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them, seeing that five thousand men near famished discomfited forty thousand men at home at their own doors. The captains nor they had no cause to be proud thereof; but they were so proud thereof, that God was displeased with them, and that was well seen or the year' passed, as ye shall hear after in the story, to give ensample to all people. I was informed, and I believe it well, that the Sunday at night the earl of Flanders issued out of the town of Bruges, by what means I cannot say. If any did help him to make his way I cannot tell, but I believe, yes. He issued out afoot all alone in an old simple cloak ; and when he was in the fields, he was joyful, for then he might well say how he had escaped a dangerous passage; and so went forth at adventure and went to a thick bush 1 to see what way he might take, for he knew not well the ways, nor he was not wont to go afoot. And as he stood under a thick bush in the night, he heard by adventure a man speak as he came by, and it was a knight of his, who had married his bastard daughter, and he was called sir Robert Marescal. The earl knew him well by his words, and as he passed by, he said : ' Robert, are ye there?' The knight, who knew the earl well by his speech, said : ' Ah, sir, ye have made me this day to seek in many places for you about Bruges. How are ye got out?' 'Let us go our way,' quoth the earl, 'it is no time to tell our adventures. I pray you let us do so much that I may have a horse, for I am sore weary with going afoot, and I pray you let us take the way to Lille, an ye know it.' 'Yes, sir,' quoth the knight, ' I know it well': and so they went forth all that night, till it was the next morning, or they could get a horse; and yet they could get none, but the first that they found was a mare, the which they took from a poor man in a village. So the earl leapt on her without saddle or panel and at night came to Lille, where the most part of his knights that fled out of the field were come thither, some afoot, some a-horseback, and some were gone into Holland and into Zealand, as sir Guy of Ghistelles ; he arrived at a good port, for he found in Zealand in a town there the earl Guy of Blois, who made him good cheer and de
1 'Into a thicket.'
parted largely with him 1 and willed him to tarry there with him as long as it should please him. Thus they that were desolate were recomforted by the lords that they resorted unto, who had pity on them, as it was reason, for nobleness and gentleness ought to be aided by nobles and gentles.
Of the great riches that the Gauntois found in Bruges, and how all the towns of Flanders yielded them to Gaunt, except Oudenarde.
THE tidings spread abroad into divers countries of the discomfiture of them of Bruges and of the earl their lord, done by the Gauntois, wherewith there were divers people rejoiced and specially commonalties. All the good towns about Gaunt and in the bishopric of Liege were as joyful as though the matter had been their own: in like wise so were they of Rouen and Paris in France, if they durst have spoken it. And when pope Clement heard thereof, he bethought him a little, and said surely this discomfiture was a stroke of God to give ensample to the earl, and that God had sent him that tribulation because he was rebel against his opinions. Also other great lords in France and in other places said how the earl's adversity was not greatly to be complained, for he had well deserved to bear it, for he had been so presumptuous that he loved no lord neighbour, French king nor other, wherefore they complained less his persecutions : howbeit, it is an old saying, He that hath any evil fortune, men will speak the worst thereof.' 2 And specially they of the town of Louvain were greatly rejoiced with the victory of the Gauntois and of the earl's trouble ; for they were but in hard case with the duke of Brabant their lord, who was in purpose to make them war and to beat down their gates, to keep them thereby the rather under. Also it was said in the town of Louvain, tha
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