.. .. .. ...
PHILIP GETS HIS FIRST LOOK AT PIERRE.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE:
A TALE OF
THE HUGUENOT WARS.
G. A. HENTY,
Author of "Boric the Briton;" In Freedom's Cause;" "The Dash for Khartoum;"
"By England's Aid;" In the Reign of Terror;" &c.
WIITH TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS BY II. J. DRAPER,
AND M.AP OF FRANCE.
BLACKIE & SON, LIMITED, 49 OLD BAILEY, E.C.
GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.
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 massacres
of men, women, and children. The Huguenot wars were, how-
ever, 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 instru-
ments. For a time the new faith that had spread with such
rapidity in Germany, England, and Holland, made great pro-
gress 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 Pro-
testants 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 assertions 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
districts, 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
Huguenots were subjected, but have as usual gone to the
military events of the struggle for its chief interest. For the -
particulars 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 Noiie, and other French
G. A. HENTY.
I. DRIVEN FHOM HOME, .. .. 11
II. AN IMPORTANT DECISION, . . .. 27
III. IN A FRENCH CHATEAU, . . 45
IV. AN EXPERIMENT, .. .. .. .. 62
V. TAKING THE FIELD, .. . .... 79
VI. THE BATTLE OF ST. DENIS, . . .. .96
VII. A RESCUE, .. ......... 113
VIII. THE THIRD HUGUENOT WAR, .... .133
IX. AN IMPORTANT MISSION, . .151
X. THE QUEEN OF NAVARREl,.. . .. 169
XI. JEANNE OF NAVAR..E, . ..... 184
XII. AN ESCAPE FROM PRISON, .. . .201
XIII. AT LAVILLE, ............. 219
XIV. THE ASSAULT ON THE CHATEAU, . . 236
XV. THE BATTLE OF JARNAC, . .. .254
XVI. A HUGUENOT PRAYER-IEETING,. .. 269
XVII. THE BATTLE OF MONCONTOUn, .. . .285
XVIII. A VISIT HOME, .. .. .. .302
XIX. IN A NET, ........ ... .... 321
XX. THE TOCSIN, ........... .. 335
XXI. ESCAPE . . . 352
XXII. REUNITED, .. ... . 367
PHILIP GETS HIS FIRST LOOK AT PIERRE,.. . Froltis. 66
GASPARD VAILLANT MAKES A PROPOSAL, . .28
PHILIP AND FRANCOIS IN THE ARMOURY.. . . 54
"IF YOU MOVE A STEP YOU ARE A DEAD HAN,' .. .122
PHILIP AND HIS FOLLOWERS EMBARKING,. . 169
PHILIP IN PRISON, ... .. . .. .209
"PHILIP STRUCK HIMII FULL IN TIE FACE," . 269
PIERRE LISTENS AT THE OPEN WINDOW OF THE INN,. 284
GASPARD VAILLANT GETS A SURPRISE,. . .... .306
"YOU HAVE NOT HEARD THE NEWS, MONSIEUR PHILIP?". 328
"THAT CROSS IS PLACED THERE BY DESIGN," . 344
PHILIP, CLAIRE, AND PIERRE DISGUISE THEMSELVES, . 52
MAP OF FRANCE IN 1570, . ... .. .to face p. 10
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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 thousands 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 prevention, left their
homes and made their escape across the frontiers. These had
settled for the most part in the Protestant cantons of Switzer-
land, in Holland, or England. As many of those who reached
our shores were but poorly provided with money, they natu-
rally 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 estab-
lished 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 at his
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE
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 suffi-
cient money in their pockets to pay their expenses on the jour-
ney, and to maintain them for a while until some employment
could be found for them.
Gaspard Vaillant had been a land-owner near Civray, in
Poitou. He was connected by blood with several noble fami-
lies 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 atro-
cities 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 Canterbury in-
creased they had no difficulty in obtaining skilled hands from
among them. The business grew in magnitude, and the profits
DRIVEN FROM HOME.
were large, in spite of the fact that numbers of similar enter-
prises had been established by the Huguenot immigrants in
London and other places. They were indeed amply sufficient
to enable Gaspard Vaillant to live in the condition of a sub-
stantial 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 considered 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 shrewd-
ness and common sense for which Frenchwomen are often con
spicuous, 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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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
portion of the farm devoted to the growing of vegetables, which,
by dint of plentiful manuring and careful cultivation, were pro-
duced of a size and quality that were the surprise and admi-
ration 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 English-
men 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 hap-
pier here, lying watching you singing so contentedly over your
work, and making everything so bright and comfortable. 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
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."
