CHAPTER III. LOUIS NAPOLEON'S EARLY CAREER. - STRASBURG, BOULOGNE, HAM.

The prince hastened with Thelin to the place where the cabriolet engaged the day before was waiting for them. As Louis Napoleon was about to fling away the board he had been carrying, another cabriolet drove by. As soon as it was out of sight, the prince jumped into his own, shook the dust off his clothes, kicked off his wooden shoes, and seized the reins. The fifteen miles to St. Quentin were soon accomplished. The prince got out at some distance from the town, and Thelin entered it alone, to exchange the cabriolet for a postchaise. The mistress of the post-house offered him a large piece of pie, which he thankfully accepted, knowing that it would be a godsend to his master. A woman, whom they had passed upon the highway on entering the town, took Thelin aside and asked him how he came to be driving with such a shabby, common man that morning; for Thelin was well known in the neighborhood.

Before he rejoined the prince with the pie and the postchaise, Louis Napoleon had become very impatient. Seeing a carriage approach, he stopped it, and asked the occupant if he had seen anything of a postchaise coming from St. Quentin. The traveller proved afterwards to have been the prosecuting attorney of the district (le procureur du roi).

It was nine in the evening when the prince, Thelin, and the dog Ham were safely in the carriage. They reached Valenciennes at a quarter to three A. M., and had to wait more than an hour at the station for the train. The prince had discarded his working clothes, but still wore his black wig. The train arrived at last. By help of the Englishman's passport the prince safely crossed the frontier, and soon reached Brussels. Thence he went by way of Ostend to London.

He was not in time to see his father, who died in Florence before he could get permission from the German States to cross the continent.

All the French papers treated his escape as a matter of no consequence. Immediately on reaching London, he wrote a letter to Louis Philippe, pledging himself to make no further attempt to disturb the peace of France during his reign. He probably judged that the end of the Orleans dynasty might be near.

His escape from prison was not known until the evening. Dr. Conneau gave out that he had been very ill during the night, but under the influence of opiates was sleeping quietly. The governor insisted on remaining all day in the sitting-room, and finally upon seeing him. In the dim light of the sick chamber he saw only a figure, with its face turned to the wall, covered up in the bed-clothes.

At last he became suspicious. Thelin's prolonged absence seemed unaccountable. A closer examination was insisted on, and the truth was discovered. Nobody was punished except Dr. Conneau, who suffered a few months' imprisonment.