« 이전계속 »
once determined that it must be by that way alone that he could escape.
But how was it possible for him to get at the ceiling? or, even if he could do so, how could the long labor of making a hole through the solid woodwork of it be accomplished either in one day or without immediately attracting the attention of his jailer?
The scheme he hit upon was this :—In the first place he communicated all his plans to his neighboring prisoner the monk, and found him willing to join in an attempt at escape. Then he instructed him to cause the jailer to buy for him several of the ordinary devotional broadsides, with prints of the virgin and saints, etc. And these he was to stick up all about the sides of his cell, as for purposes of devotion; and behind one of these, constantly replaced so as to conceal the work, a hole was to be made by the monk in the side of his cell. There remained, however, the great difficulty of conveying the invaluable sharpened bolt to the monk, without which he had no means of even attemping the work. At last there seemed to be an opportunity of attempting this. It was a chance !—one involving tremendous risk! But then every portion of the scheme necessarily involved risks which offered only a small chance of ultimate success; and if the thing was to be attempted at all, it was useless to recoil before such chances.
One of the volumes lent by the monk to Casanova was a large folio, bound in parchment loose at the back, in the fashion in which old books, especially Italian books, are often seen. Casanova tried to conceal the bolt inside the binding of the back of this book. The weapon was too long! It protruded nearly an inch at either end! Nevertheless his powers of invention were not yet finally conquered. Some festival occurred, on which a certain sort of cake, or pudding, of macaroni, made with much oil, was usually eaten. Casanova told the jailer that he wished, in return for the kindness received from his neighbor prisoner, to send him and the companion in his cell (for there was another prisoner in the monk's cell, a certain Conte Asquin, an old and immensely fat man) a dish of macaroni for the festival, prepared by his own hands. He furnished the money necessary for buying the different articles, and then saying that
he meant to do the thing as handsomely as possible, begged the jailer to bring him the largest dish he could get. The manner was, it seems, to prepare macaroni after this fashion in one of those very large, flat, shallow copper dishes, which are still so frequently seen in Italy. All the preparations were accomplished according to the prisoner's wishes. He prepared his plat, taking especial care that the dish should be filled with oil to the very brim, so that it could only be carried with great care, and in the most perfect equilibrium. Then he placed it on the folio with the precious bolt in it, sticking out at either end, but not so far as not to be hidden by the dish. Then, when the jailer came, he told him to take the book and the dish together into the neighboring cell. He put them himself into the man's hands, laughingly begging him to take the utmost care not to spill the oil. Of course the monk had been informed of the whole scheme, and knew with what precautions he was to receive the present
All went well; and the unconscious jailer thus himself carried the weapon which was to open a way for the escape of the captives!
The plan of sticking up pictures of saints on the sides of the monk's cell, so as to hide his operations on them with the bolt turned into a spike, also succeeded perfectly. In a few days he had made a hole in the wooden wall of the cell, and was able to get out of it and on to the roof of that in which Casanova was confined: on which he began his operations, taking extreme care, of course, to leave a thin skin of wood untouched till the moment of evasion should have arrived.
This was eventually fixed for the 31st of October at mid-day. The morning visit of the jailer and his assistants would be then over, and (unless in consequence of some unusual occurrence) there would be no fear of any further visit till the next morning. At mid-day precisely he heard the monk on the ceiling above him, and in a very few minutes more the thin crust of wood, which alone remained, was broken through, and the monk descended into Casanova's cell.
The next difficulty to be overcome arose from the fear and misgivings of his accomplice, who, despite the success of their enterprise up to that point, began to feel sure that they never should succeed
in getting absolutely free out of the Palace. His lamentations, predictions of failure, and reproaches when he found that the enterprise was a more arduous one than he had anticipated, had to be listened to, not without infinite disgust, by the bolder spirit, on whom was now cast all the difficulty of the undertaking. And these difficulties, already overcome, were as nothing to those now before them.
The first step, however, after they had got on to the top of the cell, through the hole which the monk had made, presented no great difficulty. This was to rip open a sufficient portion of the leaden rooting of tbe Palace to allow them to pass out on to the roof; and by the help of the sharpened bolt this was readily accomplished. To reach the ridge of the roof was a matter of much greater difficulty. It had been necessary to wait till midnight before getting on to the roof, because it was a bright moonlight night: all Venice would be walking on the Square of St. Mark : the fugitives would have been seen on the roof; and it was, therefore, absolutely essential to wait till the moon had gone down. But in the meantime a thick fog arose, which, if it had the advantage of increasing the darkness, brought with it the very serious disadvantage of making the leads so slippery that it was with the most extreme difficulty that they were able to crawl on hands and knees up the steep ascent Of course a slip would have been immediately fatal. By dint of exceeding exertion, Casanova mainly dragging up the monk as well as himself, they succeeded in seating themselves astride the ridge.
