The Baldwin Library
PHILIP GETS HIS FIRST LOOK AT PIERRE.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
A TALE OF
THE HUGUENOT WARS
G. A. HENTY
Author of Beric the Briton," "In Freedom's Cause," The Dash for Khartoum,"
By England's Aid," In the Reign of Terror," &c.
WITH TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS BY H. 7. DRAPER
AND MAP OF FRANCE
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
COPYRIGHT, 1893, BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
MY DEAR LADS,
It is difficult in these days of religious toleration to
understand why men should, three centuries ago, have flown
at each others' throats in the name of the Almighty; still less,
how in cold blood they could have perpetrated hideous mas-
sacres of men, women, and children. The Huguenot wars
were, however, as much political as religious. Philip of
Spain, at that time the most powerful potentate of Europe,
desired to add France to the countries where his influence
was all-powerful, and in the ambitious house of Guise he
found ready instruments. For a time the new faith that had
spread with such rapidity in Germany, England, and Hol-
land, made great progress in France also. But here the
reigning family remained Catholic, and the vigorous measures
they adopted to check the growing tide drove those of the
new religion to take up arms in self-defence. Although
under the circumstances the Protestants can hardly be blamed
for so doing, there can be little doubt that the first Huguenot
war, though the revolt was successful, was the means of France
remaining a Catholic country. It gave colour to the asser-
tions of the Guises and their friends that the movement was
a political one, and that the Protestants intended to grasp all
power and to overthrow the throne of France. It also
afforded an excuse for the cruel persecutions which followed,
and rallied to the Catholic cause numbers of those who were
at heart indifferent to the question of religion, but were
Royalists rather than Catholics.
The great organization of the Church of Rome laboured
among all classes for the destruction of the growing heresy.
Every pulpit in France resounded with denunciations of the
Huguenots, and passionate appeals were made to the bigotry
and fanaticism of the more ignorant classes; so that, while
the power of the Huguenots lay in some of the country dis-
tricts, the mobs of the great towns were everywhere the
instruments of the priests.
I have not considered it necessary to devote any large
portion of my story to details of the terrible massacres of the
period, nor to the atrocious persecutions to which the Hugue-
nots were subjected, but have as usual gone to the military
events of the struggle for its chief interest. For the par-
ticulars of these I have relied chiefly upon the collection of
works of contemporary authors published by M. Zeller of
Paris, the Memoirs of Francois de la Notie, and other French
G. A. HENTY.
DRIVEN FROM HOME
AN IMPORTANT DECISION
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU
TAKING THE FIELD .
THE BATTLE OF ST. DENIS
A RESCUE .
THE THIRD HUGUENOT WVAR
AN IMPORTANT MISSION .
THE QUEEN OF NAVARRE.
JEAN OF NAVARRE
AN ESCAPE FROM PRISON.
AT LAVILLE .
TIlE ASSAULT ON THE CHATEAU
THE BATTLE OF JARNAC .
A HUGUENOT PRAYER-MEETING
THE BATTLE OF MONCONTOUR
A VISIT HOME .
IN A NET .
PHILIP GETS HIS FIRST LOOK AT PIERRE Frontispiece 64
GASPARD VAILLANT MAKES A PROPOSAL. .27
PHILIP AND FRANCOIS IN THE ARMOURY 52
"IF YOU MOVE A STEP YOU ARE A DEAD MAN" I
PHILIP AND HIS FOLLOWERS EMBARKING 163
PHILIP IN PRISON 202
" PHILIP STRUCK HIM FULL IN THE FACE" 261
PIERRE LISTENS AT THE OPEN WINDOW OF THE INN 277
GASPARD VAILLANT GETS A SURPRISE 300
"YOU HAVE NOT HEARD THE NEWS, MONSIEUR PHILIP?" 324
" THAT CROSS IS PLACED THERE BY DESIGN . 341
PHILIP, CLAIRE, AND PIERRE DISGUISE THEMSELVES 350
to face p. 10
MAP OF FRANCE IN 1570
IN THE YEAR 1570.
J SY BARTHOLOMEWS EVE
I -~ ~joRR~iN
c If-&-b 4A C .
Ay E1j R LA-N [
B(Jn~~il rI16t'i4JN j .
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
A TALE OF THE HUGUENOT WARS
DRIVEN FROM HOME
N the year 1567 there were few towns in the
southern counties of England that did not contain
a colony, more or less large, of French Protestants.
For thirty years the Huguenots had been exposed
to constant and cruel persecutions; many thou-
sands had been massacred by the soldiery, burned at the stake,
or put to death with dreadful tortures. Fifty thousand, it was
calculated, had, in spite of the most stringent measures of pre-
vention, left their homes and made their escape across the
frontiers. These had settled for the most part in the Protes-
tant cantons of Switzerland, in Holland, or England. As many
of those who reached our shores were but poorly provided with
money, they naturally settled in or near the ports of landing.
Canterbury was a place in which many of the unfortunate
emigrants found a home. Here one Gaspard Vaillant, his
wife, and her sister, who had landed in the year 1547, had
established themselves. They were among the first comers,
but the French colony had grown gradually until it numbered
several hundreds. The Huguenots were well liked in the town,
being pitied for their misfortunes and admired for the courage
with which they bore their losses; setting to work, each man
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
at his trade if he had one, or if not, taking to the first work
that came to hand. They were quiet and God-fearing folk;
very good towards each other and to their poor countrymen on
their way from the coast to London, entertaining them to the
best of their power, and sending them forward on their way
with letters to the Huguenot committee in London, and with
sufficient money in their pockets to pay their expenses on the
journey, and to maintain them for a while until some employ-
ment could be found for them.
Gaspard Vaillant had been a land-owner near Civray, in
Poitou. He was connected by blood with several noble fam-
ilies in that district, and had been among the first to embrace
the reformed religion. For some years he had not been inter-
fered with, as it was upon the poorer and more defenceless
classes that the first fury of the persecutors fell; but as the
attempts of Francis to stamp out the new sect failed, and his
anger rose more and more against them, persons of all ranks
fell under the ban. The prisons were filled with Protestants
who refused to confess their errors; soldiers were quartered in
the towns and villages, where they committed terrible atrocities
upon the Protestants; and Gaspard, seeing no hope of better
times coming, or of being permitted to worship in peace and
quietness, gathered together what money he could and made
his way with his wife and her sister to La Rochelle, whence he
took ship to London.
Disliking the bustle of a large town, he was recommended
by some of his compatriots to go down to Canterbury, where
three or four fugitives from his own part of the country had
settled. One of these was a weaver by trade, but without
money to manufacture looms or set up in his calling. Gaspard
joined him as partner, embarking the little capital he had
saved; and being a shrewd, clear-headed man he carried on
the business part of the concern, while his partner Lequoc
worked at the manufacture. As the French colony in Canter-
bury increased they had no difficulty in obtaining skilled hands
from among them. The business grew in magnitude, and the
profits were large, in spite of the fact that numbers of similar
enterprises had been established by the Huguenot immigrants
in London and other places. They were indeed amply suffi-
DRIVEN FROM HOME
cient to enable Gaspard Vaillant to live in the condition of a
substantial citizen, to aid his fellow-countrymen, and to lay
by a good deal of money.
His wife's sister had not remained very long with him. She
had, upon their first arrival, given lessons in her own language
to the daughters of burgesses and of the gentry near the town,
but three years after the arrival of the family there she had
married a well-to-do young yeoman who farmed a hundred
acres of his own land two miles from the town. His relations
and neighbours had shaken their heads over what they con-
sidered his folly in marrying the pretty young Frenchwoman,
but ere long they were obliged to own that his choice had been
a good one. Just after his first child was born he was, when
returning home one evening from market, knocked down and
run over by a drunken carter, and was so injured that for many
months his life was, in danger. Then he began to mend, but
though he gained in strength he did not recover the use of his
legs, being completely paralysed from the hips downward, and,
as it soon appeared, was destined to remain a helpless invalid
all his life.
From the day of the accident Lucie had taken the manage-
ment of affairs in her hands, and having been brought up in
the country, and being possessed of a large share of the
shrewdness and common sense for which Frenchwomen are
often conspicuous, she succeeded admirably. The neatness
and order of the house since their marriage had been a matter
of surprise to her husband's friends, and it was not long before
the farm showed the effects of her management. Gaspard
Vaillant assisted her with his counsel, and as the French
methods of agriculture were considerably in advance of those
in England, instead of things going to rack and ruin, as John
Fletcher's friends predicted, its returns were considerably
augmented. Naturally, she at first experienced considerable
opposition. The labourers grumbled at what they called
new-fangled French fashions; but when they left her their
places were supplied by her countrymen, who were frugal and
industrious, accustomed to make the most out of small areas
of ground and to turn every foot to the best advantage.
Gradually the raising of corn was abandoned, and a large
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
portion of the farm devoted to the growing of vegetables,
which, by dint of plentiful manuring and careful cultivation,
were produced of a size and quality that were the surprise and
admiration of the neighbourhood, and gave her almost a
monopoly of the supply of Canterbury. The carters were still
English; partly because Lucie had the good sense to see that
if she employed French labourers only she would excite feelings
of jealousy and dislike among her neighbours, and partly
because she saw that in the management of horses and cattle
the Englishmen were equal, if not superior, to her countrymen.
Her life was a busy one; the management of the house and
farm would alone have been a heavy burden to most people,
but she found ample time for the tenderest care of the invalid,
whom she nursed with untiring affection.
"It is hard upon a man of my size and inches, Lucie," he
said one day, "to be lying here as helpless as a sick child;
and yet I don't feel that I have any cause for discontent. I
should like to be going about the farm, and yet I feel that I
am happier here, lying watching you singing so contentedly
over your work, and making everything so bright and com-
fortable. Who would have thought when I married a little
French lady that she was going to turn out a notable farmer?
All my friends tell me that there is not a farm like mine in all
the country round, and that the crops are the wonder of the
neighbourhood; and when I see the vegetables that are brought
in here I should like to go over the farm, if only for once, just
to see them growing."
"I hope you will be able to do that some day, dear. Not
on foot, I am afraid; but when you get stronger and better, as
I hope you will, we will take you round in a litter, and the
bright sky and the fresh air will do you good."
Lucie spoke very fair English now, and her husband had
come to speak a good deal of French; for the service of the
house was all in that language, the three maids being daugh-
ters of French workmen in the town. The waste and disorder
of those who were in the house when her husband first brought
her there had appalled her, and the women so resented any
attempt at teaching on the part of the French madam, that
after she had tried several sets with equally bad results, John
DRIVEN FROM HOME
Fletcher had consented to the introduction of French girls,
bargaining only that he was to have good English fare, and
not French kickshaws. The Huguenot customs had been kept
up, and night and morning the house servants, with the French
neighbours and their families, all assembled for prayer in the
farmhouse. To this John Fletcher had agreed without demur.
His father had been a Protestant when there was some danger
in being so, and he himself had been brought up soberly and
strictly. Up to the time of his accident there had been two
congregations, he himself reading the prayers to his farm
hands, while Lucie afterwards read them in her own language
to her maids, but as the French labourers took the place of the
English hands only one service was needed. When John
Fletcher first regained sufficient strength to take much interest
in what was passing round, he was alarmed at the increase in
the numbers of those who attended these gatherings. Hitherto
four men had done the whole work of the farm; now there
"Lucie, dear," he said uneasily one day, "I know that you
are a capital manager, but it is impossible that a farm the size
of ours can pay with so many hands on it. I have never been
able to do more than pay my way and lay by a few pounds
every year with only four hands, and many would have thought
three sufficient, but with twelve-and I counted them this
morning-we must be on the high road to ruin."
I will not ruin you, John. Do you know how much money
there was in your bag when you were hurt just a year ago now?"
"Yes, I know there were thirty-three pounds."
His wife went .out of the room and returned with a leather
"Count them, John," she said.
There were forty-eight. Fifteen pounds represented a vastly
greater sum at that time than they do at present, and John
Fletcher looked up from the counting with amazement.
"This can't be all ours, Lucie. Your brother must have
been helping us."
"Not with a penny, doubting man," she laughed. "The
money is yours, all earned by the farm; perhaps not quite all,
because we have not more than half as many animals as we had
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
before. But, as I told you, we are growing vegetables, and for
that we must have more men than for corn. But, as you see,
it pays. Do not fear about it, John. If God should please to
restore you to health and strength most gladly will I lay down
the reins, but till then I will manage as best I may, and with
the help and advice of my brother and his friends, shall hope,
by the blessing of God, to keep all straight."
The farm throve, but its master made but little progress
towards recovery. He was able, however, occasionally to be
carried round in a hand-litter made for him upon a plan
devised by Gaspard Vaillant, in which he was supported in a
half-sitting position, while four men bore him as if in a
Sedan-chair. But it was only occasionally that he could bear
the fatigue of such excursions. Ordinarily he lay on a couch
in the farmhouse kitchen, where he could see all that was going
on there; while in warm summer weather he was wheeled out-
side, and lay in the shade of the great elm in front of the
The boy, Philip-for so he had been christened, after John
Fletcher's father,-grew apace, and as soon as he was old
enough to receive instruction his father taught him his letters
out of a hornbook, until he was big enough to go down every
day to school in Canterbury. John himself was built upon a
large scale, and at quarter-staff and wrestling could, before he
married, hold his own with any of the lads of Kent, and Philip
bade fair to take after him in skill and courage. His mother
would shake her head reprovingly when he returned with his
face bruised and his clothes torn after encounters with his
school-fellows, but his father took his part.
"Nay, nay, wife," he said one day, "the boy is eleven
years old now, and must not grow up a milksop. Teach him
if you will to be honest and true, to love God, and to hold to
the faith, but in these days it needs that men should be able
to use their weapons also. There are your countrymen in
France, who ere long will be driven to take up arms for the
defence of their faith and lives from their cruel persecutors;
and, as you have told me, many of the younger men from here
and elsewhere will assuredly go back to aid their brethren.
"We may even have trials here. Our Queen is a Protestant,
DRIVEN FROM HOME
and happily at present we can worship God as we please in
peace; but it was not so in the time of Mary, and it may be
that troubles may again fall upon the land, seeing that as yet
the Queen is not married. Moreover, Philip of Spain has
pretensions to rule here, and every Englishman may be called
upon to take up bow or bill for his faith and country. Our
co-religionists in Holland and France are both being cruelly
persecuted, and it may well be that the time will come when
we shall send over armies to. their assistance. I would that
the boy should grow up both a good Christian and a stout sol-
dier. He comes on both sides of a fighting stock. One of my
ancestors fought at Agincourt, and another with the Black
Prince at Cressy and Poitiers; while on your side his blood is
noble, and, as we know, the nobles of France are second to
none in bravery.
"Before I met you I had thoughts of going out myself to
fight among the English bands who have engaged on the side
of the Hollanders. I had even spoken to my cousin James
about taking charge of the farm while I was.away. I would
not have sold it, for Fletchers held this land before the Nor-
mans set foot in England; but I had thoughts of borrowing
money upon it to take me out to the war, when your sweet
face drove all such matters from my mind. Therefore, Lucie,
while I would that you should teach the boy to be good and
gentle in his manners, so that if he ever goes among your
French kinsmen he shall be able to bear himself as befits his
birth on that side, I, for my part-though, alas, I can do noth-
ing myself-will see that he is taught to use his arms, and to
bear himself as stoutly as an English yeoman should when
there is need of it.
"So, wife, I would not have him chidden when he comes
home with a bruised face and his garments somewhat awry.
A boy who can hold his own among boys will some day hold
his own among men, and the fisticuffs in which our English
boys try their strength are as good preparation as are the
courtly sports, in which, as you tell me, young French nobles
are trained. But I would not have him backward in these
either. We English, thank God, have not had much occasion
to draw a sword since we broke the strength of Scotland on
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
Flodden Field, and in spite of ordinances, we know less than
we should do of the use of our weapons; even the rules that
every lad shall practise shooting at the butts are less strictly
observed than they should be. But in this respect our de-
ficiencies can be repaired in his case, for here in Canterbury
there are several of your countrymen of noble birth, and
doubtless among these we shall be able to find an instructor
for Phil. Many of them are driven to hard shifts to procure a
living; and since that bag of yours is every day getting heavier,
and we have but him to spend it upon, we will not grudge
giving him the best instruction that can be procured."
Lucie did not dispute her husband's will, but she neverthe-
less tried to enlist Gaspard Vaillant, who was frequently up at
the farm with his wife in the evening, for he had a sincere
liking for John Fletcher, on her side, and to get him to dis-
suade her husband from putting thoughts into the boy's head
that might lead him some day to be discontented with the
quiet life on the farm. She found, however, that Gaspard
highly approved of her husband's determination.
"Fie upon you, Lucie. You forget that you and Marie are
both of noble blood, in that respect being of condition some-
what above myself, although I too am connected with many
good families in Poitou. In other times I should have said it
were better that the boy should grow up to till the land, which
is assuredly an honourable profession, rather than to become
a military adventurer, fighting only for vainglory. But in our
days the sword is not drawn for glory, but for the right to
worship God in peace.
"No one can doubt that ere long the men of the reformed
religion will take up arms to defend their right to live and
worship God in their own way. The cruel persecutions under
Francis I., Henry II., and Francis II. have utterly failed in
their object. When Merindol, Cabrieres, and twenty-two
other towns and villages were destroyed in 1547, and persons
persecuted and forced to recant, or to fly as we did, it was
thought that we were but a handful whom it would be easy to
exterminate; but in spite of edict after edict, of persecution,
slaughterings, and burnings, in spite of the massacres of Am-
boise and others, the reformed religion has spread so greatly
DRIVEN FROM HOME
that even the Guises are forced to recognize it as a power. At
Fontainebleau Admiral Coligny, Montmorency, the Chatillons,
and others openly professed the reformed religion, and argued
boldly for tolerance; while Cond6 and Navarre, although they
declined to be present, were openly ranged on their side.
Had it not been that Henry II. and Francis were both carried
off by the manifest hand of God, the first by a spear-thrust at
a tournament, the second by an abscess in the ear, France
would have been the scene of deadly strife, for both were,
when so suddenly smitten, on the point of commencing a war
But it is only now that the full strength of those who hold
the faith is manifested. Beza, the greatest of the reformers
next to Calvin himself, and twelve of our most learned and
eloquent pastors, are at Poissy disputing upon the faith with
the Cardinal of Lorraine and the prelates of the Romish
church, in the presence of the young king, the princes, and
the court. It is evident that the prelates are unable to answer
the arguments of our champions. The Guises, I hear, are
furious; for the present Catherine, the queen mother, is anx-
ious for peace and toleration, and it is probable that the end
of this argument at Poissy will be an edict allowing freedom
of worship. But this will only infuriate still more the
Papists, urged on by Rome and Philip of Spain. Then there
will be an appeal to arms, and the contest will be a dreadful
one. Navarre, from all I hear, has been well-nigh won over
by the Guises; but his noble wife will, all say, hold the faith
to the end, and her kingdom will follow her. Cond6 is as
good a general as Guise, and with him there is a host of
nobles: Rochefoucauld, the Chatillons, Soubise, Gramont,
Rohan, Genlis, and a score of others. It will be terrible, for
in many cases father and son will be ranged on opposite sides,
and brother will fight against brother."
