“I have, sir,” replied Wayland; “and with these drugs will I, this very day, compound the true orvietan, that noble medicine which is so seldom found genuine and effective within these realms of Europe, for want of that most rare and precious drug which I got but now from Yoglan.” [Orvietan, or Venice treacle, as it was sometimes called, was understood to be a sovereign remedy against poison; and the reader must be contented, for the time he peruses these pages, to hold the same opinion, which was once universally received by the learned as well as the vulgar.]
“But why not have made all your purchases at one shop?” said his master; “we have lost nearly an hour in running from one pounder of simples to another.”
“Content you, sir,” said Wayland. “No man shall learn my secret; and it would not be mine long, were I to buy all my materials from one chemist.”
They now returned to their inn (the famous Bell-Savage); and while the Lord Sussex’s servant prepared the horses for their journey, Wayland, obtaining from the cook the service of a mortar, shut himself up in a private chamber, where he mixed, pounded, and amalgamated the drugs which he had bought, each in its due proportion, with a readiness and address that plainly showed him well practised in all the manual operations of pharmacy.
By the time Wayland’s electuary was prepared the horses were ready, and a short hour’s riding brought them to the present habitation of Lord Sussex, an ancient house, called Sayes Court, near Deptford, which had long pertained to a family of that name, but had for upwards of a century been possessed by the ancient and honourable family of Evelyn. The present representative of that ancient house took a deep interest in the Earl of Sussex, and had willingly accommodated both him and his numerous retinue in his hospitable mansion. Sayes Court was afterwards the residence of the celebrated Mr. Evelyn, whose “Silva” is still the manual of British planters; and whose life, manners, and principles, as illustrated in his Memoirs, ought equally to be the manual of English gentlemen.
This is rare news thou
tell’st me, my good fellow;
There are two bulls fierce battling on the green
For one fair heifer—if the one goes down,
The dale will be more peaceful, and the herd,
Which have small interest in their brulziement,
May pasture there in peace. —Old play.
Sayes Court was watched like a beleaguered fort; and so high rose the suspicions of the time, that Tressilian and his attendants were stopped and questioned repeatedly by sentinels, both on foot and horseback, as they approached the abode of the sick Earl. In truth, the high rank which Sussex held in Queen Elizabeth’s favour, and his known and avowed rivalry of the Earl of Leicester, caused the utmost importance to be attached to his welfare; for, at the period we treat of, all men doubted whether he or the Earl of Leicester might ultimately have the higher rank in her regard.