The Red True Story Book
Author: Various
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Next night young Crawford of Ardmillan, with his servant and two Irish sailors, seized a long-boat on the beach, sailed over, and joined the brave little garrison of the Bass. Crawford had been lurking in disguise for some time, and the two Irishmen had escaped from prison in Edinburgh, and were not particularly well disposed to the government of William.

When the news reached King James, in France, he sent a ship, laden with provisions and stores of all kinds, and two boats, one of them carrying two light guns. The Whigs established a force on the shore opposite, and their boats cruised about to intercept supplies, but in this they failed, the Cavaliers being too quick and artful to be caught easily.

On August 15, however, the enemy seized the large boat at night. Now Ardmillan and Middleton were absent in search of supplies, and, being without their leader, Roy and Dunbar thought of surrendering. But just as they were about signing articles of surrender, Middleton returned with a large boat and plenty of provisions, and he ran his boat under the guns of his fort, whence he laughed at the enemies of his king. Dunbar, however, who was on shore engaged in the business of the surrender, was held as a prisoner. The Whigs were not much nearer taking the Bass. On September 3 they sent a sergeant and a drummer to offer a free pardon to the Cavaliers. They were allowed to land on the rock, but Middleton merely laughed at the promise of a free pardon, and he kept the sergeant and drummer, whom he afterwards released. A Danish ship, sailing between the Bass and shore, had a gun fired across her bows, and was made prize of; they took out everything that they needed, and then let her go.

The Cavaliers lived a gay life: they had sheep on the Bass, plenty of water, meat, biscuits, beer and wine. Cruising in their boats they captured several ships, supplied themselves with what they wanted, and held the ships themselves to ransom. When food ran short they made raids on the shore, lifted cattle, and, generally, made war support war.

The government of the Prince of Orange was driven beyond its patience, and vowed that the Bass should be taken, if it cost all the revenue of the country. But Middleton had plenty of powder, he had carefully collected more than five hundred balls fired at his fort by the English, and he calmly awaited the arrival of hostile men-of-war. The 'Sheerness' (Captain Roope) and the 'London Merchant' (Captain Orton) were sent with orders to bombard the Bass and destroy the fort. After two days of heavy firing, these vessels had lost a number of men, their rigging was cut to pieces, and the ships were so damaged that they were glad to slink off to harbour.

A close watch was now set, the 'Lion' (Captain Burd), a dogger of six guns, and a long-boat cruised constantly in the neighbourhood. Captain Burd is described as 'a facetious and intelligent man,' and a brave officer, but his intelligence and courage were no match for Middleton. In August 1693 a French frigate of twelve guns sailed under the Bass and landed supplies. But the Cavaliers were so few that they had to borrow ten French sailors to help in the landing of the provisions. At this moment the 'Lion' bore down on the French vessel, which was obliged to cut her cables to avoid being run down. The garrison of the Bass was thus left with ten more mouths to feed, and with only the small supplies that had been landed. They were soon reduced to two ounces of raw rusk dough for each man, every day. Halyburton was caught and condemned to be hanged, and a Mr. Trotter, who had helped the Cavaliers, was actually hanged on shore, within sight of the Bass. Middleton fired a shot and scattered the crowd, but that did not save poor Trotter.

Middleton had now only a few pounds of meal left. He therefore sent in a flag of truce, and announced that he would surrender, but upon his own terms. Very good terms they were. Envoys were dispatched by the Whigs: Middleton gave them an excellent luncheon out of provisions kept for the purpose, and choice French wines. He had also set coats and caps on the muzzles of guns, above, on the rocks, so that the Whig envoys believed he had plenty of men, and no scarcity of provisions. Their lordships returned, and told the Privy Council that the Bass was in every respect well provisioned and well manned. Middleton's terms were, therefore, gladly accepted.

He got a full pardon for every one then in the garrison, and for every one who had ever been in it (including Halyburton, now under sentence, of death), 'and none hereafter shall call them to account.' They were to depart with all the honours of war, with swords and baggage, in their own boat. They were to be at liberty to come or go, whenever they pleased, till May 15, 1694; and a ship, properly supplied, was to be ready to carry them to France, if they preferred to join Dundee's gallant officers in the French service. Finally, all their expenses were to be paid! The 'aliment' formerly granted to them, and unpaid when they seized the Bass, was to be handed over to them. On these terms Middleton took leave of the fortress which he could not have held for a week longer. There have been greater deeds of arms, but there never was one so boyish, so gallant, and so gay.


ABOUT the year 1340, when Edward III. was King of England, a young Spanish lady set out from Castile on the long journey to the Court of Portugal. She was the only daughter of John Manuel, Duke of Villena, a very rich and powerful noble, much dreaded by the King of Castile for his boldness and restlessness. Not many years before he had suddenly left his post as Warden of the French Marches, to fight against the Moors in the province of Murcia, and though the King was very angry at his conduct, he did not dare to punish him, for fear that in some way he himself would suffer. Villena's daughter Constance had passed much of her time at the Castilian Court, where she lived in the state that was expected of a great lady of those days, but when the treaty was made which decided that she was to marry Dom Pedro, Crown Prince of Portugal, her household was increased, and special attendants appointed to do honour to her rank.

Now among the ladies chosen to form part of Constance's court, was a distant cousin of her own, the beautiful and charming Ines de Castro. Like Henry II. at the sight of Fair Rosamond, the young Dom Pedro, who was not more than twenty years of age, fell passionately in love with her. He did all in his power to hide his feelings from his bride, the Infanta Constance, but did not succeed, and in a few years she died, it was said of grief at her husband's coldness, after giving birth to the Infant, Dom Fernando (1345). After her death, Dom Pedro's father King Alfonso was anxious that he should marry again, but he refused all the brides proposed for him, and people whispered among themselves that he was already secretly wedded to Ines de Castro. Time went on, and they had four children, but Ines preferred to live quietly in a convent in the country, and never took her place as Dom Pedro's wife. Still, however secluded she might be, large numbers of her fellow Castilians, weary of the yoke of their own King, Pedro the Cruel, flocked into Portugal, and looked to her for protection, which Dom Pedro for her sake always gave them, and chief among these foreign favourites were Ines' two brothers, Fernando and Alvaro Perez de Castro. This state of things was very bitter to the old Portuguese courtiers, who complained to the King that in future the country would only be governed by Spaniards. These rumours grew so loud that in time they even reached the ears of the Queen, and she, with the Archbishop of Braga, gave Dom Pedro solemn warning that some plot was assuredly forming which would end in his ruin. But Dom Pedro, naturally fearless, had faith in his father's goodwill towards him, and looked on these kindly warnings as mere empty threats, so proceeded gaily on his path. Thus in silence was prepared the bloody deed.

When the courtiers thought all was ready they went in a deputation to Alfonso IV., and pointed out what might be expected in the future if Ines de Castro was allowed to remain the fountainhead for honours and employments to all her countrymen who were attracted to Portugal by the hopes of better pay. They enlarged on the fact that the national laws and customs would be changed, and Portugal become a mere province of Spain; worse than all, that the life of the Infant Dom Fernando was endangered, as upon the death of the King, the Castros would naturally desire to secure the succession to the children of Ines. If Ines were only out of the way, Dom Pedro would forget her, and consent to make a suitable marriage. So things went on, working together for the end of Ines.

At last the King set forth, surrounded by many of his great nobles and high officials, for Coimbra, a small town in which was situated the Convent of Santa Clara, where Ines de Castro quietly dwelt, with her three surviving children. On seeing the sudden arrival of Alfonso with this great company of armed knights, the soul of Ines shrank with a horrible fear. She could not fly, as every avenue was closed, and Dom Pedro was away on the chase, as the nobles very well knew. Pale as an image of death, Ines clasped her children in her arms, and flung herself at the feet of the King. 'My lord,' she cried, 'have I given you cause to wish my death? Your son is the Prince; I can refuse him nothing. Have pity on me, wife as I am. Kill me not without reason. And if you have no compassion left for me, find a place in your heart for your grandchildren, who are of your own blood.'

The innocence and beauty of the unfortunate woman, who indeed had harmed no one, moved the King, and he withdrew to think better what should be done. But the envy and hatred of the courtiers would not suffer Ines to triumph, and again they brought forward their evil counsels.

'Do what you will,' at length said the King. And they did it.

