Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

was desired to go post. An old Scotch knight of the Sandelands hearing this, desired to borrow my horses as far as Heydelberg, which I granted on condition that he would use them well by the way, and give them good keeping in that place afterwards.

The Count Scarnafigi was commanded to bear me company in this journey, and to carry with him some jewels, which he was to pawn in Lions, in France, and with the money gotten for them to pay the soldiers above nominated; for 'tho the duke had put extream taxations on his people, inson much that they paid not only a certain sum for every horse, ox, cow, or sheep, that they kept, but afterwards for every chimney; and finally every single person by the pole, which amounted to a pistole, or 14s. a head or person, yet he wanted money : At which I did not so much wonder as at the patience of his subjects ; of whom I demanded how they could bear their taxations? I have heard some of them answer, We are not so much offended with the Duke for what · he takes from us, as thankfull for what he leaves us.

The Count Scarnafigi and I, now setting forth, rid post all day without eating or drinking by the way, the Count telling me still we should come to a good inn at night : It was now twilight when the Count and I came near a solitary inn, on the top of a mountain ; the hostess hearing the noise of horses came out, with a child new born on her left arm, and a rush candle in her hand, she presently knowing the Count de Scarnafigi, told him, Ah, Sigr. you are come in a very ill time, the Duke's soldiers have been here to day, and have left me nothing; I looked sadly upon the Count, when he coming near to me whispered me in the ear, and said, It may be she thinks we will use her as the soldiers have done : Go you into the house, and see whether you can find any thing; I will go round about the house, and perhaps I shall meet with some duck, hen, or chicken; entering thus into the house, I found for all other furniture of it, the end of an old form, upon which sitting down, the hostess came towards me with a rush candle, and said, I protest before God that is true which I told the Count, here is nothing to eat; but you are a gentleman, methinks it is pity you should want; if you please I will give you some milk out of my breasts, into a wooden dish I have here. This unexpected kindness made that impression on me, that I remember I was never so ten. derly sensible of any thing : My answer was, God forbid I should take away the milk from the child I see in thy arms, howbeit I shall take it all my life for the greatest piece of charity that ever I heard of ; and therewithall giving her a pistole, or a piece of gold of 14s. Scarnafigi and I got on horseback again and rid another post, and came to an inn, where we found very coarse cheer, yet hunger made us relish it. was in had I levied any men; I had not walked there long, when a single person came to me apparrelled in a black stuff 'suit, without any attendants upon him, when I supposing this person to be any man rather than the governor, saluted him without much ceremony: His first question was, whence I came: I answered from Turin; he demanded then whither I would go? I answered I was not yet resolved; his third question was, what news at Turin ? to which I answered that I had no news to tell, as supposing him to be only some busy or inquisitive person: the Marquis hereupon called one of the guards that conducted me thither, and after he had whispered something in his ear, wisht me to go along with him, which I did willingly, as believing this man would bring me to the governor : this man silently leading me out of the church brought me to a fair house, into which I was no sooner entered, but he told me I was commanded to prison there by him I saw in the church, who was the governor ; I replied I did not know him to be governor, nor that that was a prison, and that if I were out of it again, neither the governor nor all the town could bring me to it alive. The master of the house hereupon spoke me very fair, and told me he would conduct me to a better chamber than any I could find in an inn, and thereupon conducted me to a very handsome lodging not far from the river; I had not been here half an hour, when * Sir Edward Sackville, (now Earl of Dorset) hearing only that an English man was committed, sent to know who I was, and why I was imprisoned : the governor not knowing whether to lay the fault upon my short answers to him, or my commission to levy men contrary to the Queen's edict, made him so doubtfull an answer, (after he had a little touched upon both) as he dismissed him unsatisfied.

In this journey I remember I went over Mount Gabelet by night, being carried down that precipice in a chair, a guide that went before bringing a botle of straw with him, and kindling pieces of it from time to time, that we might see our way. Being at the bottom of a hill, I got on horseback and rid to Burgoine, resolving to rest there awhile; and the rather (to speak truly that I had heard divers say, and particularly * Sir John Finnet, and † Sir Richard Newport, that the host's daughter there was the handsomest woman that ever they saw in their lives. Coming to the inn, the Count Scarnafigi wisht me to rest two or three hours, and he would go before to Lions to prepare business for my journey to Languedoc. The hosts's daughter being not within, I told her father and mother that I desired only to see their daughter, as having heard her spoken of in England with so much advantage, that divers told me they thought her the handsomest creature that ever they saw : they answered she was gone to a marriage, and should be presently sent for, wishing me in the meanwhile to take some rest upon a bed, for they saw I needed it. Waking now about two hours afterwards, I found her sitting by me, attending when I would open mine eyes : I shall touch a little of her description; her hair being of a shining black, was naturally curled in that order that a curious woman would have drest it, for one curl rising by degrees above another, and every bout tied with a small ribband of a naccarine, or the colour that the Knights of the Bath wear, gave a very gracefull mixture, while it was bound up in this manner from the point of her shoulder to the crown of her head; her eyes which were round and black seemed to be models of her whole beauty, and in some sort of her air, while a kind of

