Citation
Page, squire and knight

Material Information

Title:
Page, squire and knight a romance of the days of chivalry
Uniform Title:
Franchise
Creator:
Colomb, J ( Joséphine ), 1833-1892
Adams, W. H. Davenport ( William Henry Davenport ), 1828-1891 ( Editor )
Book Society (London, England) ( Publisher )
Hazell, Watson & Viney ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Book Society
Manufacturer:
Hazell, Watson, and Viney
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
viii, 326, [2] p. : ill. ; 20 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Knights and knighthood -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Loyalty -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Courtship -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Chivalry -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Orphans -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- France -- Henry II, 1547-1559 ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1896 ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1896 ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre:
Publishers' advertisements ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) ( rbprov )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
England -- Aylesbury
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
A free adaptation from the "Franchise" of Madame Colomb.
General Note:
Date of publication from prize inscription.
General Note:
Publisher's advertisements follow text.
Statement of Responsibility:
edited by W.H. Davenport Adams ; with one hundred and thirteen illustrations.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026559811 ( ALEPH )
ALG1165 ( NOTIS )
232606090 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

UF00084117_00001.pdf

UF00084117_00001.txt

00006.txt

00265.txt

00199.txt

00206.txt

00026.txt

00080.txt

00288.txt

00058.txt

00339.txt

00372.txt

00105.txt

00060.txt

00054.txt

00092.txt

00282.txt

00233.txt

00280.txt

00051.txt

00269.txt

00231.txt

00263.txt

00252.txt

00055.txt

00061.txt

00320.txt

00153.txt

00162.txt

00137.txt

00205.txt

00253.txt

00296.txt

00183.txt

00067.txt

00142.txt

00181.txt

00237.txt

00037.txt

00326.txt

00290.txt

00262.txt

00033.txt

00215.txt

00100.txt

00358.txt

00224.txt

00291.txt

00096.txt

00145.txt

00335.txt

00308.txt

00316.txt

00338.txt

00333.txt

00174.txt

00317.txt

00062.txt

00002.txt

00336.txt

00112.txt

00146.txt

00243.txt

00076.txt

00057.txt

00378.txt

00359.txt

00148.txt

00373.txt

00182.txt

00158.txt

00087.txt

00371.txt

00066.txt

00186.txt

00073.txt

00075.txt

00267.txt

00279.txt

00343.txt

00367.txt

00194.txt

00127.txt

00235.txt

00027.txt

00063.txt

00315.txt

00270.txt

00352.txt

00114.txt

00221.txt

00091.txt

00071.txt

00120.txt

00223.txt

00136.txt

00259.txt

00284.txt

00150.txt

00303.txt

00341.txt

00330.txt

00042.txt

00012.txt

00201.txt

00360.txt

00156.txt

00125.txt

00023.txt

00350.txt

00167.txt

00039.txt

00218.txt

00122.txt

00368.txt

00255.txt

00256.txt

00133.txt

00210.txt

00072.txt

00081.txt

00020.txt

00318.txt

00274.txt

00038.txt

00322.txt

00268.txt

00309.txt

00213.txt

00250.txt

00356.txt

00188.txt

00179.txt

00379.txt

00193.txt

00151.txt

00327.txt

00101.txt

00011.txt

00238.txt

00277.txt

00190.txt

00285.txt

00160.txt

00034.txt

00010.txt

00083.txt

00377.txt

00157.txt

00143.txt

00024.txt

00110.txt

00093.txt

00354.txt

00117.txt

00247.txt

00234.txt

00152.txt

00310.txt

00184.txt

00022.txt

00204.txt

00119.txt

00189.txt

00168.txt

00328.txt

00111.txt

00154.txt

00248.txt

00207.txt

00019.txt

00289.txt

00203.txt

00251.txt

00126.txt

00135.txt

00283.txt

00172.txt

00363.txt

00191.txt

00170.txt

00220.txt

00246.txt

00169.txt

00299.txt

00032.txt

00374.txt

00337.txt

00138.txt

00068.txt

00342.txt

00241.txt

00323.txt

00294.txt

00107.txt

00217.txt

00346.txt

00128.txt

00140.txt

00212.txt

00355.txt

00064.txt

00035.txt

00095.txt

00200.txt

UF00084117_00001_pdf.txt

00264.txt

00271.txt

00090.txt

00196.txt

00312.txt

00016.txt

00222.txt

00116.txt

00118.txt

00005.txt

00103.txt

00304.txt

00208.txt

00166.txt

00301.txt

00197.txt

00017.txt

00139.txt

00178.txt

00097.txt

00321.txt

00050.txt

00121.txt

00085.txt

00195.txt

00018.txt

00227.txt

00307.txt

00209.txt

00113.txt

00052.txt

00375.txt

00144.txt

00084.txt

00347.txt

00069.txt

00245.txt

00134.txt

00239.txt

00088.txt

00187.txt

00362.txt

00240.txt

00349.txt

00292.txt

00357.txt

00370.txt

00286.txt

00353.txt

00287.txt

00029.txt

00257.txt

00175.txt

00226.txt

00272.txt

00074.txt

00254.txt

00132.txt

00077.txt

00300.txt

00219.txt

00041.txt

00236.txt

00053.txt

00164.txt

00198.txt

00229.txt

00332.txt

00104.txt

00185.txt

00115.txt

00078.txt

00149.txt

00324.txt

00131.txt

00021.txt

00028.txt

00348.txt

00216.txt

00275.txt

00331.txt

00031.txt

00009.txt

00276.txt

00295.txt

00281.txt

00046.txt

00329.txt

00298.txt

00344.txt

00278.txt

00266.txt

00366.txt

00364.txt

00147.txt

00297.txt

00044.txt

00013.txt

00228.txt

00319.txt

00001.txt

00109.txt

00225.txt

00099.txt

00345.txt

00102.txt

00180.txt

00040.txt

00361.txt

00129.txt

00313.txt

00094.txt

00159.txt

00302.txt

00014.txt

00086.txt

00242.txt

00232.txt

00305.txt

00130.txt

00049.txt

00079.txt

00048.txt

00165.txt

00306.txt

00123.txt

00334.txt

00065.txt

00261.txt

00106.txt

00214.txt

00369.txt

00015.txt

00314.txt

00056.txt

00192.txt

00045.txt

00161.txt

00171.txt

00176.txt

00173.txt

00202.txt

00351.txt

00030.txt

00325.txt

00244.txt

00089.txt

00082.txt

00155.txt

00273.txt

00036.txt

00124.txt

00260.txt

00043.txt

00025.txt


Full Text






























im Soo
fa Sakly 6 Go

eS Ve
< pfEdttl’ =
a
Y Gygret Z
a Vi 2 oe

feMille Sowipal













































































































































” (B. 14).

an

a free m

son of

am the

ter



IP AG 8)
SQUIRE,

joe Ee

A Romance of the Days of Chivalry,

oO

EDITED BY

W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS,

AUTHOR OF ‘SUCCESS IN LIFE,” ‘GREAT SHIPWRECKS,” “BOYS AND THEIR WAYS,” ETC.

Witk One Hundred und Thirteen Sllustrations,



Zonda:
THE BOOK SOCIETY, 28, PATERNOSTER ROW,











PRINTED BY
HAZELL, WATSON, AND VINEY, LD,
LONDON AND AYLESBURY.



p PREFACE,

La HE taste of our young folk must have changed
PS very much for the worse, if they do not appre-
ciate such a romance of chivalry as is here
presented to them in a free adaptation from the
“Franchise” of Madame Colomb. The time
chosen for the development of the story is the
very heyday and prime of the feudal system,
when its darker features were still to a certain
extent concealed by its picturesque accessories ;
when in the clash of spears at the tourney, and
the songs of troubadours at the revel, the moans
of the unhappy villeins were scarcely heard.



In the following pages, however, while due pro-
minence is given to the poetical side of Chivalry
and Feudalism, their sadly prosaic side is not
forgotten ; and the young reader is shown that
the pomp and pageantry of knighthood involved
much suffering of the poor and oppression of
the feeble. The scene lies in the’ sunny south of France—in
Aquitaine; the period is the later years of our Henry II.,



vi PREFACE.

to whom the province of Aquitaine had fallen in right of his
wife Eleanor. Henry himself figures in our story; and, in-
deed, its plot depends upon the frequent feuds that prevailed
between him and his sons, Henry the Younger and Richard Cceur-
de-Lion. Our young hero, in his progress through the various
stages of knightly training,—from varlet to page, and page to
squire, and squire to knight, experiences a succession of stirring
adventures, which are so contrived as to illustrate the manners
and customs of the age, and present a comprehensive picture of
chivalrous life. Thus the reader is introduced to the domestic
“interior” of a feudal castle; to the banquet, the joust, the
ambuscade, the siege, the battle: he is carried from the castle
hall to the guest-chamber of the monastery; he mixes with men-
at-arms, monks, nuns, burgesses, troubadours, knights, nobles, and
princes ; he witnesses the ceremony of the accolade; is present
at a judicial combat ; sympathises with the sorrows of a wife and
mother ; rejoices in brilliant feats of generous courage, and in
the final triumph of Truth, Loyalty, and Honour. What more
can he desire? Says the poet Spenser :—

“¢ Where be the brave achievements done by some—
Where be the battles, where the shield and spear?”

Well, the young reader will find them in the following pages, ©
which, I think, cannot fail to awaken his interest.and touch his
fancy; cannot fail to help him to form a vivid idea of the
humanities of Chivalry and the institutions of Feudalism.

W. H. Dz. A.



ONTENTS.

————_—_——
CHAPTER
I, THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT 4 s . Ss i
II. AN ORPHAN , . , s ° . . b A
Ill. IN THE GUARD-ROOM \ 5 ; i 3
IV. HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY, AND WHAT
FOLLOWED ‘ 4 ,
Vv. AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. 5 ; b ,
VI. A GUEST : : q . . fs
VII. POET AND WARRIOR . o Y ; “ . . a "
VIII, A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY . 6 O :
IX. TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN : 3 6 . O .
X. BROKEN DREAMS. 5 : 3 f . 6 . .
XI, THE GREAT PARLIAMENT OF THE KINGS . 0 . 6 ‘
XI. FATHER AND SONS . ; f : . - . . .
XIIl. IN WHICH AIMERY SETS OUT FORTHE WAR . S 0
XIV. BATTLE , , i ‘ , sy ‘5 :
XV. IN WHICH AIMERY LOSES A PROTECTOR AND GAINS A FIEF
XVI. THE RIGHT OF ‘‘GARDE-NOBLE”’ . . ; i
XVII. A DEMAND IN MARRIAGE . fs é 5 o O e
XVILI. THE FIRST ASSAULT . ‘ . . 0 S 6
NIX. DURING THE SIEGE , . : : 0 G ; a
XX. THE POOR MOTHER. 3 " O G : . a 9
XXI. GONE "| d ° ° 5 ° ' ° fe
XXII. THE FUGITIVES, ° ° ° ° . ° . ° .
XXIII. ‘*SANCTUARY”’ = e e . ° ° . °

PAGE

19

28

39
50
61
71

gi
100
III
119
128
140
150
160
169
182
19!

- 202

210

- 221



viii

CHAPTER

XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.
XXX,
XXXI,
XXXII.

CONTENTS.

THE LAY OF THE LITTLE DOVE.
EACH TO HIS OWN WAY . .

AFTER THREE YEARS 5 :
A CAPTIVE SET AT LIBERTY .
AIMERY THE KNIGHT . :
A KING’S GRIEF : : f
PRISONERS 5

AT THE CASTLE OF MAULIGNAGE
‘‘THE JUDGMENT OF GOD” ,
EPILOGUE : ; . o



FAGER

231



PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.



CHAPTER I.

THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT.

Castle, and with the exception of the warder who
kept watch on the battlements of the keep, all
the inmates were in profound repose. Not that
the condition of the country tended to a feeling
of security; for Henry, the old King of England,
always on hostile terms with his sons, among
whom he had divided his domains in France,
allowed no rest to the inhabitants of the towns
or the fields, from Normandy to Aquitaine; and
every day they were startled by some fresh tale
of massacre or rapine. But then, use is second
nature, or, as it has been said, habit is ten times
nature ; and besides, Rulamort’s walls were mas-
sive, and its towers had already braved the storm
of war successfully ; repelling any attack that had
been delivered against them, since their first lord
had raised them to protect his family and vassals
from the fierce incursions of the Northmen.





2 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

The castle stood upon one of the last billowy swells of the hills
of Poitou, looking out afar over the purple vineyards of Aquitaine.
In its vicinity flowed a stream, the clear cool waters of which had
never been known to fail. The legend ran that a young Chris-
tian maiden had been drowned in it by some Pagan oppressors,
who would fain have had her deny her Lord and Saviour, and
that her martyrdom had gifted it with a mysterious virtue. Hence
it was known as the “ River of Death,” or in the old French
tongue Au de la Mort; and the valiant Enguerrand, when he
raised his castle on the eminence above it, declared that he placed
his descendants under the holy martyr’s protection. The castle
was called Rulamort, and Enguerrand named his first-born
daughter Agnes, in memory of the Christian virgin. Generation
after generation imitated his example, and from the daughter of
the original founder to the child which nestled in her cradle on
the night my history begins, the castle almost always boasted of
an Agnes de Rulamort.

Suddenly the warder issued from the niche where he had sought
a refuge from the piercing cold of the morning breeze. He rested
his arms on the parapet, and there, with ear intent, and with keen
eye seeking to penetrate the deep darkness, he remained motionless.

A vague sound was audible towards the south. What could it
be? ’Twas not the sough of the rills which, welling up among
the rocks, used to ripple and gurgle as they wound towards the
plain, for the winter had bound them in chains of silence. The
warder crossed himself, thinking, in the superstition of the age,
that it was a soul in pain supplicating his prayers. But the sound
drew nearer, became more distinct: it was like the tramp of men
marching in the distance. Was it an enemy’s army? No clang
or clash of arms or armour could be heard. However, in time,
of war all assemblages are naturally suspected, and the warder
resolved he would rouse old Milon, who, in the absence of the
Sieur de Rulamort, defended the castle.



THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT, 3

Old Milon, the foster-father of his lord, had grown grey in the
service of the Sieurs de Rulamort; he had followed them in all
their wars, and often warded off the blow of pike or sword intended
for them. His lord had departed in search of his suzerain, to
fight under his banner against King Henry the First of England,
and against Duke Geoffrey or against Henry the Vounger.
Milon was his ‘other self,” and before an enemy could have
reached the lady of Rulamort or her little Agnes, he must have
passed over old Milon’s corpse. He was always ready : sleeping,
as they say, with one eye open, his weapons by his side, ever
maintaining a close watch over the soldiers and servitors. The
warder found him already up, and furbishing carefully his morion
by the light of a small lamp. But he flung it aside at the first
words of the warder, and hastened to climb the stone staircase
that led to the summit of the keep.

Away on the eastern sky might now be traced the glimmerings
of early dawn; the coming day was struggling against the mist.
It was impossible to distinguish any object clearly; a dense fog
everywhere prevailed, and the trees, which in summer spread
canopies of greenery over the roadways, seemed like gian,
skeletons with fleshless arms outstretched. Shading his eyes with
his hands, from custom rather than necessity, Milon peered
eagerly in the direction whence came the sound. He could see
nothing, yet the sound continued to increase. For a few moments
he listened ; then, turning to the warder, said :—

‘*What it is, Gaucher, I know not. However, for the moment
there is no danger ; that there zez// not be, I do not say. I will
arouse Lady Eleanor. Ah! what a noble mistress we have in her!
as brave as a knight, and as tender and gentle to the poor as a
holy virgin! Stay here: it must be some time before the people
we hear reach the foot of the castle hill.”

Milon quickly descended from the donjon, and a moment after-
wards knocked respectfully at the door of the Lady of Rulamort.



4 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Eleanor de Maucastel, the wife of the Sieur de Rulamort, was a
valiant chatelaine, and no unfitting consort for the chivalrous knight
who hazarded his life every day under the banner of his feudal
chief, the Count of Poitiers. Hugues de Rulamort could leave
his castle without one touch of anxious solicitude; confident that
in his absence the Lady Eleanor would know how to repulse the
attacks of the robber-bands which harassed the country. He
knew that the men-at-arms whom he left in garrison would obey
her orders implicitly. He knew that in the hour of danger, if it
came, she would be in their midst, encouraging them to do their
devoir bravely, and binding up their wounds with her “lily
hands.”

The Lady Eleanor had just risen, and two of her maidens were
in attendance to comb her long tresses and
attire her shapely figure in the embroidered
surcoat. But Eleanor seemed in no hurry to
yield herself to their skilful hands. She had
hastily donned a long dressing-gown, with
ample sleeves, and had’run to the cradle where
her little Agnes lay awake ;and there, mother
and child, halfhidden among the soft, downy
cushions, were laughing and playing with glad
hearts. The child, her arms folded round her
mother’s neck, covered her face with kisses §
while the delighted mother clasped her daughter
to her heart, calling her by a hundred pet names which her
affection invented.

A knocking at the door suddenly interrupted these gambols.
Jehanne flung upon a chair the robe she held ready for her mis-
tress, and hastened to open it. Eleanor recognised the voice she
heard without.

“Tt is Milon,” she said. ‘Let him come in, Jehanne. Wha
has happened, my brave Milon?”





THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT. 5

She had risen to her feet, still holding her daughter in her arms,
and looked at Milon with some disquietude: did he bring news
of his lord, and what news? In those days battles were so many,
and death was always so near!

“‘ Madame,” replied Milon, ‘‘ there come a great number of
people from the south, in which direction, as you know, the old
King Henry of England lies with his army. We cannot see them
as yet; but, from the sounds we hear, I can guess what and
whence they are. They are peasants, who, driven from their



*' Still holding her daughter in her arms.” i

homesteads by the men-at-arms, have taken to flight with their
mules, flocks, or herds. They are hurrying hitherward: if they
solicit an asylum, shall we open the gate?”

“Assuredly: but be on your guard against traitors, Milon.
Summon all our men to arms; post them on either side the gate ;
and take care that among the fugitives who claim our protection
are not concealed any English or Norman archers. Go: I will

join you when they arrive, for I would fain question them
myself.”



6 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Milon returned to the platform of the keep, and the Lady
Eleanor placed herself in the hands of her maidens. Whoever
might be her guests, friends or foes, equals or humble supplicants,
clowns or cavaliers, she would receive them in a manner befitting
her rank.

While his lady was assuming her costly habiliments—-the long
robe, with loose hanging sleeves, rich in gold embroidery, and
the sumptuous corsage of finest vair—and while Jehanne and
Michonne made her coiffure, separating her glossy raven locks
into two long fluating tresses, and placing on her calm white brow
a rich diadem of wrought gold, Milon, standing erect in an
embrasure, surveyed anew the plain. The day had risen,—a gray
and gloomy day which did not suffer the eye to travel any dis-
tance; but Milon could hear distinctly, half a mile or so from
the castle, the voices of men and women and children, the
bleatings of sheep, the lowing of cattle, and all those various
noises which proceed from a large body when hurried in their
march. And along the path, and in the meadows at the foot of
the hill, he could distinguish confused forms in
motion through the mist. A group composed
of a few men led the advance: they drew
nearer, slowly ascended the hill, and halted at
last before the outer wall of the castle. One
of them then placed to his lips a bull’s horn,
into which he blew lustily to arouse the castle-
watch; and Milon, leaning out from the em-
brasure, responded to the noisy summons.

“What want you? Whence come you?
Who are you?”

“Open, in the name of charity! We ask an asylum, for the
sake of God and Saint Agnes, your patron. Open! We have
marched all night ; our women and children perish with the cold,
and their feet are wet with blood. The enemy has burnt our





THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT. i

villages, and with much ado we have fled to save our lives. May
Heaven punish those English robbers!”

Milon, while listening to the petitioners, vigilantly scrutinized
the crowd behind them. No, they did not lie; fugitives they
were, without doubt, who implored the protection of Rulamort ;
and no knight faithful to his vow of chivalry—to succour the
poor and relieve the distressed—would dare to shut his gates
against them. Old Milon hastily descended, summoned the
men-at-arms who kept watch in the great hall ; and, accompanied
by them, advanced towards the outer gate. The drawbridge was
lowered, the portcullis raised; and the fugitives began to defile
slowly between the two great towers that flanked the castle
entrance. : p

There Milon posted himself, eyeing suspiciously every counte-
nance, and prepared to order his soldiers to seize the first person
whom he detected as a wolf in sheep's clothing. But he saw only
old men spent with fatigue, weeping women with children in their.
arms, and peasants, labourers, or shepherds, bending under their
heavy burdens, or driving before them their little flocks or herds.

When all had entered, the portcullis was let fall and the draw.
bridge raised; the servitors of the castle busied themselves in
lodging the cattle in the stables ; while the fugitives were accom-
modated in the lower hall, whither the Lady of Rulamort proceeded
to visit them.





CHAPTER IT.
| LO
= eae AN ORPHAN.

T was asad sight, the lower hall of the castle, when
the Lady Eleanor entered it, accompanied by her
handmaidens and by Father Odon, her chaplain.
To warm the half-frozen exiles, the vast chimney
had been filled with logs, which crackled right
merrily, and sent up to the groined roof flashes
and jets and spiral wreaths of reddish flame. The
little shivering children stretched their blue rigid
hands towards the welcome glow, and laughed with
pleasure at the feeling of safety and comfort that crept into their
hearts. But their innocent gaiety only brought out into stronger
relief the desolation imprinted on the wan faces of their mothers,
who sat or crouched, huddled together, in the corners and recesses
of the hall, with their arms hanging listlessly down, and their lips
closed in the silence of despair. ‘The men stood about in groups,
speaking in a low voice and gesticulating wildly; in their eyes was
a look of rage as much as of grief; and sometimes an imprecation,
or a yell of hatred, rose above the hoarse murmur of their broken
conversation.
The Lady of Rulamort felt a pang at the heart as she surveyed





AN ORPHAN. 9

such a scene of misery; but it was, alas! only too common in
those times of incessant battle, and she knew that it was not to be
relieved by indulgence in sentimental sympathy. She approached
the wretched wives and mothers, addressed to them a few words ot
tender compassion, and promised them her protection and that of
her iord; who, on his return, would assist them to repair their
losses. But there are losses which no human power can repair ;
and when ‘Eleanor promised to some a gift of grain to sow their
fields anew, and to others of cattle, to replace those carried off by
the enemy—when she spoke of rebuilding the shattered roof-tree,
and of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked—voices half
choked by sobs interrupted her, exclaiming :—

“They have killed my husband, Madame! ”

“They have murdered my son, my joy, the hope of my poor
life!”

‘“ They have slain my aged father! They have put to death my
children—all of them—all ! all!”

Eleanor thought of her husband, and her heart ached with a
sudden fear lest his armour proof might not have preserved him
from a mortal blow in the hazards of the fight. She looked at her
little Agnes ; and finding herself unable to say a word to the deso-
late women who, the day before, had been happy wives and
mothers like herself, she hid her face in her hands and wept
freely.

But more surely than words of sympathy, more surely than pro-
mises the most generous, did those tears find a way to each poor
broken heart. The women flung themselves at her feet, kissing
the hem of her robe and her long veil, and calling down upon her
head all the blessings of Heaven. The men ventured to draw
near; their solemn gloomy countenances kindled and relaxed a
little, and the boldest among them endeavoured to stammer out
their gratitude to their noble benefactress.

Eleanor had the soul of a true chatelaine—almost the mettle of

2



10 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

a knight. She soon conquered her emotion, and seeking to
console the unfortunates before her as she herself in a like
strait would have wished to be consoled, she exclaimed :

‘‘We will avenge them, my friends—we will avenge them!
My lord will speedily return, and he‘will pursue and punish those
accursed English! He will do to them the evil which they
have done to you. They shall drink from a cup as bitter as that
from which they have made you drink! Woe to the English !”

* Death to the English!” shouted the men, and some few of
the women joined in the cry; others, shaking their heads,
answered:

‘Oh, noble lady, those who plundered and persecuted us were
English, but the others are no better. Their name is different,
but that is all. They call themselves Normans, Bretons, Angevins,
—they follow the old King Henry, or King Henry the Younger,
or Count Geoffrey, or Count Richard,—but for us, poor people, it
is always the same. They pillage, and they burn, and they slay,
these as well as those, and no one can tell who works the greatest
evil.”” ;

Eleanor sighed: she said to herself that perhaps the men-at-
arms who accompanied her husband also left behind them a track
of grief and ruin—that he might not be able to prevent them from
inflicting on the vassals of the enemy the ills which the enemy
had inflicted on his own. Turning towards the men, she ques-
tioned them in reference to the occurrences of the previous day.
They informed her that the King of England had passed at a dis-
tance of sore leagues from Rulamort, returning from an incursion
southward in the direction of Saintes, and carrying fire and sword
all along his line of march. Among those assembled in the hall
were fugitives from several villages, but the tale they had to tell
was always the same, Awakened from their first sleep by bands
of the enemy who traversed the whole district, they had vainly
attempted to defend themselves—they, poor miserable peasants !



AN ORPHAN. . it

with no other arms than their pitchforks—against soldiers clad in
mail; abandoning the dead and dying, they had at last taken
flight, with all they could carry away, and driving before them as
many cattle as they could hastily collect. But how many oxen
and cows and sheep were wanting! And when the unfortunates
were able to return to their devastated homesteads, what would
they find there? Scarcely even the bare walls: of this they were
well assured. They knew what rapine and misery tracked the
march of a hostile army! Who had not already seen his cottage -
in ruins, or filled with wreck and débris? Such calamities had
happened every day since the beginning of the war; and, alas!
who knew how long the war might not be protracted? Who
could say how long it had lasted? Not the oldest among them,
for from their earliest memory the land had groaned beneath the
sanguinary feuds of princes and great nobles, from which the poor
had been the greatest sufferers; and now foreign kings and
princes had interfered in their quarrels—so that their last state
was worse than their first.

Eleanor repeated her promise to render these wretched fugitives
all the assistance in her power, and ordered her attendants to
Supply them at once with food ; while Father Odon, approaching
the most sorrowful, attempted to comfort them by speaking of the
hopes of another life.

Suddenly a horn sounded at the outer gate ; they could hear
the portcullis fall with a great rattle of chains, and the heavy
hoofs of horses shod with iron echoed under the arch along with
the clash of arms. Gaucher entered with a quick step. —

‘“‘ My lord returns!” he said, making an obeisance before the
Lady Eleanor. ‘“ We have lost none of our men; the whole troop
comes back in excellent array.”

Filled with joy and gratitude, the Lady Eleanor darted into the —
court, which she reached at the moment that Hugues de Rula-
mort sprang from his horse.



12 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

‘‘Oh, my beloved lord!’ she cried, as she threw herself into
her husband’s arms, “ what happiness! I have been so sad—so
troubled.”

“Why to-day more than any other day, my sweet lady?” said
the Lord of Rulamort, with a smile. “Have I not always my
good sword, my good armour, and my brave and loyal comrades ?
I am as safe in the storm of battle as in the protection of my
castle, my beautiful chatelaine !”



“The heavy hoofs of horses resounded under the arch.”

“Tt is because to-day I have seen such sights of woe! Come
with me: the lower hall is thronged with refugees who have fled
before the marauding English. Oh, my dear lord, so many
widows! so many Wcching mothers! Come; I have promised
them your protection.”

Hugues committed his war-horse to the charge of his squire,
and followed the Lady Eleanor. The intelligence which he com-
municated to the fugitives was consoling: the army of the old
King had marched away northward, and its last stragglers had



AN ORPHAN, 13

been crushed by a body of soldiers belonging to the Count of
Poitiers, The peasants, therefore, might return home and rebuild
their houses.

When the Lord and Lady of Rulamort entered the hall, the
servitors, grouped around a huge smoking cauldron, were dis-
tributing bowls of soup to the sufferers, and the head-cook,
assisted by his scullions, was cutting up, on a great table which
had just been erected, large slices of salt meat and other viands.
The poor creatures, unaccustomed to such provisions, ate with
avidity the liberal doles apportioned to them; even those whose
hearts bled from some irreparable loss could not remain insensible
to the pleasure of satisfying their hunger atleast once in their life.
But the deference they were wont to pay to their superiors led
them to pause in their feast at the coming of the lord and lady of
the castle, and they stood silent and motionless before them.
The Sieur de Rulamort informed them of the glad tidings he
brought, and their anxious brows cleared. Some greybeards
among them, however, shook their heads gravely and sadly : many
a time had they cherished the hope that the enemy had gone for
ever, and yet he had always returned. They prepared not the
less to retrace the road to their villages, and to rear once again
their humble dwelling-places: when one has but a few short years
to live, one may hope to have done with the miseries of existence.

Meanwhile the Lord and Lady of Rulamort continued to make
their circuit of the hall, speaking to all the fugitives, asking each
to what village he belonged, what losses he had sustained, what
assistance he needed. Seated on his valiant arm, still clad in its
steel hauberk, the good knight bore the little Agnes, who, having
seen him arrive, had petitioned Jehanne and Michonne to conduct
her to him. She had passed her small hand round the manly neck,
and, clinging to the tissue of iron meshes which protected the throat,
sat enthroned like a little queen, looking down from her elevation,
with great wondering eyes at all those emacidate and worn faces,



14 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

all those rags, all that wretchedness ; and the curve of her rosy
mouth began to droop, as if she were on the point of shedding
tears.

Suddenly her little face sparkled ; she uttered a joyous cry, and

stretched her hand towards an object which flashed and beamed

"in the light of the flame. This was a sword, a great and splendid
sword, good to shine in tourney or in battle in the hands of some
preux chevalier ; it was carried by a boy scarcely as tall as itself.
It was this which had caught the pleased glance of the little girl,
probably because it glittered, and because it was to her a familiar
object among so many strange things. Sieur Hugues turned to
see what attracted his child’s attention; and he too was struck by
the contrast of that costly weapon in the midst of those ragged
boors. He made a sign to the lad.

“Come here, my child,” he said. ‘*To whom do you belong?”

“To nobody, my lord,” answered the boy, haughtily raising
his head.

Hugues de Rulamort looked him in the face, and smiled.

Despite his unkempt hair, his wretched clothes, and the fatigue
and peril-of the night, the child was of a radiant beauty. His
broad white forehead, kindly protected against heat and cold by a
forest of tangled chestnut curls which clustered all around his face,.
his large dark-blue eyes full of vivacity, his vermeil cheeks, his
well-shaped mouth revealing two rows of ivory teeth, the gallant
pose of his arm as it rested on the handle of the sword,-which he
held erect, and a certain indescribable air of boldness, confidence,
gaiety, and freedom, led the Lord of Rulamort to say to himself:
“If God blessed me with an heir, I should wish him to be such
an one as this peasant’s son!”’

“To nobody!” exclaimed Sieur Hugues, astonished; “to no-
body?” out

“To nobody,” repeated the child, with modest assurance: “TI -
am the son of a free man, and I have no master.”



AN ORPHAN, 15

“But who are your parents? A child’s liege-lord is his father:
do you not know this? ” -

The boy assumed a sorrowful air.

“ My father!—ah, when I had one! . .” And suddenly, throw-
ing himself at the feet of the Lord of Rulamort, he exclaimed :
“My father! help me to avenge my father! The English, my
lord, have killed him !”

“Poor child!” murmured Eleanor tenderly, placing her white
hand on the boy’s head. ‘* How did they kill your father ?”

‘““They came, I know not how or when; they were fain to
carry off all the weapons we had in the house,—for my father,
madame, was an armourer, and made hauberks and helms, lance-
heads and swords for chevaliers,—’tis a noble craft, and worthy ot
a free man. My father essayed to defend himself; they rained
blows upon him; they pillaged everything, and departed. For
myself, I had hastened to his assistance, but received a blow on
the head, and fell to the ground as if dead. When I recovered
my senses a long time afterwards, I found my father stretched on
the ground in front of a cold and blackened hearth. I breathed
into his mouth, and clasped his poor body to warm it; I washed
his wounds, and he opened his eyes. But it was only to bid me
farewell; the wretches had done their work too completely, and
he could not recall his failing energies. He gazed around him;
he saw that everything was wrecked in our poor house, and with a
melancholy air he said to me: ‘The sword! have they taken ¢hat??
I knew well to what he referred: once on a time he had made
a sword which surpassed the swords of all the knights of the
country, and he could not be induced to sell it or give it to any-
body. It was well hidden, and the enemy had not discovered its
place of concealment; I went in quest of it, and returning, placed
it beside him. With a smile he said: ‘Take care of it; thou
shalt call it Franchise.’ And then he closed his eyes. I called
him by his name again and yet again, but he did not answer mc,
and at last I knew that he was dead.”



16 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“ And then what didst thou?” asked the Lady Eleanor.

“T wept, Madame,—I wept all night by his side; and next day,
when the enemy had departed, I sought out some people to help
me to bury my father, with all whom the soldiers of old King
Henry had killed. I know the spot, and I shall return there
when I have avenged my father with the sword he wrought.”

“But it is a knight’s sword, and thou canst not make use of it,
child.” i

The boy drew himself up proudly.

“When I sat alone with my father in the winter evenings by the
blazing fire, he would sing to me /azs and sirventes, in which the
poets told how the land belonged to brave men. I know the
story of many low-born churls who became lords, by accompany-
ing Duke William the Norman to the conquest of England, or
Tancred de Hauteville and his sons to the conquest of Naples. I
know the chansons of many a preux chevalier, who at first were
simple men-at-arms, but got possession of fat manors by their
sharp swords; the troubadours sing the fame of their deeds in the
castles, and the noblest barons declare that they did well. Why
should I not do like this? Why should not I, too, become a
knight?”

Hugues of Rulamort broke out into a hearty laugh.

“ By my sword, child, thou pleasest me!” he said to the bold
boy; “and it may be for thy good fortune that thou camest to my
castle in search of an asylum. Thou belongest to Saintes, dost
thou not? But Saintes is far away from here: how didst thou get
to Rulamort?”

“T walked, my lord. TI halted in the different villages that lay
in my road, and assisted the men at their work in order to earn
my bread. They allowed me to sleep in the barn, and next day
I resumed my journey.”

“And whither wert thou bound? Where didst thou wish
to goP”



AN ORPIIAN. 17

“T wanted to find a town; and truly I must have found one at
last, if I had kept on marching.”

“ And what would you have done in a town, my poor boy?”

“J would have sought out a smith, and asked him to give
me work. I do not want for strength. I have often assisted my
father, and I know how to hammer and weld every piece of a
knight’s armour. I have no fear but I shall gain a livelihood, so
long as there are battles and tourneys.”

“Ah, well, you shall have work here, without going farther.
Milon is a tolerably good armour-smith, but he grows old, and
has need of an assistant. Will it please thee to remain in my
castle, to take care of our arms, to sharpen dagger and sword,
to fasten the meshes of the hauberks, and beat the dints out of
helmet and morion? I take thee into my service: i’faith, ’tis a
good school this in which to learn the trade of arms.”

“Tam your man, my lord,” said the child, gravely bending the.
knee before Hugues of Rulamort, as if he wished to render him
homage inadvance for the future domain of the conquest of which
he dreamed. “Iam not tall, but I am faithful, and I will serve
you loyally.”

“JT am sure of it, my brave little fellow,” replied the knight,
laughing. ‘And so it is settled: henceforth thou art one of the
inhabitants of Rulamort. Come with me, and I will give thee in
charge to old Milon, the oldest and best of my men-at-arms ; he
will treat thee kindly, and see thee properly equipped. He, too,
will superintend thy education. What are thy years, boy?”

“J was twelve years old, my lord, last Feast of Saint Michael.”

“ And thy name—what is it P”

“ Aimery, son of Gaudry the Smith. He was also called
Gaudry the Rhymer, because he loved to sing while at his toil, and
when he had exhausted all the songs he knew, he invented others
as beautiful as those of the troubadours. Oftentimes a crowd of
people would gather about our gate and listen to his brave melodies.”



18 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGIHIT,

“ And thou, Aimery, hast thou, too, a surname?”

“ My father called me ‘ Aimery the Bright-of-face.’ ”

The lord of Rulamort looked at the child attentively.

“Thy father named thee rightly,” said he; “frankness and
loyalty beam in thine eyes. Keep thy name, and may thy heart
always be as bright and open as thy looks.”

The lord of Rulamort quitted the hall, and Aimery followed
him, still carrying his great sword. Silent and grave, he held it
erect, while Sieur Hugues commended him to Milon’s offices ; then,
when his lord had ended, the boy drew near him, and presenting
him with the sword,— :

“ My lord,” he said, “will you deign to take Franchise in
deposit? I will ask it back from you when I shall have won the
right to use it; until then I think that my father’s spirit wil! be
the happier for knowing that it is in the hands of a valiant
cavalier, who will wield it against the English.”

Sieur Hugues took the sword.

“Of a truth,” said he, “thou wilt be a true man; and if thou
holdest to all that thou dost promise, thou shalt not want my
assistance to avenge thy father and satisfy thy ambition. I accept ~
Franchise; it shall : have a story to tell
thee of stirring com- es bats the day that
thou reclaimest it Aimery the Bright-
of-face 1”





CHAPTER Of,








SSgUE> = IN THE GUARD-ROOM.

'N a few days Aimery-was as familiar with Rulamort
and its inhabitants as if he’ had spent his whole
It life at the Castle. He was inquisitive and daring.
| In his leisure hours he wandered everywhere,
examining minutely and carefully the demesne - of
Rulamort, from the embrasures of the donjon down
to its oublietfes or secret prisons, and his faithful
memory photographed every detail. Old Milor-
might give him a message for any soldier or servitor
engaged in any part of the castle, and he went straight thither,
without hesitation, without uncertainty, without groping or in-
quiring his way. He quickly won the affection and confidence of
Milon, who, like all or most old men, was fond of repeating the
stories of his deeds of prowess; but usually found assembled an
audience by no means desirous of hearing for the hundredth time
the same marvellous legends, though it is true they improved on
each repetition. For Aimery all Milon’s narratives had the recom-
mendation of novelty; and he listened to them with an evident
pleasure which rejoiced the old soldier’s heart. Nor was he ever
weary of questioning him about the castles he had seen or taken..



at



20 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

besieged or defended. He quickly learned the name and use of
every part of a castle; and oh, how he clapped his hands with
glee—how his eyes sparkled with enthusiasm—when Milon
described to him such and such a donjon—so strong, so lofty, so
well-guarded, that never king or baron had succeeded in cap-
turing it! “Ah! that is the kind of castle I would fain have for
my own,” he would cry. The men-at-arms who heard him laughed
and jested at him; but the child was free from bashfulness or
timidity, and would relate, just as if he had been actually present,



“(He would leave off talking and begin to sing.’

the history of many low-born warriors who had won lands and
castles with their good swords,—like Hugues the tailor, William
the drummer, ‘and William the waggoner, who became knights
bannerets in England; and so well did he tell his tale that the
soldiers ceased from their jeers and laughter and gathered round
to listen. Then the boy would grow animated, his eyes would
shine, his arm rise and fall as if striking down a foeman; while
ever and anon recollecting some old ballad or lyric which cele-
brated the great deeds of his heroes, he would leave off talking



IN THE GUARD-ROOM. ZAP

and begin to sing in a sweet clear voice, accompanying and
accentuating his song at intervals,—marking the time, as it were,
by striking some morion or buckler which he was engaged in
polishing. And the men-at-arms, delighted, would repeat the
refrain, and swell their chorus with the clash of sword and helmets

At other times, in the long night-watches, Aimery in his turn
would become a listener. The soldiers who followed the banner
of the lord of Rulamort were almost all natives of the country,
and cared as little for the old King of England as for his son
Henry the Younger, or his brothers Geoffrey of Brittany and
Richard of Poitiers. They affected, however, the old Queen
Eleanor, and said to one another that it was a great pity she had
demeaned herself to marry a foreign prince, who did nothing but
ravage the land with his domestic quarrels. These quarrels, be
sure, they knew all about, and they discussed them as if they had
never been involved in their consequences; yet, as a matter of
fact, they followed their lord under the standard of Richard of
Poitiers, already famed by the name of Richard Cceur-de-Lion or
the Lion Heart, and proud were they of the valour of their chief.
It troubled them but little, however, under whose standard
they marched : their trade was to fight, and they fought without
troubling about “ the reason why.”

Six weeks had passed since the Lord of Rulamort’s return to
his castle; and his men-at-arms began to weary at having to
cleanse their morions from spots of rust instead of gouts of blood.

« When will our lord depart again to the wars P” said Gaucher,
who had not shared in the last expedition, but who made sure of
following his master in the next. “’Tis a shame ust the King of
England was suffered to depart without a final blow.’

«© Thou wouldst not say so, friend Gaucher,” replied Hubert, a
cutler, whose head was still wrapped in bandages and his arm
slung in a scarf, “if thou hadst faced King Henry’s Brabanters,
and felt the strokes they deal so lustily! They are devils—devils

®



2 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

anchained! And oh, how they sweep with fire and sword the
country they traverse! This time, on their way back from Saintes,
they have burned everything, houses and vines and fruit-trees.
"Faith, I am willing to rest awhile, until our lord lead us against
enemies more courteous,—though, to speak the truth, the Normans
are not much better, and the English still less so!”

‘One is as bad as the other,” interrupted an old sergeant, who
was seated on the hearth-stone to warm more thoroughly the
wrinkled hands which he spread out before the flame; ‘‘one is as
bad as the other; these men of the North are true savages, and
the French of King Louis VII. are quite as bad as the Normans
and the English and the soldiers of King Henry.”

“Do you know them, William, those Frenchmen of King
Louis? ‘Tis long, however, since we were engaged in war
against him.”

“Ay, Thierry, my lad, but I am old; my sixty years have had
‘time to see a great many more things than thy fifteen. I saw the
marriage fétes of our lady, the daughter of Duke William of
Aquitaine: a beautiful and a noble princess, too, she was! But
that marriage was the cause of all our misfortunes.”

“‘Say’st thou so, Master William! How could that be?” eagerly
asked Aimery, who had drawn near the old sergeant.

“ Because, thou seest, little one,” replied William, with a smile,
“ the King of France, who married our duchess, thereby became
our suzerain ; he was accompanied bya numerous train of French -
knights and men-at-arms, to whom he gave the custody of our
towns and castles, and never under the sun were seen men more
cruel or insolent than those barons of France. At least, up to
that time such had never been seen; but since, alack-a-day! the
second husband of our duchess has brought down upon us the
English and Normans, who are still worse. It is a great misfortune
for a country when it becomes a woman’s heritage.”

“But explain to me, William,” interrupted Gaucher, “how out



IN THE GUARD-ROOM. 23

Duchess came to take a second husband. Pardie, her first, King
Louis, is not dead yet!”

“No, but the Pope gave them permission to dissolve their
marriage. eee must understand that husband and wife could
not agree.’

«Tf all married couples who do not agree could but have
the same privilege!” exclaimed, with a loud sigh, the falconer |
Thibaut. The others burst out laughing: Thibaut’s wife, who
reigned supreme over the poultry yard, being known asa termagant,
who sadly harassed the mild-tempered falconer.

Thibaut would not allow himself to be silenced.

‘*We ought not to speak ill,” he said, ‘of our suzerains ; but
indeed I have heard that Queen Eleanor, our duchess, led her
royal husband a wretched life. Nowa King, no more than any
other man, wishes to be unhappy in his household; and since
King Louis was able to rid himself of his wife, I think, i’faith,
that he did well and wisely.”

Old William arose, inflamed with rage.

“ Thou knowest not of what thou speakest, Thibaut! Back to
thy birds, and meddle not with the affairs of great lords. King
Louis, seventh of the name, was certainly a noble prince, but he
passed his life in his oratory, saying prayers and pater-nosters, making
genuflexions and counting his beads—which is proper for a monk
rather than aking. Our duchess, born in the fair sunny land of
Guienne, was accustomed to a gayer life ; she took pleasure in the
songs of minstrels, in the pastimes of her women, in dances and
the music of instruments: she loved mirth and merry-making,
and there was no harm in that; but King Louis detested them,
and hence they could not live pope tier EDU Afterwards she
wedded the King of England, and

“And one cannot say that she has had a very happy life with
him,” interrupted Thibaut ; “she it is who incessantly stirs up her
sons against their father,—pretty conduct for a Christian woman 12





24 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“She has reason to complain also of King Henry,” resumed
William, a little timidly, for Thibaut was manifestly in the
right; “he made his sons promises which he does not keep,—
conduct unworthy of a loyal knight: and his sons rebel at it—that
is very simple.”

“What, then, did he promise them?” asked Aimery. “ My
father always gave me what he promised, and he was but a poor
man: a king should be ashamed of such discourtesy !”’

“This is how it came about, little one,” replied William, ad-
dressing himself to the boy. “The King of England has had
four sons by our duchess: Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, John. When
the eldest was old enough to be made a knight, his father caused
him to be crowned king, with splendid ceremony, to show that he
intended to leave him, at his death, the crown of England. But
thou mayest well believe that he did not intend to give it to him
immediately : moreover, Prince Henry was too young to govern a.
kingdom and lead an army: to be called a king and treated as a
king was quite enough for a youth like him. Next, the old king

busied himself with providing for his son Geoffrey, and married
“Shim to the daughter of the Count of Brittany. Now all this was
far from pleasing to the King of France: his vassal, the Duke of
Normandy, was King of England,—he held Aquitaine in right of
his wife, our Duchess Eleanor,—he would become master of
Brittany in the name of his son Geoffrey, who was but a child: it
was too much. So King Louis set to work to embroil father and
sons: he has persuaded the younger Henry, known by the name
of Henry of the Short Cloak, to quit his father secretly, and take
refuge at the French court; he has recognised him as sole King of
England ; and in a word has done all that was possible to assist in
dethroning the old king.” :

“He is a felon suzerain, this King of France!” cried Aimery.
“Tis a great sin to sow hatred between son and father, and L
heartily hope he will be well punished.”



IN THE GUARD-ROOM. 25

“‘ Meanwhile,” continued Gaucher, “ Henry of the Short Cloak
: has dragged into his revolt his brothers Richard and Geoffrey, and

by doing so has plunged into war this land of ours.”

‘And the youngest son?” said Aimery.

“Qh, he is too young as yet to take part in the family ead
But it is said that he is no better at heart than the others,” inter-
rupted Thibaut. “I know a falconer of the King of England’s
household who has seen him often, and he describes him as tricky
and cunning, passionate and gluttonous, and as cruel towards
animals until he can wreak his ferocity upon men.”

“Our suzerain, at all events, Richard of Poitiers,” resumed
William, “is as frank as he is brave; no one dare say the contrary.
Ah, to see him in battle, rising erect in his stirrups, and brandishing
in the air his terrible battle-axe, which gleams like the lightning !
He is the handsomest and the strongest of his race, and when his
cavaliers surround him the plume of his helmet waves high above
all their plumes. He is given to sudden fits of anger, like all the
Plantagenets: but he is gay and affable to his vassals; and then
he loves the troubadours, and sings their dads and sérventes,
and even composes them himself, as if he were a true son of-
Aquitaine.”

“Tt is he, is it not, whom men call Richard the Lion-Heart ?”
said Aimery. ‘‘ What a noble knight! Oh how I wish to see him!”

“Thou shalt see him when thou art old enough to bear
battle-axe and sword and don a cap of iron for thy goodly head,”
interrupted William, “unless indeed before that time Heaven
should mercifully deliver us from the English. But keep thy mind
easy ; Count Richard as long as he lives will never want an excuse

_ for fighting !”

“As long as he lives,” repeated Thibaut, shaking his head ; ‘“ he
cannot count upon long life, for he does not honour his father.
My comrade, Thomas the falconer, has told me that it was pitiful,
when the three sons of the old King of England rose in rebellion

3



26 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

against him, to see every night the lords whom he had fed at his
table, whom he had armed with his own hand, and who had slept
under his tent, steal out of his army to join the ranks of the rebels.
The king summoned them in the morning, and there were none to
answer. He disguised his anguish, and sought to show a smiling
countenance to those who remained; but his heart was sorely
stricken, and Thomas more than once saw him weeping, with his
head between his hands, and heard him utter the names of those
who had deserted him, adding after each name: ‘ Another traitor
—QO my God! another traitor!’ Yes, all his nobles abandoned
him, and entered the service of his sons, who were residing at the
court ofthe King of France; and the King of France made much
of them, spoke to them flattering words, and promised them his
assistance. . . Iam only a poor falconer, but I would not, on
my life, have done half as much.”

Aimery was overcome with sorrow.

“And on whose side does our lord combat?
Does he assist the wicked sons of King Henry
to make war against their father?”

It was old Milon who answered.

“Do not think ill of our lord, boy: he fights
neither for Richard nor Henry, but for Aquitaine.
It pleases the King of France that all these princes of Anjou
should be at war with one another, because, if united, they wouid
be too powerful: why should not the lord of Rulamort be of the
-same mind as the King of France? ‘The English have persecuted
us sorely ; Count Richard raises his banner against the English ;
let us follow Count Richard. By-and-by we shall see!”

‘Thibaut shook his head doubtfully.

“ We shall see—what?” he said. ‘All these people make use
of us in their quarrels; but if we wished to act by and for our-
selves, they would quickly combine against us. Remember what
occurred six years ago. The Breton nobles made a league to



Milon.



IN THE GUARD-ROOM. Zi

drive out the English; many of our nobles of Poitou and
Guienne did the same, and the country began to think it was
free, so that it sang songs of rejoicing over the defeat of its
enemies. But the Bretons were beaten ; and the King of France,
who had encouraged our nobles, sold them to the King of Eng-
land. Suchnoble lords !—the best of Aquitaine! King Henry
has treated them like malefactors ; some have died in prison, others
are still enduring indescribable tortures. Should the revolt break
out again, you would see a similar result.”

“That is not a reason against it,” answered Milon, gravely.
«A brave man does not look at the peril. Remember that, my
boy!”

“My father taught me so,” said. Aimery; “and you will see
that I do not forget the lesson on the day when our lord leads
us against the English.”

“ Aye, aye, thou art a brave little fellow, thou!” rejoined old
Milon. “Make haste and grow tall, Aimery the Bright-of-face,
and if, ten years hence, there are many such fighting men as thou,
the fair sun of Aquitaine will again illuminate the happy days.”





CHAPTER IV.

HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFI
CULTY, AND WHAT FOLLOWED.



NE Saturday morning, Father Odon, the chaplain
of Rulamort, found himself in a great difficulty.
The day before, the young squires and pages who
flourished under the roof of the lord of Rulamort,
and learnt the profession of arms, had amused
themselves with a sham tournament, and several
of them having been thrown from their horses,
had been wounded and bruised so grievously as

to be forced to keep their beds, wrapped up in unguents and

bandages. Now, among these the one who had fared the worst
was certainly Jehan de Rochaigué, a youth of about fifteen years,
son of a small noble in the neighbourhood; and Jehan de

Rochaigué, if he had no‘lofty qualities, was skilled in making the

responses at mass and singing in the choir, and it was he who

every Sunday served the mass which Father Odon said. The good

chaplain had tended him with his cwn hands, and hoped that a

night’s rest would restore him completely; but the night was past,

and Jehan was suffering such pain in all his limbs that Father

Odon found himself compelled to abandon all thought of his assis-
tance on the morrow. What was to be done? It was a matter



HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY. 29

of necessity that Father Odon should say mass every Sunday in
the chapel, first for the inmates of the castle, and afterwards for
the peasants of the vicinity, who, having no parish church within
reach, came to Rulamort to offer up their devotions; but Father
Odon could not say mass unless some one under-
took the responses. Now, neither the servitors nor
the men-at-arms knew a single word of Latin ; two
or three of Jehan’s comrades knew a little, thanks
to the patient lessons of the good chaplain,—but
so little! Could he trust to them? Could he run
the risk of stopping short in the middle of the mass!
Father Odon revolved these thoughts in his mind as he returned from
a visit to yesterday’s wounded, and he knew not to what saint to
address himself, when the sounds of a childish voice struck his ear.
He paused and listened, wondering whence came the voice.

But he soon discovered from what direction it proceeded.
The singer evidently was in a small court attached to the kitchen. —
At that particular moment some one ‘was busily cutting up wood
there, for you could hear the repeated blows of the mallet, then
a sudden crash, and the fall in two pieces. of the log or block
on which the workman was trying his skill, And this workman was
also the singer, for each stroke of the mallet interrupted in curious
fashion the Kyrie eledson or the Agnus Dei, which he afterwards
continued without interruption while he was picking out a new log
and fixing his wedges in it.

Father Odon hastened to the court. The vocal woodcutter
was Aimery, who, with rosy cheeks and beaming eyes, was dealing-
blows on the wood with all his strength, imagining perhaps that
he wielded a battle-axe and was striking down his enemies in the
milte. At the voice of the priest, who called him by his name,
Aimery threw aside his mallet and stepped forward respectfully
to know what was wanted of him.

“Ts it thou who singest, my boy?” said Father Odon.





30 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

‘Ves, my father. I sing when I am working, because it helps
and cheers me. My father always sang when he struck the red
iron on his anvil. There is no harm in it, is there?”

“Surely, no! Thou singest, too, very well, and thou shouldst
thank the Lord for giving thee such a sweet voice wherewith to
chant His praises.” ;

‘“T know, it is true, a number of ballads and war-songs; but I
love most the melodies which were chanted at Saintes in our great
beautiful church. The priests began: all the people carried on
the strain; the voices rose, rose up to the very roof: one would
have said that they would rise to heaven. And then the sweet
odour of the incense! and the richly coloured windows—red and
yellow and blue—through which the sunlight streamed ! and the
lighted tapers! One might almost have thought oneself in Paradise.
The castle chapel is not so beautiful, my father; but when I am
there I close my eyes, and then I fancy myself in the great church
of Saintes, and I see it again exactly as I saw it in the happy days
when I went there every Sunday with my father. But no one
chants here!”

“ The men-at-arms, my son, have voices too rude for chanting
the hymns of the Church. But, Aimery, tell me, why dost not
thou chant?”

“T should be all alone,—I durst not!”

“ Dost thou happen to know how to serve mass?”

“ T think so, father.”

“ How’ didst thou learn?—by accident?”

“Not by accident ; but because the Prior of St. Eutropius, who

- had heard me singing sometimes when he passed my father’s forge,
made me go to his monastery, where he taught me. Thave many
times said to him the responses of the mass—to him and to the
other fathers; and they would have given me money, but my father
said that he made enough to support him and me, and that he
was not willing I should be rewarded for simply serving God.”



HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF IIS DIFFICULTY. 31

“Thy father was a man of noble heart, Aimery!”

“ And so, too, the Prior of St. Eutropius! When he found that I
was not allowed to take money, he ordered one of his monks to
teach me to read, saying that knowledge was worth more than
gold.”

“ And thou canst read?” exclaimed Father Odon, in an ecstasy.

“Oh, not so well as I could wish; but I learnt quickly, and the
good monk spoke of teaching me to write, and even to paint
saints and angels in the missals. He said that I ought to study
for a priest; but my father did not care for the calling,—no more
did I. I would rather brandish my sword and gallop my destrier ;
but that would not prevent me from learning to read, would it, my
father?” —

“Not at all; and I will be thy teacher, if thou wilt.”

“Tf Twill!—if I will! What happiness! Is there anything that
Ican do for you, my father? I wish so much to do something
to prove that I am grateful.”

‘¢ Will you serve me at the mass to-morrow, in the place of that
rogue of a Rochaigué, who is wounded?”

“To-morrow, and any Sunday, my father, as long as you wish.
Already he does not sing so very badly, this young son of the
aimour-smith! You will lose nothing by engaging him, you will
see.” aa

Father Odon smiled, and read Aimery a little sermon on the
naughtiness of pride and vanity; but he did not scold him long,
and ended by desiring him to come to his room as soon as he
had cut up the wood. Aimery went, and passed with much
honour through the examination the chaplain inflicted on him. -
Great was the good iather’s delight: Jehan in the future might
bruise or break his limbs as often as he liked, or accompany the
lord of Rulamort on his expeditions, without the service suffering.

Next day, Aimery, attired like a clerk in a long white surplice,
responded and chanted the mass in such a manner as to fill with



32 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

rapture the sensitive heart of the Lady Eleanor, who, before her
marriage, had resided at Bordeaux, and had not forgotten the sacred
strains familiar to her youth. And even the little Agnes, who
always asked to be taken to chapel, and promised that she would
be very good there, allowed herself to be impyessed by the music,
and mingled her tiny voice with that of Aimery. The Lady Eleanor
silenced her, and after mass offered her excuses to the chaplain:
but Father Odon replied that God would not be offended at
hearing the voice of one of His angels, and Agnes was pardoned.

From that day forward Aimery ceased to be so constant a
companion of old Milon, for the chaplain often took him into his
chamber to continue the education begun by the monks of St.
Eutropius. He was a youth of quick intelligence, and by summer
time he could read easily books written in Latin or the Provencal
Langue @oc. We showed a-more refractory disposition with
respect to the Langue d’orl, because it was the language of the
Normans and other subjects of King Henry of England. How-
ever, he at last decided to learn it—because, said he, one must
know the language of one’s enemies in order to surprise their bad
designs.

He learned also to write; he had some difficulty in making up
his mind, because the- lord of Rulamort could not trace a single
letter, and Aimery feared, therefore, that writing was a clerk’s
accomplishment, and scarcely suitable fora knight. But William,
the sergeant-at-arms, having chanced to say in his presence that
Richard of Poitiers wrote with his own hand his /azs and sirventes,
Aimery thought he could not do better than imitate that renowned
model of chivalry. .

The spring-time brought him other occupations. The Lady
Eleanor no longer shut herself up indoors, as when the snow fell
and the blasts blew from the icy north. She issued forth with little
Agnes, and if she fell in with Aimery, she never failed to speak to
him. Aimery looked up to her as he had looked up to the Holy















































































































































































































































4 Ne ay ii i. ih
ANA ANy
WON



y
oh
{

[ae

ae







END
ey AS
NN
i





































































FIRE SOK



He learned how to manage a high-mettled steed (A. 33)



HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY. 33

Virgin on the altar; his heart throbbed quickly, and he felt that
he would willingly have sacrificed his life for this noble lady, so
beautiful and so proud, who spoke to him sweet words with a
sweet smile; who called him “ my child,” who interested herself
in him, the poor orphan ; who asked him if he were happy in the
castle, if it pleased him to remain there, if old Milon were good
to him, and whether any person harassed or injured him. Agnes,
too, willingly stopped with Aimery; she always wanted to know
what he was doing, and why; she made him take her up in his
arms to gather the wild pinks which had taken root in the crannies
of the wall; or else for no other purpose than that she might be
as tall as the tallest men-at-arms; and when she went on an
excursion beyond the castle precincts, she would clasp the ‘boy’s
hand, exclaiming, “Come with me!’ She wept when she was
separated from him, and remained ‘under a cloud” for the rest
of her promenade. She said and repeated so often that she wanted
Aimery for her servant, that.the Lady Eleanor eventually asked
her husband’s permission to carry off the young armourer; he was
already tall and strong, and, what was better, very polished and
courteous; he could perform for her a host of little services, and
carry Agnes when she was fatigued. But it was clear that he
could not wait upon her dressed like a child of the people ;-so
a page’s suit was made for him, in the colours of the lord of
Rulamort, and this he wore in his excursions in the neighbourhood
in the train of Lady Eleanor, her woman, and the little Agnes,
when they went to gather wild flowers for weaving into wreaths, or
to pick the wild strawberries of the woods, and listen to the song
of the cuckoo and the warbler. Thenceforward the boy’s time
was tolerably well occupied. ;

In the morning he assisted old Milon to furbish up or repair
the arms and armour; he learned from him how to handle the
broadsword, dagger, and lance, and to bend a bow and lodge an
arrowin the butt. He learned also how to manage a high-mettled



34 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

steed, and make him caracole without drawing his feet from the
stirrups. Then he went in quest of Thibaut the falconer, assisted
him in taking care of his birds, made him relate at length all their
good qualities and defects, and was instructed in the difficult art
of training a falcon, a gyrfalcon, ora merlin. In the afternoon,
transformed into a page, Aimery followed his noble mistresses in
their walks of pleasure or benevolence: for the Lady Eleanor
delighted in visiting her poor vassals and providing for their
needs: so that her name was blessed throughout the domain of
Rulamort. In the evening Aimery, in Father Odon’s chamber,
practised himself in copying the beautiful letters of a missal em-
bellished with rich colourings ; and, of all the day’s tasks, this was
not the one he found most easy. He succeeded better in handling
the boar-spear, or riveting the meshes of a hauberk, than in tracing
the flourishes of an initial-capital. He did his best, however, failing
neither in perseverance nor industry; so that he fully satisfied
~ Father Odon, who treated him with so much kindliness and
instructed him with so much patience. But the scholar frequently
paused in this ungracious work to question the old man on the
events of his early years.

‘Father Odon,” he said to him one day, ‘you do not love
battles: why, then, did you come here? When you speak of a
stately cloister with long galleries, where the monks pace to and
fro, reading or praying, one sees that it would be happiness for you
to live there—to live in peace, and never see a broken head, nor
strife, nor wounds.”

Father Odon sighed.

“Man must do the will of God, my child,” he answered, “ and
not humour his own selfish fancies. When I was ten years old;
Aimery, I was a poor boy and very miserable. My father, who
dwelt in a village north of the Loire, was a serf of the Seigneur de
Talabard, a bad man, harsh and cruel towards everybody, but
especially towards his poor vassals. We had to work hard, father



HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY. 35

and mother, and even the littie children, as soon as they were able
to stand upright, or we should not have been able to live. Yes,
at the age when the children of nobles, and even those of the
burghers of the towns, think only of play and of being happy, we
were compelled, morning and evening, to weed the fields, to carry
burdens much too heavy for our feeble arms, and to drag baskets
full of pebbles for the repair of the road to the castle.

“And when the barley began to give promise of an ample
harvest, and our mother, thinking of this or that of ber children



“'Thibaut instructed him.”

who had died of privation in the preceding winter, would say, ‘At
least, this year, thank God, the little ones will not want for bread,’
—when she had spoken thus, the Seigneur would come with his
hounds and horses, blowing a horn, with his falcon on his wrist,
and ina moment our field would be devastated ; not an ear of corn
would lift its head above the ground. Thy father, Aimery, was a
free man, who worked when it pleased him, and was paid for his
work ; thou canst not know what manner of life is led by the poor
sons of the soil in the countries of the North, where the nobles



36 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

are more harsh than they are here, where they rob the unhappy
peasant of everything—his money, his time, his work, his life!
Thou sayest, sometimes, child, that the brave know how to
find a place for themselves in the world, and that thou wilt
become a knight: should thy dreams be fulfilled, through the
will of God, be not harsh or unjust towards the weak and the
poor. When a young noble, after the vigil of arms, receives his
knightly spurs, he swears before God and the saints to protect
all who shall demand his assistance; but he is thinking only of
those of his own rank,—of noble ladies maltreated, or of orphans
whose heritage has been wrested from them by some felon baron,—
he takes no heed of the villeins, they are not men, and he crushes
them remorselessly. But do thou, if ever God grant thee the power
and the strength, remember that Jesus died for all, and that a
serf’s soul is worth as much as that of a count or a king!”

Father Odon had allowed his memories to overcome him: his
body trembled all over, his voice had risen, and tears flowed from
his eyes. Aimery, who had never seen him otherwise than serene
and dignified, was moved with reverence and pity; and pressing
to his lips the old man’s hands, he cried :

“T swear it, my father! and if ever I gain my banner, I will
inscribe upon it for device, Fustice and Pity! That shall be my
war-cry, and I will do justice on the wicked who have no pity for
the poor.”

“May God hear thee, Aimery, and keep thee in charity and
courage! What was I saying to thee, my child? Ah, I remember
—we were very unfortunate. And yet, when at evening our father
took us upon his knees and caressed us, we had still a little pleasure
in the thought that we loved one another, and that we were all to-
gether. Alas! even that poor pleasure was taken away from us.
Our lord had a quarrel with the Baron de Maucastel: he collected
all the tenants and villeins on his domain to make war against his
enemy, and my father was forced to leave us. Aimery, he never



HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY. 37

returned ! We were told that he had fallen in fight, but we never
knew whether he received Christian burial, or whether his bones
were left to bleach in the wind and sun. Thou at least knowest
where Gaudry the Smith reposes.” 5;

“ You have not avenged him? ” cried Aimery.

“Upon whom, my poor boy? He who slew him was without
doubt a miserable wretch like himself, dragged by his lord from
his house and family ; and who could have told me his name?
My poor father! he did not live to see our condition improve.
The two barons made peace, and the Sieur de Maucastel married
our lord’s daughter; her dowry was the fief where my family
had their cottage. The Sieur de Maucastel was a gentle and
humane lord ; he visited his new vassals, and perceiving that my
mother could no longer cultivate the field, he took her into his
service, and lodged us along with her in his castle. There the
chaplain began to instruct me, and afterwards I was sent to the
monks of Saint Benedict, to study religion and Latin, and become
a clerk. I assumed the Benedictine habit at the age of thirty-
two, and for twenty years I was happy! ‘Twenty years: it is a
large part of a man’s life; and twenty years of happiness—can we
expect more? Ah! if you but knew, Aimery, the peace and the
joy which one finds in the hush of the cloister! The voices of
the world, its wars and its ambitions, and human guilt and misery
—one forgets it all; one passes one’s days in study and prayer;
one knows, or at least one believes one knows, beforehand the
occupation ofevery hour until the last. Oh! it is a happy life,
Aimery !”

“And yet you quitted it, my father?”

“Yes, because it was my duty. My noble lord, the Sieur de
Maucastel, was obliged to give his step-daughter, the damosel
Eleanor, to the son of the Lord of Rulamort. The betrothed
couple were as yet little better than children, and the Sieur de
Maucastel was anxious to place with his daughter a chaplain who



38 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGIIT.

could speak to her of the parents she quitted, so thatin the midst
of her new family she might not wholly forget them. He thought
of me, and of the gratitude which I owed him, and asked the
Superior to spare me. I quitted the convent with a bleeding
heart ; but I soon discovered that it was the hand of God which
had called me from it. In spite of his devotion to the patron
saint of his ancestors, the Sieur de Rulamort was a ‘cruel and
pitiless lord; his son would have resembled him, had not God
blessed my teaching. Mine was the happiness of impressing upon
him the duties of a Christian knight, and of softening his heart to
charity. The Lady Eleanor is happy; she is proud of her husband;
and I—I have paid my debt to my benefactor.”

** And you have done much more good than if you had rested
in the convent, Father Odon.”

“One may do good and serve God everywhere,” replied the old
man, sighing.

“ As for myself, I wish to serve Him like a Christian knight!
With you and old Milon for my instructors, I shall learn how to
strike lusty blows and do good works, and the troubadours in their
songs will celebrate Aimery the Bright-of-face !”





CHAPTER V.




= SC) AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY.

4] OTWITHSTANDING his pacific character, Father
} Odon was unable to prevent himself from loving in
Aimery even his warrior-impulses. He was wise
enough to know that the earth could not be
wholly peopled with monks, and said to himself
that since there must needs be people in the world
whose chief occupation was making war, it was good
to meet with some among them who would contend
against the wicked and reduce them to submission.
ners he did not attempt to dispel the boy’s radiant dreams,
but allowed him to indulge in the hope of one day becoming a
famous knight. And, after all, it was not impossible but that he
might live to buckle on the knightly belt. The Lord of Rulamort
had taken him under his protection, and would certainly carry
him on his expeditions when the boy had reached the age of
eighteen ; and as the young man, taught by old Milon, would be
more skilled than the other vassals in the craft of arms, he would
probably place him in command of a company of pikemen or
archers. Once he had arrived at such a height, Aimery would
not fail to distinguish himself by some deed of valour: the Sieur
4



40 * PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Hugues would then attach him to his person—would make him,
perhaps, his squire ; and when he was a squire, he would find a.
hundred opportunities of winning his spurs. So the good monk,
in order that Aimery might become an accomplished knight,
spared neither his lessons nor his counsel, never failing to support
them by the example of some famous knight or other, whose
history he related. The frank .and truthful soul of the youth was
like good soil where the seed germinates without effort ; and so
he devised a model whom he sought in all things to resemble, a
perfect knight, like the chevaliers of the Round Table or the
Holy Graal,* and he applied himself incessantly to the work of
acting, speaking, and thinking as he supposed his hero would have
done. ;

But it is not possible to content everybody. If Father Odon
had conceived as strong an affection for Aimery as if he had been
his own child,—if the Lady Eleanor never met him without a word
and a smile,—if little Agnes ran to meet or overtake him the
moment she caught sight of him,—if Hugues de Rulamort often
questioned old Milon respecting his pupil’s conduct, and expressed
his satisfaction with it,—if all the inmates of the castle loved him
for his gaiety, his sweet temper, and unfailing courteousness,—
there was nevertheless a person who felt every day his antipathy
to Aimery increase,—this was Jehan de Rochaigué. And why?
Aimery, who attended upon the young varlets in their games and
exercises, was not less eager to wait upon Jehan than upon any of
the others: Aimery was but a poor lad, taken under the patronage
of the lord of the castle ; Jehan was noble, and the heir to a large
domain ; Aimery was only thirteen, Jehan was three years older ;
Aimery had never given him any cause of offence ; why, then, did
the youth detest him ?

The feeling began in a strange jealousy which Jehan would have

* A reference to the Arthurian legends which have supplied the subjects of
Tennyson’s ‘‘Idylls of the King.”



AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY, AT

been ashamed to confess. Aimery had taken his place in the
chapel while he recovered from his wounds, and after he had
recovered, Father Odon had continued to avail himself of Aimery’s
services, without asking Jehan if he would like to return to his
post. In doing this the chaplain had no thought of offending
Jehan: he had so often said in blunt abrupt words, or had given
him to understand, that it was a clerk’s duty to serve mass and
chant the hymns, and that he found that kind of work unworthy
of him, that Father Odon naturally thought he had relieved him
of a task he disliked; and so he had told him one day, when
thanking him for past services, and excusing himself for having
protracted them to his inconvenience. ‘‘It is well,” answered
Jehan; “‘the work suits him better than it suits me: I am no longer
a child, nor am I a clown filled with the ambition of becoming 2
clerk.”

Father Odon had not detected his vexation, and yet his vexation
was real. Many times he had been irritated by the jests of his
comrades, who called him Jehan Beauclerc, and proposed to shave
the crown of his head like a monk’s tonsure ; yet he had continued
to serve the chaplain, because it secured him the favour of the
lady of the castle, who, as was often the case, was more cultivated
than her husband and his friends, and loved music and poetry.
Jehan was proud of being chosen by her to assist her in mounting
her hunting palfrey, to unhood her falcon, or carry the game cap-
tured by that noble bird.. He was sorely wounded the day when
the Lady Eleanor had said to him, “So, Jehan, you no longer sing
in the chapel; in truth, ’tis a pity,’—which did not prevent her
from congratulating Father Odon, a moment afterwards, on the
fine voice of his new chorister, without noticing that Jehan could
hear her. His comrades, however, did not show as much polite-
ness. In the rough fashion of young men they said to him—
“Thou hast done well to doff thy clerk’s surplice, Jehan ; the
smith’s son sings better than thou dost!” Jehan replied with



42 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

contemptuous allusions to singing, to Father Odon, and the chur]
whom he had taken into favour; but he remained jealous of
Aimery and ill-disposed towards those who loved him—that is to
say, more or less towards all the inmates of the castle.

It was little Agnes who, in her innocence, furnished him with an
opportunity for showing his resentment. Agnes was very lively
and active, and unable to sit demurely for any length of time in
the great hall, at the feet of Lady Eleanor, who was peopling
with new figures a grand tapestry begun fully a century before by
another lady of Rulamort. The work did not make rapid progress,
and the child grew fatigued with seeing the needle pass and repass
through thecanvas. She noticed that since the last Sunday the knight
had gained but half a hand, and the noble lady who crowned him
only one cheek and the corner of her mouth; and she asked herself
if the lady would have finished her coronation of the knight before
she was grown up. And then, growing desperately weary, she
would take Michonne by the hand and say to her,—‘ Come,
come, and have a game!” Michonne, who for six months had
been engaged on a page’s embroidered tunic, and found no special
pleasure in the task, was only too delighted to follow her child-
mistress: and Agnes would lead her, of course,
where she knew she would find something
amusing: to the entrance of thé sheep-fold, at
the time ‘‘the kye came hame”’; into the poultry-
yard, when Perinette, Thibaut’s wife, began to
feed her fowls; to the mews, where Thibaut,
delighted always when the child’s radiant face
shone upon him, would show her the birds one
by one, and relate the history and describe the
character of each. She would visit also the place of arms, rejoicing
if she found the door open, and if Milon, or, better still, Aimery,
would do her the honours of the beautiful suits of mail suspended
there, of which she was passionately fond, like the brave little







(A. 43)

g it closely

sist upon examinin

gnes would in

A



AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. 43

chatelaine that she was already. It was pleasant to see her, with
her fair curls clustering about her like an aureole, skipping, light
as a bird, along the time-stained boards of the armoury, accustomed
to shrink beneath the heavy tread of men-at-arms. With a pretty
impetuous gesture of command, she would call Milon and Aimery
to her side, and would make them halt before each object which
she indicated with the tip of her rosy finger, saying, with a proud
alr :—

“There, that is a hauberk ; and this is a pike; yonder isa
noble’s lance with a banner ; this is a clarion, and that a helmet;
and oh, see this fine sheath, for holding a knight’s sword! Oh,
what a number of swords! But where is Franchise?”

Aimery would lead her to see Franchise, which was suspended
in a place of honour, and by his assiduous exertions kept as bright
as crystal. He would take it down, for Agnes would insist on
examining it closely, and she would mirror, with a joyous smile,
her soft blue eyes in the glancing steel. She would make him
repeat, for the hundredth time, the history of Franchise; she
would sympathize with ‘poor Aimery, who had no father”; she
would say to him,—‘“‘ But thou art happy with my father, art thou
not? thou art not wretched now?” And, kneeling, she would
recite an Ave Maria “for the soul of poor father Gaudry.” Then
resuming her gaiety, she would play with everything; she
would not rest until they had put on her head a great plumed
helmet: she would attempt to lift a knight’s shield or a soldier’s
targe; and she brightened the sombre and severe place of arms
with her frolics, her sportive ways, and her musical laughter.

Another place to which Agnes was very partial also, was a court
where the young varlets, guests and pupils of the lord of Rulamort,
performed their various exercises. She had learned their favourite
shout of applause, ‘‘ Noél!” and knew when praise was due.
““Noél! Noél!” she would cry when one of them leapt farther
than the others, or had thrown his adversary in the wrestle, or



44 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

when dart or arrow launched by a skilful hand struck with a thud
the buckler suspended against the wall as a target. The young.
players received her with courtesy ; they knew that the first duty
of a knight is to honour and serve the ladies, and though Agnes
was but a lady in outline—a lady who was to be-—these aspirants
for knightly fame practised towards her the refined folitesse of
which they would have need in later days. They entreated of her
a favour to wear in her honour,—or they devolved on her the
duty of handing the prize to the winner in the games. Agnes
assumed this high and honourable office with amusing seriousness :
she gave a ribbon from her waving locks, or crowned the victor
with a wreath of ivy plucked from the weather-worn battlements,
just as if she had been the true ‘‘Queen of Beauty” presiding
over a real and splendid tournament,—

‘* Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In words of peace high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.”

It happened one day that her appearance in the court was
saluted by acclamations even more boisterous than ordinary.

‘“‘ Here comes the sovereign lady !””

‘‘ Behold our Queen of Beauty !”

“Welcome to the lady of the joust !”

“‘ Quick, little Agnes, quick !—a throne for the queen. Ah, here
it 1s 1”

And in a second Agnes was perched on the remains of an old
catapult lying dishonoured in a corner; a helmet was placed
under her tiny feet that she might feel more at ease; and it was
then explained to her that the pages had arranged to hold a grand
comprehensive competition, with sling, and bow, and javelin,—



AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. 45

in leaping and running, and that she was required to act both as
the queen of the tourney and the judge of the games. Agnes
thoroughly understood what was expected of her; and as, in
crossing the garden,-she had gathered an armful of flowers, she
gave them to Michonne with instructions to weave them into
garlands and wreaths for the successful competitors. Then she
watched the various combatants with an exquisitely grave, judicial
air; and from time to time might be heard her small clear voice,
exclaiming—“ Los ef honneur!* Yorward, preux chevaliers ! for
honour and for your ladies!” just as she had heard the herald in
the tourneys held by her father.

Aimery was present, along with Milon, who superintended the
exercises and occasionally gave a word of good advice to those
engaged in them. ‘You hold your javelin badly, Sire Garin !
Your arrow, Sire Arnoul, is not in the middle of the bow! Sire
Jehan, hold your lance higher if you would throw it farther!
You will miss your aim with your sling, Sire Robert!” Aimery col-
lected the arrows and javelins as they were discharged ; applauded
successful hits; and with no little difficulty prevented himself
from signalizing misses! The young pages, who held him in great
esteem, would sometimes turn to him, and say: ‘That was good,
was it not? What do you think of such a stroke as that? Did
you see? Robert’s javelin struck the buckler ! ”

It was Jehan alone who did not address a word to Aimery, and
appeared wholly indifferent to his approbation. He assumed an
air of disdain when the boy cried “ Noél! ” on seeing that his
stone or arrow hit its mark ; and he muttered, loud enough to be
heard: ‘‘ Why does this son of a serf intrude into our company ?”
Aimery did not fail to notice, but durst not complain, Jehan being
the guest of the Lord of Rulamort and the son of a baron.

The jousts were finished : Jehan had prevailed over every com-

* A phrase much used in the mediseval tournaments.—Zos apparently comes
from the Latin Zams, “praise.”



