« ZurückWeiter »
of their deceased mother; but though detained for a considerable time as state-prisoners in Paris, they were affectionately and honourably treated by the court of France. Their liberation was finally obtained through the mediation of the king of Castile, whose sister, the bride of young Charles of Navarre, with unceasing tears and supplications wrought upon him to intercede for their release. Thus did Joanna of Navarre owe her deliverance to the prince to whom she had been betrothed. In the year 1386, a marriage was negotiated between Joanna and John de Montfort, duke of Bretagne, surnamed ‘the Valiant.” This prince, who was in the decline of life, had already been twice married." On the death of his last duchess without surviving issue, the dukes of Berri and Burgundy, fearing the duke would contract another English alliance, proposed their niece, Joanna of Navarre, to him for a wife.” The lady Jane of Navarre, Joanna's aunt, had married, seven years previously, the viscount de Rohan, a vassal and kinsman of the duke of Bretagne, and it was through the agency of this lady that the marriage between her new sovereign and her youthful niece was brought about.” That this political union was, notwithstanding the disparity of years and the violent temper of the duke, agreeable to the bride, there is full evidence in the grateful remembrance which Joanna retained of the good offices of her aunt on this occasion," long after the nuptial tie between her and her mature lord had been dissolved by death, and she had entered into matrimonial engagements with Henry IV. of England. The duke of Bretagne having been induced, by the representations of the lady of Rohan and the nobles attached to the cause of France, to lend a favourable ear to the overtures for this alliance, demanded Joanna's hand of her father, and gave commission to Pierre de Lesnerac to man and appoint a vessel of war to convey the young princess to the shores of Bretagne. Pierre * First to Mary Plantagenet, the daughter of his royal patron and protector, Edward III., with whose sons he had been educated and taught the science of war. Mary dying without children in the third year of her marriage, he espoused, secondly, Jane Holland, the half-sister of Richard II. of England.
* Dom Morice, Chron. de Bretagne. * Ibid. * Rymer's Foedera.
embarked on the 12th of June, 1386. There is in Preuves Historiques a memorial of the expenses of Pierre de Lesnerac for this voyage, specifying that he stocked the vessels with the provisions required for the royal bride and her train. The contract of marriage between the duke of Bretagne and Joanna was signed at Pampeluna, August 25th, 1386. The king of Navarre engaged to give his daughter 120,000 livres of gold of the coins of the kings of France, and 6000 livres of the rents due to him on the lands of the viscount d'Avranches.' The duke, on his side, assigned to the princess, for her dower, the cities of Nantes and Guerrand, the barony of Rais, of Chatellenic de Touffon, and Guerche. Joanna then departed with Pierre de Lesnerac and her escort for Bretagne, and, on the 11th of September, 1386, was married to the duke of Bretagne at Saillé, near Guerrand, in the presence of the nobles of his court.” A succession of feasts and pageants of the most splendid description were given by the duke of Bretagne at Nantes, in honour of his nuptials with his young bride.” In the beginning of the new year, February 1387, “in token of their mutual affection and delight in their union, the duke and duchess exchanged gifts of gold, sapphires, pearls, and other costly gems, with horses, falcons, and various sorts of wines." Joanna appears to have possessed the greatest influence over her husband's heart, and to have been treated by him with the fondest consideration on all occasions, although her father never paid the portion he had engaged to give her. The death of that prince, which took place the same year, was attended with circumstances of peculiar horror. He had long been suffering from a complication of maladies, and in the hope of recovering his paralytic limbs from their mortal chillness, he caused his whole person to be sewn up in cloths dipped in spirits of wine and sulphur. One night, after these bandages had been fixed, neither knife nor scissors being at hand, the careless attendants applied the flame of the candle to
"Dom Morice, Chron. de Bretagne. * Dom Morice. Preuves Historiques. * Froissart. * Dom Morice, Chron. de Bretagne.