A nameless pain filled the soul of Dom Pedro when on his return he stood before the bloody corpse of Ines, whom he had loved so well. But soon another feeling took possession of him, which shut out everything else—the desire to revenge himself on her murderers. Hastily calling together the brothers of Ines and some followers who were attached to his person, he took counsel with them, and then collecting all the men-at-arms within his reach, he fell upon the neighbouring provinces and executed a fearful vengeance, both with fire and sword, upon the innocent inhabitants. How long this rage for devastation might have lasted cannot be told, but Dom Pedro was at length brought to a better mind by Goncalo Pereira, Archbishop of Braga, who, by the help of the Queen, succeeded in establishing peace between father and son.

So a parchment deed was drawn up between the King and the Infant, in which Dom Pedro undertook to pardon all who had been engaged in the murder of Ines, and Alfonso promised to forgive those who had taken his son's side, and borne arms against himself. And for his part Dom Pedro vowed to perform the duties of a faithful vassal, and to banish from his presence all turbulent and restless spirits. So peace was made.

Two years had hardly passed after this event before King Alfonso lay on his death-bed in Lisbon, and then, thinking over what would happen when he was dead, the feeling gradually came over him that in spite of Dom Pedro's solemn oath the murderers of Ines would not be safe from his revenge. Therefore he sent for the three knights, Diogo Lopez Pacheco, Alvaro Goncalves, and Pedro Coelho, who had counselled him to do the dreadful deed and had themselves struck the blow, and bade them leave their property and all they had, and fly while there was yet time to foreign lands for refuge. The knights saw the wisdom of the advice, and sought shelter in Castile. Then Alfonso prepared himself to die, the murder of Ines lying heavy on his soul in his last days (1357).

King Pedro was thirty-seven years old when he ascended the throne, and his first care was to secure peace to his kingdom. To this end he sent several embassies to the King of Castile, who made a compact with Alfonso 'to be the friend of his friends, and the enemy of his enemies.' The results of this treaty may be easily guessed at. The King of Portugal engaged to send back to Castile all who had fled to his dominions from the tyranny of Pedro the Cruel, the ally of the Black Prince, and was to receive in return the murderers of Ines, two of whom he put to a horrible death. The third, Pacheco, was more fortunate. A beggar to whom he had been accustomed to give alms discovered his danger, and hastened to warn the knight, who was away from the city on a hunting expedition. By his advice Pacheco changed clothes with the beggar, and made his way through Aragon to the borders of France, where he took refuge with Henry of Trastamara, half-brother of the King of Castile. Here he remained, a poor knight without friends or property, till the year 1367, when on his death-bed the King of Portugal suddenly remembered that when dying the other two knights had sworn that Pacheco was guiltless of the murder of Ines, and ordered his son to recall him from exile and to restore all his possessions. Which Dom Fernando joyfully did.

That, however, happened several years after the time we are speaking of, when Dom Pedro had only just ascended the throne. Having satisfied his feelings of revenge against the murderers of Ines, a nobler desire filled his heart. He resolved that she who had been so ill-spoken of during her life, and had died such a shameful death, should be acknowledged openly as his wife and queen before his Court and his people. So he assembled all the great nobles and officers, and, laying his hand on the sacred books, swore solemnly that seven years before he had taken Ines de Castro to wife, and had lived with her in happiness till her death, but that through dread of his father the marriage had been kept secret; and he commanded the Lord High Chamberlain to prepare a deed recording his oath. And in case there should still be some who did not believe, three days later the Bishop of Guarda and the Keeper of the King's Wardrobe bore witness before the great lords gathered together in Coimbra that they themselves had been present at the secret marriage, which had taken place at Braganza, in the royal apartments, according to the rites of the Church.

This solemn function being over, the last act in the history of Ines was begun. By command of the King her body was taken from the convent of Santa Clara, where it had lain in peace for many years, and was clad in royal garments: a crown was placed on her head and a sceptre in her hand, and she was seated on a throne for the subjects, who during her life had despised her, to kneel and kiss the hem of her robe. One by one the knights and the nobles and the great officers of the Crown did homage to the dead woman, and when all had bowed before what was left of the beautiful Ines they placed her in a splendid coffin, which was borne by knights over the seven leagues that lay between Coimbra and Alcobaca, the royal burying-place of the Portuguese. In this magnificent cloister a tomb had been prepared carved in white marble, and at the head stood a statue of Ines in the pride of her beauty, crowned a queen. Bishops and soldiers, nobles and peasants, lined the road to watch the coffin pass, and thousands with lighted torches followed the dead woman to her resting place, till the whole long road from Coimbra to Alcobaca was lit up with brightness. So, solemnly, Ines de Castro was laid in her grave, and the honours which had been denied her in life were heaped around her tomb.[27]


[27] Schaefer's Geschichte von Portugal.


[There may be some who doubt whether the following story is in all respects perfectly true. It is taken, however, from a history book, the 'Chronicle of Jean Froissart,' who wrote about the wars of the Black Prince.]

GREAT marvel it is to think and consider of a thing that I will tell you, and that was told to me in the house of the Comte de Foix at Orthez, by him who gave me to know concerning the battle of Juberot. And I will tell you of this matter, what it was, for since the Squire told me this tale, whereof you shall presently have knowledge, certes I have thought over it a hundred times, and shall think as long as I live.

'Certain it is,' quoth the Squire, 'that the day after the fight at Juberot the Comte de Foix knew of it, whereat men marvelled much how this might be. And all day, on the Sunday and the Monday and the Tuesday following, he made in his castle of Orthez such dull and simple cheer that none could drag a word out of him. All these three days he would not leave his chamber, nor speak to knight or squire, howsoever near him they might be. And when it came to Tuesday at evening, he called his brother, Sir Ernault Guillaume, and said to him in a low voice:

'"Our men have fought, whereat I am grieved; for that has befallen them of their journey which I told them before they set out."

'Sir Ernault, who is a right wise knight and of good counsel, knowing well the manner and ways of his brother the Count, held his peace for a little while. Then the Count, willing to show his heart, and weary of his long sadness, spoke again, and louder than before, saying:

'"By God, Sir Ernault, it is as I tell you, and shortly we shall have news; for never did the land of Bearn lose so much in one day—no, not these hundred years—as it has lost this time in Portugal."

'Many knights and squires standing round who heard the Count noted these words, and in ten days learned the truth from them who had been in the fight, and who brought tidings, first to the Court, and afterwards to all who would hear them, of what befell at Juberot. Thereby was the Count's grief renewed, and that of all in the country who had lost brothers and fathers, sons and friends, in the fray.'

'Marry!' said I to the Squire, who was telling me his tale, 'and how could the Count know or guess what befell? Gladly would I learn this.'

'By my faith,' said the Squire, 'he knew it well, as appeared.'

'Is he a prophet, or has he messengers who ride at night with the wind? Some art he must have.'

Then the Squire began to laugh.

'Truly he must learn by some way of necromancy; we know not here truly how he does it, save by phantasies.'

'Ah, good sir, of these fancies prithee tell me, and I will be grateful. If it is a matter to keep silent, silent will I keep it, and never, while I am in this country, will I open my mouth thereon.'

'I pray you do not, for I would not that any should know I had spoken. Yet others talk of it quietly when they are among their friends.'

Thereon he drew me apart into a corner of the castle chapel, and then began his tale, and spoke thus:

'It may be twenty years since there reigned here a baron named Raymond, lord of Corasse, a town and castle seven leagues from Orthez. Now, the lord of Corasse, at the time of which I speak, held a plea at Avignon before the Pope against a clerk of Catalonia who laid claim to the tithes of his town, the said clerk belonging to a powerful order, and claiming the right of the tithes of Corasse, which, indeed, amounted to a yearly sum of one hundred florins. This right he set forth and proved before all men, for in his judgment, given in the Consistory General, Pope Urban V. declared that the clerk had won his case, and that the Chevalier had no ground for his claim. The sentence once delivered, letters were given to the clerk enabling him to take possession, and he rode so hard that in a very short time he reached Bearn, and by virtue of the papal bull appropriated the tithes. The Sieur de Corasse was right wroth with the clerk and his doings, and came to him and said:

'"Master Martin, or Master Pierre, or whatever your name may be, do you think that I am going to give up my rights just because of those letters of yours? I scarce fancy you are bold enough to lay hands on property of mine, for you will risk your life in the doing. Go elsewhere to seek a benefice, for of my rights you shall have none, and this I tell you, once and for all."

