a slower walk.
At last the end of the hall was reached, and here day
and night, sat a gaoler in a big armchair between two
doors, one with a grating through which he could see
everyone who came out of the prison, and the other
which led through a small court to the street. The
man stared hard at Lavalette ; not that he had any
suspicion, but because a wife who had bidden her
husband a last farewell was always interesting ; but he
did not unhook his two keys till Lavalette impatiently
shook the bars. Then he unlocked both doors, and the
prisoner was outside. But well he knew he was not
yet free. In front of the court was a guard-room con-
taining twenty soldiers, all as anxious as the gaoler to
see Madame Lavalette, and he had to go up twelve steps
under their eyes before he could get into the sedan chair
which was waiting for him. If he should stumble over
his dress, as he so easily might, nothing could save him.
By this time Josephine had remembered her mother's
directions, and was clinging to his right arm, so as to
put as much space as possible between him and the
soldiers. Together they mounted the steps where the
sedan chair was waiting, and, as if overcome with grief,
Lavalette flung himself into it, though he had noticed
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE 61
to his horror that not a single chairman was in sight
and that a sentry was posted not six feet away.
A lifetime seemed to have passed, though in reality it
was not more than two or three minutes, before he heard
his valet's voice whispering that one of the bearers had
failed, and he had been obliged to search for another.
Then the chair was caught up and carried across the
court, Josephine and the nurse following behind. Now
they were really out of the prison, and after turning one
or two corners the chair \vas set down, and the door
opened by Monsieur Baudus.
' Madame,' he said, ' may I remind you that you
have an appointment with the President ? You will
travel quicker in the cabriolet which is waiting for you.'
Lavalette took his hand and stepped out of the chair
and into the cabriolet, which stood a little further down
the dark narrow street. The horses started off at a
sharp trot, and Lavalette caught a glimpse of his
daughter on the pavement with her hands clasped in an
agony of fear for his safety, before she took his place in
the empty chair. Very soon, as Baudus well knew
would happen, the chair was overtaken by soldiers, who
had orders to bring back the escaped prisoner, but
finding only the child in it they allowed it to go on.
To Lavalette the drive appeared endless ; on they
went, down one street and up another, till he thought
every moment he should see the dawn, though it really
was not much past eight. At length, as they were
crossing a lonely square, Lavalette cautiously peered
out, and by the light of a flaming torch stuck upright
near a doorway he perceived that the driver was his
friend the Comte de Chassenon.
' Is it you ? ' he asked in amazement.
' Yes, it is I, and at your back are four good loaded
pistols, which I hope you will use in case of need. Woe
be to the person who tries to stop us.'
t>2 IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE
Then on they went as fast as ever, and on the way
Lavalette slipped off his woman's clothes and put on a
groom's livery, which he found under the seat, and a
laced hat. At the Boulevard Neuf the coach stopped
and Lavalette took out a white handkerchief, as he had
been told to do. At this signal Baudus appeared from
some dark corner and signed to him to follow. It was
pitch dark and rain was pouring, so it was easy to escape
detection, though more than once they heard police
gallop by, and guessed, perhaps wrongly, that they
w r ere seeking for him. For an hour they walked, and in
crossing a muddy road Lavalette lost one of his shoes,
so that he was half dead with fatigue before Baudus
paused in front of a large house.
' I am going in here,' he said, ' and while I am talking
to the porter, you slip into the courtyard and go up a
staircase you will find on the left. At the top is a dark
passage, and at the end of it a pile of firewood. Stand
behind it and w r ait ; you will be quite hidden,' and as he
spoke he turned and knocked at the door, which
Lavalette, to his surprise and horror, recognised as that
of his enemy the Due de Richelieu, Minister of Foreign
He was about to point out the danger when the gate
opened, and Monsieur Baudus entered.
' Where is that man going ? ' cried the porter, as
Lavalette disappeared into the courtyard.
' That ? Oh ! he is only my servant w r ho is waiting
for me,' and while Baudus began to question the porter
as to some story he had invented about his master,
Lavalette had reached the top of the stairs. Here his
arm was taken, and he was pulled into a room and the
door locked behind him.
