+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

than Everybody can mend in ten generations.
Come, responsible Somebody; accountable
Blockhead, come!


I HAVE told in two sketches preceding this
how, as a leader in the Baden revolution
after the surrender of Rastadt, I became
subject to the power of the Grand Duke and
the Prince of Prussia; how I was imprisoned
in the fortress, tried by court-martial,
sentenced to be shot,—but not shot, because in
the court that sentenced me there was one
dissentient judge.* My sentence was changed
to ten years in the house of correction; which
seemed worse than death.

* See pages seventy-five and one hundred and forty
the present volume.

On the railway journey to my prison I had
still some insults to suffer from young
Prussian officers. At the station in Carlsruhe
stood a great many gentlemen in white
neckcloths, who probably came from a court
dinner, and wished to enjoy the sight of a
rebel in chains. "There are C. and his wife
in that carriage," said one, and they all came
and stared at me; but they saw no fetters.
I sat among soldiers who behaved in a most
friendly manner. There was nothing more
melodramatic than the grief of my poor wife,
holding my hand as she had done all the way.
It was almost dusk when we arrived at
Bruchsal. With a heavy heart I took leave
of my true wife, and was conducted in the
midst of soldiers through the town. The
corporal of the escort did not know the
locality; and the inhabitants, having more
sympathy with conquered than with conqueror,
took little pains to show where
the house of correction was. After much
erring to and fro we left the town by another
gate, and reached a gloomy castellated
building. We stopped at an iron grating in
the wall.

"More than ten years?" asked the warder.


"You are wrong then," and he directed
the way to the old house of correction. That
was the first glimpse of my dungeonthe
model prison on the separate and solitary
systemin which six years of my period of
durance were spent.

I had a fellow-sufferer on that first night
in an artilleryman of Rastadt, who was taken
with me into the guard-room of the old
house, where two old people in light gray
uniformsgaolers on dutyreceived us, and
led us to the presence of the governor. That
officer gave a receipt for us to the corporal,
and sent us for the night to the reception-
room. My blood tingled when my whole
person was handled and searched. But a
peace-offering came in the shape of a
supper of broth, which seemed to be composed
of bad grease and potatoes, very much
praised by the gaolers.

Not having been undressed for a long time,
and having slept only on damp straw, I
received the coarse but cleanly bed in the
reception-room as a great luxury. At about
nine o'clock next morning I was taken to the
governor, a worthy man, who was unable to
hide his resentment at the cruelty of the Prussians,
in inflicting upon a gentleman the punishment
of thieves. He prepared me for the
ceremony of the prison toilette. On this
representation, he said, Major M. and Captain S.,
who were his prisoners, received back their
own clothes; but the Prussians, having heard
of it, instantly remonstrated, and he was daily
expecting orders to put them again into convicts'
uniform. Carried off to the watchroom
by a thickset gaolerwho had a harsh
manner but was not an unkindly manmy
beard was swept off by the razor, my hair was
cropped by a prisoner, who danced about me
like an imp while he was snipping and shearing;
then, when he had made my head look
like a shoe-brush, he leapt away. I was
ordered to undress and put on the convict's
uniform, which lay upon a bench ready to my
hand. There was a pair of stockings coming
high over the knee, and made of thick hemp-
twine, hard as a grater; there was an ascetic
shirt, large enough to be taken for a carter's
frock, made of the coarsest hemp linen, that
felt upon the skin as if there had been woven
into it a bundle of toothpicks. This garment
being quite new, and never having
touched water, was so stiff and hard, that
after an hour's wearing, it had scoured the
skin of my whole body, till I seemed to wear
a shirt of Nessus. The trousers were of the
coarsest kind of hernp trellis, and the jacket
of the same material. I thrust my arm in it
too fast, and scraped a piece of the skin from my
knuckles. The waistcoat and neckcloth were
of like material, dyed with a bad blue. After
I had put on a little hempen cap I thought
the business concluded. But there lay on the
form something else that was to belong to
me. It looked like a sheet of gray paste-
board, but a red line running through it
satisfied me that it was a tissue. I took it in
my hand and unfolded it with difficulty. It
was so stiff that it retained every form into
which it was bent. I could not make out
what this was, and asked its use; the gaoler
who had been amused at my perplexity
informed me that it was my pocket-handkerchief.
The prisoners, I found, put these handkerchiefs
in water, and then beat them with
stones until it becomes possible to use them.
There were next given to me a pair of very
rough peasant shoes, a little wooden tablet
with my number painted upon it, a small horn
comb, and a towel.

I was then taken into the wool saloon,
which was to be my future scene of labour.
Thirty prisoners were at work, picking and
spinning the wool, which filled the room
otherwise spacious and reasonably cheerful
with a fetid odour. The stillness, only