'The mind of the clerk misgave him, for he knew that the Chevalier cared not for men's lives, and he dared not persevere. So he dropped his claims, and betook himself to his own country or to Avignon. And when the moment had come that he was to depart, he entered into the presence of the Sieur de Corasse, and said:

'"Sir, it is by force and not by right that you lay hands on the property of the Church, of which you make such ill-use. In this land you are stronger than I, but know that as soon as I may I will send you a champion whom you will fear more than you fear me."

'The Sieur de Corasse, who did not heed his words, replied:

'"Go, do as you will; I fear you as little alive as dead. For all your talk, I will never give up my rights."

'Thus parted the clerk and the Sieur de Corasse, and the clerk returned to his own country, but whether that was Avignon or Catalonia I know not. But he did not forget what he had told the Sieur de Corasse when he bade him farewell; for three months after, when he expected it least, there came to the castle of Corasse, while the Chevalier was quietly sleeping, certain invisible messengers, who began to throw about all that was in the castle, till it seemed as if, truly, nothing would be left standing. The Chevalier heard it all, but he said nought, for he would not be thought a coward, and indeed he had courage enough for any adventure that might befall.

'These sounds of falling weights continued for a long space, then ceased suddenly.

'When the morning came, the servants all assembled, and their lord having arisen from bed they came to him and said, "Sir, have you also heard that which we have heard this night?" And the Sieur de Corasse hid it in his heart and answered, "No; what have you heard?" And they told him how that all the furniture was thrown down, and all the kitchen pots had been broken. But he began to laugh, and said it was a dream, and that the wind had caused it. "Ah no," sighed his wife; "I also have heard."

'When the next night arrived, the noise-makers arrived too, and made more disturbance than before, and gave great knocks at the doors, and likewise at the windows of the Sieur de Corasse. And the Chevalier leaped out of his bed and demanded, "Who is it that rocks my bed at this hour of the night?".

'And answer was made him, "That which I am, I am."

'Then asked the Chevalier, "By whom are you sent here?"

'"By the clerk of Catalonia, to whom you have done great wrong, for you have taken from him his rights and his heritage. Hence you will never be suffered to dwell in peace till you have given him what is his due, and he is content."

'"And you, who are so faithful a messenger," inquired the Chevalier, "what is your name?"

'"They call me Orthon."

'"Orthon," said the knight, "the service of a clerk is worth nothing, and if you trust him, he will work you ill. Leave me in peace, I pray you, and take service with me, and I shall be grateful."

'Now, the knight was pleasing to Orthon, so he answered, "Is this truly your will?"

'"Yes," replied the Sieur de Corasse. "Do no ill unto those that dwell here, and I will cherish you, and we shall be as one."

'"No," spoke Orthon. "I have no power save to wake you and others, and to disturb you when you fain would sleep."

'"Do as I say," said the Chevalier; "we shall agree well, if only you will abandon this wicked clerk. With him there is nothing but pain, and if you serve me——"

'"Since it is your will," replied Orthon, "it is mine also."

'The Sieur de Corasse pleased Orthon so much that he came often to see him in his sleep, and pulled away his pillow or gave great knocks against the window of the room where he lay. And when the Chevalier was awakened he would exclaim, "Let me sleep, I pray you, Orthon!"

'"Not so," said Orthon; "I have news to give you."

"And what news will you give me? Whence come you?"

'Then said Orthon, "I come from England, or Germany, or Hungary, or some other country, which I left, yesterday, and such-and-such things have happened."

'Thus it was that the Sieur de Corasse knew so much when he went into the world; and this trick he kept up for five or six years. But in the end he could not keep silence, and made it known to the Comte de Foix in the way I shall tell you.

'The first year, whenever the Sieur de Corasse came into the presence of the Count at Ortais or elsewhere, he would say to him: "Monseigneur, such-and-such a thing has happened in England, or in Scotland, or in Germany, or in Flanders, or in Brabant, or in some other country," and the Comte de Foix marvelled greatly at these things. But one day he pressed the Sieur de Corasse so hard that the knight told him how it was he knew all that passed in the world and who told him. When the Comte de Foix knew the truth of the matter, his heart leapt with joy, and he said: "Sieur de Corasse, bind him to you in love. I would I had such a messenger. He costs you nothing, and knows all that passes throughout the world."

'"Monseigneur," said the Chevalier, "thus will I do."

'Thus the Sieur de Corasse was served by Orthon, and that for long. I know not if Orthon had more than one master, but certain it is that every week he came, twice or thrice during the night, to tell to the Sieur de Corasse the news of all the countries that he had visited, which the Sieur wrote at once to the Comte de Foix, who was of all men most joyed in news from other lands. One day when the Sieur de Corasse was with the Comte de Foix, the talk fell upon Orthon, and suddenly the Count inquired, "Sieur de Corasse, have you never seen your messenger?"

'He answered, "No, by my faith, Monseigneur, and I have never even asked to."

'"Well," he replied, "it is very strange. If he had been as friendly to me as he is to you, I should long ago have begged him to show me who and what he is. And I pray that you will do all you can, so that I may know of what fashion he may be. You tell me that his speech is Gascon, such as yours or mine."

'"By my faith," said the Sieur de Corasse, "it is only the truth. His Gascon is as good as the best; and, since you advise it, I will spare myself no trouble to see what he is like."

'Two or three nights after came Orthon, and finding the Sieur de Corasse sleeping soundly, he pulled the pillow, so as to wake him. So the Sieur de Corasse awoke with a start and inquired, "Who is there?"

'He answered, "I am Orthon."

'"And whence do you come?"

'"From Prague in Bohemia. The Emperor of Rome is dead."

'"And when did he die?"

'"The day before yesterday."

'"And how far is it from Prague to this?"

'"How far?" he answered. "Why, it is sixty days' journey."

'"And you have come so quickly?"

'"But, by my faith, I travel more quickly than the wind."

'"And have you wings?"

'"By my faith, no."

'"How, then, do you fly so fast?"

'Said Orthon, "That does not concern you."

'"No," he replied; "but I would gladly see of what form you are."

'Said Orthon, "My form does not concern you. Content you with what I tell you and that my news is true."

'"Now, as I live," cried the Sieur de Corasse, "I should love you better if I had but seen you."

'Said Orthon, "Since you have such burning desire to see me, the first thing you behold to-morrow morning on getting out of bed will be I."

'"It is enough," answered the Sieur de Corasse. "Go. I take leave of you for this night."

'When the day dawned, the Sieur de Corasse arose from his bed, but his wife was filled with such dread of meeting Orthon that she feigned to be ill, and protested she would lie abed all day; for she said, "Suppose I were to see him?"

'"Now," cried the Sieur de Corasse, "see what I do," and he jumped from his bed and sat upon the edge, and looked about for Orthon; but he saw nothing. Then he threw back the windows so that he could note more clearly all that was in the room, but again he saw nought of which he could say, "That is Orthon."

'The day passed and night came. Hardly had the Sieur de Corasse climbed up into his bed than Orthon arrived, and began to talk to him, as his custom was.

'"Go to, go to," said the Sieur de Corasse; "you are but a bungler. You promised to show yourself to me yesterday, and you never appeared."

'"Never appeared," said he. "But I did, by my faith."

'"You did not."

'"And did you see nothing," said Orthon, "when you leapt from your bed?"

'The Sieur de Corasse thought for a little; then he answered. "Yes," he replied; "as I was sitting on my bed and thinking of you, I noticed two long straws on the floor twisting about and playing together."

'"That was I," said Orthon. "That was the form I had taken upon me."

'Said the Sieur de Corasse: "That is not enough. You must take another form, so that I may see you and know you."

'"You ask so much that I shall become weary of you and you will lose me," replied Orthon.

'"You will never become weary of me and I shall never lose you," answered the Sieur de Corasse; "if only I see you once, I shall be content."

'"So be it," said Orthon; "to-morrow you shall see me, and take notice that the first thing you see as you leave your room will be I."

'"It is enough," spoke the Sieur de Corasse; "and now go, for I fain would sleep."

'So Orthon went; and when it was the third hour next morning[28] the Sieur de Corasse rose and dressed as was his custom, and, leaving his chamber, came out into a gallery that looked into the central court of the castle. He glanced down, and the first thing he saw was a sow, larger than any he had ever beheld, but so thin that it seemed nothing but skin and bone. The Sieur de Corasse was troubled at the sight of the pig, and said to his servants: "Set on the dogs, and let them chase out that sow."

'The varlets departed and loosened the dogs, and urged them to attack the sow, which uttered a great cry and looked at the Sieur de Corasse, who stood leaning against one of the posts of his chamber. They saw her no more, for she vanished, and no man could tell whither she had gone.