46 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

petitor, and the vanquished led him in triumph to the foot of the
throne of Agnes. Agnes did not like Jehan, who svoke to her
always as haughtily as a suzerain to his vassal, and roughly
demanded his flowers and ribbons instead of asking for them, as
the others did,—who were as nobly born and far more amiable,—
with bended head and knee on ground. When she saw who it was
that came forward, she made a little grimace of disappointment,
and eyeing the defeated one by one, she exclaimed :

‘“‘He has beaten Garin, and Robert, and Arnoul, and all the
others. No—Aimery: he has not beaten Aimery ! I am Queen
of the Revels, and I will that Jehan contend with Aimery !”

“With Aimery !” cried Jehan; ‘a churl—a villein—a serf!”

“My father was a free man,” said Aimery, pale, and in a tremu-
lous voice; “and one day, perhaps, you shall learn whether I have
the soul of a serf, Messire Jehan!”

“Jehan is afraid of losing the prize,” remarked, in a tone ot

. raillery, young Robert de Castelmont, who had only just missed
being the victer.

The others whispered apart.

‘Tis true,” said Garin de Lézinan, “ Aimery is not noble.”

“But then this is only a sham joust,” observed Arnoul de
Malefort. ‘And, besides, he is the son of a free man, which is
quite sufficient. We shall see whether Milon has trained a good
pupil. Come, Jehan, art thou afraid? No, I will not believe
nie

‘You shall see if I am afraid!” cried Jehan; and suddenly,
without a word of warning, he launched his javelin. But had he
taken good aim at the target? One may doubt it, seeing that the
javelin flew over Aimery’s curly head, so close as to touch the
hair, and plunged into the wall at some distance from the buckler.

The spectators uttered a cry of terror. But Aimery was not
wounded. He took a javelin, placed himself in the same position
as Jehan, balanced his weapon, hurled it . . . it rushed through



AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. A7

the air with a hissing sound, and planted itself right in the centre
of the shield.

“ Noél for Aimery!” cried the young people. Jehan made a
gesture of vexation, and seizing a heavy spear, he took a spring,
ran a few paces, thrust the spear-end into the ground, rested upon
it all his weight, and jumped.

“ Noél for Jehan!’ rose in an unanimous shout.

‘* Aimery cannot leap so far as that—he is too small,’ cried
Arnoul.

“He will not be able even to lift the lance,” said Garin.

Milon had heard all that passed. He made a
sign to Aimery, and showed him a lance used in
battle, much lighter than the lance for jousting
purposes which Sire Jehan had handled. Aimery
seized it, and as, though smaller than his adversary,
he was nimbler and more skilful,-he could take his
spring much farther, and rising lightly, he de-
scended upon his two feet at exactly the same f
point as Jehan had reached. i

The judges applauded; little Agnes laughed and “fe
clapped her hands; Jehan knitted his brows with <<
a fierce and gloomy frown.

In the race the result was the same. Aimery, by his agility,
made up for what he lost in height and strength, and touched the
goal at the same time as Jehan. He was defeated in the sling
competition, because his arm had not muscular force enough to
throw the stone as far as his competitor; but his three arrows,
one after the other, struck in the heart of the buckler the javelin
which he had previously planted there; and Arnoul de Malefort,
discharging the functions of the herald-at-arms, proclaimed as
conqueror in the games Aimery, son of Gaudry the armour-
smith, free man of the town of Saintes.

This time Agnes made no difficulty in bestowing the crown of



We



48 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

victory. She stood up in order to put herself on a level with
Aimery, who had respectfully bent the knee before her. She
placed on his head the crown of flowers which Michonne had
prepared, and embraced him in the usual fashion on either cheek,

saying :
‘Gallant knight, receive the crown of honour and the prize of
the tourney———”

Suddenly she interrupted herself.
“The prize of the tourney? Where is the prize? There must



*- His three arrows, one after the other.”

be a prize: who ever heard of a tourney or joust: without one?
My father has two prizes, won at different times: one a helmet,
with beautiful shining red stones, and a great plume ; the other a
beautiful drinking-cup of silver, for use on days of festival.
Where is the prize for Aimery? I have nothing at all.”

With an air of almost comical vexation, she gazed at her empty
little hands. All at once she caught sight of a small strip of
twisted gold thread, which she had found among her mother’s
jewels and ribbons, and had fastened round her arm, that she
might have a bracelet of her own like a great lady.



AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. 49

“ Ah—see, see!” she cried: “here is the very thing!” and
turning again to Aimery, she continued: “ Preux chevalier
receive the prize of your valour, and wear it as you have won it.”

There rose a shout of pleasant laughter from the merry young
pages, in which Michonne and old Milon joined; Agnes looked
so comical with her beautiful little face of roses and ltlies, and the
grave airs which she assumed, and the effort she made to speak
like the dames and damosels in the tales of chivalry her mother
and her mother’s women sometimes related while at. their
embroidery frames.

But Jehan did not laugh; he placed himself in the path of
Aimery as he withdrew, and pushed him violently, saying : “Go,
most noble knight! Thou wilt not see me here very long, for I
shall have no trouble in finding better lodgment. There are
more powerful nobles than this petty lord of Rulamort, and in
their households I shall find no base-born company. But thou
shall see me again elsewhere ; and then, mark me, sirrah, thou
shalt learn, thou villein’s son, so proud of thy bright face, how we
nobles deal with wretched churls when their insolence lifts them
above their proper condition !”





CHAPTER VI.

A GUEST.



4ELLOW-TINTED autumn brought back the chill
air and the unwholesome mist, and in the lengthen-
ing evenings the family of the lord of Rulamort
assembled round the ample hearth. After supper,
which in those days was served at about eight
= o’cleck, when Father Odon had recited in a loud
clear voice the vesper prayers, in the midst of a
kneeling circle of superiors and dependants, every.

j ¢ individual repaired to the part of the castle whither
their occupations summoned them; and in the state apartment
remained only the Sieur Hugues and his wife, the chaplain, the Lady
Eleanor’s waiting-women, ready to execute their mistress’s orders,
old Milon and the Sieur’s squires, the young pages, and Aimery,
who went from one to the other as his services were required.
To the thirsty he presented the goblet filled with claret or hippocras ;
he trimmed the lamps, he fed the fire, he stretched mat or cushion
. under the feet of Sieur Hugues and Dame Eleanor ; and when at
leisure from these manifold avocations, he stood erect near the
high-backed fauteuil in which was seated his noble mistress,.
watching the gambols of little Agnes as she rolled on the carpet





« 50).

es (4

ambols of little Agn

Watching the g:



A GUEST. Br

with the faithful gentle hounds, and followed with quick eyes the
spindles revolving in the agile fingers of her mother and the
waiting-women, or listened to the tales and jests of the merry
company collected in “the ingle nook.” Their talk was chiefly
of the incidents that took place in the neighbourhood—of the
' marriage of such and such a noble with the daughter of a baron of
Aquitaine or Provence, of the birth of a child to count or cavalier,.
of a troubadour or jongleur skilled upon the harp who was.
traversing the countryside, and whose arrival at Rulamort was
anxiously expected. Of late years, with this light gossip had
mingled stories of the doings of the old King of England. It was
said that he had won several victories over the people who inha-
bited the same island as himself; and this was welcome news to.
nobody, for the men of Aquitaine and Poitou wished him defeats
rather than victories. It was remarked that the number of nobles.
in their province who fortified their castles and augmented their
garrisons was constantly on the increase: what was the reason ?
Did they fear the return of the English, or were they thinking of
raising the standard of rebellion? The young pages longed for
war; they were old enough to follow the banners of their fathers,
and they hoped to extort from the. knights of Anjou and Nor-
mandy an acknowledgment of the strength of their.arms, and thus.
to gain their spurs.

Aimery stamped with impatience when he thought of his thir-
teen years. Jehan was silent, and remained sombre and anxious.
As for the Lady Eleanor, in spite of her bravery in time of war,
she ardently desired the maintenance of peace; and her heart
ached with the fear that once more, perhaps, she must see her
beloved lord, in his panoply of hauberk and helm, mount his.
destrier and ride forth to battle, instead of caracoling gently by
her side in the fresh woods and green meadows, his falcon on his.
wrist, and the hounds baying around them.

One day, the young chatelaine, seated in the deep and narrow

5



52 : PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

recess formed by the embrasure of her window, was watching the
swift motion across the face of heaven .of the rose-tinted clouds
which heralded the approach of sunset. She was oppressed with
melancholy thoughts; for there had been much recent discourse
respecting the old King of England. At her feet, Agnes was
playing with quite a complete suite of miniature furniture, manu-
factured expressly for her doll by her friend Aimery—stools,
couches, tables, sideboards; and every moment the child pulled ©
Lady Eleanor by her long sleeve, to make her admire her play-
things. But her mother took no heed; the day was rapidly



waning; why had not Sieur Hugues returned? MHer anxiety
gained rapidly upon her.

The blast of a horn at the outer gate sent a shiver through her
frame ; it was not her husband’s horn. She sprang to her feet,
and looked out; but night was swiftly approaching, and though
she could hear the voices of men and the clash of iron, the build-
ings of the castle concealed the gate at which the visitors had
halted. In enforced patience she waited for a few minutes ; soon
old Milon, as she expected, made his appearance.



A GUEST. 53

“‘ Noble lady,” said he, ‘‘the Sieur de Hautefort, attended by
his squires, waits below, and asks audience of the Sieur de
Rulamort. I told him that my lord was not in the castle ; where-
upon he solicited the favour of being allowed to offer his homage
to its noble lady, whose beauty and virtues, he said, were held in
great renown throughout all Aquitaine. I repeat his very words.
What are thy orders, noble dame?”

“Rulamort,” replied the Lady Eleanor, “never turns away a
guest from its walls. Conduct the Sieur de Hautefort toa chamber,
where he may refresh himself and doff his travelling garments; take
care of his squires, and send some of our people to wait upon him.
I will await him in the great hall; and I hope my lord will quickly
return, to give him the welcome due to so worshipful a knight.”

Milon retired; and the Lady Eleanor summoned her women,
and bade them prepare her toilette ; the Sieur de Hautefort was
not a guest whom one could receive without some ceremony.
While Jehanne and Michonne drew trom oaken chests rich stuffs
and costly periumes, Eleanor, concealed within the window-bay,
looked out upon the court through which the visitor must pass
into the interior of the castle. She heard the grinding of the
chains which raised the drawbridge and lowered the portcullis ;
then the heavy measured tramp of the horses; and next she saw
enter, preceded by Milon, a knight followed by two squires and a
stout horse carrying his baggage. She eyed the cavalier curiously;
in his appearance, however, there was nothing to draw attention.
He rode a handsome palfrey, of fine and nervous shape, which by
the side of the great war-chargers would have seemed small, but
obeyed the slightest motion of his master as if horse and rider had
been but one. On his head he wore a plain iron cap, without
crest or plume of any kind; and beneath his. travelling-cloak,
which was wide open and floated freely around him, shone the
light meshes of a hauberk which fitted close to his body, and
defined his figure.



54 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

Great was the surprise of the Lady Eleanor not to find in the
Sieur de Hautefort a stalwart warrior, such as men said were
Richard of Poitiers and his brothers—more exalted nobles than
himself, because they were a king’s sons, but not more valorous or
renowned. The Sieur de Hautefort was of middle stature, more
nervous than robust, and one could not picture him so easily
crushing his enemies with the tremendous blows of his maceas did
Richard the Lion-heart. But his bearing was so assured, his mien
so composed and dignified, that one could divine in him a'resolute
will and a force of character worth all the physical strength of the
giants of England or Normandy.

Bertrand de Born, Sieur de Hautefort, a small castle in the -
neighbourhood of Periguetfx, was held in great repute throughout
all Aquitaine and Provence, and, indeed, all the countries whose
inhabitants spoke the /angue d’oc. Men spoke of his bravery in
the fight and his wisdom in the council; everywhere they sang
his songs of wine and love, and everywhere the war-songs and the
siruventes 1n which he rallied with pitiless wit the foreign masters
whom the two marriages of Queen Eleanor had imposed on
unhappy Aquitaine. Many knights mistrusted him, and thought
him changeable and perfidious. One day he animated with the
sparkle of his wit and the fulness of his gaiety the table of the
King of England ; another day he raised his banner against him ;
or He passed into the camp of Richard or of Henry Short-Cloak,
and on the morrow the war had changed its.aspect,—the friends of
the day before were denounced as enemies, while ancient enemies
were treated as brothers-in-arms. Was Bertrand a demon whose
breath everywhere scattered discord, or a madman who took a
pleasure in creating and dissolving misunderstandings, in order to
find in them subjects for his songs? However this might be, the
Lady Eleanor was equally curious to make his acquaintance and
disturbed at his visit: what could he have to say to her lord?

Notwithstanding her anxiety, she took great pains with her



A GUEST. 55

toilette; the homage of Bertrand de Born was much coveted: by
fair ladies! Jehanne and Michonne attired her in a close-fitting
dress of fine white stuff, ornamented round the neck and wrists
with a rich and delicate embroidery ; over the chaiuse they threw
a costly robe of azure silk, brought from the East by the Venetian
merchants. The full hanging sleeves of the robe were lined with
freseaux, and trimmed with gold thread, which sparkled in the
light of the lamps. Next, her maidens clasped about her graceful
figure the jupe or bodice of fur; about her waist they buckled a
belt. of gold open-work, enriched with enamel of the most vivid
colours; and over her shoulders they draped a long floating mantle,
fastened at the neck with a brooch of precious stones. Finally,
they knotted about her hips a rich girdle, the tassels of which fell
to the hem of her robe. Afterwards they turned their attention to
her head-dress. In her beautiful black tresses they intertwined
threads of gold and pearls; upon her head they placed a white
transparent veil of some soft kind of lace, which they fixed in its
place with a jewelled diadem. The Lady Eleanor then stood
before their admiring gaze, as lovely as the saints which adorned
their missals.

She looked at herself in the mirror of polished silver which
Jehanne held before her, saying, ‘It is well!” and repaired to
the grand hall. There the table had been erected, and supper
prepared. Eleanor took her place on her fauteuil, and satisfied
herself with one quick glance that her guest would be received in
a manner worthy of his rank and renown.

She might well be satisfied. Upon the long table, ornamented
with designs in colours and incrustations of the precious metals,
sparkled gold and silver plate—salt-cellars, dishes, cups, goblets—
reflecting like so many mirrors the glare of the pine-wood torches
which four servitors, standing erect at the corners of the hall, held
in their hands. Embroidered cushions covered the stools, while
yielding carpets concealed the floor of stone; the tapestries of



56 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Poitou, renowned throughout Europe, hung from the walls: in a
word, the castle hall of Rulamort would have done honour to a
prince. Eleanor smiled at Milon, who interrogated her with his
look, and made a gesture of approval; but her heart felt more and
more sorrowful, and she was asking herself how she should have
the courage to listen to the Sieur de Hautefort and reply to him
with courtesy, when her quick ear caught the welcome sounds of
her lord’s trumpet.

“ Haste, haste, Milon !” she exclaimed, joyously ; “ meet your
lord, and inform him what guest has arrived. Tell him I am
desirous that he should join me quickly. ‘As soon as your lord is
ready, let the horn be sounded, for it is late, and the clepsydra*
long ago marked the supper hour.”

Milon retired, and the Lady Eleanor, with her mind and heart
at ease, could receive her visitor calmly. She rose on his entrance,
and descended the steps-of her fauteuil to bid him welcome.
Bertrand de Born bent one knee to the ground before her, kissed
her hand, and rising, led her to her fauteuil. She would have had
him take another high-backed chair, mounted upon steps; but he
preferred one of the cushioned stools, saying that all the knights of
Christendom would envy him the honour of being at the feet of so
beautiful a lady. He continued to converse in a strain of chival-
rous gallantry, mingling the praises of the Lady Eleanor with
those of her husband, whom he esteemed one of the bravest and
most courteous cavaliers of Poitou, Perigord, and Aquitaine. And
as-Eleanor listened, she wondered that a warrior, poet, and states-
_man of such renown could invent those elegant phrases, which
would not have been misplaced on the lips of a gallant accus-
tomed to spend his life in the smiles of ladies.

While she sat astonished, Sieur Hugues entered the hall ; im-
mediately the horn sounded, and the guests entitled to sit at the
baron’s table made their appearance at the summons. Bertrand

* The water-clock.



A GUEST. 57

de Born stepped forward to greet Sieur Hugues, observing that,
having been overtaken on his journey by the shadows of the
coming night, he had ventured to claim his hospitality; and he
conceived himself fortunate, he said, to be in such close com-
panionship with a knight of deserved renown, whom he had so long
desired to know. He added some words of high compliment to
the Lady Eleanor, and of congratulations to the lord of Rulamort,
the husband of a lady worthy to serve as a model to all chate-
~ laines.

Sieur Hugues listened, flattered by his praises, but somewhat
surprised at: his visit. He himself had been detained abroad so
late, because he had delayed to collect the rumours, more and
more definite and threatening, of fresh victories of the King of
England; and now he felt convinced that the presence of Bertrand
had some connection with those victories. It was not advisable
that he should show his suspicion, and he welcomed his visitor as
“he would have welcomed any other knight; thinking, moreover,
that it would be useless to question him, and that he would be
sure to explain himself at the proper time.

They were seated around the table, and the servitors brought to
each guest a basin filled with perfumed water in which to wash his
hands, and a towel of fine linen with which to dry them. Then
the master-cook’s assistants, bearing on their arms huge dishes
filled with smoking viands, entered in succession, and set to work
with wondrous energy to cut up on the side-tables enormous
joints of roasted pork, wild boar, venison, pheasants, and other
birds of the farm-yard; while their gossips set before the guests
huge thick slices of bread intended to receive the meat.* It was
Aimery whom his mistress ordered to wait upon the Sieur de
Hautefort; and he discharged his duties with eagerness, delighted

* One of the best descriptions of a great mediceval banquet occurs in Hook-
ham Frere’s burlesque poem of “ King Arthur and his Round Table,” published
under the pseudonym of ‘ William and Robert W histlecraft.” The first canta



58 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

to see so much. of this extraordinary man, with whose fame all
Aquitaine was ringing, not less among the common people than
among the knights and nobles. When he was not serving him, he
stood erect, with his eyes riveted upon him; and before the end
of the sumptuous meal had so closely and carefully scanned him,
that he would have been able to recognise him wherever and
under whatever disguise he might have chanced to meet him.

The Sieur Bertrand de Born had passed his first manhood:
but his vivacity, and the flash of his dark eye, and the gloss of
his black hair, scarcely streaked as yet with grey, and the incessant
activity which had preserved the sinewy spareness of his figure,
made him appear younger than he really was.

He had doffed his travelling costume, and appeared clad in a
long purple robe, adorned with rich embroideries, worked chiefly in
gold thread ; his head was bare, the hair long behind and cut very
short in front, according to the fashion of the age; while his jet-
black beard was divided into a number of small tufts interlaced

opens with a grand feast given by King Arthur to his knights at ‘‘ merry
Carlisle” :—

*¢ The bill of fare (as you may well suppose)

Was suited to those plentiful old times,
Before our modern luxuries arose,

With truffles and ragofits, and various crimes ;
And therefore, from the original in prose

I shall arrange the catalogue in rhymes :
They served up salmon, venison, and wild boars
By hundreds, and by dozens, and by scores.

** Hogsheads of honey, kilderkins of mustard,
Muttons, and fatted beeves, and bacon swine 3
Herons and bitterns, peacock, swan and bustard,
Teal, mallard, pigeons, widgeons, and in fine
Plum-puddings, pancakes, apple-pies, and custard :
And therewithal they drank good Gascon wine,

With mead, and ale, and cyder of our own,
For porter, punch, and negus were not known.”



A GUEST. 59

with threads of gold. He also wore a sleeveless surcoat of velvet,
of the greyish-blue colour of steel, and a pouch of vair hung
from his waist; his feet were encased in long pointed shoes, a
fourth part of which curved over and inwards in the style called
panaché, and these shoes were made of the finest Cordovan leather.

The suppleness of his movements invested him with a kind of
feline grace; and at this moment, when he was lavishing ori his
hosts the most flattering attentions and compliments, he might
have been taken for a foppish cavalier whose sole ambition was

to shine in the boudoir and the dance. But at times a word, a
gesture, a look, a frown which swiftly outlined itself on his smooth .
white forehead only to disappear as rapidly, indicated the warrior
and the statesman. From any incidental allusion to matters of
policy, he returned at once to his réle of the courteous and
undesigning visitor, and he lauded the aroma of the wines, the
exquisite lightness and flavour of the pastries. Then he related
the news of the latest tourney ; and the lord and lady of Rulamort
took great pleasure in such descriptions, for tourneys were the great
pastime of the higher orders, and at the time of which we speak
they were of infrequent occurrence, since men were too constantly
engaged in real battles to find leisure for the mock fights of
chivalry. When the meal was at an end, and the servitors had
poured out a cup of hippocras* for every guest, the lord and lady
of Rulamort rose with formal grace, and conducted the Sieur
Bertrand to the place of honour in the corner of the spacious
hearth. ;

“I regret, fair sir,” said Hugues de Rulamort, “that I can
offer you no diversions worthy of your notice; but the hour and
the season are not favourable to feats of arms, and there are no
jongleurs or musicians in the neighbourhood whose skill might
entertain us.”

* Tlippocras seems to have been a mixture of Lisbon and Canary wine, in
which various spices had been well digested,



60 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Little Agnes, who all supper time had contemplated the Sieur
de Hautefort admiringly, and, encouraged by his bright gay smile,
had grown somewhat familiar with him, conceived as she thought
a most praiseworthy idea for relieving her father from embar-
rassment and providing his guest with amusement. She made a
step towards Bertrand de Born, and said to him in a joyous air,
and with her finger pointing towards Aimery, “ Aimery sings!
Aimery knows—oh, so very many beautiful songs !”

Bertrand looked at the pretty child, and then at the page whom
she indicated.

'« Ah, that is the gentle page who served me at table!” said he.
* Does he sing? Yes, he has the eyes of a musician. Come,
boy, if thy lord consent, sing to us some merry /ad or sirvente.”

“Or some hymn to the Holy Virgin or the Saints,” said the Lady
Eleanor; “ for Aimery serves our almoner in the chapel, and his
voice makes one dream of the angels in Paradise.”

Father Odon bent his head in token of approval, and Aimery,
blushing with pleasure at the thought that the Sieur de Hautefort
had deigned to notice him, stepped forward into the centre of the
circle, and began to sing.





CHAPTER VII.

a POET AND WARRIOR.



Y first, in compliance with the wish of his lady,
Aimery sang, in a clear fresh voice, a beautiful hymn
to Saint Agnes, which Father Odon had taught him ;
y) and next a joyous Noél, or Christmas song, which
°, told of the birth of the Holy Child Jesus in a poor
stable, and amidst privation and squalor. Fixing
upon him his brilliant eyes, Bertrand de Born
listened intently, and occasionally inclined his head
as a mark of satisfaction. Afterwards Aimery sang
a lay composed by Arnaud de Marveil for the Countess Adelaide
of Toulouse. Then Sieur Bertrand, perceiving a group of musical
instruments hanging from the wall, took down a rebeck, and said
to the boy: “The sound of sweet instruments, gentle page, should
always accompany the praise of a fair lady.” And he drew from
the rebeck melodious silvery notes which blended marvellously
with the tones of Aimery’s voice.

When the song was concluded, all the listeners, charmed, .
entreated Sieur Bertrand to continue his performance. He did
not refuse ; and turning towards Aimery,—“ Come, sirrah page,”
said he, “ knowest thou not yet another song?”



62 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Aimery blushed, and trembling at his boldness, delivered in a
full voice, and with amazing energy, a war song of high esteem
in the camps and castles,—a song written by Bertrand de Born
himself. It ran as follows:

** How sweet to me the merry spring,

With wealth of leaves and flowers !

How I love to hear the birdies sing
Amid the fresh green bowers !

But oh, it is a merrier sight
To view the tented field,

When the wide-reaching sward is bright
With helmet, spear, and shield !”

During this first verse Bertrand sprang to his feet, and the
light of battle kindled in his eyes. He accompanied it on the
lute with sharp. resonant chords, like a trumpet-call. ‘The second
verse he sang himself, motioning to Aimery to sing it with him :—

«© And oh, my heart is full of joy

When the foemen break in flight 3

And I hear the strident battle-cry
Of many a gallant knight !

And oh, well pleased am I to see
The castle’s leaguer made,

And neath its walls our chivalry
In mailéd ranks arrayed !”

Thus he continued, while the docile instrument: responded to
his touch and seemed to become the echo of his martial thought.
He grew more and more animated, until Aimery, fired by his
-enthusiasm, felt himself transported into the thick of the fight,
holding in his hand the shining Franchise, and falling with cut
and thrust (d’estoc et de taille) on the English who killed his father.
The voices of the warrior-poet and the page resounded, powerful
and sonorous under the groined roof, the great arch of which sent
back the echoes. Sieur Hugues had clutched the handle of his
dagger as if he were about to strike down an adversary; the



POET AND WARRIOR. 63

young varlets, with glittering eyes, sighed for the day when they
should quit the peaceful seclusion of the castle and assume the
harness of combat ; Lady Eleanor, with head bent down, strug-
gled against the conflicting emotions of the loving wife and the
brave chatelaine; even Father Odon’s tranquil spirit was for a
moment disturbed by a warlike emotion; while the other inmates
of Rulamort—the squires, the servitors, the grooms, the men-at-
arms—attracted by the swelling voices and the fervent strain,
had gradually drawn together in a breathless group at the door of
the hall, which old Milon had partly opened that they might
the better hear. The rustling of their attire, the clank of the steel
which they bore about them, their tramp and tread, their half
muffled exclamations, blended together in a murmur like the sound
of the march of a distant army, and formed a fitting accompaniment
to the song of battle. :

The Sieur de Hautefort hastened to finish it :—

‘* Ring, ring, O clarion, loud and shrill,

O trumpet, loudly blare ;

With martial sounds the echoes fill,
With battle-shouts the air!

Bid, bid our lord his banner raise,
And lead us to the fight :

‘A plague upon your peaceful days !’
Sings every gallant knight.”

These last lines he uttered with an affected ironical negligence
which emphasised them more strongly than if he had cried “To
arms !” Sieur Hugues understood, for he trembled and looked his
guest in the face. His guest smiled, and played with one hand on
his poniard’s hilt, while with the other he gave back the rebeck
to Aimery. Then he reseated hintself, and received with courtesy
the thanks and praises of the lord and lady of Rulamort. They
lauded his poetry, and quite naturally the conversation turned
upon the incidents of siege and battle which it celebrated, and
thence passed on to recent events.



64. . PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

“Know you what has occurred,” said Bertrand suddenly, “in
the six months since the old king took leave of us, after navane
swept our land with fire and sword P”

“‘T have heard various reports, but know nothing certain. He
has returned home, it seems; and my hope and trust is, that he
will remain there.”’

‘“* He will of remain there. Do you believe that he will leave
in peace our fair Southern country, with its generous wines, its
poetry, its sunshine, and its blossoms? No; he will return, and the
heavy tramp of his mercenaries will once more crush the harvests of
Aquitaine. He will return, as the wretched brigand returns to the
tich man’s house, to seize upon his spoils. Know you what he
has done?”

“ Men tell me a he has conquered the King of Scotland, and
taken him prisoner.” :

“ T’faith, he has done pometnine more, and different! ‘He had
no longer any friends, except some Norman nobles ; nor soldiers,
except the Brabanters, whom he pays with our gold. In his |
domains no one loves him; in England he is hated, because he
instigated the assassination of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Thomas 4 Becket, the friend and protector of the poor Saxons.
When he arrived in Normandy, after his march through our pro-
vince, what news, think you, awaited him? He was informed
that his son, Henry Short-Cloak, had betaken himself to the court
of the Count of Flanders, and that he and the count, assembling
all the ships they could procure along the coast, had raised an
army with which to invade England and wage war against him.”

“A bold project, but hazardous and uncertain. Henry the
Younger is not firm in his resolves; he will never prosecute an
enterprise to the end.”

“But the Saxons would carry it out, I promise you! At all.
events, the old king thought so; and know you what he did, the
hypocrite? He went, barefooted, and clad in a penitent’s robe,



TFOET AND WARRIOR. ex

to submit his body to the whip of discipline from all the bishops
and priests who had been assembled for the purpose, at the shrine
of his victim, protesting on his knees, and with many sobs, that he
had neither commanded nor desired the death of holy Thomas
a Becket, the blessed martyr.” :

“Why, then, such a parade of penitence,” exclaimed Hugues,

* if he avowed his innocence of the martyrdom ?”

“Because, the assassins having thought to pleasure ia by
slaying the archbishop, he was really the cause and origin of the
‘catastrophe, even if he had not wished it. Fora king, he hasa



Husband and wife gazing at sleeping Agnes.

delicate conscience! But the crafty gossip knew well what he
was about; each blow of the discipline brought back to him
hundreds of Saxons; and as it was at this very time that the King
of Scotland was taken prisoner, men have not failed to say that
the holy martyr Thomas protected the King of England, and
vouchsafed him the victory in acknowledgment of his penitence.
By my castle of Hautefort, were I not a knight, I would take on
my bare shoulders any number of. lashes for such a reward! But
a true knight will owe victory only to his valour.”



66 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“Of all this I was ignorant,” murmured Hugues de Rulamort.
“The tidings you bring, Sieur Bertrand, are not tidings of great
joy.”

‘Who knows? The Count of Flanders and the young king
have no longer dared to invade England ; it would seem that they
have a touch of the craven in them. There is no ill luck in that,
however ; if they are not in England, they may be able to serve us
in Normandy or elsewhere. But the world holds braver men than
they. The Bretons have risen; the Count of Porrhoet has returned
from exile, and his banner rallies to it all the lords who are weary
of the Norman yoke. Already he has accomplished some doughty
deeds of arms, worthy to be sung by the troubadours of Bretagne.
I am jealous of them, by my sword.”

The clepsydra now marked the hour of repose, and the servitors
entered, as was their custom every evening,
with the torches intended to light up the
sleeping-rooms of the nobles. Jehanne and
Michonne, taking a couple in their hands,
walked before their mistress, whom they con-
ducted to her bed-chamber; everybody with-
drew, and Hugues, like a courteous cavalier,
himself accompanied his guest to the apartment
which had been prepared for him. Bertrand de
Born walked by the side of Sieur Hugues, chat-

‘ting gaily; but when he was alone with him, and
the cavalier was on the point of retiring after having wished him
a good-night, he seized his arm, and abruptly resuming the inter-
rupted conversation, exclaimed :

‘But not for long will I be jealous of them, I swear it! In all
Aquitaine, in all Poitou, in all Perigord, every brave man furbishes
his armour, sharpens his sword and dagger, and puts his ramparts
in a good state of defence. The towns are arming like the castles,
the peasants rally round their seigneurs ; yet a few days, and the





POET AND WARRIOR. - 67

revolt will break out. Are you ready to fight for the liberty of
Aquitaine, Sieur Hugues de Rulamort ?”

Sieur Hugues did not answer. He closed the door of the
chamber, returned to the side of Bertrand, pointed with his hand
to a seat, and seated himself also. Then he said to his guest :

“T am ready to fight for our liberty, but not for the mere lust of
battle. I remember too many melancholy scenes; I have seen fields
devastated, villages destroyed, men perishing of hunger. What is
your reason for hoping that this attempt will be more successful
than its predecessors ?”

“‘ What reason? Do you not see that everything favours us?
The rebellion in Brittany divides the strength of our enemy; the
renewal of the English allegiance towards him will incline him,
perhaps, not to expend the brief remainder of his old age in the
thorny paths of war, but to live as a good king in his own island,
and leave us to our own devices. And see what a formidable
confederacy! To the north the Count of Flanders; to the west
the Bretons; to the south ourselves and our neighbours, united
with us by a community of interests against the northern king.
And I am not counting upon the King of France, who, it is true,
does not love us, but will help us in order to deal a blow at the
puissance of his rival.”

“Vou count upon the King of France ?”

«To do us good? No, certainly not; but to do harm to our
enemy—yes : and therefore, he must benefit us. And I rely upon
many other auxiliaries: on Richard and on Henry Short-Cloak ;
on the hatred which divides the brothers in that accursed family ;
on their greed, on their pride, on their impatience to divide the
spoil of their father while he is still alive. Oh, Sieur Hugues, if I
thought them capable, when they shall have snatched our beautiful
country from the claws of the English leopard, of combining to
crush us under their own feet, you would not see me haste from
castle to castle to levy warriors for the banner cf Richard the

6



68 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Lion-heart. But I know him, him and his brothers; and I know
that when they have triumphed over their father they will turn
and rend one another. And on that day we, the barons of
Guienne and Poitou, of Perigord and Angoumois, we will arise in
our might, and will cry to them, ‘ Out of here! strangers, robbers,
invaders ! we are the masters in.our own land!’ Know you not
Sieur Hugues de Rulamort, that from the time of our ancestors
there have been dukes of Aquitaine who would not bend the head
before the kings of the North? Know you not that their subjuga-
tion taxed the arms and craft of Charles the Great? It is long,
long since the death of Charles: why should not the puissance of
Aquitaine revive?”

Bertrand had started to his feet, and, with arm extended and
flashing eye, seemed to contemplate beforehand the victory which
he predicted. Hugues had risen also, carried away by the fervid
eloquence of the Sieur de Hautefort ; he was not insensible to the
allurements of hope, and yet doubt and apprehension still existed
at the bottom of his heart. He sadly shook his head.

“Sieur Bertrand,” he said, ‘“’tis an impious war! To stir up
the sons against the father, to lift their armed hand against his
white hairs,—is not this to commit a parricide ?”

‘‘Eh! what matters to us this family of Plantagenets? Let them
reign in England, since the English allowed themselves to be’ con-
quered : we—we stand out to shake them off, as the traveller, on
entering a town, shakes the dust off his shoes. Sieur Hugues,
will you enjoy the security of your walls, while from the summit
of yonder keep you watch the attacks we deliver against the
English king ?”

The lord of Rulamort clutched the handle of his dagger, as if
to draw it from its sheath; but after a moment’s struggle he
composed himself. 5

“Tt is not brave in you to insult me, Sieur Bertrand,” he said,
in a grave voice; ‘‘you are my guest, and I cannot answer you.



4
POET AND WARRIOR. 69

Moreover, if the disunion of the Angevin princes makes our
strength, it is clear that our union will constitute their weakness.
There must be no quarrels between us. You shall not need to
launch a satirical song against me; I shall be ready at the first
signal.” ,

A cloud had overshadowed the brow of Bertrand de Born; but
at the last words of the lord of Rulamort his eye flashed with joy.
He extended his hand to Sieur Hugues.

“Sir Chatelain, my courteous and loyal host,” said he, “I
esteem you the best cavalier who in this land of Aquitaine wears
the bauldrick of knighthood* and the spurs of gold. If I have
wounded your feelings, I withdraw my words,
and ask your forgiveness and favour. Will you
not clasp the hand of your brother-in-arms ?”

He said this in a voice so seducing, with a
look so frank and a smile so loyal, that Sieur
Hugues felt his resentment die away. He
grasped the hand which Bertrand de Born offered,
and took leave of him with cordial protestations
of friendship. As he opened the door of his
guest’s chamber, he was surprised to catch the
sound of footsteps rapidly retiring. He looked
in their direction, but the torch he held did not
give sufficient light to pierce the shadows of the
long corridor. He could see nothing, and he ©
did not think there was any need to make a special effort to clear
up this mystery ; all his soldiers and servitors were faithful and



* The bauldrick, one of the. distinctive signs of knighthood, was a belt
descending from the shoulder across the body, and to it was suspended the
sword. Cf. Spenser’s faery Queen, bk. i., c. 7, 29, 30 -—

‘* Athwart his breast a bauldrick brave he ware

That shined like twinkling stars, with stones most precious rare. . ..
*« Thereby his mortal blade full comely hung

In ivory sheath, ycarved with curious slights.”



70 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

true, and not one of them, he felt assured, would conceive the
idea of injuring his guest. _

Meanwhile, Jehan de Rochaigué, breathless and disordered, re-
entered with an unquiet air the dormitory where his comrades
were asleep, and glided furtively to his couch—still looking around
him with a hasty, timorous glance, as if he had not recovered
from his dread of being surprised- while, hidden behind the door,
he listened to the conversation between Sieur Bertrand de Born
and the iord of Rulamort.





CHAPTER VIII.

a

ara a A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY.

T dawn, next day, Bertrand de Born and his squires
took leave of the lord of Rulamort, who offered
them the stirrup-cup in a vast goblet of silver.
While he was thus engaged, Jehan de Rochaigué,
in travelling costume, approached the chatelain.

“My lord,” he said, “I come to ask of you leave
» of absence fora few days. A pilgrim whom I met

- but a few minutes since at the fountain of St. Agnes,
whither I had gone to make my devotions, informed
me that my father was grievously ill; it becomes my duty to
return as quickly as possible to his side.”

“You issue forth early to make your devotions, Sire Jehan !
But you have acted like a most discourteous damotseau * in not
tendering to the holy man the hospitality of our castle of
Rulamort. Pilgrims are guests sent by our Lord, and bring
happiness to the roof which shelters them.”



* T have elsewhere used the word “page,” but, as a matter of fact, the word
was not in general use until the time of Philip de Commines, and the young
squire (at first called a ‘‘valet”) was, in the twelfth century, known as a
damotsean. Z



72 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

While speaking, Sieur Hugues looked Jehan,closely in the face,
but he moved not a muscle, and, without any sign of discom-
posure, answered :—

‘‘T did not fail in my duty, noble sir, but the pilgrim was
impatient to continue on his way. If the Sieur de Hautefort will
permit me to ride in his suite, I will set forth this morning, and
before night I shall reach Rochaigué.”

“ Willingly, if the lord of Rulamort grant his consent,” replied



** He offered them the stirrup-cup.”

Bertrand. ‘Though my hair shows signs of winter-time, there
is nothing pleases me better than the company of a young
bachelor.” *

“You have leave to go, Jehan,” said Sieur Hugues.

“Go, then, my young companion, saddle your horse, and let us
depart. The sun hath risen, and we must prick it merrily across

* Originally, knights of the second class—that is, who were not knights-
bannerets—were called Sas-Chevaliers, but*in the course of time the word
bachelor was used to designate the squire, or candidate for chivalry. Some-
times, however, it was also applied to any young unmarried knight.



A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY. 73

hill and plain. ’Tis true I have seen enough of wars to be able
to content myself with any resting-place, but I desire nathless
to find a lodging for to-night, whether it be the hut of a churl or
the castle of a baron.” :

“Sire Chevalier, the castle of Rochaigué is distant but a day’s
ride ; and if you are willing to accept its hospitality, my father, ill
or well, will fee] honoured by offering it to you.”

“T accept it right willingly. I will spend to-night: at Rochaigué,
and you, fair youth, shall guide me thither.”

Jehan bowed, and sped away hastily. The lord of Rulamort
followed him with mistrustful eyes and a serious air.

“Do not confide in that bachelor,” he said to Bertrand de Born.
«Since he has been in my household I cannot say that he has
given me actual cause for reproach or censure; he is bold,
energetic, and skilful in the use of arms; but there is no frankness
in his eyes or voice, and I shall be astonished if he ever gain
the renown of a loyal chevalier. Suffer him not to divine your
secrets.”

“Our secrets! By my halidom, all Aquitaine will know them
shortly !—and a traitor, whether man or boy, has never turned
Bertrand de Born from his path. Yet will I watch this page. He
comes. Adieu! happy the day which sees us once more together!”

The Sieur de Hautefort added some words in a low voice.
Jehan, who had drawn near, could catch only the answer of Sieur
Hugues: “I have given you my faith, and at the first signal I
am ready.” .

As the travellers rode under the vaulted gateway, Bertrand,
whose keen eyes wandered incessantly hither and thither, as if
bent upon informing their owner of the exact strength of the
ramparts of Rulamort, caught sight of Aimery, who was watching
his departure. Halting his palfrey, and turning towards the
youth, he said :—

“Ts it thou, my gentle minstrel? I am well pleased to see



74 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

thee again. Guard my memory, as I shall preserve thine. I am
named Bertrand de Born.”

«¢ And I, my lord, am called Aimery,” replied the boy, smiling:
at the cavalier.

“ Hast thou no other name? Art thou noble or low-born ?”’

“‘T was born free,” replied Aimery, “ and those who do not find
my name sufficient call me Aimery the Bright-of-face.”

“Thou wert born free, and thine eyes say that thy soul was.
born noble, child! Thou art under the protection of a valiant
and generous lord; but if ever thou have need of other aid than,
he can give thee, seek thou Bertrand de Born, Aimery the justly-
named—Aimery the Bright-of-face.”

And, spurring his palfrey, the lord of Hautefort quitted the
castle of Rulamort.

Not a word of this dialogue had escaped the attentive ears of
Jehan, and his face darkened. Bertrand de Born, seeing him by
his side, could not but contrast his morose mien with the frank,
gay bearing of Aimery, and began to think that the lord of
Rulamort had not erred in his judgment. But, as he had said,.
Bertrand de Born feared no traitors ; and, moreover, what could
be accomplished by a varlet of his age? His father, on the other
hand, might prove, perhaps, a valuable recruit, especially if the
castle of Rochaigué were lined with stout ramparts, capable of
offering a long resistance to an enemy. Bertrand resolved,
therefore, to sound the lord of Rochaigué, if illness did not
render it impossible for him to receive his guest.

Meanwhile he conversed with Jehan on every subject acceptable
to a young man. He related the most brilliant passages of arms,
the most brilliant tourneys in which he had taken part: he spoke
of the ladies whose beauty was then celebrated by all the trou-
badours,—of Queen Eleanor, the wife of the old King Henry,
whom, when he was but a youthful page, he had seen at a
tournament crowning the victor; of the fair Alix, daughter of the



A DIPLOMATIS? OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY. 75

King of France, and the betrothed of the Count of Poitiers; of
the daughter of the Count of Toulouse, whose colours were worn.
by twenty chevaliers; and of a host of. other noble dames or
damosels, all lovely as the flowers of spring.

Several times during the day the little cavalcade encountered
other travellers; when they were knights with their escort,
Bertrand de Born made a sign to the elder of his squires, whc
immediately rode forward to meet the new comers, and after
exchanging a few words with them, returned to his master, and
delivered their message in a low voice. Bertrand inclined his.
head, seemed fully satisfied, and saluted courteously, as he passed.
near them, the unknown chevaliers. Occasionally, after listening.
to his squire’s communication, he went alone to converse, for a
longer or shorter interval, with the travellers, and returned humming
with a joyous air the refrain of some martial song. Jehan could
overhear nothing, but he concluded that these mysterious pro-
ceedings were all connected with the farewell promise of the lord
of Rulamort, and with some words he had caught up on the
preceding evening. He felt persuaded that they concerned an.
approaching levy of shields, and he relied on being able to.
forewarn his father—a man of great skill in detecting the good
side of things, that is, the side which would bring him the greatest.
profit and the fewest blows.

Tt was late at night when they arrived at the fort of Rochaigué,
a little castle of proud aspect, perched on the crest of a rock of
difficult access. Jehan seized the opportunity to beg the Sieur de
Hautefort to halt while he climbed the steep and rugged pathway
which wound up the precipitous ascent in quest of servitors to
light the way, as otherwise the chevalier, his squires, or his
sumpter-horse might be dashed into some ravine and wounded.
grievously. Bertrand replied gaily that a bad road more or less.
gave him no anxiety ; but Jehan had already ridden forward, and.
the Sieur de Hautefort, after advancing a few paces, was fain to-



76 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

-acknowledge the perilous character of the route, and came to a
halt, observing with admiration the towers so loftily planted and
-so easily defended.

He soon caught sight of the shimmer of torches at the castle
gate; wavering and flickering, they began to descend towards
him, and in a few minutes they lighted up with a reddish glare
the whole of the approach. Jehan, with quick step, brought the ©
excuses of his father, who was suffering too severely to be able
to meet his guest.

The chevalier and his escort pricked up the ascent; and in
-due time Bertrand de Born was seated at the table of the Sieur
-de Rochaigué.

He could not detect in his voice or look any trace of the illness
with which he was understood to be afflicted. Out of courtesy,
however, he put some questions respecting his health, and
expressed his regret that it was not so good as should always be ~
that of so valiant a chevalier.

Sieur Guy de Rochaigué thanked his guest: it was true that he
had been sick, but he was recovering his strength daily, and re-
gretted that a pilgrim had disquieted his son with alarming news.
And yet he could not complain, for had it not given his son an
opportunity of displaying his filial piety by returning immediately
to his father’s side ?_ He rejoiced to see him so strong and tall,—
so capable of drawing the sword on behalf of some noble cause,

if the occasion soon presented itself, as one might reasonably
~ hope.

Bertrand de Born made no haste to answer.

“The son,” he thought to himself, ‘heard or guessed some-
thing yesterday ; invented the illness of his father, that he might
bring him the information ; and the father, instead of recalling him
to the loyalty of a chevalier, makes himself the accomplice of his
treacheries. But what matters itto me? The one consideration
4s, to secure champions for Aquitaine. Honour to those who







The torches lighted up the whole of the approach (g. 76).



A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY. 77

draw the sword out of disinterested love of their country, for
the glory of victory and the joy of combat! But those who
‘fight only to enlarge their domain, or gain some new fief, may
also strike lusty blows; and we must not reject them from our
ranks.”

To Guy de Rochaigué he sane reply, therefore, that the valiant
never fail in opportunities for displaying their prowess, and that
the peace which had prevailed in the country for so many months
was not likely to endure much longer. And Guy, who sought
to compel him to unmask himself, proceeded to repeat all the
rumours of war and all the menaces of revolt of which Bertrand
de Born himself was the author.

‘“‘T hope that all this is true,” he cried; “and that soon, from
one end of Poitou to the other, and throughout the Angoumois and
Aquitaine, the barons will draw their swords under the banner of
the valorous Richard Cceur-de-Lion. Certes, I shall not be the
last to flaunt my gonfanon in his company. The King of the
North must be taught to abandon for ever his thirst fom ravaging
our lands, and henceforth we must be our own masters.’

Jehan, astonished, looked at his father. The Sieur de cee
observed ‘his surprise, and quietly addressing him, said:—

“Ts not this, my son, a noble cause? Could a young bachelor
hope for a fairer occasion of winning his spurs? Since thou hast
come back from Rulamort, it is my will that thou shouldst not
return thither. Thou shalt repair to the court of our suzerain, the
noble Baron de Maulignage, who is liege man of the Court of
Poitiers. Bear thyself bravely: ah, what glory for our house if
thou shouldst attract the eye and win the praise of Richard the
Lion-heart !” ;

Jehan eagerly protested his desire to make his first essay in arms
under so renowned a seigneur ;. and Bertrand de Born, assured of
the adhesion of the Sieur de Rochaigué, revealed to him the
whole scheme of the confederacy. Guy de Rochaigué approved



78 PAGE; SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

every detail, and pledged his faith to hold himself ready with his
vassals to take the field as soon as the order was given.

After the Sieur de Hautefort had been conducted to his chamber
by his host, the latter retired to his own, beckoning to his son to
follow him. Jehan obeyed, and in silence stood before his father,
respectfully waiting until it pleased the latter to speak.

Guy de Rochaigué broke out into a loud laugh.

“Thou dost not understand it, dost thou, Jehan? Be tranquil,
my son; thou hast done well in forewarning me of what took
place at Rulamort. I had some knowledge, ’tis true, of what was
ripening, but I lacked sure information before I decided on my
own part.”

“ But are you convinced, my lord, that the revolt will succeed ?
At Rulamort I heard sad and terrible stories of the late war ; alack
if we were conquered ! if you were banished, stripped of your fief,
mutilated, tortured, put to death, as has been the fate of others!”

Guy de Rochaigué laughed still louder.

‘There are people to whom these unpleasant things happen,
and there are people—dost thou see, Jehan ?—to whom nothing
ever happens. Our suzerain, the Baron de Maulignage, is vassal
of the Count of Poitiers,—he issues his ban of war,—we follow
him: that is just. What will happen afterwards? We fight: if the
Count of Poitiers win the victory, the old King of England returns
to his foggy island to visit our fair province no more, leaving to
his sons his French territories, and Richard of Poitiers rewards
the chevaliers who have served him well; therefore we must be
amongst them. But Richard may be beaten: well, dost thou
think that his father will suffer him to perish? Poor old man, he
fondly loves his ungrateful sons; he will stretch out his arms to
Richard, and Richard, so unyielding to menaces, will melt at one
word of pardon ; they will exchange the kiss of peace.”

‘And then—for us?”

“For us? Whom meanest thou, Jehan? The barons of Aqui-



A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY. 79°

taine? Well, some there will be, like the lord of Rulamort and the:
mad troubadour at this moment sleeping under my roof, who will be
chastised severely as rebels and abettors of revolt ; but we—what.
have we to fear? Our direct suzerain, the Baron de Maulignage,
is neither Poitevin nor Auvergnat. He was a small Angevin.
noble to whom King Henry gave the barony of Maulignage in
order to attach him to his son Richard ; he will be on Richard’s
side,—for the Aquitaines, or against them, he cares not a rush
which! And we, Jehan, we must follow our suzerain, under
penalty of forfeiture. We will follow him, therefore, and leave
the league to extricate itself as best it may from the claws of the:
Plantagenets.”’

After a pause he continued :

“Thou seest, then, that whatever befall, we must gain and
cannot lose. The Count of Poitiers is generous, and when the
war is finished, there will be no lack of fiefs to be distributed.”

Having given his son this lesson in high policy, Guy de
Rochaigué proceeded to dismiss him; but, suddenly recalling
himself, he said:

“Art thou well acquainted with the ace of Rulamort? Is.
thy knowledge of it—listen !—is it accurate and comprehensive ?”’

“Oh, I know it thoroughly, from one end to the other—from
the topmost turret to the lowest dungeon. It is a noble castle,
my lord father. Ah, what walls, what a dungeon, what deep:
fosses, what massive towers! There are not above one or two:
points where it is open to attack, and to know them one must
know the interior of the ramparts. Against an enemy, against
one who has never resided within the castle itself, I presume to:
say that Rulamort is impregnable.”

“ Well, well, but thou knowest every part of the castle, then!
Tis a nice thing to be well acquainted with the defences of an
impregnable castle ; if one thought of erecting such a castle, one:
would take one’s model from it. Dost thou understand?”



80 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“ Rochaigué,”’ answered Jehan, ‘is scarcely less difficult to take
than Rulamort, my father.”

But the Sieur de Rochaigué seemed to grow suddenly weary of
the conversation, and with an absent good-night he dismissed his
son,





CHAPTER IX.

castle of Rulamort awakened from its accustomed
tranquillity, as if it had roused suddenly from a
sleep of long duration.

Then Sieur Hugues de Rulamort held serious
conference with old Milon, and passed afterwards
into his wife’s chamber. Jehanne and Michonne,
who could not hear a word of the conversation
between their lord and lady, observed that for the

rest of the day Dame Eleanor wore asad aspect, and that neither

their songs, nor their lively chat, nor even the caresses of her little

Agnes, could extract from her the faintest smile. As for Milon,

he summoned Aimery, and instead of exercising him, as he was

wont to do every day, in launching the javelin, drawing the bow,
and handling sword, lance, and dagger, he employed him in
polishing and putting in the best condition all the arms, offensive
and defensive, of the castle. The forge was kindled; nor was
its fire suffered to die out so long as there remained a blade to be
straightened and sharpened or a ring of mail to be riveted. In the
halls, the men-at-arms got ready their equipment, singing merrily

7







‘S2 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

in their delight at escaping from the listless indolence of peace 3.
in the stables, the grooms dressed with more than common care
the noble steeds and the sturdy sumpter-horses intended to carry
the baggage, which was in course of rapid preparation in another
part of the castle. Finally, in the kitchens as in the armoury,
the halls, the stables, the sheepfolds, the poultry-yard, and the
“mews” where Thibaut and Perinette held sway, 2 murmur of
voices ascended all day long; for every inmate of the castle,
soldiers, varlets, and servitors, indulged in conjectures relating to
the visit of Bertrand de Born, and the consequences which might
heexpected, as well as in vague prognostications of future events.



And Aimery, understanding that Rulamort was arming for battle
and that its enemies were the English under the old King Henry,
devoted all his care to making Franchise bright as a mirror, while
sighing that he was not yet old enough to wield it.

The Sieur de Rulamort received numerous communications,
which he summoned Father Odon to read for him: though a
preux chevalier, he was a poor scholar! He was undoubtedly
satisfied with their intelligence, for every day his air grew more.



TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN. 83

assured and joyous. Sometimes he set out very early in the dawn
with an armed escort, remaining absent for two or thrée days; and
the rumour ran that the other nobles of the province were busily
making the same preparations as the Lord of Rulamort.

At length a messenger arrived at the castle whom the Sieur
Hugues received in his great hall, surrounded by his squires and
his men-at-arms. The messenger was a herald; he proclaimed the
ban of war on the part of the Baron de Maulignage, lord sovereign
of the fiefs of Rulamort and Rochaigué, and of many others.
The lord of Rulamort was summoned to repair with his vassals
to make war under the banner of his suzerain in support of the
rights of the noble Count of Poitiers against the King of England,
his father and suzerain, who lad refused to do him justice and to
fulfil his promises. Cries of joy saluted the herald’s words; and
the morrow’s rising sun shone, in the great court of the castle,-on
the cavaliers who formed the Sieur de Rulamort’s contingent.
The lady of the castle, with her daughter, pale and with trembling
lips, surveyed from the terrace the preparations of her husband,
about to depart on an enterprise of peril. She had fastened to
his lance a gonfanon embroidered by her own hand, and had
girded with a scarf of her own colours her faithful knight, whom,
in a low voice, she prayed God and the Virgin and Saint Agnes
to shield in the storm of battle, and restore in safety to her arms.

Little Agnes, delighted to see these stalwart cavaliers in their
glittering armour, and to hear the neighing and tramping of their
horses, laughed and clapped her hands. Aimery, with a full
heart, cast looks of envy on the young varlets whose age* permitted

* Chaucer's squire, though not twenty years old, had

‘* Some time been in chevauchee,
In Flanders, in Artois, and in Picardy,”
and that would seem to be the earliest age at which the squires, in general,
went on military expeditions. St. Louis ordered that the honour of knighthood
should not be conferred on any under twenty-one; but exceptions were
numerous.



84 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

them to take the field, and who went as squires in the train of
the chatelain. All were there—Arnoul de Malefort, Garin de
Lézinan, Robert de Castelmont—mounted for the first time on
powerful destriers, wearing helmets of steel and clothed in the
haubergeon (for the complete hauberk was claimed exclusively
by knights); the raised ven¢azlle allowed their eyes glowing with
pleasure and impatience to be seen. Sieur Hugues bore his
great lance, with its pennon ; his mace, with its iron points; his
battle-axe, slung to the pommel of his saddle; and the szsericorde
dagger* at his side. From his neck was suspended his ‘shield ;
he had no sword. Looking around, he caught sight of Aimery,
and summoned him to his side.

“ Go, bring me Franchise!”’ he said. Aimery blushed with pride

‘and pleasure. Once. before he had presented Franchise to the
chatelain, when he was arming to go forth on an expedition ; but
Sieur Hugues had refused it, saying: ‘‘I have no need of it to-
day ; I will ask thee for it when I go to fight against the English.”

Aimery hastened to the place of arms, and almost immediately
reappeared. The sword shone in the sun; and the child, with .
his floating locks and vefmeil complexion, resembled the arch-
angel Michael advancing against the dragon. Approaching his
master, he tendered him the sword; but before giving it up,
inclined it towards himself, and on the polished steel imprinted
long kiss. Then, his soul on fire, while Sieur Hugues seized the
sword and brandished it in the air, he shouted with the full
strength of his voice: ‘God help the good cause, and give it the
victory ! Forward, for Saint Agnes and Rulamort !”

All the escort drank in a tide of enthusiasm ; they rattled their
bucklers against their cuirasses; and every voice repeated with
intense ardour— Forward, for Saint Agnes and Rulamort !”

At this cry a great’roar of voices rose from the plain at the

* The dagger with which the death-blow was given to a vanquished enemy
when he was mortally wounded.









“God help the good cause, and give it the victory! (4. 86).



TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN 85

foot of the castle, where the vassals had assembled, ready to start
at their lord’s command. Hearing the shout of war, they took it up
and repeated it lustily, and welcomed their chief with a tumult of
approbation. Everybody was ready ;-the portcullis was raised,
the drawbridge lowered with its usual clank and clang; one by
one the horsemen filed out under the tall archway—Sieur Hugues
the last. Before traversing the passage, he turned to address
a last salute, a last adieu, to his wife and daughter. Then he
touched with his spur his horse’s flank, and galloped forward.
Eleanor, with sad heart and drooping eyes, returned to the castle.

Meanwhile, Aimery swiftly ascended the spiral staircase that
led to the summit of the keep; he did not pause until he reached
the platform, and thrust himself into an embrasure to view at his
- leisure the, scene.below and around. It was a glorious sight to
see—an army on the march—and Aimery. never before had seen
one. Tis true it was but a small, a very small, army; but it
sufficed to fill his eyes with light and kindle his heart with enthu-
siasm ; and the idea that Franchise was going to strike some
lusty blows and receive its baptism of blood filled him with
overflowing joy.

He fixed his eyes upon the spectacle. At that moment the
chatelain and his escort had arrived upon the plain, and. the
vassals who had awaited him there marched to meet him, thun-
dering full their war-cry : “Saint Agnes and Rulamort!” Then
Sieur Hugues halted, and harangued his little company, Aimery
could not hear what he said, but saw him, rising erect in his
stirrups, mounted on his great destrier, which was clothed in a
panoply of armour; lifting his right arm, he seemed to direct the
combatants to some glorious end, and the sun lighted up his coat
of mail with golden reflections. His helm of steel, on the top of
which waved a fire-red plume, his hauberk, his cuisses, his shield,
all glowed with living lustre; and Aimery said to himself, at the
bottom of his heart, that the finest thing in the world was seeing



Full Text
























im Soo
fa Sakly 6 Go

eS Ve
< pfEdttl’ =
a
Y Gygret Z
a Vi 2 oe

feMille Sowipal










































































































































” (B. 14).

an

a free m

son of

am the

ter
IP AG 8)
SQUIRE,

joe Ee

A Romance of the Days of Chivalry,

oO

EDITED BY

W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS,

AUTHOR OF ‘SUCCESS IN LIFE,” ‘GREAT SHIPWRECKS,” “BOYS AND THEIR WAYS,” ETC.

Witk One Hundred und Thirteen Sllustrations,



Zonda:
THE BOOK SOCIETY, 28, PATERNOSTER ROW,








PRINTED BY
HAZELL, WATSON, AND VINEY, LD,
LONDON AND AYLESBURY.
p PREFACE,

La HE taste of our young folk must have changed
PS very much for the worse, if they do not appre-
ciate such a romance of chivalry as is here
presented to them in a free adaptation from the
“Franchise” of Madame Colomb. The time
chosen for the development of the story is the
very heyday and prime of the feudal system,
when its darker features were still to a certain
extent concealed by its picturesque accessories ;
when in the clash of spears at the tourney, and
the songs of troubadours at the revel, the moans
of the unhappy villeins were scarcely heard.



In the following pages, however, while due pro-
minence is given to the poetical side of Chivalry
and Feudalism, their sadly prosaic side is not
forgotten ; and the young reader is shown that
the pomp and pageantry of knighthood involved
much suffering of the poor and oppression of
the feeble. The scene lies in the’ sunny south of France—in
Aquitaine; the period is the later years of our Henry II.,
vi PREFACE.

to whom the province of Aquitaine had fallen in right of his
wife Eleanor. Henry himself figures in our story; and, in-
deed, its plot depends upon the frequent feuds that prevailed
between him and his sons, Henry the Younger and Richard Cceur-
de-Lion. Our young hero, in his progress through the various
stages of knightly training,—from varlet to page, and page to
squire, and squire to knight, experiences a succession of stirring
adventures, which are so contrived as to illustrate the manners
and customs of the age, and present a comprehensive picture of
chivalrous life. Thus the reader is introduced to the domestic
“interior” of a feudal castle; to the banquet, the joust, the
ambuscade, the siege, the battle: he is carried from the castle
hall to the guest-chamber of the monastery; he mixes with men-
at-arms, monks, nuns, burgesses, troubadours, knights, nobles, and
princes ; he witnesses the ceremony of the accolade; is present
at a judicial combat ; sympathises with the sorrows of a wife and
mother ; rejoices in brilliant feats of generous courage, and in
the final triumph of Truth, Loyalty, and Honour. What more
can he desire? Says the poet Spenser :—

“¢ Where be the brave achievements done by some—
Where be the battles, where the shield and spear?”

Well, the young reader will find them in the following pages, ©
which, I think, cannot fail to awaken his interest.and touch his
fancy; cannot fail to help him to form a vivid idea of the
humanities of Chivalry and the institutions of Feudalism.

W. H. Dz. A.
ONTENTS.

————_—_——
CHAPTER
I, THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT 4 s . Ss i
II. AN ORPHAN , . , s ° . . b A
Ill. IN THE GUARD-ROOM \ 5 ; i 3
IV. HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY, AND WHAT
FOLLOWED ‘ 4 ,
Vv. AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. 5 ; b ,
VI. A GUEST : : q . . fs
VII. POET AND WARRIOR . o Y ; “ . . a "
VIII, A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY . 6 O :
IX. TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN : 3 6 . O .
X. BROKEN DREAMS. 5 : 3 f . 6 . .
XI, THE GREAT PARLIAMENT OF THE KINGS . 0 . 6 ‘
XI. FATHER AND SONS . ; f : . - . . .
XIIl. IN WHICH AIMERY SETS OUT FORTHE WAR . S 0
XIV. BATTLE , , i ‘ , sy ‘5 :
XV. IN WHICH AIMERY LOSES A PROTECTOR AND GAINS A FIEF
XVI. THE RIGHT OF ‘‘GARDE-NOBLE”’ . . ; i
XVII. A DEMAND IN MARRIAGE . fs é 5 o O e
XVILI. THE FIRST ASSAULT . ‘ . . 0 S 6
NIX. DURING THE SIEGE , . : : 0 G ; a
XX. THE POOR MOTHER. 3 " O G : . a 9
XXI. GONE "| d ° ° 5 ° ' ° fe
XXII. THE FUGITIVES, ° ° ° ° . ° . ° .
XXIII. ‘*SANCTUARY”’ = e e . ° ° . °

PAGE

19

28

39
50
61
71

gi
100
III
119
128
140
150
160
169
182
19!

- 202

210

- 221
viii

CHAPTER

XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.
XXX,
XXXI,
XXXII.

CONTENTS.

THE LAY OF THE LITTLE DOVE.
EACH TO HIS OWN WAY . .

AFTER THREE YEARS 5 :
A CAPTIVE SET AT LIBERTY .
AIMERY THE KNIGHT . :
A KING’S GRIEF : : f
PRISONERS 5

AT THE CASTLE OF MAULIGNAGE
‘‘THE JUDGMENT OF GOD” ,
EPILOGUE : ; . o



FAGER

231
PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.



CHAPTER I.

THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT.

Castle, and with the exception of the warder who
kept watch on the battlements of the keep, all
the inmates were in profound repose. Not that
the condition of the country tended to a feeling
of security; for Henry, the old King of England,
always on hostile terms with his sons, among
whom he had divided his domains in France,
allowed no rest to the inhabitants of the towns
or the fields, from Normandy to Aquitaine; and
every day they were startled by some fresh tale
of massacre or rapine. But then, use is second
nature, or, as it has been said, habit is ten times
nature ; and besides, Rulamort’s walls were mas-
sive, and its towers had already braved the storm
of war successfully ; repelling any attack that had
been delivered against them, since their first lord
had raised them to protect his family and vassals
from the fierce incursions of the Northmen.


2 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

The castle stood upon one of the last billowy swells of the hills
of Poitou, looking out afar over the purple vineyards of Aquitaine.
In its vicinity flowed a stream, the clear cool waters of which had
never been known to fail. The legend ran that a young Chris-
tian maiden had been drowned in it by some Pagan oppressors,
who would fain have had her deny her Lord and Saviour, and
that her martyrdom had gifted it with a mysterious virtue. Hence
it was known as the “ River of Death,” or in the old French
tongue Au de la Mort; and the valiant Enguerrand, when he
raised his castle on the eminence above it, declared that he placed
his descendants under the holy martyr’s protection. The castle
was called Rulamort, and Enguerrand named his first-born
daughter Agnes, in memory of the Christian virgin. Generation
after generation imitated his example, and from the daughter of
the original founder to the child which nestled in her cradle on
the night my history begins, the castle almost always boasted of
an Agnes de Rulamort.

Suddenly the warder issued from the niche where he had sought
a refuge from the piercing cold of the morning breeze. He rested
his arms on the parapet, and there, with ear intent, and with keen
eye seeking to penetrate the deep darkness, he remained motionless.

A vague sound was audible towards the south. What could it
be? ’Twas not the sough of the rills which, welling up among
the rocks, used to ripple and gurgle as they wound towards the
plain, for the winter had bound them in chains of silence. The
warder crossed himself, thinking, in the superstition of the age,
that it was a soul in pain supplicating his prayers. But the sound
drew nearer, became more distinct: it was like the tramp of men
marching in the distance. Was it an enemy’s army? No clang
or clash of arms or armour could be heard. However, in time,
of war all assemblages are naturally suspected, and the warder
resolved he would rouse old Milon, who, in the absence of the
Sieur de Rulamort, defended the castle.
THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT, 3

Old Milon, the foster-father of his lord, had grown grey in the
service of the Sieurs de Rulamort; he had followed them in all
their wars, and often warded off the blow of pike or sword intended
for them. His lord had departed in search of his suzerain, to
fight under his banner against King Henry the First of England,
and against Duke Geoffrey or against Henry the Vounger.
Milon was his ‘other self,” and before an enemy could have
reached the lady of Rulamort or her little Agnes, he must have
passed over old Milon’s corpse. He was always ready : sleeping,
as they say, with one eye open, his weapons by his side, ever
maintaining a close watch over the soldiers and servitors. The
warder found him already up, and furbishing carefully his morion
by the light of a small lamp. But he flung it aside at the first
words of the warder, and hastened to climb the stone staircase
that led to the summit of the keep.

Away on the eastern sky might now be traced the glimmerings
of early dawn; the coming day was struggling against the mist.
It was impossible to distinguish any object clearly; a dense fog
everywhere prevailed, and the trees, which in summer spread
canopies of greenery over the roadways, seemed like gian,
skeletons with fleshless arms outstretched. Shading his eyes with
his hands, from custom rather than necessity, Milon peered
eagerly in the direction whence came the sound. He could see
nothing, yet the sound continued to increase. For a few moments
he listened ; then, turning to the warder, said :—

‘*What it is, Gaucher, I know not. However, for the moment
there is no danger ; that there zez// not be, I do not say. I will
arouse Lady Eleanor. Ah! what a noble mistress we have in her!
as brave as a knight, and as tender and gentle to the poor as a
holy virgin! Stay here: it must be some time before the people
we hear reach the foot of the castle hill.”

Milon quickly descended from the donjon, and a moment after-
wards knocked respectfully at the door of the Lady of Rulamort.
4 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Eleanor de Maucastel, the wife of the Sieur de Rulamort, was a
valiant chatelaine, and no unfitting consort for the chivalrous knight
who hazarded his life every day under the banner of his feudal
chief, the Count of Poitiers. Hugues de Rulamort could leave
his castle without one touch of anxious solicitude; confident that
in his absence the Lady Eleanor would know how to repulse the
attacks of the robber-bands which harassed the country. He
knew that the men-at-arms whom he left in garrison would obey
her orders implicitly. He knew that in the hour of danger, if it
came, she would be in their midst, encouraging them to do their
devoir bravely, and binding up their wounds with her “lily
hands.”

The Lady Eleanor had just risen, and two of her maidens were
in attendance to comb her long tresses and
attire her shapely figure in the embroidered
surcoat. But Eleanor seemed in no hurry to
yield herself to their skilful hands. She had
hastily donned a long dressing-gown, with
ample sleeves, and had’run to the cradle where
her little Agnes lay awake ;and there, mother
and child, halfhidden among the soft, downy
cushions, were laughing and playing with glad
hearts. The child, her arms folded round her
mother’s neck, covered her face with kisses §
while the delighted mother clasped her daughter
to her heart, calling her by a hundred pet names which her
affection invented.

A knocking at the door suddenly interrupted these gambols.
Jehanne flung upon a chair the robe she held ready for her mis-
tress, and hastened to open it. Eleanor recognised the voice she
heard without.

“Tt is Milon,” she said. ‘Let him come in, Jehanne. Wha
has happened, my brave Milon?”


THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT. 5

She had risen to her feet, still holding her daughter in her arms,
and looked at Milon with some disquietude: did he bring news
of his lord, and what news? In those days battles were so many,
and death was always so near!

“‘ Madame,” replied Milon, ‘‘ there come a great number of
people from the south, in which direction, as you know, the old
King Henry of England lies with his army. We cannot see them
as yet; but, from the sounds we hear, I can guess what and
whence they are. They are peasants, who, driven from their



*' Still holding her daughter in her arms.” i

homesteads by the men-at-arms, have taken to flight with their
mules, flocks, or herds. They are hurrying hitherward: if they
solicit an asylum, shall we open the gate?”

“Assuredly: but be on your guard against traitors, Milon.
Summon all our men to arms; post them on either side the gate ;
and take care that among the fugitives who claim our protection
are not concealed any English or Norman archers. Go: I will

join you when they arrive, for I would fain question them
myself.”
6 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Milon returned to the platform of the keep, and the Lady
Eleanor placed herself in the hands of her maidens. Whoever
might be her guests, friends or foes, equals or humble supplicants,
clowns or cavaliers, she would receive them in a manner befitting
her rank.

While his lady was assuming her costly habiliments—-the long
robe, with loose hanging sleeves, rich in gold embroidery, and
the sumptuous corsage of finest vair—and while Jehanne and
Michonne made her coiffure, separating her glossy raven locks
into two long fluating tresses, and placing on her calm white brow
a rich diadem of wrought gold, Milon, standing erect in an
embrasure, surveyed anew the plain. The day had risen,—a gray
and gloomy day which did not suffer the eye to travel any dis-
tance; but Milon could hear distinctly, half a mile or so from
the castle, the voices of men and women and children, the
bleatings of sheep, the lowing of cattle, and all those various
noises which proceed from a large body when hurried in their
march. And along the path, and in the meadows at the foot of
the hill, he could distinguish confused forms in
motion through the mist. A group composed
of a few men led the advance: they drew
nearer, slowly ascended the hill, and halted at
last before the outer wall of the castle. One
of them then placed to his lips a bull’s horn,
into which he blew lustily to arouse the castle-
watch; and Milon, leaning out from the em-
brasure, responded to the noisy summons.

“What want you? Whence come you?
Who are you?”

“Open, in the name of charity! We ask an asylum, for the
sake of God and Saint Agnes, your patron. Open! We have
marched all night ; our women and children perish with the cold,
and their feet are wet with blood. The enemy has burnt our


THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT. i

villages, and with much ado we have fled to save our lives. May
Heaven punish those English robbers!”

Milon, while listening to the petitioners, vigilantly scrutinized
the crowd behind them. No, they did not lie; fugitives they
were, without doubt, who implored the protection of Rulamort ;
and no knight faithful to his vow of chivalry—to succour the
poor and relieve the distressed—would dare to shut his gates
against them. Old Milon hastily descended, summoned the
men-at-arms who kept watch in the great hall ; and, accompanied
by them, advanced towards the outer gate. The drawbridge was
lowered, the portcullis raised; and the fugitives began to defile
slowly between the two great towers that flanked the castle
entrance. : p

There Milon posted himself, eyeing suspiciously every counte-
nance, and prepared to order his soldiers to seize the first person
whom he detected as a wolf in sheep's clothing. But he saw only
old men spent with fatigue, weeping women with children in their.
arms, and peasants, labourers, or shepherds, bending under their
heavy burdens, or driving before them their little flocks or herds.

When all had entered, the portcullis was let fall and the draw.
bridge raised; the servitors of the castle busied themselves in
lodging the cattle in the stables ; while the fugitives were accom-
modated in the lower hall, whither the Lady of Rulamort proceeded
to visit them.


CHAPTER IT.
| LO
= eae AN ORPHAN.

T was asad sight, the lower hall of the castle, when
the Lady Eleanor entered it, accompanied by her
handmaidens and by Father Odon, her chaplain.
To warm the half-frozen exiles, the vast chimney
had been filled with logs, which crackled right
merrily, and sent up to the groined roof flashes
and jets and spiral wreaths of reddish flame. The
little shivering children stretched their blue rigid
hands towards the welcome glow, and laughed with
pleasure at the feeling of safety and comfort that crept into their
hearts. But their innocent gaiety only brought out into stronger
relief the desolation imprinted on the wan faces of their mothers,
who sat or crouched, huddled together, in the corners and recesses
of the hall, with their arms hanging listlessly down, and their lips
closed in the silence of despair. ‘The men stood about in groups,
speaking in a low voice and gesticulating wildly; in their eyes was
a look of rage as much as of grief; and sometimes an imprecation,
or a yell of hatred, rose above the hoarse murmur of their broken
conversation.
The Lady of Rulamort felt a pang at the heart as she surveyed


AN ORPHAN. 9

such a scene of misery; but it was, alas! only too common in
those times of incessant battle, and she knew that it was not to be
relieved by indulgence in sentimental sympathy. She approached
the wretched wives and mothers, addressed to them a few words ot
tender compassion, and promised them her protection and that of
her iord; who, on his return, would assist them to repair their
losses. But there are losses which no human power can repair ;
and when ‘Eleanor promised to some a gift of grain to sow their
fields anew, and to others of cattle, to replace those carried off by
the enemy—when she spoke of rebuilding the shattered roof-tree,
and of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked—voices half
choked by sobs interrupted her, exclaiming :—

“They have killed my husband, Madame! ”

“They have murdered my son, my joy, the hope of my poor
life!”

‘“ They have slain my aged father! They have put to death my
children—all of them—all ! all!”

Eleanor thought of her husband, and her heart ached with a
sudden fear lest his armour proof might not have preserved him
from a mortal blow in the hazards of the fight. She looked at her
little Agnes ; and finding herself unable to say a word to the deso-
late women who, the day before, had been happy wives and
mothers like herself, she hid her face in her hands and wept
freely.

But more surely than words of sympathy, more surely than pro-
mises the most generous, did those tears find a way to each poor
broken heart. The women flung themselves at her feet, kissing
the hem of her robe and her long veil, and calling down upon her
head all the blessings of Heaven. The men ventured to draw
near; their solemn gloomy countenances kindled and relaxed a
little, and the boldest among them endeavoured to stammer out
their gratitude to their noble benefactress.

Eleanor had the soul of a true chatelaine—almost the mettle of

2
10 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

a knight. She soon conquered her emotion, and seeking to
console the unfortunates before her as she herself in a like
strait would have wished to be consoled, she exclaimed :

‘‘We will avenge them, my friends—we will avenge them!
My lord will speedily return, and he‘will pursue and punish those
accursed English! He will do to them the evil which they
have done to you. They shall drink from a cup as bitter as that
from which they have made you drink! Woe to the English !”

* Death to the English!” shouted the men, and some few of
the women joined in the cry; others, shaking their heads,
answered:

‘Oh, noble lady, those who plundered and persecuted us were
English, but the others are no better. Their name is different,
but that is all. They call themselves Normans, Bretons, Angevins,
—they follow the old King Henry, or King Henry the Younger,
or Count Geoffrey, or Count Richard,—but for us, poor people, it
is always the same. They pillage, and they burn, and they slay,
these as well as those, and no one can tell who works the greatest
evil.”” ;

Eleanor sighed: she said to herself that perhaps the men-at-
arms who accompanied her husband also left behind them a track
of grief and ruin—that he might not be able to prevent them from
inflicting on the vassals of the enemy the ills which the enemy
had inflicted on his own. Turning towards the men, she ques-
tioned them in reference to the occurrences of the previous day.
They informed her that the King of England had passed at a dis-
tance of sore leagues from Rulamort, returning from an incursion
southward in the direction of Saintes, and carrying fire and sword
all along his line of march. Among those assembled in the hall
were fugitives from several villages, but the tale they had to tell
was always the same, Awakened from their first sleep by bands
of the enemy who traversed the whole district, they had vainly
attempted to defend themselves—they, poor miserable peasants !
AN ORPHAN. . it

with no other arms than their pitchforks—against soldiers clad in
mail; abandoning the dead and dying, they had at last taken
flight, with all they could carry away, and driving before them as
many cattle as they could hastily collect. But how many oxen
and cows and sheep were wanting! And when the unfortunates
were able to return to their devastated homesteads, what would
they find there? Scarcely even the bare walls: of this they were
well assured. They knew what rapine and misery tracked the
march of a hostile army! Who had not already seen his cottage -
in ruins, or filled with wreck and débris? Such calamities had
happened every day since the beginning of the war; and, alas!
who knew how long the war might not be protracted? Who
could say how long it had lasted? Not the oldest among them,
for from their earliest memory the land had groaned beneath the
sanguinary feuds of princes and great nobles, from which the poor
had been the greatest sufferers; and now foreign kings and
princes had interfered in their quarrels—so that their last state
was worse than their first.

Eleanor repeated her promise to render these wretched fugitives
all the assistance in her power, and ordered her attendants to
Supply them at once with food ; while Father Odon, approaching
the most sorrowful, attempted to comfort them by speaking of the
hopes of another life.

Suddenly a horn sounded at the outer gate ; they could hear
the portcullis fall with a great rattle of chains, and the heavy
hoofs of horses shod with iron echoed under the arch along with
the clash of arms. Gaucher entered with a quick step. —

‘“‘ My lord returns!” he said, making an obeisance before the
Lady Eleanor. ‘“ We have lost none of our men; the whole troop
comes back in excellent array.”

Filled with joy and gratitude, the Lady Eleanor darted into the —
court, which she reached at the moment that Hugues de Rula-
mort sprang from his horse.
12 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

‘‘Oh, my beloved lord!’ she cried, as she threw herself into
her husband’s arms, “ what happiness! I have been so sad—so
troubled.”

