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At Agincourt by G. A. Henty

Part 4 out of 6

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prize it but little; when it is so difficult to obtain an introduction to
me, and it is regarded as a matter of favour to be allowed to consult me,
people are ready to pay extravagant sums for my advice. And,' he said with
a smile, 'the fact that ten days or a fortnight always elapses between the
time I am asked to receive a new client and his or her first interview
with me, enables me to make such minute inquiries that I can not only gain
their complete confidence by my knowledge of certain events in their past,
but it will aid me in my divination of their future.

"'I believe in the stars, madame, wholly and implicitly, but the knowledge
to be gained from them is general and not particular; but with that
general knowledge, and with what I know of men's personal character and
habits, of their connections, of their political schemes and personal
ambitions, I am able in the majority of cases so to supplement the
knowledge I gain from the stars, as to trace their future with an accuracy
that seems to them astonishing indeed. For example, madame, had I read in
the stars that a dire misfortune impended over you last night, and had I
learned that there was a talk among the butchers that the provost of the
silversmiths was a strong opponent of theirs, and that steps would shortly
be taken to show the Parisians the danger of opposing them, it would have
needed no great foresight on my part to tell you that you were threatened
with a great danger, and that the danger would probably take the form of
an attack by the rabble on the house you occupied. I should naturally put
it less plainly. I should tell you to beware of this date, should warn you
that I saw threatening faces and raised weapons, and that the sounds of
angry shouts demanding blood were in my ears.

"'Any astrologer, madame, who works by proper methods can, from the
conjunction of the stars at anyone's birth, calculate whether their aspect
will be favourable or unfavourable at any given time, and may foretell
danger or death; but it needs a knowledge of human nature, a knowledge of
character and habits, and a knowledge of the questioner's surroundings to
be able to go much farther than this. That I have had marvellous successes
and that my counsels are eagerly sought depends, then, upon the fact that
I leave nothing to chance, but that while enveloping myself in a certain
amount of mystery I have a police of my own consisting of men of all
stations, many, indeed most of whom, do not know me even by sight. They
have no idea of the object of my inquiries, and indeed believe that their
paymaster is the head of the secret police, or the agent of some powerful
minister.'

"You see, Guy, the count spoke with perfect frankness to me. His object
naturally was to gain my confidence by showing himself as he is, and to
explain why he wished to secure a home for his daughter. He took up his
strange profession in the first place as a means of obtaining his living,
and perhaps to secure himself from the search of private enemies who would
have had him assassinated could he have been found; but he follows it now
from his love for an atmosphere of intrigue, and for the power it gives
him, because, as he told me, he has already amassed a considerable
fortune, and could well retire and live in luxury did he choose. He said
frankly that if he did not so interest himself his existence would be
simply intolerable to him.

"'I may take my daughter to England,' he said; 'I may stay there until I
see her established in life, but when I had done so I should have to
return here. Paris is always the centre of intrigues; I would rather live
on a crust here than be a prince elsewhere.'

"He certainly succeeded in convincing me wholly of his sincerity, as far
as we are concerned. Devoted to intrigue himself, he would fain that his
daughter should live her life in peace and tranquillity, and that the
money for which he has no use himself should be enjoyed by her. 'I have
lost my rank,' he said, 'forfeited it, if you will; but she is the
Countess Katarina of Montepone, and I should like to know that she and my
descendants after her should live the life that my ancestors lived. It is
a weakness, a folly, I know; but we have all our weak points and our
follies. At any rate I see that that fancy could not well be carried out
in France or in Italy, but it may be in England.' At any rate, after all
he has told me I feel that he has it in his power to be a very useful
friend and ally to us here; I am convinced that he is truly desirous of
being so."

"And how did you like the girl, Agnes?" she said, raising her voice. Agnes
had fetched Charlie in, and they were looking together down into the
street while their mother was talking to Guy.

"I hardly know, mother; she seemed to be so much older than I am.
Sometimes when she talked and laughed, I thought I liked her very much,
and then a minute later it seemed to me that I did not understand her one
bit. But I do think that she would be very nice when one came to know her
thoroughly."

"She has lived so different a life to yourself, Agnes, that it is no
wonder that you should feel at first that you have nothing in common with
her. That she is very clever I have no doubt, and that she is brave and
fearless we know. Can you tell us anything more, Guy?"

"Not very much more, Lady Margaret. I should say that she was very true
and loyal. I think that at present she enters into what she has to do in
something of the same spirit as her father, and that she thoroughly likes
it. I think that she is naturally full of fun and has high spirits, and
that she enjoys performing these missions with which she is entrusted as a
child enjoys a game, and that the fact that there is a certain amount of
danger connected with them is in itself attractive to her. I am glad that
you have told me what he said to you about himself, for I could not
understand him before. I think I can now, and understanding him one can
understand his daughter."

At eight o'clock all retired to bed. They had had little sleep the night
before, and the day had been full of events. Guy's last thought was that
he was sorry for the king, who seemed to wish to do what was right, but
who was a mere puppet in the hands of Burgundy or Queen Isobel, to be used
as a lay figure when required by whichever had a temporary ascendency.

For the next fortnight Guy worked hard in the _salle d'armes_, being
one of the first to arrive and the last to depart, and after taking a
lesson from one or other of the masters he spent the rest of the morning
in practising with anyone who desired an adversary. Well trained as he was
in English methods of fighting, he mastered with a quickness that
surprised his teachers the various thrusts and parries that were new to
him. At the end of that time he was able to hold his own with the young
Count d'Estournel, who was regarded as an excellent swordsman.

The attendance of the Burgundian nobles had now fallen off a good deal.
The Armagnac army had approached Paris, St. Denis had opened its gates to
them, and there were frequent skirmishes near the walls of Paris between
parties of their knights and the Burgundians. Paris was just at present
more quiet. Burgundy was still absent, and the future seemed so uncertain,
that both factions in the city held their hands for a time.

The news that a reconciliation between Orleans and Burgundy had been fully
effected, and that the great lords would soon enter Paris together, was
received with a joy that was modified by recollections of the past.
Burgundy and Orleans had once before sworn a solemn friendship, and yet a
week or two later Orleans lay dead in the streets of Paris, murdered by
the order of Burgundy. Was it likely that the present patching up of the
quarrel would have a much longer duration? On the former occasion the
quarrel was a personal one between the two great houses, now all France
was divided. A vast amount of blood had been shed, there had been cruel
massacres, executions, and wrongs, and the men of one faction had come to
hate those of the other; and although neither party had dared to put
itself in the wrong by refusing to listen to the mediators, it was certain
that the reconciliation was a farce, and that it was but a short truce
rather than a peace that had been concluded. Nevertheless Paris rejoiced
outwardly, and hailed with enthusiasm the entry of the queen, the Dukes of
Aquitaine, Burgundy, Berri, and Bourbon.

The Duke of Aquitaine was now acting as regent, though without the title,
for the king was again insane. He had married Burgundy's daughter, but it
was rumoured that he was by no means disposed to submit himself blindly to
the advice of her father. The only effect of the truce between the parties
was to add to the power of the Burgundian faction in Paris. But few of the
Armagnac party cared to trust themselves in the city that had shown itself
so hostile, but most of them retired to their estates, and the great
procession that entered the town had been for the most part composed of
adherents of Burgundy. Three days after their arrival in the town Guy, on
leaving the _salle d'armes_, found Katarina in her boy's attire waiting
for him at the corner of the street.

"My father would speak with you, Master Guy," she said shyly, for in the
past two months she had always been in her girl's dress when he had met
her. "Pray go at once," she said; "I will not accompany you, for I have
other matters to attend to."

"Things are not going well," the count said when Guy entered the room;
"the Orleanists are discouraged and the butchers triumphant. At a meeting
last night they determined that a body of them should wait upon the Dukes
of Aquitaine and Burgundy to complain of the conduct of the knights who
fell upon them when attacking the silversmith's, and demand in the name of
Paris their execution."

"They would never dare do that!" Guy exclaimed indignantly.

"They will assuredly do it, and I see not how they can be refused. The
duke has no force that could oppose the Parisians. They might defend the
Louvre and one or two of the strongly fortified houses, but the butchers
would surround them with twenty thousand men. Burgundy's vassals might
come to his assistance, but the gates of Paris would be closed, and it
would need nothing short of an army and a long siege before they could
enter Paris. When they had done so they might punish the leaders, but
Burgundy would thereby lose for ever the support of the city, which is
all-important to him. Therefore if you would save your friends you must
warn them that it will be necessary for them to make their way out of
Paris as quickly and as quietly as may be. In the next place, and
principally, you yourself will assuredly be murdered. There was a talk of
the meeting demanding your execution and that of your four men; but it was
decided that there was no need to do this, as you could all be killed
without trouble, and that possibly the Duke of Aquitaine might refuse on
the ground that, as your lady had come here under safe-conduct as a royal
hostage, you were entitled to protection, and it would be contrary to his
honour to give you up.

"There are others who have displeased the Parisians whose lives they will
also demand, and there are several women among them; therefore, it is
clear that even the sex of your lady will not save her and her children
from the fury and longing for revenge, felt by the family of Legoix and by
Caboche the skinner. The only question is, where can they be bestowed in
safety? I know what you would say, that all this is monstrous, and that it
is incredible that the Parisians will dare to take such steps. I can
assure you that it is as I say; the peril is most imminent. Probably to-
night, but if not, to-morrow the gates of Paris will be closed, and there
will be no escape for any whom these people have doomed to death. In the
first place, you have to warn your Burgundian friends; that done, you must
see to the safety of your four men. The three Frenchmen may, if they
disguise themselves, perchance be able to hide in Paris, but your tall
archer must leave the city without delay, his height and appearance would
betray him in whatever disguise he were clad.

"Now as to your lady and the children, remain where they are they cannot.
Doubtless were she to appeal to the Duke of Burgundy for protection he
would place her in the Louvre, or in one of the other castles--that is, if
she could persuade him of the intentions of the Parisians, which indeed it
would be difficult for her to do; but even could she do so she would not
be safe, for if he is forced to surrender some of his own knights and
ladies of the court to these miscreants, he could not refuse to hand over
Lady Margaret. They might, it is true, possibly escape from Paris in
disguise, but I know that there is already a watch set at the gates. The
only resource that I can see is that she should with her children come
hither for a time. This is but a poor place for her, but I think that if
anywhere she might be safe with me. No one knows that I have had any
dealings whatever with you, and no one connects me in any way with
politics. What should a vendor of nostrums have to do with such affairs?
Thus, then, they might remain here without their presence being in the
slightest degree suspected. At any rate I have as good means as any for
learning what is being done at their councils, and should receive the
earliest information were it decided that a search should be made here;
and should this be done, which I think is most unlikely, I shall have time
to remove them to some other place of concealment.

"Lastly, as to yourself, I take it that nothing would induce you to fly
with your Burgundian friends while your lady is in hiding in Paris?"

"Assuredly not!" Guy said. "My lord appointed me to take charge of her and
watch over her, and as long as I have life I will do so."

