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to escape it: but a cannon shot, a ball from which went through our sails, taught us that she was a much better sailer than we.
We obeyed an injunction thus expressed, and awaited the great boat from the corsair. The captain declared that he made us prisoners, although Spain was at peace with Barbary, under the pretext that we were violating the blockade which had been lately raised on all the coasts of France: he added, that he intended to take us to Rosas, and that there the authorities would decide on our fate.
I was in the cabin of the vessel; I had the curiosity to look furtively at the crew of the boat, and there I perceived, with a dissatisfaction which may easily be imagined, one of the sailors of the Mistic, commanded by Don Manuel de Vacaro, of the name of Pablo Blanco, of Palamos, who had often acted as my servant during my geodesic operations. My false passport would become from this moment useless, if Pablo should recognize me: I went to bed at once, covered my head with the counterpane, and lay as still as a statue.
During the two days which elapsed between our capture and our entrance into the roads of Rosas, Pablo, whose curiosity often brought him into the room, used to exclaim, "There is one passenger whom I have not yet managed to get a sight of."
When we arrived at Rosas it was decided that we should be placed in quarantine in a dismantled windmill, situated on the road leading to Figueras. I was careful to disembark in a boat to which Pablo did not belong. The corsair departed for a new cruise, and I was for a moment freed from the harassing thought which my old servant had caused me.
Our ship was richly laden; the Spanish authorities were immediately desirous to declare it a lawful prize. They pretended to believe that I was the proprietor of it, and wished, in order to hasten things, to interrogate me, even without awaiting the completion of the quarantine. They stretched two cords between the mill and the shore, and a judge placed himself in front of me. As the interrogatories were made from a good distance, the numerous audience which encircled us took a direct part in the questions and answers. I will endeavor to reproduce this dialogue with all possible fidelity.
"Who are you?"
"A poor roving merchant."
"Whence do you come?"
'' From a country where you certainly never were."
"In a word, what country is it?"
I was afraid to answer, for the passports, steeped in vine* gar, were in the hands of the judge-instructor, and I had forgotten whether I was from Schwekat or from Leoben. Finally I answered at all hazards: —
"I come from Schwekat."
And this information happily was found to agree with that of the passport.
"You are as much from Schwekat as I am," answered the judge. "You are Spanish, and, moreover, a Spaniard from the kingdom of Valencia, as I perceive by your accent."
"Would you punish me, sir, because nature has endowed me with the gift of languages? I learn with facility the dialects of those countries through which I pass in the exercise of my trade; I have learnt, for example, the dialect of Iviza."
"Very well, you shall be taken at your word. I see here a soldier from Iviza; you shall hold a conversation with him."
"I consent; I will even sing the goat song."
Each of the verses of this song (if verses they be) terminates by an imitation of the bleating of the goat.
I commenced at once, with an audacity at which I really feel astonished, to chant this air, which is sung by all the shepherds of the island.
Ah graciada sefiora
No sera gaira pulida
At once my Ivizacan, upon whom this air had the effect of the ram des vaches on the Swiss, declared, all in tears, that I was a native of Iviza.
I then said to the judge that if he would put me in communication with a person knowing the French language, he would arrive at just as embarrassing a result.
An SmigrS officer of the Bourbon regiment offered at once to make the experiment, and, after some phrases interchanged between us, affirmed without hesitation that I was French.
The judge, rendered impatient, exclaimed: "Let us put an end to these trials which decide nothing. I summon you, sir, to tell me who you are. I promise that your life will be safe if you answer me with sincerity."
"My greatest wish would be to give an answer to your satisfaction. I will, then, try to do so; but I warn you that I am not going to tell you the truth. I am son of the innkeeper at Mataro."
"I know that innkeeper; you are not his son.**
"You are right. I announced to you that I should vary my answers until one of them should suit you. I retract, then, and tell you that I am a titiretero (player of marionettes), and that I practiced at Lerida."
A loud shout of laughter from the multitude encircling us greeted this answer, and put an end to the questions.
"I swear by the d—1," exclaimed the judge, "that I will discover sooner or later who you are I"
And he retired.
The Spanish authorities, finding that to redeem my life I would not declare myself the owner of the vessel, had us conducted without farther molestation to the fortress of Rosas. Having to file through nearly all the inhabitants of the town, I had wished at first, through a false feeling of shame, to leave in the mill the remains of our week's meals. But M. Berthemie, more prudent than I, carried over his shoulder a great quantity of pieces of black bread, tied up with packthread. I imitated him. I furnished myself famously from our old stock, set it on my shoulder, and it was with this accouterment that I made my entrance into the famous fortress.
