The diary of John Evelyn

Regular posts from the diary of John Evelyn

Wednesday 20 April 1644

The next day, we had an excellent road; but had liked to come short home: for no sooner were we entered two or three leagues into the Forest of Orleans (which extends itself many miles), but the company behind us were set on by rogues, who, shooting from the hedges and frequent covert, slew four upon the spot. Among the slain was a captain of Swiss, of the regiment of Picardy, a person much lamented. This disaster made such an alarm in Orleans at our arrival, that the Prevôt Marshal, with his assistants, going in pursuit, brought in two whom they had shot, and exposed them in the great market place, to see if any would take cognizance of them. I had great cause to give God thanks for this escape; when coming to Orleans and lying at the White Cross, I found Mr. John Nicholas, eldest son to Mr. Secretary. In the night a cat kittened on my bed, and left on it a young one having six ears, eight legs, two bodies from the middle downward, and two tails. I found it dead, but warm, in the morning when I awaked1 .

“ The French city of Orléans on the Loire” by Braun and Hogenberg. 1581-88. SourceL Sanderus maps. Used with permission.


  1. This passage (says Forster) has not been printed since the quarto editions, and it would be difficult to say what induced its omission in the octavo editions, unless Evelyn’s apparent confusion as to the name of the inn at Orleans where the adventure occurred (for he calls it the White Lion as well as the White Cross) may have caused the original editor to doubt the miracle altogether. as printed in the quarto [1819, i. 57], it begins “I stay at the White Lion, where I found Mr. John Nicholas, eldest son to Mr. Secretary,” etc.  (see note 1, ante, (see post, p. 14.) –AD 

1 Comment

  1. Going to take a while to plough through this!

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