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A Monk of Fife
by Andrew Lang - 1461 A.D.
Our thanks to Janice Farnsworth for sending this into us


Part 1 out of 6
 
This etext was prepared from the 1896 Longmans Green and Company edition by David Price

A MONK OF FIFE

PREFACE

Norman Leslie of Pitcullo, whose narrative the reader has in his
hands, refers more than once to his unfinished Latin Chronicle.
That work, usually known as "The Book of Pluscarden," has been
edited by Mr. Felix Skene, in the series of "Historians of Scotland"
(vol. vii.). To Mr. Skene's introduction and notes the curious are
referred. Here it may suffice to say that the original MS. of the
Latin Chronicle is lost; that of six known manuscript copies none is
older than 1480; that two of these copies contain a Prologue; and
that the Prologue tells us all that has hitherto been known about
the author.

The date of the lost Latin original is 1461, as the author himself
avers. He also, in his Prologue, states the purpose of his work.
At the bidding of an unnamed Abbot of Dunfermline, who must have
been Richard Bothwell, he is to abbreviate "The Great Chronicle,"
and "bring it up to date," as we now say. He is to recount the
events of his own time, "with certain other miraculous deeds, which
I who write have had cognisance of, seen, and heard, beyond the
bounds of this realm. Also, lastly, concerning a certain marvellous
Maiden, who recovered the kingdom of France out of the hands of the
tyrant, Henry, King of England. The aforesaid Maiden I saw, was
conversant with, and was in her company in her said recovery of
France, and till her life's end I was ever present." After "I was
ever present" the copies add "etc.," perhaps a sign of omission.
The monkish author probably said more about the heroine of his
youth, and this the copyists have chosen to leave out.

The author never fulfilled this promise of telling, in Latin, the
history of the Maid as her career was seen by a Scottish ally and
friend. Nor did he ever explain how a Scot, and a foe of England,
succeeded in being present at the Maiden's martyrdom in Rouen. At
least he never fulfilled his promise, as far as any of the six Latin
MSS. of his Chronicle are concerned. Every one of these MSS.--
doubtless following their incomplete original--breaks off short in
the middle of the second sentence of Chapter xxxii. Book xii. Here
is the brief fragment which that chapter contains:-

"In those days the Lord stirred up the spirit of a certain
marvellous Maiden, born on the borders of France, in the duchy of
Lorraine, and the see of Toul, towards the Imperial territories.
This Maiden her father and mother employed in tending sheep; daily,
too, did she handle the distaff; man's love she knew not; no sin, as
it is said, was found in her, to her innocence the neighbours bore
witness . . . "

Here the Latin narrative of the one man who followed Jeanne d'Arc
through good and evil to her life's end breaks off abruptly. The
author does not give his name; even the name of the Abbot at whose
command he wrote "is left blank, as if it had been erased in the
original" (Mr. Felix Skene, "Liber Pluscardensis," in the
"Historians of Scotland," vii. p. 18). It might be guessed that the
original fell into English hands between 1461 and 1489, and that
they blotted out the name of the author, and destroyed a most
valuable record of their conqueror and their victim, Jeanne d'Arc.

Against this theory we have to set the explanation here offered by
Norman Leslie, our author, in the Ratisbon Scots College's French
MS., of which this work is a translation. Leslie never finished his
Latin Chronicle, but he wrote, in French, the narrative which
follows, decorating it with the designs which Mr. Selwyn Image has
carefully copied in black and white.

Possessing this information, we need not examine Mr. W. F. Skene's
learned but unconvincing theory that the author of the fragmentary
Latin work was one Maurice Drummond, out of the Lennox. The
hypothesis is that of Mr. W. F. Skene, and Mr. Felix Skene points
out the difficulties which beset the opinion of his distinguished
kinsman. Our Monk is a man of Fife.

As to the veracity of the following narrative, the translator finds
it minutely corroborated, wherever corroboration could be expected,
in the large mass of documents which fill the five volumes of M.
Quicherat's "Proces de Jeanne d'Arc," in contemporary chronicles,
and in MSS. more recently discovered in French local or national
archives. Thus Charlotte Boucher, Barthelemy Barrette, Noiroufle,
the Scottish painter, and his daughter Elliot, Capdorat, ay, even
Thomas Scott, the King's Messenger, were all real living people,
traces of whose existence, with some of their adventures, survive
faintly in brown old manuscripts. Louis de Coutes, the pretty page
of the Maid, a boy of fourteen, may have been hardly judged by
Norman Leslie, but he certainly abandoned Jeanne d'Arc at her first
failure.

So, after explaining the true position and character of our monkish
author and artist, we leave his book to the judgment which it has
tarried for so long.



CHAPTER I--HOW THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN, AND HOW NORMAN LESLIE FLED OUT
OF FIFE

It is not of my own will, nor for my own glory, that I, Norman
Leslie, sometime of Pitcullo, and in religion called Brother Norman,
of the Order of Benedictines, of Dunfermline, indite this book. But
on my coming out of France, in the year of our Lord One thousand
four hundred and fifty-nine, it was laid on me by my Superior,
Richard, Abbot in Dunfermline, that I should abbreviate the Great
Chronicle of Scotland, and continue the same down to our own time.
{1} He bade me tell, moreover, all that I knew of the glorious Maid
of France, called Jeanne la Pucelle, in whose company I was, from
her beginning even till her end.

Obedient, therefore, to my Superior, I wrote, in this our cell of
Pluscarden, a Latin book containing the histories of times past, but
when I came to tell of matters wherein, as Maro says, "pars magna
fui," I grew weary of such rude, barbarous Latin as alone I am
skilled to indite, for of the manner Ciceronian, as it is now
practised by clerks of Italy, I am not master: my book, therefore,
I left unfinished, breaking off in the middle of a sentence. Yet,
considering the command laid on me, in the end I am come to this
resolve, namely, to write the history of the wars in France, and the
history of the blessed Maid (so far at least as I was an eyewitness
and partaker thereof), in the French language, being the most
commonly understood of all men, and the most delectable. It is not
my intent to tell all the story of the Maid, and all her deeds and
sayings, for the world would scarcely contain the books that should
be written. But what I myself beheld, that I shall relate,
especially concerning certain accidents not known to the general, by
reason of which ignorance the whole truth can scarce be understood.
For, if Heaven visibly sided with France and the Maid, no less did
Hell most manifestly take part with our old enemy of England. And
often in this life, if we look not the more closely, and with the
eyes of faith, Sathanas shall seem to have the upper hand in the
battle, with whose very imp and minion I myself was conversant, to
my sorrow, as shall be shown.

First, concerning myself I must say some few words, to the end that
what follows may be the more readily understood.

I was born in the kingdom of Fife, being, by some five years, the
younger of two sons of Archibald Leslie, of Pitcullo, near St.
Andrews, a cadet of the great House of Rothes. My mother was an
Englishwoman of the Debatable Land, a Storey of Netherby, and of me,
in our country speech, it used to be said that I was "a mother's
bairn." For I had ever my greatest joy in her, whom I lost ere I
was sixteen years of age, and she in me: not that she favoured me
unduly, for she was very just, but that, within ourselves, we each
knew who was nearest to her heart. She was, indeed, a saintly
woman, yet of a merry wit, and she had great pleasure in reading of
books, and in romances. Being always, when I might, in her company,
I became a clerk insensibly, and without labour I could early read
and write, wherefore my father was minded to bring me up for a
churchman. For this cause, I was some deal despised by others of my
age, and, yet more, because from my mother I had caught the Southron
trick of the tongue. They called me "English Norman," and many a
battle I have fought on that quarrel, for I am as true a Scot as
any, and I hated the English (my own mother's people though they
were) for taking and holding captive our King, James I. of worthy
memory. My fancy, like that of most boys, was all for the wars, and
full of dreams concerning knights and ladies, dragons and
enchanters, about which the other lads were fain enough to hear me
tell what I had read in romances, though they mocked at me for
reading. Yet they oft came ill speed with their jests, for my
brother had taught me to use my hands: and to hold a sword I was
instructed by our smith, who had been prentice to Harry Gow, the
Burn-the-Wind of Perth, and the best man at his weapon in broad
Scotland. From him I got many a trick of fence that served my turn
later.

But now the evil time came when my dear mother sickened and died,
leaving to me her memory and her great chain of gold. A bitter
sorrow is her death to me still; but anon my father took to him
another wife of the Bethunes of Blebo. I blame myself, rather than
this lady, that we dwelt not happily in the same house. My father
therefore, still minded to make me a churchman, sent me to Robert of
Montrose's new college that stands in the South Street of St.
Andrews, a city not far from our house of Pitcullo. But there, like
a wayward boy, I took more pleasure in the battles of the "nations"-
-as of Fife against Galloway and the Lennox; or in games of catch-
pull, football, wrestling, hurling the bar, archery, and golf--than
in divine learning--as of logic, and Aristotle his analytics.

Yet I loved to be in the scriptorium of the Abbey, and to see the
good Father Peter limning the blessed saints in blue, and red, and
gold, of which art he taught me a little. Often I would help him to
grind his colours, and he instructed me in the laying of them on
paper or vellum, with white of egg, and in fixing and burnishing the
gold, and in drawing flowers, and figures, and strange beasts and
devils, such as we see grinning from the walls of the cathedral. In
the French language, too, he learned me, for he had been taught at
the great University of Paris; and in Avignon had seen the Pope
himself, Benedict XIII., of uncertain memory.

