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should I have thought myself at that time, if, HERCULES like, I could have turned the course of some mighty river under the jail
, to have assisted me with its force, to sweep away those huge rocks.
'I labored and toiled without intermission, till about mid-night, when coming to a rock I could not possibly get out of the hole, I for a moment despaired of success, after straining with all my might a number of times to no effect. Rood, seeing the situation in which matters stood, jumped out of bed, and helped to lift the stone from its place, and then returned again into bed.
'I again renewed my labor, and had overcome the greatest part of the difficulties before us, when the light became extinct for want of fuel, the board being all consumed. I tried to pursue the business in the dark, but found it in vain, and therefore was obliged to quit our undertaking. How much would I now have given for a farthing candle! but wishing were as vain as our expectations were unfounded. The necessity of our relinquishing the pursuit was absolute, and therefore, with a sullen reluctance, I yielded to the force of necessity.
'I did not entirely lose all hopes of succeeding yet in this method. As soon as day-light should afford an opportunity, I determined to renew my labors, and if by good fortune our CERBERUS should not make us a visit till some time in the morning, I was still in hopes of making the breach soon enough, to leave him to his own agreeable reflections, when he came to search our room, which he constantly did every day. Therefore, at the dawn of day, I again renewed my labor with increased animation. I struggled and toiled with the huge rocks in such a manner as to establish the belief, that in the course of an hour I should again flit upon the wing of liberty. But oh! horrid to relate! the thundering noise of the jailer, in opening his ponderous doors, throwing back the many bolts and turning the keys of the enormous locks, at once defeated all my expectations of freedom. The mighty castles which I had been building in the air, came tumbling over my head like a sweeping deluge.
* The jailer came into the room, and what was the scene pictured to his view ? Rubbish, rocks, stones, and dirt, filled the room! Two men almost naked, covered with sweat and dust!
• The door was again immediately shut, and the jailer retired, but his absence was almost momentary. He returned with a band of flinty-hearted myrmidons, to assist in the execution of his diabolical system of revenge. We were taken by those patrons of humanity, tied to the grates, and received ten lashes each on our naked backs with a horse-whip. Immediately after this, we were put in the dungeon, where we lay two days, and were then removed into another room.
• The second day of my confinement, nearly night, I heard a terrible clanking of massy chains approaching toward my apartment. The door of the dungeon was opened, when lo! horrid to relate ! a deformed Vulcan, attended with his grisly Cyclops, carrying with them a huge iron chain and all the tools for their infernal purpose.
'I was ordered into another apartment, and to work went those engines of cruelty. They, in the first place, made fast a flat ring around my leg, about six inches wide and an inch thick. This was connected with a chain, weighing about thirty-six pounds and ten feet in length. The other end of the chain was fastened to the timber composing our floor, with a staple driven in with a sledge, which made the whole jail tremble. After I was fixed in this manner, they left me to my own reflections, inwardly exulting at their mighty power, in making a poor wretch secure from enjoying the cold comfort of hoping for better times.
'I lay in this dismal situation about a fortnight, if I remember right. My leg, by this time, was worn by the iron around it, till the skin was quite off. În this situation, I became entirely impatient. My sufferings I thought insupportable. I cursed the day in which I was born. I cursed my friends, and all the human race, in the bitterness of my anguish! I roared with anguish! I raged like a Bedlamite !
• The obdurate heart of my CERBERUS was not moved by my situation; he was terrified, and durst not approach me. Yet that adamantine barrier which fortified the avenues to his soul from the approaches of compassion, remained entirely unimpaired, and prevented the least motion of pity from disturbing his repose.
• There are certain situations of suffering which will make a man mad — will take away every exercise of rational conduct — will reduce him to a state of desperation, so that he will rush into the most desperate danger. This was my situation at this time. I was determined not to endure these trials any longer; and, in the language of the poet, to end them by taking arms against myself, and all my woes at once.'
