Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/92

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462 WILLIAM LITHGOW.


effected by the assistance of a domestic of the earl of Tyrone, who was then re- siding at Rome. This man, whose name was Megget, concealed him for three days and nights on the roof of the earl's palace, and, on the fourth night, con- veyed him secretly out of the city, by aiding him to scale the walls, as the gates and streets were all carefully guarded by persons appointed by the inquisition to apprehend him.

From Rome Lithgow proceeded to Naples, and from thence to Loretto. On his way to the latter place, he overtook a carriage, in which were two young gentlemen from Rome with their mistresses, all proceeding joyously on a pil- grimage to the shrine of the Madonna. This lively group insisted upon the lonely pedestrian's stepping into their carriage, but, adhering to the rule he had laid down of never availing himself of any such conveyance, he obstinately refused. Finding that they could not prevail upon him to take a seat beside them, the good-natured pilgrims descended from their carriage, and insisted on keeping him company on foot, and, thus associated, the whole party jogged merrily on for Loretto. Here he fell in with another of his countrymen, of the name of Arthur, with whom he had been formerly acquainted, and who seems to have been imbued with some portion of his own restless and rambling disposition. Having spent some time in Loretto, they proceeded together to Ancona, and thence by sea to Venice. Here his companion left him to cross the Alps, while his own " purpose reached for Greece and Asia." Arthur, it appears, had been a domestic servant of the earl of Glencairn. The circumstance, there I ore, of Lithgow's making him a companion, would seem to be an addi- tional proof that he did not assume, or pretend to, the character of a gentleman traveller.

Lithgow now proceeded to visit the various islands in the Mediterranean, and thereafter wandered through Greece and Asia, encountering innumerable dan- gers and difficulties ; now shipwrecked, now attacked by banditti, now plun- dered and maltreated, and, with all this, frequently exposed for days and nights together to the inclemency of the weather ; his religion excluding him, in several places, not only from the hospitality of the natives, but even from the shelter of their houses. During his peregrinations through Greece, he met with two gen- tlemen from Venice, who entertained him kindly for ten days, and, on his de- parture made him a present of fifty zechins in gold ; the first gift, he says, he received in all his travels, and, it may be added, that this is also the first allusion he makes to any pecuniary matters relating to himself. He now pro- ceeds to declare, that if some such instances of good fortune had not befallen him he should never have been able to accomplish his " sumptuous peregrina- tion."

Not contented with the adventures in which he was unavoidably, on his part, involved, there were others which he sought. Like another Don Quixote, he released captives, or at least assisted them to effect their escape, and came to the aid of distressed damsels. Altogether, he appears to have been a singularly benevolent and kind-hearted man ; ready at all times to peril his life for the injured or oppressed, whenever he thought such a risk could be of service to them.

From Greece Lithgow proceeded over-land to Egypt, and finally reached Grand Cairo. During his journey thither, he had the good fortune to fall in with three Dutchmen at Jerusalem, who were journeying with a caravan in the same direction. These he joined, and kept by them until they reached the Egyptian capital. Here his three companions speedily killed themselves by drinking " strong Cyprus wine without mixture of water." Each as they died left the survivors all his property, and the last bequeathed the whole accumu-