« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
amongst its greatest scourges. As the answer he made to Robert's demand, serves to illustrate the manners of the time in which he lived, I will venture to transcribe it; after having premised that he was a man of good family, but of small fortunes, as he himself asserts, not possessing an acre of land in the world, and having no means of subsistence except plunder.
The intrepid courage of these adventurers rendered them not only formidable to every state in Europe, but caused them to be courted by the greatest monarchs, who frequently availed themselves of their ferocious valour in war.
Fauquemont himself was always addressed by the title of Sire-one of no small import when applied before the family name—and seems to have been considered as on a footing with the princes of the empire. In reply to Robert, he said :
“ Ho! Seigneur, wherefore will you that I swear I who in this wide world possess no single foot of land on which to place mine own. -1, who in leading forth my troops to battle, do but achieve my craft, and earn my bread.
Why should I swear? Yet be it so! thus for the love I bear to you, and for mine honour's sake, I, by our most blessed Virgin, swear, that when King Edward enters France, I, foremost of his troops, will march with mine; and carrying sword and desolation through the land, will spare nor church nor convent, abbey nor altar, man nor beast, nor maid, nor woman big with child, nor infant at its mother's breast."
These must have been sad times, indeed, when princes were necessitated to employ wretches like this Fauquemont and his gang!
These vows were irrevocable. The Count of Artois' wishes were now upon the point of being fulfilled. He kneeled before the King, and renewed his vows of vassalage. All which remained to be done, was to decide upon the distribution of the troops, a part of which was to sail to the assistance of the Countess of Montfort, whilst another was to disembark in Hainault, and thence attack France on her Northern frontiers.
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