Imatges de pÓgina

business. By telegram! that must have by a prisoner in the Fleet. It suggested an been the message, a copy of which Rose imitation and an imitator. When Sir John forwarded to me, and which I have here." Pettus was incarcerated in that same prison

She drew the paper from her pocket, in 1683, he translated from the German a opened it, and held it out before her. The work on metals and metallurgy, and gave addresses, both of sender and receiver, were it the fanciful title of Fleta Minor. plain and legible, but the rest of the text During the sixteenth century, when there was in cipher, a hopeless mass of letters, was a plentiful crop of distinguished prijumbled together, and broken up into short soners and imprisonments in most European impossible words.

countries, books written by the captives were “I feel certain that there is something rather numerous. Maggi, an Italian scholar, of importance herein,” said Madge. “I mathematician, and military archæologist, cannot tell why, but I am certain of it. If rendered himself famous by his defence of I could only find a key to this cipher! I Famagusta against the Turks, during which must, and I will."

he invented ingenious machines which destroyed their works; but when the Turks.

afterwards succeeded in capturing the city, BOOKS WRITTEN IN PRISON. they took revenge on him by carrying him

off in chains to slavery. Working hard as This title suggests a somewhat remark- a slave during the day, he bravely conable group of literary productions. There quered despondency at night by writing are many “prison books, compositions De Tintinnabulis, a treatise on bells. Our wrought out by the brains of luckless per- own Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, a sons shut away from the usages and faci- gallant and chivalrous soldier, but a little lities of every-day life, and seeking some wild withal, got himself into prison on more mode of occupying the mind that may avert than one occasion for satirical hints at permelancholy madness. Isaac D’Israeli col- sons in power, and infractions of the civic lected many examples of books written rules of government in London. While in while the authors were in prison ; Mr. the Fleet Prison he wrote some of the Langford has since given fuller details of sweetest songs and sonnets in the language. some of the men who wrote them; while When afterwards imprisoned in Windsor other instances are only waiting for bookish Castle, for daring (as was alleged) to people to ferret them out.

aspire to the hand of the Princess Mary, The great Boethius was a shining light he wrote his Prisoned in Windsor Castle, among these writers. He was a Roman which contains a charming reminiscence of pbilosopher, in the days when the once days when he played at that same castle great Roman Empire had begun to fall to with a king's son for his companion, ending pieces, and was rapidly going into extinc- with two lines which have often been tion. He was learned among the learned quoted for their deep meaning: at Rome and at Athens ; he was thrice With remembrance of their greater grief, consul under Theodoric the Goth; but his

To banish the less I find the chief relief. rigorous impartiality as a judge raised him A widely different man was Father up enemies among the intriguers at court, Thomas, member of the Order of Hermits who falsely accused him of maintaining a of Saint Augustine. He was imprisoned by treasonable correspondence with the By- the Moors in Africa, and wrote in Portuzantine or Greek government at Constanti- guese on the Sufferings of Our Lord Jesus. nople. He was cast into prison, and there Christ. He had no books, and could write kept until an executioner did his fell work. only for a short time in the middle of each While in captivity, Boethius wrote a day, by a gleam of light that entered his.

, work which afterwards became renowned dungeon through an air-hole. A different throughout Europe, the Consolations of a man, again, was George Buchanan, poet Philosopher. It is a noble, lofty-minded and historian, who seems to have been production, which was some four centuries always at war with monks, and getting or so later translated into English by Alfred into trouble for abusing them. He was the Great.

imprisoned in Portugal, about the middle One of the examples is singular, because of the century, for one of these attacks, we know the name of the book, although and while in captivity wrote his Paraignorant of the name of the man. This phrase on the Psalms of David. On the is Fleta. It consists of a treatise or com- other hand, there was the Jesuit missionary, mentary on law, supposed to have been Robert Southwell, who, during about ten written during the days of the Plantagenets / years of Elizabeth's reign, was imprisoned


over and over again. During the last im- there was George Withers, farmer, lawyer, prisonment which preceded his execution, poet, satirist, and soldier in turn. He he wrote his Saint Peter's Complaint, and wrote Abuses Stript and Whipt, a satire other impassioned religious poems.