"You will not be able to aid her, and your presence may even add to her
danger. Still, I will not say that your resolution is not honourable and
right. But, at least, you must not stay here, for your detection would
almost certainly lead to hers. You, however, can be disguised; I can
darken your skin and hair, and, in some soiled garb you may hope to pass
without recognition. Where to bestow you I will talk over with my
daughter. As soon as it becomes dusk this evening she will present herself
at the house-door of Maître Leroux. She will bring with her disguises for
your lady, the children, and yourself--I have many of them here--and as
soon as it is quite dark she will guide here Dame Margaret with her
daughter and son. You had best not sally out with them, but can follow a
minute or two later and join them as soon as they turn down a side street.
As to the men, you must arrange with them what they had best do. My advice
is that they should this afternoon saunter out as if merely going for a
walk. They ought to go separately; you can decide what they had best do
when outside."

CHAPTER XII

IN HIDING

The news of this terrible danger was so wholly unexpected that Guy for a
moment felt almost paralyzed.

"It seems almost incredible that such wickedness could take place!" he
exclaimed.

"My information is certain," the count replied. "I do not say that I think
your Burgundian friends are in so much danger as some of those of the
king's party, as Burgundy's influence with these Parisians goes for
something; still, he might not be able to save them if they waited till
the demand was made, although he might warn them if he learned that they
were to be among those demanded."

"Does the duke, then, know what is intended?"

The count smiled. "We know what followed the last reconciliation," he
said, "and can guess pretty shrewdly at what will happen now. _Then_ the
duke murdered Orleans, _now_ he may take measures against the supporters
of the present duke. It was certain that the struggle would begin again as
soon as the kiss of peace had been exchanged. Last time he boldly avowed
his share in the murder; this time, most conveniently for him, the
Parisians are ready and eager to do his work for him. Dismiss from your
mind all doubt; you can rely upon everything that I have told you as being
true. Whether you can convince these young knights is a matter that
concerns me not; but remember that if you fail to convince your mistress,
her life and those of her children are forfeited; and that, so far as I
can see, her only hope of safety is in taking refuge here."

"I thank you with all my heart," Guy said, "and will now set about
carrying out your advice. First, I will return to my lady and consult with
her, and see what we had best do with the men. As to Count Charles
d'Estournel and his friends, I will see them as soon as I have arranged
the other matter. Their case is not so pressing, for, at least, when once
beyond the gates they will be safe. I will see that my lady and the
children shall be ready to accompany your daughter when she comes for
them."

"Look well up and down the street before you sally out," the count said;
"see that there are but few people about. It is a matter of life and death
that no one who knows you shall see you leave this house."

Guy followed his advice, and waited until there was no one within fifty
yards of the door, then he went out, crossed the street, took the first
turning he came to, and then made his way back to the silversmith's as
fast as he could.

"What ails you, Guy?" Dame Margaret said as he entered the room, "you look
sorely disturbed, and as pale as if you had received some injury."

"Would that that were all, my lady. I have had news from the Count of
Montepone of so strange and grave a nature that I would not tell you it,
were it not that he is so much in earnest, and so well convinced of its
truth that I cannot doubt it."

He then related what the count had told him, and repeated the offer of
shelter he had made.

"This is, indeed, beyond all bounds," she said. "What, is it credible that
the Duke of Burgundy and the king's son, the Duke of Aquitaine, can hand
over to this murderous mob of Paris noble gentlemen and ladies?"

"As to Burgundy, madame, it seems to me from what the count said that he
himself is at the bottom of the affair, though he may not know that the
Parisians demand the lives of some of his own knights as well as those of
his opponents. As he did not of old hesitate to murder Orleans, the king's
own brother, we need credit him with no scruples as to how he would rid
himself of others he considers to stand in his way. As to Aquitaine, he is
a young man and powerless. There are no Orleanist nobles in the town to
whom he might look for aid; and if a king's brother was slain, why not a
king's son? It seems to me that he is powerless."

"That may be; but I cannot consent to what the count proposes. What!
disguise myself! and hide from this base mob of Paris! It would be an
unworthy action."

"It is one that I knew you would shrink from, madame; but pardon me for
saying that it is not your own life only, but those of your children that
are at stake. When royal princes and dukes are unable to oppose these
scoundrel Parisians, women and children may well bend before the storm."

Dame Margaret sat for some time with knitted brows. At last she said: "If
it must be, Guy, it must. It goes sorely against the grain; but for the
sake of the children I will demean myself, and will take your advice. Now
you had best summon the four men-at-arms and talk over their case with
them."

Guy went upstairs and fetched the four men down.

"We have sure news, my friends," Dame Margaret said calmly, "that to-night
we and many others shall be seized by the mob and slain."

An exclamation of rage broke from the four men.

"There will be many others slain before that comes about," Long Tom said.

"That I doubt not, Tom, but the end would be the same. An offer of refuge
has been made to me and the children, and for their sake, unwilling as I
am to hide myself from this base mob, I have brought myself to accept it.
My brave esquire will stay in Paris in disguise, and do what may be to
protect us. I have now called you to talk about yourselves. The gates will
speedily be guarded and none allowed to sally out, therefore what is to be
done must be done quickly."

"We will all stay and share your fate, madame. You could not think that we
should leave you," Robert Picard said, and the others murmured their
agreement.

"You would add to my danger without being able to benefit me," she said,
"and my anxiety would be all the greater. No, you must obey my commands,
which are that you forthwith quit Paris. Beyond that I must leave you to
judge your own course. As French men-at-arms none would question you when
you were once beyond the gate. You may find it difficult to travel in this
disturbed time, but you are shrewd enough to make up some story that will
account for your movements, and so may work your way back to Villeroy. The
difficulty is greater in the case of your English comrade--his height and
that light hair of his and ruddy face would mark him anywhere, and if he
goes with you would add to your danger, especially as his tongue would
betray him as being English the first time he spoke. However, beyond
ordering you to quit Paris, I must leave this matter in your hands and
his, and he will doubtless take counsel with my esquire and see if any
disguise can be contrived to suit him. I will see you again presently. You
had best go with them, Guy, and talk the matter over."

"This thing cannot be done, Master Guy," the archer said doggedly when
they reached their apartments; "it is not in reason. What should I say
when I got home and told them at Summerley that I saved my own skin and
left our dear lady and the children to be murdered without striking a blow
on their behalf? The thing is beyond all reason, and I will maintain it to
be so."

"I can understand what you say, Tom, for I feel exactly as you do. The
question is, how is the matter to be arranged?" Then he broke into French,
which the archer by this time understood well enough, though he could
speak it but poorly.

"Tom is saying that he will not go, men," he said, "and I doubt not that
you feel as he does. At the same time our lady's orders must be carried
out in the first place, and you must leave Paris. But I say not that you
need travel to any distance; on the contrary, I should say that, if it can
be arranged, you must return here in a few days, having so changed your
attire and aspect that there is no fear of your being recognized, and
bestow yourself in some lodging where I may find you if there be need of
your services."

"That is what will be best, Master Guy," Robert Picard said. "We have but
to get steel caps of another fashion to pass well enough, and if need be
we can alter the fashion of our hair. There are few here who have noticed
us, and I consider that there is no chance whatever of our being
recognized. There are plenty of men among the cut-throats here who have
served for a while, and we can easily enough get up some tale that will
pass muster for us three. That matter is simple enough, the question is,
what are we to do with Tom? We cannot shorten his stature, nor give his
tongue a French twist."

"No, that is really the difficulty. We might dye that hair of his and
darken his face, as I am going to do myself. There are tall men in France,
and even his inches would not matter so much; the danger lies in his
speech."

"I would never open my mouth, Master Guy; if need were I would sooner cut
out my tongue with a dagger."

"You might bleed to death in the doing of it, Tom. No; we must think of
something better than that. You might perhaps pass as a Fleming, if we
cannot devise any other disguise."

"Leave that to me, Master Guy, I shall think of something. I will at any
rate hide somewhere near Paris, and the lads here will let me know where
they are to be found, and I shall not be long before I join them in some
such guise as will pass muster. But it will be necessary that we should
know where you will be, so that you can communicate with us."

"That I don't know myself yet; but I will be every evening in front of
Notre Dame when the bell strikes nine, and one of you can meet me there
and tell me where you are bestowed, so that I can always send for you in
case of need. Now I think that you had better lose no time, for we know
not at what hour a guard will be placed on the gate. You had better go out
in pairs as if merely going for a walk. If you are stopped, as may well
happen, return here; but as you come purchase a length of strong rope, so
that you may let yourselves down from the wall. Now that peace has been
made, there will be but slight watch save at the gates, and you should
have no difficulty in evading the sight of any who may be on guard."

"That will be easy enough," Robert Picard said confidently. "We had best
not come back here, for there may be a watch set upon the house and they
may follow us."

"The only thing that troubles me," Tom said, "is that I must leave my bow
behind me."

"You can get another when you get back to Villeroy; there are spare ones
there."

"Yes, yes, but that is not the same thing, Master Guy; a man knows his own
bow, and when he takes to a fresh one his shooting is spoilt until he gets
to know it well. Every bow has its niceties; for rough shooting it makes
but little matter, but when it comes to aiming at the slit in a knight's
vizor at eighty yards one makes poor shooting with a strange bow."

"Well, you must practise with your new one, that is all, Tom; and if you
hide yours here it may be that you will be able to recover it before we
start for Villeroy. You must leave your bundles behind, it would look
suspicious if you were to attempt to take them with you. I should advise
you to put on one suit over the other, it will not add greatly to your
bulk. When you are ready to start, come below and our lady will say good-
bye to you. Do not give her a hint that you are thinking of staying near
Paris; if she asks any questions say that you intend to disguise Tom, and
he will travel with you,"

A few minutes later there was a tapping at Dame Margaret's door; Guy
opened it and the four men entered.

"I wish you good fortunes, my friends," Dame Margaret said. "Here is a
letter, Robert, that I have written to my lord telling him that you have
all served me faithfully and well, and that I commend you to him. I have
told him that you are leaving me by my special orders, and that you would
willingly have stopped and shared my danger, but that, as I feel that
force would avail nothing and your presence might lead to the discovery of
my hiding-place, I bid you go. Here are four purses to pay the expenses of
your journey and of any disguises you may find it necessary to adopt. And
now farewell. Tarry not an instant, my heart will be lighter when I know
that you are beyond the walls."

She held out her hand to them; each in turn knelt and kissed it, the three
Frenchmen in silence but with tears running down their cheeks. Tom was the
last, and said as he rose:

"I am obeying your orders, Lady Margaret, but never before have I felt, as
I feel now, that I am doing a mean and cowardly action. I would rather
stay by your side, though I knew that I should be cut in pieces this very
night, than leave you thus."

"I doubt it not, Tom. I know well how your inclinations lie, and yet I
feel that it is necessary that you should go. If the great nobles cannot
withstand this cruel mob of Paris, the arm of a single man can avail
nothing, and your presence would bring danger rather than safety to me."

"I feel that, my lady; did I not do so I would not go even at your
command. You are my liege lady, and I have a right to give my life for
you, and would do it were it not that I see that, as you say, my staying
here would bring danger upon you."

