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caped :—but we may imagine what became of the wretched people, who had no worldly goods wherewith to propitiate their brutal assailants.]
Going out of church immediately after sermon, some people of St. James's parish passed by, and told me the enemy had entered the town. With difficulty could I persuade myself that this was anything more than a false alarm; but the news unfortunately proved too true. I then lost my presence of mind, and as my wife and maid-servant were with me, we ran directly to my colleague, M. Malsio's house, and left our own house open. At M. Malsio's we found many people, who had fled to him in great perplexity. We comforted and exhorted each other, as far as the terror of our minds would give us leave. I was summoned thence to discharge the last duties to a colonel, who lay dangerously wounded. I resolved to go, and sent my maid to fetch my gown: but before my departure from my wife and neighbours, I told them that the affair appeared to me to be concluded, and that we should meet no more in this world. My wife reproached me in a flood of tears, crying, “ Can you prevail on yourself to leave me to perish all alone? You must answer for it before God!" I represented to her the obligations of my function, and the importance of the moments I was called upon to give my assistance in.
As I crossed the great street a multitude of matrons and young women flocked about me, and besought me, in all the agonies of distress, to advise them what to do. I told them, my best advice was to recommend themselves to God's protecting grace, and prepare for death. At length I entered the colonel's lodging, and found him stretched on the floor, and very weak. I gave him such consolation as the disorder of my mind would permit me: he heard me with great attention, and ordered a small present of gold to be given me, which I left on the table. In this interval, the enemy poured in by crowds at the Hamburg gate, and fired on the multitude as upon beasts of prey. Suddenly my wife and maid-servant entered the room, and persuaded me to remove immediately, alleging we should meet with no quarter, if the enemy found us in an apartment filled with arms. We ran down into the court-yard of the house, and placed ourselves in the gateway. Our enemies soon burst the gate open, with an eagerness that cannot be described. The first address they made to me was,
“ Priest, deliver thy money." I gave them about four and twenty shillings in a little box, which they accepted with good will : but when they opened the box, and found only silver, they raised their tone, and demanded gold. I represented to them that I was at some distance from my house, and could not at present possibly give them more. They were reasonable enough to be contented with my answer, and left us, after having plundered the house, without offering us any insult. There was a well-looking youth among the crowd, to whom my wife addressed herself, and besought him in God's name to protect us : “My dear child,” said he, “it is a thing impossible; we must pursue our enemies;” and so they retired.
In that moment another party of soldiers rushed in, who demanded also our money. We contented them with seven shillings and a couple of silver spoons, which the maid fortunately had concealed in her pocket. They were scarce gone before a soldier entered alone with the most furious countenance I ever saw; each cheek was puffed out with a musket-ball, and he carried two muskets on his shoulder. The moment he perceived me, he cried with a voice of thunder, “ Priest, give me thy money, or thou art dead.” As I had nothing to give him, I made my apology in the most affecting manner: he levelled a piece to shoot me, but my wife luckily turned it with her hand, and the ball passed over my head. At length, finding we had no money, he asked for plate: my wife gave him some silver trinkets, and he went his way.
A little after came four or five soldiers, who only said, “Wicked priest, what doest thou here?” Having said thus much they departed.
We were now inclined to shelter ourselves in the uppermost lodgings of the house, hoping there to be less exposed and better concealed. We entered a chamber that had several beds in it, and passed some time there in the most insupportable agonies. Nothing was heard in the streets but the cries of the expiring people; nor were the houses much more quiet; every thing was burst open or cut to pieces. We were soon discovered in our retirement: a number of soldiers poured in, and one who carried a hatchet made an attempt to cleave my skull, but a companion hindered him and said, “Comrade, what are you doing, don't you perceive that he is a clergyman?” .