'Then the Sieur de Corasse entered into his room, pondering deeply, for he remembered the words of Orthon and said to himself: "I fear me that I have seen my messenger. I repent me that I have set my dogs upon him, and the more that perhaps he will never visit me again, for he has told me, not once but many times, that if I angered him he would depart from me."

'And in this he said well; for Orthon came no more to the castle of Corasse, and in less than a year its lord himself was dead.'


[28] Six o'clock.


NEARLY four hundred years ago, on May 12, 1496, Gustavus Vasa was born in an old house in Sweden. His father was a noble of a well-known Swedish family, and his mother could claim as her sister one of the bravest and most unfortunate women of her time. Now, it was the custom in those days that both boys and girls should be sent when very young to the house of some great lord to be taught their duties as pages or ladies-in-waiting, and to be trained in all sorts of accomplishments. So when Gustavus Vasa had reached the age of six or seven, he was taken away from all his brothers and sisters and placed in the household of his uncle by marriage, whose name was Sten Sture. At that time Sweden had had no king of her own for a hundred years, when the kingdom had become united with Norway and Denmark in the reign of Queen Margaret by a treaty that is known in history as the Union of Calmar (1397). As long as Queen Margaret lived the three kingdoms were well-governed and happy; but her successors were by no means as wise as she, and at the period we are writing of the Danish stewards of King Hans and his son, Christian II., oppressed and ill-treated the Swedes in every possible way, and Sten Sture, regent though he was, had no power to protect them. From time to time the Danish kings came over to Sweden to look after their own interests, and on one of these visits King Hans saw little Gustavus Vasa at the house of Sten Sture in Stockholm. He is said to have taken notice of the boy, and to have exclaimed grimly that Gustavus would be a great man if he lived; and the Regent, thinking that the less attention the King paid to his unwilling subjects the safer their heads would be, at once sent the boy back to his father.

For some years Gustavus lived at home and had a merry time, learning to shoot by hitting a mark with his arrows before he was allowed any breakfast, and roaming all over the woods in his little coat of scarlet cloth. At thirteen he was sent for a time to school at Upsala, where he learned music as well as other things, and even taught himself to make musical instruments. One day, however, the Danish schoolmaster spoke scornfully of the Swedes, and Gustavus, dashing the sword which he carried through the book before him, vowed vengeance on all Danes, and walked out of the school for good.

As far as we know, Gustavus probably remained with his father for the next few years, and we next hear of him in 1514 at the Court of Sten Sture the younger. Already he had obtained a reputation among his friends both for boldness and caution, and though so young had learned experience by carefully watching all that was going on around him. His enemies, too, even the wicked Archbishop Trolle of Upsala, had begun to fear him without knowing exactly why, and he had already made a name for himself by his courage at the Swedish victory of Brankyrka, when the standard was borne by Gustavus through the thickest of the fight. This battle dashed to the ground the King's hopes of getting Sten Sture, the Regent, into his power by fair means, so he tried treachery to persuade the Swede to enter his ship. But the men of Stockholm saw through his wiles and declined this proposal, and the King was driven to offer the Swedes a meeting in a church, on condition that Gustavus Vasa and five other distinguished nobles should be sent first on board as hostages. This was agreed to; but no sooner had the young men put off in their boat than a large Danish vessel cut off their retreat, and they were at once carried off to Denmark as prisoners.

For one moment it seemed likely that Gustavus would be hanged, and Sweden remain in slavery for many years longer, and indeed, if his life was spared, it was only because Christian thought it might be to his own advantage. Still, spared it was, and the young man was delivered to the care of a distant relation in Jutland, who was to forfeit 400l. in case of his escape. Here things were made as pleasant to him as possible, and he was allowed to hunt and shoot, though always attended by keepers.

One day, after he had behaved with such prudence that his keepers had almost given up watching him, he managed, while strolling in the great park, to give them the slip, and to hide himself where there was no chance of anyone finding him. He contrived somehow to get hold of a pilgrim's dress; then that of a cattle-driver, and in this disguise he made his way to the free city of Luebeck, and threw himself on the mercy of the burgomaster or mayor. By this time his enemies were on his track, and his noble gaoler, Sir Eric Bauer, claimed him as an escaped prisoner. But the people of Luebeck, who at that moment had a trade quarrel with Denmark, declared that the fugitive was not a prisoner who had broken his parole, but a hostage who had been carried off by treachery, and refused to give him up, though perhaps their own interest had more to do with their steadfastness than right and justice. As it was, Gustavus was held fast in Luebeck for eight months before they would let him go, and it was not until May 1520 that he crossed the Baltic in a little fishing-smack, and sailed for Stockholm, then besieged by Danish ships and defended by the widow of the Regent. But finding the town closely invested, he made for Calmar, and after a short stay in the castle he found his way into the heart of the country, learning sadly at every step how the worst enemies of Sweden were the Swedes themselves, who betrayed each other to their Danish foes for jealousy and gold. Like Prince Charlie, however, he was soon to find faithful hearts among his countrymen, and for every traitor there were at least a hundred who were true. While hiding on his father's property, he sent some of his tenants to Stockholm, to find out the state of affairs there. The news they brought was terrible. A fearful massacre, known in history as the Blood Bath, had taken place by order of the King. Citizens, bishops, nobles, and even servants had been executed in the public market, and the King's thirst for blood was not satisfied until some hundreds of Swedes had laid down their lives. Among those who fell on the first day was the father of Gustavus Vasa, who is said to have indignantly rejected the pardon offered him by the King for his fidelity to his country. 'No,' he exclaimed; 'let me die with all these honest men.' So he died, and his son-in-law after him, and his wife, her mother, sister, and three daughters were thrown into prison, where some of them were starved to death. To crown all, a price was set on the head of Gustavus.

On hearing this last news Gustavus resolved to take refuge in the province of Dalecarlia, and to trust to the loyalty of the peasants. By this time it was the end of November (1520), and the snow lay thick upon the ground; but this was rather in his favour, as his enemies would be less likely to pursue him. So he cut his hair short and put on the dress of a peasant, which in those days consisted of a short, thick jacket, breeches with huge buttons, and a low soft hat. Then he bought an axe and plunged into the forest. Here he soon made a friend for life in a very tall, strong woodcutter, known to his neighbours by the name of the 'Bear-slayer.' This woodcutter was employed by a rich man, Petersen by name, who had a large property near by, and had been at school with Gustavus Vasa at Upsala. But hearing that Danish spies were lurking around, Gustavus would not confide even in him, but patiently did what work was given him like a common servant. An accident betrayed him. A maid-servant happened one day to see the golden collar that Gustavus wore next his skin, and told her master. Petersen then recognised his old schoolfellow; but knowing that he would lose his own head if he gave him shelter, he advised the young noble to leave his hiding-place, and take shelter with another old friend, Arendt, who had once served under him. Here he was received with open arms; but this hospitality only concealed treachery, for his old comrade had formed a close friendship with the Danish stewards who ruled the land, and only wanted an opportunity to deliver Gustavus up to them. However, he was careful not to let his guest see anything of his plan, and even pretended to share his schemes for ridding the country of the enemy. So he hid Gustavus in an attic, where he assured him he would be perfectly safe, and left him, saying he would go round to all the neighbouring estates to enlist soldiers for their cause. But of course he was only going to give information about Gustavus, and to gain the reward.

Now, it was only an accident that prevented his treachery being successful. The first man he applied to, though a friend to the Danes, scorned to take a mean advantage of anyone, and told the traitor to go elsewhere.

Furiously angry, but greedy and determined as ever, the traitor set forth for the house of the Danish steward who lived nearest, well knowing that from him he would receive nothing but gratitude.

But the traitor's wife happened to be standing at her own door as her husband drove by, and guessed what had occurred and where he was going. She was an honest woman, who despised all that was base and underhand, so she stole out to one of her servants whom she could trust, and ordered him to make ready a sledge, for he would have to go on a journey. Then, in order that no one should know of Gustavus's escape until it was too late to overtake him, she let him down out of the window into the sledge, which drove off at once, across a frozen lake and past the copper-mines of Fahlun, to a little village at the far end, where Gustavus left his deliverer, giving him a beautiful silver dagger as a parting gift.