“Why to-day more than any other day, my sweet lady?” said
the Lord of Rulamort, with a smile. “Have I not always my
good sword, my good armour, and my brave and loyal comrades ?
I am as safe in the storm of battle as in the protection of my
castle, my beautiful chatelaine !”



“The heavy hoofs of horses resounded under the arch.”

“Tt is because to-day I have seen such sights of woe! Come
with me: the lower hall is thronged with refugees who have fled
before the marauding English. Oh, my dear lord, so many
widows! so many Wcching mothers! Come; I have promised
them your protection.”

Hugues committed his war-horse to the charge of his squire,
and followed the Lady Eleanor. The intelligence which he com-
municated to the fugitives was consoling: the army of the old
King had marched away northward, and its last stragglers had
AN ORPHAN, 13

been crushed by a body of soldiers belonging to the Count of
Poitiers, The peasants, therefore, might return home and rebuild
their houses.

When the Lord and Lady of Rulamort entered the hall, the
servitors, grouped around a huge smoking cauldron, were dis-
tributing bowls of soup to the sufferers, and the head-cook,
assisted by his scullions, was cutting up, on a great table which
had just been erected, large slices of salt meat and other viands.
The poor creatures, unaccustomed to such provisions, ate with
avidity the liberal doles apportioned to them; even those whose
hearts bled from some irreparable loss could not remain insensible
to the pleasure of satisfying their hunger atleast once in their life.
But the deference they were wont to pay to their superiors led
them to pause in their feast at the coming of the lord and lady of
the castle, and they stood silent and motionless before them.
The Sieur de Rulamort informed them of the glad tidings he
brought, and their anxious brows cleared. Some greybeards
among them, however, shook their heads gravely and sadly : many
a time had they cherished the hope that the enemy had gone for
ever, and yet he had always returned. They prepared not the
less to retrace the road to their villages, and to rear once again
their humble dwelling-places: when one has but a few short years
to live, one may hope to have done with the miseries of existence.

Meanwhile the Lord and Lady of Rulamort continued to make
their circuit of the hall, speaking to all the fugitives, asking each
to what village he belonged, what losses he had sustained, what
assistance he needed. Seated on his valiant arm, still clad in its
steel hauberk, the good knight bore the little Agnes, who, having
seen him arrive, had petitioned Jehanne and Michonne to conduct
her to him. She had passed her small hand round the manly neck,
and, clinging to the tissue of iron meshes which protected the throat,
sat enthroned like a little queen, looking down from her elevation,
with great wondering eyes at all those emacidate and worn faces,
14 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

all those rags, all that wretchedness ; and the curve of her rosy
mouth began to droop, as if she were on the point of shedding
tears.

Suddenly her little face sparkled ; she uttered a joyous cry, and

stretched her hand towards an object which flashed and beamed

"in the light of the flame. This was a sword, a great and splendid
sword, good to shine in tourney or in battle in the hands of some
preux chevalier ; it was carried by a boy scarcely as tall as itself.
It was this which had caught the pleased glance of the little girl,
probably because it glittered, and because it was to her a familiar
object among so many strange things. Sieur Hugues turned to
see what attracted his child’s attention; and he too was struck by
the contrast of that costly weapon in the midst of those ragged
boors. He made a sign to the lad.

“Come here, my child,” he said. ‘*To whom do you belong?”

“To nobody, my lord,” answered the boy, haughtily raising
his head.

Hugues de Rulamort looked him in the face, and smiled.

Despite his unkempt hair, his wretched clothes, and the fatigue
and peril-of the night, the child was of a radiant beauty. His
broad white forehead, kindly protected against heat and cold by a
forest of tangled chestnut curls which clustered all around his face,.
his large dark-blue eyes full of vivacity, his vermeil cheeks, his
well-shaped mouth revealing two rows of ivory teeth, the gallant
pose of his arm as it rested on the handle of the sword,-which he
held erect, and a certain indescribable air of boldness, confidence,
gaiety, and freedom, led the Lord of Rulamort to say to himself:
“If God blessed me with an heir, I should wish him to be such
an one as this peasant’s son!”’

“To nobody!” exclaimed Sieur Hugues, astonished; “to no-
body?” out

“To nobody,” repeated the child, with modest assurance: “TI -
am the son of a free man, and I have no master.”
AN ORPHAN, 15

“But who are your parents? A child’s liege-lord is his father:
do you not know this? ” -

The boy assumed a sorrowful air.

“ My father!—ah, when I had one! . .” And suddenly, throw-
ing himself at the feet of the Lord of Rulamort, he exclaimed :
“My father! help me to avenge my father! The English, my
lord, have killed him !”

“Poor child!” murmured Eleanor tenderly, placing her white
hand on the boy’s head. ‘* How did they kill your father ?”

‘““They came, I know not how or when; they were fain to
carry off all the weapons we had in the house,—for my father,
madame, was an armourer, and made hauberks and helms, lance-
heads and swords for chevaliers,—’tis a noble craft, and worthy ot
a free man. My father essayed to defend himself; they rained
blows upon him; they pillaged everything, and departed. For
myself, I had hastened to his assistance, but received a blow on
the head, and fell to the ground as if dead. When I recovered
my senses a long time afterwards, I found my father stretched on
the ground in front of a cold and blackened hearth. I breathed
into his mouth, and clasped his poor body to warm it; I washed
his wounds, and he opened his eyes. But it was only to bid me
farewell; the wretches had done their work too completely, and
he could not recall his failing energies. He gazed around him;
he saw that everything was wrecked in our poor house, and with a
melancholy air he said to me: ‘The sword! have they taken ¢hat??
I knew well to what he referred: once on a time he had made
a sword which surpassed the swords of all the knights of the
country, and he could not be induced to sell it or give it to any-
body. It was well hidden, and the enemy had not discovered its
place of concealment; I went in quest of it, and returning, placed
it beside him. With a smile he said: ‘Take care of it; thou
shalt call it Franchise.’ And then he closed his eyes. I called
him by his name again and yet again, but he did not answer mc,
and at last I knew that he was dead.”
16 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“ And then what didst thou?” asked the Lady Eleanor.

“T wept, Madame,—I wept all night by his side; and next day,
when the enemy had departed, I sought out some people to help
me to bury my father, with all whom the soldiers of old King
Henry had killed. I know the spot, and I shall return there
when I have avenged my father with the sword he wrought.”

“But it is a knight’s sword, and thou canst not make use of it,
child.” i

The boy drew himself up proudly.

“When I sat alone with my father in the winter evenings by the
blazing fire, he would sing to me /azs and sirventes, in which the
poets told how the land belonged to brave men. I know the
story of many low-born churls who became lords, by accompany-
ing Duke William the Norman to the conquest of England, or
Tancred de Hauteville and his sons to the conquest of Naples. I
know the chansons of many a preux chevalier, who at first were
simple men-at-arms, but got possession of fat manors by their
sharp swords; the troubadours sing the fame of their deeds in the
castles, and the noblest barons declare that they did well. Why
should I not do like this? Why should not I, too, become a
knight?”

Hugues of Rulamort broke out into a hearty laugh.

“ By my sword, child, thou pleasest me!” he said to the bold
boy; “and it may be for thy good fortune that thou camest to my
castle in search of an asylum. Thou belongest to Saintes, dost
thou not? But Saintes is far away from here: how didst thou get
to Rulamort?”

“T walked, my lord. TI halted in the different villages that lay
in my road, and assisted the men at their work in order to earn
my bread. They allowed me to sleep in the barn, and next day
I resumed my journey.”

“And whither wert thou bound? Where didst thou wish
to goP”
AN ORPIIAN. 17

“T wanted to find a town; and truly I must have found one at
last, if I had kept on marching.”

“ And what would you have done in a town, my poor boy?”

“J would have sought out a smith, and asked him to give
me work. I do not want for strength. I have often assisted my
father, and I know how to hammer and weld every piece of a
knight’s armour. I have no fear but I shall gain a livelihood, so
long as there are battles and tourneys.”

“Ah, well, you shall have work here, without going farther.
Milon is a tolerably good armour-smith, but he grows old, and
has need of an assistant. Will it please thee to remain in my
castle, to take care of our arms, to sharpen dagger and sword,
to fasten the meshes of the hauberks, and beat the dints out of
helmet and morion? I take thee into my service: i’faith, ’tis a
good school this in which to learn the trade of arms.”

“Tam your man, my lord,” said the child, gravely bending the.
knee before Hugues of Rulamort, as if he wished to render him
homage inadvance for the future domain of the conquest of which
he dreamed. “Iam not tall, but I am faithful, and I will serve
you loyally.”

“JT am sure of it, my brave little fellow,” replied the knight,
laughing. ‘And so it is settled: henceforth thou art one of the
inhabitants of Rulamort. Come with me, and I will give thee in
charge to old Milon, the oldest and best of my men-at-arms ; he
will treat thee kindly, and see thee properly equipped. He, too,
will superintend thy education. What are thy years, boy?”

“J was twelve years old, my lord, last Feast of Saint Michael.”

“ And thy name—what is it P”

“ Aimery, son of Gaudry the Smith. He was also called
Gaudry the Rhymer, because he loved to sing while at his toil, and
when he had exhausted all the songs he knew, he invented others
as beautiful as those of the troubadours. Oftentimes a crowd of
people would gather about our gate and listen to his brave melodies.”
18 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGIHIT,

“ And thou, Aimery, hast thou, too, a surname?”

“ My father called me ‘ Aimery the Bright-of-face.’ ”

The lord of Rulamort looked at the child attentively.

“Thy father named thee rightly,” said he; “frankness and
loyalty beam in thine eyes. Keep thy name, and may thy heart
always be as bright and open as thy looks.”

The lord of Rulamort quitted the hall, and Aimery followed
him, still carrying his great sword. Silent and grave, he held it
erect, while Sieur Hugues commended him to Milon’s offices ; then,
when his lord had ended, the boy drew near him, and presenting
him with the sword,— :

“ My lord,” he said, “will you deign to take Franchise in
deposit? I will ask it back from you when I shall have won the
right to use it; until then I think that my father’s spirit wil! be
the happier for knowing that it is in the hands of a valiant
cavalier, who will wield it against the English.”

Sieur Hugues took the sword.

“Of a truth,” said he, “thou wilt be a true man; and if thou
holdest to all that thou dost promise, thou shalt not want my
assistance to avenge thy father and satisfy thy ambition. I accept ~
Franchise; it shall : have a story to tell
thee of stirring com- es bats the day that
thou reclaimest it Aimery the Bright-
of-face 1”


CHAPTER Of,








SSgUE> = IN THE GUARD-ROOM.

'N a few days Aimery-was as familiar with Rulamort
and its inhabitants as if he’ had spent his whole
It life at the Castle. He was inquisitive and daring.
| In his leisure hours he wandered everywhere,
examining minutely and carefully the demesne - of
Rulamort, from the embrasures of the donjon down
to its oublietfes or secret prisons, and his faithful
memory photographed every detail. Old Milor-
might give him a message for any soldier or servitor
engaged in any part of the castle, and he went straight thither,
without hesitation, without uncertainty, without groping or in-
quiring his way. He quickly won the affection and confidence of
Milon, who, like all or most old men, was fond of repeating the
stories of his deeds of prowess; but usually found assembled an
audience by no means desirous of hearing for the hundredth time
the same marvellous legends, though it is true they improved on
each repetition. For Aimery all Milon’s narratives had the recom-
mendation of novelty; and he listened to them with an evident
pleasure which rejoiced the old soldier’s heart. Nor was he ever
weary of questioning him about the castles he had seen or taken..



at
20 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

besieged or defended. He quickly learned the name and use of
every part of a castle; and oh, how he clapped his hands with
glee—how his eyes sparkled with enthusiasm—when Milon
described to him such and such a donjon—so strong, so lofty, so
well-guarded, that never king or baron had succeeded in cap-
turing it! “Ah! that is the kind of castle I would fain have for
my own,” he would cry. The men-at-arms who heard him laughed
and jested at him; but the child was free from bashfulness or
timidity, and would relate, just as if he had been actually present,



“(He would leave off talking and begin to sing.’

the history of many low-born warriors who had won lands and
castles with their good swords,—like Hugues the tailor, William
the drummer, ‘and William the waggoner, who became knights
bannerets in England; and so well did he tell his tale that the
soldiers ceased from their jeers and laughter and gathered round
to listen. Then the boy would grow animated, his eyes would
shine, his arm rise and fall as if striking down a foeman; while
ever and anon recollecting some old ballad or lyric which cele-
brated the great deeds of his heroes, he would leave off talking
IN THE GUARD-ROOM. ZAP

and begin to sing in a sweet clear voice, accompanying and
accentuating his song at intervals,—marking the time, as it were,
by striking some morion or buckler which he was engaged in
polishing. And the men-at-arms, delighted, would repeat the
refrain, and swell their chorus with the clash of sword and helmets

At other times, in the long night-watches, Aimery in his turn
would become a listener. The soldiers who followed the banner
of the lord of Rulamort were almost all natives of the country,
and cared as little for the old King of England as for his son
Henry the Younger, or his brothers Geoffrey of Brittany and
Richard of Poitiers. They affected, however, the old Queen
Eleanor, and said to one another that it was a great pity she had
demeaned herself to marry a foreign prince, who did nothing but
ravage the land with his domestic quarrels. These quarrels, be
sure, they knew all about, and they discussed them as if they had
never been involved in their consequences; yet, as a matter of
fact, they followed their lord under the standard of Richard of
Poitiers, already famed by the name of Richard Cceur-de-Lion or
the Lion Heart, and proud were they of the valour of their chief.
It troubled them but little, however, under whose standard
they marched : their trade was to fight, and they fought without
troubling about “ the reason why.”

Six weeks had passed since the Lord of Rulamort’s return to
his castle; and his men-at-arms began to weary at having to
cleanse their morions from spots of rust instead of gouts of blood.

« When will our lord depart again to the wars P” said Gaucher,
who had not shared in the last expedition, but who made sure of
following his master in the next. “’Tis a shame ust the King of
England was suffered to depart without a final blow.’

«© Thou wouldst not say so, friend Gaucher,” replied Hubert, a
cutler, whose head was still wrapped in bandages and his arm
slung in a scarf, “if thou hadst faced King Henry’s Brabanters,
and felt the strokes they deal so lustily! They are devils—devils

®
2 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

anchained! And oh, how they sweep with fire and sword the
country they traverse! This time, on their way back from Saintes,
they have burned everything, houses and vines and fruit-trees.
"Faith, I am willing to rest awhile, until our lord lead us against
enemies more courteous,—though, to speak the truth, the Normans
are not much better, and the English still less so!”

‘One is as bad as the other,” interrupted an old sergeant, who
was seated on the hearth-stone to warm more thoroughly the
wrinkled hands which he spread out before the flame; ‘‘one is as
bad as the other; these men of the North are true savages, and
the French of King Louis VII. are quite as bad as the Normans
and the English and the soldiers of King Henry.”

“Do you know them, William, those Frenchmen of King
Louis? ‘Tis long, however, since we were engaged in war
against him.”

“Ay, Thierry, my lad, but I am old; my sixty years have had
‘time to see a great many more things than thy fifteen. I saw the
marriage fétes of our lady, the daughter of Duke William of
Aquitaine: a beautiful and a noble princess, too, she was! But
that marriage was the cause of all our misfortunes.”

“‘Say’st thou so, Master William! How could that be?” eagerly
asked Aimery, who had drawn near the old sergeant.

“ Because, thou seest, little one,” replied William, with a smile,
“ the King of France, who married our duchess, thereby became
our suzerain ; he was accompanied bya numerous train of French -
knights and men-at-arms, to whom he gave the custody of our
towns and castles, and never under the sun were seen men more
cruel or insolent than those barons of France. At least, up to
that time such had never been seen; but since, alack-a-day! the
second husband of our duchess has brought down upon us the
English and Normans, who are still worse. It is a great misfortune
for a country when it becomes a woman’s heritage.”

“But explain to me, William,” interrupted Gaucher, “how out
IN THE GUARD-ROOM. 23

Duchess came to take a second husband. Pardie, her first, King
Louis, is not dead yet!”

“No, but the Pope gave them permission to dissolve their
marriage. eee must understand that husband and wife could
not agree.’

«Tf all married couples who do not agree could but have
the same privilege!” exclaimed, with a loud sigh, the falconer |
Thibaut. The others burst out laughing: Thibaut’s wife, who
reigned supreme over the poultry yard, being known asa termagant,
who sadly harassed the mild-tempered falconer.

Thibaut would not allow himself to be silenced.

‘*We ought not to speak ill,” he said, ‘of our suzerains ; but
indeed I have heard that Queen Eleanor, our duchess, led her
royal husband a wretched life. Nowa King, no more than any
other man, wishes to be unhappy in his household; and since
King Louis was able to rid himself of his wife, I think, i’faith,
that he did well and wisely.”

Old William arose, inflamed with rage.

“ Thou knowest not of what thou speakest, Thibaut! Back to
thy birds, and meddle not with the affairs of great lords. King
Louis, seventh of the name, was certainly a noble prince, but he
passed his life in his oratory, saying prayers and pater-nosters, making
genuflexions and counting his beads—which is proper for a monk
rather than aking. Our duchess, born in the fair sunny land of
Guienne, was accustomed to a gayer life ; she took pleasure in the
songs of minstrels, in the pastimes of her women, in dances and
the music of instruments: she loved mirth and merry-making,
and there was no harm in that; but King Louis detested them,
and hence they could not live pope tier EDU Afterwards she
wedded the King of England, and

“And one cannot say that she has had a very happy life with
him,” interrupted Thibaut ; “she it is who incessantly stirs up her
sons against their father,—pretty conduct for a Christian woman 12


24 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“She has reason to complain also of King Henry,” resumed
William, a little timidly, for Thibaut was manifestly in the
right; “he made his sons promises which he does not keep,—
conduct unworthy of a loyal knight: and his sons rebel at it—that
is very simple.”

“What, then, did he promise them?” asked Aimery. “ My
father always gave me what he promised, and he was but a poor
man: a king should be ashamed of such discourtesy !”’

“This is how it came about, little one,” replied William, ad-
dressing himself to the boy. “The King of England has had
four sons by our duchess: Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, John. When
the eldest was old enough to be made a knight, his father caused
him to be crowned king, with splendid ceremony, to show that he
intended to leave him, at his death, the crown of England. But
thou mayest well believe that he did not intend to give it to him
immediately : moreover, Prince Henry was too young to govern a.
kingdom and lead an army: to be called a king and treated as a
king was quite enough for a youth like him. Next, the old king

busied himself with providing for his son Geoffrey, and married
“Shim to the daughter of the Count of Brittany. Now all this was
far from pleasing to the King of France: his vassal, the Duke of
Normandy, was King of England,—he held Aquitaine in right of
his wife, our Duchess Eleanor,—he would become master of
Brittany in the name of his son Geoffrey, who was but a child: it
was too much. So King Louis set to work to embroil father and
sons: he has persuaded the younger Henry, known by the name
of Henry of the Short Cloak, to quit his father secretly, and take
refuge at the French court; he has recognised him as sole King of
England ; and in a word has done all that was possible to assist in
dethroning the old king.” :

“He is a felon suzerain, this King of France!” cried Aimery.
“Tis a great sin to sow hatred between son and father, and L
heartily hope he will be well punished.”
IN THE GUARD-ROOM. 25

“‘ Meanwhile,” continued Gaucher, “ Henry of the Short Cloak
: has dragged into his revolt his brothers Richard and Geoffrey, and

by doing so has plunged into war this land of ours.”

‘And the youngest son?” said Aimery.

“Qh, he is too young as yet to take part in the family ead
But it is said that he is no better at heart than the others,” inter-
rupted Thibaut. “I know a falconer of the King of England’s
household who has seen him often, and he describes him as tricky
and cunning, passionate and gluttonous, and as cruel towards
animals until he can wreak his ferocity upon men.”

“Our suzerain, at all events, Richard of Poitiers,” resumed
William, “is as frank as he is brave; no one dare say the contrary.
Ah, to see him in battle, rising erect in his stirrups, and brandishing
in the air his terrible battle-axe, which gleams like the lightning !
He is the handsomest and the strongest of his race, and when his
cavaliers surround him the plume of his helmet waves high above
all their plumes. He is given to sudden fits of anger, like all the
Plantagenets: but he is gay and affable to his vassals; and then
he loves the troubadours, and sings their dads and sérventes,
and even composes them himself, as if he were a true son of-
Aquitaine.”

“Tt is he, is it not, whom men call Richard the Lion-Heart ?”
said Aimery. ‘‘ What a noble knight! Oh how I wish to see him!”

“Thou shalt see him when thou art old enough to bear
battle-axe and sword and don a cap of iron for thy goodly head,”
interrupted William, “unless indeed before that time Heaven
should mercifully deliver us from the English. But keep thy mind
easy ; Count Richard as long as he lives will never want an excuse

_ for fighting !”

“As long as he lives,” repeated Thibaut, shaking his head ; ‘“ he
cannot count upon long life, for he does not honour his father.
My comrade, Thomas the falconer, has told me that it was pitiful,
when the three sons of the old King of England rose in rebellion

3
26 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

against him, to see every night the lords whom he had fed at his
table, whom he had armed with his own hand, and who had slept
under his tent, steal out of his army to join the ranks of the rebels.
The king summoned them in the morning, and there were none to
answer. He disguised his anguish, and sought to show a smiling
countenance to those who remained; but his heart was sorely
stricken, and Thomas more than once saw him weeping, with his
head between his hands, and heard him utter the names of those
who had deserted him, adding after each name: ‘ Another traitor
—QO my God! another traitor!’ Yes, all his nobles abandoned
him, and entered the service of his sons, who were residing at the
court ofthe King of France; and the King of France made much
of them, spoke to them flattering words, and promised them his
assistance. . . Iam only a poor falconer, but I would not, on
my life, have done half as much.”

Aimery was overcome with sorrow.

“And on whose side does our lord combat?
Does he assist the wicked sons of King Henry
to make war against their father?”

It was old Milon who answered.

“Do not think ill of our lord, boy: he fights
neither for Richard nor Henry, but for Aquitaine.
It pleases the King of France that all these princes of Anjou
should be at war with one another, because, if united, they wouid
be too powerful: why should not the lord of Rulamort be of the
-same mind as the King of France? ‘The English have persecuted
us sorely ; Count Richard raises his banner against the English ;
let us follow Count Richard. By-and-by we shall see!”

‘Thibaut shook his head doubtfully.

“ We shall see—what?” he said. ‘All these people make use
of us in their quarrels; but if we wished to act by and for our-
selves, they would quickly combine against us. Remember what
occurred six years ago. The Breton nobles made a league to



Milon.
IN THE GUARD-ROOM. Zi

drive out the English; many of our nobles of Poitou and
Guienne did the same, and the country began to think it was
free, so that it sang songs of rejoicing over the defeat of its
enemies. But the Bretons were beaten ; and the King of France,
who had encouraged our nobles, sold them to the King of Eng-
land. Suchnoble lords !—the best of Aquitaine! King Henry
has treated them like malefactors ; some have died in prison, others
are still enduring indescribable tortures. Should the revolt break
out again, you would see a similar result.”

“That is not a reason against it,” answered Milon, gravely.
«A brave man does not look at the peril. Remember that, my
boy!”

“My father taught me so,” said. Aimery; “and you will see
that I do not forget the lesson on the day when our lord leads
us against the English.”

“ Aye, aye, thou art a brave little fellow, thou!” rejoined old
Milon. “Make haste and grow tall, Aimery the Bright-of-face,
and if, ten years hence, there are many such fighting men as thou,
the fair sun of Aquitaine will again illuminate the happy days.”


CHAPTER IV.

HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFI
CULTY, AND WHAT FOLLOWED.



NE Saturday morning, Father Odon, the chaplain
of Rulamort, found himself in a great difficulty.
The day before, the young squires and pages who
flourished under the roof of the lord of Rulamort,
and learnt the profession of arms, had amused
themselves with a sham tournament, and several
of them having been thrown from their horses,
had been wounded and bruised so grievously as

to be forced to keep their beds, wrapped up in unguents and

bandages. Now, among these the one who had fared the worst
was certainly Jehan de Rochaigué, a youth of about fifteen years,
son of a small noble in the neighbourhood; and Jehan de

Rochaigué, if he had no‘lofty qualities, was skilled in making the

responses at mass and singing in the choir, and it was he who

every Sunday served the mass which Father Odon said. The good

chaplain had tended him with his cwn hands, and hoped that a

night’s rest would restore him completely; but the night was past,

and Jehan was suffering such pain in all his limbs that Father

Odon found himself compelled to abandon all thought of his assis-
tance on the morrow. What was to be done? It was a matter
HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY. 29

of necessity that Father Odon should say mass every Sunday in
the chapel, first for the inmates of the castle, and afterwards for
the peasants of the vicinity, who, having no parish church within
reach, came to Rulamort to offer up their devotions; but Father
Odon could not say mass unless some one under-
took the responses. Now, neither the servitors nor
the men-at-arms knew a single word of Latin ; two
or three of Jehan’s comrades knew a little, thanks
to the patient lessons of the good chaplain,—but
so little! Could he trust to them? Could he run
the risk of stopping short in the middle of the mass!
Father Odon revolved these thoughts in his mind as he returned from
a visit to yesterday’s wounded, and he knew not to what saint to
address himself, when the sounds of a childish voice struck his ear.
He paused and listened, wondering whence came the voice.

But he soon discovered from what direction it proceeded.
The singer evidently was in a small court attached to the kitchen. —
At that particular moment some one ‘was busily cutting up wood
there, for you could hear the repeated blows of the mallet, then
a sudden crash, and the fall in two pieces. of the log or block
on which the workman was trying his skill, And this workman was
also the singer, for each stroke of the mallet interrupted in curious
fashion the Kyrie eledson or the Agnus Dei, which he afterwards
continued without interruption while he was picking out a new log
and fixing his wedges in it.

Father Odon hastened to the court. The vocal woodcutter
was Aimery, who, with rosy cheeks and beaming eyes, was dealing-
blows on the wood with all his strength, imagining perhaps that
he wielded a battle-axe and was striking down his enemies in the
milte. At the voice of the priest, who called him by his name,
Aimery threw aside his mallet and stepped forward respectfully
to know what was wanted of him.

“Ts it thou who singest, my boy?” said Father Odon.


30 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

‘Ves, my father. I sing when I am working, because it helps
and cheers me. My father always sang when he struck the red
iron on his anvil. There is no harm in it, is there?”

“Surely, no! Thou singest, too, very well, and thou shouldst
thank the Lord for giving thee such a sweet voice wherewith to
chant His praises.” ;

‘“T know, it is true, a number of ballads and war-songs; but I
love most the melodies which were chanted at Saintes in our great
beautiful church. The priests began: all the people carried on
the strain; the voices rose, rose up to the very roof: one would
have said that they would rise to heaven. And then the sweet
odour of the incense! and the richly coloured windows—red and
yellow and blue—through which the sunlight streamed ! and the
lighted tapers! One might almost have thought oneself in Paradise.
The castle chapel is not so beautiful, my father; but when I am
there I close my eyes, and then I fancy myself in the great church
of Saintes, and I see it again exactly as I saw it in the happy days
when I went there every Sunday with my father. But no one
chants here!”

“ The men-at-arms, my son, have voices too rude for chanting
the hymns of the Church. But, Aimery, tell me, why dost not
thou chant?”

“T should be all alone,—I durst not!”

“ Dost thou happen to know how to serve mass?”

“ T think so, father.”

“ How’ didst thou learn?—by accident?”

“Not by accident ; but because the Prior of St. Eutropius, who

- had heard me singing sometimes when he passed my father’s forge,
made me go to his monastery, where he taught me. Thave many
times said to him the responses of the mass—to him and to the
other fathers; and they would have given me money, but my father
said that he made enough to support him and me, and that he
was not willing I should be rewarded for simply serving God.”
HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF IIS DIFFICULTY. 31

“Thy father was a man of noble heart, Aimery!”

“ And so, too, the Prior of St. Eutropius! When he found that I
was not allowed to take money, he ordered one of his monks to
teach me to read, saying that knowledge was worth more than
gold.”

“ And thou canst read?” exclaimed Father Odon, in an ecstasy.

“Oh, not so well as I could wish; but I learnt quickly, and the
good monk spoke of teaching me to write, and even to paint
saints and angels in the missals. He said that I ought to study
for a priest; but my father did not care for the calling,—no more
did I. I would rather brandish my sword and gallop my destrier ;
but that would not prevent me from learning to read, would it, my
father?” —

“Not at all; and I will be thy teacher, if thou wilt.”

“Tf Twill!—if I will! What happiness! Is there anything that
Ican do for you, my father? I wish so much to do something
to prove that I am grateful.”

‘¢ Will you serve me at the mass to-morrow, in the place of that
rogue of a Rochaigué, who is wounded?”

“To-morrow, and any Sunday, my father, as long as you wish.
Already he does not sing so very badly, this young son of the
aimour-smith! You will lose nothing by engaging him, you will
see.” aa

Father Odon smiled, and read Aimery a little sermon on the
naughtiness of pride and vanity; but he did not scold him long,
and ended by desiring him to come to his room as soon as he
had cut up the wood. Aimery went, and passed with much
honour through the examination the chaplain inflicted on him. -
Great was the good iather’s delight: Jehan in the future might
bruise or break his limbs as often as he liked, or accompany the
lord of Rulamort on his expeditions, without the service suffering.

Next day, Aimery, attired like a clerk in a long white surplice,
responded and chanted the mass in such a manner as to fill with
32 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

rapture the sensitive heart of the Lady Eleanor, who, before her
marriage, had resided at Bordeaux, and had not forgotten the sacred
strains familiar to her youth. And even the little Agnes, who
always asked to be taken to chapel, and promised that she would
be very good there, allowed herself to be impyessed by the music,
and mingled her tiny voice with that of Aimery. The Lady Eleanor
silenced her, and after mass offered her excuses to the chaplain:
but Father Odon replied that God would not be offended at
hearing the voice of one of His angels, and Agnes was pardoned.

From that day forward Aimery ceased to be so constant a
companion of old Milon, for the chaplain often took him into his
chamber to continue the education begun by the monks of St.
Eutropius. He was a youth of quick intelligence, and by summer
time he could read easily books written in Latin or the Provencal
Langue @oc. We showed a-more refractory disposition with
respect to the Langue d’orl, because it was the language of the
Normans and other subjects of King Henry of England. How-
ever, he at last decided to learn it—because, said he, one must
know the language of one’s enemies in order to surprise their bad
designs.

He learned also to write; he had some difficulty in making up
his mind, because the- lord of Rulamort could not trace a single
letter, and Aimery feared, therefore, that writing was a clerk’s
accomplishment, and scarcely suitable fora knight. But William,
the sergeant-at-arms, having chanced to say in his presence that
Richard of Poitiers wrote with his own hand his /azs and sirventes,
Aimery thought he could not do better than imitate that renowned
model of chivalry. .

The spring-time brought him other occupations. The Lady
Eleanor no longer shut herself up indoors, as when the snow fell
and the blasts blew from the icy north. She issued forth with little
Agnes, and if she fell in with Aimery, she never failed to speak to
him. Aimery looked up to her as he had looked up to the Holy












































































































































































































































4 Ne ay ii i. ih
ANA ANy
WON



y
oh
{

[ae

ae







END
ey AS
NN
i





































































FIRE SOK



He learned how to manage a high-mettled steed (A. 33)
HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY. 33

Virgin on the altar; his heart throbbed quickly, and he felt that
he would willingly have sacrificed his life for this noble lady, so
beautiful and so proud, who spoke to him sweet words with a
sweet smile; who called him “ my child,” who interested herself
in him, the poor orphan ; who asked him if he were happy in the
castle, if it pleased him to remain there, if old Milon were good
to him, and whether any person harassed or injured him. Agnes,
too, willingly stopped with Aimery; she always wanted to know
what he was doing, and why; she made him take her up in his
arms to gather the wild pinks which had taken root in the crannies
of the wall; or else for no other purpose than that she might be
as tall as the tallest men-at-arms; and when she went on an
excursion beyond the castle precincts, she would clasp the ‘boy’s
hand, exclaiming, “Come with me!’ She wept when she was
separated from him, and remained ‘under a cloud” for the rest
of her promenade. She said and repeated so often that she wanted
Aimery for her servant, that.the Lady Eleanor eventually asked
her husband’s permission to carry off the young armourer; he was
already tall and strong, and, what was better, very polished and
courteous; he could perform for her a host of little services, and
carry Agnes when she was fatigued. But it was clear that he
could not wait upon her dressed like a child of the people ;-so
a page’s suit was made for him, in the colours of the lord of
Rulamort, and this he wore in his excursions in the neighbourhood
in the train of Lady Eleanor, her woman, and the little Agnes,
when they went to gather wild flowers for weaving into wreaths, or
to pick the wild strawberries of the woods, and listen to the song
of the cuckoo and the warbler. Thenceforward the boy’s time
was tolerably well occupied. ;

In the morning he assisted old Milon to furbish up or repair
the arms and armour; he learned from him how to handle the
broadsword, dagger, and lance, and to bend a bow and lodge an
arrowin the butt. He learned also how to manage a high-mettled
34 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

steed, and make him caracole without drawing his feet from the
stirrups. Then he went in quest of Thibaut the falconer, assisted
him in taking care of his birds, made him relate at length all their
good qualities and defects, and was instructed in the difficult art
of training a falcon, a gyrfalcon, ora merlin. In the afternoon,
transformed into a page, Aimery followed his noble mistresses in
their walks of pleasure or benevolence: for the Lady Eleanor
delighted in visiting her poor vassals and providing for their
needs: so that her name was blessed throughout the domain of
Rulamort. In the evening Aimery, in Father Odon’s chamber,
practised himself in copying the beautiful letters of a missal em-
bellished with rich colourings ; and, of all the day’s tasks, this was
not the one he found most easy. He succeeded better in handling
the boar-spear, or riveting the meshes of a hauberk, than in tracing
the flourishes of an initial-capital. He did his best, however, failing
neither in perseverance nor industry; so that he fully satisfied
~ Father Odon, who treated him with so much kindliness and
instructed him with so much patience. But the scholar frequently
paused in this ungracious work to question the old man on the
events of his early years.

‘Father Odon,” he said to him one day, ‘you do not love
battles: why, then, did you come here? When you speak of a
stately cloister with long galleries, where the monks pace to and
fro, reading or praying, one sees that it would be happiness for you
to live there—to live in peace, and never see a broken head, nor
strife, nor wounds.”

Father Odon sighed.

“Man must do the will of God, my child,” he answered, “ and
not humour his own selfish fancies. When I was ten years old;
Aimery, I was a poor boy and very miserable. My father, who
dwelt in a village north of the Loire, was a serf of the Seigneur de
Talabard, a bad man, harsh and cruel towards everybody, but
especially towards his poor vassals. We had to work hard, father
HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY. 35

and mother, and even the littie children, as soon as they were able
to stand upright, or we should not have been able to live. Yes,
at the age when the children of nobles, and even those of the
burghers of the towns, think only of play and of being happy, we
were compelled, morning and evening, to weed the fields, to carry
burdens much too heavy for our feeble arms, and to drag baskets
full of pebbles for the repair of the road to the castle.

“And when the barley began to give promise of an ample
harvest, and our mother, thinking of this or that of ber children



“'Thibaut instructed him.”

who had died of privation in the preceding winter, would say, ‘At
least, this year, thank God, the little ones will not want for bread,’
—when she had spoken thus, the Seigneur would come with his
hounds and horses, blowing a horn, with his falcon on his wrist,
and ina moment our field would be devastated ; not an ear of corn
would lift its head above the ground. Thy father, Aimery, was a
free man, who worked when it pleased him, and was paid for his
work ; thou canst not know what manner of life is led by the poor
sons of the soil in the countries of the North, where the nobles
36 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

are more harsh than they are here, where they rob the unhappy
peasant of everything—his money, his time, his work, his life!
Thou sayest, sometimes, child, that the brave know how to
find a place for themselves in the world, and that thou wilt
become a knight: should thy dreams be fulfilled, through the
will of God, be not harsh or unjust towards the weak and the
poor. When a young noble, after the vigil of arms, receives his
knightly spurs, he swears before God and the saints to protect
all who shall demand his assistance; but he is thinking only of
those of his own rank,—of noble ladies maltreated, or of orphans
whose heritage has been wrested from them by some felon baron,—
he takes no heed of the villeins, they are not men, and he crushes
them remorselessly. But do thou, if ever God grant thee the power
and the strength, remember that Jesus died for all, and that a
serf’s soul is worth as much as that of a count or a king!”

Father Odon had allowed his memories to overcome him: his
body trembled all over, his voice had risen, and tears flowed from
his eyes. Aimery, who had never seen him otherwise than serene
and dignified, was moved with reverence and pity; and pressing
to his lips the old man’s hands, he cried :

“T swear it, my father! and if ever I gain my banner, I will
inscribe upon it for device, Fustice and Pity! That shall be my
war-cry, and I will do justice on the wicked who have no pity for
the poor.”

“May God hear thee, Aimery, and keep thee in charity and
courage! What was I saying to thee, my child? Ah, I remember
—we were very unfortunate. And yet, when at evening our father
took us upon his knees and caressed us, we had still a little pleasure
in the thought that we loved one another, and that we were all to-
gether. Alas! even that poor pleasure was taken away from us.
Our lord had a quarrel with the Baron de Maucastel: he collected
all the tenants and villeins on his domain to make war against his
enemy, and my father was forced to leave us. Aimery, he never
HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY. 37

returned ! We were told that he had fallen in fight, but we never
knew whether he received Christian burial, or whether his bones
were left to bleach in the wind and sun. Thou at least knowest
where Gaudry the Smith reposes.” 5;

“ You have not avenged him? ” cried Aimery.

“Upon whom, my poor boy? He who slew him was without
doubt a miserable wretch like himself, dragged by his lord from
his house and family ; and who could have told me his name?
My poor father! he did not live to see our condition improve.
The two barons made peace, and the Sieur de Maucastel married
our lord’s daughter; her dowry was the fief where my family
had their cottage. The Sieur de Maucastel was a gentle and
humane lord ; he visited his new vassals, and perceiving that my
mother could no longer cultivate the field, he took her into his
service, and lodged us along with her in his castle. There the
chaplain began to instruct me, and afterwards I was sent to the
monks of Saint Benedict, to study religion and Latin, and become
a clerk. I assumed the Benedictine habit at the age of thirty-
two, and for twenty years I was happy! ‘Twenty years: it is a
large part of a man’s life; and twenty years of happiness—can we
expect more? Ah! if you but knew, Aimery, the peace and the
joy which one finds in the hush of the cloister! The voices of
the world, its wars and its ambitions, and human guilt and misery
—one forgets it all; one passes one’s days in study and prayer;
one knows, or at least one believes one knows, beforehand the
occupation ofevery hour until the last. Oh! it is a happy life,
Aimery !”

“And yet you quitted it, my father?”

“Yes, because it was my duty. My noble lord, the Sieur de
Maucastel, was obliged to give his step-daughter, the damosel
Eleanor, to the son of the Lord of Rulamort. The betrothed
couple were as yet little better than children, and the Sieur de
Maucastel was anxious to place with his daughter a chaplain who
38 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGIIT.

could speak to her of the parents she quitted, so thatin the midst
of her new family she might not wholly forget them. He thought
of me, and of the gratitude which I owed him, and asked the
Superior to spare me. I quitted the convent with a bleeding
heart ; but I soon discovered that it was the hand of God which
had called me from it. In spite of his devotion to the patron
saint of his ancestors, the Sieur de Rulamort was a ‘cruel and
pitiless lord; his son would have resembled him, had not God
blessed my teaching. Mine was the happiness of impressing upon
him the duties of a Christian knight, and of softening his heart to
charity. The Lady Eleanor is happy; she is proud of her husband;
and I—I have paid my debt to my benefactor.”

** And you have done much more good than if you had rested
in the convent, Father Odon.”

“One may do good and serve God everywhere,” replied the old
man, sighing.

“ As for myself, I wish to serve Him like a Christian knight!
With you and old Milon for my instructors, I shall learn how to
strike lusty blows and do good works, and the troubadours in their
songs will celebrate Aimery the Bright-of-face !”


CHAPTER V.




= SC) AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY.

4] OTWITHSTANDING his pacific character, Father
} Odon was unable to prevent himself from loving in
Aimery even his warrior-impulses. He was wise
enough to know that the earth could not be
wholly peopled with monks, and said to himself
that since there must needs be people in the world
whose chief occupation was making war, it was good
to meet with some among them who would contend
against the wicked and reduce them to submission.
ners he did not attempt to dispel the boy’s radiant dreams,
but allowed him to indulge in the hope of one day becoming a
famous knight. And, after all, it was not impossible but that he
might live to buckle on the knightly belt. The Lord of Rulamort
had taken him under his protection, and would certainly carry
him on his expeditions when the boy had reached the age of
eighteen ; and as the young man, taught by old Milon, would be
more skilled than the other vassals in the craft of arms, he would
probably place him in command of a company of pikemen or
archers. Once he had arrived at such a height, Aimery would
not fail to distinguish himself by some deed of valour: the Sieur
4
40 * PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Hugues would then attach him to his person—would make him,
perhaps, his squire ; and when he was a squire, he would find a.
hundred opportunities of winning his spurs. So the good monk,
in order that Aimery might become an accomplished knight,
spared neither his lessons nor his counsel, never failing to support
them by the example of some famous knight or other, whose
history he related. The frank .and truthful soul of the youth was
like good soil where the seed germinates without effort ; and so
he devised a model whom he sought in all things to resemble, a
perfect knight, like the chevaliers of the Round Table or the
Holy Graal,* and he applied himself incessantly to the work of
acting, speaking, and thinking as he supposed his hero would have
done. ;

But it is not possible to content everybody. If Father Odon
had conceived as strong an affection for Aimery as if he had been
his own child,—if the Lady Eleanor never met him without a word
and a smile,—if little Agnes ran to meet or overtake him the
moment she caught sight of him,—if Hugues de Rulamort often
questioned old Milon respecting his pupil’s conduct, and expressed
his satisfaction with it,—if all the inmates of the castle loved him
for his gaiety, his sweet temper, and unfailing courteousness,—
there was nevertheless a person who felt every day his antipathy
to Aimery increase,—this was Jehan de Rochaigué. And why?
Aimery, who attended upon the young varlets in their games and
exercises, was not less eager to wait upon Jehan than upon any of
the others: Aimery was but a poor lad, taken under the patronage
of the lord of the castle ; Jehan was noble, and the heir to a large
domain ; Aimery was only thirteen, Jehan was three years older ;
Aimery had never given him any cause of offence ; why, then, did
the youth detest him ?

The feeling began in a strange jealousy which Jehan would have

* A reference to the Arthurian legends which have supplied the subjects of
Tennyson’s ‘‘Idylls of the King.”
AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY, AT

been ashamed to confess. Aimery had taken his place in the
chapel while he recovered from his wounds, and after he had
recovered, Father Odon had continued to avail himself of Aimery’s
services, without asking Jehan if he would like to return to his
post. In doing this the chaplain had no thought of offending
Jehan: he had so often said in blunt abrupt words, or had given
him to understand, that it was a clerk’s duty to serve mass and
chant the hymns, and that he found that kind of work unworthy
of him, that Father Odon naturally thought he had relieved him
of a task he disliked; and so he had told him one day, when
thanking him for past services, and excusing himself for having
protracted them to his inconvenience. ‘‘It is well,” answered
Jehan; “‘the work suits him better than it suits me: I am no longer
a child, nor am I a clown filled with the ambition of becoming 2
clerk.”

Father Odon had not detected his vexation, and yet his vexation
was real. Many times he had been irritated by the jests of his
comrades, who called him Jehan Beauclerc, and proposed to shave
the crown of his head like a monk’s tonsure ; yet he had continued
to serve the chaplain, because it secured him the favour of the
lady of the castle, who, as was often the case, was more cultivated
than her husband and his friends, and loved music and poetry.
Jehan was proud of being chosen by her to assist her in mounting
her hunting palfrey, to unhood her falcon, or carry the game cap-
tured by that noble bird.. He was sorely wounded the day when
the Lady Eleanor had said to him, “So, Jehan, you no longer sing
in the chapel; in truth, ’tis a pity,’—which did not prevent her
from congratulating Father Odon, a moment afterwards, on the
fine voice of his new chorister, without noticing that Jehan could
hear her. His comrades, however, did not show as much polite-
ness. In the rough fashion of young men they said to him—
“Thou hast done well to doff thy clerk’s surplice, Jehan ; the
smith’s son sings better than thou dost!” Jehan replied with
42 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

contemptuous allusions to singing, to Father Odon, and the chur]
whom he had taken into favour; but he remained jealous of
Aimery and ill-disposed towards those who loved him—that is to
say, more or less towards all the inmates of the castle.

It was little Agnes who, in her innocence, furnished him with an
opportunity for showing his resentment. Agnes was very lively
and active, and unable to sit demurely for any length of time in
the great hall, at the feet of Lady Eleanor, who was peopling
with new figures a grand tapestry begun fully a century before by
another lady of Rulamort. The work did not make rapid progress,
and the child grew fatigued with seeing the needle pass and repass
through thecanvas. She noticed that since the last Sunday the knight
had gained but half a hand, and the noble lady who crowned him
only one cheek and the corner of her mouth; and she asked herself
if the lady would have finished her coronation of the knight before
she was grown up. And then, growing desperately weary, she
would take Michonne by the hand and say to her,—‘ Come,
come, and have a game!” Michonne, who for six months had
been engaged on a page’s embroidered tunic, and found no special
pleasure in the task, was only too delighted to follow her child-
mistress: and Agnes would lead her, of course,
where she knew she would find something
amusing: to the entrance of thé sheep-fold, at
the time ‘‘the kye came hame”’; into the poultry-
yard, when Perinette, Thibaut’s wife, began to
feed her fowls; to the mews, where Thibaut,
delighted always when the child’s radiant face
shone upon him, would show her the birds one
by one, and relate the history and describe the
character of each. She would visit also the place of arms, rejoicing
if she found the door open, and if Milon, or, better still, Aimery,
would do her the honours of the beautiful suits of mail suspended
there, of which she was passionately fond, like the brave little




(A. 43)

g it closely

sist upon examinin

gnes would in

A
AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. 43

chatelaine that she was already. It was pleasant to see her, with
her fair curls clustering about her like an aureole, skipping, light
as a bird, along the time-stained boards of the armoury, accustomed
to shrink beneath the heavy tread of men-at-arms. With a pretty
impetuous gesture of command, she would call Milon and Aimery
to her side, and would make them halt before each object which
she indicated with the tip of her rosy finger, saying, with a proud
alr :—

“There, that is a hauberk ; and this is a pike; yonder isa
noble’s lance with a banner ; this is a clarion, and that a helmet;
and oh, see this fine sheath, for holding a knight’s sword! Oh,
what a number of swords! But where is Franchise?”

Aimery would lead her to see Franchise, which was suspended
in a place of honour, and by his assiduous exertions kept as bright
as crystal. He would take it down, for Agnes would insist on
examining it closely, and she would mirror, with a joyous smile,
her soft blue eyes in the glancing steel. She would make him
repeat, for the hundredth time, the history of Franchise; she
would sympathize with ‘poor Aimery, who had no father”; she
would say to him,—‘“‘ But thou art happy with my father, art thou
not? thou art not wretched now?” And, kneeling, she would
recite an Ave Maria “for the soul of poor father Gaudry.” Then
resuming her gaiety, she would play with everything; she
would not rest until they had put on her head a great plumed
helmet: she would attempt to lift a knight’s shield or a soldier’s
targe; and she brightened the sombre and severe place of arms
with her frolics, her sportive ways, and her musical laughter.

Another place to which Agnes was very partial also, was a court
where the young varlets, guests and pupils of the lord of Rulamort,
performed their various exercises. She had learned their favourite
shout of applause, ‘‘ Noél!” and knew when praise was due.
““Noél! Noél!” she would cry when one of them leapt farther
than the others, or had thrown his adversary in the wrestle, or
44 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

when dart or arrow launched by a skilful hand struck with a thud
the buckler suspended against the wall as a target. The young.
players received her with courtesy ; they knew that the first duty
of a knight is to honour and serve the ladies, and though Agnes
was but a lady in outline—a lady who was to be-—these aspirants
for knightly fame practised towards her the refined folitesse of
which they would have need in later days. They entreated of her
a favour to wear in her honour,—or they devolved on her the
duty of handing the prize to the winner in the games. Agnes
assumed this high and honourable office with amusing seriousness :
she gave a ribbon from her waving locks, or crowned the victor
with a wreath of ivy plucked from the weather-worn battlements,
just as if she had been the true ‘‘Queen of Beauty” presiding
over a real and splendid tournament,—

‘* Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In words of peace high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.”

It happened one day that her appearance in the court was
saluted by acclamations even more boisterous than ordinary.

‘“‘ Here comes the sovereign lady !””

‘‘ Behold our Queen of Beauty !”

“Welcome to the lady of the joust !”

“‘ Quick, little Agnes, quick !—a throne for the queen. Ah, here
it 1s 1”

And in a second Agnes was perched on the remains of an old
catapult lying dishonoured in a corner; a helmet was placed
under her tiny feet that she might feel more at ease; and it was
then explained to her that the pages had arranged to hold a grand
comprehensive competition, with sling, and bow, and javelin,—
AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. 45

in leaping and running, and that she was required to act both as
the queen of the tourney and the judge of the games. Agnes
thoroughly understood what was expected of her; and as, in
crossing the garden,-she had gathered an armful of flowers, she
gave them to Michonne with instructions to weave them into
garlands and wreaths for the successful competitors. Then she
watched the various combatants with an exquisitely grave, judicial
air; and from time to time might be heard her small clear voice,
exclaiming—“ Los ef honneur!* Yorward, preux chevaliers ! for
honour and for your ladies!” just as she had heard the herald in
the tourneys held by her father.

Aimery was present, along with Milon, who superintended the
exercises and occasionally gave a word of good advice to those
engaged in them. ‘You hold your javelin badly, Sire Garin !
Your arrow, Sire Arnoul, is not in the middle of the bow! Sire
Jehan, hold your lance higher if you would throw it farther!
You will miss your aim with your sling, Sire Robert!” Aimery col-
lected the arrows and javelins as they were discharged ; applauded
successful hits; and with no little difficulty prevented himself
from signalizing misses! The young pages, who held him in great
esteem, would sometimes turn to him, and say: ‘That was good,
was it not? What do you think of such a stroke as that? Did
you see? Robert’s javelin struck the buckler ! ”

It was Jehan alone who did not address a word to Aimery, and
appeared wholly indifferent to his approbation. He assumed an
air of disdain when the boy cried “ Noél! ” on seeing that his
stone or arrow hit its mark ; and he muttered, loud enough to be
heard: ‘‘ Why does this son of a serf intrude into our company ?”
Aimery did not fail to notice, but durst not complain, Jehan being
the guest of the Lord of Rulamort and the son of a baron.

The jousts were finished : Jehan had prevailed over every com-

* A phrase much used in the mediseval tournaments.—Zos apparently comes
from the Latin Zams, “praise.”
46 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

petitor, and the vanquished led him in triumph to the foot of the
throne of Agnes. Agnes did not like Jehan, who svoke to her
always as haughtily as a suzerain to his vassal, and roughly
demanded his flowers and ribbons instead of asking for them, as
the others did,—who were as nobly born and far more amiable,—
with bended head and knee on ground. When she saw who it was
that came forward, she made a little grimace of disappointment,
and eyeing the defeated one by one, she exclaimed :

‘“‘He has beaten Garin, and Robert, and Arnoul, and all the
others. No—Aimery: he has not beaten Aimery ! I am Queen
of the Revels, and I will that Jehan contend with Aimery !”

“With Aimery !” cried Jehan; ‘a churl—a villein—a serf!”

“My father was a free man,” said Aimery, pale, and in a tremu-
lous voice; “and one day, perhaps, you shall learn whether I have
the soul of a serf, Messire Jehan!”

“Jehan is afraid of losing the prize,” remarked, in a tone ot

. raillery, young Robert de Castelmont, who had only just missed
being the victer.

The others whispered apart.

‘Tis true,” said Garin de Lézinan, “ Aimery is not noble.”

“But then this is only a sham joust,” observed Arnoul de
Malefort. ‘And, besides, he is the son of a free man, which is
quite sufficient. We shall see whether Milon has trained a good
pupil. Come, Jehan, art thou afraid? No, I will not believe
nie

‘You shall see if I am afraid!” cried Jehan; and suddenly,
without a word of warning, he launched his javelin. But had he
taken good aim at the target? One may doubt it, seeing that the
javelin flew over Aimery’s curly head, so close as to touch the
hair, and plunged into the wall at some distance from the buckler.

The spectators uttered a cry of terror. But Aimery was not
wounded. He took a javelin, placed himself in the same position
as Jehan, balanced his weapon, hurled it . . . it rushed through
AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. A7

the air with a hissing sound, and planted itself right in the centre
of the shield.

“ Noél for Aimery!” cried the young people. Jehan made a
gesture of vexation, and seizing a heavy spear, he took a spring,
ran a few paces, thrust the spear-end into the ground, rested upon
it all his weight, and jumped.

“ Noél for Jehan!’ rose in an unanimous shout.

‘* Aimery cannot leap so far as that—he is too small,’ cried
Arnoul.

“He will not be able even to lift the lance,” said Garin.

Milon had heard all that passed. He made a
sign to Aimery, and showed him a lance used in
battle, much lighter than the lance for jousting
purposes which Sire Jehan had handled. Aimery
seized it, and as, though smaller than his adversary,
he was nimbler and more skilful,-he could take his
spring much farther, and rising lightly, he de-
scended upon his two feet at exactly the same f
point as Jehan had reached. i

The judges applauded; little Agnes laughed and “fe
clapped her hands; Jehan knitted his brows with <<
a fierce and gloomy frown.

In the race the result was the same. Aimery, by his agility,
made up for what he lost in height and strength, and touched the
goal at the same time as Jehan. He was defeated in the sling
competition, because his arm had not muscular force enough to
throw the stone as far as his competitor; but his three arrows,
one after the other, struck in the heart of the buckler the javelin
which he had previously planted there; and Arnoul de Malefort,
discharging the functions of the herald-at-arms, proclaimed as
conqueror in the games Aimery, son of Gaudry the armour-
smith, free man of the town of Saintes.

This time Agnes made no difficulty in bestowing the crown of



We
48 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

victory. She stood up in order to put herself on a level with
Aimery, who had respectfully bent the knee before her. She
placed on his head the crown of flowers which Michonne had
prepared, and embraced him in the usual fashion on either cheek,

saying :
‘Gallant knight, receive the crown of honour and the prize of
the tourney———”

Suddenly she interrupted herself.
“The prize of the tourney? Where is the prize? There must



*- His three arrows, one after the other.”

be a prize: who ever heard of a tourney or joust: without one?
My father has two prizes, won at different times: one a helmet,
with beautiful shining red stones, and a great plume ; the other a
beautiful drinking-cup of silver, for use on days of festival.
Where is the prize for Aimery? I have nothing at all.”

With an air of almost comical vexation, she gazed at her empty
little hands. All at once she caught sight of a small strip of
twisted gold thread, which she had found among her mother’s
jewels and ribbons, and had fastened round her arm, that she
might have a bracelet of her own like a great lady.
AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. 49

“ Ah—see, see!” she cried: “here is the very thing!” and
turning again to Aimery, she continued: “ Preux chevalier
receive the prize of your valour, and wear it as you have won it.”

There rose a shout of pleasant laughter from the merry young
pages, in which Michonne and old Milon joined; Agnes looked
so comical with her beautiful little face of roses and ltlies, and the
grave airs which she assumed, and the effort she made to speak
like the dames and damosels in the tales of chivalry her mother
and her mother’s women sometimes related while at. their
embroidery frames.

But Jehan did not laugh; he placed himself in the path of
Aimery as he withdrew, and pushed him violently, saying : “Go,
most noble knight! Thou wilt not see me here very long, for I
shall have no trouble in finding better lodgment. There are
more powerful nobles than this petty lord of Rulamort, and in
their households I shall find no base-born company. But thou
shall see me again elsewhere ; and then, mark me, sirrah, thou
shalt learn, thou villein’s son, so proud of thy bright face, how we
nobles deal with wretched churls when their insolence lifts them
above their proper condition !”


CHAPTER VI.

A GUEST.



4ELLOW-TINTED autumn brought back the chill
air and the unwholesome mist, and in the lengthen-
ing evenings the family of the lord of Rulamort
assembled round the ample hearth. After supper,
which in those days was served at about eight
= o’cleck, when Father Odon had recited in a loud
clear voice the vesper prayers, in the midst of a
kneeling circle of superiors and dependants, every.

j ¢ individual repaired to the part of the castle whither
their occupations summoned them; and in the state apartment
remained only the Sieur Hugues and his wife, the chaplain, the Lady
Eleanor’s waiting-women, ready to execute their mistress’s orders,
old Milon and the Sieur’s squires, the young pages, and Aimery,
who went from one to the other as his services were required.
To the thirsty he presented the goblet filled with claret or hippocras ;
he trimmed the lamps, he fed the fire, he stretched mat or cushion
. under the feet of Sieur Hugues and Dame Eleanor ; and when at
leisure from these manifold avocations, he stood erect near the
high-backed fauteuil in which was seated his noble mistress,.
watching the gambols of little Agnes as she rolled on the carpet


« 50).

es (4

ambols of little Agn

Watching the g:
A GUEST. Br

with the faithful gentle hounds, and followed with quick eyes the
spindles revolving in the agile fingers of her mother and the
waiting-women, or listened to the tales and jests of the merry
company collected in “the ingle nook.” Their talk was chiefly
of the incidents that took place in the neighbourhood—of the
' marriage of such and such a noble with the daughter of a baron of
Aquitaine or Provence, of the birth of a child to count or cavalier,.
of a troubadour or jongleur skilled upon the harp who was.
traversing the countryside, and whose arrival at Rulamort was
anxiously expected. Of late years, with this light gossip had
mingled stories of the doings of the old King of England. It was
said that he had won several victories over the people who inha-
bited the same island as himself; and this was welcome news to.
nobody, for the men of Aquitaine and Poitou wished him defeats
rather than victories. It was remarked that the number of nobles.
in their province who fortified their castles and augmented their
garrisons was constantly on the increase: what was the reason ?
Did they fear the return of the English, or were they thinking of
raising the standard of rebellion? The young pages longed for
war; they were old enough to follow the banners of their fathers,
and they hoped to extort from the. knights of Anjou and Nor-
mandy an acknowledgment of the strength of their.arms, and thus.
to gain their spurs.

Aimery stamped with impatience when he thought of his thir-
teen years. Jehan was silent, and remained sombre and anxious.
As for the Lady Eleanor, in spite of her bravery in time of war,
she ardently desired the maintenance of peace; and her heart
ached with the fear that once more, perhaps, she must see her
beloved lord, in his panoply of hauberk and helm, mount his.
destrier and ride forth to battle, instead of caracoling gently by
her side in the fresh woods and green meadows, his falcon on his.
wrist, and the hounds baying around them.

One day, the young chatelaine, seated in the deep and narrow

5
52 : PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

recess formed by the embrasure of her window, was watching the
swift motion across the face of heaven .of the rose-tinted clouds
which heralded the approach of sunset. She was oppressed with
melancholy thoughts; for there had been much recent discourse
respecting the old King of England. At her feet, Agnes was
playing with quite a complete suite of miniature furniture, manu-
factured expressly for her doll by her friend Aimery—stools,
couches, tables, sideboards; and every moment the child pulled ©
Lady Eleanor by her long sleeve, to make her admire her play-
things. But her mother took no heed; the day was rapidly



waning; why had not Sieur Hugues returned? MHer anxiety
gained rapidly upon her.

The blast of a horn at the outer gate sent a shiver through her
frame ; it was not her husband’s horn. She sprang to her feet,
and looked out; but night was swiftly approaching, and though
she could hear the voices of men and the clash of iron, the build-
ings of the castle concealed the gate at which the visitors had
halted. In enforced patience she waited for a few minutes ; soon
old Milon, as she expected, made his appearance.
A GUEST. 53

“‘ Noble lady,” said he, ‘‘the Sieur de Hautefort, attended by
his squires, waits below, and asks audience of the Sieur de
Rulamort. I told him that my lord was not in the castle ; where-
upon he solicited the favour of being allowed to offer his homage
to its noble lady, whose beauty and virtues, he said, were held in
great renown throughout all Aquitaine. I repeat his very words.
What are thy orders, noble dame?”

“Rulamort,” replied the Lady Eleanor, “never turns away a
guest from its walls. Conduct the Sieur de Hautefort toa chamber,
where he may refresh himself and doff his travelling garments; take
care of his squires, and send some of our people to wait upon him.
I will await him in the great hall; and I hope my lord will quickly
return, to give him the welcome due to so worshipful a knight.”

Milon retired; and the Lady Eleanor summoned her women,
and bade them prepare her toilette ; the Sieur de Hautefort was
not a guest whom one could receive without some ceremony.
While Jehanne and Michonne drew trom oaken chests rich stuffs
and costly periumes, Eleanor, concealed within the window-bay,
looked out upon the court through which the visitor must pass
into the interior of the castle. She heard the grinding of the
chains which raised the drawbridge and lowered the portcullis ;
then the heavy measured tramp of the horses; and next she saw
enter, preceded by Milon, a knight followed by two squires and a
stout horse carrying his baggage. She eyed the cavalier curiously;
in his appearance, however, there was nothing to draw attention.
He rode a handsome palfrey, of fine and nervous shape, which by
the side of the great war-chargers would have seemed small, but
obeyed the slightest motion of his master as if horse and rider had
been but one. On his head he wore a plain iron cap, without
crest or plume of any kind; and beneath his. travelling-cloak,
which was wide open and floated freely around him, shone the
light meshes of a hauberk which fitted close to his body, and
defined his figure.
54 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

Great was the surprise of the Lady Eleanor not to find in the
Sieur de Hautefort a stalwart warrior, such as men said were
Richard of Poitiers and his brothers—more exalted nobles than
himself, because they were a king’s sons, but not more valorous or
renowned. The Sieur de Hautefort was of middle stature, more
nervous than robust, and one could not picture him so easily
crushing his enemies with the tremendous blows of his maceas did
Richard the Lion-heart. But his bearing was so assured, his mien
so composed and dignified, that one could divine in him a'resolute
will and a force of character worth all the physical strength of the
giants of England or Normandy.

Bertrand de Born, Sieur de Hautefort, a small castle in the -
neighbourhood of Periguetfx, was held in great repute throughout
all Aquitaine and Provence, and, indeed, all the countries whose
inhabitants spoke the /angue d’oc. Men spoke of his bravery in
the fight and his wisdom in the council; everywhere they sang
his songs of wine and love, and everywhere the war-songs and the
siruventes 1n which he rallied with pitiless wit the foreign masters
whom the two marriages of Queen Eleanor had imposed on
unhappy Aquitaine. Many knights mistrusted him, and thought
him changeable and perfidious. One day he animated with the
sparkle of his wit and the fulness of his gaiety the table of the
King of England ; another day he raised his banner against him ;
or He passed into the camp of Richard or of Henry Short-Cloak,
and on the morrow the war had changed its.aspect,—the friends of
the day before were denounced as enemies, while ancient enemies
were treated as brothers-in-arms. Was Bertrand a demon whose
breath everywhere scattered discord, or a madman who took a
pleasure in creating and dissolving misunderstandings, in order to
find in them subjects for his songs? However this might be, the
Lady Eleanor was equally curious to make his acquaintance and
disturbed at his visit: what could he have to say to her lord?

Notwithstanding her anxiety, she took great pains with her
A GUEST. 55

toilette; the homage of Bertrand de Born was much coveted: by
fair ladies! Jehanne and Michonne attired her in a close-fitting
dress of fine white stuff, ornamented round the neck and wrists
with a rich and delicate embroidery ; over the chaiuse they threw
a costly robe of azure silk, brought from the East by the Venetian
merchants. The full hanging sleeves of the robe were lined with
freseaux, and trimmed with gold thread, which sparkled in the
light of the lamps. Next, her maidens clasped about her graceful
figure the jupe or bodice of fur; about her waist they buckled a
belt. of gold open-work, enriched with enamel of the most vivid
colours; and over her shoulders they draped a long floating mantle,
fastened at the neck with a brooch of precious stones. Finally,
they knotted about her hips a rich girdle, the tassels of which fell
to the hem of her robe. Afterwards they turned their attention to
her head-dress. In her beautiful black tresses they intertwined
threads of gold and pearls; upon her head they placed a white
transparent veil of some soft kind of lace, which they fixed in its
place with a jewelled diadem. The Lady Eleanor then stood
before their admiring gaze, as lovely as the saints which adorned
their missals.

She looked at herself in the mirror of polished silver which
Jehanne held before her, saying, ‘It is well!” and repaired to
the grand hall. There the table had been erected, and supper
prepared. Eleanor took her place on her fauteuil, and satisfied
herself with one quick glance that her guest would be received in
a manner worthy of his rank and renown.

She might well be satisfied. Upon the long table, ornamented
with designs in colours and incrustations of the precious metals,
sparkled gold and silver plate—salt-cellars, dishes, cups, goblets—
reflecting like so many mirrors the glare of the pine-wood torches
which four servitors, standing erect at the corners of the hall, held
in their hands. Embroidered cushions covered the stools, while
yielding carpets concealed the floor of stone; the tapestries of
56 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Poitou, renowned throughout Europe, hung from the walls: in a
word, the castle hall of Rulamort would have done honour to a
prince. Eleanor smiled at Milon, who interrogated her with his
look, and made a gesture of approval; but her heart felt more and
more sorrowful, and she was asking herself how she should have
the courage to listen to the Sieur de Hautefort and reply to him
with courtesy, when her quick ear caught the welcome sounds of
her lord’s trumpet.

“ Haste, haste, Milon !” she exclaimed, joyously ; “ meet your
lord, and inform him what guest has arrived. Tell him I am
desirous that he should join me quickly. ‘As soon as your lord is
ready, let the horn be sounded, for it is late, and the clepsydra*
long ago marked the supper hour.”

Milon retired, and the Lady Eleanor, with her mind and heart
at ease, could receive her visitor calmly. She rose on his entrance,
and descended the steps-of her fauteuil to bid him welcome.
Bertrand de Born bent one knee to the ground before her, kissed
her hand, and rising, led her to her fauteuil. She would have had
him take another high-backed chair, mounted upon steps; but he
preferred one of the cushioned stools, saying that all the knights of
Christendom would envy him the honour of being at the feet of so
beautiful a lady. He continued to converse in a strain of chival-
rous gallantry, mingling the praises of the Lady Eleanor with
those of her husband, whom he esteemed one of the bravest and
most courteous cavaliers of Poitou, Perigord, and Aquitaine. And
as-Eleanor listened, she wondered that a warrior, poet, and states-
_man of such renown could invent those elegant phrases, which
would not have been misplaced on the lips of a gallant accus-
tomed to spend his life in the smiles of ladies.

While she sat astonished, Sieur Hugues entered the hall ; im-
mediately the horn sounded, and the guests entitled to sit at the
baron’s table made their appearance at the summons. Bertrand

* The water-clock.
A GUEST. 57

de Born stepped forward to greet Sieur Hugues, observing that,
having been overtaken on his journey by the shadows of the
coming night, he had ventured to claim his hospitality; and he
conceived himself fortunate, he said, to be in such close com-
panionship with a knight of deserved renown, whom he had so long
desired to know. He added some words of high compliment to
the Lady Eleanor, and of congratulations to the lord of Rulamort,
the husband of a lady worthy to serve as a model to all chate-
~ laines.

Sieur Hugues listened, flattered by his praises, but somewhat
surprised at: his visit. He himself had been detained abroad so
late, because he had delayed to collect the rumours, more and
more definite and threatening, of fresh victories of the King of
England; and now he felt convinced that the presence of Bertrand
had some connection with those victories. It was not advisable
that he should show his suspicion, and he welcomed his visitor as
“he would have welcomed any other knight; thinking, moreover,
that it would be useless to question him, and that he would be
sure to explain himself at the proper time.

They were seated around the table, and the servitors brought to
each guest a basin filled with perfumed water in which to wash his
hands, and a towel of fine linen with which to dry them. Then
the master-cook’s assistants, bearing on their arms huge dishes
filled with smoking viands, entered in succession, and set to work
with wondrous energy to cut up on the side-tables enormous
joints of roasted pork, wild boar, venison, pheasants, and other
birds of the farm-yard; while their gossips set before the guests
huge thick slices of bread intended to receive the meat.* It was
Aimery whom his mistress ordered to wait upon the Sieur de
Hautefort; and he discharged his duties with eagerness, delighted

* One of the best descriptions of a great mediceval banquet occurs in Hook-
ham Frere’s burlesque poem of “ King Arthur and his Round Table,” published
under the pseudonym of ‘ William and Robert W histlecraft.” The first canta
58 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

to see so much. of this extraordinary man, with whose fame all
Aquitaine was ringing, not less among the common people than
among the knights and nobles. When he was not serving him, he
stood erect, with his eyes riveted upon him; and before the end
of the sumptuous meal had so closely and carefully scanned him,
that he would have been able to recognise him wherever and
under whatever disguise he might have chanced to meet him.

The Sieur Bertrand de Born had passed his first manhood:
but his vivacity, and the flash of his dark eye, and the gloss of
his black hair, scarcely streaked as yet with grey, and the incessant
activity which had preserved the sinewy spareness of his figure,
made him appear younger than he really was.

He had doffed his travelling costume, and appeared clad in a
long purple robe, adorned with rich embroideries, worked chiefly in
gold thread ; his head was bare, the hair long behind and cut very
short in front, according to the fashion of the age; while his jet-
black beard was divided into a number of small tufts interlaced

opens with a grand feast given by King Arthur to his knights at ‘‘ merry
Carlisle” :—

*¢ The bill of fare (as you may well suppose)

Was suited to those plentiful old times,
Before our modern luxuries arose,

With truffles and ragofits, and various crimes ;
And therefore, from the original in prose

I shall arrange the catalogue in rhymes :
They served up salmon, venison, and wild boars
By hundreds, and by dozens, and by scores.

** Hogsheads of honey, kilderkins of mustard,
Muttons, and fatted beeves, and bacon swine 3
Herons and bitterns, peacock, swan and bustard,
Teal, mallard, pigeons, widgeons, and in fine
Plum-puddings, pancakes, apple-pies, and custard :
And therewithal they drank good Gascon wine,

With mead, and ale, and cyder of our own,
For porter, punch, and negus were not known.”
A GUEST. 59

with threads of gold. He also wore a sleeveless surcoat of velvet,
of the greyish-blue colour of steel, and a pouch of vair hung
from his waist; his feet were encased in long pointed shoes, a
fourth part of which curved over and inwards in the style called
panaché, and these shoes were made of the finest Cordovan leather.

The suppleness of his movements invested him with a kind of
feline grace; and at this moment, when he was lavishing ori his
hosts the most flattering attentions and compliments, he might
have been taken for a foppish cavalier whose sole ambition was

to shine in the boudoir and the dance. But at times a word, a
gesture, a look, a frown which swiftly outlined itself on his smooth .
white forehead only to disappear as rapidly, indicated the warrior
and the statesman. From any incidental allusion to matters of
policy, he returned at once to his réle of the courteous and
undesigning visitor, and he lauded the aroma of the wines, the
exquisite lightness and flavour of the pastries. Then he related
the news of the latest tourney ; and the lord and lady of Rulamort
took great pleasure in such descriptions, for tourneys were the great
pastime of the higher orders, and at the time of which we speak
they were of infrequent occurrence, since men were too constantly
engaged in real battles to find leisure for the mock fights of
chivalry. When the meal was at an end, and the servitors had
poured out a cup of hippocras* for every guest, the lord and lady
of Rulamort rose with formal grace, and conducted the Sieur
Bertrand to the place of honour in the corner of the spacious
hearth. ;

“I regret, fair sir,” said Hugues de Rulamort, “that I can
offer you no diversions worthy of your notice; but the hour and
the season are not favourable to feats of arms, and there are no
jongleurs or musicians in the neighbourhood whose skill might
entertain us.”

* Tlippocras seems to have been a mixture of Lisbon and Canary wine, in
which various spices had been well digested,
60 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Little Agnes, who all supper time had contemplated the Sieur
de Hautefort admiringly, and, encouraged by his bright gay smile,
had grown somewhat familiar with him, conceived as she thought
a most praiseworthy idea for relieving her father from embar-
rassment and providing his guest with amusement. She made a
step towards Bertrand de Born, and said to him in a joyous air,
and with her finger pointing towards Aimery, “ Aimery sings!
Aimery knows—oh, so very many beautiful songs !”

Bertrand looked at the pretty child, and then at the page whom
she indicated.

'« Ah, that is the gentle page who served me at table!” said he.
* Does he sing? Yes, he has the eyes of a musician. Come,
boy, if thy lord consent, sing to us some merry /ad or sirvente.”

“Or some hymn to the Holy Virgin or the Saints,” said the Lady
Eleanor; “ for Aimery serves our almoner in the chapel, and his
voice makes one dream of the angels in Paradise.”

Father Odon bent his head in token of approval, and Aimery,
blushing with pleasure at the thought that the Sieur de Hautefort
had deigned to notice him, stepped forward into the centre of the
circle, and began to sing.


CHAPTER VII.

a POET AND WARRIOR.



Y first, in compliance with the wish of his lady,
Aimery sang, in a clear fresh voice, a beautiful hymn
to Saint Agnes, which Father Odon had taught him ;
y) and next a joyous Noél, or Christmas song, which
°, told of the birth of the Holy Child Jesus in a poor
stable, and amidst privation and squalor. Fixing
upon him his brilliant eyes, Bertrand de Born
listened intently, and occasionally inclined his head
as a mark of satisfaction. Afterwards Aimery sang
a lay composed by Arnaud de Marveil for the Countess Adelaide
of Toulouse. Then Sieur Bertrand, perceiving a group of musical
instruments hanging from the wall, took down a rebeck, and said
to the boy: “The sound of sweet instruments, gentle page, should
always accompany the praise of a fair lady.” And he drew from
the rebeck melodious silvery notes which blended marvellously
with the tones of Aimery’s voice.

When the song was concluded, all the listeners, charmed, .
entreated Sieur Bertrand to continue his performance. He did
not refuse ; and turning towards Aimery,—“ Come, sirrah page,”
said he, “ knowest thou not yet another song?”
62 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Aimery blushed, and trembling at his boldness, delivered in a
full voice, and with amazing energy, a war song of high esteem
in the camps and castles,—a song written by Bertrand de Born
himself. It ran as follows:

** How sweet to me the merry spring,

With wealth of leaves and flowers !

How I love to hear the birdies sing
Amid the fresh green bowers !

But oh, it is a merrier sight
To view the tented field,

When the wide-reaching sward is bright
With helmet, spear, and shield !”

During this first verse Bertrand sprang to his feet, and the
light of battle kindled in his eyes. He accompanied it on the
lute with sharp. resonant chords, like a trumpet-call. ‘The second
verse he sang himself, motioning to Aimery to sing it with him :—

«© And oh, my heart is full of joy

When the foemen break in flight 3

And I hear the strident battle-cry
Of many a gallant knight !

And oh, well pleased am I to see
The castle’s leaguer made,

And neath its walls our chivalry
In mailéd ranks arrayed !”

Thus he continued, while the docile instrument: responded to
his touch and seemed to become the echo of his martial thought.
He grew more and more animated, until Aimery, fired by his
-enthusiasm, felt himself transported into the thick of the fight,
holding in his hand the shining Franchise, and falling with cut
and thrust (d’estoc et de taille) on the English who killed his father.
The voices of the warrior-poet and the page resounded, powerful
and sonorous under the groined roof, the great arch of which sent
back the echoes. Sieur Hugues had clutched the handle of his
dagger as if he were about to strike down an adversary; the
POET AND WARRIOR. 63

young varlets, with glittering eyes, sighed for the day when they
should quit the peaceful seclusion of the castle and assume the
harness of combat ; Lady Eleanor, with head bent down, strug-
gled against the conflicting emotions of the loving wife and the
brave chatelaine; even Father Odon’s tranquil spirit was for a
moment disturbed by a warlike emotion; while the other inmates
of Rulamort—the squires, the servitors, the grooms, the men-at-
arms—attracted by the swelling voices and the fervent strain,
had gradually drawn together in a breathless group at the door of
the hall, which old Milon had partly opened that they might
the better hear. The rustling of their attire, the clank of the steel
which they bore about them, their tramp and tread, their half
muffled exclamations, blended together in a murmur like the sound
of the march of a distant army, and formed a fitting accompaniment
to the song of battle. :

The Sieur de Hautefort hastened to finish it :—

‘* Ring, ring, O clarion, loud and shrill,

O trumpet, loudly blare ;

With martial sounds the echoes fill,
With battle-shouts the air!

Bid, bid our lord his banner raise,
And lead us to the fight :

‘A plague upon your peaceful days !’
Sings every gallant knight.”

These last lines he uttered with an affected ironical negligence
which emphasised them more strongly than if he had cried “To
arms !” Sieur Hugues understood, for he trembled and looked his
guest in the face. His guest smiled, and played with one hand on
his poniard’s hilt, while with the other he gave back the rebeck
to Aimery. Then he reseated hintself, and received with courtesy
the thanks and praises of the lord and lady of Rulamort. They
lauded his poetry, and quite naturally the conversation turned
upon the incidents of siege and battle which it celebrated, and
thence passed on to recent events.
64. . PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

“Know you what has occurred,” said Bertrand suddenly, “in
the six months since the old king took leave of us, after navane
swept our land with fire and sword P”

“‘T have heard various reports, but know nothing certain. He
has returned home, it seems; and my hope and trust is, that he
will remain there.”’

