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At Agincourt by G. A. Henty

Part 5 out of 6

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gate."

"I think that they will not stop anyone to-day, Master Aylmer. They intend
to make a great haul to-morrow, and would not wish to excite suspicion by
seizing anyone to-day. Were it known that they had done so, many others
who have reason to believe they are obnoxious to Burgundy or to the
Parisians, might conceal themselves or make their escape in various
disguises. I hear that a request has been made that a deputation of the
citizens of Paris shall be received by the Duke of Aquitaine to-morrow
morning, and that the great lords may be present to hear the request and
complaints of the city."

CHAPTER XV

A RESCUE

Guy had found his mornings hang heavy on his hands, as of course he had
been obliged to give up attending the fencing-school. Going down to the
river now, he sat there watching the passing boats until nearly one
o'clock, and then returned to the fair. Before reaching the booth Katarina
joined him.

"I have been watching for you, Monsieur Guy. Father said it was as well
that you should not, twice in a day, be seen entering his place. He bade
me tell you that the three gentlemen have been to him and will not re-
enter Paris."

"Did you see Simon this morning?"

"Yes, he only told me that the market men would have an interview with the
Duke of Aquitaine to-morrow, and would demand the arrest of those whom the
Duke of Burgundy had pointed out as his enemies. He said that they would
go in such force that the duke would be unable to refuse their request.
Although it was so early, I think that the man had been drinking. My
father, when I told him, said I should go no more to meet him."

"I am very glad to hear it," Guy said. "He is a low scoundrel, and though
I say not but that the information obtained from him may have been of some
advantage, for indeed it was the means of my being enabled to save our
lives and those of my Burgundian friends, I like not the thought of your
going to meet him; and I am sure that if he were to take the idea into his
thick head that it was not for the advantage of the Duke of Burgundy that
the information he had given was being used, he is capable of denouncing
you."

"I did not mind meeting him,", the girl said. "I never went into the rough
quarters, but always met him in one of the better squares or streets.
Still, I am glad that I have not to go again. I think that he had been
drinking all night, and with his unwashed face and his bloodshot eyes and
his foul attire I was ashamed even in my present dress to speak with him."

"I hope that I have done with him too," Guy said. "Of course, for my
mistress's sake, I shall go again if there be aught to be learnt by it,
but as it seems he is now no longer to be trusted it is not likely that
any advantage is to be gained by visiting him. However, I shall hear what
your father thinks this evening."

Upon talking over the matter with the astrologer the latter at once said
that he thought that it would be better for him not to go to Simon's
again.

"When he finds that my daughter meets him no more he will feel aggrieved.
I myself shall go in disguise to-morrow to meet him in the Place de Grève,
and tell him that for the present there will be no occasion for him to
come to the rendezvous, as the events of the meeting which will have taken
place before I see him show that there can be no doubt that the butchers
are ready to go all lengths against the Orleanist party; but that if any
change should occur, and private information be required, you would go to
his lodging again, I shall make no allusion to his having given me none of
the names save those furnished by the duke, or remark on the strangeness
that, having been at the meeting, he should have heard nothing of the
measures proposed against the others; his own conscience will no doubt
tell him that his failure is one of the causes of my no longer desiring
any messages from him. I have other means of gaining information, as I
have one of the medical students who follow that cracked-brained fellow,
John de Troyes, in my pay. Hitherto I have not employed him largely, but
shall now, if need be, avail myself of his services. But I do not think
that I shall have any occasion to do so. After the demand by the Parisians
for so many nobles and gentlemen to be arrested, it will be clear to all
adhering to Orleans that Paris is no longer a place for them, and even the
followers of Burgundy will see that those the duke regarded as his
servants have become his masters, and there will be but few persons of
quality remaining in Paris, and therefore, save when some citizen wishes
to consult me, I shall have little to do here save to carry on my work as
a quack outside the gates. Even this I can drop for a time, for the people
of Paris will not be inclined for pleasure when at any moment there may be
fierce fighting in the streets. I shall be well content to look on for a
time. I have been almost too busy of late. And it was but yesterday that I
received news from a Carthusian monk,--whom I thought it as well to engage
to let me know what is passing,--that there have been debates among some
of the higher clergy upon reports received that persons, evidently
disguised, call upon me at late hours, and that I practise diabolic arts.
A determination has been arrived at that an inquisition shall be made into
my doings, my house is to be searched, and myself arrested and tried by
the judge for having dealings with the devil. This news much disturbed me;
however, when you told me that the Archbishop of Bourges was among those
on the list of accused, and also Boisratier, confessor to the queen, it is
evident that these good ecclesiastics will have ample matter of another
sort to attend to, and are not likely to trouble themselves about sorcery
at present."

On the following morning some twelve thousand White Hoods marched to the
Hôtel de St. Pol, and the leaders, on being admitted, found all the great
lords assembled. After making various propositions they presented a roll
to the Duke of Aquitaine containing the names of those they charged with
being traitors. He at first refused to take it; but so many of their
followers at once poured into the great hall that he was obliged to do so,
and to read out the names. Twenty of those mentioned in the list were at
once, in spite of the protest of the duke, arrested and carried off; a
proclamation was made by sound of trumpet in all the squares of Paris
summoning the other forty named to appear within a few days, under penalty
of having their property confiscated. A week later the king, having
recovered his health, went to the church of Notre Dame, he and all the
nobles with him wearing white hoods. Four days later the Parisians rose
again, seized the gates, drew up the bridges, placed strong guards at each
point, and a cordon of armed men outside the walls all round the city, to
prevent any from escaping by letting themselves down from the walls.

Parties of ten armed men were placed in every street, and the sheriffs and
other leaders marched a large body of men to the Hôtel de St. Pol and
surrounded it by a line three deep. They then entered and found the king,
dukes, and nobles all assembled in the great hall.

They then ordered a Carmelite friar, named Eustace, to preach to the king.
He took for his text, "_Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman
waketh but in vain_," and upon this discoursed on the bad state of the
government of the kingdom, and of the crimes committed. The Chancellor of
France demanded of the friar when he had concluded who were those who had
incited him thus to speak, and the leaders at once said they had done so,
and called up a number of other leaders, who on bended knees declared to
the king that Father Eustace had spoken their sentiments; that they had
the sincerest love for the king and his family, and that what they had
done had been for the welfare of himself and the kingdom. While this was
going on, the Duke of Burgundy, at once indignant and alarmed at this
insolence of the Parisians, had gone out, and, finding the lines of armed
men surrounding the hotel, had earnestly entreated them to retire, saying
that it was neither decent nor expedient that the king, who had but just
recovered from his illness, should thus see them drawn up in battle array
round his abode. Those he addressed replied like the leaders within, that
they were there for the good of the kingdom, and then gave him a roll,
saying that they should not depart until those written on it were
delivered up to them.

With the names of Louis of Bavaria, five knights, an archbishop and
priest, were those of nine ladies of high rank, including the eldest
daughter of the constable. The duke found that neither his authority nor
powers were of the slightest avail, and returning to the queen, showed her
the list. She was greatly troubled, and begged him to go with the Duke of
Aquitaine and beg the Parisians in her name to wait for eight days, and
that she would at the end of that time allow them to arrest her brother.
The two dukes went out to the Parisians, but they positively refused to
grant the request, and declared that they would go up to the queen's
apartments and take those named by force, even in her or the king's
presence, unless they were given up. On their return to the queen they
found Louis of Bavaria and the king with her. On their report of the
Parisians' demands the Duke of Bavaria went out and begged them to take
him into custody, and that if he were found guilty they could punish him,
but that if found innocent he should be allowed to go back to Bavaria,
under a promise not to return to France again. He begged them to be
content with taking him a prisoner, and to arrest no others.

They would not, however, abate one jot of their pretensions, and the whole
of those demanded were at once brought out, including the ladies. They
were put two and two on horseback, each horse escorted by four men-at-
arms, and were carried to various prisons. The Duke of Burgundy now, with
his usual craft, professed to be well satisfied with what the Parisians
had done, and handed over to them the Duke of Bar and the other prisoners
confined in the Louvre, for whose security he had solemnly pledged
himself. The Parisians then obliged the king to appoint twelve knights,
nominated by themselves, and six examiners, to try the prisoners and
punish all found guilty, while the dukes were obliged to draw up a
statement and send it to the University for their seal of approval of what
had been done.

The University, however, to their honour, stood firm; and while king and
nobles had quailed before the violence of the crowd, they declared in full
council before the king that they would in nowise intermeddle or advise in
the business; and that so far from having advised the arrests of the dukes
and other prisoners, they were much displeased at what had taken place.
The University was a power; its buildings were strong, and the students
were numerous, and at all times ready to take part in brawls against the
Parisians; and even the butchers, violent as they were, were afraid to
take steps against it.

They foresaw, however, that the position taken up by the University might
lead some day to an inquiry into their conduct, and therefore obtained
from the king an edict declaring that all that had been done was done by
his approval and for the security of his person and the state, and that
the arrests and imprisonments were therefore to be considered and regarded
as having been done for the true honour and profit of the crown, and that
he accordingly commanded all his councillors, judges, and officers to
proclaim that this was so in all public places. This was signed by the
king in council, the Dukes of Berri and Burgundy, and several other nobles
and ecclesiastics, by the Chancellor of Burgundy, and other knights
attached to the duke.

Many nobles quitted Paris at once, either openly or in disguise, including
many of the Burgundian party, who were to the last degree indignant at
what was going on; for the mock trials were at once commenced, and many of
the prisoners, without regard to sex, were daily either put to death in
prison or drowned in the Seine. Some of the bodies were exhibited on
gibbets, the heads of others were fixed on lances, and some of them were
beheaded in the market-place. During this time Paris remained in a state
of terror, bands of armed butchers parading the streets were loud in their
threats as to what would be done to all who did not join heartily with
them. None of the better class ventured from their houses, and the mob
were absolute masters of the city. The leaders, however, maintained for
the time a certain degree of order. For the time they were anxious to
appear in the light of earnest friends of the king, and as carrying out in
his name the punishment of his enemies. But many tumults, murders, and
conflagrations occurred in the city, and the country in general soon
perceived the real nature of their doings. It was known that the Orleanist
forces were marching against the city. The Count d'Eu had left Paris and
returned to his estates, where he raised two thousand men-at-arms and
marched to Verneuil, where the Dukes of Orleans, Brittany, and Bourbon
were assembled, with a number of great lords, among whom were the Counts
of Vettus and D'Alençon, the king's sons. The former had made his escape
from Paris, and brought letters from the Duke of Aquitaine declaring that
he himself, with the king and queen, were prisoners in the hands of the
Parisians.

All these nobles met in a great assembly, and letters were written to the
king, his great council, and to the Parisians, ordering them to allow the
Duke of Aquitaine to go wherever he pleased, and to set at liberty the
Dukes of Bar and Bavaria and all other prisoners. Should they refuse to
comply, they declared war against the town of Paris, which they declared
they would destroy, with all within it except the king and the princes of
royal blood. The Parisians compelled the king to send a friendly answer,
putting them off with excuses, and in the meantime to despatch
commissaries to all the towns and baronies of France assuring them that
the trials and executions of the traitors had been fairly conducted and
their guilt proved, and calling upon the country to take up arms to aid
Paris against various nobles who were traitorously advancing against it.

During this time Guy remained quietly in his lodging with the four
retainers, seldom stirring abroad. The men were now regarded by all their
neighbours as honest carpenters, and they shared the indignation of the
great body of the craft at this usurpation by the market men of the
government of France, and at the murders of knights and ladies that were
daily taking place. At present, however, the opponents of the butchers
dared not resort to arms. So great had been the fear that they excited
that most men, however much at heart opposed to them, had been constrained
to appear to side with and agree with them, and as there was no means of
knowing how could be counted upon to join the carpenters were these to
take up arms, the latter could not venture alone to enter the lists
against the armed host of the other party.

