Page images
PDF
EPUB

“My Lord Marshal,” he said, “you have done me more wrong this night than you can easily make satisfaction for. But I am unwilling that any trouble or offence should grow through me. Therefore once more I pledge you."

He raised the cup to his lips. At that instant Hollock, to whom nothing had been said, and who had spoken no word since his happy remark about the horse's father, suddenly indulged in a more practical jest; and seizing the heavy gilt cover of a silver vase, hurled it at the head of Norris. It struck him full on the forehead, cutting him to the bone. The Captain, stunned for a moment, fell back in his chair, with the blood running down his eyes and face. The Count, always a man of few words, but prompt in action, now drew his dagger, and strode forward, with the intention of despatching him upon the spot. Sir Philip Sidney threw his arms around Hollock, however, and, with the assistance of others in the company, succeeded in dragging him from the room. The affair was over in a few seconds.

Norris, coming back to consciousness, sat for a moment as one amazed, rubbing the blood out of his eyes; then rose from the table to seek his adversary ; but he was gone.

Soon afterwards he went to his lodgings. The next morning he was advised to leave the town as speedily as possible ; for as it was under the government of Hollock, and filled with his soldiers, he was warned that his life would not be safe there an hour. Accordingly he went to his boat, accompanied only by his man and his page, and so departed with his broken head, breathing vengeance against Hollock, Pelham, Leicester, and the whole crew, by whom he had been thus abused.

The next evening there was another tremendous carouse at the Count's, and, says the reporter of the preceding scene, “they were all on such good terms, that not one of the company had falling band or ruff left about his neck. All were clean torn away, and yet there was no blood drawn." I

1. Advertisement of a Difference at | E. Norris to Leicester, 21 Nov. 1586. Gertruydenberg,' 8 August, 1586. T. (S. P. Office MSS.) Compare Bor. II. Doyley to Burghley, 8 Aug. 1586. | 786-788. Bruce's "Leyc. Corresp.' B. Clerk to same, 11 Aug. 1586. / 390-392.

1

IL

1586.. HOHENLO'S ASSAULT UPON EDWARD NORRIS. 97

Edward Norris—50 soon as might be afterwards--sent a cartel to the Count, demanding mortal combat with sword and dagger. Sir Philip Sidney bore the message. Sir John Norris, of course, warmly and violently espoused the cause of his brother, and was naturally more incensed against the Lord Marshal than ever, for Sir William Pelham was considered the cause of the whole affray. “Even if the quarrel is to be excused by drink," said an eye-witness, “'tis but a slender defence for my Lord to excuse himself by his cups; and often drink doth bewray men's humours and unmask their malice. Certainly the Count Hollock thought to have done a pleasure to the company in killing him.” 2

Nothing could be more ill-timed than this quarrel, or more vexatious to Leicester. The Count-although considering himself excessively injured at being challenged by a simple captain and an untitled gentleman, whom he had attempted to murder-consented to waive his privilege, and grant the meeting..

Leicester interposed, however, to delay, and, if possible, to patch up the affair. They were on the eve of active military operations, and it was most vexatious for the commander-inchief to see, as he said, “the quarrel with the enemy changed to private revenge among ourselves.” The intended duel did not take place, for various influential personages succeeded in deferring the meeting. Then came the battle of Zutphen. Sidney fell, and Hollock was dangerously wounded in the attack which was soon afterwards made upon the fort. He

I have painted this uproarious scene | ture of English and Dutch military thus minutely and in detail, because life; and because, lastly, in the its consequences upon the relations MSS. which I have consulted, are between England and Holland, be preserved the ipsissima verba of the tween Leicester, the Queen, and the actors in the riot. It is superfluous to Norrises, Pelham, Hohenlo, and others, repeat what has so often been stated, were so long, complicated, and im that no historical personage is ever portant, because the brawl, although made, in the text, to say or write anybrutal and vulgar, assumed the dignity thing, save what, on ample evidence, of a political matter; because, on ac he is known to have said or written. count of the distinguished person ? Bor, ubi sup. Bruce's 'Leyc. ages engaged in it, and the epoch Corresp. 474. at which it occurred, the event fur 1 Advertisement,' &c. MS. already nishes us with a valuable interior pic. cited.

VOL. II.-H

was still pressed to afford the promised satisfaction, however, and agreed to do so whenever he should rise from his bed. 1

Strange to say, the Count considered Leicester, throughout the whole business, to have taken part against him.”