"But surely, Gaspard, the war will not last for years?"
"It may last for generations," the weaver said gloomily,
"though not without intermissions, for I believe that after
each success on one side or the other there will be truces and
concessions, to be followed by fresh persecutions and fresh
wars, until either the reformed faith becomes the religion of
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
all France or is entirely stamped out. What is true of France
is true of Holland. Philip will annihilate the reformers there,
or they will shake off the yoke of Spain. England will be
driven to join in one or both struggles; for if papacy is trium-
phant in France and Holland, Spain and France would unite
against her. So you see, sister, that in my opinion we are at
the commencement of a long and bloody struggle for freedom
of worship, and at any rate it will be good that the boy should
be trained as he would have been had you married one of your
own rank in France, in order that when he comes to man's
estate he may be able to wield a sword worthily in the defence
of the faith.
"Had I sons I should train them as your husband intends
to train Phil. It may be that he will never be called upon to
draw a sword, but the time he has spent in acquiring its use
will not be wasted. These exercises give firmness and sup-
pleness to the figure, quickness to the eye, and briskness of
decision to the mind. A man who knows that he can at need
defend his life if attacked, whether against soldiers in the
field or robbers in the street, has a sense of power and self-
reliance that a man untrained in the use of the strength God
has given him can never feel. I was instructed in arms when
a boy, and I am none the worse weaver for it. Do not forget,
Lucie, that the boy has the blood of many good French fami-
lies in his veins, and you should rejoice that your husband is
willing that he shall be so trained that if the need should
ever come he shall do no discredit to his ancestors on our
side. These English have many virtues which I recognize
freely, but we cannot deny that many of them are somewhat
rough and uncouth, being wondrous lacking in manners and
coarse in speech. I am sure that you yourself would not wish
your son to grow up like many of the young fellows who come
into town on market-day. Your son will make no worse a
farmer for being trained as a gentleman. You yourself have
the training of a French lady, and yet you manage the farm
to admiration. No, no, Lucie, I trust that between us we
shall make a true Christian and a true gentleman of him, and
that if needs be he will show himself a good soldier also."
And so between his French relatives and his sturdy English
DRIVEN FROM HOME
father, Philip Fletcher had an unusual training. Among the
Huguenots he learned to be gentle and courteous, to bear
himself among his elders respectfully, but without fear or shy-
ness; to consider that while all things were of minor conse-
quence in comparison to the right to worship God in freedom
and purity, yet that a man should be fearless of death, ready
to defend his rights, but with moderation and without pushing
them to the injury of others; that he should be grave and
decorous of speech, and yet of a gay and cheerful spirit. He
strove hard so to deport himself, that if at any time he
should return to his mother's country, he could take his place
among her relations without discredit. He learned to fence
and to dance. Some of the stricter of the Huguenots were of
opinion that the latter accomplishment was unnecessary, if not
absolutely sinful, but Gaspard Vaillant was firm on this point.
"Dancing is a stately and graceful exercise," he said, "and
like the use of arms it greatly improves the carriage and poise
of the figure. Queen Elizabeth loves dancing, and none can
say that she is not a good Protestant. Every youth should be
taught to dance, if only he may know how to walk. I am not
one of those who think that because a man is a good Christian
he should necessarily be awkward and ungainly in speech and
manner, adverse to innocent gaieties, narrow in his ideas, ill-
dressed, and ill-mannered, as I see are many of those most
extreme in religious matters in this country."
Upon the other hand, in the school playground, under the
shadow of the grand cathedral, Phil was as English as any,
being foremost in their rough sports, and ready for any fun or
mischief. He fought many battles, principally because the
difference of his manner from that of the others often caused
him to be called "Frenchy." The epithet in itself was not
displeasing to him, for he was passionately attached to his
mother, and had learned from her to love her native country;
but applied in derision it was regarded by him as an insult,
and many a tough battle did he fight, until his prowess was so
generally acknowledged that the name, though still used, was
no longer one of disrespect.
In figure he took after his French rather than his English
ancestors. Of more than average height for his age, he was
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
apparently slighter in build than his school-fellows; it was
not that he lacked width of chest, but that his bones were
smaller and his frame less heavy. The English boys among
themselves sometimes spoke of him as "skinny," a word con-
sidered specially appropriate to Frenchmen; but though he
lacked their roundness and fulness of limb, and had not an
ounce of superfluous flesh about him, he was all sinew and
wire, and while in sheer strength he was fully their equal, he
was incomparably quicker and more active. Although in
figure and carriage he took after his mother's countrymen, his
features and expression were wholly English. His hair was
light-brown, his eyes a bluish-grey, his complexion fair, and
his mouth and eyes alive with fun and merriment. This,
however, seldom found vent in laughter. His intercourse
with the grave Huguenots, saddened by their exile, and quiet
and restrained in manner, taught him to repress mirth which
would have appeared to them unseemly, and to remain a grave
and silent listener to their talk of their unhappy country, and
their discussions on religious matters.
To his school-fellows he was somewhat of an enigma.
There was no more good-tempered young fellow in the school,
no one more ready to do a kindness; but they did not under-
stand why, when he was pleased, he smiled while others
roared with laughter; why when in their sports he exerted
himself to the utmost, he did so silently while others shouted;
why his words were always few, and when he differed from
others, he expressed himself with a courtesy that puzzled
them; why he never wrangled nor quarrelled; and why any
trick played upon an old woman or a defenceless person
roused him to fury.
As a rule, when boys do not quite understand one of their
number they dislike him. Philip Fletcher was an exception.
They did not understand him, but they consoled themselves
under this by the explanation that he was half a French-
man, and could not be expected to be like a regular English
boy, and they recognized instinctively that he was their
Much of Philip's time was spent at the house of his uncle,
and among the Huguenot colony. Here also were many boys
DRIVEN FROM HOME
of his own age; these went to a school of their own, taught
by the pastor of their own church, who held weekly services
in the crypt of the cathedral, which had been granted to them
for that purpose by the dean.
While with his English school-fellows he joined in sports
and games, among these French lads the talk was sober and
quiet. Scarce a week passed but some fugitive, going through
Canterbury, brought the latest news of the situation in France,
and the sufferings of their co-religionist friends and relations
there, and the political events were the chief topics of con-
The concessions made at the Conference of Poissy had
infuriated the Catholics, and the war was brought on by the
Duke of Guise, who, passing with a large band of retainers
through the town of Vassy in Champagne, found the Hugue-
nots there worshipping in a barn. His retainers attacked
them, slaying men, women, and children. Some sixty being
killed, and a hundred or more left terribly wounded.
The Protestant nobles demanded that Francis of Guise
should be punished for this atrocious massacre, but in vain,
and Guise, on entering Paris in defiance of Catherine's pro-
hibition, was received with royal honours by the populace.
The Cardinal of Lorraine, the duke's brother, the duke him-
self, and their allies, the Constable Montmorency and Mar-
shal Saint Andre, assumed so threatening an attitude that
Catherine left Paris and went to Ml6un, her sympathies at this
period being with the reformers, by whose aid alone she
thought that she could maintain her influence in the state
against that of the Guises.
Cond6 was forced to leave Paris with the Protestant nobles,
and from all parts of France the Huguenots marched to
assist him. Coligny, the greatest of the Huguenot leaders,
hesitated, being, above all things, reluctant to plunge France
into civil war; but the entreaties of his noble wife, of his
brothers and friends, overpowered his reluctance. Cond6
left Meaux with fifteen hundred horse with the intention of
seizing the person of the young king, but he had been fore-
stalled by the Guises, and moved to Orleans, where he took
up his head-quarters. All over France the Huguenots rose
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
in such numbers as astonished their enemies, and soon be-
came possessed of a great many important cities.
Their leaders had endeavoured, in every way, to impress
upon them the necessity of behaving as men who fought only
for the right to worship God, and for the most part these in-
junctions were strictly obeyed. In one matter alone the
Huguenots could not be restrained. For thirty years the people
of their faith had been executed, tortured, and slain, and
their hatred of the Romish church manifested itself by the
destruction of images and pictures of all kinds in the churches
of the towns of which they obtained possession.
Only in the south-east of France was there any exception to
the general excellence of their conduct. Their persecution
here had always been very severe, and in the town of Orange
the papal troops committed a massacre almost without a par-
allel in its atrocity. The Baron of Adrets, on behalf of the
Protestants, took revenge by massacres equally atrocious; but
while the butchery at Orange was hailed with approbation and
delight by the Catholic leaders, those promoted by Adrets
excited such a storm of indignation among the Huguenots of
all classes that he shortly afterwards went over to the other
side, and was found fighting against the party he had disgraced.
At Toulouse three thousand Huguenots were massacred, and in
other towns where the Catholics were in a majority terrible
persecutions were carried out.
It was nearly a year after the massacre at Vassy before the
two armies met in battle. The Huguenots had suffered greatly
by the delays caused by attempts at negotiations and compro-
mise. Cond6's army was formed entirely of volunteers, and
the nobles and gentry, as their means became exhausted, were
compelled to return home with their retainers, while many
were forced to march to their native provinces to assist their
co-religionists there to defend themselves from their Catholic
England had entered to a certain extent upon the war,
Elizabeth after long vacillation having at length agreed to send
six thousand men to hold the towns of Havre, Dieppe, and
Rouen, providing these three towns were handed over to her,
thus evincing the same calculating greed that marked her
DRIVEN FROM HOME
subsequent dealings with the Dutch in their struggle for
freedom. In vain Cond6 and Coligny begged her not to
impose conditions that Frenchmen would hold to be infamous
to them. In vain Throgmorton, her ambassador at Paris,
warned her that she would alienate the Protestants of France
from her, while the possession of the cities would avail her
but little. In vain her minister, Cecil, urged her frankly to
ally herself with the Protestants. From the first outbreak
of the war for freedom of conscience in France to the termi-
nation of the struggle in Holland, Elizabeth baffled both
friends and enemies by her vacillation and duplicity, and her
utter want of faith, doling out aid in the spirit of a huckster
rather than a queen, so that she was in the end even more
hated by the Protestants of Holland and France than by the
Catholics of France and Spain.
To those who look only at the progress made by England
during the reign of Elizabeth-thanks to her great ministers,
her valiant sailors and soldiers, long years of peace at home,
and the spirit and energy of her people,-Elizabeth may appear
a great monarch. To those who study her character from
her relations with the struggling Protestants of Holland and
France,it will appear that she was, although intellectually
great,morally one of the meanest, falsest, and most despicable
Rouen, although stoutly defended by the inhabitants, sup-
ported by Montgomery with eight hundred soldiers and five
hundred Englishmen under Killegrew of Pendennis, was at last
forced to surrender. The terms granted to the garrison were
basely violated, and many of the Protestants put to death.
The King of Navarre, who had, since he joined the Catholic
party, shown the greatest zeal in their cause, commanded the
besiegers. He was wounded in one of the attacks upon the
town, and died shortly afterwards.
The two armies finally met on the i9th of December, 1562.
The Catholic party had sixteen thousand foot, two thousand
horse, and twenty-two cannon; the Huguenots four thousand
horse, but only eight thousand infantry and five cannon.
Cond& at first broke the Swiss pikemen of the Guises, while
Coligny scattered the cavalry of Constable Montmorency, who
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
was wounded and taken prisoner; but the infantry of the
Catholics defeated those of the Huguenots, the troops sent by
the German princes to aid the latter behaving with great
cowardice. Cond6's horse was killed under him, and he was
made prisoner. Coligny drew off the Huguenot cavalry and
the remains of the infantry in good order, and made his retreat
The Huguenots had been worsted in the battle, and the loss
of Cond6 was a serious blow; but on the other hand Marshal
Saint Andr6 was killed and the Constable Montmorency a
prisoner. Coligny was speedily reinforced, and the assassina-
tion of the Duke of Guise by an enthusiast of the name of Jean
Poltrot more than equalized matters.
Both parties being anxious to treat, terms of peace were
arranged on the condition that the Protestant lords should be
reinstated in their honours and possessions; all nobles and
gentlemen should be allowed to celebrate in their own houses
the worship of the reformed religion; that in every bailiwick
the Protestants should be allowed to hold their religious ser-
vices in the suburbs of one city, and should also be permitted
to celebrate it in one or two places inside the walls of all the
cities they held at the time of the signature of the truce. This
agreement was known as the Treaty of Amboise, and sufficed
to secure peace for France until the latter end of 1567.
GASPARD VAILLANT MAKES A PROPOSAL.
AN IMPORTANT DECISION
ONE day in June, 1567, Gaspard Vaillant and his wife went
up to Fletcher's farm.
"I have come up to have a serious talk with you, John,
about Philip. You see, in a few months he will be sixteen.
He is already taller than I am. Ren6 and Gustave both tell
me that they have taught him all they know with sword and
dagger; and both have been stout men-at-arms in their time,
and assure me that the lad could hold his own against any
young French noble of his own age, and against not a few
men. It is time that we came to some conclusion about his
"I have thought of it much, Gaspard. Lying here so help-
less, my thoughts do naturally turn to him. The boy has
grown almost beyond my power of understanding. Sometimes
when I hear him laughing and jesting with the men, or with
some of his school friends whom he brings up here, it seems
to me that I see myself again in him; and that he is a merry
young fellow, full of life and fun, and able to hold his own at
single-stick, or to foot it round the maypole with any lad in
Kent of his age. Then again, when he is talking with his
mother, or giving directions in her name to the French
labourers, I see a different lad altogether: grave and quiet,
with a gentle, courteous way, fit for a young noble ten years
his senior. I don't know but that between us, Gaspard, we
have made a mess of it, and that it might have been better for
him to have grown up altogether as I was, with no thought or
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
care save the management of his farm, with a liking for sport
and fun when such came in his way."
"Not at all, not at all," Gaspard Vaillant broke in hastily,
"we have made a fine man of him, John; and it seems to me
that he possesses the best qualities of both our races. He is
frank and hearty, full of life and spirits when, as you say,
occasion offers, giving his whole heart either to work or play,
with plenty of determination, and what you English call back-
bone; there is, in fact, a solid English foundation to his char-
acter. Then from our side he has gained the gravity of
demeanour that belongs to us Huguenots, with the courtesy of
manner, the carriage and bearing of a young Frenchman
of good blood. Above all, John, he is a sober Christian,
strong in the reformed faith, and with burning hatred against
its persecutors, be they French or Spanish. Well, then, being
what he is, what is to be done with him? In the first place,
are you bent upon his remaining here? I think that with his
qualities and disposition it would be well that for a while he
had a wider scope. Lucie has managed the farm for the last
fifteen years, and can well continue to do so for another ten
if God should spare her; and my own opinion is, that for that
time he might be left to try his strength, and to devote to the
good cause the talents God has given him, and the skill and
training that he has acquired through us, and that it would be
for his good to make the acquaintance of his French kinsfolk
and to see something of the world."
"I know that is Lucie's wish also, Gaspard; and I have fre-
quently turned the matter over in my mind, and have con-
cluded that should it be your wish also, it would be well for
me to throw no objections in the way. I shall miss the boy
sorely; but young birds cannot be kept always in the nest, and
I think that the lad has such good stuff in him that it were a
pity to keep him shut up here."
"Now, John," his brother-in-law went on, "although I may
never have said quite as much before, I have said enough for
you to know what my intentions are. God has not been
pleased to bestow children upon us, and Philip is our nearest
relation, and stands to us almost in the light of a son. God
has blest my work for the last twenty years, and though I have
AN IMPORTANT DECISION
done, I hope, fully my share towards assisting my countrymen
in distress, putting by always one-third of my income for that
purpose, I am a rich man. The factory has grown larger and
larger; not because we desired greater gains, but that I might
give employment to more and more of my countrymen. Since
the death of Lequoc twelve years ago it has been entirely in
my hands, and living quietly as we have done, a greater por-
tion of the profits have been laid by every year; therefore,
putting out of account the money that my good sister has laid
by, Philip will start in life not ill equipped.
"I know that the lad has said nothing of any wishes he may
entertain-at his age it would not be becoming for him to do
so until his elders speak,-but of late when we have read to
him letters from our friends in France, or when he has listened
to the tales of those freshly arrived from their ruined homes,
I have noted that his colour rose, that his fingers tightened as
if on a sword, and could see how passionately he was longing
to join those who were struggling against their cruel oppres-
sors. Not less interested has he been in the noble struggle
that the Dutch are making against the Spaniards; a struggle
in which many of our exiled countrymen are sharing.
"One of his mother's cousins, the Count de La NoUe, is,
as you know, prominent among the Huguenot leaders, and
others of our relatives are ranged on the same side. At pres-
ent there is a truce, but both parties feel that it is a hollow
one; nevertheless it offers a good opportunity for him to visit
his mother's family. Whether there is any prospect of our
ever recovering the lands which were confiscated on our flight
is uncertain. Should the Huguenots ever maintain their
ground and win freedom of worship in France, it may be that
the confiscated estates will in many cases be restored; as to
that, however, I am perfectly indifferent. Were I a younger
man I should close my factory, return to France, and bear my
share in the defence of the faith. As it is, I should like to
send Philip over as my substitute.
"It would at any rate be well that he should make the ac-
quaintance of his kinsfolk in France, although even I should
not wish that he should cease to regard England as his.native
country and home. Hundreds of young men, many no older
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
than himself, are in Holland fighting against the persecutors,
and risking their lives, though having no kinship with the
Dutch; impelled simply by their love of the faith and their
hatred of persecution. I have lately, John, though the matter
has been kept quiet, purchased the farms of Blunt and Mar-
dyke, your neighbours on either hand. Both are nearly twice
the size of your own. I have arranged with the men that for
the present they shall continue to work them as my tenants, as
they were before the tenants of Sir James Holford, who, hav-
ing wasted his money at court, has been forced to sell a por-
tion of his estates.
"Thus some day Phil will come into possession of land
which will place him in a good position, and I am prepared
to add to it considerably. Sir James Holford still gambles
away his possessions, and I have explained to his notary my
willingness to extend my purchases at any time, should he
desire to sell. I should a once commence the building of a
comfortable mansion; but it is scarce worth while to do so,
for it is probable that before many years Sir James may be
driven to part with his Hall as well as his land. In the mean-
time I am ready to provide Philip with an income which will
enable him to take his place with credit among our kinsfolk,
and to raise a company of some fifty men to follow him in the
field, should Cond6 and the Huguenots again be driven to
struggle against the Guises. What do you think? "
"I think in the first place that Lucie and I should be indeed
grateful to you, Gaspard, for your generous offer. As to his
going to France, that I must talk over with his mother, whose
wishes in this, as in all respects, are paramount with me. But
I may say at once, that lying here as I do, thinking of the
horrible cruelties and oppressions to which men and women
are subjected for the faith's sake in France and Holland, I
feel that we, who are happily able to worship in peace and
quiet, ought to hesitate at no sacrifice on their behalf; and,
moreover, seeing that owing to my affliction he owes what he
is rather to his mother and you than to me, I think your wish
that he should make the acquaintance of his kinsfolk in France
is a natural one. I have no wish for the lad to become a
courtier, English or French, nor that he should, as English-
AN IMPORTANT DECISION
men have done before now in foreign armies, gain great honour
and reputation; but if it is his wish to fight on behalf of the
persecuted people of God, whether in France or in Holland,
he will do so with my heartiest good-will, and if he die he
could not die in a more glorious cause. Let us talk of other
matters now, Gaspard, this is one that needs thought before
more words are spoken."