When these were gone a single soldier came in, to whom my wife gave a crape handkerchief off her neck; upon which he retired without offering us any injury. His successor was not so reasonable: for entering the chamber with his sword drawn, he immediately discharged a blow upon my head, saying, “Priest, give me thy money." The stroke stunned me; the blood gushed out in abundance, and frightened my wife and servant to that degree that they both continued motionless. The barbarian turned round to my wife, aimed a blow at her, but it glanced fortunately on her gown, which happened to be lined with furs, and wounded her not. Amazed to see us so submissive and patient, he looked at us fixedly for some moments. I laid hold of this interval to represent to him that I was not in my own house, being come to the place where I was to discharge my duty to a dying person, but if he would grant us quarter, and protect us to our home, I would then bestow upon him all I had. “Agreed, priest,” said he, “give me thy wealth, and I will give thee the watch-word : it is Jesu Maria ; pronounce that, and no one will hurt thee.” We went down stairs directly, highly contented to have found such a protector. The street was covered with the dead and dying; their cries were enough to have pierced the hearts of the greatest barbarians. We walked over the bodies, and when we arrived at the church of St. Catherine, met an officer of distinction on horseback. This generous person soon discovered us, and seeing me covered with blood, said to the person who conducted us, “Fellow-soldier, fellow-soldier, take care what you do to these persons.” At the same time he said to my wife, “ Madam, is yonder house yours ?” My wife having answered that it was, “ Well," added he, “ take hold of my stirrup, conduct me thither, and you shall have quarter.” Then turning to me, and making a sign to the soldiers with his hand, he said to me, “ Gentlemen of Magdeburg, you yourselves are the occasion of this destruction : you might have acted otherwise.” The soldier who had used me ill, took this opportunity to steal away. Upon entering my house, we found it filled with a multitude of plunderers, whom the officer, who was a colonel, ordered away. He then said he would take up his lodging with us, and having posted two soldiers for a guard to us, left us with a promise to return forthwith. We gave, with great cheerfulness, a good breakfast to our sentinels, who complimented us on the lucky fortune of falling into their colonel's hands; at the same time representing to us that their fellowsoldiers made a considerable booty while they continued inactive merely as a safe-guard to us, and therefore beseeching us to render them an equivalent to a certain degree. Upon this I gave them four rosenobles, with which they were well contented, and showed so much humanity as to make us an offer to go and search for any acquaintance whom we desired to place in safety with us. I told them I had one particular friend who had escaped to the cathedral, as I conjectured, and promised them a good gratuity on his part if they saved his life. One of them accompanied by my maid-servant went to the church, and called my friend often by name; but it was all in vain, no one answered, and we never heard mention of him from that period.
Some moments after our colonel returned, and asked if any person had offered us the least incivility. After we had disculpated the soldiers in this respect, he hastened abroad to see if there was any possibility to extinguish the fire, which had already seized great part of the city: he had hardly got into the street, when he returned, with uncommon hastiness, and said, “ Show me the way out of the town, for I see plainly we shall perish in the flames if we stay here a few minutes longer.” Upon this we threw the best of our goods and movables into a vaulted cellar, covered the trap-door with earth, and made our escape. My wife took nothing with her but my robe; my maid seized a neighbour's infant child by the hand, whom we found crying at his father's door, and led him away. We found it impossible to pass through the gates of the town, which were all in a flame, and the streets burnt with great fury on either side: in a word, the heat was so intense that it was with difficulty we were able to breathe. Having made several unsuccessful attempts, we determined at last to make our escape on the side of the town next the Elbe. The streets were clogged with dead bodies, and the groans of the dying were insupportable. The Walloons and Croatians attacked us every moment, but our generous colonel protected us from their fury. When we gained the bastion, which stands on the bank of the Elbe, we descended it by the scaling-ladders which the Imperialists had made use of in the assault, and arrived at length in the enemy's camp near Rottensee, thoroughly fatigued and extremely alarmed.
The colonel made us enter his tent, and presented us some refreshments. That ceremony being over, “Well,” said he, “having saved your lives, what return do you make me?” We told him that for the present we had nothing to bestow, but that we would transfer to him all the money and plate that we had buried in the cellar, which was the whole of our worldly possessions. At this instant many Imperial officers came in, and one chanced to say to me, “Ego tibi condoleo, ego sum addictus Fidei Augustana." The distressed state I found myself in made me unable to give a proper reply to the condolences of a man who carried arms against those whose religion he professed, and whose hard fortune he pretended to deplore.
Next day the colonel sent one of his domestics with my maid-servant to search for the treasure we had buried in the cellar, but they returned without success, because as the fire still continued they could not approach the trap-door. In the meanwhile the colonel made us his guests at his own table, and during our whole stay treated us not as prisoners, but as intimate friends.
One day at dinner an officer of the company happened to say, that our sins were the cause of all the evil we suffered, and that God had made use of the Catholic army to chastise us; to whom my wife replied, that the observation perhaps was but too true; however, take care, continued she, lest God in the end should throw that very scourge into the flames. This sort of prophecy was fulfilled soon afterwards on the selfsame Imperial army, which was almost totally destroyed at the battle of Leipzic.
At length I ventured one day to ask our colonel to give us leave to depart: he complied immediately, on condition that we paid our ransom. Next morning I sent my maid into the town to try if there was any possibility of penetrating into the cellar; she was more fortunate that day, and returned with all our wealth. Having returned our thanks to our deliverer, he immediately ordered a passport to be prepared for us, with permission to retire to whatever place we should think proper, and made us a present of a crown to defray the expense of our journey. This brave Spaniard was colonel of the regiment of Savelli, and named Don Joseph de Ainsa.
6.-A TALE OF TERROR.
COURIER. [Paul Louis COURIER, who was born in 1774, served in the French army in Italy, in 1798-9. He was a scholar, and a man of taste; and his letters are full of indignation at the rapacity of the French conquerors. After the peace of Amiens he published several translations from the Greek. On the renewal of the war he served again in Italy;