« AnteriorContinuar »
be amused, they entertained him with concerts of music. Upon the day fixed for his departure, the mother said to him, "To your goodness, my lord, we owe our lives, and to you all that we have belongs by right of war; but we hope from your signal benevolence that this slight tribute will content you," (placing upon the table au iron coffer full of money). What is the sum?" said the chevalier. " My lord," answered she trembling, no more but two thousand five hundred ducats, all that we have; but if more be necessary, we will try our friends." "Madam," said he, "I never shall forget your kindness, more precious in my eyes than a hundred thousand ducats.. Take back your money, and depend always on me." "My good lord, you kill me, to refuse this small sum; take it only as a mark of your friendship to my family.' Well," said he, " since it will oblige you, I take the money; but give me the satisfaction of bidding adieu to your amiable daughters.". They came to him with looks of regard and affection. "Ladies," said he, "the impression you have made on my heart will never wear out. What return to make I know not; for men of my profession are seldom opulent: but here are two thousand five hundred ducats, of which the generosity of your mother has given me the disposal. Accept them as a marriage present; and may your happiness in marriage be equal to your merit.' "Flower of chivalry!" cried the mother, " may the God who suffered death for us reward you here and hereafter.”
A FALSE ALARM.
LEWIS BERTON DE CRILLON, a gentleman of Avignon, was as remarkable on account of the peculiarities in his temper, as his intrepidity, which had procured him the name of Dreadnought. The duke of Guise, to whom he had been sent after the reduction of Marseilles, having a mind to try his courage, agreed with some gentlemen to give a sudden alarm before Crillon's quarters, as if
the enemy had been masters of the town. At the same time he ordered two horses to the door; and going up into Crillon's room, told him, all was lost; that the enemy were masters of the port and town; that they had forced the guards, and broke and put to flight all that opposed them; that, finding it impossible to resist them any longer, he thought it was better for them to retreat, than by suffering themselves to be taken, and add to the enemy's victory; that he had therefore ordered two horses to be brought, which were ready at the door, and desired he would make haste, for fear they should give the enemy time to surprise them. Crillon was asleep when the alarm was given, and was hardly awake whilst the duke of Guise was saying this to him. However, without being at all disconcerted by so hot an alarm, he called for his clothes and his arms, saying, they ought not, on too light grounds, to give credit to all that was said of the enemy; and, even if the account should prove true, it was more becoming men of honour to die with their arms in their hands than to survive the loss of the place. The duke not being able to prevail on him to change this resolution, followed him out of the room; but, when they were got half-way down stairs, not being able to contain himself any longer, he burst out a laughing; by which Crillon discovered the trick that had been played him. He thereupon assumed a look much sterner than when he only thought of going to fight, and, squeezing the duke's hand, said to him, swearing at the same time (for he always begun his discourse with the most horrible oaths), Young man, never make it a jest to try the courage of a man of honour; for, by G-d! hadst thou made me betray any weakness, I would have plunged my dagger in thy heart;" and then left him without saying a word more.
THE EMPEROR INCOG.
THE late Emperor of Germany, passing one night along a street in Vienna, on one side of which runs a
wall that terminates one of his gardens, perceived a young female, who seemed to be crying to herself. He asked her what gave her so much uneasiness. she made no reply, but sobbed on. He repeated his question. She answered, that it would be of little signification to tell, for he could be of no service to her. "My dress may not promise much ability," returned the emperor, who made, in disguise, but rather a shabby appearance, but, perhaps, it may, nevertheless, be in my power to remove those tears from your eyes.' The emperor still pressing to be informed, the young woman reluctantly acquainted him that her mother was in the greatest distress and very ill, and that she (the daughter) was then going to raise money on her only remaining clothes (those she had on her excepted), for their present subsistence. He inquired after her family, and she informed him that her father was an officer, and died in the service. He asked her if they had no pension. She told him, no. Why have you not preferred a memorial to the emperor?" The girl answered, that several had been delivered to a great man, belonging to the court, to be presented by him to the emperor, but they had ayailed nothing. "Do you think the emperor received them?" She said, "There was no doubt of that: but," continued she," they say the emperor is a miser." He told her he had some interest at court, and desired she would come with a memorial in the morning, at ten o'clock, to such a part of the palace, and inquire for such a person: that he would be there, and would recommend her mother's cause in such a manner, as, he doubted not, would be attended with success. The girl hesitated at the proposal. "I will not deceive you," he returned; "go, child, home to your mother; spare your clothes; take this, (giving her three gold ducats), buy yourselves food; and be sure do not disappoint me at ten to-morrow.' They parted: the young woman, all amazed, ran home, and recounted her story. The mother wept on the neck of the daughter; the daughter, drowned in tears, hung on that of the mother. The emperor had given the proper orders in the morning for
the reception of the young woman. She not coming to her time appointed, he made several impatient inquiries, from that hour to near eleven, to know if she were not yet come. Her staying at home was owing to a delicacy and a fear that she could not account for. Indeed, somebody had suggested to her (on hearing the description of the person who had so generously assisted her, and knowing it was the report that the emperor sometimes amused himself in excursions of this kind) that, perhaps, it might be the emperor himself. By the persuasions of her friends, however, at length she overcame her difficulties; and, as the clock was striking eleven, she made her appearance at the part of the palace where she had been directed to. There was a person ready to receive her. She told him her business. "The emperor, madam, has been waiting impatiently for you this hour." The apprehensions instilled into her now becoming a certainty, and these attended with fears (on account of her having made so free with the character of the prince on the preceding night) at the name of emperor, she was very near fainting; but, presently recovering, her being arrived was announced, and she was ordered to be introduced. Her sovereign was dressed. with more than common elegance and richness (perhaps for the greater contrast to his appearance the night before). She fell on her knees: she lost all utterance. He condescendingly stooped to raise her up: he bid her be comforted: he asked her for her memorial: she gave it. He made a point of knowing to whom her former memorials were delivered, that he might inform himself of the reason he had never seen them, and prevent such offences to himself and his subjects (these were his words) for the future. "I shall make particular inquiries into the truth of your memorial," said the amiable young monarch; " if I find the assertions are just, and your distresses as represented, tell your mother I shall order a pension, for herself and family, of 400 ducats." This was too affecting! she fell at his feet! he raised her a second time. She began withdrawing herself respectfully at a distance, as if departing.
"Hold," continued the prince, " take this purse (containing 200 ducats): it is for yourself; and I give it you because you told me I am a miser: let it bear witness for me to the contrary."
THE Spanish etiquette is a certain regulation which contains all the ceremonies which the Spanish monarchs are obliged to observe, and which they dare not, upon any pretence, break through; but yet is a greater check upon the liberty of the queen consort, for they are often forbid things the most innocent. The duchess of Terra Nova, who was camera major to the wife of Charles II., told her majesty plainly, that the queens of Spain must not look out of the windows of the palace. There happened to this princess an adventure, which, by the formalities of the etiquette, had like to have lost her life. The queen was very fond of riding, and several fine horses having been brought her from Andalusia, she had a mind to try one of them; but she had no sooner mounted, than the proud steed began to prance and caper, and at length threw the royal rider; and what was worse, her majesty's foot hitched in the stirrup, and the horse dragged her along, to the utmost peril of her life. All the court were spectators of this unlucky accident, but nobody had thought of succouring the queen: the etiquette formally opposed it; for it forbid any man whatsoever, on pain of death, to touch the queen of Spain, and more especially her foot. We do not know why her foot, rather than her hand, should be prohibited; but, in short, that was the law, and therefore nobody durst approach her. Charles II., who had a great love for his queen, and who, from a balcony, saw the danger she was in, cried out vehemently; but the custom was inviolable, and the untouchable foot restrained the grave Spaniards from intermeddling in so delicate an affair. At length, two brisk cavaliers,