Two days later John Fletcher had a long talk with Phil.
The latter was delighted when he heard the project, which
was greatly in accord with both sides of his character. As an
English lad he looked forward eagerly to adventure and peril;
as French and of the reformed religion he was rejoiced at the
thought of fighting with the Huguenots against their persecut-
ors, and of serving under the men with whose names and
reputations he was so familiar.
"I do not know your uncle's plans for you as yet, Phil," his
father said. "He went not into such matters, leaving these
to be talked over after it had been settled whether his offer
should be accepted or not. He purposes well by you, and
regards you as his heir. He has already bought Blunt and
Mardyke's farms, and purposes to buy other'parts of the estates
of Sir James Holford, as they may slip through the knight's
fingers at the gambling-table. Therefore in time you will
become a person of standing in the county; and although I
care little for these things now, Phil, yet I should like you to
be somewhat more than a mere squire; and if you serve for a
while under such great captains as Coligny and Cond6 it will
give you reputation and weight. Your good uncle and his
friends think little of such matters, but I own that I am not
uninfluenced by them. Coligny, for example, is a man whom
all honour, and that honour is not altogether because he is
leader of the reformed faith, but because he is a great soldier.
"I do not think that honour and reputation are to be
despised. Doubtless the first thing of all is that a man should
be a good Christian. But that will in no way prevent him
from being a great man; nay, it will add to his greatness.
You have noble kinsfolk in France, to some of whom your
uncle will doubtless commit you, and it may be that you will
have opportunities of distinguishing yourself. Should such
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
occur I am sure you will avail yourself of them, as one should
do who comes of good stock on both sides; for although we
Fletchers have been but yeomen from generation to genera-
tion, we have been ever ready to take and give our share of
hard blows when they were going; and there have been few
battles fought since William the Norman came over that a
Fletcher has not fought in the English ranks, whether in
France, in Scotland, or in our own troubles.
"Therefore it seems to me but natural that for many rea-
sons you should desire at your age to take part in the fighting;
as an Englishman, because Englishmen fought six years ago
under the banner of Cond6; as a Protestant, on behalf of our
persecuted brethren; as a Frenchman by your mother's side,
because you have kinsfolk engaged, and because it is the Pope
and Philip of Spain, as well as the Guises, who are in fact
battling to stamp out French liberty. Of one thing I am sure,
my boy, you will disgrace neither an honest English name nor
the French blood in your veins, nor your profession as a Chris-
tian and a Protestant. There are Engishmen gaining credit
on the Spanish Main under Drake and Hawkins, there are
Englishmen fighting manfully by the side of the Dutch, there
are others in the armies of the Protestant princes of Germany,
and in none of these matters are they so deeply concerned as
you are in the affairs of France and religion.
"I shall miss you, of course, Philip, and that sorely; but I
have long seen that this would probably be the upshot of your
training, and since I can myself take no share in adventure
beyond the walls of this house, I shall feel that I am living
again in you. But, lad, never forget that you are English.
You are Philip Fletcher, come of an old Kentish stock, and
though you may be living with French kinsfolk and friends,
always keep uppermost the fact that you are an Englishman
who sympathizes with France, and not a Frenchman with
some English blood in your veins. I have given you up
greatly to your French relations here; but if you win credit
and honour I would have it won by my son, Philip Fletcher,
born in England of an English father, and who will one day
be a gentleman and land-owner in the county of Kent."
"I sha'n't forget that, father," Philip said earnestly. "I
AN IMPORTANT DECISION
have never regarded myself as in any way French, although
speaking the tongue as well as English, and being so much
among my mother's friends. But living here with you, where
our people have lived so many years, hearing from you the
tales from our history, seeing these English fields around me,
and being at an English school among English boys, I have
ever felt that I am English, though in no way regretting the
Huguenot blood that I inherit from my mother. Believe me,
that if I fight in France it will be as an Englishman who has
drawn his sword in the quarrel, and rather as one who hates
oppression and cruelty than because I have French kinsmen
engaged in it."
"That is well, Philip. You may be away for some years,
but I trust that on your return you will find me sitting here to
welcome you back. A creaking wheel lasts long. I have
everything to make my life happy and peaceful-the best of
wives, a well-ordered farm, and no thought or care as to my
worldly affairs; and since it has been God's will that such
should be my life, my interest will be wholly centred in you,
and I hope to see your children playing round me, or, for
aught I know, your grandchildren, for we are a long-lived
race. And now, Philip, you had best go down and see your
uncle and thank him for his good intentions towards you.
Tell him that I wholly agree with his plans, and that if he and
your aunt will come up this evening we will enter farther into
That evening John Fletcher learned that it was the inten-
tion of Gaspard that his wife should accompany Philip.
"Marie yearns to see her people again," he said, "and the
present is a good time for her to do so; for when the war once
breaks out again none can say how long it will last or how it
will terminate. Her sister and Lucie's, the Countess de
Laville, has, as you know, frequently written urgently for
Marie to go over and pay her a visit. Hitherto I have never
been able to bring myself to spare her, but I feel that this is
so good an opportunity that I must let her go for a few weeks.
Philip could not be introduced under better auspices. He
will escort Marie to his aunt's, remain there with her, and
then see her on board ship again at La Rochelle, after which,
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
doubtless, he will remain at his aunt's, and when the struggle
begins will ride with his cousin Francois. I have hesitated
whether I should go also. But, in the first place, my busi-
ness would get on but badly without me; in the second,
although Marie might travel safely enough, I might be arrested
were I recognized as one who had left the kingdom contrary
to the edicts; and lastly, I never was on very good terms with
"Emilie, in marrying the Count de Laville, made a match
somewhat above her own rank; for the Lavilles were a
wealthier and more powerful family than that of Charles de
Moulins, her father. On the other hand, I was, although of
good birth, yet inferior in consideration to De Moulins,
although my lands were broader than his; consequently we
saw little of Emilie after our marriage. Therefore my being
with Marie would in no way increase the warmth of the wel-
come that she and Philip will receive. I may say that the
estrangement was, perhaps, more my fault than that of the
Lavilles. I chose to fancy there was a coolness on their part,
which probably existed only in my imagination. Moreover,
shortly after my marriage the religious troubles grew serious,
and we were all too much absorbed in our own perils and
those of our poorer neighbours to think of travelling about,
or of having family gatherings.
"At any rate, I feel that Philip could not enter into life
more favourably than as cousin of Frangois de Laville, who is
but two years or so his senior, and who will, his mother wrote
to Marie, ride behind that gallant gentleman Francois de la
Noiie if the war breaks out again. I am glad to feel confi-
dent that Philip will in no way bring discredit upon his rela-
tions. I shall at once order clothes for him suitable for the
occasion. They will be such as will befit an English gentle-
man; good in material but sober in colour, for the Huguenots
eschew bright hues. I will take his measure, and send up to
a friend in London for a helmet, breast, and back pieces,
together with offensive arms, sword, dagger, and pistols. I
have already written to correspondents at Southampton and
Plymouth for news as to the sailing of a ship bound for La
Rochelle. There he had better take four men into his ser-
AN IMPORTANT DECISION 36
vice, for in these days it is by no means safe to ride through
France unattended, especially when one is of the reformed
religion. The roads abound with disbanded soldiers and
robbers, while in the villages a fanatic might at any time bring
on a religious tumult. I have many correspondents at La
Rochelle, and will write to one asking him to select four stout
fellows, who showed their courage in the last war and can be
relied on for good and faithful service. I will also get him
to buy horses and make all arrangements for the journey.
Marie will write to her sister. Lucie, perhaps, had better
write under the same cover; for although she can remember
but little of Emilie, seeing that she was fully six years her
junior, it would be natural that she should take the opportu-
nity to correspond with her.
"In one respect, Phil," he went on, turning to his nephew,
"you will find yourself at some disadvantage, perhaps, among
young Frenchmen. You can ride well, and I think can sit a
horse with any of them; but of the mznage, that is to say, the
purely ornamental management of a horse, in which they
are most carefully instructed, you know nothing. It is one of
the tricks of fashion, of which plain men like myself know but
little; and though I have often made inquiries, I have found
no one who could instruct you. However, these delicacies
are rather for courtly displays than for the rough work of war;
though it must be owned that in single combat between two
swordsmen, he who has the most perfect control over his
horse, and can make the animal wheel or turn, press upon his
opponent, or give way by a mere touch of his leg or hand,
possesses a considerable advantage over the man who is un-
versed in such matters. I hope you will not feel the want of
it, and at any rate it has not been my fault that you have had
no opportunity of acquiring the art.
"The tendency is more and more to fight on foot. The
duel has taken the place of the combat in the lists, and the
pikeman counts for as much in the winning of a battle as the
mounted man. You taught us that at Cressy and Agincourt;
but we have been slow to learn the lesson which was brought
home to you in your battles with the Scots, and in your own
civil struggles. It is the bow and the pike that have made the
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
English soldier famous; while in France, where the feudal
system still prevails, horsemen still form a large proportion
of our armies, and the jousting lists and the exercise of the
manage still occupy a large share in the training and amuse-
ments of the young men of noble families."
Six weeks later Philip Fletcher landed at La Rochelle with
his aunt and her French serving-maid. When the ship came
into port, the clerk of a trader there came on board at once,
and on the part of his employer begged Madame Vaillant and
her son to take up their abode at his house, he having been
warned of their coming by his valued correspondent, Mon-
sieur Vaillant. A porter was engaged to carry up their lug-
gage to the house, whither the clerk at once conducted them.
From his having lived so long among the Huguenot colony,
the scene was less strange to Philip than it would have been
to most English lads. La Rochelle was a strongly Protestant
city, and the sober-coloured costumes of the people differed
but little from those to which he was accustomed in the streets
of Canterbury. He himself and his aunt attracted no atten-
tion whatever from passers-by, her costume being exactly simi-
lar to those worn by the wives of merchants, while Philip
would have passed anywhere as a young Huguenot gentleman,
in his doublet of dark puce cloth, slashed with gray, his trunks
of the same colour, and long gray hose.
"A proper-looking young gentleman," a market-woman said
to her daughter as he passed. "Another two or three years
and he will make a rare defender of the faith. He must be
from Normandy, with his fair complexion and light eyes.
There are not many of the true faith in the north."
They were met by the merchant at the door of his house.
"I am glad indeed to see you again, Madame Vaillant," he
said. "It is some twenty years now since you and your good
husband and your sister hid here for three days before we
could smuggle you on board a ship. Ah! those were bad times;
though there have been worse since. But since our people
showed that they did not intend any longer to be slaughtered
unresistingly, things have gone better here at least, and for the
last four years the slaughterings and murders have ceased.
You are but little changed, madame, since I saw you last."
AN IMPORTANT DECISION
"I have lived a quiet and happy life, my good Monsieur
Bertram; free from all strife and care, save for anxiety about
our people here. Why cannot Catholics and Protestants live
quietly side by side here, as they do in England?"
"We should ask nothing better, madame."
At this moment a girl came hurrying down the stairs.
"This is my daughter Jean, madame. Why were you not
down before, Jean? he asked sharply. "I told you to place
Suzette at the casement to warn you when our visitors were in
sight, so that you should, as was proper, be at the door to
meet them. I suppose instead of that you had the maid
arranging your head-gear, or some such worldly folly."
The girl coloured hotly, for her father had hit upon the
"Young people will be young people, Monsieur Bertram,"
Madame Vaillant said smiling, "and my husband and I are
not of those who think that it is necessary to carry a prim
face and to attire one's self in ugly garments as a proof of
religion. Youth is the time for mirth and happiness, and
nature teaches a maiden what is becoming to her; why then
should we blame her for setting off the charms God has given
her to their best advantage?"
By this time they had reached the upper storey, and the
merchant's daughter hastened to relieve Madame Vaillant of
"This is my nephew, of whom my husband wrote to you,"
the latter said to the merchant, when Philip entered the room
-he having lingered at the door to pay the porters, and to
see that the luggage, which had come up close behind them,
"He looks active and strong, madame; he has the figure of
a fine swordsman."
"He has been well taught, and will do no discredit to our
race, Monsieur Bertram. His father is a strong and power-
ful man, even for an Englishman, and though Philip does not
follow his figure he has something of his strength."
"They are wondrous strong, these Englishmen," the trader
said. "I have seen among their sailors men who are taller
by a head than most of us here, and who look strong enough
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
to take a bull by the horns and hold him. But had it not
been for your nephew's fair hair and gray eyes, his complex-
ion, and the smile on his lips-we have almost forgotten how
to smile in France-I should hardly have taken him for an
"There is nothing extraordinary in that, Monsieur Bertram,
when his mother is French, and he has lived greatly in the
society of my husband and myself, and among the Huguenot
colony at Canterbury."
"Have you succeeded in getting the horses and the four
men for us, Monsieur Bertram?" Philip asked.
"Yes, everything is in readiness for your departure to-
morrow. Madame will, I suppose, ride behind you upon a
pillion, and her maid behind one of the troopers. I have,
in accordance with Monsieur Vaillant's instructions, bought
a horse, which I think you will be pleased with, for Guise
himself might ride upon it without feeling that he was ill
mounted. I was fortunate in lighting on such an animal. It
was the property of a young noble, who rode hither from
Navarre and was sailing for England. I imagine he bore de-
spatches from the queen to her majesty of England. He had
been set upon by robbers on the way; they took everything he
possessed, and held him prisoner, doubtless meaning to get a
ransom for him; but he managed to slip off while they slept
and to mount his horse, with which he easily left the varlets
behind, although they chased him for some distance. So
when he came here he offered to sell his horse to obtain an
outfit and money for his voyage; and the landlord of the inn,
who is a friend of mine, knowing that I had been inquiring
for a good animal, brought him to me, and we soon struck a
"It was hard on him to lose his horse in that fashion,"
Philip said; "and I am sorry for it, though I may be the
"He did not seem to mind much," the merchant said.
"Horses are good and abundant in Navarre, and when I said
I did not like to take advantage of his strait he only laughed
and said he had three or four others as good at home. He
did say, though, that he would like to know if it was to be in
AN IMPORTANT DECISION
good hands. I assured him that on that ground he need not
fear; for that I had bought it for a young gentleman, nearly
related to the Countess de Laville. He said that was well,
and seemed glad indeed that it was not to be ridden by one of
the brigands, into whose hands he fell."
"And the men. Are they trustworthy fellows?"
"They are stout men-at-arms. They are Gascons all, and
rode behind Coligny in the war, and according to their own
account performed wonders; but as Gascons are given to
boasting, I paid not much heed to that. However, they were
recommended to me by a friend, a large wine-grower, for
whom they have been working for the last two years. He
says they are honest and industrious, and they are leaving him
only because they are anxious for a change, and deeming that
troubles were again approaching, wanted to enter the service
of some Huguenot lord who would be likely to take the field.
He was lamenting the fact to me, when I said that it seemed
to me they were just the men I was in search of; and I
accordingly saw them, and engaged them on the understand-
ing that at the end of a month you should be free to dis-
charge them if you were not satisfied with them, and that
equally they could leave your service if they did not find it
"They have arms, of course, and such armour as they need,
and I have bought four serviceable horses for their use, to-
gether with a horse to carry your baggage, but which will
serve for your body-servant. I have not found a man for that
office. I knew of no one who would, as I thought, suit you,
and in such a business it seemed to me better that you should
wait and choose for yourself, for in the matter of servants
everyone has his fancies. Some like a silent knave, while
others prefer a. merry one. Some like a tall proper fellow,
who can fight if needs be; others a staid man, who will do
his duty and hold his tongue, who can cook a good dinner
and groom a horse well. It is certain you will never find all
virtues combined. One man may be all that you wish, but
he is a liar; another helps himself; a third is too fond of the
bottle. In this matter, then, I did not care to take the
responsibility, but have left it for you to choose for yourself."
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"I shall be more likely to make -a mistake than you will,
Monsieur Bertram," Philip said with a laugh.
"Perhaps so, but then it will be your own mistake; and a
man chafes less at the shortcomings of one whom he has chosen
himself than at those of one who has, as it were, been forced
"Well, there will be no hurry in that matter," Philip said.
"I can get on well enough without a servant for a time. Up
to the present I have certainly never given a thought as to
what kind of man I should want as a servant, and I should
like time to think over a matter which is, from what you say,
"Assuredly it is important, young sir. If you should take
the field you will find that your comfort greatly depends upon
it. A sharp, active knave, who will ferret out good quarters for
you, turn you out a good meal from anything he can get hold
of, bring your horse up well groomed in the morning and
your armour brightly polished; who will not lie to you over-
much or rob you overmuch, and who will only get drunk at
times when you can spare his services. Ah! he would be a
treasure to you. But assuredly such a man is not to be found
"And of course," Marie put in, "in addition to what you
have said, Monsieur Bertram, it would be necessary that he
should be one of our religion, and fervent and strong in the
"My dear lady, I was mentioning possibilities," the trader
said. "It is of course advisable that he should be a Hugue-
not, it is certainly essential that he should not be a Papist;
but beyond this we need not inquire too closely. You cannot
expect the virtues of an archbishop and the capacity of a
horseboy. If he can find a man embracing the qualities of
both, by all means let your son engage him; but as he will
require him to be a good cook and a good groom, and he will
not require religious instruction from him, the former points
are those on which I should advise him to lay most stress.
And now, Madame Vaillant, will you let me lead you into the
next room, where, as my daughter has for some time been
trying to make me understand, a meal is ready. And I doubt
AN IMPORTANT DECISION
not that you are also ready; for truly those who travel by sea
are seldom able to enjoy food, save when they are much ac-
customed to voyaging. Though they tell me that after a time
even those with the most delicate stomachs recover their
appetites, and are able to enjoy the rough fare they get on
board a ship."
After the meal was over the merchant took Philip to the
stables, where the new purchases had been put up. The men
were not there, but the ostler brought out Philip's horse, with
which he was delighted.
"He will not tire under his double load," the merchant
said; "and with only your weight upon him a foeman would
be well mounted indeed to overtake you."
"I would rather that you put it, Monsieur Bertram, that a
foeman needs be well mounted to escape me."
"Well, I hope it will be that way," his host replied smiling.
