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us. We descend at once into the arched vaults following the
female guide who rattles off in French the objects of interest.
The high tower was built in AD 810 by Charlemagne but the balance
was built in the 13th century by the Dukes of Savory whos cruelty have
made them famous (or infamous).
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In the first vault ^are^ eight large stone columns through the centre, to which
prisoners were chained. These columns are now covered with the
cut names of many tourists, among which is shown that of the Bard
Byron, which the concierge is of course interest in keeping bright.
We brought a copy of his poems to read his “Prisoner of Chilon” which is
an affecting fable, and which particularly interested my children to
be on the watch. Thence into a small vault where the
condemened slepts [sic] the night before their execution, a natural rock
shelf 3 or 4 ft wide by 7 or 8 ft long inclined rather steeply for a bed
but its centre is worn down several inches as if from much use. Horrible!
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Thence through a low narrow doorway to a larger vault where a
blackened beam overhead is shown us as the hangmans bar, and below
is a hole a yard square (now filled up) through which the bodies were
thrown into the Lake- Thence beyond into a
large vault similar to the first, having eight columns through the
centre, particularly famous as having, among other illustrious
prisoners, held the good and great St. Bonivard, so much loved by the
Swiss, for a term of six years, until rescued by the Genevese forces-in 1536-
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His column was near the centre, his ring within a couple of feet of
the floor, and the rock floor within the radius of his three feet of chain
was regularly worn away two or three inches in depth, by the
patient tread of this holy man