One evening Guy, who had not been near the Italian's for over a fortnight,
received a message from Dame Margaret to say that she wished to speak to
him, for that she had determined, if any way of escape could be decided
on, to quit Paris, and to endeavour to make her way to Villeroy. He was
greatly pleased at the news. He had himself ventured to urge this step on
the day after the Duke of Bar and his companions were seized, pointing out
that it was evident that the Duke of Burgundy had neither the power nor
the inclination to thwart the Parisians, and that although both parties
were now nominally hostile to the English, neither were likely, at so
critical a time, to give so much as a thought to Villeroy. Dame Margaret
had agreed to this, but considered the difficulties of getting out of
Paris and traversing the intervening country were so great that she
preferred to wait until some change took place in the situation of Paris.
But it was now too evident that the changes were entirely for the worse,
and that if discovered the butchers would undoubtedly add her and her
children to their long list of victims.

His companions were equally glad when Guy told them the news.

"The sooner the better, Master Guy," Long Tom said. "I own that I should
like to have a tussle with these rascals before I go; their doings are so
wicked that every honest man must want to get one fair blow at them.
Still, I don't see any chance of that, for although the good fellows round
here grumble under their breath, there does not seem any chance of their
doing anything. There is not an hour passes that my heart is not in my
mouth if I hear a step on the stairs, thinking that they may have found
out where my lady is hidden."

Guy had just turned into the street where the astrologer dwelt when he
heard loud voices from a little group in front of him. Four armed men,
whose white hoods showed that they were one of the butchers' patrols, were
standing round a slight figure.

"It is well you stopped him, comrade," a voice said, that Guy recognized
at once as being that of Simon Bouclier. "I know the young fellow; he has
been to me many a time on the part of a knave who professed to be an agent
of Burgundy's, making inquiries of me as to the doings in our quarter. I
have found out since that the duke employed no such agent, and this matter
must be inquired into. We will take him with us to the market; they will
soon find means of learning all about him and his employer."

Guy felt at once that if Katarina were carried to the butchers, not only
would the consequences to herself be terrible, but that she would be
forced to make such disclosures as would lead to the arrest of the count,
and to the discovery of Dame Margaret. He determined at all hazards to get
her out of these men's hands. The girl made a sudden attempt to free
herself, slipped from the grasp that one of the men had of her shoulder,
dived between two others, and would have been off had not Simon seized her
by the arm. Guy sprung forward and threw himself on the butcher, and with
such force that Simon rolled over in the gutter.

"Run, run!" he shouted at the same moment to Katarina, who darted down a
lane to the left, while he himself ran forward and turned down the first
lane to the right with the three men in hot pursuit of him. Young, active,
and unencumbered by armour, he gained on them rapidly; but when he neared
the end of the lane he saw some five or six White Hoods, whose attention
had been called by the shouts of his pursuers, running to meet him. He
turned and ran back till close to those who had been following him, and
then suddenly sprung into a doorway when they were but three or four paces
from him. They were unable to check their speed, and as they passed he
brought his sword down on the neck of the one nearest, and as he fell to
the ground Guy leapt out and ran up the street again. He had gone but ten
paces when he met Simon, who rushed at him furiously with an uplifted axe.
Springing aside as the blow descended he delivered a slashing cut on the
butcher's cheek, dashed past him, and kept on his way. He took the first
turning, and then another, leading, like that in which he had been
intercepted, towards the river. His pursuers were fifty yards behind him,
but he feared that at any moment their shouts would attract the attention
of another patrol. More than once, indeed, he had to alter his direction
as he heard sounds of shouts in front of him, but at last, after ten
minutes' running, he came down on to the main thoroughfare at the point
where the street leading to the bridge across to the island issued from
it.

[Illustration: "GUY DELIVERED A SLASHING BLOW ON THE BUTCHER'S CHEEK, AND
DASHED PAST HIM."]

His pursuers were still but a short distance away, for fresh parties who
had joined them had taken up the chase, and Guy was no longer running at
the speed at which he had started. His great fear was that he should be
stopped at the gate at the end of the bridge; but as there was no fear of
attack this had been left open, so as not to interfere with the traffic
between that quarter of the city on the island and those on the opposite
banks. Guy was now again running his hardest, in order to get across far
enough ahead of his pursuers to enable him to hide himself, when a strong
patrol of some twenty White Hoods issued from the gate at the other side
of the bridge. Without a moment's hesitation he climbed the parapet and
threw himself over. It would, he knew, be as bad for his mistress were he
captured as if Katarina had fallen into their hands, for if caught he felt
sure that tortures would be applied to discover who he was and where his
mistress was hidden, and he had made up his mind that if he was overtaken
he would fight until killed rather than be captured.

When he came to the surface of the water Guy turned on his back and
suffered himself to float down until he recovered his breath. When he did
so he raised his head and, treading the water, listened attentively. He
was now nearly a quarter of a mile below the bridge. There was no sound of
shouting behind him, but he felt sure that the pursuit was in no way
abandoned. Already torches were flashing on the quay between the wall and
the river, and in a short time others appeared on his left. On both sides
there were dark spaces where the walls of the great chateaux of the nobles
extended down to the water's side, and obliged those pursuing him along
the quays to make a detour round them to come down again to the bank. He
could hardly succeed in reaching one of these buildings without being
seen, for the light of the torches on the opposite shore would be almost
certain to betray his movements as soon as he began to swim, and even if
he did reach the shore unseen he might at once be handed over to the White
Hoods by those in the hotel. He therefore remained floating on his back,
and in twenty minutes was beyond the line of the city wall. He could now
swim without fear of being discovered, and made for the southern shore.

It was now the middle of June, and the water was fairly warm, but he was
glad to be out of it. So far as Guy had heard he had not been caught sight
of from the moment that he had sprung from the bridge. It might well be
supposed that he had been drowned. Climbing up the bank he gained, after
walking a quarter of a mile, the forest that surrounded Paris on all
sides. Going some distance into it he threw himself down, after first
taking off his doublet and hanging it on a bush to dry. He had escaped the
first pressing danger, that of being taken and tortured into confession,
and the rest was now comparatively easy. He had but to obtain another
disguise of some sort and to re-enter Paris; he would then be in no
greater danger than before, for in the sudden attack on Simon, and in the
subsequent flight through the ill-lighted streets, he was certain that
beyond the fact that he was young and active, and that he was evidently
not a noble, no one could have noted any details of his dress, and
certainly no one could have had as much as a glance at his face.

He started at daybreak, walked through the woods up to Meudon, and thence
to Versailles, which was then little more than a village. By the time that
he reached it his clothes had thoroughly dried on him, and being of a dark
colour they looked little the worse, save that his tight pantaloons had
shrunk considerably. The stalls were just opening when he arrived there,
and he presently came upon one where garments of all sorts were hanging.
The proprietor's wife, a cheery-looking woman, was standing at the door.

"I have need of some garments, madame," he said.

"You look as if you did," she said with a smile, glancing at his ankles.
"I see that you are an apprentice, and for that sort of gear you will have
to go to Paris; we deal in country garments."

"That will suit me well enough, madame. The fact is that, as you see, I am
an apprentice; but having been badly treated, and having in truth no
stomach for the frays and alarms in Paris (where the first man one meets
will strike one down, and if he slays you it matters not if he but shout
loud enough that he has killed an Orleanist), I have left my master, and
have no intention of returning as an apprentice. But I might be stopped
and questioned at every place I pass through on my way home did I travel
in this 'prentice dress, and I would, therefore, fain buy the attire of a
young peasant."

The woman glanced up and down the street.

"Come in," she said. "You know that it is against the law to give shelter
to a runaway apprentice, but there are such wild doings in Paris that for
my part I can see no harm in assisting anyone to escape, whether he be a
noble or an apprentice, and methinks from your speech that you are as like
to be the former as the latter. But," she went on, seeing that Guy was
about to speak, "tell me naught about it. My husband, who ought to be
here, is snoring upstairs, and I can sell what I will; therefore, look
round and take your choice of garments, and go into the parlour behind the
shop and don them quickly before anyone comes in. As to your own I will
pay you what they are worth, for although those pantaloons are all too
tight for those strong limbs of yours they may do for a slighter figure."

Guy was soon suited, and in a few minutes left the shop in a peasant's
dress, and made his way along the village until beyond the houses. Then he
left the road, made a long detour, and returned to Sèvres. Here he first
purchased a basket, which he took outside the place and hid in a bush.
Then he went down into the market and bargained for vegetables, making
three journeys backwards and forwards, and buying each time of different
women, until his basket was piled up. Then he got a piece of old rope for
two or three sous, slung the basket on his shoulders, crossed the ferry,
and made for Paris. He felt strange without his sword, which he had
dropped into the water on landing; for although in Paris every one now
went armed, a sword would have been out of character with his dress, in
the country, and still more so in the disguise in which he had determined
to re-enter the town. He passed without question through the gate, and
made his way to his lodgings. As he entered Long Tom leapt up with a cry
of joy.

"Thank God that you are safe, Master Guy! We have been grievously
disturbed for your safety, for the count came here early this morning in
disguise to ask if we had heard aught of you. He said that his daughter
had returned last night saying that you had rescued her from the hands of
the White Hoods, and that beyond the fact that they had followed you in
hot pursuit she had no news of you, and that the countess was greatly
alarmed as to your safety. The other three men-at-arms started at once to
find out if aught could be learned of you. I would fain have gone also,
but the count said that I must bide here in case you should come, and that
there was trouble enough at present without my running the risk of being
discovered. An hour since Robert Picard returned; he had been listening to
the talk of the White Hoods, and had learned that one of their number had
been killed and another sorely wounded by a man who had rescued a prisoner
from the hands of a patrol. He had been chased by a number of them, and
finally threw himself off the bridge into the Seine to avoid falling into
their hands. The general idea was that he was one of the nobles in
disguise, of whom they were in search, and that the capture would have
been a very important one.

"All agreed that he could never have come up alive, for there were bands
of men with torches along both banks, and no sign of him had been
perceived. However, they are searching the river down, and hope to come
upon his body either floating or cast ashore. Robert went out again to try
and gather more news, leaving me well-nigh distraught here."

"The story is true as far as it goes, Tom. I did catch one of them a back-
handed blow just under his helmet as he ran past me, and I doubt not that
it finished him; as to the other, I laid his cheek open. It was a hot
pursuit, but I should have got away had it not been that a strong patrol
came out through the gate at the other end of the bridge just as I was in
the middle, and there was no course but to jump for it. I thrust my sword
into the sheath, and went over. It added somewhat to my weight in the
water, and it sunk my body below the surface, but with the aid of my hands
paddling I floated so that only my nose and mouth were above the water; so
that it is little wonder that they could not make me out. I landed on the
other bank a quarter of a mile beyond the walls, slept in the forest,
started this morning from Versailles, where I got rid of my other clothes
and bought these. I purchased this basket and the vegetables at Sèvres,
then walked boldly in. No one could have seen my face in the darkness, and
therefore I am safe from detection, perhaps safer than I was before."

"Well done, Master Guy; they would have killed you assuredly if they had
caught you."

"It was not that that I was afraid of--it was of being taken prisoner. You
see, if they had captured me and carried me before the butchers in order
to inquire who I was before cutting my throat, they might have put me to
the torture and forced me to say who I was, and where my mistress was in
hiding. I hope if they had, that I should have stood out; but none can say
what he will do when he has red-hot pincers taking bits out of his flesh,
and his nails, perhaps, being torn out at the roots. So even if I could
not have swam a stroke I should have jumped off the bridge."

"You did well, Master Guy," the archer said admiringly; "for indeed they
say that the strongest man cannot hold out against these devilish
tortures."

At this moment a step was heard on the stairs, and Jules Varoy entered.

