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reverence to him, whereof the earl was sore displeased in his mind and said to his knights, when he came to his lodging: ` I trow I shall never come easily to mine intent against these white hats : they are unhappy people : my heart giveth me that the matter will not rest long in the case that it is now in ; for as far as I can perceive, they are likely to do many evil deeds; for though I should lose all, I cannot suffer them in their pride and evil doings.' Thus the earl of Flanders was there a four or five days, and then departed, so that he returned no more thither again, and so went to Lille and there ordained to lie all the winter. At his departing from Gaunt he took leave of no man, but departed in displeasure, wherewith divers of the town were right evil content, and said how they should never have any good of him, nor he would never love them nor they him, and how he was departed from them at that time as he had done in time past, and that Gilbert Mahew and his brethren had counselled him so to do. Seeing he was departed so suddenly from Gaunt, John Pruniaux, Ralph Ilerselle, Peter du Bois, John Boele and the evil captains were right joyous of his departing and sowed lewd words about in the town, saying how that, or summer come, the earl and his men will break the peace ; wherefore, they said, it were good that every man took heed to himself, and that they provide for the town corn and other victuals, as flesh and salt and such other things, saying how they could see no surety in the earl. So they of Gaunt made provision of divers things that was necessary for them and for the town, whereof the earl was informed, and had great marvel wherefore thev doubted themselves in such wise. To say truth, all things considered in that I say or have said before, it may be marvelled how they of Gaunt dissimuled themselves so at the beginning as they did. The rich, sage and notable persons of the town cannot excuse themselves of these deeds at the beginning ; for when John Lyon began to bring up first the white hats, they might well have caused them to have been laid down,' if they had list; and have sent other manner of persons against the pioneers of Bruges than they 1 This should be, `they might well have overthrown him.' but they suffered it, because they would not meddle, nor be in no business nor press. All this they did and consented to be done, the which after they dearly bought, and specially such as were rich and wise: for afterward they were no more lords of themselves, nor they durst not speak nor do nothing but as they of Gaunt would. For they said that neither for John Lyon, nor for Gilbert Mahew, nor for their wars or envies, they would never depart asunder ; 2 for whatsoever war there were between one or other, they would be ever all one and ever ready to defend the franchises of their town the which was well seen after, for they made war which endured seven year, in the which time there was never strife among them in the town : and that was the thing that sustained and kept them most of anything both within and without ; they were in such unity that there was no distance among them, as ye shall hear after in this history. It was not long after that the earl of Flanders was departed from Gaunt and returned to Lille, but that sir Oliver d'Auterive, cousin-german to Roger d'Auterive slain before in Gaunt, sent his defiance to the town of Gaunt for the death of his cousin, and in like wise so did sir Philip of Masmines and divers other : and after their defiances made they found a forty ships and the mariners to them pertaining, of the burgesses of Gaunt, who were coming on the river of l'Escault charged with corn ; and there they revenged them of the death of their cousin on these ships and mariners, for they all to-hewed the mariners and did put out their eyen, and so sent them to Gaunt maimed as they were, which despite they of Gaunt took for a great injury. The learned men of Gaunt, to whom the complaints came, were right sore displeased and wist not well what to say. Great murmuring was in the town, and the



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