"But in fighting, such as we have here, there are constant
changes; the party that is pursued one day is the pursuer a
week later, and of the two, you know, speed is of much more
importance in flight than in pursuit. If you cannot overtake
a foe, well, he gets away, and you may have better fortune next
time; but if you can't get away from a foe, the chances are
you may never have another opportunity of doing so."
"Perhaps you are right. In fact, now I think of it, I am
sure you are; though I hope it will not often happen that we
shall have to depend for safety on the speed of our horses.
At any rate, I am delighted with him, Monsieur Bertram, and
I thank you greatly for procuring so fine an animal for me.
If the four men turn out to be as good of their kind as the
horse, I shall be well set up indeed."
Early the next morning the four men came round to the
merchant's, and Philip went down with him into the entry-hall
where they were. He was well satisfied with their appearance.
They were stout fellows, from twenty-six to thirty years old.
All were soberly dressed, and wore steel caps and breast-pieces,
and carried long swords by their sides. In spite of the serious
expression of their faces, Philip saw that all were in high if
restrained spirits at again taking service.
"This is your employer, the Sieur Philip Fletcher. I have
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
warranted that he shall find you good and true men, and I
hope you will do justice to my recommendation."
"We will do our best," Roger, the eldest of the party, said.
"We are all right glad to be moving again. It is not as if we
had been bred on the soil here, and a man never takes to a
strange place as to one he was born in."
"You are Gascons, Maitre Bertram tells me?" Philip said.'
"Yes, sir; we were driven out from there ten years ago,
when the troubles were at their worst. Our fathers were both
killed, and we travelled with our mothers and sisters by night
through the country till we got to La Rochelle."
"You say both your fathers. How are you related to each
"Jacques and I are brothers," Roger said, touching the
youngest of the party on his shoulder. "Eustace and Henri
are brothers, and are our cousins. Their father and ours were
brothers. When the troubles broke out we four took service
with the Count de Luc, and followed him throughout the war.
When it was over we came back here. Our mothers had
married again. Some of our sisters had taken husbands too,
others were in service; therefore we remained here rather than
return to Gascony, where our friends and relations had all
been either killed or dispersed. We were lucky in getting
employment together, but were right glad when we heard that
there was an opening again for service. For the last two years
we have been looking forward to it; for, as everyone sees, it
cannot be long before the matter must be fought out again.
And, in truth, we have been wearying for the time to come;
for after having had a year of fighting one does not settle
down readily to tilling the soil. You will find that you can
rely on us, sir, for faithful service; we all bore a good reputa-
tion as stout fighters, and during the time we were in harness
before we none of us got into trouble for being overfond of
"I think you will suit me very well," Philip said, "and I
hope that my service will suit you. Although an Englishman
by birth and name, my family have suffered persecution here
as yours have done, and I am as warmly affected to the Hugue-
not cause as yourselves. If there is danger you will not find
AN IMPORTANT DECISION
me lacking in leading you, and so far as I can I shall try to
make my service a comfortable one and to look after your
welfare. We shall be ready to start in half an hour, therefore
have the horses round at the door in that time. One of the
pillions is to be placed on my own horse. You had better
put the other for the maid behind your saddle, Roger; you
being, I take it, the oldest of your party, had better take
charge of her." The men saluted and went out.
"I like their looks much," Philip said to the merchant.
"Stout fellows and cheerful, I should say. Like my aunt I
don't see why we should carry long faces, Monsieur Bertram,
because we have reformed our religion, and I believe that a
light heart and good spirits will stand wear and tear better
than a sad visage."
The four men were no less pleased with their new employer.
"That is a lad after my own heart," Roger said as they went
out. "Quick and alert, pleasant of face, and yet, I will be
bound, not easily turned from what he has set his mind to.
He bears himself well, and I doubt not can use his weapons.
I don't know what stock he comes from on this side, but I
warrant it is a good one. He will make a good master, lads;
I think that, as he says, he will be thoughtful as to our com-
forts, and be pleasant and cheerful with us; but mind you, he
will expect the work to be done, and you will find that there
is no trifling with him."
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU
THE three days' ride to the chateau of the Countess de
Laville was marked by no incident. To Philip it was an
exceedingly pleasant one-everything was new to him; the
architecture of the churches and villages, the dress of the
people, their modes of agriculture, all differing widely from
those to which he was accustomed. In some villages the
Catholics predominated, and here the passage of the little
party was regarded with frowning brows and muttered threats;
by the Huguenots they were saluted respectfully, and if they
halted, many questions were asked their followers as to news
about the intentions of the court, the last rumours as to the
attitude of Cond6, and the prospects of a continuance of peace.
Here, too, great respect was paid to Marie and Philip when
it was known they were relatives of the Countess de Laville,
and belonged to the family of the De Moulins. Emilie had
for some time been a widow; the count, her husband, having
fallen at the battle of Dreux at the end of the year 1562; but
being an active and capable woman, she had taken into her
hands the entire management of the estates, and was one of
the most influential among the Huguenot nobles of that part
of the country.
From their last halting-place Marie Vaillant sent on a letter
by one of the men to her sister, announcing their coming.
She had written on her landing at La Rochelle, and they had
been met on their way by a messenger from the countess, ex-
pressing her delight that her sister had at last carried out her
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU
promise to visit her, and saying that Frangois was looking
eagerly for the coming of his cousin.
The chateau was a semi-fortified building, capable of mak-
ing a stout resistance against any sudden attack. It stood on
the slope of a hill, and Philip felt a little awed at its stately
aspect as they approached it. When they were still a mile
away a party of horsemen rode out from the gateway, and in
a few minutes their leader reined up his horse in front of
them, and springing from it advanced towards Philip, who
also alighted and helped his aunt to dismount.
"My dear aunt," the young fellow said doffing his cap, "I
am come in the name of my mother to greet you, and to tell
you how joyful she is that you have at last come back to us.
This is my Cousin Philip, of course; though you are not what
I expected to see. My mother told me that you were two
years my junior, and I had looked to find you still a boy; but,
by my faith, you seem to be as old as I am. Why, you are
taller by two inches, and broader and stronger too, I should
say. Can it be true that you are but sixteen?"
"That is my age, Cousin Frangois, and I am, as you ex-
pected, but a boy yet, and, I can assure you, no taller or
broader than many of my English school-fellows of the same
"But we must not delay, aunt," Frangois said, turning
again to her. "My mother's commands were urgent that I
was not to delay a moment in private talk with you, but to
bring you speedily on to her; therefore I pray you to mount
again and ride on with me, for doubtless she is watching im-
patiently now, and will chide me rarely if we linger."
Accordingly the party remounted at once, and rode forward
to the chateau. A dozen men-at-arms were drawn up at the
gate, and on the steps of the entrance from the courtyard into
the chateau itself the countess was standing. Francois leapt
from his horse, and was by the side of his aunt as Philip reined
in his horse. Taking his hand she sprang lightly from the
saddle, and in a moment the two sisters fell into each others'
arms. It was more than twenty years since they last met, but
time had dealt gently with them both. The countess had
changed least. She was two or three years older than Marie,
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
was tall, and had been somewhat stately even as a girl. She
had had many cares, but her position had always been assured;
as the wife of a powerful noble she had been accustomed to
be treated with deference and respect; and although the
troubles of the times and the loss of her husband had left their
marks, she was still a fair and stately woman at the age of
forty-three. Marie, upon the other hand, had lived an un-
troubled life for the past twenty years. She had married a
man who was considered beneath her, but the match had been
in every way a happy one; her husband was devoted to her,
and the expression of her face showed that she was a thor-
oughly contented and happy woman.
"You are just what I fancied you would be, Marie, a quiet
little home-bird, living in your nest beyond the sea, and free
from all the troubles and anxieties of our unhappy country.
You have been good to write so often, far better than I have
been, and I seem to know all about your quiet, well-ordered
home, and your good husband and his business that flourishes
so. I thought you were a little foolish in your choice, and
that our father was wrong in mating you as he did; but it has
turned out well, and you have been living in quiet waters
while we have been encountering a sea of troubles. And this
tall youth is our nephew, Philip? I wish you could have
brought over Lucie with you. It would have been pleasant
indeed for us three sisters to be reunited again, if only for a
time. Why, your Philip is taller than Francois, and yet he
is two years younger. I congratulate you and Lucie upon
him. Salute me, nephew; I had not looked to see so proper
a youth. You show the blood of the De Moulins plainly,
Philip. I suppose you get your height and your strength from
your English father? "
"They are big men these English, Emilie, and his father is
big even among them. But, as you say, save in size Philip
takes after our side rather than his father's; and of course he
has mixed so much with our colony at Canterbury, that in
spite of his being English bred we have preserved in him
something of the French manner, and I think his heart is fairly
divided between the two countries."
"Let us go in," the countess said; "you need rest and
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU
refreshment after your journey, and I long to have a quiet
talk with you. Francois, do you take charge of your cousin.
I have told the serving-men to let you have a meal in your
own apartments, and then you can show him over the chateau
and the stables."
Francois and Philip bowed to the two ladies and then went
"That is good," the young count said, laying his hand on
Philip's shoulder; "now we shall get to know each other.
You will not be angry, I hope, when I tell you that though I
have looked forward to seeing my aunt and you, I have yet
been a little anxious in my mind. I do not know why, but I
have always pictured the English as somewhat rough and
uncouth-as doughty fighters, for so they have shown them-
selves to our cost, but as somewhat deficient in the graces of
manner, and when I heard that my aunt was bringing you over
to leave you for a time with us, since you longed to fight in
the good cause, I have thought-pray, do not be angry with
me, for I feel ashamed of myself now-" and he hesitated.
"That I should be a rough cub, whom you would be some-
what ashamed of introducing to your friends as your cousin,"
Philip laughed. "I am not surprised; English boys have
ideas just as erroneous about the French, and it was a perpet-
ual wonder to my school-fellows that, being half French, I
was yet as strong and as tough as they were. Doubtless I
should have been somewhat different had I not lived so much
with my uncle and aunt and the Huguenot community at Can-
terbury. Monsieur Vaillant and my aunt have always im-
pressed upon me that I belong to a noble French family, and
might some day come over here to stay with my relations,
and have taken much pains with my deportment and manners,
and have so far succeeded that I am always called 'Frenchy'
among my English companions, though in their own games
and sports I could hold my own with any of them."
"And can you ride, Philip? "
"I can sit on any horse, but I have had no opportunity of
learning the menage."
"That matters little after all," Francois said, "though it is
an advantage to be able to manage your horse with a touch of
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
the heel or the slightest pressure of the rein, and to make
him wheel and turn at will, while leaving both arms free to
use your weapons. You have learned to fence? "
"Yes; there were some good masters among the colony,
and many a lesson have I had from old soldiers passing
through, who paid for a week's hospitality by putting me
up to a few tricks with the sword."
"I thought you could fence," Frangois said. "You would
hardly have that figure and carriage unless you had practised
with the sword. And you dance, I suppose; many of our
religion regard such amusement as frivolous if not sinful, but
my mother, although as staunch a Huguenot as breathes, insists
upon my learning it, not as an amusement but as an exercise.
There was no reason, she said, why the Catholics should
monopolize all the graces."
"Yes, I learned to dance, and for the same reason. I think
my uncle rather scandalized the people of our religion in
Canterbury. He maintained that it was necessary as part of
the education of a gentleman, and that in the English Protes-
tant court dancing was as highly thought of as in that of
France, the queen herself being noted for her dancing, and
none can throw doubts upon her Protestantism. My mother
and aunt were both against it, but as my father supported my
uncle he had his own way."
"Well, I see, Philip, that we shall be good comrades.
There are many among us younger Huguenots who, though
as staunch in the religion as our fathers, and as ready to fight
and die for it if need be, yet do not see that it is needful to
go about always with grave faces, and to be cut off from all
innocent amusements. It is our natural disposition to be
gay, and I see not why, because we hold the Mass in detesta-
tion, and have revolted against the authority of the Pope and
the abuses of the church, we should go through life as if we
were attending a perpetual funeral. Unless I am mistaken
such is your disposition also, for although your face is grave
your eyes laugh."
"I have been taught to bear myself gravely in the presence
of my elders," Philip replied with a smile; "and truly at
Canterbury the French colony was a grave one, being strangers
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU
in a strange land; but among my English friends I think I
was as much disposed for a bit of fun or mischief as any of
"But I thought the English were a grave race."
"I think not, Frangois. We call England 'Merry England.'
I think we are an earnest people, but not a grave one. Eng-
lish boys play with all their might. The French boys of the
colony never used to join in our sports, regarding them as
rude and violent beyond all reason; but it is all in good-
humour, and it is rare indeed for anyone to lose his temper,
however rough the play and hard the knocks. Then they are
fond of dancing and singing, save among the strictest sects,
and the court is as gay as any in Europe. I do not think that
the English can be called a grave people."
"Well, I am glad that it is so, Philip, especially that you
yourself are not grave. Now, as we have finished our meal,
let us visit the stables. I have a horse already set aside for
you, but I saw as we rode hither that you are already excel-
lently mounted; still Victor, that is his name, shall be at
your disposal. A second horse is always useful, for shot and
arrows no more spare a horse than his rider."
The stables were large and well ordered, for during the past
two months there had been large additions made by the coun-
tess in view of the expected troubles.
"This is my charger; I call him Rollo. He was bred on
the estate, and when I am upon him I feel that the king is
not better mounted."
"He is a splendid animal indeed," Philip said, as Rollo
tossed his head and whinnied with pleasure at his master's
"He can do anything but talk," Francois said as he patted
him. He will lie down when I tell him, will come to my
whistle, and with the reins lying loose on his neck will obey
my voice as readily as he would my hand. This is my second
horse, Pluto; he is the equal of Rollo in strength and speed,
but not so docile and obedient, and he has a temper of his
"He looks it," Philip agreed. "I should keep well out of
reach of his heels and jaws."
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"He is quiet enough wheff I am on his back," Francois
laughed; "but I own that he is the terror of the stable-boys.
This is Victor; he is not quite as handsome as Rollo, but he
has speed and courage and good manners."
"He is a beautiful creature," Philip said enthusiastically.
"I was very well satisfied with my purchase, but he will not
show to advantage by the side of Victor."
"Ah, I see they have put him in the next stall," Francois
said. "He is a fine animal too," he went on after examining
the horse closely. "He comes from Gascony, I should say;
he has signs of Spanish blood."
"Yes, from Gascony or Navarre. I was very fortunate in
getting him," and he related how the animal had been left at
"Yo'u got him for less than half his value, Philip. What
are you going to call him? "
"I shall call him Robin; that was the name of my favourite
horse at home. I see you have got some stout animals in the
other stalls, though of course they are of a very different quality
to your own."
"Yes; many of them are new purchases. We have taken
on thirty men-at-arms; stout fellows, old soldiers all, whom
my mother will send into the field if we come to blows. Be-
sides these there will be some twenty of our tenants. We
could have raised the whole number among them had we
chosen; for if we called up the full strength of the estate, and
put all bound to service in the field in war time, we could
turn out fully three hundred; but of these well-nigh a third
are Catholics, and could not in any way be relied on, nor
would it be just to call upon them to fight against their co-
religionists. Again, it would not do to call out all our Hugue-
not tenants, for this would leave their wives and families and
homes and property, to say nothing of the chateau, at the
mercy of the Catholics while they were away. I do not think
that our Catholic tenants would interfere with them, still less
with the chateau, for our family have ever been good masters,
and my mother is loved by men of both parties. Still, bands
might come from other districts or from the towns to pillage
or slay were the estate left without fighting men. Therefore,
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU
we have taken these men-at-arms into our service, with twenty
of our own tenants, all young men belonging to large families,
while the rest will remain behind as a guard for the estate and
chateau; and as in all they could muster some two hundred
and fifty strong, and would be joined by the other Huguenots
of the district, they would not likely be molested, unless one
of the Catholic armies happened to come in this direction.
"Directly I start with the troop the younger sons of the
tenants will be called in to form a garrison here. We have
five-and-thirty names down, and there are twenty men capa-
ble of bearing arms among the household, many of whom have
seen service. Jacques Parold, our seneschal, has been a
valiant soldier in his time, and would make the best of them,
and my mother would assuredly keep our flag flying till the
last. I shall go away in comfort, for unless the Guises march
this way there is little fear of trouble in our absence. We
are fortunate in this province; the parties are pretty evenly
divided, and have a mutual respect for each other. In dis-
tricts where we are greatly outnumbered, it is hard for fighting
men to march away with the possibility that on their return
they will find their families murdered and their homes
"Now we will take a turn round the grounds; their beauty
has been sadly destroyed. You see, before the troubles seven
years ago broke out, there was a view from the windows on
this side of the house over the park and shrubberies, but at
that time my father thought it necessary to provide against
sudden attacks, and therefore before he went away to the war
he had this wall with its flanking towers erected. All the
tenants came in and helped, and it was built in five weeks
time. It has, as you see, made the place safe from a sudden
attack, for on the other three sides the old defences remain
unaltered. It was on this side only that my grandfather had
the house modernized, believing that the days of civil war
were at an end. You see, this new wall forms a large quad-
rangle. We call it the countess's garden, and my mother has
done her best by planting it with shrubs and fast-growing
trees to make up for the loss of the view she formerly had
from the windows.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"Along one side you see there are storehouses, which are
screened from view by that bank of turf; they are all full now
of grain. There is a gate, as you see, opposite. In case of
trouble cattle will be driven in there and the garden turned
into a stock-yard, so that there is no fear of our being starved
"Fifty-five men are a small garrison for so large a place,
"Yes, but that is only against a sudden surprise. In case
of alarm the Protestant tenants would all come in with their
wives and families, and the best of their horses and cattle,
and then there will be force enough to defend the place against
anything short of a siege by an army. You see there is a
moat runs all round; it is full now on three sides, and there
is a little stream runs down from behind, which would fill the
fourth side in a few hours. To-morrow we will take a ride
through the park which lies beyond that wall."
Entering the house they passed through several stately
apartments, and then entered a large hall completely hung
with arms and armour.
"This is the grand hall, and you see it serves also the pur-
pose of a salle d'armes. Here we have arms and armour for
a hundred men, for although all the tenants are bound by the
terms of their holding to appear when called upon fully armed
and accoutred, each with so many men according to the size
of his farm, there may well be deficiencies, especially as,
until the religious troubles began, it was a great number of
years since they had been called upon to take the field. For
the last eight years, however, they have been trained and
drilled; fifty at a time coming up once a week. That began
two years before the last war, as my father always held that
it was absurd to take a number of men wholly unaccustomed
to the use of arms into the field. Agincourt taught that lesson
to our nobles, though it has been forgotten by most of them.
We have two officers accustomed to drill and marshal men,
and these act as teachers here in the hall. The footmen prac-
tise with pike and sword. They are exercised with arquebus
and cross-bow in the park, and the mounted men are taught
to manceuvre and charge, so that in case of need we can show
PIIILIP AND FRANCOIS IN THE ARMOURY.
