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had made a long but superficial cut in his neck; but the bluntness of the knife, and the surprise of the door bursting open, had prevented the final execution of his project : and I was told afterwards, that it was happy for me I had been fortunate enough to save his life, as mine might have been made to answer for it. And indeed there is little doubt that
my enemies would have rejoiced in so fortunate a means of at once getting rid of my complaints, and of branding forever a name which hitherto all their malice could not sully.
The shame and humiliation which followed this frustrated attempt, rendered this young man still more miserable: and yet he was to be envied in comparison with some other inmates of this castle. There were dungeons where human beings had lived long enough to forget their own names, wearing out their days in darkness, nakedness, and hunger. Too hapру if folly or madness came at last to rescue them from the consciousness of what they were.
The whole science of criminal jurisprudence in Portugal is this; to throw the suspected person into ą secret dungeon, which is aptly called in their judicial phrase, Inferno (Hell.) Here the wretch remains until he is reported fit to be examined. If he confesses, he is put into irons, and either condemned as a slave, to work in chains, or sent to Goa or the American Plantations. If he does not confess, he remains in his dungeon. I mentioned to one of the gaolers my sense of this hardship, as an obstinate guilty person might deny the truth, whilst an innocent one, less
courageous, might very readily, to relieve himself from such a state of misery, make a false confession : his answer was laconic, “ logo confesse,” they soon confess.
All these things I could have viewed as an observer, for my own mind was strongly made up to every exigence; but the thoughts of an innocent wife and children, who might be the victims of such barbarity, were too painful for repose. For besides the instance of the free-mason's wife, I had learned one which touched me much nearer. The last occupier of my present apartment had been an Italian nobleman of high rank and fortune, who had been sent out of England under the alien law, for political notions displeasing to the court. His lady, who was English, had been ordered to Lisbon for her health. Whilst he was imprisoned in the castle of St. George, she was dungeoned in secret in a separate prison, where she remained some time, spitting blood. During this her most private letters were seized
upon and read, and she was at length released only to be sent on board an English man of war.to Gibraltar, and from thence to the coast of Barbary. I have known that lady since, and she certainly never could have deserved that treatment, or been capable of giving offence to any government.
What then might be the treatment reserved for my wife, should she arrive? Such was the consideration which occupied my mind, leaving me otherwise insensible to all the little tricks and vexations I was exposed to. And what heightened these feelings, was
the treachery of the turnkey, Antonio, who boasted of the sums he had received from this unfortunate gentleman, in the moments of his impatience, by different impostures and duperies; amongst others, that of promising to manage an interview between him and his lady by a subterraneous passage; through which, he pretended, a coach could pass; and of which, he said, he had the key; and that no doubt might remain of this infamy, he produced, and offered to sell to me, the very letters which he had been so largely bribed to deliver.
But to quit these details, which would swell my letter beyond moderate bounds, and return to my story :-I have already mentioned, that my papers were delivered to me by an officer. This same officer gave me notice to prepare for quitting this prison immediately. He told me that on that evening I was to be removed to another place, previous to my being embarked: but he would not tell me where I was to be removed, nor to what country embarked : but said that I was to have an interview in the evening with the British and Portuguese ministers, and every thing would be settled. Upon this he went away, and I locked up my papers in my travelling secretary. Scarcely had I done this, before I was desired to give up all my effects, in order that they might be sent before me to the place where I was going: so, that had I been so disposed, I could make no
any of the recommendations they contained. The first thing that occurred to me, was to make John avail himself of his permission to go to the
market ; and instead of doing so, to go to the English ambassador's, and enquire into the truth. He did so, and received for answer, that Mr. Walpole was so dangerously ill, that his lady dared not put the dispatches before him to be signed, and that the packet was detained for that reason.
Upon this I wrote to the Intendentem.John carried the letter. He saw this minister, who told him that he would have the letter interpreted by his linguist, and that an answer should be sent to his master in the evening.
I next requested the doctor to come to me, who complied, but only answered me dryly, that these things were done very suddenly in Portugal. I was however, as dry with him, and the only one to whom I shewed any friendship on parting, was the Russian robber: for, with all his vices on his head, he had more of the features of humanity. Perhaps I
have judged too hardly of the doctor, if it should appear so in future : I shall be ready to make him all atonement in my power. One thing, in his favor, I must confess, was the jealousy the others seemed to entertain of him.
In the evening came two officers of police to take me and my servant away. We were called down to be delivered to them; and each of them, putting his hand into his pocket, produced a string of hard whip-cord, for the purpose of tying our hands. One of them took me aside, and told me, with many compliments, that though he had strict orders from the minister to tie my hands, yet seeing the kind of person I appeared to be,
he would disobey, in hopes, however, that I would acknowledge his complaisance. I made no other answer than by bringing him forward, and calling upon him, at his peril, to tie my hands, if such were his orders, as it was my intention, at a proper time, to throw the responsibility of all these insults where it was due. This produced debate, and the project of tying me was over-ruled.
I should now, before I take leave of the castle of St. George, mention the humble trophy I raised, in honor of the virtue I most prize, and in revenge for the many perfidies I had experienced. My chief amusement had been scratching with charcoal some rude designs upon the walls of my recess, which John had embellished with festoons of oranges.With a morsel of this charcoal, I hastily traced the following passage, which, if I remember well, is to be found in the tragedy of Douglas :
Such was the rebuke I addressed to my enemies, and the counsel I bequeathed to my successors. And now, my friend, before we enter into other dungeons, let us take a further