which earned for him an imprisonment; Knowing what we do of the state of and in later years, after having fought for England during the reigns of James the and with the Puritans, he was subjected to First and Charles the First, we shall not be a still longer imprisonment by the Royalists. surprised at finding that most of the men He complained bitterly afterwards of his who wrote hooks in English prisons during treatment in prison. “I was shut up from the first half of the seventeenth century the society of mankind, and, as one anwere incarcerated either on religions or poli- worthy the compassion vouchsafed to thieves tical grounds. There was James Howell, and murderers, was neither permitted the a writer and politician, who had a long im- use of my pen, the access or sight of my prisonment, during which he wrote Familiar acquaintances, the allowance usually afLetters and other works, by the proceeds forded to other close prisoners, nor means of which he supported himself. There to send for necessaries befitting my prewas Richard Lovelace, the cavalier and sent condition; by which means I was for poet. He was first a Charter-house boy, many days compelled to feed on nothing then an Oxford collegian, then a courtier, but the coarsest bread, and sometimes then a colonel in the service of Charles locked up for twenty-four hours together, the First. He spent all his patrimony without so much as a drop of water to cool in support of the Stuarts, and formed a my tongue; and being at the same time in regiment at his own expense. Commit- one of the grossest extremities of dulness ting the unpardonable offence of present that ever was inflicted upon anybody, the ing a petition to the House of Commons help both of physician and apothecary was praying for the restoration of the king's denied me.” Nevertheless, in his Sheprights, he was committed to prison at the herd's Hunting, written during one of his Westminster Gatehouse, where he wrote captivities, there are some of the finest his Althea. This is the poem that contains lines known on the consolation which the famous lines :

poetry afforded him in time of trouble. Stone walls do not a prison make,

There was John Selden, too, the learned Nor iron bars a cage;

jurist, antiquary, and historian, who got Minds innocent and quiet take

into trouble with Charles the First for That for an hermitage ; If I have freedom in my love,

writing against the divine rights and preAnd in my soul am free,

rogatives of kings; he had frequent and Angels alone, that soar abore, Enjoy such liberty !

stern reason for knowing what the inside

of a prison was like, and wrote one of his Again, some few years afterwards, he erudite histories while incarcerated. was imprisoned, and during his incarcera- But the two most celebrated men who tion wrote a collection of somets and

come into the list of writers of books in songs, including the beautiful Address to prison in the first half of the seventeenth Lucasta, which contains the often-quoted century are Raleigh and Cervantes. The lines:

gallant Sir Walter, after serving when I could not love thee, dear, so much, Lov'd I not honour more.

young as a gentleman-volunteer, went with

Sir Humphry Gilbert to America, returned Poor Lovelace! Wood describes him as and was knighted, raised a volunteer squabeing “accounted the most amiable and dron against the Spanish Armada, and bebeautiful person that eyes ever beheld;" but came a courtier. Something he did or said his imprisonments and loss of fortune made gave offence at court, and he resided abroad the closing years of his life

When Elizabeth died, and There was Thomas Lydiat, a learned James the First succeeded to the throne, clergyman and historian, who was thrown Raleigh returned to England; but he was into the King's Bench as a means of arrested, and found guilty of treason by a curing him of his loyalty to Charles the packed jury. Twelve years of his life were First, and who, while there, wrote his An- passed continuously in prison; and here he notations on the Persian Chronicle. There wrote his History of the World, a marvellous was Sir William Davenant, who, similarly work to execute under such circumstances. offensive to the parliament on account of In order really to begin at the beginning, his loyalty to the king, was thrown into he begins with the Creation, and gravely Carisbrook Castle, where he wrote some of discusses the opinions expressed by the his plays and poems. On the other hand, I learned, as to whether Paradise was as high


for some years.