As soon as they had gone Dame Margaret said: "Now, Guy, I will detain you
no longer; hasten and warn your friends."

Guy hurried away; he found that Count Charles was on the point of mounting
to go for a ride with some of his friends.

"Stay a moment I beg of you, Count," Guy said as he hurried up, "I have a
matter of most serious import to tell you."

"Wait, my friends," the young count said to Sir Pierre Estelle, Count
Walter de Vesoul, and the Sieur John de Perron, who were already mounted;
"I shall not detain you many minutes."

"Well, what is it, friend Guy?" he asked as he entered his room.

"I have come to warn you of a great danger, Count. This evening a mob of
Parisians, I know not how numerous, but at least of great strength, will
demand from Burgundy and the Duke of Aquitaine the surrender to them of
you and the others who took part in defeating them the other night,
besides other gentlemen, and, as I hear, ladies."

"_Pardieu_! if it be so the duke will give the impudent knaves their
answer."

"Ten thousand armed men are not apt to take an answer, Count. You know
that many times already the Duke of Burgundy has been overborne by the
leaders of these Parisians and forced to do things that must have
displeased him, as they displeased you all, therefore I implore you to
ride off while you may. Even now it is possible that the gales may be
closed, but if so, they are not likely to be strongly guarded. It is
evident that your going would at any rate save the duke from grave
embarrassment."

"Are you sure that this news is true?" the count asked.

"Absolutely certain. If you would save yourself and your friends I pray
you to call upon them at once to mount and ride in a body to one of the
gates. You may bid some of your retainers mount and follow you at a short
distance, and if you find the gates closed and the fellows will not let
you out, call them up and fight your way out. You can stay for to-night at
Sèvres, and if you find in the morning that I have not spoken truly you
can return and upbraid me as you will. If, however, you find that strange
events have happened here, then you had best ride away to Burgundy and
stay there until you find that these villainous knaves here have been
reduced to order, which methinks it will need an army to undertake."

The count went to the window, opened it, and called his friends below to
come up.

"No, no," D'Estelle said laughing; "if we once come up we shall stay
there. If you cannot come now, join us at the Lion d'Or at Sèvres, where
you will find us eating the dinner that we have sent on to order."

"The matter is urgent," D'Estournel said. "I am not joking with you, but
pray you to come up at once."

Seeing that the matter was serious the three knights dismounted and went
up. They were at first absolutely incredulous when they heard from Count
Charles what Guy had told them.

"That the knaves owe us no good-will I know well enough," Count Walter
said, "for they have over and over again laid their complaint against us
before the duke; but it is hard to believe that they would dare to demand
what Burgundy would never grant."

Guy repeated the arguments that he had used with D'Estournel.

"There is no limit," he said, "to the arrogance of these knaves, and in
truth it cannot be denied that they are masters here, and that even the
duke cannot altogether withstand them; and you know, moreover, how
essential is their goodwill to him. But even should he ever so obstinately
refuse their demands they might well take their way without his leave.
What can he, with a handful of knights and a few hundred armed men, do
against the mob of Paris? I earnestly pray you, gentlemen, to treat the
matter as serious. Warn your eight friends without delay; bid your
retainers mount and ride to the gate. If it is open, all the better, it is
but a party of pleasure bound for Sèvres, and if you learn to-morrow
morning that all is quiet here you can return. If it seems better to you,
and this may save you much argument, merely ask your friends to mount and
ride with you to dine there; if any refuse, say you have a motive that
they will learn when they get there, and almost compel them to go with
you. I pledge you my honour that you will have no reason to regret having
taken my advice."

"Well, what do you say, gentlemen?" Count Walter asked. "As Master Aylmer
says, it will at worst be but a carouse, which I hope he will share with
us."

"That I would right gladly do," Guy replied, "but I have the safety of my
lady and her children to look after, for she too, as well as our four men-
at-arms, have incurred the enmity of these butchers. I have sent the men
out of the town, and a place of safety has been prepared for her and the
children. I shall see them safely bestowed there at nightfall."

"Since you have thought such preparations necessary we will at any rate
act on the information that you have given us, and will promise not to
blame you unduly should it turn out that the affair you speak of does not
come off. Let us lose no time, gentlemen; let us each go to two of our
friends and take no denial from them to our invitation to dine with us at
Sevres. Let us say nothing to them about bringing their men-at-arms and
grooms with them. We can ourselves muster some thirty fighting men, and
that should be enough with our own swords to bring these knaves to reason
if they keep their gates shut against us."

"As my arrangements are all made," Guy said, "and I have an hour to spare,
I shall walk down towards the gate and see what comes of it."

The four gentlemen at once mounted and rode off,--after giving directions
to their grooms to order their men-at-arms to mount at once and to wait
for them at a spot a quarter of a mile from the gate,--and Guy strolled
off in the same direction. In half an hour he had the satisfaction of
seeing the men-at-arms ride up and halt as ordered. Walking a little
further on he saw that something unusual had happened. Groups of people
were standing about talking, and each man who came up from the gate was
questioned. Joining one of the groups he soon learned that the excitement
was caused by the unusual closing of the gates, no one being allowed
either to enter or pass out. None could account for this proceeding. It
was certain that it had not been done by the orders either of the Dukes of
Aquitaine or Burgundy,--for there were no royal guards or men-at-arms with
the duke's cognizance,--but by men of the city, who, as all agreed, must
be acting under the orders of the butchers.

"It is a bold deed," one said, "for which they will have to account. It is
a usurpation of authority, and one the Duke of Aquitaine, who is now king
in all but name, will surely resent hotly."

"How strong is the party?" one of the bystanders asked, putting the
question that Guy had on his lips.

"Some forty or fifty, all stout fellows with steel caps and breast-pieces,
and well armed."

Guy turned and walked back to the spot where the Burgundian men-at-arms
were drawn up. In ten minutes D'Estournel and his party rode up. Guy was
glad to see that he had with him the whole of his companions. He at once
went up to them.

"The gates are closed, Count, and held by forty or fifty of the townsmen
in arms, so you see that my information was correct. Had you not better
tell your friends of the truth now, for otherwise they might hesitate to
take so grave a step as to attack them?"

D'Estournel nodded, and, riding to the others, said in a low voice:
"Gentlemen, we had not intended to let you into this little mystery until
we had left Paris, but I find it necessary to do so now. I have learned
surely that the rabble of Paris have resolved upon massacring us to-night
for the share we took in that little affair at the provost of the
silversmiths. To that end they have shut the gates, and hold it with some
fifty armed men. It is as well that some of us have brought our men-at-
arms here. I can hardly fancy that these rascals will try to prevent us
from passing out, seeing that they have no warrant but their own for
closing the gates against us, but if they do there is nothing for it but
to open them ourselves. Let us ride forward at once, gentlemen, for these
fellows may receive a reinforcement at any time."

So saying, he put spurs to his horse, calling upon the men-at-arms to
follow. His three companions, who were already in the secret, joined him
at once; and the others, after a pause of astonishment and almost
incredulity, followed, in no way loath at the chance of another fight with
the followers of the butchers. As they approached the gate the townsmen
hastily drew up in front of it.

"What means this?" Count Walter de Vesoul slid haughtily, as he reined up
his horse a few paces from the line. "By what authority do you dare close
the gates and thus stand armed before them?"

"By the authority of the city of Paris," the leader of the party said
insolently.

"I recognize no such authority while the king and the Duke of Aquitaine,
who holds his full powers, are resident here. Clear the way, my man, and
open the gates, or I will ride over you."

The butcher answered him with a derisive laugh. "It will cost you your
lives if you attempt it," he said.

"Gentlemen, draw your swords and give these rough fellows the lesson they
need;" and, setting the example, he rode at the butcher and cut him down.
The idea that the Burgundian knights would venture to force a passage in
the teeth of the prohibition of the master of the butchers had apparently
not so much as entered the minds of the guard, and as soon as the knights
and their followers fell upon them, the greater portion of them flung down
their arms and fled, a few only fighting stoutly until overpowered. As
soon as the skirmish was over the keys were brought out from the guard-
room, and the gate unlocked and the massive bars taken down. In the
meantime some of the men-at-arms had run up on to the wall, hoisted the
portcullis, and lowered the drawbridge across the fosse. As soon as they
returned and mounted the party rode through. As they did so, four men ran
out from a lane near the wall and followed them; and Guy at once
recognized in them the archer and his three companions. Greatly pleased,
he returned to the city and informed Dame Margaret of what had taken
place.

"No doubt," he said, "when they found the gates shut they remembered what
I had said, that I was going to warn Count Charles and his friends, and
went back to observe what these were doing; and the sight of their
retainers going towards the gate must have told them which way they
intended to leave; and they, no doubt, went down and hid up near the gate
to watch the conflict, and to take advantage of it, if a chance offered,
to get off themselves."

"That is indeed a satisfaction, Guy; and I am glad, too, that your friends
got away. There can be no doubt now that the count's information was
accurate; the gates having been closed, as he said they would be, vouches
for this. Katarina has been here; she was dressed this time as an
apprentice in the service of some trader, and brought a large box
containing our disguises and yours. For you there is a bottle of dye for
your hair, a mixture for darkening your skin, and clothes--the latter such
as would be worn by a workman. Charlie is to wear a girl's dress, at which
he is mightily offended; nor is Agnes better pleased, for a boy's suit has
been sent for her. My disguise is simply a long cloak with a hood, such as
is worn by the wives of small traders. Katarina explained that it had been
thought better to change the sex of Agnes and Charlie, so that, when a hue
and cry is raised for a missing woman, with a girl of fourteen, and a boy
of ten, no one should associate the woman with two lads and a little girl,
whom they passed in the street, as being the party for which search is
being made. And now, Guy, do you not think that we should warn our good
host of the danger that threatens, for, doubtless, he also has been marked
out as a victim?"

"I will see him at once, and will tell him as much as it is necessary for
him to know. Assuredly it is now too late for him to escape beyond the
walls, unless he were to take his wife with him, and bring his serving-men
to let them down from the walls; but this, I should think, he will not do,
he would rather take refuge in the house of some of his friends."

The silversmith listened gravely when Guy told him that he had received
sure information that the butchers would that evening make a slaughter of
some of their opponents, that they would be in such force that resistance
would be hopeless, and that the few royal troops and the followers of
Burgundy would be insufficient to make head against them.

"Your news does not surprise me, and though I know not how you came by it,
I fear that it is true. The news that the city gates have been all shut
and are being guarded by strong parties of the butchers' rabble, shows but
too surely that there is danger in the air. In the first place, there is
your lady to be thought of; I must endeavour to obtain for her also
shelter among my friends."

"We have already arranged for a hiding-place for her and the children,
Maître Leroux. I may not name where it is to anyone, but suffice that it
is a quiet house where there is little fear of any suspicions resting upon
them, and where they will be able to remain until order is restored."

"I fear that that will be a long time," the silversmith said. "The
butchers boast that they can place 20,000 men under arms, and indeed the
terror excited by them is so great, that very many who hate their doings
as much as I do myself have been forced to make a semblance of joining
them. Next about your men-at-arms, they are brave fellows and I owe them
much."

