Page:Memoirs of Vidocq, Volume 1.djvu/41

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in the same regiment. He was accused of various robberies, which he had confessed. Scarcely were we alone when he told me the grounds of his detention. Doubtlessly the regiment would give him up, and this idea, joined to the dread of dishonouring his family, threw him into dispair. I pitied him, and seeing no remedy for so deplorable a case, I counselled him to evade punishment either by escape or suicide. He determined to try the former ere he resolved on the latter; and, aided by a young friend who came to visit me, I prepared all for his flight. At midnight two bars of iron were broken, and we conducted the prisoner to the ramparts, and then I said to him—"Go: you must either jump or hang." He calculated the height, and hesitating, determined rather to run the chance of his sentence than to break his legs. He was preparing to return to his dungeon: at a moment when he least expected it, we gave him a push over: he shrieked out whilst I bid him be silent. I then returned to my cell: when on my straw I tasted the repose which the consciousness of a good deed always brings. The next day, on the flight of my companion being discovered, I was questioned, and dismissed on saying that I knew nothing of the affair. Some years afterwards, I met this unfortunate fellow, who looked on me as his liberator. Since his fall he had been lame, but had become an honest man.

I could not remain eternally at Arras; war had been declared against Austria, and I set out with the regiment, and soon after was present at the rout of Marquain which ended at Lille by the massacre of the brave and unfortunate general Dillon. After this we were ordered against the camp at Maulde, and then in that de la Lune, when, with the infernal army under the command of Kellerman, I was engaged in the battle against the Prussians of the 30th of October. The next day I was made corporal of grenadiers: thereupon it became necessary to baptise my worsted lace, find I acquitted myself with much credit at the