgeneral.”
During these proceedings, Sir Sidney occupied the attention of the turnkeys with praises for their politeness and urbanity, and loaded them with favours, in order that they might have no leisure for reflection. The precaution seemed to be wholly needless, as they appeared to be thinking of nothing but their own advantage.
At last these tedious ceremonies were ended, and the greffier and the governor accompanied the party as far as the second court; and their suspense was nearly at an end when they found the external gate opened to them, through which, after a tantalising exchange of punctilio and politeness, they finally and joyfully passed, and had the extreme consolation of hearing it bolted behind them.
They instantly entered a hackney coach, and the adjutant ordered the coachman to drive to the suburb of St. Germain. But this fellow, either from his natural stupidity, or from some little plot of extortion, drove his vehicle, before he had proceeded one hundred yards, against a post, broke his wheel, and injured an unfortunate passenger. This contre-tems immediately collected a demonstration of the sovereign people