"They are all safe outside the walls. Some Burgundian knights, indignant
that this rabble should dare stop them, cut their way out through the Port
St. Denis, and our men took advantage of the gates being open to follow
them."

"And as to yourself, Master Aylmer?"

"I have dyes to blacken my hair and a tincture for darkening my face. I
have also a disguise by which I may pass as an apprentice to a trader. I
shall at all hazards remain in Paris, but what I shall yet do I know not.
And now about yourself and Madame Leroux--you will not, I hope, think of
defending the house as you did before."

"Certainly not; it would not avail to save our lives, and would assuredly
cost those of my servitors and most likely of the women. I have friends,
who will, I hope, gladly take us in. Maître Lepelletiere, the Master
Carpenter, who has been doing my doors, is an old friend of mine, and
after the last attack, urged me to withdraw for a time from the attention
of the mob, and offered me refuge in his place. He lives in the Rue des
Fosses; which is close to the old inner wall that is now for the most part
in ruins. You pass along by the hospital, and when beyond the old wall
turn to the right; 'tis the third doorway. There are no houses facing it,
but it looks straight upon the wall, the ground between being some thirty
or forty yards wide; and doubtless when the house was built, it was before
the present wall was erected, and stood on the outer side of the fosse
round the old one. There are many others of the same trade who live in
that quarter, and as they are for the most part opposed to the butchers, I
doubt not that my friend will have no difficulty in obtaining a lodging
for you among them should no other have been settled upon."

"Thank you indeed," Guy replied; "the arrangement has been made by others,
and I know not for certain what has yet been decided upon, but should not
a suitable place have been chosen I will gladly accept your offer."

"And now I must set to work," the silversmith said.

"In what way?" Guy asked in surprise.

"In hiding my wares. In a city like Paris, with its sieges and its
tumults, a prudent man having goods of great value will assuredly prepare
a place of safety for them. I will set my men to work at once; the
business must be finished before it becomes dark, for as soon as it does
so we must leave the house and close it."

"I have nothing to do at present, and shall be glad to help your men," Guy
said.

He followed the silversmith downstairs. Maître Leroux called his head man.

"We must move, Jacques, and that quickly; you have heard that the gates
are shut."

"Yes, master, people are talking of nothing else."

"I have news that there will be trouble to-night, so we must set to work
at once to place the chests in safety. First let them clear out the wood-
cellar."

This was done in a few minutes by the seven men, then Jacques told the
others to go back into the shop and pack up all the silver goods in the
chests. As soon as they were gone Jacques looked inquiringly at his
master, who nodded. Then he touched a brick in the wall some seven feet
above the floor; it sprung back.

"Will you lift me up?" the man said to Guy. The lad did as he was asked,
and the man thrust his arm into the orifice. A moment later he asked Guy
to set him down.

"Go to the doorway," he said, and hurried across to where Maître Leroux
was standing; then kneeling down he pushed his hand under the sill of the
doorway and then stood up.

"Do you hear that?" the silversmith said.

"I hear a dull rumbling somewhere," Guy replied. As he spoke he saw half
the floor, which was apparently of solid flags, beginning to rise.

"This was done in my father's time," Maître Leroux said, "and it was made
for him by Maître Lepelletiere's father with the aid of two or three good
smiths, who put the machinery together at his house and were in ignorance
where it was intended to be placed."

The trap-door was now raised, and Guy to his astonishment saw a stream of
running water three feet below the opening.

"Whence comes this?" he asked in astonishment.

"No wonder you are surprised," the silversmith said; "it was a piece of
rare good-luck that my father hit upon it. A map that he had showed him
that in the old days, before there were any houses on this side of the
river, a narrow branch left the stream some hundred yards above the
position of his house, made a circuit and came into it again as much
below. He inquired among some old men, and learned that they had heard
their grandfathers say that they knew that at some time or other this
stream had been built over when Paris began to grow in this direction.
After he had contrived this apparatus that you see, which is worked by a
heavy counterpoise in the wall, he began to dig, and a foot below the
surface came upon an arch of brickwork, so my father concluded that his
house was exactly over the old stream.

"On breaking through the crown he discovered, as you see, that the water
still flowed through this tunnel, which is some three and a half yards
wide and eight feet deep. My men, all of whom are trusty fellows, know of
the existence of this hiding-place, but Jacques is the only one besides
myself who knows the secret of the opening. Now, Jacques, fetch the chests
along as fast as they are ready."

The chests were soon brought up and one by one lowered. Chains were
attached from the handle of each to that of the one that followed; they
were almost the weight of the water and sank until within an inch-or two
of the surface. Each was floated down as it was lowered, until twenty
great chests had been taken down. Then one more heavy and ponderous than
the rest was attached to the train, and a sloping board being placed from
the cellar floor to the bottom of the stream, the case was allowed to
slide down this until it rested on the bottom several feet beyond the
trap-door.

"There you see," the silversmith said, "even if they discovered the trap-
door and broke up the floor with sledgehammers, which would be no easy
matter, and probed the stream with lances, they would find nothing. As you
saw, there is a chain to the end of the last box, which is, as it were, an
anchor to the rest; this chain Jacques will now attach to a strong wire,
and fasten that to a ring below the water's edge, and a foot beyond the
trap-door, so that when danger is past we shall haul up the chain and
recover the cases one by one in the order in which they have been sent
down."

As soon as Jacques had fastened the wire to the ring he touched another
heavy spring under the sill, then pulled hard on the trap-door; this
gradually began to sink, and in a minute was in its place again. At the
same time the brick that had been pushed in above came out into its place
again, dust was then swept into the crack at the edge of the trapdoor, and
no one who had not seen the latter raised would have dreamt of its
existence.

CHAPTER XIII

THE MASTERS OF PARIS

The trap-door closed, the firewood was carried back again, and Guy went
upstairs, where he found that Dame Margaret, Agnes, and Charlie had
already put on their disguises. Their faces had been slightly darkened;
Agnes had coiled her hair up under a cap, while Dame Margaret's would be
completely hidden under the hood. She and Charlie could, have passed very
well even in daylight, but Agnes by no means looked her character. Her
mother had darkened the skin at the back of her neck as well as on her
face, but the girl's evident discomfort and shyness were so unboylike that
they would at once be noticed. Guy fetched a short cloak reaching only to
his hips from his room and brought it in to her.

"I think that you will be more comfortable in this," he said.

"Yes, indeed," she exclaimed gratefully, as she put it over her shoulders;
"I shall not mind now."

It reached nearly down to her knees, and the high collar concealed the
back of her head effectually.

"I did not expect that you would be ready so soon," he said, turning to
Dame Margaret; "it will not be dark for two hours yet."

"No; but I thought it much better to be prepared to leave at any moment.
Mistress Leroux has shown me a door opening from the yard into a very
narrow lane behind. She says that it has not been used for years, but she
has been down herself with the key and has unlocked it, so that we have
only to let a bar down to open it, and if there should be an attack on the
front of the house we can escape that way."

"It would be best to leave that way in any case," Guy said, "and thereby
you will avoid observation by anyone who may be watching. It is evident
that the citizens of this quarter are very anxious and alarmed; looking
from the window I have seen them standing in groups, or going in and out
of each other's houses. They cannot know what is going to take place, but
the closing of the gates by the butchers without any warrant has, of
course, shown them that something serious is going to occur."

"You had better disguise yourself at once, Guy."

"I will do so, mistress, but I do not think that there is any fear of
disturbance until evening; men who are engaged in work, that may some day
bring punishment upon those concerned in it, prefer darkness. Besides, at
that time all careful men will be in their houses, and will not dare to
come out whatever sounds they may hear."

Maître Leroux presently came up.

"I have been out and trying to gather news. There are all sorts of rumours
abroad, but none know aught with certainty. They say that the butchers
have stationed guards at the end of all the streets leading to the market
quarter, and they allow none to pass in or out. It is reported that
Aquitaine has sent an officer to the butchers to demand under what warrant
they have closed the gates of the city, and to order them to open them
forthwith, and to withdraw the men stationed there. It is said that their
answer was that they had acted for the good of the state, and for the
safety of the king's person, and that they would presently call upon his
highness and explain matters to him. This may be true or merely rumour,
but it is generally believed. Everyone is talking of the fight at the gate
of St. Denis. Some say that it was forced open by order of the Duke of
Burgundy, while others affirm that Caboche, and that mischievous varlet
John de Troyes, went in great haste to the duke when they received the
news, that he declared to them that he knew nothing whatever of the
affair, and that whatever was done was certainly done without his orders.
Most of my men have already left; it were better that they should go off
one by one than that they should move off together. 'Tis well that my wife
bethought her of that back entrance. It has never been used in my time,
for the lane is but three feet wide, and the houses beyond are of no very
good repute. I talked at one time of having it bricked up, and only
refrained from doing so from the thought that it might be useful on some
such occasion as this. Your esquire has not gone out, I suppose, Lady
Margaret?"

"No, he is putting on his disguise--at least, he is colouring his hair and
face, and so altering himself that he would not be known; but he will not
put on his full disguise until later."

Guy soon came out. He was in his ordinary garments, but having put on his
best suit beneath them he looked broader and bulkier than usual, while his
blackened hair and darkened face had made so great a change in his
appearance that both Agnes and her mother agreed that they would not have
known him.

"You could certainly go anywhere, Guy, and mix with any crowd, and no one
would have a suspicion that you were the young Englishman for whom the
whole town was searching."

Half an hour before it became dark, Guy went down to the front door.
Standing there listening attentively, he presently heard three little
knocks given, as by a hand on the door. He opened it a little, Katarina
slipped in, and he again fastened it and put up the bar.

"I brought the disguises early," she said, "as I thought they might be
required in haste, but my father has learned that it will be eight o'clock
before the butchers sally out with their forces from the markets."

"All here are ready and prepared to start at a moment's notice, and have
arranged to go out by a door behind, that leads into a narrow lane."

"That is good!" the girl said. "I have been near for the last half-hour
and have noticed two or three men hanging about, and by their furtive
glances in the direction of the house I have no doubt that they are
watching it. I had to wait until there happened to be a group of people
before the door, and then slipped in behind them, and got in without, I am
sure, their having seen me. I have been uneasy as to how we should leave,
for if they saw a party of three or four issuing out together, one of them
would be sure to follow."

They were now upstairs. The fact that Agnes was in the same disguise as
herself freed Katarina from the shame-facedness that she would otherwise
have felt at being seen by Dame Margaret in her present attire.

"You are well disguised," the latter said as she entered. "I no longer
wonder that you are able to go about as a boy without suspicion; you look
one to the life, while Agnes is so awkward that she would be detected in a
moment."

"She has not had the practice that I have had," Katarina said with a
laugh; "the awkwardness will soon wear off if she has to dress like this
for a short time. As for me, I have learnt all a boy's tricks and ways. I
can whistle and shout with any of them, can quarrel, and bluster, be saucy
on occasion, and have only once been in trouble."

"How was that, Katarina?"