Sheltered by one person after another, and escaping many dangers on the way, Gustavus found himself at last in the cottage of one of the royal foresters, where he received a hospitable welcome from the man and his wife. But unknown to himself, Danish spies had been for some time on his track, and no sooner had Gustavus sat down to warm his tired limbs before the fire where the forester's wife was baking bread, than they entered and inquired if Gustavus Vasa had been seen to pass that way. Another moment and they might have become curious about the stranger sitting at the hearth, when the woman hastily turned round, and struck him on the shoulder with the huge spoon she held in her hand. 'Lazy loon!' she cried. 'Have you no work to do? Off with you at once and see to your threshing.' The Danes only saw before them a common Swedish servant bullied by his mistress, and it never entered their heads to ask any questions; so once again Gustavus was saved.

Next day the forester hid him under a load of hay, and prepared to drive him through the forest to the houses of some friends—foresters like himself—who lived in a distant village. But Gustavus was not to reach even this place without undergoing a danger different from those he had met with before; for while they were jogging peacefully along the road they came across one of the numerous parties of Danes who were for ever scouring the country, and on seeing the cart a man stepped up, and thrust through the hay with his spear. Gustavus, though wounded, managed not to cry out, but reached, faint with loss of blood, his next resting-place.

After spending several days hidden among the boughs of a fir-tree, till the Danes began to think that their information must be false and Gustavus be looked for elsewhere, the fugitive was guided by one peasant after another through the forests till he found himself at the head of a large lake, and in the centre of many thickly-peopled villages. Here he assembled the dwellers in the country round, and spoke to them in the churchyard, telling of the wrongs that Sweden had suffered and of her children that had been slain. The peasants were moved by his words, but they did not wish to plunge into a war till they were sure of being successful, so they told Gustavus that they must find out something more before they took arms; meantime he was driven to seek a fresh hiding-place.

Gustavus was terribly dejected at the downfall of his hopes, for he had thought, with the help of the peasants, to raise at once the standard of rebellion; still he saw that flight was the only chance just now, and Norway seemed his best refuge. However, some fresh acts of tyranny on the part of their Danish masters did what Gustavus's own words had failed to do, and suddenly the peasants took their resolve and sent for Gustavus to be their leader.

The messengers found him at the foot of the Dovre-Fjeld Mountains between Norway and Sweden, and he joyfully returned with them, rousing the people as he went, till at last he had got together a force that far outnumbered the army which was sent to meet it.

Gustavus was not present at the first battle, which was fought on the banks of the Dale River, for he was travelling about preaching a rising among the Swedes of the distant provinces, but he arrived just after, to find that the peasants had gained an overwhelming victory. The fruits of this first victory were far-reaching. It gave the people confidence, thousands flocked to serve under Gustavus's banner, and within a few months the whole country, excepting Stockholm and Calmar, was in his hands. Then the nobles, in gratitude to their deliverer, sought to proclaim him king, but this he refused as long as a single Swedish castle remained beneath the Danish yoke, so for two more years he ruled Sweden under the title of Lord Protector. Then in 1523, when Stockholm and Calmar at last surrendered, Gustavus Vasa was crowned king.[1]


NOW, when Monsieur de Bayard was fighting in the kingdom of Naples, he made prisoner a valiant Spanish captain, Don Alonzo de Soto-Mayor by name, who, not liking his situation, complained of the treatment he received, which he said was unworthy of his dignity as a knight. This was, however, quite absurd, and against all reason, for, as all the world knows, there never was a man more courteous than Monsieur de Bayard. At length, Monsieur de Bayard, wearied with the continued grumblings of the Spaniard, sent him a challenge. This was at once accepted, whether the duel should be fought on foot or on horseback, for Don Alonzo refused to withdraw anything that he had said of the French knight.

When the day arrived, Monsieur de la Palisse, accompanied by two hundred gentlemen, appeared on the ground, escorting their champion Monsieur de Bayard, mounted on a beautiful horse, and dressed all in white, as a mark of humility, the old chronicler tells us. But Don Alonzo, to whom belonged the choice of arms, declared that he preferred to fight on foot, because (he pretended) he was not so skilful a horseman as Monsieur de Bayard, but really because he knew that his adversary had that day an attack of malarial fever, and he hoped to find him weakened, and so to get the better of him. Monsieur de la Palisse and Bayard's other supporters advised him, from the fact of his fever, to excuse himself, and to insist on fighting on horseback; but Monsieur de Bayard, who had never trembled before any man, would make no difficulties, and agreed to everything, which astonished Don Alonzo greatly, as he had expected a refusal. An enclosure was formed by a few large stones piled roughly one on another. Monsieur de Bayard placed himself at one end of the ground, accompanied by several brave captains, who all began to offer up prayers for their champion. Don Alonzo and his friends took up a position at the other end, and sent Bayard the weapons that they had chosen—namely, a short sword and a poignard, with a gorget and coat of mail. Monsieur de Bayard did not trouble himself enough about the matter to raise any objection. For second he had an old brother-at-arms, Bel-Arbre by name, and for keeper of the ground Monsieur de la Palisse, who was very well skilled in all these things. The Spaniard also chose a second and a keeper of the ground. So when the combatants had taken their places, they both sank on their knees and prayed to God; but Monsieur de Bayard fell on his face and kissed the earth, then, rising, made the sign of the cross, and went straight for his enemy, as calmly, says the old chronicler, as if he were in a palace, and leading out a lady to the dance.

Don Alonzo on his side came forward to meet him, and asked, 'Senor Bayardo, what do you want of me?' He answered, 'To defend my honour,' and without more words drew near; and each thrust hard with the sword, Don Alonzo getting a slight wound on his face. After that, they thrust at each other many times more, without touching. Monsieur de Bayard soon discovered the ruse of his adversary, who no sooner delivered his thrusts than he at once covered his face so that no hurt could be done him; and he bethought himself of a way to meet it. So, the moment Don Alonzo raised his arm to give a thrust, Monsieur de Bayard also raised his; but he kept his sword in the air, without striking a blow, and when his enemy's weapon had passed harmlessly by him, he could strike where he chose, and gave such a fearful blow at the throat that, in spite of the thickness of the gorget, the sword entered to the depth of four whole fingers, and he could not pull it out. Don Alonzo, feeling that he had got his death-blow, dropped his sword and grasped Monsieur de Bayard round the body, and thus wrestling they both fell to the ground. But Monsieur de Bayard, quick to see and to do, seized his sword, and, holding it to the nostrils of his enemy, he cried, 'Surrender, Don Alonzo, or you are a dead man;' but he got no answer, for Don Alonzo was dead already. Then his second, Don Diego de Guignonnes, came forward and said, 'Senor Bayardo, you have conquered him,' which everyone could see for himself. But Monsieur de Bayard was much grieved, for, says the chronicler, he would have given a hundred thousand crowns, if he had had them, to have made Don Alonzo surrender. Still, he was grateful to God for having given him the victory, and gave thanks, and, kneeling down, kissed the earth three times. And after the body of Don Alonzo was carried from the ground, he said to the second, 'Don Diego, my lord, have I done enough?' And Don Diego answered sadly, 'Enough and too much, Senor Bayardo, for the honour of Spain.' 'You know,' said Monsieur de Bayard, 'that as the victor the body is mine to do as I will, but I yield it to you; and truly, I would that, my honour satisfied, it had fallen out otherwise.' So the Spaniards bore away their champion with sobs and tears, and the French led off the conqueror with shouts of joy, and the noise of trumpets and clarions, to the tent of Monsieur de la Palisse, after which Monsieur de Bayard went straight to the church to give thanks in that he had gained the victory. Thus it happened to the greater renown of Monsieur de Bayard, who was esteemed not only by the French, his countrymen, but by the Spaniards of the kingdom of Naples, to be a peerless knight, who had no equal look where you may.[29]


[29] Brantome.


THERE was a man named Gudbrand of the Dales, who was as good as king over the Dales though he had but the title of duke. He had one son, of whom this story makes mention. Now when Gudbrand heard that King Olaf was come to Loa and was compelling men to receive Christianity, he cut the war-arrow and summoned all the dalesmen to meet him at the village called Houndthorpe. Thither came they all in countless numbers, for the lake Logr lies near, and they could come by water as well as by land.

There Gudbrand held an assembly with them, and said: 'There is a man come to Loa named Olaf; he would fain offer us a faith other than we had before, and break all our gods in sunder. And he says that he has a God far greater and mightier. A wonder it is that the earth does not burst in sunder beneath him who dares to say such things; a wonder that our gods let him any longer walk thereon. And I expect that if we carry Thor out of our temple, wherein he stands and hath alway helped us, and he see Olaf and his men, then will Olaf's God and Olaf himself and all his men melt away and come to nought.'

