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Pruniaux heard these tidings, who was as then captain of the white hats, without any word speaking to them of the law,' I cannot say whether he spake with the captains of other companions or not, I think rather yea than nay, so he took the most part of the white hats and divers other followers ready enough to do evil, and so departed from Gaunt and came suddenly to Oudenarde. When he entered first there was no watch nor keepers, for they feared no man, and so he and his company entered in at the gate to the number of five thousand and more ; and the next morning he set workmen a-work, carpenters and masons, such as were there ready with him to do his commandment, and so he ceased not till he had beaten down two of the gates and the walls and towers between them and laid them up-se-down in the dikes toward Gaunt. How may they of Gaunt excuse themselves, that thus consented to this deed? For they were at Oudenarde beating down these walls and gates more than a month. If they had sent for these men to have come back again, when they heard of it first, then they might well have been excused: but they did not so; they winked rather with their eyen and suffered it ; till tidings came to the earl, who lay at Lille, how John Pruniaux had by stealth come into Oudenarde and beaten down two of the gates with the walls and towers. Of which tidings the earl was sore displeased, and also he had good cause so to be, and said Ah, these unhappy cursed people, the devil I trow is with them. I shall never be in joy as long as they of Gaunt have any puissance.' Then he sent to Gaunt some of his council, skewing them the great outrage that they had done, and how they were no people to be believed in making any peace, seeing that the peace which the duke of Burgoyne had made to his great labour and pain was now thus broken by them. The mayor and learned men' of Gaunt excused themselves and said that, saving the earl's displeasure, they never thought to break the peace, nor never had will thereto ; for though John Pruniaux had done that outrage of himself, the town of Gaunt will in no wise avow, suffer nor sustain it ; and so 1 ` Les jurez,' equivalent to ' eschevins.' plainly and truly excused themselves, and said moreover how the earl had consented thereto, `for they be issued out of his house such as have done this great outrage, slain and maimed our burgesses, the which is a great inconvenience to the whole body of the town. How say ye, sirs, to this?' quoth they. Then the earl's commissaries replied and said: `Sirs, then I see well ye be revenged.' 'Nay, not so,' quoth they of the town, `for though that John Pruniaux have done thus at Oudenarde, that it is done for any revenging we say not so ; for by the treaty of the peace we may prove and skew, if we list, and that we take record of the duke of Burgoyne, that we might have done with Oudenarde and have brought it into the same point that it is now at ; but at the desire of the duke of Burgoyne we forbare and suffered it undone as at that time.' Then the earl's commissaries said: 'It appeareth well by your words that ye have caused it to be done and that ye cannot excuse yourselves therein. Sith that ye knew that John Pruniaux was gone to Oudenarde with an army of men of war, and by stealth under the shadow of peace bath beaten down the gates and walls thereof, ye should have gone before them and have defended them from doing of any such outrage, till ye had shewed your complaints to the earl. And of the hurting and maiming of your burgesses of Gaunt ye should therein have gone to the duke of Burgoyne, who made the peace, and have shewed him all your complaint : so then ye had amended your matter ; but ye have not done thus. Now sith ye have my lord the earl of Flanders thus displeased, ye send to excuse yourselves. Ye desire peace with your swords in your hands, but I ensure you one clay he will take so cruel vengeance on you, that all the world shall speak thereof.' So the earl's commissaries departed from them of Gaunt and went by Courtray to Lille, and shewed to the earl what they h



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