Imágenes de páginas

christened afterwards by the name of Edward; and now coming to Court, I obtained a licence to go beyond sea, taking with me for my companion Mr. Aurelian Townsend, a gentleman that spoke the languages of French, Italian, and Spanish in great perfection, and a man to wait in my chamber, who spoke French, two lackeys, and three horses. Coming thus to Dover, and passing the seas to Calais, I journied without any memorable adventure, 'till I came to Fauxbourgx St. Germans in Paris, where Sir George Crew then ambassador for the king lived; I was kindly receiv'd by him, and often invited to his table. Next to his house dwelt the Duke of Vantadour, who had married a daughter of Monsieur de Montmorency, grand Conestable de France; many visits being exchanged between that Dutchess and the Lady of our Ambassador, it pleased the Dutchess to invite me to her father's house, at the Castle of Merlou, being about 24 miles from Paris : and here I found much welcome from that brave old General,* who being inform’d of my name, said he knew well of what family I was, telling the first notice he had of the Herberts was at the siege of St. Quintence, where my grandfather with a command of foot under William Earl of Pembrook was. Passing two or three days here, it happened one evening that a daughter of the Dutchess of about 10 or 11 years of age, going one evening from the castle to walk in the meadows, my self with divers French gentlemen attended her and some gentlewomen that were with her; this young lady wearing a knot of ribband on her head, a French chevalier took it suddainly and fastned it to his hatband; the young lady offended herewith demands her ribband, but he refusing to restore it, the young lady addressing herself to me, said Monsieur, I pray get my ribbạnd from that gentleman; hereupon going towards him, I courteously, with my hat in my hand, desired him to do me the honor that I may deliver the lady her ribband or bouquet again; but he roughly answering me, Do you think I will give it you, when I have refused it to her? I replyed, nay then sir I will make you restore it by force, whereupon also putting on my hat and reaching at his, he to save himself ran away, and after a long course in the meadow finding, that I had almost overtook him, he turned short, and running to the young lady was about to put the ribband on her hand, when I seizing upon his arm, said to the young lady, it was I that gave it. Pardon me, quoth she, it is he that gives it me: I said then, madam, I will not contradict you, but if he dare say that I did not constrain him to give it, I will fight with him. The French gentleman answered nothing thereunto for the present, and so conducted the young lady again to the castle. The next day I desired Mr. Aurelian Townsend to tell the French cavalier that either he must confess that I constrained him to restore the ribband, or fight with me; but the gentleman seeing him unwilling to accept of this challenge, went out from the place, whereupon I following him, some of the gentlemen that belonged to the constable taking notice hereof acquainted him therewith, who sending for the French cavalier, checked him well for his sauciness, in taking the ribband away from his grandchild, and afterwards bid him depart his house; and this was all that I ever heard of the gentleman, with whom I proceeded in that manner because I thought myself obliged thereunto by the oath * taken when I was made Knight of the Bath, as I formerly related upon this occasion.

* Henry de Montmorency, second son of the great Constable Anne de Montmorency who was killed at the battle of St. Dennis 1567, and brother of Duke Francis, another renowned warrior and statesman. Henry was no less distinguished in both capacities, and gained great glory at the battles of Dreux and St. Dennis. He was made Constable by Henry 4th, though he cou'd neither read nor write, and died in the habit of St. Francis 1614. He was father of the gallant but unfortunate Duke Henry, the last of that illustrious and ancient line, who took for their motto, Dieu ayde au premier Chretien! The Duchess of Ventadour, mentioned above, was Margaret, second daughter of the constable, and wife of Anne de Levi Duke of Ventadour.

I must remember also that three other times I engaged myself to challenge men to fight with me, who I conceived had injured ladies and gentlewomen, one was in defence of my cozen Sir Francis Newport's daughter, who was married

* This oath is one remnant of a superstitious and romantic age, which an age, calling itself enlightened, still retains. The solemn service at the investiture of knights, which has not the least connection with any thing holy, is a piece of the same profane pageantry. The oath being no longer supposed to bind, it is strange mockery to invoke Heaven on so trifling an occasion. It would be more strange if every Knight, like the too conscientious Lord Herbert, thought himself bound to cut a man's throat every time a miss lost her topknot !

to John Barker of Hamon, whose younger brother and heir

sent him a challenge, which to this day he never answered, and wou'd have beaten him afterwards, but that I was hindered by my uncle Sir Francis Newport.