At this they all at once shouted loud, and said that Olaf should never escape alive if he came to meet them. 'Never will he dare to go further south by the Dales,' said they. Then they appointed seven hundred men to go and reconnoitre northwards to Breida. This force was commanded by Gudbrand's son, then eighteen years old, and many other men of renown with him; and they came to the village called Hof and were there for three nights, where they were joined by much people who had fled from Lesja Loa and Vagi, not being willing to submit to Christianity.

But King Olaf and Bishop Sigurd, after appointing teachers of religion at Loa and Vagi, crossed over the channel between Vagi and the land and came to Sil, and were there for the night; and they heard the tidings that a large force was before them. And the people of the country who were at Breida heard of the King's movements, and prepared for battle against him. But when the King rose in the morn, then he clad him for war, and marched south by Silfield, nor stayed till he came to Breida, where he saw a large army arrayed for battle.

Then the King set his men in array and rode himself before them, and, addressing the country-folk, bade them embrace Christianity.

They answered: 'Thou wilt have other work to do to-day than to mock us.'

And they shouted a war-shout and smote their shields with their weapons. Then the King's men ran forward and hurled their spears; but the country-folk turned and fled, few of them standing their ground. Gudbrand's son was there taken prisoner; but King Olaf gave him quarter and kept him near himself. Three nights the King was there. Then spake he with Gudbrand's son, saying: 'Go thou back now to thy father and tell him that I shall come there soon.'

Whereupon he went back home and told his father the ill tidings, how they had met the King and fought with him; 'but our people all fled at the very first,' said he, 'and I was taken prisoner. The King gave me quarter, and bade me go and tell thee that he would come here soon. Now have we left no more than two hundred men out of that force with which we met him, and I advise thee, father, not to fight with that man.'

'One may hear,' said Gudbrand, 'that all vigour is beaten out of thee. Ill luck went with thee, and long will thy journey be spoken of. Thou believest at once those mad fancies which that man brings who hath wrought foul shame on thee and thine.'

In the following night Gudbrand dreamed a dream. A man came to him, a shining one, from whom went forth great terror. And thus he spake: 'Thy son went not on a path of victory against King Olaf; and far worse wilt thou fare if thou resolvest to do battle with the King, for thou wilt fall, thyself and all thy people, and thee and thine will wolves tug and ravens rend.'

Much afraid was Gudbrand at this terror, and told it to Thord Fat-paunch, a chief man of the Dales.

He answered: 'Just the same vision appeared to me.'

And on the morrow they bade the trumpet-blast summon an assembly, and said that they thought it good counsel to hold a conference with that man who came from the north with new doctrine, and to learn what proofs he could bring.

After this Gudbrand said to his son: 'Thou shalt go to the King who spared thy life, and twelve men shall go with thee.' And so it was done.

And they came to the King and told him their errand—that the country-folk would fain hold a conference with him, and would have a truce between them. The King liked that well, and they settled it so by a treaty between them till the appointed meeting should be; and this done they went back and told Gudbrand and Thord of the truce. The King then went to the village called Lidsstadir, and stayed there five nights. Then he went to meet the country-folk, and held a conference with them; but the day was very wet.

As soon as the conference was met, the King stood up and said that the dwellers in Lesja Loa and Vagi had accepted Christianity and broken down their heathen house of worship, and now believed in the true God who made heaven and earth and knew all things. Then the King sat down; but Gudbrand answered:

'We know not of whom thou speakest. Thou callest him God whom neither thou seest nor anyone else. But we have that god who may be seen every day, though he is not out to-day because the weather is wet: and terrible will he seem to you, and great fear will, I expect, strike your hearts if he come into our assembly. But since thou sayest that your God is so powerful, then let Him cause that to-morrow the weather be cloudy but without rain, and meet we here again.'

Thereafter the King went home to his lodging, and with him Gudbrand's son as a hostage, while the King gave them another man in exchange. In the evening the King asked Gudbrand's son how their god was made. He said that he was fashioned to represent Thor: he had a hammer in his hand, and was tall of stature, hollow within, and there was a pedestal under him on which he stood when out-of-doors; nor was there lack of gold and silver upon him. Four loaves of bread were brought to him every day, and flesh-meat therewith. After this talk they went to bed. But the King was awake all night and at his prayers.

With dawn of day the King went to mass, then to meat, then to the assembly. And the weather was just what Gudbrand had bargained for. Then stood up the bishop in his gown, with mitre on head and crozier in hand; and he spoke of the faith before the country-folk, and told of the many miracles which God had wrought, and brought his speech to an eloquent conclusion.

Then answered Thord Fat-paunch: 'Plenty of words has that horned one who holds a staff in his hand crooked at the top like a wether's horn. But seeing that you, my good fellows, claim that your God works so many miracles, bespeak of Him for to-morrow that He let it be bright sunshine; and meet we then, and do one of the twain, either agree on this matter or do battle.'

And with that they broke up the assembly for the time.

There was a man with King Olaf named Kolbein Strong; he was from the Firths by kin. He had ever this gear, that he was girded with a sword, and had a large cudgel or club in his hand. The King bade Kolbein be close to him on the morrow. And then he said to his men:

'Go ye to-night where the country-folk's ships are, and bore holes in them all, and drive away from their farm-buildings their yoke-horses.' And they did so.

But the King spent the night in prayer, praying God that He would solve this difficulty of His goodness and mercy. And when service times were over (and that was towards daybreak) then went he to the assembly. When he came there but few of the country-folk had come. But soon they saw a great multitude coming to the assembly; and they bare among them a huge image of a man, all glittering with gold and silver; which when those who were already at the assembly saw, they all leapt up and bowed before this monster. Then was it set up in the middle of the place of assembly: on the one side sat the folk of the country, on the other the King and his men.

Then up stood Gudbrand of the Dales and spake: 'Where is now thy God, O King? Methinks now He boweth His beard full low; and, as I think, less is now thy bragging and that of the horned one whom ye call bishop, and who sits beside thee yea, less than it was yesterday. For now is come our god who rules all, and he looks at you with keen glance, and I see that ye are now full of fear and hardly dare to lift your eyes. Lay down now your superstition and believe in our god, who holds all your counsel in his hand.' And so his words were ended.

The King spake with Kolbein Strong, so that the country-folk knew it not: 'If it so chance while I am speaking that they look away from their god, then strike him the strongest blow thou canst with thy club.'

Then the King stood up and spake: 'Plenty of words hast thou spoken to us this morning. Thou thinkest it strange that thou canst not see our God; but we expect that He will soon come to us. Thou goest about to terrify us with thy god, who is blind and deaf and can neither help himself nor others, and can in no way leave his place unless he be carried; and I expect now that evil is close upon him. Nay, look now and see toward the east, there goeth now our God with great light.'

Just then up sprang the sun, and toward the sun looked the country-folk all. But in that moment Kolbein dealt such a blow on their god that he burst all asunder, and thereout leapt rats as big as cats, and vipers and snakes.

But the country-folk fled in terror, some to their ships, which when they launched, the water poured in and filled them, nor could they so get away, and some who ran for their horses found them not. Then the King had them called back and said he would fain speak with them; whereupon the country-folk turned back and assembled.

Then the King stood up and spake.

'I know not,' said he, 'what means this tumult and rushing about that ye make. But now may well be seen what power your god has, whom ye load with gold and silver, meat and food, and now ye see what creatures have enjoyed all this—rats and snakes, vipers and toads. And worse are they who believe in such things, and will not quit their folly. Take ye your gold and jewels that are here now on the field and carry them home to your wives, and never put them again on stocks or stones. But now there are two choices for us: that you accept Christianity or do battle with me to-day. And may those win victory to whom it is willed by the God in whom we believe.'

Then stood up Gudbrand of the Dales and spake: 'Much scathe have we gotten now in our god; but, as he cannot help himself, we will now believe in the God in whom thou believest.' And so they all accepted Christianity.

Then did the bishop baptize Gudbrand and his son. King Olaf and Bishop Sigurd left religious teachers there, and they parted friends who before were foes. And Gudbrand had a church built there in the Dales.


[30] From the Saga of King Olaf the Holy, or St. Olaf.


SIR RICHARD GRENVILLE, of Bideford, in Devon, was one of the most noted admirals in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Although he had large estates, and was very rich, he liked better to go abroad to the new countries just then discovered, or to fight for his country, than to stay at home.

From his wonderful courage and determination never to fly from an enemy, however great the odds might be against him, he had the good fortune to win glory in the most glorious sea-fight that has ever been fought.

