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Page 246 (Chronicles of Froissart)

page 246

of twelve hundred were at the abbey of Eham and had taken there divers of their companions, they were right sore displeased, and so determined to send the same night their spies, to see where they might find their enemies in the next morning : and as they ordained, so they did. And in the morning the spies brought report how the white hoods were determined to abide there all that day, wherewith these lords and knights were right joyful. Then they armed them, as the lord d'Enghien, the lord of Montigny, the lord of Briffeuil, sir Michael de la Hameide, and more than six hundred knights and squires of Hainault and as many of Flanders, and out of Oudenarde a three hundred spears and more than a thousand cross-bows and other varlets. And when they approached near to them, they sent before sir Oliver of Eham and a hundred spears with him to begin the assault, to the intent to draw out of the abbey Arnold Clerck and to occupy the time while their foot-men and crossbows were come to them. Then sir Daniel and sir Peter of Dixmude and the Hase of Flanders came before the abbey of Eham and cried, ` Flanders with the lion of the bastard.' 1 The Gauntois, who were not ware of the bushment, because it was so early, nor they were not fully ready ; and ere Arnold Clerck could bring his men together in good array, the lord d'Enghien, the lord of Lens, the lord of Briffeuil, the lord of Escornay, the lord of Montigny and their battles entered behind into the town in crying `d'Enghien!' and set on the Gauntois and white hoods so valiantly, that they could not endure, but brake their order; so that there was slain of them, what in the abbey and in the fields, eleven hundred, and they were but twelve hundred in all. And there was Arnold Clerck slain with two pikes as he was flying, and so he was laid up leaning against a hedge. And after this discomfiture the lord d'Enghien and the other knights returned to Oudenarde, and so this deed was reputed a great prowess. And when the earl of Flanders knew these tidings, he was greatly rejoiced and said to the lord d'Enghien how he was his fair godson and should prove a noble valiant man. To say the truth of the lord

1 ` Flandres au lion an bastard!' The Hase bore the lion of Flanders quartered upon his shield.

d'Enghien, in him was all the honour of the county of Flanders, and so while the earl lay at Bruges, he called him not only his cousin but also his fair son. When it was known at Gaunt that Arnold Clerck was dead and his men discomfited, there were many then that were sore abashed and said among themselves ` Our business proveth but evil : little and little our captains and men are slain : we think we have done evil to move this warthus against our own lord, for he doth minish us thus little and little; the evil will and hatred that was between Gilbert Mahew and John Lyon turneth to our great damage : I trow we have too long sustained the opinions of John Lyon and Peter du Bois, they have brought us so deep into this war and into the hatred of the earl our lord, that now we cannot nor know not how to find any remedy to have mercy and peace; yet it were better that twenty or thirty did repent it than all the whole town.' Thus there were divers that said each to other privily ; they durst not speak it generally for doubt of them that were evil ; for they were all of one sect and daily increased in puissance, and in the beginning they were but poor companions without any substance, but then they had gold. and silver enough; for when they needed and complained to their captains, they were well heard and comforted, for then anon some of the rich men of the town should be sent for to them, and when they were come (for fear they durst not refuse so to do), then the captains would say to them : `Sirs, it behoveth that the good town of Gaunt make some shift to pay our soldiers, who aideth and helpeth to defend and to keep our jurisdictions and franchise, and it behoveth that our companions must live.' And so they would ask of every man as they list themselves, and none durst say nay, for an they had, incontinent they should have been slain, and borne in hand how they had been traitors to the good town of Gaunt and loved not the wealth, honour nor profit thereof. Thus the knaves and evil-disposed people were masters in the good town of Gaunt and so continued as long as the war was between them and the earl of Flanders their lord. And to say the very truth, though the rich and noble men of the good town of Gaunt were thus

Page 246 (Chronicles of Froissart)