The Golden Grasshopper

W.H.G. Kingston
The Golden Grasshopper, by
W.H.G. Kingston

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Golden Grasshopper, by W.H.G.
Kingston This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and
with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away
or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at
Title: The Golden Grasshopper A Story of the Days of Sir Thomas
Author: W.H.G. Kingston
Release Date: October 17, 2007 [EBook #23066]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

The Golden Grasshopper; a story of the days of Sir Thomas Gresham,
by W.H.G. Kingston.

In the year of Grace 1551, Antwerp was not only the chief city of the
Netherlands, but the commercial capital of the world. Its public
buildings were also celebrated for the elaborate carving of their
exteriors, for their richly-furnished interiors, and for their general
architectural beauty.
In one of the principal streets of that city there stood a handsome house,
the property of that wealthy and highly-esteemed merchant--Jasper
Schetz. In a private room, the walls richly adorned with carving and
tapestry, sat at a dark oak writing table a gentleman in a black velvet
suit, having a black cap of the same material on his head. On a
high-backed chair near him hung his cloak and rapier, while at his side
he had a short dagger, with a jewelled hilt, ready for use. He was still
young, but his features were grave, and his brow full of thought. His
figure was tall and slight, though perhaps somewhat too stiff to be
graceful. He was evidently a person of note, one more accustomed to
guide men by his counsels, perhaps, than to command them in the
field-- rather a financier or diplomatist than a military commander.
Another person was in the room, standing at a high desk at a little
distance. He was a somewhat older man than the former, shorter in
figure, and more strongly built. His countenance also exhibited a
considerable amount of intelligence, as well as firmness and decision of
"Write to their lordships, Master Clough, that I have secured a loan
from Lazarus Tucker of 10,000 pounds for six months, with interest at
the rate of 14 per cent, per annum. Acknowledge that the rate is
somewhat high, but the loan could not be procured for less. Say I have
paid over to our good friends Schetz Brothers the sum of 1,000 pounds,
according to the command of the King, as an acknowledgment to them
for the last loan which they obtained for his Majesty."
The gentleman first described continued dictating to the latter, his
secretary, for some time, much in the same style. He then branched off
into other subjects, and gave a sketch of the political events which had
lately occurred in the Netherlands, then ruled by the Emperor Charles

the Fifth of Germany and King of Spain, his sister Queen Mary of
Hungary acting as Regent for him. He continued: "Protestant principles
have made great progress, even though the fatal Inquisition flourishes
in the country more actively than heretofore. The Emperor has just
drawn up a new set of instructions for the guidance of the Inquisitors.
These men are empowered to inquire, proceed against, and chastise all
they call heretics, or persons suspected even of heresy, and their
protectors. It is dreadful to think of the power placed in their hands.
Already thousands of the inhabitants of the Netherlands have been
burned, or drowned, or hung, or killed on the rack; those who can
taking to flight, till many parts are well-nigh depopulated. Nothing can
be more dreadful than the system of torture employed. The accused
person is carried off to prison, often without knowing the crime he is
accused of, or his accusers. He is tortured to make him confess. The
torture takes place at midnight in some gloomy dungeon, dimly-lighted
by torches. The victim, whether man, woman, or tender virgin, is
stripped naked, and stretched upon a wooden bench. Water, weights,
fires, pulleys, screws, all the apparatus by which the sinews can be
strained without cracking, the bones bruised without breaking, and the
body racked without giving up the ghost, is now put into operation. If
the victim, to escape further torture, confesses, he is at once carried off
to execution; if not, he is restored to prison to recover somewhat from
the effects of the torture, when he is again brought back to suffer, in the
hopes of extorting a confession. However, I have already spun out my
letter to too great a length, and I must bring it to a conclusion. Your
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 134
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.