Giddy and bewildered with all that had happened
to him in the last three hours, the poor man was thank-
ful to sit down on a sofa and rest in the darkness. For
a time his mind seemed a blank ; he could think of
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE 63
nothing, but with rest and quiet and the sense of safety
his reason gradually came back to him.
' Ah, now I know why they brought me here,' he
said to himself. ' Of course it is the very last place they
would dream of seeking for me,' and in the duke's house
he stayed, carefully looked after by the wife of the
cashier, Madame Bresson, who sometimes stole in to give
him news of the outer world, and how Paris was rejoic-
ing at his escape. She even invented stories about the
kind way in which his wife had been treated, which were,
alas ! very far from the truth.
Had he guessed how she was really suffering he
would probably have left his hiding-place and have given
himself up, for Madame de Lavalette was at that very
moment undergoing terrible hardships. Her husband's
escape had very soon been discovered, for though she
had at once retreated behind the screen, and had made
the noise of a person moving about, the gaoler had paid
her two visits within five minutes of each other, and the
second time had pushed aside the screen.
At the sight of the lady he gave a loud cry.
4 You have ruined me, madame ! ' he said, and was
rushing to give the alarm, when the Countess grasped
his coat with such violence that he left part of it in her
'The prisoner has escaped,' he shouted as he ran
through the passages, hastening to give instant news
to the prefect of police, who was responsible for his
Not a moment was lost in search parties being
organised and sent to every single place where he might
be expected to be hiding. Even the city gates were
closed, lest he should make for the country. All was,
however, vain, and the rage of the baffled prefect was
visited on the wife. She was removed to a cell which
formed part of the quarters of the worst and wickedest
64 IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE
female prisoners ; letters were strictly forbidden her, so
that she could not tell if her sacrifice had borne fruit or
MADAME. TAVAIETTE. TRIES TO HOLD BMCK THE
not, and her constant anxiety as to his fate, together
with the perpetual change of sentries, almost entirely
prevented her sleeping, so that little by little she fell
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE f>f,
into a nervous state which" finally ended in the loss of
Unconscious of what was happening, Lavalette
entered with his whole heart into the plans of his friend^
for his escape from France. Everything proposed had
some flaw, and was reluctantly rejected, and, strange to
say, it was through the English, w^hom Lavalette had
been taught to consider the enemies of his country,
that freedom finally came.
A brigade of British troops was at that time stationed
at Compiegne, not far from Paris, and Sir Robert Wilson,
a friend of the general in command, gladly undertook to
convey the fugitive out of France, with the help of
Captain Hutchinson of the Guards. The plan was that
Lavalette should be dressed in the uniform of a British
officer, and should drive with Wilson in an English
carriage beyond the barriers of Paris. At Compiegne
Sir Robert's own carriage would pick them up, and
together they would cross the frontier into Flanders.
A passport was obtained for Lavalette, under the name
of Colonel Losack, and as a young aide-de-camp of the
general at Compiegne was returning there, Wilson
begged him to find a hiding-place in the neighbourhood
where a man might be concealed if necessary for a few
As soon as it was dark Lavalette was taken to
Captain Hutchinson's rooms, little knowing that the
judge who had condemned him to death lived on the
floor above. Here he was joined by Sir Robert Wilson,
and by Bruce, one of the chief movers in the plot, who
made some final arrangements, and then left him to get
what sleep he could. It w r as not much, and at six he w r as
thankful to jump up and dress himself ; but a long hour
had still to pass before Sir Robert arrived in full uniform
and bade him take his place in Brace's cabriolet, while
66 IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE
Hutchinson rode beside them in order to give his horse
to Lavalette, in case of danger. To add to his peril,
it was a lovely morning and the streets were full of
people, many of them pressing towards the Place de
Greve, where the guillotine was being set up.
