House of Torment A Tale of the Remarkable Adventures of Mr. John Commendone, Gentleman to King Phillip II of Spain at the English Court

House of Torment A Tale of the Remarkable Adventures of Mr. John Commendone, Gentleman to King Phillip II of Spain at the English Court

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Overview

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An excerpt:
At a little before nine in the late twilight, Commendone left the Tower. He was attended by John Hull, whom he had armed with the short cutlass-shaped sword which serving-men were allowed to wear.

He might be late, and the City was no very safe place in those days for people returning home through the dark. Johnnie knew, moreover, that he would be carrying a considerable sum in gold with him, and it was as well to have an attendant.

They walked towards Chepe, Johnnie in front, his man a yard or so behind. It was summer-time, but even in summer London went to bed early, and the prentices were returning home from their cudgel-play and shooting at the butts in Finsbury fields.

The sky was a faint primrose above the spires of the town. The sun, that tempest of fire, had sunk, but still left long lines in the sky, lines which looked as if they had been drawn by a vermilion pencil; while, here and there, were locks, friths, and islands of gold and purple floating in the sky, billowed and upheaved into an infinity of distant glory.

They went through the narrow streets beneath the hundreds of coloured signs which hung from shop and warehouse.

At a time when the ordinary porter, prentice, and messenger could hardly read, each place of business must signify and locate itself by a sign. A merchant of those days did not send a letter by hand to a business house, naming it to the messenger. He told the man to go to the sign of the Three Cranes, the Gold Pig on a black ground, the Tower and Dragon in such and such a street.

London was not lit on a summer night at this hour. In the winter, up to half-past eight or so the costers' barrows with their torches provided the only illumination. After that all was dark, and in summer there was no artificial light at all when the day had gone.

They came up to the cross standing to the east of Wood Street, which was silhouetted against the last gleams of day in the sky. Its hexagonal form of three sculptured tiers, which rose from one another like the divisions of a telescope, cut out a black pattern against the coloured background. The niches with their statues, representing many of the Sovereigns of England, were all in grey shadow, but the large gilt cross which surmounted it still caught something of the evening fires.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015444377
Publisher: Unforgotten Classics
Publication date: 09/07/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 236 KB

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