They placed us in a casemate, where we had barely the space necessary for lying down. In the windmill they used to bring us, from time to time, some provisions which came from our boat. Here, the Spanish government purveyed our food. We received every day some bread and a ration of rice; but as we had no means of dressing food, we were in reality reduced to dry bread.
Dry bread was very unsubstantial food for one who could see from his casemate, at the door of his prison, a sutler selling grapes at two farthings a pound, and cooking, under the shelter of a half a cask, bacon and herrings; but we had no money to bring us into connection with this merchant. I then decided, though with very great regret, to sell a watch which my father had given me. I was only offered about a quarter of its value; but I might as well accept it, since there were no competitors for it.
As possessors of sixty francs, M. Berthemie and I could now appease the hunger from which we had long suffered; but we did not like this return of fortune to be profitable to ourselves alone, and we made some presents, which were very well received by our companions in captivity. Though this sale of my watch brought some comfort to us, it was doomed at a later day to plunge a family into sorrow.
The town of Rosas fell into the power of the French after a courageous resistance. The prisoners of the garrison were sent to France, and naturally passed through Perpignan. My father went in quest of news wherever Spaniards were to be found. He entered a cafe at the moment when a prisoner officer drew from his fob the watch which I had sold at Rosas. My good father saw in this act the proof of my death, and fell into a swoon. The officer had got the watch from a third party, and could give no account of the fate of the person to whom it had originally belonged.
The casemate having become necessary to the defenders of the fortress, we were taken to a little chapel, where they deposited for twenty-four hours those who had died in the hospital. There we were guarded by peasants who had come across the mountains from various villages, and particularly from Cadaques. These peasants, eager to recount all that they had seen of interest during their one day's campaign, questioned me as to the deeds and behavior of all my companions in misfortune. I satisfied their curiosity amply, being the only one of the set who could speak Spanish.
To enlist their good will, I also questioned them at length upon the subject of their village, on the work that they did there, on smuggling, their principal sources of employment, etc.
They answered my questions with the loquacity common to country rustics. The next day our guards were replaced by some others who were inhabitants of the same village. "In my business of a roving merchant," I said to these last, "I have been at Cadaques;" and then I began to talk to them, of what I had learnt the night before, of such an individual, who gave himself up to smuggling with more success than others, of his beautiful residence, of the property which he possessed near the village, — in short, of a number of particulars which it seemed impossible for any but an inhabitant of Cadaques to know. My jest produced an unexpected effect. Such circumstantial details, our guards said to themselves, cannot be known by a roving merchant; this personage, whom we have found here in such singular society, is certainly a native of Cadaques; and the son of the apothecary must be about his age. He had gone to try his fortune in America; it is evidently he, who fears to make himself known, having been found with all his riches in a vessel on its way to France. The report spread, became more consistent, and reached the ears of a sister of the apothecary established at Rosas. She runs to me, believes she recognizes me, and falls on my neck. I protest against the identity. "Well played!" said she to me; "the case is serious, as you have been found in a vessel coming to France; persist in your denial; circumstances may perhaps take a more favorable turn, and I shall profit by them to insure your deliverance. In the meantime, my dear nephew, I will let you want for nothing." And truly every morning M. Berthemie and I received a comfortable repast.
The church having become necessary to the garrison to serve as a magazine, we were moved on the 25th of September, 1808, to a Trinity fort, called the Bouton de Rosas, a citadel situated on a little mountain at the entrance of the roads, and we were deposited deep under ground, where the light of day did not penetrate on any side. We did not long remain in this infected place, not because they had pity on us, but because it offered shelter for a part of the garrison attacked by the French. They made us descend by night to the edge of the sea, and then transported us on the 17th of October to the port of Palamos. We were shut up in a hulk; we enjoyed, however, a certain degree of liberty; they allowed us to go on land, and to parade our miseries and our rags in the town. It was there that I made the acquaintance of the dowager Duchess of Orleans, mother of Louis Philippe. She had left the town of Figueras, where she resided, because, she told me, thirty-two bombs sent from the fortress had fallen in her house. She was then intending to take refuge in Algiers, and she asked me to bring the captain of the vessel to her, of whom, perhaps, she would have to implore protection. I related to my "rata" the misfortunes of the Princess; he was moved by them, and I conducted him to her. On entering, he took off his slippers from respect, as if he had entered within a mosque, and holding them in his hand, he went to kiss the front of the dress of Madame d'Orleans. The Princess was alarmed at the sight of this manly figure, wearing the longest beard I ever saw; she quickly recovered herself, and the interview proceeded witli a mixture of French politeness and Oriental courtesy.
The sixty francs from Rosas were expended. Madame