up as the moon, or only as high as mid-air, the first part of the Pilgrim's Progress
or under the equinoctial line. But still the while in prison, a fact that ought to endear
History of the World is a noble fragment, his imprisonment to us.
which could only have been written by one It is a singular coincidence that the
who had read much, thought much, and authors of two of the most extensively read
travelled much. Hapless Raleigh! King books ever written were living in the same
James hated him with all the hatred which country and at the same time, and wrote
a narrow mind feels towards an intellectual some of their works while in captivity.
superior, and sent him to the scaffold. The Daniel Defoe lived at the same time as
other great man, whose name we have John Bunyan; but the latter had reached
coupled with Raleigh, was the Spanish middle age while the former was still a
novelist Cervantes, the author of the world boy. Defoe, as a Whig and a dissenter, was
renowned Don Quixote. He was first a often in trouble, and on one occasion suf-
student, then chamberlain to a cardinal, fered the pillory as well as imprisonment.
and then a soldier. He was thrice wounded While in prison he wrote his Hymn to the
at the battle of Lepanto, was taken prisoner Pillory, and commenced a political periodi-
by the corsairs, kept five years in captivity, cal which he continued to several volumes.
and ransomed by his friends. Returning His immortal Robinson Crusoe, however,
to Spain, he married, entered upon civil was not written during imprisonment. Over
employments, traversed wide regions of his in France, Abraham Wicquefort, a Dutch
native country, and watched well the diplomatist and writer, was for thirty years
habits and peculiarities of his countrymen. representative of the court of Brandenburg
Monetary embarrassments, rather than at Paris; he was then thrown into the Bas-
political or religious discord, threw him tille by Cardinal Mazarin, on suspicion of
more than once into prison; but this im- being a spy; and while in the gloomy for-
prisonment was a great thing for the world, tress prison wrote his Mémoires touchant
since it was occupied by the planning and les Ambassadeurs, and l’Ambassadeur et ses
commencement of Don Quixote.

Functions. Then there was Voltaire, who Open the portals wide: let us admit the had a year's incarceration for a satirical greatest prison-writer of the second half poem on Louis the Fourteenth; and another of the seventeenth century, John Bunyan, of less length for an unseemly quarrel tinker, preacher, and author of a religious at the Duc de Sully's house; during this allegory which is said to have been trans- second captivity he planned and wrote the lated into a greater number of languages greater part of his epic poem Le Henriade. than

any other book in the world, with two Next was Nicholas Fréret, a French hisexceptions, the Bible and the Imitation of torian, who in his first work, on the Origin Christ. He was thrown into Bedford Jail of the French, so offended the vanity of his because he would not renounce dissent; countrymen that he was sent to the Bastille, and there he supported himself for twelve where he planned many of his later works. years by making tagged boot-laces. He Cardinal Polignac, another Frenchman, inwrote many controversial tracts, preached stead of being sent to the Bastille, was to his fellow-prisoners, and read to them placed in a kind of semi-imprisonment in the Bible and Fox's Book of Martyrs. It his own abbey, for some offence during the was a fine answer that he gave to the clerk regency of Louis the Fifteenth; there he of the peace, who advised him to gain his wrote his Latin Anti-Lucretius, liberation by recanting. “Sir, the law hath which a century later was translated into provided two ways of obeying; the one, English by George Canning. to do that which I in my conscience be- There was one book written in prison lieve I am bound to do actively; and when which brought but little credit to the I cannot by activity, then I am willing to author; namely, the Thoughts in Prison. lie down, and to suffer whatever they shall Doctor William Dodd, a clergyman, a popudo unto me. And it showed a vein of lar preacher, a chaplain to George the Third, humour in his character when he replied and a welcome guest in high society, lived so to a Quaker who had come to visit him, extravagantly that he was always in debt. and who declared that the Lord had or- In an evil hour he offered a bribe of three dered him to search for Bunyan in half thousand pounds to the wife of the Lord the prisons in England, “If the Lord had Chancellor if she would procure for him sent you, you need not have taken so much the rich living of St. George's, Hanovertrouble to find me out; for the Lord knows square; this caused him a mortifying exthat I have been a prisoner in Bedford posure, and the loss of his chaplaincy. In Jail for the last twelve years." He wrote a still more evil hour, he forged the sig.