At last they were at the barrier, and here they were
obliged to stop and show their passports. Lavalette
had of late years lived so much in Paris, being head of
the Post Office, that his face was very well known, and
Wilson advised him to sit well back in the carriage, while
he himself leaned forward and answered the questions
of the official. The soldiers took a good look at him,
but were obliged to present arms to the British general,
and with their heads thrown up and their muskets held
in front they could not be quite certain that the man
in the carriage was as much like Lavalette as they had at
first thought. So they drove on, and after some terrible
frights reached Compiegne safely. For some hours
Lavalette lay hidden in the place provided by the young
aide-de-camp, and at night Wilson's own carriage
arrived from Paris. Relays of post-horses had been
already engaged, so that they continued their journey
much quicker than before. They were just beginning
to breathe freely with the frontier in sight, when at
Cambrai the English guard refused to awaken the porter
who had the key of the gates, declaring they had had no
orders, and it was three hours before the party could
get through ; while at Valenciennes the guard was not
satisfied with the passports, and insisted on carrying
them off for the commandant to examine in person^
Luckily, the morning was cold and the c^.imandant
lazy ; so he signed the passports in bed, instead of
coming himself to inspect the travellers. No further
objections were made, and in a little while the first
farmhouse in Belgium lay straight before them.
Then Sir Robert bade his friend farewell and returned
to Paris, which he had left only sixty hours before.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE 07
After resting a little while in the Netherlands,
Lavalette went to Bavaria and lived for six years in a
tiny out-of-the-way village with a poor artist for his
companion. Would you like to know how they spent
their days ? They got up at six and worked till nine,
when they breakfasted. Then followed more work till
twelve, and again from two to five. At five Lavalette
read for two hours, and at seven walked with his friend
till supper time, after which they played chess till ten.
But though at that hour Lavalette bade the artist good-
night, he never went to bed till one o'clock. What was
the use ? He was too miserable to sleep, thinking of the
sacrifice that had been made for him by his wife, whose
state he now knew.
How great was his joy when after six years of exile
he received a pardon and was able after a while to have
his wife to live with him ! Here, visited frequently by his
daughter Josephine, who long since had been married,
Lavalette passed the rest of his existence, and the news
of his death in 1830 came as a surprise to a world which
had ceased to remember the man in whose adventures
it had once been so deeply interested.
THE FLIGHT OF THE KING
EVERYBODY who has read the story of the great Civil
War in England will remember the fierce battle that
was fought outside Worcester in 1651, two years after
Charles I. had been executed at Whitehall. His son,
young Charles, was present, and showed that he cared
as little for his own life as any Stuart before or after
him ; but Cromwell's troops were better trained, and
their generals were more skilful, and in the end the
Royalists were forced to fly and Charles II. with them.
THE FIRST STAGE
There was not much time for the king to consider
where he should go, but he hastily called a few of his
nobles together, and asked their counsel.
' From London I might get to The Hague,' said he,
and Lord Wilmot supported him, but the rest cried
out that it was madness, and he must take the north
road. So urgent were they that Charles gave way, and
choosing out a body of men whom he could trust, set
out for Kidderminster, only to find before they had gone
half the distance that their guide had lost his way, and
that at any moment they might fall into the hands of
the enemy, for Cromwell had a strong outpost stationed
at Stourbridge. Then there stepped forward a private
gentleman known as Mr. Charles Giffard.
' My house of Boscobel lies not far off,' said he, ' and
THE FLIGHT OF THE KING 69
the woods around it are thick and wide. More than
that, the woodmen who dwell in the forests are faithful,
and it was but the other day that my Lord Derby found
shelter there. Hiding-places and priests' holes there are
in plenty, and I will undertake that his Majesty shall
remain unsuspected for as long as he pleases. Once
through Stourbridge he is safe. This is my counsel.'
' It is mine also,' added a voice, ' and mine,' ' a'nd
mine,' and so it \vas agreed upon.
Midnight had struck from the church towers before
the little party crept softly past the lines of the enemy.
Not a horse neighed, not a man stirred in his sleep, and
when the fugitives stood on a bend of the road out of
sight of the camp their spirits began to rise and they
breathed more freely.
' A king's man lives in that cottage yonder,' whis-
pered a stout fellow with long flowing hair ; ' I know r him
well, and dare swear that he will give us what food he has
in the house.'
' You speak wisely,' said Mr. Giffard, ' but we must
not tarry long, for we must bring the king to my manor
of Whiteladies ere the dawn breaks. Therefore hasten.'
Long seemed the minutes before the messenger
returned, but at length he was back, bearing with him
some cold meat and half a cheese.
' Your Majesty must eat as we go along,' said Mr.
Giffard, and the king took out his clasp knife and cut a
huge chunk off the cheese, vowing as he did so that it
was the best cheese which English churn had ever
produced, and that when he came to his own again he
would not forget the churner.