"The saints be praised!" he exclaimed as he recognized Guy. "I thought
that you were drowned like a rat, Master Guy; and though Tom here told us
that you could swim well, I never thought to see you again."

Guy told him in a few words how he had escaped, and begged him to carry
the news to his mistress. He was about to give him the address--for up
till now he had refrained from doing so, telling them that it was from no
doubt of their fidelity, but that if by any chance one of them fell into
the hands of the White Hoods they might endeavour to wring from them the
secret, and it was therefore best that they should not be burdened with
it--but the man stopped him.

"The count told us that he would be at his booth at the fair at eleven
o'clock, and that if any of us obtained any news we were to take it to him
there. He said that there were several parties of White Hoods in the
streets, and that as he went past he heard them say that the boy of whom
they were in search was a messenger of some person of importance at court,
and that doubtless the man who had rescued him was also in the plot, and
that a strict watch was to be kept on the quarter both for the boy and for
the man, who was said to be tall and young. Simon, who had been wounded by
him, had declared that he knew him to be connected with the boy; that he
was a young man with dark hair, and was in the habit of using disguises,
sometimes wearing the dress of an apprentice, and at other times that of a
butcher's assistant. He said that he was about twenty-three."

Guy smiled. He understood that the butcher, who was a very powerful man,
did not like to own that the man who had killed one of his comrades and
had severely wounded himself was but a lad.

"As you go, Jules," he said, "will you see Maître Leroux and ask him if he
can come hither, for I would consult him on the matter."

CHAPTER XVI

THE ESCAPE

Maître Leroux came in shortly after Jules Varoy had left. He had not,
until the man told him, heard of the events of the night before, and Guy
had to tell him all about it before anything else was said.

"It was a lucky escape, Master Aylmer, if one can call luck what is due to
thought and quickness. Is there anything I can do for you?"

"This black hue that I gave my hair has been of good service to me
hitherto, but as it is a youth with black hair that they are now looking
for, I would fain change its hue again."

"What dye did you use?"

"It was bought for me at a perfumer's in the Rue Cabot. As you see, it is
fading now, and the ducking last night has greatly assisted to wash it
out. The shopman said that it was used by court ladies and would last for
a long time, but I have already had to renew it four or five times. I
would now colour my hair a red or a reddish-brown; if I cannot do that I
must crop it quite short. It matters nothing in this disguise whether it
is altogether out of the fashion or not. What think you?"

"Doubtless you could get dyes of any shade at the perfumer's you speak of,
for he supplies most of the court ladies with dyes and perfumes; and I
should say that reddish-brown dye would suit you well, since that differs
a good deal from your hair's original colour and still more from what it
is at present. I will ask one of Lepelletiere's daughters to fetch it for
you. It would be better than cutting it short, though that might not go
badly with your present disguise, but should you need to adopt any other
it would look strange, since in our days there is scarce anyone but wears
his hair down to his shoulders. In the meantime I would have you wash your
hair several times with a ley of potash, but not too strong, or it will
damage it. I warrant me that will take out the dye altogether; but be sure
that you wash it well in pure water afterwards, so as to get rid of the
potash, for that might greatly affect the new dye. I will send a boy up
with some potash to you at once, so that you may be ready to apply the dye
as soon as you get it."

Late in the afternoon Guy sallied out in the disguise in which he had
arrived. His hair was a tawny brown. He had left his basket behind him,
and carried a heavy cudgel in his hand. He sauntered quietly along,
stopping often to stare at the goods on the stalls, and at nobles who rode
past followed generally by two or three esquires. No one would doubt that
he was a young countryman freshly arrived in Paris.

He had sent a message to the count by Jules Varoy that he would pass along
the street in the disguise of a young peasant as the clock struck seven,
and that if he saw no White Hoods about he would look up at the casement,
return a minute or two afterwards, and then try if the door was
unfastened. If so he would come in, while if it were fastened he should
consider that it was judged unsafe for him to enter. He caught sight of
Katarina's face at the window as he glanced up. There was a patrol of the
White Hoods in sight, but it was far down the street, and after going a
few yards past the house he crossed the road, and as he returned he pushed
at the door. It yielded at once, and with a glance round to see that no
one was watching he entered quickly and closed it behind him.

"The Madonna be thanked that you are safe!" Katarina, now in her girl's
dress, exclaimed as she seized his hand. "Oh, Monsieur Guy, how I have
suffered! It was not until two o'clock that my father returned and told us
that you were safe; I should never have forgiven myself if harm had come
to you from your noble effort to save me. I heard their shouts as they ran
in pursuit of you, and scarce thought it possible that you could escape
when there was so many of their patrols about in the street. I cried all
night at the thought that you should have thrown away your life to try to
save mine, for I knew well enough what would have happened had that evil
butcher dragged me to his quarter. After my father had been out early and
brought back the news that you had leapt into the Seine we had some little
hope, for Dame Margaret declared that she knew that you could swim well.
We had no one we could send out, for the old woman is too stupid, and my
father now strictly forbids me to stir outside the door. So here we all
sat worn with anxiety until my father returned from the booth with the
news. He could not come back earlier, and he had no one to send, for the
black man must keep outside amusing the people as long as my father is
there."

All this was poured out so rapidly that it was said by the time they
reached the door upstairs. Dame Margaret silently held out her hands to
Guy as he entered, and Agnes kissed him with sisterly affection, while
Charlie danced round and round him with boisterous delight.

"I hardly knew how much you were to me and how much I depended upon you,
Guy," Dame Margaret said presently, "until I feared that I had lost you.
When, as I thought must be the case from what Katarina said, I believed
you were killed or a prisoner in the hands of those terrible people, it
seemed to me that we were quite left alone, although there still remained
the four men. Neither Agnes nor I closed our eyes all night Charlie soon
cried himself to sleep, Katarina sat up with us till nigh morning, and we
had hard work to console her in any way, so deep was her grief at the
thought that it was owing to her that you had run this peril. All night we
could hear the count walking up and down in the room above. He had pointed
out the peril that might arise to us ail if you had fallen into the hands
of the butchers, but at the time we could not dwell on that, though there
were doubtless grounds for his fears."

"Great grounds, madame. That is what I most feared when I was flying from
them, and I was resolved that I would not be taken alive, for had I not
gained the bridge I was determined to force them to kill me rather than be
captured. It was fortunate, indeed, that I came along when I did,
Katarina, for had I not heard what Simon said I should have passed on
without giving a thought to the matter. There are too many evil deeds done
in Paris to risk one's life to rescue a prisoner from the hands of a
patrol of the White Hoods."

"As for me, I did not realize it until it was all over," Katarina said. "I
felt too frightened even to think clearly. It was not until the shouts of
your pursuers had died away that I could realize what you had saved me
from, and the thought made me so faint and weak that I was forced to sit
down on a door-step for a time before I could make my way home. As to my
father, he turned as pale as death when I came in and told him what had
happened."

Shortly afterwards the count, who had been engaged with a person of
consequence, came down. He thanked Guy in the warmest terms for the
service he had rendered his daughter.

"Never was a woman in greater peril," he said, "and assuredly St. Anthony,
my patron saint, must have sent you to her rescue. She is all that I have
left now, and it is chiefly for her sake that I have continued to amass
money, though I say not that my own fancy for meddling in such intrigues
may not take some part in the matter. After this I am resolved of one
thing, namely, that she shall take no further part in the business. For
the last year I had often told myself that the time had come when I must
find another to act as my messenger and agent. It was difficult, however,
to find one I could absolutely trust, and I have put the matter off. I
shall do so no longer; and indeed there is now the less occasion for it,
since, as I have just learned, fresh negotiations have been opened for
peace. That it will be a lasting one I have no hope, but the Orleanists
are advancing in such force that Burgundy may well feel that the issue of
a battle at present may go against him. But even though it last but a
short time, there will come so many of the Orleanist nobles here with
doubtless strong retinues that Paris will be overawed, and we shall have
an end of these riots here. I shall, therefore, have no need to trouble as
to what is going on at the markets. As to other matters I can keep myself
well informed. I have done services to knights and nobles of one party as
well as the other, and shall be able to learn what is being done in both
camps. The important point at present is, Lady Margaret, that there is
like to be a truce, at any rate for a time. As soon as this is made and
the Duke of Aquitaine has gained power to act you may be sure that the
leaders of the White Hoods will be punished, and there will be no more
closing of gates and examination of those who pass in and out. Therefore,
madame, you will then be able to do what is now well-nigh impossible,
namely, quit the town. At present the orders are more stringent than ever,
none are allowed to leave save with orders signed by John de Troyes, who
calls himself keeper of the palace, Caboche, or other leaders and even
peasants who come in with market goods must henceforth produce papers
signed by the syndics of their villages saying they are the inhabitants of
his commune, and therefore quiet and peaceable men going about their
business of supplying the city with meat or vegetables, as the case may
be. These papers must also be shown on going out again. Until a change
takes place, then, there is no hope of your making your way out through
the gates with your children; but as soon as the truce is concluded and
the Orleanists come in you will be able to pass out without trouble."

It was not, indeed, for another month that the truce was settled, although
the terms were virtually agreed upon at Pontois, where the Dukes of Berri
and Burgundy met the Dukes of Orleans and Bourbon and the other Orleanist
nobles, and the conditions were considered at a council to which the
delegates of the University and the municipality of Paris were admitted.
The conduct of the insurgents of Paris was now repudiated by the Duke of
Burgundy, and the severest, censure passed upon them, in the conditions of
the treaty. The greatest alarm was excited in the market quarter, and this
was increased when, immediately afterwards, the Dukes of Bar and Bavaria
were liberated. On the 12th of August and on the 4th of September the rest
of the prisoners still left alive were also set free. The bells of the
churches rang a joyful peal. De Jacqueville, John de Troyes, Caboche, and
many of the leaders of the butchers at once fled from Paris.

Most of the knights who had been agents for the insurgents in the mock
trials also left Paris, and shortly afterwards the duke himself, finding
how strongly the tide had set against him, and fearing that he himself
might shortly be seized and thrown into prison, went out from Paris under
the pretence of hunting, and fled. During this time Guy had remained with
the four men-at-arms. As soon as the power of the butchers diminished and
the guards were removed from the gates, and all who pleased could enter or
leave, Dame Margaret prepared for flight. Along with the Burgundian
knights and nobles who returned after the truce was proclaimed came Count
Charles d'Estournel, and several of those who had fled with him. Guy met
the former riding through the street on the day after his return to Paris.
Not caring to accost him there, he followed him and saw him dismount at
his former lodging. As soon as he had entered Guy went up to the door.

"What do you want?" one of the count's valets said.

"I want to see your master, fellow," Guy said sharply, "and I will pull
your ears for your insolence if you accost me in that style."

The valet stared at him open-mouthed, then thinking that this peasant
might be deputed by the terrible butchers to see his lord, he inquired in
a changed tone what message he should give to the count.

"Say to him that the man of the street fray wants to see him."

A minute later the young count himself ran downstairs and warmly embraced
Guy, to the astonishment of the valet.

"My dear friend," he exclaimed, "I am indeed delighted to see you! Twice
have you saved my life, for assuredly had we not got through the Port St.
Denis that day not one of us would ever have left Paris alive, and we are
all under the deepest obligation to you. But even after our skirmish at
the gate we scarcely realized the danger that we had escaped, for we
believed that even had the Parisians been insolent enough to demand our
arrest for stopping them when engaged in attacking the houses of peaceable
citizens, the duke would treat their demand with the scorn that it
deserved. However, when next day we heard that some of the officers of his
household had headed them when they forced their way into the Duke of
Aquitaine's hotel, and carried off the Duke of Bar and others from before
his eyes, and that the duke in all things assisted them, we knew that he
would not have hesitated to deliver us up to the villains.

