477. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
I wrote on the 10th from Valladolid, and I have been unable to
write again until my arrival here at Irun to-day, in consequence of
the most dreadful weather, rain, ice, and snow, in addition to which
the relays of horses were very poor, and from Burgos hither little
diligence was displayed. I now find that Franco de Eraso has
left here with six horses, which has been the cause of delaying me
until to-morrow, when I hope to go forward, as Domingo de Iralta
assures me that the road is clear. I have given him your letter,
and we have arranged how my letters are to be sent to him by sea.
The English ambassador (fn. 1) has sent to tell me by a courier from
France that he would wait a week for me in Paris. I am sorry
that I shall not be able to reach him in time.—Irun, 16th February
478. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
I wrote to you on the 16th from Irun, and arrived at this place
this morning, not without trouble, both in consequence of the
heavy rains and because the flight of M. D'Alençon (fn. 2) has put the
whole of this country in turmoil, and might well cause difficulty
to a travelling foreigner. I have been also much delayed by the
bad supply of horses, but, although I have been so tardy, I have
found here no letters from Don Juan. I send him the letter from
his Majesty by Franco de Erasco, who, as he has a passport, will go
quicker than any courier. I write to his Highness that I expected
to have found a despatch from him here, and after I have visited
their Majesties, I shall leave Paris and tarry on the road until I
have received his Highness's reply, since the recent victory (fn. 3) cannot
fail to have altered the position of affairs in the States, and it will
be well for me to understand matters before I speak to the Queen.
I have decided not to stay here, so that the Flushing people may
put no spies upon me.
Between Bordeaux and Poitiers I met M. de Muisan, who is the
lieutenant of the prince of Bearn. He was accompanied by some
French gentlemen, and amongst them an Aragonese highwayman
from the mountains of Jaca, who asked me whether I had met
large numbers of Burgundian Frenchmen in companies on their
way as pilgrims to Santiago. I told him that I had, and he replied
that it was a serious matter that so many should go together, most
of them being young and strong, with their wallets and staves new,
which I had already noticed, as I had met many bands of them as far
as Poitiers and beyond. I have thought it not sufficiently important
to write to his Majesty about, as I had nothing else to say ; but you
may tell him. I have not yet asked for an audience of the King,
as I am hardly yet out of the saddle, and just write to say that I
have arrived. The English ambassador passed through here to
Calais without stopping.
As I was sealing this I learnt that the Queen had been expecting
me in England for some time, and if I had received Don Juan's instructions,
it would be well that I should hurry forward, as Thomas
Wilkes has done, in order that they may not be forearmed with his
information.—Paris, 26th February 1578.