"A boy who was a bit taller than I ran against me and declared that it was
my fault, and gave me a cuff on the head. I might have run away, and of
course I ought to have done so, but I was angry, for he really hurt me; so
I had to do what any boy would have done, and I flew at him so fiercely,
and cuffed and scratched and kicked so savagely that at last he turned and
ran. He had hit me too, but I did not feel it at the time, and next
morning I was all sorts of colours round the eyes. Father was very angry,
but when I asked what else he would have done if he had been cuffed, he
could not tell me. I had a very important message to carry that morning
for him. At first he said I could not go out in that state; but, as I told
him, I had never looked so much like a boy before."

All were glad when it became dark enough for them to make a start. The men
and maids had all been sent away, and none remained save Maître Leroux and
his wife. They were not in any disguise, but were wrapped up in cloaks,
and in the badly-lighted streets could pass unrecognized.

"Do you go out first, Master Aylmer," the silversmith said. "I have no
fear of anyone watching behind, for it is not likely that any of them know
of this entrance to my house; still, it is as well to make certain. When
you get out of the lane you had best stay there until the others have
passed on, then you can follow them. We will wait for a few minutes after
they have gone, and lock the door behind us. You have not forgotten where
you are to find us."

"No, I have the name and house right. Shall I ask for you as Maître
Leroux?"

"I have not thought of that. No, it will be better, perhaps, to ask for
Philip Sampson; it were just as well that none should know my name there
except Lepelletiere and his wife."

As arranged Guy went out first; there was still light enough for him to
make his way along the narrow lane without falling over piles of dirt and
rubbish that at some points almost blocked it. The street into which it
opened was also a very narrow one, and no one was about. In a minute Dame
Margaret, walking with Katarina, and with Agnes close behind, holding
Charlie's hand, passed him.

"It is all quite clear," he said. Keeping some fifteen yards behind he
followed them until they entered a broader street. There were a good many
people about here. The nearest way would have been to have crossed the
road and passed by another small street facing that from which they had
come, but somewhat to his surprise they turned and went along the broader
street. He soon acknowledged to himself that this was the wiser course,
for there were so many people about that their passage would be unnoticed,
while in the narrow lanes some rough fellow might have accosted them.
Keeping always in frequented streets they made a long detour before they
reached that in which the count resided, and it was with a feeling of
great relief that Guy saw them enter the house. He himself, as arranged,
did not approach it for another quarter of an hour, then he went and
knocked on the door with his hand, which was at once opened by Katarina.

"All is well," she said; "your lady is in the room where you first waited
--my father is with her."

As Guy entered the count was just saying: "Yes, it would certainly be
best, madame, that your daughter should continue at present in that
disguise. In the first place, she will get accustomed to it, and should
she have occasion to move again she would be able to do so without
attracting notice; in the second place, it would be desirable that, even
accidentally, no one should know that there is a young lady of her age
here. I have no visitors save on business, but possibly either she or your
boy might come out on to the stairs when one is going up or down. It would
be unfortunate that he should see them at all, but if it were but a boy he
caught sight of he would not at any rate associate them with your party.
These precautions may seem to you absurd, but it is often by little
accidents that things are discovered when as it seemed everything had been
provided against."

"I shall not mind," Agnes said. "When I first went out it seemed dreadful,
but when I found that nobody noticed me I began to be accustomed to it,
and as your daughter is dressed as a boy too I shall not mind it."

"I shall not like being dressed as a girl," Charlie said sturdily.

The count smiled. "Well, we will see what we can do in your case; anyhow,
you must keep on that dress--for a day or two. And now, Guy, about
yourself. I have arranged for you to lodge with a man who gets news for
me; it is in the butchers' quarter, which is the last place where anyone
would think of looking for you. Besides, there you will see all that is
going on. I have two other disguises in addition to that I sent you; one
is that of a young butcher, another is that of one of the lads who live in
misery, who sleep at the market where they can earn a few sous by doing
odd jobs, and beg or steal when they can do nothing else. I hear that you
have also arranged for a shelter in the quarter between the walls; that
too may be very useful, and it will be well for you to go thither to-
morrow and arrange so that you can have a place to go to when you choose;
it will doubtless be much more pleasant for you there than in the market
quarter. Lastly, I have got you a white hood, which may be most useful of
all." Guy looked surprised. "Henceforth," the count went on, "white is to
be the butchers' colour. All who march this evening are to be so clad, and
as soon as it is known to-morrow, you will find three-fourths of the
people wearing it, for not to do so will be taken as a sign of hostility
to their faction. They will have started by this time, and if it pleases
you to put on the butcher's dress and the white hood over it you can
mingle in safety with them and see all that is done; then when they return
to their quarter, you can go with them. The house to which you are to go
is the third on the left-hand side of the Rue des Couteaux. My man lodges
at the top of the house, the room to the left when you mount the stair--
his name is Simon Bouclier. The lane is at the back of the butchers'
market. The man has no idea who you are. I have simply told him that I
will send a young man to help gather news for me of what is going on, that
you would work separately, but that he was to do all in his power to aid
you, and that at any time if he wanted to send a message to me and could
not himself come, he was to intrust it to you, and similarly he was to
bring any message that you might want to send to the spot where he meets
my messenger. The man works for one of the Thiberts. He does not know who
I am, but I think he believes me to be an agent of Burgundy's, and that I
collect the information so that he may be privately informed of what is
doing. I have encouraged that idea, because it is more likely to keep him
truthful to me, since he would think that were he to play me false the
duke would see that some harm or other befell him. Therefore, it is as
well that you should drop a word as if by accident that will confirm that
notion, and will lead him to believe that you too are working under the
orders of the duke. This will lull any suspicion that he might feel on
seeing, as he must do, that you live in a position far higher than would
appear from your garb. And now, if you would see to-night's doings, you
had best put on that disguise and the white hood, and be off without
delay; you will find the things in the room above."

In a few minutes Guy was ready to start. He could not help looking with
disfavour at the greasy and stained garments, and he put them on with an
expression of strong disgust. The two suits that he had taken off he made
up into a bundle, placed the disguise he had brought with him with them,
putting up separately that of which the count had spoken, and which was so
ragged and dirty that he inwardly hoped he might never be obliged to
assume it; then he went downstairs again. He had strapped round his waist
a heavy sword placed beside the clothes, and carried in his hand a short
pike. Dame Margaret smiled when he entered, and Katarina laughed aloud at
the expression of his face.

"Truly, Guy," the former said, "you might go anywhere in that garb without
a soul suspecting you. This journey with me is leading you into strange
disguises and adventures, which will give you much matter for talk when we
are safely back at Summerley."

"I have left my other disguises above," he said to the count. "The decent
one of an apprentice I have placed with my own clothes, and will take them
with me to any lodging that I may get among the carpenters, but that
beggar suit I will take to Simon Bouclier's the next time I come. I
suppose you would not wish me to come here during the day."

"No, unless it is very important; and to that end I think you had better
carry the apprentice's disguise also to your lodging in the market. You
would not gain favour among the carpenters were you to go among them in
the dress you now wear, and your calling upon me here in your apprentice's
dress would excite no attention; therefore, if you have need to come here
during the day, you had best come as an apprentice."

Guy now went down into the street through which the butchers' force would
pass. In a short time he heard a deep dull sound, and soon they came
along, a host of armed men.

He fell in unnoticed near the head of the column. Soon after he had joined
them they halted, and three or four knights came up and entered into
conversation with their leaders. Guy recognized among them Sir Robert de
Mailly, Sir Charles de Lens, and several others of the household of the
Duke of Burgundy. These talked for some time with the Sieur de
Jacqueville, Governor of Paris, who had joined the butchers' faction and
was now riding at the head of the column, whereupon the force went no
farther, but turned and retraced its steps. Guy wondered greatly where the
butchers could be going, but soon found that they were making for the
Bastille. After much parley between De Jacqueville and the governor, the
latter consented, on the order of the Duke of Burgundy's friends, to hand
over to them Sir Peter des Essars and his brother Sir Anthony, who were
both supporters of the Orleanists and had come to Paris secretly, and had
by the orders of the Duke of Aquitaine been admitted as guests to the
Bastille.

These were marched back to the Louvre, the gates of which were opened by
the orders of Burgundy's friends, and the two knights were thrown into the
prison of the palace. On the way back the houses of a very rich
upholsterer and of a cannon-founder of great repute, both of whom had
withstood the butchers, were broken into and their owners both murdered.
After this the mob marched to the house of Maître Leroux. No reply being
given to their summons to open, an attack was made upon the door. While
they were engaged in doing this, screens of wattles covered with two or
three thicknesses of hides were placed so as to shelter the assailants
from the arrows that had proved so deadly on the occasion of their last
attack. It was thus evident that the outrage was a planned one. Guy looked
on with some amusement until the door gave way under the action of some
very heavy sledge-hammers wielded by a party of brawny smiths; the moment
it did so the crowd made a tremendous rush.

So great was the pressure that many were thrown down and trampled to death
in the doorway. It was not long before several of the windows were thrown
open and voices shouted down that the house was deserted. A yell of fury
burst from the crowd below, but the pressure at the door was even greater
than before. The loss incurred during the first attack had caused all but
the bravest and most determined to hang back somewhat; now, however, that
it seemed that the silversmith's stores could be ransacked without danger,
all were anxious to have a hand in it. Presently one of the leaders
appeared at a casement on the first floor and waved his arms for silence.
The roar of voices ceased and the man cried:

"Citizens, 'tis of no use to press forward into the house, not only has
the traitor and those with him fled from the just vengeance of the people,
but he has taken away with him the whole of his silverware."

A yell of disappointment and rage rose, then as it ceased for a moment a
voice shouted out:

"They are trying to cheat us, my friends; those who got in first have
divided up the spoil and wish us to have no share in it."

This caused a fresh outburst of commotion. At a signal from the leader
above a number of well-armed men, who were evidently a sort of body-guard,
pressed forward to the door and drove back the crowd with blows from the
staves of their pikes. Presently those who had entered began to pour out,
and in a quarter of an hour the house was cleared. As soon as it was so
the windows were lit up by a lurid light which showed that it had been
fired on each floor, and the flames very soon burst out through the
casements. Satisfied with having done this the butchers returned to their
quarter, and Guy mounted to the chamber of Simon Bouclier. The man had
evidently just returned, as he too wore a white hood. He had been carrying
a torch in the procession, and this was stuck into a ring on the wall.

[Illustration: "WELL, COMRADE," SAID SIMON, "I SUPPOSE YOU ARE THE MAN I
WAS TOLD WOULD COME TO-NIGHT?"]

"Well, comrade," he said as Guy entered, "I suppose you are the man I was
told would come here to-night."

"I am so," Guy said. "I should have been here before, but I joined the
procession, as I guessed that you would be there also."

"Yes," the man said; "though I should not have gone had I not thought that
more would come of it. What have we done? Captured two knights and killed
two bourgeois! Pooh, it did not need five thousand men for that."

"No, but it was just as important as if we had killed a hundred."

"How so?" the other asked.