Yet there is no doubt whatever that the Earl—who detested the Norrises, and was fonder of Pelham than of any man living—uniformly narrated the story most unjustly, to the discredit of the young Captain. He considered him extremely troublesome, represented him as always quarrelling with some one—with Colonel Morgan, Roger Williams, old Reade, and all the rest—while the Lord Marshal, on the contrary, was depicted as the mildest of men. "This I must say,” he observed, "that all present, except my two nephews (the Sidneys), who are not here yet, declare the greatest fault to be in Edward Norris, and that he did most arrogantly use the Marshal.” 3

It is plain, however, that the old Marshal, under the influence of wine, was at least quite as much to blame as the young Captain ; and Sir Philip Sidney sufficiently showed his sense of the matter by being the bearer of Edward Norris's cartel. After Sidney's death, Sir John Norris, in his letter of condolence to Walsingham for the death of his illustrious son-in-law, expressed the deeper regret at his loss because Sir Philip's opinion had been that the Norrises were wronged.4 Hollock had conducted himself like a lunatic, but this he was apt to do whether in his cups or not. He was always for killing some one or another on the slightest provocation, and,

· Bor, II. 786–788. Hoofa, Vervolgh, I dishonourable violence offered to my 209.

brother in Count Hollock's house, is · Letter of Hohenlo, in Bor, III. so coldly proceeded in as I fear the 123 seq.

despair of orderly repairing his honour s Bruce's 'Leyc. Corresp.' 391. will drive him to a more dangerous

"In all actions," wrote Sir J. Norris course, and, in truth, it is used as if to Burghley, “I am crossed, and sought we were the basest in the company." to be disgraced, and suffered to be Sir J. Norris to Burghley, 16 Aug. 1586. braved by the worst and simplest in (S. P. Office MS.) the company, only to draw me into * J. Norris to Walsingham, 25 Oct. quarrels. These things I am fain to 1586. (S. P. Office MS.) B. Clerk to endure, lest the hindrance of the ser Burghley, 11 Aug. 1586. (S. P. Office vice should be laid to my charge--a MS.) thing greatly sought for. . . . . The I

1586.

ILL EFFECTS OF THE RIOT.

while the dog-star of 1586 was raging, it was not his fault if he had not already despatched both Edward Norris and the objectionable “Mr. P. B.”

For these energetic demonstrations against Leicester's enemies he considered himself entitled to the Earl's eternal gratitude, and was deeply disgusted at his apparent coldness. The governor was driven almost to despair by these quarrels.

His colonel-general, his lord marshal, his lieutenant-general, were all at daggers drawn. “Would God I were rid of this place !” he exclaimed. “What man living would go to the field and have his officers divided almost into mortal quarrel ? One blow but by any of their lackeys brings us altogether by the ears.”1

It was clear that there was not room enough on the Netherland soil for the Earl of Leicester and the brothers Norris. The Queen, while apparently siding with the Earl, intimated to Sir John that she did not disapprove his conduct, that she should probably recall him to England, and that she should send him back to the Provinces after the Earl had left that country.

Such had been the position of the governor-general towards the Queen, towards the States-General, and towards his own countrymen, during the year 1586.

· Bruce's 'Leyc. Corresp.' 392.

* "I had not much to do," wrote Wilkes to Sir John, “to re-establish in her Majesty and Mr. Secretary a singular good opinion of you and your actions. . . . Believe me, I do not find any man on that side equal with you in her Majesty's grace. She protests to me she will not have your safety hazarded for any treasure, and hath resolved to revoke you. ... I do find a disposition in her Majesty to return you thither again, after his Excellency shall be come home, which her Majesty meaneth directly, although there is much variety of opinion here, whether it be fit to revoke him or not. Such

as desire the good of that Slate do hold that question affirmatively, but such as do not love him (who are the greater number) do maintain the negative. Her Majesty and her council do greatly stagger at the excessive charge of those wars under his Excellency's government for the past six months, affirming (as it is true) that the realm of England is not able to supply the moiety of that charge, notwithstanding the necessity of the defence of those countries is so conjoined with her Majesty's own safety as the same is not to be abandoned." Wilkes to Sir J. Norris, 23 Sept. 1586. (S. P. Office MS.)

CHAPTER XI.

Drake in the Netherlands — Good Results of his Visit -The Babington Con

spiracy - Leicester decides to visit England - Exchange : of parting Compliments.

LATE in the autumn of the same year an Englishman arrived in the Netherlands, bearer of despatches from the Queen. He had been entrusted by her Majesty with a special mission to the States-General, and he had soon an interview with that assembly at the Hague....

He was a small man, apparently forty-five years of age, of a fair but somewhat weather-stained complexion, with lightbrown, closely-curling hair, an expansive forehead, a clear blue eye, rather common-place features, a thin, brown, pointed beard, and a slight moustache. Though low of stature, he was broadchested, with well-knit limbs. His hands, which were small and nervous, were brown and callous with the marks of toil.. There was something in his brow and glance not to be mistaken, and which men willingly call master ; yet he did not seem to have sprung of the born magnates of the earth. He wore a heavy gold chain about his neck, and it might be observed that upon the light full sleeves of his slashed doublet the image of a small ship on a terrestrial globe was curiously and many times embroidered.

It was not the first time that he had visited the Netherlands. Thirty years before the man had been apprentice on board a small lugger, which traded between the English coast and the ports of Zeeland. Emerging in early boyhood from his parental mansion-an old boat, turned bottom upwards on a sandy down-he had naturally taken to the sea, and his master, dying childless not long afterwards, bequeathed to him the lugger. But in time his spirit, too much confined

« PreviousContinue »