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this morning, extracts from which he read
out to various persons. This document ran:

MY DEAR DOCTOR,—I shall be back
tomorrow, or the day after. They insisted
that I should go, and that it would do me
good. I am worried in every direction;
but I must beg you will not be following
me about as if I was some child. If you
do, I shall not return at all. I am harassed
to death. Every one trying to bully me.
But, of course, I shall be back to the
dinner. I have not been at all well latterly,
and feel queer about the head, much as I
did before I entered this unlucky place.
There will be tremendous work of all
kinds, and you must face them all, as you
have brought me into it. All I want is
to have it over, and settled at once.
Remember me to Katey.


                                CECIL LEADER.

The Doctor did not allow his girls to see
this document, but he read them some
enthusiastic and affectionate messages, which
it appeared to contain, with the comment,
"Fine-spirited young fellow, making such
a gallant stand. We must all hold by
him. Mind now."

And in truth the young man appeared
punctually at the dinner-party. But his
demeanour was rather at variance with the
Doctor's enthusiastic account. He was
low, glowering, and sulky, and, besides,
looked ill and strained about the eyes,
symptoms which disturbed the Doctor
much. However, the latter showed
indomitable energy, striking in at flagging
points, and never letting the ball touch the
ground a second. But all eyes were now
turning to the coming Sunday with speculation
and eager interest, a day that bid
fair to be one of the most exciting ever
known in the parish.



THE almost impregnable fortress of Bitche
is situated in a pass of the Vosges, ten
leagues north of Strasbourg, and fifteen
miles from Sarreguemines. The citadel
stands in a valley upon a steep rock, one
thousand feet above the level of the sea. The
town, formerly called Kaltenhausen, nestles
at the foot of the threatening cliff, near
a large shallow lake, whence the Borne
takes its source. The three thousand
inhabitants live on the profits of the fine
pottery for which they are famous, construct
paper snuff-boxes, or labour in the great
glass works of Munsthal. The rock, vaulted
and casemated, with four bastions and a
half-moon battery, mounts eighty pieces of
cannon, all told, may be garrisoned by
one thousand men, and has a good supply
of water. Though not a Gibraltar, or even
an Ehrenbreitstein, Bitche is a sufficiently
tough nut to crack.

In the détenus' time (1803-1814) the
garrison consisted of seventeen gendarmes
and one hundred veterans. "The place of
tears," as the English prisoners during the
old Napoleon war used to call it, for it was
then the depôt for the lees and dregs of
Verdun, is ascended on one side by a zigzag
footpath, on the other by a winding carriage
road. Both these roads (Prussian gentlemen
may feel an interest in knowing) meet at a
drawbridge that communicates with an
inclined plane raised upon arches, leading to
a gate at the entrance to the fort, the
approaches to which are swept by the fire
of ten heavy guns. The entrance is by a
tunnel cut through the rock, one hundred
and twenty feet long, with a massive gate
at each end, and one in the centre. The
rock is cut through in two places as low as
the ditch, one extremity being called the
GrosseTête, and the other the Petite Tête,
and both are connected with the body of the
fort by drawbridges. On the west side
there is a mortar battery. In the centre
of the fort stand two large barracks, and
at the two ends are storehouses and magazines.
The rock is hollowed to contain the
garrison and the provisions, and is divided
by compartments connected by narrow passages
with massive doors. There is also
a subterranean passage communicating
with the town below. Although the fort
is of solid rock, cut down perpendicularly
ninety to one hundred and fifty feet, it is
faced nearly all round with masonry. The
place cost so much to fortify, that Louis the
Fourteenth, when asked for more money
to complete it, inquired, with a smile, if
they were building it of louis-d'ors.

The English sailors confined in the great
souterrain of Bitche were the terror of their
guards. They were often known to mutiny,
and, arming themselves with billets of
wood and broken-up beds, to defy the
whole garrison. On one occasion their
leader, a gigantic Guernsey smuggler, said,
"Don't let us attack, lads, but if the beggars
draw blood from any of us, fall on them and
murder them all." Whenever the gendarmes
came down at eight o'clock to put out the