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continent suspected something. · By my faith, sir,' said he, “since he returned out of Navarre, he beareth privily at his breast a purse
full of powder; I wot not what it is, nor what he will do therewith, but he hath said to me once or twice, that my lady, his mother, should shortly be again in your grace, and better beloved than ever she was.' • Peace!' quoth the count, and speak no more, and show this to no man living.' 'Sir,' said he, ‘no more I shall.' Then the count entered into imagination, and so came to the hour of his dinner; and he washed, and sat down at his table in the hall. Gaston, his son, was used to set down all his service, and to make the essays*. And when he had set down the first course, the count cast his eyes on him, and saw the strings of the purse hanging at his bosom. Then his blood changed, and he said, "Gaston, come hither, I would speak with thee, in thine ear.' And the child came to him, and the count took him by the bosom, and found out the purse, and with his knife cut it from his bosom. The child was abashed, and stood still, and spake no word, and looked as pale as ashes for fear, and began to tremble. The Count of Foix opened the purse, and took of the powder, and laid it on a trencher of bread, and called to him a dog, and gave it him to eat; and as soon as the dog had eaten the first morsel, he turned his eyes in his head, and died incontinent. And when the count saw that, he was sore displeased, and also he had good cause, and so rose from the table, and took his knife, and would have stricken his son. Then the knights and squires ran between them, and said, “Sir, for God's sake have
mercy, and be not so hasty ; be well informed first of the matter,
evil to your child.' And the first word that the count said, was, “Ah! Gaston ! traitor! for to increase thine heritage that should come to thee, I have had war and hatred of the French King, of the King of England, of the King of Spain, of the King of Navarre, and of the King of Arragon, and as yet I have borne all their malice, and now thou wouldst murder me; it moveth of an evil nature ; but first thou shalt die with this stroke.' And so he stepped forth with his knife, and would have slain him; but then all the knights and squires kneeled down before him weeping, and said, “Ah Sir, have mercy for God's sake-slay not Gaston, your son. Remember ye have no more children; Sir, cause him to be kept, and take good informa
* Tasted the dishes, to prevent the poisoning of the prince.
tion of the matter; peradventure he knew not what he bare, and peradventure is nothing guilty of the deed.' Well,' quoth the Count, 'incontinent put him in prison, and let him be so kept that I may have a reckoning of him.' Then the child was put into the tower.
“And the count took a great many of them that served his son, and some of them departed; and as yet the Bishop of Lescar is out of the country, for he was had in suspect, and so were divers others. The count caused to be put to death a fifteen right horribly; and the cause that the count laid to them was, he said, it could be none otherwise but that they knew of the child's secrets, wherefore they ought to have shewed it to him, and to have said, Sir, Gaston, your son, beareth a purse at his bosom.'
Because they did not thus, they died horribly ; whereof it was great pity, for some of them were as fresh and jolly squires as were any in all the country. For ever the count was served with good men.
“ This thing touched the count near to the heart, and that he well shewed : for, on a day, he assembled at Orthes all the nobles and prelates of Foix and of Bierne, and all the notable persons
of his country; and when they were all assembled, he shewed them wherefore he sent for them, as how he had found his son in this default, for the which he said his intent was to put him to death, as he had well deserved. Then all the people answered to that case with one voice, and said, 'Sir, saving your grace, we will not that Gaston should die ; he is
ye have no more.' And when the Count heard the people, how they desired for his son, he somewhat refrained his ire. Then he thought to chastise him in prison a month or two, and then to send him on some voyage for two or three years, till he might somewhat forget his evil will, and that the child might be of greater age and of more knowledge.
" Then he gave leave to all the people to depart; but they of Foix would not depart from Orthes till the Count should assure them that Gaston should not die ; they loved the child so well. Then the Count promised them, but he said he would keep him in prison a certain time to chastise him; and so upon this promise every man departed, and Gaston abode still in prison.
“ These tidings spread abroad into divers places, and at that time Pope Gregory the Eleventh was at Avignon. Then he sent the Cardinal of Amiens in legation into Bierne, to have come to the Count of Foix
for that business. And by that time he came to Beziers, he heard such tidings that he needed not to go any further for that matter; for there he heard how Gaston, son to the Count of Foix, was dead. Since I have shewed you so much, now I shall shew you how he died.
