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CHARLES VI. AND HIS QUEEN.
sums of the public money for her own private uses. Some time before Henry's great victories these sums had been seized by the Constable of France, the Count of Armagnac, compelled by the necessities of the State, with the consent of the Dauphin, then a youth of sixteen, and entirely ruled by the Armagnac faction. Isabella never forgave her son his consent to the transaction, and treated him with a severe and persecuting spirit. If the chroniclers of the time speak truth, he retaliated her resentment by awakening in his father, during an interval of his sanity, a feeling of jealous indignation respecting her conduct towards her favourite gentleman of the household-Bois-Bourbon. The King caused the favourite to be seized at Vincennes, tied up in a leather sack, with a label attached to it, “Let pass the justice of the King,' and thrown into the Seine, where he was drowned-drowning in those days being a common mode of criminal punishment. The Queen he sent a prisoner to Tours. Thence she contrived to open a correspondence with the Duke of Burgundy, who eventually procured her release. When that potentate entered into an alliance with Henry, the betrothed of her daughter Catherine, she joined him heart and soul in the matter of the treaty, which was to preclude her son, the Dauphin, from all hope of succeeding to the throne of his father.
Henry, after his marriage, lost no time in following up the advantages he had gained. He laid siege to many places adverse to his pretensions, and true to their native King and his successor. Sens and Montereau were among these. The former readily yielded, but the latter held out. The governor of the garrison in the castle was a Sir Peter de Guitry, who made a gallant defence. In the course of the action, from 16 to 20 prisoners were taken by the English. The town was at length captured, but the castle would not surrender. This irritated the impatient Henry, for he was in haste to depart for other conquests. He therefore sent his prisoners, under a strong guard, to hold a parley with the governor from the ditches without the walls of the fortress. They fell on their knees, and in piteous accents implored him to yield, as by so doing he would save their lives; and considering the large force the King of England had brought against him, it was impossible he could much longer hold out.
The governor replied, that they must make the best terms they could with their victor, for he was resolute not to surrender. The prisoners knew full well there was nothing to hope from Henry's mercy, and begged therefore to be allowed to speak with their families and friends who were within the castle. This was permitted, and they took leave of each other with tears and bitter lamentations.
When they were brought back to the camp, Henry ordered a gallows to be erected, and had them all hanged within sight of those within the castle. Eight days after it surrendered. Monstrelet, who relates this barbarous
THE SIEGE OF MELUN.
act, makes no other comment upon it than to tell us that the Lord de Guitry was much blamed by both parties for having suffered the luckless prisoners to be put to death, and holding out for so short a time afterwards. Hume, who frequently gives Monstrelet as his authority, passes in silence this cruel circumstance when speaking of the capture of Montereau. Too many of our English writers, dazzled by the halo which the genius of Shakspeare has thrown around Henry V., pass unnoticed the unsparing cruelty which so often marked his victorious course in France.
There was in him, also, a sad want of even decent bearing towards his imbecile father-in-law, that formed a blot in his chivalrous character. When the town of Melun (which Henry had so blockaded that it was impossible it could long hold out) refused to surrender, he caused Charles to be brought before its gates, in order to give the besieged an excuse for yielding at the presence of their sovereign. The snare, however, did not succeed, and the summons was answered with spirit by the citizens. They would, they said, cheerfully throw open their gates to admit Charles, their King, alone ; but they would never yield obedience to a King of England, the ancient enemy of France. Poor Charles was therefore obliged to return to the camp of his son-inlaw (who managed him in all things just as he pleased), and there he remained for some weeks. "Not indeed,'
, says the chronicler,
with his former state and pomp, for in comparison with past times it was a poor sight now to see him.'
Henry continued the siege very actively, conducting the operations in person, whilst Charles remained in his camp. The Court of the King of England was more magnificently attended than at any other period of his reign. His Queen was with him, 'grandly attended by dames and damsels,' who resided in a house which Henry had erected for them near his own tents, and at such a distance from the town that the cannon (for he used artillery in the siege) might not annoy the ladies. Every day, at sunrise and nightfall, eight or ten clarions, and various other instruments, played most melodiously' for an hour before the King of France's tent. Possibly the harmony was intended to soothe the dark spirit that overshadowed him, like another Saul. Melun held out till the Dauphin sent an emissary to inform the governor that he had not forces enough to oppose the King of England and the Duke of Burgundy, who now had combined their troops to carry on the siege, and the town yielded.
Soon after, Henry, in his capacity as Regent, entered Paris in triumph, the childlike monarch riding by his side. The citizens in vast numbers came out to meet them. The houses were hung with rich tapestries, carols were sung in the streets, and the bells rang out a joyous peal. Henry rode on the right hand, Charles on the left; the Dukes of Bedford and Clarence followed. The Duke of | Monstrelet, vol. v. p. 212; Mémoire de Pierre de Jenin, p. 464.
HENRY AND CHARLES IN PARIS.
Burgundy showed his independence by riding with his train on a line with the royal personages, but on the opposite side of the street. The procession of the Paris clergy halted in the square, and presented the holy relics that they bore to be kissed by the sovereigns. On their being first offered to the King of France, he turned to his son-in-law, and bade him kiss them first. But Henry, who knew how to behave courteously in public, putting his hand to his hood, and bowing to King Charles, declined, and would only kiss them after him.
They dismounted at the door of the Church of Notre Dame, made their offerings and thanksgivings (poor Charles for his own towns and people being conquered by an English king), and remounting, proceeded in state, the foreign sovereign to the Palace of the Louvre, and the native one to the Hôtel de St. Pol. The whole city of Paris was given up to festivity; the wine ran in conduits in the streets; the people danced, sang, and lighted bonfires. And all for joy that there was peace between the two kings; for nobody seemed to give a thought to the disinherited Dauphin.
Henry speedily obtained from the Parliament, who dared not stir a finger against the victor of Agincourt, a ratification of the treaty, and again turned his arms against the royalist party which adhered to the Dauphin; that young Prince having declared the treaty of Troyes to be altogether unjustifiable, and appealing to God, to St. Denis,