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158 COLONEL PHELIPEAUX.
Chap. of his gratitude to those servants of the prison, from whom he xv' had experienced indigencies. Upon the eve of their departure, the register observed, that four of the prison guard should accompany them. This arrangement menaced the whole plan with immediate dissolution. The officers, without betraying the least emotion, acquiesced in the propriety of the measure, and gave orders for the men to be called out, when, as if recollecting the rank and honour' of their illustrious prisoner, one of them addressed sir Sidney, by saying, "citizen, "you are a brave officer, give us your parole, and there is no "occasion for an escort." Sir Sidney replied, that he would pledge his faith, as an officer, to accompany them, without resistance, wherever they chose to conduct him.
Not a look or movement betrayed the intention of the party. Every thing was cool, well-timed, and natural. They entered a fiacre, which, as is usual, was brought for the purpose of removing him, in which he found Changes of clothes, false passports, and money. The coach moved with an accustomed pace, to the Faubourg St. Germain, where •they alighted, and parted in different directions. Sir Sidney met colonel Phelipeaux at the appointed spot of rendezvous.
The project was so ably planned and conducted, that no one but the party concerned was acquainted with the escape, until near a month had elapsed, when the inspector paid his next periodical visit. What pen can describe the sensations of two such men as sir Sidney and Phelipeaux, when they first beheld each other in safety? Heaven befriended the generous and gallant exploit. Sir Sidney and his noble friend, reached
the COLONEL PHELIPEAUX. 159
the french coast wholly unsuspected, and committing them- Chap.
selves to their God, and to the protective genius of brave men,'
put to sea in an open boat, and were soon afterwards discovered by an english cruising frigate, and brought in safety to the bntish shores.
The gallant Phelipeaux soon afterwards accompanied sir Sidney in the Tigre to Acre, where, overwhelmed by the fatigue of that extraordinary campaign, in which he supported a distinguished part, and the noxious influence of a sultry climate, operating upon a delicate frame, he expired in the arms of his illustrious friend, who attended him to his grave,, and shed the tears of gratitude and friendship over his honoured and lamented obsequies. But ere the dying Phelipeaux closed his eyes, he received the rewards of his generous enterprise. He beheld the repulsed legions of the republic, flying before the british banners, and the irresistible prowess of his valiant companion; he beheld the distinguished being, whom he had thus rescued from a dungeon, and impending destruction, by an act of almost romantic heroism. covered with the unparticipated glory, of having overpowered a leader, who, renowned, and long accustomed to conquest, saw, for the first time, his invincible troops give way; who, inflamed to desperation, deemed the perilous exposure of his person neces-" sary, to rally them to the contest, over bridges of their slaughtered comrades, but who at length was obliged to retire from the field of battle, and to leave to he heroic sir Sidney, the exclusive exultation of announcing to his grateful and elated . ..i country,
country, that he had fought, and vanquished the laurelled conqueror of Italy, and the bold invader of Egypt.
Sir Sidney has no vices to conceal behind his spreading and imperishable laurels. His public character is before the approving world. That peace which his sword has accelerated, has afforded us an undisturbed opportunity of admiring his achievements in the field, and of contemplating his conduct in the retired avenues of private life, in which his deportment is without a stain. In him there is every thing to applaud, and nothing to forgive.
Yet thus glorious in public, and thus unsullied in private, the conqueror of Bonaparte, and the saviour of the east, owes the honours, which he adorns, to foreign and distant powers.
To the grateful government of his own country, he is indebted for an ungracious paltry annuity, inadequate to the display of ordinary consequence, and wholly unequal to the suitable support of that dignity, which ought for ever to distinguish such a being from the mass of mankind.
The enemies of sir Sidney, for envy furnishes every great man with his quota of such indirect eulogists, if they should honour these pages with a perusal, may, perchance, endeavour to trace the approving warmth with which I have spoken of him, to the enthusiasm of a friendship dazzled, and undiscriminating; but I beg to assure them, that the fame of sir Sidney is better known to me than his person, and that his noble qualities have alone excited the humble
tribute SIR SIDNEY SMITH. 161
tribute which is here offered to one, for whom delighted Chap.
Nature, in the language of our immortal bard, xv"
"might stand up,
"and say to all the world, this is a man"
A fashionable Poem. — Frere Richart. — Religion. — Hdtel des Invqlides. — Hall of Victory. — Enemies' Coburs.— Sulky Appearance Qf an English Jack and Ensign. — Indecorum. — The aged Captain.— Military School. — Champ de 'Mais. — The Garden of Mousseaux.
CHAP. The conversation whilst I was at Paris, was much engaged XA J' by a poem, describing the genius and progress of Christianity written in imitation of the style of Ossian, which excited very considerable curiosity. From the remarks of some shrewd acquaintances of mine, who had perused the work, I learnt that the principles of the poem seemed strongly tinctured with the bewildered fancies of a disordered mind, conveyed in very heavy prosaic blank verse. "It was the madness of poetry, "without the inspiration."
This composition may be considered as a curiosity, from other reasons than those which mere criticism affords. Tlje poem was bad, the readers were many. The subject was sacred, the author a reputed atheist, and the profits which it produced exceeded two thousand pounds sterling. The fortunate writer relieved himself from the jaws of famine by this strange incomprehensible eulogy on the charms and advancement of Christianity, which has been received in Paris, with a sort of fashionable frenzy. Another pseudobard has announced his intention very shortly of issuing from the press,