‘“* He will of remain there. Do you believe that he will leave
in peace our fair Southern country, with its generous wines, its
poetry, its sunshine, and its blossoms? No; he will return, and the
heavy tramp of his mercenaries will once more crush the harvests of
Aquitaine. He will return, as the wretched brigand returns to the
tich man’s house, to seize upon his spoils. Know you what he
has done?”

“ Men tell me a he has conquered the King of Scotland, and
taken him prisoner.” :

“ T’faith, he has done pometnine more, and different! ‘He had
no longer any friends, except some Norman nobles ; nor soldiers,
except the Brabanters, whom he pays with our gold. In his |
domains no one loves him; in England he is hated, because he
instigated the assassination of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Thomas 4 Becket, the friend and protector of the poor Saxons.
When he arrived in Normandy, after his march through our pro-
vince, what news, think you, awaited him? He was informed
that his son, Henry Short-Cloak, had betaken himself to the court
of the Count of Flanders, and that he and the count, assembling
all the ships they could procure along the coast, had raised an
army with which to invade England and wage war against him.”

“A bold project, but hazardous and uncertain. Henry the
Younger is not firm in his resolves; he will never prosecute an
enterprise to the end.”

“But the Saxons would carry it out, I promise you! At all.
events, the old king thought so; and know you what he did, the
hypocrite? He went, barefooted, and clad in a penitent’s robe,
TFOET AND WARRIOR. ex

to submit his body to the whip of discipline from all the bishops
and priests who had been assembled for the purpose, at the shrine
of his victim, protesting on his knees, and with many sobs, that he
had neither commanded nor desired the death of holy Thomas
a Becket, the blessed martyr.” :

“Why, then, such a parade of penitence,” exclaimed Hugues,

* if he avowed his innocence of the martyrdom ?”

“Because, the assassins having thought to pleasure ia by
slaying the archbishop, he was really the cause and origin of the
‘catastrophe, even if he had not wished it. Fora king, he hasa



Husband and wife gazing at sleeping Agnes.

delicate conscience! But the crafty gossip knew well what he
was about; each blow of the discipline brought back to him
hundreds of Saxons; and as it was at this very time that the King
of Scotland was taken prisoner, men have not failed to say that
the holy martyr Thomas protected the King of England, and
vouchsafed him the victory in acknowledgment of his penitence.
By my castle of Hautefort, were I not a knight, I would take on
my bare shoulders any number of. lashes for such a reward! But
a true knight will owe victory only to his valour.”
66 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“Of all this I was ignorant,” murmured Hugues de Rulamort.
“The tidings you bring, Sieur Bertrand, are not tidings of great
joy.”

‘Who knows? The Count of Flanders and the young king
have no longer dared to invade England ; it would seem that they
have a touch of the craven in them. There is no ill luck in that,
however ; if they are not in England, they may be able to serve us
in Normandy or elsewhere. But the world holds braver men than
they. The Bretons have risen; the Count of Porrhoet has returned
from exile, and his banner rallies to it all the lords who are weary
of the Norman yoke. Already he has accomplished some doughty
deeds of arms, worthy to be sung by the troubadours of Bretagne.
I am jealous of them, by my sword.”

The clepsydra now marked the hour of repose, and the servitors
entered, as was their custom every evening,
with the torches intended to light up the
sleeping-rooms of the nobles. Jehanne and
Michonne, taking a couple in their hands,
walked before their mistress, whom they con-
ducted to her bed-chamber; everybody with-
drew, and Hugues, like a courteous cavalier,
himself accompanied his guest to the apartment
which had been prepared for him. Bertrand de
Born walked by the side of Sieur Hugues, chat-

‘ting gaily; but when he was alone with him, and
the cavalier was on the point of retiring after having wished him
a good-night, he seized his arm, and abruptly resuming the inter-
rupted conversation, exclaimed :

‘But not for long will I be jealous of them, I swear it! In all
Aquitaine, in all Poitou, in all Perigord, every brave man furbishes
his armour, sharpens his sword and dagger, and puts his ramparts
in a good state of defence. The towns are arming like the castles,
the peasants rally round their seigneurs ; yet a few days, and the


POET AND WARRIOR. - 67

revolt will break out. Are you ready to fight for the liberty of
Aquitaine, Sieur Hugues de Rulamort ?”

Sieur Hugues did not answer. He closed the door of the
chamber, returned to the side of Bertrand, pointed with his hand
to a seat, and seated himself also. Then he said to his guest :

“T am ready to fight for our liberty, but not for the mere lust of
battle. I remember too many melancholy scenes; I have seen fields
devastated, villages destroyed, men perishing of hunger. What is
your reason for hoping that this attempt will be more successful
than its predecessors ?”

“‘ What reason? Do you not see that everything favours us?
The rebellion in Brittany divides the strength of our enemy; the
renewal of the English allegiance towards him will incline him,
perhaps, not to expend the brief remainder of his old age in the
thorny paths of war, but to live as a good king in his own island,
and leave us to our own devices. And see what a formidable
confederacy! To the north the Count of Flanders; to the west
the Bretons; to the south ourselves and our neighbours, united
with us by a community of interests against the northern king.
And I am not counting upon the King of France, who, it is true,
does not love us, but will help us in order to deal a blow at the
puissance of his rival.”

“Vou count upon the King of France ?”

«To do us good? No, certainly not; but to do harm to our
enemy—yes : and therefore, he must benefit us. And I rely upon
many other auxiliaries: on Richard and on Henry Short-Cloak ;
on the hatred which divides the brothers in that accursed family ;
on their greed, on their pride, on their impatience to divide the
spoil of their father while he is still alive. Oh, Sieur Hugues, if I
thought them capable, when they shall have snatched our beautiful
country from the claws of the English leopard, of combining to
crush us under their own feet, you would not see me haste from
castle to castle to levy warriors for the banner cf Richard the

6
68 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Lion-heart. But I know him, him and his brothers; and I know
that when they have triumphed over their father they will turn
and rend one another. And on that day we, the barons of
Guienne and Poitou, of Perigord and Angoumois, we will arise in
our might, and will cry to them, ‘ Out of here! strangers, robbers,
invaders ! we are the masters in.our own land!’ Know you not
Sieur Hugues de Rulamort, that from the time of our ancestors
there have been dukes of Aquitaine who would not bend the head
before the kings of the North? Know you not that their subjuga-
tion taxed the arms and craft of Charles the Great? It is long,
long since the death of Charles: why should not the puissance of
Aquitaine revive?”

Bertrand had started to his feet, and, with arm extended and
flashing eye, seemed to contemplate beforehand the victory which
he predicted. Hugues had risen also, carried away by the fervid
eloquence of the Sieur de Hautefort ; he was not insensible to the
allurements of hope, and yet doubt and apprehension still existed
at the bottom of his heart. He sadly shook his head.

“Sieur Bertrand,” he said, ‘“’tis an impious war! To stir up
the sons against the father, to lift their armed hand against his
white hairs,—is not this to commit a parricide ?”

‘‘Eh! what matters to us this family of Plantagenets? Let them
reign in England, since the English allowed themselves to be’ con-
quered : we—we stand out to shake them off, as the traveller, on
entering a town, shakes the dust off his shoes. Sieur Hugues,
will you enjoy the security of your walls, while from the summit
of yonder keep you watch the attacks we deliver against the
English king ?”

The lord of Rulamort clutched the handle of his dagger, as if
to draw it from its sheath; but after a moment’s struggle he
composed himself. 5

“Tt is not brave in you to insult me, Sieur Bertrand,” he said,
in a grave voice; ‘‘you are my guest, and I cannot answer you.
4
POET AND WARRIOR. 69

Moreover, if the disunion of the Angevin princes makes our
strength, it is clear that our union will constitute their weakness.
There must be no quarrels between us. You shall not need to
launch a satirical song against me; I shall be ready at the first
signal.” ,

A cloud had overshadowed the brow of Bertrand de Born; but
at the last words of the lord of Rulamort his eye flashed with joy.
He extended his hand to Sieur Hugues.

“Sir Chatelain, my courteous and loyal host,” said he, “I
esteem you the best cavalier who in this land of Aquitaine wears
the bauldrick of knighthood* and the spurs of gold. If I have
wounded your feelings, I withdraw my words,
and ask your forgiveness and favour. Will you
not clasp the hand of your brother-in-arms ?”

He said this in a voice so seducing, with a
look so frank and a smile so loyal, that Sieur
Hugues felt his resentment die away. He
grasped the hand which Bertrand de Born offered,
and took leave of him with cordial protestations
of friendship. As he opened the door of his
guest’s chamber, he was surprised to catch the
sound of footsteps rapidly retiring. He looked
in their direction, but the torch he held did not
give sufficient light to pierce the shadows of the
long corridor. He could see nothing, and he ©
did not think there was any need to make a special effort to clear
up this mystery ; all his soldiers and servitors were faithful and



* The bauldrick, one of the. distinctive signs of knighthood, was a belt
descending from the shoulder across the body, and to it was suspended the
sword. Cf. Spenser’s faery Queen, bk. i., c. 7, 29, 30 -—

‘* Athwart his breast a bauldrick brave he ware

That shined like twinkling stars, with stones most precious rare. . ..
*« Thereby his mortal blade full comely hung

In ivory sheath, ycarved with curious slights.”
70 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

true, and not one of them, he felt assured, would conceive the
idea of injuring his guest. _

Meanwhile, Jehan de Rochaigué, breathless and disordered, re-
entered with an unquiet air the dormitory where his comrades
were asleep, and glided furtively to his couch—still looking around
him with a hasty, timorous glance, as if he had not recovered
from his dread of being surprised- while, hidden behind the door,
he listened to the conversation between Sieur Bertrand de Born
and the iord of Rulamort.


CHAPTER VIII.

a

ara a A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY.

T dawn, next day, Bertrand de Born and his squires
took leave of the lord of Rulamort, who offered
them the stirrup-cup in a vast goblet of silver.
While he was thus engaged, Jehan de Rochaigué,
in travelling costume, approached the chatelain.

“My lord,” he said, “I come to ask of you leave
» of absence fora few days. A pilgrim whom I met

- but a few minutes since at the fountain of St. Agnes,
whither I had gone to make my devotions, informed
me that my father was grievously ill; it becomes my duty to
return as quickly as possible to his side.”

“You issue forth early to make your devotions, Sire Jehan !
But you have acted like a most discourteous damotseau * in not
tendering to the holy man the hospitality of our castle of
Rulamort. Pilgrims are guests sent by our Lord, and bring
happiness to the roof which shelters them.”



* T have elsewhere used the word “page,” but, as a matter of fact, the word
was not in general use until the time of Philip de Commines, and the young
squire (at first called a ‘‘valet”) was, in the twelfth century, known as a
damotsean. Z
72 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

While speaking, Sieur Hugues looked Jehan,closely in the face,
but he moved not a muscle, and, without any sign of discom-
posure, answered :—

‘‘T did not fail in my duty, noble sir, but the pilgrim was
impatient to continue on his way. If the Sieur de Hautefort will
permit me to ride in his suite, I will set forth this morning, and
before night I shall reach Rochaigué.”

“ Willingly, if the lord of Rulamort grant his consent,” replied



** He offered them the stirrup-cup.”

Bertrand. ‘Though my hair shows signs of winter-time, there
is nothing pleases me better than the company of a young
bachelor.” *

“You have leave to go, Jehan,” said Sieur Hugues.

“Go, then, my young companion, saddle your horse, and let us
depart. The sun hath risen, and we must prick it merrily across

* Originally, knights of the second class—that is, who were not knights-
bannerets—were called Sas-Chevaliers, but*in the course of time the word
bachelor was used to designate the squire, or candidate for chivalry. Some-
times, however, it was also applied to any young unmarried knight.
A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY. 73

hill and plain. ’Tis true I have seen enough of wars to be able
to content myself with any resting-place, but I desire nathless
to find a lodging for to-night, whether it be the hut of a churl or
the castle of a baron.” :

“Sire Chevalier, the castle of Rochaigué is distant but a day’s
ride ; and if you are willing to accept its hospitality, my father, ill
or well, will fee] honoured by offering it to you.”

“T accept it right willingly. I will spend to-night: at Rochaigué,
and you, fair youth, shall guide me thither.”

Jehan bowed, and sped away hastily. The lord of Rulamort
followed him with mistrustful eyes and a serious air.

“Do not confide in that bachelor,” he said to Bertrand de Born.
«Since he has been in my household I cannot say that he has
given me actual cause for reproach or censure; he is bold,
energetic, and skilful in the use of arms; but there is no frankness
in his eyes or voice, and I shall be astonished if he ever gain
the renown of a loyal chevalier. Suffer him not to divine your
secrets.”

“Our secrets! By my halidom, all Aquitaine will know them
shortly !—and a traitor, whether man or boy, has never turned
Bertrand de Born from his path. Yet will I watch this page. He
comes. Adieu! happy the day which sees us once more together!”

The Sieur de Hautefort added some words in a low voice.
Jehan, who had drawn near, could catch only the answer of Sieur
Hugues: “I have given you my faith, and at the first signal I
am ready.” .

As the travellers rode under the vaulted gateway, Bertrand,
whose keen eyes wandered incessantly hither and thither, as if
bent upon informing their owner of the exact strength of the
ramparts of Rulamort, caught sight of Aimery, who was watching
his departure. Halting his palfrey, and turning towards the
youth, he said :—

“Ts it thou, my gentle minstrel? I am well pleased to see
74 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

thee again. Guard my memory, as I shall preserve thine. I am
named Bertrand de Born.”

«¢ And I, my lord, am called Aimery,” replied the boy, smiling:
at the cavalier.

“ Hast thou no other name? Art thou noble or low-born ?”’

“‘T was born free,” replied Aimery, “ and those who do not find
my name sufficient call me Aimery the Bright-of-face.”

“Thou wert born free, and thine eyes say that thy soul was.
born noble, child! Thou art under the protection of a valiant
and generous lord; but if ever thou have need of other aid than,
he can give thee, seek thou Bertrand de Born, Aimery the justly-
named—Aimery the Bright-of-face.”

And, spurring his palfrey, the lord of Hautefort quitted the
castle of Rulamort.

Not a word of this dialogue had escaped the attentive ears of
Jehan, and his face darkened. Bertrand de Born, seeing him by
his side, could not but contrast his morose mien with the frank,
gay bearing of Aimery, and began to think that the lord of
Rulamort had not erred in his judgment. But, as he had said,.
Bertrand de Born feared no traitors ; and, moreover, what could
be accomplished by a varlet of his age? His father, on the other
hand, might prove, perhaps, a valuable recruit, especially if the
castle of Rochaigué were lined with stout ramparts, capable of
offering a long resistance to an enemy. Bertrand resolved,
therefore, to sound the lord of Rochaigué, if illness did not
render it impossible for him to receive his guest.

Meanwhile he conversed with Jehan on every subject acceptable
to a young man. He related the most brilliant passages of arms,
the most brilliant tourneys in which he had taken part: he spoke
of the ladies whose beauty was then celebrated by all the trou-
badours,—of Queen Eleanor, the wife of the old King Henry,
whom, when he was but a youthful page, he had seen at a
tournament crowning the victor; of the fair Alix, daughter of the
A DIPLOMATIS? OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY. 75

King of France, and the betrothed of the Count of Poitiers; of
the daughter of the Count of Toulouse, whose colours were worn.
by twenty chevaliers; and of a host of. other noble dames or
damosels, all lovely as the flowers of spring.

Several times during the day the little cavalcade encountered
other travellers; when they were knights with their escort,
Bertrand de Born made a sign to the elder of his squires, whc
immediately rode forward to meet the new comers, and after
exchanging a few words with them, returned to his master, and
delivered their message in a low voice. Bertrand inclined his.
head, seemed fully satisfied, and saluted courteously, as he passed.
near them, the unknown chevaliers. Occasionally, after listening.
to his squire’s communication, he went alone to converse, for a
longer or shorter interval, with the travellers, and returned humming
with a joyous air the refrain of some martial song. Jehan could
overhear nothing, but he concluded that these mysterious pro-
ceedings were all connected with the farewell promise of the lord
of Rulamort, and with some words he had caught up on the
preceding evening. He felt persuaded that they concerned an.
approaching levy of shields, and he relied on being able to.
forewarn his father—a man of great skill in detecting the good
side of things, that is, the side which would bring him the greatest.
profit and the fewest blows.

Tt was late at night when they arrived at the fort of Rochaigué,
a little castle of proud aspect, perched on the crest of a rock of
difficult access. Jehan seized the opportunity to beg the Sieur de
Hautefort to halt while he climbed the steep and rugged pathway
which wound up the precipitous ascent in quest of servitors to
light the way, as otherwise the chevalier, his squires, or his
sumpter-horse might be dashed into some ravine and wounded.
grievously. Bertrand replied gaily that a bad road more or less.
gave him no anxiety ; but Jehan had already ridden forward, and.
the Sieur de Hautefort, after advancing a few paces, was fain to-
76 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

-acknowledge the perilous character of the route, and came to a
halt, observing with admiration the towers so loftily planted and
-so easily defended.

He soon caught sight of the shimmer of torches at the castle
gate; wavering and flickering, they began to descend towards
him, and in a few minutes they lighted up with a reddish glare
the whole of the approach. Jehan, with quick step, brought the ©
excuses of his father, who was suffering too severely to be able
to meet his guest.

The chevalier and his escort pricked up the ascent; and in
-due time Bertrand de Born was seated at the table of the Sieur
-de Rochaigué.

He could not detect in his voice or look any trace of the illness
with which he was understood to be afflicted. Out of courtesy,
however, he put some questions respecting his health, and
expressed his regret that it was not so good as should always be ~
that of so valiant a chevalier.

Sieur Guy de Rochaigué thanked his guest: it was true that he
had been sick, but he was recovering his strength daily, and re-
gretted that a pilgrim had disquieted his son with alarming news.
And yet he could not complain, for had it not given his son an
opportunity of displaying his filial piety by returning immediately
to his father’s side ?_ He rejoiced to see him so strong and tall,—
so capable of drawing the sword on behalf of some noble cause,

if the occasion soon presented itself, as one might reasonably
~ hope.

Bertrand de Born made no haste to answer.

“The son,” he thought to himself, ‘heard or guessed some-
thing yesterday ; invented the illness of his father, that he might
bring him the information ; and the father, instead of recalling him
to the loyalty of a chevalier, makes himself the accomplice of his
treacheries. But what matters itto me? The one consideration
4s, to secure champions for Aquitaine. Honour to those who




The torches lighted up the whole of the approach (g. 76).
A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY. 77

draw the sword out of disinterested love of their country, for
the glory of victory and the joy of combat! But those who
‘fight only to enlarge their domain, or gain some new fief, may
also strike lusty blows; and we must not reject them from our
ranks.”

To Guy de Rochaigué he sane reply, therefore, that the valiant
never fail in opportunities for displaying their prowess, and that
the peace which had prevailed in the country for so many months
was not likely to endure much longer. And Guy, who sought
to compel him to unmask himself, proceeded to repeat all the
rumours of war and all the menaces of revolt of which Bertrand
de Born himself was the author.

‘“‘T hope that all this is true,” he cried; “and that soon, from
one end of Poitou to the other, and throughout the Angoumois and
Aquitaine, the barons will draw their swords under the banner of
the valorous Richard Cceur-de-Lion. Certes, I shall not be the
last to flaunt my gonfanon in his company. The King of the
North must be taught to abandon for ever his thirst fom ravaging
our lands, and henceforth we must be our own masters.’

Jehan, astonished, looked at his father. The Sieur de cee
observed ‘his surprise, and quietly addressing him, said:—

“Ts not this, my son, a noble cause? Could a young bachelor
hope for a fairer occasion of winning his spurs? Since thou hast
come back from Rulamort, it is my will that thou shouldst not
return thither. Thou shalt repair to the court of our suzerain, the
noble Baron de Maulignage, who is liege man of the Court of
Poitiers. Bear thyself bravely: ah, what glory for our house if
thou shouldst attract the eye and win the praise of Richard the
Lion-heart !” ;

Jehan eagerly protested his desire to make his first essay in arms
under so renowned a seigneur ;. and Bertrand de Born, assured of
the adhesion of the Sieur de Rochaigué, revealed to him the
whole scheme of the confederacy. Guy de Rochaigué approved
78 PAGE; SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

every detail, and pledged his faith to hold himself ready with his
vassals to take the field as soon as the order was given.

After the Sieur de Hautefort had been conducted to his chamber
by his host, the latter retired to his own, beckoning to his son to
follow him. Jehan obeyed, and in silence stood before his father,
respectfully waiting until it pleased the latter to speak.

Guy de Rochaigué broke out into a loud laugh.

“Thou dost not understand it, dost thou, Jehan? Be tranquil,
my son; thou hast done well in forewarning me of what took
place at Rulamort. I had some knowledge, ’tis true, of what was
ripening, but I lacked sure information before I decided on my
own part.”

“ But are you convinced, my lord, that the revolt will succeed ?
At Rulamort I heard sad and terrible stories of the late war ; alack
if we were conquered ! if you were banished, stripped of your fief,
mutilated, tortured, put to death, as has been the fate of others!”

Guy de Rochaigué laughed still louder.

‘There are people to whom these unpleasant things happen,
and there are people—dost thou see, Jehan ?—to whom nothing
ever happens. Our suzerain, the Baron de Maulignage, is vassal
of the Count of Poitiers,—he issues his ban of war,—we follow
him: that is just. What will happen afterwards? We fight: if the
Count of Poitiers win the victory, the old King of England returns
to his foggy island to visit our fair province no more, leaving to
his sons his French territories, and Richard of Poitiers rewards
the chevaliers who have served him well; therefore we must be
amongst them. But Richard may be beaten: well, dost thou
think that his father will suffer him to perish? Poor old man, he
fondly loves his ungrateful sons; he will stretch out his arms to
Richard, and Richard, so unyielding to menaces, will melt at one
word of pardon ; they will exchange the kiss of peace.”

‘And then—for us?”

“For us? Whom meanest thou, Jehan? The barons of Aqui-
A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY. 79°

taine? Well, some there will be, like the lord of Rulamort and the:
mad troubadour at this moment sleeping under my roof, who will be
chastised severely as rebels and abettors of revolt ; but we—what.
have we to fear? Our direct suzerain, the Baron de Maulignage,
is neither Poitevin nor Auvergnat. He was a small Angevin.
noble to whom King Henry gave the barony of Maulignage in
order to attach him to his son Richard ; he will be on Richard’s
side,—for the Aquitaines, or against them, he cares not a rush
which! And we, Jehan, we must follow our suzerain, under
penalty of forfeiture. We will follow him, therefore, and leave
the league to extricate itself as best it may from the claws of the:
Plantagenets.”’

After a pause he continued :

“Thou seest, then, that whatever befall, we must gain and
cannot lose. The Count of Poitiers is generous, and when the
war is finished, there will be no lack of fiefs to be distributed.”

Having given his son this lesson in high policy, Guy de
Rochaigué proceeded to dismiss him; but, suddenly recalling
himself, he said:

“Art thou well acquainted with the ace of Rulamort? Is.
thy knowledge of it—listen !—is it accurate and comprehensive ?”’

“Oh, I know it thoroughly, from one end to the other—from
the topmost turret to the lowest dungeon. It is a noble castle,
my lord father. Ah, what walls, what a dungeon, what deep:
fosses, what massive towers! There are not above one or two:
points where it is open to attack, and to know them one must
know the interior of the ramparts. Against an enemy, against
one who has never resided within the castle itself, I presume to:
say that Rulamort is impregnable.”

“ Well, well, but thou knowest every part of the castle, then!
Tis a nice thing to be well acquainted with the defences of an
impregnable castle ; if one thought of erecting such a castle, one:
would take one’s model from it. Dost thou understand?”
80 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“ Rochaigué,”’ answered Jehan, ‘is scarcely less difficult to take
than Rulamort, my father.”

But the Sieur de Rochaigué seemed to grow suddenly weary of
the conversation, and with an absent good-night he dismissed his
son,


CHAPTER IX.

castle of Rulamort awakened from its accustomed
tranquillity, as if it had roused suddenly from a
sleep of long duration.

Then Sieur Hugues de Rulamort held serious
conference with old Milon, and passed afterwards
into his wife’s chamber. Jehanne and Michonne,
who could not hear a word of the conversation
between their lord and lady, observed that for the

rest of the day Dame Eleanor wore asad aspect, and that neither

their songs, nor their lively chat, nor even the caresses of her little

Agnes, could extract from her the faintest smile. As for Milon,

he summoned Aimery, and instead of exercising him, as he was

wont to do every day, in launching the javelin, drawing the bow,
and handling sword, lance, and dagger, he employed him in
polishing and putting in the best condition all the arms, offensive
and defensive, of the castle. The forge was kindled; nor was
its fire suffered to die out so long as there remained a blade to be
straightened and sharpened or a ring of mail to be riveted. In the
halls, the men-at-arms got ready their equipment, singing merrily

7




‘S2 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

in their delight at escaping from the listless indolence of peace 3.
in the stables, the grooms dressed with more than common care
the noble steeds and the sturdy sumpter-horses intended to carry
the baggage, which was in course of rapid preparation in another
part of the castle. Finally, in the kitchens as in the armoury,
the halls, the stables, the sheepfolds, the poultry-yard, and the
“mews” where Thibaut and Perinette held sway, 2 murmur of
voices ascended all day long; for every inmate of the castle,
soldiers, varlets, and servitors, indulged in conjectures relating to
the visit of Bertrand de Born, and the consequences which might
heexpected, as well as in vague prognostications of future events.



And Aimery, understanding that Rulamort was arming for battle
and that its enemies were the English under the old King Henry,
devoted all his care to making Franchise bright as a mirror, while
sighing that he was not yet old enough to wield it.

The Sieur de Rulamort received numerous communications,
which he summoned Father Odon to read for him: though a
preux chevalier, he was a poor scholar! He was undoubtedly
satisfied with their intelligence, for every day his air grew more.
TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN. 83

assured and joyous. Sometimes he set out very early in the dawn
with an armed escort, remaining absent for two or thrée days; and
the rumour ran that the other nobles of the province were busily
making the same preparations as the Lord of Rulamort.

At length a messenger arrived at the castle whom the Sieur
Hugues received in his great hall, surrounded by his squires and
his men-at-arms. The messenger was a herald; he proclaimed the
ban of war on the part of the Baron de Maulignage, lord sovereign
of the fiefs of Rulamort and Rochaigué, and of many others.
The lord of Rulamort was summoned to repair with his vassals
to make war under the banner of his suzerain in support of the
rights of the noble Count of Poitiers against the King of England,
his father and suzerain, who lad refused to do him justice and to
fulfil his promises. Cries of joy saluted the herald’s words; and
the morrow’s rising sun shone, in the great court of the castle,-on
the cavaliers who formed the Sieur de Rulamort’s contingent.
The lady of the castle, with her daughter, pale and with trembling
lips, surveyed from the terrace the preparations of her husband,
about to depart on an enterprise of peril. She had fastened to
his lance a gonfanon embroidered by her own hand, and had
girded with a scarf of her own colours her faithful knight, whom,
in a low voice, she prayed God and the Virgin and Saint Agnes
to shield in the storm of battle, and restore in safety to her arms.

Little Agnes, delighted to see these stalwart cavaliers in their
glittering armour, and to hear the neighing and tramping of their
horses, laughed and clapped her hands. Aimery, with a full
heart, cast looks of envy on the young varlets whose age* permitted

* Chaucer's squire, though not twenty years old, had

‘* Some time been in chevauchee,
In Flanders, in Artois, and in Picardy,”
and that would seem to be the earliest age at which the squires, in general,
went on military expeditions. St. Louis ordered that the honour of knighthood
should not be conferred on any under twenty-one; but exceptions were
numerous.
84 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

them to take the field, and who went as squires in the train of
the chatelain. All were there—Arnoul de Malefort, Garin de
Lézinan, Robert de Castelmont—mounted for the first time on
powerful destriers, wearing helmets of steel and clothed in the
haubergeon (for the complete hauberk was claimed exclusively
by knights); the raised ven¢azlle allowed their eyes glowing with
pleasure and impatience to be seen. Sieur Hugues bore his
great lance, with its pennon ; his mace, with its iron points; his
battle-axe, slung to the pommel of his saddle; and the szsericorde
dagger* at his side. From his neck was suspended his ‘shield ;
he had no sword. Looking around, he caught sight of Aimery,
and summoned him to his side.

“ Go, bring me Franchise!”’ he said. Aimery blushed with pride

‘and pleasure. Once. before he had presented Franchise to the
chatelain, when he was arming to go forth on an expedition ; but
Sieur Hugues had refused it, saying: ‘‘I have no need of it to-
day ; I will ask thee for it when I go to fight against the English.”

Aimery hastened to the place of arms, and almost immediately
reappeared. The sword shone in the sun; and the child, with .
his floating locks and vefmeil complexion, resembled the arch-
angel Michael advancing against the dragon. Approaching his
master, he tendered him the sword; but before giving it up,
inclined it towards himself, and on the polished steel imprinted
long kiss. Then, his soul on fire, while Sieur Hugues seized the
sword and brandished it in the air, he shouted with the full
strength of his voice: ‘God help the good cause, and give it the
victory ! Forward, for Saint Agnes and Rulamort !”

All the escort drank in a tide of enthusiasm ; they rattled their
bucklers against their cuirasses; and every voice repeated with
intense ardour— Forward, for Saint Agnes and Rulamort !”

At this cry a great’roar of voices rose from the plain at the

* The dagger with which the death-blow was given to a vanquished enemy
when he was mortally wounded.






“God help the good cause, and give it the victory! (4. 86).
TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN 85

foot of the castle, where the vassals had assembled, ready to start
at their lord’s command. Hearing the shout of war, they took it up
and repeated it lustily, and welcomed their chief with a tumult of
approbation. Everybody was ready ;-the portcullis was raised,
the drawbridge lowered with its usual clank and clang; one by
one the horsemen filed out under the tall archway—Sieur Hugues
the last. Before traversing the passage, he turned to address
a last salute, a last adieu, to his wife and daughter. Then he
touched with his spur his horse’s flank, and galloped forward.
Eleanor, with sad heart and drooping eyes, returned to the castle.

Meanwhile, Aimery swiftly ascended the spiral staircase that
led to the summit of the keep; he did not pause until he reached
the platform, and thrust himself into an embrasure to view at his
- leisure the, scene.below and around. It was a glorious sight to
see—an army on the march—and Aimery. never before had seen
one. Tis true it was but a small, a very small, army; but it
sufficed to fill his eyes with light and kindle his heart with enthu-
siasm ; and the idea that Franchise was going to strike some
lusty blows and receive its baptism of blood filled him with
overflowing joy.

He fixed his eyes upon the spectacle. At that moment the
chatelain and his escort had arrived upon the plain, and. the
vassals who had awaited him there marched to meet him, thun-
dering full their war-cry : “Saint Agnes and Rulamort!” Then
Sieur Hugues halted, and harangued his little company, Aimery
could not hear what he said, but saw him, rising erect in his
stirrups, mounted on his great destrier, which was clothed in a
panoply of armour; lifting his right arm, he seemed to direct the
combatants to some glorious end, and the sun lighted up his coat
of mail with golden reflections. His helm of steel, on the top of
which waved a fire-red plume, his hauberk, his cuisses, his shield,
all glowed with living lustre; and Aimery said to himself, at the
bottom of his heart, that the finest thing in the world was seeing
86 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

a knight armed for battle. Around Sieur Hugues were grouped the
young varlets, newly raised to the rank of esquires; their helmets
carried no plumes, their lances no pennons, and their shields bore
no devices ; but Aimery envied their simple equipment, and asked
- himself what he could do, what he ought to do—he, who was not
the son of a chatelain !—to win one day the right and privilege of
donning a coat of mail and bestriding a war-horse.

When Sieur Hugues de Rulamort ceased speaking the air rang
with renewed acclamations. Aimery joined in the shout, and
behind him another voice, grave and broken, uttered the war-cry :
“Saint Agnes and Rulamort!” The boy turned quickly round,—
it was old Milon who, like himself, was watching the departure of
the noble master whom his years forbade that he should ever
again follow to the field.

“What a fair spectacle,. Milon!” exclaimed the enthusiastic
boy. “The lord of Rulamort has a fine company of cavaliers,
and pikemen, and bowmen. If all our other nobles can bring
forth as martial a show, I trow that thé English will be soundly
beaten; they will not dare even to fight us.”

Old Milon shook his head.

“There are no better soldiers in the world than the English 5.
and King Henry has a fine company of Brabanters, who are not
men accustomed to retreat. But our men are brave also, Aimery ;
and there will Be many fine deeds of arms to be related in the
winter evenings.”

The cortége moved onward, the cavaliers at its head, and from
the donjon battlements could be heard the measured tread of the
horses and the clink of arms.

“What chevaliers are those who follow the lord of Rulamort ?”
inquired Aimery. ‘They have no handsome armour, no such
war steeds as he has, and their accoutrement is dingy.”

“They are knights who are no longer rich,” answered Milon.
“They are nobles, however, for each one has a- small fief
TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN. 87

dependent on the honour of Rulamort, and by their tenure of it
they are bound to follow their suzerain in war, helm on head and
pennon to lance; their fief provides them with just enough to
discharge their maintenance and equipment. They ask only the
opportunity of winning by their sword a richer demesne ; and trust
me, they are not the least valiant in the fight. Ifthe expedition
stretch into Anjou or the other territories of King Henry, more
than one of those chevaliers will know how to acquire good lands
and a fine castle.”

“May Heaven assist them! It is good to be poor and little,.
and to become rich and great by the strength of one’s arm! Oh
those gallant soldiers! how well they march in order! Ah! I
know, I know them—Gaucher, William, Robert !—They are in the
pay of our lord.”

“Ves ; and were this an ordinary campaign, our lord would lead
forth only those men-at-arms and the archers, and from his vassals
would ask nothing more than the money to equip and pay them.
But it is a war against the foreigner; our lord pays, therefore, his
men-at-arms, and he summons his villeins around his lance.”

The troop continued to defile. After the horsemen came the
men on foot; and first, the mercenaries of Sieur
Hugues, well equipped, guarded against the foe-
man’s blows bya well-polished iron morion, an
oval buckler, and a padded jacket which answered
for them the same purpose as the hauberk for the
chevalier. Some carried pike or lance, others axe
or sling; all had along sword slung round the waist
The archers marched in a separate body, and the lord
of Rulamort had sought to teach them so much
dexterity that they should feel no fear of the re-
nowned bowmen of England. As for the rest of the little army, it was
composed of the vassals of Rulamort—all free men—bouna only
to pay their dues to the castle and to yield military service. Most


88 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

of them were not rich, as their banners showed; they had made,
to protect themselves in the shock of battle, jackets wadded with
wool, tow, or even hay, or lined, when possible, with plates of iron or
thick pieces of leather; similar bandages were wound round their
legs, and their heads were covered with caps of leather or iron,
or indeed of any other material—some even with twists of straw.
Their weapons consisted of a rude sword, often- without a sheath,
passed though their waist-belt, a knife, and sometimes a sling;
but, despite their wretched equipment, their lord knew that -he
might rely upon them, and they marched with enthusiasm to a
campaign which, they hoped, might deliver them from the foreign
conquerors. It should be stated that Hugues de Rulamort, like
most of the southern nobles, treated his vassals with
a geritleness never exhibited by the barons of the
north. The peasants of Aquitaine, aghast at the
harsh rule of the men of the English king, feared
to have them for masters, and dreaded to see esta-
blished in their country the servitude that prevailed
in the countries of the Jangue d’oil—hence they
quitted the plough in crowds to rally together and
repulse the stranger.

With their hands above their eyes to shade them
from the dazzling rays of the sun, Aimery and Milon
corttinued to trace the progress of the march. Gradually the little
army struck farther and farther into the road which wound across
the country,—often it would disappear for a moment round some
sharp turning, or in an undulation of the country; or a clump of
trees would conceal both men and horses; so that their course
could only be made out by the occasional gleam of their armour
through the openings in the interwoven greenery. Then the little
army would reappear, but farther and farther in the distance, until

at last the anxious gaze of Milon and Aimery searched fo. it in
vain.


TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN. 89

“We can see them no more,” exclaimed the old man. “ May
Heaven restore them to us!”

“He will, Milon, and restore them to us as victors. Oh, the
great feats of arms which will be achieved in this war! The Sieur
de Hautefort shall sing of them, for he is a troubadour,”

“Yes,” murmured Milon, “there will be great feats of arms,
provided that all things come to a happy ending.”

“Are you afraid that it will be otherwise, Milon? Oh, see how
brave our people are: and, bethink you, what good weapons they
have! They will overthrow everything before them, and he who
set out as a simple chevalier shall return a baron and the lord of
a fine castle. Oh, how I wish I was a man!” i

“There is time for thee to grow into manhood, poor boy; the
war will not be quickly concluded.’ :

“So much the better! I am thirteen years old. Only to think
that were I the son of a noble, I should have a horse and be made
a squire in one year more!* Ah, but I shall know well how to
find myself a place in the sun—to keep myself before the eyes of
men. For to-day I am content: our lord carries Franchise at his
side.”

“And it is in good hands to learn its trade. But let us go
down now; I must hasten to receive our lady’s commands, for it
is she who now hath rule in the castle.”

“Do you think, Milon, that an attack will be made upon
Rulamort ?”

“Who knows? Everything is possible. If the Count of Poitiers
do not succeed in checking the advance of his father’s army, the
old king will attack every castle he finds on his line of march.”

“May ours be one of them! I could fight, at least! Oh what
pleasure to hear the whirr of the rapid arrow, and to see an

* The education of a knight generally began at the age of seven, and until

fourteen his duties were chiefly personal. During these seven years, as already
stated, he was called a valet, damoiseau, or page.
90 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT. -

Englishman fall before it! For he would fall: you know that
my aim is sure—is it not so, Milon?”

Milon inclined his head in the affirmative, but did not answer.
He had had rough experience of wars, had old Milon; and the
present he knew would be no children’s game. It may be that
age, by diminishing his strength, had imposed upon him prudence.
At all events he felt that he must make an effort not to appear in
the presence of his mistress with a gloomy brow.

The Lady Eleanor was seated near a window, with her women
and Father Odon in attendance upon her. Her eyes were red;
she had wept, but she was calm, and she gave her orders to Milon
like a valiant chatelaine, resolute to defend herself at need. She
nerved herself, holding her daughter by the hand, to visit all the
posts and all the sentinels, saying to each a few cheerful words,
encouraging them to do their duty.

The day passed away; calm night came forth in the heavens
with her train of stars; and, except the watcher in his turret,
everybody in Rulamort was asleep. Far away, in the green
meadows, high barons and poor villeins stretched around their
fires, discoursed to_one another of their hopes, and drank to the
war which should give te the ambitious renown or wealth, to the
others liberty.


CHAPTER X.

See SEAR BROKEN DREAMS.
meee| <7

IMERY’S impatience was deceived. The autumn
passed, and the winter, and King Henry did not
reappear in Aquitaine with his Welsh and Brabant
soldiers. He had crossed the sea, it is true; but
had found enough to occupy him in Normandy,
where the army of the King of France had laid

MBF sieze to Rouen. Anda splendid army itwas. The
Dy travellers or pilgrims who partook of the hospitality
oS of Rulamort spoke admiringly of the French cheva-
liers, of their great horses and their splendid armour, as also of
the footmen, who were better equipped and more steadfast in the
fight than those, they said, of any other army in the world.. These
tidings were welcome to the Lady Eleanor, for the King of France
was the ally of Henry Short-Cloak, of Geoffrey, and of Richard
the Lion-heart, and if he could conquer the English sovereign
before the latter descended into Aquitaine, the country would find
itself free without striking a blow.
Meanwhile, small companies of the Poitevin nobles traversed
the province, attacking and reducing the partisans of the King of
England, and compelling the entrance of the indifferent into the


Q2 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

national league. Bertrand de Born went to and fro, indefatigable
and full of confidence, composing szrventes on all the incidents of
the campaign, addressing himself in turn to every noble in the
country, threatening or reproaching some, praising or encouraging
others, and disappearing at times for whole weeks together. When
he showed himself again, men learned that he had been on a visit
to Richard of Poitiers, or the younger Henry, or their brother
Geoffrey, to keep alive in them the spirit of revolt. Every day came
news of the attack and capture of the castle of a baron of the
English party by some noble belonging to the new confederacy ;
often, too, men heard that the abbot of some opulent monastery
devoted to the old King Henry had been taken prisoner while on
a journey, and detained in captivity until he had disgorged an
ample ransom. These latter expeditions were generally under-
taken by the lesser nobles,—scarcely worthy of the honourable
name of knights,—who saw in the war of independence only a
means of making their fortunes—whether by conquest or pillage
mattered little to them. Hugues de Rulamort never deigned to
stoop to acts of brigandage and spoliation ; nor, indeed, did the
Sieur de Rochaigné, if one might believe the indignant reproaches
which he hurled at those involved in them. Yet spiteful tongues
asserted that they had seen among the plunderers the varlet of
Rochaigué, young Jehan, and men well known to be vassals of
his father. They added that, since the war broke out, the small
castle of Rochaigué had been enriched with numerous beautiful
vessels and goblets of gold and silver, and that its inmates had
ruffled in the bravery of vair and ermine to an extent never before
observed. But these were only rumours: no person seemed able
to make oath that he had actually recognized Jehan or his
vassals—the men whom they took for them never having lifted
their vizors.



During the winter Rulamort received many guests within its
walls. These were not the jongleurs or trouvéres who in other
BROKEN DREAMS. 93

years had beguiled the evenings by showing to its lord and lady
the tricks of a tame ape, by singing /azs or relating fadbliaux- the
war had driven them into more peaceful districts. But every
moment the warder gave notice of the approach of some small
armed company; a trumpet rang out its lively sounds, and a
cavalier approaching the gate solicited hospitality. Old Milon
would then proceed to scrutinize the visitors ; and, after parleying
with them, to give them admission. On the evening to which our
chronicle now brings us, the knights in the grand hall and the
men-at-arms in the guard-room were discussing the events of
the day ; and Aimery, who had free entry everywhere, was going
hither and thither, listening to the conversation above and below,
and trembling lest the brunt of the war should be borne by
Normandy while Poitou saw only a series of insignificant
skirmishes,—when suddenly, in the darkness, a knight, attended
by a single squire, rode up to the castle-gate and lustily blew
his horn.

There was something of haste in the summons, and Milon,
accompanied by Aimery, quickened his steps to answer it. Before
he could ask the new-comer who he was or whence he came, a
voice, which Aimery immediately recognised, said, in a tone of
authority :— :

‘“Open quickly, old Milon! It is I, Bertrand de Born, Lord
of Hautefort.”

“You, my lord?” said Milon, surprised, and hastening to throw
wide the heavy, iron-barred door. “It was thought you were on.
your travels in Flanders or in Normandy 2

“T have returned. Is the Lord of Rulamort in his castle ?”

“Fle is, my lord. He returned a week ago.”

“ Shut the gate, and double the guards, Milon.”

“Yes, my lord,” said the old man, who understood that some-
thing grave had occurred. ‘“‘Aimery, conduct the noble Sieur
de Hautefort to the great hall.” :


94 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“ Aimery? my little companion in the gay science? I have not
forgotten thee, boy. Lead me quickly to thy lord.”

Aimery lighted a torch, and preceded Bertrand de Born up the
long staircases of the castle. Hugues and Eleanor were con-
versing with Father Odon; the waiting-women were knitting at
some little distance.

“All these reports are alarming, my father,” said the Lady
Eleanor. ‘I am but a woman, and understand little of the things



*« Aimery preceded Bertrand de Bor-.

of war; but I should have thought that an army, such as you have
described in that of the King of France, would soon have captured
Rouen.”

“Men say,” returned the good chaplain, “that the King of
England’s Welshmen traverse the roads day and night, and seize
upon the convoys of provisions intended for the French. The
latter, therefore, are compelled to disperse over the country in.
search of food, and thus their army is weakened. Moreover, the
people of Rouen make constant sorties, and the siege does not
progress.”

3
BROKEN DREAMS. 95

“I await a message from the Sieur de Rochaigué,” said
Hugues de Rulamort ; “he has accompanied our suzerain to the
court of Count Richard in the north, and is pledged to acquaint
me with all that passes.”

“The Sieur de Rochaigué,” replied Father Odon, “is a man of
much astuteness,—too much for a Christian and a knight ; be
careful how you trust him, my lord.” ,

“I trust him not at all, my father; but it is his interest to show
loyalty and faithful service to Count Rickard, who can invest him
with fiefs and baronies.”

At this moment the clank of arms was heard at the door, which
opened at Aimery’s touch, and, with vizor raised, Sieur Bertrand
de Born entered. He had not delayed, as on his former visit, to
perfume his hair and don his robe of ceremony ; he was clothed all
in iron, his helmet on his head, his hauberk soiled with the dust
of rapid travel.

‘The Sieur de Hautefort!” exclaimed Hugues.

“Yes, it is I, Rulamort, my brave brother-in-arms! None are
here but the faithful?”

Hugues de Rulamort looked around.

“Speak without fear, Sir Chevalier. Of what misfortune do
you come to tell us?”

Eleanor and her maidens, Sieur Hugues, Father Odon, and
Aimery had all drawn close to Sieur Bertrand, and waited his
words with intense anxiety.

_ “See that your walls are well guarded, Sieur Hugues,” replied
Bertrand de Born. “ We shall not carry the war into the territory
of the enemy; we shall be besieged in our own. It is certain we
shall be the bravest, is it not? but the strongest—who knows?
Oh, these kings! Woe, woe to men who place their trust in
princes! There are three of them: the old King, our enemy;
the King of France, who caresses us with: one hand to crush us
with the other the moment he finds it to his interest ; and young
8
96 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Henry Short-Cloak, as uncertain as a cloud driven by the wind—
to-day our friend, to-morrow our enemy, and without knowing why
either in the one case or the other.”

“ Are they reconciled, then?” cried Sieur Hugues.

‘“‘ They are, and, I need not add, at our expense. The King of
France, weary of the protracted siege of Rouen, has raised it, and
returned to his own dominions; and perceiving that the English
were gradually recovering all Normandy, he has discovered that
the war is too great a drain on his coffers, and informed King
Henry’s sons that they must rely on him no longer. Now what
can they do by themselves? They were simply to come here and
join with us; but to come vanquished, and fight in the train of a
brother whom they do not love, and who has no love to spare for
them, that is not to their liking. And hence, at this very moment
they are having an interview with their father, repeating the words
dictated to them by the King of France. They protest their re-
pentance, the depth of their affection ; they swear to him fidelity.”

“ And Richard Cceur de Lion? He will never submit like a
coward—he! Let us not despair, Sir Bertrand ; if Richard stand
by us, nothing is yet lost.”

“ And who tells you that I despair? If Richard stand by us!
Pardie, we shall see banner and pennon waving in the wind,
the tents pitched on the flowery plain, helm and buckler shining
in the sun! I am sick of this war of skirmishes and forays, in
which one takes a castle every fortnight. Speak to me of a
beautiful battle, in which the chivalry of the South dashes itself
against that of the North, and the victory is to the best doers!
But Richard: wwst keep his faith, and I am now bound to his
camp, to endeavour to guide his mind in the direction I would
have him go.”

“May Heaven inspire you, Sir Chevalier,” said the Lady

Eleanor, sighing ; ‘‘ and may He deign to open Count Richard’s
ears to your words !”
BROKEN DREAMS. 97

“Heaven will surely do so, noble lady; these Plantagenets
always allow themselves to be influenced by the last person who
gains access to them. ‘They are all the same: heavy of arm and
light of brain.* Farewell, Sieur Hugues. I will quickly despatch
to you a trusty messenger.”

“‘T am expecting one also from the Sieur de Rochaigué.”

“De Rochaigué? Believe not any promise he has made to
you; do not trust him too readily. Heaven have you in its
gracious keeping! Hold yourself ready : we shall not wait long.”

Bertrand de Born departed, and for some time the silent
night resounded with the swift gallop of his horse. In the great
hall the women and Father Odon were at prayers; Eleanor, pale
and worn, leaned trembling on her husband’s arm.

“ Alas! days of evil are at hand!” she murmured, in a tone of
anguish.

“ Courage, my brave wife, courage! God comes to the succour
of a good cause: thanks to His mercy, thou shalt, perhaps, soon
see our country delivered from the English; and wouldst not
thou like to be the wife of a rich count?”

Eleanor shook her head.

“Tam your wife,” she said, “and I desire as heartily as any
one in Aquitaine the triumph of your cause, which is that of our
country. But not through greed of wealth or of power. ‘Lhe
heart of a true man,’ says the trouvére, ‘is worth all the gold of
a country.’ He is right; and my dear lord is worth as much to
me as if he were count or sovereign duke.”

‘And my sweet lady,” replied Hugues, ‘‘is far above queens.
But hark! another visitor! Aimery, hasten to old Milon, and
bid him challenge this late-comer.”

The peal of a trumpet rang without, sharp, sudden, and impe-
rious. In spite of the chatelain’s orders, Milon opened the gate

A mistaken estimate ; for among the Plantagenets English history recog
nises some of our ablest princes, men of firm will and inflexible purpose.
98 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

immediately ; a swift step traversed the court and ascended the
staircase, and Bertrand de Born appeared once more on the
threshold of the great hall.

“Tll news, Sir Hugues!” he cried. ‘I had ridden but a mile
or two, when I met with a faithful squire who was in eager search
of me. He comes from France: he was present at the inter-
view. The King of France abandons us like a craven; he
concludes a truce with the old king, to give him time to crush us,
and he has sworn to send no succour to Richard—that is, to our
selves. Henry the Younger and Geoffrey have taken the same
oath.” ;

“To arms, then!” said Hugues de Rulamort. “Let us rally
round the banner of Richard, and all together fall upon our
enemies !”

“Too late! Richard had waxen wroth—was in one of his
lion’s rages. Why was not I there to profit by it? But his
frenzy over, he has grown gentle—he has listened to the Baron
de Maulignage, who had no desire to see his lands in Anjou
ravaged, and who has convinced him that his father was a good
father, ready to welcome and anxious to pardon him. Richard
has believed him; he gives up his strong towers, he submits
himself, he implores pardon of the old king.”

“And Aquitaine?”

‘Ah, Aquitaine which believed in him, Aquitaine which would
have made him king,—he disowns, he abandons her! The King
of France, fearing no doubt that he may repent of this extorted
submission, hastens the ceremony of homage. It is to-morrow that
the three rebel sons, in the presence of their suzerain, Louis VIL.,
will swear love and fidelity to their father,—a perjurer’s oath,
which ought to dry and shrivel up their false lips !”

“They will not keep it, Sir Bertrand !”

“T trow not, but before they can find time to violate it we shall
be overwhelmed by numbers. All England and France against
BROKEN DREAMS. 99

us, not to speak of traitors! We have no resource but to submit ;
to pay taxes to the English king; to swear to him faith and
homage; to receive his Welsh or Brabant men-at-arms in our
castles; to forget our glories, our traditions, even our name!
Hencfeorth we are nothing more than vassals of the King of
England.”

Hugues de Rulamort, pale and resolute, placed his hand on
Bertrand de Born’s artn.

“ Sir Chevalier,” said he, ‘¢I know that you do not speak seriously.
You are not conquered; you are not resigned; and I no more
than you. Nothing is changed: only one Plantagenet the more to
combat.* Let us await his coming with a firm front!”

* The lord of Rulamort here anticipates the saying which Talleyrand put
into the mouth of Louis XVIII. on his restoration to the throne of France in
1814. The King was made to say, “Nothing is changed: there is only one
Frenchman the more.”


CHAPTER XI.

THE GREAT PARLIAMENT OF THE KINGS.



J N the frontier of France and Anjou, in a beautiful
plain not far distant from the Loire, a large body
of men were actively engaged on an apparently
mysterious work. Some were levelling the soil,
and pitilessly destroying the vegetation that flou-
rished there ; others were digging holes, into which
they immediately inserted stout posts; and the
curious bystanders, who had rapidly gathered. from

SO the towns and villages in the neighbourhood, ob-
served that these posts began to form a circular enclosure, broken
up by two wide intervals, opposite to one another. The workmen
laboured vigorously, for personages in military costume, who had
divided them into squads or gangs, watched them unintermittently,
not hesitating to urge with a kick of the foot or a blow with the
pommel of their sword any who betrayed an inclination to relax in
their exertions. Another personage, whose long furred robe and
mortar cap of velvet and rich gold-embroidered scarf showed him
to be a puissant seigneur, issued orders to both parties, and the
enclosure was completed as quickly as if it had been raised by
genii or fairies.
THE GREAT PARLIAMENT OF THE KINGS. IOl

The burghers, sallying forth from their decorous homes to enjoy
the air of the fields, halted in surprise before it, and exchanged with
one another amusing conjectures as to its object. The peasants
returning from their labour, with pickaxe or spade on shoulder,
halted also, and in a low voice expressed their compassion for
the poor cultivators whose little crops had been ruthlessly trodden
down. Burghers and peasants stood somewhat apart, lest they
should come into unpleasant contact with the workmen or their



“The burghers halted in surprise.

supervisors; but they might be heard gossiping freely among
themselves.

‘‘What are they doing there ?”

“?Tis an enclosure, perhaps, for a tourney.”

“Ay, you are right. I saw a tourney at Angers a year ago, and
the enclosure began by planting posts exactly in this manner.”

‘¢ Perhaps it is for a trial: there is much talk just now of barons
who have broken their oath of vassalage towards our lord the
king.”

““Mayhap the Bishop of Tyre comes here to preach the
Crusade.”
102 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“They have finished planting the posts. See, they are going to
nail planks from one to the other. Oh, here comes a grand
chariot! Whose can it be?”

“I know by the livery of the men who conduct it; they belong
to the household of our King Louis.”

“ Ah, look! another chariot is coming from the opposite direc-
tion. Is that also the king’s ?”

““No; I do not recognise those liveries.”

“But Ido; I have seen the like in Normandy, and the men
who wear them are the King of England’s.”

By this time the two chariots had drawn up at the two entrances
to the enclosed area, and the servitors in attendance began to
unload them. They contained rich hangings, tapéstries of the
East, precious silks, thick carpets, soft downy cushions, various
kinds of seats incrusted witn crystals and gildings, and surmounted
by sumptuously ornamented canopies; and, finally, two spacious
pavilions, made of the finest tapestries of Flanders and Poitou.
These the servitors erected at the two extremities of the enclosure,
so as to close up the spaces which had been left open; within
them they afterwards conveyed chairs and couches and faldstools,
besides buffets, on which they arranged a splendid show of vessels
of gold and silver, studded with blazing gems. And, last of all, they
hoisted on one of the pavilions the standard of England, with its
three golden leopards on a blood-red field ; and on the other the
standard of France, made of blue velvet, and sown with golden
fleurs-de-lis.

“Tt is the kings!” said a burgher to his comely wife, “the
kings who are coming here!”

“Yes; but why? That is what Iam longing to know. Master
Gervais, you are a provost and a man of importance ; go then, if
you please, and ask the meaning of what we see before us.”

The burgher thus addressed, a portly individual with a flourish-
ing appearance, shook his head timidly.
THE GREAT PARLIAMENT OF THE KINGS. 103

“Go yourself, Dame Havoise,” he replied ; ‘those valets of
great lords are courteous towards pretty women, while unfortunately
they have no proper respect for men of my quality. What is
certain is, that the pavilion on the east bears the arms of France,
and that the pavilion on the west bears the arms of England.”

“ T see that clearly. But, observe, observe! They are erecting
a tent in the middle of the area, and covering the whole. barrier
. with superb stuffs. Cvze// what costly silks ! what beautiful robes !

what magnificent mantles !”

“Look, Havoise,” said to his young wife Master Macaire, who
was by no means disposed to waste his reflections on robes and
mantles,—“look at the pages bringing in a throne, a real throne—
just such an one as, it is said, the king uses in his palace at Paris.
See how the crown of gold glitters above it!”

“And here are some more pages, with another throne. They
set it opposite the former, and they spread a great carpet betwéen
the two. Oh, I can no longer endure it!--I must know what is
going to take place.”’

And Dame Havoise, quitting her husband’s arm, ran as far as
the pavilion where the fleurs-de-lis floated, and addressing herselt
to an archer who guarded the entrance,—

“ Messire,” said she, with her most gracious smile, ‘‘ you at least
will know why these preparations are being made? Is it a tourney
for the cavaliers, and may we be allowed to see it? Or is it a
trial? Or is it a conference of knights and nobles who are about
to take the Cross ?”

“Nothing of the kind,” answered the archer; “it is to be a
parliament, but a parliament at which only kings and princes will
be present. The King of France, our lord and master, will present
to the King of England his vassal, King Henry the-Younger, whom

-men call Henry Short-Cloak, and his two brothers, the Counts of
Poitiers and Bretagne.”
“They are the King of England's sons, are they not?” asked
104 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Master Macaire, who, like a good and careful husband, had fol-
lowed his wife.

“You are a clever fellow for a townsman,” replied the archer.
‘Since you know so much, messire, you will probably know that
all three have been at war with their father and suzerain, which is
not seemly in Christians and chevaliers. So our lord the king,
who is a pious man and fears God, has with much ado reconciled
them ; and the three princes are coming here, under the tent you
see yonder, to implore pardon of their father, and to swear to him
faith, homage, and fidelity.—But hold! the trumpets are sounding ;
the King of England comes in yonder direction. Station yourself
there, if you please, with your companion ; you will see the pro-
cession march by, and if you stand upon the empty chests which
have been left near the car, you may see even into the enclosure.”

With many thanks, Macaire, Dame Havoise, and their gossip
Gervais followed the archer’s counsel; and almost immediately
the old King Henry, with his escort of barons,
reached the doorway of the English pavilion.
Their steeds, loaded with iron as if for a battle,
were covered with magnificent housings, and
the cavaliers, glittering in costly armour, carried
on the crests of their helmets tall plumes of
undulating feathers, which the wind alternately
raised and lowered like the foliage of the forest.
King Henry dismounted and entered the tent,
preceded by the great dignitaries of his king-
dom, who bore before him his sword and royal
crown. Though not old in years, anxieties and sorrows had
already bent his figure and furrowed his countenance; and be-
neath the lifted vizor of his golden helmet might be seen his white
beard and sunken cheeks. Over his hauberk, gilded, and painted
in vivid colours, he wore a tunic of purple silk; and on his left ©
shoulder a rich clasp of .gold, sparkling with precious stones,


THE GREAT PARLIAMENT OF THE KINGS. 105

fastened a long floating mantle, broidered with gold and lined
with ermine. Havoise, who gazed upon him ;
with wide-open eyes, remarked to her com-
panions that there was nothing in the world
handsomer than a king.

Soon the trumpets pealed at the other extre-
mity of the enclosure, and the King of France
arrived with his escort. It was more numerous
than that of the King of England; and curious
eyes scanned its ranks to discover, if possible,
the felon sons who came to humiliate them-
selves at the feet of an angry father. Two
of them were there,—Henry and Geoffrey,—
marching by the side of the King of France, and by their glowing
youth bringing into stronger contrast his pallor and air of fatigue.
This prince, however, appeared younger than the King of England,
though in reality he was older—a deception due, probably, to his
being beardless ; he had cut and shaved his hair as a penance for
the massacre of Vitry. He descended from his palfrey, and before
entering his pavilion looked behind him, as if in quest of some-
body, and could not repress a gesture of rage.

“Tt is not our habit to wait, fair cousins,” he said to the young
princes. ‘Does your brother Richard amuse himself with break-
ing a lance on the way? Pardie, he knows not what a vassal,
though the son of a king, owes to his suzerain.”

“ Richard would not willingly delay, my lord and father,” said,
in a respectful tone, a handsome young man, with a clear com-
plexion, lustrous eyes, and regular features, who had also looked
anxiously along the road. ‘‘ He will have been detained, but I
pledge myself for his loyalty. Richard has promised to come ; he
will come.”

“ You love him greatly, fair son; take care you do not love him
too much when you become king! But hither he comes, as swiftly


106 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

as his palfrey can bear him; we are willing to forget his delay.
Let the trumpets sound; and do thou, herald, make known to
King Henry the Second that we are here to hold parley with
him.” ; 3

So it happened that Richard of England, Count of Poitiers, was
late in reaching the rendezvous. It was not his wont when there
were blows to be given or received; but this parliament, to which
he came, vanquished and a suppliant, to treat for peace—he, who
breathed nothing but war—was by no means to his taste. He was
all haste now, like a man who has suddenly taken a violent resolu-
tion; his contracted. features bore witness to the strength of his
repressed passions ; and a hair might turn the scale, whether the
pacific conference of the princes should not terminate with the ban
of war proclaimed against their rebellious vassal in every country
subject to their swords.

The evening before, Richard had retired into his chamber and
dismissed his servitors, protesting with violent imprecations that
no one should see him humiliate himself, that he would not go to
the parliament, that he would rather be besieged in all his castles
one after the other. Those who waited without had heard him
mutter, and stamp to and fro, like a lion in his cage, breaking in
fragments the costly furniture, and dashing to the ground goblets
and vases and drinking-cups. His terrified attendants took to
flight ; and the Baron de Maulignage, who had accompanied him
with some other cavaliers, began to despair of persuading him to
attend the projected interview.

“ All is lost! And yet he has promised,” he said to the Sieur
de Rochaigué, who was silently pacing up and down the vast hall,
listening to his suzerain’s cries of rage. ;

The Sieur de Rochaigué shrugged his shoulders.

‘‘ Do these frenzies last long?” he inquired of the baron.

‘‘ He will have calmed down to-morrow; but for all that, his
resolution will not have changed. Farewell to all our schemes !
THE GREAT PARLIAMENT OF THE KINGS. 107

I am old: and I care not to spend the rest of my life in main-
taining revolted vassals in their obedience. If Richard raise his
banner against his father and the King of France, I depart hence,
and go to join the King of England. I was his vassal before I
became his son’s, and my lands in Anjou are worth much more
than those in Poitou. Will you follow me? King Henry will
surely give you something better than your small fief of Rochaigué,
which, moreover, we shall resume when we shall have crushed
Richard and the confederacy formed by that madman Bertrand
de Born.” :

Guy de Rochaigué shook his head.

“Tt were much better to make peace. The league will be easier
to conquer when Richard is detached from it; and I know of
domains in Poitou which will suit me better than any the old king
could give me in Anjou or in Normandy. Be not discouraged ;
Richard will be calmer to-morrow, and will listen to reason.”

And it happened that, next morning, at the hour fixed for setting
out, the two barons, fully equipped, entered the chamber of the
Count of Poitiers. He was still asleep; but at the sound of their
footsteps he opened his eyes, and raised himself upon his couch—
his features still showing signs of his frenzy a few hours before—
and eyed, with an astonished air, the wreck which lay around him.
Then, his recollection suddenly reviving, his eyes were suffused
with blood, and he cried with a terrible voice:

“What brings you here P_ I have told you, I will not go. Out
of my chamber, rebellious vassals!”

The Baron de Maulignage made a step towards the door; but
Guy de Rochaigué was not so easily daunted.

- We are here to serve you, my lord, whatever it may please you
to do. Whatever decision you have taken, this can be no fitting
time for rest; and to fall with honour, it is needful we should take
immediate measures to put in a state of defence all the castles of
your domains.”
108 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

At the word “fall,” Richard knitted his heavy brows. He
replied, however: ‘You will follow me, then, sirs chevaliers ?”’

“Everywhere, my lord!’ cried the Sieur de Rochaigué, in a
tone of fervour, making a sign of silence to the baron, who was
not, he knew. of the same opinion. ‘Whither should we go to
find a suzerain more valiant and more magnificent? May we one
day see you a crowned king! And it will be a happy day when
we salute you King of Aquitaine |”

“King of Aquitaine!” cried Richard. ‘A dream! a dream
which I had hoped to realize—without those traitors, those
cowards, my brothers. Why come you to speak of the royalty
of Aquitaine? I am conquered—I am betrayed! Sieur de
Rochaigué, there was more truth in your words just now when
you spoke of falling;—‘ to fall with honour.’ Aye, but does one
ever fall with honour?” %

“So men have said,” replied Sir Guy, in a tone touched with
raillery ; ‘‘and the troubadours will sing your praises as they
sing those of Roland, the nephew of Charlemagne. But as for
myself, I find there is more honour in setting one’s feet upon
one’s enemies, whether it be to avenge oneself upon them, or
whether one scorns them enough to pardon them.”

The eyes of Richard flashed.

‘‘What art thou saying, sir chevalier?” he exclaimed; ‘‘ wouldst
thou have me die of rage? Yes, I almost grasped it, that crown of
Aquitaine ; once the league had been victorious, who could have
prevented me from seizing it? The barons of Poitou, Auvergne,
Guienne, hailed me their deliverer ; and who knows but that the
domains of Raymond de Toulouse might soon have rounded oft
my kingdom! Oh, Henry! oh, Geoffrey ! oh, Louis of France !—
to have abandoned me—to have signed a truce without including
me in it, without even giving me warning of it! And to-day they
all unite against me. Tell me, sir knight, what can I do alone?”

“If my suzerain would deign to listen to the advice of his
THE GREAT PARLIAMENT OF THE KINGS. 109

humble vassal, and were willing to attend the parliament where he
is expected,” said the Sieur de Rochaigué, in an insinuating voice,
“he would be soon much nearer to the royalty of Aquitaine than
he has ever been before.”

“Sire de Rochaigué, I am in no humour to suffer buffoons.”

“T am no buffoon, my noble suzerain, but your loyal and faithful
vassal, more faithful than they who, in order to secure the shelter
of your powerful sword, have beguiled you with the hope of a
throne which they would fain ercct for another.”

Richard leapt to his feet like a wounded lion.

“Explain yourself, Sir Guy! This is no time for riddles or
enigmas! Speak the truth, or——”

“Alas, my noble lord, you are too loyal not to have believed in
the sincerity of all these felon knights of the South ; but, could you
have heard their discourse when they had retired from your
presence! ‘They—they submit toa foreign king, an English king!
Let them but once achieve their freedom, and it was a man of
their own race and country whom they would place at their head.’”

‘“Who? Dost thou know? Give me his name.”

“They spoke of that mysteriously. I have heard the name
of Raymond de Toulouse whispered.”

“Ah! he is my enemy, and they are all traitors. A curse upon
hem! Thou art right, Sire de Rochaigué—thou art a man of
excellent counsel. I will submit, I will humiliate myself, I will
swear faith and homage to whomsoever they will, so that I have
my revenge hereafter! I will hold Aquitaine by the’ right of con-
quest,—it would please me better so! Let us set out—provided
that it be not too late.”

“Your escort is ready, my lord: do you not hear the palfreys
neighing in the court? Grant me leave to sumnion your pages
and squires to buckle on your armour.”

“Call them, and bid them make haste. Ah, the Brabanters of
my father’s army! It is I who will henceforth be their leader.”
IIO PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

A few minutes later, Richard, clad in his most brilliant armour
and enveloped in his richest mantle, joined the escort which
awaited him below.

«So, so, my lord father,” said Jehan as he pricked along by
the side of the Sieur de Rochaigué, “ we go, then, to the parliament
of the kings? I should have thought that we should rather have
turned our backs upon it.”

With an imperceptible glance, Sir Guy indicated Richard.

‘‘T have had grave difficulty,” he whispered, ‘‘but I prevailed
at last. Gain thy spurs quickly, Jehan; we shall have our choice
of fiefs in Aquitaine.”

The sun was already high above the horizon. Richard put his
palfrey to the trot that he might reach the rendezvous in time,
and all his men-at-arms and cavaliers imitated his example.

One might have said they were monsters of steel who glittered
inthe sun, while the earth trembled afar under their clattering hoofs.


CHAPTER XI.



FATHER AND SONS.

} HEN Richard entered the pavilion of the King of
France, the trumpets rang out merrily, and the rich
velvet hangings draped across the entrance were
set aside by two squires, who supported them with
their lances. At the same moment those of the
English pavilion were similarly drawn back, and
Richard had time only to put himself by the sid¢
of Prince Philip, and follow the King of France.
His brothers, Henry and Geoffrey, saluted him, but
his wrath against them had not subsided, and he regarded them
with contemptuous indifference. He saluted, however, King
Louis, who inclined his head towards him with an air of conde-
scension, but, not wishing to complain of his delay, refrained
from speaking.

The princes proceeded towards the old King of England, and
arrived at the same time as he did under the tent where the two
thrones had been erected. Louis VII. of France and Henry II. of
England took their places opposite one another, each surrounded-
by the principal lords of his realm. Philip, the heir to the fleurs
de-lis, stood on the right hand of-his father; on the left were
9
112 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

grouped the three Angevin princes, who were unable to prevent
their glances from drooping under the sad gaze of the royal
Henry. He had by his side but one of his sons—the prince
John, still a youth, whom men had surnamed Lackland, because
his father had bestowed upon him no appanage. The little
prince, richly attired, stood near his father, and eyed with much
curiosity the brothers whom for so long a time he had not seen,
and of whom he had heard nothing but evil.

There was a brief silence. King Henry contemplated his



* Richard entered the pavilion.”

three eldest sons; and whatever his grievances against them, what-
ever their ingratitude towards himself, he could not overcome a
revived feeling of tenderness and paternal pride, when he saw
them standing there, so brave and stalwart and comely, though
the oldest had scarcely numbered his twenty winters. And their
presence seemed to indicate that they were about to return to
him—that they had repented, and desired henceforth to behave
like submissive and loving sons; and he felt deeply moved : the
FATHER AND SONS. 113

arm trembled which he had thrown round John’s neck to find a
support in the child of his prediction; and the boy, raising his
head, saw tears filling his father’s eyes and trickling down to his
grey beard.

The King of France rose:

“Hlenry, King of England, my vassal for Anjou, Guienne,
“Normandy, and other fiefs, I, your brother and suzerain, have
‘“‘convoked this parliament to seal by ita full and entire reconcilia-
“tion between yourself and the princes here present, Henry the
“Younger, crowned by you King of England, Richard, Count of
“* Poitiers, and Geoffrey, Duke of Bretagne, your sons. All three
‘repent of their revolts and rebellions against you, their father
“and lord, and promise henceforth to behave as good sons and
“faithful vassals. Do you receive them into your mercy, and
“accept their oath of homage?”

“T receive them,” answered Henry, in a tremulous voice; and
instead of awaiting, calmly seated on his throne, the ceremony
of “liege homage,” he stretched his arms towards the princes,
murmuring: “ My children |”

Low as was the whispered appeal, the three princes heard it.

A moment’s hesitation, and then Henry Short-Cloak, the most
sympathetic, the most easily moved of the three brothers, gave
way to his emotion, and threw himself into his father’s arms.
Richard and Geoffrey followed: there were no explanations, no
requests for or promises of pardon ; all grievances, all animosities,
all the long strife and variance were dissolved, forgotten, forgiven,
in that one embrace of love.

John turned aside; he looked at his brothers with a sullen air,
and said to one of the English lords:

“The King forgets all their misdeeds; he caresses them; he
will give them all they ask; while as for me, I shall always remain
John Lackland!”

However, when his father called him, he hastened to embrace
114 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

his brothers and protest that it was with delight he saw them
once again.
_ Prince Philip, with a pleased smile, applauded the reconciliation
of the father and his sons. His father bent towards him, and
whispered :

““So peace is established, fair son, and through my exertions ;
this war cost us too dear. But we must take care that the
peace does not cost us too dear also, and that the whole family
do not unite against our crown. When you become king, fair
son, be vigilant never to allow them to remain too long on
terms of concord: it is always easy to provide them with a
subject of quarrelling, when they do not make or find one them-
selves.”

Meanwhile, the heralds and squires had approached to perform
their office. The Angevin- princes, one after the other, were
stripped of bauldrick, sword, spurs, and helmet, and then, with
one knee on the ground and their two naked hands in those
of King Henry, they swore to him faith and fidelity, and acknow-
ledged themselves his hege-men. Henry Short-Cloak pronounced
the formula of the oath with careless gaiety, Geoffrey with indiffer-
ence. As for Richard, he repeated it with an air of resolution; he
burned to be avenged upon the barons of Aquitaine.

As soon as the ceremony was concluded, the escorts of the two
kings intermingled, and the whole company retired to a castle of
~ King Louis, who desired on this occasion to treat Henry and his
sons with special magnificence. On reaching the castle, the princes
and nobles each withdrew to his private chamber, to exchange
their heavy armour for robes and surcoats of silk and velvet, and
samite, and of all the precious stuffs, purple and gold, which the
Levant furnished for the splendid feasts of the West. All was
stir and activity in the castle; the varlets and pages went and
came, eager to serve their masters; a crowd of servitors covered
the festal board with a wealth of flowers, and displayed upon it the
FATHER AND SONS, Irs

vessels of gold and silver. They ranged around it the seats, with
backs high or low according to the respective ranks of the guests,
and placed cushions upon them; they spread the pavement of the
hall with rich carpets, and hung the walls with various tapestries.
In the kitchen, the master-cook watched his viands, and issued his
orders in a sonorous voice to an army of assistants and scullions,
while with his own hand he mixed the various substances com-
posing his sauce cameline, the chef-d’euvre designed to exhibit his
highest skill.

In the midst of all this confusion, no one took notice of a
chevalier, clad in a simple coat of mail without any devices, and
wearing a morion without plume, the vizor of which remained
down. He traversed the corridors and staircases, listening intently’
to every sound, seeking or waiting for somebody or something,
and seemingly in no hurry to attire himself for the banquet.

Suddenly he paused ; he had recognized a voice. He remained
motionless and attentive. Soon pages and squires and servitors
issued from the chamber near which, in an obscure corner, he stood
concealed ; and he saw, through the open door, that there was
left in it only a single individual, a young noble, richly dressed, of
shapely figure and gracious countenance, who, with an air of
weariness, played with the jewelled handle of the dagger passed
through his girdle. The unknown knight, quitted his retreat,
entered, and closed the door behind him.

‘Health to Henry the Younger!” he exclaimed in a tone of
raillery. “I desired to be the first to salute the new liege-man of
the King of England.”

The young man started, blushed, and springing poole the
new-comer, cried :

“Bertrand! Imprudent! what do you here? If any. one of my
father’s men should see you ei

“Prince Henry should know that danger never stops Bertrand
de Born. And should I be taken, should I be put to-death, what


116 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

matters? Who would cling to life when he has seen what I have
seen to-day?”

Prince Henry bent his head, and his hand pulled impatiently at
the fringe of his mantle.

‘“‘ Bertrand, my friend,—the dearest of my friends,—what could
Ido? The King had crossed the seas, conqueror of the Scotch,
conqueror of the Welshmen, followed and supported by all
England ; the King of France abandoned me, Normandy escaped
me. And besides, he zs my father, Bertrand! -He loved me so
fondly! He was so happy, the day on which he caused me to be
crowned, in waiting himself upon me—upon me, who was then
but a child! And to-day, after all my rebellions, how he extended
to me his arms! No, Bertrand, I could not resist my father.”

“T understand so much: for the love of a father, one may be
content to be no more than a vassal after having been a crowned
king. But some things there are, Henry Plantagenet, which one
does not do,—to turn one’s arms against one’s friends of yesterday,
and play the traitor towards those who have been loyal and
faithful !”

«« Ah, you presume too far, Sieur de Hautefort!” cried Henry.
“To call me traitor shows that you are well assured of my loyalty
to keep your secret, when it would be so easy for me to open
yonder door and give you up to your enemies.”

“‘ Pardon the bitterness, Prince Henry, of an inconsolable friend.
It is hard to weep over a dead friendship; but God forbid that
I should offend you—you who have been dearer to me than a
brother ora son! And even now, when all is at an end between
us, your honour is still dear to me, and I would fain see no blot
upon your scutcheon.

“But what do you fear, Bertrand?” said the young prince.
“Let the country submit as I have done, since we have no other
choice, and receive the men of our lord the King of England; no
evil will then happen.


























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































== S55 =

Henry was pale, and his lips trembled (g. 117).
- FATHER. AND -SONS, 117

Bertrand smiled bitterly.”

“No evil will then happen? When the English barons ruin
our fair towns by their exactions, when they ruin our nobles and
burgesses by their exorbitant imposts, when they beat the free-
men of Aquitaine like Saxon serfs, when neither fields nor men
are exempt from their rapine and brutality,—would you have none
rebel? And then King Henry, with his Brabanters and his Welsh-
men, will return and give up to fire and sword the fair land where
you were so dearly loved ; and you, his liege-man, you will also
come,—it must be so,—and lay siege to the castles of your best
friends, give them up to the torture and to death, and ‘despoil their
orphans !”

Henry was pale, and his lips trembled.

“ Bertrand, my friend,” he stammered, clasping the chevalier’s
hands, “it shall not be so, I swear it! I will be there—I will
prevent—I will protect my beloved Aquitaine !”

“JT am willing to believe it,” answered Bertrand, fixing his
brilliant eyes on those of the young prince: “ but if you should
be led astray—if my predictions should be fulfilled?”

“At least, Bertrand, Henry Plantagenet will not be among the
executioners, I swear to you. But go now, I pri’thee, go: the
hour advances ; the horn will soon sound for the banquet,—you
will be surrounded, recognized. Go, preserve your life, for me,
for your country!”

The stir and movement redoubled in the corridors, and the
cortéges of the princes began to form. Bertrand de Born made a
sign of farewell to the younger Henry, and disappeared, gliding
unnoticed through the various groups. He left the castle without
being interrupted, leapt on a palfrey which his squire held in
readiness, concealed behind a hedge, and both, sticking their
spurs deep into their horses’ flanks, galloped away in a southerly
direction.

As he rode along, Bertrand smiled, and murmured to himself:
118 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“He is mine; he will be mine, and the others also, whenever
I choose. These Angevin princes—oh, what weak heads have
they, and how easily are they led! In dealing with them, as
have often said, I have never need of more than half my wit!”


CHAPTER XIII

IN WHICH AIMERY SETS OUT FOR THE WAR.



