Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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The Sussex Regicides, &c.                183
of Kent, and afterwards, in Surrey, besieged and took Lord Craven's house, fought at Edgehill, and was wounded at Newbury, for which and other services he was thanked by Parliament. He is supposed to have been early knighted by Essex, for, in a despatch from Arundel, Sir William Waller entitles him " Sir William." It was here—at Arundel—that his short career (he was but 22 years of age) was brought to a close. After the capture of the place by Waller, the custody of the Castle was committed to Sir William Springet and to Colonel Morley. Soon afterwards the garrison was attacked by a fatal sickness called calenture, or sun-fever, brought on by exposure to unwholesome night air,* and Col. Springet was one of the sufferers. His wife, then in London, was sent for, and, though far advanced in pregnancy, she immediately set out. The reputation of the Sussex roads in those days, and for many a long year afterwards, was very bad, and it was with great difficulty that Lady Springet succeeded in hiring a coach, at a very high price. She took a physician with her, and her husband's messenger escorted her on horseback. But the frost, which had been so useful in the siege of Arundel, was now broken up, and the poor lady was " forced to row in the highways in a boat, and take the things in the coach with her, and the horses to be led with strings tied to their bridles, and to swim the coach and horses in the high­ways." She was afterwards " benighted and overthrown in the dark into a hedge," close to a very deep precipice. The colonel of a garrison which she passed invited her to stop for repose, but she gallantly says, " I was resolved not to go out of the coach, unless it broke, until I came so near the house that I could compass it on foot. . . . When we came to Arundel we met with a most dismal sight, the town
• In the delirium peculiar to this fever, says Mr. Blaauw, "surrounding objects assumed the aspect of verdant meadows to the eyes of the sufferer, who, when at sea, would madly throw himself into it, as if seeking the refreshment of a cool walk on land." Dryden and Swift have made fine poetical use of this delusion. Probably Falstaff died of it, for Mrs. Quickly, describing his last symptoms, after lamenting that he was *' so shaked of a burning quotidian tertian," as Springet also was, says: " After I saw him fumble with the sheets and play with flowers, and smile upon his fingers* ends, I knew there was but one way, for his nose was sharp as a pen, and 'a babbled of green fields." Hen. V., Act. 2.
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