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edience in this, if you expect I should believe your
readidess in the other.
Sir, said I, 'twas impossible I should lay out for myself just what
you have proposed; but if my inclinations were
In what capacity would you travel? replied my father;
you need not go far for adventures
In short, my father, perceiving my inclinations very forward to go abroad, gave me leave to travel, upon condition I would promise to return in two years at farthest, or sooner, if he sent for me.
While I was at Oxford I happened into the society of a young gentleman, of a good family, but of a low fortune, being a younger brother, and who had indeed instilled into me the first desires of going abroad, and who I knew passionately longed to travel, but had not sufficient allowance to defray his expenses as a gentleman. We had contracted a very close friendship, and our humours being very agreeable
START ON MY TRAVELS.
to one another, we daily enjoyed the conversation of letters. He was of a generous free temper, without the least affectation or deceit, a handsome proper person, a strong body, very good mien, and brave to the last degree. His name was Fielding, and we called him captain, though it be a very unusual title in a college ; but fate had some hand in the title, for he had certainly the lines of a soldier drawn in his countenance. I imparted to him the resolutions I had taken, and how I had my father's consent to go abroad; and would know his mind, whether he would go with me: he sent me word, he would go with all his heart.
My father, when he saw him, for I sent for him immediately to come to me, mightily approved my choice; so we got our equipage ready, and came away for London.
'Twas on the 22nd of April, 1630, when we embarked at Dover, landed in a few hours at Calais, and immediately took post for Paris. I shall not trouble the reader with a journal of my travels, nor with the description of places, which every geographer can do better than I; but these memoirs being only a relation of what happened either to ourselves, or in our own knowledge, I shall confine myself to that
part of it.
We had indeed some diverting passages in our journey to Paris; as, first, the horse my comrade was upon fell so very lame with a slip, that he could not go, and hardly stand; and the fellow that rid with us express, pretended to ride away to a town five miles off to get a fresh horse, and so left us on the road with one horse between two of us; we followed as well as we could, but being strangers, missed the way, and wandered a great way out of the road. Whether the man performed in reasonable time or not, we could not be sure, but if it had not been for an old priest, we had never found him. We met this man, by a very good accident, near a little village whereof he was curate : we spoke Latin enough just to make him understand us, and he did not speak it much better himself; but he carried us into the village to his house, gave us wine and bread, and entertained us with wonderful courtesy. After this he sent into the village, hired a peasant and a horse for my captain, and sent him to guide us into the road. At parting, he made a great many compliments to us in French, which we could just understand ; but the sum was, to excuse him for a question he had a mind to ask us. After
leave to ask what he pleased, it was, if we wanted any money for our journey, and pulled out two pistoles, which he offered either to give or lend us.
I mention this exceeding courtesy of the curate, because, though civility is very much in use in France, and especially to strangers, yet it is a very unusual thing to have them part with their money.
We let the priest know, first, that we did not want money, and next, that we were very sensible of the obligation he had put upon us ; and I told him in particular, if I lived to see him again, I would acknowledge it.
This accident of our horse was, as we afterwards found, of some use to us. We had left our two servants behind us at Calais to bring our baggage after us, by reason of some dispute between the captain of the packet and the customhouse officer, which could not be adjusted, and we were willing to be at Paris. The fellows followed as fast as they could, and, as near as we could learn, in the time we lost our way were robbed, and our portmanteaus opened. They took what they pleased; but as there was no money there, but linen and necessaries, the loss was not great.
Our guide carried us to Amiens, where we found the express and our two servants, who the express meeting on the road with a spare horse, had brought back with him thither.
We took this for a good omen of our successful journey, having escaped a danger which might have been greater to us than it was to our servants; for the highwaymen in France do not always give a traveller the civility
of bidding him stand and deliver his
money, but frequently fire upon him first, and then take his money.