HANKS to the trouvéres and the jongleurs who
went to and fro from town to town, from eastle to
castle, singing the sérventes improvised upon the
Parliament of the Kings and the reconciliation of
the Angevin princes,—thanks before all to the
activity and eloquence of Bertrand de Born, it was
soon known in Poitou, the Angoumois, Auvergne,
and all the provinces south of the Loire, that the
old King Henry IT. and his three sons were coming
with a great army to ravage the country and execute vengeance
upon it for its revolts against the crown of England.

Every knight and chief prepared for defence: since the
Plantagenets spoke never a word of pardon, it were better to
perish sword in hand than to submit to wholesale slaughter, like
sheep beneath the butcher’s knife. A few lords, personally at-
tached to Richard of Poitiers, ranged themselves under his banner,
setting the feudal duty above the national sentiment. Amongst
these were the Baron de Maulignage, an Angevin by birth, who
owed to the largesses of Henry II. and Count Richard the fiefs
which he possessed in Poitou; and the Sieur de Rochaigué, with
120 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

his son Jehan, who troubled themselves not at all about the king
of England, or of Aquitaine, but desired only to enlarge their small
domain, or to enrich themselves with fat lands and strong castles
—whether acquired by conquest or received as gifts mattered little
to their unscrupulous consciences.

At the castle of Rulamort, the Sieur Hugues and his lady
awaited the course of events. The chatelain visited the ramparts,
exercised the archers, superintended the construction of machines
of war, accumulated heaps of stones on the battlements, and in
the vaults stores of oil and pitch to be precipitated, in case of
assault, on the heads of the assailants. He was calm and resolute :
he did not believe that the revolted people could successfully
resist the combined forces of the King of England and his sons;
but he had given his promise, and would keep it, though it were
to bury him beneath the ruins of his own castle. When the hour
of danger came he would provide for the escape of his wife and
child through the subterranean passages, which extended a con-
siderable distance into the country, and would send them to some
secure asylum, where they might await the return of better and
brighter days. Moreover, this Plantagenet family never remained
long united ; and its discords, mayhap, would soon come to the
relief of Aquitaine. It was rumoured already that Henry Short-
Cloak would not join his father and brothers in military prepara-
tions, and that the barons of the south had always in him a friend,
whose influence would make itself felt in the time of peril.

Eleanor desponded more than her husband. Had she had no
child, she would have stood by the side of Hugues on the ram-
parts, and braved the arrows and slings of the English ; she would
have remained there until the last moment, animating the com-
batants by her example and her words, binding up the wounded
and consoling the dying. But she had a daughter, and she owed
herself to her daughter. She was well acquainted with the feudal
laws: Agnes, if she became an orphan, would be, young as she
AIMERY SETS OUT FOR THE WAR. I2t

was, the inheritor of Rulamort, and as the fief could not be held
by a woman, the conqueror would marry her to one of his vassals,
whom he would reward for his services with the hand of so wealthy
a bride. To save Agnes from such a future, Eleanor was prepared
for any sacrifice or effort. The day on which Hugues might say to
her, “ Farewell, my sweet love, we must part in this world,” she
would obey him: she would take refuge with her child in the sacred
shade of some convent, and there would rest resigned and devoutly
praying, until a faithful messenger recalled her to the side of her
victorious husband, or bade her assume the widow’s veil.

Meanwhile, she moved about the castle, watching over every-
thing, and preparing accommodation for the peasants who might
seek shelter within the walls of Rulamort. Grain was piled up in
the garners; if the castle were attacked, the besieged would not
suffer from hunger ; the fugitives would find an asylum, and their
herds be in no want of fodder. All was ready: and in her leisure
hours the young chatelaine, who no longer had heart for her
tapestry labours, conversed with Father Odon, who stimulated
her courage, and exhorted her to bow submissively and cheerfully
to the will of God. He knew by heart the beautiful histories of
the Sacred Books, and he told Eleanor how God strengthened the
arm of the weak when contending for a just cause, and gave to
David victory over Goliath,-and to Gideon and his three hundred
men over the vast army of the Midianites. While listening, Dame
Eleanor’s hopes revived, and she welcomed with a serene brow
Sieur Hugues when he returned from exploring the country and
gathering news of the war.

News !—sad, bitter, disastrous news !_ As Bertrand de Born had
foreseen, every town and burgh was in the hands of the English,
Norman, or Angevin barons, who ground the burgesses, despoiling
the wealthy, tormenting the poor, and allowing their men-at-arms
to insult and attack with impunity any persons who ventured from
their dwellings after nightfall. In the country the state of things
Pe

122 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

was infinitely worse. Not a night passed but the watcher from
the donjon tower signalled on the horizon, in one direction or
another, a column of lurid glare,—the flames of some burning
village which had fallen a victim to the vengeance or the brutal
caprice of the masters who had imposed their yoke on unhappy
Aquitaine. On more than one occasion the opportune arrival of
Hugues de Rulamort and his men-at-arms saved the huts and
hovels of the poor, and inflicted a just punishment on the
oppressors. On his return he would hand to Aimery, that he
might take due care of it, his sword Franchise, observing, as the
boy looked at the crimsoned blade, ‘‘ See, boy, itis English blood !”
The boy, with throbbing heart, gazed—almost surprised that
English blood was of the same colour as other blood; and he
brandished Franchise in the air, and rejoiced to find that every
day it became lighter in his grasp.

Aimery had increased greatly in stature since the day of his
entrance as a fugitive within the walls of Rulamort. He was in
his fifteenth year, and though slender as a young poplar, was often
summoned by old Milon to lift for him the burdens now beyond
his own strength. No archer more skilful than he in hitting the
golden centre of the target, at whatever distance it might be
placed ; his arrow provoked the falcon’s jealousy, for its flight was
swifter than his, and more direct, and reached before he could
the bird which thought itself secure among the clouds. Prompt,
strong, dexterous, always frank and joyous, he had not ceased to
merit his surname of Aimery the Bright-offace ; he was loved by
all in the castle, and wherever he went men smiled on him as ona
ray of sunshine.

He might well be gay, in his unconsciousness! He little knew
the terrible might and puissance of an army: if Rulamort were
besieged, Rulamort could defend itself! Who or what could
capture a castle so strongly fortified,—with such lofty towers, such
massive walls, such valorous defenders,—with Sieur Hugues for its
AIMERY SETS OUT FOR THE WAR. 123

lord and Saint Agnes for its patron? No, no, Rulamort would
never be taken; but it might, perhaps, be attacked, and then what
a wild revelry! How he would wing his arrows against the
English! He would obtain leave to join in the gallant sortie, and
would test the strength of his arm, with pike and javelin, with axe
and sword. The idea sent a thrill of joy to his heart, and in his
loudest voice he sang out the latest war-song, in which the poet
showered praises upon the brave Aquitains, and withered with his
scorn the traitors assembled under the banner of the King of the
North.

Little Agnes grew up, a delicate flower, in the shadow of those
sombre walls, among those shocks of arms and warlike exercises,
She enjoyed no more rambles on the heath or in the woods ; the
- brigand bands which traversed the country would have made no
scruple of carrying off a noble’s daughter in order to extort a great
ransom. Agnes didnot complain; her little feet found enough to
do in going the round of the ramparts, and curious things were
always occurring to amuse her quick eyes and fertile imagination.
She flitted everywhere—a delicate shape—with her long fair hair
clustering upon her rounded shoulders. You might have seen
her one moment on the threshold of the smithy, where all day
the heavy hammers swung upon the anvil, shaping
spear-heads of iron, and sharpening the axes and the
points of the javelins; at another she was in the
place of arms, praising old Milon for the lustre of
the polished morions and cuirasses. She climbed
with her tiny feet the stone steps leading to the sum-
mit of the donjon, and begged the warder to take
her up in his arms and show her the fair country
spreading all around. But, above all, she was
everywhere and always in search of Aimery, whom
she called her knight, and she scolded him sharply nee he did
not carry her colours. She had given him a ribbon, and insisted


124 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

that he should wear it; but this he was unwilling to do, because
it exposed him to so many jests, and at last he told her that he
would preserve it carefully in order to exhibit it at the next
tourney. The excuse satisfied her; but she continued to follow
Aimery everywhere, and was happy only when in his company.
She did not weary or irritate him, however: if he were reading
or studying with Father Odon, she remained quietly seated
before the great missal, the illuminated letters of which she traced
with her finger; if he were at work with Milon, or exercising
with sword or bow, she sat in a convenient corner, watching
and applauding,—for, like the true daughter of a knight, she could
already discern the merit of a skilful spear-thrust or sword-stroke.
Sometimes she amused herself by giving orders to Aimery, which:
he must needs obey, because knights always gave obedience to:
their lady. Aimery obeyed her because he loved the gentle child,
and especially because she was the daughter of Sieur Hugues and
Dame Eleanor, for whom he would gladly have given up his life.

A year passed away—a year of battles, in which the troubadours.
might find many noble deeds of arms to sing, but which wrought
no decisive result, neither liberating the country nor submitting it
wholly to the English yoke. The Sieurde Rochaigué and his son.
had rejoined Richard Lion-Heart’s banner, and encouraged him in
his hate and rancour against the barons of Poitou. But Richard
perceived that these barons were not so easily subdued as he had
hoped ; and seeing himself in’ danger of being conquered, was
forced to seek assistance from his father. The old King came
in person; he threw garrisons of stout English soldiers into the
insurgent towns, which he loaded with imposts as a punishment for
their offences ; and when satisfied that they would not dare to.
move again, he resolved to attack the barons one after another
and compel them to sue for pardon.

Bertrand de Born once more traversed the country with unresting
activity. He had secured the neutrality of the younger Henry, but
AIMERY SETS OUT FOR THE WAR. 125

had not succeeded in determining him to join the insurgents; a
victory was needed to decide him; and Bertrand laboured to unite
all the chevaliers with their troops in one great army, which might
crush the forces of the King of England at a single blow.

The day on which Hugues de Rulamort set out with his men, no
longer on small expeditions, but for a decisive campaign, Aimery
appeared before him, attired as an archer, his quiver in his shoulder-
belt, his bow in his hand, a long knife in his girdle, and an iron cap
on his head.

“ My lord,” he said, “to-day is the Feast-of St. Michael, and I



“* Aimery marched gaily.”

am fifteen years old. Were I of noble race, to-day you would make
me an esquire ; I should mount a war-horse covered with mail, and
should fight with sword and lance. Since I am but the son of a
free man, permit me at least to take a place amongst your bowmen ;
I will serve you as well as the best among them.”

The Sieur de Rulamort smiled.

“And Agnes,” said he; “what will become of her without her
knight 2”

“Damosel Agnes knows that a chevalier must fight to gain his

10
126 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

lady’s favours,” replied Aimery joyously. He felt that his cause
was gained when the chatelain deigned to jest.

“Well, well, child, come,” answered Hugues ; “since thou hast
a man’s strength and a man’s heart, I attach thee to my person,
that thou may’st see what good work thy Franchise does. Tell
Milon to provide thee with a well padded jacket, and follow me.”

“Tam ready, my lord,” said Aimery, throwing open his tunic to
show the thick leather vest which protected his chest. He joined
the other archers, and marched metrily in the train of his lord, ex-
cited with the fresh air and filled with hope, and frequently casting
a gay look at Franchise, whose brilliant handle sparkled in the sun.

After his departure, it seemed as if a cloud overshadowed the
castle of Rulamort. The vast halls, the long corridors, the stair-
cases, which echoed formerly with his free, fresh voice, were sadly
silent; Agnes wandered like a sprite, weary, and regretting her
absent chevalier; Father Odon knew not what to do with the
hours in which he had been wont to instruct that young, intelligent
mind, so supple, so athirst for novelty and beauty ; and even Dame
Eleanor felt that his absence left a void. ‘Certes,” she said to
Father Odon,\* there was a great and singular charm in that good
youth ; if I had had a son, and he had quitted me for the first
time, I think that I could not have regretted him more.”

And what of Aimery himself? Unquestionably, he thought
often of the castle of Rulamort and its inhabitants; but he did not
long for the day when he should see it and them again. This was
not ingratitude on his part: he was fifteen years old, and his place
was no longer with the women; in the future his lot must be cast
in distant marches, nights passed in the open air, sudden encounters
with the enemy ; his would be the joy the soldier feels in the dis-
play of his prowess and endurance, in dealing lusty blows, and in
finding himself, after the fierce affray, weary and bruised and worn,
his jacket honeycombed with thrusts and slashes, his iron cap.all
dinted, and his quiver of arrows almost empty. As soon as the foe
AIMERY SETS OUT FOR THE WAR. 127

appeared within range, Aimery would seize his bow, and old William”
the leader of the archers, would say to him, from time to time,
“Good, varlet ; all thine arrows tell!” When they came to close
quarters, and the struggle was hand to hand, Aimery slung his bow
to his neck, and arming himself with axe, lance, or sword, struck
merrily as long as his arm retained its vigour, never quitting his
lord, and bringing down every foeman who threatened him.

He had heard men speak of Taillefer, one of the heroes: of the
Norman Conquest of England, who had marched to battle singing
the song of ‘‘ Roland and Charlemagne” ;* and he too, when he
advanced against the English, the Normans, or the Angevins, sang
with loud voice a battle-song, which animated his comrades with
an ardour like his own. Thanks to Aimery, the troop of the
Sieur de Rulamort was always in the front rank, and his renown
increased daily. And Gaucher, and William, and the vassals,
pikemen, and slingers who followed the banner of Sieur Hugues,
would say to one another: “ What a pity this youth was not born
noble! He has a knight’s soul.”

* Wace, in the Roman de Row, states that Taillefer rode in advance of the

Norman line:—
** Singing aloud the vigorous strain
Of Oliver and famed Charlemain,
And Roland, and the heroes all
Who died at bloody Roncesvalles,


CHAPTER XIV.

BATTLE!











MROM Limoges, the seat of the Vicomte Aimar, to.
the Pyrenees, where the Count of Barcelona and
the Count of Bigorre ruled as masters, the Plan-
j| tagenet princes and the Aquitaine barons now
delivered battle. The sounds of lamentation were
heard in numerous castles; many fair ladies had
covered their sleek tresses with the widow’s veil;
and still the war continued. And if the nobles of
Poitou, Perigord, and Languedoc fell to rise no
more, ae Brabanters and Welshmen of King Henry also fell,

slain by the swords of the knights or the sun of the south, which
smote with deadly rays the fighting-men accustomed to the cold
northern climate. The old King was unable to recross the seas
to England and sheathe his sword, because Aquitaine had not
submitted ; the barons could not recover their castles and settle
down in peace, because -the strangers still harassed the land.

More actively than ever did jongleur and pilgrim go to and fro,

carrying to town and castle the news of the war; and in this way
the Lady Eleanor learned that her lord had not been wounded,

and that fame and fortune had invariably followed the banner of
BATTLE, 129

Rulamort. But could she feel reassured? Oh, if some magic
spell could have revealed to her what was passing at the very hour
when, in the castle hall, she was conversing with a good monk
who three weeks before had seen Sieur Hugues well and in safety,
her heart would have been racked with anxiety, and she would
have implored God and St. Agnes to spare in his extreme peril
her brave chevalier.

That day the army of King Henry and the forces of the barons
of Aquitaine had arrived from opposite directions in the environs
of the small town of Taillebourg: Taillebourg, a fine field for
hostile encounters, to judge from the great number of battles
which have been fought there. Both sides made vigorous efforts
to gain the best position, either for attack or defence; and each,
while assured that the enemy was in its immediate neighbourhood,
knew not the exact site of his camp, and endeavoured to gain the
necessary information from the people of the country. But while
the barons had no difficulty in obtaining guides, and easily secured
assistance and accurate intelligence of the English King’s: move-
ments, —those who followed the standard of the Plan:agenets couid
learn nothing from men or women, whether villeins or burgesses,
and had to be content with such fragments of news as they
extorted from children through fear or surprise; and many of:
these were bold enough to deceive them, or to refuse to reply to
their questions. b

Hence it came to pass that a small body of cavaliers and foot
soldiers, wandering in the open country at some distance from
Taillebourg, fell into a great embarrassment. At least the chief,
a knight of tall stature, and a young squire who pricked along by
his side, exchanged words of doubt and apprehension ever and
anon. The vassals following, as well as the foot soldiers, went
where they were led, troubling themselves little about the success
ot their mission: only they felt aweary of marching in the
‘meridian sun, under their heavy banners.
130 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“‘Pardie, Jehan,” said the chevalier to the young-squire: “for
three hours have we ridden onward without meeting with a living
soul. Every churl who sees us or hears us from afar takes to flight
as swift as his legs will carry him. If things continue like this we
shall find Prince Richard in a frenzy of passion when we return to
camp.”

“ Especially if we bring him no news,” replied the young man.
“Tis my opinion, my lord and father, that our men have gone
the wrong way to work in questioning the villeins of this district ;
they have terrified them, and, of course, have failed to draw anything
from them; you see they fly from us like game before the hunter.
We must try the effect of soft words. Hold! I see yonder a
peasant plodding his weary way: ay me to intercept him, and
to deal with him in my own manner.”

“Go, Jehan,” replied the Lord of Rochaigué. ‘“‘ We will await
you here in the shade of this cluster of trees; then the clown will
not see us, and he will not be afraid to speak to a man alone.”

Jehan rode away, and soon overtook the stranger, who was
crossing the fields and walking quickly, like a man who knows his
intended goal and is eager to arrive at it. When he heard close
behind him the tramp of hoofs, he started, came to a sudden pause,
and on seeing Jehan began to tremble in every limb. However,
he made no attempt to fly, judging probably that the cavalier
could easily overtake him, and he assumed an air of confidence.

“Health to thee, friend!” cried Jehan, employing the /angue
doc. ‘*Canst thou tell me precisely where we are? I am seeking
my road, and have found no one to point it out to me.”

‘‘ Are you English ?” asked the peasant, surveying him from
head to feet.

“English ?>—I? Do the English speak the /angue doc? Iam
a native of this country, though my father’s castle is at some
distance from here.”

“ Ah!” said the peasant, his features epandinees into a smile,
BATTLE, 131

“then you are one of our people? I will tell you your road,—of
course you are going to rejoin the army? It is three hours’ march
to the north, and its chiefs have sent messages to all the nobles
dispersed over the country, recalling them to the camp.”

“And the King’s army—where is it? Do I run the hazard of
encountering it on my road?”

“No, my young lord, if you keep your face always to the sun.
The enemy le close to Taillebourg: by following up the road
before you, you will catch sight in about an hour of the tents of
the old King covering the plain behind yonder spire. Heaven



et
We tS

aeiSeetes an

Gas

“Keep your face to the sun.”

keep you, messire!—I must hasten on my way. I have a message
for a knight who occupies the village of Saint-Avit. You came in
that direction, and perchance have seen him—the Sieur Hugues
de Rulamort ?”

“The Sieur de Rulamort?” cried Jehan. ‘Oh, he is close at
hand; I am his squire, and we are now seeking to rejoin the army.”

The peasant looked at Jehan, who bore his gaze with unflinch-
ing composure. How could he suspect of a falsehood so young




132 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

and gracious a cavalier, who spoke the language of the country?
To dispel any doubts that might arise in his mind, Jehan
resumed :

“Tt was said round about us that the English were not far off,
that there would soon be a battle, and we wished to share in it;
that is the reason we were anxious to rejoin the army before the
day appointed. Come with me, and I will introduce you to the
Sieur de Rulamort.”

The peasant followed Jehan. When they were within a few
paces of the coppice, in the grateful shade of which the Sieur de
Rochaigué and his men reposed, Jehan rode in advance, and in
a low voice said to his father: “A clown is here with a message
for the Sieur de Rulamort; I have told him that you are he,”
and he returned quickly to the messenger.

The latter, on seeing before him a chevalier with “a plump ot
spears,” and a company of archers and pikemen, never suspected
Jehan’s deceitful stratagem. He saluted Sir Guy, and presented
him with the token of recognition he had received from. the
Vicomte Aimar de Limoges, under whose orders Hugues de
Rulamort was fighting. This letter was intended to secure con-
fidence in the messenger; as for the message, it was verbal, the
knights not always having with them, in the army, a clerk who
could read a written message, and most of them being themselves
unable to read.

“Tt is well,” said Sir Guy, on receiving from the messenger his
credentials: “what are the orders of the Lord Vicomte de
Limoges?”

“That you at once rejoin the army, my lord,” was the reply.
“The chiefs have determined to attack the enemy to-morrow at
sunrise.”

‘tI shall be there: here is a piece of silver for thy reward, and
I will say to the Vicomté that thou hast discharged thine errand
aithfully. Dost thou return to the camp?”
BATTLE, 133

“No, my lord ; I have to find the other nobles stationed in the
villages round about. May Heaven keep you, and give the victory
to-morrow to the good cause.”’

And he departed with swift strides. Sir Guy de Rochaigué
watched him until he was well out of hearing, and then turned
towards Jehan with a loud burst of laughter.

“Eh, fair son, what think you of yon clown who has entrusted
his message to such excellent hands? You are a capable damoiseau,
Jehan; and I see that you will not suffer the fortune of our house
to decline. Sieur Hugues de Rulamort will not move during to-
motrow’s battle, and the day after his Vicomte de Limoges and
his dear Bertrand de Born will call him coward and felon. Ha!
“ha! ha! if Richard be angered, we shall have wherewithal to divert

him in this record.” z
“And we have also other news to carry him, my lord and
father: we know that the rebel army will attack us to-morrow ; we
must return to the camp.”

“ Ay, if we knew only where it was!”

“The messenger told me; it is an hour’s march in the direction
of the spire which you see yonder.”

‘Fair son, you are the most thoughtful young man in the
world! Nothing more is wanting to complete our knowledge than
the name of the place whither that brainless churl was going in
search of our beloved neighbour of Rulamort.”’ =.

“Then nothing is wanting ; for the Sieur de Rulamort is at the
village of Saint-Avit, close by here, in yonder direction. There
should be no difficulty in finding it.”

“ Jehan, you shall be Lord of Rulamort before you are twenty-
four hours older!” exclaimed the Sieur de Rochaigué. ‘Is there
in all our troop a man of sense, capable of carrying a message,
who will not be known to the servitors and vassals of Rulamort 2”

“There is Tristan the pikeman, who belonged to the company
ofthe Sieur de Libagnac, killed in the last battle.”
1-34 - PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“Call him, Jehan! By the mass, all goes well for us !”

Tristan the pikeman advanced.

“Art thou able to carry a message—to say that which ought to
be said, and not to say that which ought not to be said?” Guy de
Rochaigué abruptly demanded. “If thou dost thy part well, I
will give thee a fief; if thou failest, I will hang thee !”

The pikeman laughed sourly. =

“Men like me, my lord, never get their necks into the noose.
As for earning a fief, if I cannot do it, nobody can. What is the
message P”

“Listen. Thou wilt go in yonder direction while we return to
the camp, which lies behind that church spire. Thou wilt seek the
village of Saint-Avit.”

“«T will find it, my lord.”

“At Saint-Avit thou wilt inquire for the Sieur Hugues de
Rulamort, and place in his hands this token on the part of the
Vicomte Aimar de Limoges.”

‘“« And what shall I say to him, my lord?”

‘“‘Thou wilt say to him that thou art sent by the Vicomte to
conduct him to the rendezvous of the army of the league of
Aquitaine, and thou wilt lead him into the wolf’s jaws. Dost thou
understand ?—yonder lies the camp, and I shall await thee there.
Observe the road, and remember that the camp lies behind the
church.”

“T understand, my lord. And I know the Vicomte de Limoges,
and the Sieur de Born, and the Sieur de Hautefort, and the other
barons of the league, well enough to be able to speak of them
freely to the Sieur Hugues, and lead him, as you say, into the wolf’s
jaws. Give me the token; and do you return promptly to the
camp, lest the Lord of Rulamort and I arrive there before you.”

While the Sieur de Rochaigué and his son rode with all speed
towards the English position, Tristan the pikeman sought out the
BATTLE, 125

v

village of Saint-Avit. He had no difficulty in finding it, and soon
obtained admission to the presence of the Lord of Rulamort. He
had only to show him the token from the Vicomte de Limoges to
secure implicit confidence in his words; and Sieur Hugues gave
his men immediate orders to prepare to march, and summoned his
squire to arm him. All at once the village was filled with the din
of steeds, which snorted and champed their bits as they were led
out of their stalls and stables, of archers and sergeants exchanging
farewells with the friendly peasants, of armed men falling into line
and mounting their neighing steeds; in a few minutes the small
troop was arrayed—it moved off—and soon disappeared from the
gaze of the villagers, who had gathered along the road, and suppli-
cated Heaven to bestow its blessings on the good cause. Tristan
led the way as guide to the Sieur de Rulamort; and Aimery
followed, his heart thrilled with joy, as it was always on the eve of
battle.

It was dusk when the valiant troop deployed upon an eminence
from which could be seen in the distance the town of Taillebourg,
with its bridge, and the bright river winding across meadows that
were covered with a white mist. In the plain, between this
eminence and the town, was clustered a great number of tents
and pavilions ; but owing to the evening vapours and the lateness
of the hour, the Sieur de Rulamort was unable to make out the
devices emblazoned on their floating banners.

“Yonder is the camp!” cried Sieur Hugues, ‘‘ Gaucher, take
thy horn, and give them notice of our arrival.”

Gaucher obeyed; but at the first blast of his horn a troop ot
armed horsemen, hitherto concealed behind a leafy thicket, dashed
fiercely upon Sieur Hugues, with shouts of —‘‘ Down with them !
Down with them! 4 mort/ A mort!”

“What means this?” cried the chevalier, rapidly preparing for
defence, though supposing that some mistake had occurred. “We
are friends! Where is the Vicomte de Limoges?”
136 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“Plantagenet! Death to the enemies of King Henry!”
replied the assailants.

Sieur Hugues looked round for his guide, but he had disappeared.
At this moment the clouds passed, and the moon shone forth in
full-orbed splendour, revealing on the summit of the nedrest tent
the lions and iron tower which decorated the banner of Richard
Cceur de Lion.

‘“‘ Treason!” shouted Hugues de Rulamort. ‘Comrades, we
have been led into a snare. To arms, and let us defend ourselves
gallantly !” :

He made Franchise flash in the air, and dealt a formidable
blow at the cavalier who had attacked him; Gaucher, William,
and all the Poitevins threw themselves upon the enemy; and a
terrible mé/ée ensued. Aimery struck before him, without choosing
his adversaries; in this hand-to-hand combat his arrows were
useless, but he wielded a battle-axe in one hand and a pike in the
other, felling to his feet each luckless foeman who ventured to
encounter his headlong fury. He did not lose sight of his lord,
who Was crossing swords with the leader of the hostile band. The
combat was doubtful, for the two knights were equal in stature,
strength, and bravery; but a squire, whose slender form and
armour without ornament indicated his youth, gliding treacherously
behind the Lord of Rulamort, endeavoured to disable him by
hamstringing his destrier. Before he could accomplish this felon
act, Aimery leaped upon him.

“Traitor and felon!” he cried, striking his sword from his
hand; then, with a back stroke of his axe, he aimed at his head.

The blow was skilfully and strongly dealt; but the helmet was
of steel well tempered ; the axe turned aside, but it struck away
the ventacile, and revealed to Aimery a face he had not forgotten.

“ Ah, coward ! traitor! thou hast eaten the bread and salt of
my lord, and yet thou attackest him behind his back! Defend
thyself, Jehan de Rochaigué !”






137).

hands (4.

Ss

ight

he gcod kni

a star int

se shone like

ranchi

Tr
BATTLE, 137,

And he fell upon him furiously. But Jehan, confused at his

failure, and at having been recognised, sprang on one side,
exclaiming: ‘ Churl! I will send thee one of thy equals!” and
glided out of Aimery’s reach.
_ The stress of battle continued. The clash of arms aroused
the English camp, for the listening sentinels had caught the
war-cries : ‘Henry arid England!” ‘Richard Coeur de Lion!”
“Saint Agnes and Rulamort!’’ They had given the alarm, and
new combatants hastened in crowds to reinforce the Sieur de
Rochaigué. Hugues de Rulamort saw that his little company
was surrounded : he was alone, far from his allies, without hope
of succour. From the depth of his loving heart he gave a last
fond thought to his wife and daughter, commending them to
God’s merciful protection, and thenceforth cared only to sell
his life dearly and die gloriously. Assailed on all sides simul:
taneously, he struck to right and left, and his noble destrier, as
if it understood the peril, reared himself to crush under his fore
feet the enemies whom his master overthrew. Franchise, in the
silvery lustre of the moon, shone like a star in the good knight’s
hand.

Around him his men defended themselves with the courage of
despair. Not one among them dreamed of demanding quarter:
the axes, the maces rose and fell like flails on a threshing-floor,
and all about the little troop soon rose a rampart of dead bodies.
But it could not be doubtful that these brave men, exhausted by
prolonged combat, and overpowered by numbers, must eventually
succumb ; it was not less doubtful that their defeat would cost
King Henry dear.

Aimery, who continued to fight, erect at the head of his lord’s
destrier, felt not the blows which rained upon him. He knew,
indeed,.that his sleeves and coat were dabbled with blood, and
his lips were parched with thirst; but no point of spear or sword
had as yet penetrated his well-padded jacket, and he had lost
138 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

none of his strength. He struck with as much energy as at the
beginning of the fray, and, while striking, thought with joy of the
paladins celebrated by the trouvéres, and delighted to believe in
his likeness to them. And, suddenly, without pausing in his fence,
he raised aloud the song of the brave Chevalier Armel le Bigorrais,
who combated and overthrew twelve Paynim knaves.

The enemy, astonished, checked their onset; the men of
Rulamort, fired with a new ardour, charged them desperately,
and compelled them for a moment to yield ground. Yet that
moment’s respite could not have saved the brave Poitevins, if
a troop of cavaliers, passing at some distance, had not heard
Aimery’s song,

This troop had been despatched to reconnoitre secretly the
ground and the position of the English camp: their shields and
the sheaths of their swords had been wrapt up in stuffs to prevent
the clinking of the steel, and their helmets blackened and stript
of their crests, that the gleam might not betray them. The
destriers marched at a slow and measured pace, and their riders
listened intently for every sound, scrutinized keenly every hollow
and hillock. They had halted on hearing the clang of combat,
and deliberated what course it were prudent to adopt.

“We are close to the English camp,” said a knight, ‘‘and it is
a quarrel between Norman and Welshman.”

“Or they are falling upon one of the false brothers who have
betrayed us; let us leave them alone, and return to give an
account of our expedition.”

“Prudently spoken, messire. The army may be here to-
morrow at daybreak, and the ground is well adapted for a great
battle. Let us set out, then.”

‘And yet if they were friends,” murmured another chevalier,
-“ twould be pitiful not to speed to their assistance. .... Ah!
listen! I know that voice! To the rescue, sir knights! ’Tis
men of our own who are struggling yonder !”
BATTLE. 139

“Sir Bertrand can never resist the temptation of crossing
lances,” said to his companions one of the knights who had
already spoken, but nevertheless he put his horse to the gallop
to follow Sir Bertrand, and the others imitated him. Ina few
moments they broke like a tempest upon Guy de Rochaigué and
his troop, and recognising the war-cry of Sir Hugues they raised a
shout of ‘‘ Rulamort! to the rescue!”

With an almost unconscious movement, Sir Hugues de Rula-
mort turned towards the opportune succour. Guy. de Rochaigué
and his son both seized the opportunity of riding against him ;
Aimery saw them; he threw himself in front of their swords,
extending his arms to repulse them, and making of his body a
shield for his lord. A crushing weight descended upon his head ;
his eyes swam; he tottered and sank prone upon the earth, at the
same moment that the Sieur de Rulamort fell forward on his
horse’s neck in a swoon, and his good sword Franchise slipped
from his nerveless hand.


CHAPTER XV.

2 IN WHICH AIMERY LOSES A PROTECTO}.
NY ead
AND GAINS A FIEF.









HE Sieur de Rochaigué was a prudent man, whe
; always left off fighting when there was no longer
anything to be gained by it. As the moon had
again retired behind the clouds, he could not see
how small a number of knights composed the
reinforcement his adversary had received; from
the din and clamour they made he concluded that

Z| x a part of the Aquitaine army had arrived at the

‘si rendezvous, and not caring to measure himself
with it, he gave the signal of retreat. Jehan followed him, not
without directing at Sir Hugues and Aimery a glance of satisfied
hate. Nor did he forget to pick up Franchise, which, wet with
blood, Jay on the ground; and, galloping off at full speed, he
regained the English camp. ;

‘*‘ They may return,” said Bertrand de Born, ‘‘ they may return,
and we are not in force. We must abandon the dead; to-morrow,
after the victory, we shall have time to give them Christian burial.
Let the footmen mount behind the horsemen, and we will make all
haste to return to the army.”

They removed the helmet of the lord of Rulamort; he gradually
AIMERY LOSES A PROTECTOR AND GAINS A FIEF, I4I

recovered consciousness, and insisted upon accompanying the
march, supported on each side by his squires. Before setting out,
he looked around him, and not seeing him
whom his eyes affectionately sought,—

“ Aimery! poor boy!” he exclaimed, ‘is
he killed? If so, he died for me!”

“The little troubadour?” said Bertrand de
Born ; ‘‘seek him, alive or dead! Never. was
there so melodious a nightingale. It was his
voice which guided us to your rescue.” .

After a brief search, Aimery was found.
They lifted on a sure and steady horse his
apparently inanimate body, which reeled and shook like a thing
inert, and set out. When the moon once more appeared in all her
brightness, a deep silence rested on the plain, and the muffled
‘tread of their horses was lost in the distance; on the battle-field
nothing remained but the bodies of the dead, cold and stark.

A great battle was fought next day, but, like previous engage-
ments, it decided nothing; many lances were broken, many
cavaliers gained great fame by their valiancy, and many young
squires won their spurs; but the strangers were not driven from
the meads of Aquitaine, and the League of the Barons of the
South was not coerced into submission.

Neither Sir Hugues nor Aimery the Bright-of-face, you may be
sure, took part in this encounter. Both, while it was in progress,
lay in their tent; both were gravely wounded: When the Sieur
de Hautefort had made his men place Aimery on the horse, he
believed that they placed there a dead body, and it was through
an emotion of pity worthy of a count that he had felt unwilling
to abandon to the crows the remains of the gentle singer. But
the horse’s movements and the fresh air of night gradually revived
the wounded youth, who had been stunned by a violent blow on
the head, and Bertrand de Born saw all at once his eyes reopen.


142 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

He called a halt; near at hand flowed a brook, from which
a man-at-arms filled his morion, and Aimery, bathed in the cool
water, quickly recovered consciousness. He was soon able to
mount behind one of the horsemen ; and though he had received
several wounds, the leech who bandaged them on his arrival at
the camp declared that he would be able before long to resume
active service.

Far more serious was the hurt of the Lord of Rulamort. By
rallying all his energies, he had been able to regain his saddle,
but he had not strength enough to hold himself upright; and to
the two squires who rode, one on each side, to support him in it,
a third had soon to be added to mount on the charger and take
him in his arms. When the company arrived within the camp
of the barons, Sir Hugues was so exhausted
with loss of blood that he could not dismount
from his horse; he fainted, and they had to
carry him into Sir Bertrand’s tent, where he
was released from his hauberk. The leech
knelt beside him, examined his bleeding body,
probed his wounds, and shook his head sadly.
Bertrand, who watched him, perceived that the
good knight had not long to live; he was deeply
grieved, for he loved and esteemed him. But
it was the fortune of war. Many men had
already fallen; many more would fall before
the war ended : must there not be martyrs to the good cause ?

In the evening the barons held council under the tent of the
Vicomte de Limoges. The. day’s battle having been indecisive,
another must be delivered. The spies reported that the King
of England, leaving a strong garrison in Taillebourg, had raised
his camp for the purpose of subjugating the towns of the South.
The barons resolved to follow him, and compel him to give battle
on the first favourable opportunity. For the time the northern


AIMERY LOSES A PROTECTOR AND GAINS A FIEF. 143

parts of the province were free from the enemy; they would
profit by this to send back to their castles the wounded knights,
that they might not fall into the enemy’s power, and then they
could set out on the following day.

The Sieur de Rulamort was therefore placed in a litter, and
his vassals, as in duty bound, prepared to conduct him home.
Aimery and the rest of the wounded were made as comfortable
as possible among the baggage, and they journeyed by short stages.
There was no reason to apprehend an attack, unless some old
soldiets of the English army had lingered behind to pillage; and
even in that case the vassals of Sir Hugues could still muster a
sufficient number of unwounded men to repel an isolated company.
Everywhere along the route, in the cottages as in the castles, they
were. sure of receiving a friendly welcome, provisions, and all
needful attention.

More than a week elapsed before the travellers perceived on
the horizon the towers of Rulamort sharply defined against the
blue sky. They had. been marching since early morning, and
were very weary; but at this sight all their fatigue was for-
gotten. They halted suddenly, raised their hands to heaven,
and thanked God, with tears, that He had brought them back to
their homes.

The Sieur de Rulamort, who was half lost in feverish slumber,
awoke on feeling that his litter had stopped. ‘‘ What is it,
Gaucher ?” he asked in a feeble voice.

The faithful Gaucher, who marched beside the litter, drew apart
the hangings which enclosed it.

‘My lord,” he said, “our men are rejoicing because from this
_ point they can discover the towers of your castle.”

Tears trickled down the worn and wasted cheeks of the good
chevalier. ;

‘‘Rulamort! my proud castle!” he cried. ‘Gaucher, let my ©
litter be turned so that I may see it.”
t44 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Gaucher obeyed, and held the hangings apart. The knight
lifted himself up with an effort, and for a moment contemplated
the massive donjon and the crenulated towers; Gaucher heard
him murmur a prayer; then he fell back on his cushions and
closed his eyes.

“Do you feel yourself much worse, my good lord?” inquired
Gaucher.

“T do not know. I do not suffer more, but my strength is
ebbing away.”

‘A little rest will dc you wondrous good, my lord. Yonder,



“ Gaucher marched beside the litter.”

close to the road, lies your hamlet of Gaychaume; we will halt
there for the night, and to-morrow we shall reach Rulamort in
the early morning.”

“ To-morrow—no—perhaps it would be too late. March on,
march on, Gaucher. I would fain see my wife and little Agnes
before I die.”

Gaucher looked fixedly at his master, and observing that his
face gradualiy assumed a deeper pallor, and that his eyes grew
dim and troubled, concluded that the end was near, and that no
time must be lost if he were not to be denied that last sweet,
AIMERY LOSES A PROTECTOR AND GAINS A FIEF,. I45

fond, and painful joy which he so ardently desired. He ordered
the escort to push forward at full speed; and at the same time
called aside Aimery, and in a low voice bade him gallop forward
to the castle to prepare Dame Eleanor for the reception of her
wounded, dying husband. Aimery lost not a moment in obeying
Gaucher’s orders, and was out of sight with the rapidity of an
arrow.

When he arrived at the castle he found that the Lady Eleanor
had quitted the supper table, and, seated in her great fauteuil,
was conversing sadly with Father Odon.

‘A fortnight, my father, a fortnight since I received any news.
They spoke of a battle in the direction of Taillebourg ; I wonder
what fortune befell our side. Alas! has any ill happened to my
dear lord? Every night I see him in my dreams,—see him as he
looked when he bade me farewell: tell me, father, is that a sign
sent to me from heaven to warn me that I shall see him no more
in this world ?”

“Do not give heed to your dreams, my daughter; be, as a
Christian wife ought to be, courageous and resigned; and remem-
ber. that we are in the hand of God. Sir Hugues fights in a
cause that is just: let us hope that he will return victorious. Ill
tidings, it is said, have wings; had any mishap occurred, should
we not already have heard of it?”

Eleanor suddenly sprang to her feet.

‘“‘Do you hear, my father? ’Tis the note of a trumpet. It is
not he, it is not his horn. But mayhap it is a messenger; we
are about to hear some tidings. Oh heaven!”

There was a long silence. Eleanor, her women, and the chap-
lain remained immovable, listening to the noise without. Under
the arched gateway was heard the swift tread of a horse; the
horse stopped, a man’s mailed footsteps could be heard ascending
the stone stairs; the door of the hall opened, and on the
threshold appeared Aimery, accompanied by old Milon.
146 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“ Aimery!” cried Eleanor, pale as death, springing towards
the young man, ‘ where is my lord? where is he?”

“He comes, madame; his men bring him on a litter. I left
them near Gaychaume, and rode on ahead to forewarn you that
my Lord Hugues is grievously wounded, madame !”

Dame Eleanor said not a word ; she clasped her daughter in
her arms, and pressed her to her bosom, while staring at Aimery
with dilated eyes. At length, making a violent effort to subdue
her emotion, she said : .

“Tell me the truth, Aimery: hast thou left him dead or
alive?” : i

‘Living, noble dame,” said Aimery. “Be of good courage,
God will preserve him to us. Itisnot my fault, my noble mistress.
I have done all that I could do; we fell together.”

“T believe thee, Aimery ; my lord sent you to make known
his return that I might have the joy of seeing him somewhat
sooner. Milon, set a good watch; you, Jehanne and Michonne,
prepare your master’s couch; I go to meet him. _ My father, will
you accompany me? He may have need of you.”

Father Odon bowed his head assentingly. Jehanne stepped for-
ward to take charge of Agnes, who, however, clung to her mother.

‘“« Leave her to me,’ said the chatelaine; ‘‘’tis fitting that her
father should see her also.”

She suffered herself to be wrapped up in a mantle which
Michonne threw over her shoulders, and set out, followed by
Aimery, Father Odon, and some servitors.

Meanwhile the lord of Rulamort had made but little progress
on the road. His litter had scarcely gone a few paces before he
_ fainted; and Gaucher, in endeavouring to revive him, discovered
that one of his wounds had begun to bleed afresh. It was
impossible to continue the journey ; and as Gaychaume was close
at hand, Gaucher transported his master thither, where he found an
asylum in the least wretched hut in the village. A second messen-
AIMERY LOSES A PROTECTOR AND GAINS A FIEF. 147

ger then hastened in the track of Aimery, to inform Dame Eleanor
of what had taken place.

This bearer of ill-tidings met the chatelaine on her road. She
followed him in all haste, and as she went, obtained particulars of
the war, the ambuscade, and her husband’s wounds. While she
listened, the unhappy lady felt the small hope fading away which
she had ventured to cherish: but heart-broken as she was, on
learning how Aimery had fought by his master’s side, and thrown
himself in front of the blows which threatened him, she smiled
sadly on the young lad, and said to him, “Thanks, Aimery ;
may God bless you for your courage and your devotion!” Who
shall describe Aimery’s rapturous delight! Though still suffering
from his wounds, he felt a hundred times repaid by the sweet
words and sweeter smile of the chatelaine.

It was beneath the roof of a miserable, dilapidated hut, with
bare walls and a flooring of beaten earth, that Eleanor once more
saw her husband: With cushions from the litter his attendants had
covered the peasant’s poor pallet, and upon it the knight reposed,
pale, emaciated, with closed eyes, and his forehead bedewed with
the cold death moisture. Gaucher had bound up the wound and
stopped the flow of blood ; but he could not arrest the life which
was ebbing away so fast. The wounded man was still and drowsy,
and no other sound could be heard than that of his feeble
and difficult breathing. Around the rude bed stood in silence
his squires, his vassals, his men-at-arms, their eyes fixed mournfully
upon him; at the other end of the room the peasant’s children,
thin, pallid, and in rags, looked with astonishment not altogether
free from terror on those men grimly clad in iron, and that dying
noble stretched upon silken cushions. Gaucher held one of his
master’s hands and wept.

Eleanor entered the cabin. As soon as her fond eyes rested on
Sir Hugues, she felt with a pang that all was lost, and turned as
pale as her lord. Repressing with difficulty her tears, she threw
143 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

herself on her knees at the head of the bed, and bent over him.
He opened his eyes, recognised her, and smiled. ‘My sweet
lady ! my own love!” he murmured.

‘““My dear lord!” faltered Eleanor, covering with kisses her
lord’s nerveless hand. She called Agnes: ‘Come, child, embrace
thy father !”

But the little one was afraid; and it became necessary for
Aimery to take her in his arms and, soothing her with soft
speeches, to carry her towards the bed. She offered no oppo-
sition, and received the last kiss of her father ; then recognising
him suddenly, and perceiving that he was ill, she burst into tears.
Eleanor embraced her passionately, and placed her at some little
distance from the painful scene, while she beckoned to Father
Odon, who spoke of the God of love to the Christian warrior so
soon about to meet Him. All retired with hushed reverence ; for
some moments nothing was heard but the murmur of two feeble
voices, that of the priest and that of the dying man, and the sobs
of Agnes, who was again pressed to her mother’s bosom; then
Father Odon rose, and Dame Eleanor once more took her station
by the bedside.

“My sweet love,” said Sir Hugues, “I am about to part from you
-—you whom I loved so deeply—until the day when our Lord, in
His abundant mercy, shall reunite us in His holy Paradise. I have
lived and I die a Christian knight, and with humble trust I await
the Divine mercy; yet is my heart sad that I leave you surrounded
by perils. Into the hands of Christ I commend you, praying
Him to keep you in His charge, you and our beloved child.
Be brave, be faithful, and abandon not the cause for which I die.
Do you promise?”

“ Before God, I promise !” replied Eleanor.

‘Make your daughter such as you are yourself, and when she
is of age, wed her to some loyal chevalier. But I have still a duty
to fulfil, Aimery, my child, come hither.”

’






Aimery approached at his summons (. 149).
AIMERY LOSES A PROTECTOR AND GAINS A FIEF. 149

Aimery approached at his summons.

“Thou didst save my life several times, brave boy, and the
foeman did not reach me at the last until after he had struck thee
down ; alas, I have not been able to preserve the sword which thou
hadst confided to me! Thou shalt recover it yet; but in order
that thou mayst contend with him who shall bear it, thou must be
something more than a simple archer. Gaucher!”

The faithful servitor hastened to his side.

“We have lost many of our vassals; ‘was there one among
them who left neither widow nor children ? ”

“Ves, my lord: Robert de Valpierreuse.”

“A very poor fief! But it matters not; a valiant arm will know
how to conquer a richer. Come, Aimery the Bright-of-face, put
thy hands in mine, and swear faith and homage to the chatelain
of Rulamort. I give thee in fief, to thyself and thy descendants,
the lands of Valpierreuse. And now behold thyself a squire,
Aimery! When thou shalt be of age, a worthier than I will dub
thee knight, and thou shalt recover Franchise!”

The Sieur de Rulamort, exhausted, fell back upon his pillow;
Eleanor caught him in her arms, thinking that he was dying ; but
again he rallied his energies, said a few words of farewell to his
weeping vassals, closed his eyes, and slept. The hours of night
passed slowly, measured only by the shrill clarion of the cock.
Agnes slumbered in childish peace at the foot of her father’s bed.

Eleanor and Father Odon watched in silence, holding a hand
of Sieur Hugues, whose respiration gradually grew more and more
feeble. When the chill air of morning stole into the room, it
seemed to Eleanor that even this weak breathing was no longer
perceptible; she bent over her husband, touched his forehead
with her lips: it was very cold, and his heart no longer beat.
Eleanor threw herself on her knees in a passion of tears ; and the
aged priest, in a voice broken by anguish, recited the prayers for
the dead.
CHAPTER XVI,

20 4
pee THE RIGHT OF GARDE-NOBLE.





| GREAT stir and movement prevailed in the tent
of Count Richard, Squires, varlets, and servitors
were actively engaged in collecting and setting in
order the divers objects which it contained ; they
2 “8, folded the costly hangings and the robes of fur and
a 3 silk; they arranged the swords and axes, the pikes

Â¥ and maces, in convenient bundles ; they shut up in,
£ &, iron-bound caskets the jewels and the vessels of |
= gold and silver; and through an uplifted flap of
the tapestry which closed the entrance, the spectator could see
another group of attendants engaged in loading the pack-horses
with the burdens handed to them by their fellows. The English
camp was on the point of quitting Taillebourg; and while
vigorous preparations were being made for the march, Richard
of Poitiers, already clad in his hauberk and cuirass, and with his
mantie buckled to his shoulder, discussed with some of his barons
the incidents of the combat of the preceding day.

“Sure am I,” he remarked, “ that the rebels lost more than we:
did ; was it not so, my lord of Maulignage?”

“Undoubtedly it was, my lord,” replied the veteran courtier.


THE RIGHT OF GARDE-NOBLE, I5f

‘On that part of the field where your banner was borne, your
battle-axe and mace smote them to the ground as the woodman’s
axe levels the trees. But it was not the case everywhere; I traversed
the field, and the men of mark among the dead were few.”

“ Saw you, messire,” said the Sieur de Rochaigué to his suzerain,
“the body of the lord of Rulamort ?”

“No. Where did you say he was slain yesterday?”

“ Not yesterday, but the morning before. He had approached
our camp ; I passed at the time; and we indulged in the pleasure
of a skirmish preliminary to the great battle. Had not that mad-
man of a Bertrand de Born arrived, there would not have remained
a sufficient number of the vassals of Rulamort to carry away their
master’s body.”

“ Are you certain that you killed him?”

“ Pardie, yes ; I saw him fallat the same time as his page, who
sought to catch the blows intended for his master, but did not
succeed in catching them all. There is now a fief to be given
away.” ;

‘*Given away! Does the Sire de Rulamort leave no children ?
I thought

“Tt is a noble fortress, this castle of Rulamort, is it not, sir
knight ? ” interrupted Richard.

“ Well defended, my lord, it would be impregnable,” answered
Guy de Rochaigué.

“That is true,” added an old chevalier, who was examining
some weapons in a corner of the tent. “ Twelve years ago, I
was with the army of the Count de Montfort, who laid siege to it,
and we were unable to get within its guard.”

“If you did not do so, Sir Hereward, it was because it was im-
possible,” said Richard, graciously inclining his head towards the
veteran knight, as if in homage of his bravery. <‘‘ But at this
moment the castle cannot be ‘furnished with men-at-arms, and
perhaps it would be easy to get possession of it. Will you under-


152 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

take the enterprise? A feed fortress the more in our hands is not
to be disdained.”

. “ Undoubtedly, my lord; but the castle is in the hands of a
widowed woman. I should not care to combat such an adver-:
sary. Who is her suzerain? Let him summon her to surrender
the castle, if he be one of ours.” ;

“ Fler suzerain,” Guy de Rochaigué hastened to reply, “is the
Baron de Maulignage.”

Richard had coloured with shame and anger at old Hereward's
curt remark.

“T did not speak,” he resumed, “of combating a woman,
messire ; I know that such a task would be no more agreeable
to you than to me. But since the lord of Rulamort leaves a
widow, let her suzerain summon the fair rebel to return into
obedience, and to receive a garrison into her castle.”

“Or else, my lord, let the Baron de Maulignage reclaim the
garde- noble of the fief,” said Guy de Rochaigué in an insinuating
tone. ‘‘ The lord of Rulamort leaves an heiress, a daughter, who
is roe Jehan, what is her age?”

The squire of Rochaigué, who for the moment modestly stood
aside, on being questioned by his father, approached the Count of
Poitiers.

“The heiress of Rulamort, the damosel Agnes, is now eight
years old, my lord. This I know for a truth, because I entered the
service of the lord of Rulamort as a page on the day of her birth,
and I was then nearly ten years of age.”

“And you are now eighteen, young sir? I should have thought
you two or three years older, to judge from the blows you dealt in
yesterday's battle. The Sieur de Rulamort taught you well the
profession of arms, and your father should be proud to see his race
so worthily continued.”

Speaking thus, Richard smiled upon Jehan, and eyed. with
complacency his tall figure and robust limbs. Guy de Rochaigué
THE RIGHT OF GARDE-NOBLE. 153

saw that his son pleased the Count, and hastened to profit by the
occasion. .

“The best and most fitting mode,” he said, “at least if my
suzerains thought fit to approve of it, would be to marry the
heiress of Rulamort to some valiant and faithful knight attached
by affection and gratitude to the royal house of the Plantagenets.
Were that castle in the hands of my son Jehan, for example, there
would be no reason to fear that the surrounding district would
ever depart from its obedience.”

The Baron de Maulignage interposed :

“The Sieur de Rochaigué is right, my lord ; Jehan is but eighteen
years old, and as yet in no haste to take to himself a wife. But the
marriage should be celebrated in order to put him in possession
of the fief and guarantee to us the castle; and Madame Agnes,
until she was fifteen, could remain under the ward of her mother,
the Dowager of Rulamort, with a good English or Norman
garrison, who would maintain both in their devoir, in case
they should foolishly incline in any circumstances to side with
the rebels.”

Richard laughed aloud.

“A rebel of eight years old! Certes, a formidable adversary !”

“ But her mother,” said Guy de Rochaigué, “isa brave woman,
and will be an enemy, if only out of faithfulness to the memory
of her husband. Sir Hugues de Rulamort was one of the warmest
friends of Bertrand de Born, and scarcely less a madman than he
is. We must wrest Rulamort from the grasp of the barons of
Aquitaine.” -

“Well, let it be done, since the damosel’s suzerain consents.
What say you to the project, messire Jehan?”

“TJ shall ever be the faithful servant of your Grace, my lord,”
replied Jehan, ‘‘and I place myself now and always at your Grace’s
disposal.”

“We must set out immediately,” remarked Guy de Rochaigué ;

12
154 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“we must not give our enemies time to throw a garrison into
Rulamort.”

“ Go,” said Richard, with a frown. In his own mind he thought
that had the enterprise fallen to him, he would have been better
pleased to exchange blows with a gallant garrison, than to enter
unopposed a castle in charge of a defenceless woman. ‘The Sieur
de Rochaigué and his son passed from the tent, accompanied by
the Baron de Maulignage; the other knights who had been present
at the conversation followed ; and Richard remained alone with
Hereward, who smiled bitterly in his grey beard, and muttered, —

“In my youth we made our suit for a long time to a fair and
virtuous damosel; we undertook noble and chivalrous enterprises
to please her; for her sweet sake we strove to become as valiant
asthe King Arthur and the great Alfred, and to keep ourselves as
pure as the angels in Paradise; and when at length we had won
her heart, we thought it great happiness to swear fidelity to her
before the priest of the Church, and to conduct her to our own
castle. But to marry by force a little girl, without knowing if she
will ever love you, without any love for her—oh! the preux cheva-
liers of my time would never have stooped to so vile a deed.”

Richard affected not to hear. In truth, he was of the same
opinion; but it was needful that he should reward the knights
who followed his banner, and the domain of Rulamort would
splendidly pay the service of the Rochaigués, without impoverish-
ing him in lands or money, which was always rare in his coffers.
He completed his equipment, and then went to see if his father
were ready to give the signal of departure.

For that signal the Baron de Maulignage and the two
Rochaigués had not waited. They had assembled in all haste
their vassals, and-set out for Rulamort, where they hoped to
arrive before Dame Eleanor had learned the death of her husband.
They were ignorant of the fact that Sir Hugues had not died on
the field, and that his vassals had carried him away on the evening


s

THE RIGHT OF GARDE-NOBLE. 155

of the battle. However, as their horses went much more quickly
than the litter bearing the wounded man, they would most
certainly have overtaken it, if they had not been stopped several
times on the road. But it was their misfortune to meet with
bands of well-equipped chevaliers hastening to reinforce the army
of Aquitaine ; several times they broke lances; and the Sieur de
Maulignage, anxious not to diminish his troops by useless combats,
made them turn into bye-roads, which considerably delayed their
progress. So they did not reach Rulamort until the third day
after the death of Sir Hugues.

For three days the good knight’s corpse, attired in his most
precious vestments, had lain on the bier, with his sword on his
breast, and his crossed palms clasping the sword. The bier was
placed in the middle of the castle chapel, and round and above
it blazed the tapers night and day. Eleanor, in deep mourning,
her flowing tresses covered with the widow’s veil, prayed and wept
beside the coffin, with her gaze fixed on that loyal and beloved
face which was so soon to be hidden from her; there she remained,
silent and immovable, replying to the entreaties of her women
and Father Odon, who would fain have led her away,— Leave
me; I shall have him for so brief a time!” They saw at intervals
her lips move, as if she were speaking to the beloved dead,
recalling the sweet memories of their youth and of their happy
wedlock, promising to be always worthy of him, to keep her
faith to the last moment of her life, and to teach his child to
venerate his memory. The vassals of Rulamort, having received
notice of their lord’s death, stole into the chapel to utter a prayer
for the repose of lis soul: all were sad, for Sir Hugues had
never oppressed them nor treated them unjustly ; and the women,
regarding with pity the pale, beautiful face of the widowed lady,
whispered to their children to beware of disturbing her.

The time for the last funeral rites had come; the archers,
sergeants, and men-at-arms, equipped as if for a tourney or a
156 * PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

battle, drew up in martial order around the coffin. Old Milon
conducted the ceremony—he the old man who had hailed the
birth of his late chief, and now lamented his death. Aimery was
not present; the effort he had made, while still feeble and
suffering from his wounds, to mount his horse and carry the news
to the Lady Eleanor had exhausted him, and he lay stretched on
his bed in a burning fever.

The altar blazed with lights, and Father Odon, attired in a



‘*The hour for the last funeral rites had come.”

black chasuble, began the office for the dead. Each of the

assistants in his turn sprinkled the coffin of the deceased with

holy water, and the aged priest prepared to cover the death-cold _
face and seal up the bier. ;

All at once old Milon, who held with trembling hands the
coffin-lid, allowed it to slip from his grasp, and bent with a shudder
over the corpse. From the livid wounds which furrowed its
forehead, some drops of crimson blood collect slowly. At the
same time a great agitation took place near the door of the chapel,
THE RIGHT OF GARDE-NOBLE, 157

and lifting up his head, Milon saw that three men had recently
entered. These men, two of whom wore the hauberk and gilded
spurs of knighthood, advanced to the bier; the oldest knelt,
murmured a prayer, took the sprinkler (goupzllon), and cast some
‘drops of holy water on the dead ; the others imitated him. Then
the first, approaching the chatelaine, raised the visor of his
helmet : it was the Sieur de Maulignage.

“T have come, Madame,” he said, ‘‘to do honour to a brave
cavalier, the most valiant of my vassals. After the funeral cere
mony I would ask leave to confer with you. .Rest assured that
your suzerain will prove your devoted protector.”

Dame Eleanor inclined her head ; but the arrival of the Sieur de
Maulignage added anxiety to her sorrow. .For the last two days,
absorbed in the loss she had sustained, she had given not a single
thought to the future—had not asked what would become of her
daughter and herself. She looked at her suzerain’s companions,
and though she did not recognise them, their presence awoke in
her a vague feeling of terror. Among the crowd a low murmur
arose: according to a superstition of the people, the blood which
had trickled from the wounds of the dead indicated the presence
of his murderer ;—which of the three was he?

Father Odon concluded the office for the dead. Before allowing
‘the corpse of Sir Hugues to descend into the tomb of his ancestors,
he desired to recall, in a few words, the remembrance of his
virtues. Then addressing himself to the Baron de Maulignage,
he thanked him in the name of Lady Eleanor for his visit on that
day of calamity and grief, and for the protection he had promised
to the widow and orphan. He added that this task would be
easily fulfilled, that he would have no need to employ his men-at-
arms for the service of his vassal; since whoever- lived on the
domains of Rulamort was devoted to his chatelaine, and she
required no other guard than the hearts and arms of her vassals.

This discourse was not, perhaps, very satisfactory to the Sieur
158 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

de Maulignage, and the less so because he heard distinctly the
threatening speeches of the crowd directed against any person
who should attempt to injure the lady or damosel of Rulamort.
He felt that he must move carefully and gently to succeed in his
projects: it was not a favourable opportunity for the display of
force, and the men-at-arms who accompanied him would soon
have been overpowered by the angry crowds that filled the chapel.

The funeral rites were at an end, and a marble slab soon covered
the last resting-place of the noble Sieur de Rulamort, near the
vault where already lay the remains of his father and mother,
Sieur Thierry de Rulamort and Dame Béatrix, and many of his.
illustrious kindred :

**The good knights are dust,
Their swords are rust ;
Their souls are with the saints, I trust.”

The cortége then issued from the chapel, and the crowd of
vassals gradually dispersed. The women and children were to
return home after profiting by the funeral* baked meats of
Rulamort; for most of them having to accomplish a long journey,
it was the custom that the kinsmen of the dead should offer a
repast to all who had attended the funeral. The men, however,
were unwilling to leave the castle so soon; the presence of the
Sieur de Maulignage, a suzerain sprung from a foreign country, and
imposed upon the Peitevins, inspired them with mistrust, and they
hung about the courts, ready and eager to lend their vigorous
assistance to the garrison of the castle against the intruders, and
in defence of the dame and damosel of Rulamort.

Meanwhile the Lady Eleanor had retired to the great hall,
where she awaited in uncontrollable agitation the Baron de
Maulignage. Father Odon stood beside her, comforting her with

* « Do coldly furnish forth the marriage table.”—Shakespeare,
THE RIGHT OF GARDE-NOBLE. 159

pious exhortation and encouragement; and Milon, - Gaucher,
William, and the chief servitors of the castle, remained at the other
end of the hall. The Baron de Maulignage entered; and, in
accordance with the ceremonial prescribed on such occasions,
Eleanor descended from the dais, and besought her suzerain to
take his seat in the chair of state previously occupied by Hugues
de Rulamort.

But the Baron, like a knight who knew his duty to the ladies,
would not permit her to fall on her knees before him. He
gallantly offered her his hand, conducted her to the seat of
honour, and took his place by her side, protesting that before so
beautiful, so noble, and so virtuous a lady even a king would offer
homage rather than consent to receive it. Eleanor, partly re-
assured, with eyes cast down, and her white hands folded on her
knees, awaited in silence the proposals or commands of her
suzerain.


CHAPTER XVII.
LIER OL 7 SQ
el SENN A DEMAND IN MARRIAGE.

ADY,” said the Baron de Maulignage, “you know
the feudal law and its usages. No land must
be without its lord. However wise, prudent, and
courageous a dame may be, she cannot hold a fief:
in every seigneury there must be a chief capable of
mounting a destrier, and of charging the enemy
22 swordin hand. You have lost a noble and valiant
Bey J defender, the honour of chivalry; your domain lies
AS? exposed to the attacks of felons, and, unhappily,
there are too many who are not ashamed to oppress and plunder
the weak. Were you without children, my duty as suzerain would
be to say to you: ‘Lady, you owe us the service of taking another
husband.’ But the noble Sieur de Rulamort has left you a daughter,
the heiress: of his estates; she itis whom we must provide with
a spouse, that this land may not remain without a lord.”

He was silent for a moment, and looked at Eleanor. She made
no movement; her eye remained lowered; the trembling of her
white hands alone revealed her trouble. The poor mother thought
of her betrothal to the loyal chevalier whom she had just laid in His
grave; of her delight as a young girl when her lover was proclaimed




A DEMAND IN MARRIAGE. 161

victor in the tournament; of her happy and blessed marriage, in
which the union of hearts had been so perfect; and she asked
herself what would be the fate of her daughter, with a husband
forced upon her, who would see in her only the heiress of a rich
domain.

The Baron de Maulignage resumed :

“1 know that the child is very young; but once the marriage
was celebrated, she would be remitted to your charge until she
reached the age of fifteen, that she might learn to become like her
mother. Your tenderness might reasonably take fright to see her
united to a man much older than herself, whose temper might not
agree with her own; but the husband whom I destine for her is
young and worthy, and promises to be a brave and brilliant che-
valier.- More, he knows well the damosel Agnes, and is fully~
disposed, by-the-bye, to love as a young maiden her whom he has
seen and admired as a bright and gracious child. You know him
also, noble lady ; he is the only son of the Sieur de Rochaigué, the
young bachelor Jehan.”

The Baron de Maulignage turned towards the door, and beckoned
to his two companions, who had hitherto stood apart. They
advanced, and the younger, lowering his vizor,
bent on one knee before the lady of Rulamort.
He was Jehan de Rochaigué.

“ Noble lady,” said he, “do not fear to en-
trust tome the damosel of Rulamort. I promise
her my faith while I live; and if God deign to
come to my aid, I will give her good reason to
be proud of her husband, and will make her ~
a high and wealthy lady above all.”

“And I swear it to you, noble dame, she shall have in him a
valiant protector,” added Guy de Rochaigué, who accompanied
his son.

Fairly distraught, Dame Eleanor looked at Father Odon. He

o


162 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGIIT.

too was struck with consternation: he shared the mother’s alarm.
Jehan! They both knew him. Undoubtedly he was stalwart,
brave, dexterous ; he might shine in tourney or battle, and con-
quer domains and castles; but, alas! what indications of craft
and cunning he had shown when residing in the castle, at an age,
too, that reveals the true character, because one has not yet learned
the art of dissimulation! He indeed was not, and never would
be, a chevalier like Sir Hugues, as tender and gentle towards the
weak, as valiant against the strong, loyal and courteous, brave and
sincere, to whom Eleanor would willingly commit the destiny of
her little Agnes. She was seeking words to refuse, or at least to
entreat for some delay, when Agnes, who during the funeral rites
had been guarded by Michonne in.an upper chamber, yearning to
see her mother, quitted her apartment, and
began to look for her all over the castle.
Michonne, ignorant of what had passed, did
not oppose her wish, and the two arrived
in the great hall at the moment when Dame
Eleanor, raising her eyes towards her suzerain,
began her reply. Michonne sought to detain
Agnes by her side, but the child escaped and ran to her mother.
Her arrival caused a temporary diversion. The Sieur de Maulig-
nage was not a man harsh and severe, and he preferred to attain
his end by persuasion rather than by force. Moreover, he saw
nothing unacceptable in his proposition, since he had been careful
to choose for the young heiress a husband of an age not ill-adapted
to her own : other suzerains, in similar cases, had not scrupled to
marry an orphan of tender years to a baron of fifty, when it was to
their own interest. He smiled on the young girl, and complimented
the mother on her precocious beauty, adding, that since he had
seen her, he desired still more eagerly to unite her to his protégé.
Agnes looked fixedly at Jehan. It was long since she had seen
him ; yet she vaguely recognised him, and puzzled her little head


A DEMAND IN MARRIAGE. 163

who this damoiseau might be whom she knew and yet did not.
‘know. Jehan, perceiving that he attracted her attention, thought
it would be good policy to pay his court to his fazcée, and with a
graceful smile, exclaimed : ;

“ How tall you have grown, and how beautiful, since I last saw
you, damosel Agnes! You have completely the air of a delle dame,
and I should be proud to wear your colours in the next tourney.
Will you grant me a gaze, and accept me for your chevalier?”

At his voice and his look, Agnes knew him immediately. But
his flattering words astonished more than they charmed her, and
recoiling a step, she said boldly, raising her fair head with a
haughty air:

“No: it is Aimery who is my chevalier!”

“‘Aimery? Aimery is dead!” replied Jehan, thoughtlessly.

The little girl opened her eyes wide. :

“ Aimery is not dead; he is ill, he is in bed; I saw him only a
moment ago, when Michonne carried to him a cooling drink, and
he was then alive. He opened his eyes, and said to Michonne:
‘Thank you!’ I cried, ‘Godhelp you, Aimery!’ He looked to-
wards the door where I was standing, and smiledas he answered:
“God bless you, damosel !’ And when he is well again, it is he
whom I will have for my chevalier!”

Jehan was silent: the news of Aimery’s resurrection disturbed
him greatly. For, first, he was furious at discovering that the
énemy was alive whom he thought he had slain; and next,
Aimery had recognised him in the combat in which Sir Hugues
had been mortally wounded: if he were to denounce him to the
chatelaine !

The arrival of Agnes had restored to the Lady Eleanor all her
presence of mind. Taking her upon her knees to prevent her
further conversation with Jehan, she thanked the Baron de Maulig-
nage for his protection and the care he had taken of her interests
and those of her daughter.
164 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

. “But,” she added, “ you will understand, Sir Baron, that it
would be too cruel to rekindle for a marriage the scarcely extinct
torches of the funeral. Leave the orphan timé to conquer her
sorrow before you give her a husband. High are the walls of Rula-
mort, and strong; its men-at-arms devoted and courageous; my
daughter and I are here secure ; permit us to weep in liberty.”

“Noble dame, we respect your grief,” answered the Sieur de
Maulignage ; “but this brief ceremony will not long trouble your
repose ; your daughter will then remain with you until her fifteenth
year. It is of importance to the interests of the Count of Poitiers,
my lord, that this fortress should be in the hands of a chevalier
faithful to his cause. You can have nothing to say against the
husband whom I offer to the damosel of Rulamort: he is of good
lineage, of suitable age ; he promises to be a brave knight.”

He did not finish his eulogium. Little Agnes interrupted him
suddenly with a joyful cry, “ Aimery!” and escaping from her
mother’s embrace, she ran to meet the young squire, as, wan and
feeble, he tottered into the hall.

He advanced close to the barons, who were surprised at his
audacity, bending a knee before Eleanor, and inclining his head
to kiss her hand.

«Pardon me, my noble suzerain,” he said, “that I dare to
come here without being summoned. On my bed of pain strange
tidings reached me. I was assured that the damosel Agnes was on
the point of being betrothed to the man I see yonder. Is it true?”

“What matters it to thee, churl?” cried Jehan, who longed to
make him suffer for his boldness. ‘Since when has a villein
dared to raise his voice in the presence of his masters ?”

“T have no masters here but the noble Lady of Rulamort, whose
valiant husband (may God preserve his soul!) was pleased to
make me his vassal and liege-man, by granting to me the manor
of Valpierreuse,” replied Aimery, proudly. ‘‘ My noble mistress,
I have come here to prevent this marriage, which would be an
A DEMAND IN MARRIAGE. 165

impiety. I, Aimery, surnamed the Bright-of-face, squire, Sire de
Valpierreuse, holding fief of the seigneury of Rulamort—I here
accuse the Sire de Rochaigué and his son Jehan of having
traitorously attacked my lord Hugues de Rulamort. I accuse
Jehan de Rochaigué of having comported himself feloniously in
the combat, by treacherously attempting to hamstring the horse of
my said lord. And, finally, I attest that it was he, his father and
their men, who mortally wounded Sir Hugues, father of the damosel
of Rulamort.”’



“T accuse Jehan de Kocnaigue. *

“Tis false! ’tis a shameful lic!” cried both father and son
simultaneously.

““T attest it, and am ready to make my words good,’ replied
Aimery, calmly. ‘

“ Against whom, churl?” replied Jehan, haughtily. “ Thinkest

‘thou that one can place any faith in thy recent seigneury? Thou

wilt find no nobly born squire willing to measure himself with
such as thou !”

Eleanor extended her hand.
166 ' PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

‘““Peace, messieurs! Aimery is truly an esquire, and received
in fief, of my lord and dying husband, the land of Valpierreuse.
No one has the right to call him villein and churl. My lord baron,
you have heard the accusation. Can I give my daughter to her
father’s murderer?” :

She had risen to her feet, her eyes flashed, and, trembling all
over, she placed her arm round Agnes as if instinctively seeking a
support, while she held with a strong clutch the arm of Aimery,
who stood erect, and on his guard, prepared to defend her.

Great was the embarrassment of the Baron de Maulignage.
That the accusation was true, he knew enough of the two
Rochaigués to believe very probable ; but that Jehan, after having
killed the father, should espouse the daughter.and possess the
domain, his conscience was not so delicate as to take offence at.
Still it would have been pleasanter to have known nothing, and
he heaped silent maledictions on the head of the young man whose
inopportune denunciation of the murder had annihilated all his
projects. The accused, it is needless to say, uttered the most
energetic denials; and for a moment the baron conceived the idea
of pushing forward his plan,—of treating Aimery as a calumniator,
and insisting on an immediate marriage and the demission of the
fief. If he decided otherwise, it was because the murmur of the
vassals assembled in the great court was loud enough to reach: his
ears. The news of his proposition to their chatelaine had quickly
spread abroad, and the discontent was rapidly increasing. The'
Rochaigués were not loved; they were known to treat their
vassals harshly, and the vassals of Rulamort did not desire to have
them as masters: they loved the chatelaine and her daughter, and
were resolved that none should put any constraint upon them.
The Baron de Maulignage understood the situation ; he said to
himself that these devoted men, gathered in considerable numbers,
would have no difficulty in obtaining weapons, that the castle
garrison would: place themselves at their head, and that together
A DEMAND IN MARRIAGE. 167

they would soon make short work of him and his troop. He
saw, therefore, that patience was his best policy, and addressing
the Lady Eleanor.in the most courteous tones, he said:

“We must hope, noble lady, that this young squire is in error.
You have heard the Sieur de Rochaigué and his son repel his
accusation, and I am sure they will establish their innocence. We
will interrogate those who can in any way throw light upon the
subject, and as soon as the truth is known, will return to provide
for the security of your fief. Whereupon, noble lady, may God
have you in His holy keeping !”

The Baron de Maulignage rose, and made a sign to his two
companions to follow him. They descended the ample staircase,
and crossed the court under the fire of the wrathful glances of the
vassals of Rulamort. The Baron perceived that Aimery’s accusa-
tion was already known, and felt convinced that it was time for
him to depart. He remounted his war-horse, collected his escort
round him, and quitted without further delay the castle of Rula-
mort.

In her great hall, Eleanor, her strength and courage exhausted,
reclined on her fazteui/, caressing her child, and weeping, and
tenderly thanking the gallant Aimery.

“ Aimery, my child,” she cried, ‘‘ praise be to God for having
led your steps to this castle! You are the safety and the benedic-
tion of our house ; but for you, this vile felon had deprived me of
my daughter, and Sir Hugues would have shuddered with horror
in his grave. Be thou blessed, Aimery, by my noble husband in
heaven as by me on earth!”

At this moment old Milon returned into the hall. “They are
gone, madame,” he said.

“ They are gone, Milon! But they will return, without doubt ;
they will return in force, to tear my daughter from my arms and
give her to her father’s murderer. Haste! haste! visit the
ramparts, post sentinels everywhere; let all things be ready to
168 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

sustain a siege ; I will defend the castle. While I live, they. shall
not have my daughter !” : 5

Old Milon reverently kissed her hand.

‘‘ Reassure yourself, madame; the castle is strong, well provided
with provisions and arms, well defended ; you may sleep in peace.
Should they attempt to attack us, we will repulse them; and we
can well hold our ground until the strangers are driven from the
country. Your vassals are numerous and faithful; they will
support you; the wicked shall be punished, and our Lord Hugues
avenged.” :

““And I—I shall recover Franchise!” said Aimery. ‘ My
heart bleeds when I think that it is now in a felon’s hand, after
having done good service in those of so brave and loyal a
chevalier. It will need a great baptism of blood to cleanse it

£3?

from its pollution i


CHAPTER XVIIL

THE FIRST“ASSAULT,

N the South the war continued with various for-
tunes, but the vassals of Rulamort took no part in
it after the death of. their lord ; nor did the Baron
de Maulignage or Sir Guy and Jehan de Rochaigue
rejoin the royal forces. A messenger sent by the
Baron to Count Richard had informed him of all
that had passed, and it seemed to the Prince that
the capture of a strong fortress would be more
advantageous to him than the presence of the

chevaliers and their.troops in his army. He had sent them
orders, therefore, to remain in Poitou, and gain possession as
speedily as possible of the castle of Rulamort, by peaceful means

or military assault. 3 4

The Baron de Maulignage would have preferred to gain it by
the projected marriage between Jehan and the damosel Agnes.

He was not an iron-hearted or naturally cruel man, and he had
been much affected by Lady Eleanor’s courage and evident distress ;
but, like most of his compeers in those palmy days of feudalism,

he was keenly alive to the duties of a vassal towards the suzerain.

His suzerain was Richard of Poitiers; he owed him aid and

13


170 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

obedience, and thought himself compelled to insist that all who
depended on him, near or far, should obey Count Richard, and
contribute to his prosperity and power. As an Angevin, he
preferred the Plantagenets to the Barons of Aquitaine ; but it
Richard, again abandoning his father, had once more assumed
the character of friend and leader of the men of the South, the
Baron would have followed Richard unhesitatingly and without
scruple. In his eyes, the supreme virtue was the observance of
the feudal duty ; the worst crime, rebellion against the suzerain ;
and hence his sympathy for the widowed Eleanor was in sharp
opposition to his conviction that she shared the sentiments of her
late husband—a rebel, who had joined a shameful and traitorous
league to throw off the authority of his natural lord. It never
occured to the baron that the Poitevins looked upon Richard
simply as an alien imposed on their homage, and that they could
not feel towards him as towards a suzerain of their own race and
country ; with him the thought ever present was that they were
his vassals, that they owed him obedience, and that their rebellion
was a crime unworthy of pity.

And yet the accusation formulated by Aimery had disturbed
him greatly. Ifthe young squire spoke the truth, how could he
press on the marriage? That in the hazard of battle the Sieur
de Rochaigué or his son should have found himself face to face
with the lord of Rulamort, that he should have struck a deadly
blow in fair combat, would have been no,bar to the projected
union, though explaining and even excusing the repugnance of the
chatelaine to give her daughter to Jehan. But if there had been
foul play, if Jehan had treacherously attacked the unfortunate
cavalier behind his back, Jehan was no longer a loyal warrior, but
a vile and cowardly assassin, and Richard himself would refuse to
reward his victory with the lands and daughter of his victim.

The Baron de Maulignage set on foot, therefore, an inquiry into
the incidents of the skirmish which had preceded the great battle;
THE FIRST ASSAULT. 171

but the men-at-arms whom he questioned knew nothing: they
had lost their way that evening; their lord’s son had fallen in
with a churl who had pointed out to him the road; they had
returned in the direction of the camp, and had halted a moment
on the height to rest and refresh themselves ; then an armed troop
had attacked them, and been driven off. Nothing in this simple
narrative indicated foul play or treason. One man alone could
have enlightened the baron, namely the guide sent by Guy
de Rochaigué to draw Sir Hugues into the neighbourhood of the
English camp. But this man held his tongue, fearful lest he
should be punished as an accomplice in the treason. The others
- did not know even the names of their adversaries; and in the
rush and hurry of the combat, each man fighting for his own
hand, no one had observed the action of the bachelor Jehan in
gliding behind the hostile leader and attempting to hamstring his
horse.*

The Baron found also an opportunity of interrogating some of
the mercenaries of the lord of Rulamort; but though they well
remembered to have heard Sir Hugues exclaim, “‘ Treason! we
have fallen into a snare!” were wholly ignorant of the circum-
stances, and knew nothing of the person or persons who had led
them into it. Aimery alone had caught a momentary glimpse of
Jehan’s face, and Aimery alone was in a position to accuse him.
Between the witness of a youth of sixteen, sprung from the
ranks of the people, and the emphatic denials of the Sieur
de Rochaigué and his son, the Baron could not finally hesitate ;
and a month after the death of Sir Hugues, he decided on
summoning the Lady Eleanor to do her dewotr as his vassal.

