Page images

gether; our beds join to one another. Fresh supplies are daily offered to Mr. le Fevre and myself.: One M. M. a banker, has offered us money when we have occasion for it. Mr. le F. has likewise written to me twice, to offer me some money; but, I thank God, we do not yet want it. Mr. P. has my little treasure in his hands. He has provided me a steward at the hospital, to buy me whatsoever I want; and who reckons with Mr. P. for his expenses. Thus you see, my dear heart, that I have nothing else to do, but to pray to God and be cheerful. Let this comfort you, and give you occasion not to trouble yourself at my condition; for, by the grace of God, it is easy. I have further to tell you, that in a visit that was made me here, a little after our arrival, I was declared invalid, in regard to the infirmities to which you know I am subject. --Mr. de Seignelai, sent here, eight or ten days ago, three hundred pardons for galley slaves.”

One would wonder, says Mr. Jaquelot, that among so great a number of pardons, there was not one for our martyr, although great intercession was made for him, and notwithstanding his condemnation had troubled his judges, and all honest men. But it seems as if they had made it their business, and thought it would be their honor, to triumph over his constancy and piety, by shewing, that his patience was the effect of insanity, and not of faith.


He tells us, that he was declared invalid on account of his known and secret infirmities, yet we find him in a few days after, on board the gallies. In this situation, he wrote letters on the twenty-third and thirtieth of September, in which he says, “It is designed, next week, to embark an hundred and fifty galley slaves for America. I was ranked in this number; but one of my friends told the intendant, that I was lately recovered from three great fits of sickness, since my departure from la Tournelle.” This he said to his son. He adds, " The favor which he thus grants me, is, that he reserves me for the second embarkation, which is to be made towards the middle of November; and the advantage which I shall gain by this delay, is, that he who spoke to the intendant for me, has the direction of the vessel in which I shall make the voyage. Fear, not Sir, this is not able to shake my constancy: God, by his grace, has fixed it upon too solid foundations. I can sincerely assure you, that I heard this news with as little emotion as I now feel in giving you this information. It is no matter to me, whether I die by sea or land, in Europe, or in America. . I am persuaded, that all kinds of death of the children of God, is precious in his sight. I likewise believe, that my death would be more edifying, and more glorious, if it should happen during my bonds. I have fully resigned myself to the will of God; and am persuaded, that all the states and conditions, in which it shall please him to put me, are those states and


[ocr errors]

conditions, in which he judges, I shall glorify him better, than in an infinite number of others, which he might allot me. You must not be afflicted; this was decreed in heaven, before it was appointed, by the civil magistrate on earth; and we must all be persuaded, it is for our good that God is pleased thus to order it.”

[ocr errors]

In his letter of the twenty-third of September, written to his wife, he diverted himself with giving her the description of his galley-slave habit. “I live, says he, at present, altogether alone. They bring me food from abroad, bread and meat, at the rate of nine sous per day. I am nished with wine in the galley for nothing, and, with some of the king's bread. He that supplies me with wine, eats with me, and he is a very honest man. I am treated with civility, by all on board the galley, because the officers visit me. I am getting a quilt made to day. I intend to buy sheets, and am going to work to procure me some ease. You will say perhaps, that I am 'an ill manager; but I have had enough of lying upon the hard boards, ever since last Tuesday. If you were to see me in my fine galley-slave habit, you would be ravished with admiration. I have a fine little red jacket, made just after the fashion of the carrier's frocks at Ardennes. It is put on like a shirt, for it opens but half-way before. I have likewise a fine red cap, two pair of breeches, two shirts, with threads as thick as my finger, and stockings, My cloaths of liberty are not lost; and

if it would please the king to shew me favor, I would take them again. We have the honestest patron of all the gallies. He treats me with all manner of civility and respect. He will put me into what place of the galley I please; and he has promised me, that when it is cold, he will let me lie in his cabin. Let all these succours which God affords me, comfort and rejoice thy mind. I am already used to the place where I am, as if I had

been there all my life-time. I am better here · than in the hospital. We enjoy a good air, for

there is none of us sick; neither are we pestered with ill scents.”

' In a letter to his wife, dated October 1686, he -writes thus: “It would have troubled me very much

to have tarried any longer in the hospital. The corrupted air one sucks in there, would perhaps have been injurious, but now I enjoy a very healthful air. I am exceedingly more strong than I was at my entrance into this place. I am sincere in what I write to you; I disguise nothing. In proof of this, I am going to tell you what will give you trouble, though it ought to afford you joy; for the remembrance of past evils is agreeable. I tell you ingenuously, that the iron which I wear on my foot, although it does not weigh three pounds, troubled me much more at first, than that which you saw about my neck at la Tournelle. This proceeded only from my great leanness at that time; but now, I have almost recovered my former good state, it is not troublesome; besides, we learn

every day, so to place it as may give us the least uneasiness.

In another letter, which he wrote to his son the next day, he says, “I know not, my dear child, what M. thought of, when he gave an acs count of the ill treatment to which we are exposed. At least, I am certain, he ought not to have comprehended me therein; for really, I have been used very well in the hospital. I was visited almost daily, by Mr. F. the comptroller general of the galleys; a man of understanding and repute. He came about seven days ago to see me, in the galley, where I now am, and we continued in discourse together, on the stern, almost two hours. He always offered me money upon his own credit, and from his friends; as likewise did M. Iam. and Sel. You see, therefore, that I must be very hard to be satisfied, if, in my present condition, Į am not contented therewith. You will learn, by the Letter I wrote to your mother, Şeptember the twenty-third, that I am very well here; and that I have not met with any trouble, excepting the two or three first days; in which, I was chained upon a bench, with two galley slaves, day and night. But there are, at first, certain rules to bę observed; and I thank God they did not last long; for since that time, I have been let loose all day, and have had liberty to walk to and fro, as much as I would on the galley. Take special care not to speak to your mother of the embarkments for America. I am at present, very well. I live with

« PreviousContinue »