The Baldwin Library
A_ r _.
N, ~ BB~PI.
1 am the son of a free man" (f. 14).
jmana of tljo l.is of itlii. i,
W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS,
AUTHOR OF SUCCESS IN LIFE," GREATT SHIPWRECKS," "BOYS AND THEIR WAYS," ETC.
THE BOO SOCIETY. 28, PATERNOSTER
THE BOOK SOCIETY. 28, PATERNOSTER ROW.
HAZELL, WATSON, AND VINEY, LD.,
LONDON AND AYLESBURY.
SE FAC E.
HE taste of our young folk must have changed
S very much for the worse, if they do not appre-
ciate such a romance of chivalry as is here
S- presented to them in a free adaptation from the
S" 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
J 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.,
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 Coeur-
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. D. A.
O N T E INT S.
I. THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT I
II. AN ORPHAN 8
III. IN THE GUARD-ROOM 19
IV. HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY, AND WHAT
V. AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY. 39
VI. A GUEST 50
VII. POET AND WARRIOR 61
VIII. A DIPLOMATIST OF THE TWELFTH CENTURY 71
IX. TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN 8I
X. BROKEN DREAMS 91
XI. THE GREAT PARLIAMENT OF THE KINGS 100
XII. FATHER AND SONS III
XIII. IN WHICH AIMERY SETS OUT FOR THE WAR II9
XIV. BATTLE I28
XV. IN WHICH AIMERY LOSES A PROTECTOR AND GAINS A FIEF 140
XVI. THE RIGHT OF GARDE-NOBLE 150
XVII. A DEMAND IN MARRIAGE 160
XVl I. THE FIRST ASSAULT . 169
XIX. DURING THE SIEGE IS2
XX. THE POOR MOTHER 191
XXI. GONE 202
XXII. THE FUGITIVES. 210
XXIII. "SANCTUARY" 221
XXIV. THE LAY OF THE LITTLE DOVE. 231
XXV. EACH TO HIS OWN WAY 242
XXVI. AFTER THREE YEARS 251
XXVII. A CAPTIVE SET AT LIBERTY 262
XXVIII. AIMERY THE KNIGHT 273
XXIX. A KING'S GRIEF 283
XXX. PRISONERS 292
XXXI. AT THE CASTLE OF MAULIGNAGE. 300
XXXII. THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 311
\ c -/Oz
/ I, '
PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.
.. p CHAPTER I.
,. IV j ) TRE CASTLE OF RULAMORT.
HE shadows of night had darkened over 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
Sthe condition of the country tended to a feeling
~- of security; for Henry, the old King of England,
Is'/t always on hostile terms with his sons, among
i 'i' whom he had divided his domains in France,
S",' allowed no rest to the inhabitants of the towns
or the fields, from Normandy to Aquitaine; and
Sp ~ ;.. every day they were startled by some fresh tale
.1 '1 of massacre or rapine. But then, use is second
* i / 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
-" jhad raised them to protect his family and vassals
from the fierce incursions of the Northmen.
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 Rui 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.
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 Younger.
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 giant
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 will 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.
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 theii
devoir bravely, and binding up their wounds with her lily
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
S 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, half-hidden 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
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 recognized the voice she
It is Milon," she said. "Let him come in, Jehanne. Wha
has happened, my brave Milon?"
THE CASTLE OF RULAMORT.
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
1. 41 Y
SStill holding her daughter in her arms."
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
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,
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 floating 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
.t ..* motion through the mist. A group composed
"'. '' of a few men led the advance: they drew
<.'*. c nearer, slowly ascended the hill, and halted at
last before the outer wall of the castle. One
o'- f them then placed to his lips a bull's horn,
S into which he blew lustily to arouse the castle-
: ,.' I watch; and Milon, leaning out from the em-
.* C' brasure, responded to the noisy summons.
Sf "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.
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
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.
*s P- ..
J" '. ~'-' .-, <
..- AN ORPHAN.
t T was a sad 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
Smerrily, and sent up to the groined roof flashes
and jets and spiral wreaths of reddish flame. The
"i 1 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 andrecesses
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
The Lady of Rulamort felt a pang at the heart as she surveyed
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 lord; 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
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
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
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,
"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
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 some 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 !