The Lady Eleanor, meanwhile, had not wasted her time.
Convinced from the full particulars given her by Aimery of the

* The heavy armour of the knight rendered movement difficult. If thrown

from his horse, he was unable to spring to his feet and-continue his defence, but
fell an easy victim to his assailant.
172 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT. 2

combat in which Sir Hugues had met his death that the lords
of Rochaigué were his assassins, she was resolved to die rather
than consent to this hateful marriage. Not doubting that her
suzerain would return to the charge, and attempt to obtain by
force what he had not succeeded in securing by persuasion, she
placed Rulamort in an admirable condition of defence. And
when the dreaded day arrived, not a stone was wanting in the
solid masonry ; the place of arms was choked with pikes, axes,
maces, javelins; the granaries were full, as well as the byres; and
the garrison, well armed, were ready to defend to the death their
deceased lord’s daughter.

She, most innocent child, knew nothing of the ambition or
devotion of which she was alike the object. She continued to
wander about the great halls and corridors, singing in her clear,
fresh voice, and with her gambols brightening up the gloom that
rested on the castle. She had heard, indeed, that there was some
talk of marrying her to Jehan de Rochaigué, but she had con-
tented herself with an arch smile and a pretty pout, saying: “He
is wicked, I will not have him; when I am tall enough, I will be
married to my chevalier ;” and she had thought no more of it.

Aimery had entirely recovered from his wounds ; he had re-
sumed his arms, and practised himself in wearing the haubergeon,
to which he was entitled as a squire and possessor of a fief.. -
Truth to tell, the fief had not enriched him: its former owner
had found it so poor a living that at last he had abandoned it to
the reeds and thorns, and sought service among the men-at-arms
of the castle. But this was of little import to our gallant youth;
that land of Valpierreuse he loved as if it had been county or
duchy ; to him it was hope, the future, the right of one day
wearing helmet and shield, of winning his spurs, of conquering
his place in the great world, and avenging his father. Milon
was proud of his pupil, and called him, with a smile, “ Messire
Aimery.”
THE FIRST ASSAULT 173

Father Odon assisted the chatelaine in her preparations; but
strong as was the confidence he felt in the defences and defenders
of Rulamort, he knew the terrible chances of war, and had
despatched the day after the funeral of Sir Hugues a messenger
to Bertrand de Born. The messenger, however, had not returned,
and it was doubtful whether he had been able to fulfil his errand.
And, even if he had been successful, it was not at all certain that
the war would permit Sir Bertrand to hasten to the assistance of
Rulamort; battles succeeded battles, and the army of the League
could ill dispense with the services of one of its ablest and most
valorous leaders, who was always foremost in the welée, and
animated the men by his fiery strains. The castle of Rulamort,
therefore, must trust for its defence to its garrison and vassals.

One day the warder signalled the approach of a troop of
cavaliers.

The blast of a trumpet rung out beneath the castle walls; and
the leader, in reply to a question from old Milon, announced that
he was Poitou, herald of the Count of Poitiers, and that he had
come on the part of his lord and master. Milon announced the
arrival to the lady of Rulamort, and hastened to raise the port-
cullis and lower the drawbridge; after which, with the customary
ceremonial, he introduced the messenger.

The lady of Rulamort was seated in her chair of state, under ae
canopy of the great hall, with her daughter near her, and her ser-
vitors grouped around. The herald, who was attired in a tabard
glittering with gold and blazoned with the arms of Richard,—lions
with bloody jaws surrounding an iron tower,—made due reverence
before the chatelaine, and then, in a loud voice, spoke in his
seigneur’s name :—

“7, Poitou, herald-at-arms of the high and puissant lerd
Richard Plantagenet, Count of Poitiers and Duke of Aqut-
taine, summon the thrice noble dame, Eleanor de Maucastel,
cerdow of the valiant preux messire Hugues de Rulamort, to
174 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

give in marriage to her daughter, the damosel Agnes, heiress
to the fief and castle of Rulamort, the sir squire, Fehan de
Rochaigué, according to the order of his suzerains, the noble
Baron de Maulignage, and the high and powerful Count of
Poitiers, my master. And in case of refusal on the part of
the said noble dame, 1 release all her vassals and tenants
Srom their oath of fidelity, and summon them to open the
gates of the castle to the Steur de Maulignage, that he may
dispose at his pleasure of the heiress and the fief.”

The Lady Eleanor rose; she did not tremble, for what had
taken place was not unexpected, and she trusted in God to protect
her righteous cause. Therefore, in a firm voice she answered:

“T cannot accept for my daughter the husband whom her
suzerain proposes, until he has cleansed himself of the crime
imputed to him. The Sieur de Rochaigué and his son Jehan are
accused of having led my valiant lord Hugues de Rulamort into
the snare in which he perished ; and more, Jehan de Rochaigué is
accused of having traitorously attacked him in the back, him and
his horse. I hold the accuser to be sincere and true; let Jehan
de Rochaigué prove that he has led, or I will never consent to
give him my daughter.”

“Noble dame,” replied the herald, “the valiant Baron de
Maulignage has interrogated witnesses, and he declares Jehan
de Rochaigue innocent of your husband’s death. Whosesoever
the hand that struck him, the Sieur de Rulamort fell in loyal
combat. Oppose, then, no longer your suzerain’s will, or by force
of arms he will take possession of your castle.”

‘‘ My vassals are faithful; they will defend the widow and the
orphan. Say to the Baron de Maulignage, who oppresses those
whom he is bound to protect, that I appeal to God, and await
His judgment with humble and devout confidence.”

The herald saluted the Lady Eleanor, and retired without further
THE FIRST ASSAULT. 175

speech. His mission was only a formality ; the Baron de Maulig-
nage knew beforehand what Dame Eleanor’s answer would be, and
held himself ready to lay siege to the castle.

Next day the sun rose upon a stirring scene: the plain was
crowded with a multitude of warriors, chevaliers and footmen,
whose weapons gleamed with shifting lights at every movement.
As we know, the defenders of: Rulamort were not found unpre-
pared: they crowned the towers and ramparts with compact
masses of bowmen, all ready to begin,—the bow bent, and the
deadly shaft upon the string. At intervals, heaps of stones were
gathered ; and huge fires, the smoke of which was visible afar off,
seethed and crackled under the cauldrons for boiling the oil and
pitch destined to be poured in scalding streams upon the assailants if
they approached too near the ramparts. In the court were drawn up
the men-at-arms, prepared to profit by a favourable opportunity for
making a sortie. Dame Eleanor, holding the hand of little Agnes,
and both clothed in mourning garb, visited the posts, to assure
herself that all was in order, and to encourage her defenders. Of
this, indeed, there was no necessity ; it was enough to see her pass
by, so sad, so brave, and so beautiful, to inspire each warrior’s
heart with the resolution to die or conquer on her behalf. Father
Odon took charge of a spacious chamber fitted up for the reception
of the wounded, and undertook, as was his wont, to minister to
the wants both of soul and body. As for Aimery, it might be said
that he was everywhere at once. He had donned his haubergeon,
and assumed his casque and arms as an esquire ; but as of these
he could make use only in a hand-to-hand encounter with the
enemy, he had meanwhile slung his quiver over his shoulder, and
watched for the moment to discharge the ‘first arrow.

That moment was not long delayed. The army of the enemy
began to climb the hill. Huis archers led the van. When within
bow-shot they halted, and a cloud of arrows whirred through the
air, and fell at the foot of the castle wall: not one reached the goal,
176 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“What sorry marksmen!” shouted Aimery, and he laughed
merrily. :

He placed an arrow on his bow, drew the string the whole
length of his arm: swift sped the shaft, and an archer fell in the
front rank of the enemy. Cries of rage greeted the youth’s
prowess, and the archers, springing forward, approached nearer
to the castle, and discharged a second volley. ‘Their arrows were
not all wasted, so far, at least, as the defences of Rulamort were
concerned, for some fell within the ramparts. But not a man was’
hurt ; the garrison saw them coming, and took shelter behind the
battlements. They were not slow to reply, and this time more -
than one of the enemy were stretched on the ground. The battle
had begun.

“ Retire to your chamber, madame,” said old Milon to the Lady
Eleanor; ‘‘ you may be struck by an arrow—you or the damosel
Agnes.” ;

“TJ will put my daughter in safety,” replied the chatelaine,
“and then, my good Milon, I shall return. I fill here the place
of my dear lord; and I will share your dangers as he would have
done.” :

Meanwhile, the troop of hostile archers had opened their ranks
that the knights might pass to the front. At the head of the latter
marched the Baron de Maulignage, between Sir Guy de Rochaigué
and his son ; a squire bore his seigneurial banner, and those of his
vassals who possessed fiefs accompanied him, with helm on head
and buckler slung round neck, The ground re-echoed the heavy
tread of their iron-clad destriers, and their bright-coloured pennons
waved in the wind like jets of flame. They clomb the hill with a
clang like that of thunder; in their rear, sergeants and pikemen
carried ladders, while others dragged with lusty arms the rams
destined to open up a breach in the outer wall. The archers
continued to exchange flights of arrows with the men of the castle.
The hall over which Father Odon presided was no longer empty.
THE FIRST ASSAULT. 177

Every moment some wounded soldiers entered to have their hurts
bound up, after which they returned to the fray; others, more
grievously hurt, lay on the beds, suffering in silence their great
agony. Eleanor had come to Father Odon’s assistance ; like all
chatelaines, she was skilled in the art of washing wounds and
applying bandages; and her soft, low voice fell upon the ears of
the sufferers like dew on thirsty flowers. They asked for no
words of praise or cheer; their sole anxiety was to return to the
ramparts, and join in the battle. From time to time a page, sent
by old Milon, informed her how the battle was going. Already
the enemy had lost many of their bowmen ; a volley of missiles
flung from the ramparts of the castle had shattered one of their
machines. The noble lady of Rulamort might be of good cheer;
neither she nor her daughter would incur the slightest danger.

-Aimery, dazzled, fired by the sun, the fresh air, the combat, was
wild with rapture.

‘I have never before seen a castle besieged,” he said to Milon;
‘we fought always in the open field. What are those men yonder
carrying—ladders? Oh, then, they mean to mount the ramparts.
But you must first plant your ladders, my fine sirs; and our per-
mission—do ye think ye will get it? But, Milon, what is that -
huge machine ?”

“A balista ; they will use it to hurl stones at us. When you
see them crashing through the air, Aimery, lie down at once
under the parapet.”

“Where are the men who manceuvre it? Ah, they lurk behind.
No, one of them shows himself—good !” 2

The soldier indicated by Aimery was not conspicuous long. An
arrow from the young squire’s bow smote him in the neck, between
his iron cap and his jacket, and he fell. His companions, warned
by his fate, prudently took refuge in a kind of covered gallery,
which enabled them under shelter to continue their advance.

“Impossible to hit them now!” said Aimery, in a tone of
178 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

vexation. “But we, too, have balistas; why not bring them up
against yonder monster?”

“Ours are too small; in truth, I have never before seen one of
such a size as the enemy’s, We will take aim at the men as soon
as they are within reach. Attention, Gaucher! Observe those
men-at-arms and chevaliers upon yonder ridge: to the mangonels,
and let your aim be sure as the falcon’s when he strikes at the
owl.” P

A rain of stones, poured down from the mangonels, replied to
Milon’s order. Two squires were laid low; a horse, sorely
wounded, pranced and reared, and taking the bit in his teeth,
bore his rider afar from the press of battle.

“Good !” said Milon. ‘At it again, Gaucher. William, bid
your bowmen make the cavaliers their quarry; they may find out,
perchance, some chink or crevice in their armour. Beware, mes-
sire Aimery, yonder cursed machine is in travail.”

An enormous stone, launched from the balista, dashed in a
thousand fragments against the rampart, a few inches below the
place where Aimery and Milon stood.

“They aim too low,” remarked Milon, coolly, “and_ their
stones are not heavy enough to make any impression at such a
distance on our massive walls. All the same, ’tis 2 famous balista.
Have you seen what a huge stone—Aimery! why, where is he?
Not wounded, I pray and hope !”

Aimery had quitted the spot, and Milon soon discovered him
gesticulating and laughing gaily by the side of Gaucher, who had
ordered his men to reload the mangonels. The young squire
caused them to be arranged in a semicircle, and set so as to
converge on the hostile balista; while, leaning forward, he
watched the foemen advance a few paces, and then halt at what,
no doubt, they considered a sufficient distance.

“Now!” cried Aimery. Gaucher gave the signal, and the
mangonels, their triggers being loosened simultaneously, over-
THE FIRST ASSAULT. 179

whelmed the balista with a hurricane of stones. Sharp cracks
tollowed, and the men in charge of the machine issued from their
concealment, shouting furiously.

“See! see!” exclaimed Aimery, clapping his hands, “it is hit—
the machine! Another volley, and it will be shattered in pieces.
Load again, Gaucher !”

And digging into the heap of missiles, he helped to feed the
mangonels. The second discharge accomplished the ruin of the
balista, and hurled to the ground several of its conductors.



‘* Gaucher ordered his men to re-load the mangonels.”

“Noél! Noél!” cheered the defenders of Rulamort; and
Gaucher added: “‘ Messire Aimery, you have all the wit of a
knight!”

The assailants felt that they were temporarily foiled.

“Humph!” muttered the Sieur de Rochaigué; “a bad affair
Shall we defer the assault until to-morrow ?”

‘¢ We are close now to the outer works,” said Jehan; “ let us
make an effort to plant the ladders. Once at the top, we shall
have no more need of balistas.”
180 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“ A stroke of audacity sometimes succeeds,” rejoined the baron,
sententiously. ‘Sound trumpets, and forward !”

“ Forward, forward! for Plantagenet and Maulignage !” shouted
the assailants.

“God help Rulamort !” the besieged replied.

Then arose aformidable din. The besiegers launched projectiles
of all kinds against the raised drawbridge, which was too massive
to be shaken by such artillery. This attack, however, was only a
feint; and while it drew towards the menaced point the bulk of
the fighting men of Rulamort, a troop of the best warriors of
Maulignage, hastily filling up a small part of the fosse with stones,
earth, faggots, and even the bodies of the dead, strove to raise
their ladders against the lowest and most accessible quarter of the
ramparts. Gaucher discovered them, and cried: ‘To the rescue !”
Immediately, through every opening, a deluge of burning pitch,
red-hot stones, and various missiles crashed in among the enemy,
who incontinently took to flight,—all save those whom broken
heads, or legs, or arms held fast in the deep, broad moat,—and one
bold warrior, who, trusting in his stout helmet and mail of proof,
sprang up the ladder with swift feet, and reached the parapet,
shouting :

“Victory ! the castle is ours !”

He had boasted too soon. Gaucher leapt to the front, and
was about to precipitate him into the moat, when he fell back,
struck heavily bya stone. He rose promptly; but his adversary’s
foot was already on the parapet, and Gaucher, whose right arm
was benumbed by the blow, could not repulse him.

Fortunately, Aimery was close at hand. He saw Gaucher fall,
and ran thither just in time to face the daring assailant, who
exclaimed, brandishing his sword before him: “Is it thou, then,
my fine son of a churl ?”

“Traitor! felon! assassin!” shouted Aimery, recognising the
voice of Jehan, and dashing at him with such impetuosity that








Jehan de Rochaigué, losing his balance, fell headlong (4. 181).
THE FIRST ASSAULT. 181

Jehan staggered, recoiled, and, missing his stroke at Aimery, fell
forward upon the rampart. Mappily for him the ladder was be-
neath his feet; he raised himself immediately, descended a step or
two, and clutched the feet of his opponent, who was leaning over
to brain him with his axe. Aimery lost his footing and fell; but
in his fall caught hold of Jehan, who bent forward under his
weight and stumbled. Perceiving a round of the ladder within
his reach, Aimery seized it and hung there suspended; but deem-
ing it impossible to re-ascend,—inasmuch as Jehan, who was still
on the ladder, while he was underneath, would have been able to
smite off his hands with one blow of his sword,—he allowed him-
self to slide down with the agility of an ape, and arrived at the
bottom without wound or contusion.

As he could do no good service beneath the rampart, Aimery
hastened to extricate himself from the moat. Raising his eyes, he
saw that several archers, at Gaucher's summons, had hastened to
grapple with his assailant. One of them seized the top of the
ladder and shook it violently ; when Jehan de Rochaigué, losing
his balance, fell headlong to the foot of the rampart, and lay there
unconscious and motionless.


CHAPTER XIX.

D7 —s
eR “X<-S «DURING THE SIEGE.
Ss



OR a moment the idea occurred to Aimery of raising
up Jehan and making him prisoner; but not only
would it have been difficult for him to set him at
ransom, but the vassals of Rochaigué, having seen
their lord’s fall, were rushing to his assistance, and
would probably have made a prisoner of himself.
He judged, therefore, that his most prudent course
was to reascend with the utmost speed, profiting by
the ladder which the enemy seemed to have planted
there for his special behoof. Accordingly, he
clambered up it like a sailor up a mast or a
squirrel up a tree; and such nimbleness was in-
deed necessary, when the vassals of Rochaigué from
below were shaking it with all their might, as we
shake a ripe apple tree in the fulness of the orchard
harvest. Some, too, saluted him with showers
of stones ; others made a target of him with their
arrows, of which so many stuck in his haubergeoa
that he resembled a pincushion stuck full of pins,
while a flint hurtled against his morion in such


DURING THE SIEGE. 183

wise as to make him turn his head much more quickly than he
could have wished. In spite of all he reached the top; and as
soon as his feet stood firm on the rampart, Gaucher and his men,
who had hitherto held the ladder by sheer force, all pushed
together, and contrived to throw it back into the moat.

It was an unmerited stroke of good fortune for Jehan that it did
not fall in his direction ; but its descent for a moment startled and
drove back his rescuers, and afforded Aimery and the others time
. to resume their weapons. The Sieur de Rochaigué, hearing of his
son’s misadventure, carried away his suzerain
and his vassals, and the whole stress and fury
of the -battle rolled on that side of the castle.
Nothing could have been better for the stalwart
defenders of Rulamort: the effort of their
enemies was mainly directed to the rescue of
Jehan’s body, and they made no attempt to
fill up the moat or replace their ladders ; hence
they received more blows than they could well .
bear. Eventually, at the cost of many ‘‘ merry
men,” who lay dead beneath the grim rampart,
Sieur de Rochaigué recovered his son, and bore him apparently
lifeless out of the ééée.

A suspension of arms then took place. In the castle the wounded
were removed, and the dead numbered; the warriors rested after
the fatigue of battle ; while Dame Eleanor, followed by servitors
carrying jars of wines seasoned with honey and spices, traversed
‘the ranks of her defenders, and saw that they were served with
comforting drinks. They spoke of Aimery and his deeds of
prowess, and his combat on the ladder; and in the upper chamber,
where Michonne and Jehanne nad charge of her, the little Agnes,
informed by the servants whu went and came of the fall of her
chevalier, wept bitterly; no: would she be consoled until Thibaut,
the falconer, who brought for her amusement a fine gerfalcon

14


184 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

newly trained, informed her that Aimery had returned “safe and
sound.”

There was much discussionin the camp of theSieur de Maulignage,
who had withdrawn out of the range of the bowmen and slingers,
on the course which it was most expedient to adopt. Should they
continue the attack or retire? The Sieur de Maulignage was in
favour of another attack; but Guy de Rochaigué, leaning over
Jehan’s body, with one hand on his son’s heart, could think no more
of battle. If he lost his son, the heir of his name, the continuator
cf his race, what mattered to him the grey towers of Rulamort?
He himself had unlaced the helmet of Jehan, had freed him from
the weight of his body armour, and now holding over his lips a
steel morion, watched anxiously for the slightest breath upon
jts polished surface. But the steel remained as brilliant as a
mirror; nota spark of life seemed to light up Jehan’s countenance :
the father felt his heart ‘fail. He looked towards the well of St.
Agnes, whither he had sent for water, and cursed the dilatoriness
of the messenger. At length he returned, carefully carrying a helmet
filled with fresh cold water. . Sir Guy poured it on Jehan’s face, and
had the joy of hearing him utter a light sigh.

‘He lives!” he cried. “Water, more water! See, he opens
his eyes! Jehan, my son! where is your wound ?”

But Jehan was not wounded ; his fall had stunned him, and his
body was so bruised that he could not move himself without pain,
insomuch as he did not really know how great or how little was his
hurt. But an old squire, after having examined and probed and
handled, pronounced that he had broken nothing and dislocated
nothing. Filled with delight, the Sieur de Rochaigué caused a rude
litter to be constructed with spears, and Jehan placed upon it, and
prepared to convey him to his castle, without heeding the suggestion
of the Baron de Maulignage that they should renew the attack.

It was the suzerain who was compelled to yield ; and from the
high ramparts of Rulamort, the garrison saw the besieging army
DURING THE SIEGE. 185

reform in marching order, and retake the road by which it had
come. Milon left vigilant watchers on the turrets, and descended
to see the moat cleared out; he visited every embrasure, every
turret, every buttress ; assured himself that the defences had
not suffered ; and afterwards proceeded to make his report to the
lady Eleanor. 5

Thus passed the first assault delivered against the castle of
Rulamort.

Aimery dreamed that night of ladders, balistas, mangonels



«© Jehan was placed upon a litter.

and blows given and received. He was not dissatisfied with what
he had done, yet he strongly regretted that no sortie had been
attempted, so that he might have ‘‘christened” his harness of
esquire and his seigneurie of Valpierreuse. He thought also of
Jehan. If the felon had been killed by his fall, no great harm
was done; he had experienced the justice of God; but Aimery
would have been better pleased if he had punished him with his
own hand; and for this reason, rather than through any emotion
of Christian charity, I fear, he wished that Jehan was still alive.
Jehan, sorely bruised and battered by his fall, had reached his
186 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

castle of Rochaigué; had been put to bed, bathed and rubbed
with unguents ; and so long as he remained sick, his father thought
no more of battle.

Meanwhile, Richard of Poitiers, unable to understand why so
much time was wasted on a ‘‘trumpery castle,” sent messengers
incessantly to the Baron de Maulignage, commanding him to
complete the capture and rejoin his banner. The baron was not
a little wroth at his involvment in the affair, and would rather
have allowed Dame Eleanor to rear her daughter in peace than
make war upon her to compel her to marry her daughter contrary
to her wishes. But Richard had spoken, and he must obey.

The Baron therefore reappeared before Rulamort with his
vassals and all his pomp and circumstance of war; daily he
delivered attacks which were daily repulsed, but which weakened
the besieged more than the besiegers, because the former could
not supply the place of those they lost. Thus the duties imposed
on the men-at-arms daily grew more laborious as there were fewer
to share them ; and, overwhelmed with fatigue, they gradually lost
the hope of victory.

When the Sieur de Rochaigué and his son Arne they pushed
the siege more vigorously ; and at last it became only too clear to
the Lady Eleanor that her sole hope lay in succour from without.
But would this succour arrive in time? In all her prayers the
poor lady implored that it might be granted; she continually
promised it to the garrison, to the vassals who fought for her and
her daughter, to all those poor families which had fled for refuge
to the walls of Rulamort when the enemy had burnt their huts
and ravaged their fields. She perceived their heart-sick weariness;
not that one among them refused to shed his blood in her defence,
but that they suffered greatly, and longed to see the end.

On several occasions, when the enemy made an attack in the
rear of Rulamort, its vassals, swiftly lowering the drawbridge,
sallied forth against them and engaged in furious combat. Then,
DURING THE SIEGE, 187

indeed, the Baron de Maulignage would fall back with his troops
sadly diminished. Aimery, for whom such days were days of
rapture, became the virtual leader of his companions, though the
youngest amongst them, and did deeds of prowess worthy to be sung
by the minstrels for ever. Alas, useless deeds! He was always com-
pelled tore-enter the castle, leaving his dead on thehill, and prisoners
in the enemy’s hands; and Bertrand de Born did not arrive.

By this time the besiegers had also grown weary; there was
much murmuring in their ranks, and they said to one another
that the forty days of service which they owed to their suzerain
were nearly run out, and that the one-and-fortieth sun should not
see them upon the heights of Rulamort. Guy de Rochaigué knew
cof their discontent; he knew also that if the castle were to be
taken, it must be taken before the garrison received reinforcements ;
he knew that if he retired discomfited by a woman, he must
abandon all hope for his son and himself of the favour of Richard
Cceur-de-Lion. Force had not succeeded; would craft be more
successful ? It was by craft he had drawn the Lord of Rulamort
into an ambuscade; the recollection was encouraging: he medi-
tated a new stratagem.

Guy de Rochaigué was learned in physiognomics, and the
faces of traitors attracted him by a secret sympathy. He ordered
the prisoners to be patrolled before him, and spoke to them
kindly, commending their bravery, pitying them, promising them
good treatment; and while he spoke to them, he studied each
countenance, carefully seeking to discover their disposition and
character. Those whom he judged likely to become his tools, he
separated from the others, and continued to pass very frequently
by the place where they were guarded, so as to catch their
‘conversation and, if possible, turn it to his profit.

One evening, while he was listening, the name of Aimery
struck his ear; one of the prisoners was extolling the bravery
of the young esquire.
188 ' PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

* Silence !” answered a brutal voice. “Let me hear no more
of this fine fellow, this damoiseau, this darling of dames and
children! Wilt thou prate-of him even here? Pah, I am sick of
his name!”

“Thou dost not love him, Red Thomas, I know,” replied the
other; ‘and thou art in the wrong, for the other day he turned
aside a sword which might otherwise have left thee minus thy surly
head.”

“ Oh, and what if he did? Anybody would have done the
same for a fellow-soldier ; he has been praised enough for that bit of
fence. He cannot stir a finger, this mincing damoiseau, but every
tongue is let loose in admiration; while others, braver and older
soldiers, may get their skulls cracked without receiving a word of
approval.”

Guy de Rochaigué wanted nothing more. He entered abruptly,
on the pretence of visiting his prisoners, and had no difficulty in -
recognising Aimery’s enemy.

That same day he sent the prisoners under a strong guard to
his Castle of Rochaigué; but he detained Red Thomas, and
caused him in the evening to be brought into his presence.

** Art thou a vassal of Rulamort?” he inquired.

“No, messire; I was in the pay Sir Hugues de Rulamort, and
when he died, I remained at the castle.”

“Thou shouldst not regret having quitted it; a man-at-arms
does not hold himself as a prisoner because he is not rich enough
to pay transom. ‘Thou couldst easily find a pleasanter and more
profitable service than that of the Lady Eleanor: ’tis not a merry
life for a brave soldier to be immersed in a castle and com-
raanded by a woman.”

Red Thomas made a sign of assent, and eyed the Baron
steadily ; he perceived that he had something more important to ~
say. Rochaigué continued :

“Women have their tastes, which are not always those of a
DURING THE SIEGE. °189

chevalier; they will prefer to a brave fellow, rough to his enemies,
and always busy in his trade, the pretty mincing pages, who curl
their hair and sing /azs and sérventes, and have white hands and
a fair face. It were better to serve some chevalier of renown,
who knows how to. appreciate the merit of a valiant man of
battle.”

Thomas muttered some words of assent, mingled with coarse
imprecations against pages and squires. Sir Guy perceived that
he might venture to speak out. :

“¥ marked thee in the last sortie, that in which thou wast
taken. Thou art just such a man as I love to enlist under my
banner; thou wouldst never have been captured if thy foot had
not slipped. ‘Thou art free: I will not hold as prisoner so brave
a soldier. Wouldst thou like to serve Rochaigué ?”

Red Thomas asked nothing better, and was soon engaged
among Sir Guy’s men-at-arms. His conscience pricked him a
little; but, after all, he was neither vassal nor tenant of the Lady
of Rulamort. His sword was at the service of him who paid best;
well had he ever fought, without stint of blood or labour, for
each successive master. Dame Eleanor had had no reason to
complain that he did not earn his hire, and he had not willingly
been made prisoner. Now that he was taken, he could no longer
be useful to his mistress, and he reasoned that he did nothing
wrong in seeking a new engagement. A man-at-arms must live;
and who could blame him for choosing the most liberal master ?

At this juncture Jehan entered his father’s tent. He knew all
that had taken place, and in his first words congratulated Sir Guy
on securing so stalwart a recruit.

‘“We must have done now,” he said, “with yon castle of
Rulamort, and hasten to re-join the army in the south. Ah, it is
there that one can strike a good blow! It is there that life is
worth living—in those rich, sunny towns where one finds every-
thing one wishes. What rich wives! what bright smiles! Plague
190° PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

on it, that yonder mouldy walls hold out against an assault. We
must take them in some other fashion.”

“Ay, some secret passage, some unguarded point—has
Rulamort any subterranean passages? Dost thou know of such,
Red Thomas?”

He shook his head.

“If there be any, the Lady of Rulamort alone knows the
entrance. But wait. Ah, yes, I know well a spot near the stables,
where the castle rock projects across the fosse: ‘tis considered
inaccessible, and therefore is not closely watched. But I think that
a resolute man, well-acquainted with the place, might contrive to
scale it, and once on the summit, he could throw a ladder to his
comrades. Then, sliding down the roof
of the stables, they would find them-
selves within the first enclosure; the
garrison is greatly weakened, and they
would have little difficulty in seizing the
gate-tower and lowering the drawbridge.
By having a strong force concealed close
at hand——”

“T comprehend thee,” said Sir Guy.
‘‘ But this resolute man, where shall we
fnd him? Wilt zou undertake this deed
of dering-do P” :

“Why not, messire? Yes, it is just
such an enterprise as a brave man loves. This very night, if you
will, Iam ready. But you will not injure tle Lady of Rulamort?
She is ‘truly a noble and courageous lady !”

“Not a hair of her head shall be harmed. Her daughter will
become Lady of Rochaigué, and she herself will remain mistress
of Rulamort. As for thyself, thou shalt have liberal largesse and
masters worthy of thee. Get ready thy arms, and to-night——”


CHAPTER XX.

BY Sy THE POOR MOTHER.



T was night; a summer’s night, soft and misty,
without stars or moon. The Sieur de Maulignage
and his vassals lay encamped in the plain, and the
sentinels of Rulamort could not distinguish their
tents from the clumps of trees, the bushes, and the
green knolls, for all their fires were extinguished, and
it seemed as if the whole army were asleep. Dame
Eleanor, attended by old Milon, had made her usual
round of the castle walls: everything was in order ;

the g.:ards were at their posts; and as she retired to her chamber,

she whispered to her faithful veteran: “Go and rest yourself,

Milon; we shall not be attacked to-night.”

Meanwhile a troop of cavaliers, armed to the teeth, had been
detached from the hostile force. Not a sound betrayed their
passage ; no clank of arms ; not even the tread of their destriers,
whose hoofs had been enveloped in straw to deaden their sound.
They took a narrow bye-way, which, by a détouvr of some length,
led to a point about three hundred paces from the castle, and .
halted in a hollow, where a grove of aspen trees hid them
from the most watchful eyes. There they remained motionless,
silent, and waited. ®


192 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Some thirty minutes had passed, and a sharp cry rose in the
castle court.

“Treason! Milon! Gaucher! William! To the rescue! The
enemy is in the castle!”

The cavaliers looked at their chief.

_ «Qn, on, my father!” said one of them, gathering up the
bridle of his steed.

“Patience, fair son, you are too hasty in your enterprises ;
wherefore the other day you nearly lost your life in the attack.
Wait until the drawbridge is lowered; prithee, how would you
cross the moat?” :

Jehan did not reply, but listened intently to every sound from
the castle. It was easy to understand that Red Thomas had
scaled the rock and lowered the ladder to his companions. They
had descended into the court-yard by the stable roof; but the
drawbridge was not let down, and the calm night air was broken
with rude echoes of war cries, and groans, and clashing weapons,
and the fall of heavy bodies. The din increased; evidently the
defenders of the castle, roused from their first sleep, had seized
their arms, and rushed towards the scene of action: the combat
was prolonged, and Jehan trembled with impatience.

“ They will kill them all before they can open the gate to us,”
he murmured. “Were we on foot, it would be well for us to
follow Red Thomas by the road he took ; the ladder must be there
still.”

“Thy counsel is good, fair son,” answered the Sieur de
Rochaigué. ‘Macaire, Vacher, do you know the rock by
which our men have passed? Yonder to the left, behind the
stables ?”

“ Assuredly, my lord !”

“Well, take with you all the pikemen, and see if the ladder be
there still; if it be, hasteri to the support of your comrades, and
lower for us the drawbridge. Lose not a moment. Away!”
THE POOR MOTHER. 193

Meanwhile. the garrison of Rulamort fought like brave and
faithful men. Aimery, already weary of idleness,—for two days
had passed without fighting,—had left his bed in the middle of the
night to see if no danger were on foot ; he it was who had given
the alarm, for he had reached the courtyard just as Thomas and
his men appeared on the roof of the stables. He had about him
no other weapon than a dagger; but throwing himself on the first
man who reached the ground, he struck at him, tore out of his
band his battle-axe, made use of it to cleave his head to the chin,
and turned swifty to confront the others. No doubt he would
have done his devoir merrily, if he could have encountered them
one by one; but he was quickly surrounded; and, commending
‘his soul to God and St. Agnes, thought only of winning his
knightly spurs before he died: there would not be wanting in
Paradise noble dames to buckle them to his heels! Such was his
youthful fancy, not unnatural to a mind fed on the traditions of
chivalry.

But he was not destined to die that day. Milon, who always
slept, as the proverb has it, ‘with one eye open,” was quickly
on the alert, and summoned to the affray all the men-at-arms he
could collect on that side of the castle; and Red Thomas, who
at first had forgotten himself in his fierce desire to slay the youth
of whom he was so madly jealous, remembered the object of his
enterprise. Rallying his comrades, he made towards the draw-
bridge ; but, divining his intention, Milon barred the way, and a
desperate struggle ensued.

Had Red Thomas received no reinforcements, the issue could
not have been doubtful; and Milon recovered his coolness as he
saw the castle soldiers come up well armed and gradually beat
back the assailants. But suddenly, like an Alpine avalanche, the
body of pikemen, led by Vacher and Macaire, descended the
roof of the stables, crossed the court, overthrowing all in their
passage, and gained possession of the drawbridge before any
194 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

definite effort could be made to resist them. A hoarse rattle of
chains was heard; the drawbridge fell into its place; and imme-
diately, like a peal of thunder, came the furious gallop of the
horsemen, who awaited this signal, and who, having no longer any
need of secrecy, dashed forward at the topmost speed of their destriers.

Milon was covered with blood. At the fall of the drawbridge,
he knew that all was lost. He lowered his sword, and addressing
his comrades, said :

“Who is willing to die here to check their advance for a few
moments? ”

“T1” “T1" « And I!” was the immediate answer of several
devoted spirits.

“Thou, my brave Gaucher! Well, I return in a moment; then
I, too, have a duty; but I must have time to save our beloved
mistresses. Gaucher, Thierry, and you, remain here; the rest
will defend the second enclosure as best they can. Messire
Aimery, follow me—nay, obey me, I insist upon it—and it is for
the last time!” :

Aimery was chagrined at his withdrawal from the fight, but he
did not dare to resist the will of old Milon, and followed him
into the interior of the castle. The old man, exhausted by his
loss of blood, could scarcely steady his steps; Aimery threw his
arms around him, and carried him to the door of the lady Eleanor’s
chamber.

The chatelaine was astir. Wakened by the clash of combat,
she had sprung from her bed; and now, with feverish hands, she
was collecting her most precious jewels, while her women hastily
dressed the little Agnes, who, still half asleep, abandoned herself
softly to their arms.

The appearance of Milon, wan and feeble, revealed to the lady
of Rulamort that all was lost. She advanced towards him.

“We are conquered, Milon?” she faltered; ‘‘has the time to
die arrived?”
THE POOR MOTHER. © 195

‘‘For me, my dear mistress, yes; for you, no, no! Retire
quickly into the donjon with the damosel; your faithful vassals
will defend you to the last. Stoop, madame—listen.”

He had fallen on his knees, unable any longer to support
himself. Eleanor bent over him, and received his last broken
words,

“The subterranean passage . . . take Aimery . . . brave, loyal,
true. Farewell, noble mistress !—I go to rejoin my master .

Oh, how I loved you!”

He slipped from Aimery’s arms, and fell heavily on the ground.
In an emotion of reverent pity for the old man who died ‘in her
defence, Eleanor knelt beside him, and pressed on his death-cold
forehead an almost filial kiss. Milon felt it, for a happy smile
brightened over his face. It was but a momentary gleam, which
soon disappeared in the grey shadow of death. ,

Eleanor arose, looked around her, listened. The fight still
went forward: alas, how many lives might not each minute of
resistance cost! A glance from the window showed her the
outer court filled with armed cavaliers. She rapidly ran over the
number of defenders probably remaining to her: to hope for
victory was madness. Her resolution was promptly taken; and
making a sign to Aimery, who, standing near the dead body of old
Milon, awaited her orders, she said:

‘Hither, Sire de Valpierreuse. May I rely on your faith and
entire devotion ?” ;

“ Even to the death !”’ answered Aimery, bowing before her.

“Listen to me, then. We are lost; in a few moments our
masters will be here. But I will not give my daughter to her
father’s murderer! No! nor can I—no, Aimery,.I have not
the courage to—to—slay my child, and deliver her from this
ignominy !”

Her anguish almost choked her utterance. Aimery bent a knee
to the ground before her, and respectfully kissed her hand.
1906 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“Order, lady, and I obey.”

“T go to seat myself in my state-apartment, and await my
suzerain: he will do with me as he pleases. But Agnes shall no
longer remain here. Aimery, I entrust her to you! I will show you
the entrance to the underground way, never known to any one but
the lord of the castle. You will not forget it, Aimery ; preserve
the secrecy of it that you may teach it one day to my daughter,
when she shall return as a mistress to the walls of Rulamort.
Take my daughter, and follow me !”’

She herself placed Agnes in his arms, after wrapping her up in
a mantle to shield her from the cold; then she snatched a torch,
and preceded the young man. The women would fain have accom-
panied her.

“Remain here,” she said to them, “I return directly. Let the
state-chamber be prepared for. the reception of our guests. Go
you, and bid our men stand firm until I give the order to sur-
render !”

She issued from the chamber. On the threshold she met Father
Odon.

‘‘ Whither go you, my daughter?” heasked. “ You cannot fly ;
the enemy is everywhere.” :

““T know it, my father. Come with me, I have no time to
explain; come!”

She descended a flight of stairs that led to the vestibule of the
ground-floor, opened a door, and. passed into a narrow corridor.

Aimery and the chaplain followed. Turning round, she said to
Father Odon :

“Close the door behind you, my father.”

The chaplain obeyed. They soon arrived in the lower hall of
the donjon, a vast, square apartment, damp and cold, which was
never inhabited. Eleanor made them shut the door behind them,
and, approaching the wall, she groped and searched for some
time, until she had found a stone which she recognised. She










She groped and searched for some tim: (J, 196).
THE POOR MOTHER. 197

pushed a hidden spring; the stone revolved on itself, and disclosed
a narrow aperture. Introducing into it her hand, she worked a
second spring; a door flew open, and a current of cold air
flickered the flame of her torch.

“This,” she said to Aimery, “is the entrance to the subter-
ranean passages; look at it well that you may know it again.
There are a few steps to descend ; a lamp will light you for some
time, afterwards you must advance in darkness; but there are
neither rocks nor holes ; the road is straight, you cannot stumble
and you cannot stray. Forward, until you reach the daylight ;
you will have no difficulty in pushing aside the brushwood that
covers the outer entrance. Once in the open country, remember
to march with your back to the sun. You will find asylums
everywhere ; no one of the vassals of Rulamort is capable of
betraying the daughter of his lord. As soon as may be, change
your clothes and those of Agnes for the garb of peasants. This.
purse, which contains all I possess in gold and jewels, will enable
you to complete your mission. This signet-ring which T put on
your finger will secure you the confidence of the Superior of the
monastery of Sainte-Croix, at Poitiers; she was my dearest friend,
the companion of my childhood, and will welcome like a daughter
the child of Eleanor de Maucastel. Her name was Berengariz
de Savignac, but she is now known as Mother Monica: remember
these names, I charge you. It is more than my life which I entrust
to you, Aimery; but I know my confidence is not misplaced,.
and that you will save my daughter, if to save her be possible.
Go, the time passes. May God and St. Agnes be with you!”

She descended the staircase, which seemed to sink deep into:
the earth. At the bottom, in a niche, she found a lamp, which
was always kept ready in case of any sudden danger. She
kindled it; a feeble glimmer broke on the obscurity of the
gallery. Passionately did she shower her kisses on the fair head
that rested upon Aimery’s vigorous arm. ‘‘ Farewell!” she sighed,

15
198 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

and made a sign to the young man to depart. He began his
march; the light weight of the sleeping child was no fatigue for
his robust arms, and he rapidly disappeared. Eleanor, with dry
eyes, remounted the stairs, entered the hall, and closed the secret
door. Then the strength which had sustained her suddenly gave
way ; she stretched her hands instinctively in search of some
support, and fell prone upon the ground before Father Odon
could render her any assistance.

Meantime, the assailants, once they had broken into the court-



‘* The door yielded to the repeated blows.”

yard, had quickly disposed of the handful of brave men they had
found there; and the gate of the second enclosure, which was not
defended by a moat, yielded to the repeated blows of the axes and
maces, and quickly admitted the rush of cavaliers. Yet it was
gallantly held; the few who remained of the men-at-arms, assisted
by the servitors, rained upon the aggressors all the projectiles they
could collect. Every moment might be heard an imprecation,
followed by a fall, and the troops of Maulignage and Rochaigué
counted a combatant the less; but with their great numerical
THE POOR MOTHER. 199

superiority they could afford some loss ; while the empty ranks of
the castle soldiers were not filled up. At length a tremendous
crash was heard ; the gate was driven in. Horsemen and footmen
rushed over the ruins, and engaged hand-to-hand with the besieged ;
and the women, who had looked on the terrible scene from the
windows of the grand hall, where they awaited their mistress, fled in
dismay to the dozjon, the last available retreat, in case of disaster,
for the chatelain and his family. Their shrieks and the sound
of their footsteps did more to rouse Dame Eleanor from her swoon
than all the cares of Father Odon, who vainly rubbed her hands,
and collected, to bathe her temple, the water which trickled drop
by drop from the humid walls. The chatelaine opened her eyes.

“God be praised!” murmured Father Odon; “she lives! To
your feet, my daughter ; you have still many duties to fulfil. They
are crying for you above, and it is not fitting they should find you
here.”

“ No, my father! ! thé secret—the door of the subterranean
faltered the poor lady, raising herself with an effort. ‘The door
was shut close; she breathed more freely. Supported by the aged
priest, she contrived to regain her feet, to stagger through the
corridor, to make her way back to her chamber. She caused the
window to be opened, and taking in her hand the horn of Sir
Hugues, applied it to her lips, and blew a prolonged note. At
this appeal the combatants paused, astonished.

“Speak to them, my father,” said Eleanor. “Let my men lay
down their swords: the lady of Rulamort awaits her suzerain in
the great hall of the castle.”

Father Odon, in a loud voice, repeated the orders of the
chatelaine. Guy de Rochaigué hesitated.

‘Some treason may be brewing,” he said to the Baron de
Maulignage.

‘‘Ha, what matters? Are there not enough of us?” replied the
Baron.


200 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

They dismounted from their destriers, and, followed by a
numerous escort, proceeded towards the hall. Eleanor, pale as
the dead, awaited them, seated in her chair of state. She had
removed all traces of disorder from her attire, and ordered the
return of her women from the donjon. The hall was lighted by
torches as gaily as on a feast-day, and in their glare the widow,
in her long mourning veils, appeared paler still. When the Baron
de Maulignage entered, she arose, descended the steps of the dais,
and bent the knee before him.

“T am at your mercy,” she murmured ina broken voice, “ I and
my castle.”’

“Rise, noble lady,” said the Baron hastily, too well pleased
with his success to cherish any wrathful feelings against his
beautiful enemy. ‘It would be displeasing to heaven if I caused
the slightest injury to so noble and so illustrious a lady. The
night is far advanced; enjoy the repose Of which you have such
great need. To-morrow, at sunrise, your venerable chaplain shall
bless the marriage of our vassal Jehan de Rochaigué with the
damosel of Rulamort.”

Eleanor bent her head without replying. The Baron interpreted
the movement as one of acquiescence, and continued :

“Where is the young fiancée? Asleep, without doubt: no
sounds disturb the happy slumber of that innocent age! To-
morrow, noble dame; be assured beforehand of your suzerain’s
clemency.”

And the Baron de Maulignage, courteously saluting the Lady
Eleanor, passed out of the hall, attended, among others, by Sieur
Guy de Rochaigué, to whom his son whispered in a low voice :

“The Lord Baron is too gallant and flexible; it is past mid-
night, and we might have celebrated the marriage immediately.
Let us make haste to set sentinels everywhere, and guard all the
passages; the chatelaine is cunning, and I am sure she means to
escape us.”
THE POOR MOTHER. 201

In the grand hall, Eleanor, weeping with joy, said to-Father
Odon :
‘God is on our side, my father! It is He who grants us this

delay. Seven hours are gained; they will ensure the safety of my
little Agnes !”



ZAIN,
CHAPTER XXI,

GONE!



the lady of Rulamort to retire to her rest; but
he did not act upon this counsel for himself, and
was out and about the whole night. Indeed, he
had much to do. First, he must send to his camp
for all his men-at-arms, to prevent any attempt at
» resistance or revolt on the part of the conquered ;
next, he was eager to celebrate the marriage of
Jehan with Agnes, that he might rejoin Richard
the Lion-Heart, with the news that Rulamort was in his hands.
Now he was unwilling that this marriage should seem to have
been effected by surprise or constrained by force, and it was for
this reason that he had not, even at midnight, dragged the unfor-
tunate mother and her daughter to the chapel. He wished the
ceremony to be invested with due pomp and circumstance, and
performed in the full splendour of the sun ; hence the remaining
hours of night were not too long a time for clearing away the
traces of battle, and brightening with festal show the conquered
castle. 5
Jehan was very useful to him in the execution of his design.
As we know, he had long resided at Rulamort, and could point
without hesitation to the chambers where the vessels of gold and
GONE ! 203

silver were stored, the precious stuffs and the beautiful tapestries.
When the sun rose, it shone on pavements carefully cleansed, and
blushing no longer with a single drop of blood. From the chapel
down to that of the great hall, through the courts, the vast corridors,
the staircases and the vestibules,—the route to be traversed by the
young couple after the ceremony, on their way to occupy their
seigneurial throne and receive the homage of the vassals,—was
covered with rich carpets, strewn with all the flowers the woods
and plains could furnish. The chapel was hung with silken
draperies of brilliant colours, and illuminated as if for the Easter
or the Christmas festival, while the incense, burning in chafing-
dishes of silver, filled the air with its pungent perfumes, ascending
in rolling clouds of smoke. At the place where a few weeks”
before the mortal remains of Hugues de Rulamort had received
the last benedictions of the Church, a platform had been erected,
and two frie-Dieux, covered with gold-embroidered cushions, were
placed side by side. The chapel began to fill: the vassals and
tenants of Maulignage and Rochaigué entered, in their holiday
clothes ; for their suzerain, when proclaiming his ban of war for
this expedition, announced to all that he invited them to the
nuptials, and that they must equip themselves accordingly ; among
their baggage, therefore, they had brought the necessary orna-
ments and attire. The faithful vassals of Rulamort were also
present, unarmed, and compelled by the victors to ‘‘assist” at the
ceremony: they stood together in a sad and gloomy group,
dreaming, even in that holy place, of a day of vengeance, and
casting on all the fatal pomp looks of abhorrence and contempt.
In the chamber reserved for the noblest guests,—the chamber
once occupied by Bertrand de Born,—the Baron de Maulignage
was ready, brave in velvet and silk and ermine, in fine cordovan
shoes with long turned-up points, and a bonnet of vair enriched
with orfevry and precious stones. Not less sumptuously costumed
was the Sieur Guy de Rochaigué; and as to young Jehan, about,
204 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

though a simple squire, to receive the homage of the vassals of
Rulamort, he was decked out in a manner worthy of his new
rank; he wore even the dagger, the mantle, and the cap of ceremony
of the last lord of Rulamort, thus taking possession beforehand of
his heritage.

The three personages, attended by a brilliant suite, descended
the great staircase. On their way they met Father Odon, and his
face, emaciated by much watching and sorrow, his long beard, his
robe of serge all sprinkled with blood, formed such a contrast to
their bravery, that Jehan, thinking he designed to insult them,
grew furious, and throwing himself right before him, cried :

“Wa! fair sir monk, is this the hour and the place to defy us
by such funereal show? Why delay you to strip off this shabby
frock and array yourseif for the altar?” ;

Father Odon raised his head and eyed him calmly.

“My son,” he said, “I have just closed the eyes of the last
victim of your ambition. Those hours which you have em-
ployed in adorning your person, I have passed in tending the
wounded and exhorting the dying. The spots which you see on
the robe of a minister of peace should not offend your eyes,—they —
are the marks and tokens of your victory ; but God has counted
them: take care in the day of His justice, Jehan de Rochaigué !”

And throwing off the hand which the young man had rested on
his arm, Father Odon continued on his way, before Jehan, over-
whelmed, could find a word in reply.

“ Arrogant monk!” murmured Sir Guy. ‘ Where is the lady of
the castle now?”’

‘From her chamber a door opens into the chapel,” replied his
son, “close to the entrance to the seigneurial seat ; it is always by
this door she passes in. Come, my father; although this monk
should delay, it becomes us to be the first to arrive at the
rendezvous.”

At a signal given by the Baron de Maulignage, the bell of the
GONE ! 205

belfry shook its silver notes upon the air, and the procession
began its march. The vassals of both parties shouted ‘“Noél!”
but, in spite of their acclamations, never had bridal cortége a less
joyous air. Jehan took his seat on one of the prie-Dieux, with his
father by his side; the Baron de Maulignage stood close to the
other frie- Dieu, as representing the father of the damosel.

At the same moment two doors opened wide: through one
Dame Eleanor entered, clothed in widow’s
weeds and the garb of mourning; through the
other, behind the altar, entered the chaplain
in his sacerdotal robes. But he did not wear
the cope of white silk, richly embroidered,
appropriate to the occasion; he presented
himself to say a marriage mass, and was at-
tired according to the usage of the mass for
the dead.

‘‘What means this?” exclaimed simulta-
neously the Baron de Maulignage and the
two Rochaigués; ‘where is the damozel of Rulamort?”

The priest, with the pyx* in his hands, had advanced in front
of the altar, and Dame Eleanor at the same
time reached the extremity of the seigneurial
bench, in the middle of the chapel. She
bowed profoundly before her suzerain. Then
raising herself to her full stature, she looked
him in the face, and in a firm voice said:

“My lord, for the second time I submit
myself to your mercy,—myself, my life, my
estate; but never shall the innocent daughter
of Hugues de Rulamort swear faith as a wife
to the murderer of her father.”





* The pyx is the vessel which, in the Catholic worship, contains the
consecrated elements—‘‘ the host” (from fostéa, a sacrifice).
206 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

The three men sprang forward, pale with rage.

“What folly is this?” cried Guy de Rochaigué. “We do not
need this woman’s yes; let the child be brought forth, and let us
make an end!”

“‘My daughter, Sieur de Rochaigué, is out of your coils ; lost for
me, but saved for life eternal. She shall not be a murderer’s wife ;
she shall not be taught the lessons of crime and perjury. Where
she is you cannot seize her; where she is you shall not know!”

She had moved towards her persecutors, and in her triumphant
grief was so splendidly beautiful, that the Baron de Maulignage,
struck with admiration and pity, fell back respectfully. But Jehan,
carried beyond his self-restraint by seeing his prey escape him,
seized her arm roughly, and grasped it as if he meant to break it.
Eleanor bent with the pain, but uttered not a cry, and looked at
Jehan with calm contempt. Father Odon, chalice in hand,
advanced. ;

“In the name of the Living God, Squire de Rochaigué, unloose
that woman. You are not her lord, you are not her judge.
He who reverences not the weak is unworthy far ever of the belt of
knighthood. Lord Baron de Maulignage, protect your prisoner !”

At the voice of the aged chaplain, Jehan released Dame
Eleanor ; but he bounded like a wounded wolf, threw himself on
Father Odon, and smote him in the face.

A shudder of horror ran through the chapel, and on every side
arose the ominous cry of “Sacrilege!’”’ Aghast at the recklessness

of Jehan, the Baron de Maulignage and the Sieur de Rochaigué~

hastened to intervene; they seized the young man with strong
hands, and held him between them. His father murmured in his
ear: : ;

“Madman! wouldst thou turn all our vassals against us?
What matters it to thee after all? We have the domain, which is
all we want ; thou art not in love with the child!”

Father Odon had staggered a few steps, while drops of blood
GONE! . : 207

trickled down his face; but he had not let go the chalice, and
still stood like a bulwark in front of the dismayed chatelaine.
A dead silence prevailed in the holy place. Recovering himself,
the chaplain addressed the Baron.

“In the name of our Lord, who died for us upon the: bitter
cross, I charge thee, Baron de Maulignage, protect thy prisoner !”’

The Baron stretched forth his hand.

“JT swear it upon the sacred host,” he said, “the lady of



“ They seized the young man.”

Rulamort shall be safely tended in my castle. But, as a rebellious
vassal, I am forced to treat her as a prisoner, until she makes
known to us her daughter's hiding-place. Prepare yourself, lady,
to follow us immediately. You, Sieur de Rochaigué, will remain
here with your son to guard and govern the territory of Rulamort
in the absence of the damosel Agnes, betrothed to messire
Jehan. That, I think, is all which it remains for us to do.”

The monk stopped him.

“Grant me, if you please, a grace, lord baron. Permit me to
208 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

accompany the lady of Rulamort, that she may have near her at
least one friend.”

“Monk, you are more money of chivalry than many who wear
the golden spurs. I willingly accede to your request.”

‘* My thanks are yours, monseigneur; and now—you asked this
morning for a marriage mass; but ’tis a mass for the dead I am
about to say,—a mass for the repose of the souls which last night’s
unhappy battle sent prematurely before their Judge. Join your
prayers to mine, my brothers; implore the mercy of God on those
souls snatched from life in the midst of a work of blood and
violence. May the Lord inspire us with the love of peace, and
teach us the forgiveness of one another’s trespasses !”

And the old man, kneeling at the foot of the altar, chanted with
a broken voice, “ Legudem eternam dona ets /” and all who were
present, forgetting for a moment in that “ House of God” their
rage and hatred, united their voices with his, and prayed for the
dead.

Eleanor, her head bowed between her hands, prayed for the
living. What had become of Aimery and her daughter? Had
they found their way out of the subterranean passages? Were
they far away—had they no longer any cause for alarm? — She felt
her tears rising: to conceal her perturbation she opened her
missal at hazard, and her heart thrilled with joy and hope. It
was then a popular superstition to seek for oracles in the Holy
Books. Eleanor, without any such thought or intention, had
‘* drawn the lots,” and she read at the top of the page:

“ He shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in thetr
hands they Shae bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot
against a stone.

’Twas as if a voice from Heaven had said to her: ‘“ Agnes is

saved !’? She thanked God, and she hoped.

Meantime a man glided furtively from the chapel, hastily
armed himself, and stole from the castle, murmuring:
GONE! 209

“The Baron de Maulignage will give, without doubt, a fine
recompense to him who shall recover the damosel. I know her—
I. To the chase then! Red Thomas is a skilful falcon; he will
know how to strike and bring back this fair quarry; and then—
why should not I become a lord like the rest of them?”




CHAPTER XXIEL

THE FUGITIVES.




ane the unhappy Lady Eleanor, kneeling before
( her suzerain in the great hall of her castle, which
had been taken by treason, confessed herself van-
quished and submitted to the victor’s law, Aimery,
“) still carrying the child Agnes, marched with a rapid
step through the subterranean passages of Rulamort. :
The lamp cast a feeble gleam on the profound dark,
ay and lighted up the humid walls, whence issued drops
~ of ice-cold water. The bats which nestled in the
holes of the vaulted roof, aroused by the light and the unaccus-
tomed sound of footsteps, flew about heavily, and with their
hairy wings brushed the young adventurer’s head. The under-
ground gallery was pervaded with a mouldy smell, while the air
felt bitterly cold ; in a few moments Aimery was half frozen, and
wrapped up Agnes in his mantle with greater care. ‘The child
slept still, as if rocked in a cradle; and Aimery rejoiced, for he
feared her questions, her alarm, her grief, if she should awake in
so gloomy a spot, separated from her mother, and carried she
knew not whither. He quickened his steps: fortunately his arms
were as strong as Agnes was small and delicate.

As for himself, his brain was perplexed by such a rush of
thoughts that he had no leisure to feel fatigued or to be conscious
THE FUGITIVES. _ 211

of the bruises he had sustained in the mé/ée. At first he was
dissatisfied to be withdrawn from the clash of spears; it seemed
to him a craven’s part to hide himself in the bowels of the earth
while his comrades were fighting on the surface. His conscience,
however, soon reassured itself: the Lady Eleanor had chosen him—
him, the son of the armour-smith, the friendless orphan,—to-entrust
to him that which she held dearest in the world ; and the more
surely to indicate her confidence, the better to give him to under-
stand that she regarded him as ‘‘a man of heart,” almost as a
chevalier, she had called him ‘‘ Sire de Valpierreuse,” instead of
simply saying ‘‘ Aimery,” as had been her wont. As he reflected
on this extraordinary confidence, Aimery felt himself grow several
inches higher, and his heart swelled with proud delight. Then
thinking of the sweet innocent child, so weak and so beloved,
the poor dove whom he was charged to protect against the cruel
kite, he felt towards her such a flow of tenderness, that one might
almost have said that the Lady Eleanor, in giving him her daughter
to take charge of, had at that same time given him the heart to
love her; and he was more than ever ready to sacrifice his life for
the lady and damosel of Rulamort. :
Aimery continued his march, but he was compelled to slacken
his steps. The remote rays of the lamp had ceased to penetrate
the darkness: it was needful, therefore, to plant his feet with
caution, like a blind man; and this the more because his arms
were embarrassed with their burden, and he had not even a stick
with which to grope his way. How long was this journey 7 pro-
fundis he could not calculate at all; but the subterranean seemed
interminable. At that time of the year, however, the sun rose
early : he would surely see its lustre on drawing near the extremity;
but oh, it seemed as if he would never see the sunshine again !
As if to complete and crown his anxiety, Agnes awoke. He
felt her suddenly moving in his arms ; with an effort she threw off
the mantle that enveloped her, no doubt taking it for the coverlet
212 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

of her bed; and when she had released her little head, when she
found herself in darkness, and felt the cold, damp air, she was
afraid, and began to weep and call upon her mother.

Aimery pressed her softly to him.

“ Be not afraid, damosel,” he said in his gentlest tones ; ‘do
not weep, you are with me; do you not knowme? Iam Aimery.
What lady will be afraid when she is under the protection of her
own chevalier ?”

Agnes knew his voice immediately, and composed herself; but
why should her chevalier carry her as if she were a little girl who
could not walk? Why was she being hurried through that black
ugly gallery, which made her so cold? She insisted on knowing,
on Aimery’s explaining everything to her: a chevalier she said,
must always obey his lady!

Aimery was no accomplished diplomatist ; he could fence with
his sword, but not with his tongue; and he knew of no other
way from extricating himself from his difficulty than by telling the
truth. He hastened to fold his mantle closely around the
shivering child, and to answer her various questions.

‘Listen to me attentively, damosel, like a noble and courageous
child, as you certainly are. Your mother, the lady of Rulamort,
has willed that you should not marry Jehan de Rochaigué, who is
wicked and dishonourable, and has killed your loyal father, Sieur
Hugues de Rulamort. And as Jehan de Rochaigué and his father
have broken into the castle to-night, your mother has taken you
while you were sleeping, placed you in my arms, and ordered me
to carry you for concealment to a fine monastery, where you will
have holy women to attend on you, and companions to play with
you; and Dame Eleanor before long will join you.” :

In this last statement Aimery diverged. somewhat from the
truth: would it be possible for Dame Eleanor to rejoin her
daughter? But Aimery had felt the little heart throb so violently
which beat against his own, and the little lips had uttered so painful
THE FUGITIVES. ; 213

a sob, when the child learned she was being taken from her mother,
that the young squire had been unable to refrain from offering this
' delusive consolation. To divert her mind, and prevent her from
putting other questions, he began to tell her the story of the fair
Genitvre, whom the good Sir Lancelot had carried off on the
crupper of his beautiful dapple-grey palfrey ; the history of the
enchanter Merlin and the fairy Mélusine; the legend of Robert
the Devil, Duke of Normandy, and many other fine romances
with which his memory was well furnished. Thus Agnes did not
feel any weariness ; and even Aimery himself found the length
of the road beguiled, and was surprised, all at once, at a bend
in the passage, to see straight before him a whitish light. He
advanced quickly ; the light became more distinct ; he could see
the path, and walk more at ease: in a few moments he reached
the opening. Putting Agnes down, he pushed aside or tore up
the brushwood which concealed it without, clearing a passage for
himself and the child. Then he replaced the disordered bushes,
and résuming his burden, sped onward with his back to the east,
where a faint rosy gleam heralded the swift approach of morning.
Aimery, in his childhood, had often explored the countryside
about Rulamort, seeking flowers for the chatelaine or nests for little
Agnes. Thus he quickly recognised where he was: far enough
from the castle to be beyond the purview of the most vigilant
eyes, and in a direction which would carry ‘him to the goal of
his adventure. It was needful, however, that he should reach
some huts as soon as possible, and change their garments ; for
Aimery was still besprinkled with the blood and dust of battle, and
Agnes, in spite of her mourning, would have been known every-
where as of noble birth. Aimery, therefore, advanced at his
topmost speed, still bearing Agnes, who would, however, have
willingly walked to rest her chevalier, if she could have walked

quickly enough.
For some time she entertained her guardian with her pleasant

16
214 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

babble ; admiring everything,—the rosy clouds, the murmurous
brooks, the little birds singing their matin songs, the glorious sun
which flooded the horizon with golden glory; then she became
silent, sighed, moaned, and at last, in a low voice, exclaimed:
“ Aimery, I am hungry !”

In the long ago, Aimery had known what hunger was, and he
did not feel inconvenienced now by a few hours of abstinence ;
but with Agnes it was different; and the poor youth was assailed
by a hundred torturing thoughts which had not hitherto occurred
to him. Where should he go for some food? And, alack, what
coarse soup, what black bread, what bitter herbs would be offered
her under the poverty-stricken roofs where they must seek an
asylum! Where would she sleep at night? What would she not
be called upon to suffer? She, the child cradled in down and
silk, and nurtured on viands the most delicate! Poor Aimery,
who would have found it easy to give her his life, was in despair
at not being able to give her some food.

As he looked around to see whether any wild raspberries
flourished within reach, he caught sight of two black eyes shining
behind a bush. Were these the eyes of friend or foe? Aimery
did not trouble himself: if it were a friend, he might procure them
perhaps some provisions ; if it were an enemy, he had his dagger.
Depositing Agnes on the sward, in two bounds he was behind the
bush, to find himself confronted by a beautiful brown she-goat,
which browsed contentedly on the young tufts of herbage.

Aimery was well acquainted with animals, and knew how to
manage them. He seized the goat by one of her horns, soothed
her with repeated caresses, and offering her a handful of tender,
juicy leaves, succeeded in enticing her along. Agnes clapped
her hands when she saw the new arrival.

“‘ Here is some milk, damosel!” said Aimery, laughing.

“Ves, but where is the cup? Iam nota little kid, chevalier,
and I am not able to drink as they do.”






















































































































































































































In an instant the morion was filled with milk (4, 215).


THE FUGITIVES, 215

“Here is a cup!” replied Aimery, removing his morion.
y

**Take and wash it, damosel, in the little spring among yonder
stones—there, close at hand. You will resemble the beautiful
Blanchefleur, who, finding her knight wounded by the wayside,
_unlaced his helmet, and made use of it to fetch him some water.”

“Did she cure him—cure her chevalier?” asked Agnes
eagerly, as she took the morion.

‘Certainly! a lady must always cure her chevalier, were he
even at the gates of Paradise. Wash the morion well: take care
you do not wet your clothes. Excellently done! Now give it to
me.” :

The goat proved a good nurse: in an instant the morion was
filled with milk, hot and foaming, and Agnes dipped in it her
rosebud ‘lips, not without remarking that King Arthur himself
never drank out of a larger goblet. In stooping to hold the im-
provised cup at a height convenient for the child, Aimery let fall his
pouch ; not that which Dame Eleanor had entrusted to him, but
the one he always carried in his girdle. The evening before he
had placed in it a small loaf, intending to feed the shining tenants
of the fish-pond for the amusement of the damosel; but he had
been prevented from carrying out his design, and the bread had
remained untouched. Aimery remembered it when he picked up
his pouch, and rejoiced that he had not doffed any of his clothing
that night, but had lain down in his iu] equipment.

Bread and milk formed a complete repast ; and Agnes enjoyed
it as if she had been seated beneath the roof of her ancestors.
She was anxious that Aimery should also break his fast; and he did
not refuse when he saw that she was satisfied. The goat was then
set at liberty, and the fugitives resumed their journey. Higher
and higher mounted the orb of day ; and some peasants, pickaxe
on shoulder, passed not far from them—without seeing Aimery,
however, who followed up a pathway between two high hedges.
But he trembled at the thought of crossing the open ground, and
216 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

looked anxiously in every face to see if he might venture to trust
its owner and invite assistance.

Suddenly little Agnes uttered a joyous cry:

“Germain! the good Germain! Call him, Aimery! he promised
me a pair of turtle-doves ; I want to know if he has found any.”

Germain was an honest peasant whom the lady of Rulamort
had once cured of a fever, and whose year’s rent Sir Hugues had
remitted when his crop had been devastated by a storm of hail.
He had a grateful soul, and incessantly sought to show his thank-
fulness to his lord by such little tokens as were within his means.
Such a man would never betray the flight of Agnes. Aimery
called him, and Germain, astonished, halted and looked around
in every direction. His ass, which accompanied him, loadéd with
a pannier of herbs, halted also, and pricked up his ears. _

“In the hollow way, Germain! come quickly, and be silent!
Iam Aimery of the castle of Rulamort.”

Germain, trembling, made haste to obey. He was ignorant of
the events of the night, but knew that something grave must have
occurred, when the Squire of Valpierreuse, one of the most devoted
of the castle’s defenders, was seeking concealment and command-
ing silence. When he saw little Agnes, he knelt and kissed the
hem of her robe; and tears rolled down his cheeks while Aimery
described to him the capture of the castle.

«All that I have is the damosel’s,” he said. “Come, my
house is yonder, and I can give her some clothes,—the holiday
dress of my little Michelle, who went to Paradise last St. John’s
Day. I will conduct you to Civray, whither I am bound almost
immediately to carry my vegetables to market; and there, my
gossip Radulf, an honest innkeeper, who detests the English, will
soon find a means of forwarding you to Poitiers. Follow the
hollow way to the end; then turn to the right in the first field,
keeping along the hedge; I will wait for you on the other side of
the field.”
THE FUGITIVES. 217

From the end of the field you could see the thatched roof of
honest Germain; and his wife, Magdalene, welcomed the travellers
as she would have welcomed the Holy Family flying into Egypt.
She hastened to undress Agnes, while Aimery assumed the
labourer’s frock and short hooded tunic; then, refreshed and
strengthened by a hearty meal of eggs and fruit, the fugitives
started for Civray, Aimery on foot, and Agnes seated between the
donkey’s panniers. To compensate the poor people, Aimery
wished to draw on Dame Eleanor’s purse, but the husband and
wife stopped him.

““No, messire,” said Magdalene; ‘‘we have long besought
God to permit us the pleasure of repaying to our lord and lady
some small portion of the good we have received at their hands.
Go in peace; and may heaven take you into its holy keeping!”

One does not travel quickly on foot: the day was far advanced
when the fugitives arrived at the door of the innkeeper Radulf.

Great was the surprise of Radulf to see Germain arrive at an
hour when the market was almost finished, and he began a series
of indiscreet questions anent the pretty little girl and the hand-
some youth he had brought with him. But the peasant, taking
Agnes with one hand and Aimery with the other, entered the
house resolutely, and without pausing in the public room of the
inn, ascended the staircase to the upper story, where the inn-
keeper and his wife resided. Radulf naturally followed him ;
and as he was an honest fellow, he no sooner understood the
difficulties of the situation than he began to devise the best means
of securing the safety of the heiress of Rulamort.

Unfortunately it was too late for anything to be done that day ;
nor could Radulf find any person of sufficient fidelity. Moreover,
after the market, the town was crowded with people of all classes,
among whom, as a matter of course, were many partisans of the
Angevin princes. And if Aimery and his companion were recog-
nised, they could not fail to be arrested, and conducted under a

x
218 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

strong escort to the Baron de Maulignage, with what consequences
it was only too easy to conjecture. Now Aimery, to save Agnes,
would willingly have died, but he had no desire to be made
prisoner; he resigned himself, therefore, to the exercise of
patience, and remained with the child concealed in the inn-
keeper’s chamber.

At night, Radulf looked in upon them.

“T have found,” he said, ‘‘a merchant who starts at dawn to-
morrow for Poitiers, and will reach it by noon. He is willing to
take charge of you. I have told him you will pay him, and he is
a man who loves money. He is neither ill-conditioned nor a
cheat, and would not betray you; but he is timid, and I have
not ventured to tell him who you are. So he will not convey
you to the monastery of Sainte-Croix, but to the house of one of
my cousins, a mercer at Poitiers. You can trust to her; she will
conduct you at once to the monastery; and as her house is not far
from it, we must hope that on so short a road you will meet with
no unwelcome greetings. Poitiers belongs to the lord Richard
Plantagenet, and in going there, you may be said to go into the
wolf's jaws ; but since it must be, it must. Sleep well to-night; I
will wake you when it is time to set out.”

Great as was his anxiety, Aimery slept: he was so weary; and,
besides, he was only seventeen years old. Agnes also slept, and
with much more reason; nor was she roused without some
difficulty, when Radulf’s wife came to dress her in her peasant’s
garb. However, the travellers were quite ready when the merchant
and his car arrived before the door.

This time they were not conveyed by an ass, but by a good
stout mare, which, though the roads were bad, reached Poitiers in
less than six hours.

The merchant was very willing to chat with the travellers, and
Aimery trembled lest Agnes should reveal who they were : fortu-
nately she fell asleep, and the young man, who was wary of
THE FUGITIVES, _ 219

speech, knew how to carry on the conversation without giving the
merchant any information as to his companion or himself, At
length, shortly before noon, the fugitives were deposited at the
mercer’s door; and their conductor, liberally paid, took leave of
them with a thousand expressions of gratitude.

Aimery, much more accustomed to handle iron than pieces of
money, had paid him even lavishly ; so that the merchant, dazzled
by his generosity, concluded he must have given a passage to at



‘“This man rose and paid his reckoning.”

least a prince in disguise ; and when, feeling thirsty, he entered a
small inn to refresh himself, he could not refrain from describing
his good fortune to the people who were drinking around him.

At his first words, a man seated at the other end of the reeking
apartment lifted up his head and began to listen; at the end of
a few seconds this man rose, paid his reckoning, and departed.
About the same time the mercer, to whom Aimery had related
his adventure, gave her shop in charge to a neighbour, on a
pretext of urgent business, and guided the fugitives towards the
220 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

ancient monastery of Sainte-Croix, whose first abbess was St,
Radegonde, the wife of King Clotaire, and whose abbess in the
days we write of was Berengaria de Savignac, in religion known as

Mother Monica.


















Lifting up Agnes in his arms, he traversed the square swift as thought (/. 220).
CHAPTER XXIII.

<<, “SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY!”






4HE heat was oppressive, and the abbey clock
; sounded noon just as Aimery; Agnes, and the
mercer arrived in the square. It was empty; the
townspeople, occupied at home in preparing their
midday repast, had carefully closed their windows
- and the openings, or air- eo of their shops as a
es protection against the sun. Aimery measured with
i a glance the space which separated him from the
convent church, and breathed more freely: a few
steps across, and Agnes was saved.

Suddenly, from one of the narrow streets which enc on the -
square, a man issued with rapid strides. He saw Aimery and the
child, uttered a cry of triumph, sprang forward ; and Aimery, for
the first time in his life, fled before an enemy. Lifting up
Agnes in his arms, he traversed the square swift as thought,
and light as a kid pursued by the hunters.

In the wall of the church a ring of iron was inserted,—a ring
which no rust had corroded, so often was it made use of. Aimery
loosened from his neck the hands of Agnes. ‘ Cling to the ring
of safety, damosel,” he cried; “do not let go—on your life.
Sanctuary ! Sanctuary!”
222 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

He turned round, for he was not sure that Red Thomas, whom
he had recognised on the night of carnage, and
whom he knew again immediately, would respect
the right of asylum. He drew his dagger, his
only weapon, and advanced to meet the enemy.
The latter, confiding in his physical strength,
laughed at him and mocked him.

“Tt was thou, then, my fine fellow, who madest
thyself the chevalier of the little girl! So, so, I
have been running after thee. It is in thy track
that I have followed! Now see thyself a captive;
do not play the baby: dost think I am afraid of
thy dagger? Back! Let me have the betrothed ;
for I wish to share in the marriage largesses.”

“Touch her not! Sacrilege! Upon thy life in this world and in
the next, do not violate the right of sanctuary. She is under the
protection of the monastery—under the protection of our Lord
and His holy Cross!”

‘Enough of your prattling—back, or iow diest !”

“Help! Help! To the rescue! Christians, will you allow the
sanctuary of your Lord to be violated?”

Aimery, while fencing with his dagger and warding off the blows
of Thomas with the help of his coarse lined hood, which he used
as a buckler, called to his assistance the terrified figures which
appeared and disappeared at the doors and windows. But no
one came; noone cared to break his bones in an unknown cause ;
and combats in the streets, moreover, were of such frequent occur-
rence that very little attention was paid to them. The mercer
at first had taken to flight, screaming loudly; but when she saw
that Thomas did not pursue, she regained a little courage, and
said to herself that it were pitiful to allow that gentle squire and
that innocent lamb to be killed or carried off by a ferocious
brigand, who respected neither God nor the saints. She returned


“SANCTUARY ! SANCTUARY!” 223

towards the monastery, and gliding along by the wall till she
reached the gateway, rang the bell to arouse the sister portress
(seur touriére). The door opened almost immediately, and the
mercer, profiting by a moment when Aimery and Bed Thomas
were so busy in exchanging furious blows that :
they saw nothing of what passed, carried off
Agnes, whose bruised fingers could no longer
clasp the ring of safety, placed as it was too
high for her to reach conveniently, and hastily
placed her in the arms of the religious. The
latter received her without question; it was
not the first time the convent gate had opened
to a hunted victim. The door closed again:
Agnes was saved.

Thomas had hastily turned his head towards
the church, to make sure that his prey was
still there. He was just in time to see the re-
ligious take charge of her; he heard the door shut with a clang,
and he uttered a yell of baffled rage.

“Thou shalt pay me for this!” he exclaimed, darting upon
Aimery. .

The young man leaped aside, and avoided the blow.

Thomas returned to the attack; but, blinded by passion, he
saw not the glittering dagger point presented by his adversary, and
himself sheathed it in his own body. He fell heavily, with curses
and blasphemies on his lips, beat the air a moment with his arms,
then stiffened and lay motionless : he was dead !

Aimery remained standing, overcome with surprise, for he had
not even struck at his foe, and expected himself to fall rather than
see his opponent perish. The citizens who had watched the
combat securely from their houses now felt reassured, and ventured
into the square.

“A murder!’ cried one.


224 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“No, a combat!” said another.

“The large man attacked the youth first!’’ added a woman.

‘*Save yourself, comrade, before the men-at-arms of Count
Richard swoop down upon you!”

“Where is the child?” exclaimed Aimery, despairingly.

“Tn the monastery,” replied the woman ; “TI carried her thither.
Take to your heels, young man. Oh, the town-guard are
coming !”



A

(Yee are





eS aS 2



ener aman e eae ober tts tia at





Ve fell heavily.”

“Into the church, quick!” shouted some of the citizens ;
“none of us will have seen anything.”

Aimery thought it prudent to act upon this advice, for heavy
steps in a neighbouring street announced the approach of the
town-guard, and he had good reasons for not wishing to be taken.
He rushed into the church, and knocked hastily at the gate of
the choir. A veiled woman rose behind the curtain which con-
cealed from the faithful the inner chapel reserved for the religious.

“Who are you, and what want your”’

“T am pursued, and I crave asylum. I beara message from
“SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY!” 225

my mistress, the noble Lady of Rulamort, for your holy abbess
the reverend Mother Monica, which I must repeat to her own ear.”

“‘ Have you a token of your mission? ”’

“ This ring, which Madame the Abbess will recognise.”

The religious extended her hand between the bars, and took
the ring.

-* Wait a moment,” she said, and disappeared.

In the square, the town-guard raised the dead body.

“A murder! whither has the assassin fled?” inquired the
officer in command.

‘“‘ That way, messire!”’ replied the citizens, who did not desire
to be involved in the affair, and they pointed to a narrow court.