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU
a good face against any body of troops of equal numbers. It
is here I practise with my mature d'armes, and with Montpace
and Bourdon, our two officers. Ah! here is Charles, my maltie
d'armes. Charles, this is my cousin Philip, who will also be
a pupil of yours while he remains here. What do you say,
Philip? Will we try a bout with blunted swords just now? "
"With pleasure," Philip said.
The art of fencing had not at that time reached the perfec-
tion it afterwards attained. The swords used were long and
straight, and sharpened at both edges, and were used as much
for cutting as thrusting. In single combat on foot, long dag-
gers were generally held in the left hand, and were used for
the purpose both of guarding and of striking at close quarters.
They put on thick quilted doublets and light helmets with
"Do you use a dagger, Philip?"
"No, I have never seen one used in England. We are
taught to guard with our swords as well as to strike with
"Monsieur has learned from English teachers? the mature
"I have had English teachers as well as French," Philip
said. "We all learn the use of the sword in England, but my
uncle, Monsieur Vaillant, has taken great pains in having me
taught also by such French professors of arms as lived in
Canterbury, or happened to pass through it; but I own that I
prefer the English style of fighting. We generally stand up-
right to our work, equally poised on the two feet for advance
or retreat, while you lean with the body far forward and the
arm outstretched, which seems to me to cripple the move-
"Yes, but it puts the body out of harm's way," Frangois
"It is the arm's business to guard the body, Francois, and
it is impossible to strike a downright blow when leaning so
"We strike but little now-a-days in single combat," the
maitre d'armes said. "The point is more effective."
That is doubtless so, Maitre Charles," Philip agreed; "but
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
I have not learned fencing for the sake of fighting duels, but
to be able to take my part on a field of battle. The Span-
iards are said to be masters of the straight sword, and yet they
have been roughly used in the western seas by our sailors,
who, methinks, always use the edge."
The two now took up their position facing each other.
Their attitude was strikingly different. Francois stood on
bent knees leaning far forward, while Philip stood erect with
his knees but slightly bent, ready to spring either forwards or
backwards, with his arm but half extended. For a time both
fought cautiously. Francois had been well taught, having
had the benefit whenever he was in Paris of the best masters
there. He was extremely active, and as they warmed to their
work Philip had difficulty in standing his ground against his
impetuous rushes. Some minutes passed without either of
them succeeding in touching the other. At length the maitre
d'armes called upon them to lower their swords.
"That is enough," he said, "you are equally matched. I
congratulate you, Monsieur Philip. You have been well
taught; and indeed there are not many youths of his age who
could hold their own with my pupil. Take off your helmets,
enough has been done for one day."
"Peste, Philip! Francois said as he removed his helmet.
"I was not wrong when I said that from your figure I was sure
that you had learned fencing. Maitre Charles interfered on
my behalf, and to save me the mortification of defeat. I had
nearly shot my bolt and you had scarcely begun. I own my-
self a convert. Your attitude is better than ours; that is,
when the hand is skilful enough to defend the body. The
fatigue of holding the arm extended as I do is much greater
than it is as you stand, and in the long run you must get the
better of anyone who is not sufficiently skilful to slay you be-
fore his arm becomes fatigued. What do you think, Maitre
Charles? My cousin is two years younger than I am, and yet
his wrist and arm are stronger than mine, as I could feel every
time he put aside my attacks." 0
"Is that so? the maitre d'armes said in surprise. "I had
taken him for your senior. He will be a famous man-at-arms
when he attains his full age. His defence is wonderfully
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU
strong, and although I do not admit that he is superior to you
with the point, he would be a formidable opponent to any of
our best swordsmen in a melde. If, as he says, he is more
accustomed to use the edge than the point, I will myself try
him to-morrow if he will permit me. I have always under-
stood that the English are more used to strike than to thrust,
and although in the duel the edge-has little chance against the
point, I own that it is altogether different in a m ce on horse-
back, especially as the point cannot penetrate armour, while
a stout blow, well delivered with a strong arm, can break it
in. Are you skilled in the exercises of the ring, Monsieur
"Not at all, I have had no practise whatever in them.
Except in some of the great houses the tourney has gone quite
out of fashion in England, and though I can ride a horse
across country I know nothing whatever of knightly exercises.
My father is but a small proprietor, and up to the time I left
England I have been but a school-boy."
"If all your school-boys understand the use of their arms
as you do," Maitre Charles said courteously, "it is no wonder
that the English are terrible fighters."
"I do not say that," Philip said smiling. "I have had the
advantage of the best teaching, both English and French, to
be had at Canterbury, and it would be a shame for me indeed
if I had not learnt to defend myself."
A servant now entered and said that the countess desired
their presence, and they at once went to the apartment where
the sisters were talking.
"What do you think, mother?" Francois said. "This
cousin of mine, whom I had intended to patronize, turns out
to be already a better swordsman than I am."
"Not better, madame," Philip said hastily. "We were a
fair match, neither having touched the other."
Philip is too modest, mother," Francois laughed. "Maitre
Charles stopped us in time to save me from defeat. Why, he
has a wrist like iron, this cousin of mine."
"We have done our best to have him well taught," Madame
Vaillant said. "There were some good swordsmen among our
Huguenot friends, and he has also had the best English
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
teachers we could get for him. My husband always wished
particularly that if he ever came over to visit our friends here
he should not be deficient in such matters."
"I feel a little crestfallen," the countess said. "I have
been rather proud of Francois' skill as a swordsman, and I
own that it is a little mortifying to find that Philip, who is
two years younger, is already his match. Still I am glad that
it is so, for if they ride together into battle I should wish that
Philip should do honour to our race. Now, Philip, I have
been hearing all about your mother's life, as well as that of
your uncle and aunt. Now let us hear about your own, which
must needs differ widely from that to which Francois has been
accustomed. Your aunt says that your English schools differ
altogether from ours. With us our sons are generally brought
up at home, and are instructed by the chaplain in Huguenot
families or by the priest in Catholic families; or else they go
to religious seminaries, where they are taught what is necessary
of books and Latin, being under strict supervision, and learn-
ing all other matters such as the use of arms after leaving
school, or when at home with their families."
Philip gave an account of his school life, and its rough
games and sports.
"But is it possible, Philip," the countess said in tones of
horror, "that you used to wrestle and to fight? Fight with
your arms and fists against rough boys, the sons of all sorts of
"Certainly I did, aunt, and it did me a great deal of good,
and no harm so far as I know. All these rough sports
strengthen the frame and give quickness and vigour, just the
same as exercises with the sword do. I should never have
been so tall and strong as I am now, if, instead of going to an
English school, I had been either, as you say, educated at
home by a chaplain or sent to be taught and looked after by
priests. My mother did not like it at first, but she came to
see that it was good for me. Besides, there is not the same
difference between classes in England as there is in France;
there is more independence in the lower and middle classes,
and less haughtiness and pride in the upper, and I think that
it is better so."
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU
"It is the English custom, Emilie," her sister said; "and I
can assure you that my husband and I have got very English
in some things. We do not love our country less, but we see
that in many respects the English ways are better than ours;
and we admire the independence of the people, every man
respecting himself, though giving honour, but not lavishly, to
those higher placed."
The countess shrugged her shoulders. "We will not argue,
Marie. At any rate whatever the process, it has succeeded
well with Philip."
The days passed quietly at the chateau. Before breakfast
Philip spent an hour on horseback, learning to manage his
horse by the pressure of knee or hand. This was the more
easy, as both his horses had been thoroughly trained in the
menage, and under the instruction of Captain Montpace, who
had been Frangois' teacher, he made rapid progress.
"It is much easier to teach the man than the horse," his
instructor said, "although a horse learns readily enough when
its rider is a master of the art; but with horse and rider alike
ignorant it is a long business to get them to work together as
if they were one, which is what should be. As both your horses
know their work, they obey your motions, however slight, and
you will soon be able to pass muster on their backs; but it
would take months of patient teaching for you so to acquire the
art of horsemanship as to be able to train an animal yourself."
After the lesson was over Franqois and Philip would tilt at
rings and go through other exercises in the courtyard. Break-
fast over they went hawking or hunting. Of the former sport
Philip was entirely ignorant, and was surprised to learn how
highly a knowledge of it was prized in France, and how
necessary it was considered as part of the education of a gen-
tleman. Upon the other hand his shooting with the bow and
arrow astonished Frangois; for the bow had never been a
French weapon, and the cross-bow was fast giving way to the
arquebus, but few gentlemen troubled themselves to learn the
use of either one or the other. The pistol, however, was
becoming a recognized portion of the outfit of a cavalier in
the field, and following FranCois' advice Philip practised with
one steadily until he became a fair shot.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"They are cowardly weapons," Francois said, "but for all
that they are useful in battle. When you are surrounded by
three or four pikemen thrusting at you, it is a good thing
to be able to disembarrass yourself of one or two of them.
Besides, these German horsemen, of whom the Guises employ
so many, all carry firearms, and the contest would be too
uneven if we were armed only with the sword; though for my
part I wish that all the governments of Europe would agree
to do away with firearms of every description. They place
the meanest footman upon the level of the bravest knight, and
in the end will, it seems to me, reduce armies to the level of
In the afternoons there were generally gatherings of Hugue-
not gentry, who came to discuss the situation, to exchange
news, or to listen to the last rumours from Paris. No good
had arisen from the Conference of Bayonne, and one by one
the privileges of the Huguenots were being diminished. The
uprising of the Protestants of Holland was watched with the
greatest interest by the Huguenots of France. It was known
that several of the most influential Huguenot nobles had met
at Valery and at Chatillon, to discuss with the Prince of Cond6
and Admiral Coligny the question of again taking up arms in
defence of their liberties. It was rumoured that the opinion
of the majority was that the Huguenot standard should be again
unfurled, and that this time there should be no laying down
of their arms until freedom of worship was guaranteed to all;
but that the admiral had used all his powers to persuade them
that the time had not yet come, and that it was better to bear
trials and persecutions for a time in order that the world might
see they had not appealed to arms until driven to it by the
failure of all other hope of redress of their grievances.
The elder men among the visitors at the chateau were of
the admiral's opinion; the younger chafed at the delay. The
position had indeed become intolerable. Protestant worship
was absolutely forbidden, except in a few specified buildings
near some of the large towns, and all Protestants save those
dwelling in these localities were forced to meet secretly, and
at the risk of their lives, for the purpose of worship. Those
caught transgressing the law were thrown into prison, sub-
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU
jected to crushing fines, and even punished with torture and
death. "Better a thousand times to die with swords in our
hands in the open field than thus tamely to see our brethren
ill-treated and persecuted!" was the cry of the young men,
and Philip, who from daily hearing tales of persecution and
cruelty had become more and more zealous in the Huguenot
cause, fully shared their feeling.
In the presence of the elders, however, the more ardent
spirits were silent. At all times grave and sober in manner
and word, the knowledge that a desperate struggle could not
long be deferred, and the ever-increasing encroachments of
the Catholics, added to the gravity of their demeanour.
Sometimes, those present broke up into groups, talking in an
undertone. Sometimes the gathering took the form of a gen-
eral council. Occasionally some fugitive minister or a noble
from some district where the persecution was particularly fierce
would be present, and their narratives would be listened to
with stern faces by the elders, and with passionate indignation.
by the younger men. In spite of the decrees the countess
still retained her chaplain, and before the meetings broke up
prayers were offered by him for their persecuted brethren, and
for a speedy deliverance of those of the reformed religion from
the cruel disabilities under which they laboured.
Services were held night and morning in the chateau.
These were attended not only by all the residents, but by
many of the farmers and their families. The countess had
already received several warnings from the Catholic authori-
ties of the province; but to these she paid no attention, and
there were no forces available to enforce the decree in her case,
as it would require nothing short of an army to overcome the
opposition that might be expected, joined as she would be by
the other Huguenot gentry of the district.
MARIE VAILLANT, after remaining six weeks at the
chateau, returned to England, and Philip with a party
of twelve men escorted her to La Rochelle. Her visit was
cut short somewhat at the end by the imminence of the out-
break of hostilities, in which case she might have found a
difficulty in traversing the country. Moreover, La Rochelle
would probably be besieged soon after the war began; for
being both an important town and port the Catholics would
be anxious to obtain possession of it, and so cut off the
Huguenots from escape to England, besides rendering it diffi-
cult for Elizabeth to send a force to their assistance.
"It has been a pleasant time," the countess said on the
morning of her departure, "and your presence has taken me
back five-and-twenty years, Marie. I hope that when these
troubles are past you will again come over and spend a hap-
pier time with me. I was going to saj that I will look well
after Philip, but that I cannot do. He has cast his lot in with
us and must share our perils. I am greatly pleased with him,
and I am glad that Francois will have him as a. companion in
arms. Francois is somewhat impulsive and liable to be car-
ried away by his ardour, and Philip, although the younger, is,
it seems to me, the more thoughtful of the two. He is one
I feel I can have confidence in. He is grave, yet merry;
light-hearted in a way, and yet, I think, prudent and cautious.
It seems strange, but I shall part with Frangois with the more
comfort in the thought that he has Philip with him. Don't
come back more English than you are now, Marie, for truly
you seem to me to have fallen in love with the ways of these
"I will try not to, Emilie; but I should not like the cus-
toms did it not seem to me that they are better than my own.
In England Protestants and Catholics live side by side in
friendship, and there is no persecution of anyone for his re-
ligion; the Catholics who have suffered during the present
reign have done so not because they are Catholics, but because
they plotted against the queen. Would that in France men
would agree to worship, each in his own way, without rancour
"Tell Lucie that I am very sorry she did not come over
with you and Philip, and that it is only because you tell me
how occupied she is that I am not furiously angry with her.
Tell her, too," she went on earnestly, "that I feel she is one
of us, still a Huguenot, a Frenchwoman, and one of our race,
or she would never have allowed her only son to come over to
risk his life in our cause. I consider her a heroine, Marie.
It is all very well for me whose religion is endangered, whose
friends are in peril, whose people are persecuted, to throw
myself into the strife and to send Francois into the battle; but
with her, working there with an invalid husband, and her
heart, as it must be, wrapped up in her boy, it is splendid to
let him come out here to fight side by side with us for the
faith. Whose idea was it first? "
My husband's. Gaspard regards Philip almost in the light
of a son. He is a rich man now, as I told you, and Philip
will become his heir. Though he has no desire that he should
settle in France, he wished him to take his place in our family
here, to show himself worthy of his race, to become a brave
soldier, to win credit and honour, and to take his place per-
haps some day in the front rank of the gentry of Kent."
"They were worldly motives, Marie, and our ministers
would denounce them as sinful; but I cannot do so. I am a
Huguenot, but I am a countess of France, a member of one
noble family and married into another; and though, I believe,
as staunch a Huguenot and as ready to lay down my life for
our religion as any man or woman in France, yet I cannot give
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
up all the traditions of my rank, and hold that fame and
honour and reputation and courage are mere snares. But
such were not Lucie's feelings in letting him go, I will be
bound, nor yours."
"Mine partly," Marie said. "I am the wife now of a
trader, though one honoured in his class, but have still a little
of your feelings, Emilie, and remember that the blood of the
De Moulins runs in Philip's veins, and hope that he will do
credit to it. I don't think that Lucie has any such feelings.
She is wrapped up in duty-first her duty to God, secondly her
duty to her crippled husband, whom she adores; and I think
she regarded the desire of Philip to come out to fight in the
Huguenot ranks as a call that she ought not to oppose. I
know she was heart-broken at parting with him, and yet she
never showed it. Lucie is a noble character. Everyone who
knows her loves her. I believe the very farm labourers would
give their lives for her, and a more utterly unselfish creature
"Well, she must take a holiday and come over with you
next time you come, Marie. I hope that these troubles may
soon be over, though that is a thing one cannot foretell."
After seeing his aunt safely on board a ship at La Rochelle
Philip prepared to return to the chateau. He and his aunt
had stayed two nights at the house of Maitre Bertram, and on
his returning there the latter asked, "Have you yet found a
suitable servant, Monsieur Philip?"
"No; my cousin has been inquiring among the tenantry,
but the young men are all bent on fighting, and indeed there
are none of them who would make the sort of servant one
wants in a campaign-a man who can not only groom horses
and clean arms, but who knows something of war, can forage
for provisions, cook, wait at table, and has intelligence. One
wants an old soldier; one who has served in the same capacity
I only asked because I have had a man pestering me to
speak to you about him. He happened to see you ride off
when you were here last, and apparently became impressed
with the idea that you would be a good master. He is a
cousin of one of my men, and heard I suppose from him that
you were likely to return. He has been to me three or four
times. I have told him again and again that he was not the
sort of man I could recommend, but he persisted in begging
me to let him see you himself."
"What sort of a fellow is he? "
"Well, to tell you the truth he is a sort of ne'er-do-well,"
the merchant laughed. "I grant that he has not had much
chance. His father died when he was a child, and his mother
soon married again. There is no doubt that he was badly
treated at home, and when he was twelve he ran away. He
was taken back and beaten time after time, but in a few hours
he was always off again, and at last they let him go his own
way. There is nothing he hasn't turned his hand to. First
he lived in the woods, I fancy, and they say he was the most
arrant young poacher in the district, though he was so cun-
ning that he was never caught. At last he had to give that
up. Then he fished for a bit, but he couldn't stick to it. He
has been always doing odd jobs, turning his hand to whatever
turned up. He worked in a shipyard for a bit, then I took
him as a sort of errand-boy and porter. He didn't stop long,
and the next I heard of him he was servant at a priest's.
He has been a dozen other things, and for the last three or
four months he has been in the stables where your horse was
standing. I fancy you saw him there. Some people think he
is half a fool, but I don't agree with them; he is as sharp as
a needle to my mind. But, as I say, he has never had a fair
chance. A fellow like that without friends is sure to get
"Is he a young man of about one or two and twenty?"
Philip asked. I remember a fellow of about that age brought
out the horse, and as he seemed to me a shrewd fellow, and
had evidently taken great pains in grooming Robin, I gave
him a crown. I thought he needed it, for his clothes were
old and tattered, and he looked as if he hadn't had a hearty
meal for a week. Well, Maitre Bertram, can you tell me if
among his other occupations he has ever been charged with
"No, I have never heard that brought against him."
"Why did he leave you?"
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"It was from no complaint as to his honesty. Indeed he
left of his own accord after a quarrel with one of the men,
who was, as far as I could learn, in the wrong. I did not even
hear that he had left until a week after, and it was too late
then to go thoroughly into the matter. Boys are always
troublesome, and as everyone had warned me that Pierre
would turn out badly I gave the matter but little thought at
the time. Of course you will not think of taking the luckless
rascal as your servant."
I don't know. I will have a talk with him anyhow. A fel-
low like that would certainly be handy, but whether he could
be relied upon to behave discreetly and soberly and not to
bring me into discredit is a different matter. Is he here now?"
"He is below. Shall I send him up here to you?"
"No, I will go down and see him in the courtyard. If he
comes up here he would be perhaps awkward and unnatural,
and would not speak so freely as he would in the open air."
