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loaded with fetters, his animosity against him almost equalling his hatred to Clisson. The duke then called to him the sieur Bazvalen, in whom he had the greatest confidence, and ordered him to put the constable to death at midnight, as privately as possible. Bazvalen represented in vain the perilous consequences that would ensue; but the duke said “he had resolved upon it, and would be obeyed.” During the night, however, his passion subsiding, he repented of having given such orders; and at daybreak sent for Bazvalen, and asked if his directions had been obeyed." On being answered in the affirmative, he cried out, “How ! is Clisson dead?”—“Yes, my lord; he was drowned last night, and his body is buried in the garden,” said Bazvalen. “Alas!” replied the duke, “this is a most pitiful good-morrow. Begone, messire Jehan 1 and never let me see you more l’” As soon as Bazvalen had retired, the duke abandoned himself to agonies of remorse; he groaned and cried aloud in his despair, till his squires, valets, and officers of the household flew to his succour, supposing he was suffering intense bodily pain, but no one dared to speak to him, and he refused to receive food. Bazvalen, being informed of his state, returned to him, and said, “My lord, as I know the cause of your misery, I believe I can provide a remedy, since there is a cure for all things.”—“Not for death,” replied the duke. Bazvalen then told him, that foreseeing the consequences and the remorse he would feel if the blind dictates of his passion had been obeyed, he had not executed his commands, and that the constable was still alive. “What! messire Jehan, is he not dead?” exclaimed the duke, and falling on Bazvalen's neck, embraced him in an ecstasy of joy. The lord de Laval then entering, renewed his supplications for the life of his brother-in-law Clisson, reminding the duke, in a very touching manner, of the early friendship that had subsisted between them when they were educated together in the same hotel with the duke of Lancaster, and what good service Clisson had since done him at the battle of Auray; and ended with imploring the duke to name any ransom he pleased for his intended victim." This was touching the right string, for the fury of the duke abated like that of “ancient Pistol’ at the allusion to the crowns, and he demanded 100,000 florins, the strong town of Jugon, and several of the constable's castles, as the conditions of his release. The lord de Laval then obtained an order from the duke for admittance to Clisson, for the gate of the keep was locked, and the keys were in the duke's chamber. Clisson, who was fettered down to the floor in momentary expectation of death, felt his spirits revive at the sight of his faithful brother-inlaw; and extravagant as the terms were which the duke of Bretagne had named, he offered no objection to them, verifying the Satanic aphorism, “that every thing a man hath he will give for his life.” Clisson and Beaumanoir were then released from their fetters, and refreshed with wine and a plentiful repast. It should seem they had been kept on meagre fare m their dungeons in Ermine-castle till the murderous ire of John the Valiant was overcome, partly by the remorseful feelings which had disturbed his mind as soon as he supposed the crime had been perpetrated, and partly by the prospect of so much unexpected plunder as the florins, the castles, and the town which had been guaranteed as the price of his relenting. In four days' time the conditions were performed, on the part of the constable, by the lords de Laval and Beaumanoir. The duke of Bretagne was put into possession of the town of Jugon, the châteaux Broc, Joscelin, and Le Blanc, and the hundred thousand florins were paid into his exchequer; but, like most of the gains of iniquity, these acquisitions were of little ultimate advantage to the duke. The arrest of the constable, though it only lasted for four days, had the effect of averting the threatened invasion from the shores of England; for, as he was the commander-in-chief of the expedition, the officers of the armament, some of whom had joined it reluctantly from the first, allowed their men to disband themselves, and before their general was released from his perilous but brief captivity within the walls of Ermine, the whole force had melted away and dispersed. Clisson carried his complaints to the court of France; and while a general feeling of indignation was excited at the baseness of the duke of Bretagne's conduct on this occasion, there were not wanting those whose invidious feelings towards the innocent duchess led them to glance at her as the prompter of the deed, by recalling to the attention of the enemies of the house of Albret how France had been once before agitated by the assassination of sir Charles d'Espaign, the then constable of France, by her father, the late king of Navarre." Stern remonstrances were addressed to the duke of Bretagne, in the name of his young sovereign, by the regents of France; but so far from making the slightest reparation for the outrages of which he had been guilty, John the Valiant told the bishop of Langres, and the other envoys from the court of France, “that the only thing of which he repented was, that he had not slain the constable when he had him in his power.” This insolent reply was followed by a declaration of war from France. “He expected nothing less,” says Froissart, “but his hatred against Clisson was so great, that it deprived him of the use of his reason.” In fact, the frantic lengths to which this feeling carried him can only be accounted for on the grounds of the jealousy which the incendiary insinuations of the late king of Navarre had excited in his mind. The conduct of the duchess was, however, so prudent and irreproachable, that she appears, from first to last, to have enjoyed the undivided affection and esteem of her lord. During this stormy period she resided with him at the strong castle of De la Motte; but they seldom ventured beyond the walls of Wannes for fear of ambuscades. The duke garrisoned and victualled the principal towns and castles in his dominions, and entered into a strict alliance with the young king of Navarre, Joanna's brother, whom he promised to assist in recovering his Norman dominions, if he would unite with him and the English against the French." *Froissart. * Ibid. * Ibid. Chron. de Bretagne. * Froissart.
