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Page 249 (Chronicles of Froissart)

page 249

de Wintere and a ten or twelve of the chief aldermen of the crafts;' and there they shewed to Philip d'Arteveld how the good town of Gaunt was in great danger, without they might have a captain and a sovereign, who both without and within might order all manner of people abiding in Gaunt. Wherefore they said they gave all their voices to him and did choose him to be their sovereign captain : for the good renown of his name and for the love of his good father they were better content with him than with any other. Wherefore they desired him affectuously that he would take on him the charge, and they sware unto him faith and truth as to their lord, promising how everybody within the town should be under his obeisance. Philip understood well all their words and requests, and then right sagely he answered and said : ` Sirs, ye require me of a great thing, and I think ye remember not well how the case standeth, when ye would that I should have the governing of the town of Gaunt. Ye say how the love that your predecessors had to my father draweth you to this purpose: but for all the service that my father did, yet at the last he was slain among you ; and so if I should take on me the governing, as ye speak of, and then at last to be slain, then I should have but a small reward.' `Philip,' quoth Peter du Bois, `that is past cannot be recovered. Work by counsel, and ye shall always be so well counselled, that every man shall praise you.' Then said Philip : ` I would be loath to do otherwise.' There he was taken up among them and brought into the market-place, and there they made to him assurance, both mayors, aldermen and masters of every craft in Gaunt. Thus Philip was made chief captain in all Gaunt, and thus at the beginning he was in great grace; for he spake sweetly to every man that had anything to do with him, and dealt so wisely, that every man loved him for part of the revenues that pertained to the earl of Flanders in Gaunt as his heritage he caused them to be distributed to the lord of Herselle, because of gentleness and the more honestly to maintain his estate ; for all that ever he had in Flanders without the town of Gaunt he had lost it clearly.

1 `Des doyens des mestiers.

Now let us leave a little to speak of the business of Flanders, and let us somewhat speak of England and of Portugal.

SUMMARY.-The king of Portugal made war on the newly-crowned king of Castile on behalf of Constance and Isabel, daughters of don Peter, and sent to England for help.

CHAPTER CCCLXXXI How the earl of Cambridge departed out of England to go into Portugal ; and how the commons of England rebelled against the noblemen.

SUMMAR Y.-The earl of Cambridge went to Portugal, while the duke of Lancaster went to treat with the Scots.

THE chapter then continues thus : In the mean season while this treaty was, there fell in England great mischief and rebellion of moving of the common people, by which deed England was at a point to have been lost without recovery. There was never realm nor country in so great adventure as it was in that time, and all because of the ease and riches that the common people were of, which moved them to this rebellion, as sometime they did in France, the which did much hurt, for by such incidents the realm of France bath been greatly grieved. It was a marvellous thing and of poor foundation that this mischief began in England, and to give ensample to all manner of people I will speak thereof as it was done, as I was informed, and of the incidents thereof. There was an usage in England, and yet is in divers countries, that the noblemen bath great franchise over the commons and keepeth them in servage, that is to say, their tenants ought by custom to labour the lords' lands, to gather and bring home their corns, and some to thresh and to fan, and by servage to make their hay and to hew their wood and bring it home. All these things they ought to do by servage, and there be more of these people in England than in any other realm. Thus the noblemen and prelates are served by them, and specially in the county of Kent, Essex, Sussex and Bedford. These unhappy people of these

Page 249 (Chronicles of Froissart)