The merchant shook his head. "If you take the vagabond,
remember, Monsieur Philip, that it is altogether against my
advice. I would never have spoken to you about him if I
had imagined for a moment that you would think of taking
him. A fellow who has never kept any employment for two
months, how could he be fit for a post of confidence and be
able to mix as your body-servant with the households of
"But you said yourself, Maitre Bertram, that he has never
had a fair chance. Well, I will see him anyhow."
He descended into the courtyard, and could not help smil-
ing as his eye fell upon a figure seated on the horse-block.
He was looking out through the gateway, and did not at first
see Philip. The expression of his face was dull and almost
melancholy, but as Philip's eye fell on him his attention was
attracted by some passing object in the street. His face lit
up with amusement, his lips twitched and his eyes twinkled.
A moment later and the transient humour passed, and the
dull, listless expression again stole over his face.
"Pierre!" Philip said sharply. The young fellow started
to his feet as if shot upwards by a spring, and as he turned
and saw who had addressed him, took off his cap, and bowing
stood twisting it round in his fingers. "Monsieur Bertram
tells me you want to come with me as a servant, Pierre; but
when I asked him about you he does not give you such a char-
acter as one would naturally require in a confidential servant.
Is there anyone who will speak for you? "
"Not a soul," the young man said doggedly; "and yet,
monsieur, I am not a bad fellow. What can a man do when
he has not a friend in the world? He picks up a living as he
can, but everybody looks at him with suspicion. There is no
friend to take his part, and so people vent their ill-humours
upon him, till the time comes when he revolts at the injustice
and strikes back, and then he has to begin it all over again
somewhere else. And yet, sir, I know that I could be faithful
and true to anyone who would not treat me like a dog. You
spoke kindly to me in the stable, and gave me a crown; no
one had ever given me a crown before. But I cared less for
that than for the way you spoke. Then I saw you start, and
you spoke pleasantly to your men, and I said to myself, that
is the master I would serve if he would let me. Try me, sir,
and if you do not find me faithful, honest, and true to you,
tell your men to string me up to a bough. I do not drink,
and have been in so many services that, ragged as you see me,
I can yet behave so as not to do discredit to you."
Philip hesitated. There was no mistaking the earnestness
with which the youth spoke.
"Are you a Catholic or a Huguenot? he asked.
"I know nothing of the difference between them," Pierre
replied. "How should I? No one has ever troubled about
me one way or the other. When my mother lived I went to
Mass with her; since then I have gone nowhere. I have had
no Sunday clothes. I know that the bon Dieu has taken care
of me or I should have died of hunger long ago. The priest
I was with used to tell me that the Huguenots were worse than
heathen; but if that were so, why should they let themselves
be thrown into prison, and even be put to death, rather than
stay away from their churches. As for me, I know nothing
about it. They say monsieur is a Huguenot, and if he were
good enough to take me into his service, of course I should
be a Huguenot."
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"That is a poor reason, Pierre," Philip said smiling.
"Still, you may find better reasons in time. However, you are
not a Catholic, which is the principal thing at present. Well,
I will try you, I think. Perhaps, as you say, you have never
had a fair chance yet, and I will give you one. I believe
what you say, that you will be faithful."
The young fellow's face lit up with pleasure.
I will be faithful, sir. If I were otherwise I should deserve
to be cut in pieces."
"As for wages," Philip said, "I will pay you what you
deserve. We will settle that when we see how we get on
together. Now follow me and I will get some suitable clothes
There was no difficulty about this; clothes were not made
to fit closely in those days, and Philip soon procured a couple
of suits suitable for the serving-man of a gentleman of con-
dition. One was a riding-suit, with high boots, doublet, and
trunks of sober colour and of a strong tough material; a leather
sword-belt and sword, and a low hat thickly lined and quilted
and capable of resisting a heavy blow. The other suit was for
wear in the house; it was of dark-green cloth of a much finer
texture than the riding-suit, with cloth stockings of the same
colour coming up above the knee, and then meeting the trunks
or puffed breeches. A small cap with turned-up brim, fur-
nished with a few of the tail feathers of a black-cock, com-
pleted the costume; a dagger being worn in the belt instead of
the sword. Four woollen shirts, a pair of shoes, and a cloak
were added to the purchases, which were placed in a valise to
be carried behind the saddle.
"Is there any house where you can change your clothes,
Pierre? Of course you could do so at Monsieur Bertram's,
but some of the men I brought with me will be there, and it
would be just as well that they did not see you in your pres-
I can change at the stables, sir, if you will trust me with
Certainly, I will trust you. If I trust you sufficiently to
take you as my servant, I can surely trust you in a matter like
this. Do you know of anyone who has a stout nag for sale? "
Pierre knew of several, and giving Philip an address the
latter was not long in purchasing one, with saddle and bridle
complete. He ordered this to be sent at once to the stables
where Pierre had been employed, with directions that it was
to be handed over to his servant.
It was one o'clock in the day when Madame Vaillant em-
barked, and it was late in the afternoon before Philip returned
to Monsieur Bertram's house.
"What have you done about that vagabond Pierre? "
"I have hired him," Philip said.
"You don't say that you have taken him after what I have
told you about him! the merchant exclaimed.
"I have, indeed. He pleaded hard for a trial, and I am
going to give him one. I believe that he will turn out a useful
fellow. I am sure that he is shrewd, and he ought to be full
of expedients. As to his appearance, good food and decent
clothes will make him another man. I think he will turn out
a merry fellow when he is well fed and happy; and I must say,
Maitre Bertram, that I am not fond of long faces. Lastly, I
believe that he will be faithful."
"Well, well, well, I wash my hands of it altogether, Mon-
sieur Philip. I am sorry I spoke to you about him, but I
never for a moment thought you would take him. If harm
comes of it don't blame me."
"I will hold you fully acquitted," Philip laughed. "I own
that I have taken quite a fancy to him, and believe that he
will turn out well."
An hour later one of the domestics came in with word that
Monsieur Philip's servant was below, and wished to know if
he had any commands for him.
"Tell him to come up," Philip said, and a minute later
Pierre entered. He was dressed jn his dark-green costume.
He had had his hair cut, and presented an appearance so
changed that Philip would hardly have known him.
By my faith! the merchant said, "you have indeed trans-
formed him. He is not a bad-looking varlet, now that he has
got rid of that tangled crop of hair."
Pierre bowed low at the compliment.
"Fine feathers make fine birds, Monsieur Bertram," replied
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
Pierre. "It is the first time I have had the opportunity of
proving the truth of the proverb. I am greatly indebted to
monsieur for recommending me to my master."
"It is not much recommendation you got from me, Pierre,"
the merchant said bluntly; "for a more troublesome young
scamp I never had in my warehouse. Still, as I told Monsieur
Philip, I think everything has been against you, and I do
hope now that this English gentleman has given you a chance
that you will take advantage of it."
"I mean to, sir," the young fellow said earnestly, and with-
out a trace of the mocking smile with which he had first
spoken. "If I do not give my master satisfaction it will not
be for want of trying. I shall make mistakes at first-it will
all be strange to me, but I feel sure that he will make allow-
ances. I can at least promise that he will find me faithful and
"Has your horse arrived, Pierre? "
Yes, sire I saw him watered and fed before I came out.
Is it your wish that I should go round to the stables where
your horse and those of your troop are, and take charge of
your horse at once? "
"No, Pierre; the men will look after him as usual. We
will start at six in the morning. Be at the door on horseback
at that hour."
Pierre bowed and withdrew.
"I do not feel so sure as I did that you have made a bad
bargain, Monsieur Philip. As far as appearances go at any
rate, he would pass muster. Except that his cheeks want
filling out a bit, he is a nimble, active-looking young fellow,
and with that little moustache of his and his hair cut short he
is by no means ill-looking. I really should not have known
him. I think at present, he means what he says, though
whether he will stick to it is another matter altogether."
"I think he will stick to it," Philip said quietly. 'Put-
ting aside what he says about being faithful to me, he is shrewd
enough to see that it is a better chance than he is ever likely
to have again of making a start in life. He has been leading
a dog's life ever since he was a child, and to be well fed and
well clothed and fairly treated will be a wonderful change for
him. My only fear is that he may get into some scrape at the
chateau. I believe that he is naturally full of fun, and fun
is a thing that the Huguenots, with all their virtues, hardly
"A good thrashing will tame him of that," the merchant
Philip laughed. "I don't think I shall be driven to try
that. I don't say that servants are never thrashed in England,
but I have not been brought up among the class who beat their
servants. I think I shall be able to manage him without that.
If I can't we must part. I suppose there is no doubt, Monsieur
Bertram, how La Rochelle will go when the troubles begin? "
"I think not. All preparations are made on our part, and
as soon as the news comes that Cond6 and the Admiral have
thrown their flags to the wind, we shall seize the gates, turn
out all who oppose us, and declare for the cause. I do not
think it can be much longer delayed. I sent a trusty servant
yesterday to fetch back my daughter, who, as I told you, has
been staying with a sister of mine five or six leagues away. I
want to have her here before the troubles break out. It will
be no time for damsels to be wandering about the country
when swords are once out of their scabbards."
The next morning the little troop started early from La
Rochelle, Pierre riding gravely behind Philip. The latter
presently called him up to his side.
"I suppose you know the country round here well?"
"Every foot of it. I don't think that there is a pond in
which I have not laid my lines, not a streamlet of which I do
not know every pool, not a wood that I have not slept in nor
a hedge where I have not laid snares for rabbits. I could find
my way about as well by night as by day; and you know, sir,
that may be of use if you ever want to send a message into the
town when the Guises have got their troops lying outside."
Philip looked sharply at him. Oh, you think it likely that
the Guises will soon be besieging La Rochelle? "
"Anyone who keeps his ears open can learn that," Pierre
said quietly. "I haven't troubled myself about these matters.
It made no difference to me whether the Huguenots or the
Catholics were in the saddle; still, one doesn't keep one's
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
ears closed, and people talk freely enough before me. 'Pierre
does not concern himself with these things; the lad is half a
fool; he pays no attention to what is being said;' so they
would go on talking, and I would go on rubbing down a horse
or eating my black bread with a bit of cheese or an onion, or
whatever I might be about, and looking as if I did not even
know they were there. But I gathered that the Catholics think
that the Guises and Queen Catharine and Philip of Spain and
the Pope are going to put an end to the Huguenots altogether.
From those on the other side I learned that the Huguenots
will take the first step in La Rochelle, and that one fine morn-
ing the Catholics are likely to find themselves bundled out of
it. Then it doesn't need much sense to see that ere long we
shall be having a Catholic army down here to retake the place,
that is if the Huguenot lords are not strong enough to stop
them on their way."
"And you think the Catholics are not on their guard at all? "
"Not they," Pierre said contemptuously. "They have been
strengthening the walls and building fresh ones, thinking that
an attack might come from without from the Huguenots, and
all the time the people of that religion in the town have been
laughing in their sleeves and pretending to protest against
being obliged to help at the new works, but really paying and
working willingly. Why, they even let the magistrates arrest
and throw into prison a number of their party without saying
a word, so that the priests and the commissioners should think
they have got it entirely their own way. It has been fun
watching it all, and I had made up my mind to take to the
woods again directly it began. I had no part in the play, and
did not wish to run any risk of getting a ball through my head,
whether from a Catholic or a Huguenot arquebus. Now of
course it is all different. Monsieur is a Huguenot, and there-
fore so am I. It is the Catholic bullets that will be shot at
me, and as no one likes to be shot at I shall soon hate the
Catholics cordially, and shall be ready to do them any ill-turn
that you may desire."
"And you think that if necessary, Pierre, you could carry
a message into the town, even though the Catholics were
camped round it."
Pierre nodded. "I have never seen a siege, master, and
don't know how close the soldiers might stand round a town;
but I think that if a rabbit could get through I could, and if
I could not get in by land I could manage somehow to get
in by water."
But such matters as this do not come within your service,
Pierre. Your duties are to wait on me when not in the field,
to stand behind my chair at meals, and to see that my horses
are well attended to by the stable varlets. When we take the
field you will not be wanted to fight, but will look after my
things; will buy food and cook it, get dry clothes ready for
me to put on if I come back soaked with rain, and keep an
eye upon my horses. Two of the men-at-arms will have
special charge of them; they will groom and feed them. But
if they are away with me they cannot see after getting forage
for them, and it will be for you to get hold of that, either by
buying it from the villagers or employing a man to cut it. At
any rate to see that there is food for them as well as for me
when the day's work is over."
"I understand that, master; but there are times when a lad
who can look like a fool but is not altogether one can carry
messages and make himself very useful, if he does not place
over much value on his life. When you want anything done,
no matter what it is, you have only to tell me, and it will be
done if it is possible."
In the afternoon of the second day after starting they ap-
proached the chateau. The old sergeant of the band, who
with two of his men was riding a hundred yards ahead,
checked his horse and rode back to Philip.
"There is something of importance doing, Monsieur Philip;
the flag is flying over the chateau. I have not seen it hoisted
before since my lord's death, and I can make out horsemen
galloping to and from the gates."
"We will gallop on then," Philip said, and in ten minutes
they arrived. Frangois ran down the steps as Philip alighted
in the courtyard.
"I am glad you have come, Philip. I had already given
orders for a horseman to ride to meet you, and tell you to
hurry on. The die is cast at last. There was a meeting yes-
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
terday at the Admiral's; a messenger came to my mother from
my cousin, Francois de la Notie. The Admiral and Cond6
had received news from a friend at court that there had been
a secret meeting of the Royal Council, and that it had been
settled that the Prince should be thrown into prison and
Coligny executed. The Swiss troops were to be divided be-
tween Paris, Orleans, and Poitiers. The edict of toleration
was to be annulled, and instant steps taken to suppress Hugue-
not worship by the sternest measures. In spite of this news
the Admiral still urged patience; but his brother, D'Andelot,
took the lead among the party of action, and pointed out that
if they waited until they, the leaders, were all dragged away
to prison, resistance by the Huguenots would be hopeless.
Since the last war over three thousand Huguenots had been
put to violent deaths. Was this number to be added to in-
definitely? Were they to wait until their wives and children
were in the hands of the executioners before they moved?
His party were in the majority, and the Admiral reluctantly
yielded. Then there was a discussion as to the steps to be
taken. Some proposed the seizure of Orleans and other large
towns, and that with these in their hands they should nego-
tiate with the court for the dismissal of the Swiss troops, as
neither toleration nor peace could be hoped for as long as this
force was at the disposal of the Cardinal of Lorraine and his
"This council, however, was overruled. It was pointed
out that at the beginning of the last war the Huguenots held
fully a hundred towns, but nearly all were wrested from their
hands before its termination. It was finally resolved that all
shall be prepared for striking a. heavy blow, and that the ris-
ing shall be arranged to take place throughout France on the
29th of September. That an army shall take the field, dis-
perse the Swiss, seize if possible the Cardinal of Lorraine,
and at any rate petition the king for a redress of grievances,
for a removal of the Cardinal from his councils, and for send-
ing all foreign troops out of the kingdom. We have, you see,
a fortnight to prepare. We have just sent out messengers to
all our Huguenot friends, warning them that the day is fixed,
that their preparations are to be made quietly, and that we
will notify them when the hour arrives. All are exhorted to
maintain an absolute silence upon the subject, while seeing
that their tenants and retainers are in all respects ready to
take the field."
"Why have you hoisted your flag, Francois? That will
only excite attention."
"It is my birthday, Philip, and'the flag is supposed to be
raised in my honour. This will serve as an excuse for the
assemblage of our friends, and the gathering of the tenants.
It has been arranged, as you know, that I, and of course you,
are to ride with De la Notie, who is a most gallant gentleman,
and that our contingent is to form part of his command. I
am heartily glad this long suspense is over, and that at last
we are going to meet the treachery of the court by force.
Too long have we remained passive, while thousands of our
friends have in defiance of the edicts been dragged to prison
and put to death. Fortunately the court is, as it was before
the last war, besotted with the belief that we are absolutely
powerless, and we have every hope of taking them by
"I also am glad that war has been determined upon,"
Philip said. "Since I have arrived here I have heard noth-
ing but tales of persecution and cruelty. I quite agree with
you that the time has come when the Huguenots must either
fight for their rights, abandon the country altogether and go
into exile, as so many have already done, or renounce their
"I see you have a new servant, Philip. He is an active,
likely-looking lad, but rather young. He can know nothing
"I believe he is a very handy fellow, with plenty of sense
and shrewdness; and if he can do the work, I would rather
have a man of that age than an older one. It is different with
you. You are Francois, Count de Laville, and your servant
whatever his age would hold you in respect; I am younger
and of far less consequence, and an old servant might want to
take me under his tuition. Moreover, if there is hard work
to be done for me I would rather have a young fellow like this
doing it than an older man."
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"You are always making out that you are a boy, Philip.
You don't look it, and you are going to play a man's part."
"I mean to play it as far as I can, Frangois; but that does
not really make me a day older."
"Well, mind, not a word to a soul as to the day fixed on."
For the next fortnight the scene at the chateau was a busy
one. Huguenot gentlemen came and went. The fifty men-
at-arms who were to accompany Francois were inspected, and
their arms and armour served out to them. The tenantry
came up in small parties, and were also provided with weap-
ons, offensive and defensive, from the armoury, so that they
might be in readiness to assemble for the defence of the
chateau at the shortest notice. All were kept in ignorance as
to what was really going on; but it was felt that a crisis was
approaching, and there was an expression of grim satisfaction
on the stern faces of the men that showed they rejoiced at
the prospect of a termination to the long passive suffering
which they had borne at the hands of the persecutors of their
faith. Hitherto they themselves had suffered but little, for
the Huguenots were strong in the south of Poitou, while in
Niort, the nearest town to the chateau, the Huguenots, if not
in an absolute majority, were far too strong to be molested by
the opposite party. Nevertheless here, and in all other towns,
public worship was suspended, and it was only in the chateaux
and castles of the nobles that the Huguenots could gather to
worship without fear of interruption or outrage. There was
considerable debate as to whether Frangois' troop should
march to join the Admiral at Chatillon-sur-Loing, or should
proceed to the south-east, where parties were nearly equally
balanced; but the former course was decided upon. The
march itself would be more perilous, but as Cond6, the Ad-
miral, and his brother D'Andelot would be with the force
gathered there, it was the most important point; and more-
over Frangois de la Notie would be there.
So well was the secret of the intended movement kept, that
the French court, which was at Meaux, had no idea of the
danger that threatened, and when a report of the intentions
of the Huguenots came from the Netherlands, it was received
with incredulity. A spy was, however, sent to Chatillon to
report upon what the Admiral was doing, and he returned with
the news that he was at home, and was busily occupied in
superintending his vintage.