Much I loved to be with Father Peter, whose lessons did not irk me,
but jumped with my own desire to read romances in the French tongue,
whereof there are many. But never could I have dreamed that, in
days to come, this art of painting would win me my bread for a
while, and that a Leslie of Pitcullo should be driven by hunger to
so base and contemned a handiwork, unworthy, when practised for
gain, of my blood.

Yet it would have been well for me to follow even this craft more,
and my sports and pastimes less: Dickon Melville had then escaped a
broken head, and I, perchance, a broken heart. But youth is given
over to vanities that war against the soul, and, among others, to
that wicked game of the Golf, now justly cried down by our laws, {2}
as the mother of cursing and idleness, mischief and wastery, of
which game, as I verily believe, the devil himself is the father.

It chanced, on an October day of the year of grace Fourteen hundred
and twenty-eight, that I was playing myself at this accursed sport
with one Richard Melville, a student of like age with myself. We
were evenly matched, though Dickon was tall and weighty, being great
of growth for his age, whereas I was of but scant inches, slim, and,
as men said, of a girlish countenance. Yet I was well skilled in
the game of the Golf, and have driven a Holland ball the length of
an arrow-flight, there or thereby. But wherefore should my sinful
soul be now in mind of these old vanities, repented of, I trust,
long ago?

As we twain, Dickon and I, were known for fell champions at this
unholy sport, many of the other scholars followed us, laying wagers
on our heads. They were but a wild set of lads, for, as then, there
was not, as now there is, a house appointed for scholars to dwell in
together under authority. We wore coloured clothes, and our hair
long; gold chains, and whingers {3} in our belts, all of which
things are now most righteously forbidden. But I carried no whinger
on the links, as considering that it hampered a man in his play. So
the game went on, now Dickon leading "by a hole," as they say, and
now myself, and great wagers were laid on us.

Now, at the hole that is set high above the Eden, whence you see far
over the country, and the river-mouth, and the shipping, it chanced
that my ball lay between Dickon's and the hole, so that he could in
no manner win past it.

"You laid me that stimy of set purpose," cried Dickon, throwing down
his club in a rage; "and this is the third time you have done it in
this game."

"It is clean against common luck," quoth one of his party, "and the
game and the money laid on it should be ours."

"By the blessed bones of the Apostle," I said, 'no luck is more
common. To-day to me, to-morrow to thee! Lay it of purpose, I
could not if I would."

"You lie!" he shouted in a rage, and gripped to his whinger.

It was ever my father's counsel that I must take the lie from none.
Therefore, as his steel was out, and I carried none, I made no more
ado, and the word of shame had scarce left his lips when I felled
him with the iron club that we use in sand.

"He is dead!" cried they of his party, while the lads of my own
looked askance on me, and had manifestly no mind to be partakers in
my deed.

Now, Melville came of a great house, and, partly in fear of their
feud, partly like one amazed and without any counsel, I ran and
leaped into a boat that chanced to lie convenient on the sand, and
pulled out into the Eden. Thence I saw them raise up Melville, and
bear him towards the town, his friends lifting their hands against
me, with threats and malisons. His legs trailed and his head wagged
like the legs and the head of a dead man, and I was without hope in
the world.

At first it was my thought to row up the river-mouth, land, and make
across the marshes and fields to our house at Pitcullo. But I
bethought me that my father was an austere man, whom I had vexed
beyond bearing with my late wicked follies, into which, since the
death of my mother, I had fallen. And now I was bringing him no
college prize, but a blood-feud, which he was like to find an ill
heritage enough, even without an evil and thankless son. My
stepmother, too, who loved me little, would inflame his anger
against me. Many daughters he had, and of gear and goods no more
than enough. Robin, my elder brother, he had let pass to France,
where he served among the men of John Kirkmichael, Bishop of
Orleans--he that smote the Duke of Clarence in fair fight at Bauge.

Thinking of my father, and of my stepmother's ill welcome, and of
Robin, abroad in the wars against our old enemy of England, it may
be that I fell into a kind of half dream, the boat lulling me by its
movement on the waters. Suddenly I felt a crashing blow on my head.
It was as if the powder used for artillery had exploded in my mouth,
with flash of light and fiery taste, and I knew nothing. Then, how
long after I could not tell, there was water on my face, the blue
sky and the blue tide were spinning round--they spun swiftly, then
slowly, then stood still. There was a fierce pain stounding in my
head, and a voice said -

"That good oar-stroke will learn you to steal boats!"

I knew the voice; it was that of a merchant sailor-man with whom, on
the day before, I had quarrelled in the market-place. Now I was
lying at the bottom of a boat which four seamen, who had rowed up to
me and had broken my head as I meditated, were pulling towards a
merchant-vessel, or carrick, in the Eden-mouth. Her sails were
being set; the boat wherein I lay was towing that into which I had
leaped after striking down Melville. For two of the ship's men,
being on shore, had hailed their fellows in the carrick, and they
had taken vengeance upon me.

"You scholar lads must be taught better than your masters learn
you," said my enemy.

And therewith they carried me on board the vessel, the "St.
Margaret," of Berwick, laden with a cargo of dried salmon from Eden-
mouth. They meant me no kindness, for there was an old feud between
the scholars and the sailors; but it seemed to me, in my
foolishness, that now I was in luck's way. I need not go back, with
blood on my hands, to Pitcullo and my father. I had money in my
pouch, my mother's gold chain about my neck, a ship's deck under my
foot, and the seas before me. It was not hard for me to bargain
with the shipmaster for a passage to Berwick, whence I might put
myself aboard a vessel that traded to Bordeaux for wine from that
country. The sailors I made my friends at no great cost, for indeed
they were the conquerors, and could afford to show clemency, and
hold me to slight ransom as a prisoner of war.

So we lifted anchor, and sailed out of Eden-mouth, none of those on
shore knowing how I was aboard the carrick that slipped by the
bishop's castle, and so under the great towers of the minster and
St. Rule's, forth to the Northern Sea. Despite my broken head--
which put it comfortably into my mind that maybe Dickon's was no
worse--I could have laughed to think how clean I had vanished away
from St. Andrews, as if the fairies had taken me. Now having time
to reason of it quietly, I picked up hope for Dickon's life,
remembering his head to be of the thickest. Then came into my mind
the many romances of chivalry which I had read, wherein the young
squire has to flee his country for a chance blow, as did Messire
Patroclus, in the Romance of Troy, who slew a man in anger over the
game of the chess, and many another knight, in the tales of
Charlemagne and his paladins. For ever it is thus the story opens,
and my story, methought, was beginning to-day like the rest.

Now, not to prove more wearisome than need be, and so vex those who
read this chronicle with much talk about myself, and such accidents
of travel as beset all voyagers, and chiefly in time of war, I found
a trading ship at Berwick, and reached Bordeaux safe, after much
sickness on the sea. And in Bordeaux, with a very sore heart, I
changed the links of my mother's chain that were left to me--all but
four, that still I keep--for money of that country; and so, with a
lighter pack than spirit, I set forth towards Orleans and to my
brother Robin.

On this journey I had good cause to bless Father Peter of the Abbey
for his teaching me the French tongue, that was of more service to
me than all my Latin. Yet my Latin, too, the little I knew, stood
me in good stead at the monasteries, where often I found bed and
board, and no small kindness; I little deeming that, in time to
come, I also should be in religion, an old man and weary, glad to
speak with travellers concerning the news of the world, from which I
am now these ten years retired. Yet I love even better to call back
memories of these days, when I took my part in the fray. If this be
a sin, may God and the Saints forgive me, for if I have fought, it
was in a rightful cause, which Heaven at last has prospered, and in
no private quarrel. And methinks I have one among the Saints to
pray for me, as a friend for a friend not unfaithful. But on this
matter I submit me to the judgment of the Church, as in all
questions of the faith.



CHAPTER II--HOW NORMAN LESLIE MET NOIROUFLE THE CORDELIER, CALLED
BROTHER THOMAS IN RELIGION: AND OF MIRACLES WROUGHT BY BROTHER
THOMAS

The ways were rude and long from Bordeaux town to Orleans, whither I
had set my face, not knowing, when I left my own country, that the
city was beleaguered by the English. For who could guess that lords
and knights of the Christian faith, holding captive the gentle Duke
of Orleans, would besiege his own city?--a thing unheard of among
the very Saracens, and a deed that God punished. Yet the news of
this great villainy, namely, the leaguer of Orleans, then newly
begun, reached my ears on my landing at Bordeaux, and made me
greatly fear that I might never meet my brother Robin alive. And
this my doubt proved but too true, for he soon after this time fell,
with many other Scottish gentlemen and archers, deserted shamefully
by the French and by Charles de Bourbon, Comte de Clermont, at the
Battle of the Herrings. But of this I knew nothing--as, indeed, the
battle was not yet fought--and only pushed on for France, thinking
to take service with the Dauphin against the English. My journey
was through a country ruinous enough, for, though the English were
on the further bank of the Loire, the partisans of the Dauphin had
made a ruin round themselves and their holds, and, not being paid,
they lived upon the country.

