Of course in their reports they stated that they had seen the whole brigade swimming over. But this is how reports very often get about which are not strictly true.
Emboldened by our success in getting into the fort by day and night, we then continued the experiment for several nights in succession, watching the further practice with searchlights, star shells, and light rockets. We had, however, collected all the information that was necessary, and there was no need for us to go there again. But news reached us that there was to be a final show for the Emperor himself, and I could not resist the temptation of going once more to the fort, as I expected there would be a grand pyrotechnic display for this occasion.
I got there in good time before the Emperor’s arrival, and made my way into the place as usual, my brother remaining outside to see the effect of the lights from the attacker’s point of view. Inside, however, all was not quite the same as it had been on previous occasions. There were a very large number of officers collected there, and a too larger number of police, officers for my liking. I, therefore, repented of my intention and took myself out again.
Then as I walked back along the road in the dark I noticed the lights of the Emperor’s cortege coming along towards me. As the first carriage passed me I did the worst thing in the world I could have done at such a moment—I turned my head away to avoid being recognised in the lamplight. My action made the occupants of the first carriage suspicious. They were some of the staff officers of the Emperor.
In a moment they stopped the carriage, rushed at me, and with scarcely a word, seized and hustled me into the carriage with them, and drove back to the fort again. They asked me a few questions as to who I was and why I was there, and on arrival at the fort I was handed over to some other officers and again asked my business.
I could only say that I was an Englishman who had been looking on at the manoeuvres as a spectator and was anxious to find my way to the station (which was some ten miles away). This was all fairly true, but not quite good enough for them, and they presently packed me into a carriage and sent me back—in charge of an officer—to the station, with a view to my being handed over to the police and removed to the capital.
It was in the days of my apprenticeship, and I had been exceedingly foolish in taking a few notes, which, although undecipherable, perhaps would none the less be used as evidence against me.
Therefore, so soon as we were under way I made it my business to quietly tear these notes up into small pieces, and to drop them out of the carriage window whenever my guardian was looking the other way. When we arrived at the station there was some little time to wait, and I asked if I might go to the inn and collect my belongings. Permission was granted to me, and I was taken there under the charge of a police officer.