'I ruminated upon the means of accomplishing this design. Various were the plans which offered to my view, but none appeared so eligible to answer the state of my mind, as the terrible element of fire. Therefore, I determined to set fire to the jail, and, SAMSON-like, make a sacrifice at my death, which should atone for the cruelties I had suffered in
life! “The flooring of the jail was laid with two thicknesses of timber, each thickness being about fourteen inches, and over these timbers a floor of inch boards. The boards which composed the floor I cut away, in such a manner as to be able to take up a piece about two feet long; the cracks between the timbers were about two inches wide, into which I dropped coals of fire, which fell down to the ground, twenty-eight inches below the floor, among shavings and other combustible stuff. The air drawing in strongly at the place where the fire was, it soon began to rage with great violence. I replaced the board in its former situation, placed my straw, which served for my bed, on the board, and lay down, with great composure, viewing my sufferings as fast hastening to an end.
• The floor being so tight as not to admit the blaze into the room, it sought a passage elsewhere, and soon burst out, through the underpinning, and blazed up to the height of the eaves of the jail, about twenty feet! This was a scene possessing more of the horrid sublime than any thing I ever met with during my life.
* At the dead hour of night, when all nature was lost in forgetfulness, to see columns of smoke and fire rolling up with a majestic power, enveloping me around, was a scene which surpasses all description? I viewed the operation of the flames with a tranquil horror! I now felt myself exalted above the operations of the petty tyranny of those who had exercised the rod of severity over
Your reign, said I, will be short, and I shall not fall altogether unrevenged. It may serve as a memento to others, not to drive those to desperation, who have the misfortune to fall under their power.
'I soon found that the fire had loosened the staple, which confined my chain to the floor; therefore, I was at liberty to walk from one end of the room to the other, contemplating the progress of this dreadful devouring element.
' By this time, the prisoners in the room over-head were awakened, alarmed, and began to cry out for help. The jailor was aroused, the inhabitants gathered, and the bolts, bars, and locks, were in motion. They immediately came into my room, and finding me loose, conveyed me into the dungeon.
• Whilst I was in the dungeon, I heard the bustle among the people, in putting out the fire. From the expectations of some, I thought the danger increased, and from the operation of others, I thought it diminished. My mind was wavering between hope and fear, till about four o'clock in the morning, when I found the noise decreased until it became entirely silent. I now concluded they had subdued the fire, and of course, I should be called to an account as disagreeable as when I attempted to break jail.'
He was quite right in his conclusion, as he goes on to describe, in a style as thrilling' as that of any writer of romances in our time :
ABOUT nine o'clock in the morning, I heard the usual tumult at entering the outer door of the jail. I saw a crowd were entering and passing along the alleyway, previous to their coming to the dungeon-door! The door opened. The high-sheriff, jailer, and about twenty more entered. I saw, by the appearance of things, that I must prepare for the worst possible event. The sheriff advanced with a cocked pistol, which he presented to my breast, and swore, that if I offered to resist, he would put me to instant death. He had an idea that I had become desperate, and would sacrifice my own life for the sake of ridding myself from the misery I was under, and obtaining revenge for the injuries I had suffered. • He ordered his posse to advance and seize me. They advanced and laid hold
As soon as they had made me secure, the sheriff took hold of my hand
and twisted it round, so as to make the pain very sensible. I thought he would have wrung my arm off my shoulder. I was led out of jail in this manner into the yard. I was then tied fast to the grates, and stripped naked.
•The reason why I was carried into the yard was, that this mild distributor of justice might have a better opportunity to give his whip full scope without impediment. He improved his opportunity, and, with a whip commonly known by the name of hunting-whip, he laid about me with all his vengeance for about five minutes. I was then re-conveyed into the dungeon; when I was loosed from the iron I had about my leg, and in lieu of that, a large ring was put about each leg, with an iron bar running from one to the other. This bar was bolted to the floor. I then had an iron about my waist, and bolted to the floor : after all, I was handcuffed and pinioned.
* Here I was deprived of fire, of clothing, and exercise, till the time was nearly expired; and even the pitiful allowance of straw to lie on: but all this was nothing, compared with what I suffered with hunger.
* Those who know the cruel effects of hunger are the only people who can understand me, when I relate these facts. But few people have ever felt its effects ; therefore, should I relate this story to people in general, not many would know what I meant.