"We held a council as to what we should do. We could not affirm that he
had failed, as our lord, in giving us protection, for he had not done so,
seeing that we had taken the matter in our own hands. Had he actually
consented to hand us over to the Parisians, we should have issued a
declaration laying the matter before all the great vassals of Burgundy and
denouncing him as a false lord. There are many who would have been very
glad to have taken up the matter, for his truckling to these knaves has
greatly displeased all save the men who are mere creatures of his.
However, as we had no proof that he was willing to surrender us to the
fury of the mob of Paris, we could do nothing, and the crafty fox called
upon my father the next day and expressed his satisfaction that we had all
ridden away, though at the same time saying that there was no reason
whatever for our having done so, as he should of course have refused to
give any satisfaction to the mob of Paris, and he caused several letters
to the same effect to be sent to my friends who escaped with me.

"My father was very short with him, and told him that as it seemed the
Parisians were the masters of the city, and that he had no power to
restrain them, however monstrous their doings, he thought that we had all
acted very wisely in going. He himself left Paris the next day, and
several other nobles, relations or friends to some of us, took the
earliest opportunity also of leaving for their estates. Now that the power
of the butchers has been broken and that their leaders have fled, I came
back again, chiefly to find out what had become of you, and whether you
and your charges have passed through these evil times unharmed."

"We have all been in hiding, and save for an adventure or two have passed
the time quietly. Now that the gates are open we are going to make our
escape, for you see everything points to the probability that the
Orleanists will very shortly be supreme here, and after the defeat Sir
Eustace gave Sir Clugnet de Brabant they might be glad still to retain our
lady as hostage, though methinks they would treat her more honourably than
the Duke of Burgundy has done."

"Possibly they might, but I would not count upon it, for indeed wherever
they have taken a town they have treated those who fell into their hands
most barbarously. 'Tis true that they have some excuse for it in the
treatment of so many knights and ladies here. Indeed it seems to me that
France has been seized with madness, and that Heaven's vengeance will fall
upon her for the evil things that are being done. And now, can we aid you
in any way? The duke was extremely civil when I saw him on my arrival here
yesterday. He said that I and my friends were wrong in not having trusted
in him to protect us from the demands of the butchers. I told him frankly
that as he had in other matters been so overborne by them, and had been
unable to save noble knights and ladies from being murdered by them under
the pretence of a trial that all men knew was a mockery, it was just as
well that we had taken the matter into our own hands without adding it to
his other burdens; and that I and my friends felt that we had no reason to
regret the step we had taken, and we knew that our feelings were shared by
many other nobles and knights in Burgundy.

"He looked darkly at me, but at the present pass he did not care to say
anything that would give offence, not only to me, but to my friends, who
with their connections are too powerful to be alienated at a time when he
may need every lance. I could not, however, well ask from him a free
conduct for your people without naming them, but I might get such a pass
from his chancellor, and if your former host, Maître Leroux, be still
alive, he might doubtless get you one from the municipality. As an
additional protection I myself shall certainly ride with you. It is for
that that I have returned to Paris. I shall simply say to the chancellor
that I am riding to Arras on my own business, and that though in most
places I should be known to Burgundians, yet that it would be as well that
I should have a pass lest I be met by any rude body of citizens or others
who might not know me, and I shall request him to make it out for me
personally and for all persons travelling in my train. So that, as far as
Flanders at any rate, there should be no difficulty. I only propose that
you should also get a document from the city in case of anything befalling
us on the way.

"I see not indeed what can befall us; but it is always well in such times
as these, when such strange things occur, to provide for all emergencies.
I may tell you that Louis de Lactre and Reginald Poupart have arrived with
me in Paris bent on the same errand, and anxious like myself to testify
their gratitude to you; so that we shall be a strong body, and could if
necessary ride through France without any pass at all, since one or other
of us is sure to find a friend in every town which we may traverse."

"Truly, I am thankful indeed to you and to your friends, Count. I own that
it has been a sore trouble to me as to how we should be able, however we
might disguise ourselves, to travel through the country in these disturbed
times, without papers of any kind, when bodies of armed men are moving to
and fro in all directions, and travellers, whoever they may be, are
questioned at every place on the road where they stop."

"Do not speak of thanks, Guy; I twice owe you my life, and assuredly 'tis
little enough to furnish you in return with an escort to Artois. Now, tell
me all that you have been doing since we left."

Guy gave a short account of all that had happened.

"It has been fortunate for us both," the Count Charles said when he had
finished, "that this astrologer should have made your acquaintance; it was
his warning that enabled you to save us as well as your lady. I have heard
several times of him as one who had wondrous powers of reading the stars,
but now I see that it is not only the stars that assist him."

"I can assure you that he himself believes thoroughly in the stars, Count;
he says that by them he can read the danger that is threatening any person
whose horoscope he has cast. I had not heard much of such things in
England, but I cannot doubt that he has great skill in them. To my
knowledge he has saved several lives thereby."

"He certainly saved ours, Guy, and should he like to join your party and
ride with us he will be heartily welcomed."

"I will return at once," Guy said, "and give my lady the good news. I will
not ask you to go with me now, for if the count--for he is really a
nobleman though an exile--decides to stay here he would not care to
attract the attention of his neighbours by the coming of a noble to his
house in daylight. Though I cannot without his permission take you there,
I will return here this evening at eight o'clock, if you will be at home
at that hour."

"I will be here, and De Lactre and Poupart will be here to meet you. I
will go now direct to the chancellor and obtain the pass both in their
names and mine, then we shall be ready to start whenever your lady is
prepared. We have all brought some spare horses, so that you will have no
trouble on that score. Your men-at-arms will, of course, ride with ours.
We have brought eight horses, knowing the number of your company; if your
Italian and his daughter go with us Lady Agnes and Charles can ride behind
some of us."

Dame Margaret, Agnes, and Charlie were delighted indeed when they heard
from Guy of his meeting with the young Count d'Estournel, and of the
latter's offer to escort them to Artois.

"The saints be praised!" his lady said. "I have spoken little about it,
Guy, but I have dreaded this journey far more than any of the dangers
here. In times so disturbed I have perceived that we should run
innumerable risks, and eager as I am to return to my lord I have doubted
whether, with Agnes with me, I should be right in adventuring on such a
journey. Now there can be no risk in it, saving only that of falling in
with any of the bands of robbers who, as they say, infest the country, and
even these would scarce venture to attack so strong a party. We shall be
ready to start to-morrow, if Count d'Estournel is prepared to go so soon.
We will be veiled as we ride out. It is most unlikely that anyone will
recognize us, but 'tis as well for his sake that there should be no risk
whatever of this being known. The count is out and will not return until
six, therefore it will be best that you should go at once and warn the
others that we start to-morrow."

The pleasure of Long Tom and his companions at the news was scarcely less
than had been that of Dame Margaret, and they started at once to recover
their steel caps and armour from the place where they had been hidden,
saying that it would take them all night to clean them up and make them
fit fox service. Then Guy went in to Maître Lepelletiere and saw the
silversmith, who was also sincerely glad at the news he gave him.

"I was but yesterday arranging for a house where I could open my shop
again until my own was rebuilt," he said, "for there is an end now of all
fear of disturbances, at any rate for the present, and I was heartily
greeted by many old friends, who thought that I was dead. I will go down
with Lepelletiere this afternoon to the offices of the municipality and
ask for a pass for madame--what shall I call her?"

"Call her Picard: it matters not what surname she takes."

"Madame Picard, her daughter and son, and her cousin Jean Bouvray of
Paris, to journey to St. Omer. It does not seem to me that the pass is
likely to be of any use to you; at the same time it is as well to be
fortified with it. Now that the tyranny of the market-men is over they
will be glad to give us the pass without question."

On the Italian's return that afternoon Dame Margaret herself told him of
the offer the Count d'Estournel had made. He sat silent for a minute or
two and then said: "I will talk it over with Katarina; but at present it
does not seem to me that I can accept it. I am a restless spirit, and
there is a fascination in this work; but I will see you presently."

An hour later he came down with Katarina.

"We have agreed to stay, Lady Margaret," he said gravely, "I cannot bring
myself to go. It is true that I might continue my work in London, but as a
stranger it would be long before I found clients, while here my reputation
is established. Two of the knights I enabled to escape have already
returned. One called upon me last night and was full of gratitude,
declaring, and rightly, that he should have been, like so many of his
friends, murdered in prison had I not warned him. I have eight requests
already for interviews from friends of these knights, and as, for a time
at any rate, their faction is likely to be triumphant here, I shall have
my hands full of business. This is a pleasant life. I love the exercise of
my art, to watch how the predictions of the stars come true, to fit things
together, and to take my share, though an unseen one, in the politics and
events of the day. I have even received an intimation that the queen
herself is anxious to consult the stars, and it may be that I shall become
a great power here. I would fain that my daughter should go under your
protection, though I own that I should miss her sorely. However, she
refuses to leave me, and against my better judgment my heart has pleaded
for her, and I have decided that she shall remain. She will, however, take
no further part in my business, but will be solely my companion and
solace. I trust that with such protection as I shall now receive there is
no chance of even the Church meddling with me, but should I see danger
approaching I will send or bring her to you at once."

"I shall be glad to see her whenever she comes, and shall receive her as a
daughter. We owe our lives to your shelter and kindness, and we already
love her."

"The shelter and the kindness have already been far more than repaid by
the inestimable service your esquire rendered us," the Italian said. "I
have since blamed myself bitterly that I neglected to consult the stars
concerning her. I have since done so, and found that a most terrible
danger threatened her on that day; and had I known it, I would have kept
her indoors and would on no account have permitted her to go out. However,
I shall not be so careless of her safety in future. I see that, at any
rate for some time, her future is unclouded. She herself will bitterly
regret your absence, and has already been weeping sorely at the thought of
your leaving. Save myself she has never had a friend, poor child, and you
and your daughter have become very dear to her."

Dame Margaret had no preparations to make, for in their flight from the
silversmith's each had carried a bundle of clothes. Guy brought Count
d'Estournel round in the evening, and the arrangements were then
completed. It was thought better that they should not mount at the house,
as this would be certain to attract considerable observation and remark,
but that Count Charles should come round at seven in the morning and
escort them to his lodging. There the horses would be in readiness, and
they would mount and ride off. Guy then went round to the Rue des Fosses
and warned the men of the hour at which they were to assemble at the
count's. He found them all hard at work burnishing up their armour.

"We shall make but a poor show, Master Guy, do what we will," Tom said;
"and I doubt whether this gear will ever recover its brightness, so deeply
has the rust eaten into it. Still, we can pass muster on a journey; and
the swords have suffered but little, having been safe in their scabbards.
I never thought that I should be so pleased to put on a steel cap again,
and I only wish I had my bow slung across my shoulder."

"It will be something for you to look forward to, Tom, and I doubt not
that you will find among the spare ones at Villeroy one as good as your
own, and that with practice you will soon be able to shoot as truly with
it."

Tom shook his head doubtfully. "I hope so, but I doubt whether I shall be
suited again till I get home, and Master John the bowyer makes one
specially suitable for me, and six inches longer than ordinary. Still, I
doubt not that, if it be needed, I shall be able to make shift with one of
those at Villeroy."

The evening before the departure of Dame Margaret and her children, Maître
Leroux and his wife, with a man bearing a large parcel, had called upon
Dame Margaret at the house of the astrologer, whose address Guy had given,
the provost that day.

"We could not let you leave, Lady Margaret," his wife said, "without
coming to wish you God speed. Our troubles, like yours, are over for the
present, and I trust that the butchers will never become masters of Paris
again, whatever may happen."