The next step was to find some means of fixing the end of the rope by which they were to let themselves down into the piazza from the roof. This rope had been prepared by the assiduous labor of the hours between the last morning visit of the jailer and the time of escape; and was composed of all their bedding torn into shreds, twisted and carefully knotted. They had enough of it to reach from the roof to the ground; but a long and scrupulous examination of the entire roof served only to show unmistakably that there was no possibility of fixing the rope to any object that could be trusted to hold it
Then truly the prospect began to look very black indeed! To give up all hope
of escape and return to their cells was by no means the worst before them. It would have been absolutely impossible to conceal the traces of their outbreak, and condemnation to the "Pozzi" * for life would have been the sure consequence. Rather than that, Casanova, was thoroughly resolved to precipitate himself into the canal that runs between the Ducal Palace and the prison on the other side of the "Bridge of Sighs."
At last in the course of his examination of every part of the roof, he observed a. small garret window in that slope of the roof which looked towards the canal. Todescend the slope of the roof, though not less dangerous, was far less difficult than to climb up it. Casanova let himself slide down, trusting to his power of directing himself forwards, and being pulled up by the little roof of the window. He succeeded in this. Then lying along the ridge of this little roof on his stomach, with his legs extended up the slope of the main roof above it, he projected his head far enough over the edge of the roof of the window to see that it was a small window of little panes set in lead, and protected by an iron grating. Of course the window mattered little. But the iron grating?
With infinite labor, at the most frightful risk of being precipitated into the canal below, and with hands lacerated and bleeding, Casanova, after a quarter of an hour's work, succeeded in wrenching the grating from the wall with his trusty sharpened bolt. Then he returned to the spot on the main ridge of the roof where he had left his companion, who received him with a torrent of imprecations for having been so long absent. Nevertheless, he continued to labor for his escape as well as for his own. Having succeeded in getting the monk on to the roof of the now open
"The Pozzi,"—literally "wells,"—are a range of prisons, yet more terrible than the *' Piombi," constructed among the foundations of the Ducal Palace, without light, and accessible only by a dark stair leading from the first floor of the Palace, and by a little postern on the level of the canal, underneath the "Bridge of Sighs," by which the bodies of executed criminals, and of those who died there, were removed. Thus, the gorgeous public life of Venice, the assemblies of its senators and statesmen, the stately ceremonial of its receptions, were all transacted with despair and wailing over their heads, and despair and wailing under their feet 1
little window, it was not very difficult for one of the two to be let down through the window by means of the cord by the other. But how was the second to follow? The monk absolutely refused to help Casanova to descend. The latter, therefore, tied the cord around the body of the former, and succeeded in letting him down till he reached a floor. They found that the distance from the window to the floor was at least fifty feet. And now Casanova was alone on the roof, utterly at a loss to find the means of rejoining his companion. At last, after much search, he discovered on .a remote part of the roof a ladder left there by workmen. With considerable labor and difficulty he succeeded in dragging it to the little ridge roof over the small garret window. But then came the question how, unaided by any other hand, he was to get one end of the long ladder in at the window. Below the window, it is to be understood, there was nothing save a few yards of very steeply sloping leads, a narrow stone cornice gutter, and then—the sheer fall of some two hundred feet into the canal below! The extreme difficulty and peril of the operation to be performed may be readily conceived!
Perched on the roof of the garret window, however, he did contrive, by the aid of his cord of bedclothes, to get one end of the ladder into the aperture of the window, and pull it onwards till the end struck against the roof of the window in the inside. In this position it is easy to understand that no amount of force could make it enter further, save by raising the other end, which projected far beyond the extreme edge of the roof of the Palace. There was nothing for it, therefore, but to attempt this. Casanova let himself slip • down on his stomach till the toes of his feet rested against the outside of the marble gutter which forms the cornice of the roof,—the toes only, for the gutter was too shallow to admit of more. In this position he strove to raise the ladder, having, as will be understood, a strong leverage against him, inasmuch as the part projecting beyond the fulcrum formed by his hand was much longer than that between his hand and the other end inside the window.