And while the soldiers bore away the dead body of Red
Thomas to give it the rites of sepulture, and searched after
Aimery in the direction he had zof taken, the young man, remain-
ing in. the convent church, saw a small door suddenly open in the
wall, and heard a woman’s voice pee

“ Come, our Mother awaits you.’

He followed the sister into a narrrow corridor, sib led toa
spacious apartment. This was furnished as if it were reserved for
guests of high rank: there were high fauteuils of carved wood,
garnished with rich cushions, benches, and sumptuous stools; but
the whitened walls were without tapestries or hangings, and no
carpet covered the floor. A large grating with thick black bars
seemed to terminate one side of the chamber. The sister saluted
Aimery with.a deep obeisance, and retired. .

Almost at the same moment a light, rustling sound was audible on
the other side of the gril/e, and a child’s voice cried with a joyous
accent, ‘* Aimery! my knight!”

‘You are there, damosel, in safety, in the guardianship of
heaven! I am happy! Adieu; do not forget your mother, and
pray for her, so that you may see her again very quickly.”

17
226 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

A small hand glided between the bars, and drew Airaery
towards them: by his tunic. Then he saw Agnes, brightly smiling,
and by her side a woman of tall stature, enveloped in a long veil,
which effectually prevented her features from being seen. She
held in her hand Eleanor’s ring.

“Young man,” she said, “what message bring you on the part
of Eleanor de Maucastel ?”

“She whom you name, reverend mother,” replied Aimery,
“is now a sorrowful widow; and it is to the murderer of her
noble husband, the Sieur de Rulamort, that cruel men would
fain marry her daughter, the damosel Agnes, whom you have in
charge. My noble mistress, like a worthy chatelaine, has resisted
the injustice; and when her castle was taken by treason, she
confided to me her daughter, bidding me save her and place
her in your hands. She knew that you would be to her a second
mother.”

“Poor Eleanor!” murmured the religious. ‘How like her
daughter is to her! She recalls the tender memories of our
happy childhood. Yes, I will be her mother. You are a faithful
and loyal servitor, young man. Do you return to the lady of
Rulamort? ”

“Ves, madam, for think of what she must suffer, not knowing
whether her daughter be dead or alive! I shall endeavour to gain
access to the lady of Rulamort; I shall tell her that her daughter
will live happily under your protection, until the day of justice ; for
that day w7// come ; God will not leave for ever the heritage of
the orphan in the hands of the murderer.”

‘“God is just, let us hope in Him,” said the Abbess, who
lifted the child in her arms and clasped her to her heart. “Tell
my dearest Eleanor that I will love her child; that I loved her the
moment I saw her. Adieu, messire Aimery, since such is your
name. I shall remember it as that of a true and gallant man.”

“‘T have another deposit to place in your hands, reverend
“SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY!” 227

mother,—this pouch, containing my noble mistress’s gold and
jewels. I have taken from it’ only so much as was required
to pay our charges.”

“The jewels will adorn Agnes when she returns to the castle of
her ancestors,” said the Abbess. ‘Come, my daughter, say
farewell to messire Aimery.”

‘““Aimery! Aimery!” cried Agnes, weeping. “Do not leave
me, Aimery! where are you going?”

“‘T am going to look for your mother, damosel: do not weep ;
we shall meet again, I pledge you my faith.”

And Aimery, deeply moved, looked on with tearful eyes as the
Abbess carried away the little girl, sobbing bitterly, upon her
bosom. When she was out of sight, he felt very sad-—sadder
than he had felt since the day when he stood alone in his poor
desolated home by the body of his dead father. Those hours of
flight and peril, in which he had been the sole protector of
Agnes,—cradling her in his arms like a mother, watching over her,
trembling for her, and finally exposing his life for her in an
unequal combat,—had attached him to her by ties so sweet yet
strong, that without that little child of nine years old the world
seemed to hima blank. He remained motionless in the middle
of the chamber, his eye fixed upon that sombre grating behind
which there was no longer any thing to be seen, until the sister
who had introduced him came in search of him. She guided him
to another and a smaller apartment, where the celleritre received
strangers on the business of the monastery. The celleritre handed
to him a purse, and on the part of the Abbess made him promise
to procure himself vestments and arms suitable for his journey,
and gave him the name and address of'a trader who would deal
with him honestly. Then Aimery quitted the monastery of Sainte-
Croix. The square was empty; the townspeople had dispersed ;
the guard had departed: a small space of ground, much trodden
and sprinkled with spots of blood, alone recalled the recent
228 . PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

combat. The young man set off rapidly: in two hours he left
Poitiers, attired as became the Sire de Valpierreuse, well-armed,
and furnished with all the necessary information for regaining the
vicinity of Rulamort. ,

While on his road, Aimery revolved in his mind a host of reflec-
tions and projects. The regret he had felt in separating from
Agnes had passed away—and in spite of the melancholy events of
the last few months—in spite of his pity for his mistress, widowed, _
deprived of her child—the buoyancy of youth prevailed; he felt
that exhilaration of spirit natural to us while we are young and
strong and hopeful,—natural to all who set out on the road of life
unencumbered by fear or remorse. With swift steps he strode
through the green fields, inhaling the fresh, pure air, rejoicing in
the sapphire sky that glowed above his head, listening with
delight to the sweet songs of the birds and the busy hum of the
insect populace, and all unbidden a hundred snatches of ballad
and lyric rose in his memory. Then he laid out his plans for the
future. He was now a squire: how splendid it would be to make
war, no longer as the poor Aimery, but as the Sire de Val-
pierreuse! Valpierreuse, it is true, was a poor fief; but might not
a brave soldier grow rich in the service of a chevalier of renown?
Bertrand de Born one day had offered him his protection; he
would go and find Bertrand de Born. Certes, he did not know
where he was; but he would seek him all over the world.

He was close upon seventeen years old ; in four years, with the
blessing of Heaven, he might become a knight ; and then he must
recover Franchise, which had fallen from the dying hand of the
Lord of Rulamort. Who held it now? Had some brave chevalier
found it? Did he bear it at his side and brandish it destroyingly
in battle? If it were so, when Aimery became rich, he would seek
out the knight and offer him all his treasures for the ransom of
Franchise. No knight worthy of the name would refuse to restore
‘to the son the well-loved work of the father ; and Aimery would
“SANCTUARY ! SANCTUARY !” 229

become again the owner of Franchise. And then what fame he
would win for it! Glorious should it be as Durandal the sword of
Rowland, Excalibur the sword of King Arthur, or Joyeuse the
sword of Charlemagne : at all events, if fortune did not make of
him an illustrious knight, he was resolved to be a loyal and
stainless chevalier, and never to draw Franchise except in the
cause of right and justice. And his thoughts gradually took
shape in verse, and he chanted a song to his sword, in some such
fashion as the following :—

O sword! O sword ! so strong and bright,
Be worthy ever of the name
Inscribed upon thy.stainless steel—
Thou sword of fame!
The innocent do thou defend ;
Rescue the feeble and opprest,
And like the lightning flash descend
Upon the wicked breast.
O sword of mine,
In battle shine,
But be the cause of justice thine {

Then, when the din of battle’s o’er,
And I in my last sleep am lain,
With thee still girded to my side,
Sword free from stain !—
Shall poet praise thee in his song,
And own that thou wert ever keen
To smite the proud, strike down the wrong,
And honour's trophies glean !
O sword of mine,
In battle shine,
But be the cause of honour thine!

But should some traitor, should Jehan de Rochaigué have
carried off the good sword? Jehan knew it well, and might have
taken it, as much for its own beauty as from his hatred of the son
of the armour-smith. And if so, poor Franchise! how it would
need to be purified after having been sullied by such unworthy
230 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

hands. Jehan, it was true, could not as yet wield it, for it was
a knight’s sword. But the Sieur de Rochaigué might have done
so: no, Aimery had never seen it in his hands. Where could it
be?

His most pressing duty, however, was not to recover Franchise;
it was to reassure the lady of Rulamort as to her daughter’s fate.
But Aimery did not feel certain that it was at Rulamort he should
find the chatelaine. Her enemies having gained possession of the
castle, she would be in their power: would they guard her in her
own domain, or remove her to Rochaigué, Maulignage, or some
fortress of the Count of Poitiers? Aimery said to himself that he
would be prudent, that he would explore the environs of the
castle, and question its faithful vassals; when once he knew the
retreat of Dame Eleanor, he would have nothing to do but to
penetrate thither. Any other person would have considered this
part of ‘the work the most difficult ; but
Aimery, with the boldness of youth, was
not easily daunted.

Until he rejoined Dame Eleanor, it
was necessary he should find a lodging.
Night was approaching; Aimery reflected
that he must certainly have lost his way,
or he would have reached the village
where he had calculated on sleeping,
according to the information given by the
trader of Poitiers. But the night was
not cold; he would suffer no great in-
convenience from spending it under the
bright stars, well wrapped up in his mantle, after supping on a loaf
of white bread which he had taken the precaution of purchasing in
the town.


CHAPTER XXIV.

85 THE LAY OF THE LITTLE DOVE.



tMERY was looking about for a comfortable spot
under a tree, where the moss and grass would be
very close and sweet, when a noise towards the
left drew his attention, He had no need to listen
long before understanding what it meant: it was
the well-known sound of combat ; and Aimery, for-
gO — getting all the reasons he had for avoiding recog-
OTe nition, ran at full speed towards the place whence it
: oo proceeded. In a few strides he was there, spite of
reeds and stones and old stems of plants, which nearly tripped
him up; and, dagger in hand, threw himself into the mé/ée, waiting
only to discern which was the weaker side.

This was quickly seen. Two men, travellers without doubt, and
‘dismounted, were endeavouring to defend the horses which carried
their luggage against four or five brigands, armed to the teeth,
with iron casques on their heads, who probably had belonged to
one of King Henry’s bands of mercenary soldiers. These bands
sometimes preferred to make war on their own account, rather
than incur the perils of the great battles. Aimery leaped upon
them like a demon, shouting with all his might: ‘‘ To the rescue !


232 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Franchise! God help Valpierreuse !” so that the brigands, in the
obscure twilight, thought a whole troop was upon them. They
struck a few blows at hazard; soon those who had come in
collision with Aimery’s dagger staggered back among the trees and
disappeared: the others were not slow in following them.

It was then only that Aimery had time to examine the indi-
viduals to whom ‘he had lent such effective assistance. One was
a man advanced in years; the other, who was lying in a swoon in
his companion’s arms, was much younger. Both wore their
travelling cloaks; but a beam of silver moonlight glinting through
the clouds disclosed to Aimery, under the cloak of which he
helped to relieve the wounded stranger, the bright and graceful
costume, with its vivid colours, worn by the jongleurs and
troubadours.

“ Bernard, my poor Bernard !” said the elder of the two, “rally
thyself, my friend: a little more courage; we have found a
champion. Bernard, the hostelry is near at hand, we will bear.
thee thither ; we will heal thy wounds: raise thyself only a little,
my poor Bernard!” :

But Bernard had glided through his friend’s arms, and fallen
flat upon the ground. A few broken words dropped from his lips ;
all that his anxious hearers could distinguish was: “A mass for
the repose of my soul.” Then he was silent—for ever. His com-
panion appealed to him in terms of affectionate anguish; attempted
to move him: in vain—he did not stir.

‘Poor lad! And art thou dumb,—thou who wast wont to
sing like a nightingale in the flowery May?”

Turning to Aimery, the survivor said :

“ Pardon me, messire, if I have not yet thanked you. Had it
been the will of heaven to send thee to our succour a moment
sooner, my brave Bernard might still be alive. He threw himself
in front of their weapons, because he was younger than I, and they
have killed him, the accursed dogs! May I venture to ask whe
THE LAY OF THE LITTLE DOVE. 23%

you are, messire? As for myself, I am called Arnauld the Rhymer,
and I am a master in the Gay Science.”

“T know your high renown, Sir Arnauld, and am ready to
render you service according to my power. My name is Aimery;
by-and-by, I will tell you whither lam bound. You spoke of an
hostelry near at hand: will it not be well for us to repair there ?
Your friend, mayhap, is only in a swoon.” :

Arnauld the Rhymer shook his head; however he assisted
Aimery to take up the body of Bernard, and the funeral pro-
cession took the road to the hostelry, which proved to be situated
in the very village Aimery was in search of; only he had mis-
taken the route, and diverged too much to the right. Now,
instead of entering it alone, he entered with two jongleurs, one
living, the other dead; for Bernard was dead in very truth ; and
the innkeeper, after examining him, saw nothing remained but
to fetch a priest to watch and pray beside his corpse. The horses
were conducted to the stables, and Aimery and Amauld, after
supper, retired to share an immense bed, which would easily have
accommodated three or four more sleepy travellers.

Next day, after committing to consecrated ground the unfortu-
nate Bernard’s remains, Arnauld and Aimery quitted the hostelry.
Arnauld deeply lamented the loss of his companion: he was no
longer young, and had scarcely any voice; he had taught his
pupil all his sérvenfes. and all his love-songs, and the two, when
singing together, knew how to please the fair ladies ; but for him-
self alone, all he could do was to recite some ballads, and this
was not a sufficient substitute for the singing. His purse was
light; how would he defray the cost of his journey to Carcassonne,
where his house was situated, and where he might find a singer
capable of replacing Bernard ?

While he was in the midst of his complaints, Aimery interrupted
him:

“Sire Arnauld,” he said, ‘I can sing a little; if 5 can be a
234 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

substitute for the deceased, I will gladly accompany you as far as
Carcassonne ; I am desirous of travelling in that direction.”

‘““VYou know how to sing? Let us try a little. Are you
acquainted with the lay of the ‘Prisoner’? the sérvente of the
‘Pas d’armes du Chevalier Noir’? the canzone of the ‘ Beautiful
_ Ermessinde’?”’

“Those I know, and many others. Have you a viol or a
rebec? Play, and I will sing.”



Atmery singing.

Old Arnauld required no pressing. At the end of a couple of
verses he threw himself into Aimery’s arms, laughing and weeping
with joy, and declaring that never had he met with so rare a
singer. Poor Bernard was already forgotten.

In the first cave they came to, Aimery changed his clothes for
a gay blue tunic,—embellished with ribbons, and having long
hanging sleeves, a bonnet of silk and vair, ornamented with a tuft
of heron’s plumes,—and a mantle of grey cloth, lined with cendal
of a vermeil colour. He carefully folded up his own garments, to
THE LAY OF THE LITTLE DOVE, 235

resume them at the proper time; but he was studious to retain his
weapons, which he concealed as well as he could in the folds
of his tunic and mantle. Thus equipped, Aimery presented a
‘strikingly handsome appearance, and old Arnauld assured him
that he could not fail to excite the goodwill of the ladies.

But Aimery’s secret thoughts turned on more weighty themes
than ais and strvventes. Wherever he halted with Arnauld, he
studiously acquainted himself with all recent incidents of the war;
much to the disquietude of old Arnauld, who protested that it was
unwise and pernicious for poor troubadours to occupy themselves
with such affairs. Aimery allowed him to talk; and by dint of
questions contrived to elicit from various persons the whole story
of the siege and capture of Rulamort, and the fury of the besiegers
when they learned from Dame Eleanor that her daughter was
beyond their reach. Scarcely could he control himself when he
heard that Jehan de Rochaigué had lain hands on his noble
mistress, and struck Father Odon in the face ; but he kept silent,
hoping always to hear from some one or other what had become
of the chatelaine. But no person seemed to know. Some said
that when the war was ended, Count Richard would bring the
lady of Rulamort before her peers to be tried for the crime of
rebellion; others alleged that the Sieur de Rochaigué had immured
her in a dungeon of his castle, where she lived on bread and water.
All pitied the noble and virtuous lady, and cursed her persecutors.

Arnauld, unaware of the deep interest which Aimery had in the
fate of the chatelaine of Rulamort, regretted only that that noble
lady was no longer mistress in her own castle, where she would
unquestionably have welcomed and liberally rewarded the two
troubadours; and he gathered what information he could respecting
the neighbouring castlés and their lords, to ascertain if it would be
to their advantage to appear before them. But nearly all the lords
were absent ; some with the army of the League, others with that
of the Count of Poitiers; and many noble ladies, afflicted by the
236 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

absence of their husbands, denied themselves every pleasure, and
would not open their gates to the singers. Arnauld passed without
halting before Rochaigué: its lords, he was told, had seized on a
hostile fortress, and taken possession of it, after driving out its
mistress, Dame Eleanor, who had defended her castle against
them and against her suzerain.

Jehan, then, was at Rulamort! The insolent knave was seated
in the place of the loyal lord whom he had betrayed and assassi-
nated! For amoment Aimery cherished the thought of penetrating,
no matter how, to his presence, and avenging Sir Hugues by planting
a dagger in his heart; but he remembered that the lady Eleanor
wept for her child, and followed Arnauld in another direction.
Maulignage was only three days’ march to the south: there he
would learn, perhaps, what had become of the prisoner.

The castle was decked with the pomp of revelry when the two
troubadours appeared before its walls. “Welcome! welcome!”
the servitors said to them; “our lord baron celebrates his victory
over the rebels of Poitou: he has captured the castle of Rulamort,
and brought back its chatelaine a prisoner. Enter; you will
receive liberal guerdon. No feast is complete without music and
song; and your arrival is a good omen !”

Aimery felt his heart beat in his bosom as he ascended the
grand staircase to enter the banqueting hall. The laughter of the
guests and their joyous shouts reached him along with the odour
of the smoking viands and the clink of the goblets and vessels of
silver: the victors were making merry; and the sorrowful prisoner,
imprisoned in some solitary and remote chamber, or mayhap some
gloomy dungeon, was mourning over her heavy misfortunes.
Aimery trembled with passion; old Arnauld thought it was
from fear at having to appear before so brilliant a company, and
whispered in his ear: “Do not trouble thyself; all these iords
are ignorant of the Gay Science; they are not difficult to please.”
Then he pushed open the door of the hall anid entered.
THE LAY OF THE LITTLE DOVE. 237

It was a spacious and lofty apartment, splendidly lighted every-
where by tapers, lamps, and flambeaux. A great horse-shoe table,
richly wrought, was covered with a cloud of roses, and the guests
ranged around it,—knights and beautiful dames and damosels,—
conversed right merrily, speaking of the last tourney, the last brave
deed of arms, of the victory of the baron, of the sumptuous order of
his feast, of the loveliness of some and the rich costume of other
ladies. Pages and varlets moved to and fro, filling the goblets,
carrying enormous dishes, cutting up the venison, serving the
guests. Aimery swept the hall with a single glance: Eleanor was
not there.

“My lord,” said the baron’s intendant, who introduced the
singers, “here are two skilful troubadours, who come expressly
to grace your festival with their song and music. Will it please
you to hear them?”

The Baron de Maulignage greeted them courteously. é

“They. are right welcome,” he said; “but I know that a
singer has no voice when he has an empty stomach. Therefore,
brave Gamond, conduct them to the kitchen, and see that they
have good cheer; thou shalt bring them to us, after the feast, in
- the great hall.”

All the company applauded the baron’s words, and Gamond the
intendant bade the singers follow him. Arnauld was very well
satisfied with his reception, and seating himself eagerly at a table,
set to work with good appetite to enjoy the exquisite dishes set
before him.

As for Aimery, he listened more than he ate. A young page,
who bore an empty tray, halted near him,

“Ho, master cook!” said he, “have you anything choice to
give me for the lady?”

‘Everything is choice, messire Loys; everything is perfect,”
replied the master-cook, consequentially. “Hold; here is a slice
of venison, a portion of galimaufry, a cameline sauce such as the
238 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

king, perhaps, has never eaten ; I shall give you also some fruits
of sweeter perfume than roses, and cakes and confitures worthy of
a princess. If all this do not restore the poor lady’s appetite, I
know not what will serve.”

“Tt is not on a day like this that she can have a cheerful heart
and eat with a lively appetite,’ replied the page in a tone of
pity. With much care he bore off the tray loaded with the repast
of “the lady;” and Aimery followed him with his eyes through
the open door.

Soon afterwards Gamond summoned the troubadours, and
ushered them into the great hall. A flattering murmur marked
the entrance of Aimery: as old Arnauld had foretold, his handsome
person drew the favourable notice of the ladies. But he did not
see them; did not see one of those haughty beauties who smiled
upon him. For at the bottom of the hall, on a dais reserved for
the lord and his family, he perceived a pale face, paler and sadder
than ever, almost hidden by the long widow’s veil. She was there ;
and if the Baron de Maulignage detained her a prisoner, evidently
he treated her with the respect due to her rank and her misfortunes.
She was seated on the same level as her suzerain’s daughters ; and
it was to her, no doubt, the page had carried the choice dishes.
The baron respected his captive, and had carefully protected her
from the maltreatment to which the Sieur de Rochaigué would have
exposed her.

Arnauld the Rhymer swept the strings of his rebec, and began
to sing. Aimery supported him, singing feebly at first; for he
desired that Dame Eleanor should recognise him gradually. And
at the first accents of that well-known voice, she lifted up her head
and listened; her eyes brightened, and her hands, restlessly
twitching under her veil, betrayed her emotion. No one but
Aimery perceived it: the others, fully occupied by the singers, paid
no attention to the prisoner. The young man, convinced that she
would detect his identity, gave full scope to his voice; and at the
THE LAY OF THE LITTLE DOVE. 239

close of his song was rewarded by the tumultuous applause of the
whole hall. Afterwards he had to satisfy the amateurs of music
who were present: one asked for a fayourite canzonet, another
for a popular sérvente. At length one of the baron’s daughters,
who was seated near Dame Eleanor, asked him if he had com-
posed no new song; and Aimery, delighted with the idea suggested
by her inquiry, hastened to reply:

“Damosel, I have indeed composed one which no ear as yet
has heard. I will sing it to you, asking no other guerdon than a
smile from your sweet lips and a glance from your bright eyes.”

The damosel Alix blushed and smiled, and thought to herself
that this young troubadour must have been accustomed to noble
company, since he knew so well how to address the ladies. And
Aimery sang: not looking at Alix, however, but at the prisoner
seated near her. _

And his song has since been known as the “ Lay of the Little
Dove.”

“* Behind her casement, see, my lady weeps,
While the storm orashes through the forest trees,
And the dull heav’n an angry darkness keeps,
And threat’ning voices echo o’er the leas :—
Her eyes are dim with tears,
Her heart is torn with fears ;
She sighs : ‘Where is my love—
My little snow-white dove?’

** A pluméd page rides gaily ’neath her tower, —
Around his neck red gleams a chain of gold ;
Merry for him each bright, each sunny hour,
On Pleasure’s rosary so lightly told !
Her eyes are dim with tears,
Her heart is torn with fears ;
She sighs : ‘Where is my love—
My little snow-white dove ?’

** He marks the lady’s tears ; he hears her sighs,
And whispers low: ‘Sweet dame, what is thy pain ??<>
240. * PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

‘The storm has driven away ‘my dove,’ she cries 3
‘My snow-white dove I ne’er shall see again!’
Her eyes are dim with tears,
Her heart is torn with fears ;
She sighs : ‘Where is my love—
My little snow-white dove ?’
‘¢ Then, with a smile, said he: ‘ Thy bird afar,
On rapid wings, sought out a shelter’d nest,
Where neither cruel kite nor hawk could wound,
Nor the swift lightning smite her gentle breast {’
Her eyes are dim with tears,
Her heart is torn with fears;
She sighs : ‘Where is my love—
My little snow-white dove ?’

**¢But soon,’ he said, ‘the winds will rage no more,
The threat’ning clouds will cease to load the sky;
Then, when the fury of the storm is o’er,
Back to thine arms thy snow-white dove will fly !°
' She laugh’d-amid her tears,
She put aside her fears :
‘ My little snow-white dove, —
She comes ! my own, my love!’?”

As Aimery finished his song, he turned again towards the
damosel Alix, who stinted neither her glances nor her smiles; and
added to these a beautiful clasp, which she loosened from her
mantle. When the hour of repose arrived, and it was time for the
troubadours to retire, Aimery and his companion, making a circuit
of all the illustrious company, received from seigneurs and dames
a wealth of precious gifts: their pouches were full. On coming to
the lady Eleanor, Aimery paused: the prisoner extended her hand
towards him.

“Gentle singer,” said she, “I am poor, and have nothing to
give thee; but if thou hast a noble heart, thou wilt love here-
after to remember that thou gavest a moment of joy and happi-
ness to an unfortunate lady, and this gage will be as precious
to thee as chain of gold or collar of pearls.”
THE LAY OF THE LITTLE DOVE. 241

She placed in Aimery’s hand a fragment of her black veil,
which she had torn off for the purpose. The young man bent
his knee to the ground to receive it; and stooping to kiss her
hand, whispered softly :

“ The abbess has promised ‘to be a mother to her !’’



18
CHAPTER XXV.

EACH TO HIS OWN WAY.



IMERY had discharged his mission; and now he
% was free, for it was not in his power to deliver the
sad prisoner of the castle of Maulignage. His
obvious course was to join the army of the south,
and by valorous deeds gain his knight’s spurs,
while endeavouring to seek out and recapture
Franchise. He quitted the castle of Maulignage,
therefore, with Arnauld the Rhymer, early on the
morning after the greatfestival. The two troubadours
pursued their journey gaily; Arnauld inquiring for castles where
the lords loved the Gay Science, and Aimery seeking news of the -
war. These were not of a hopeful character: the League, every-
where defeated, had broken up, and the barons and knights
composing it retired to their castles, happy if they succeeded in
escaping the vengeance of the Count of Poitiers. Everywhere the
country was weary and exhausted: the people and the burgesses
groaned, though in secret; the knights stooped their heads,
murmuring and complaining ; but Aquitaine was beaten, crushed,
desolated, her fields uncultivated, her resources in men and
money spent: the war ceased because there were none to carry
it on.
EACH TO HIS OWN WAY. 243

As for Sir Bertrand de Born, Aimery inquired about him in
vain; noone knew where he was to befound. He had been seen
on every battle-field,—at Angouléme, at Agen, at Dax, at Bayonne;
he had been seen by several at his castle of Hautefort, where,
however, he never remained very long; he had passed by this
and that town; he had visited this and that lord; but where was
he now? Aimery began to despair of meeting him; and finding
no occupation for his sword in Aquitaine, where all fighting had
ceased, he resolved upon seeking the Count of Toulouse and
offering him his services, after he had conducted old Arnauld to
Carcassonne.

He did not go to Carcassonne; he was close upon that pic-
turesque town, and was surveying with much admiration its
ramparts and strong towers, when Arnauld, remarking that the

. sun’s heat was scorching, and that the horses would with difficulty
labour along the dusty way, proposed to his companion that they
should halt and repose, until the day grew cooler, in the shade of
a leafy thicket by the road-side. No sooner said than done; and
with a sense of keen enjoyment, Aimery flung himself on the grass
at the foot of a tree; while the horses, unloaded, browsed as they
willed, with the air of released slaves,

Aimery, like Sir Bertrand, could never rest long—he soon
wearied of doing nothing; and instead of indulging in a sound
sleep like his grey-haired companion, he took his rebec and struck
a few chords; then his voice united involuntarily with the instru-

. ment, and rejoicing in a song under green leaves like the birds, he

made the woods re-echo his sweetest songs.

A chevalier was pricking along the highway ; and undoubtedly
this chevalier loved music, for he paused to listen to Aimery.
Then he dismounted from his horse, throwing the bridle to his
squire, and advanced towards the shadowy grove. When within
a few paces of Aimery he exclaimed: “I was not mistaken ; it is
my young brother in the Gay Science, Aimery the Bright-of-face |”
244 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Aimery leaped to his feet.

“Tt is you, Messire Bertrand de Born! You whom I have
been seeking for so many days. You haveakeen eye and a good
memory: the Baron de Maulignage has seen me as often as you
have, and yet he never recognised me when I pene iaicd into his
castle in this troubadout’s garb.”

““Why speakest thou of the Baron de
Maulignage? Thy master, good Sir Hugues,
where is he? Has he recovered from his
wounds? Why art thou not at Rulamort ?”

“Sir Bertrand, I see that I did wrong to
accuse you in my heart, and I ask pardon of
you. You do not seem to have heard of our
sad fortune, and surely you have not received
the messages from my noble mistress, appealing
to you for assistance.”

‘* T have received nothing; I know nothing : what has befallen
Rulamort ?”

Aimery then related to him the particulars of the death of Sir
Hugues, the arrival of the Baron de Maulignage, and his reclama-
tion of the right of garde-noble, the project of marriage between
Agnes and Jehan de Rochaigué; the siege and capture of the
castle, his flight with ‘the child, and his return disguised as a
minstrel. Bertrand listened in profound silence, but his eloquent
countenance betrayed his emotion. When the melancholy recital
came to an end, he drew Aimery to his heart, and embraced him
as a father embraces his son.

“Tam proud of myself, child,” he exclaimed. ‘I discovered -
the first time I saw thee that thou hadst all the qualities which
make and adorn ‘a man of heart.’ Wilt thou follow me?”

‘*T was seeking thee for that very purpose, my lord.”

‘Good! Come then, for I am in haste; I must no longer
tarry. My squire will take thee-up on his crupper, and at the


EACH TO HIS OWN WAY. 245

first town we come to I will buy thee a horse. On the way I will
explain to thee the position of affairs. Ah, thy comrade is awake ;
say thy parting words and let us set out.”

It was not without many regrets and much bewailing that
Arnauld parted from Aimery; but Bertrand de Born cut short the
old minstrel’s lamentations. He was at the gates of Carcassonne ;
he might sleep that evening under his own roof; and he returned
home, thanks to Aimery, much richer than he was when he left
—argal he had good reason to be contented. He came himself
to the same conclusion, and reloaded his horses, which had
rested well and pastured well; while Aimery, after resuming the
habiliments he had purchased at Poitiers, mounted behind the
squire, and turned his back upon Carcassonne,
in company with Bertrand de Born.

That famous knight was wont to travel
swiftly at need ; and in the evening, Aimery,
equipped like the squire of a knight banneret,*
well-mounted and well-armed, galloped by the
side of his master, as happy as the hero of a
fairy tale.

“JT love to journey thus in the freshness
of the evening, and to see the stars like
sentinels take up their watch on the battle-
ments of heaven,” said Bertrand. ‘We shall
halt about midnight at a castle where I am expected. Wilt thou
be pleased to make war again, my gentle minstrel? ”



* The reader will remember that the medieval chivalry acknowledged three
degrees of knight,—banneret, knight, and esquire. A soldier was required to
pass through the grades of esquire and knight before he attained the highest
dignity, which was conferred only on one who had seen considerable military
service, gained some renown, and could support a numerous train of men-at-
arms and other soldiers. As a general rule, he was required to have fifty
knights and squires under, his command ; each knight attended by one or more
246 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“War again, my lord! is not the war at an end? Is it not true
that we are lost, defeated, conquered; that we have nothing to do
but to idle at home like the women, and to pay whatever
moneys the King of England may be pleased to demand of us?
The saints be praised! what happy news!”

Bertrand de Born smiled.

“Well, Sire de Valpierreuse, to call you by the name your .
prowess has justly earned, you will soon have an opportunity of
winning lands and castles at your sword’s point. Do you know
the young king, Henry Short-Cloak ?”

“IT do not know him, my lord, but I have heard of him
frequently ; and it is my belief that he should rather be called
Henry of the Short Memory or Short of Faith! He is seen
sometimes in one camp, sometimes in another; none can rely on
his friendship.” .

“Wrong, child! Thou art too young to sit in judgment upon
princes. Prince Henry is a good young man and a loyal: he is
horror-stricken at the cruelties of his father and his brother Richard,
and has held himself apart from them for the last two years,
unwilling to join in hostilities against us. I have seen him, and
have spoken to him; and at this very moment he is at the head of
a stronger league than our previous one. The King of France
supports us; the burgesses of the good towns march with us; all

horse soldiers and certain followers on foot. There were, however, numerous
exceptions. The privileges of a knight banneret were very considerable.
Instead of fighting under some baron’s standard, he marshalled his soldiers
under his own. In truth, the knight banneret, in camp and on the battle-field,
was the baron’s equal in military authority. He had his knights, his squires,
his men-at-arms: like the baron, he had also his own war-cry; this war-cry
being ‘‘the under-written ornament of the armorial shield, and worked on the
surcoat and banners, and carved on the tomb both of the knights banneret and
the baron.” Like the baron, he had his square escutcheon. His wife was
styled une dame bannerette, and the general title of his family was a hostel
banniere.
EACH TO HIS OWN WAY. 247

the country is rising: to-morrow, Aimery, we shall be free !. I
go to Hautefort to seek my,banner and nuy vassals : how long it
seems since I last saw the bright array of battle! Wilt thou not
be well-pleased to fight, mounted on a high-mettled steed?”

Aimery was of as martial a temper as Bertrand de Born himself;
he rejoiced with him, and listened with a greedy ear to all his
plans of intrigues and battles. Bertrand sang to him the szrvente
which he had just composed'in honour of the new patriotic
confederacy; and while still discussing their brave projects and
glowing dreams, they arrived at the castle where the Sieur de
Hautefort was expected.

They were welcomed by the chatelaine. Her husband had
already set out with his vassals, and Bertrand tarried there only
for a few hours’ rest, more for the sake of his horses than himself.
He was eager to reach Hattefort, that he might sally forth again
at the head of a goodly troop of lancers, for he feared that the
League would not take the field without his presence : the journey,
therefore, was very rapid. Sir Bertrand inspected the defences of
his castle, in which he left a small garrison, and marched, with
banner unfurled, to join the Count of Limoges, the Count of
Périgord, and the other chiefs of the confederacy.

Had he given heed to Aimery, he would have commenced by
attacking Maulignage, and delivering Dame Eleanor; but
Maulignage was strongly defended, the Baron having remained
there; and to attack it with a handful of men would have been
madness. Aimery, therefore, had to follow his new master to the
south, where they both distinguished themselves by brilliant deeds
of prowess.

Meantime, what had become of the lady and damosel of
Rulamort? Inher peaceful retreat, the little Agnes, loved, petted,
caressed by the religious, and especially by the Abbess, who called
her “my daughter,” and threw into the name all a mother’s
248 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

tenderness, was as happy as it is possible tor an orphan to be.
She wept much at intervals, when she thought of her beloved
mother who delayed so long in coming to fetch her, or when she
recalled the death of Sir Hugues. But the Abbess thoroughly
understood the way in which the poor little sorrowful soul, of
whom she was the only support, ought to be treated: she did not
forbid her tears; she made no attempt to efface her melancholy
memories; she knew that in Eleanor’s place she herself would not



Ty he Se

o—

The Abbess spoke to her of her father.”

have wished to be forgotten; and she encouraged the child to talk
of her father. Then, to divert her from her grief, she would speak
of her mother’s childhood, of their sports and pastimes when they
were both little girls and warm friends and daily companions: these
stories interested Agnes greatly, and she laughed as she thought
of the little mamma who hunted butterflies and wore coronals of
flowers along with little Berengaria. The Abbess also spoke to
her of her father, whom she had known first as page, next as
squire, and lastly as knight; she related a thousand incidents in
which he showed himself what he was to the last—loyal and


EACH TO HIS OWN WAY. 249

sincere, brave and upright, and at the same time gentle in his
dealings with the weak, and compassionate towards the unfortu-
nate. The remembrance of her parents lost every day something
of its bitterness for little Agnes, and they became to her young
fancy like those saints whose legends she fondly loved, and whom
she seemed in her dreams to see folding their radiant wings above
her. She prayed for her dead father, whose virtues she desired to
imitate, and she strove also to be like her mother, so as to be
worthy of her the day they should be reunited. ‘
Poor Lady Eleanor, however, had neither the light hopefulness
“ of youth to console her, nor the eager sympathy of friendship to
soften her misfortunes. During the earlier days of her captivity
she had been absorbed in sombre silence, apparently insensible to
outward circumstances, and concentrating all her thoughts on one
single fear, one single hope: the fear that Agnes might be lost to
her; the hope that she might be saved. Reassured by Aimery’s
daring visit, she had thenceforth felt only the fatigue accumulated
during weeks of pain and anguish, and for many long days had
hovered between life and death; while the wife and daughters of
the Baron de Maulignage, moved with pity, tended her like
a sister rather than a prisoner.. Gradually she had recovered her
health; whereupon she was left free to remain in her chamber,
with respectful servants, and to receive there Father Odon, who had
craved permission to share her captivity. She could also join,
when she chose, the ladies of the castle, who never failed in the
consideration to which she was entitled. But oh! what memories
of sadness still lay at the bottom of her heart: her broken life, her
widowhood, her captivity ; the castle of Rulamort in the hands of
the murderers of Sir Hugues ; Agnes separated from her—perhaps
for ever! It was with difficulty Father Odon could revive her
courage, whether he spoke to her of the days that were past,
‘whether he attempted to fix her gaze on a brighter future. He
on his part feared the approach of other dangers of which Dame
250 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Eleanor had no conception. Richard of Poitiers, as a suzerain,
fantastic and capricious, would show himself generous or pitiless,
according to his passing humour: if the Rochaigués gained an
- influence over him, and persuaded him to hear their appeal before
his tribunal, what would be the fate of the unhappy lady? Richard
would undoubtedly order her to give up her daughter; and on her
refusal, who could be sure that he would not plunge her into some
horrible dungeon, where tke bread of grief and the water of anguish
might not long support her melancholy life?

So long as she remained in the hands of her immediate suzerain,
at least nothing of this kind was to be apprehended. The Baron
de Maulignage might punish his rebellious vassal by besieging
and taking possession of her castle; he might hold this castle for
his lord the Count of Poitiers, and it was his duty to detain
the lady of Rulamort a prisoner; but he did not refuse to his
captive either his pity or his admiration ; and he privately confessed
that he would not have willingly given one of his own daughters
to Jehan de Rochaigué. So he undertook no researches to dis-
cover the retreat of Agnes; and Red Thomas would have found
himself mistaken, perhaps, in his expectation of a large reward if
he had brought back the little fugitive,

As for Guy de Rochaigué and his son, it was their design, as
the heiress of Rulamort had disappeared, to cajole Count Richard
out of a grant of the domain and castle: They were of opinion
that the defunct Sir Hugues should be declared to have forfeited
his lordship by the crime of rebellion and forfeiture; and in the
meantime they acted as if they were already the legitimate
masters of Rulamort, oppressing and ill-treating its vassals, and
exacting from them payments in labour, money, and kind, to
which, under the just and gentle rule of Sir Hugues, they had
been unaccustomed.
CHAPTER XXVI.

AFTER THREE YEARS.





AUHREE years passed by: sad, long, and laborious
years for the prisoner of the Baron de Maulignages
sad, long, and laborious years likewise for unfortu-
nate Aquitaine. ° $
The lady Eleanor, stripped of all her wealth,
deprived of her child, an unwilling sojourner
# beneath a strange roof, ignorant even whether
/ Agnes was still alive, felt a fugitive breath of joy

==“ only when the faces around her grew gloomy, and

she understood, from fragments of whispered conversation, that
Count Richard had undergone some check. Her exhilaration
of spirits quickly subsided; for smiles soon reappeared on the
countenances of her hosts, and then it was with a loud voice and
an accent of triumph that they told of the capture of divers castles,
or the defeat of divers rebels. Eleanor learned that Henry Short-
Cloak had swiftly failed to keep his word to Bertrand de Born and
the Barons of Aquitaine. He was incapable of steady adherence
to the same idea; he had wearied of the war in its earliest stage,
and, attracted by the fame of the splendid tournaments which
were being held in Provence and Lombardy, had accepted the
252 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

proposals of Richard, and received a handsome pension. Poor
Eleanor frequently heard his praises sounded, and the story of the
jousts at which he carried off the prizes. The daughters of the
Baron de Maulignage, and the damosels who visited them, were
never weary of listening to the recitals; never weary of conversing
among themselves about this handsome king’s son, this brilliant
knight, always ready to break a lance in honour of the ladies,
generous-handed, magnificent in his personal equipment ; not one
of them but would have rejoiced to have seen him wear her
colours. But their stories were torture to the heart of the poor
prisoner ; this gay jouster, by his levity and want of faith, scattered
to the wind all her hopes. Of Rulamort no one spoke in her
presence: she knew only that the Sieur de Rochaigué held
possession of it; and she pitied the fate of her poor vassals,
abandoned to the mercies of such a master. She knew also
that Bertrand de Born, always valiant and steadfast, still con-
tinued the struggle, though without hope and alone; and fervently
did she pray for the gallant champion of Aquitaine. Sometimes
her ear caught another name which was dear to her; that of a
young squire, Aimery de Valpierreuse, Aimery the Bright-of-face,
who marched to battle singing, and whose deeds of bravery were
related with mingled admiration and terror. But her daughter,
no one ever spoke of her. Poor lady Eleanor, when she closed
her eyes, pictured to herself her little Agnes, as she used to be,
fair and delicate, and smaller than the children of her own age,
and endeavoured to conjecture what changes the years had
wrought in her. Had time embrowned the golden tresses and
lengthened the little round face? Did she retain the smiling
glance, the frank, free air of Sir Hugues? And she sighed as she
looked around on other mothers who enjoyed the happiness of
seeing their children grow up beside them. When she saw herself
in the mirror, she could not but perceive that she was greatly
changed; her cheeks were pale and thin, and white hairs every
AFTER THREE YEARS. 253

day streaked more abundantly her black tresses ; and she would
sigh : “Ah, if God restore her to me, will she be able to recognise
me?”

Father Odon had striven to procure news of Agnes ; but though
he was not exactly a prisoner, or at least was so of his own free
~ will, he was more closely watched than Eleanor herself. It was
feared that he maintained communications with the vassals of
Rulamort, and that his object was eventually to excite a revolt,
and expel the Rochaigués from the castle. In this they were
mistaken: his was no bellicose soul; and he understood too
thoroughly the position of affairs to initiate an enterprise which
could have had no other result than to render more rigid the
captivity of his suzeraine. All he desired was to find a faithful
messenger, who, without betraying the retreat of Agnes, might
obtain access to her and return to cheer the desolate mother with
the words: “Thy daughter is living; she lives and thinks of
thee!” But hé was so afraid of playing into the hands of a traitor,
hat three years passed before he ventured on sending, through
the agency of a pilgrim, a letter to Mother Monica. ‘The pilgrim
undertook to bring back an answer; and Eleanor was at last
enabled to treasure up, and conceal night and day upon her
bosom, a page on which the still familiar hand of Agnes had
written some tender words. She began again to take an interest
in life, and permitted herself to hope.

Yet she surely hoped against hope. One by one all the nobles
of the League had made their submission to Count Richard ;
except that, in his castle of Hautefort, Bertrand de Born continued
to brave the foreign master imposed upon Aquitaine. With him,
and by his side, his favourite esquire, Aimery the Bright-of-face,
shared the extremity of his fortunes; and rumour brought to them,
like an irony, the songs in which the troubadours of Lombardy —
and Provence celebrated the prowess in tourney of Henry Short-
Cloak. Then Bertrand de Born would stamp impatiently on the
254 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

ground; his brows contracted ; his black eyes flashed lightnings,
save when an occasional tear dimmed their lustre, and the friend
wept in honour of his friend. One day he exclaimed:

“No, Aimery, I cannot, I will not believe that Henry is happy
in his shame! Iam well assured that a single appeal would bring
him back to us. Oh if I could but gain access to him! See you,
if he placed himself at our head, all would be saved. The King
of France regards witha jealous eye the power of our enemies;
he would assist us. But to quit Hautefort! It is our last
fortress : no, I must defend it to the last extremity.”

““ Where is the young king, my lord?”

“King! He is so no longer, since he has neither lands nor
castles. He is in Provence, with Raymond Berenger. He is one
of the holders of a tourney which will take place in a few days.”

“Release me from my service towards you, my lord; I am
going !”

“Thou! Whither goest thou?”

“To find the young king; to speak to him. I do not know
what I shall say to him; but I swear it, I will die or will bring
him back to us!” ;

Bertrand de Born looked Aimery in the face. The young man
wore an air so resolute, so bold, so sure of success, that the Sieur
de Hautefort said to himself: “ Who knows? Mayhap his plain,
simple words will go straight to Henry’s heart.” And he said
aloud :

“ Go, child, and may God guide thee!”

The tournament was at an end. The crowd was passing down
from the tiers of benches to follow the steps of the princes and
knights returning to the palace of the Counts of Provence; and
the names of beautiful Jadies, famous lords, and the conquerors in
the lists, hovered on the lips of the spectators,—burgesses, artisans,
common people,—all proud of knowing such high and puissant




















































































































































SSS SSS = = ===

A rude hand checked him (4. 255).


AFTER THREE YEARS, 255.

personages. They knew, as well as if they had been seated in the
tribune of the judges, what ladies had thrown to such and such
chevaliers the jewels, ribbons, kerchiefs, scarves, with which they
had adorned their helms or hauberks; and sometimes a feminine
voice might be heard to express her astonishment that the lord of
Mellan and the Count of Pardiac had chosen for the lady of their
thoughts such or such a damosel, who seemed to them not more
beautiful than many others.

In this moving and noisy crowd a young man of sufficiently
strange appearance appeared much more anxious to make his way
as swiftly as possible to the palace than to contemplate the bravery
of the procession. He pushed onward through the dense ranks.
of sightseers, elbowing one, trampling on another, provoking
murmurs and indignant complaints, which, however, he quickly
appeased by excusing himself with a charming smile and gracious.
air. By his bright, clear eyes, his vermeil cheeks, his light and
soft fair beard, he might be taken to be still in the flower of his:
youth, and at all events not more than twenty years of age. He
wore with ease the picturesque garb.of a troubadour; but he had
not the sickly delicacy of a young man accustomed to idle his life
away in the society of ladies, and to enliven with his songs, often
for many weeks successively, the solitude and gloom of a feudal
castle. The fresh open air, the wind and the sun, had bronzed
his face, which contrasted vividly with the whiteness of his neck,.
as if the costume he wore disclosed more of his person than did
his ordinary attire. A dagger was thrust through his girdle, and
his bearing had something of the warrior, despite of the rebec
slung round his neck by a green ribbon. He glided up to the
great open gate through which the princes and lords passed into:
the palace court, and attempted to enter with them. Buta rude
hand checked him. ;

“Halt there! Who art thou, friend, that thou shouldst enter

here without being bidden ?” e
iy

256 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

The young man raised his head: he who spoke wore the colours
of Henry Short-Cloak.

‘“‘T am a master in the Gay Science,” he replied in a loud voice,
“and I come here to sing of the victors in the joust, and especially
of the valiant king, Henry the Younger. How long would endure
the glory of the preux chevaliers, if there were no troubadours to
immortalise it ?”’ ;

“There is no want of them here, no lack of trouvéres and
troubadours ; we have no need of thee! Dost think that thou
alone knowest how to sing? I ’faith, thy beard is hardly grown !”

“The youngest preacher sometimes delivers the best sermon,
and even one bird the more adds to the gaiety of the grove. _ By
your leave, messire squire; I am sure your master would not turn
me back. All true princes love the Gay Science, and Count
Richard of Poitiers-

At this name Prince Henry, who was idly listening to the
dialogue between his squire and the young troubadour, rose in his
stirrups.

“ Well,” he said, in an Carariene voice, “what would Richard
do?”

“He would welcome the poor wandering bird, my lord, and
permit him to sing his song ; and, certes, his renown for courtesy
does not equal that of his eldest brother!”

Henry Short-Cloak smiled.

**T am curious,” he said, “to know whether thy song is as
flattering as thy speech. Enter then, and be my guest; after
supper thou shalt exhibit thy skill.”

The young man proudly raised his head and entered with Prince
Henry’s suite.

In the palace of the Count of Provence he found a goodly
company of troubadours, of whom many were celebrated throughout
the country of the /angue d’oc. He held himself apart, with
watchful eyes and ears: like his brothers in the Gay Science, he


AFTER THREE YEARS. 257

had the privilege of entering into the hall of banquet. Never
before had he seen aught so costly or so beautiful; and he was
almost ready to believe himself transported to the grottoes of the
fairies or the island of Calypso. But neither the lustre of precious
stones, and vases and candelabra of gold, nor the blaze of the
torches which poured floods of light upon nobles clothed in
purple, and upon ladies whose beauty humbled to their knees the
most valiant chevaliers in the world, could distract him from his
thoughts: resting against a bright buffet loaded with gleaming
plate, he stood in the shadow motionless and mute. Every
moment a troubadour, at the request of some dame or lord,
advanced to the middle of the horse-shoe table, and accompanying
himself on his lute or rebec, sang a lay of love or a canzonet in
praise of the victors: loud applause and rich gifts rewarded his
efforts. But the young stranger did not listen to them; he
communed with himself.

“What shall I say to him? what words shall I find to persuade -
him? What would the Sieur de Hautefort say in my place?
O St. Agnes, my lady and my patron, come to my succour—
inspire me!”

And he arranged in his mind an oration which should restore
the prince to his former friends, which should convince him of
his felony without exciting his anger. He was so absorbed that
he did not perceive that the banquet was finished, and that the
guests had risen to pass into the great hall, where the amusements
were to continue. On finding himself alone, he feared that he
had perhaps lost the opportunity of speaking to the young king,
and he made quickly for the great hall. The troubadours had
followed the guests thither, and one of them had just finished
singing: he was being warmly complimented, and his hands were
already filled with gifts. Another stepped forward, struck the
chords of his rebec, and sang as follows :—-
IN DISPRAISE OF WAR.

‘Fie, fie upon war !
Oh! ’tis weary to ride, sirs, by day and by hee
On the bare earth to sleep in mendicant plight,
Not to eat when an-hunger’d, athirst not to drink,
And on hauberk and helm suffer many a chink,—
Oh, fie upon war!

‘Fie, fie upon war !
Life is short, and I trow the wise man is he
Who lengthens it out by laughter and glee ;
Who drowns all its bitters in cups of red wine,
And never to sorrow his ear will incline:
Oh, fie upon war!

‘* Fie, fie upon war !
You may boast of your war-horse in iron arrayed,
But mine be the palfrey that pricks through the glade,
While my dele amie ambles along at my side,
And my falcon soars high on its pinions of pride:
Oh, fie upon war!

‘* Fie, fie upon war !
All hail to the joust where the cavalier’s prize
Is a sweet, sunny glance from a pair of dark eyes ;—
Ay, give me the lists where my plume glitters bright,
And the queen of love garlands the worthiest knight :
Oh, fie upon war!

«Fie, fie upon war !
Would she crown me, pardie, if I rode to the wars,
And returned covered over with hideous scars?
Let fools for fame’s sake hew each other and hack ;
If I lose leg or arm, sirs, will fame give it back nae
Nay: fie upon war!”
AFTER THREE YEARS. 259

A burst of laughter greeted the conclusion of this song. The
chevaliers who laughed were no cowards, and had all proved
their bravery in many a battle; but the goblets brimming with the
generous wines of Provence had circulated so often, that the
guests were disposed to laugh at everything.

‘An excellent moral,” said one. “In war one sees only what
one does; there is no means of preparing for skilful strokes.”

“And besides, whe dreams of estimating their value? Each is




Ap

Miougy

Pe bees if tt

ent

“‘TTe drew a ring from his finger.”

busy on his own account. Rather speak to me of a tourney, at
which it is worth one’s while to exhibit one’s address.”

“Without doubt! To-day, for example, what superb passages
of. arms! My lord Henry of England has shown himself the
prince of jousters.”

‘¢ And all this time people have been making war in real earnest,
without any person taking notice of them. In a week all Pro-
vence, Lombardy, and Languedoc will know the names of to-day’s
victors; while none will give a thought to those madmen of
Périgord and Angoumois.”
260 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGIIT.

“Ay, but those madmen are sometimes marvellously discreet ;
like the Sieur de Hautefort, who sends others to fight while behind
his walls he composes his songs of battle.”

“Sir Bertrand de Born is a brave knight, and he who insults
him at a distance will never dare to confront him in tourney or
battle,” cried a voice which rose above all the others.

A dead silence ensued; all turned their eyes towards. the
audacious speaker. He was quickly detected: in the fire of his
indignation he had quitted the group of troubadours and servitors,
and drawn close to the chevaliers, whom he seemed to defy with
look and gesture.

“A jongleur!” exclaimed a chevalier with a laugh; “ worthy
companion of Bertrand de Born!”

“Thou art not here to speak, friend: sing!”

“Tt is the young troubadour to whom I gave right of entry,”
said Henry Short-Cloak. “Come, if thou knowest how to sing,
give us a proof of thy knowledge.”

Aimery took his rebec. It had all gone—the discourse which
he had prepared for Henry Short-Cloak! They were all gone—
his resolutions full of prudence! He sang, and the only szrvente
which came back to his memory was the last composed by
Bertrand de Born when his castle was besieged by Count
Richard’s troops. Thus it ran :—

THE SONG OF KING HENRY.

‘« Since not a rood of land he owns
His royal state to grace,

We'll henceforth hail Lord Henry king
Of all the coward race.

*¢Oh shameful he who meanly lives
Upon another's gold,

And in another’s livery struts—
A recreant bought and sold !

** And since King Henry plays us false,
And from his fealty parts,

No love is his in Poitou now,
Where once he held all hearts!”
AFTER THREE YEARS. 261

In a strong, clear voice Aimery hurled the reproaches of
Bertrand de Born in the Prince’s face. When he had concluded,
Henry hid his face in his hands.

A thousand threatening voices were raised against the audacious
singer, who had put aside his rebec, and with his hand on his
dagger, stood on guard. Prince Henry came to his succour.

“ Let him go,” he said, stretching his hand towards him; “he
is my guest. Follow me, young man; I myself will see that thou
goest in safety.”

He took him by the arm, and Aimery felt his hand tremble.
Leading him from the hall, he charged one of his servitors te
conduct him from the palace; then, before taking leave of him, he
drew a ring from his finger.

“Take this,” he said to him; “ thy song must not go unrewarded.
And say to Sir Bertrand that he is mistaken—that I am no
coward—that I love him now and always: he will hear .of me.
Farewell! whoever thou art, thou art braver than many chevaliers.”

Aimery bent before him, saluted the prince with ‘profound
respect, and departed. An hour later ine was galloping arene the
road to Hautefort.






De cagst
<_ itis
SSE
CHAPTER XXVII.



CAPTIVE SET AT LIBERTY.

T was night; and yet the castle of Rulamort was in
a state of commotion. In the kitchens, the h alls
the courts, the servitors were marvellous busy, pre-
= paring a sumptuous banquet, unfolding costly
, hangings, strewing the tables and the roads with
XN flowers. The portcullis was raised, and the draw-
bridge lowered; and every moment some fresh
visitor, afoot or on horseback, passed under the

8 arched gateway, and joined the groups laughing
and chatting in the great court. These groups were composed of
vassals and tenants of the domains of Rulamort and Rochaigué,
and their attire revealed the fact that they had come thither not
for battle but for revel.

And in truth a magnificent revel was on hand: since sunset, Jehan
de Rochaigué, alone in the castle chapel, was preparing himself by
prayer and meditation* to put on the golden spurs and take the
oath of chivalry. What passed in his mind during those solemn





-* The vigil of arms, as it was called, was an indispensable portion of the
ceremony of knighthood. The night before the candidate was inaugurated he
passed in a church, armed from head to foot, and engaged in religious duties.
Thus Rienzi spent the night before he was knighted in the chapel of the
Lateran. a
A CAPTIVE SET AT LIBERTY. 263

hours? Did he, as he looked back over the events of his
young life, open his heart to the balm of repentance? Did he
understand what was involved in the oath he would shortly
pronounce at the foot of God’s holy altar? Did he give himself
up to enthusiastic dreams of holy purity, devotion, self-sacrifice,
disinterested bravery? Did he propose to himself as models the
Knights of the Round Table, the seekers after the Holy Graal,*
those illustrious brothers-in-arms Roland and Oliver, the famous
leaders of the Crusade, Godfrey and Bouillon, Eustace, Boehmond,
Tancred? No; his darkened conscience would no longer
distinguish right from wrong. For him, virtue was the courage of
the warrior and not of the Christian; happiness was power and
wealth, and the pride of ruling over men. He was seated in the
seigneurial stall, gazing on the windows, which began to define their
arched outlines against the sombre background of the chapel: he
listened to the music without, and his heart beat with joy.

“Tt is to-day!” he said; “and the day comes: in a few hours
mine will be that title of knight, which will permit me to conquer
lands and castles, viscounties and baronies. Remain Sire de
Rochaigué? Fie upon the thought! Everything is possible to
the stout heart and vigorous arm. ‘To-day I shall gird to my
side that beautiful Franchise—that sword which I have conquered
by my craft and my courage; to-day I shall become my own
master. My father lacks daring: he clings too closely to his
suzerain; though I see not that his fidelity profits him. Four
years have nearly elapsed, and Count Richard has not even yet
decided whether he will bestow upon us the lordship of Rula-
mort: it is still without a lord, that rich domain! since the heiress
has never been found. If Richard refuse it to me, another, may-
hap, will be more generous. Henry Short-Cloak has rejoined his

* This was the mystic cup, in which, it was supposed, the blood that dropped

from our Lord’s side as He hung upon the cross was caught and treasured.
The ‘‘quest,” or search after it, is one of the finest of the Arthurian legends.
264 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT

father ; he undertakes the defence of the Aquitains, whom it is
pretended we maltreat and oppress—pah ! And it is verily asserted
and declared that the old king, in his joy at the return of his
beloved prodigal, has ordered Richard and Geoffrey to pay him
homage. Richard will assuredly refuse, and the young king will
prove, perchance, a better suzerain than he. If I gave up to
him Rulamort, he would be only too happy to confer it on me
in fief. I must watch which way the wind blows. It would be
passing strange if I found myself suddenly the companion-in-arms
of Bertrand de Born and Aimery the Bright-of-face !”

Jehan continued to indulge in his ambitious dreams. He had
conquered in imagination a vast territory, and the title of Count,
when the door of the chapel opened with a great noise. He
hastened to fling himself on his knees before the altar.

His sponsors approached : they were the Baron de Maulignage
and the Sieur de Morville, a Norman noble in favour with Henry II.
They raised him up, and conducted him to the
priest, that, according to usage, he might make
his confession; after which they led him into
a cell adjoining the chapel, where the sym-
bolical bath of the future knight had been
prepared.* The chapel was thronged with
spectators; for Guy de Rochaigué had invited
to the ceremony the most brilliant noblesse of
the country ; and when Jehan now reappeared,
clothed in a long white robe, marching between his two sponsors,
a murmur of approval rose on every side. Certes, this Jehan de
Rochaigué was a comely young man; his head, with its brown



* Knighthood was assimilated as much as possible to the clerical state, and
prayer, confession, and fasting were necessary for the candidate for both. The
squire had his sponsors, the emblems of spiritual regeneration were applied to
him, and the ceremonies of inauguration commenced by considering hin a new
man. He went into a bath, and then was placed in a bed. They were |
A CAPTIVE SET AT LIBERTY. 265

curls, over-topped the heads of his sponsors; his black eyes
shone vividly; and his manly complexion, his tall stature, his
air of vigorous and robust youth, disposed all the damosels to
accept him for their knight.

Mass was said with great pomp, in the midst of music and
perfume; then a gleaming sword, resting on an embroidered
cushion, was brought in front of the altar, and the priest pronounced
a blessing upon it.

. “ May’st thou,” said the consecrating words, “never leap from
thy scabbard except in the cause of right and justice ; may’st thou
never shine but in the path of truth; may’st thou be the support
of the weak, the terror of the wicked, the avenger of the oppressed ;
may’st thou be faithful to thy noble master, as he shall himself be
faithful to his vow of chivalry!”

The benediction at an end, Jehan, escorted by his sponsors,
proceeded towards the great hall, which was thickly strewn with
roses; and when he appeared at the chapel door, aloud acclamation
went up from the crowd : “ Noél! Noél! a long and glorious life
to Sir Jehan de Rochaigué!” The young man marched with a
proud step; he halted in the middle of
the court, and his sponsors stripped off
his white linen robe ; then the chevaliers
highest in rank among those present ap- ,
proached him in their order, to invest the ‘
new knight with the various pieces of his
harness.

“Vou will remember, messire,” said one,
“that it is I who have had the pleasure of giving you your surcoa..



symbolical, the bath of purity of soul, and the bed of the rest which he was
hereafter to enjoy in Paradise. In the middle ages, people generally reposed
naked ; and it was not till after he had slept that the neophyte was clad with a
shirt. This white dress was considered symbolical of the purity of his new
character.—C,. MILs, Méstory of Chivalry, i., 48, 49.
266 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“You will not forget,” said another, “that it was I who assisted
you to don your hauberk.”

Said a third : “ Allow me to fasten on your chausses de mailles.*
See, now you are clothed in iron from head to foot, as a knight
ought to be.”

“The ladies,” observed the Sieur de Maulignage, “should hold
a place in the life of every preux chevalier. Yours, fair damosels,
be the task of adorning him and lacing on his helm.”

The damosels immediately proceeded to attach to Jehan’s arms
sleeves of embroidered silk, of two different colours, according
to the mode ; they laced his helmet, after he had bent one knee
to the ground, to bring himself within their reach; and he smiled
upon them pleasantly, while occasionally casting a sidelong glance
at the stately war horse, all loaded with armour and covered with
a caparison of purple broidered with gold, which a squire had
brought on the scene, where it pawed and pranced impatiently.

“Now, Jehan de Rochaigué,” said the Baron de Maulignage in
a loud voice, taking Franchise in his hands, “do you swear to
consecrate your sword:to the defence of the weak and oppressed ?
Do you swear to be brave and loyal, to shun felony and perjury
more than death, and to fulfil even to your last hour the devoirs
of a good knight?”

“I swear it,” said Jehan, raising his right hand.

* The mail protecting the lower limbs was called chausses ; the mailed tunic
or frock was called a hazdberk.

t It was usual for the priest to deliver to the young knight an exhortation,
the form of which varied, but the purport was always the same. In Way’s
Fabliaux it is given in the following form :—

“Still to the truth direct thy strong desire,
And flee the very air where dwells a liar ;
Fail not the mass, there still with reverent feet
Each morn be found, nor scant thy offering meet.
Each week’s sixth day with fast subdue thy mind,
For ’twas the day of Passion for mankind ;
A CAPTIVE SET AT LIBERTY. 267

The Baron de Maulignage struck him lightly with the flat of
his sword.

“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
I dub thee knight.”

He gave him the accolade,* and presented to him Franchise.
Jehan, receiving it from his hands, bowed, and imprinted on the
stainless blade the pollution of his kiss: Jehan was a knight



** Te brandished Franchise.”

His squire handed him his shield, which he suspended to his
neck, and bringing the destrier up to him, held the stirrup. But
Jehan did not make use of it; placing his hand on the pommel, he

Else let some pious work, some deed of grace,

With substituted worth fulfil the place :

Haste thee, in fine, where dames complain of wrong,
Maintain their right, and in their cause be strong.
For not a wight there lives, if right I deem,

Who holds fair hope of well-deserved esteem,

But to the dames, by strong devotion bound,

Their cause sustains, nor faints for toil or wound.”

* So called from the part of the body, the neck (co/), where the blow was
struck.
268 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

raised himself lightly, and with a bound vaulted into the saddle.
Loud shouts rewarded this proof of his skill and vigour. He
brandished Franchise, and wheeled his horse from one end to
the other of the court, to bring out the good qualities of his steed,
and to show his dexterity in managing it;* and the Sieur de
Rochaigué having demanded if some chevaliers would not be
willing to do his son the honour of breaking a lance with him,
jousting lances were brought, and various passages of arms took
place, to the great pleasuring of the ladies. Jehan was victor in
nearly all, thanks to his strength, and also to the courtesy of his
guests ; and many rich and noble damosels decked him with their
colours. The Sieur de Rochaigué looked on well contented: if the
heiress of Rulamort did not re-appear, Jehan would have no diffi-
culty in accomplishing another union equally auspicious in point
of fortune, while retaining the lands his suzerain might be expected
eventually to grant him in fief.

The remainder of the day was spent in feasting, songs, and
dances: even the poor vassals received their share of the seigneu-
rial largesses, and were served in the castle courts with the broken
bread which was left from the banquet, with pieces of venison,
pork, and other roast meats, with cider and the wine of the
country. ‘This generosity, however, did not suffice to dissipate
their melancholy; many had given up their all to discharge the
“aid” due in every domain to the lord when his eldest son was

* We are reminded of the action of the Cid in the old Spanish ballad :—

‘* With that the Cid, clad as he was in mantle furr’d and wide,
On Baviera vaulting, put the rowel in his side ;
And up and down, and round and round, so fierce was his career,
Stream’d like a pennon on the wind Ruy Diaz minivere.
And all that saw them praised them: they lauded man and horse,
As matchéd well, and rivalless for gallantry and force.
Ne’er had they look’d on horseman might to a knight come near,
Nor on other charger worthy of such a cavalier.’
(LockuHartT, Spanish Ballads, p. 66.)
A CAPTIVE SET AT LIBERTY, 269

made a knight; for the Sieur de Rochaigué loved money, and
showed mercy to none. The vassals of Rochaigué had paid
according to the feudal custom; those of Rulamort had been
compelled to pay also, though Jehan, as he held the fief only in
virtue of the right of garde-noble, was not entitled to demand it
from them.

One alone of the guests did not touch the dishes which the
servitors heaped up before every visitor; and had any one observed
him, -he would have been seen to bite in secret a dry hunch ot
bread which he drew from his pouch,—and a poor figure it made
in the midst of the luxuries of the ceremonial banquet. Had he
made a vow; or was he condemned to penance? He had entered
with the crowd of vassals; he had penetrated into the chapel,
where he had prayed with fervour throughout the ceremony; and
he had wandered in the courts and vestibules thrown open to
those vassals who held no land. He showed little interest in the
féte;. but when Jehan was breaking lances with the guests, his.
fingers closed on the handle of his dagger, as if he regretted that
he held in his hand no lance or sword of combat. Some of the
vassals of Rulamort had eyed him closely, thinking that in his face
and figure they traced something familiar ; but after careful inspec-
tion had declared themselves mistaken: it was not easy indeed to
recognise the smooth-cheeked, rosy-faced boy and his form slender
as a young poplar, in the stalwart young man of twenty, with his
vigorous limbs, his bronzed complexion, and his auburn beard.
Aimery was well disguised. For he knew the peril of the enter-
prise he had undertaken, and was resolved to part with his life
rather than suffer failure.

He had learned,—the news had travelled far,—that on that
day Jehan de Rochaigué was to receive his spurs, and had left
Bertrand de Born for the purpose of penetrating, disguised, into
that castle of Rulamort, which he had quitted four years before,
carrying Agnes in his arms. He knew that he should immediately
270 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

recognise Franchise, if that were the sword which Jehan buckled to
his side, and if so, the traitor would not keep it long! Aimery
had seen everything ; had shuddered when Jehan gave to the good
sword his Judas-kiss, and had sworn that the morrow’s sun should
see Franchise rescued from its dishonour. It was for this reason
he wandered about the castle, everywhere meeting with precious
souvenirs, and with difficulty repressing the tears of rage that rose
to his eyes at the thought that Sir Hugues was not yet avenged,
and that his widow was still a prisoner. The day declined, and
the vassals gradually quitted the castle courts. He saw the
visitors assemble their retinues, and take courteous leave of
their hosts. Concealed in an obscure corner, he saw those who
remained at Rulamort retire one after the other to their lodgings,
whither Jehan and his father conducted them with all due
ceremony; and finally he saw the new knight’s sponsors accom-
panying him to the chamber formerly occupied by Hugues de
Rulamort. Then the sponsors withdrew ; the pages, varlets, and
esquires followed them, after having discharged their service ; and
silence soon prevailed in the castle.

When Aimery judged the opportunity had arrived, he quitted his
hiding-place, and glided, with hand.on dagger, to Jehan’s sleeping-
chamber. He opened the door noiselessly—he entered; Jehan
was fast asleep: the glimmer of a lamp fell on his comely counte-
nance, and near him, on the stools and couches, lay the rich
vestments and splendid arms he had just put off. Aimery looked
at him: how calm he slept for a traitor! At the head of the bed
shone Franchise. Aimery, with a joyous throb of the heart, laid
his hand upon it: the sword was still pure; the felon had not had
time to make use of it. He leaned over Jehan, saying: “IfI were
thus at his mercy, I might say farewell to life!” But no thought
of avenging the death of Sir Hugues and his own injuries rose to
his mind; only recalling the history of David and Saul which
Father Odon had related to him in his childhood, he drew towards










































SS SSS

He drew towards him the robe which Jehan had worn (/. 271).
A CAPTIVE SET AT LIBERTY. 271



him the robe which Jehan had worn during the day, and witli his
sword cutting off a strip of the rich fringe of gold and silk with
which it was edged, concealed it in his bosom. Then he left the
room as silently as he had entered, casting a glance of defiance
at his sleeping foe.

He gained without difficulty the basement story of the donjon,
which was colder and damper even than on the day of the damosel
Agnes’s escape. By the feeble light of the rays of moonshine that
struggled through the narrow windows he found the secret door,
and plunged into the subterranean passage. Carrying no other
burden than Franchise, he sped swiftly ; and the stars still glittered
in the deep sapphire night when he pushed aside the brushwood
at the place of exit, and emerged into the open country.

At dawn of day, a chevalier arrived before the gate of Rulamort,
and his trumpet demanded admittance. The warden did not
refuse it; and the cavalier having been ushered into the castle,
held a brief parley with the Sieur de Rochaigué,. Then he departed,
and was soon lost inthe distance. Sir Guy summoned his squires,
gave them divers orders, dressed hastily, and passed into the
chamber of his son, who awoke at the sound of his measured
footsteps.

“Good tidings, Jehan!” cried Sir Guy. ‘To-day you will
don your hauberk and mount your golden spurs: the Count of
Poitiers summons us.”

“The Count of Poitiers, my father! Are you well assured that
it is wise for usto obey? He stands alone at present against his
brothers and the old king. Who knows if another suzerain would
not reward our services more liberally? Remember we are still
awaiting the investiture of Rulamort !”

The Sieur de Rochaigué smiled.

* Good, Jehan! Before you are fully awake you show yourselt
prudent and wise! But be not afraid; Richard is not one against
three. These Angevin princes never know what they want.
272 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

The old king launched Henry and Geoffrey against Richard ; the
King of France, a sly fox, espouses their cause ; he ceases not to
hope that eventually Poitou will declare for him. Then the old
king grows alarmed ; he recalls his blood-hounds ; and as his blood-
hounds turn a deaf ear, he ranges himself on the side of the
game, and now makes common cause with Richard. Such are
the news a messenger has just brought to me, with orders to join
the banner of the Count of Poitiers. We set out immediately.
What ho there, squires! Come and arm your master !”

The squires hastened to obey, and Jehan assumed his robe.

“Ah! what is this?” he suddenly exclaimed ; “the fringe of
this vestment has been torn off: see, my father!”

The injury was not one that could be attributed to any rodent
animal, and Jehan made no effort to explain the misadventure ;
but he remained lost in: thought while his squires fastened on his
hauberk and chausses, laced his helm, and put on his spurs.

“Give me my sword,” he said, when he had adjusted his belt.

“Your sword, my lord! where is it?” asked one of the
servitors, examining the cabinet where he had laid Franchise the
night before.

Jehan also looked, and turned pale. Franchise was no longer
there.




CHAPTER XXVIII



op AIMERY THE KNIGHT.

OT for one moment was Jehan at a loss to divine
who had carried off his sword, though he could not
imagine how he had contrived to gain access to it.
But as Aimery was not a knight, it was not in his
hands that he must expect to find Franchise:
probably he would entrust it to Bertrand de
Born, until he was himself entitled to make use of
it. Accordingly, in every engagement in which he
encountered the Sieur de Hautefort, Jehan looked
anxiously to see what sword he carried. It was not Franchise:
Aimery, therefore, must have concealed it somewhere. Jehan
longed to recover it; not that he cared specially for Franchise
more than for any other sword, but he was humiliated by the
loss of it, and it irked him that Aimery, when he might so easily
have killed him, should have cut off only the border of his robe:
he yearned to be avenged on a generosity which he despised.

The war still dragged on its weary length: sometimes the
Angevin princes, weary of their sanguinary enmities, effected a
temporary reconciliation ; and men learned that the young Henry
had gone in search of his father, that they had eaten out of the
274 - PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

same plate and drunk out of the same cup, and that their affection
was complete ; then the inconstant temper of the prince wafted
him in another direction, and he turned towards the rebels.
Afterwards, seized with a new fit of repentance, he attempted to
pacify the country by preaching submission to the nobles of
Aquitaine and guaranteeing to them his father’s forgiveness. But
the barons of Aquitaine trusted neither father nor son, and no one
laid down his arms.

The sweet May month, however, brightened all the land of
Aquitaine with a thousand flowers, which took the place of the
devastated crops. In a delightful valley of leafiness in the
neighbourhood of Limoges, a company of chevaliers halted to
enjoy the shade. Men and horses appeared weary: the burning
rays of the sun striking on their armour had parched them with
thirst; and the murmur.of a shining brook that rippled through
the glen charmed their ears more than the sound of rebec or viol.
The leader of the band, 2 man apparently advanced in years, fora
long white beard fell through the raised ventail of his helmet,
jooked around him keenly, examining the thickets lest they con-
cealed an ambuscade, but detecting nothing suspicious, made a
sign to his esquire to assist him in dismounting. His companions
followed his example; and soon all were quenching their thirst in
the rivulet’s limpid waters. Then they threw themselves upon the
herbage ; and their good horses, released for a moment from nose-
piece and chamfer, began to browse with a well-satisfied air,
occasionally uttering little neighs and snortings of content.

“Right pleasant this halt on the border of the stream, is it not,
sir knights?” said, with an air of good-humour, the old captain of
the troop. “ However, we must not tarry here long; we are not
far from Limoges, and a sortie of rebels might surprise us.” °

“Tt is certain, messire Hereward, that this is no fit place for a
battle,” replied a young knight; “for my part I should vastly
prefer to combat in the open plain, and even to wait until the sun
AIMERY THE KNIGHT. yas

was not so high above the horizon. Has there been any report
yet of a Suen of arms? ’Twould be very sensible during the
heat of summer.’

“?Tis a sad war,” answered the old knight; ana I pity you,
you who belong to the country, that you must thus devastate your
own fair fields. For me, I am an Englishman, and the Aquitains
are not my people ; yet I cannot help feeling compassion for them.
I think that things have come to pass in the same fashion as in
the time of my fathers, when Duke William sailed across from
Normandy.”

“ Aquitains or Saxons, ’tis all the same in effect, ” gaily rejoined
the young man; “rebels must be punished. If the people of
Poitou and the Limousin would submit to Lord Richard, they
might scratch their land in peace.”

“Tt is hard,” said Hereward, thoughtfully, “to be compelled to |
obey foreign masters.”

“What matters, if they are good chevaliers! You, messire
Hereward, are a Saxon, and yet no Angevin or Norman baron is
more in favour than you are with the Count of Poitiers, or even
the King of England.”

“ Ay, at the end of a hundred years, see where we are! The
race of our kings is extinct ; and we seek to connect ourselves with
our conquerors, because a few drops of Saxon blood flow in their
veins. But know this, young sir,” added Hereward, looking his
interlocutor in. the face, “ when I took the oath of fidelity to the
King of England, I ‘said to him: ‘Sire, I will serve you loyally
against your enemies of France, ‘Treland, or Scotland; but do not
ask of me to draw the sword against Saxons!’ And King Henry
accepted my homage on these terms: he has sent me against the
rebels of Normandy and Aquitaine, against the King of Scotland
and the chiefs of Ireland; but never, he has sworn it to me,—never
will he employ my arm against the men of my race. Alas, he has
nothing more to fear from them! For us all is over, all is finished!”
276 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Hereward rested his head on his hand, and remained sad and
silent: His companions looked at him, some with astonishment,
most with respect. Among the former were Jehan de Rochaigué,
who regarded patriotism as a capital mistake, which could have
no other result than to damage a man’s chances of success. It
seemed to him that if the old knight, instead of defining his
homage by certain conditions, had cajoled out of the Norman
kings a gift of good estates and fair Saxon castles, he might have
risen to the rank of count, or even duke, instead of being nothing
more than a chevalier.

Suddenly Hereward, who had been reposing on the grass,
sprang up. :

“ Horses!” said he; “‘I hear horses in a southerly direction
Wilfred | seest thou nothing? hearest thou nothing ? ”

“Nothing, my lord!” replied Wilfred, a young squire whom
Hereward had posted as a sentinel at the entrance to the valley.

‘Hereward placed his ear against the ground and listened
anew. :

“‘T am not mistaken,” he said, rising to his feet almost imme-
diately. “Friends or enemies, I know not; but some cavaliers
are approaching us. To arms and saddle, quick! And let us
extricate ourselves from these wooded defiles, where an ambuscade
might easily be lain.”

In the twinkling of an eye all the company were alert: the
destriers and men arrayed in their usual defensive armour, the
knights and squires in the saddle; and they prepared, with
Hereward at their head, to quit their shelter. Meanwhile the
cavaliers, whose approach the trained ear of Hereward had
detected, came onward at a swift trot. Did they see the gleam of
armour through the foliage, or did they hear the clink of steel?
Whether it was the one or the other; whether they thought that
friends were before them or enemies, they suddenly urged their
horses into a gallop, and broke into the valley like a hurricane.
AIMERY THE KNIGHT. 277

“ Plantagenet and England!” cried Hereward, putting his lance
in rest.

“ Aquitaine ! death to the strangers!” replied the new-comers ;
and the fight began. ;

The struggle was unequal ; for the Aquitaine cavaliers were by
far the more numerous, though it is true their horses were fatigued
by a long journey in the blazing sun, while those of the Norman
and English knights were fresh from an hour’s repose. Thick as
hail fell Sir Hereward’s blows upon his assailants, many of whom
fell before his heavy mace; while Sir Jehan de Rochaigué
seemed determined to rival him in the fury and rapidity of his
attacks. Jehan, however, had inherited his father’s prudence.
When he had sufficiently indulged in the pleasure of demonstrating
his strength of arm and dexterity of fence, he bethought himself
that the Count of Poitiers, who had sent forward as an advanced
guard the little troop to which he belonged, could not be far
distant with his army, and that he could render much more
effectual assistance by going in search of him than by staying to
be defeated and made prisoner without profit to anyone. He
drew back gradually, until he reached a path that traversed the
little wood, when he set spurs to his horse, and galloped from the
scene of conflict.