On the evening of the 26th the troop, fifty strong, mustered
in the courtyard of the chateau. All were armed with breast
and back pieces and steel caps, and carried lances as well as
swords. In addition to this troop were Philip's four men-at-
arms, and four picked men, who were to form FranCois' body-
guard, one of them carrying his banner. He took as his
body-servant a man who had served his father in that capac-
ity. He and Pierre wore lighter armour than the others, and
carried no lances. Francois and Philip were both in com-
plete armour, Philip donning for the first time that given to
him by his uncle.
Neither of them carried lances, but were armed with swords,
light battle-axes, and pistols. Before mounting service was
held; the pastor offered up prayers for the blessing of God
upon their arms, and for his protection over each and all, of
them in the field. The countess herself made them a stirring
address, exhorting them to remember that they fought for the
right to worship God unmolested, and for the lives of those
dear to them. Then she tenderly embraced her son and
Philip, the trumpets sounded to horse, and the party rode out
from the gates of the chateau. As soon as they were away the
two young leaders took off their helmets and handed them to
their attendants, who rode behind them. Next to these came
their eight body-guards, who were followed by the captain and
"It may be that this armour will be useful on the day of
battle," Philip said, "but at present it seems to me, Frangois,
that I would much rather be without it."
"I quite agree with you, Philip. If we had only to fight
with gentlemen, armed with swords, I would gladly go into
battle unprotected; but against men with lances, one needs a
defence. However, I do not care so much now that I have
got rid of the helmet, which, in truth, is a heavy burden."
"Methinks, Frangois, that armour will ere long be aban-
doned, now that arquebuses and cannon are coming more and
more into use. Against them they give no protection, and it
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
were better, methinks, to have lightness and freedom of
action, than to have the trouble of wearing all this iron stuff
merely as a protection against lances. You have been trained
to wear armour, and therefore feel less inconvenience; but I
have never had as much as a breast-plate on before, and I feel
at present as if I had almost lost the use of my arms. I think
that at any rate I shall speedily get rid of these arm-pieces;
the body armour I don't so much mind, now that I am fairly
in the saddle. The leg-pieces are not as bad as those on the
arms; I was scarcely able to walk in them; still now that I
am mounted I do not feel them much. But if I am to be of
any use in a mtle I must have my arms free, and trust to my
sword to protect them."
"I believe that some have already given them up, Philip;
and if you have your sleeves well wadded and quilted, I think
you might if you like give up the armour. The men-at-arms
are not so protected, and it is only when you meet a noble in
full armour that you would be at a disadvantage."
I don't think it would be a disadvantage, for I could strike
twice with my arms free to once with them so confined."
"There is one thing, you will soon become accustomed to
"Not very soon, I fancy, Frangois. You know, you have
been practising in it almost since you were a child, and yet
you admit that you feel a great difference. Still, I daresay as
the novelty wears off I shall get accustomed to it to some
TAKING THE FIELD
A GUIDE thoroughly acquainted with the country rode
ahead of the party, carrying a lantern fixed at the back
of his saddle. They had, after leaving the chateau, begun
to mount the lofty range of hills behind. The road crossing
these was a mere track, and they were glad when they began
to descend on the other side. They crossed the Clain river
some ten miles above Poitiers, a few miles farther forded the
Vienne, crossed the Gartempe at a bridge at the village of
Montmorillon, and an hour later halted in a wood, just as
daylight was breaking, having ridden nearly fifty miles since
leaving the chateau.
So far they had kept to the south of the direct course in
order to cross the rivers near their sources.
Every man carried provisions for himself and his horse,
and as soon as they had partaken of a hearty meal the armour
was unstrapped, and all threw themselves down for a long
sleep; sentries being first placed, with orders to seize any
peasants who might enter the wood to gather fuel. With the
exception of the sentries, who were changed every hour, the
rest slept until late in the afternoon, then the horses were
again fed and groomed, and another meal was eaten. At
sunset the armour was buckled on again, and they started.
They crossed the Creuse at the bridge of Argenton about
midnight, and riding through La Chatre halted before morn-
ing in a wood two miles from St. Amand. Here the day was
passed as the previous one had been.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"Tell me, Francois," Philip said, as they were waiting for
the sun to go down, "something about your cousin De la
Noie. As we are to ride with him, it is as well to know
something about him. How old is he? "
"He is thirty-six, and there is no braver gentleman in
France. As you know, he is of a Breton family, one of the
most illustrious of the province. He is connected with the
great houses of Chateau-Briant and Matignon. As a boy he
was famous for the vigour and strength that he showed in
warlike exercises, but was in other respects, I have heard, of
an indolent disposition, and showed no taste for reading or
books of any kind. As usual among the sons of noble fami-
lies he went up to the court of Henry II. as a page, and when
there became seized with an ardour for study, especially that
of ancient and modern writers who treated on military sub-
jects. As soon as he reached manhood he joined the army in
Piedmont, under Marshal de Brissac, that being the best mili-
tary school of the time.
"On his return he showed the singular and affectionate kind-
ness of his nature. His mother, unfortunately, while he was
away, had become infected with the spirit of gambling, and
the king, who had noted the talent and kind disposition of
the young page, thought to do him a service by preventing
his mother squandering the estates in play. He therefore
took the management of her affairs entirely out of her hands,
appointing a royal officer to look after them. Now most
young men would have rejoiced at becoming masters of their
estates, but the first thing that Frangois did on his return was
to go to the king, and solicit as a personal favour that his
mother should be reinstated in the management of her estates.
This was granted, but a short time afterwards she died. De
la Noiie retired from court, and settled in Brittany upon his
estates, which were extensive.
"Shortly afterwards D'Andelot, Coligny's brother, who was
about to espouse Madamoiselle De Rieux, the richest heiress
in Brittany, paid a visit there. He had lately embraced our
faith and was bent upon bringing over others to it, and he
brought down with him to Brittany a famous preacher named
Cormel. His preaching in the chateau attracted large num-
TAKING THE FIELD
bers of people, and although Brittany is perhaps the most
Catholic province in France, he made many converts. Among
these was De la Noiie, then twenty-seven years old. Recog-
nizing his talent and influence, D'Andelot had made special
efforts to induce him to join the ranks of the Huguenots, and
succeeded. My cousin, who previous to that had, I believe,
no special religious views, became a firm Huguenot. As you
might expect with such a man, he is in no way a fanatic, and
does not hold the extreme views that we have learned from
the preachers of Geneva. He is a staunch Huguenot; but he
is gentle, courtly, and polished, and has, I believe, the regard
of men of both parties. He is a personal friend of the Guises,
and was appointed by them as one of the group of nobles who
accompanied Marie Stuart to Scotland.
"When the war broke out in 1562, after the massacre of
Vassy, he joined the standard of Cond6. He fought at Dreux,
and distinguished himself by assisting the Admiral to draw off
our beaten army in good order. The assassination of Francois
de Guise, as you know, put an end to that war. De la Noie
bitterly regretted the death of Guise, and after peace was made
retired to his estates in Brittany, where he has lived quietly
for the last four years. I have seen him several times, because
he has other estates in Poitou, within a day's ride of us. I
have never seen a man I admire so much. He is all for peace,
though he is a distinguished soldier. While deeply religious,
he has yet the manners of a noble of the court party. He has
no pride, and he is loved by the poor as well as by the rich.
He would have done anything to have avoided war; but you
will see that, now the war has begun, he will be one of our
foremost leaders. I can tell you, Philip, I consider myself
fortunate indeed that I am going to ride in the train of so
brave and accomplished a gentleman."
During the day they learned from a peasant of a ford cross-
ing the Cher, two or three miles below St. Amand. Entering
a village near the crossing-place, they found a peasant who
was willing for a reward to guide them across the country to
Briare, on the Loire-their first guide had returned from their
first halting-place,-and the peasant being placed on a horse
behind a man-at-arms, took the lead. Their pace was much
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
slower than it had been the night before, and it was almost
daybreak when they passed the bridge at Briare, having ridden
over forty miles. They rode two or three miles into the
mountains after crossing the Loire, and then halted.
We must give the horses twenty-four hours here," FranCois
said. "I don't think it is above twenty miles on to Chatillon-
sur-Loing; but it is all through the hills, and it is of no use
arriving there with the horses so knocked up as to be useless
for service. We have done three tremendous marches, and
anyhow we shall be there long before the majority of the
parties from the west and south can arrive. The Admiral and
Cond6 will no doubt be able to gather sufficient strength from
Champagne and the north of Burgundy for his purpose of tak-
ing the court by surprise. I am afraid there is but little
chance of their succeeding. It is hardly possible that so
many parties of Huguenots can have been crossing the country
in all directions to the Admiral's without an alarm being
given. Meaux is some sixty miles from Chatillon, and if the
court get the news only three or four hours before Cond6
arrives there, they will be able to get to Paris before he can
cut them off."
In fact, even while they were speaking the court was in safety.
The Huguenots of Champagne had their rendezvous at Rosoy,
a little more than twenty miles from Meaux, and they began
to arrive there in the afternoon of the 28th. The Prince of
Cond6, who was awaiting them, feeling sure that the news of
the movement must in a few hours at any rate be known at
Meaux, marched for Lagny on the Marne, established himself
there late in the evening and seized the bridge. The news,
however, had as he feared already reached the court, and mes-
sages had been despatched in all haste to order up six thousand
Swiss troops, who were stationed at Chateau-Thierry, thirty
miles higher up the Marne.
During the hours that elapsed before their arrival, the court
was in a state of abject alarm; but at one o'clock the Swiss
arrived, and two hours later the court set out under their pro-
tection for Paris. The Prince of Conde, who had with him
but some four hundred gentlemen, for the most part armed
only with swords, met the force as it passed by Lagny. He
TAKING THE FIELD
engaged in a slight skirmish with it, but being unable with his
lightly-armed followers to effect anything against the solid
body of the Swiss mountaineers armed with their long pikes,
he fell back to await reinforcements, and the court reached
Paris in safety.
A messenger had arrived at Chatillon with the news when
Francois and Philip rode in. The castle gate stood open.
Numbers of Huguenot gentlemen were standing in excited
groups discussing the news.
"There is my cousin De la Notie 1" Francois exclaimed as
he alighted from his horse. "This is good fortune. I was
wondering what we should do if we did not find him here,"
and he made his way to where a singularly handsome gentle-
man was talking with several others.
"Ah, Francois, is that you? Well arrived indeed! Gen-
tlemen, this is my cousin and namesake, Francois de Laville.
He has ridden across France to join us. Is that your troop,
Frangois, entering the gate now? Ah, yes, I see your banner.
By my faith it is the best accoutred body we have seen yet,
they make a brave show with their armour and lances. The
countess has indeed shown her good-will right worthily, and
it is no small credit to you that you should have brought them
across from the other side of Poitou, and yet have arrived here
before many who live within a few leagues of the castle. And
who is this young gentleman with you? "
"It is my cousin, Philip Fletcher, son of my mother's sister
Lucie. I spoke to you of his coming to us when you were at
Laville three months since. He has come over in order
that he may venture his life on behalf of our religion and
I am glad to welcome you, young sir. We are, you see,
connections, I being Philip's first cousin on his father's side,
and you on that of his mother. Your spirit in coming over
here shows that you inherit the bravery of your mother's race,
and I doubt not that we shall find that the mixture with the
sturdy stock of England will have added to its qualities.
Would that your queen would but take her proper place as
head of a league of the Protestants of Europe, our cause would
then be well-nigh won without the need of striking a blow."
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"Is it true, cousin, that the court has escaped to Paris?"
"Yes. I would that Cond6 had had but a few hours longer
before they took the alarm, another day and he would have
had such a gathering as it would have puzzled the Swiss to
have got through. His forces were double yesterday, and
eight hundred have ridden forth from here this morning to
join him. I myself, though I made all speed, arrived but two
hours since, and shall with all who come in this evening ride
forward to-morrow. The Admiral, and his brother the Car-
dinal of Chatillon, will go with us. D'Andelot is already
with Cond6. Now as your troop is to ride with mine, I will
see that they are disposed for the night together, and that
their wants are attended to. My men have picketed their
horses just outside the castle moat; for, as you see, we are
crowded here with gentlemen and their personal followers, and
it would be impossible to make room for all. I will take your
officer to the seneschal, who will see that your men are pro-
vided with bread, meat, and wine. Ah, Captain Montpace,
you are in command of the troop, I see. I thought the coun-
tess would send so experienced a soldier with them, and I am
proud to have such a well-appointed troop behind me. None
so well armed and orderly have yet arrived. My own at present
are forty strong, and have, like you, made their way across
France from Poitou.
"I could not bring my Bretons," he said turning to Francois.
"The Huguenots there are but a handful among the Catholics.
Happily on my estates they are good friends together, but I
could not call away men from their homes at a time like this.
Now, Captain Montpace, I will show you where your men are
to bivouac next to my own. Then if you will come with me
to the seneschal, rations shall be served out to them. Are
your horses fit for another journey? "
"They will be by to-morrow morning, Count. They have
only come from this side of Briare this morning, but though
the journey is not long the road is heavy. They had twenty-
four hours' rest before that, which they needed sorely, having
travelled from Laville in three days."
"Draw a good supply of forage for them from the maga-
zines," De la Noiie said. "See that the saddle-bags are well
TAKING THE FIELD
filled in the morning. There is another heavy day's work
before them, and then they can take a good rest."
Frangois and Philip accompanied the troop, and waited
until they saw that they were supplied with provisions and
forage, and with straw for lying down on, then they re-entered
the castle. De la Noiie presented them to many of his friends,
and then took them into the Admiral. He quite fulfilled the
anticipations that Philip had formed of him. He was of tall
figure, with a grave but kindly face. He was dressed entirely
in black, with puffed trunks, doublet to match, and a large
turned-down collar. As was usual, he wore over his shoulders
a loose jacket with a very high collar, the empty sleeves hang-
ing down on either side. When riding, the arms were thrust
into these. He wore a low soft cap with a narrow brim all
round. The expression of his face, with its short-pointed
beard, moustache, and closely-trimmed whiskers, was melan-
choly. The greatest captain of his age, he was more reluc-
tant than any of his followers to enter upon civil war, and the
fact that he felt that it was absolutely necessary to save
Protestantism from being extinguished in blood, in no way
reconciled him to it.
He received Francois and his cousin kindly. I am glad,"
he said to the former, to see the representative of the Lavilles
here. Your father was a dear friend of mine, and fell fighting
bravely by my side. I should have been glad to have had you
riding among my friends, but it is better still for you to be
with your cousin De la Noiie, who is far more suitable as a
leader and guide for youth than I am. You can follow no
better example. I am glad also," he said turning to Philip,
"to have another representative of the old family of the De
Moulins here, and to find that though transplanted to England
it still retains its affection for France. I trust that ere long
I may have many of your countrymen fighting by my side.
We have the same interests, and if the Protestant nations
would unite, the demand for the right of all men, Catholic and
Protestant, to worship according to their consciences could no
longer be denied. I regret that your queen does not permit
free and open worship to her Catholic subjects, since her not
doing so affords some sort of excuse to Catholic kings and
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
princes. Still I know that this law is not put rigidly into
force, and that the Catholics do in fact exercise the rights of
their religion without hindrance or persecution; and above all
that there is no violent ill-will between the people of the two
religions. Would it were so here. Were it not that you are
going to ride with my good friend here, I would have said a
few words to you, praying you to remember that you are fighting
not for worldly credit and honour, but for a holy cause, and it
behoves you to bear yourselves gravely and seriously; but no
such advice is needed to those who come under his influence."
Leaving the Count de la Noiie in conversation with the
Admiral, Francois and Philip made their way to the hall, where
the tables were laid, so that all who came, at whatever hour,
could at once obtain food. Their own servants, who were
established in the castle, waited upon them.
I think that lackey of yours will turn out a very useful
fellow, Philip," Francois said as they left the hall. "He is
quick and willing, and he turned out our dinner yesterday in
good fashion. It was certainly far better cooked than it had
been by Charles the day before."
"I fancy Pierre has done a good deal of cooking in the
open air," Philip said, "and we shall find that he is capable
of turning out toothsome dishes from very scanty materials."
"I am glad to hear it, for though I am ready to eat horse-
flesh if necessary, I see not why because we happen to be at
war one should have to spoil one's teeth by gnawing at meat
as hard as leather. Soldiers are generally bad cooks, they are
in too much haste to get their food at the end of a long day's
work to waste much time with the cooking. Here comes La
Will you order your troop to be again in the saddle at five
o'clock in the morning, De Laville," the Count said. I start
with a party of two hundred at that hour. There will be my
own men and yours, the rest will be gentlemen and their
"I would that it had been three hours later," Frangois said
as the Count left them and moved away, giving similar orders
to the other gentlemen. "I own I hate moving before it is
light. There is nothing ruffles the temper so much as getting
TAKING THE FIELD
up in the dark, fumbling with your buckles and straps, and
finding everyone else just as surly and cross as you feel your-
self. It was considered a necessary part of my training that
I should turn out and arm myself at all times of the night.
It was the part of my exercises that I hated the most."
Philip laughed. "It will not make much difference here,
Frangois. I don't like getting out of a warm bed myself on a
dark winter's morning, but as there will be certainly no
undressing to-night, and we shall merely have to get up and
shake the straw off us, it will not matter much. By half-past
five it will be beginning to get light. At any rate we should
not mind it to-morrow, as it will be really our first day of
Up to a late hour fresh arrivals continued to pour in, and
the cooks and servants of the castle were kept hard at work
administering to the wants of the hungry and tired men.
There was no regular set meal, each man feeding as he was
disposed. After it became dark all the gentlemen of family
gathered in the upper part of the great hall, and there sat talk-
ing by the light of torches until nine, then the Admiral with
a few of the nobles who had been in consultation with him
joined them, and a quarter of an hour later a pastor entered
and prayers were read. Then a number of retainers came in
with trusses of straw, which were shaken down thickly beside
the walls, and as soon as this was done, all present prepared
to lie down.
"The trumpet will sound, gentlemen," Frangois de la NoUie
said in a loud voice, "at half-past four, but this will only
concern those who, as it has already been arranged, will ride
with me-the rest will set out with the Admiral at seven. I
pray each of you who go with me to bid his servant cut off a
goodly portion of bread and meat to take along with him, and
to place a flask or two of wine in his saddle-bags, for our ride
will be a long one, and we are not likely to be able to obtain
refreshment on our way."
"I should have thought," FranQois said, as he lay down on
the straw by Philip's side, "that we should have passed through
plenty of places where we could obtain food. Whether we go
direct to Paris, or by the road by Lagny, we pass through
Nemours and Ml6un."
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"These places may not open their gates to us, Frangois,
and in that case probably we should go through Montereau
and Rosoy, and it may be considered that those who have
already gone through to join Cond& may have pretty well
stripped both places of provisions."
The trumpet sounded at half-past four. The torches were
at once relighted by the servants, and the gentlemen belong-
ing to La Noiie's party rose, and their servants assisted them
to buckle on their armour. They gave them instructions as
to taking some food with them, and prepared for their journey
by an attack on some cold joints that had been placed on a
table at the lower end of the hall. There was a scene of
bustle and confusion in the courtyard as the horses were
brought up by the retainers. The Admiral himself was there
to see the party off, and as they mounted each issued out and
joined the men drawn up outside. Before starting, the min-
ister according to Huguenot custom held a short service, and
then with a salute to the Admiral, La Notie took his place at
their head and rode away.