While using his utmost effort to accomplish this, he raised himself on his knees in order to exert more strength; his toes slipped, and he was launched over the
edge of the roof, till, by one of those instinctive and despairing efforts of which a man is capable only in similar desperate circumstances, he found himself arrested in his downward course by the clinging of his elbows to the cavity of the gutter. "A horrible moment," he says, writing many years afterwards when an old man, "at which I still shudder, and which it is, perhaps, impossible to imagine in all its horror. The natural instinct of preservation caused me, almost without knowing what I was doing, to exert my utmost strength to cling on, and—I am almost tempted to say miraculously—I succeeded."
Lacerated, bleeding, trembling, streaming with perspiration at every pore, he did succeed in regaining his position on the roof. The effort, which had so nearly cost him his life, had pushed the ladder three or four feet further into the window; and the remainder of the task of rejoining the monk on the floor of the room into which the window opened was comparatively easy.
As also was the remainder of his escape from the Palace. There were a few doors to be broken open, but the trusty weapon which had already stood him in such good stead, soon disposed of them. And in that vast building at that hour of the night, and especially just at that time of the year, when it was the habit of Venetian officers of state to take a few days' holiday at their estates on the mainland, there was little danger of any noise being heard.
After the breaking, more or less difficult, of a few doors, the fugitives found themselves at the head of the great staircase, so well known to travellers, which leads from the great corridor, running round the interior of the court of the Palace on the first floor. Thence the way was perfectly open to them to the head of the yet better known "giant" stairs, and at the foot of them to the main door of the Palace. This was shut and locked, because it was not yet the hour at which it was opened in the morning. It stands always open all day, but Casanova judged that it was wisest not to wait for that hour of the morning. Having first repaired as well as he could the mischief done both to his flesh and his clothes by the various incidents of his escape—which it was not so easy to do, for both clothes and limbs were torn to bits and covered with blood, but he had still the bundle containing his wardrobe with him—he showed himself at one of the grated windows looking from the court on to the piazza.
Then some early passer-by saw him, and went to tell the porter that there was a man locked up in the court. Casanova says that, dressed as he was, he looked just like a man who had left a ball and passed the rest of the night in debauchery and disorder. The monk was dressed Lice a peasant. Placing himself close to the door, with the monk behind him, and grasping his sharpened bolt in his hand, thoroughly determined to strike the porter down with it if he should make any resistance to his exit, he awaited the opening of the door; and the instant it was opened glided through it on to the open piazza. The porter seemed too much struck with amazement to do aught but stand agape and stare, so there was no need for violence; and Casanova and his companion, passing quickly to the "riva" of the "piazzetta," had no difficulty in finding a couple of gondoliers to take them to Mestre.
But the escaped prisoner knew too well the ways of the power against which he was trying the resources of his courage and wit, to imagine for an instant that he was really free till he had placed himself on the further side of the frontier of the territory of the Republic; and the nearest point at which this could be accomplished was the boundary separating the dominions of Venice from those of the Bishop of Trent.
This, after a variety of adventures and hair-breadth escapes, which cannot here be related at length, he succeeded in accomplishing.
Before leaving Mestre he found himself face to face with a "sbirro," or officer in the employment of the Inquisition, who knew him personally, and knew that he ought then to have been in the " piombi" of the Ducal Palace. Fortunately the
spot was solitary, and he escaped by menacing the life of the officer. This danger, as well as many others, was brought upon him by the selfishness, cowardice, and imbecility of the monk his companion, whom nevertheless he would not desert (much to his honor, if his own account is to be credited) till he saw him safe and provided for in Germany. One night he passed in the house of a chief officer of the police of the Inquisition, who was absent from home scouring the country in search of him, and to whose wife he represented that he was a friend of her husband.
At Munich he found friends who took him with them to Paris, where, as ever, he once more fell on his legs, and began a new course of very extraordinary adventures, of which by no means the least curious was that which made him, about eighteen years subsequently, a "confidant"—f. e. spy and informer—of the Tribunal, whose means of action he stigmatizes as infamous, when they were exerted against himself.
The special business for the sake of which he was in the first instance employed was the difficult and delicate one of preventing certah^ Armenian monks, who had separated themselves from the wellknown Armenian convent existing on one of the islands of the lagoon under the protection of Venice, from obtaining an establishment at Trieste. This he accomplished to the satisfaction of his employers; and his communications with the terrible Tribunal on the subject are sufficiently curious to be worth condensing from the highly interesting volumes of records which Signor Bazzoni has made known to historical students.