"Maître Lepelletiere," said the silversmith, "is going to organize the
whole of his craft, the workmen and apprentices, into an armed body, and
the master of the smiths will do the same. I shall endeavour to prevail
upon all the traders of my own guild and others to raise such a body among
their servitors; and while we have no wish whatever to interfere in the
political affairs of state, we shall at least see that the market people
of Paris shall not become our masters again. Master Aylmer, I have brought
hither for you a slight token of my regard and gratitude for the manner in
which you saved not only our property but our lives. Within this package
are two suits of armour and arms. One is a serviceable one suitable to
your present condition of an esquire; the other is a knightly suit, which
I hope you will wear in remembrance of us as soon as you obtain that
honour, which I cannot but feel assured will not be far distant. Had you
been obliged to leave Paris in disguise I should have made an endeavour to
send them to you in England by way of Flanders; but as you will issue out
in good company, and without examination or question asked, you can wear
the one suit and have the other carried for you."

Guy thanked the silversmith most heartily, for, having lost his armour at
the burning of the house, he had felt some uneasiness at the thought of
the figure that he would cut riding in the train of the three Burgundian
knights. But at the same time his own purse had been exhausted in the
purchase of the disguises for himself and the men-at-arms, and that of his
mistress greatly reduced by the expenses of the keep of the men, and he
had determined not to draw upon her resources for the purchase of armour.
His thanks were repeated when, on the package being opened, the beauty of
the knightly armour was seen. It was indeed a suit of which any knight
might be proud. It was less ornate in its inlaying and chasing than some
of the suits worn by nobles, but it was of the finest steel and best make,
with every part and accessory complete, and of the highest workmanship and
finish.

"It is a princely gift, sir," Guy said as he examined it, "and altogether
beyond my poor deserts."

"That is not what I think, Master Aylmer. You have shown all through this
business a coolness and courage altogether beyond your years, and which
would have done honour to an experienced knight. My store of silver-ware
that was saved by your exertions, to say nothing of our lives, was worth
very many times the value of this armour, and I am sure that your lady
will agree with me that this gift of ours has been well and honourably
earned."

"I do indeed, Maître Leroux," Dame Margaret said warmly; "and assure you
that I am as pleased as Guy himself at the noble gift you have made him. I
myself have said but little to him as to the service that he has rendered
here, leaving that until we reach our castle in safety, when Sir Eustace,
on hearing from me the story of our doings, will better speak in both our
names than I can do."

In the morning Dame Margaret and her children set out for the lodging of
D'Estournel, escorted by the count and Guy, followed by a porter carrying
the latter's second suit of armour and the valises of Dame Margaret. Guy
himself had charge of a casket which the Count de Montepone had that
morning handed to Dame Margaret.

"These are gems of value," he said, "In the course of my business I more
often receive gifts of jewels than of money. The latter, as I receive it,
I hand to a firm here having dealings with a banker of Bruges, who holds
it at my disposal. The gems I have hitherto kept; but as it is possible
that we may, when we leave Paris, have to travel in disguise, I would fain
that they were safely bestowed. I pray you, therefore, to take them with
you to your castle in England, and to hold them for us until we come."

Dame Margaret willingly took charge of the casket, which was of steel,
strongly bound, and some nine inches square.

"Its weight is not so great as you would think by its appearance," the
Italian said, "for it is of the finest steel, and the gems have been taken
from their settings. It will, therefore, I hope, be no great inconvenience
to you."

At parting, Katarina, who was greatly affected, had given Guy a small box.

"Do not open it until you reach Villeroy," she said; "it is a little
remembrance of the girl you saved from deadly peril, and who will never
forget what she owes to you."

On reaching the count's lodgings they found the other two knights in
readiness. Dame Margaret's four men-at-arms were holding the horses.

"I am glad to see you all again," she said as she came up. "This is a far
better ending than our fortunes seemed likely to have at one time, and I
thank you all for your faithful service."

"I am only sorry, my lady, that we have had no opportunity of doing aught
since we were cooped up," Tom replied; "nothing would have pleased us
better than to have had the chance again of striking a stout blow in your
defence."

"We may as well mount at once, if it is your pleasure, Dame Margaret,"
Count d'Estournel said, "for the other men-at-arms are waiting for us
outside the gates."

The packages were at once fastened on the two pack-horses that were to
accompany them; all then mounted. The three knights with Dame Margaret
rode first, then Guy rode with Agnes by his side, and the four men-at-arms
came next, Charlie riding before Jules Varoy, who was the lightest of the
men-at-arms, while two of the count's servants brought up the rear,
leading the sumpter horses.

CHAPTER XVII

A LONG PAUSE

A quarter of a mile beyond the gate the party was joined by eighteen men-
at-arms, all fully armed and ready for any encounter; eight of them fell
in behind Dame Margaret's retainers, the other ten took post in rear of
the sumpter horses. With such a train as this there was little fear of any
trouble with bands of marauders, and as the road lay through a country
devoted to Burgundy there was small chance of their encountering an
Orleanist force. They travelled by almost the same route by which Dame
Margaret had been escorted to Paris. At all the towns through which they
passed the Burgundian knights and their following were well entertained,
none doubting that they were riding on the business of their duke. One or
other of the knights generally rode beside Guy, and except that the heat
in the middle of the day was somewhat excessive, the journey was
altogether a very pleasant one. From Arras they rode direct to Villeroy.
As soon as their coming was observed from the keep the draw-bridge was
raised, and as they approached Sir Eustace himself appeared on the wall
above it to hear any message the new-comers might have brought him. As
they came near, the knights reined back their horses, and Dame Margaret
and Agnes rode forward, followed by Guy having Charlie in front of him. As
he recognized them Sir Eustace gave a shout of joy, and a moment later the
drawbridge began to descend, and as it touched the opposite side Sir
Eustace ran across to the outwork, threw open the gate, and fondly
embraced his wife and children, who had already dismounted.

"Ah, my love!" he exclaimed, "you cannot tell how I have suffered, and how
I have blamed myself for permitting you and the children to leave me. I
received your first letter, saying that you were comfortably lodged at
Paris, but since then no word has reached me. I of course heard of the
dreadful doings there, of the ascendency of the butchers, of the massacres
in the streets, and the murders of the knights and ladies. A score of
times I have resolved to go myself in search of you, but I knew not how to
set about it when there, and I should assuredly have been seized by
Burgundy and thrown into prison with others hostile to his plans. But who
are these with you?"

"They are three Burgundian knights, who from love and courtesy, and in
requital of a service done them by your brave esquire here, have safely
brought us out of Paris and escorted us on our way. They are Count Charles
d'Estournel, Sir John Poupart, and Sir Louis de Lactre."

Holding his hand she advanced to meet them and introduced them to him.

"Gentlemen," Sir Eustace said, "no words of mine can express the gratitude
that I feel to you for the service that you have rendered to my wife and
children. Henceforth you may command me to the extent of my life."

"The service was requited before it was rendered, Sir Eustace," Count
Charles said; "it has been service for service. In the first place your
esquire, with that tall archer of yours, saved my life when attacked by a
band of cutthroats in Paris. This to some small extent I repaid when, with
my two good friends here and some others, we charged a mob that was
besieging the house in which your dame lodged. Then Master Aylmer laid a
fresh obligation on us by warning us that the butchers demanded our lives
for interfering in that business, whereby we were enabled to cut our way
out by the Port St. Denis and so save our skins. We could not rest thus,
matters being so uneven, and therefore as soon as the king's party arrived
in a sufficient force to put down the tyranny of the butchers, we returned
to Paris, with the intention we have carried out--of finding Dame Margaret
in her hiding-place, if happily she should have escaped all these perils,
and of conducting her to you. And now, having delivered her into your
hands, we will take our leave."

"I pray you not to do so, Count," the knight said; "it would mar the
pleasure of this day to me, were you, who are its authors, thus to leave
me. I pray you, therefore, to enter and accept my hospitality, if only for
a day or two."

The knights had previously agreed among themselves that they would return
that night to Arras; but they could not resist the earnestness of the
invitation, and the whole party crossed the drawbridge and entered the
castle, amid the tumultuous greeting of the retainers.

"You have been away but a few months," Sir Eustace said to his wife, as
they were crossing the bridge, "though it seems an age to me. You are but
little changed by what you have passed through, but Agnes seems to have
grown more womanly. Charlie has grown somewhat also, but is scarcely
looking so strong!"

"It has been from want of air and exercise; but he has picked up a great
deal while we have been on the road, and I, too, feel a different woman.
Agnes has shared my anxiety, and has been a great companion for me."

"You have brought all the men back, as well as Guy?"

"You should rather say that Guy has brought us all back, Eustace, for 'tis
assuredly wholly due to him that we have escaped the dangers that
threatened us."

The knights and men-at-arms dismounted in the courtyard, and Sir Eustace
and Dame Margaret devoted themselves at once to making them welcome with
all honour. The maids hurried to prepare the guest-chambers, the servitors
to get ready a banquet. Guy and his men-at-arms saw to the comfort of the
knights' retainers and their horses, and the castle rang with sounds of
merriment and laughter to which it had been a stranger for months. After
the cup of welcome had been handed round Sir Eustace showed the knights
over the castle.

"We heard the details of the siege, Sir Eustace, from your esquire, and it
is of interest to us to inspect the defences that Sir Clugnet de Brabant
failed to capture, for, foe though he is to Burgundy, it must be owned
that he is a very valiant knight, and has captured many towns and strong
places. Yes, it is assuredly a strong castle, and with a sufficient
garrison might well have defeated all attempts to storm it by foes who did
not possess means of battering the walls, but the force you had was quite
insufficient when the enemy were strong enough to attack at many points at
the same time, and I am surprised that you should have made good your
defence against so large a force as that which assailed you.

"But it was doubtless in no slight degree due to your English archers. We
saw in Paris what even one of these men could do."

"I am all anxiety to know what took place there," Sir Eustace said, "and I
shall pray you after supper to give me an account of what occurred."

"We will tell you as far as we know of the matter, Sir Eustace; but in
truth we took but little share in it, there was just one charge on our
part and the mob were in flight. Any I can tell you that we did it with
thorough good-will, for in truth we were all heartily sick of the
arrogance of these butchers, who lorded over all Paris; even our Lord of
Burgundy was constrained to put up with their insolence, since their aid
was essential to him. But to us, who take no very great heed of politics
and leave these matters to the great lords, the thing was well-nigh
intolerable; and I can tell you that it was with hearty good-will we
seized the opportunity of giving the knaves a lesson."

As soon as the visitors had arrived, mounted men had ridden off to the
tenants, and speedily returned with a store of ducks and geese, poultry,
wild-fowl, brawn, and fish; the banquet therefore was both abundant and
varied. While the guests supped at the upper table, the men-at-arms were
no less amply provided for at the lower end of the hall, where all the
retainers at the castle feasted royally in honour of the return of their
lady and her children. The bowmen were delighted at the return of Long
Tom, whom few had expected ever to see again, while the return of Robert
Picard and his companions was no less heartily welcomed by their comrades.
After the meal was concluded Dame Margaret went round the tables with her
husband, saying a few words here and there to the men, who received her
with loud shouts as she passed along.

Then the party from the upper table retired to the private apartment of
Sir Eustace, leaving the men to sing and carouse unchecked by their
presence. When they were comfortably seated and flagons of wine had been
placed on the board, the knight requested Count Charles to give him an
account of his adventure with the cut-throats and the part he had
subsequently played in the events of which he had spoken. D'Estournel
gave a lively recital, telling not only of the fray with the White Hoods,
but of what they saw when, after the defeat of the mob, they entered the
house. "Had the passage and stairs been the breach of a city attacked by
assault it could not have been more thickly strewn with dead bodies," the
count said; "and indeed for my part I would rather have struggled up a
breach, however strongly defended, than have tried to carry the barricade
at the top of the stairs, held as it was. I believe that, even had we not
arrived, Master Aylmer could have held his ground until morning, except
against fire."

