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them, and have alarmed the inhabitants of Amabdi to pursue us, and revenge the death of their friends. We replied, therefore, they were coming, and were employed in bringing out the mummies we had found, which was the cause of their delay. We lost no time in mounting our asses, re-crossed the Desert, and passed hastily by the village, to regain the ferry at Manfalout."
"It is a very hideous story," said the Bachelor; "but these sorts of horror are not quite so much to my taste as adventures of more varied address,-such, for example, as those of the two Sherleys, in Orme's Historical Fragments."
"The means by which the two extraordinary adventurers of that name obtained such important employment from the ablest and fiercest sovereign of the East, would not have borne much respect in our times, which permit no enthusiasms to cover or consecrate the latent views of luxurious ambition. Anthony Shirley, the elder brother of Robert, was a dependant on the Earl of Essex, who sent him, in 1598, with some soldiers to fight for the Duke of Ferrara against the Pope; but, by the time they arrived in Italy, the quarrel was reconciled. Essex, nevertheless, unwilling that his knight should return to England with the derision of having done nothing, not only consented to his proposal of proceeding to Persia with offer of service to Shah Abbas, whose fame had spread with much renown throughout Europe, but also furnished him with money and bill for the journey. Shirley embarked from Venice in May 1599, with twenty-five followers, some of education, al of resolution, and amongst them his brother Robert, a that time a youth. After various escapes by sea an land, they arrived at Aleppo, where, getting money fo their bills, they proceeded in the company of a larg
caravan to Bagdad, Shirley professing himself a merchant, who expected goods by the next; but this pretence, and the number of his retinue, excited suspicions, and all he brought was seized at the custom-house; which reduced them to live on the piece-meal sale of the clothes they wore: his anxiety in this situation was observed by a Florentine, named Victorio Spiciera, who was proceeding to Ormus in order to embark for China, and had frequently conversed with Shirley during the journey from Aleppo. He tried, by repeated questions, to discover his real condition and purpose; but failing, made up his own conjectures, that Shirley intended some signal mischief, either against the Turkish empire, or the sovereignty of the Portuguese in India, of which the one was as detestable to his piety, as the other to his traffic: from these motives, mixed perhaps with admiration of a character, which knew to personate romantic dignity, the Florentine determined not only to extricate him from the dangers of his present situation, but enable him to prosecute his views, whatsoever they might be. The emergency pressed; for the second caravan from Aleppo was come within ten days of Bagdad; and Spiciera knew, that when the goods which Shirley had pretended to expect should not appear, he and all his followers would be doomed to imprisonment, if not worse. Fortunately, a caravan returning from Mecca to Persia arrived at this time, and encamped under the walls. Spiciera hired amongst them camels, horses, with all other necessaries of travel; and, when the caravan was ready to depart, revealed to Shirley the dangers which awaited him, and the measures he had taken for his preservation and success; confirming these assurances by the delivery of a great sum in gold, and many rarities of great value; so much in the whole amount, that Shirley declines to mention it, because he says it would not be believed. The Florentine left it to his honour to
repay him when he could; and, for five days after the departure of the caravan, diverted suspicions of his escape by living in Shirley's house, to whom he pretended to have lent his own, that he might recover in more quiet from a fit of illness; he even requested the governor for his physician, knowing he had none; but was afterwards fined severely for these generous collusions.
"Fifty Janissaries were sent in pursuit of Shirley, but missed the caravan; which employed fifty days on the march to Casbin; where the aids of Spiciera enabled Shirley to equip himself and followers in sumptuous array, to live splendidly, and to make presents; which procured commendations to Shah Abbas, who arrived at Casbin a month after, and was saluted by Shirley and his company at his entrance into the city, when the king distinguished him with the most honourable notice. The next day Shirley sent the king a present of jewels and Italian rarities, which were not only curious, but costly beyond the expectation of homage; and the more he professed that he had come to offer his service on his own account, and at his own expense, the more the king inclined to believe, that the denial was intended, by concealing, to heighten the elegant compliment of his monarch; and at all events, could not resist the complacence of regarding the resort of this band of strangers as a signal proof of the great extent of his own fame, which Shirley took care on all occasions to inculcate.
"It was the way of Shah Abbas, to discern those he employed by familiarities. Shirley was solemn in behaviour, pompous in elocution, quick in apprehension, and guarded in argument; and having served both at land and sea, was capable of suggesting the military ideas of Europe; which could not fail to attract the attention of a monarch whose ruling passion was the fame
of war: he even visited Shirley in his house, to examine a book of fortifications; and having, during a daily converse of six weeks, treated him more with the respect of a guest than the distance of a solicitor, on the very day before his departure to Cassan, declared him a Mirza, or lord in his service, and referred him to the treasurer ; who, as soon as the king was gone, sent to Shirley a present, which consisted of money to the amount of sixteen thousand ducats; forty horses, all accoutred; two, intended for his brother and himself, with saddles plated with gold, and set with rubies and torquoises; the others, with silver and embroidered velvet; twelve camels laden with tents, and all furniture, not only for the field, but for his house in Casbin, which likewise was bestowed on him: he was ordered to follow the king to Cassan, from whence he accompanied him to Ispahan, and was treated by him with the same deference as before he had accepted his service.
"Daily and artful suggestions prepared the way to the advice which Shirley had long premeditated, that the king should renew the war against the Turks, and depute an ambassador to excite the princes of Christendom to co-operate by land and sea from the west, whilst Persia invaded the Turkish territories on the east: this commission Shirley designed for himself, but avoided the mention. Nevertheless this intention was penetrated by the vizir, and several other of the principal noblemen, who said that the proposal was the artful scheme of a needy adventurer, seeking the sumptuous enjoyment of exalted fortune at the risk of an empire: but the king inclined to the war, which he regarded as inevitable; and reasoned, that if the mission of Shirley should be ineffectual, the detriment would be no more than the loss of the expense, which he foresaw would, even in this event, increase the reputation of his magnificence, without diminishing the solid estimation of his abilities.
"The next morning the king went to Shirley's house, and entered fully into the discussion of the war and embassy to Europe, affecting to expect little hope from it, but to comply merely as a testimony of his extreme regard to Shirley, from whom he had received such undoubted proof of his own, by the fatigue and expense of his journey to Persia, and the risks to which he now offered to expose himself for his service. Shirley, in a very long discourse, explained all the probabilities of his plan that the emperor of Germany was already at war with the Turks; that the Pope would excite all the other catholic princes; that the king of Spain was at continual enmity with the government of Algiers, which was subservient to the Turkish empire; that the invitations of the king would attract merchants and Christians of all other arts, trades, and occupations, who would not only increase the commerce of his country, but introduce new methods and inventions of great utility, especially to the improvement of his warfare; and that the liberal schism of religion, which the king wished to promote as a descendant of Sesi, between his own subjects and the Turks, would be encouraged by the intercourse of Christians, whom they would be accustomed to see drinking wine, and exercising other tolerances, which the Turks held in detestation.
"The king still cautiously avoided any expressions which might indicate much expectation, or any solicitude of assistance from the Christian princes; in which he properly maintained his own dignity, by not trusting to the report of a stranger such a confession of the hopes or wishes he might entertain; but appeared much content with the probability of drawing European merchants to his country; for the increase of its trade had long been a principal attention of his government. On this ground he consented to the embassy, and required Shirley to undertake it; who, after many apologies of his