DRIVEN FROM HOME.
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 daughters
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 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 congrega-
tions, 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 were twelve.
"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 highroad 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
"Yes, I know there were thirty-three pounds."
16 ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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
"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 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 outside, and lay in
the shade of the great elm in front of the house.
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
DRIVEN FROM HOME. 17
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
oid 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 else-
where will assuredly go back to aid their brethren.
"We may even have trials here. Our Queen is a Protestant,
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 soldier. 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 Normans
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
1 (777) B
18 ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
his manners, so that if he ever goes among your French kins-
men he shall be able to bear himself as befits his birth on that
side, I, for my part-though, alas, I can do nothing 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 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 deficiencies 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 instruc-
tion 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 dissuade
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
DRIVEN FROM HOME
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
that even the Guises are forced to recognize it as a power.
At Fontainebleau Admiral Coligny, Montmorency, the Chati-
llons, 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 of
"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 argu-
ments of our champions. The Guises, I hear, are furious; for
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
the present Catharine, the queen mother, is anxious for peace
and toleration, and it is probable that the end of this argu-
ment 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 king-
dom 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
"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 con-
cessions, to be followed by fresh persecutions and fresh wars,
until either the reformed faith becomes the religion of 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
triumphant 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 suppleness
DRIVEN FROM HOME.
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 families 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 wncouth,
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
father, Philip Fletcher had an unusual training. Among the
Huguenots he learned to be gentle and courteous, to bear him-
self among his elders respectfully, but without fear or shyness;
to consider that while all things were of minor consequence 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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 gaities, 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 dis-
pleasing 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
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 considered specially
appropriate to Frenchmen; but though he lacked their round-
ness 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
DRIVEN FROM HOME
wholly English. His hair was light-brown, his eyes a bluish-
gray, 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 understand
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
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 Canter-
bury, brought the latest news of the situation in France, and
the sufferings of their co-religionist friends and relations
ST. BARTHOLOMEW S EVE.
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 Catharine's pro-
hibition, was received with royal honours by the populace.
The Cardinal of Lorraine, the duke's brother, the duke himself,
and their allies, the Constable Montmorency and Marshal Saint
Andr6, assumed so threatening an attitude that Catherine left
Paris and went to MBlun, 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
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 forestalled by the Guises,
and moved to Orleans, where he took up his head-quarters.
All over France the Huguenots rose in such numbers as
astonished their enemies, and soon became 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
injunctions were strictly obeyed. In one matter alone the
DRIVEN FROM HOME.
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
parallel 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
subsequent dealings with the Dutch in their struggle for free-
dom. In vain Cond( and Coligny begged her not to impose
conditions that Frenchmen would hold to be infamous to them.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 termination 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
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, mor-
ally one of the meanest, falsest, and most despicable of women.
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 19th 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. Cond6
at first broke the Swiss pikemen of the Guises, while Coligny
scattered the cavalry of Constable Montmorency, who was
wounded and taken prisoner; but the infantry of the Catholics
AN IMPORTANT DECISION.
defeated those of the Huguenots, the troops sent by the Ger-
man 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 unmolested.
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 services
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 agree-
ment was known as the Treaty of Amboise, and sufficed to
secure peace for France until the latter end of 1567.
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,
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 future."
"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 dif-
ferent 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 care save the manage-
ment 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 a 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
G R L MO .
I| I I
GASPARD~ ~ ~~~uF "VILN IKE RPS
AN IMPORTANT DECISION.