We stayed one day at Amiens, to adjust this little disorder, and walked about the town, and into the great church, but saw nothing very remarkable there ; but going across a broad street near the great church, we saw a crowd of people gazing at a mountebank doctor, who made a long harangue to them with a thousand antic postures, and gave out bills this way, and boxes of physic that way, and had a great trade, when on a sudden the people raised a cry, Larron, Larron (in English, Thief, Thief), on the other side the street, and all the auditors ran away from Mr. Doctor, to see what the matter was. Among the rest we went to see ; and the case was plain and short enough. Two English gentlemen and a
A FRENCH PICKPOCKET.
Scotchman, travellers as we were, were standing gazing at this prating doctor, and one of them catched a fellow picking his pocket. The fellow had got some of his money, for he dropt two or three pieces just by him, and had got hold of his watch ; but being surprised, let it slip again ; but the reason of telling this story, is for the management of it. This thief had his seconds so ready, that as soon as the Englishman had seized him, they fell in, pretended to be mighty zealous for the stranger, take the fellow by the throat, and make a great bustle; the gentleman not doubting but the man was secured, let go his own hold of him, and left him to them. The hubbub was great, and it was these fellows cried Larron, Larron; but, with a dexterity peculiar to themselves, had let the right fellow go, and pretended to be all upon one of their own gang. At last, they bring the man to the gentleman, to ask him what the fellow had done? who, when he saw the person they seized on, presently told them that was not the
Then they seemed to be in more consternation than before, and spread themselves all over the street, crying Larron, Larron, Larron, pretending to search for the fellow; and so one one way, one another, they were all gone, the noise went over, the gentlemen stood looking at one another, and the bawling doctor began to have the crowd about him again.
This was the first French trick I had the opportunity of seeing; but I was told they have a great many more as dexterous as this.
We soon got acquaintance with these gentlemen, who were going to Paris as well as we; so the next day we made up our company with them, and were a pretty troop of five gentlemen and four servants.
As we had really no design to stay long at Paris, so, indeed, excepting the city itself, there was not much to be seen there. Cardinal Richelieu, who was not only a supreme minister in the church, but prime minister in the state, was now made also general of the king's forces, with a title never known in France before nor since, viz., lieutenant-general au place du Roy, in the king's stead, or as some have since translated it, representing the person of the king.
Under this character he pretended to execute all the royal powers in the army, without appeal to the king, or without waiting for orders; and having parted from Paris the winter before, had now actually begun the war against the duke of
Savoy; in the process of which, he restored the duke of Mantua, and having taken Pignerol from the duke, put it into such a state of defence, as the duke could never force it out of his hands, and reduced the duke, rather by manage and conduct than by force, to make peace without it; so as, annexing it to the crown of France, it has ever since been a thorn in his foot, that has always made the peace of Savoy lame and precarious; and France has since made Pignerol one of the strongest fortresses in the world.
As the cardinal, with all the military part of the court, was in the field; so the king, to be near him, was gone with the queen and all the court, just before I reached Paris, to reside at Lyons. All these considered, there was nothing to do at Paris; the court looked like a citizen's house when the family
gone into the country; and I thought the whole city looked very melancholy, compared to all the fine things I had heard of it.
The queen-mother and her party were chagrined at the cardinal, who, though he owed his grandeur to her immediate favour, was now grown too great any longer to be at the command of her majesty, or indeed in her interests; and therefore the queen was under dissatisfaction, and her party looked very much down.
The protestants were everywhere disconsolate; for the losses they had received at Rochelle, Nismes, and Montpelier, had reduced them to an absolute dependence on the king's will, without all possible hopes of ever recovering themselves, or being so mueh as in a condition to take arms for their religion ; and therefore the wisest of them plainly foresaw their own entire reduction, as it since came to pass; and I remember very well, that a protestant gentleman told me once, as we were passing from Orleans to Lyons, that the English had ruined them; and therefore, says he, I think the next occasion the king takes to use us ill, as I know it will not be long before he does, we must all fly over to England, where you are bound to maintain us for having helped to turn us out of our own country. I asked him what he meant by saying the English had done it?
He returned short upon me; I do not mean, says he, by not relieving Rochelle, but by helping to ruin Rochelle, when you and the Dutch lent ships to beat our fleet, which all the ships in France could not have done without you,