nature of his patron and former pupil, the and Cachita persist in following the incliEarl of Chesterfield, to a bond for four thou- nations of her heart, the period for her sand two hundred pounds. He intended, incarceration will be protracted another six like many other forgers before and since, to months, when, in accordance with conventake up and cancel the bond in good time, tual discipline, she will be required to but failed; and his end was tragical indeed. commence her duties as novice. The Thoughts

, which he wrote while in Desirous of ascertaining how far monastic prison, have been characterised as “ the confinement has affected my lover's sentispasmodic, hysterical, and insincere utter- ments, I propose to sound her on the subances of a weak man under affliction."

ject by private communication. This is A triad of writers will exhaust the re- not easily accomplished. The convent is a maining space at our disposal; they were strong building. At fixed hours the out- . men who, in more recent times, owed their ward doors are thrown open, and disclose imprisonment to political circumstances, a small stone ante-chamber, furnished with and who solaced themselves in captivity wooden benches like a prison. Here may by writing books. One of these was the a pilgrim enter, but no further. There is late James Montgomery. When a poor another and a stronger door communicating shop-boy he wrote poems, and gradually with the interior, and accessible only to a worked himself up to the position of helper, favoured few. Near it is a panelled or writer, and editor of a Sheffield newspaper. blind window, forming part of a torno or His writings as a liberal brought him into turnstile a mechanical contrivance by trouble during the exciting period of the means of which articles for the convent use. great French Revolution; and during two are secretly admitted. imprisonments which he underwent he On more than one occasion have I visited wrote his Ode to the Evening Star, Plea- the torno in the vain hope of persuading sures of Imprisonment, Verses to a Robin the invisible door-keeper behind to receive Redbreast, and other poems. The opening some love-tokens for my captive mistress.

. of the address to Robin adverts to his im- Tapping three times on the hollow window prisonment:

I pause until a voice murmurs, “Ave Welcome, pretty little stranger,

Maria !” to which I respond, being well Welcome to my lone retreat ;

versed in conventual watchwords, “ Por Here, secure from ev'ry danger, Hop about, and chirp, and eat!

mio pecados !"

The voice inquires my Robin, how I envy thee,

pleasure. If it be my pleasure to have a Happy child of liberty ! missive conveyed to an immured “sister," The late charming writer, Leigh Hunt, and I can satisfy my unseen interlocutor was in early life connected with newspaper by representing myself as a relative of the editing; and, at a time when speaking the captive lady in whom I am interested, the truth was often an offence against the law turnstile rotates with magic velocity, the of libel, he penned some words which flat panel vanishes, and, behold, a species brought on him a two years' imprisonment. of cupboard with many shelves, upon which To that captivity we owe the Descent of anything of a moderate size may be placed. Liberty and the Story of Rimini. One dame Having deposited my letter on one of the more is that of Thomas Cooper, who, be shelves, it 'disappears, with the cupboard, coming involved in the Chartist troubles of like a pantomime trick, and the panelled the last generation, suffered two years' window resumes its original dull aspect. incarceration, during which he wrote a re- But whether my document will reach the markable poem, the Purgatory of Suicides. rightful owner I can never ascertain, for

days elapse, and no reply is forthcoming.

Varying my proceedings at the torno I A CUBAN CONVENT.

sometimes express a desire to exchange a

few greetings with my cloistered sister by Cachita, my creole lover, has been im- meeting her in a certain chamber appointed mured five long months in a nunnery, for such a purpose, and conversing with expiating there her “sin" of secret love her through a double grating. But the making:* In another month she will be door-keeper informs me that such a prireleased, and restored to her stern parent, vilege is accorded only to parents of the Don Severiano, if the nuns' report of her immured, who can prove their identity; so be favourable; but should the efforts of my effort in that direction is a failure. those estimable ladies prove unsuccessful, Every Sunday morning I visit the convent See ALL THE YEAB Round, New Series, vol. vi. chapel which is attached to the building

