Page 222

Page 222 (Chronicles of Froissart)



page 222


Lyon went and dwelt at Douay and was there a three year and held a great estate and port, and all of the earl's cost. And for this slaughter on a clay John Lyon lost all that ever he had in Gaunt and was banished the town four year ; but after, the earl of Flanders did so much for him that he made his peace, and so to return again to the town of Gaunt and to have again as great franchise as ever he had : whereof divers in Gaunt and in Flanders had great marvel and were therewith right sore abashed. But for all that, so it was done ; and beside that, to the intent that he should recover again his loss and to maintain his estate, the earl made him chief ruler of all the ships, mariners and navy' This office was well worth by year a thousand franks, and yet to deal but truly. Thus this John Lyon was so great with the earl that there was none like him. In the same season there was another lineage in Gaunt called the Mahews. There were of them seven brethren, they were the chief of all the mariners; and among these seven brethren there was one of them called Gilbert Mahew, a right sage man, much more subtle than any of his brethren. This Gilbert Mahew had great envy covertly at this John Lyon, because he saw him so great with the earl, and studied night and day how he might put him out of favour with the earl. Divers times he was in mind to have slain him by his brethren, but he durst not for fear of the earl. So long he studied and imagined on this matter that at last he found the way. The chief cause that he hated him for was as I shall shew you, the better to come to the foundation of this matter. Anciently there was in the town of Damme a great mortal war between two mariners and their lineages, the one called Peter Guillon and the other John Bard. Gilbert Mahew and his brethren were come of the one lineage, and this John Lyon of the other. So this covert hate was long nourished between these two parties; howbeit, they spake and ate and drank together : and the lineage of Gilbert Mahew made more ado of the matter than John Lyon did, insomuch that Gilbert Mahew without any stroke given advised a subtle deed. The earl of Flanders ` Doyen des navieurs.' would sometime lie at Gaunt: then this Gilbert Mahew came and acquainted himself with one of them that was near about the earl, and on a day said to him : `Sir, if my lord the earl would, he might have every year a great profit of the ships and navy, whereof he hath now nothing: which profit the strangers and the mariners should pay, so that John Lyon, who is chief ruler there, will truly acquit himself.' This gentleman said he would shew this to the earl, and so he did. The earl then, in like wise as divers lords are lightly inclined naturally to hearken to their profit, and not regarding the end, what may fall thereby, so they may have riches, for covetousness deceiveth them, he answered and said Let Gilbert Mahew come to me and we will hear what he will say.' Then came Gilbert and spake with the earl, skewing him divers reasons, reasonable as the earl thought, and so answered and said: ` I think it were well done that it should be thus.' Then John Lyon was sent for, who knew nothing of this matter, and there in the presence of Gilbert Mahew the earl skewed him all the matter and said : `John, if ye will, we may have great profit in this matter.' John Lyon, who was a true man, saw well it was not a thing reasonable to be done. Howbeit, he durst not say the contrary, but said : ` Sir, that thing that ye demand and that Gilbert Mahew hath brought forth, I cannot do it alone, for it will be a hard matter to all the mariners.' `John,' quoth the earl, 'if ye will acquit you truly in this matter, it will be done.' `Sir,' quoth he, ` I shall do therein the best of my power'; and so they departed. Gilbert Mahew, who intended to bring out of favour this John Lyon with the earl, intended to none other thing but to make him lose his office. Then he came to his six brethren and said : `Sirs, it is time now that ye succour and aid me, and to maintain this matter, as good friends and br



Page 222 (Chronicles of Froissart)