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when I saw that in my new cell the old
hiding-place was wanting. It cost some little
ingenuity to find another. Afterwards, my
cell and clothes were suddenly changed.
Taken by surprise, I lost both tools, keys, and
money, and the hope of escape with them.

Furthermore, my friend Kate and her
whole family had been arrested; for, during
a house-visitation, several letters from
prisoners had been found which that foolish girl
had kept, notwithstanding my often-repeated
request to her to burn every bit of paper that
came out of prison. Vanityor some kindlier
thoughtinduced her to keep scraps
from each of us; probably to show that she
was a friend to men, who were then very
popular. The poor girl was very much cast
down; for her imprudence had brought ruin
upon her family. By law, there was not much
to be done against them: but the government
has many means of punishing poor tradespeople.
Kate's father was a butcher, and had
to deliver meat to the soldiers; this charge
was not only taken from him, but even the
soldiers and other people connected with the
government were forbidden, or, at least,
induced, to keep away from his shop.
Kate was confined for some time in prison.
My wife caused the law-expenses to be paid,
and gave help out of her own pocket; although
I had nothing to do with the detection of
Kate's dealings, and she came only into
trouble by her own imprudence. The poor
thing did not recover from her fright, and
died a few years afterwards; very soon
followed by her father, who ended his days as
a ruined man.

From this time I was determined to induce
no person inside the prison, or outside, to
endanger himself for my benefit. Others
were not so conscientious, and the new
director caused to be chased away, in about
three years, no less than forty-six overseers,
most of them only on suspicion.

Thus far I have told of the solitary
prisoner immured for love of freedom
beating for escape against his prison-bars.
But there belong other and gentler features
to his destiny; there are other ways some
simple and some strange in which humanity
asserts itself against all odds. Life in the
cell has two different sides. I have here
shown only one side. My narrative will
be complete when I have shown also the


"You may break, but you cannot bend
me,'' is a phrase that has hitherto been
applied indiscriminately to persons who are
either very heroic or very obstinate. It has
also been applied to certain woods, such as
oak and lignum vitae. A great deal of
braggadocio has been put into the unconscious
mouths of trees (if, by a figure of speech, we
may talk of trees having mouths at all) about
the stubbornness of heart of oak, and about
the monarch of the forest never yielding to
the storm; which, indeed, he seldom does,
unless absolutely torn up by the roots;
although Shakespeare, who was not a bad
observer, talks of the wind making "flexible
the knees of knotted oaks." But, in plain
truth setting sentiment aside, the unyielding
nature of timber has been one of its
disadvantages for many practical and scientific
purposes. Give a bar of iron to a smith, or
place a mass of material under the gentle
persuasion of Nasmyth's steam hammerand
you may have what you will made out of it.
You may have it moulded like clay by the
hand of the potter; may expand it, or contract
it; shape it and reshape it; twist and
contort it; bend it into a sword or a plough-
share, an anchor or a rifle-barrel, a column
for some airy yet substantial palace, or a
girder for a suspension bridge. You may
lengthen it into a line of rails for the swift
passage of steam, or a Menai tunnel to span
an arm of the sea, like some gigantic bracelet.
Subject metal to the furnace, and you
have a fluid stream, whereof you may cast an
Iron Duke, or any other shape of man or
god you please. Sullen and hard at first
sight, this ductile substance is your very
slave, in fact; a genie of the mine, who waits
your bidding to do wonders; a Proteus, to
whom is given the power to change into a
thousand forms. Not so has it been with
wood. Place a piece of timber under the
hammer, and it is shivered into fragments;
give it to the furnace, and it is consumed.
You may saw and join it; you may carve it
into fantastic and beautiful designs; but you
have not hitherto been able to use it with
that facile manipulation which belongs to

One result of this deficiency has been a
great circumscribing of the uses to which
timber might be put; another result has
been excessive waste of material. When, in
building a house or a ship, or in making a
piece of furniture, it has been found necessary
to employ a bar of wood of a curved
shape, there were no means at one time of
obtaining this curve, but by searching for a
branch which was naturally bent in growing
(and which, of course, could be met with only
rarely) or by cutting a solid mass of timber
into the required form. In the latter process
all the outlying parts of the woodall
those portions not included in the curve
itselfwere wasted, or were only available
for very trivial purposes; for the curve,
extending across the block and dividing it,
would leave only small fragments of the material,
of useless shapes, on each side. In the case
of metal, the process is easy and obvious enough;
you have merely to take a straight bar, heat
it, place it beneath the hammer, and coerce it
into the needful convexity. Metal, therefore,
has had an immense advantage over timber
on the very important grounds of facility and