The further north I held, by ways broken and ruined with rains and
suns, the more bare and rugged grew the whole land. Once, stopping
hard by a hamlet, I had sat down to munch such food as I carried,
and was sharing my meal with a little brown herd-boy, who told me
that he was dinnerless. A few sheep and lean kine plucked at such
scant grasses as grew among rocks, and herbs useless but sweet-
scented, when suddenly a horn was blown from the tower of the little
church. The first note of that blast had not died away, when every
cow and sheep was scampering towards the hamlet and a kind of
"barmkyn" {4} they had builded there for protection, and the boy
after them, running with his bare legs for dear life. For me, I was
too amazed to run in time, so lay skulking in the thick sweet-
smelling herbs, whence I saw certain men-at-arms gallop to the crest
of a cliff hard by, and ride on with curses, for they were not of
strength to take the barmkyn.

Such was the face of France in many counties. The fields lay weedy
and untilled; the starving peasant-folk took to the highway, every
man preying on his neighbour. Woods had grown up, and broken in
upon the roads. Howbeit, though robbers harboured therein, none of
them held to ransom a wandering poor Scots scholar.

Slowly I trudged, being often delayed, and I was now nearing
Poictiers, and thought myself well on my road to Chinon, where, as I
heard, the Dauphin lay, when I came to a place where the road should
have crossed a stream--not wide, but strong, smooth, and very deep.
The stream ran through a glen; and above the road I had long noted
the towers of a castle. But as I drew closer, I saw first that the
walls were black with fire and roofless, and that carrion birds were
hovering over them, some enemy having fallen upon the place: and
next, behold, the bridge was broken, and there was neither ford nor
ferry! All the ruin was fresh, the castle still smouldering, the
kites flocking and yelling above the trees, the planks of the bridge
showing that the destruction was but of yesterday.

This matter of the broken bridge cost me little thought, for I could
swim like an otter. But there was another traveller down by the
stream who seemed more nearly concerned. When I came close to him,
I found him standing up to his waist in the water, taking soundings
with a long and heavy staff. His cordelier's frock was tucked up
into his belt, his long brown legs, with black hairs thick on them,
were naked. He was a huge, dark man, and when he turned and stared
at me, I thought that, among all men of the Church and in religion
whom I had ever beheld, he was the foulest and most fierce to look
upon. He had an ugly, murderous visage, fell eyes and keen, and a
right long nose, hooked like a falcon's. The eyes in his head shone
like swords, and of all eyes of man I ever saw, his were the most
piercing and most terrible. On his back he carried, as I noticed at
the first, what I never saw on a cordelier's back before, or on any
but his since--an arbalest, and he had bolts enough in his bag, the
feathers showing above.

"Pax vobiscum," he cried, in a loud, grating voice, as he saw me,
and scrambled out to shore.

"Et cum anima tua," I answered.

"Nom de Dieu!" he said, "you have bottomed my Latin already, that is
scarce so deep as the river here. My malison on them that broke the
bridge!" Then he looked me over fiercely.

"Burgundy or Armagnac?" he asked.

I thought the question strange, as a traveller would scarce care to
pronounce for Burgundy in that country. But this was a man who
would dare anything, so I deemed it better to answer that I was a
Scot, and, so far, of neither party.

"Tug-mutton, wine-sack!" he said, these being two of many ill names
which the French gave our countrymen; for, of all men, the French
are least grateful to us, who, under Heaven and the Maid, have set
their King on his throne again.

The English knew this, if the French did not; and their great King,
Harry the Fifth, when he fell ill of St. Fiacre's sickness, after
plundering that Scots saint's shrine of certain horse-shoes, silver-
gilt, said well that, "go where he would, he was bearded by Scots,
dead or alive." But the French are not a thankful people.

I had no answer very ready to my tongue, so stepped down silent to
the water-edge, and was about taking off my doublet and hose,
meaning to carry them on my head and swim across. But he barred the
way with his staff, and, for me, I gripped to my whinger, and
watched my chance to run in under his guard. For this cordelier was
not to be respected, I deemed, like others of the Order of St.
Francis, and all men of Holy Church.

"Answer a civil question," he said, "before it comes to worse:
Armagnac or Burgundy?"

"Armagnac," I answered, "or anything else that is not English.
Clear the causeway, mad friar!"

At that he threw down his staff.

"I go north also," he said, "to Orleans, if I may, for the foul
"manants" and peasant dogs of this country have burned the castle of
Alfonse Rodigo, a good knight that held them in right good order
this year past. He was worthy, indeed, to ride with that excellent
captain, Don Rodrigo de Villandradas. King's captain or village
labourer, all was fish that came to his net, and but two days ago I
was his honourable chaplain. But he made the people mad, and a
great carouse that we kept gave them their opportunity. They have
roasted the good knight Alfonse, and would have done as much for me,
his almoner, frock and all, if wine had any mastery over me. But I
gave them the slip. Heaven helps its own! Natheless, I would that
this river were between me and their vengeance, and, for once, I
dread the smell of roast meat that is still in my nostrils--pah!"

And here he spat on the ground.

"But one door closes," he went on, "and another opens, and to
Orleans am I now bound, in the service of my holy calling."

"There is, indeed, cause enough for the shriving of souls of
sinners, Father, in that country, as I hear, and a holy man like you
will be right welcome to many."

"They need little shriving that are opposite my culverin," said this
strange priest. "Though now I carry but an arbalest, the gun is my
mistress, and my patron is the gunner's saint, St. Barbara. And
even with this toy, methinks I have the lives of a score of goddams
in my bolt-pouch."

I knew that in these wild days many clerics were careless as to that
which the Church enjoins concerning the effusion of blood--nay, I
have named John Kirkmichael, Bishop of Orleans, as having himself
broken a spear on the body of the Duke of Clarence. The Abbe of
Cerquenceaux, also, was a valiant man in religion, and a good
captain, and, all over France, clerics were gripping to sword and
spear. But such a priest as this I did not expect to see.

"Your name?" he asked suddenly, the words coming out with a sound
like the first grating of a saw on stone.

"They call me Norman Leslie de Pitcullo," I answered. "And yours?"

"My name," he said, "is Noiroufle"--and I thought that never had I
seen a man so well fitted with a name;--"in religion, Brother
Thomas, a poor brother of the Order of the mad St. Francis of
Assisi."

"Then, Brother Thomas, how do you mean to cross this water which
lies between you and the exercise of your holy calling? Do you
swim?"

"Like a stone cannon-ball, and, for all that I can find, the cursed
water has no bottom. Cross!" he snarled. "Let me see you swim."

I was glad enough to be quit of him so soon, but I noticed that, as
I stripped and packed my clothes to carry in a bundle on my head,
the holy man set his foot in the stirrup of his weapon, and was
winding up his arbalest with a windlass, a bolt in his mouth,
watching at the same time a heron that rose from a marsh on the
further side of the stream. On this bird, I deemed, he meant to try
his skill with the arbalest.

"Adieu, Brother Thomas," I said, as I took the water; and in a few
strokes I was across and running up and down on the bank to get
myself dry. "Back!" came his grating voice--"back! and without your
clothes, you wine-sack of Scotland, or I shoot!" and his arbalest
was levelled on me.

I have often asked myself since what I should have done, and what
was the part of a brave man. Perchance I might have dived, and swum
down-stream under water, but then I had bestowed my bundle of
clothes some little way off, and Brother Thomas commanded it from
his side of the stream. He would have waited there in ambush till I
came shivering back for hose and doublet, and I should be in no
better case than I was now. Meanwhile his weapon was levelled at
me, and I could see the bolt-point set straight for my breast, and
glittering in a pale blink of the sun. The bravest course is ever
the best. I should have thrown myself on the earth, no doubt, and
so crawled to cover, taking my chance of death rather than the shame
of obeying under threat and force. But I was young, and had never
looked death in the face, so, being afraid and astonished, I made
what seemed the best of an ill business, and, though my face reddens
yet at the thought of it, I leaped in and swam back like a dog to
heel.

"Behold me," I said, making as brave a countenance as I might in
face of necessity.

"Well done, Norman Leslie de Pitcullo," he snarled, baring his
yellow teeth. "This is the obedience which the young owe to the
Church. Now, ferry me over; you are my boat."

"You will drown, man," I said. "Not while you swim."

Then, unbuckling his frock, he packed it as he had seen me do, bade
me put it on my head, and so stepped out into the water, holding
forth his arm to put about my neck. I was for teaching him how to
lay it on my shoulder, and was bidding him keep still as a plank of
wood, but he snarled -

"I have sailed on a boat of flesh before to-day."

To do him justice, he kept still as a log of wood, and so, yielding
partly to the stream, I landed him somewhat further down than the
place where my own clothes were lying. To them he walked, and very
quietly picking up my whinger and my raiment that he gathered under
his arm, he concealed himself in a thick bush, albeit it was
leafless, where no man could have been aware of him. This amazed me
not a little, for modesty did not seem any part of his nature.

"Now," says he, "fetch over my arbalest. Lying where I am you have
no advantage to shoot me, as, nom de Dieu! I would have shot you had
you not obeyed. And hark ye, by the way, unwind the arbalest before
you cross; it is ever well to be on the safe side. And be sure you
wet not the string." He pushed his face through the bush, and held
in his mouth my naked whinger, that shone between his shining eyes.

Now again I say it, I have thought over this matter many a time, and
have even laughed aloud and bitterly, when I was alone, at the
figure of me shivering there, on a cold February day, and at my
helpless estate. For a naked man is no match for a man with a
whinger, and he was sitting on my clothes. So this friar, unworthy
as he was of his holy calling, had me at an avail on every side, nor
do I yet see what I could do but obey him, as I did. And when I
landed from this fifth voyage, he laughed and gave me his blessing,
and, what I needed more, some fiery spirits from a water-gourd, in
which Father Thomas carried no water.