"Because it has shown the Armagnacs that Paris and Burgundy are as united
as ever, and that they will stand no intrigues by the court party."

"That is true. We are all sound here; there were but five thousand out to-
night, because that was enough for the work, but there will be four times
as many next time we go to the Louvre. To-morrow morning, you know, we are
going to pay a visit to the Duke of Aquitaine at his hotel, to teach that
young man that he has to do as we and Burgundy order him, or that it will
be worse for him."

"So I understand," Guy said carelessly. "As long as all hold together in
this quarter everything will go right. My duty principally is to find out
if there are any signs of wavering; there are no signs, of course, among
the butchers, but some of the others are thought to be but half-hearted."

"The butchers and skinners are all right, never fear," the man said; "and
if there are others in the quarter who may not be quite so hot in the
matter as we are, they know better than to open their mouths. Of course,
in the other quarters there may be a strong party who would thwart us; the
smiths and the carpenters and masons are ever jealous of us of the
markets, but they have no leaders, and hold not together as we do.
Besides, they know that we have Burgundy with us, so whatever they think
they are not likely to say much, for if it came to a battle we could sweep
them out of the city."

"Yes, yes, I know that there is no fear of that, the great thing is to
make sure that some of those who seem to be hottest in the matter, are not
taking money from the other party; there are one or two I am specially to
observe."

"I understand you, comrade. I myself have never had much confidence in
John de Troyes nor his medical students. He is good at talking, no one
will deny that; but for myself I would rather that we kept among ourselves
and had nothing to do with such cattle, who have no interest in the
privileges of the guilds, and who take part with us no one knows why. But
I am sleepy; that bundle of fresh rushes in the corner is yours, I got
them in the hay-market to-day when I heard that you were coming. You can
keep beside me to-morrow morning and I will get you a good place in the
ranks. From whence shall I say that you come, as many will ask the
question, seeing that your face is strange?"

"You can say I am from Nancy."

"Yes, that will be good enough; that is the right quarter of France for a
man to have come from just at present."

Guy was thoroughly fatigued with the long excitement of the day. At eleven
in the morning everything had been going on as usual, now Dame Margaret
and the two children were in hiding, her four men-at-arms fugitives, and
Paris was virtually in a state of insurrection against the royal
authority, stirred up thereto by the Duke of Burgundy, who had thus openly
leagued himself with the scum of Paris. That what he had seen that evening
was but the beginning of a series of crimes, Guy could not doubt; and
although this man had expressed his confidence in the power of the market-
men to sweep the craftsmen out of Paris, he felt sure from what he had
heard, that this could not be done until a fierce and doubtful battle had
been fought in the streets. At eight next morning he went out with his
companion.

"It is well not to go into a place where we shall meet many till your face
is better known," the latter said; and he led the way to a small
_trattoir_ a quarter of a mile away. Here they sat down and breakfasted,
then they returned to the market where the White Hoods were mustering.
Simon, who was evidently well known to most of the butchers, took his
place near the head of the column, and at nine o'clock it got into motion.
When it issued from its own quarters it was evident that its approach
excited general apprehension. The streets were deserted as it passed
along. None of the casements were opened, and although the traders dared
not put up their shutters, none of them appeared at the doors, where
their apprentices and workmen gathered to look at the procession. Passing
along steadily and in good order, and headed as before by the knights of
the Duke of Burgundy's household, they drew up before the palace of the
Duke of Aquitaine. Caboche, John de Troyes, and one of the butchers
entered the house. The guards having no orders, and seeing how strong was
the force that was at their back, did not venture to oppose their
entrance, and they pushed on into the private apartments of the duke and
informed him that they, on behalf of the good town of Paris and for the
welfare of his father and himself, required the delivery to them of
certain traitors now in the hotel.

The duke, furious at their insolence, told them that such affairs were not
their business, and that there were no traitors in the hotel. In the
meantime many of the White Hoods had followed their leaders, Simon and Guy
entering with them. They scattered through the apartments and seized the
duke's chancellor, the Duke of Bar, a cousin of the king, and twelve other
knights and gentlemen, some of whom were in the apartment of the Duke of
Aquitaine himself. While this was going on the Dukes of Burgundy and
Lorraine arrived, and Aquitaine, turning to the former angrily, said:

"Father-in-law, this insurrection has been caused by your advice; those of
your household are the leaders of it; you shall some day repent of this.
The state shall not be always governed according to your will and
pleasure."

However, in spite of his indignation and remonstrance, the twelve
gentlemen were carried away and confined in different prisons; and
presently discovering the king's secretary, they killed him and threw the
body into the river. They compelled the Duke of Aquitaine himself to leave
his palace, and with the king, his father, to take up his abode in the
Hôtel de St. Pol. Placing a strong guard round it, so as to prevent them
from leaving Paris, the mob then compelled all the nobles and even the
prelates, they met, to put on white hoods, and their leaders sent off
letters to the chief towns in France to inform them that what they had
done was for the welfare of the king and kingdom, and requiring them to
give aid should there be any necessity for it; they then published an
edict in the name of the king ordering that it should be proclaimed in
every bailiwick that no person, under penalty of death and confiscation of
goods, should obey any summons from their superior lord to take up arms or
to trouble the kingdom. The mad king was made to sign this after the Dukes
of Aquitaine, Berri, and Lorraine, and other nobles of the council had put
their names to it.

At nine o'clock that evening Guy went to the square before Notre Dame.
Here many groups of people were talking over the events of the day. Guy
had, as soon as he left the market quarter, taken off his white hood, and
before starting he put on his dress as an apprentice. There was no doubt
that the opinion of the great majority of those in the square was hostile
to the authors of the events of the day, and that the consternation among
the citizens was very great. After thus forcing the great nobles to obey
their will and outraging the palace of the Duke of Aquitaine, there was no
saying to what length they would go, and fears were expressed that ere
long they might sack the whole of the better quarters of Paris.

It was so evident, however, that they had the support of the Duke of
Burgundy that no one saw any way out of their trouble, and that nothing
but the arrival of a powerful army of Orleanists could relieve them from
their peril. As Guy had no real expectation of seeing any of his
followers,--although the gates had been opened that afternoon after the
seizure of the knights,--he attended more to the conversations going on
about him than to the matter on which he had come. Presently, however, he
saw a rough-looking fellow watching him attentively. He walked close to
him, but not recognizing him would have passed on, had not the man taken a
step forward and said in a low voice:

"Villeroy!"

"Is it you, Robert? In faith I did not recognize you in that attire."

"And I was not sure that it was you, Master Guy; I should certainly not
have known you by your face. Your figure and walk, when a short distance
away, attracted my attention, and knowing your disguise was that of an
apprentice I made sure it was you. Then as you came closer I doubted, and
though I ventured upon saying the name of our lord, I scarce thought that
you would reply."

"Where are the others, Robert?"

"They are walking about separately seeking for you. We are to meet on the
steps of the cathedral at half-past nine."

"What has become of Tom?"

The man laughed. "If you will come along this way, master, you will see."
They went to a quiet corner of the square. As they approached it they
heard angry voices, and standing under a lamp Guy saw a tall man of wild
and unkempt appearance, with black hair and a begrimed face, and a basket
of vegetables strapped to his shoulders, threatening angrily with a staff
three or four gamins who were making fun of him. He spoke in a wild,
incoherent way, and seemed to be half-witted.

"What are you worrying this poor fellow for?" Robert said angrily to the
boys. "If you do not be off, and that quickly, I will lay my cudgel about
your shoulders."

This threat was much more efficacious than those of the half-witted man
had been, and the boys at once took to their heels. The tall man shuffled
towards the new-comers.

"Is it really you, Tom?" Guy said in a low tone.

"It is me, sure enough, Master Guy. I should not know myself, and am not
surprised that you do not know me; in faith, my back aches with walking
with a stoop, and my legs with shuffling along as if I had scarce the use
of them, instead of stepping out manfully. Is all well? We have heard of
strange doings--that the butchers have, with the countenance of Burgundy,
bearded the Duke of Aquitaine, and even carried off some of his friends
from before his face; also that the houses of three of those who had
withstood them had been burned, among them that of Maître Leroux; also
that two traders had been killed, though which two they were we have not
been able to learn."

"All is well, Tom; our lady and her children were safely bestowed, as was
also the silversmith and his wife."

"I am right glad of that; they were a worthy couple. And so his house is
burned and sacked?"

"Burned, but not sacked, Tom; for he had, before they came, stowed away in
a hiding-place where they could not be found all those chests of his, and
not a single piece of silver fell into the hands of the butchers."

"That was well done," the archer said, rubbing his hands. "I should like
to have seen the dogs' faces when they burst in and found nothing. And my
bow, Master Guy?"

"I fear that the flames will not have spared it. I went past the house to-
day, and naught but the bare walls are standing."

At this moment the bell of the cathedral struck the half-hour, and Robert
Picard said: "Will you stay here, Master Guy? I must go and meet the
others, and forthwith bring them to you here."

CHAPTER XIV

PLANNING MASSACRE

In a short time Robert Picard returned with his two companions, and
leaving the square, they all went along the quays to a quiet spot. "We
cannot be overheard here," Guy said, "and now, in the first place, let me
know how you have fared. I knew that you had got safely away, for I was
near the gate of St. Denis when the Burgundians fought their way out, and
I saw you follow."

"We had no difficulty," Robert Picard said. "We went into the wood, and
thence I went across to St. Cloud and bought these garments that you see
us in, and we hid away our steel caps and harness in some bushes in the
heart of the wood, where they are not likely to be found. Then after a
long talk with Tom we agreed that he had best go as a half-witted man with
a basket of vegetables for sale, and I went into St. Cloud again, dressed
as I now am, and found a little shop where they sold rags and old
garments, and got his outfit for a couple of francs, and dear at that. We
thought in that way he would not have to say much, and that any confusion
of speech would be set down to the fact that his brain was weak. Hearing
that the gates were open this afternoon, we came in just before they were
closed for the night. We have got a room in a lane which honest folk would
not care to pass through even in daylight; 'tis a vile hole, but consorts
well with our appearance."

"I will try and find you a better place to-morrow, Robert. I am going to
see the people with whom Maître Leroux is in hiding. I hear that they
have no sympathy with these butchers, and when I tell them that you are
stout fellows and good fighters methinks they will find quarters for you;
and you may be able to put on safer disguises than those you wear at
present, except that of Tom's, which I think we cannot better. Besides, he
can lie there quietly, and need not, except when he chooses, sally out. I
myself am lodging at present among the butchers. I hear that Caboche and
the Legoix are furious at our having slipped through their fingers, and
they declare that, as we cannot have escaped from Paris, they will lay
hands on us very soon."

"I should like to lay hands on a few of them myself, Master Guy," Tom said
earnestly, "say out in that wood there with a quarter-staff, and to deal
with four of them at a time. They have burnt my bow, and I shall not get
even with them till I have cracked fully a dozen of their skulls."

"I shall be likely to be near you in the quarter where I hope to get you
lodging, Tom, for I too am going to have a room there, though I shall
generally live where I now am, as I can there obtain news of all that is
going on, and might be able to warn our lady in time if they should get
any news that may set them on her track. Heard you aught at St. Cloud of
any Orleanist gathering?"