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 debris ? 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
"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 !
'i l I
The heavy hoofs of horses resounded under the arch."
"It 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 weeping 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
been crushed by a body of soldiers belonging to the Count of
Poitiers. The peasants, therefore, might return home and rebuild
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 at least 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
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
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-
"To nobody," repeated the child, with modest assurance: i
am the son of a free man, and I have no master."
"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 of
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 that?'
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 me,
and at last I knew that he was dead."
PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.
"And then what didst thou?" asked the Lady Eleanor.
I 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,
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 lais 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 freux 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
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
"I walked, my lord. I 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
I 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?"
"I 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."
I am your man, my lord," said the child, gravely bending the
knee before Hugues of Rulamort, as if he wished to render him
homage in advance for the future domain of the conquest of which
he dreamed. "I am not tall, but I am faithful, and I will serve
I 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?"
I was twelve years old, my lord, last Feast of Saint Michael."
And thy name-what is it ? "
"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."
PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.
"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 will 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
boldest 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 ofstirringcom- / bats the day that
thou reclaim:est it Aimery the Bright-
of-face 1" '
-- IN THE GUARD-ROOM.
L -N a few days Aimery-was as familiar with Rulamort
Sand its inhabitants as if he had spent his whole
V i,11! life at the Castle. He was inquisitive and daring.
In his leisure hours he wandered everywhere,
~',F' examining minutely and carefully the demesne-of
/Lt RRulamort, from the embrasures of the donjon down
,_' 1.' to its oubliettes or secret prisons, and his faithful
,_qA. memory photographed every detail. Old Milo*
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,
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 heardhim 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,
I ~r ~ -4-. / I ^ :-^ .*
J_ 4, !--
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.
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 ?" said Gaucher,
who had not shared in the last expedition, but who made sure of
following his master in the next. 'Tis a shame that 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
:22 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.
unchained! 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
"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 fetes 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 by a 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 ou
IN THE GUARD-ROOM.
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. Thou must understand that husband and wife could
If 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 as a 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. Now a 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 a king. 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 together happily. 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 1"
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
-him 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 recognized 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 I
heartily hope he will be well punished."
IN THE GUARD-ROOM.
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.
"Oh, he is too young as yet to take part in the family feuds.
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 lais and sirventes,
and even composes them himself, as if he were a true son of'-
It 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
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
-0 my God another traitor!' Yes, all his nobles abandoned
him, and entered the service of his sons, who were residing at the
court of the King of France; and the King of France made much
of them, spoke to them flattering words, and promised them his
assistance. .I am only a poor falconer, but I would not, on
my life, have done half as much."
S Aimery was overcome with sorrow.
1'/ "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.
S "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 would
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
IN THE GUARD-ROOM.
.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. Such noble 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
"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."
HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFI
-. CULTY, AND WHAT FOLLOWED.
r. 'E Saturday morning, Father Odon, the chaplain
.:1 Rulamort, found himself in a great difficulty.
The day before, the young squires and pages who
Sriourished under the roof of the lord of Rulamort,
'f'."._- ,ind learnt the profession of arms, had amused
'"r t. 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 Rochaigue, a youth of about fifteen years,
son of a small noble in the neighbourhood; and Jehan de
Rochaigue, 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 eleison 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
nrlze. 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.
Is it thou who singest, my boy ? said Father Odon.
PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.
"Yes, 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."
"I 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 I 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
I should be all alone,-I durst not "
Dost thou happen to know how to serve mass? "
I 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. I have 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 IIIS DIFFICULTY. 3
"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
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
"Not at all; and I will be thy teacher, if thou wilt."
"If I will !-if I will What happiness Is there anything that
I can 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 RochaiguE, 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
armour-smith! You will lose nothing by engaging him, you will
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
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 impressed 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 doc. He showed a more refractory disposition with
respect to the Langue d'oil, 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
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 for a knight. But William,
the sergeant-at-arms, having chanced to say in his presence that
Richard of Poitiers wrote with his own hand his lais 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
S. p ~If
.----- :' I
t;_ -= L--~C-- +-
He learned hom to mnnngre a high-mettled steed (P. 3:)
I ~rra~a~ -~
HOW FATHER ODON GOT OUT OF HIS DIFFICULTY. 3 3
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
arrow in the butt. He learned also how to manage a high-mettled
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, or a 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. 3 5
and mother, and even the little 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 her children
,. ,,C _' .