"Well done, my son," he said, "and now we are comrades. My life was
not over safe on yonder side, seeing that the "manants" hate me, and
respect not my hood, and two are better company than one, where we
are going."

This encounter was the beginning of many evils, and often now the
picture shines upon my eyes, and I see the grey water, and hear the
cold wind whistle in the dry reeds of the river-bank whereon we sat.

The man was my master, Heaven help me! as surely as Sathanas was
his. And though, at last, I slipped his clutches, as you shall hear
(more readily than, I trow, he will scape his lord in the end, for
he still lives), yet it was an ill day that we met--an ill day for
me and for France. Howbeit we jogged on, he merrily enough singing
a sculdudery song, I something surly, under a grey February sky,
with a keen wind searching out the threadbare places in our raiment.
My comrade, as he called himself, told me what passages he chose in
the history of his life: how he came to be frocked (but 'cucullus
non facit monachum'), and how, in the troubles of these times, he
had discovered in himself a great aptitude for the gunner's trade,
of which he boasted not a little. He had been in one and another of
these armed companies that took service with either side, for hire,
being better warriors and more skilled than the noblesse, but a
curse to France: for, in peace or war, friend or foe, they
plundered all, and held all to ransom. With Rodrigo de
Villandradas, that blood-hound of Spain, he had been high in favour,
but when Rodrigo went to harry south and east, he had tarried at
Ruffec, with another thief of that nation, Alfonse Rodigo. All his
talk, as we went, was of slaying men in fight; whom he slew he cared
not much, but chiefly he hated the English and them of Burgundy. To
him, war was what hunting and shooting game is to others; a cruel
and bloody pastime, when Christians are the quarry!

"John the Lorrainer, and I, there are no others to be named with us
at the culverin," he would brag. "We two against an army, give us
good cover, and powder and leaden balls enough. Hey! Master John
and I must shoot a match yet, against English targets, and of them
there are plenty under Orleans. But if I make not the better speed,
the town will have fallen, or yielded, rescue or no rescue, and of
rescue there is no hope at all. The devil fights for the English,
who will soon be swarming over the Loire, and that King of Bourges
of ours will have to flee, and gnaw horse's fodder, oats and barley,
with your friends in Scotland."

This was one of the many ungenerous taunts which the French made
often against us Scots, that have been their ancient and leal
brethren in arms since the days of King Achaius and Charlemagne.

"The Dauphin," he went on, "for King he is none, and crowned he will
never be, should be in Orleans, leading his men; and lo! he is tied
to the belt of fat La Tremouille, and is dancing of ballets at
Chinon--a murrain on him, and on them that make his music!" Then he
fell to cursing his King, a thing terrible to hear, and so to asking
me questions about myself. I told him that I had fled my own
country for a man-slaying, hoping, may Heaven forgive me! to make
him think the higher of me for the deed.

"So we all begin," said he; "a shrewd blow, or a fair wench; a
death, or a birth unlawful, 'tis all one forth we are driven to the
world and the wars. Yet you have started well,--well enough, and
better than I gave your girl's face credit for. Bar steel and rope,
you may carry some French gold back to stinking Scotland yet."

He gave me so much credit as this for a deed that deserved none, but
rather called for rebuke from him, who, however unworthy, was in
religion, and wore the garb of the Blessed Francis. But very far
from fortifying me in virtuous courses, as was his bounden duty,
there was no wickedness that he did not try to teach me, till partly
I hated him, and partly, I fear, I admired one so skilled in evil.
The truth is, as I said, that this man, for that time, was my
master. He was learned in all the arts by which poor and wandering
folk can keep their bellies full wandering by the way. With women,
ugly and terrible of aspect as he was, he had a great power: a
pious saying for the old; a way with the young which has ever been a
mystery to me, unless, as some of the learned think, all women are
naturally lovers of wickedness, if strength and courage go with it.
What by wheedling, what by bullying, what by tales of pilgrimages to
holy shrines (he was coming from Jerusalem by way of Rome, so he
told all we met), he ever won a welcome.

Other more devilish cantrips he played, one of them at the peasant's
house where we rested on the first night of our common travel. The
Lenten supper which they gave us, with no little kindness, was
ended, and we were sitting in the firelight, Brother Thomas
discoursing largely of his pilgrimages, and of his favour among the
high clergy. Thus, at I know not what convent of the Clarisses, {5}
in Italy, the holy Sisters had pressed on him a relic of Monsieur
St. Aignan, the patron of the good town of Orleans. To see this
relic, the farmer, his wife, and his sons and daughters crowded
eagerly; it was but a little blackened finger bone, yet they were
fain to touch it, as is the custom. But this he would not yet
allow.

"Perchance some of you," he said, "are already corrupt, not knowing
it, with the poisonous breath of that damnable Hussite heresy, which
is blowing from the east like wind of the pestilence, and ye may
have doubts concerning the verity of this most holy and miraculous
relic?"

They all crossed themselves, protesting that no such wicked whisper
of Sathanas had ever come into their minds, nor had they so much as
heard of Huss and his blasphemies.

"Nay," said Brother Thomas, "I could scarcely blame you if it were
partly as I said. For in this latter time of the world, when I have
myself met Jews flocking to Babylon expecting the birth of
Antichrist, there be many false brethren, who carry about feigned
relics, to deceive the simple. We should believe no man, if he be,
as I am, a stranger, unless he shows us a sign, such as now I will
show you. Give me, of your grace, a kerchief, or a napkin." The
goodwife gave him a clean white napkin from her aumbry, and he tore
it up before their eyes, she not daring to stay his hand.

"Now note this holy relic and its wonderful power," he said, holding
the blackened bone high in his left hand, and all our eyes were
fixed on it. "Now mark," he said again, passing it over the napkin;
and lo! there was a clean white napkin in his hands, and of the torn
shreds not a trace!

We were still gaping, and crossing ourselves with blessings on this
happy day and our unworthy eyes that beheld a miracle, when he did a
thing yet more marvellous, if that might be, which I scarce expect
any man will believe. Going to the table, and catching up a glass
vessel on which the goodwife set great store, he threw it against
the wall, and we all plainly heard it shiver into tinkling pieces.
Then, crossing the room into the corner, that was dusky enough, he
faced us, again holding the blessed relic, whereon we stared, in
holy fear. Then he rose, and in his hand was the goodwife's glass
vessel, without crack or flaw! {6}

"Such," he said, "are the properties of this miraculous relic; there
is nothing broken but it will mend, ay, a broken limb, as I can
prove on my own sinful body,"--thrusting out his great brown leg,
whereon, assuredly, were signs of a fracture; "ay, a broken leg, or,
my dear daughters, a broken heart." At this, of course, they were
all eager to touch the blessed relic with their poor rings of base
metal, such as they wear who are not rich. Nay, but first, he said,
they must give their mites for a convent of the Clarisses, that was
building at Castres, by the care of the holy Colette, whom he might
call his patroness, unworthy as he was.

Then he showed us a safe-conduct, signed with that blessed woman's
own hand, such as she was wont to give to the religious of the Order
of St. Francis. By virtue of this, he said (and, by miracle, for
once he said truly, as I had but too good cause to learn), he could
go freely in and out among the camps of French, English, and
Burgundians.

You may conceive how joyous they were in that poor cottage, on a
night so blessed, and how Brother Thomas told us of the holy
Colette, that famous nun and Mother in Christ, as he that had often
been in her company. He had seen her body lifted in the air while
she remained in a pious ecstasy, her mind soaring aloft and her
fleshly body following it some way.

He had often watched that snow-white beast which followed her, such
a creature as is known in no country of the sinful world, but is a
thing of Paradise. And he had tried to caress this wondrous
creature of God, but vainly, for none but the holy sister Colette
may handle it. Concerning her miracles of healing, too, he told us,
all of which we already knew for very truth, and still know on
better warranty than his.

Ye may believe that, late and at last, Brother Thomas had his choice
of the warmest place to sleep in--by the "four," as is the wont of
pilgrims, for in his humility this holy man would not suffer the
farmer's wife and the farmer to give him their bed, as they desired.
I, too, was very kindly entreated by the young lads, but I could
scarcely sleep for marvelling at these miracles done by one so
unworthy; and great, indeed, I deemed, must be the virtue of that
relic which wrought such signs in the hands of an evil man. But I
have since held that he feigned all by art magic and very sorcery,
for, as we wended next morning on our road, he plainly told me,
truly or falsely, that he had picked up the blackened finger-bone
out of the loathly ashes of the dead in the burned castle near
Ruffec.

Wherefore I consider that when Brother Thomas sold the grace of his
relic, by the touching of rings, he dealt in a devilish black
simony, vending to simple Christians no grace but that of his
master, Sathanas. Thus he was not only evil (if I guess aright,
which I submit to the judgment of my ecclesiastical superiors, and
of the Church), but he had even found out a new kind of wickedness,
such as I never read of in any books of theology wherein is much to
be learned. I have spoken with some, however, knights and men of
this world, who deemed that he did but beguile our eyes by craft and
sleight-of-hand.