In 1591 he was vice-admiral of a small fleet consisting of six line of battle ships, six victuallers, and two or three pinnaces, under the command of Lord Thomas Howard. In the month of August in that year, they lay at anchor off the island of Flores, where they had put in for a fresh supply of water, and to take in ballast, as well as to refresh the crew, for many of them were sick.

Half of the crew of Grenville's ship were disabled and were on shore, when news was brought that a Spanish Armada, consisting of fifty-three ships, was near at hand.

When the admiral heard it, knowing himself to be at a disadvantage, he instantly signalled to the rest of the fleet to cut or weigh their anchors and to follow him out to sea.

All the commanders obeyed his summons but Sir Richard Grenville, whose duty as vice-admiral was to follow at the rear of the fleet; he also waited until his men who were on shore could rejoin him.

Meanwhile he had everything set in readiness to fight, and all the sick were carried to the lower hold.

The rest of the English ships were far away, hull down on the horizon, and the Spaniards, who had come up under cover of the island, were already bearing down in two divisions on his weatherbow before the 'Revenge' was ready to sail. Then the master and others, seeing the hopelessness of their case, begged Sir Richard to trust to the good sailing of his ship, 'to cut his maine saile and cast about, and to follow the admiral.'

But Sir Richard flew into a terrible passion, and swore he would hang any man who should then show himself to be a coward. 'That he would rather choose to dye than to dishonour himselfe, his countrie, and her maiestie's shippe.'

He boldly told his men that he feared no enemy, that he would yet pass through the squadron and force them to give him way.

Then were the hundred men on the 'Revenge' who were able to fight and to work the ship, fired with the spirit of their commander, and they sailed out to meet the foe with a cheer.

All went well for a little time, and the 'Revenge' poured a broadside into those ships of the enemy that she passed. But presently a great ship named 'San Felipe' loomed over her path and took the wind out of her sails, so that she could no longer answer to her helm.

While she lay thus helplessly, all her sails of a sudden slack and sweeping the yards, she fired her lower tier, charged with crossbar shot, into the 'San Felipe.' Then the unwieldy galleon of a thousand and five hundred tons, which bristled with cannon from stem to stern, had good reason to repent her of her temerity, and 'shifted herselfe with all dilligence from her sides, utterly misliking her entertainment.' It is said she foundered shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile four more Spanish vessels had come up alongside the 'Revenge,' and lay two on her larboard and two on her starboard. Then a hand to hand fight began in terrible earnest. As those soldiers in the ships alongside were repulsed or thrown back into the sea, yet were their places filled with more men from the galleons around, who brought fresh ammunition and arms. The Spanish ships were filled with soldiers, in some were two hundred besides mariners, in some five hundred, in others eight hundred.

'And a dozen times we shook 'em off as a dog that shakes his ears when he leaps from the water to the land.'

Grenville was severely hurt at the beginning of the fight, but he paid no heed to his wound, and stayed on the upper decks to cheer and encourage his men. Two of the Spanish ships were sunk by his side, yet two more came in their places, and ever and ever more as their need might be.

Darkness fell upon the scene, and through the silence the musketry fire crackled unceasingly, and the heavy artillery boomed from time to time across the sea. About an hour before midnight Grenville was shot in the body, and while his wound was being dressed, the surgeon who attended him was killed, and at the same time Grenville was shot again in the head.

Still he cried to his men, 'Fight on, fight on!'

Before dawn the Spaniards, weary of the fight that had raged for fifteen hours, that had cost them fifteen ships and fifteen hundred men, had drawn off to a little distance, and lay around her in a ring.

Daylight discovered the little 'Revenge' a mere water-logged hulk, with rigging and tackle shot away, her masts overboard, her upper works riddled, her pikes broken, all her powder spent, and forty of her best men slain.

The glow that heralded sunrise shot over the sky and stained the placid waters beneath to crimson. In this sea of blood the wreck lay, her decks ruddy with the stain of blood sacrificed for honour.

She lay alone at the mercy of the waves, and unable to move save by their rise and fall, alone with her wounded and dying and her dead to whom could come no help.

Then Sir Richard Grenville called for the master gunner, whom he knew to be both brave and trusty, and told him to sink the ship, so that the Spaniards might have no glory in their conquest. He besought his sailors to trust themselves to the mercy of God, and not to the mercy of men, telling them that for the honour of their country the greater glory would be theirs if they would consent to die with him.

The gunner and many others cried, 'Ay, ay, sir,' and consented to the sinking of the ship.

But the captain and master would not agree to it: they told Sir Richard that the Spanish admiral would be glad to listen to a composition, as themselves were willing to do. Moreover there were still some men left who were not mortally wounded, and who might yet live to do their country good service. They told him too that the Spaniard could never glory in having taken the ship, for she had six feet of water in the hold already, as well as three leaks from shot under water, that could not be stopped to resist a heavy sea.

But Sir Richard would not listen to any of their reasoning. Meanwhile the master had gone to the general of the Armada, Don Alfonso Baffan, who, knowing Grenville's determination to fight to the last, was afraid to send any of his men on board the 'Revenge' again, lest they should be blown up or sink on board of her.

The general yielded that 'all their lives should be saved, the companie sent for England, and the better sorte to pay such reasonable ransome as their estate would beare, and in the meane season to be free from galley or imprisonment.'

After the men had heard what the captain said they became unwilling to die, and with these honourable terms for surrender they drew back from Sir Richard and the master gunner. 'The maister gunner, finding himselfe prevented and maistered by the greater number, would have slaine himselfe with a sword had he not beene by force withhold and locked into his cabben.'

Then the Spanish general sent to the 'Revenge' to bring Sir Richard to his own ship; for he greatly admired his wonderful courage.

Sir Richard told him they might do what they chose with his body, for he did not care for it; and as he was being carried from his ship in a fainting state, he asked those of his men near him to pray for him.

He only lived for three days after this, but was treated with the greatest courtesy and kindness by the Spaniards. He did not speak again until he was dying, when he said:

'Here am I, Richard Grenville, with a joyful and quiet mind, for that I have ended my life as a true soldier ought to do, that hath fought for his country, Queen, religion, and honour. Whereby my soul most joyfully departeth out of this body, and shall always leave behind it an everlasting fame of a valiant and true soldier, that hath done his dutie as he was bound to do.'


IT is a strange and interesting thing to see how history repeats itself in a series of noble and picturesque incidents which are so much alike that they might be easily mistaken for one another. Perhaps in the years to come they will be mistaken for one another, and then those learned scholars who love to deny all the things that are worth believing will say, as they say now of William Tell and the apple: 'Whenever an event is represented as happening in different countries and among different nations, we may be sure that it never happened at all.' Yet to Spain belongs Augustina, the Maid of Saragossa; to England, brave Mary Ambree; and to America, Molly Pitcher, the stout-hearted heroine of Monmouth; and these three women won for themselves honour and renown by the same valorous exploits. Augustina is the most to be envied, for her praises have been sung by a great poet; Mary Ambree has a noble ballad to perpetuate her fame; Molly Pitcher is still without the tribute of a verse to remind her countrymen occasionally of her splendid courage in the field.

The Spanish girl was of humble birth, young, poor, and very handsome. When Saragossa was besieged by the French during the Peninsular War, she carried food every afternoon to the soldiers who were defending the batteries. One day the attack was so fierce, and the fire so deadly, that by the gate of Portillo not a single man was left alive to repulse the terrible enemy. When Augustina reached the spot with her basket of coarse and scanty provisions, she saw the last gunner fall bleeding on the walls. Not for an instant did she hesitate; but springing over a pile of dead bodies, she snatched the match from his stiffening fingers and fired the gun herself. Then calling on her countrymen to rally their broken ranks, she led them back so unflinchingly to the charge that the French were driven from the gate they had so nearly captured, and the honour of Spain was saved. When the siege was lifted and the city free a pension was settled on Augustina, together with the daily pay of an artilleryman, and she was permitted to wear upon her sleeve an embroidered shield bearing the arms of Saragossa. Lord Byron, in his poem 'Childe Harold,' has described her beauty her heroism, and the desperate courage with which she defended the breach:

'Who can avenge so well a leader's fall? What maid retrieve when man's flushed hope is lost! Who hang so fiercely on the flying Gaul, Foiled by a woman's hand before a battered wall?'