"I wonder they did not fire the house," Sir Eustace remarked.

"Doubtless the leaders would have done so as soon as they saw the task
they had before them; but you see plunder was with the majority the main
object of the attack, while that of the leaders was assuredly to get rid
of the provost of the silversmiths, who had powerfully withstood them. The
cry that was raised of 'Down with the English spies!' was but a pretext.
However, as all the plate-cases with the silverware were in the barricade,
there would have been no plunder to gather had they set fire to the house,
and it was for this reason that they continued the attack so long; but
doubtless in the end, when they were convinced that they could not carry
the barricade, they would have resorted to fire."

Then he went on to recount how Guy had warned himself and his friends of
the danger that threatened, and how difficult it had been to persuade them
that only by flight could their safety be secured; and how at last he and
the two knights with him had returned to Paris to escort Dame Margaret.

"Truly, Count, your narrative is a stirring one," Sir Eustace said; "but I
know not as yet how Guy managed to gain the information that the house was
going to be attacked and so sent to you for aid, or how he afterwards
learned that your names were included with those of the Duke of Bar and
others whom the butchers compelled the Duke of Aquitaine to hand over to
them."

"Dame Margaret or your esquire himself can best tell you that," the count
said. "It is a strange story indeed."

"And a long one," Dame Margaret added. "Were I to tell it fully it would
last till midnight, but I will tell you how matters befell, and to-morrow
will inform you of the details more at length."

She then related briefly the incidents that had occurred from the day of
her interview with the Duke of Burgundy to that of her escape, telling of
the various disguises that had been used, the manner in which Guy had
overheard the councils of the butchers before they surrounded the hotel of
the Duke of Aquitaine and dragged away a large number of knights and
ladies to prison, and how the four men-at-arms had re-entered Paris after
their escape, and remained there in readiness to aid her if required.

Guy himself was not present at the narration, as he had, after staying for
a short time in the room, gone down into the banqueting-hall to see that
the men's wants were well attended to, and to talk with the English men-
at-arms and archers.

"It seems to me," Sir Eustace said when his wife had finished the story,
"that my young esquire has comported himself with singular prudence as
well as bravery."

"He has been everything to me," Dame Margaret said warmly; "he has been my
adviser and my friend. I have learned to confide in him implicitly. It was
he who secured for me in the first place the friendship of Count Charles,
and then that of his friends. He was instrumental in securing for us the
assistance of the Italian who warned and afterwards sheltered us--one of
the adventures that I have not yet told, because I did not think that I
could do so without saying more than that person would like known; but Guy
rendered him a service that in his opinion far more than repaid him for
his kindness to us. The messenger he employed was a near relation of his."

And she then related how Guy had rescued this relation from the hands of
the butchers, how he had himself been chased, and had killed one and
wounded another of his assailants; and how at last he escaped from falling
into their hands by leaping from the bridge into the Seine.

"You will understand," she said, "that not only our host but we all should
have been sacrificed had not the messenger been rescued. He would have
been compelled by threats, and if these failed by tortures, to reveal who
his employer was and where he lived, and in that case a search would have
been made, we should have been discovered, and our lives as well as that
of our host would have paid the penalty."

"It is impossible to speak too highly of the young esquire," Sir John
Poupart said warmly. "For a short time we all saw a good deal of him at
the fencing-school, to which D'Estournel introduced him. He made great
progress, and wonderfully improved his swordsmanship even during the short
time he was there, and the best of us found a match in him. He was quiet
and modest, and even apart from the service he had rendered to
D'Estournel, we all came to like him greatly. He is a fine character, and
I trust that ere long he may have an opportunity of winning his spurs, for
the courage he has shown in the defence of his charges would assuredly
have gained them for him had it been displayed in battle."

The knights were persuaded to stay a few days at the castle, and then rode
away with their retainers with mutual expressions of hope that they would
meet again in quieter times. Guy had opened the little packet that
Katarina had given him at starting. It contained a ring with a diamond of
great beauty and value, with the words "With grateful regards."

He showed it to Sir Eustace, who said:

"It is worth a knight's ransom, lad, and more, I should say. Take it not
with you to the wars, but leave it at home under safe guardianship, for
should it ever be your bad luck to be made a prisoner, I will warrant it
would sell for a sufficient sum to pay your ransom. That is a noble suit
of armour that the silversmith gave you. Altogether, Guy, you have no
reason to regret that you accompanied your lady to Paris. You have gained
a familiarity with danger which will assuredly stand you in good stead
some day, you have learned some tricks of fence, you have gained the
friendship of half a score of nobles and knights; you have earned the
lasting gratitude of my dame and myself, you have come back with a suit of
armour such as a noble might wear in a tournament, and a ring worth I know
not how much money. It is a fair opening of your life, Guy, and your good
father will rejoice when I tell him how well you have borne yourself. It
may be that it will not be long before you may have opportunities of
showing your mettle in a wider field. The English have already made
several descents on the coast, and have carried off much spoil and many
prisoners, and it may not be long before we hear that Henry is gathering a
powerful army and is crossing the seas to maintain his rights, and recover
the lands that have during past years been wrested from the crown.

"I propose shortly to return to England. My dame has borne up bravely
under her troubles, but both she and Agnes need rest and quiet. It is
time, too, that Charlie applied himself to his studies for a time and
learnt to read and write well, for methinks that every knight should at
least know this much. I shall take John Harpen back with me. Such of the
men-at-arms and archers as may wish to return home must wait here until I
send you others to take their places, for I propose to leave you here
during my absence, as my castellan. It is a post of honour, Guy, but I
feel that the castle will be in good hands; and there is, moreover, an
advantage in thus leaving you, as, should any message be sent by
Burgundian or Orleanist, you will be able to reply that, having been
placed here by me to hold the castle in my absence, you can surrender it
to no one, and can admit no one to garrison it, until you have sent to me
and received my orders on the subject. Thus considerable delay may be
obtained.

"Should I receive such a message from you, I shall pass across at once to
Calais with such force as I can gather. I trust that no such summons will
arrive, for it is clear that the truce now made between the two French
factions will be a very short one, and that ere long the trouble will
recommence, and, as I think, this time Burgundy will be worsted. The
Orleanists are now masters of Paris and of the king's person, while
assuredly they have the support of the Duke of Aquitaine, who must long to
revenge the indignities that were put upon him by Burgundy and the mob of
Paris. They should therefore be much the stronger party, and can,
moreover, issue what proclamations they choose in the king's name, as
Burgundy has hitherto been doing in his own interest. The duke will
therefore be too busy to think of meddling with us. Upon the other hand,
if the Orleanists gain the mastery they are the less likely to interfere
with us, as I hear that negotiations have just been set on foot again for
the marriage of King Henry with Katherine of France. The English raids
will therefore be stopped, and the French will be loath to risk the
breaking off of the negotiations which might be caused by an assault
without reason upon the castle of one who is an English as well as a
French vassal, and who might, therefore, obtain aid from the garrison of
Calais, by which both nations might be again embroiled."

"If you think well, my lord, to leave me here in command I will assuredly
do the best in my power to prove myself worthy of your confidence; but it
is a heavy trust for one so young."

"I have thought that over, Guy, but I have no fear that you will fail in
any way. Were the garrison wholly a French one I might hesitate, but half
the defenders of the castle are Englishmen; and in Tom, the captain of the
archers, you have one of whose support at all times you will be confident,
while the French garrison will have learned from the three men who went
with you that they would as readily follow you as they would a knight of
experience. Moreover, good fighters as the English are, they are far more
independent and inclined to insubordination than the French, who have
never been brought up in the same freedom of thought. Therefore, although
I have no doubt that they will respect your authority, I doubt whether,
were I to put a Frenchman in command, they would prove so docile, while
with the French there will be no difficulty. I might, of course, appoint
John Harpen, who is ten years your senior, to the command; but John,
though a good esquire, is bluff and rough in his ways, and as obstinate as
a mule, and were I to leave him in command he would, I am sure, soon set
the garrison by the ears. As an esquire he is wholly trustworthy, but he
is altogether unfitted for command, therefore I feel that the choice I
have made of you is altogether for the best, and I shall go away confident
that the castle is in good hands, and that if attacked it will be as
staunchly defended as if I myself were here to direct the operations."

Two days later Sir Eustace with his family started, under the guard of ten
English and ten French men-at-arms, for Calais. Before starting he
formally appointed Guy as castellan in his absence, and charged the
garrison to obey his orders in all things, as if they had been given by
himself. He also called in the principal tenants and delivered a similar
charge to them. The English men-at-arms were well pleased to be commanded
by one whom they had known from childhood, and whose father they had been
accustomed to regard as their master during the absences of Sir Eustace
and Dame Margaret. The archers had not, like the men-at-arms, been drawn
from the Summerley estate, but the devotion of their leader to Guy, and
the tales he had told them of what had taken place in Paris rendered them
equally satisfied at his choice as their leader. As for the French men-at-
arms, bred up in absolute obedience to the will of their lord, they
accepted his orders in this as they would have done on any other point.
Sir Eustace left Guy instructions that he might make any further addition
to the defences that he thought fit, pointing out to him several that he
had himself intended to carry out.

"I should have set about these at once," he had said, "but it is only now
that the vassals have completed the work of rebuilding their houses, and I
would not call upon them for any service until that was completed. I have
told them now that such works must be taken in hand, and that, as they saw
upon the occasion of the last siege, their safety depends upon the power
of the castle to defend itself, I shall expect their services to be
readily and loyally rendered, especially as they have been remitted for
over six months. It would be well also to employ the garrison on the
works--in the first place, because they have long been idle, and idleness
is bad for them; and in the second place because the vassals will all work
more readily seeing that the garrison are also employed. While so engaged
an extra measure of wine can be served to each man, and a small addition
of pay. Here are the plans that I have roughly prepared. Beyond the moat I
would erect at the centre of each of the three sides a strong work,
similar to that across the drawbridge, and the latter I would also have
strengthened.

"These works, you see, are open on the side of the moat, so that if
carried they would offer the assailants no shelter from arrows from the
walls, while being triangular in shape they would be flanked by our fire.
Each of these three forts should have a light drawbridge running across
the moat to the foot of the wall, thence a ladder should lead to an
entrance to be pierced through the wall, some fifteen feet above the level
of the moat; by this means the garrison could, if assailed by an
overwhelming force, withdraw into the castle. These outposts would render
it--so long as they were held--impossible for storming-parties to cross
the moat and place ladders, as they did on the last occasion. The first
task will, of course, be to quarry stones. As soon as sufficient are
prepared for one of these outworks you should proceed to erect it, as it
would render one side at least unassailable and diminish the circuit to be
defended. As soon as one is finished, with its drawbridge, ladder, and
entrance, proceed with the next. I would build the one at the rear first.
As you see from this plan, the two walls are to be twenty feet high and
each ten yards long, so that they could be defended by some twenty men.
After they are built I would further strengthen them by leading ditches
from the moat, six feet deep and ten feet wide, round them. The earth from
these ditches should be thrown inside the walls, so as to strengthen these
and form a platform for the defenders to stand on. If the earth is
insufficient for that purpose the moat can be widened somewhat."

"I will see that your wishes are carried out, Sir Eustace; assuredly these
little outworks will add greatly to the strength of the castle. Are the
bridges to be made to draw up?"

"No; that will hardly be necessary. Let them consist of two beams with
planks laid crosswise. They need not be more than four feet wide, and the
planks can therefore be easily pulled up as the garrison falls back. I
have told the tenants that during the winter, when there is but little for
their men to do, they can keep them employed on this work, and that I will
pay regular wages to them and for the carts used in bringing in the
stones."