This other hellish art he had, by direct inspiration, as I hold, of
his master Behemoth, that he could throw his voice whither he would,
so that, in all seeming, it came from above, or from below, or from
a corner of a room, fashioning it to resemble the voice of whom he
would, yet none might see his lips move. With this craft he would
affray the peasants about the fire in the little inns where we
sometimes rested, when he would be telling tales of bogles and
eldritch fantasies, and of fiends that rout and rap, and make the
tables and firkins dance. Such art of speech, I am advised, is
spoken of by St. Jerome, in his comment on the holy prophet the
saint Isaiah, and they that use it he calls "ventriloqui," in the
Latin, or "belly-speakers," and he takes an unfavourable sense of
them and their doings. So much I have from the learned William de
Boyis, Prior of Pluscarden, where now I write; with whom I have
conversed of these matters privately, and he thinks this art a thing
that men may learn by practice, without dealing in nigromancy and
the black magic. This question I am content to leave, as is
fitting, to the judgment of my superiors. And indeed, as at that
time, Brother Thomas spake not in his belly except to make sport and
affray the simple people, soon turning their fears to mirth.
Certainly the country folk never misdoubted him, the women for a
holy man, the men for a good fellow; though all they of his own
cloth shrank from him, and I have seen them cross themselves in his
presence, but to no avail. He would say a word or two in their
ears, and they straightway left the place where he might be. None
the less, with his tales and arts, Brother Thomas commonly so
wrought that we seldom slept "e la belle etoile" in that bitter
spring weather, but we ordinarily had leave to lie by the hearth,
and got a supper and a breakfast. The good peasants would find
their hen-roosts the poorer often, for all that he could snap up was
to him fortune of war.

I loved these manners little, but leave him I could not. His eye
was ever on me; if I stirred in the night he was awake and watching
me, and by day he never let me out of a bolt's flight. To cut the
string of his wicked weapon was a thought often in my mind, but he
was too vigilant. My face was his passport, he said; my face,
indeed, being innocent enough, as was no shame to me, but an endless
cause of mirth and mockery to him. Yet, by reason of the
serviceableness of the man in that perilous country, and my constant
surprise and wonder at what he did and said, and might do next
(which no man could guess beforehand), and a kind of foolish pride
in his very wickedness, so much beyond what I had ever dreamed of,
and for pure fear of him also, I found myself following with him day
by day, ever thinking to escape, and never escaping.

I have since deemed that, just as his wickedness was to a boy (for I
was little more), a kind of charm, made up of a sort of admiring
hate and fear, so my guilelessness (as it seemed to him) also
wrought on him strangely. For in part it made sport for him to see
my open mouth and staring eyes at the spectacle of his devilries,
and in part he really hated me, and hated my very virtue of
simplicity, which it was his desire and delight to surprise and
corrupt.

On these strange terms, then, now drawn each to other, and now
forced apart, we wended by Poictiers towards Chinon, where the
Dauphin and his Court then lay. So we fared northwards, through
Poitou, where we found evil news enough. For, walking into a
village, we saw men, women, and children, all gathered, gaping about
one that stood beside a horse nearly foundered, its legs thrust
wide, its nostrils all foam and blood. The man, who seemed as weary
as his horse, held a paper in his hands, which the priest of that
parish took from him and read aloud to us. The rider was a royal
messenger, one Thomas Scott of Easter Buccleuch, in Rankel Burn,
whom I knew later, and his tidings were evil. The Dauphin bade his
good towns know that, on the 12th of February, Sir John Stewart,
constable of the Scottish forces in France, had fallen in battle at
Rouvray, with very many of his company, and some Frenchmen. They
had beset a convoy under Sir John Fastolf, that was bringing meat to
the English leaguered about Orleans. But Fastolf had wholly routed
them (by treachery, as we later learned of the Comte de Clermont),
and Sir John Stewart, with his brother Sir William, were slain.
Wherefore the Dauphin bade the good towns send him money and men, or
all was lost.

Such were the evil tidings, which put me in sore fear for my brother
Robin, one that, in such an onfall, would go far, as beseemed his
blood. But as touching his fortunes, Thomas Scott could tell me
neither good nor bad, though he knew Robin, and gave him a good name
for a stout man-at-arms. It was of some comfort to me to hear a
Scots tongue; but, for the rest, I travelled on with a heavier
heart, deeming that Orleans must indeed fall ere I could seek my
brother in that town.


CHAPTER III--WHAT BEFELL OUTSIDE OF CHINON TOWN

My old nurse, when I was a child, used to tell me a long story of a
prince who, wandering through the world, made friends with many
strange companions. One she called Lynx-eye, that could see through
a mountain; one was Swift-foot, that could outrun the wind; one was
Fine-ear, that could hear the grass growing; and there was Greedy-
gut, that could swallow a river. All these were very serviceable to
this gracious prince, of I know not what country, in his adventures;
and they were often brought into my mind by the companions whom we
picked up on the grass-grown roads.

These wanderers were as strange as the friends of the prince, and
were as variously, but scarce as honourably, gifted. There was the
one-armed soldier, who showed his stump very piteously when it was a
question of begging from a burgess, but was as well furnished with
limbs as other men when no burgess was in sight. There was a
wretched woman violer, with her jackanapes, and with her husband, a
hang-dog ruffian, she bearing the mark of his fist on her eye, and
commonly trailing far behind him with her brat on her back. There
was a blind man, with his staff, who might well enough answer to
Keen-eye, that is, when no strangers were in sight. There was a
layman, wearing cope and stole and selling indulgences, but our
captain, Brother Thomas, soon banished him from our company, for
that he divided the trade. Others there were, each one of them a
Greedy-gut, a crew of broken men, who marched with us on the roads;
but we never entered a town or a house with these discreditable
attendants.

Now, it may seem strange, but the nearer we drew to Chinon and the
Court, the poorer grew the country, for the Court and the men-at-
arms had stripped it bare, like a flight of locusts. For this
reason the Dauphin could seldom abide long at one place, for he was
so much better known than trusted that the very cordwainer would not
let him march off in a new pair of boots without seeing his money,
and, as the song said, he even greased his old clouted shoon, and
made them last as long as he might. For head-gear he was as ill
provided, seeing that he had pawned the fleurons of his crown.
There were days when his treasurer at Tours (as I myself have heard
him say) did not reckon three ducats in his coffers, and the heir of
France borrowed money from his very cook. So the people told us,
and I have often marvelled how, despite this poverty, kings and
nobles, when I have seen them, go always in cloth of gold, with rich
jewels. But, as you may guess, near the Court of a beggar Dauphin
the country-folk too were sour and beggarly.

We had to tighten our belts before we came to the wood wherein
cross-roads meet, from north, south, and east, within five miles of
the town of Chinon. There was not a white coin among us; night was
falling, and it seemed as if we must lie out under the stars, and be
fed, like the wolves we heard howling, on wind. By the roadside, at
the crossways, but not in view of the road, a council of our ragged
regiment was held in a deep ditch. It would be late ere we reached
the town, gates would scarce open for us, we could not fee the
warders, houses would be shut and dark; the King's archers were apt
to bear them unfriendly to wandering men with the devil dancing in
their pouches. Resource we saw none; if there was a cottage, dogs,
like wolves for hunger and fierceness, were baying round it. As for
Brother Thomas, an evil bruit had gone before us concerning a
cordelier that the fowls and geese were fain to follow, as wilder
things, they say, follow the blessed St. Francis. So there sat
Brother Thomas at the cross-roads, footsore, hungry, and sullen, in
the midst of us, who dared not speak, he twanging at the string of
his arbalest. He called himself our Moses, in his blasphemous way,
and the blind man having girded at him for not leading us into the
land of plenty, he had struck the man till he bled, and now stood
stanching his wound.

Suddenly Brother Thomas ceased from his twanging, and holding up his
hand for silence, leaned his ear to the ground. The night was
still, though a cold wind came very stealthily from the east.

"Horses!" he said.

"It is but the noise of the brook by the way," said the blind man,
sullenly.

Brother Thomas listened again.

"No, it is horses," he whispered. "My men, they that ride horses
can spare somewhat out of their abundance to feed the poor." And
with that he began winding up his arbalest hastily. "Aymeric," he
said to one of our afflicted company, "you draw a good bow for a
blind man; hide yourself in the opposite ditch, and be ready when I
give the word "Pax vobiscum." You, Giles," he spoke to the one-
armed soldier, "go with him, and, do you hear, aim low, at the third
man's horse. From the sound there are not more than five or six of
them. We can but fail, at worst, and the wood is thick behind us,
where none may pursue. You, Norman de Pitcullo, have your whinger
ready, and fasten this rope tightly to yonder birch-tree stem, and
then cross and give it a turn or two about that oak sapling on the
other side of the way. That trap will bring down a horse or twain.
Be quick, you Scotch wine-bag!"

I had seen many ill things done, and, to my shame, had held my
peace. But a Leslie of Pitcullo does not take purses on the high-
road. Therefore my heart rose in sudden anger, I having all day
hated him more and more for his bitter tongue, and I was opening my
mouth to cry "A secours!"--a warning to them who were approaching,
when, quick as lightning, Brother Thomas caught me behind the knee-
joints, and I was on the ground with his weight above me. One cry I
had uttered, when his hand was on my mouth.

"Give him the steel in his guts!" whispered the blind man.

"Slit his weasand, the Scotch pig!" said the one-armed soldier.

They were all on me now.

"No, I keep him for better sport," snarled Brother Thomas. "He
shall learn the Scots for 'ecorcheurs' (flayers of men) "when we
have filled our pouches."