I had another occasion to challenge one Captain Vaughan, who I conceiv'd offered some injury to my sister the Lady Jones of Abarmarlas : I sent him a challenge, which he accepted, the place between us being appointed beyond Greenwich, with seconds on both sides ; hereupon I coming to the King's Head in Greenwich, with intention the next morning to be in the place, I found the house beset with at least an hundred persons, partly sent by the Lords of the Privy Counsell, who gave order to apprehend me, I hearing thereof, desired my servant to bring my horses as far as he cou'd from my lodging, but yet within sight of me; which being done, and all this company coming to lay hold on me, I and my second, who was my cozen James Price of Hanachly, sallyed out of the doors, with our swords drawn, and in spight of that multitude made our way to our horses, where my servant very honestly opposing himself against those who wou'd have laid hands upon us, while we got up on horseback, was himself laid hold on by them, and evil treated, which I perceiving rid back again, and with my sword in my hand rescued him, and afterwards seeing him get on horseback, charged them to go any where rather than to follow me; riding afterwards with my second to the place appointed, I found nobody there, which as I heard afterwards, happened because the Lords of the Counsell taking notice of this difference apprehended him, and charged him in his Majesty's name not to fight with me, since otherwise I believed he wou'd not have failed.

The third that I questioned in this kind was a Scotch gentleman, who taking a ribband in the like manner from Mrs. Middlemore a maid of honour, as was done from the young lady above-mentioned, in a back room behind Queen Ann's lodgings in Greenwich; she likewise desired me to. get her the said ribband, I repaired as formerly to him in a courteous manner to demand it, but he refusing as the

* This space is left blank, because there is certainly something wanting in the original. VOL. II.]

[No. VIII.

French Cavalier did, I caught him by the neck, and had almost thrown him down, when company came in and parted us; I offer'd likewise to fight with this gentleman, and came to the place appointed by Hide-Park, but this also was interrupted by order of the Lords of the Counsell, and I never heard more of him.

These passages though different in time I have related here together, both for the similitude of argument, and that it may appear how strictly I held my self to my oath of knighthood; since for the rest I can truly say, that though I have lived in the armies and courts of the greatest princes in Christendom, yet I never had a quarrel with man for mine own sake, so that although in mine own nature I was ever cholerick and hasty, yet I never without occasion given quarrelled with any body, and as little did any body attempt to give me offence, as having as clear a reputation for my courage as whosoever of my time. For my friends often I have hazarded my self, but never yet drew my sword for my own sake singly, as hateing ever the doing of injury, contenting my self only to resent them when they were offer'd me. After this digression I shall return to my history.

That brave constable in France testifying now more than formerly his regard of me, at his departure from Merlou to his fair house at Chantilly, five or six miles distant, said he left that castle to be commanded by me, as also his forests and chases which were well stored with wild boar and stag, and that I might hunt them when I pleased: he told me also that if I wou'd learn to ride the great horse, he had a stable there of some fifty, the best and choicest as was thought in France, and that his Escuyer, called Monsieur de Disancour, nor inferior to Pluvenel or Labrove, shou'd teach me. I did with great thankfulness accept his offer, as being very much

addicted to the exercise of riding great horses; and as for · hunting in his forests I told him I should use it sparingly, as being desirous to preserve his game; he commanded also his Escuyer to keep a table for me, and his pages to attend me, the chief of whom was Monsieur de Mennon, who proving to be one of the best horsemen in France, keeps now an Academy in Paris ; and here I shall recount a little passage betwixt him and his master, that the inclination of the French at that time may appear, there being scarce any man thought worth the looking on, that had not killed some other in duell; Mennon desiring to marry a neece of Monsieur Disancour, who it was thought shou'd be his heir, was thus answered by hím; Friend, it is not time yet to marry, I will tell you what you must do; if you will be a brave man, you must first kill in single combat two or three men, then afterwards marry and ingender two or three children, or the world will neither have got nor lost by you; of which strange counsell Disancour was no otherwise the author than as he had been an example at least of the former part, it being his fortune to have fought three or four brave duells in his time.

And now as every morning I mounted the great horse, so in the afternoon I many times went a hunting, the manner of which was this : the Duke of Montmorency having given order to the tenants of the town of Merlou, and some vil. lages adjoining, to attend me when I went a hunting, they upon my summons usually repaired to those woods where I intended to find my game, with drums and musquets, to the number of 60 or 80, and sometimes 100 or more persons, they entring the wood on that side with that noyse, discharging their pieces and beating their said drums, we on the other side of the said wood having placed mastiffs and grey-hounds to the number of 20 or 30, which Monsieur de Montmorency kept near his castle, expected those beasts they should force out of the wood; if stags or wild boars came forth, we commonly spared them, pursuing only the wolves, which were there in great number, of which are found two sorts; the mastiff wolf thick and short, though he cou'd not indeed run fast, yet wou'd fight with our dogs; the grey-hound wolf long and swift, who many times escaped our best dogs, though when he were overtaken easily killed by us, without making much resistance; of both these sorts I killed divers with my sword, while I stayed there.

One time also it was my fortune to kill a wild boar in this manner; the boar being rouzed from his den fled before our dogs for a good space, but finding them press him hard turned his head against our dogs, and hurt three or four of them very dangerously, I came on horseback up to him, and with my sword thrust him twice or thrice without entering his skin, the blade being not so stiff as it shou'd be ; the boar hereupon turned upon me, and much endanger'd my horse, which I perceiving rid a little out of the way, and leaving my horse with my lacky, return’d with my sword

« AnteriorContinuar »