sever the thread with which the linen had been sewn; the spirits of wine instantly ignited, and the wretched Charles was burned so dreadfully, that, after lingering several days, he expired" January 1st, 1387, leaving his throne to his gallant patriotic son, Charles the Good, and his name to the general reprobation of all French chroniclers. The Bretons, who had boded no good either to themselves or to their duke from his connexion with this prince, far from sympathizing with the grief of their young duchess for the tragical death of her last surviving parent, rejoiced in the deliverance of the earth from a monster whose crimes had rendered him a disgrace to royalty.” The last bad act of the life of Charles le Mauvais had been, to insinuate to his irascible son-in-law that Oliver de Clisson entertained a criminal passion for Joanna;" and this idea excited in his mind a thirst for vengeance, which nearly involved him, and all connected with him, in ruin. In early life, John the Valiant and Clisson had been united in the tenderest ties of friendship, and the courage and military skill of Clisson had greatly contributed to the establishment of this prince's claims to the dukedom of Bretagne. Latterly, however, Clisson had opposed the duke's political predilections in favour of England, as injurious to their own country; and he had further caused great offence to the duke by ransoming, at his own expense, John count de Penthièvres, the rival claimant of the duchy, from his long captivity in England, and marrying him to his eldest daughter and co-heiress, Margaret de Clisson, just at the time when there appeared a prospect of the duchess Joanna bringing an heir to Bretagne.' Clisson was the commander of the armament preparing by France for the invasion of England, which was to sail from Treguer, in Bretagne, the king and regents of France imagining they had wholly secured the friendship of the duke by his marriage with their young kinswoman, Joanna of Navarre. Their plans were completely frustrated by the unexpected * Froissart. * Nouveau Dictionnaire Historique. Dom Morice, Chron. de Bretagne. * MS. Process against the king of Navarre, quoted by Guthrie. Guthrie calls
Joanna, by mistake, Mary.
arrest of Clisson by the duke, of which Froissart gives the following lively account; attributing, however, to political motives a proceeding which appears to have been dictated by furious jealousy. Dissembling the deadly malice of his intentions under the deceitful blandishments with which the fell designs of hatred are so frequently masked, he wrote the most affectionate letters to the constable, requesting his presence, as a vassal peer of Bretagne, at a parliament which he had summoned to meet at Wannes, where his duchess was then holding her court at the castle De la Motte.” Suspecting no ill, the constable came with other nobles and knights to attend this parliament. The duke gave a grand dinner to the barons of Bretagne at his castle De la Motte, and entertained them with an appearance of the most affectionate hospitality till a late hour. The constable of France” then invited the duke and the same company to dine with him on the following day. The duke accepted the invitation very frankly, and behaved in the most friendly manner, seating himself among the guests, with whom he ate, drank, and conversed with every appearance of good-will. When the repast was concluded, he invited the constable Clisson, the lord de Beaumanoir, and some others, to come with him and see the improvements made by him at his fine castle of Ermine, which he had nearly rebuilt and greatly beautified on the occasion of his late marriage with the princess of Navarre. The duke's behaviour had been so gracious and winning, that his invitation was frankly accepted, and the unsuspecting nobles accompanied him on horseback to the castle. When they arrived, the duke, the constable, and the lords Laval and Beaumanoir dismounted, and began to view the apartments. The duke led the constable by the hand from chamber to chamber, and even into the cellars, where wine was offered. When they reached the entrance of the keep, the duke paused, and invited Clisson to enter and examine the construction of the building, while he remained in conversation with the lord de Laval." The constable entered the tower alone, and ascended the staircase. When he had passed the first floor, some armed men, who had been ambushed there, shut the door below, seized him, dragged him into an apartment, and loaded him with three pair of fetters. As they were putting them on, they said, “My lord, forgive what we are doing, for we are compelled to this by the authority of the duke of Bretagne.” When the lord de Laval, who was at the entrance of the tower, heard the door shut with violence, he was afraid of some plot against his brother-in-law, the constable; and turning to the duke, who looked as pale as death, was confirmed that something wrong was intended, and cried out, “Ah, my lords for God’s sake, what are they doing? Do not use any violence against the constable.”—“Lord de Laval,” said the duke, “mount your horse, and go home while you may. I know very well what I am about.”—“My lord,” said Laval, “I will never depart without my brother-in-law, the constable.” Then came the lord de Beaumanoir, whom the duke greatly hated, and asked, “Where the constable was?” The duke, drawing his dagger, advanced to him and said, “Beaumanoir, dost thou wish to be like thy master?”—“My lord,” replied Beaumanoir, “I cannot believe my master to be otherwise than in good plight.”—“I ask thee again, if thou wouldst wish to be like him?” reiterated the duke.—“Yes, my lord,” replied Beaumanoir. “Well, then, Beaumanoir,” said the duke, holding the dagger towards him by the point, “since thou wouldst be like him, thou must thrust out one of thine eyes.” This taunt on the personal defect of the constable came with a worse grace from the ungrateful duke, since Clisson had lost his eye while fighting bravely in his cause at the battle of Auray. The lord de Beaumanoir, seeing from the expression of the duke's countenance that things were taking a bad turn, cast himself on his knee, and began to expostulate with him on the treachery of his conduct towards the constable and himself. “Go, go!” interrupted the duke; “thou shalt have neither better nor worse than he.” He then ordered Beaumanoir to be arrested,” dragged into another room, and * Froissart. * Ibid. * Ibid.
'Froissart. Chron. de Bretagne. * Froissart. * Ibid. * Ibid.