In this way they pushed on till the faint light of
dawn showed them some stacks of chimneys, which'Mr.
Giffard assured them belonged to Whiteladies.
' Thank God you are here,' cried their guide, kneeling
to hold the king's stirrup as he dismounted and entered
the doorway ; then, lest some curious person should be
70 THE FLIGHT OF THE KING
spying about, the horse was led in afterwards and
stabled in the hall.
THE OAK TREE
But as Giffard very well knew, Charles could not re-
main for many hours at Whiteladies, which was much
nearer the high-road than Boscobel, and was often visited
by travellers who had missed their way, or were hungry
and tired. So about noon Giffard wakened the king
from the deep sleep in which he had fallen, and taking
off his buff coat and the ribbon of the Order of the
Garter that he wore across it, representing St. George
killing the dragon, put on him a leathern jacket and
coarse breeches belonging to one of the Penderels,
a family of five brothers, tenants and loyal friends of all
the Giffards. Then Charles bade farewell to the followers
who had fled with him from Worcester, and leaving them
* with sad hearts but hearty prayers,' he was let out of
Whiteladies by a back door, and accompanied only by
Lord Wilmot and William and Richard Penderel,
plunged into a wood known as the Spring Coppice.
Here he parted from Wilmot, who was guided by John
Penderel to the house of a Mr. Huntbach, where he was
to lie hidden till it was safe for him. to ride to a shelter
that had been found elsewhere. While Penderel was
cautiously making inquiries of the men whom he met
he came across a Roman Catholic priest called Hodleston,
chaplain to Mr. Whitgrea ve of Moseley Hall, near Wolver-
hampton, and informed him of the battle and of the
plight of Lord Wilmot, who had fled with the king. In
Whitgreave's name, Hodleston promised him an
asylum, and it was settled that Wilmot should arrive at
Moseley Hall at midnight.
King though he was, Charles was by no means so
fortunate. Cold rain poured down on him even through
the thick leaves of the trees, and he dared not stand up,
THE FLIGHT OF THE KING 71
lest he should be seen by Cromwell's soldiers, whose
shouts and clattering swords he could faintly hear.
Thankful indeed was he when Richard Penderel appeared
with a thick dark blanket on which he could lie, followed
by his sister with some eggs, butter, and milk she had
beaten up together. After he had taken this he felt
more cheerful, and ready to look on the bright side, for
though he was only twenty-one he had suffered hard-
ships of all sorts, and now and always he was ready to
make light of them.
At nightfall, Charles, wet and hungry, saw with
relief Richard Penderel approaching. The brothers had
left him alone all these hours, and had shown themselves
to the neighbours from time to time, in order that no
one might suspect that they had any hand in the king's
escape, for they were well known to be Royalists. Now
it was safe for Charles to quit the damp wood, so Richard
went to fetch him, and brought him to his own house of
Hobbal Grange, where he had supper, and put on some
dry clothes belonging to his host. Then they set out
for a walk of seven miles, hoping to find shelter with
Mr. Wolfe, who lived at Madeley, near the Severn, with
the design of putting Charles under the care of the
loyal Welsh until he could escape to France. On the
way they were more than once heartily frightened, and
great was their dismay when Mr. Wolfe refused to take
them in. ' You may be escaped Royalists, as you say
you are,' \vas his answer, ' but while my son remains a
prisoner at Shrewsbury I can do nothing which will
draw down the w r rath of Cromwell on his head. No
man, Royalist though he be, shall shelter here, save
only the king.'
' It is the king,' said Penderel, and Wolfe slowly sank
on his knees and kissed his Majesty's hand.
' Pardon me, sire,' he whispered, glancing round him
as he spoke, ' but all my hiding-places are known to the
72 THE FLIGHT OF THE KING
rebels, and should they come along this road they
would not pass them without a visit. But in my barn
they will not look, and clean straw does not make bad
lying, as every soldier knows.' And the king sank
down joyfully on the heap of straw, while Wolfe piled
more over him as a coverlet. It was his third refuge
already, and forty-eight hours had not yet passed since
the battle of Worcester was fought !
Early in the morning, of September 5 young Wolfe,
suddenly released from his prison, appeared at Madeley,
bringing with him the news that the bridges and fords
over the Severn had been seized and the boats watched.
