Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/135

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89
MANLY PEEKE

triumph, but so to wound me being in the hands of others, they held it base."

He was now closely questioned as to the fleet, the number of guns in the vessels, the fortifications of Plymouth, the garrison and the ordnance there, and was greatly surprised to find how accurately the Council was informed on every point.

"By the common people who encompast me round, many jeerings, mockeries, scorns and bitter jests were to my face thrown upon our Nation. At the length one of the Spaniards called Englishmen gallinas (hens); at which the great lords fell a laughing. Hereupon one of the Dukes, poynting to the Spanish soldiers, bid me note how their King kept them. And indeed, they were all wondrous brave in apparell, hattes, bandes, cuffes, garters, etc., and some of them in chaines of gold. And asked further if I thought these would prove such hennes as our English, when next year they should come into England? I sayd no. But being somewhat emboldened by his merry countenance, I told him as merrily, I thought they would be within one degree of hennes, and would prove pullets or chickens. Darst thou then (quoth Duke Medina, with a brow half angry) fight with one of these Spanish pullets?

"O my Lord, said I, I am a prisoner, and my life is at stake, and therefore dare not be so bold to adventure upon any such action; yet with the license of this princely Assembly, I dare hazard the breaking of a rapier; and withall told him, he was unworthy the name of an Englishman that should refuse to fight with one man of any nation whatsoever. Hereupon my shackells were knocked off, and my iron ring and chayne taken from my neck.

"Roome was made for the combatants, rapier and