With him went some twenty or thirty gentlemen, behind
whom rode their body-servants. After these followed some
fifty men-at-arms and the troops of La Notie and Laville. As
soon as they were off La Note reined in his horse so as to
ride in the midst of his friends, and chatted gaily with them
as they went along. An hour and a half's brisk riding took
them to Montargis.. Instead of keeping straight on, as most
of those present expected, the two men who were riding a short
distance in advance of the column turned sharp off to the left
in the middle of the town.
"I am going to give you a surprise, gentlemen," De la
Note said with a smile. "I will tell you what it is when we
are once outside the place."
"I suppose," one of the gentlemen from the province, who
was riding next to Philip, said, "we are going to strike the
main road from Orleans north; to ride through Etampes, and
take post between Versailles and Paris on the south side of
the river, while the Prince and his following beleaguer the
place on the north. It is a bold plan thus to divide our
forces, but I suppose the Admiral's party will follow us, and
TAKING THE FIELD
by taking post on the south side of the river we shall straiten
Paris for provisions."
"Gentlemen," the Count said, when they had issued from
the streets of Montargis, "I can now tell you the mission
which the Admiral has done me the honour to confide to me.
It was thought best to keep the matter an absolute secret until
we were thus fairly on our way, because, although we hope
and believe that there is not a man at Chatillon who is not to
be trusted, there may possibly be a spy of the Guises there,
and it would have been wrong to run the risk of betrayal.
Well, my friends, our object is the capture of Orleans."
An exclamation of surprise broke from many of his hearers.
"It seems a bold enterprise to undertake with but little
over two hundred men," La Noie went on with a smile; "but
we have friends there. D'Andelot has been for the last ten
days in communication with one of them. We may of course
expect to meet with a stout resistance, but with the advantage
of a surprise and with so many gallant gentlemen with me, I
have no shadow of fear as to the result. I need not point
out to you how important its possession will be to us. It will
keep'open a road to the south, will afford a rallying-place for
all our friends in this part of France, and the news of its cap-
ture will give immense encouragement to our co-religionists
throughout the country. Besides it will counterbalance the
failure to seize the court, and will serve as an example to
others to attempt to obtain possession of strong places. We
shall ride at an easy pace to-day, for the distance is long and
the country hilly. We could not hope to arrive there until
too late to finish our work before dark. Moreover, most of
our horses have already had very hard work during the past
few days. We have started early in order that we may have a
halt of four hours in the middle of the day. We are to be
met to-night by our friend, the Master of Grelot, five miles
this side of the city; he will tell us what arrangements have
been made for facilitating our entrance."
"This is a glorious undertaking, Philip, is it not?" Fran-
9ois said. "Until now I have been thinking how unfortunate
we were in being too late to ride with Cond6. Now I see
that what I thought was a loss has turned out a gain."
ST. RARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
"You do not think Cond6 will be able to do anything
against Paris?" Philip asked.
"Certainly not at present. What can some fifteen hundred
horsemen and as many infantry (and he will have no more
force than that for another three or four days) do against Paris
with its walls and its armed population, and the Guises and
their friends and retainers, to say nothing of the six thousand
Swiss? If our leaders thought they were going to fight at once
they would hardly have sent two hundred good troops off in
another direction. I expect we shall have plenty of time to
get through this and other expeditions and then to join the
Prince in front of Paris before any serious fighting takes
"Do you know how far it is across the hills to Orleans?"
Philip asked the gentleman next to him on the other side.
"It is over fifty miles, but how much more I do not know.
I am a native of the province, but I have never travelled along
this road, which can be but little used. East of Montargis
the traffic goes by the great road through Ml6un to Paris, while
the traffic of Orleans, of course, goes north through Etampes."
They rode on until noon, and then dismounted by a stream,
watered and fed the horses, partook of a meal from the con-
tents of their saddle-bags, and then rested for four hours to
recruit the strength of their horses. The soldiers mostly
stretched themselves on the sward and slept. A few of the
gentlemen did the same, but most of them sat chatting in
groups, discussing the enterprise upon which they were en-
gaged. Francois and Philip went among their men with Cap-
tain Montpace, inspected the horses, examined their shoes,
saw that fresh nails were put in where required, chatting with
the men as they did so.
I felt sure we should not be long before we were engaged
on some stirring business," the Captain said. "The Count
de la Noiie is not one to let the grass grow under his feet. I
saw much of him in the last campaign, and the count, your
father, had a very'high opinion of his military abilities. At
first he was looked upon somewhat doubtfully in our camp,
seeing that he did not keep a long face, but was ready with
a jest and a laugh with high and low, and that he did not
TAKING THE FIELD
affect the soberness of costume favoured by our party; but
that soon passed off when it was seen how zealous he was in
the cause; how ready to share in any dangerous business,
while he set an example to all by the cheerfulness with which
he bore fatigue and hardship. Next to the Admiral himself
and his brother D'Andelot there was no officer more highly
thought of by the troops. This is certainly a bold enterprise
that he has undertaken now, if it be true what I have heard
since we halted that we are going to make a dash at Orleans.
It is a big city for two hundred men to capture, even though
no doubt we have numbers of friends within the walls."
"All the more glory and credit to us, Montpace," Frangois
said gaily. "Why, the news that Orleans is captured will
send a thrill through France, and will everywhere encourage
our friends to rise against our oppressors. We are sure to
take them by surprise, for they will believe that all the Hu-
guenots in this part of France are hastening to join the Prince
At four o'clock the party got in motion again, and an hour
after dark entered a little village among the hills about five
miles north of the town. De la Noie at once placed a cor-
don of sentries, with orders that neither man, woman, nor
child was to be allowed to leave it. Orders were issued to
the startled peasants that all were to keep within their doors
at the peril of their lives. The horses were picketed in the
street, and the soldiers stowed in barns; trusses of straw were
strewn round a fire for La Noiie and the gentlemen who fol-
lowed him. At eight o'clock two videttes thrown forward
some distance along the road rode in with a horseman. It was
the Master of Grelot, who, as he rode up to the fire, was
heartily greeted by the Count.
"I am glad to find you here, Count," he said; "I knew you
to be a man of your word, but in warfare things often occur
to upset the best calculations."
"Is everything going on well at Orleans?" De la Notie
"Everything. I have made all my arrangements. A party
of five-and-twenty men I can depend on will to-morrow morn-
ing at seven o'clock gather near the gate this side of the town.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
They will come up in twos and threes, and just as the guard
are occupied in unbarring the gate they will fall upon them.
The guard is fifteen strong, and as they will be taken by sur-
prise they will be able to offer but a faint resistance. Of
course you with your troop will be lying in readiness near.
As soon as they have taken possession of the gateway the
party will issue out and wave a white flag as a signal to you
that all is clear, and you will be in before the news that the
gateway has been seized can spread. After that you will know
what to do. In addition to the men who are to carry out the
enterprise you will shortly be joined by many others. Word
has been sent round to our partisans that they may speedily
expect deliverance, and bidding them be prepared whenever
they are called upon to take up their arms and join those who
come to free them.
"A large number of the town-folk are secretly either wholly
with us or well disposed towards us, and although some will
doubtless take up arms on the other side, I think that with
the advantage of the surprise and with such assistance as our
party can give you, there is every chance of bringing the
enterprise to a successful issue. One of our friends, who has
a residence within a bow-shot of the gates, has arranged with
me that your troop, arriving there before daylight, shall at
once enter his grounds, where they will be concealed from the
sight of any country people going towards the city.
"From the upper windows the signal can be seen, and if
you are mounted and ready you can be there in three or four
minutes, and it will take longer than that before the alarm can
spread, and the Catholics muster strongly enough to recapture
"Admirably arranged," the Count said warmly. "With a
plan so well laid our scheme can hardly fail of success. If
we only do our part as well as you have done yours, Orleans
is as good as won. Now, gentlemen, I advise you to toss off
one more goblet of wine, and then to wrap yourselves up in
your cloaks for a few hours' sleep. We must be in the saddle
soon after four, so as to be off the road by five."
At that hour the troop led by the Master of Grelot turned
in at the gate of the chateau. The owner was awaiting them,
TAKING THE FIELD
and gave them a cordial welcome. The men were ordered to
dismount and stand by their horses, while the leaders fol-
lowed their host into the house, where a repast had been laid
out for them, while some servitors took out baskets of bread
and flagons of wine to the troopers.
At half-past six groups of countrymen were seen making
their way along the road towards the gate, and a quarter of an
hour later the troop mounted and formed up in readiness to
issue out as soon as the signal was given, their host placing
himself at an upper window whence he could obtain a view of
the city gate. It was just seven when he called out "The
gate is opening!" and immediately afterwards, "They have
begun the work. The country people outside are running
away in a panic. Ah! there is the white flag." Two servi-
tors at the gate of the chateau threw it open, and headed by
La Noiie and the gentlemen of the party they issued out and
galloped down the road at full speed. As they approached
the gate some men ran out waving their caps and swords.
Well done! La Notie exclaimed as he rode up. "Now,
scatter and call out all our friends to aid us in the capture."
The troop had already been divided into four parties, each
led by gentlemen familiar with the town. Francois and
Philip, with the men from Laville, formed the party led by
the Count himself. The news of the tumult at the gate had
spread, and just as they reached the market-place a body of
horsemen equal in strength to their own rode towards them.
"For God and the religion!" La Noiie shouted as he led
the charge. Ignorant of the strength of their assailants, and
having mounted in haste at the first alarm, the opposing band
hesitated, and before they could set their horses into a gallop
the Huguenots were upon them.
The impetus of the charge was irresistible. Men and horses
rolled over, while those in the rear turned and rode away, and
the combat was over before scarce a blow had been struck.
A party of infantry hastening up were next encountered; these
offered a more stubborn resistance, but threw down their arms
and surrendered when another of the Huguenot parties rode
into the square. At the sound of the conflict the upper win-
dows of the houses were opened, and the citizens looked out
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
in alarm at the struggle. But the Catholics having neither
orders nor plan dared not venture out, while the Huguenots
mustered rapidly with arms in their hands, and rendered val-
uable assistance to the horsemen in attacking and putting to
flight the parties of Catholic horse and foot as they came
In an hour all resistance had ceased and Orleans was taken.
The Count at once issued a proclamation to the citizens assur-
ing all peaceable persons of protection, and guaranteeing to
the citizens immunity from all interference with personal
property and the right of full exercise of their religion.
The charge of the gates was given over to the Huguenot citi-
zens, parties of horse were told off to patrol the streets to see
that order was preserved, and to arrest any using threats or
violence to the citizens, and in a very few hours the town re-
sumed its usual appearance. Now that all fear of persecution
was at an end, large numbers of the citizens who had hitherto
concealed their leanings towards the new religion openly
avowed them, and La Notie saw with satisfaction that the town
could be safely left to the keeping of the Huguenot adherents
with the assistance only of a few men to act as leaders. These
he selected from the gentlemen of the province who had come
with him, and as soon as these had entered upon their duties
he felt free to turn his attention elsewhere.
Two days were spent in appointing a council of the leading
citizens, the Huguenots of course being in the majority. To
them was intrusted the management of the affairs of the town
and the maintenance of order. The young nobleman ap-
pointed as governor was to have entire charge of military
matters; all Huguenots capable of bearing arms were to be
formed up in companies, each of which was to appoint its
own officers. They were to practise military exercises, to
have charge of the gates and walls, and to be prepared to
defend them in case a hostile force should lay siege to the
city. Three of the nobles were appointed to see to the vict-
ualling of the town; and all citizens were called upon to con-
tribute a sum according to their means for this purpose. A
few old soldiers were left to drill the new levies, to see that
the walls were placed in a thorough condition of defence, and
TAKING THE FIELD 93
above all to aid the leaders in suppressing any attempt at the
ill-treatment of Catholics, or the desecration of their churches
by the Huguenot portion of the population. When all
arrangements were made for the peace and safety of the town,
De la Note despatched most of the gentlemen with him and
their followers to join the Prince of Cond6 before Paris,
retaining only his Cousin Francois, Philip, the troop from
Laville, and his own band of forty men-at-arms.
THE BATTLE OF ST. DENIS
FRANCOIS DE LAVILLE and Philip had fought by the
side of La Noiie in the engagement in the streets of
Orleans, but had seen little of the Count afterwards, his time
being fully employed in completing the various arrangements
to ensure the safety of the town. They had been lodged in
the house of one of the Huguenot citizens, and had spent
their time walking about the town or in the society of some of
the younger gentlemen of their party.
"Are you both ready for service again?" the Count de la
Note, who had sent for them to come to his lodgings, asked
on the evening of the third day after the capture of Orleans.
"Quite ready," Francois replied. "The horses have all
recovered from their fatigue, and are in condition for a fresh
start. Are we bound for Paris, may I ask?"
"No, Francois, we are going on a recruiting tour: partly
because we want men, but more to encourage our people by
the sight of an armed party, and to show the Catholics that
they had best stay their hands and leave us alone for the
present. I take a hundred men with me, including your troop
and my own, which I hope largely to increase. Sometinmes
we shall keep in a body, sometimes break up into two or three
parties. Always we shall move rapidly, so as to appear where
least expected, and so spread uneasiness as to where we may
next appear. In the south we are, as I hear, holding our own.
I shall therefore go first to Brittany, and if all is quiet, there
raise another fifty men. We shall travel through Touraine and
THE BATTLE OF ST. DENIS
Anjou as we go, and then sweep round by Normandy and La
Perche, and so up to Paris. So you see we shall put a good
many miles of ground under our feet before we join the
Prince. In that way not only shall we swell our numbers and
encourage our friends, but we shall deter many of the Catholic
gentry from sending their retainers to join the army of the
"It will be a pleasant ride, cousin," Francois said, "and I
hope that we shall have an opportunity of doing some good
work before we reach Paris, and especially that we shall not
arrive there too late to join in the coming battle."
"I do not think that there is much fear of that," the Count
replied; "the Prince has not sufficient strength to attack Paris.
And for my part, I think that it would have been far better,
when it was found that his plan of seizing the court had failed,
to have drawn off at once. He can do nothing against Paris,
and his presence before it will only incite the inhabitants
against us and increase their animosity. It would have been
better to have applied the force.in reducing several strong
towns where, as at Orleans, the bulk of the inhabitants are
favourable to us. In this way we should weaken the enemy,
strengthen ourselves, and provide places of refuge for our peo-
ple in case of need. However, it is too late for such regrets;
the Prince is there, and we must take him what succour we
can. I was pleased with you both in the fights upon the day
we entered. You both behaved like brave gentlemen and good
swordsmen. I expected no less from you, Frangois; but I
was surprised to find your English cousin so skilled with his
"He is a better swordsman than I am," Francois said;
"which is a shame to me, since he is two years my junior."
Is he indeed! the Count said in surprise. "I had taken
him to be at least your equal in years. Let me think, you are
but eighteen and some months? "
"But a month over eighteen," Frangois said, "and Philip
has but just passed sixteen."
You will make a doughty warrior when you attain your full
strength, Philip. I saw you put aside a thrust from an officer
in the melde, and strike him from his horse with a backhanded
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
cut with your sword, dealt with a vigour that left nothing to be
"I know that I am too fond of using the edge, sir," Philip
said modestly; "my English masters taught me to do so, and
although my French instructors at home were always impress-
ing upon me that the point was more deadly than the edge,
I cannot break myself altogether from the habit."
There is no need to do so," the Count said. "Of late the
point has come into fashion among us, and doubtless it has
advantages, but often a downright blow will fetch a man from
his saddle when you would in vain try to find with the point a
joint in his armour. But you must have been well taught
indeed if you are a better swordsman than my cousin, whose
powers I have tried at Laville, and found him to be an excel-
lent swordsman for his age."
"I have had many masters," Philip said. "Both my French
and English teachers were good swordsmen, and it was seldom
a Frenchman who had been in the wars passed through Canter-
bury that my uncle did not engage him to give me a few
lessons. Thus, being myself very anxious to become a good
swordsman, and being fond of exercises, I naturally picked up
a great many tricks with the sword."
"You could not have spent your time better if you had an
intention of coming over to take part in our troubles here.
Your grandfather, De Moulins, was said to be one of the best
swordsmen in France, and you may have inherited some of his
skill. I own that I felt rather uneasy at the charge of two such
young cockerels, though I could not refuse when the countess,
my aunt, begged me to let you ride with me; but in future I
shall feel easy about you, seeing that you can both take your
own parts stoutly. Well, order your men to be ready and
mounted in the market-place at half-past five. The west gate
will be opened for us to ride forth at six."
Philip had every reason to be satisfied with the conduct of
his new servant. In the town, as at Laville, Pierre behaved
circumspectly and quietly, assuming a grave countenance in
accordance with his surroundings; keeping his arms and
armour brightly polished, and waiting at table as orderly as if
he had been used to nothing else all his life.
THE BATTLE OF ST. DENIS
I am glad to hear it, sir," Pierre said, when Philip informed
him that they would start on the following morning. I love
not towns, and here, where there is nought to do but to polish
your armour and stand behind your chair at dinner, the time
goes mighty heavily."
You will have no cause to grumble on that account, Pierre,
I fancy, for your ride will be a long one. I do not expect we
shall often have a roof over our heads."
"All the better, sir, so long as the ride finishes before the
cold weather sets in. Fond as I am of sleeping with the stars
over me, I own that when the snow is on the ground I prefer
a roof over my head."
At six o'clock the party started; only two other gentlemen
rode with it, both of whom were, like the Count, from Brittany.
The little group chatted gaily as they rode along. Unless they
happened to encounter parties of Chtholics going north to join
the royal army, there was, so far as they knew, no chance of
their meeting any body of the enemy on their westward ride.
The towns of Vendome, Le Mans, and Laval were all strongly
Catholic and devoted to the Guises. These must be skirted.
Rennes in Brittany must also be avoided, for all these towns
were strongly garrisoned, and could turn out a force far too
strong for La Notie to cope with.
Upon the march Pierre was not only an invaluable servant
but the life of the troop, he being full of fun and frolic, and
making even the gravest soldier smile at his sallies. When
they halted he was indefatigable in seeing after Philip's com-
forts: he cut boughs of the trees best suited for the purpose
of making a couch, and surprised his master and Frangois by
his ingenuity in turning out excellent dishes from the scantiest
materials. He would steal away in the night to procure fowls
and eggs from neighboring farmhouses, and although Philip's
orders were that he was to pay the full price for everything he
required, Philip found when he gave an account a fortnight
later of how he had spent the money he had given him, that
there was no mention of any payment for these articles.
When he rated Pierre for this the latter replied:
"I did not pay for them, sir. Not in order to save you
money, but for the sake of the farmers and their families. It