Guy was very glad that there was something specific to be done that would
give him occupation and keep the men employed. Sir Eustace had informed
the garrison of the work that would be required of them, and of the ration
of wine and extra pay that would be given, and all were well satisfied
with the prospect. For the English especially, having no friends outside,
found the time hang very heavy on their hands, and their experience during
the last siege had taught them that the additional fortifications, of the
nature of which they were ignorant, however, would add to their safety.

As soon, therefore, as Sir Eustace had left, Guy commenced operations. A
few men only were kept on guard, and the rest went out daily to prepare
the stones under the direction of a master mason, who had been brought
from Arras by Sir Eustace. Some fifty of the tenants were also employed on
the work, and as the winter closed in this number was doubled.

The quarry lay at a distance of half a mile from the castle, and as fast
as the stones were squared and roughly dressed they were taken in carts to
the spot where they were to be used. Guy had the foundations for the walls
dug in the first place, to a depth below that of the bottom of the moats,
and filled up with cement and rubble. The trenches were then dug at a
distance of five feet from the foot of the walls. With so many hands the
work proceeded briskly, and before springtime the three works were all
completed, with their bridges and ladders, passages pierced through the
castle wall, and stone steps built inside by which those who passed
through could either descend into the court yard or mount to the
battlements. At the end of September fifteen archers and men-at-arms
arrived from England to take the place of those who had desired to return
home, and who on their coming marched away to Calais.

From time to time reports were received of the events happening in Paris.
Paris had been strongly occupied by the Orleanists, and a proclamation had
at once been issued in the name of the king condemning all that had been
done in the city, and denouncing by name all the ringleaders of the late
tumults, and such of these as were found in Paris were arrested. Another
proclamation was then issued enjoining all parties to keep the peace, to
refrain from gathering in armed bodies, and to abstain from the use of
expressions against each other that might lead to a breach of the peace.

On the 13th of November, the year being 1413, fresh and more stringent
orders were issued by the king against any assemblies of men-in-arms, and
at the end of this month the Duke of Burgundy sent to the king a letter of
complaint and accusation against his enemies. Those surrounding Charles
persuaded him to send no answer whatever to what they considered his
insolent letter. Some of the Burgundian knights had still remained in
Paris, and on the advice of the Dukes of Berri and Orleans and other
princes, the queen caused four knights of the suite of the Duke of
Aquitaine to be carried away from the Louvre. This so much enraged the
duke that he at first intended to sally out and call upon the populace of
Paris to aid him to rescue the prisoners. The princes of the blood,
however, restrained him from doing this; but although he pretended to be
appeased he sent secret letters to the Duke of Burgundy begging him to
come to his assistance.

This served as an excuse for Burgundy to gather all his adherents and to
march towards Paris, and as he collected the force he sent letters to all
the principal towns saying that at the invitation of his son-in-law, the
Duke of Aquitaine, and in consequence of the breach of the peace committed
by his enemies, he was forced to take up arms to rescue his beloved
daughter and the duke from the hands of those who constrained them. Upon
the other hand, letters were written in the king's name to the various
towns on the line by which Burgundy would advance from Artois, begging
them not to open their gates to him.

The Burgundian army advanced and occupied St. Denis, thence the duke sent
detachments to the various gates of Paris in hopes that the populace would
rise in his favour. However, the citizens remained quiet, and the duke,
being unprovided with the engines and machines necessary for a siege, fell
back again, placing strong garrisons in Compiègne and Soissons. Then the
Orleanists took the offensive, besieged and captured town after town, and
revenged the murder of their friends in Paris by wholesale massacres and
atrocities of the worst description. The Burgundians in vain attempted to
raise an army of sufficient strength to meet that of the king, who himself
accompanied the Orleanist forces in the field. The fact that he was
present with them had a powerful influence in preventing many lords who
would otherwise have done so from joining Burgundy, for although all knew
that the king was but a puppet who could be swayed by those who happened
to be round him, even the shadow of the royal authority had great weight,
and both parties carried on their operations in the king's name,
protesting that any decrees hostile to themselves were not the true
expression of his opinion, but the work of ambitious and traitorous
persons who surrounded him. After occupying Laon, Peronne, and other
places, the king's army entered Artois, captured Bapaume, and advanced
against Arras, where Sir John of Luxemburg, who commanded a Burgundian
garrison, prepared for the siege by sending away the greater part of the
women and children, and destroying all the buildings and suburbs outside
the walls.

As soon as it was evident that the Orleanist army was marching against
Artois, Guy despatched one of the English soldiers to Summerley to inform
his lord that if, as it seemed, the Orleanists intended to subdue all the
Burgundian towns and fortresses in the province, it was probable that
Villeroy would be besieged. The messenger returned with twenty more
archers, and brought a letter from Sir Eustace to Guy saying that Dame
Margaret had been ill ever since her return from France, and that she was
at present in so dangerous a state that he could not leave her.

"I trust," he said, "that as the negotiations for the marriage of the king
with the French princess are still going on, you will not be disturbed.
The main body of the French army will likely be engaged on more important
enterprises, and if you are attacked it will probably be only by strong
plundering detachments; these you need not fear. Should you be besieged
strongly, hold out as long as you can. I shall be sure to receive news of
it from Calais, and will go at once to the king and pray for his
protection, and beg him to write to the King of France declaring that, to
his knowledge, I have ever been as loyal a vassal of France as of England.
Should you find that the pressure upon you is too great, and that the
castle is like to be taken, I authorize you to make surrender on condition
that all within the castle are permitted to march away free and unmolested
whithersoever they will."

CHAPTER XVIII

KATARINA

As soon as the king's army approached Arras, Guy repeated all the
precautions that had before been taken, but as this time there had been
long warning, these were carried out more effectually. A considerable
number of the cattle and sheep of the tenants were driven to Calais and
there sold, the rest, with the horses, were taken into the castle. The
crops were hastily got in, for it was near July, and these were thrashed
and the grain brought in, with the household furniture and all belongings.
A great store of arrows had been long before prepared, and Guy felt
confident that he could hold out for a long time. The women and children
took up their abode in the castle, and the former were all set to work to
make a great number of sacks. A hundred cart-loads of earth were brought
in, and this was stored in a corner of the court-yard. The earth was to be
employed in filling the sacks, which were to be lowered from the walls so
as to form a protection against heavy missiles, should an attempt be made
to effect a breach.

[Illustration: GUY WELCOMES THE COUNT OF MONTEPONE AND HIS DAUGHTER TO
VILLEROY.]

A few days after the king's army sat down before Arras, the look-out
informed Guy that a horseman, together with a lady and two attendants,
were riding towards the castle. Wondering who these visitors could be, Guy
crossed the drawbridge to the outwork, where a small party were now
stationed. As they rode up, he saw, to his surprise and pleasure, that
they were the Count of Montepone and his daughter. He ran out to meet
them.

"I am delighted to see you, Count, and you also Mistress Katarina. I
regret that Sir Eustace and Dame Margaret are not here to receive you
properly."

"We were aware that she was absent," the count said as he dismounted,
while Guy assisted Katarina from her saddle. "I received a letter three
months since; it came by way of Flanders from Sir Eustace, expressing his
thanks for what slight services I had rendered to his wife. He told me
that they had crossed over to England, and that you were his castellan
here. But I thought that ere this he might have returned."

"I heard from him but a few days ago," Guy said. "He is detained in
England by the illness of Dame Margaret, or he would have hastened hither
on hearing that the French army was moving north. I need scarcely ask how
you are, Mistress Katarina, for you have changed much, and if I may say it
without offence, for the better."

The girl flushed a little and laughed, and her father said: "It is nigh
three months since we left Paris; the country air has done her good. Since
we left she has till now been in disguise again, and has ridden as my
page, for I could not leave her behind, nor could I in an army, with so
many wild and reckless spirits, take her in the dress of a girl."

By this time they had crossed the drawbridge, the servants leading their
horses after them.

"My stay must be a short one," the count said as they entered the
banqueting-hall, and Guy gave orders for a repast to be served.

"I hoped that you were come to stay for a time, Count; I would do all in
my power to make your visit a pleasant one."

The Italian shook his head. "No, I must ride back tonight. I have come
here for a double purpose. In the first place I must send Katarina to
England; she is almost a woman now, and can no longer wander about with me
in times like these. In the second place, I have come to tell you that I
think you need have no fear of an attack upon the castle. That news you
gave me, which enabled me to save those three Orleanist nobles, has, added
to what I had before done in that way, helped me vastly. One of them is a
great favourite with Aquitaine, and the latter took me under his special
protection; and he and many other great lords, and I may tell you even the
queen herself, consult me frequently. Shortly after you left I moved to a
larger house, and as there was no longer any need for me to assume the
character of a vendor of medicines I abandoned that altogether, and took
handsome apartments, with my negro from the booth to open the door, and
two other lackeys.

"My knowledge of the stars has enabled me with some success to predict the
events that have taken place, and Aquitaine and the queen have both
implicit confidence in me and undertake nothing without my advice. The
Duke of Orleans, too, has frequently consulted me. I have used my
influence to protect this castle. I have told them that success will
attend all their efforts, which it was easy enough to foresee, as Burgundy
has no army in the field that can oppose them. But I said that I had
described a certain point of danger. It was some time before I revealed
what this was, and then said that it appeared to me that the evil in some
way started from the west of Arras. I would go no further than this for
many days, and then said that it arose from a castle held by one who was
not altogether French, and that were an attack made upon it evil would
arise. I saw that it would lead to a disturbance, I said, in the
negotiations for the marriage, and perhaps the arrival of an English army.
More than this I said the stars did not tell me.

"Aquitaine made inquiries and soon found that my description applied to
Villeroy, and he and the queen have issued strict orders that no
plundering party is to come in this direction, and that on no account is
the castle to be interfered with, and I shall take care that their
intentions in this matter are not changed. I had the royal orders to
accompany the army. This I should have done in any case, but of course I
professed a certain reluctance, by saying that I had many clients in
Paris. However, I received various rich presents, and was therefore
prevailed upon to travel with them."

"I thank you most heartily, Count, for, as you saw on crossing the court-
yard, I have already called all the vassals in and made preparations to
stand a siege. As to your daughter, I will, if you wish it, appoint two of
the tenants' daughters as her attendants, and send an elderly woman as her
companion, with an escort under Robert Picard,--one of those who were with
me in Paris,--and four other men-at-arms to accompany her to Summerley and
hand her over to the charge of Dame Margaret, who will, I trust, be in
better health than when Sir Eustace wrote to me. It will be a great relief
to our lord and lady to know that their presence is not urgently required
here. The escort can start to-morrow at daybreak if you wish that they
should do so."

The count hesitated, and Guy went on: "I will appoint the woman and the
two maids at once. Mistress Katarina can occupy Dame Margaret's chamber,
and the woman and the maids can sleep in those adjoining it."

"That will do well," the count said cordially. "We have ridden twenty
miles already, and she could hardly go on to-day, while if she starts at
daybreak they may reach Calais to-morrow."

"I will give Picard a letter to the governor, asking him in my lord's name
to give honourable entertainment to the young lady, who is under Dame
Margaret's protection, and to forward her upon her journey to join them by
the first vessel sailing to Southampton, or if there be none sailing
thither, to send her at once by ship to Dover, whence they can travel by
land. One of the four men-at-arms shall be an Englishman, and he can act
as her spokesman by the way."

"That will do most excellently," the count said, "and I thank you
heartily. As soon as I have finished my meal I must ride for the camp
again. I started early this morning in order not to be observed; in the
first place because I did not wish my daughter to be seen in her female
dress, and in the second because I would not that any should notice my
coming in this direction, and indeed we rode for the first mile backwards
along the road to Bapaume, and I shall return by the same way."

"What will the end of these troubles be, Count?"