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
frequently 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 done,
I hope, fully my share towards assisting my countrymen in dis-
tress, putting by always one-third of my income for that pur-
pose, 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,
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
I have noted that his colour rose, that his fingers tightened
as if on a sword, and could see how passionately he was long-
ing to join those who were struggling against their cruel op-
pressors. 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 Noiie, is, as
you know, prominent among the Huguenot leaders, and others
of our relatives are ranged on the same side. At present there
is a truce, but both parties feel that it is a hollow one; never-
theless 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
acquaintance 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
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 Mardyke,
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, having
wasted his money at court, has been forced to sell a portion of
"Thus some day Phil will come into possession of land
AN IMPORTANT DECISION.
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 willing-
ness to extend my purchases at any time, should he desire to
sell. I should at once commence the building of a comfortable
mansion; but it is scarce worth while to do so, for it is pro-
bable that before many years Sir James may be driven to part
with his Hall as well as his land. In the meantime 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 com-
pany 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 Englishmen 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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 persecu-
tors, 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
"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 oppor-
tunities of distinguishing yourself. Should such 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 generation, 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
AN IMPORTANT DECISION.
William the Norman came over that a Fletcher has not fought
in the English ranks, whether in France, in Scotland, or in our
Therefore it seems to me but natural that for many reasons
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
Christian and a Protestant. There are Englishmen 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 have
never regarded myself as in any way French, although speaking
the tongue as well as English, and being so much among my
777 ) C
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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
ought 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 them."
That evening John Fletcher learned that it was the intention
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,
doubtless, he will remain at his aunt's, and when -the struggle
AN IMPORTANT DECISION.
begins will ride with his cousin Frangois. I have hesitated
whether I should go also. But, in the first place, my business
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 her
"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 welcome 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 Francois 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 Noie
if the war breaks out again. I am glad to feel confident that
Philip will in no way bring discredit upon his relations. I
shall at once order clothes for him suitable for the occasion.
They will be such as will befit an English gentleman; good in
material but sober in colour, for the Huguenots eschew bright
hues. I will take his measure, and seid 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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
he had better take four men into his service, 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, see-
ing that she was fully six years her junior, it would be natural
that she should take the opportunity 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 nmdnage, 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 oppon-
ent, or give way by a mere touch of his leg or hand, possesses
a considerable advantage over the man who is unversed 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
AN IMPORTANT DECISION.
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
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 menage
still occupy a large share in the training and amusements 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, Monsieur Vaillant.
A porter was engaged to carry up their luggage 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 attention whatever from
passers-by, her costume being exactly similar to those worn by
the wives of merchants, while Philip would have passed any-
where 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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
could smuggle you on board a ship. Ah 1 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."
"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
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
-hle having lingered at the door to pay the porters, and to
see that the luggage, which had come up close behind them,
AN IMPORTANT DECISION
"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 powerful
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
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 complexion,
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 him-
self 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 despatches 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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 bargain."
"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 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 boast-
ing, I paid not much heed to that. However, they were re-
commended 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 accord-
ingly saw them, and engaged them on the understanding
that at the end of a month you should be free to discharge
them if you were not satisfied with them, and that equally they
could leave your service if they did not find it suit.
"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
AN IMPORTANT DECISION.
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 ser-
vants 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."
"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 upon him."
"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, so
"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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 Huguenot,
it is certainly essential that he should not be a Papist; but
beyond this we need not inquire too closely. You cannot ex-
pect the virtues of an archbishop and the capacity of a horse-
boy. 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 under-
stand, a meal is ready. And I doubt not that you are also ready;
for truly those who travel by sea are seldom able to enjoy food,
save when they are much accustomed 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
AN IMPORTANT DECISION.
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
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.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
When it was over we came back here. Our mothers had mar-
ried 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 employ-
ment 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 the
"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
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
The four men were no less pleased with their new employer
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU.
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.
rpHE 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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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, expressing
her delight that her sister had at last carried out her 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 making
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 expected,
but a boy yet, and, I can assure you, no taller or broader than
many of my English school-fellows of the same age."
"But we must not delay, aunt," Francois 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 impatiently now,
and will chide me rarely if we linger."
