Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

cannot but relate one scene which passed between nobody but the devil and myself.

At a certain town in Italy, which shall be nameless, because I won't celebrate the proficiency of one place more than another, when I believe the whole country equally wicked, I was prevailed upon, rather than tempted, a la courtezan.

If I should describe the woman, I must give a very mean character of my own virtue to say I was allured by any but a woman of an extraordinary figure; her face, shape, mien, and dress, I may, without vanity, say, the finest that I ever saw. When I had admittance into her apartments, the riches and magnificence of them astonished me; the cupboard or, cabinet of plate, the jewels, the tapestry, and everything in proportion, made me question whether I was not in the chamber of some lady of the best quality; but when, after some conversation, I found that it was really nothing but a courtezan, in English, a common street whore, a punk of the trade, I was amazed, and my inclination to her person. began to cool. Her conversation exceeded, if possible, the best of quality, and was, I must own, exceeding agreeable ; she sung to her lute, and danced as fine as ever I saw, and thus diverted me two hours before anything else was discoursed of; but when the vicious part came on the stage, I blush to relate the confusion I was in, and when she made a certain motion, by which I understood she might be made use of, either as a lady, or as I was quite thunderstruck, all the vicious part of my thoughts vanished, the place filled me with horror, and I was all over disorder and distraction.

I began however to recollect where I was, and that in this country these were people not to be affronted; and though she easily saw the disorder I was in, she turned it off with admirable dexterity, began to talk again a la gallant, received me as a visitant, offered me sweetmeats and some wine.

Here I began to be in more confusion than before, for I concluded she would neither offer me to eat or to drink now without poison, and I was very shy of tasting her treat; but she scattered this fear immediately, by readily, and of her own accord, not only tasting but eating freely of everything she gave me; whether she perceived my wariness, or the

SINGULAR ADVENTURE.

25

reason of it, I know not, I could not help banishing my suspicion, the obliging carriage and strange charm of her conversation had so much power of me, that I both eat and drank with her at all hazards.

When I offered to go, and at parting presented her five pistoles, I could not prevail with her to take them, when she spoke some Italian proverb which I could not readily understand, but by my guess it seemed to imply, that she would not take the pay, having not obliged me otherwise : at last I laid the pieces on her toilette, and would not receive them again ; upon which she obliged me to pass my word to visit her again, else she would by no means accept my present.

I confess I had a strong inclination to visit her again, and besides thought myself obliged to it in honour to my parole; but after some strife in my thoughts about it, I resolved to break

my word with her, when, going at vespers one evening to see their devotions, I happened to meet this very lady very devoutly going to her prayers.

At her coming out of the church I spoke to her, she paid me her respects with a “Signior Inglese," and some words she said in Spanish smiling, which I did not understand. I cannot say here so clearly as I would be glad I might, that I broke my word with her; but if I saw her any more, I saw nothing of what gave me so much offence before.

The end of my relating this story is answered in describing the manner of their address, without bringing myself to confession ; if I did anything I have some reason to be ashamed of, it may be a less crime to conceal it than expose it.

The particulars related, however, may lead the reader of these sheets to a view of what gave me a particular disgust at this pleasant part of the world, as they pretend to call it, and made me quit the place sooner than travellers use to do that come thither to satisfy their curiosity.

The prodigious stupid bigotry of the people also was irksome to me; I thought there was something in it very sordid. The entire empire the priests have over both the souls and bodies of the people, gave me a specimen of that meanness of spirit, which is nowhere else to be seen but in Italy, especially in the city of Rome.

At Venice I perceived it quite different, the civil authority having a visible superiority over the ecclesiastic; and the church being more subject there to the state than in any other part of Italy.

For these reasons I took no pleasure in filling my memoirs of Italy with remarks of places or things; all the antiquities and valuable remains of the Roman nation are done better than I can pretend to, by such people who made it more their business; as for me, I went to see, and not to write, and as little thought then of these memoirs, as I ill furnished myself to write them.

CHAPTER III.

ARRIVE AT VIENNA-ACCOUNT OF THE WAR IN GERMANY

OF THE FAMOUS CONCLUSIONS OF LEIPSICSJOURNEY FROM VIENNA TO PRAGUE-DREADFUL STORM OF MAGDEBURGH, AND CRUELTIES OF THE IMPERIAL SOLDIERSI LEAVE THE EMPEROR'S SERVICE IN DISGUST, AND ARRIVE AT LEIPSIC-ACCOUNT OF AFFAIRS THERE.