"As I read the stars there will be peace shortly, and indeed it is clear
to me that the Duke of Burgundy must by this time see that if the war goes
on he will lose all Artois and perhaps Flanders, and that therefore he
must make peace, and perhaps keep it until the royal army has marched away
and dispersed; after that we may be sure that the crafty duke will not
long remain quiet. I have a trusty emissary in Burgundy's household, and
as soon as the duke comes to the conclusion that he must beg for peace I
shall have intelligence of it, and shall give early news to the queen and
to Aquitaine, who would hail it with gladness; for, seeing that the
latter's wife is Burgundy's daughter, he does not wish to press him hard,
and would gladly see peace concluded."

An hour later the count rode off with his two followers, after taking an
affectionate leave of his daughter, and telling her that it would not be
long before he joined her--if only for a time--in England. Before he went
Guy had chosen the woman who, with her two daughters, was to accompany
Katarina, and had installed them in the private apartments.

"What shall we do with ourselves for the day?" he asked the girl, who was,
he saw, shy and ill at ease, now that her father had left. If you are not
tired we might take a ride. We have some hawks here, and now that the
harvest has been gathered we shall doubtless find sport with the game-
birds."

"I am not at all tired," she said eagerly, "and should like it much."

Calling upon Long Tom and another to accompany them, horses were brought
up, and they started and remained out until supper-time, bringing home
with them some seven or eight partridges that had been killed by the
hawks. Guy suggested that perhaps she would prefer to have the meal served
in her own apartments and to retire to bed early. She accepted the offer,
and at once went to her room, which she did not leave again that evening.
Guy, as he ate alone, wondered to himself at the change that some nine or
ten months had made in her.

"I suppose she feels strange and lonely," he said to himself. "She was
merry enough when we were out hawking; but directly we got back again she
seemed quite unlike herself. I suppose it is because I always used to
treat her as if she were a boy, and now that she has grown up into a woman
she wants to forget that time."

The town of Arras resisted sturdily. The garrison made frequent sorties,
took a good many prisoners, and inflicted heavy loss upon the besiegers
before these could gather in sufficient numbers to drive them in again,
and all assaults were repulsed with loss. The Castle of Belle Moote, near
Arras, also repulsed all the efforts of the king's army to take it.
Foraging parties of Orleanists committed terrible devastations in the
country round, but gained no advantage in their attacks on any fortified
place.

On the 29th of August the Duke of Brabant arrived with some deputies from
Flanders to negotiate a peace between Burgundy and the king. They were
well received, and an armistice was at once arranged. The French troops
were suffering severely from disease, and the failure of all their
attempts to capture Arras made them ready to agree willingly upon a peace.
This was accordingly concluded on the 4th of September, and the next day
the royal army marched away.

Three weeks after Katarina had gone to England, Sir Eustace himself, to
Guy's great joy, arrived at the castle, bringing with him his esquire and
eight men-at-arms, as well as the three serving-women and their escort. As
soon as his pennon was seen Guy leapt on a horse that was standing saddled
in the court-yard, and rode to meet them. As he came up he checked his
horse in surprise, for his father was riding by the side of Sir Eustace.
Recovering himself, however, he doffed his cap to his lord.

"Welcome back, my lord!" he said. "I trust that our dear lady is better."

"Much better, Guy. You see I have brought your father over with me."

Guy bent low to his father.

"I am right glad to see you," the latter said, "and to hear such good
accounts of you. Dame Margaret and Mistress Agnes were never tired of
singing your praises, and in truth I was not weary of hearing them."

"Are you going to make a long stay, father?"

"I shall stay for some little time, Guy. Our lady is going to be her own
castellan for the present. And in truth things are so quiet in England
that Summerley could well go on without a garrison, so Sir Eustace
suggested that I should accompany him hither, where, however, just at
present things have also a peaceful aspect. The young countess arrived
safely, Guy, and was heartily welcomed, the more so since, as your letter
told me, it is to her father that we owe it that we did not have the
king's army battering our walls, or, even if they did not try that,
devastating the fields and ruining the farmers."

By this time they were at the gate. Long Tom had the garrison drawn up in
the court-yard, and they hailed the return of their lord with hearty
cheers, while the retainers of Summerley were no less pleased at seeing
Sir John Aylmer. "And now, Guy," said Sir Eustace, "I will tell you why I
have come hither. It is partly to see after the estate, to hear the
complaints of my vassals and to do what I can for them, and in the next
place I wanted to see these fortifications that you have raised, and,
thirdly, I shall shortly ride to Paris in the train of the Earl of Dorset,
the Lord Grey, Admiral of England, some bishops, and many other knights
and nobles, amounting in the whole to 600 horse. They go to treat for the
marriage of the princess of France with the English king. I had an
audience with the king at Winchester as soon as we heard that the royal
army was marching towards Artois, and he gave assurance that he would
instruct the governor of Calais to furnish what assistance he could should
the castle be attacked, and that he himself would at once on hearing of it
send a remonstrance to the King of France, urging that I, as a vassal of
his as well as of France, had avoided taking any part in the troubles, and
had ever borne myself as a loyal vassal of his Majesty.

"He was at Winchester when the young countess arrived, and I rode over to
him to tell him that I had news that it was not probable that Villeroy
would be attacked. It was then that his Majesty informed me that the Earl
of Dorset with a large body of nobles would ere long cross the Channel for
the purpose that I have named, and begged me to ride with them. The king,
being disengaged at the time, talked with me long, and questioned me as to
the former defence of the castle, and how Dame Margaret had fared when, as
he had heard, she was obliged to go as a hostage to Paris. I told him all
that had befallen her, at which he seemed greatly interested, and bade me
present you to him at the first opportunity.

"'He must be a lad after my own heart,' he said, 'and he shall have an
opportunity of winning his spurs as soon as may be, which perchance is not
so far away as some folks think.'"

Guy thanked Sir Eustace for having so spoken of him to the English king,
and asked: "What do you think he meant by those last words, my lord?"

"That I cannot say, Guy; but it may well be that he thinks that this
marriage which has been so long talked of may not take place, and that the
negotiations have been continued solely for the purpose of keeping him
quiet while France was busied with her own troubles. Moreover, I know that
the king has been already enlisting men, that he is impatient at having
been put off so often with soft words, and that embassy is intended to
bring matters to a head; therefore if, as I gathered from some of my
friends at his court, he is eager for fighting, it may be that his
ambassadors will demand conditions which he is sure beforehand the King of
France will not grant. At any rate I shall ride with Dorset to Paris;
whatever the sentiments of the Burgundians or Orleanists may be towards me
will matter nothing, riding as I shall do in the train of the earl. I am
going to take you with me, as well as John Harpen, for I must do as well
as others, and have had to lay out a goodly sum in garments fit for the
occasion, for the king is bent upon his embassy making a brave show. Your
father will be castellan here in my absence. I shall also take with me
Long Tom and four of his archers, and five French men-at-arms. I have
brought some Lincoln-green cloth to make fresh suits for the archers, and
also material for those for the men-at-arms."

Both Sir Eustace and Sir John Aylmer expressed great satisfaction at the
manner in which the new outworks had been erected.

"Assuredly it is a strong castle now, Sir Eustace," Sir John said, "and
would stand a long siege even by a great army."

"What is all that earth for in the corner, Guy?" Sir Eustace asked as they
re-entered the castle after having made a survey of the new works. "I had
that brought in, my lord, to fill sacks, of which I had three hundred
made, so that if guns and battering machines were brought against us, we
might cover the wall at the place they aimed at with sacks hanging closely
together, and so break the force of the stones or the cannon balls."

"Excellently well arranged, Guy. You thought, Sir John, that I was
somewhat rash to leave the defence solely to the charge of this son of
yours, but you see the lad was ready at all points, and I will warrant me
that the castle would have held out under him as long a time as if you and
I both had been in command of it."

It was not until January, the year being 1414, that the Earl of Dorset and
a great company arrived at Calais. As they passed not far from the castle
they were joined by Sir Eustace and his retinue. The king's wishes had
been carried out, and the knights and nobles were so grandly attired and
their retinues so handsomely appointed that when they rode into Paris the
people were astonished at the splendour of the spectacle. A few days after
they reached the capital the king gave a great festival in honour of the
visitors, and there was a grand tournament at which the king and all the
princes of the blood tilted. The English ambassadors were splendidly
entertained, but their proposals were considered inadmissible by the
French court, for Henry demanded with Katherine the duchy of Normandy, the
county of Pontieu, and the duchy of Aquitaine.

No direct refusal was given, but the king said that he would shortly send
over an embassy to discuss the conditions. Many handsome presents were
made to all the knights and noblemen, and the embassy returned to England.
Sir Eustace left them near Villeroy with his party, and stayed two days at
the castle. Sir John Aylmer said that he would prefer that Guy should
return home with Sir Eustace and that he himself should remain as
castellan, for he thought that there was little doubt that war would soon
be declared; he said that he himself was too old to take the field on
active service, and preferred greatly that Guy should ride with Sir
Eustace. Long Tom made a petition to his lord that he too should go to
England for a time.

"If there was any immediate chance of fighting here, my lord," he said, "I
would most willingly remain, but seeing that at present all is quiet, I
would fain return, were it but for a month; for I have a maid waiting for
me, and have, methinks, kept her long enough, and would gladly go home and
fetch her over here."

The request was at once granted, and Sir Eustace, his two esquires, and
the archer rode to Calais, and crossed with the company of the Earl of
Dorset.

For some months Guy remained quietly at Summerley. Agnes, though nearly
sixteen, was still but a young girl, while Katarina had grown still more
womanly during the last six months. The former always treated him as a
brother, but the latter was changeable and capricious. Occasionally she
would laugh and chat when the three were alone, as she had done of old in
Paris, but more often she would tease and laugh at him, while sometimes
she would be shy and silent.

"I cannot make out the young countess, my lady," he said to Dame Margaret
when Katarina had been teasing him even more than usual. "She was never
like this in Paris, and I know not that I have done aught to offend her
that she should so often pick up my words, and berate me for a meaning
they never had."

"You see, things have changed since then," Dame Margaret said with a
smile; "'tis two years since you were in Paris, and Katarina, although but
little older than Agnes, is already a young woman. You were then still
under seventeen, now you are nineteen, and in growth and stature well-nigh
a man. You can hardly expect her to be the same with you as when she was
running about Paris in boy's attire, for then you regarded her rather as a
comrade than as a girl. I think, perhaps, it is that she a little resents
the fact that you knew her in that guise, and therefore feels all the less
at her ease with you. Do not trouble about it, the thing will right itself
in time; and besides, you will shortly be going off to the war."

In fact, preparations were being already made for it. A French embassy of
nobles and knights, with three hundred and fifty horsemen, had come over,
and, after passing through London, had gone to Winchester, and there met
the king and his great lords. The Archbishop of Bourges, who was their
spokesman, at once set forth that the king could not hand over so large a
portion of his kingdom, but that he would give with his daughter large
estates in France, together with a great sum in ready money. This offer
was refused, and preparations for war went on in both countries. France
was, indeed, but in poor condition to defend itself, for the Duke of
Aquitaine had seriously angered both parties. He had made a pretext to get
the great lords to ride out from Paris, he being with them; but he had
secretly returned, and had ordered the gates to be closed, had called the
citizens to arms, and had resumed the supreme authority of the realm.

Having done this, he sent his wife, Burgundy's daughter, to a castle at a
distance, and surrounding himself with young nobles as reckless and
dissipated as himself, led a life of disorder, squandering money on his
pleasures, and heavily taxing the city for his wants. The Duke of
Burgundy, indignant at the treatment of his daughter, sent an ambassador
to demand that she should be taken back, and that all the persons, five
hundred in number, who had been exempted from the terms of the treaty,
should be allowed to return to Paris. Both requests were refused, and the
consequence was that the Duke of Burgundy, with his partisans, returned to
his own country in deep anger; he would take no part in the war against
the English, although he permitted his vassals to do so.

In July the English levies gathered at Southampton. The king was to have

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