Accordingly the party remounted at once, and rode forward
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU. 47
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. Franuois 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,
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 thoroughly
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 Frangois, and yet he is two years
younger. I congratulate you and Lucie upon him. Salute me,
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 refresh-
ment after your journey, and I long to have a quiet talk with
you. Franqois, do you take charge of your cousin. I have
told the serving-men to let you have a meal in your own apart-
ments, and then you can show him over the chateau and the
Fran9ois 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 themselves 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 somewhat
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 perpetual 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 some-
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU.
what different had I not lived so much with my uncle and
aunt and the Huguenot community at Canterbury. Monsieur
Vaillant and my aunt have always impressed 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 com-
panions, 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 manage."
"That matters little after all," Francois said, "though it is
an advantage to be able to manage your horse with a touch of
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," Fran9ois 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, in-
sists 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 Can-
terbury. He maintained that it was necessary as part of the
education of a gentleman, and that in the English Protestant
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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 detestation, 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 dis-
position 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 Can-
terbury the French colony was a grave one, being strangers 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 them."
"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. English
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 ex-
cellently 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.
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU. o0
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
He is a splendid animal indeed," Philip said, as Rollo tossed
his head and whinnied with pleasure at his master's approach.
"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 own."
"He looks it," Philip agreed. "I should keep well out of
reach of his heels and jaws."
"He is quiet enough when 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," Frangois
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
You 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."
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
"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. Besides
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 Huguenot 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 inter-
fere 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, 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 capable
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,
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU.
and have a mutual respect for each other. In districts 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 levelled.
"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 quadrangle.
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.
"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 out."
"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."
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 practise 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 a good face against any
body of troops of equal numbers. It is here I practise with
my maitre d'armes, and with Montpace and Bourdon, our two
officers. Ah! here is Charles, my maitre 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
daggers were generally held in the left hand, and were used
for the purpose both of guarding and of striking at close
F ;;I .
.. .~ .:' "j
PIILTP AND FRANCOIS IN THE ARMOURY.
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU.
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 maitre
"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
upright 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 movements."
"Yes, but it puts the body out of harm's way," Frangois said.
"It is the arm's business to guard the body, Francois, and
it is impossible to strike a downright blow when leaning so far
"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
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 Spaniards
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
ST. BARTHOLOM EW'S EVE.
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
myself 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
before 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."
"Is that sot" 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
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 milde. 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 mile on horse-
back, especially as the point cannot penetrate armour, while a
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU.
stout blow, well delivered with a strong arm, can break it in.
Are you skilled in the exercises of the ring, Monsieur Philip?"
"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 Franqois 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," Franqois 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 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
58 ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
if they ride together into battle I should wish that Philip
should do honour to our race. Now, Philip, I have been hear-
ing 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 Fran9ois 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 learning 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
"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 inde-
pendence in the lower and middle classes, and less haughtiness
and pride in the upper, and I think that it is better so."
"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
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU.
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
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
mdnage, and under the instruction of Captain Montpace, who
had been Francois' 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 Francois 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 neces-
sary it was considered as part of the education of a gentleman.
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 Fran9ois' advice Philip practised with one steadily
until he became a fair shot.
"They are cowardly weapons," Frangois said, "but for all
ST. BARTHOLOMEW S EVE.
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. Be-
sides, 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 machines."
In the afternoons there were generally gatherings of Huguenot
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 majo-
rity 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
IN A FRENCH CHATEAU.
caught transgressing the law were thrown into prison, subjected
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 persecutedI" 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. Some-
times those present broke up into groups, talking in an under-
tone. Sometimes the gathering took the form of a general
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 authorities 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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
ARIE 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 outbreak
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 impor-
tant 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 difficult 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 happier
time with me. I was going to say 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. Frangois is somewhat impulsive and liable to be carried
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 Francois 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 islanders."
"I will try not to, Emilie; but I should not like the customs
did it not seem to me that they are better than my own. In
England Protestants and Catholics live side by side in friend-
ship, and there is no persecution of anyone for his religion; 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 or animosity."
"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 perhaps 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
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
64 ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
"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
wrapt 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 never
"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 cunning 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 roughly treated."
"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 theft?"
"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 lie
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
"I don't know. I will have a talk with him anyhow. A
fellow 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
"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 honourable families."
"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 smiling
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 character 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, mon-
sieur, 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 some-
where 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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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."