“Jehan!” shouted Hereward, in a frenzy of rage and con-
tempt. But Jehan heard not, or affected not to hear, and as soon
as he was clear of the wood, made straight for Count Richard’s
army.

A young squire who fought among the warriors of Aquitaine
had raised his head at Hereward’s exclamation. “ Jehan,” he
murmured ; “and he flies: it must be he! Had I but known it
sooner! But I cannot pursue him now; it is shameful to fight
against a coward. I shall surely meet with him again.”

And he continued to exchange blows with the Normans, while
admiring the prowess of their chief. Aimery felt a profound
27188 ee PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

reverence for the veteran grey-beard, who surpassed in valiancy
the youngest and most robust chevaliers, and he said to himself:
“Heaven keep me from crossing his path! Not even for the
spurs of gold would I wish to lift my hand against so noble and
brave a lord!” ;

It fell to his lot, however, to do the very thing he wished not.
The sudden retreat of Jehan de Rochaigué had provoked among
the Norman chevaliers a momentary surprise and hesitation, which
their adversaries perceived, and took advantage of it to press the
attack very keenly. Some of them, driven back upon the stream,
had fallen into it, and been drowned ; those who remained fought
desperately, but were too few to prevail against the superior force
of the Aquitains, and after a fierce struggle, seeing its utter hope-
lessness, and_ not caring to be made prisoners by the vassals ot
Aquitaine, turned their horses’ heads and rode briskly from the
field. So it came to pass that old Hereward found himself almost
alone, bleeding from many wounds, exhausted and enfeebled, but
still defending himself with stern calmness, and resolute to sell his
life as dearly as possible. But a blow which he failed to parry
hurled him from his stirrups; he fell, and fell partly under his
destrier, which had fallen with him. MHalf-a score of assailants
immediately dashed upon the prostrate hero, and ten daggers
eagerly sought some chink or opening in his cuirass. The fasten-
ings of his helmet were broken, and it rolled on the ground,
exposing his bald head and white beard.

At this moment Aimery, who had been engaged in a sharp
passage of arms with a Norman squire, succeeded in administering
the coup de grace. We saw Hereward fall; he saw his helmet roll
on the ground ; and burning with admiration for the courageous |
old man, he sprang in front of his assailants, covering him with his
body and extending his arms to protect him.

“Back!” he cried to his companions, “back! do you not see
that the victory is with us? If you wish one day to buckle on the
AIMERY THE KNIGHT. 279

belt of knighthood, do not slay a disarmed enemy. Leave this old
man alone, or I will undertake his defence !” ;

“ Let him surrender then! Surrender yourself, Sir Knight ! ask
mercy !”
- Surrender myself! and to whom?” said Hereward, with diffi-
culty raising himself. ‘Is any ee here present to whom I can
give up my sword?”

The Aquitains looked at one eee not one of them bore

a knightly scutcheon. |



Aimery knelt down.*

“None among us, my lord,” replied Aimery, “have yet put on
the golden spurs, though many may be worthy of them; but if you
will give me your faith for my master the Sieur de Hautefort, I will
conduct you to him. I doubt not that his fame and name are
well-known to you, and that no chevalier would think himself
dishonoured in surrendering to so illustrious and noble a
knight.”

_Hereward looked at Aimery.

“Thou appearest to me worthy of thy master, young man.
- What is thy name?”
280 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

‘They call me Aimery the Bright-of-face, and my late lord, Sieur
Hugues de Rulamort, made me Sire de Valpierreuse.”

“Well, Aimery de Valpierreuse, thou hast the spirit and the
arm of a true knight. I surrender myself to thee ; dost under-
stand?—to thyself alone. Help me to rise, that I may give thee
the accolade ; for ’tis only to a knight that I can give up my
sword.”

Aimery, overcome with emotions of joy and pride,’ released
Hereward from his painful position, assisted him to his feet, and
knelt before him.

“Sir Aimery,” said the Saxon, “I shall not ask you if you know
the duties of a knight, for to-day you have shown me that you
know them and can discharge them. Swear in the face of
heaven, as if you were before the holy altar of our Lord, to
protect the weak and combat the evil-doers!”

“ Before God, I swear it!” replied Aimery.

“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Aimery, Sire de Valpierreuse, I dub you knight! These be your
arms ;” and dipping three fingers in his own blood, he traced three .
red lines upon Aimery’s blank shield. “Receive the accolade
from the hand of an old man who hath ever been brave and loyal ;
and may the sword of your prisoner bring you happiness, for it
has never shed innocent blood !”

Aimery kissed the sword which the veteran Hereward pre-
sented to him; but he did not thrust it into his belt: he
returned it into the sheath which hung from the Saxon’s
bauldric.

“Heaven forbid, my lord,” said he, “that I should deprive of
his sword the good knight who has bestowed on me the order of
chivalry! If I do not at once set you free to seek your friends, it
is because we are close to Limoges, and on the way you might
fall in with a body of our soldiers whom, weak and wounded as
you are, you would be in no condition to encounter. But I will
AIMERY THE KNIGHT 281

take care of you as of my own father,* and you shall set out as
soon as you have recovered your strength.”

Aimery helped his prisoner to resume his saddle; and perceiving
that, owing to the severity of his hurts, he could hardly support
himself, he mounted behind him on the crupper, and threw his
strong young arms around the aged frame. His companions
stripped the dead knights, took possession of such of the steeds
as promised to be of good service, disarmed their prisoners, and,
loaded with trophies, moved onwards for Limoges.

If beneath the sun that day there lived a happy man, it was
assuredly Aimery the Bright-of-face.

He was a knight! He had gained the right to brandish
Franchise in the open battle! In the tourney and the passage of
arms, henceforth he might touch the shield of any high baron,
count, duke, or king’s son, and none durst turn from him con-
temptuously. Ah, if his father could but see him! If he could
but see his son all that in his wildest fancies he had dreamed he
might become! But could he not, did he not, see him? Would
not kind Heaven, to ensure his complete happiness in Paradise,
suffer him to know what was passing upon earth? The thought
was possible only to one nursed in an age of superstition; but
Aimery cherished it with a devout faith, and from the bottom of
his heart he blessed and thanked the father whose counsels of
honour and wisdom had prepared him for the supreme felicity he
enjoyed upon that ever-mymorable day.

At Limoges the victors were welcomed with enthusiasm. The
people thronged the streets, shouting “‘Noél! Noél!” and the

* “Many of the most virtuous affections of the heart wound themselve
round that important circumstance in a man’s life, his admission into knight-
hood. He always regarded with filial pity the cavalier who invested him
with the order. He never would take him prisoner if they were ranged on
opposite sides, and he would have forfeited all title to chevalier honours if he
had couched his lance against him.” —1/i//s,
282 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT, —

women strewed flowers in their way. Bertrand de Born clasped
to his heart the young squire who had become his brother-in-arms,
and placed at his disposal a chamber for his prisoner. Poor -
Hereward was sadly weakened by loss of blood; but the skill of
the. leech and’ the tender care of Aimery soon restored him to
health. As soon as he felt stronger, he sent a squire to the camp
of the Count of Poitiers to bring back a large sum of money in
gold, English and French, which he offered to Aimery as a ransom.
But Aimery refused all ransom, saying to Sir Hereward that he
considered him as his father, since he had received from him the
order of chivalry: he consented only to accept by way of a gift a
suit of mail and a war-horse.

Touched by his generosity, Hereward, as he took leave of him,
said, with tears in his eyes: “‘ Remember, Sir Aimery, that if ever
you have need of a friend in the English camp, I am yours to
the last hour of my life.”


CHAPTER XXIX,
BET A KING’S GRIEF.

ENRY, the old King of England, was seated in his
| tent surrounded by servitors, silent like himself.
He seemed overwhelmed with fatigue or chagrin:
his head drooped on his breast, and the caresses
of his favourite dog, which had placed its head
on his knees, and thrust softly into his hand
the tip of its black muzzle, did not succeed in
rousing him from his reverie.- Near the door ot
the royal pavilion some chevaliers were discoursing
in a low voice.

“Do you think this message is a falsehood ?”
said the Baron de Maulignage to Guy de
Rochaigué.

“ Assuredly! the Prince was in excellent health
five days ago, when he quitted the camp; it is
not possible that he should be already at the
point of death. He will have fallen in with
Bertrand de Born, whose influence would
quickly divert him from his intended course.”

“YT do not think so, messire,” interrupted
Hereward. “The young king is volatile and




284 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

unstable, too prone to change on light grounds his camp and his
allies; but he is neither false nor a traitor.”

“But he is easily led; and our enemies know how to persuade
him to anything they wish. If they could get possession of the
king, it would be worth more to them than ten battles. The blow
was well-aimed: the king’s affection for his son has never failed ;
and by making him believe he was sick to death, they hoped to
draw him to Chateau-Martel. As hé must have travelled thither
in all haste, he could not have been accompanied by the army,



Some chevaliers were conversing in a low voice.

and the rebels would soon have disposed of his escort. No, no,
the king did well in refusing to go there.”

“ Ffereward,” said the old king, raising his head.

The Saxon hastened to his side.

“ Fereward, my friend, I am sorely stricken. It seems to me
that my son is calling on me, that he is dying at a distance from
me, imploring my forgiveness. I have acted basely: if the father
of the Prodigal Son had been summoned by his child, he would
have delayed not a moment.”

“ But the danger, my lord and king! The prince; without doubt,
A KING’S GRIEF. 285

is noble and loyal; but who knows whether the rebels would
respect your sacred person? ”

“What matters! Is my life worth the care that you take of it?
O Henry! Henry! who knows whether I shall not repent of
turning a deaf ear to thy appeal? Hereward, I will go; I force no
one to accompany me ; I shall go alone. I must see my son again !”

“1 am ready to follow you, sire!”

“ And we also,” cried the barons, drawing near their sovereign.
““No one of your nobility has ever refused to die with Your
Highness !”

*“* And it is to death, in truth, that we go.”

“Remember how your envoys were treacherously slaughtered
by the rebels!”

“ Osward and Fitz-Marsh stabbed to death with daggers!”

“Herbert Longbeard thrown from the top of

-a bridge. Remember the arrows which pierced
your cloak at your last interview with the rebels!”

“The young king will be powerless to
defend Your Highness; by repairing to his
camp, you will add to his regret that of having
seen you perish before his eyes.”

“Tf we were but sure that the messenger came
from the Prince.”

The old king had fallen back in his fauteuil,
and concealed his gray head in his hands.
His heart cried to him: “Go, seek thy son!” !
But ought he to expose to danger his faithful
nobility? Ought he throw into the hands of rebels the vassals who
had always served him loyally? He hesitated, listening to the
barons, who muttered in a low voice, “Madness! ’tis rushing into
the wolf’s jaws!” when the blast of a trumpet was heard without.

The king trembled. “What is that? See who comes here, sir

knights !. Hereward, go you: it sounds to me like the omen of ill!”
21


286 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT,

Hereward left the tent. It was long before he returned; and
then it was with a sad, pale face; and the king could see that his
eyes were wet with tears.

“My son?” cried Henry. Hereward bowed his head without
replying.

“My son! my poor son! my first-born! he is dead! he, so
handsome, so full of life, cut off in his bloom! Let the bodesman
enter, Hereward; I wish tospeak to him ; I would learn from him
—TI would know how my son died !” -

The messenger entered and knelt before the king, who recog-
nised him at once as one of the late prince’s favourite squires.

“Speak, Reginald,” he said in a tremulous voice. ‘Did my
son curse me before dying ?”

The squire could hardly repress his tears.

“Curse? Oh, my lord, my king! He called upon you with his
latest breath, imploring your pardon, and protesting his repentance.
He insisted on dying on a bed of sackcloth and ashes, and would
have us drag him thither witha rope. Every minute he watched
the door in the hope of seeing you enter; and when he felt his
end approaching, he wept, saying: ‘I have sinned too heavily
against my father and suzerain ; I do not deserve to receive from
him the kiss of peace.’ He suffered all night ; and at length, this
morning, the eleventh of June, at sunrise, he exclaimed : ‘ Pardon,
my father!’ and gave up the ghost. I set out immediately to
bring you the sad tidings.”

The old king stood speechless, resting one hand on the arm of.
his fauteuil: tears flowed slowly from his eyes, and down his
wrinkled cheeks, glittering like diamonds on his silvery beard ; his
whole body shook with emotion. His nobles gathered round him
with respectful sympathy. Hereward bent one knee to the ground,
and kissed his hand. The king looked at him:

“ Hereward, my faithful, thou hast lost a son, I think ?”

“Ves, sire, long ago—a son brave and comely like yours.”
A KING'S GRIEF, 287

“ But thou, thou didst see him die! He did not call upon thee
jn vain in his last hour. Ienvy thee. Sir Knights, prepare to
attend us to Chateau-Martel; we will give my son a right royal
sepulture. Oh, the felons! they separated him from me; upon
them I will nowavenge myself. Carry the news to Count Richard ;
‘bid him attend the funeral of his brother; and afterwards:
Unfurl your banners : it is time we made an end of them!”

Preparations were actively made; the king himself superintending
and expediting them. Richard, whatever his secret feelings
respecting a death which made him heir to the crown of England,
came at the first summons to console his afflicted father. And just
as the cortége was on the point of setting out for Chateau-Martel, a
chevalier, arriving at a gallop, dismounted from his horse in front
of King Henry, and threw himself at his feet.

“My father,” he murmured, “I come to make my submission ;
I ask leave only to weep with you.”

“Thou too, Gregory?” said the old king, raising him up and
drawing him to his breast. ‘ All is forgiven my son, all is forgotten.
Come with us; thou shalt assist us to avenge thy brother!”

A sumptuous funeral was accorded to Henry Short-Cloak ; and
on the following day the whole of the royal army attacked the
town and fortress of Limoges. The town was well fortified, and
its defenders were courageous ; but how could they prevail against
the united forces of Henry and his sons? The division which
Bertrand de Born had so carefuy fostered in the family of the
Angevin princes had made the strength of the League of Aquitaine ;
their union constituted its weakness: Limoges fell.

In the evening, after the surrender of the town, Richard gave a
feast to his barons in the palace of the Count of Limoges. It was a
brilliant revel; there was no chevalier however small but had a
prisoner, and would secure a rich ransom : in the morning he had
neither money nor coat of mail, but in the evening he strutted in
the mantle of vair and the velvet cap of the vanquished. They


288 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

spoke of the day’s great deeds of arms; they listened to the
troubadours who had already composed new songs of triumph,
or had appropriated old ones to the new victory; and Richard of
Poitiers, an adept in the Gay Science, sang also, amid the plaudits
of his barons. The old king, to whom vengeance had brought no
consolation, had refused to take any part in the fé¢e; and had with-
drawn to his chamber, where, with tears, he prayed for his son’s soul.

When the prowess of the living had been duly celebrated, the
discourse turned on the chevaliers who had lost their lives in the
siege, and more particularly in the last assault. Richard dedicated
some words of regret to the memory of each, and was careful to
inform himself what heirs they had left. It was of primary
importance to him that all the strong castles in the country should
be in hands devoted to his interests, and when a fief fell to a child
or a woman, he was careful to appoint a guardian or name a
husband on whom he could rely. He had no light task in
endeavouring to satisfy every ambition ; for each “ garde-noble,” or
wardship, several nobles were claimants, whether to wed a young
maiden or an aged widow. Some one chanced to speak of Sir
Guy de Rochaigué.

‘‘T saw him near me for half the day, as well as his son,” said
Richard ; we may count them among the best doers in the assault.
The Chevalier de Rochaigué threw himself alone, under my eyes,
on a battalion of the rebels.”

& Yes,” muttered Hereward, “he is brave on occasion, that
young Jehan de Rochaigué! especially under the eye of the master.
Well, he has done his devoir to-day, one cannot deny it.”

“Why is he not here?” asked the Count of Poitiers. “I have
heard say that his father was wounded ; are his wounds so grievous
that the son cannot make merry with us?”

“The chevalier Jehan will attend your lordships immediately,”
said the Baron de Maulignage with emphasis, “if it please you
to send him your commands. A kindly word from his suzerain
A KING’S GRIEF, 289

will be his best consolation in his grief: the Sieur Guy de Rochaigué
was mortally wounded in the assault upon the citadel, and had just
expired when I set out for your lordship’s presence.”

“‘T am deeply grieved to hear it. Yes, Baron de Maulignage,
let the new Sieur de Rochaigué wait upon us; I would assure
him myself of my good-will, and ask him what recompense he
desires for his good services.”

Jehan was introduced. He was pale and worn, and his air was
dejected; for in very truth the death of his father had caused
him as keen a sorrow as he was capable of feeling. Bending
low before Count Richard, he listened to his praises with a
bearing in which pride and modesty were happily blended.

““T would not wish,” said Richard, “to offer you compensation
for the loss of your valiant father, but to recognize both his
services arid your own by some conspicuous mark of honour.
Among the fiefs which we have conquered from the rebels, is there
any one which would be more agreeable to you than another? I
shall willingly entrust it to you, assured that it will be in hands
capable of defending it.”

The eyes of Jehan brightened with greed.

“ My lord,” he said, “there is a castle which my father and I
conquered by our swords from the rebels who held it for your
enemies. For the last five years we have maintained it in your
power ; we have been attacked in it, and have repulsed from its
walls all the insurgent bands who would fain have got possession
of it. My suzerain, the Baron de Maulignage, granted me the
hand of the heiress of the fief; but her mother, the lady of Rula-
mort, spirited her away, and no one knows whether she is dead
or living. May it please you to order your vassal to restore to me
my betrothed wife, if she be alive; and if she be no more, Sir
Count, grant me investiture of the fief of Rulamort, which I have
faithfully kept for you to this day, and which I will keep for you
to the last, with the help of God and my sword!”
290 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

Hereward could not repress a gesture of contempt. But the
Baron de Maulignage, afflicted by the loss of his old companion-
in-arms, was disposed to favour Jehan; and he urged Richard
to comply with his petition. The damosel of Rulamort was
undoubtedly dead ; if she were not, her mother had confided her
to persons who had brought her up in the hatred of her legitimate
lords ; it would be dangerous to remit the fief into her hands, and
leave her to choose a husband.

It was needless to incite Richard to acts of rigour. The idea
that a woman braved him kindled at once one of those fierce fits
of fury which had already procured him the surname of Cceur-de-
Lion ; and dashing his clenched hand upon the fauteuil incrusted
with precious metals in which he sat, he swore that a rebellious
yassal deserved no pity, and that the only future which the Dame
of Rulamort deserved was lifelong imprisonment. As for her
daughter, let her remain wherever she might be. Neither her life
nor death should prevent her suzerain from recompensing a faithful
servant ! ,

While speaking thus, Richard cast his glance over the whole
assembly ; but if he saw there some satisfied faces among the men-
at-arms, who had their fortunes to make, he surprised also many
frowning brows, and caught many angry murmurs, for not a few of
his nobles deemed it ill that he showed so scant respect to the
rights of an orphan to her paternal heritage. But Richard was.
not a man whom opposition could arrest in his course; on
the contrary, it impelled him forward all the more hotly and
swiftly.

“ From to-day, Sieur de Rochaigué,” he said to Jehan, “ you
are chatelain of Rulamort and knight banneret. We shall receive
your homage, with fitting ceremony, as soon as the war is termi-
nated, which will not be long now. I think that mad Bertrand
de Born is the sole baron who still holds out in his castle ot
Hautefort ; and my lord the king has sworn to lay hands upon him
A KING’S GRIEF. 291

and punish him for having unceasingly incited my brother Henry
to revolt. Go now and discharge your devoir as a son; we shall

meet again before the enemy, Sieur Jehan de Rochaigué, Lord of
Rulamort !”


CHAPTER XXX.



PRISONERS !
i
a

HE siege of Hautefort had already extended over a
i considerable period; and any other commander than
Bertrand de Born would have deemed further resist-
ance useless, and have solicited mercy. But the
proud knight clung to the honour of remaining
Aquitaine’s last champion, and of yielding only in
the direst need. He was seen everywhere: at the
head of the combatants on the days of assault ; at
thehead ofthe workmen, with hisown hands assisting
to repair the breaches in the ramparts ; in his halls, where lay the
wounded, whom with his own hands he dressed; while, in the
intervals of the siege, he composed satires upon his adversaries
and laments upon the death of Henry the Younger. He had
mourned deeply that unexpected event ; for like a son or a brother
he had loved the young prince, so bantisone and so fascinating;—
that brilliant knight, that gracious spirit, who had seemed to want
only one virtue the more, the want of which marred all his other
fine qualities,—energy of character. He spoke often of the young
king to the Sire de Valpierreuse, who judged him more severely ;
but was not unwilling to lament his early death, and to sympathise
with his friend’s grief.
PRISONERS ! 293

Aimery had not suffered Franchise to rust since the day old
Hereward had conferred upon him the right to wear it. But
however valorously he and Bertrand de Born might do their part,
he could not but see that the day drew near when the walls, every-
where breached and shattered, would fall before the efforts of
the assailants, and he would be compelled to surrender to an
enemy the sword he loved so well. And Agnes and Dame Eleanor?
Knight as he was, he could do nothing to deliver either. It had
been his hope that he might provoke Jehan to combat, and
avenge Sir Hugues de Rulamort; but were he made prisoner, that
hope would vanish, for he possessed nothing in the world but his
arms, and could never pay ransom. Poor Aimery, daily growing
sadder and more discouraged, thought sometimes that the best
fortune which could befall him would be to perish on the breach
the day when the enemy carried the castle.

The besieged, reduced almost to the last extremities of famine,
counted the few days of liberty which yet remained to them. The
chevaliers could still hope to secure their liberty by paying ransom,
—those at least who were rich enough; but the men-at-arms saw
before them a melancholy fate, for the King of England, in his
wrath, had sworn to hang all of them on the battlements, and he
was known to be a man who kept his word.

The sun had just risen, and in the English camp preparations
were being made for the final assault. Richard of Poitiers, armed,
like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, ‘‘ from head to foot,” waited in
his pavilion the battle-signal: along with him was the veteran
Hereward.

“ Pardie, I hope twill be ended to-day,” said Richard; “I love
not to remain so long before the same walls. Bertrand makes a
stout defence: by St. George, he is a rough jouster.”

“ Ay, a brave man, truly! When he is vanquished, we may don
the weeds of peace: what others would dare to hold out after him?”

“Not one, Hereward, not one. The country will be subdued;
294° PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

and we knights must seek adventures elsewhere. I should be well-
pleased to see the Holy Land, trodden by our Saviout’s blessed feet,
if I could find valiant companions for a new crusade. If Bertrand
de Born willed IT remember the time when we were friends:
ah, what gay songs! and ah, what fine passages with our lances!”

“J trow that the Sieur de Hautefort will have come to the end of
his battles and his songs: the lord king your father is so wroth
with him that he will not fail to doom him to the death.”

“And it is just; yet what a pity! My father accuses him
however, as the author of all our family feuds; and Henry’s death
has quickened his indignation. No, he will not pardon him, neither
him nor his chevaliers; some of whom, to speak truth, are as
valiant as their lord. Have you remarked, Sir Hereward, a young
knight, who sings like a troubadour in the midst of the affray,
and bears three pales guezdes on the silver field of his shield? ’Tis
good to see him at work: his armour is not rich, but he has the
most beautiful sword of combat I have ever seen.”

‘‘Ah, I know him well, my lord. Those three pales I myself
traced on his buckler with my own blood, one day when I had
fallen from my horse, and he had prevented his companions
from killing me. He was then but a squire, and I dubbed him
knight in order to surrender to him.”

“Is itso? Then I owe him gratitude for having allowed you to
return to us. Iam grieved that he should share the fate of his lord.”

“ He shall not, if I can prevent it. He saved my life, and set
me free without ransom ; and as much will I do for him, if Heaven
help me!” :

“Hark! the trumpets sound. Totherevel, my brave Hereward:
tis pleasure and glory to strive against such a foeman as Bertrand
de Born!”

The blare of trumpets spread along the entire front of the
camp, and from all the tents issued chevaliers, fully armed and
ready to leap into the saddle. Columns of men-at-arms, archers,


PRISONERS ! 295

and pikemen were formed; each banneret gathered his lances
round him ; the squires held the stirrup for their masters ; and the
rams which were intended to level the last blows at the walls of
Hautefort were already ascending the acclivity which they crowned.
King Henry, posted on an eminence, with his banner of the golden
leopards by his side, directed and ordered every movement ;
Richard and Geoffrey, after saluting him, put themselves at the
head of their cavaliers, and the whole army simultaneously
advanced.

From the loftiest turret of his shattered castle, Bertrand de
Born surveyed the scene, as one might
survey the avalanche which was on the
point of involving one in destruction. He
did not fear death; he thought, like the
Mohammedan warrior, that the greatest of
all happinesses was to die in battle. But
to die vanquished, and to leave his patri-
monial domain—the land of his fathers—
in the hands of strangers! He gazed afar,
with a vague hope, perhaps, of some im-
possible succour ; he saw around him only
the calm horizon, and the English army
slowly toiling up the ascent. He noted the
breaches in his walls ; it was long a matter
for wonder that the enemy had not already carried the fortress ;
he, Bertrand de Born, would not have wasted so much time! He
repressed a sigh, and rapidly descended the staircase. On entering
the court, he blew his horn: and his faithful men-at-arms assembled
instantly.

“To the ramparts,” he cried; “and let each man do his duty!”

‘The assault was quickly over; the besieged were too few in
number to guard every breach; and it was but the work of a few


296 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

minutes for the English to penetrate into the outer court. Bertrand,
with Aimery by his side, attempted to defend the inner enclosure: an
enormous beam, wielded by robust arms, shattered the gate behind
which they were posted, and overthrew them among its ruins.

“ Render thyself, Sieur de Hautefort !” said Richard of Poitiers,
setting the point of his sword at Bertrand’s throat.

“T surrender,” cried the vanquished, unbuckling his sword and
handing it to Richard. * At least, Sir Count, I have the consola-
tion of being conquered by a brother in the Gay Science.”

He raised himself, still proud of bearing, and looked sadly
at his crumbling ramparts and at his men in the power of the
enemy. Aimery had also risen, and stood at bay against a troop
of men-at-arms eager to make him prisoner. He had no more
hope ; he had no future before him; why should he not die sword
in hand? He placed -his back against the wall, and covering
his body with his shield of the three blood-red pales, he wielded
Franchise with such determination and address that four of his
assailants bit the dust before him. Then Richard, who regarded
him admiringly, could not resist his desire to measure himself
against so formidable a swordsman: sword in hand, he strode
towards him, and the men-at-arms gave way, as much out of respect
for their chief as from a desire to avoid the fate of their comrades.

Aimery recognised the Count of Poitiers by the tower of iron,
and the lions with gory jaws, blazoned on his shield, and a proud
joy filled his soul. What! he, the son of the sword-smith, the
poor chevalier, who possessed nothing in the world but his arms ;
he, obscure and defeated, to have the honour of crossing swords
with Richard the Lion-Heart, the most famous knight in the
European chivalry! Rallying all his energies, he prepared to do
his best, and in falling, as fall he must before so mighty an
antagonist, to win at least his esteem,

The two knights advanced impetuously to the attack, when
Uereward, perceiving his suzerain engaged with an enemy whom














SS
a

SSS SS
SSS SS





(A. 296).

attack

The two knights advanced impetuously to the
PRISONERS ! 297

he did not recognise, but whose youthful agility seemed to mark
him out as a dangerous foe, sprang to the rescue, and threw him-
self before Richard, a living and faithful buckler.

To his great surprise, the sword raised to strike was suddenly
lowered, and Aimery, halting, said in a tone of reproach :

“Oh, messire, why come you hither? You know well that I
would cut my hand off rather than.touch the man who made me
knight!”

“ Aimery the Bright-of-face! my brave conqueror! I surren-



-‘ Hereward threw himself before Kicnara.”

dered myself to thee, so thou may’st well in thy turn surrender
thyself to me: look, thou art the last combatant.”

Aimery, gazing around him, saw that the fight had ceased, and
that Richard’s men had disarmed his companions. With a heavy
sigh he presented Franchise to Sir Hereward, and lifted the ventail
of his helmet.

“Do not weep, child ; I will restore it to thee,” said Hereward,
as he saw the tears rolling down Aimery’s battle-bronzed face.

And he led away his prisoner. Richard had already departed
298 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

with Bertrand de Born; and English and Norman men-at-arms were
replacing everywhere in the castle the men of the Sieur de Hautefort.
The latter appeared very calm, and mayhap was so in reality:
he had too often faced death to fear it, and was too good a player
to complain because he had lost his game. He did not turn
round to bestow one parting glance at his castle, when, with the
other prisoners, he was conducted to the pavilion of the King of
England.

Henry II., seated on his throne, with his banner waving its
silken folds above his head, waited the coming of the prisoner,
and enjoyed the pride of triumph and the luxury of vengeance.
A bitter smile contracted his countenance when he saw the
entrance, without sword and helmet, of the man whom he accused
of all his misfortunes.

‘‘ Ah, Sir Bertrand!” he exclaimed, “you are now then at my
mercy! God knows how often you have deserved death for your
rebellions and treacheries! Say, how do you propose to extricate
yourself from your present toils? Formerly you pretended that you
never had need of more than half your wit. In my opinion, this
is an occasion on which you will not be the worse for the whole!”

The irony of his speech, the accent of hatred in his voice, the
contracted brows, the trembling of the hand which clasped his
sword-hilt, as if he were preparing himself to strike down the
captive, froze with terror the blood of every prisoner ; and among
the barons who surrounded the king, many who loved Bertrand de
Born, asked themselves if they should have the courage to intercede
for him.

Pale, but calm and resolute, the Sieur de Hautefort replied,
looking the king steadily in the face:

* T said it, my lord king, because it was the truth.”

“The truth! Do you believe it? For my part I believe that
all your wit has failed you.”’

“Yes, my lord, you, in your turn, are right. I lost wit and
PRISONERS ! 299

reason on one dark day of pain,—the day when the brave young
king, your son, died!”

“ Help! help!” exclaimed the page who stood beside Henry II.,

“our lord the king faints!”

Richard and Geoffrey sprang towards their father, who lay in a
deep swoon. When at last their eager attentions had restored him
to consciousness, and he saw that Bertrand regarded him with
generous sympathy, he burst into tears.

“My son!” he said; ‘my poor son! You loved him, Oh,
Sir Bertrand, it is of good right that you lost your wits for the
love of my son, since he loved you more than any man in the
world. I cannot punish you. For love of my son, I restore you
your liberty, your lands, and your castle, with my favour and
friendship, and I give you Aye hundred silver marks for the injury
which has been done to you.”

The old king extended his arms to Bertrand, and Bertrand,
conquered by so much generosity, and softened by the remembrance
of his dead friend,.threw himself on his knees before Henry I1.,
‘kissed his hands, and wept in company with him. Then he
presented to him his companions; and the king, welcoming them
with urbanity, undertook to pay their ransom. “ For,” said he,
“it would pol be just to deprive of it the chevaliers who made“
you prisoners.”

“Sir,” cried Bertrand de Born, “I would eal invite you to
visit the castle which you have restored to me, if I had wherewithal
to entertain Your Highness; but for some time past my kitchens and
cellars have been as empty as an anchorite’s larder, and my
master-cook has been reduced so low as to serve up the rats of
our granaries !”

“TJ accept your invitation, Sir Bertrand. as for our dinner, do
not let that disturb you; there shall be no want of wine or victuals.
Forward, then, our good and valiant host, and do us the honours
of Hautefort.”

22
CHAPTER XXXL

Gyo UN +
So AT THE CASTLE OF MAULIGNAGE.



HE feast was as sumptuous as if it had been served
in the royal pavilion, and the king was debonnair
and bland towards the vanquished. And as it
would not have been just to have favoured them
more than their vanquishers, Henry and his sons
granted divers gifts and largesses to the barons
who had served them well.” Jehan de Rochaigué,
to profit by this mood. of generosity, glided to
Richard’s side, and reminded him in a low voice of
his promise with respect to the castle and lands of Rulamort.

“You are right, Sir Jehan!” answered Richard; “I have
promised, and will keep my promise ; and to do you all the honour
you deserve, I will beseech.our lord king, my venerated father, to
be present at the homage you render me for the fief of Rulamort.”

“What says he—what says he, Sir Hereward? Does he not
speak of bestowing the fief of Rulamort upon Jehan de

Rochaigué ?” ;

The speaker was Aimery. He had risen, trembling with indigna-
tion, and the guests, surprised, turned to look at him.

“ Undoubtedly,” replied Hereward. ‘‘Itis now five years since
AT TIE CASTLE OF MAULIGNAGE. 301

the death of Sir Hugues, the last chatelain; and Jehan de
Rochaigué, who was then but a squire, was to have married the
damosel of Rulamort ; but she is dead, or has been carried away,
and the fief returns to the suzerain. So Jehan will get the fief
without the wife.” , ,

“Sir Hereward, you once promised me that if ever I had need
of a friend in the English camp, I should find one in you. You
have not forgotten? Then lead me to Richard Cceur-de-Lion.”

Hereward did not delay to ask Aimery what he wanted of the
Count; Aimery had reminded him of his promise, and that
sufficed. He arose, took Aimery by the hand, and conducted
him to Richard. They arrived just at thé very moment when —
Richard was presenting Jehan to the King of England, so that all
four found themselves together before Henry IT.

“My lord,” said Hereward, “since this is the day of favours,
here is a chevalier who has a favour to ask of you. He was the
last combatant in to-day’s fight, and had the honour of crossing
his sword with yours.”

“Ah!” replied Richard, “the brave champion of the three
blood-red pales. What would you of me, my worthy adversary ?
Aimery the gay singer, Aimery the Bright-of-face! You see that
I know your name; Hereward has told me your story.”

‘“He did not know the whole of it, my lord. He does not
know that when a poor wandering child, having no other estate
than the sword wrought by my father, I was sheltered, protected,
and instructed in the trade of arms by a noble and generous
chatelain. He does not know that this chatelain perished
because treacherously attacked by a coward, and that this coward
did not scruple to demand from the desclate widow the hand of
her daughter and the seigneurial seat of her husband. He does
not know that I, Aimery, saved the child: and behold me here,
my lord Count of Poitiers, and you, my lord King of England, to

‘tell Jehan de Rochaigué to his face that he is a traitor and a
302 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

murderer, and that. I- will prove. it before witnesses in a legal
combat, on foot or on horseback, with sword and lance. - Here is
my gage: may God and St. Agnes help the good cause !”

He threw his gauntlet in Jehan’s face. Jehan turned pale, but
soon recovered his assurance, and with his foot disdainfully
spurning Aimery’s glove, exclaimed :

“ Pick it up, knave; thou wilt not find in thy purse the where-
withal to purchase another, thou mimic knight! Sire, and you
Lord Count,.I do not deign to reply to such a challenge. This



“ He threw his gauntlet in Jehan’s face.” ‘

young man, some five years ago, was touched by the same
madness, and brought against.me the same accusation. But my
suzerain, the Baron de Maulignage, closely interrogated all the
survivors of the combat in which the Sieur de Rulamort perished,
and not one of them calumniated me. Ifhe has assisted, as he
avers, in the flight of the damosel of Rulamort, he has failed in
his duty, by concealing a vassal rebellious to the authority of her
legitimate suzerain: how then dares Ae appear as an accuser, who
himself merits to be punished ?”

“For five years,” resumed Aimery, “I have been denied a
AT THE CASTLE OF MAULIGNAGE. ~ 303

hearing because I was a poor squire. But my noble mistress, the
lady of Rulamort, who knew me well, and knew that I never spoke
untruly, believed my words, and preferred to tear herself from
her daughter rather than give herto Jehan de Rochaigué. To-day
Iam a knight, and I defy my lord’s murderer. And I say it to
you, Sieur Baron de Maulignage, to you, Lord Count of Poitiers,
the damosel of Rulamort is alive, and you ought,not to dispose of
her fief.” .

Richard inclined his head in. thought. Spite of his strength
and the rough blows he dealt in battle, Jehan did not please him;
but he had promised him the fief of Rulamort, and he owed him
a guerdon for faithful service from the beginning of the war, when
so many chevaliers were ranged on the side of the League. Aimery,
however, was as brave a jouster as Jehan: and then what loyalty
in his eyes, what frankness in his countenance! Richard would
have favoured him willingly; but what would the barons say if
they saw him give to a petty knight, without land or ancestors, who
only that morning had fought under a hostile banner, the prefer-
ence over the son of Sir Guy de Rochaigué? Richard remained
undecided ; and his father did not come to his assistance, wishing
‘to leave him sole judge of the quarrels of his vassals. The Baron
de Maulignage intervened.

“Sir Count,” said he, “I trow this young man’s brain must be
affected. As Sir Jehan has told you, he has never been able to
prove the truth of his accusation; ought he, unsupported by other
evidence, to receive our faith when he impeaches the honour of
one of your barons? He affirms that the damosel of Rulamort
is not dead: let him bring her forward then, or name the place of
her retreat. Your lordship will see what husband it would be well
to give her, when it is certain that she is still of this world!”

“What say you, Sir Aimery ?” cried Richard.

“ Judge for yourself, my lord, whether I ought to give up to-day
the damosel whom I saved five years ago. As to my accusation
304 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

against Sir Jehan de Rochaigué, I am prepared to risk my life in
support of it: it seems to me that more than this was never
demanded of a knight.”

These proud words elicited approval: on all sides arose a
murmur of voices, which gradually deepened into one unanimous
shout of “The judgment of God!” And the echoes repeated,
“ The judgment of God !” :

Richard turned towards the king.

“Tt belongs not to us,” he said, “to decide so important a
question in the presence of our father and sovereign. May Your
Grace be pleased to aid us with your lights, and decide between
chevaliers of equal valiancy !”

“ But not of equal nobleness,” murmured Jehan.

“Thou sayest true for the first time in thy life, Jehan de
Rochaigué,” retorted Aimery; “for thou art noble only in
name!”

“Silence, chevaliers!” thundered Henry II. “The lady of
Rulamort, you say, has refused her daughter to Jehan de
Rochaigé ? Where is she now?”

“Under my charge, sire, in my castle of ema where for
five years she has received. the treatment due to a prisoner of her
character and rank.”

“Well, baron, depart immediately for Wee eee and prepare
your prisoner to obey our supreme will. The fief has remained
long enough without a lord; I will see that it shall have one
before I return to England. We ourself shall set out to-day, and
the third day will see us at the gate of your castle, where we shall
demand your hospitality. The Sire Jehan de Rochaigué will
accompany us, as well as his accuser. We ourself will summon
the lady of Rulamort to do her devoir as vassal; and if she refuse,
we will then determine her punishment. Go now!”

The Baron de Maulignage. departed. Shortly afterwards the
king rose and took leave of his host.
AT THE CASTLE OF MAULIGNAGE. 305

“Will you not attend us to Maulignage, Sir Bertrand?” he
said. “Your young friend will have need, mayhap, of sponsors.”

“YT will go, sire, if you will pardon me a little delay; for first
I must set my workmen to repair the breaches in my walls, and
replace the shattered battlements and buttresses.
Your army, my lord king, worked so well, that
it will be no light task to build up what they
pulled down. But mine is a good palfrey, and
I will quickly rejoin Your Grace: I scent a
combat in the air, and, pardie, I should be
loth to be absent from the revel.”

The king smiled; he knew that Bertrand
spoke truly. He descended the. staircase,
leaning upon Hereward’s arm. Bertrand called
Aimery to him.

So it seems,” he said, “that we have not yet done with the
. noble games of chivalry! If this felon be forced to take up thy
~ glove, thou wilt have need of good arms: take my fair Spanish
armour, hauberk, helm, chausses, all of it. Thou dost not want
a sword P” :

“T have Franchise!” replied Aimery, “which should be not
less eager than myself to avenge the lord of Rulamort. I have no
fear ; I believe in the victory of the good cause. But if I were
slain, Sir Bertrand, what would become of your armour?”

“ Are there not the king’s five hundred marks of silver? I will
buy it back, and Franchise also. But it is silly sooth to forebode
misfortune when one has been able to measure swords with
Richard Lion-Heart !”’

The two knights separated ; one to superintend the restoration
of his ramparts, the other to join the suite of Henry II.

Though Aimery was but a poor knight, he was soon surrounded
by friends. Highly esteemed was the veteran Hereward in the
English army ; and the young chevaliers of the Saxon race, who


306 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

preferred him as their leader to any of the Norman or Angevin
barons, welcomed his son-in-arms as a brother. The honour
which Aimery had gained by crossing swords with the Lion-Heart
also drew attention towards him; and when he arrived at the
castle of Maulignage, it was no longer as the poor unknown squire
who had stealthily gained admission in disguise to reassure an
anxious mother, but as the brilliant chevalier, already famous for his
deeds of prowess, and whose courage and loyalty were the admira-
tion of his comrades. His heart throbbed violently when he
entered the great hall of Maulignage with the cortége of the king
and his sons; but it was not with pride, it was with a softer,
gentler emotion. Standing behind the ladies of the chatelaine, he
could see a sad, pale woman, shrouded in black robes, and his
heart leaped towards her in a transport of mingled pain and
tenderness. It was indeed she, the lady of Rulamort, the pro-
tectress of his infancy, his earthly providence, his second mother:
what happiness to see her again! But how sadly changed! Gone
the roses of her cheeks; gone thé lustre of her night-dark eyes !
The tall figure seemed to be bowed; and one might have said
that the ashes of penitence besprinkled her once glossy tresses.
A smile suddenly broke over her face, like a sunbeam over a
melancholy sky, and Aimery knew that she had recognised him.
On no other could she have smiled; who else would she, the
sorrowful prisoner, have been able to seek out in the royal retinue?
Yes, it was Aimery whom she particularised ; the faithful, the
devoted friend whose name was united with that of her little
Agnes in her daily prayers. And changed as he was, her heart
had known him, and she put her trust in him then as always.
Beside her stood Father Odon, changed and aged like herself ;
like Eleanor, he recognised Aimery, and raising his right hand,
he made a gesture as if to bless him.. The widow saw it ; and
remembering that God, in her hours of trial, had preserved for
her two such faithful friends, she felt a ray of hope penetrate
AT THE CASTLE OF MAULIGNAGE. 307

into her heart. All was not lost; her courage revived, and she
prepared to appear without signs of timidity or apprehension before
Henry II.

The King of England took his place in the seigneurial seat of
the Baron de Maulignage; his sons were placed one on each
hand, and their chevaliers surrounded them. Then -the baron
took the lady Eleanor by the hand, and led her to the feet ot
Henry II.

“Ah, the lady of Rulamort, without doubt!” said the king.
‘Well, lady, are you ready at last to submit to your suzerain? It
is strange, in faith, that it should take a baron, a count, and a
king to bend the will of a single woman ! ”

“Justice, sire; justice and pity!” sighed the poor woman,
falling on her knees. :

“Justice, say you? But were you a chevalier, what justice
would you expect from your angered suzerain? Know you that,
madam ?” 7

“‘Oh, pity, sire, pity at least!”. said Dame Eleanor, seizing
the hand of the king, who disengaged himself quickly from her
suppliant hands. “You know what they. would have of me!
That I should give my daughter, my only
child, to the man who treacherously made me
a widow and her an orphan! Sire, you are a
father, and will not suffer this! You will
protect me, you will defend my child. Be-
think you, sire, that to save her from this
man I condemned myself to see her no more.
I plucked her, I drove her, from my arms!
I scarcely allowed myself time to embrace
her. And it is five years, sire, since I saw my
little Agnes—since I heard the sound of her voice! If God grant
me the happiness of seeing her again, I know not if I shall
recognise her.” ,


308 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

The king had said to himself that he would be inflexible; but
his severity yielded to a woman’s tears. In a gentler voice he
resumed :

“But the lands of Rulamort must have a lord; and my son, the
Count of Poitiers, has resolved to invest with them the Sire de
Rochaigué. You accuse him of being the murderer of your
husband ; he professes that the accusation is false, and that the
accuser has been unable to prove his words. Why refuse you to
believe the oath of Jehan de Rochaigué? ”

“Because, sire, I know him too well; because during the
years he slept under my roof and ate at my table I saw plainly
that his heart was traitorous and his mind false. Have pity, Your
Grace, on the widow and the orphan. If you will, you who are
master, strip my child of her inheritance—do it! but then grant
a last favour to both. Let a cloister be opened to us, in which we
may spend together our obscure lives, in the shadow of the altar
and under the veil of the handmaidens of the Lord.”

“ Ask you, lady of Rulamort, for nothing more? ”

“Nothing! nothing! JI must needs content myself with
imploring your pity, since you refuse me justice.”

“ Nay, I refuse it not.”

The accents of the king had beeen so mild and gentle that
Eleanor felt a new courage.

She rose proudly, and drawing her tall figure to its full height,
she threw her glances around the noble assembly, as if to select
and invite a defender.

“Justice then, sire!” she exclaimed. “I, Eleanor de Mav-
castel, lady. of Rulamort, accuse Jehan de Rochaigué of having
traitorously brought to the death my late husband, the Sieur Hugues
de Rulamort ; and I demand the judgment of God against the
murderer. Is there no chevalier here who will take up my gage,
and become my champion ?”

And loosening from her wrist a plait made of the hair of Sieur
AT THE CASTLE OF MAULIGNAGE. 309

Hugues, which she had cut before his dead body was laid on its
bier, she flung it into the middle of the hall.

It was not one champion who stepped forward; but from the
side of the Normans, as from that of the Angevins and that of
the Saxons, a rush of chevaliers strove to respond to the prisoner’s
appeal. But they had been anticipated: Aimery was already on
his knees before the lady Eleanor, kissing her hands and swearing
to her that he would conquer or die.

“Have you chosen your champion, lady of Rulamort?” de-
manded the king.

“Yes, sire; I charge Aimery, Sire de Valpierreuse, to combat
for my cause. May God aid us!”

“Listen then, knights and barons, to our supreme will. In
front of the castle of Rulamort the judgment of God shall take
place in the lists, and he who conquers shall become lord of the
castle and fief, on condition that he wed the damosel of Rula-
mort. If, however, the damosel or her mother decline the
marriage, we grant them our royal leave and licence to withdraw
into a convent, on abandoning all their rights to the seigneury.
We have said, and we claim obedience.”

The king’s tone imposed silence on the murmurs that had
begun to arise, for many of the nobles present would have fain
seen Eleanor recover her liberty and re-enter into possession of her
lands. But she uttered no complaint; she looked at Aimery with
confidence, and leant trustfully on his arm as on the arm of a son.

“Will you now make known to us, Sire Aimery de Valpier-
reuse, the asylum of the heiress of Rulamort ?” said the king.

‘Tf my noble mistress order me,” replied Aimery, bowing before
dame Eleanor.

“Speak, dame; you have our royal word that your daughter
shall be rendered to you for ever, and that she shall not be married
without your consent.”

“She is at the convent of Sainte-Croix, at Poitiers, sire.”
310 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“It is meet that she should be present at the judgment of God.
Who will undertake to bring her hither? You, Sieur de Hautefort ?
—to you the lady of Rulamort will consent, for you were the
friend of her husband. For the companion of your journey. we
will give you the oldest and most loyal of my English barons; I
speak of you, messire Hereward. I have heard tell also of a
monk, the whilom chaplain of Rulamort, who willingly shared the
captivity of his benefactress in order that she might have at least
one friend beside her. Does it not seem to you, sir knights, that
it would be a fitting recompense for him to go in quest of the
damosel Agnes, and restore her to her mother?” i

A hum of approval welcomed. the words of King Henry, and
every head was bent respectfully before Father Odon, as, conducted
by Aimery, he traversed the hall to offer his humble thanks at the
royal feet.

“Go forth at once,” said the king; “the lady of Rulamort will
charge you with a message for the Superior ; and you will claim the
damosel Agnes in the name of her mother and the king.”


CHAPTER XXXII.

2 (Ey THE JUDGMENT OF GOD.







ALFWAY between the plain and castle of Rulamort,
a little below the Fountain of St. Agnes, spread a.
considerable breadth of greensward, surrounded by
‘ tangled thickets and carpeted with thick soft grass,
besprinkled with wild blossoms. There were prepared
the “lists,” within which Jehan de Rochaigué and
Aimery the Bright-of-face were to measure them-
selves in deadly combat. A barrier was raised all
around ; a platform or dais was erected for the king,
the princes, and the other judges of the camp; while
two pavilions on opposite sides of the lists received the champions
and their sponsors. Jehan’s sponsors were his immediate suzerain,
the Baron de Maulignage, and a kinsman; Aimery’s were Here-
ward the Saxon and the Sieur de Hautefort.

No crowd of curious sight-seers gathered round the workmen wha
made ready the lists ;* there was nothing of the pomp and circum-

* Chaucer, in “‘ The Knight’s Tale,” gives a vivid description of the prepa-
rations for that grand chivalric spectacle, the tournament :—
“«Ther mayst thou see devising of harneis
So uncouth,* and so riche, and wrought so wele
Of goldsmithry, of brouding,” and of stele ;

ce Elegant » Embroidery.
312 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

stance of the tourney; there were no galleries for the ladies, nor
was the barrier covered with tapestries and silken stuffs; the
quarrel to be fought out was one which needed no féstival deco-
rations. A few peasants, a few vassals, a few servitors of Rula-
mort, approached timidly, looked on, exchanged in a low voice
their wishes and their hopes: for five years the iron hand of the
Rochaigués had weighed upon them; alas, they had been so
unhappy! If the good old times could but be restored! If the
dear sweet lady could but re-enter her castle in triumph! Gaucher
was there, and old William, and Thierry, and Thibaut the falconer.
They remembered the coming of Aimery to the castle, his child-
hood, his boyhood, his vigorous youth; they prated of his gentle
temper and his valiancy, his songs, and his prowess with sword and
lance ; and though he was of low degree, no one was Jealous of
him ; all longed to have him for their future lord.
ss Had you but seen him on the night that Monseigneur Hugues

met his death!” said William. “He fought like a very demon ;
and if our lord fell, it was because Aimery—Messire Aimery, I
should say—fell with him.”

The sheldes bright, testeres,° and trappures ;

Gold-hewen helms, hauberkes, cote-armures ;

Lords in parementes 4 on their courseres,

Knights of retinue, and eke squires,

Nailing the sperés, and helmés buckling,

Gniding ° of sheldes, with lainers® lacing ;

Ther as need is, they were nothing idle:

The fomy steeds on the golden bridle

Gnawing, and fast the armureres also

With file and hammer pricking to and fro;

Yeomen on foot, and communes many on

With short stavés, thick as they may gone;

Pipes, trompés, nakerés,® and clariounes,

That in the bataille blowen blody sounes.”

Head-pieces, 4 Ornamented dresses. © Rubbirg Streps.
© A kind of brass drum used by the cavalry.
THE JUDGMENT OF GOD. 313

« And how undauntedly he stood up and accused the Sieur de
Rochaigué and his son on the day of our lord’s funeral! He was
afraid of nothing, neither of speaking nor of fighting!”

“Men say that it was he who saved the damosel Agnes while
we were defending the inner line of works. But how or where
did he carry her off?”

“Through the subterranean way, no doubt. Dame Eleanor
must have revealed the entrance to him.”

“ And well might she do so; he is as loyal and faithful as he
is brave and generous, and would never demean himself by
betraying her.”

** Hola, look yonder ! Comes there not in this direction a troop
of chevaliers? ‘Thierry, your limbs are the nimblest; up on that
tree then, and tell us if these be the judges and the champions.”

Thierry climbed up into a leafy oak which stretched its far-
reaching branches close to the dais, and, shading his eyes with his
hand, surveyed the plain.

“Ves, it is even so,” he said. “I see the King of England,
with his grand mantle lined with ermine. I see his sons and
their gorgeous banners floating to the wind. They come, they
come! Now yonder thicket hides them, but we shall see them
clearly in a moment.”

“Dost mark the champions? They will be riding apart.”

“ Canst thou see Dame Eleanor and the damosel Agnes?”

“No, the roadway is so narrow, they march all huddled
together. Ah, now I can see them again; they deploy in the
plain in grand array. Yonder is Sire Jehan—there, on the left;
and on the other side of the princes a young chevalier rides,
accompanied by the Sieur de Hautefort and another noble with a
white beard.” :

‘“‘Tt is messire Aimery for certain. Dost not recognise him,
good Thierry?”

“No, Gaucher; and yet he has, indeed, his air of valiancy
314 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

and his yermeil complexion. “But if it is he, how tall he has
grown, and how his shoulders have broadened. Ah, here come
two hackneys, and in one of them. a lady in widow’s weeds. I
know her—it is she! our sweet lady! our beloved mistress !
May God bless her !” f :

“Thou seest her, Thierry? Ah, if I were not so old, how
quickly I would climb the tree to see her also! Is she much
changed? Has she a melancholy air?”

“She is not much changed, my good William ; only her hair is
grey,—it .is grief has silvered it. She looks towards the castle
towers ; she wipes her eyes; she points them out to the damosel.”

“The damosel! She there—she, too! Tell me what she is
like, Thierry. Is she tall?”

“ As tall as Dame Eleanor, but slender as a stem of barley. 1
see her long golden tresses shining in the sun; she has rosy
cheeks, and her face reminds me of our late lord.. Oh, here they
are, close at hand; you can see them now as well as I can.”

At this moment the royal cortége defiled into the open space,
and the faithful vassals of Rulamort approached it to see their
lady pass. ‘The old king was the first to enter the enclosure, .
with his sons and his barons, and took his seat upon the throne
which had been prepared for him. The two champions after-
wards rode upon the scene, and were conducted to their. respective
pavilions by the lords who acted as their sponsors,

“Hast thou recognised messire Aimery this time ?.” inquired
Gaucher of Thierry, as the latter descended from his. post of
observation.

“ Assuredly! He has still his beautiful bright eyes, his chest-
nut curls, and his bright .open face; only he has a fine beard and
moustache, which I have never before seen him wear. And he
knew us, too! Did you not see how he made a sign to us with
his head?”

“Hush! Here is the lady Eleanor!”
THE JUDGMENT OF GOD. 315

The chatelaine, followed by her daughter aud Father Odon,
repaired to the place whence she was to survey the combat. She
was pale and deeply agitated; the view of the grey walls and
towers of Rulamort had revived so many dear and yet painful
memories. But the joy of having been reunited to her daughter,
and the knowledge that whatever befell they would not again be
separated, dispelled from her mind after a while all regrets and
fears. With her eyes fixed upon Agnes, she smiled, seeing only
that fair, sweet countenance, hearing only that musical voice.
She awoke from her reverie, however, when her old servitors,
momentarily forgetful of the royal presence, raised a cry of joy
at her appearance.

“Noél! Noél for our good lady! Noél for our dear mistress !
Noél! Noél! Long live the lady of Rulamort! Long live the
damosel Agnes !”

The lady Eleanor paused, and showed them to meR daughter.

“Our old servitors! our old friends! dost recollect them, my
Agnes?”

“Yes, mother,” replied the young girl, unhesitatingly.
“ Heaven keep you, William! Heaven keep you, Gaucher !
And you too, Thierry, Thibaut! I am glad to see you.”

“Pray for us!” added dame Eleanor, pointing with her finger
to Aimery’s pavilion.

The men uncovered, and murmured a prayer. Eleanor and
her daughter passed to their places, and the two pavilions opened
simultaneously. :

The champions, attended by their sponsors, caracoled round
the lists, and halted before the royal throne. Then they renewed
their oath: Aimery accused Jehan of treason towards the Sieur de
Rulamort, and Jehan protested his innocence. Henry then laid
down the conditions of the combat, according to the old traditions
of feudalism, and demanded of lady Eleanor whether she accepted
for her champion Aimery, Sire de Valpierreuse.
316 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

“T accept him,” replied the lady of Rulamort. ‘‘ My daughter
and I cannot commit our cause to hands more loyal.”

“ Or more valiant,” added the damosel Agnes in a low voice.

“ How know you that, damosel?” asked the Sieur de Hautefort
with a smile.

The maiden blushed.

“At the monastery,” she replied, “there sometimes came
ona visit certain noble dames or damosels who brought us tidings
of what passed in the great world. It was thus I learned
that my mother was confined in the castle of Maulignage;
it was thus I learned that the lords of Rochaigué resided as
masters under my father’s roof; and it was thus I heard of the
valorous deeds of my chevalier. I always hoped that he would
deliver both of us, and I prayed my patron saint to protect him.”

“Give him then a gage, damosel, to-day, when he fights for
you!”

“Gladly will I do so. Bring him to me, Sieur de Hautefort.
He is my chevalier, and yet he has not come to salute me !”

Agnes threw into this reproach a touch of childish pettishness
which made Bertrand de Born laugh. He went in quest of
Aimery.

“ Come, Sire de Valpierreuse,” he said, “demand a gage from
the ladies for whose cause you set your lance in rest to-day.”

“One I have already,” replied Aimery, lowering towards Dame
Eleanor the point of his lance, to which he had fastened a strip of
black stuff. “Behold my banner: do you recognise, noble lady,
the hem of your robe of mourning, which five years ago you gave
to the poor singer who came to tell you that your daughter was
saved?”

Eleanor extended her hands towards him.

‘May God keep you and protect you, my son!” she murmured.

Aimery saluted her, and afterwards proceeded to pay his devoir
to the damosel Agnes. He had not seen her, except at a distance,
THE JUDGMENT OF GOD. . 317

since Father Odon, Hereward, and Bertrand de Born had brought
her from the monastery ; and as he raised his eyes towards her,
he was fairly dazzled by her loveliness.

She was no longer the little Agnes, the pale delicate child,
whom he had carried without fatigue in his arms some five years
before. That frail rose, a little faded in the gloomy castle wherein
the war had immured her, had flourished in the sacred shade of
the tranquil convent ; and though she was but fourteen years old,
Agnes was already a beautiful young maiden, glowing with healthy
life. Aimery looked at her admiringly, and said to himself that
great pity would it be to bury for ever ina cloister a beauty so
charming; more resolute than ever did he feel to deliver her
from her persecutor.

He stooped towards her the point of his lance, demanding : a
favour; and Agnes, who thought she would have been able to~
speak to him as to her old companion, was much astonished that
she could not find a word to say to the. handsome chevalier who ~
regarded her with so serious an air. She unloosed her golden
necklace, and, with a blush, suspended it from the point of the
lance.* At this moment the trumpets sounded : it was the signal
of combat; and Aimery, digging his spurs into his destrier’s
flanks, hastened to place himself at his end of the lists.

“Laissez aller!” The signal was hardly given when the
two champions rushed to the attack: the shock struck sparks

* The “‘favour” given was generally a glove or a ribbon, and if a ribbon,
the colour was usually blue :

“© «To, yonder folk,’ quoth she, ‘that kneel in blue!
They wear the colour—aye, and ever shall-—
In sign they were and ever will be true,
Withouten change.’ ” x
—CHAUCER, Court of Love, i. 248-251.

+ This signal was given by the heralds, acting on the commands of ‘‘ the
knight of honour,” or arbiter of the tourney.
318 "PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

from their arms and bucklers, and both in an instant found
themselves thrown backward on their saddle. But recovering
quickly, each placed his lance in rest, and resumed his course.
The combat was at first uncertain: the antagonists seemed
equally matched in strength and courage ; and among the
warriors who regarded them from the elevation of the tribune,
not one was able to say towards which of the two victory
appeared to incline. They were seen to dash by with the
rapidity of lightning, to return to wheel round in a whirlwind



** The shock struck sparks from their arms and bucklers.”

nf dust, while beneath their horses’ hoofs flew in showers the
tufts of unrooted herbage with their star-like daisies. The
birds warbling in the spreading shades of the oak-trees were
affrighted, and hushed their carols; and nothing could be
heard but the swift and heavy tread of the destriers across the
beaten sward, and the clank and clash of steel. At times the
champions wavered and staggered, but recovered themselves imme-
diately ; splinters of lances were scattered over the ground, and the
helmet of Jehan was stripped of the plume that had decorated
it; on the tunic of Aimery were some bright red spots: but
were they of his own blood? ‘The spectators could hardly think
THE JUDGMENT OF GOD. 319

so, as they saw Franchise glittering in his hand like a weird flame
—tising, sinking, striking, rising again. No, the arm which so
lustily wielded it could not be wounded.*

Agnes and Eleanor pressed close to one another, and trembling
with various emotions, were unable to turn their eyes from the
combat which would decide their fate. Poor women ! how their
spirits sank when to their excited imagination it seemed as if
victory favoured Sir Jehan; for-they had felt once again the
sweet influence of hope, and the cloister, which during her con-
finement Eleanor had coveted as an asylum, appeared to her now
simply a new prison. When her daughter had been restored to
her arms, her joy had been so great that she had felt, poor
mother ! as if in this world she had nothing more to desire. To
live with her child in the calm shade of the convent, had seemed
to her the height of felicity ; but now her instincts as a chatelaine

-awoke, and while contemplating her daughter, so beautiful, so

* The reader will here allow us, perhaps, to remind him of Tennyson’s
description of a joust in Zhe Princess :—

‘*Empanoplied and plumed

We enter’d in, and waited.

60 6 a tail tan erga blared _
At the tere like a wild horn in a land
Of echoes, and a moment, and once more
The trumpet, and again: at which the storm
OF galloping hoofs bare on the ridge of spears,
And riders front to front, until they closed
In conflict with the crush of shivering points

~ And thunder.

- On his haunches rose the steed,

Aral into fee splinters leapt the lance.
As from a giant’s flail

The large blows rain’d, as here and everywhere
He rode the mellay, lord of the ringing lists,
And all the plain—brand, mace, and shaft, and shield—
Shock’d, like an iron-clanging anvil bang’d
With hammers.”
320 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

tender, so gracious, in whom lived again the look and the smile
of the husband she had lost, she felt her heart revolt at the idea
of the fate which mayhap might still be hers. What! the noble
daughter of a long race of illustrious ancestors, the daughter of
Hugues de Rulamort, to drag out life in the monotony of a
cloister, while the murderer of her father enjoyed her heritage in
peace! He would find without difficulty some baron’s daughter
to take the place of Agnes in the ancestral home of her family,
and would become, perhaps, the father of a race of felons, without
honour and without faith, like himself! Was it possible? Was
it just? Would God permit it?

The thoughts of Agnes had followed the same direction as
those of her mother. With what bliss had her bright eyes sparkled
when Father Odon, admitted into the monastery of Sainte-Croix,
had informed her that.he came to take her back to her mother!
Mother Monica’s regret at parting with her was the only shadow
on the radiant prospect; but Agnes had soon consoled herself,
and endeavoured to console the Superior, saying: ‘We shall
return, my mother. Do not weep; both of us will return, We
will not quit you again, and we will be happy together,—so
happy!” At the moment she really believed what she said, and
innocently thought she could know no higher joy. During the
journey her curiosity had revived; she enjoyed keenly the change
of place, the sight of a thousand new objects, or what was still
sweeter, of the old familiar things, which seemed to smile upon
her and say: “Do you remember?” She found that life was
beautiful in God’s open sunshine; and when her thoughts turned
towards the monastery, it was no longer with the same pleasure.
On arriving at Maulignage, she had been welcomed with the
warmest sympathy. Everything she saw called up in her memory
the towered and battlemented home of her fathers, and by degrees
she was led to feel that her mother and herself would be happier
as chatelaines than as nuns; happier in the performance of the
























































































“p,

sé

z hor:

gin

checked the plun

it Aimery....

u

B
THE JUDGMENT OF GOD. 321

active duties of life than in the passiveness of an inert and unpro-
fitable existence. And since she had seen the nodding plume of
Sir Aimery bow before her, like a spotless and gallant chevalier
before a lady, she recollected that she would have to choose
between the victor and the convent; and with all her heart she |
prayed that heaven would grant the victory to Aimery.

Suddenly a.loud shout arose; the two chevaliers, unhorsed at
the same time by a terrible encounter, fell from their stirrups.
One of them, entangled by his golden spur, was dragged along
by his horse, with his head bounding upon the unequal ground.
The other, though his blood reddened the grass, sprang to his
feet, sword in hand, and rushed upon his adversary.

‘‘ Jehan is lost!” cried the Baron de Maulignage.

But Aimery, instead of drawing his dagger of mercy (poignard
de miséricorde)* to administer the fatal thrust to his defenceless

* A thin dagger, capable of being inserted between the plates of the victim’s
body-armour. A curious tale respecting its use is told by Froissart : “ About
the year 1390, the Gascon lord of Langurante marched with forty spears against
the English castle of Castellac. Placing his company in ambush, he bade them
tarry, while he rode up to the fortress alone to see if any knights would come
out against them. Accordingly, approaching the castle-barriers, he desired the
keeper to inform Bernard Courant their captain that the lord Langurante was
there, and desired to run a course with him. ‘If he ‘be so good a man, and so
valiant in arms as is said, he will not refuse it for his lady’s sake ; if he do, he
will receive much shame, for I shall.make it known wherever I go, that for
cowardice he hath refused to run with me one course with a spear.’ When
Bernard received this insolent message he was an angered, and cried, ‘Get me
my harness, and saddle my horse ; he shall not be refused.’ Then, with shield
and spear, he rode through the gates and thé barrier into the open field. The ~
lord Langurante, rejoiced at his coming, dressed his spear in rest like a true
knight, and the two warriors dashed at each other with such fierceness and such
equality of strength that their shields fell to pieces. As they crossed, Bernard

- drove his horse against Sir Langurante’s with a violence that flung him from
his saddle. Bernard wheeled round his destrier, and as Sir Langurante rose,
he seized his bassinet with both his strong hands, wrenched it from his head,
and flung it under his horse’s feet. Thereupon the lord of Langurante’s men
322 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

enemy, checked the plunging destrier, disengaged Jehan’s feet
from the stirrup, and bending towards him, said:

“ Rise, sir, and let us combat on foot.”

But Jehan made no movement.

‘He is conquered,” said King Henry, standing in front of his
throne, and flinging his warder* into the lists. “He is con-
quered! ’Tis the judgment of God !”

“Tis the judgment of God!” repeated the barons.

The sponsors and squires of Jehan de Rochaigué had hastened
up to him, removed his helmet, and unbuckled his hauberk, which
Franchise had cloven right in the breast. The unhappy man,
recovering consciousness, murmured in a feeble voice: “A
priest !” :

Father Odon, led by Aimery, approached the dying man.

“Do you hear me, Jehan de Rochaigué?” he said, leaning
over him. ‘Before appearing in the presence of God, confess
the truth.. Was Hugues de Rulamort traitorously drawn into an
ambuscade ?”

“Yes,” feebly answered Jehan.

“Did you, in contempt of the laws of honour, attempt to
hamstring his’ destrier? ”

“Ves,” again replied Jehan. “I am dying—mercy on my
soul!”

He fell backward; his lips moved for a few minutes longer, as _
if he were fain to join in the priest’s prayers; then a film crept
over his eyes, and he lay rigid and motionless.

came trooping out of their ambush. Drawing his dagger of mercy, Bernard
said to him, ‘ Sir, yield you my prisoner, rescue or no rescue ; or else you are
but dead.’ The lord, believing his men would come up in time, refused to
answer ; and Bernard, dealing him a death-blow on his bare head, set spurs to
his horse, and galloped safely within the barriers.” —FRoIssART, vol, i. c. 342.

* This was a small white baton. When it was dropped, the tourney or
combat came to an end,
THE JUDGMENT OF GOD. Bae

Hereward and Bertrand de Born, supporting Aimery, who was
bleeding from his wounds, conducted him before Henry IL, who,
with a smile of approval, addressed him ;

“Sire Aimery de Valpierreuse, you have proved by sword and
lance the truth of your accusation. The domain of the felon
knight falls to you of right, and also that of Rulamort.”

‘¢ Sire, not to rob my noble protectress did I demand the honour
of becoming her champion,” replied Aimery. “ Let the lady and
the damosel of Rulamort regain their castle, and I ask Your
Grace no other recompense for the happiness of having served
them.”

The king tle

“It is for you to decide, damosel Agnes,” he said to the young
girl, who listened with down-dropped eyes, not daring to look at
the inquirer or meet his ardent gaze. ‘The Sire de Valpierreuse
has won your castle and your lands, if indeed you are willing to
confer them upon him. What say you?”

“ Long ago,” murmured Agnes, blushing, “I chose iim for my
chevalier ;” and she extended her little white hand to Aimery.

He kissed it respectfully, but did not keep it in his own.

“You are too young, damosel,” he said gravely, “‘ to promise to
a man a wife’s faith ; and you have not yet seen chevaliers enough
to be able to know your own heart. J should be unworthy of you
if I turned your gratitude to profit. Iam about to set out for the
wars, where I hope to gain praise and renown; and if in two
years’ time you again extend to me the little hand which to-day
I durst not take, poor Aimery will be the happiest knight on
earth.”

He rose and retired, without looking back. He would not, may-
hap, have had the courage to persevere, if he had seen Agnes lift .
to her mother her beautiful eyes wet with tears.

‘He will return, my child,” said Eleanor, clasping her in her
arms; “try to become worthy of him.”
Cpilogue.

Two years had nearly passéd away since Aimery the Bright-of-
face, Sieur de Valpierreuse and de Rochaigué, had conquered
Jehan in the judgment of God, when one evening a chevalier
wound his horn before the frowning gateway of Rulamort. Old
William, who hastened to receive the chevalier, could not refrain
from opening his arms to him, as if he were a simple archer like
himself, The chevalier showed no sign of astonishment, and
greeted William like an old friend. Then he was conducted
into the great hall, where the chatelaine and her daughter, fore-
warned of his arrival, awaited him with throbbing hearts.

After they had listened long, hanging upon his eloquent lips, to
the story of his distant expeditions,—he said nothing of his deeds
of prowess, nor was it necessary, when the troubadours had so often
celebrated them on their visits to the castle,—when he had spoken
of himself, and had made them, in their turn, relate the few inci-
dents that had marked their peaceful life during the past two
years, he hesitated a little, as if trembling lest he should provoke
some painful answer, and then, in a low voice, said to the lady
~ Eleanor : :

‘Has the damosel Agnes found any baron worthy of ‘her,
and——*
EPILOGUE. 325

Eleanor interrupted him.

“ Agnes is constant and faithful,” she replied with a smile.
‘When very young she placed her affections right happily, and
she will never have but one chevalier. The knight of her child- °
hood is the knight of her maidenhood.”.

She put the hand of Agnes in that of Aimery, who this time
showed no disposition to relinquish it. And before the moon
was out, in the castle chapel, which was decorated with its richest
hangings, and brightened by the spontaneous joy of the vassals of
Rulamort, Father Odon blessed the marriage of Aimery and
Agnes. be

Happiness invests old age with the bloom of youth, and Dame
Eleanor, recovering her comeliness, lived many years, and had
the pleasute of cradling on her knees, and of seeing grow up and
prosper, a new Agnes de Rulamort, as well as a little Hugues
de Rulamort, who resembled his loyal and valiant grandfather.
To his last hour, Father Odon resided at the castle, and great was
his satisfaction in teaching the children to spell from the beautiful
illuminated missal in which Aimery the Bright-of-face had formerly
studied Latin, while little Agnes traced with her fingers the
fantastic letters. ;

As for Bertrand de Born, he kept at peace while the old king
lived, unwilling, without doubt, to make war against the generous
conqueror who had restored to him his lands and castle; but
he did not fail to figure in all the quarrels and contentions which
arose between Richard, after he had become King of England,
the King of France, and the barons of Aquitaine, exciting them
against one ariother by his biting satires, until at last, despairing
of the independence of his country, which had shaken off the
yoke of the Plantagenets only to fall under that of the French
sovereigns, he withdrew to a cloister, and buried there his
memories and his regrets,

A long and glorious destiny was that of Franchise ; it passed
326 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.

through a succession of loyal and valiant hands, until it termi-
nated its career at Pavia, broken in the grasp of the last lord
of Rulamort, who perished in defence of his king, Francis the
First.

SHE END.






ac

: Wl &
: NY
; ue NGL
fix >

p

y

=
LIST OF BOOKS

SUITABLE FOR

Gifts, Presentation, and Sunday School Rewards.



Books at 8s. 6d., cloth, elegant.

The Book and its Story; or, The History of the Bible in ail
Ages. A Narrative for the Young. By L.N. R. 27th edition. 500 pp. Well illus-
trated. (100,020 copies have heen sold.)

Men of Mark. Short Biographies of Celebrated Men. By Miss
BRIGHTWELL. Cloth, extra, gilt edges.

Stones crying out. Rock Witnesses to the Narratives of the Bible,
collected from Palestine, Arabia, Assyria, Nineveh, and Egypt. By L. N.R., Author
of ‘* The Book and its Story.” Handsomely bound, with over a Hundred illustrations,

Stories of Child-life in Prose. Edited by J. G. WHITTIER, the
300 pp., crown Byo. Ninety illustrations. Cloth, elegant.

danet Cameron; or, The Lighthouse. A Tale of Scottish Life.
Well illustrated, handsomely bound, gilt edges.

Six Girls. A Home Story. By Mrs. FANNIE BELLE IRVING. Eigh
full-page illustrations. .460 pp., crown 8vo, cloth, extra, gilt.

Winifred Martin. Quaker Poet. One of the most interesting collections of Children’s Stories published.

ROSS, author of ‘‘A Candle lighted by “the Lord.” With Twenty-four illustrations.
492 pp.

Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. The largest type edition ever published.
600 pp. Cheap edition, plain edges, ene coloured plate.

Books at 8s., cloth, elegant.

The Land of the Ineas, and the City of the Sun; or, The
Story of Francisco Pizarro and the Conquest of Peru. By W. H. DAVENPORT

‘ ADAMS. With many illustrations,

The Gity of Gold; or, The Wonderful Story of Hernando

Cortes and the Conquest of Mexico. By W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS, Author of
“The Arctic World,” ‘‘The Mediterraneo ‘*The Bird World,” etc. Illustrated.

The Boy Emigrants; or, The Gold Seekers. By NOAH
BROUKS, Author of ‘‘ Wrecked at Home.” A book that will influence for good every
boy that reads it. Crown 8vo.‘ Eight full-page illustrations, etc.

Ered Bright: His Adventures by Land and Sea. By MARY
ONLEY, Author of “* Above the Breakers,” ‘‘ Carry your Parcel?” etc. Well illustrated.

Heroes of History, and Lessons from their Lives, Seven full-

page illustrations.

Play Days. Stories for Children. Illustrated.

Books at 2s. 6d., cloth, elegant. :
The Boys of Fairport; or, The Baseball Nine. By the Author
of “The Boy Emigrants.” Illustrated. Crown 8vo, cloth, extra.

Katy’s Adventures at Grandpa’s House. By HELEN CAMP-
BELL. Illustrated. Crown 8vo, cloth.

Harry’s Winter among the Indians; or, White and Red.
By HELEN CAMPBELL.

THE BOOK SOCIETY, 28, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
Books at 25, 60., cloth, elegant (continucd).

Try and Try Again. Being an outline of the lives of two youths who

became Clergymen of the Church of England. By OLD JONATHAN (Rev. Dr.
-Doudney).

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. A large type edition. Well illustrated,

printed on toned paper, red edges.
Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Illustrated, good type. 400 pages, red

edges.

Bunyan’s Holy War. Printed on toned paper, in good type, red edges.
Books at 1s. 6d., cloth, gilt.

Brave Seth. The Story of a Brave Boy. By SARAH DOUDNEY.

Carrie Williams and Her Scholars. A book for Mothers, Govern-
esses, Teachers, and all interested in the Instruction of the Young.

Fred’s Fresh Start, and what he did by Moral Courage. By
ELLINOR J. KELLY.

The Forge on the Heath. A Tale by MARY WRIGHT.

How Jack got into Trouble. By the Author of ‘Janet Cameron.”
dessie’s Bible ; or, The Italian Priest. By Mrs. S. KELLY.
Learning to follow Jesus; or, Leonore’s Trials.

Memorial Chapters in ths Lives of Christian Gentlewomen.
- By Miss BRIGHTWELL.

‘Ralph Saunders; or, The Schoolboy Friends. An interesting Tale.

Mrs. Harding’s Looking-glass, and what was seen in it;
or, A Week in the Life of a British Workman. A capital book for Mothers’ Meetings.

My Brother Harold. A Tale of Home Joys and Sorrows.
One of the Least. A Story founded on Fact.

Violet Russell; or, The Orphan’s Troubles.

Carry your Parcel? A Book for Boys. By MARY ONLEY.
Walter Benn, and how He stepped out of the Gutter.

The Popular Series of One Shilling Books.
The Life of Luther. By A.L. O. E. Well illustrated.
Our Bobby; or, a Sea Gift. By GRACE STEBBING. Cloth, extra.

Illustrated.

Wrecked at Home, and Other Sea Stories. By NOAH BROOKS.
Twenty illustrations. Cloth, extra.

The Princess Ilse; or, The History of a River and other
Stories. Thirty-three illustrations. Cloth extra.

Old Fables. By Miss GRACE STEBBING. Illustrated.

Good Soldiers. By the Rev. RICHARD NEWTON, D.D., Author
of ‘‘ Giants, and how to fight them.” Cloth. Well illustrated. :

The Little Housekeepers; or, Pattikin’s House. By J. ALLI
SON. Well illustrated. -

Christmas Bells and Their Message, and other Stories.

Grace Darling, the Heroine of the Farne Islands. By THOMAS
ARTHUR. aie

THE BOOK SOCIETY, 28, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C,
NK
Pa

ox,
BES

my)
~

oe

SSN
ise Ss SME SREY Se SEES

. . < —— : AAC WN AN ‘ AN SN
OO — . : \ \
Co SA oo
SAE SA TSS WAS
. VAS = AS -

CO
SAS ss . WAS REN
WS TEN WAS SN ‘ SN SN AS

yy ;

tis

G4

ay

yyy

SWAY



AS AS \ AK

SSS RRS SS. FRB AS RQK
REE