itself, and is open to the public at prescribed

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hours. The chapel is a bare-looking sanctu- “Perhaps you will receive a parting ary

of small dimensions, and easily crowded word from me" (the present document ocby a score or two of ladies with white veils, cupies exactly eight pages of closely written who come to pay their devotions from the convent paper), "which will put an end to neighbouring houses. At one extremity of this unfortunate story. You must, then, the whitewashed chamber is an altar-piece, forget me entirely. Look upon the past as before which a priest, assisted by a boy, a dream, an illusion, a flash of happiness officiates, and to the left is a strongly barred which is no more. Never must the name window connected with the interior of the of Cachita escape your lips. I shall reconvent. Behind this window, which is member you only in my prayers” (the word heavily curtained as well as railed, stand “only” is erased with pencil). “Fail not to the nuns and other inmates of the cloister, send the letters. And adios ! till we meet who have come to take part in the cere- in heaven.—CARIDAD." monies. The responses are chanted by this The bearer of this letter is Guadalupe, a invisible congregation in a subdued tone. slave of Cachita's father, Don Severiano, During a certain portion of the ceremonies and she is intrusted with messages to and the curtain is partially drawn, and the out from the convent. Twice a week she visits line of a thickly veiled nun is discerned as the torno cupboard, charged with changes she bends forward to kiss the priest's hand of linen and other articles for her young and to receive his blessing. I envy the mistress's use. Everything is carefully execclesiastic, and gaze with eager interest amined by a nun before being consigned to as figure after figure approaches in turn; its owner ; so my ingenious notion of conbut my sight cannot penetrate the dark re- veying by this opportunity something concesses of the cartain, and the lady whom I traband to my lover, cannot be entertained. seek comes and disappears unrecognised. Having bribed Guadalupe with a bundle

I am aroused early one morning by a of cigars and a coloured handkerchief for black messenger, who delivers me a thick a turban, I obtain from her in return some letter, which I open nervously, for I find intelligence of her young mistress. it comes from the “ Convento de la Ense- Have


heard how La Niña Cachita nanza.” The writing, though the contents fares ?” I inquire. savour strongly of monastic diction, is cer- Badly,” says the negress.

"The tainly in Cachita's hand, and is signed by monastic life does not agree with her lively herself.

disposition, and she yearns for freedom “My dream of happiness,” the letter again, la pobre !" begins, can no longer be realised. My " Then the nuns have not succeeded in conscience, my teachers, and my father-con- converting her?” fessor all persuade me that I have sinned “ I think not, miamo. In a letter to her in the outer world, and that if I desire mother, Doña Belen, who has still a good to be absolved I must repent without delay. opinion of your worship, mi amita Cachita Exhorted by the worthy nuns, I am daily ridicules the Monjas (nuns), and describes becoming more alive to a sense of my un- | their strange ways.”. worthiness, and convinced of the urgent “ Has Don Severiano expressed his innecessity for beginning a new life of holi- tention to release La Niña at the expiration ness and virtue. Guided to this blessed of her allotted six months ?” convent by the finger of Providence, I have “I believe so, and in that case La been enabled, with the assistance of the Cachita will be with us again in less than best of counsel, to reflect seriously over what four weeks." has happened, and I have now taken a vow The most important information which never again to act from the impulse of my I draw from the communicative black is, young and inexperienced heart.”


my friend, Don Ignacio, the dentist, is After dwelling upon the enormity of the attending my lover for professional puroffence of making love without the ap- poses. I resolved to call upon Don Ignacio, proval of a parent, the writer exhorts me, and when Guadalupe has taken her deby my “mother," and by other people parture with a packet containing a selection whom I“ hold dear,” to return her letters, from Cachita's letters, and one of my own, and all other evidence of the past, with the which I have carefully worded, in case it assurance that by so doing I shall accom- should fall into wrong hands, I repair at plish one important step towards the “ter- once to the house of

my dentist friend. mination of the sad story of this ill-be- Don Ignacio sympathises with me, and gotten wooing.” The letter concludes as promises to aid me in a plan which I have follows:

conceived for communicating by letter with

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