"I heard a good deal of talk about it, but naught for certain; but
methinks that ere long they will be stirring again. The news that I have
heard of the insolence of the mob here to the Duke of Aquitaine, and of
the seizure of their friends who were with him, is like to set them on
fire, for they will see that all the promises made by Burgundy meant
nothing, and that, with the aid of the Parisians, he is determined to
exercise all authority in the state, and to hold Aquitaine as well as the
king in his hands."

The next morning Guy went to the house of Maître de Lepelletiere, and
inquired for Philip Sampson. Maître Leroux was in.

"I have spoken to my friend about you," he said, after they had talked
over the events of the last two days, "and he has arranged for a room for
you in a house three doors away; and I have no doubt that your four men
can be lodged there also, for 'tis a large house, and is let out, for the
most part, as he told me, to journeymen carpenters. But since the troubles
began there has been little building, and men who can find no work here
have moved away to seek for it in places less afflicted by these troubles.
That is one of the reasons why the carpenters have not made a firmer stand
against the butchers. I will ask him to come up here. You already know
him, as you have spoken with him several times when he was looking after
his men putting up the new doors."

The master carpenter soon came in. "I will gladly get a lodging for your
men," he said, when Guy had explained the matter to him. "We may come to
blows with these market people, and four stout fellows are not to be
despised. There will be a meeting of the council of our guild this
afternoon, and on my recommendation they will give me the necessary
documents, saying that the men--you can give me their names--have received
permission to work as carpenters in Paris. They can then put on dresses
suitable for craftsmen, and the papers will suffice to satisfy anyone who
may inquire as to their business. I think that your tall archer may safely
lay aside the disguise you say he has assumed, it might be likely to get
him into trouble; the change in the colour of the hair and the darkening
of his eyebrows should be quite sufficient disguise, and if he is always
when abroad with one of his comrades, he has but to keep his mouth shut,
and if questioned the man with him can say that he is dumb."

"That would be excellent," Guy said, "and I am greatly obliged to you.
Doubtless, too, they will soon make acquaintance with some of the other
workmen, and by mixing with these there will be less suspicion excited
than if they always went about together."

"I will tell my foreman to present them to the men who work for me, and
they will soon get known in the quarter. Five or six of my men lodge in
the house where I took the room for you. It might be useful, too, were I
to give you a paper of apprenticeship, and if you were similarly
introduced. In that case it might be convenient to exchange the small room
that I have taken for you for a larger one; as an apprentice you would
ordinarily lodge with your master, and if you did not you would scarce
have a room to yourself, but were you to lodge with your four men it would
seem natural enough."

"That would be a capital plan, Maître Lepelletiere."

"You see, in that way, too," the carpenter went on, "you would only have
to place a plank on your shoulder and then go where you will without
exciting the least attention. I will furnish you with a list of the houses
where I have men at work, and this again would be an assistance to you. It
is my foreman who took the lodging for you; I am expecting him here
shortly for orders, and he shall go round with you. As you say that your
fellows are dressed at present in rough fashion it will be as well that
they should provide themselves with their new disguises before they come
here, as, if they were seen in their present guise, it would prejudice
them with the others in the house, for craftsmen look down greatly upon
the rough element of the street."

"They shall do so," Guy said, "and I will come with them myself this
evening."

Guy presently went in with the foreman and arranged for a large attic with
a dormer window, at the top of the house. At midday he met Robert Picard
and told him the arrangements that had been made, supplying him with money
for the purchase of the four dresses. "As soon as it becomes dark," he
said, "you had best go to some quiet spot and change them. Bring the
clothes you now have on in a bundle, for they may yet prove useful, and
meet me at eight o'clock at the corner of the Rue des Fosses."

Guy then went to the Italian's and told Dame Margaret of the arrangements
he had made.

"Since you have managed it all so well, Guy, I am glad to hear that the
men are all back in Paris. I before wished that they should make straight
for Villeroy, but since they are so safely bestowed it were best perhaps
that they should be within reach. Long Tom is the only one I shall feel
anxious about, for of course he is less easy to disguise than the others."

"He has plenty of shrewdness, my lady, and will, I have no doubt, play his
part well. I know that I myself feel very glad that there are four true
men upon whom we can rely if any difficulty should arise."

"Some evening, mother," Agnes said, "when I have grown more accustomed to
this boy's dress I will go with Katarina to this house so that I can carry
a message there, should she happen to be away when there is need for
sending one."

Lady Margaret hesitated, but Guy said: "By your leave, my lady, I think
that the idea is a very good one, saving that I myself will escort the two
ladies there as soon as Mistress Agnes feels confident enough to go."

"In that case I should have no objection, Guy. Under your charge I have no
doubt Agnes would be perfectly safe, but I could hardly bring myself to
let her go out without escort in so wild a city as this is at present."

The Italian and his daughter presently joined them, and heard with
satisfaction where Guy and the four men had obtained a safe lodging.

"Still," he said, "I should advise you sometimes to sleep at your lodging
by the market-place. Simon is not the sort of companion you would choose.
I have only seen him once, and I was then so disguised that he would not
recognize me again--for none of those with whom I have dealings know who I
am or where I live--but that once was sufficient to show me that the
fellow might be trusted to serve me well as long as he was paid well,
especially as he believed that I was an agent of the duke's; still, he is
a rough and very unsavoury rascal, and had I been able to think at the
moment of anywhere else where you could for the time safely shelter I
should not have placed you with him."

"I do not mind," Guy said; "and at any rate with him I have opportunities
of seeing what is going on, as, for example, when they insulted the Duke
of Aquitaine, and it is certainly well to be able to learn what the
intentions of the fellows are. As an Englishman I care naught for one
party or the other, but as one of gentle blood it fills me with anger and
disgust to see this rabble of butchers and skinners lording it over nobles
and dragging knights and gentlemen away to prison; and if it were in my
power I would gladly upset their design, were it not that I know that, for
my lady's sake, it were well to hold myself altogether aloof from meddling
in it."

"You are right," the Italian said gravely. "I myself am careful not to
meddle in any way with these affairs. I try to learn what is doing,
because such knowledge is useful to me and gains me credit as well as
money with those who consult me, and may possibly be the means of saving
their lives if they do but take my warning. Thus, having learned what was
proposed to be done yesterday morning, I was able to warn a certain knight
who visited me the evening before that it might cost him his life were he
to remain in Paris twelve hours. He was incredulous at first, for I would
give him no clue as to the nature of the danger; however, by a little
trick I succeeded in impressing him sufficiently for him to resolve to
leave at daybreak. This he did; at least they searched for him in vain at
the Duke of Aquitaine's, and therefore I have no doubt that he took my
advice, engaged a, boat, and made his escape by the river. It was his
first A to me, and I doubt not that henceforth he will be a valuable
client, and that he will bring many of his friends to me. If I mistake
not, I shall have more opportunities of doing such services and of so
increasing my reputation ere long."

For a time things went on quietly. Tom and his companions were on friendly
terms with the other men in the house, who all believed them to be
carpenters who had come to Paris in search of employment. Long Tom was
supposed by them to be dumb, and never opened his lips save when alone
with his companions, and seldom left the house. The room was altogether
unfurnished, but furniture was regarded as by no means a necessity in
those days. Five bundles of rushes formed their beds, and Guy, as there
was little to learn in the markets, generally slept there. An earthenware
pan, in which burned a charcoal fire over which they did what cooking was
necessary, a rough gridiron, and a cooking pot were the only purchases
that it was necessary to make. Slices of bread formed their platters, and
saved them all trouble in the matter of washing up. Washing was roughly
performed at a well in the court-yard of the house.

Things had now quieted down so much that a considerable number of great
nobles resorted to Paris, for the king had now a lucid interval. Among
them were the Dukes of Berri, Burgundy, and Lorraine, with Duke Louis of
Bavaria, the queen's brother, with the Counts de Nevers, De Charolais, De
St. Pol, the Constable of France, and many other great lords and prelates.
The queen was also with her husband.

"There will shortly be trouble again," the Italian said one day to Guy.
"Simon told my daughter yesterday evening that the butchers were only
biding their time to get as many fish into their net as possible, and that
when they would draw it they would obtain a great haul. You have not been
down there for some time; it were best that you put on your butcher's garb
again and endeavour to find out what is intended."

"I was expecting you," Simon said, when that evening Guy entered his room.
"There will be a meeting at midnight in the butchers' hall, and I cannot
take you in with me, but I will tell you what happens."

"That will do as well as if I went myself," Guy said, "though in truth I
should like well to see one of these councils."

"No one is admitted save those known to be, like myself, thoroughly
devoted to the cause."

"That I can well understand, Simon; a traitor might mar all their plans."

"Some time I may take you," Simon said, "for doubtless I could smuggle you
in; but to-night--" and he hesitated, "to-night it will be specially
important, and they have to be more particular than usual as to who are
admitted."

Guy noticed the hesitation, and replied carelessly that one occasion would
be as good as another for him, and presently lay down in his corner. He
wondered to himself what the business could be that his companion was
evidently anxious that he should hear nothing of. He might wish that he
should alone have the merit of reporting it, or it might be something that
it was deemed the Duke of Burgundy himself, the butchers' friend and ally,
would not approve of. At any rate he was determined, if possible, to find
it all out; he therefore feigned sleep. At eleven o'clock Simon got up and
went down; Guy waited for two or three minutes and then rose and followed.
As soon as he was out of the door he made direct for the hall of the
butchers' guild. He knew that Simon was not going straight there, as the
meeting was not, he said, for an hour, and that he would be stopping to
drink at some cabaret with his associates. The hall was but a short
distance away.

When Guy approached it he saw that as yet it was not lighted up. On three
sides it was surrounded by a garden with high trees; near the front
entrance some twenty men were gathered talking together. He, therefore,
went round to the back; several trees grew near the wall, and the branches
of one of these extended over it. With considerable difficulty Guy
succeeded in climbing it, and made his way along the branch and got upon
the top of the wall. This was about fourteen feet high, and, lowering
himself by his arms, he dropped into the garden and crossed to the
building. He took off his white hood and thrust it into his doublet. The
windows were six feet from the ground, and were, as usual at this time,
closed by wooden shutters on the inside. Putting his fingers on the sill
he raised himself up. There was plenty of room for him to stand, and,
holding on by the iron bars, he took out his dagger and began to cut a
hole in the shutter.

The wood was old, and after half an hour's hard work he succeeded in
making a hole three inches long and an inch wide. By the time this was
finished the hall had been lighted up with torches, and men were pouring
in through the doors at the other end. Across the end next to him was a
platform on which was a table. For a time no one came up there, for the
members as they entered gathered in groups on the floor and talked
earnestly together. After a few minutes ten men came up on to the
platform; by this time the body of the hall was full, and the doors at the
other end were closed. A man, whom Guy recognized as John de Troyes,
stepped forward from the others on the platform and, standing in front of
the table, addressed his comrades.

