Biography of Famous Little Person Sir Jeffery Hudson Part 2
About the famous little person Sir Jeffery Hudson, royal servant to Queen Henrietta of England, his biography and later life including a duel and other adventures.
SIR JEFFERY HUDSON (1619-1682).
English midget gallant.
Not that his diminutiveness was without its rewards. A journalist of the day wrote that the ladies at court were quite fond of the midget child: "He could make married Men Cuckolds, without making them jealous, and mothers of Maids, without letting the World know they had any Gallants."
In 1630, when he was only 11, Jeffery was dispatched by Queen Henrietta Maria to France to bring back a French midwife. The French Queen, Marie de' Medici, was greatly impressed by the maturity, the savoir faire, and the worldliness of this supremely precocious youngster, bestowing great riches upon him and upon the Queen of England, her daughter. On the way back to England, however, Jeffery's ship was waylaid by pirates and he was taken captive. After a brief internment, he escaped and returned to England, altogether surprised to find that he had lost no favor at court or among the masses despite his delay in completing his mission.
Jeffery was steadfastly loyal to the Queen, defending her against political enemies, and following her to Paris when she expatriated herself there in 1644. While in the French capital, he fell into a dispute with Mr. Crofts--the younger brother of a British lord in attendance upon Queen Henrietta Maria--and challenged him to a duel. Crofts accepted and appeared at the appointed place armed to the teeth--with a squirt gun. Jeffery was enraged at the insult, and rechallenged Crofts to a legitimate duel with real guns. On a treeshaded sward not far from the palace of the Duke of Nevers, where the Queen was lodged, Jeffery shot his foe dead.
Dueling, particularly when it ended fatally, was outlawed in France, and Jeffery was imprisoned. However, a beguiling letter on his behalf written by Queen Henrietta Maria herself to the authorities had him freed and on his way home to England, banished forever from France.
The details of the last 38 years of Jeffery's life are vague and clouded with rumor and supposition. During the English civil war he served with distinction in the King's Cavalry as a captain of the horse guards. In 1649, he was taken captive by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery, where he was abused and reviled. It was during this confinement that he mysteriously doubled in height to 3'9". Jeffery was eventually ransomed and he returned once again to England, where he lived on the favors of the Duke of Buckingham. He gained notoriety when he was arrested, in 1679, for his involvement in Titus Oates's Popish Plot. He was imprisoned in the Gate House at Westminster for 3 years, released in 1682, and died soon after at the age of 63.
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