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another word for a tower, and a tower is but another word for a house you can't get out. Mercy on the gouty! for they are in it twice a year ; but with nine livres(1) a day, and pen, and ink, and paper, and patience, albeit a man can't get out, he may do very well within, at least for a month or six weeks ; at the end of which, if he a harmless fellow, his innocence appears, and he comes out a better and wiser man than he went in."
I had some occasion--I forget what_to_step into the courtyard, as I settled this account; and I remember I walked down stairs in no small triumph with the conceit of my reasoning. “Beshrew the sombre pencil !” said I, vauntingly, “ for I envy not its powers which paints the evils of life with so hard and deadly a colouring: The mind sits terrified at the objects she has magnified herself and blackened : reduce them to their proper size and hue, she overlooks them. 'Tis true,” said I, correcting the proposition,“ the Bastile() is not an evil to be despised ; but strip it of its towers, fill up the fosse, unbarricade the doors, call it simply a confinement, and suppose 'tis some tyrant of a distemper, and not of a man, which holds you in it, the evil vanishes, and you bear the other half without complaint."
I was interrupted in the heyday of this soliloquy with a voice which I took to be of a child, which complained "it could not get out." I looked up and down the passage, and seeing neither man, woman, nor child, I went out, without further attention. In my return back through the passage, I heard the same words repeated twice over ; and, looking up, I saw it was a starling hung in a little cage; "I can't get out, I can't get out,” said the starling. I stood looking at the bird ; and to every person who came through the
(1) An old French coin worth twenty sous, or halfpence, and equivalent to a franc in value. The old “livre" was, indeed, replaced by the modern “ franc,” but in speaking of large sums of money the former term is used quite as often as the latter. Nine livres is equal to 7s.6d, in British money.
(2) The Bastile was originally a royal castle, commenced by Charles V. of France in 1369, for the defence of Paris' against the English. It was completed in 1383. Subsequently it was converted into a state prison. It was pulled down by the Parisians in 1789, its destruction forming the first scene in the bloody drama of the great French revolution,
passage, it ran fluttering to the side towards which they approached it, with the same lamentation of its captivity : “I can't get out,” said the starling. “God help thee,” said I, “but I'll let thee out, cost what it will ;" so I turned about the cage to get the door. It was twisted and doubletwisted so fast with wire, there was no getting it open without pulling the cage to pieces. I took both hands to it. The bird flew to the place where I was attempting his deliverance, and thrusting his head through the trellis, pushed his breast against it, as if impatient. "I fear, poor creature,” said I, “I cannot set thee at liberty.” No," said the starling. “I can't get out, I can't get out,” said the starling.
I vow I never had my affections more tenderly awakened ; or do I remember an incident in my life where the dissipated spirits, to which my reason had been a bubble, were so suddenly called home. Mechanical as the notes were, yet so true in tune to nature were they chanted, that in one moment they overthrew all my systematic reasonings upon the Bastile ; and I heavily walked upstairs unsaying every word I had said in going down them.
Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, slavery,” said I, “ still thou art a bitter draught; and though thousands in all ages have been made to drink of thee, thou art no less bitter on that account. 'Tis thou, thrice sweet and gracious goddess,” addressing myself to Liberty, “whom all in public or in private worship, whose taste is grateful, and ever will be so, till nature herself shall change; no tint of words can spot thy snowy mantle, or chemic power turn thy sceptre into iron ; with thee to smile upon him as he eats his crust, the swain is happier than his monarch, from whose court thou art exiled. Gracious Heaven,” cried I, kneeling down upon the last step, but one in my ascent, “grant me but health, thou great bestower of it, and give me but this fair goddess as my companion, and shower down thy mitres, if it seem good unto thy divine provi. dence, upon those heads which are aching for them.”
The bird in his cage pursued me into my room. I sat down close to my table, and leaning my head upon my hand, I began to figure to myself the miseries of confine
ment. I was in a right frame for it, and so I gave full scope to my imagination. I was going to begin with the millions of my fellow creatures born to no inheritance but slavery ; but finding, however affecting the picture was, that I could not bring it near me, and that the multitude of sad groups in it did but distract me, I took a single captive, and having first shut him up in his dungeon, I then looked through the twilight of his grated door to take his picture.