I left Italy in April, and taking the tour of Bavaria, though very much out of the way, I passed through Munich, Passau, Lintz, and at last to Vienna.

I came to Vienna the 10th of April, 1631, intending to have gone from thence down the Danube into Hungary, and by means of a pass which I obtained from the English ambassador at Constantinople, I designed to have seen all the great towns on the Danube, which were then in the hands of the Turks, and which I had read much of in the history of the war between the Turks and the Germans; but I was diverted from my design by the following occasion.

There had been a long bloody war in the empire of Germany for twelve years, between the emperor, the Duke of Bavaria, the King of Spain, and the popish princes and electors on the one side, and the protestant princes on the other; and both sides having been exhausted by the war, and even the catholics themselves beginning to dislike the growing power of the house of Austria, 'twas thought all the parties were willing to make peace.

Nay, things were brought to that pass that some of the popish princes and electors began to talk of making alliances with the King of Sweden.

[blocks in formation]

Here it is necessary to observe, that the two Dukes of Mecklenburgh having been dispossessed of most of their dominions by the tyranny of the Emperor Ferdinand, and being in danger of losing the rest, earnestly solicited the King of Sweden to come to their assistance; and that prince, as he was related to the house of Mecklenburgh, and especially as he was willing to lay hold of any opportunity to break with the emperor, against whom he had laid up an implacable prejudice, was very ready and forward to come to their assistance.

The reasons of his quarrel with the emperor were grounded upon the imperialists concerning themselves in the war of Poland, where the emperor had sent eight thousand foot and two thousand horse to join the Polish army against the king, and had thereby given some check to his arms in that

war.

In pursuance therefore of his resolution to quarrel with the emperor, but more particularly at the instances of the princes above named, his Swedish majesty had landed the year before at Straelsund with about twelve thousand men, and having joined with some forces which he had left in Polish Prussia, all which did not make thirty thousand men, he began a war with the emperor, the greatest in event, filled with the most famous battles, sieges, and extraordinary actions, including its wonderful success and happy conclusion, of any war ever maintained in the world.

The King of Sweden had already taken Stetin, Straelsund, Rostock, Wismar, and all the strong places on the Baltic, and began to spread himself in Germany; he had made a league with the French, as I observed in my story of Saxony; he had now made a treaty with the Duke of Brandenburgh, and, in short, began to be terrible to the empire.

In this conjecture the empire called the general diet of the empire to be held at Ratisbon, where, as was pretended, all sides were to treat of peace, and to join forces to beat the Swedes out of the empire. Here the emperor, by a most exquisite management, brought the affairs of the diet to a conclusion, exceedingly to his own advantage, and to the farther oppression of the protestants; and in particular, in that the war against the King of Sweden was to be carried on in such a manner that the whole burthen and

charge would lie on the protestants themselves, and they be made the instruments to oppose their best friends. Other matters also ended equally to their disadvantage, as the methods resolved on to recover the church lands, and to prevent the education of the protestant clergy; and what remained was referred to another general diet to be held at Frankfort-au-main, in August, 1631.

I won't pretend to say the other protestant princes of Germany had never made any overtures to the King of Sweden to come to their assistance, but it is plain that they had entered into no league with him; that appears from the difficulties which retarded the fixing of the treaties afterwards, both with the Dukes of Brandenburgh and Saxony, which unhappily occasioned the ruin of Magdeburgh.

But it is plain the Swede was resolved on a war with the emperor; his Swedish majesty might, and indeed could not but foresee, that if he once showed himself with a sufficient force on the frontiers of the empire, all the protestant princes would be obliged by their interest or by his arms to fall in with him, and this the consequence made appear to be a just conclusion; for the electors of Brandenburgh and Saxony were both forced to join with him.

First, they were willing to join with him, at least they could not find in their hearts to join with the emperor, of whose powers they had such just apprehensions; they wished the Swedes success, and would have been very glad to have had the work done at another man's charge; but like true Germans they were more willing to be saved than to save themselves, and therefore hung back and stood upon terms.

Secondly, they were at last forced to it; the first was forced to join by the King of Sweden himself, who being come so far was not to be dallied with; and had not the Duke of Brandenburgh complied as he did, he had been ruined by the Swede; the Saxon was driven into the arms of the Swede by force, for Count Tilly, ravaging his country, made him comply with any terms to be saved from destruction.

Thus matters stood at the end of the diet at Ratisbon ; the King of Sweden began to see himself leagued against at the diet both by protestant and papist ; and, as I have often heard his majesty say since, he had resolved to try to force

« ElőzőTovább »