* Dom Morice's History of Bretagne. *Ibid. A prisoner could be quietly drowned in his dungeon, by letting in the waters of the moat. WOL. II. E.
In the midst of these troubles Joanna was delivered of her first-born child at the castle of Nantes, a daughter, who was baptized by the bishop of Vannes, and received the name of Joanna." The infant only survived a few months. The grief of the youthful duchess for this bereavement was at length mitigated by a prospect of her bringing an heir to her childless lord's dominions; but the anticipations of this joyful event were clouded by the gloomy aspect of the affairs of Bretagne. The council of the duke strongly urged the necessity of peace with France. Among other arguments, they represented the situation of the duchess, saying, “Your lady is now far advanced in her pregnancy, and you should pay attention that she be not alarmed; and as to her brother, he can give you but little support, for he has enough to do himself.” The duke was much struck on hearing this reasoning, and remained some time leaning over a window that opened into a court. His council were standing behind him. After some musing, he turned round and said, “How can I ever love Oliver de Clisson, when the thing I most repent of in this world is, not putting him to death when I had him in my castle of Ermine?”
The fear of agitating his young consort decided the duke at last to yield an ungracious submission to his suzerain. Accordingly he went to Paris, and performed his long withheld homage to Charles VI., and the feudal service of pouring water into a golden basin, and holding the napkin for the king to wash." All this was done with evident ill-will; but the French monarch and princes overlooked the manner of the duke out of consideration for their kinswoman, the duchess Joanna, who, without taking any very decided part in politics, appears always to have used her influence for the purposes of conciliation. Few princesses could have been placed in a situation of greater difficulty than Joanna, while presiding over a court so torn with contending factions as that of Bretagne, as the consort of a prince old enough to have been her grandfather, and of so violent and irascible a temper that, from the time of their marriage, he was always involving himself and his dominions in some trouble or other. Yet the combative disposition of John the Valiant need scarcely excite our wonder, when we reflect on the history of his early life, and the stormy scenes in which his infancy and childhood were passed. He might have said, with truth, “I was rocked in a buckler, and fed from a blade.” More than once was he brought forth in his nurse's arms, amidst the tumult of battle, to encourage the partisans of his father's title to the dukedom of Bretagne, or placed in his cradle on the ramparts of Hennebon during the memorable defence of that place by his mother, Margaret of Flanders. The violent temper of the duke appears to have been chiefly exercised on men, for though he had three wives, he was tenderly beloved by them all. In person this prince was a model of manly beauty. His portrait by the friar Jean Chaperon, in the church of the Cordeliers at Rennes, painted immediately after the decisive battle of Auray, which established his long-disputed claim to the throne of Bretagne, reminds us of the head of a youthful Apollo, so graceful and exquisitely proportioned are the features. He wears the crown and ermine mantle of Bretagne, with a small ruff, supported by a collar ornamented with gems, and clasped before with a jewel forming the centre of a rose. His favourite dog (perhaps the faithless hound of oracular celebrity, which forsook the luckless Charles de Blois on the eve of the battle of Auray to fawn on him) is represented in the act of licking his shoulder." In the year 1388, Joanna brought an heir to Bretagne, who was baptized Pierre, but the duke afterwards changed his name to John.” This much-desired event was soon followed by the birth of the princess Marie. The duchess, whose children were born in very quick succession, was on the eve of her third confinement, when her lord’s secret treaties with his old friend and brother-in-law, Richard of England, drew from the regents of France very stern remonstrances. An embassy extraordinary, headed by no less a person than the duc de Berri, was sent by the council to complain of his "Froissart. * Dom Morice, Chron. de Bretagne.
* Actes de Bretagne. Dom Morice. MS. Ecclesiastical Chron. of Nantes. * Froissart. *Ibid. Chronicles of Bretagne.