I beheld his body half wasted away with long expectation and confinement, and felt what kind of sickness of the heart it was which arises from hope deferred. Upon looking nearer, I saw him pale and feverish ; in thirty years the western breeze had not once fanned his blood; he had seen no sun, no moon, in all that time, nor had the voice of friend or kinsman breathed through his lattice ; his children-but here my heart began to bleed, and I was forced to go on with another part of his portrait.
He was sitting upon the ground upon a little straw, in the farthest corner of his dungeon, which was alternately his chair and bed ; a little calendar of small sticks lay at the head, notched all over with the dismal days and nights he had passed there ; he had one of these little sticks in his hand, and with a rusty nail he was etching another day of misery to add to the heap. As I darkened the little light he had, he lifted up a hopeless eye towards the door, then cast it down, shook his head, and went on with his work of affliction. I heard his chains upon his legs, as he turned his body to lay his little stick upon the bundle. He gave a deep sigh ; I saw the iron enter into his soul. I burst into tears; I could not sustain the picture of confinement which my fancy had drawn.
EXERCISE.—66. PARSING, ETC. 1. Parse the following sentences :-(a). Beshrew the sombre pencil. (b). The Bastile is an evil not to be despised. (c). “I can't get out," said the starling.
2. Pick out the prepositions in the second paragraph, and state the words that are governed by them.
3. Analyse the first sentence in the last paragraph but one.
4. Relate in your own words the touching picture given above of a captive languishing in a dungeon.
5. What was the Bastile ? By whom was it built, and when was it destroyed ?
re-sist-ance (L. re, against ; sisto, to stand), opposition. nav-i-gation (L. navis, a ship; ago, to lead or conduct], the art of conducting vessels from one place to another. pro-vi-sions (L. pro, before ; video, to see), food, victuals, stores. prep-a-ra-tions (L. pre, before, paro, to make ready), measures taken to get ready for any particular purpose. In the summer of 1857, the Fox, a small vessel of about 180 tons register, with auxiliary steam-power applied to a lifting screw, was dispatched to the Arctic regions, under the command of Captain, now Sir Leopold, M'Clintock, to make another search for Sir John Franklin and his missing vessels.
The Fox left Aberdeen on July 1st, and, after taking in coal at the Waigat Straits, and purchasing a supply of seal beef, and thirty dogs for sledge travelling at Proven and Upernavik, reached latitude 75° 10' north, longitude 58° west, on August 12th. From this point she made but little
progress northward ; and, on September 7th, the crew found themselves surrounded by ice-floes, from which it was impossible to get free. The tinker had come round, as the seamen say, and soldered them in; and from that time until the 17th of April, 1858, they never moved, except at the mercy of the ice, and drifted by the winds and currents. They had lost all command over the ship, and were freezing in the moving pack.
Preparations for the winter were now made in earnest. They had thirty large dogs to feed besides themselves, and no opportunity was lost of shooting seals. The sea-birds had all left for the southward ; and the bears, which occasionally came to look at the ship, the sailors could not chase, on account of the broken state of the ice. Provisions were got up upon deck, sledges and travelling equipages prepared, boats' crews told off, and every arrangement made by the captain in event of the crew being turned out of the ship. As the winter advanced, the ship was housed over with canvas and covered over with snow, for both captain and men had made up their minds for a winter in the pack, and a drift—whither ? This they could not tell, but they argued from the known constant set to the southward, out of Baffin's Sea and Davis' Straits, that if their little ship survived through the winter, they would be released in the southern parts of Davis' Straits during the following
Their first anxiety arose from a fear that the ship would be dashed to pieces against some grounded icebergs, towards which the mass of ice in which the Fox was imbedded was drifting. The floes opened and tore up against the bergs like turf before the plough ; and, had the ship come in contact with any of them, it must have been instantly destroyed. This peril, however, was happily escaped, and in a few days the vesse) and the surrounding ice had drifted out of danger.
Officers and men were constantly out all day long with their rifles, by the side of the water-pools, watching to shoot the seals in the head when they came up to breathe. But by November 2nd, the sun had taken his departure from the latitudes in which they were, and it was getting almost too