With that he crammed a great napkin in my mouth, so that I could not
cry, made it fast with a piece of cord, trussed me with the rope
which he had bidden me tie across the path to trip the horses, and
with a kick sent me flying to the bottom of the ditch, my face being
turned from the road.

I could hear Giles and Aymeric steal across the way, and the
rustling of boughs as they settled on the opposite side. I could
hear the trampling hoofs of horses coming slowly and wearily from
the east. At this moment chanced a thing that has ever seemed
strange to me: I felt the hand of the violer woman laid lightly and
kindly on my hair. I had ever pitied her, and, as I might, had been
kind to her and her bairn; and now, as it appears, she pitied me.
But there could be no help in her, nor did she dare to raise her
voice and give an alarm. So I could but gnaw at my gag, trying to
find scope for my tongue to cry, for now it was not only the
travellers that I would save, but my own life, and my escape from a
death of torment lay on my success. But my mouth was as dry as a
kiln, my tongue was doubled back till I thought that I should have
choked. The night was now deadly still, and the ring of the weary
hoofs drew nearer and nearer. I heard a stumble, and the scramble
of a tired horse as he recovered himself; for the rest, all was
silent, though the beating of my own heart sounded heavy and husky
in my ears.

Closer and closer the travellers drew, and soon it was plain that
they rode not carelessly, nor as men who deemed themselves secure,
for the tramp of one horse singled itself out in front of the
others, and this, doubtless, was ridden by an "eclaireur," sent
forward to see that the way ahead was safe. Now I heard a low growl
of a curse from Brother Thomas, and my heart took some comfort.
They might be warned, if the Brother shot at the foremost man; or,
at worst, if he was permitted to pass, the man would bear swift
tidings to Chinon, and we might be avenged, the travellers and I,
for I now felt that they and I were in the same peril.

The single rider drew near, and passed, and there came no cry of
"Pax vobiscum" from the friar. But the foremost rider had,
perchance, the best horse, and the least wearied, for there was even
too great a gap between him and the rest of his company.

And now their voices might be heard, as they talked by the way, yet
not so loud that, straining my ears as I did, I could hear any
words. But the sounds waxed louder, with words spoken, ring of
hoofs, and rattle of scabbard on stirrup, and so I knew, at least,
that they who rode so late were men armed. Brother Thomas, too,
knew it, and cursed again very low.

Nearer, nearer they came, then almost opposite, and now, as I
listened to hear the traitorous signal of murder--"Pax vobiscum"--
and the twang of bow-strings, on the night there rang a voice, a
woman's voice, soft but wondrous clear, such as never I knew from
any lips but hers who then spoke; that voice I heard in its last
word, "Jesus!" and still it is sounding in my ears.

That voice said -

"Nous voile presqu'arrives, grace e mes Freres de Paradis."

Instantly, I knew not how, at the sound of that blessed voice, and
the courage in it, I felt my fear slip from me, as when we awaken
from a dreadful dream, and in its place came happiness and peace.
Scarce otherwise might he feel who dies in fear and wakes in
Paradise.

On the forest boughs above me, my face being turned from the road,
somewhat passed, or seemed to pass, like a soft golden light, such
as in the Scots tongue we call a "boyn," that ofttimes, men say,
travels with the blessed saints. Yet some may deem it but a
glancing in my own eyes, from the blood flying to my head; howsoever
it be, I had never seen the like before, nor have I seen it since,
and, assuredly, the black branches and wild weeds were lit up bare
and clear.

The tramp of the horses passed, there was no cry of "Pax vobiscum,"
no twang of bows, and slowly the ring of hoofs died away on the road
to Chinon. Then came a rustling of the boughs on the further side
of the way, and a noise of footsteps stealthily crossing the road,
and now I heard a low sound of weeping from the violer woman, that
was crouching hard by where I lay. Her man struck her across the
mouth, and she was still.

"You saw it? Saints be with us! You saw them?" he whispered to
Brother Thomas.

"Fool, had I not seen, would I not have given the word? Get you
gone, all the sort of you, there is a fey man in this company, be he
who he will. Wander your own ways, and if ever one of you dogs
speak to me again, in field, or street, or market, or ever mention
this night . . . ye shall have my news of it. Begone! Off!"

"Nay, but, Brother Thomas, saw'st thou what we saw? What sight
saw'st thou?"

"What saw I? Fools, what should I have seen, but an outrider, and
he a King's messenger, sent forward to warn the rest by his fall, if
he fell, or to raise the country on us, if he passed, and if
afterward they passed us not. They were men wary in war, and
travelling on the Dauphin's business. Verily there was no profit in
them."

"And that was all? We saw other things."

"What I saw was enough for me, or for any good clerk of St.
Nicholas, and of questions there has been more than enough. Begone!
scatter to the winds, and be silent."

"And may we not put the steel in that Scotch dog who delayed us?
Saints or sorcerers, their horses must have come down but for him."

Brother Thomas caught me up, as if I had been a child, in his arms,
and tossed me over the ditch-bank into the wood, where I crashed on
my face through the boughs.

"Only one horse would have fallen, and that had brought the others
on us. The Scot is safe enough, his mouth is well shut. I will
have no blood to-night; leave him to the wolves. And now, begone
with you: to Fierbois, if you will; I go my own road--alone."

They wandered each his own way, sullen and murmuring, starved and
weary. What they had seen or fancied, and whether, if the rest saw
aught strange, Brother Thomas saw nought, I knew not then, and know
not till this hour. But the tale of this ambush, and of how they
that lay in hiding held their hands, and fled--having come, none
might say whence, and gone, whither none might tell--is true, and
was soon widely spoken of in the realm of France.

The woods fell still again, save for the babble of the brook, and
there I lay, bound, and heard only the stream in the silence of the
night.

There I lay, quaking, when all the caitiffs had departed, and the
black, chill night received me into itself. At first my mind was
benumbed, like my body; but the pain of my face, smarting with
switch and scratch of the boughs through which I had fallen, awoke
me to thought and fear. I turned over to lie on my back, and look
up for any light of hope in the sky, but nothing fell on me from
heaven save a cold rain, that the leafless boughs did little to ward
off. Scant hope or comfort had I; my whole body ached and
shuddered, only I did not thirst, for the rain soaked through the
accursed napkin on my mouth, while the dank earth, with its
graveyard smell, seemed to draw me down into itself, as it drags a
rotting leaf. I was buried before death, as it were, even if the
wolves found me not and gave me other sepulture; and now and again I
heard their long hunting cry, and at every patter of a beast's foot,
or shivering of the branches, I thought my hour was come--and I
unconfessed! The road was still as death, no man passing by it.
This night to me was like the night of a man laid living in the
tomb. By no twisting and turning could I loosen the rope that
Brother Thomas had bound me in, with a hand well taught by cruel
practice. At last the rain in my face grew like a water-torture,
always dropping, and I half turned my face and pressed it to the
ground.

Whether I slept by whiles, or waked all night, I know not, but
certainly I dreamed, seeing with shut eyes faces that came and went,
shifting from beauty such as I had never yet beheld, to visages more
and more hideous and sinful, ending at last in the worst--the fell
countenance of Noiroufle. Then I woke wholly to myself, in terror,
to find that he was not there, and now came to me some of that ease
which had been born of the strange, sweet voice, and the strange
words, "Mes Freres de Paradis."

"My brethren of Paradise"; who could she be that rode so late in
company of armed men, and yet spoke of such great kinsfolk? That it
might be the holy Colette, then, as now, so famous in France for her
miracles, and good deeds, and her austerities, was a thought that
arose in me. But the holy Sister, as I had heard, never mounted a
horse in her many wanderings, she being a villein's daughter, but
was carried in a litter, or fared in a chariot; nor did she go in
company with armed men, for who would dare to lay hands on her?
Moreover, the voice that I had heard was that of a very young girl,
and the holy Sister Colette was now entered into the vale of years.
So my questioning found no answer.

And now I heard light feet, as of some beast stirring and scratching
in the trees overhead, and there with a light jingling noise. Was
it a squirrel? Whatever it was, it raced about the tree, coming
nearer and going further away, till it fell with a weight on my
breast, and, shivering with cold, all strained like a harp-string as
I was, I could have screamed, but for the gag in my mouth. The
thing crawled up my body, and I saw two red eyes fixed on mine, and
deemed it had been a wild cat, such as lives in our corries of the
north--a fell beast if brought to bay, but otherwise not hurtful to
man.

There the red eyes looked on me, and I on them, till I grew giddy
with gazing, and half turned my head with a stifled sob. Then there
came a sharp cry which I knew well enough, and the beast leaped up
and nestled under my breast, for this so dreadful thing was no worse
than the violer woman's jackanapes, that had slipped its chain, or,
rather, had drawn it out of her hand, for now I plainly heard the
light chain jingle. This put me on wondering whether they had
really departed; the man, verily, thirsted for my life, but he would
have slain me ere this hour, I thought, if that had been his
purpose. The poor beast a little helped to warm me with the heat of
his body, and he was a friendly creature, making me feel less alone
in the night. Yet, in my own misery, I could not help but sorrow
for the poor woman when she found her jackanapes gone, that was
great part of her living: and I knew what she would have to bear
for its loss from the man that was her master.