The plan of escape into Wales must clearly be aban-
doned, and by Penderel's advice Charles agreed to return
at night to Boscobel, taking Trusty Dick, as Richard
was afterwards called, as his guide. But Dame Wolfe
refused to let him go till she had stained his face and
hands with walnut juice, though one would have thought
he could hardly be blacker than he was already.
The night was very dark, and it was needful even
for Penderel to go slowly, and sometimes they had to
wait and listen till an alarm, real or fancied, was over.
Once they had to cross a stream, and now Charles, who
was a good swimmer, gave his guide a lead. A little
later they reached the cottage of John Penderel the
woodman, who told them that Lord Wilmot was in
hiding still at Moseley Hall, and that Major Carlis had
managed to evade his pursuers after the battle, and, not
daring to go to his own house in the neighbourhood,
was lurking somewhere in Boscobel wood. ' He does
wisely,' said Penderel, ' and it will be well if your
Majesty follows his example.'
* Then bring him to me that at least we may conceal
ourselves in company,' answered Charles, and when
Carlis had been found and food had been given them,
they climbed into a thick oak from which they could
get peeps at Boscobel itself. The king was really not
THE FLIGHT OF THE KLSd 75
at all uncomfortable, for the bough was wide, and lie
lay most of the day with his head on a cushion which
was placed on the major's lap. How the major enjoyed
the situation we do not know, but the scouts who
passed from time to time under the tree never guessed
at their presence, and by evening all was clear again,
and they were able to come down and enter Boscobel
House without fear of capture. Charles spent the
night in a ' priest's hole,' or cupboard, off the chimney,
so small that a tall man such as he was forced to double
himself up ; but like many soldiers he could sleep any-
where, and the knowledge that the five Penderels were
watching outside no doubt helped his slumbers.
' Whiteladies had been searched, but there was no
further thought of Boscobel,' was the report they gave,
so he passed a quiet day reading in the garden, ready at
the first alarm to run into his hiding-place.
THE RIDE TO ABBOT'S LEIGH
That afternoon brought news indeed. As the king
knew, Mistress Jane Lane, the young sister of the loyal
Colonel Lane of Bentley Hall, not far from Boscobel,
was intending to set out on the long ride to Bristol, in
order to visit her friend Mrs. Norton at the little village
of Abbot's Leigh, on the other side of the Avon. Most
girls would have hesitated at undertaking such an
expedition through the very seat of war, and most elder
brothers would have put a stop to it ; but Mistress Jane
was both brave and headstrong, and declared she was
well able to look after herself. She had a passport,
and w T as allowed a man to protect her, and that was all
Now it had been arranged that this attendant should
be Lord Wilmot in disguise ; but suddenly John Penderel
came forward with the proposal that the king, and not
Wilmot, should accompany the lady, and once at Bristol,
76 THE FLIGHT OF THE KING
a ship could easily be found which would convey him
to France or Spain. But as there were signs that, in
spite of all care, suspicions were falling on Boscobel,
Charles was to go to Moseley without delay, and meet
Wilmot. A horse was brought from Humphrey Pen-
derel's mill, and with the five brothers and their brother-
in-law to guard him, the little party set out, each man
being armed with a bill, which was a long pole with a
knife at the end, a pike and a pistol.
The ground was uneven and the night dark, and
even the sharp eyes of the horse could scarcely see
where to plant his feet.
' Odd's fish, friend Penderel, thy steed goes but
roughly,' said the king, when a stumble had more than
once nearly jolted him out of the saddle.
' Can your Majesty blame him ? ' answered the
miller, who had the quickness of tongue that ever pleased
Charles ; ' can your Majesty blame him when he has
the weight of three kingdoms on his back ? ' And
Charles laughed and made no more complaints of the
paces of his horse, with which, indeed, he had to part
before they had gone much further. A wet walk of
three miles brought him to Moseley Hall, where he
lay for two days, most of which he spent in a little
room over the porch commanding the road from
Wolverhampton, now crowded with fugitives from
Worcester. Once a party of Cromwell's soldiers
actually visited the house, but were soon convinced
by the owner's calm manner of receiving them that they
were on the wrong track and went quietly away.