Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/56

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barrelled pistol, and a strong "springback" knife. I cannot describe my emotion. I trembled all over with hope and fear. Someone behind me cried, "Make haste." In a few moments I had pushed down the wall, which was only a thin partition of stones, but the opening was so narrow that two or three minutes,—which seemed to my impatience like two or three centuries, for there was not a moment to lose,—elapsed before I could get my shoulders free. At the sound of the stones rattling down, the gardener, who was at work below, ran to his cottage, built against the castle wall, and rang the alarm bell. The guard turned out, and took up their position on the very spot I should have to pass, for it would take me eight or ten minutes to descend to the foot of the tower, and I should then find myself between the castle gates and the soldiers.

One prisoner alone, M. de L———, dared to follow me,—the others recoiled at the sight of danger,—but my comrade was only armed with a broomstick pointed at both ends. The tocsin sounded, and all