As this was in my mind, the first grey stole into the sky so that I
could see the black branches overhead; and now there awoke the cries
of birds, and soon the wood was full of their sweet jargoning. This
put some hope into my heart; but the morning hours were long, and
colder than the night, to one wet to the bone with the rains. Now,
too, I comforted myself with believing that, arrive what might, I
was wholly quit of Brother Thomas, whereat I rejoiced, like the man
in the tale who had sold his soul to the Enemy, and yet, in the end,
escaped his clutches by the aid of Holy Church. Death was better to
me than life with Brother Thomas, who must assuredly have dragged me
with him to the death that cannot die. Morning must bring
travellers, and my groaning might lead them to my aid. And, indeed,
foot-farers did come, and I did groan as well as I could, but, like
the Levite in Scripture, they passed by on the other side of the
way, fearing to meddle with one wounded perchance to the death, lest
they might be charged with his slaying, if he died, or might anger
his enemies, if he lived.

The light was now fully come, and some rays of the blessed sun fell
upon me, whereon I said orisons within myself, commanding my case to
the saints. Devoutly I prayed, that, if I escaped with life, I
might be delivered from the fear of man, and namely of Brother
Thomas. It were better for me to have died by his weapon at first,
beside the broken bridge, than to have lived his slave, going in
dread of him, with a slave's hatred in my heart. So now I prayed
for spirit enough to defend my honour and that of my country, which
I had borne to hear reviled without striking a blow for it. Never
again might I dree this extreme shame and dishonour. On this head I
addressed myself, as was fitting, to the holy Apostle St. Andrew,
our patron, to whom is especially dear the honour of Scotland.

Then, as if he and the other saints had listened to me, I heard
sounds of horses' hoofs, coming up the road from Chinon way, and
also voices. These, like the others of the night before, came
nearer, and I heard a woman's voice gaily singing. And then awoke
such joy in my heart as never was there before, and this was far the
gladdest voice that ever yet I heard, for, behold, it was the speech
of my own country, and the tune I knew and the words.


"O, we maun part this love, Willie,
That has been lang between;
There's a French lord coming over sea
To wed me wi' a ring;
There's a French lord coming o'er the sea
To wed and take me hame!"


"And who shall the French lord be, Elliot?" came another voice, a
man's this time, "though he need not cross the sea for you, the
worse the luck. Is it young Pothon de Xaintrailles? Faith, he
comes often enough to see how his new penoncel fares in my hands,
and seems right curious in painting."

It may be deemed strange that, even in this hour, I conceived in my
heart a great mislike of this young French lord, how unjustly I soon
well understood.


"O, nae French lord for me, father,
O, nae French lord for me,
But I'll ware my heart on a true-born Scot,
And wi' him I'll cross the sea."


"Oh, father, lo you, I can make as well as sing, for that is no word
of the old ballant, but just came on to my tongue!"

They were now right close to me, and, half in fear, half in hope, I
began to stir and rustle in the grass, for of my stifled groaning
had hitherto come no profit. Then I heard the horses stop.

"What stirring is that in the wood, father? I am afraid," came the
girl's voice.

"Belike a fox shifting his lair. Push on, Maid Elliot." The horses
advanced, when, by the blessing of the saints, the jackanapes woke
in my breast.

The creature was used to run questing with a little wooden bowl he
carried for largesse, to beg of horsemen for his mistress. This
trick of his he did now, hearing the horses' tramp. He leaped the
ditch, and I suppose he ran in front of the steeds, shaking his
little bowl, as was his wont.

"Oh, father," sounded the girl's voice, "see the little jackanapes!
Some travelling body has lost him. Let me jump down and catch him.
Look, he has a little coat on, made like a herald's tabard, and
wears the colours of France. Here, hold my reins."

"No, lass. Who can tell where, or who, his owner is? Take you my
reins, and I will bring you the beast."

I heard him heavily dismount.

"It will not let itself be caught by a lame man," he said; and he
scrambled up the ditch bank, while the jackanapes fled to me, and
then ran forward again, back and forth.

"Nom Dieu, whom have we here?" cried the man, in French.

I turned, and made such a sound with my mouth as I might, while the
jackanapes nestled to my breast.

"Why do ye not speak, man?" he said again; and I turned my eyes on
him, looking as pitifully as might be out of my blood-bedabbled
face.

He was a burly man, great of growth, with fresh red cheeks, blue
eyes, reddish hair, and a red beard, such as are many in the Border
marches of my own country, the saints bless them for true men!
Withal he dragged his leg in walking, which he did with difficulty
and much carefulness. He "hirpled," as we say, towards me very
warily; then, seeing the rope bound about me, and the cloth in my
mouth, he drew his dagger, but not to cut my bonds. He was over
canny for that, but he slit the string that kept the cursed gag in
my mouth, and picked it out with his dagger point; and, oh the
blessed taste of that first long draught of air, I cannot set it
down in words! "What, in the name of all the saints, make you here,
in this guise?" he asked in French, but with a rude Border accent.

"I am a kindly Scot," I said in our own tongue, "of your own
country. Give me water." And then a dwawm, as we call it, or
fainting-fit, came over me.

When I knew myself again, I was lying with my head in a maiden's
lap, and well I could have believed that the fairies had carried me
to their own land, as has befallen many, whereof some have returned
to earth with the tale, and some go yet in that unearthly company.

"Gentle demoiselle, are you the gracious Queen of Faerie?" I asked,
as one half-wakened, not knowing what I said. Indeed this lady was
clad all in the fairy green, and her eyes were as blue as the sky
above her head, and the long yellow locks on her shoulders were
shining like the sun.

"Father, he is not dead," she said, laughing as sweet as all the
singing-birds in March--"he is not dead, but sorely wandering in his
mind when he takes Elliot Hume for the Fairy Queen."

"Faith, he might have made a worse guess," cried the man. "But now,
sir, now that your bonds are cut, I see nothing better for you than
a well-washed face, for, indeed, you are by ordinary "kenspeckle,"
and no company for maids."

With that he brought some water from the burn by the road, and
therewith he wiped my face, first giving me to drink. When I had
drunk, the maid whom he called Elliot got up, her face very rosy,
and they set my back against a tree, which I was right sorry for, as
indeed I was now clean out of fairyland and back in this troublesome
world. The horses stood by us, tethered to trees, and browsed on
the budding branches.

"And now, maybe," he said, speaking in the kindly Scots, that was
like music in my ear--"now, maybe, you will tell us who you are, and
how you came into this jeopardy."

I told him, shortly, that I was a Scot of Fife; whereto he answered
that my speech was strangely English. On this matter I satisfied
him with the truth, namely, that my mother was of England. I gave
my name but not that of our lands, and showed him how I had been
wandering north, to take service with the Dauphin, when I was set
upon, and robbed and bound by thieves, for I had no clearness as to
telling him all my tale, and no desire to claim acquaintance with
Brother Thomas.

"And the jackanapes?" he asked, whereto I had no better answer than
that I had seen the beast with a wandering violer on the day before,
and that she having lost it, as I supposed, it had come to me in the
night.

The girl was standing with the creature in her arms, feeding it with
pieces of comfits from a pouch fastened at her girdle.

"The little beast is not mine to give," I went on, seeing how she
had an affection to the ape, "but till the owner claims it, it is
all the ransom I have to pay for my life, and I would fain see it
wear the colours of this gentle maid who saved me. It has many
pretty tricks, but though to-day I be a beggar, I trow she will not
let it practise that ill trick of begging."

"Sooner would I beg myself, fair sir," she said, with such a courtly
reverence as surprised me; for though they seemed folks well to see
in the world, they were not, methought, of noble blood, nor had they
with them any company of palfreniers or archers.

"Elliot, you feed the jackanapes and let our countryman hunger,"
said the man; and, blushing again, she made haste to give me some of
the provision she had made for her journey.

So I ate and drank, she waiting on me very gently; but now, being
weary of painful writing, and hearing the call to the refectory, and
the brethren trampling thither, I must break off, for, if I be late,
they will sconce me of my ale. Alas! it is to these little cares of
creature comforts that I am come, who have seen the face of so many
a war, and lived and fought on rat's flesh at Compiegne.



CHAPTER IV--IN WHAT COMPANY NORMAN LESLIE ENTERED CHINON; AND HOW HE
DEMEANED HIMSELF TO TAKE SERVICE

Not seemly, was it, that I should expect these kind people, even
though they were of my own country, to do more for me than they had
already done. So, when I had eaten and drunk, I made my obeisance
as if I would be trudging towards Chinon, adding many thanks, as
well I might.

"Nay, countryman," said the man, "for all that I can see, you may as
well bide a while with us; for, indeed, with leave of my graceless
maid, I think we may even end our wild-goose chase here and get us
back to the town."

Seeing me marvel, perhaps, that any should have ridden some four
miles or five, and yet speak of returning, he looked at the girl,
who was playing with the jackanapes, and who smiled at him as he
spoke. "You must know," said he, "that though I am the father of
your Fairy Queen, I am also one of the gracious Princess's obedient
subjects. No mother has she, poor wench," he added, in a lower
voice; "and faith, we men must always obey some woman--as it seems
now that the King himself must soon do and all his captains."

"You speak," I said, "of the gracious Queen of Sicily and
Jerusalem?"--a lady who was thought to be of much avail, as was but
right, in the counsels of her son-in-law, the Dauphin, he having
married her gentle daughter.