"My friends," he said, "it is time that we were at work again. Paris is
becoming infested by enemies of the people, and we must rid ourselves of
them. The nobles are assembled for the purpose, as they say, of being
present at the marriage of Louis of Bavaria with the widow of Peter de
Navarre, but we know well enough that this is but a pretext; they have
come to consult how best they can overthrow the power of our Duke of
Burgundy and suppress the liberty of this great city. The question is, are
we tamely to submit to this?"

A deep shout of "No!" ran through the multitude.

"You are right, we will not submit. Were we to do so we know that it would
cost the lives of all those who have made themselves prominent in the
defence of the liberties of Paris; they might even go so far as to
suppress all our privileges and to dissolve our guilds. In this matter the
Duke of Burgundy hesitates and is not inclined to go with us to the full,
but we Parisians must judge for ourselves what is necessary to be done.
The duke has furnished us with a list of twelve names; these men are all
dangerous and obnoxious to the safety of Paris. But there must be a longer
list, we must strike at our own enemies as well as at those of the duke,
and the council has therefore prepared a list of sixty names, which I will
read to you."

Then, taking out a roll of paper, he read a list of lords and gentlemen,
and also, to Guy's indignation, the names of several ladies of rank.

"These people," he said when he had finished, "are all obnoxious, and must
be cast into prison. They must be tried and condemned."

Even among the greater portion of those present the boldness of a proposal
that would array so many powerful families against them created a feeling
of doubt and hesitation. The bolder spirits, however, burst into loud
applause, and in this the others speedily joined, none liking to appear
more lukewarm than the rest. Then up rose Caboche, a big, burly man with a
coarse and brutal expression of face.

"I say we want no trials," he cried, striking one hand on the palm of the
other. "As to the number, it is well enough as a beginning, but I would it
were six hundred instead of sixty. I would that at one blow we could
destroy all the nobles, who live upon the people of France. It needs but a
good example to be set in Paris for all the great towns in France to
follow it. Still, paltry as the number is, it will, as I said, do as a
beginning. But there must be no mistake; if trials they must have, it must
be by good men and true, who will know what is necessary and do it; and
who will not stand upon legal tricks, but will take as evidence the fact
that is known to all, that those people are dangerous to Paris and are the
enemies of the king and the Duke of Burgundy. Last time we went, we
marched with five thousand men; this time we must go with twenty thousand.
They must see what force we have at our command, and that Paris is more
powerful than any lord or noble even of the highest rank, and that our
alliance must be courted and our orders obeyed. The Duke of Burgundy may
pretend to frown, but at heart he will know that we are acting in his
interest as well as our own; and even if we risk his displeasure, well,
let us risk it. He needs us more than we need him. Do what he will, he
cannot do without us. He knows well enough that the Orleanists will never
either trust or forgive him, and he committed himself so far with us last
time that, say what he will, none will believe that he is not with us now.
For myself, I am glad that De Jacqueville and his knights will not this
time, as last, ride at our head; 'tis best to show them that Paris is
independent even of Burgundy, and that what we will we can do."

The hall rang with the loud acclamations, then John de Troyes got up
again.

"I agree, we all agree, with every word that our good friend has spoken,
and can warrant me that the judges shall be men in whom we can absolutely
trust, and that those who enter the prisons will not leave them alive. The
day after to-morrow, Thursday, the 11th of May, we shall hold a great
assembly, of which we shall give notice to the king and the royal dukes,
and shall make our proposals to the Duke of Aquitaine. Now, my friends,
let each come forward with a list of the number of his friends who he will
engage shall be present on Thursday."

At this point, Guy, seeing that the main business of the meeting had been
declared, and that there now remained but to settle the details, got down
from his post. With the aid of some ivy he climbed the wall and dropped
down beyond it, and made his way back to his lodging. When Simon returned
an hour later, Guy was apparently as fast asleep as before. When sleeping
at the butchers' quarter he always rose at a very early hour, so that none
who might have noticed him in his butcher's attire should see him go out
in that of an apprentice, and he was obliged to walk about for some time
before he could call at the count's. As soon as he thought that they would
be likely to be stirring he knocked at the door. The old woman opened it.

"Is your master up yet?" he asked.

She nodded, and without further question he made his way upstairs to the
Italian's chamber.

"You are early, Master Aylmer," the latter said in surprise as he entered.
"Have you news of importance?"

"I have indeed, Count," and he at once related all that he had heard
through the hole in the shutter.

"The insolence of these people surpasses all bounds," the count said
angrily as he walked up and down the room. "Were there any force in the
town that could resist them I would warn the Duke of Aquitaine what was
intended, but as it is, nothing would be gained by it. You can only
remember the eight or ten names that you have given me?"

"That is all; they were names that I was familiar with, while the others
were strange to me."

"Two or three of them I can at least save from the grasp of these
rascals," he said, "but I will take them all down on my tablets. What need
was there for you," he went on after he had done this, "to run such risk
as you did--for you would assuredly have been killed without mercy had
they caught you spying upon them--when Simon, who you say was present,
could have sent me full particulars of all that passed?"

Guy stated his reasons for fancying that upon this occasion Simon did not
intend to send a full account.

"I thought so before I started," he said, "but I was well assured of it
when I heard that, although Burgundy had given the names of twelve persons
whom he desired to be arrested, he would go no further in the matter, and
that he had no knowledge of their further pretensions. It seems to me,
Count, that, believing as he does that you are an agent of the duke's, he
was unwilling to say anything about this matter, as Burgundy might thwart
the intentions of the butchers. The man is heart and soul with them, and
though he is willing to sell you information that can do no harm to their
plans, he will say nothing that might enable Burgundy to thwart them."

"If I thought that Burgundy could, or would do so, I would inform him as
well as Aquitaine what is doing; but in the first place he has not the
power, and in the second he would not have the will. What are a few score
of lives to him, and those mostly of men of the Orleanist faction, in
comparison with the support of Paris? I am vexed, too, at this failure of
Simon, that is to say, if it be a failure. That we shall know by mid-day.
My daughter will meet him in the Place de Grève at eleven, and we shall
hear when she comes back how much he has told her. I am going after
breakfast to my booth outside the walls, where you first saw me. I must
send notes to the three gentlemen whom I know, begging them to see me
there."

"Can I take them for you? I have nothing to do, and shall be glad of
anything to occupy me."

"I shall be obliged if you will; you are sure to find them in at this
hour."

He sat down and wrote three short communications. The wording was
identical, but the times fixed for the interview were an hour apart. They
ran as follows:

"_My Lord,--Consulting the stars last night I find that danger menaces
you. It may be averted if you quit Paris when you receive this, for it
seems to me that it is here only that your safety is menaced. Should you
wish to consult me before doing so, come, I pray you, to my booth in the
fair at two, but come mounted. _"

Instead of a signature a cabalistic figure was drawn below it, and then
the words were added:

_The bearer can be trusted._

The slips of parchment were then rolled up and sealed; no addresses were
put on.

"If they question you," he said, "say nothing, save that I told you that
the matter contained in the letter was sure and certain, and that a great
risk of life would assuredly be run unless my advice was taken. Deliver
them into the hands of those they concern, and trust them to no others,
Master Aylmer. If you cannot obtain access to them, say to the varlets
that they are to inform their lords that one from the man in the Rue des
Essarts desires urgently to see them, and that should be sufficient if the
message is given. If they refuse to take it, then I pray you wait outside
for a while on the chance of the gentlemen issuing out. This, on which you
see I have made one dot, is for the Count de Rennes, who is at present at
the Hotel of St. Pol, being in the company of the Duke of Berri; this is
for Sir John Rembault, who is at the Louvre, where he is lodging with the
governor, who is a relation of his; the third is for the Lord of Roubaix,
who is also lodged at the Louvre."

"They shall have them," Guy said as he placed them in his doublet, "if I
have to stop till midnight to get speech with them; the matter of waiting
a few hours is but a trifle in comparison with the life of a man. I would
that I could warn others."

The Italian shook his head. "It could not be done without great danger,"
he said. "Were you to carry an anonymous letter to others you might be
seized and questioned. The three to whom you now carry notes have all
reason for knowing that my predictions are not to be despised, but the
others would not accept any warning from an unknown person. They might
take it for a plot, and you might be interrogated and even put to torture
to discover who you are and whence you obtained this information. Things
must go on as they are; assuredly this is no time for meddling in other
people's affairs. We are only at the beginning of troubles yet, and know
not how great they may grow. Moreover, you have no right to run a risk for
strangers when your life may be of vital service to your mistress. Should
you succeed in handing these three letters to the gentlemen to whom they
are written by noon, I shall be glad if you will bring the news to me at
my booth, and I shall then be able to tell, you how much information the
butcher has sent of the proceedings last night."

Guy went first to the Louvre. As many people were going in and out, no
question was asked him, and on reaching the entrance he inquired of some
varlets standing there for the lodgings of the Lord de Roubaix and Sir
John Rembault.

"I am in the service of the Lord de Roubaix; what would you with him?"

"I am charged with a message for him; I was told to deliver it only to
himself."

"From whom do you come? I cannot disturb him with such a message from I
know not who."

"That is reasonable," Guy replied, "but if you tell him that I come from
the man in the Rue des Essarts I warrant that he will see me. You don't
suppose that I am joking with you," he went on as the varlet looked at him
suspiciously, "when I should likely be whipped for my pains. If you will
give the message to your lord I doubt not that he will give me audience."

"Follow me," the varlet said, and led the way upstairs and through several
corridors, then he motioned to him to wait, and entered a room. He
returned in a minute.

"My lord will see you," he said, and led the way into the room. "This is
the person, my lord," he said, and then retired.

The Lord of Roubaix was a tall man of some forty years of age. Guy bowed
deeply and handed to him the roll of parchment. The count broke the seal
and read it, and when he had finished looked fixedly at Guy.

"The writer tells me that you are to be trusted?"

"I hope so, my lord."

"Do you know the contents of this letter?"

"I know so much, my lord, that the writer told me to assure you that the
matter was urgent, and that he could not be mistaken as to what was
written in the letter."

The count stood irresolute for a minute or two; then he said:

"Tell him that I will act upon his advice. He has before now proved to me
that his warnings are not to be neglected. You seem by your attire to be
an apprentice, young sir, and yet your manner is one of higher degree."

"Disguises are convenient in times like these, my lord," Guy said.

"You are right, lad." He put his hand to his pouch, but Guy drew back with
a smile.

"No, my lord, had you offered me gold before you remarked that I was but
playing a part, I should have taken it in order to keep up that part; as
it is I can refuse it without your considering it strange that I should do
so."

The count smiled. "Whoever you are, you are shrewd and bold, young sir. I
shall doubtless see you when I return to Paris."

Guy then left, and delivered the other two missives. In each case those
who received them simply returned an answer that they would be at the
place at the hour named, and he then went beyond the walls, observing as
he passed out through the gates that a party of White Hoods had stationed
themselves there. However, they interfered with no one passing in or out.
On reaching the booth he informed the count of the success of his visits.

"I doubt, however," he said, "whether either of the three gentlemen will
be here at the time appointed, for the White Hoods are watching at the

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