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Page 147 (Chronicles of Froissart)

page 147

for they thought it not ;1 the which greatly annoyed the Frenchmen, because it was evil mounting of that hill and also the sun was very hot: the biggest of them were faint,2 for they were fasting, and they had neither wine nor victual with them that did them any good, without it were certain lords that had little flagons of wine, the which were anon empty; nor they made that morning no provision for victual, for they had thought to have fought with their enemies the same morning, but they did not ; but they escried as near as they might the Navarrois and Englishmen,3 and so the day was far gone or they could be assembled together. And when the lords of France saw the behaving of the Navarrois, then they drew them together in manner of council, to determine whether they should go and fight with their enemies or not: so they were of divers opinions: some would go fight with them, saying it should be great blame to them to do otherwise, some that were sad and well avised argued to the contrary and said: ` If we go and fight with them whereas they be in the avantage, it shall be to our great peril, for of five of us they will have three.' So finally they would not agree to go to them, for dangers that might fall. And the Navarrois advised well their manner and said among themselves: 'Behold yonder our enemies: they will come anon to fight with us, by seeming they make them ready thereto.' There were certain knights and squires, Normans, prisoners with the Navarrois, and they were let go on their faiths, and they went privily into the French host and said to the lords there: `Sirs, avise you well, for an ye let this day pass without battle, your enemies will be tomorrow greatly recomforted, for it is said among them that the lord Louis of Navarre should come to them with a four hundred spears.' So thesewords inclined them greatly to fight with their enemies, howsoever they did ; and so made them ready to have set forward : and at that point they were a three or four times, but ever the wise men held them back and said: `Sirs, let us abide a little space and see what they will

1 `For they had no design or will to do so.'

2 'Therefore the strongest of them feared it' (le ressongnoient).

3 'For the N. and E. put it off as long as they could.'

do, for their hearts are so great and presumptuous that they would as gladly fight with us as we with them.' There were many overcome with heat.of the sun, for it was then about noon and they had fasted all the day and were armed and sore chafed, and said among them, ` If we go up this hill to fight with them, we are all likely to be lost; therefore let us draw as for this day to our lodging, and to-morrow let us take other counsel.' Thus they were in divers opinions. When the lords and knights of France saw the governing of the Englishmen and of the Navarrois, and how that they would not depart out of the hold that they were in and that it was high noon of the day, and also had heard the words that the prisoners that came from them had said, and also saw the most part of their people sore travailed with the beat of the sun, the which was to them right displeasant, then by the advice of sir Bertram of Guesclin they took other counsel : for he said : `Sirs, we see well that our enemies desireth sore to fight with us; howbeit they will not descend out of their hold, without it be by the means that I shall shew you. Let us make semblant to withdraw back and not to fight as this day, and also our people are sore travailed with heat, and let us send our varlets, our carriage and our spare horses over the bridge and water, and let us withdraw back to our lodging, and in our going back let us be ready to turn again, if need be, and let us see what they will do. If they be willing to fight with us, they will descend down the hill to chase us, and if we see that they do so, then let us be ready to turn again on them, and then we shall deal with them the more easily.' This counsel was accepted of all the company: then every lord drew him under his own standard, and then they caused t

Page 147 (Chronicles of Froissart)