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bravery and conduct in the wars, but was utterly c H A P. destitute of every principle of honor and fidelity. XV. This man agreed to deliver up Calais for the sum of 20,000 crowns; and Geoffrey de Charni, who commanded the French forces in those quarters and who knew, that, if he succeeded in this service, he should not be disavowed, ventured, without consulting his master, to conclude the bargain with him. Edward, informed of this treachery, by means of Aimery's fecretary , summoned the governor to London on other pretences; and having charged him with the guilt, promised him his life, but on condition that he would turn the contrivance to the destruction of the enemy. The Italian easily agreed to this double treachery. A day was appointed for the admission of the French; and Edward, having prepared a force of about a thousand men, under Sir Walter Manny, secretly departed from London, carrying with him the prince of Wales ; and without being suspected , arrived the evening before at Calais. He made a proper disposition for the reception of the enemy; and kept all his forces and the garrison under arms. On the appearance of Charni, a chosen band of French soldiers was admitted at the postern, and Aimery, receiving the stipulated fum , promised, that, with their assistance, he would immediately open the great gate to the troops, who were waiting with impatience for the fulfilling of his engage.

1349. ment. All the French who entered were im- ist Jan. mediately slain or taken prisoners: The great gate

XV.

1349

CHA P. opened: Edward rushed forth with cries of battle

and of victory: The French , though astonished at the event, behaved with valor : A fierce and bloody engagement ensued. As the morning broke, the king, who was not distinguished by his arms, and who fought as a private man under the standard of Sir Walter Manny , remarked a French gentleman, called Eustace.de Ribaumont, who exerted himself with fingular vigor and bravery; and he was seized with a desire of trying a single combat with him. He stepped forth from his troop, and challenging Ribaumont by name, (for he was known to him ) began a sharp and dangerous encounter. He was twice beaten to the ground by the valor of the Frenchman: He twice recovered himself. Blows were redoubled with equal force on both sides : The victory was long undecided : Till Ribaumont, perceiving himself to be left almost alone, called out to his antagonist, Sir knight, I yield myself your prisoner; and at the same time delivered his sword to the king. Most of the French, being overpowered by numbers, and intercepted in their retreat, lost either their lives or their liberty ".

The French officers, who had fallen into the hands of the English, were conducted into Calais; where Edward discovered to them the antagonist with whom they had had the honor to be engaged, and treated them with great regard and courtesy. They were admitted to fup with the

*** Froissard, liv. 1. chap. 140, 141, 14%.

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prince of Wales, and the English nobility; and c
after supper, the king himself came into the
apartment, and went about, conversing familiarly
with one or other of his prisoners. He even
addressed himself to Charni, and avoided reproach-
ing him, in too severe terms, with the treacherous
attempt, which he had made upon Calais during
the truce: But he openly bestowed the highest
encomiums on Ribaumont ; called him the most
valorous knight that he had ever been acquainted
with; and confessed, that he himself had at no
time been in so great danger as when engaged
in combat with him. He then took a string of
pearls, which he wore about his own head, and
throwing it over the head of Ribaumont, he said
to him, « Sir Eustace, I bestow this present
" upon you, as a testimony of my esteem for
« your bravery: And I desire you to wear it a
“ year for my fake: I know you to be gay and
« amorous; and to take delight in the company
“ of ladies and damsels: Let them all know from
" what hand you had the present: You are no
« longer a prisoner; I acquit you of your ransom;
K and you are at liberty to-morrow to dispose
« of yourself as you think proper.'

NOTHING proves more evidently the vast superiority assumed by the nobility and gentry above all the other orders of men during those ages, than the extreme difference which Edward made in his treatment of these French knights, and that of the fix citizens of Calais, who had exerted more lignal bravery in a cause more justifiable and

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Institution of the garter - State of France - Battle of

Poicliers Captivity of the king of France - State of that kingdon Invasion of France -- Peace of Bretigni -- State of France - Expedition into Castile - Rupture with France -- Ill success of the English -- Death of the prince of Wales -- Death, and character of the king Miscellaneous transactions in this reign,

CHA P. I HE prudent conduct and great success of XVI.

Edward in his foreign wars had excited a strong 1349.

emulation and a military genius among the English nobility; and these turbulent barons, overawed by the crown, gave now a more useful direction to their ambition, and attached them.

selves to a prince who led them to the acquisition Inftitution

of riches and of glory. That he might farther of the gar. promote the spirit of emulation and obedience , ter.

the king instituted the order of the garter, in imitation of some orders of a like nature, religious as well as military, which had been established in different parts of Europe. The number received into this order consisted of twenty-five persons, besides the sovereign; and as it has never been enlarged, this badge of distinction continues as

honorable as at its first institution, and is still a CHA Ľ, valuable, though a cheap , present, which the XVI. prince can confer on his greatest subjects. A vulgar 134% story prevails, but is not supported by any ancient authority, that, at a court-ball, Edward's mistress, commonly supposed to be the countess of Salisbury, dropped her garter; and the king, taking it up; observed some of the courtiers to smile, as if they thought that he had not obtained this favor merely by accident: Upon which he called out, Honni soit qui mal y pense, Evil to him that evil thinks ; and as every incident of gallantry among those ancient warriors was magnified into a matter of great importance ', he instituted the order of the garter in memorial of this event, and gave these words as the motto of the order. This origin, though frivolous, is not unsuitable to the manners of the times; and it is indeed difficult by any other means to account, either for the seemingly unmeaning terms of the motto, or for the peculiar badge of the garter, which seems to have no reference to any purpose either of military use or ornament.

But a sudden damp was thrown over this festivity and triumph of the court of England, by a destructive pestilence, which invaded that kingdom as well as the rest of Europe; and is computed to have swept away near a third of the inhabitants in every country, which it attacked. It was probably more fatal in great cities than in

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