Page:Notes and Queries - Series 7 - Volume 9.djvu/111

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time, the Turks sent oat a challenge, with the message "that to delight the ladies, who did long to see some court-like pastime, the Lord Turbashaw did defie any Captaine, that had the command of a Company, who durst combate with him for his head." The challenge was accepted, and the lot which had to decide who was to fight the Turk fell upon Capt. Smith. On the day appointed hostilities were suspended, the ramparts were "beset with faire[1] Dames and men in Armes." The Englishman met his foe, and the Lord Turbashaw's head rolled into the dust. "Grualgo," his vowed friend, thereupon challenged Smith, and fared as the first Turk; whereupon our hero, still with the laudable object of entertaining the ladies, sent a challenge to the Turks, which was accepted by "Bonny Mulgro," who furnished the third head required for the escutcheon of the Smith family. Details of the three single combats are given in the text, and also on the engraved plate published with the 'True Travels,' which, amongst other things, gives also illustrations of the sieges of the towns of "Olumpagh" and "Regall in Transilvania." Like in fairy tales, three tasks are given to our hero, each successive task being more difficult to execute than the preceding one, and in the third the hero is nearly vanquished. The heads were carried in great triumph to Székely, who, on the conclusion of the siege and his return to the prince's camp, presented our hero to his master, who, hearing of the valiant deeds performed by Capt. Smith[2] at Olumpagh, Alba Regalis, and Regall, granted him a yearly pension of 300 ducats, and the right of wearing three Turks' heads in his coat of arms, besides presenting him with his "picture."

The story of the siege is concluded in chap. viii. The twenty-six pieces of ordnance having battered the walls for fifteen days, a breach was effected, the fortress taken by assault, and the garrison put to the sword. Székely, after taking and sacking three more places, returned to the prince's camp with much booty and many prisoners.

In order to be able to test the accuracy of this story we must briefly relate the history of Transylvania at that period. Michael, the Vayvode, was surrounded and slain in his tent by some of Basta's Walloons, under Capt. Jacob de Beauri, on August 19, 1601. Prince Bdthori, having been defeated by Basta at Goroszlo, in the Szilagysa'g, on August 3, 1601, escaped, and sought refuge with his friend Jeremiah, the Vayvode of Moldavia, but, at the urgent call of his magnates, soon returned again to his own country, and recrossed the frontier near Nagy-Szeben in the month of October of the same year, accompanied by an army chiefly composed of Moldavians, Wallachians, Poles, and Cossacks. His lieutenant, Sze"kely M6zes, followed shortly after with more troops, and farther reinforcements arrived from the Turks, one corps having advanced from Wallachia, and another having been sent to the prince's aid by the Pasha of Temesvár. The prince had a short time before the misfortune to get into the black book at Stambul; but, at the earnest solicitations of a special envoy, the Sultan once more granted him full pardon, and orders were issued to all commanders of Turkish troops to help Sigismund against the "Vienna King," i.e., the Emperor Rudolf. As early as October 2, 1601, a kapouchi pasha had arrived with his imperial master's athnamé and the ducal insignia, and the prince was once more installed ruler of Transylvania.

It will not be necessary to enumerate all the sieges and battles which followed. The Transylvanians themselves were divided, and the war raged fiercely for a while between Basta, the emperor's lieutenant, helped by the "German" party, on the one side, and Sigismund and the "National" party, aided by the Turks, on the other, until hostilities ceased, nominally at least, at the conclusion of an armistice between the belligerents at the camp of Besztercze on February 13, 1602, i. e., six days before the date of the death of the Duke of Mercœur at Nürnberg. The truce was further prolonged at its expiration, about St. George's Day. In the mean time the "most gracious" prince "carried on a game," an Hungarian historian remarks, "which cannot be described otherwise than as most contemptible. Openly he sided with his country, kept up correspondence with the Turks, accepted money from them, meddled into Wallachian affairs, aiding the cause of Simon at the Porte against Radul [the friend and ally of Austria], while secretly he negotiated with Basta, and helped the cause of the Imperialists."[3] He was such an accomplished dissembler, and managed to conduct so cleverly his secret negotiations, that even his councillors were kept wholly ignorant of the new turn of events. His party's suspicions were only aroused when one of his lieutenants, Csiky, formerly an Imperialist and follower of Basta, withdrew his troops fiom the camp at Sz&z-Sebes, where the army of the prince lay concentrated. Faithful, honest Székely Mózes and Toldy, another leader, thereupon hurried to Déva

  1. Presumably this applies to their dresses, and not their faces, because Turkish ladies in those days conformed more literally to the rules of the Koran, and wore yashmaks of leas transparent material than their sisters in our days. Thus, we are told in the very same volume of Purchas's 'Pilgrimes' that Turkish women in his days had "their heads and faces so mabbled in fine linnen, that no more is to be scene of them then their eyes " (p. 1298).
  2. Smith, we are told, was promoted to the rank of major before Regall by Meldiitch, but, "with his usual modesty," he does not seem to have ever assumed the title.
  3. Szilágyi's 'History of Transylvania' (in Hungarian), vol. ii. p. 28.