“The Count of Foix caused his son to be kept in a dark chamber, in the town of Orthes, a ten days; little did he eat or drink, yet he had enough brought him every day, but when he saw it he would
therefrom, and set little thereby. And some said that all the meat that had been brought him stood whole and entire the day of his death, wherefore it was great marvel that he lived so long, for divers reasons. The count caused him to be kept in the chamber alone, without any company, either to counsel or comfort him; and all that season the child lay in his clothes as he came in, and he argued in himself, and was full of melancholy, and cursed the time that ever he was born and engendered, to come to such an end.
“ The same day that he die they that served him of meat and drink, when they came to him, they said, 'Gaston, here is meat for you ;' he made no care thereof, and said, “Set it down there.' He that served him regarded and saw in the prison all the meat stand whole as it had been brought him before, and so departed and closed the chamberdoor, and went to the count and said, “Sir, for God's sake have mercy on your son, Gaston, for he is near famished in prison ; there he lieth. I think he never did eat anything since he came into prison, for I have seen there this day all that ever I brought him before, lying together in a corner.' Of these words the count was sore displeased; and without any word speaking, went out of his chamber, and came to the prison where his son was, and in an evil hour. He had the same time a little knife in his hand to pare withal his nails. He opened the prison door, and came to his son, and had the little knife in his hand, and in great displeasure he thrust his hand to his son's throat, and the point of the knife a little entered into his throat into a certain vein, and said, 'Ah traitor! why dost not thou eat thy meat ?' And therewith the earl departed without any more doing or saying, and went into his own chamber. The child was abashed, and afraid of the coming of his father, and also was feeble of fasting, and the point of the knife a little entered into a vein of his throat, and so he fell down suddenly and died. The count was scarcely in his chamber, but the keeper of the child came to him, and said, “Sir, Gaston, your son, is
dead !' • Dead ?' quoth the count. “Yea, truly, Sir,' answered he. The count would not believe it, but sent thither a squire that was by him, and he went, and came again, and said, • Sir, surely he is dead.' Then the count was sore displeased and made great complaint for his son, and said, “ Ab, Gaston ! what a poor adventure is this for thee, and for me! In an evil hour thou wentest to Navarre to see thy mother; I shall never have the joy that I had before !' Then the count caused his barber to shave him, and clothed himself in black, and all his house, and with much sore weeping the child was borne to the Friars in Orthes, and there buried.
“Thus, as I have shewed you,the Count of Foix slew Gaston, his son; but the King of Navarre gave the occasion of his death."
4.-SCENES FROM THE CITY MADAM.
MASSINGER. [Philip MASSINGER, one of the most illustrious of the successors of Shakspere, was born at Salisbury, in 1584. His father was in the household of the Earl of Pembroke. He was probably sent to college by the earl : but the favour of the great man appears to have been withdrawn from him in his mature years. He became a writer for the stage, and there is distinct evidence that his genius scarcely gave him bread. His dramas, which have been collected by Gifford, in four volumes, are of unequal merit; but of some the dramatic power, the characterization, the poetry, and the exhibition of manners, are of the very highest order. Massinger died in 1640.
În selecting a few scenes from • The City Madam,' we endeavour to connect them with the plot, and with each other, by very slight links.]
SCENE I. Sir John Frugal is a city merchant; his wife and two daughters of extravagant habits and boundless pride. Luke is brother to Sir John Frugal—a dependant on his bounty, having spent all his own substance. Lady Frugal and her daughters are first shown as treating Luke with unmitigated scorn and tyranny:
Lady Frugal. Very good, Sir,
could rise no sooner,
With humble diligence, to do what my daughters
Luke. Drunk, an't please you!
L. Frugal. Drunk, I said, sirrah! dar'st thou, in a look,
Luke. I confess I am
L. Frugal. And good reason why
Anne. Who did new clothe you?
Milliscent, (Lady Frugal's maid).-Allow'd you
L. Frugal. Or from whom
Luke. I owe all this
Lord Lacy is a nobleman who is desirous that his son should marry one of the rich merchant's daughters. His deportment to Luke is a contrast to the vulgar insolence of Lady Frugal and her daughters :
Lord Lacy. Your hand, Master Luke: the world's much changed