But this paper has already run to too great a length for it to be possible to attempt doing so on the present occasion.
I Once travelled with Dr. Livingstone, and through an oversight on the part of
and with him visited Johanna, one of the the officer then in charge of the Pioneer,
Comoro Islands, which lie between the the tanks had not been replenished be
northern extreme of Madagascar and the fore we left the river Rovumah, and we
African coast. The voyage to Johan- had tapped our last cask of water before
na was not a pleasant one: fever clung we arrived at our destination,
to us, fuel failed us, the ship sailed badly, When we first sighted Johanna it seem
ed like a huge pyramid enveloped in a purple haze, and floating on the sun-burnished ocean; but as we drew nearer we saw that, like most islands of volcanic origin, it was wild and broken in outline, and that its surface was everywhere varied by hill and valley, cliff and chasm, gentle slope and irregular plateau. Although in the latitude of perpetual summer, Johanna is clothed with an everlasting verdure. The highest summit, 6,000 feet above the sea, is ever green with the bramble, the creeping vine, and other plants which find life in the moist and soil-filled crevices. The lower altitudes are rich with a most luxuriant vegetation. The plateaus are "florid with an unfading prime." And in many of the deeper valleys, so dense is the canopy of foliage spread by huge trees and parasitic shrubs which hang on their branches, that the sunbeams never enter to disperse the mists of the morning. In these shades the birds seek shelter from the heat of noon-tide, and reptiles and insects, which love damp places, and hate the sun, find their abodes. This unceasing fertility is owing to the clouds which here shed a constant moisture on the hill-tops, and feed streams which rush and roar along the steep and rugged water-courses, and wind through the lower valleys with slower pace and softer music, until they enter the tropical sea. Seed-time and harvest, therefore, are constantly united, and fruitful summer presides over the whole year.
Johanna is dominated by a race of Arabs which claims to have supplied Eastern Africa with most of its petty potentates. The King of Johanna is the lord and master of about 10,000 souls, of whom all but a tithe are Africans and slaves. It is the policy of Great Britain to maintain the independence of the King of Johanna, and other little sovereigns, against the designs of those who covet territory in these parts of the world; had it not been for this, Johanna would long since have passed into the possession of the French.
We did not make for Muzumudu, the capital, but for Pomoney, a village on the western side of the island, where there is a small but safe harbor joined by the coral reef, and where lived an Englishman, who was then British Consul for the Comoros, but whose principal occupation was the cultivation of sugar. Our little
ship glided into the harbor, and we let go our anchor just as the last glow of the sun passed away from the hills, and the stars began to shine through the orange-tinted sky. Then there came on board two Arabs, who wore grand apparel, who carried swords with richly ornamented hilts and scabbards, who were high in position amongst the great men of the island, and who were anxious for the privilege and profit of washing our soiled linen and replenishing our larder. The slave-trade was, in all probability, their natural occupation, but that had but lately been rudely interfered with by our cruisers; and so these two worthies, cut-throats ingrain they looked to be, were reduced to the ignoble employment of bidding one against the other for the advantage of our patronage. After a fashion they both spoke English, for Johanna has been a rendezvous for British ships for many years, and the English language is one of the most general accomplishments of its inhabitants. Said one of these men to me, "Listen. Have nothing with that man" (his rival for our favors). "His woman kill your shirt, beat it to pieces. He give you meat no good—old cow. He sell you bad milk, bad eggs, bad banana, bad orange, bad cocoanut,—all things bad. He make pay very much. Listen. My woman wash shirt good. Me sell meat, everything, all good, all for little money. Say finish?"
"Finish "—the word with which they close a bargain—I did not say, and he turned from me in unconcealed disgust. A few minutes afterwards the other fellow preferred his claims. Said he, "That man no good. He lie, he cheat, very much. Suppose give him shirt, what he do? He keep, ship go away, no see shirt again. Give me shirt, my woman wash, you have back to-morrow. That good, eh? Me sell beef, goat, limes, banana, melon, al! things, all you like, all good—very good. Say finish?"
"Finish" was not said, for the Consul had come on board, and Dr. Livingstone having learnt from him that there was no coal at the naval depot at Pomoney, and that one of her Majesty's ships was at Muzumudu for repairs, with a good supply, determined upon going round to that town on the morrow.
The larger houses of Muzumudu face the sea. They are flat-roofed, white, and with