"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 condition.
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, furnished
with a few of the tail feathers of a black-cock, completed 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 present attire."
"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
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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 in 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
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 without
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 allowances. I can at
least promise that he will find me faithful and devoted."
"Has your horse arrived, Pierre?"
"Yes, sir. 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
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. "Putting
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 ap-
"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 1
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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 oars
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 morning
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 therefore 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
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
"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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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. Francois 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
yesterday at the Admiral's; a messenger came to my mother
from my cousin, Francois de la Noie. 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 between Paris,
Orleans, and Poitiers. The edict of toleration was to be
annulled, and instant steps taken to suppress Huguenot 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, resist-
ance 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 indefinitely? Were they to
wait until their wives and children were in the hands of the
executioners before they moved? His party were in the ma-
jority, 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 negotiate with the court for the dis-
missal 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 brothers.
"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 rising shall
be arranged to take place throughout France on the 29th of
September. That an army shall take the field, disperse 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 sending 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, Frangois? That will only
"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 Noiie, 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
76 ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 surprise."
"I also am glad that war has been determined upon," Philip
said. "Since I have arrived here I have heard nothing 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 religion."
"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 Fran9ois, 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."
"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, Francois; 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 Fran.ois were inspected, and
their arms and armour served out to them. The tenantry came
up in small parties, and were also provided with weapons, offen-
sive 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
Francois' 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 Admiral, and his brother D'Andelot would be with the
force gathered there, it was the most important point; and
moreover Frangois de la Noiie 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 Franqois' body-
guard, one of them carrying his banner. He took as his body-
servant a man who had served his father in that capacity. He
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
and Pierre wore lighter armour than the others, and carried
no lances. Frangois and Philip were both in complete 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 his
"It may be that this armour will be useful on the day of
battle," Philip said, "but at present it seems to me, Francois,
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, Franqois, 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 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
TAKING THE FIELD
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
mile I must have my arms free, and trust to my sword to
"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, Francois. 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, 1 daresay as the
novelty wears off I shall get accustomed to it to some extent."
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 de-
scend 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 Montmo-
rillon, and an hour later halted in a wood, just as daylight
was breaking, having ridden nearly fifty miles since leaving
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 morning in a wood two miles
from St. Amand. Here the day was passed as the previous
one had been.
"Tell me, Frangois," Philip said, as they were waiting for
the sun to go down, "something about your cousin De ]a
Noie. As we are to ride with him, it is as well to know some-
thing 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 illus-
trious 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 disposi-
tion, and showed no taste for reading or books of any kind.
As usual among the sons of noble families 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 subjects. As soon as he reached
manhood he joined the army in Piedmont, under Marshal de
Brissac, that being the best military 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
TAKING THE FIELD.
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 Notie retired from
court, and settled in Brittany upon his estates, which were ex-
"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 numbers
of people, and although Brittany is perhaps the most Catholic
province in France, he made many converts. Among these
was De La Noie, then twenty-seven years old. Recognizing
his talent and influence, D'Andelot had made special efforts
to induce him to join the ranks of the Huguenots, and suc-
ceeded. 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 Noiie
82 ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 my-
self 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
slower than it had been the night before, and it was almost day-
break when they passed the bridge at Briare, having ridden
over forty miles. They rode two or three miles into the moun-
tains after crossing the Loire, and'then halted.
We must give the horses twenty-four hours here," Frangois
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 par-
ties 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
taking 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
TAKING THE FIELD.
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
messages 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 Cond6, 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
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 Noiie!" Frangois 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.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
"Ah, Francois, is that you? Well arrived indeed! Gentle-
men, 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 you3"
"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 family."
"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."
"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 doubled 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
TAKING THE FIELD 85
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 provided with
bread, meat, and wine. Ah, Captain Montpace, you are in com-
mand of the troop, I see. I thought the countess 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
"I could not bring my Bretons," he said turning to Frangois.
"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 magazines,"
De la Notie said. "See that the saddle-bags are well 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
bb ST. BARTHOLOMEW S EVE.
