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Page 137 (Chronicles of Froissart)

page 137

unhappy people ; and in the city of Meaux was the duchess of Normandy and the duchess of Orleans and a three hundred other ladies and damosels and the duke of Orleans also. Then the two said knights agreed to go and see these ladies and to comfort them to their powers : howbeit the captal was English, but as then it was truce between the two kings: they had in their company a threescore spears. And when they were come to Meaux in Brie, they were welcome to the ladies and damosels there : and when those of the Jaquery understood that there was at Meaux such a number of ladies, young damosels and noble children, then they assembled together and with them they of Valois, and so came to Meaux. And also certain of Paris that heard thereof went to them, so that they were in all a nine thousand and daily more resorted to them : so they came to the gates of the town of Meaux and the people of the town opened the gates and suffered them to enter, so that all the streets were full of them to the market-place, whereas these noble ladies were lodged in a strong place closed about with the river of Marne : there came such a number against them that the ladies were sore affrayed. Then these two knights and their company came to the gate of the market-place and issued out and set on those villains, who were but evil armed, the earl of Foix's banner and the duke of Orleans', and the captal's pennon. And when these villains saw these men of war well apparelled issued out to defend the place, the foremost of them began to recule back, and the gentlemen pursued them with their spears and swords : and when they felt the great strokes, they reculed all at once and fell for haste each on other. ; company. Finally, they saw well that it Then all the noblemen issued out of the were better for them to save their lives, barriers and anon won the place, and goods and friends, rather than to be entered in among their enemies and beat destroyed, and that it were better for them them down by heaps and slew them like to slay than to be slain. Then secretly beasts and chased them all out of the town, they treated with the Englishmen, such as and slew so many that they were weary, made war against Paris ; and they agreed and made many of them by heaps to fly between them that the provost and his sect into the river. Briefly, that clay they should be at the gate Saint-Honore and at slew of them more than seven thousand, the gate Saint-Antoine at the hour of mid night and to let in the Englishmen and Navarrois provided ready to overrun the city and to destroy and rob it clean, except such houses as had certain signs limited and none had scaped, if they would a followed the chase any farther. And when these men of arms returned again to the town, they set fire thereon and brent it clean and all the villains of the town that they could close therein, because they took part with the Jaquery. After this discomfiture thus done at Meaux they never assembled again together after ; for the young Enguerrand lord of Coucy had about him certain men of war, and they ever slew them as they might meet with them without any mercy.


SUMMARY.-Paris, which held to the party of the king of Navarre, was besieged by the duke of Normandy, who made a private treaty with the king of Navarre by which Etienne Marcel, provost of the merchants, and twelve other burgesses should be given up to the duke of Normandy. A body of citizens was surprised and defeated by a company of English and Navarrois, and the provost and his party were much blamed for it.


Of the death of the provost of the merchants of Paris.

THE provost and his sect had among themselves divers counsels secretly, to know how they should maintain themselves; for they could find by no means any mercy in the duke of Normandy, for he sent word generally to all the commons of Paris that he would keep with them no longer peace, without he had delivered into his hands twelve of Paris, such as he would choose, to do with them his pleasure: the which thing greatly

Page 137 (Chronicles of Froissart)