"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 in a 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
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:
"I swear it, my father! and if ever I gain my banner, I will
inscribe upon it for device, Yustice and Pity! That shall be my
war-cry, and I will do justice on the wicked who have no pity for
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."
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 of every hour until the last. Oh it is a happy life,
"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
PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.
could speak to her of the parents she quitted, so that in 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
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 "
-,! "1.'i AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY.
OT WITHSTANDING his pacific character, Father
S:ion was unable to prevent himself from loving in
_:niiery even his warrior-impulses. He was wise
c- 1 tough to know that the earth could not be
"o -oilly peopled with monks, and said to himself
i. tt since there must needs be people in the world
h l ose chief occupation was making war, it was good
S-, meet with some among them who would contend
-:--. inst the wicked and reduce them to submission.
Therefore 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
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
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 Rochaigue. 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 lave supplied the subjects of
Tennyson's Idylls of the King."
AIIERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY.
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 a
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 churl
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 the canvas. She noticed that since the lastSunday 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,
S.where she knew she would find something
amusing: to the entrance of the 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,
S .J.-. 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
Agnes would st upon examnng t closely (43
Agnes would in-ist upon examiniing it closely (/5.43)
AIMERY FINDS HE HAS MADE AN ENEMY.
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
There, that is a hauberk ; and this is a pike; yonder is -a
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, Noel!" and knew when praise was due.
"Noel! Noel!" she would cry when one of them leapt farther
than the others, or had thrown his adversary in the wrestle, or
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 politesse 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 is !"
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 et honneur Forward, 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 i
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 Noel 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 medieval tournaments.-Los apparently comes
from the Latin laus, 'praise."
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 spoke 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 of
raillery, young Robert de Castelmont, who had only just missed
being the victor.
The others whispered apart.
"'Tis true," said Garin de L6zinan, "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
"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. 47
the air with a hissing sound, and planted itself right in the centre
of the shield.
Noel 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.
Noel for Jehan rose in an unanimous shout.
Aimery cannot leap so far as that-he is too small," cried
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
point as Jehan had reached.
The judges applauded; little Agnes laughed and *
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
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,
"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
I." .:t. ,
:" -i s 441 ao n r I Jt..1
' 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 lilies, 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
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 !"
ELLOW-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'clock, 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
S 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
Watching the gambols of little Agnes (. 50).
tg m f5
Watching the gambols of little Agnes (f. 5o).
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 hIlm, 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
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
"" . I'- -,1 -
waning; why had not Sieur Hugues returned? Her 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.
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 to a 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 from oaken chests rich stuffs
and costly penames, 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.
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 mace as 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 Perigueffx, was held in great repute throughout
all Aquitaine and Provence, and, indeed, all the countries whose
inhabitants spoke the langue 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
sirventes in 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
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 chains 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
frezeaux, 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
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
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, ind 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
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 chtte-
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 medieval banquet occurs in Hook-
ham Frere's burlesque poem of King Arthur and his Round Table," published
under the pseudonym of" William and Robert Whistlecraft." The first canta
5 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 recognize 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
The bill of fare (as you may well suppose)
Was suited to those plentiful old times,
Before our modern luxuries arose,
With truffles and ragofts, 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;
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."
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
panache, 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 on 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 r6le 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
"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
Hippocras 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
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 lai or &irvente."
"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.
WE POET AND WARRIOR.
'T 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;
and next a joyous Noel, 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? "
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 ;
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 neathh its walls our chivalry
In mailed 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.
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, 0 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 1'
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 Almery. Then he reseated himself, 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.
04 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 having
swept our land with fire and sword?"
I 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 not 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
rich man's house, to seize upon his spoils. Know you what he
Men tell me that he has conquered the King of Scotland, and
taken him prisoner."
