Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/47

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
23
OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.


is a fact that from 1777 till the time the fortress was demolished, every young prisoner who was confined there longed to emulate the prowess of Pontgibaud. It will be seen that for a prisoner, aged only eighteen, to make his escape is a feat of which I may be allowed to boast.

No pupil of Vauban ever made more calculations and plans how to get into a stronghold than I did how to get out of mine. I said to myself, "This castle is accessible on the side where I am. I ought to be able to cut through the wall where it joins the tower. The wall and the tower were built at different times, and though the facings are in hard stone, there is sure to be only rubble between,—more particularly in the angle where the straight wall joins the round tower. All that is needed is time and patience, and that I will have."

The prisoner who had occupied the cell before me had a talent for painting, and a taste for botany. He had amused himself, by painting all sorts of flowers on the walls, and, which was greatly in my favour, he had painted a dark blue border,