« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
When people have once firmly determined to undertake a project, they are not long in arranging a plan for its execution. Edward's design being to make the greatest effort in the north of France, it required a much longer time to prepare the troops which were to accompany
him thither, than those which he intended to send, under the command of the Count d'Artois, into Britany.
The latter of these were soon in readiness, and d'Artois, with Sir Walter Manny, with whom he had contracted a strict friendship, Sir Amauri de Clisson, and several others, whose names it is not necessary to mention at present, marched
them to Portsmouth, and prepared to embark at the next fair wind which should spring up.
I will not stay to recount the number, nor minutely describe the various kinds of vessels employed on this occasion.—The Pallandries, as they were called, for the transport of horses, with huissières, or port-holes, in their bows, below the water-mark, through which the animals were embarked, and which were afterwards “calked and stopped up as close as a large ton of wine," lest the water should rush in. The long Galeasses, with sharp-pointed beaks, to run down and pierce any vessel which opposed them, constructed with high turretted castles on their prows, and filled with archers, ready to pour down a torrent of arrows on any enemy which should venture an attack.—The wooden bridges used for the purpose of embarking the troops.The gunwales of the vessels emblazoned from prow to poop with the armorial bearing of the chiefs in the expedition.—The Seigneurs,—the Knights, and men-at-arms, whose brightly polished armour glittered like a thousand mirrors, as the sun's ray danced upon them. The javelin men.— The archers. — The Brigandines, with their steel-covered jazerants. — The Hobilers, clothed in thick surcoats of leather, stuffed with wool, and which, descending to the knee, served as a defensive armour, called gambasons, or sometimes jacks.
“ C'étoit un pourpoint de chamois,
Farci de bourre sus et sous ;
Nor will I delay the tale by attempting to pourtray the different countenances of those embarking on this perilous emprize. Some of them evinced delight at the idea of signalizing valour and augmenting their renown: and others at that of acquiring plunder; but on all was a smile of gladness,—and in each appeared a full confidence, that whatever mischief might befall his comrades, he himself, at least, would escape the like, and returning safe to merry old England, spend the remainder of his days in peace, wealth, honour, and prosperity.
At length the whole armament was embarked, -the wooden bridges were withdrawn, -the
Captain cried out—" Is
work done?-Are we ready?”—“ Yes in truth we are !" was the reply. The cables were then slipped from the capstans on shore, and the vessels got under
way, whilst the priests and clerks on board, mounting on the castles, chaunted psalms in praise of God, and put up prayers for the prosperity of the voyage. When these had ceased, minstrels of a less holy order struck up their music, and
This was do with merry sowne,
The gale was prosperous, and soon brought them under the western cliffs of the Isle of Wight; coasting around which, they arrived at that point known by the name of the Needles: when getting into the open sea, they stood away for the opposite shore.
It was on the third day of their voyage that d'Artois accosting Manny
“ It was but yesterday"—he said, “ that you were telling me of a dispute which you had with the old Seigneur, your Sire, and which occasioned your coming to King Edward's Court, -have you not since returned home to see your parents ?"
“ Alas !—I have since been there, but was not fortunate enough to find either of my parents in life. My mother had died a natural death, if indeed my abrupt departure from home did not partly occasion it; and my father-ah me! he had been murdered."
“ How !-murdered"-exclaimed Robert,who was the faytor of such foul deed ?"
“ You have some times," replied Manny, “ heard me tell of an enmity existing betwixt my Sire and the Lord Bishop of Cambrai : occasioned by the former having, at a tilt, done to death a certain Gascon, a nephew to the said Bishop. Well, then, he taking much to heart the loss of this relation, maintained against every show of reason that my Sire had done it purposely, and with intent to satisfy the cravings of an ancient grudge: and so he slurred him with the name of murderer, and cited him to appear in his own Court at Cambrai, there to clear him of the charge. The which, because my Sire refused to do-what hope of