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prompted by his feelings of jealousy for the superiority in ability and station of the Constable. Alençon, though fiery in the field when his blood was up, was but feeble in character, easily prejudiced and led by those who were authoritative and decisive, for good or evil. The head of the plot, in its origin, was La Trémoille, who, having regained his liberty, fancied this affair would lead to his also regaining power, if the Constable could but be got rid of or disgraced. To add to Charles troubles, a number of the discontented noblesse of Poitiers joined the rebel movement, which began to wear a most threatening aspect. “Take the field, sire,' said Richmond to his royal master. * Remember the fate of Richard 11. of England. Do not suffer yourself to be shut up either in town or castle ; lead your men-at-arms, and crush at once this rebellious movement before it becomes formidable in the land.'i
Charles followed the advice of his Constable. Neither the Dauphin nor his companions expected vigour such as this. To give in detail all particulars would fill many pages; but let us briefly say that the insurrectionary spirit was most effectually quelled, the leaders made prisoners, and the Dauphin sharply reproved. The nobles, such as Bourbon, Alençon, and Dunois, were glad enough to be allowed to make their submission, and Charles was wise in pardoning them; for thus, freed from the apprehension of a civil strife that would have been of most serious consequence in the present state of his kingdom, he continued
· Mémoires de Richemont; Monstrelet.
THE DAUPHIN TROUBLESOME.
to reform many of those abuses which had so injuriously crept into it.
But his Council considered that it would be well, in order if possible to satisfy the restless and dangerous ambition of Louis, to give him some employment, and recommended Charles to bestow on his troublesome son the principality of Dauphiny. Charles did so under certain restrictions, which that son soon ceased to observe, and ruled and tyrannized like an independent Prince. The conduct of Louis was the more unpardonable, as he possessed abilities which, turned to a good account, would have benefited both himself and the realm he had in prospect. The following instance of his spirit in the field (though we are anticipating in point of date its occurrence) will show that Louis was apt for war, and desirous to be engaged in it.
We have already mentioned a set of soldiers, called the Skinners, which Richmond was determined, if possible, to reclaim or extirpate. In the hope to lessen their barbarities, he had induced them to accept service and pay as regular troops. The Dauphin wished for the command of these ruffians, and it was given to him. Always restless, he immediately offered to assist the Emperor against the revolted Swiss. His services were accepted ; and soon after, a furious battle, in which Louis showed no want of courage or skill as a general, was fought at St. Jacques, near Basle, where sixteen hundred Swiss attacked the army of the Dauphin numbering several thousand men. The brave mountaineers displayed the spirit of a desperate heroism : they would neither give nor receive quarter. It is recorded that every Swiss perished in the battle, or lay mortally wounded at its close. The French lost eight thousand men; and these being for the greater part the bands of the marauding Skinners, their loss was considered the greatest possible gain to the country. So likewise was an act of justice which occurred when Charles marched with his troops towards Champagne, and which did great service to his cause.
There was one Alexander de Bourbon, bastard brother of the Duke, who from his monstrous crimes had become the horror of the people. He had been the intimate associate of the Dauphin, and did much to corrupt and lead him into debauchery, discontent, and rebellion. This wretch had lately barbarously used and murdered a poor young woman. It was deemed necessary to make him an example of the King's justice. He was accordingly seized, and Richmond obtained an order from Charles to hand him over to Tristan L'Hermite. That particular friend of Louis made very short work with him. He tied him up in a sack and threw him into the river Aube. The punishment of this man had the most salutary effect: it showed that no rank was safe from the laws in doing evil.
About this period of the reign of Charles an incident occurred so characteristic of the age, and so remarkable, that it must not be passed unnoticed.
The ancient Castle of Nantes-Remarkable Trial in the Great Hall
there, 1440—the Duke of Brittany—the Grand Inquisitor-the Ceremony—De Retz accused of Sorcery— Circumstances of the Crime—his Sentence and Execution—Dissensions between Beaufort and Gloucester-Duchess of the latter accused of Sorceryher Penance—Marriage of Henry VI.— Truce between England and France—Joy of the People—Death of the Wife of LouisRichmond — Dunois—Alençon—their Conquests in NormandyRouen holds out—at last surrenders—Talbot and others Prisoners – Terms between the English and the victorious French.
N the ancient city of Nantes in Brittany, stood
what, at the time of which we write, might almost have been called a modern structure,
and what in our days may yet be viewed in its strong and venerable remains the Castle of Nantes. It was built in the fourteenth century: a noble pile, defended by round and massive towers. Its arched gateway showed the teeth of its portcullis, ready to fall on whomsoever might dare to pass beneath for a hostile purpose; nor was it wanting in those dungeons and stone cells, the usual accompaniments of feudal power.
It was in the year 1440 that a scene too remarkable ever to be forgotten—and especially recorded by Monstreletpassed within the walls of that stupendous fortress, to which we now propose to conduct the reader.
A lofty and vaulted hall, dim from its extent, and imperfectly lighted by narrow pointed windows placed high overhead, had an appearance of more than usual gloom. At the end stood a richly carved chair cushioned with velvet, and overhung by a canopy. The seats to the right and left were partially filled by the chief nobles of Brittany in their robes of State. In the centre was a table covered with black cloth. Around it were several benches, some vacant, but others already filled by persons in ecclesiastical as well as civil habits. Parchments, papers, inkhorns, etc., were before them; they seemed engaged in examining documents, and spoke in an under-voice to each other. The municipal authorities of Nantes were seated by themselves. Citizens and several women were present. No one spoke, save in low whispers; the hushed silence that reigned around had in it that pause of awe which in a large assembly fills the mind with expectation.
At length there was a stir without; the tread of horses, the clash of arms, were followed by the peal of the trumpet. The heavy doors were thrown back, and Francis, the well-known, severe, and proud Duke of Brittany, entered, richly dressed and jewelled, attended by the chief officers of his Court. All rose, as with a slow and stately step he passed on to the chair beneath the canopy.
The next movement without was again announced by the trumpet, and again the doors were opened to admit