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Page 111 (Chronicles of Froissart)



page 111


THE CHRONICLES OF FROISSART which I cannot write the fourth part. The French king, had set men of war in every fortress in those marches, in the county of Guines, of Artois, of Boulogne, and about Calais, and had a great number of Genoways, Normans and other on the sea, so that when any of the Englishmen would go a-foraging, other afoot or horseback, they found many times hard adventures, and often there was skirmishing about the gates and dikes of the town, and oftentimes some slain and hurt on both parties ; some day the one part lost and some day the other. The king of England caused engines to be made to oppress them within the town, but they within made other again to resist them, so that they took little hurt by them; but nothing could come into the town but by stealth, and that was by the means of two mariners, one called Marant and the other Mestriel, and they dwelt in Abbeville. By them two they of Calais were oftentimes recomforted and freshed by stealth; and oftentimes they were in great peril, chased and near taken, but always they scaped, and made many Englishmen to be drowned. All that winter the king lay still at the siege, and thought and imagined ever to keep the commonty of Flanders in friendship ; for he thought by their means the sooner to come to his intent. He sent oftentimes to them with fair promises, saying that if he might get Calais, he would help them to recover Lille and Douay with all their appurtenances ; so by occasion of such promises, while the king was in Normandy towards Cressy and Calais, they went and laid siege to Bethune, and their captain was sir Oudart de Renly, who was banished out of France. They held a great siege before that town and sore constrained them by assault; but within were four knights captains set there by the French king to keep the town, that is to say, sir Geoffrey of Charny, sir Eustace of Ribemont, sir Baudwin d'Annequin and sir John of Landas : they defended the town in such wise, that the Flemings won nothing there, but so departed and returned again into Flanders. But while the king of England lay at siege before Calais, he sent still messengers to them of Flanders, and made them great promises to keep their amity with him and to oppress the drift of the French king, who did all that he could to draw them to his opinion. The king of England would gladly that the earl Louis of Flanders, who was as then but fifteen year of age, should have in marriage his daughter Isabel. So much did the king that the Flemings agreed thereto ; whereof the king was glad, for he thought by that marriage the Flemings would the gladlier help him; and the Flemings thought, by having of the king of England on their party, they might well resist the Frenchmen ; they thought it more necessary and profitable for them, the love of the king of England, rather than the French king. But the young earl, who had been ever nourished among the noblemen of France, would not agree, and said plainly, he would not have to his wife the daughter of him that slew his father also duke John of Brabant purchased greatly that the earl of Flanders should have his daughter in marriage, promising him that if he would take her to his wife, that he would cause him to enjoy the whole earldom of Flanders, other by fair means or otherwise : also the duke said to the French king, `Sir, if the earl of Flanders will take my daughter, I shall find the means that all the Flemings shall take your part and forsake the king of England': by the which promise the French king agreed to that marriage. When the duke of Brabant had the king's good-will, then he sent certain messengers into Flanders to the burgesses .of the good towns, and skewed them so fair reasons, that the counsels of the good towns sent to the earl their natural lord, certifying him that if he would come into Flanders and use their counsel, they would be to him true and good friends and deliver to him all the rights and jurisdictions of Flanders, as much as ever any earl had. The earl took counsel and went into Flanders, where he was received with great



Page 111 (Chronicles of Froissart)