* Master of the Ceremonies. of Afterwards created a Baron, and ancestor of the Earls of Bradford,

light or flame came from them not unlike that which the ribband which tied up her hair exhibited; I do not remember ever to have seen a prettier mouth or whiter teeth ; briefly, all her outward parts seemed to become each other, neither was there any thing that could be misliked, unless one should say her complexion was too brown, which yet from the shadow was heightened with a good blood in her cheeks: her gown was a green Turkey grogram, cut all into panes or slashes, from the shoulder and sleeves unto the foot, and tied up at the distance of about a hand's-breadth every where with the same ribband, with which her hair was bound; so that her attire seemed as bizare as her person: I am too long in describing an host's daughter, howbeit I thought I might better speak of her than of divers other beauties held to be the best and fairest of the time whom I have often seen. In conclusion, after about an hour's stay, I departed thence, without offering so much as the least incivility; and indeed after so much weariness, it was enough that her sight alone did somewhat refresh me.

From hence I went streight to Lions : entering the gate, the guards there, after their usual manner, demanded of me who I was, whence I came, and whither I went ? to which while I answered, I observed one of them look very attentively upon me, and then again upon a paper he had in his hand; this having been done divers times, bred in me a suspicion that there was no good meaning in it, and I was not deceived in my conjecture; for the Queen Mother of France having newly made an edict, that no soldiers should be raised in France, the Marquis de * Rambouillet, French ambassador at Turin, sent word of my imployment to the Marquis de St. Chaumont then governor of Lions, as also a description of my person. This edict was so severe, as they who raised any men were to lose their heads. In this unfortunate conjuncture of affairs, nothing fell out so well on my part, as that I had pot raised as yet any men ; howbeit the guards requiring me to come before the governor, I went with them to a church where he was at vespers ; this while I walked in the lower part of the church, little imagining what danger I

' * This gentleman, I believe, was husband of Madame de Rambouil

let, whose assemblies of the wits and poets were so much celebrated in that age. They were parents of the famous Julie d'Angennes, Duchess de Montausier, well known by Voiture's Letters to her,

[ocr errors]

Sir Edward Sackville hereupon coming to the house where I was, as soon as ever he saw me, embraced me, saying, Ned Herbert, what doest thou here? I answered, Ned Sackville, I am glad to see you, but I protest I know not why I am here. He again said, hast thou raised any men yet for the Duke of Savoy? I replied, not so much as one; then said he, I will warrant thee, though I must tell thee the governor is much offended at thy behaviour and language in

* Well known by his duel with Lord Bruce.

the church, (I replied it was impossible for me to imagine him to be governor that came without a guard, and in such mean clothes as he then wore.) I will go to him again, and tell him what you say, and doubt not but you shall be suddainly freed. Hereupon returning to the governor, he told of what family I was, and of what condition, and that I had raised no men, and that I knew him not to be governor ; whereupon the Marquis wisht him to go back, that he would come in person to free me out of the house.

This message being brought me by Sir Edward Sackville, I returned this answer only; that it was enough if he sent order to free me. While these messages past, a company of handsome young men and women, out of I know not what civility, brought musick under the window and danced before me, looking often up to see me; but Sir Edward Sackville being now returned with order to free me, I only gave them thanks out of the window, and so went along with them to the governor. Being come into a great hall where his lady was, and a large train of gentlewomen and other persons, the governor with his hat in his hand, demanded of me whether I knew him? When his noble lady answering for me, said, how could he know you, when you were in the church alone, and in this habit, being for the rest wholy a stranger to you? Which civility of hers, 'tho I did not presently take notice of it, I did afterwards most thankfully acknowledge, when I was ambassador in France. The governor's next questions were the very same he made when he met me in the church; to which I made the very same answers before them all, concluding that as I did not know him, he could think it no incongruity if I answered in those terms: The governor yet was not satisfied herewith, and his noble lady taking my part again, gave him those reasons for my answering him in that manner, that they silenced him from speaking any further. The governor turning back, I likewise after an humble obeysance made to his lady, returned with Sir Edward Sackville to my lodgings.

This night I passed as quietly as I could, but the next morning advised with him what I was to do; I told him I had received a great affront, and that I intended to send him a challenge, in such courteous language that he could not refuse it : Sir Edward Sackville by all means diswaded me from it; by which I perceived I was not to expect his assis

« AnteriorContinuar »