For the story of Mary Ambree we must leave the chroniclers—who to their own loss and shame never mention her at all—and take refuge with the poets. From them we learn all we need to know, and it is quickly told. Her lover was slain treacherously in the war between Spain and Holland, the English being then allies of the Dutch; and, vowing to avenge his death, she put on his armour and marched to the siege of Ghent, where she fought with reckless courage on its walls. Fortune favours the brave, and wherever the maiden turned her arms the enemy was repulsed, until at last the gallant Spanish soldiers vied with the English in admiration of this valorous foe:

'If England doth yield such brave lassies as thee. Full well may she conquer, faire Mary Ambree.'

Even the Great Prince of Parma desired to see this dauntless young girl, and finding her as chaste as she was courageous and beautiful, he permitted her to sail for home without any molestation from his army.

'Then to her own country she back did returne, Still holding the foes of faire England in scorne; Therefore English captaines of every degree Sing forth the brave valours of Mary Ambree.'

And now for Molly Pitcher, who, unsung and almost unremembered, should nevertheless share in the honours heaped so liberally upon the Spanish and English heroines. 'A red-haired, freckled-faced young Irishwoman,' without beauty and without distinction, she was the newly-wedded wife of an artilleryman in Washington's little army. On June 28, 1778, was fought the battle of Monmouth, famous for the admirable tactics by which Washington regained the advantages lost through the negligence of General Charles Lee, and also for the splendid charge and gallant death of Captain Moneton, an officer of the English grenadiers. It was a Sunday morning, close and sultry. As the day advanced, the soldiers on both sides suffered terribly from that fierce, unrelenting heat in which America rivals India. The thermometer stood at 96 in the shade. Men fell dead in their ranks without a wound, smitten by sunstroke, and the sight of them filled their comrades with dismay. Molly Pitcher, regardless of everything save the anguish of the sweltering, thirsty troops, carried buckets of water from a neighbouring spring, and passed them along the line. Back and forward she trudged, this strong, brave, patient young woman, while the sweat poured down her freckled face, and her bare arms blistered in the sun. She was a long time in reaching her husband—so many soldiers begged for drink as she toiled by—but at last she saw him, parched, grimy, spent with heat, and she quickened her lagging steps. Then suddenly a ball whizzed past, and he fell dead by the side of his gun before ever the coveted water had touched his blackened lips. Molly dropped her bucket, and for one dazed moment stood staring at the bleeding corpse. Only for a moment, for, amid the turmoil of battle, she heard the order given to drag her husband's cannon from the field. The words roused her to life and purpose. She seized the rammer from the trodden grass, and hurried to the gunner's post. There was nothing strange in the work to her. She was too well versed in the ways of war for either ignorance or alarm. Strong, skilful, and fearless, she stood by the weapon and directed its deadly fire until the fall of Moneton turned the tide of victory. The British troops under Clinton were beaten back after a desperate struggle, the Americans took possession of the field, and the battle of Monmouth was won.

On the following day, poor Molly, no longer a furious Amazon, but a sad-faced widow, with swollen eyes, and a scanty bit of crape pinned on her broad young bosom, was presented to Washington, and received a sergeant's commission with half-pay for life. It is said that the French officers, then fighting for the freedom of the colonies, that is, against the English, were so delighted with her courage that they added to this reward a cocked hat full of gold pieces, and christened her 'La Capitaine.' What befell her in after-years has never been told. She lived and died obscurely, and her name has well-nigh been forgotten in the land she served. But the memory of brave deeds can never wholly perish, and Molly Pitcher has won for herself a little niche in the temple of Fame, where her companions are fair Mary Ambree and the dauntless Maid of Saragossa.


I WAS born at a town called Bruton, in Somersetshire, and my parents were well-to-do people. My mother died when I was very young; my father, who had been a great traveller in his days, often told me of his adventures, which gave me a strong desire for a roving life. I used to beg my father to let me go to sea with some captain of his acquaintance; but he only warned me solemnly against the dangers to which sailors were exposed, and told me I should soon wish to be at home again.

But at last, through my father's misfortunes, my wish was gratified, for he was robbed of a large sum of money, and found himself unable to provide for me as he wished. Disaster followed disaster till he was compelled to recommend to me the very life he had warned me against. I left him for Bristol, carrying with me a letter he had written to a captain there, begging him to give me all the help in his power, and never saw him again. But Captain Pultney, his friend, welcomed me like a son, and before long got me a berth on the 'Albion' frigate, in which I set sail for Jamaica on May 2, 1699.

When we were in the Bay of Biscay a terrible storm came on; the billows ran mountains high, and our vessel was the sport of the waves. A ship that had overtaken and followed us the day before seemed to be in yet worse distress, and signalled to us for aid; but we could not get very near them without danger to ourselves. We sent out our long-boat, with two of our men; but the rope that held her to the ship broke with the violence of the waves, and she was carried away, nor did we ever hear what became of our unhappy comrades. Very soon, in spite of the labour of the crew, the vessel we were trying to help went down, and out of fifty-four men, only four were saved who had the good fortune to catch the ropes we threw out to them. When they told us their story, however, we could not help wondering at the escape we had had, for the lost ship belonged to a pirate, who had only been waiting till the storm was over to attack us, and the men we had saved had, according to their own account, been compelled against their will to serve the pirates.

Very soon the storm abated, and we continued our voyage. It was not long before we had another adventure with pirates, and the next time they caught us at midnight, and, hailing us, commanded us to come on board their ship with our captain. We answered that we had no boat, and asked them to wait till the morning. At this, the pirate captain threatened to sink us, and therewith fired a gun at our vessel.

But we, being on our guard, had already mustered our guns and our forces, thirty-eight men, counting the passengers, who were as ready to fight as any of us. So we sent them back a broadside, which surprised them and did them some damage. Then we tacked about, and with six of our guns raked the enemy fore and aft; but we were answered very quickly with a broadside that killed two of our men and wounded a third. Presently they boarded us with about fourscore men, and we found all our resistance idle, for they drove us into the forecastle, where we managed to barricade ourselves, and threatened to turn our own guns against us if we did not surrender immediately. But our captain being resolute, ordered us to fire on them with our small-arms. Now close to our steerage was a large cistern lined with tin, where several cartridges of powder happened to be; and, happily for us, in the tumult of the firing this powder took fire, and blew part of the quarter-deck and at least thirty of the enemy into the air. On this we sallied out, and drove the rest into their own vessel again with our cutlasses, killing several. But, alas! with the explosion and the breach of the quarter-deck our powder-room was quite blocked up, and we had to go on fighting with what powder we had by us. Fight we did, nevertheless, for at least four hours, when dawn broke, and to our great joy we saw another ship not far away, and distinguished English colours. At this sight we gave a great shout and fired our small-arms again; but our enemies very quickly cut away their grappling irons, and did their best to make off. Their rigging, however, was so shattered that they could not hoist sail, and in the meantime up came the English ship, and without so much as hailing the pirate, poured a broadside into her. Then followed a desperate fight. As for us, we steered off, to clear away the lumber from our powder-room, as we had nothing left to charge our guns with. In half-an-hour we had loaded again, and returned to the fight; but as we approached we saw the pirate sinking. The English ship had torn a hole in her between wind and water, so that she sank in an instant, and only eight men were saved. They told us that their captain was a pirate from Guadaloupe, and when they sank they had not more than twenty men left out of a hundred and fifty. On board our ship seven sailors and two passengers were killed, while the Guernsey frigate that rescued us had lost sixteen men and three wounded.

I need now relate no more of our adventures on the voyage till I come to a very sad one which befell me in October. We were sailing towards Jamaica, and one day I went into the boat astern which had been hoisted overboard in the morning to look after a wreck we had seen on the water. I pulled a book out of my pocket and sat reading in the boat; but before I was aware, a storm began to rise, so that I could not get up the ship side as usual, but called for the ladder of ropes in order to get back that way. Now, whether the ladder was not properly fastened above, or whether, being seldom used, it broke through rottenness, I cannot tell, but down I fell into the sea, and though, as I heard afterwards, the ship tacked about to take me up, I lost sight of it in the dusk of the evening and the gathering storm.

Now my condition was terrible. I was forced to drive with the wind and current, and after having kept myself above water for about four hours, as near as I could guess in my fright, I felt my feet touch ground every now and then, and at last a great wave flung me upon the sand. It was quite dark, and I knew not what to do; but I got up and walked as well as my tired limbs would carry me. For I could discover no trace of firm land, and supposed I was on some sandbank which the sea would overflow at high tide. But by-and-by I had to sit down out of sheer exhaustion, though I only looked for death. All my sins came before me, and I prayed earnestly, and at last recovered calm and courage.

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