'I had not been in this situation many days, before I began to experience the severe effects of the cold. As I could not stand, walk, nor step, the only recourse I had to keep my feet from freezing, was rubbing them against an iron spike, a little from my feet, perhaps three inches, which had either never been driven into the floor entirely, or else had started back by some means, the space of about four inches. This I wore very smooth with a perpetual friction. No person was allowed barely to look through the little aperture into the dungeon. This little hole was secured by a door, so as to hide every object from our sight.
. About the seventh or eighth day after my confinement in this Pandemonium, the pains of hunger became excruciating. Gladly would I have eaten my own flesh. I even had a hankering desire to get the excrements out of the vault, but that was out of my power. All my thoughts were occupied upon victuals. I could not conceive what I had been about through life, that I had not eaten more when I had the opportunity.
'I could not possibly conceive of the idea of a man satisfied with eating. That a man could be glutted with food so as to loathe it, was a fact established in my mind, by my own personal experience — yet, at this time, I could not believe it'; indeed, I thought I knew to the contrary. Had I been possessed of an empire at this time, I should have parted with it in a moment, for a supply of food for the present necessity.'
END OF PART PIRBT.
A M O R
As a fair bark, rich-laden with the choice
Vainly is the light of Reason brought to bear on themes like this, Fraught with mysteries of ages, teeming with despair or bliss : Telling of the mystic visits of departed souls to earth : Well we know of guardian angels who attend us from our birth : Beings ever hovering near us, shielding us from much of harm, If we heed their admonitions, when our Conscience strikes alarm : Never thought we though, till lately, that by force of our behest, Those we ever loved, who left us, forth would come from sacred rest; Paradise forsaking nightly, to roam from the spirit-land, Though unbidden, fiends incarnate stalk abroad on every hand. Scoffingly, I lately witnessed incantations on this wise, Which convinced me that disputing were to disbelieve my eyes : In a 'circle' at a table, hands enlinked, they summoned Dead, Who, by rapping, though quite faintly, filled the credulous with dread: Perchance tilting up the table, thus exciting giddy mirth, Or intoning threatening language through the ‘Medium' who held forth; Then mahogany came sliding toward my shins, as if intent By such agile extreme measures to impart the message sent: Sent to me, a scoffing skeptic, who would not 'investigate' Revelations far beyond the ken of my poor shallow pate. Now a maiden gently murmured wishes half-supprest with shame: She would know if her dear mother from the shades saw aught to blame In a contemplated union with her pure soul's counterpart: Scarcely was the warm thought uttered from a palpitating heart, When vibrations of the table woke sensations of deep pain, For the cabalistic answer meant: “Think not of him again!' Back the maiden started quickly, while the rose forsook her cheek: Life no longer seemed to woo her: dark the world grew, chill and bleak. Were it not her dark eye glistened with the gathering dew-drop's sheen, I had feared she would have fainted- as a climax to the scene. One less timorous bluntly questioned if the telegraph worked well, When a message quick came to him, seething with the fumes of Hell. Maledictions fierce and ghostly checked his speech and bade him cease, While the rocking of the table made the fears of ill increase: Withering words the lost soul muttered, through the medium of the seer : Had DIABOLUS come in person to rebuke the cavilling sneer ? Silence brooded for some moments, when the tranced one moved her arm, With such rapid oscillations, as created much alarm; For her blows fell thick and heavy on a disbeliever's hand, Quite convincing all who saw her that she'd lost all self-command. Ha! she pounded him to jelly, and compelled him to confess That a convert she had made him, by such striking earnestness; Laughter, loud and unremitting, swelled in chorus at that scene, Doubters, joined by firm believers, shouting at the spirit's spleen: Then in eloquence supernal flowed forth much mysterious lore, Calming turbulence, and making all as seemly as before : Cold as ice my hands became, deprived of all their nervous force, Interlinked with those of damsels, electric fluid fled- of course! • Music let us have, 't will lead us back to soberness again;
Soothing melodies please warble - let us have some sweet refrain :' VOL. LI.
Skilful hands then quickly glided o'er the keys, while voices rose,
DREAM, oh! dream not, blinded mortal,
Dark to thee, and wrapped in gloom:
All that is beyond the tomb.
Widowed heart! oh! cease repining,
By internal fire that glows :
Where the fount of grace o'erflows.
Yes! 't were madness to desire.
Mortal sense, why thus aspire !
Influenced by that conjuration, all sank back again in thought: