multitude may so influence your husband with prejudice, that, in
a very short time, the greatest of all your miseries shall arise from
his jealousy or unbeseeming carriage towards you.
• If so be, then, that, by being espoused to Fadrick, no such incon.
veniencies can,

in reason, be suspected; what remains, but that, ' in obedience to those pressing arguments of your loving mother, 6 and in relation to your own future contentment, you chearfully

assent to the proposals of the father, without the least reluctancy imaginable?'

Those pithy motives, founded on reason and experience, wrought a sensible and sudden change upon Agnes; insomuch that, in a thundering manner, she decided the whole matter in favour of Fa. drick; which conclusion produced no less sorrow to Placidus, than contentment and joy to Fadrick, Whereupon, dejected Placidus, according to his passion, without any more delay, forsook his na. tive country, having got from his father about a thousand guineas, who left it to his choice, to spend his time in India, Italy, or the Low Countries, being to receive money upon bill, according to the custom and necessity of gentlemen, while abroad.

When he had come to Naples in Italy, his genius inclined him to play the soldier, as being an employment, by which honour and lasting renown is more attainable. After a few months there, he enjoined his trustee to certify Fadrick and all relations of Placidus's death, that intercourse of letters might be stopped; which he judged the fittest course and method, to free him from pensive melancholy; but all this could not eradicate a passion so deeply rooted.

Fadrick, by successful traffick, attained quickly to vast posses, sions, which, with a virtuous wife, might be supposed a pleasant condition. Yet, notwithstanding all this, the want of children was matter of great grief to him. Wherefore, that his memory might not die with himself, he resolves, without delay, to distribute his riches among his nephews, Charles and Bernard, who are brought to him, for that purpose. Their uncle and his lady entertain the boys, with all the expressions of joy and kindness possible. In a very short time, their good behaviour and affability did procure unto them a great many friends and acquaintances in Seville, where they pass under the notion of Fadrick's sons. The old man's love to his nephews rose to so much the greater height, in that he perceived himself de. caying more sensibly than could be expected by the course of nature, not being as yet sixty years, whereas Agnes appeared more brisk than ever.

Thus Charles and Bernard, discovering that their uncle had, in a manner, centered the comfort and tranquillity of his decrepid old age on them, waxed insolent and disrespectful towards Agnes, whose prudence taught her to obviate the very beginning of this evil, by representing such enormities to her indulgent husband, The old man, complying with his wife, appointed a lodging elsewhere for his nephews, with all things necessary, and suitable to their condition; which course no ways abated the insolence of the young men, but


rather increased the same; insomuch that they branded Agnes with incontinency, and many other vicious qualities.

At this time Placidus, having travelled all Italy over, came to 'Bononia, where his life was in jeopardy : for, happening to be late out of his lodging, the second or third night after he came to town, he wandered in the streets, by reason of darkness, and his unac quaintedness with the several corners of the city. At length he espied in a place, somewhat remote, a glimmering light, whither when he had approached, three cut-throats are found assaulting one gentle. man with all possible fury. The compassionate Placidus, thinking that a fit season for charity and fortitude, became the oppressed gentleman's assistant, by which means two of the rogues were griev. ously wounded, the third being smote with the edge of the sword.

Having thus rescued the Italian from imminent death, not with, out some danger, for he sustained the prejudice of two or three wounds, he calls his servant to bring his horse. James Viteli, in whose behalf he had seasonably appeared, answered, saying, “Sir,

your ineffable kindness and courage call for my attendance as á servant, who am ready and willing to wait upon all opportunities,

whereby I may express my gratitude. I know diligent search will • be made for us by and by; therefore, seeing I take you to be a

stranger unacquainted with this city, I intreat you may be pleased ' to accept of my company, and, by the grace of God, we shall

escape the rage and fury of our adversaries; and I promise to

dress and cure your wounds in a very short time.' Placidus con. cluded it highly reasonable to lay hold on such a good motion: where. fore James Viteli conducted him from one street to another, until at last he came to an house, where, it is probable, he had been known; upon which consideration, he knocks hard at the door, until such time as a comely youth had given him access; forthwith, according to his duty and promise, he dressed the wounds of Placidus, which were not deep nor deadly ; enjoining withal, that the student should go in all haste to such a street by name, and return with an exact account of all emergents. Whither when the young man had come, he sees all things in a hurly-burly, one man being dead, on whom a great number of citizens are gazing; and orders given to apprehend such as could be suspected any way accessary to such an assassina, tion. Where also he heard a certain person imprisoned, confessing that he was the servant of one Placidus, a Spaniard, who had killed the man. When the youth returned, he gave an impartial account of all occurrences observed by him. The gentlemen, perceiving what might be the result of such a commotion, slipped away quietly in regard that they concluded it most dangerous to stay so near the place of justice, where a strict search was to be made.

Having thus escaped hazard, Placidus is curious to know the original of his companion's misfortune, in being assaulted by three men in such a place. To whom Viteli answered thus:

My dearest Placidus, I determined to disclose this secret to no man living; yet, considering you to be my greatest friend upon earth,


ing all the important affairs which induced you to see Bononia, has continued my companion in affliction, though a stranger; I say, upon these, and many other weighty considerations, which my shal. low brain cannot comprehend, nor my stammering tongue express, I will, with the greatest candor and ingenuity imaginable, discover this matter to you.

I was born at Rome, the queen and mistress of the world, where, when I was very young, my honourable parents gave up the ghost. After that I had sucked in the first and common principles of learn. ing, my good friends and relations sent me to the famous university of Bononia, where I made no despicable proficiency in philosophy, and all the languages professed there, which are the Spanish, German, French, Hebrew, and Greek: all which could not satiate my thirst. ing desires after knowledge, until the study of physick became my work and business. But a lady of singular endowments and quality, being pleased to honour me with the strongest testimonies of sincere affection, diverted my thoughts from prosecuting the most pleasant of all studies. How secret soever this matter was kept, the lady's brother understood it; which prompted him, with two other con, spirators, to lie in wait for my life; and undoubtedly I had become a prey to their fury, if (by the divine providence) one of the three had not signified to me the method of this most horrid plot.

Then I determined to travel through Spain and other countries; but, being driven from Genoa by a most violent tempest, I was enslaved to the Turks, who first brought me to Algiers, and then to Con. stantinople, where I was sold very often under the notion of a slave. At length I am presented to one of Mahomet's physicians, who, finding me pretty expert in the principles of medicine, was pleased to encourage me with his fellowship and instruction, to my great advantage, I must confess, in some respects; whose gentleness was such, that he would not thwart my inclinations of returning to Italy, but rather encouraged me by the gift of two thousand guineas.

After a tedious and dangerous voyage, I came to Venice, where, being unknown, the people looked upon many of my operations and experiments as miracles, rather than the product of natural knowledge; for which cause, the magistrates encouraged me with promises of a very considerable salary. But all this could not in. duce me to stay, seeing my thoughts and desires were much concerned with returning to Bononia, where I had enjoyed so many pleasant days. I could not imagine that it was possible for any in that place to know me after the absence of six compleat years; which time also might quench the ardour of Camilla's passion (ah! her name cannot be concealed, nor my love towards her suppressed.) Upon those considerations I came to Bononia, where I was entertained with great courtesy by all persons of knowledge, to whom I discovered my various misfortunes and difficulties; by which means the noise of my being in town came to the hearing of Camilla ; who incontinently saluted me by a most pathetical letter, as you may easily imagine. Thus our love was renewed; and so much the more, because she came, the ensuing day, disguised, to my chamber, where


we entertained a most comfortable dialogue, founded on the solid hopes of obtaining our longed for desires. I seemed to decline and reject the profession of medicine in the university of Bononia, merely, that Camilla's brother, and his associates, might not in the least suspect me, whom they hated with an inveterate hatred, which time, nor dignity, could not eradicate. Nevertheless, by debating, I obtained the honour of that place. Then engines of cruelty are set on work to dispatch me some way or another; and, I must con. fess, the rogues had accomplished their corrupt design, if, by the divine providence, your seasonable charity and magnanimity had not rescued my life from their malice. In testimony, therefore, of my gratitude, I protest to remain your most faithful friend and servant, while I breathe, declaring, to that end, a willingness of accompanying you to Spain, or any where else.

Placidus was very much taken with the grateful acknowledgments, and protestations of lasting kindness, so pitifully expressed by Vi. teli: yet, being unwilling to divulge or disclose the hidden sorrow which burdened his spirit, he answered the other in a most courtly and complimenting strain : Sir, you may confidently assure yourself of my unalterable good-will, wherever you be, or however stated. The pregnant Viteli, by a groan attending those words, perceived Placidus to be a little discomposed; wherefore he resolved to know the cause of so great grief at a more seasonable occasion. In the mean while, they entered into a strict league of amity, having all things common; in which real kindness consists, if we hear the philosopher. A few days after, they came to Genoa; where, as all along their peregrination, their thoughts were alleviated, by giving an impartial and free account to one another, of their divers mis. fortunes; and so much the more, in regard that Viteli, by his superlative knowledge, and jocose brisk disposition, was a physician no less capable to remove the sorrows of the mind, than the distem, pers of the body. Yet Placidus, in some measure, continues dumpish and pensive; so that Viteli intended to expiscate and extort from him the original and cause of so lasting a grief, and did carry all things on, in order to his conclusion, so wittily, that Placidus is allured to discover the perplexity of his mind, after this manner: Your probity and gentleness extract from me a secret, which I never purposed to disclose. After which he makes mention of Fadrick's compact with him (while both of them had a longing desire to enjoy the virtuous and beautiful Agnes) who, by the instigation and per. suasion of her covetous mother, rejected him, embracing Fadrick. In a word, he did not omit the least punctilio, which could satisfy the curiosity of Viteli; who, replying, answered thus :

My dear Placidus, be of good chear, for there is no malady so great, which admits not of a remedy applied wlth so much the better success, that the patient can discover his distemper distinctly, as you have done; and therefore I constantly promise (being taught by ex. perience what such a case meaneth) to remove your trouble and grief, by an experiment at first, it is probable, strange in your


is, that you condescend yet once more to walk with me in the streets of Seville,

Having thus embarqued at Genoa, they arrived at Barcelona; from whence they sailed by Tarragona, Valencia, Alicant, Carthagena, and the borders of Granada, until they came to Malaga, and at length to Cadiz, the haven of St. Mary and St. Luke, and sailed thence along the River Betis to Seville; where, being in stranger's apparel, they search for a convenient lodging; in which Placidus abode, while the intelligent Viteli went abroad, informing himself, the best way he could, about the state of affairs in Fadrick's house; which he understood exactly, and returned to Placidus, signifying how indulgent dying Fadrick was towards his insolent nephews, Charles and Bernard; as also, that Agnes looked as brisk as ever, In a word, he answered the most particular questions so fully, that Placidus's grief was, in a great measure, asswaged.

learned Viteli gave such proof of his knowledge in physick, by sundry wonderful experiments, that, in an instant, his name spread abroad. Agnes, therefore, hearing of such an expert physi, cian, thought it her near concernment and duty to consult with him concerning the nature of Fadrick's disease, which was concluded mortal by all other physicians in Seville. Viteli, having visited the old man, discerned nature shrinking, and death approaching: Never. theless, to encourage the lady, he confidently affirmed, in the pre. sence of many learned and judicious men, that his disease was not mortal; which assertion he confirmed with reasons and arguments founded upon the most solid and genuine philosophy, so that no place was left for cavils, all physicians, there present, being per, suaded of the truth of his discourse. Which comforted Agnes so much, that, with great intimacy, in private conferences, she searched into Viteli's sentiments in this affair. The expert physician failed not, at such a time, to make mention of Placidus, whose valiant ex, ploits he praised with such eloquence and admiration, that the lady's pristine love revived, and prompted her to enquire very concernedly where he lived, and whether there was any truth in the noise of his death. The smart Viteli, by such questions, perceiving much af. fection to center in the lady's breast towards Placidus, answered her thus:

Madam, I am obliged to declare the truth, and cannot sufficiently declare what is true concerning his lasting renown abroad; nor how constant and christian his love has been to you; otherwise, the ex. cessive grief of his spirit had undoubtedly rendered him desperate, and accessary to his own death. The rumour of his death implied, that his love might be termed dead, because, without the hope of enjoying its object.

God knows, said Agnes, how much I desired to be married to him; but fortune has so ordered, that I should be the wife of Fadrick, though much against my inclinations, Yea, I must add, seeing this subject is pleasant, that the love of Placidus is of great force with me to this hour. It is true, I am obliged every way to bear a suit, able respect to Fadrick, who has continued all along a kind husband,

« ElőzőTovább »