« ZurückWeiter »
the capture also of Sir Bertrand, their redoubted champion, proved a great corrosive to the minds of those who had gloried in his might, and set his warlike actions in competition with those of his Conqueror.
Don Pedro being thus re-established on his throne, the Prince of Wales put him in mind of the conditions on which he had engaged in his cause, entreating him to fulfil them that he might return to Guienne. The Spanish King excused himself for the present by pleading his inability, but promised to take a progress through his kingdom for the purpose of raising contributions, with which he would repay every obligation to his auxiliaries. The Prince was obliged to be satisfied with this evasion, and waited at Valladolid upwards of fix weeks with a tolerable degree of patience for Don Pedro's promised return: at the end of that time he sent three Knights to Seville, where he heard the Spanish King then was, to know the reason why he had
not kept his appointment. They received no greater satisfaction ; for the King now imputing his delay to the frequent plunders of the Companions, which put it out of the power of his subjects to assist him as he expected, desired the Prince to withdraw the whole of his troops from his dominions, only leaving behind him proper persons to receive the stipulated sums when he should be able to pay them. This at once convinced the Prince that he had nothing to expect from him; and he found he had toở much reason to repent the associating himself with a man like Don Pedro, abandoned to all sense of virtue and honour : he saw that these refusals proceeded rather from a want of principle than of ability, and was tempted sometimes to make use of force to recover the sums which were thus unjustly withheld from him ; but finding his army daily diminishing by fáckness, and his own *
. . health
* Some Authors impute the Prince's illness to charms and incantations; others to the unwholesome air of Spain,
health greatly impaired by the climate, he was obliged to be content with these assure ances, and to return into Guienne.
At Bourdeaux he was received in triumph ; he there met the Princess and his Son Edward, now about three years of age: the Princess's joy was greatly damped by the visible alteration in her much-loved Edward's health ; nor could the increase of his glory compensate for the baneful consequences with which it was attended : whilft she welcomed his return with inexpressible rapture, the pallid hué which had supplanted the glow of health that was wont to inspire cheerfulness, and to excite her love, in an instant threw a gloom over her beauteous countenance, and checked
or to some lingering poison : the latter supposition is not improbable, and it may have been administered to him by order of the man on whom he had conferred undeserved favours, but who, instigated by ingratitude and his natural cruelty, took this method to acquit himself of them. . S
every rising transport. From that hour' her tender apprehensions were awakened, and she anticipated that fatal event which flowly crept on, and at length overwhelmed not only his amiable Confort, but the whole English nation with anguish and despair. .
Soon after his arrival the Prince difbanded his army, and declaring his obligations to the Chiefs for their cheerful and efficacious assistances, promised, as soon as he could raise the necessary supplies, to pay them for their services, even though Don Pedro should not fulfil his engagements : “ For my own part,” continued this generous Prince, “ Honour shall be my only .6 reward.” The troops, satisfied of the punctuality of their beloved General who bad never forfeited his word to them, retired without murmuring; and he assigned quarters to the Companions till they should receive the stipulated pay.
According According to the established custom, he soon allowed such of the French and Spanish Knights as could procure sufficient ransom to return to their homes : but Sir Bere trand du Guesclin, the French champion, who had feated Don Henry on the throne of Castile, remained a prisoner with the Prince some time, till an accidental circumstance procured him that liberty, which neither the offer of a considerable ransom nor the solicitations of his friends were able to obtain. The Prince, who treated all his prisoners with great affability, conversing one day with this General said, “ How “ does your spirit brook this confinement, * Sir Bertand?” “Very well, Sir," returned the Knight; “ how can I be diffa“ tisfied, since I am in the hands of the “ most generous Prince living, and made " prisoner by the most renowned Knight in “ the world ?” “ Lord John Chandos is • indeed so," answered the Prince; " but “ though it is no dishonour to be conquered “ by a gallant man, what comfort have S 2