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105 W hat was my dismay to know that I was to be taken back again to my dungeon, and not lodged in the common jail, as I had hoped and Alixe had hinted! When I saw whither my footsteps were directed I said nothing, nor did Gabord speak at all. We marched back through a railing crowd, all silent and gloomy. I felt a chill at my heart when the citadel loomed up again out of the November shadow, and I half paused as I entered the gates. “Forward!” said Gabord mechanically, and I moved on into the yard, into the prison, through the dull corridors, the soldiers’ heels clanking and resounding behind, down into the bowels of the earth, where the air was moist and warm, and then into my dungeon home! I stepped inside, and Gabord ordered the ropes off my person somewhat roughly, watched the soldiers till they were well away, and then leaned against the wall, waiting for me to speak. I had no impulse to smile, but I knew how I could most touch him, and so I said lightly, “You’ve got dickey-bird home again.” He answered nothing and turned towards the door, leaving the torch stuck in the wall. But he suddenly stopped short, and thrust out to me a tiny piece of paper. “A hand touched mine as I went through the Château,” said he, Chapter X An Officer of Marines 106 “and when out I came, look you, this here! I can’t see to read. What does it say?” he added, with a shrewd attempt at innocence. I opened the little paper, held it toward the torch, and read: “Because of the storm there is no sleeping. Is there not the watcher aloft? Shall the sparrow fall unheeded? The wicked shall be confounded.” It was Alixe’s writing. She had hazarded this in the hands of my jailer as her only hope, and, knowing that he might not serve her, had put her message in vague sentences which I readily interpreted. I read the words aloud to him, and he laughed, and remarked, “’Tis a foolish thing that—the Scarlet Woman, most like.” “Most like,” I answered quietly; “yet what should she be doing there at the Château?” “The mad go everywhere,” he answered, “even to the Intendance!” With that he left me, going, as he said, “to fetch crumbs and wine.” Exhausted with the day’s business, I threw myself upon my couch, drew my cloak over me, composed myself, and in a few minutes was sound asleep. I waked to find Gabord in the dungeon, setting out food upon a board supported by two stools. “’Tis custom to feed your dickey-bird ere you fetch him to the pot,” he said, and drew the cork from a bottle of wine. He watched me as I ate and talked, but he spoke little. When I had finished, he fetched a packet of tobacco from his pocket. I offered him money, but he refused it, and I did not press him, for he said the food and wine were not of his buying. Presently he left, and came back with pens, ink, paper, and candles, which he laid out on my couch without a word. After a little he came again, and placed a book on the improvised table before me. It was an English Bible. Opening it, I found inscribed on the fly-leaf, Charles Wainfleet, Chaplain to the British Army. Gabord explained that this chaplain had been in the citadel for some weeks; had often inquired about me; had been brought from the Ohio, and 107 had known of me, having tended the lieutenant of my Virginian infantry in his last hours. Gabord thought I should now begin to make my peace with Heaven, and so had asked for the chaplain’s Bible, which was freely given. I bade him thank the chaplain for me, and opening the book, I found a leaf turned down at the words, “In the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” When I was left alone, I sat down to write diligently that history of myself which I had composed and fixed in my memory during the year of my housing in this dungeon. The words came from my pen freely, and hour after hour through many days, while no single word reached me from the outside world, I wrote on...


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MARC Record
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