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
hanging 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
melancholy. The greatest captain of his age, he was more
reluctant than any of his followers to enter upon civil war, and
the fact that he felt that it was absolutely necessary to save
Protestanism from being extinguished in blood, in no way
reconciled him to it.
He received Franqois 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 con-
sciences 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 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
TAKING THE FIELD. b7
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 turn-
ing 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," Francois 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
up in the dark, fumbling with your buckles and straps, and
finding everyone else just as surly and cross as you feel your-
ST. BARTHOLOMEW S EVE.
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,
Franuois. I don't like getting out of a warm bed myself on a
dark winter's morning, but as there will be certainly no un-
dressing 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 military
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
talking 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, gentleman," Franuois de la Noiie
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," Frangois 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
TAKING THE FIELD.
direct to Paris, or by the road by Lagny, we pass through
Nemours and M6lun."
"These places may not open their gates to us, Francois, 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 CondB 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 belonging
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 minister according to
Huguenot custom held a short service, and then with a salute to
the Admiral, La Noie 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 Noiie and Laville.
As soon as they were off La Noiie 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 Noiie
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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 by taking post
on the south side of the river we shall straiten Paris for pro-
"Gentlem6n," 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 Noiie 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 capture 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
TAKING THE FIELD.
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?" Fran9ois
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."
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 place."
"Do you know how far it is across the hills to Orleans?"
Philip asked the gentlemen 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 M61un 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
contents 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 engaged.
Frangois and Philip went among their men with Captain
Montpace, inspected the horses, examined their shoes, saw that
fresh nails were put in where required, chatting with the men
as they did so.
92 ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
"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 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 under-
taken 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 Huguenots in this
part of France are hastening to join the Prince before Paris."
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'Noiie at once placed a cordon
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 followed him. At
eight o'clock two videttes thrown forward some distance along
the road rode in with a horseman. It was the Master of
TAKING THE FIELD.
Grelot, who, as he rode up to the fire, was heartily greeted by
"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 Noiie
"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.
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 enter-
prise 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
"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
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 the gate."
"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,
and gave them a cordial welcome. The men were ordered to
dismount and stand by their horses, while the leaders followed
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 servitors at the
gate of the chateau threw it open, and headed by La Notie 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 Noiie exclaimed as he rode up. "Now,
scatter and call out all our friends to aid us in the capture."
The troop had been already divided into four parties, each
led by gentlemen familiar with the town. Frangois 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
TAKING THE FIELD.
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 Hugue-
nots 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 windows of
the houses were opened, and the citizens looked out 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 valuable assist-
ance to the horsemen in attacking and putting to flight the
parties of Catholic horse and foot as they came hurriedly up.
In an hour all resistance had ceased and Orleans was taken.
The Count at once issued a proclamation to the citizens assuring
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 citizens, 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 resumed its usual
appearance. Now that all fear of persecution was at an end, large
numbers of the citizens who had hitherto concealed their lean-
ings towards the new religion openly avowed them, and La
Noiie 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
96 ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 appointed
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 victualling of the town; and all citizens
were called upon to contribute 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 condi-
tion of defence, and 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 Noiie despatched most of the gentlemen with
him and their followers to join the Prince of Cond6 before
Paris, retaining only his Cousin Fran9ois, Philip, the troop
from Laville, and his own band of forty men-at-arms.
THE BATTLE OF ST. DENIS.
F RANQOIS DE LAVILLE and Philip had fought by the
S 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 BATTLE OF ST. DENIS.
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
Noiie, 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," Frangois replied. "The horses have all re-
covered from their fatigue, and are in condition for a fresh
start. Are we bound for Paris, may I ask?"
"No, Frangois, 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 pre-
sent. I take a hundred men with me, including your troop
and my own, which I hope largely to increase. Sometimes 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
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 en-
courage 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,
ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S EVE.
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 people 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 weapon."
"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," Francois 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 mglee, and strike him from his horse with a back-
handed cut with your sword, dealt with a vigour that left
nothing to be desired."
"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 impressing
upon me that the point was more deadly than the edge, I can-
not 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
THE BATTLE OF ST. DENIS.
powers I have tried at Laville, and found him to be an ex-
cellent 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
Canterbury 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 swords-
men 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.
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