I'faith, he has done something 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 a 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,
POET AND WARRIOR.
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 him by
slaying the archbishop, he was really the cause and origin of the
catastrophe, even if he had not wished it. For a king, he has a
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
"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-
S ducted to her bed-chamber; everybody with-
1 drew, and Hugues, like a courteous cavalier,
Himself accompanied his guest to the apartment
,-4 --- ~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.
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 :
I 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."
You 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 of Richard the
O8 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-
fion 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
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
It 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.
POET AND WARRIOR.
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 sbng against me; I shall be ready at the first
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 Chitelain, 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 I
grasped the hand which Bertrand de Born offered, '
and took leave of him with cordial protestations .-; 4
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 I .
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 eacry 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 RochaiguE, 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 lord of Rulamort.
."-. *,, ..J 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 Rochaigue,
i.. in travelling costume, approached the chatelain.
-"' "My lord," he said, "I come to ask of you leave
..,-' .of absence for a few days. A pilgrim whom I met
.'j*>..' but a few minutes since at the fountain of St. Agnes,
S 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 damoiseau 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."
I 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
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-
"I 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 Rochaigue."
Willingly, if the lord of Rulamort grant his consent," replied
Bertrand. "Though my hair shows signs of winter-time, there
"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 Bas-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 Rochaigue is distant but a day's
ride ; and if you are willing to accept its hospitality, my father, ill
or well, will feej honoured by offering it to you."
I accept it right willingly. I will spend to-night at Rochaigue,
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
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
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 :-
"Is it thou, my gentle minstrel? I am well pleased to see
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 ?"
I 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 Rochaigue were lined with stout ramparts, capable of
offering a long resistance to an enemy. Bertrand resolved,.
therefore, to sound the lord of Rochaigue, 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 DIPLOMATIC' 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, who
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.
It was late at night when they arrived at the fort of Rochaigue,
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.
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
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 Rochaigue 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
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 it to me? The one consideration
.is, to secure champions for Aquitaine. Honour to those who
* J ''
' l -, i ,',"
The torches lighted up the whole of the approach (f. 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
To Guy de Rochaigue he made 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.
I 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 for ravaging
our lands, and henceforth we must be our own masters."
Jehan, astonished, looked at his father. The Sieur de Rochaigua
observed his surprise, and quietly addressing him, said :-
Is 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
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 Rochaigue, revealed to him the
whole scheme of the confederacy. Guy de Rochaigue approved
PAGV,, 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 Rochaigue broke out into a loud laugh.
"Thou dost not understand it, dost thou, Jehan ? Be tranquil,
my son; thou hast done well iu 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
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 Rochaigue 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.
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-
Rochaigue proceeded to dismiss him; but, suddenly recalling
himself, he said:
"Art thou well acquainted with the castle 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 t
'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 ?"
PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.
"Rochaigue," answered Jehan, "is scarcely less difficult to take
than Rulamort, my father."
But the Sieur de Rochaigue seemed to grow suddenly weary of
the conversation, and with an absent good-night he dismissed his
. 1 '
_- J 1 TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN.
FTER the departure of Bertrand de Born, the
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
S between their lord and lady, observed that for the
rest of the day Dame Eleanor wore a sad 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
82 PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.
in their delight at escaping from the listless indolence of peace ;
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, a 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.
d A ug tt R w a f b
'V -t "
2 "I' ',- -.
The forge was kihdled.'
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 i He was undoubtedly
satisfied with their intelligence, for every day his air grew more
TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN.
assured and joyous. Sometimes he set out very early in the dawn
with an armed escort, remaining absent for two or three 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 Rochaigue, 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 had 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
PAGE, SQUIRE, AND KNIGHT.
them to take the field, and who went as squires in the train of
the chitelain. All were there-Arnoul de Malefort, Garin de
Lezinan, 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 ventaille 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 misericorde
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
chitelain, 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 vermeil 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.
j \ '''
i i' "3
-_- -. .. Jf 9
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"God help the good cause, and give it the victory! (i. 86).
~- I. *~
TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN
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
He fixed his eyes upon the spectacle. At that moment the
chftelain 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. Aimerv
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