Page 114

Page 114 (Chronicles of Froissart)



page 114


should yield them up simply to his pleasure. Then sir Gaultier said: `Sir, saving your displeasure, in this ye may be in the wrong, for ye shall give by this an evil ensample : if ye send any of us your servants into any fortress, we will not be very. glad to go, if ye put any of them in the town to death after they be yielded ; for in like wise they will deal with us, if the case fell like.' The which words divers other lords that were there present sustained and maintained. Then the king said: `Sirs, I will not be alone against you all ; therefore, sir Gaultier of Manny, ye shall go and say to the captain that all the grace that he shall find now in me is that they let six of the chief burgesses of the town come out bare-headed, barefooted, and bare-legged, and in their shirts, with halters about their necks; with the keys of the town and castle in their hands, and let them six yield themselves purely to my will, and the residue I will take to mercy.' Then sir Gaultier returned and found sir John of Vienne still on the wall, abiding for an answer. Then sir Gaultier shewed him all the grace that he could get of the king. `Well,' quoth sir John, ` sir, I require you tarry here a certain space, till I go into the town and shew this to the commons of the town, who sent me hither. Then sir John went unto the market-place and sowned the common bell: then incontinent men and women assembled there: then the captain made report of all that he had done, and said, ` Sirs, it will be none otherwise ; therefore now take advice and make a short answer.' Then all the people began to weep and to make such sorrow, that there was not so hard a heart, if they had seen them, but that would have had great pity of them: the captain himself wept piteously. At last the most rich burgess of all the town, called Eustace of Saint-Pierre, rose up and said openly: `Sirs, great and small, great mischief it should be to suffer to die such people as be in this town, other by famine or otherwise, when there is a mean to save them. I think he or they should have great merit of our Lord God that might keep them from such mischief. As for my part, I have so good trust in our Lord God, that if I die in the quarrel to save the residue, that God would pardon me: wherefore to save them I will be the first to put my life in jeopardy.' When he had thus said, every man worshipped him and divers kneeled down at his feet with sore weeping and sore sighs. Then another honest burgess rose and said: ` I will keep company with my gossip Eustace.' He was called John d'Aire. Then rose up Jaques of Wissant, who was rich in goods and heritage ; he said also that he would hold company with his two cousins. In like wise so did Peter of Wissant his brother: and then rose two other ;1 they said they would do the same. Then they went and apparelled them as the king desired. ' Then the captain went with them to the gate : there was great lamentation made of men, women and children at their departing: then the gate was opened and he issued out with the six burgesses and closed the gate again, so that they were between the gate and the barriers. Then he said to sir Gaultier of Manny : `Sir, I deliver here to you as captain of Calais by the whole consent of all the people of the town these six burgesses, and I swear to you truly that they be and were to-day most honourable, rich and most notable burgesses of all the town of Calais. Wherefore, gentle knight, I require you pray the king to have mercy on them, that they die not.' Quoth sir Gaultier : ` I cannot say what the king will do, but I shall do for them the best I can.' Then the barriers were opened, the six burgesses went towards the king, and the captain entered again into the town. When sir Gaultier presented these burgesses to the king, they kneeled down and held up their hands and said : `Gentle king, behold here we six, who were burgesses of Calais and great merchants; we have brought to you the keys of the town and of the castle and we submit ourselves clearly into your will and pleasure, to save the residue of the p



Page 114 (Chronicles of Froissart)