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A PRINCELY MARRIAGE.
was Isabella, daughter to the King of Portugal.
last union, which took place in the year of which we are now treating, 1430, he determined to celebrate with a magnificence greater than had yet been observed by any prince in Europe. Philip was a man whose natural endowments would have rendered him conspicuous in almost any station of life, but in a prince they made him glorious. He was well educated, deep-thinking, observing, steady in the pursuit of his object, and never leaving to others any affair of moment that he could conduct himself. Far beyond his age in his appreciation of literature and the fine arts, he encouraged both, and under his auspices they made considerable progress. Monstrelet he appointed as his secretary, solely on account of the merit he displayed in his writings. In some degree this was an injury to him as an historian; for in all his chronicles written after his appointment we see the Burgundian leaning. Philip also patronized that truly wonderful painter Van Eyck, and sent him over to Portugal to paint for him the portrait of his bride elect.
In the fine old city of Bruges, Philip was espoused to Isabella. Monstrelet has given some account of the ceremony. He tells us that the principal streets were hung with rich cloths and the finest tapestry of the Netherlands; that the dresses of the great ladies (the Duchesses of Bedford and Cleves were of the number), of their attendants and horses, were very costly, and
that every succeeding day for eight days they appeared in different liveries, and when the Duchess of Cleves entered the town, one hundred and sixty-four trumpets, which sounded very melodiously,' went forth to bid her welcome. The feast was magnificent, with 'representations of Unicorns and other beasts, from whose mouths flowed wines and rose-water, and choice liquors for the entertainment of the guests.' Tilting, music, dancing, pageants, and various other amusements, in which nobles, knights, and esquires of renown distinguished themselves, were continued for nearly a month. And this feast, adds the historical secretary, 'cost the Duke immense sums of money.'1
Philip in everything consulted policy. By spending these 'immense sums' in the great commercial cities of Flanders, he secured to himself the goodwill, and in time of need the purses, of the wealthy citizens. He also knew well how much an organized society on a principle of honour common to all binds men together, and renders them faithful and energetic. He had seen the effects of the Order of the Garter on the English; so in the midst of the splendour and rejoicings of nobles, burgesses, and people, he determined to institute an order which should serve him, as well as the English one had served Edward III.
The Order designed by Burgundy was to be in honour of God and St. Andrew: to consist of the Duke as chief,
1 Monstrelet, vol. vi. p. 327.
THE ORDER OF THE GOLDEN FLEECE. 203
and thirty-one members, each to be without reproach, and a gentleman of four generations, and each to swear on admission to serve faithfully the chief, to reveal to him whatever he knew that might be injurious to their Order, and to maintain that Order with due splendour. On the decease of a member, his heirs were bound to deliver up his insignia to the Duke, that he might bestow it on some other worthy gentleman. Each knight was to wear a collar wrought with the Duke's device, and a golden fleece suspended therefrom in front,'similar,' says Monstrelet, 'to what Jason conquered in olden times, as it is written in the History of Troy, and which no Christian prince had ever before used. The Duke therefore called this the ORDER OF THE GOLDEN FLEECE.'1
To return to Charles. Under the influence of the evil genius his master, he was amusing himself in indolent pleasure at the château of La Trémoille at Sulli, on the Loire, when the news came of the danger that threatened Compiègne from the combined forces of the English and Burgundians. Charles heard it unmoved. But not so Jeanne, who was still at Bourges. Whether she saw the King during his residence at Sulli, or whether she experienced any new marks of the malice of the favourite, we know not. But certain it is, she had felt deeply hurt that notwithstanding her eminent services, Charles had
1 Jean de Troyes, vol. viii. p. 176; Barante, vol. vi. p. 38; Monstrelet, vol. vi. p. 238.
permitted the fanatic friar to bring forward an impudent impostor, and place her in competition with the deliverer of Orleans. Jeanne was humble in all that immediately referred to herself; but of all that referred to her as the emissary of God, she was sensitive and tenacious in an extreme degree. The King was the idol of her enthusiastic loyalty; and the least slight from him, or countenanced by him from any quarter, was almost more than she could bear.
At this period she became distressed, and complained of the restraint laid upon her when so much of France was still suffering from the thraldom of the English and the threats of the Burgundians. What we have now to relate is a portion of Jeanne's history over which hangs a veil of obscurity. Contemporaries have told us the facts, but have thrown no light on the motives.
The King was still at Sulli with his favourite counsellor, and it was said that Jeanne pronounced some plans which they were considering to be unavailing for the recovery of France. If this were so, most likely she thought of the fruitlessness of the fifteen days' truce. But it is vain to conjecture what might have been her motive. What we know for certain is no more than this, that, attended by the faithful John D'Aulon, now her standard-bearer, and a few brave men devoted to her service, one morning in the month of April 1430, she mounted her horse and set off without taking leave of the King, or making known to him her purpose, and went to Lagni-sur-Marne, some persons of that
THE RUFFIAN FRANQUET.
205 town having fought bravely at the attempted assault on Paris. At this time her voices, she said, gave her warnings, but no encouragement: 'Jeanne, you will be taken soon; it must be so. Do not be surprised; bear all patiently. God will be your support.' Before, however, this presage was realized, Jeanne was once more signally victorious. A man named Franquet, who had been guilty of murder and almost every other crime, to save himself from justice joined a party of Anglo-Burgundians, and by his deeds of cruelty and hardihood became the terror of the neighbourhood. Jeanne mounted her horse, and attended by her little band of followers, with some men from Lagni, set off in pursuit of the ruffian. A fierce encounter ensued, in which Franquet was beaten and made prisoner. Jeanne wished to exchange him for a French prisoner in whom she felt interested. But the magistrates of Lagni claimed him as a criminal under the civil law, and his head was struck off. This circumstance not long after was brought as a charge against her, and most unjustly did Monstrelet state that Jeanne ordered his execution.1
The Maid now learned that the Duke of Burgundy was successfully attacking the fortresses around Compiègne, and that with his chief captain, John de Luxembourg, he had fixed his camp before that town on the side of Beauvais. Thither Jeanne hastened, in the hope to assist her distressed countrymen. She was gladly received by Sir William de Flavi, who was still governor, and by the