"Ay; Queen Yolande is far ben {7} with the King--would he had no
worse counsellors!" said he, smiling; "but I speak of a far more
potent sovereign, if all that she tells of herself be true. You
have heard, or belike you have not heard, of the famed Pucelle--so
she calls herself, I hope not without a warranty--the Lorrainer
peasant lass, who is to drive the English into the sea, so she gives
us all fair warning?"

"Never a word have I heard, or never marked so senseless a bruit if
I heard it; she must be some moonstruck wench, and in her wits
wandering."

"Moon-struck, or sun-struck, or saint-struck, she will strike down
our ancient enemy of England, and show you men how it is not wine
and wickedness that make good soldiers!" cried the girl whom he
called Elliot, her face rose-red with anger; and from her eyes two
blue rays of light shot straight to mine, so that I believe my face
waxed wan, the blood flying to my heart.

"Listen to her! look at her!" said her father, jestingly. "Elliot,
if your renowned maid can fright the English as you have affrayed a
good Scot, the battle is won and Orleans is delivered."

But she had turned her back on us pettishly, and was talking in a
low voice to her jackanapes. As for me, if my face had been pale
before, it now grew red enough for shame that I had angered her, who
was so fair, though how I had sinned I knew not. But often I have
seen that women, and these the best, will be all afire at a light
word, wherein the touchiest man-at-arms who ever fought on the turn
of a straw could pick no honourable quarrel.

"How have I been so unhappy as to offend mademoiselle?" I asked, in
a whisper, of her father, giving her a high title, in very
confusion.

"Oh, she will hear no bourde nor jest on this Pucelle that all the
countryside is clashing of, and that is bewitching my maid,
methinks, even from afar. My maid Elliot (so I call her from my
mother's kin, but her true name is Marion, and the French dub her
Heliote) hath set all her heart and her hope on one that is a young
lass like herself, and she is full of old soothsayings about a
virgin that is to come out of an oak-wood and deliver France--no
less! For me, I misdoubt that Merlin, the Welsh prophet on whom
they set store, and the rest of the soothsayers, are all in one tale
with old Thomas Rhymer, of Ercildoune, whose prophecies our own folk
crack about by the ingle on winter nights at home. But be it as it
may, this wench of Lorraine has, these three-quarters of a year,
been about the Sieur Robert de Baudricourt, now commanding for the
King at Vaucouleurs, away in the east, praying him to send her to
the Court. She has visions, and hears voices--so she says; and she
gives Baudricourt no peace till he carries her to the King. The
story goes that, on the ill day of the Battle of the Herrings, she,
being at Vaucouleurs--a hundred leagues away and more,--saw that
fight plainly, and our countrymen fallen, manlike, around the
Constable, and the French flying like hares before a little pack of
English talbots. When the evil news came, and was approved true,
Baudricourt could hold her in no longer, and now she is on the way
with half a dozen esquires and archers of his command. The second-
sight she may have--it is common enough, if you believe the red-
shanked Highlanders; but if maiden she set forth from Vaucouleurs,
great miracle it is if maiden she comes to Chinon." He whispered
this in a manner that we call "pauky," being a free man with his
tongue.

"This is a strange tale enough," I said; "the saints grant that the
Maid speaks truly!"

"But yesterday came a letter of her sending to the King," he went
on, "but never of her writing, for they say that she knows not "A"
from "B," if she meets them in her voyaging. Now, nothing would
serve my wilful daughter Elliot (she being possessed, as I said,
with love for this female mystery), but that we must ride forth and
be the first to meet the Maid on her way, and offer her shelter at
my poor house, if she does but seem honest, though methinks a
hostelry is good enough for one that has ridden so far, with men for
all her company. And I, being but a subject of my daughter's, as I
said, and this a Saint's Day, when a man may rest from his paints
and brushes, I even let saddle the steeds, and came forth to see
what ferlies Heaven would send us."

"Oh, a lucky day for me, fair sir," I answered him, marvelling to
hear him speak of paint and brushes, and even as I spoke a thought
came into my mind. "If you will listen to me, sir," I said, "and if
the gentle maid, your daughter, will pardon me for staying you so
long from the road, I will tell you that, to my thinking, you have
come over late, for that yesterday the Maiden you speak of rode,
after nightfall, into Chinon."

Now the girl turned round on me, and, in faith, I asked no more than
to see her face, kind or angry. "You tell us, sir, that you never
heard speak of the Maid till this hour, and now you say that you
know of her comings and goings. Unriddle your riddle, sir, if it
pleases you, and say how you saw and knew one that you never heard
speech of."

She was still very wroth, and I knew not whether I might not anger
her yet more, so I louted lowly, cap in hand, and said -

"It is but a guess that comes into my mind, and I pray you be not
angry with me, who am ready and willing to believe in this Maid, or
in any that will help France, for, if I be not wrong, last night her
coming saved my life, and that of her own company."

"How may that be, if thieves robbed and bound you?"

"I told you not all my tale," I said, "for, indeed, few would have
believed the thing that had not seen it. But, upon my faith as a
gentleman, and by the arm-bone of the holy Apostle Andrew, which
these sinful eyes have seen, in the church of the Apostle in his own
town, somewhat holy passed this way last night; and if this Maid be
indeed sent from heaven, that holy thing was she, and none other."

"Nom Dieu! saints are not common wayfarers on our roads at night.
There is no "wale" of saints in this country," said the father of
Elliot; "and as this Pucelle of Lorraine must needs pass by us here,
if she is still on the way, even tell us all your tale."

With that I told them how the "brigands" (for so they now began to
call such reivers as Brother Thomas) were, to my shame, and maugre
my head, for a time of my own company. And I told them of the
bushment that they laid to trap travellers, and how I had striven to
give a warning, and how they bound me and gagged me, and of the
strange girl's voice that spoke through the night of "mes Freres de
Paradis," and of that golden "boyn" faring in the dark, that I
thought I saw, and of the words spoken by the blind man and the
soldier, concerning some vision which affrayed them, I know not
what.

At this tale the girl Elliot, crossing herself very devoutly, cried
aloud -

"O father, did I not tell you so? This holy thing can have been no
other but that blessed Maiden, guarded by the dear saints in form
visible, whom this gentleman, for the sin of keeping evil company,
was not given the grace to see. Oh, come, let us mount and ride to
Chinon, for already she is within the walls; had we not ridden forth
so early, we must have heard tell of it."

It seemed something hard to me that I was to have no grace to behold
what others, and they assuredly much more sinful men than myself,
had been permitted to look upon, if this damsel was right in that
she said. And how could any man, were he himself a saint, see what
was passing by, when his head was turned the other way? Howbeit,
she called me a gentleman, as indeed I had professed myself to be,
and this I saw, that her passion of anger against me was spent, as
then, and gone by, like a shower of April.

"Gentleman you call yourself, sir," said her father; "may I ask of
what house?"

"We are cadets of the house of Rothes," I answered. "My father,
Leslie of Pitcullo, is the fourth son of the third son of the last
laird of Rothes but one; and, for me, I was of late a clerk studying
in St. Andrews."

"I will not ask why you left your lore," he said; "I have been young
myself, and, faith, the story of one lad varies not much from the
story of another. If we have any spirit, it drives us out to fight
the foreign loons in their own country, if we have no feud at home.
But you are a clerk, I hear you say, and have skill enough to read
and write?"

"Yea, and, if need were, can paint, in my degree, and do fair
lettering on holy books, for this art was my pleasure, and I learned
it from a worthy monk in the abbey."

"O day of miracles!" he cried. "Listen, Elliot, and mark how finely
I have fallen in luck's way! Lo you, sir, I also am a gentleman in
my degree, simple as you see me, being one of the Humes of Polwarth;
but by reason of my maimed leg, that came to me with scars many,
from certain shrewd blows got at Verneuil fight, I am disabled from
war. A murrain on the English bill that dealt the stroke! To make
up my ransom (for I was taken prisoner there, where so few got
quarter) cost me every crown I could gather, so I even fell back on
the skill I learned, like you, when I was a lad, from a priest in
the Abbey of Melrose. Ashamed of my craft I am none, for it is
better to paint banners and missals than to beg; and now, for these
five years, I am advanced to be Court painter to the King himself,
thanks to John Kirkmichael, Bishop of Orleans, who is of my far-away
kin. A sore fall it is, for a Hume of Polwarth; and strangely
enough do the French scribes write my name--"Hauves Poulvoir," and
otherwise, so please you; but that is ever their wont with the best
names in all broad Scotland. Lo you, even now there is much ado
with banner-painting for the companies that march to help Orleans,
ever and again."

"When the Maiden marches, father, you shall have banner-painting,"
said the girl.

"Ay, lass, when the Maid marches, and when the lift falls and smoors
the laverocks we shall catch them in plenty. {8} But, Maid or no
Maid, saving your presence, sir, I need what we craftsmen (I pray
you again to pardon me) call an apprentice, and I offer you, if you
are skilled as you say, this honourable post, till you find a
better."

My face grew red again with anger at the word "apprentice," and I
know not how I should have answered an offer so unworthy of my
blood, when the girl broke in -

"Till this gentleman marches with the flower of France against our
old enemy of England, you should say, father, and helps to show them
another Bannockburn on Loire-side."

"Ay, well, till then, if it likes you," he said, smiling. "Till
then there is bed, and meat, and the penny fee for him, till that
great day."

"That is coming soon!" she cried, her eyes raised to heaven, and so
fair she looked, that, being a young man and of my complexion
amorous, I could not bear to be out of her company when I might be
in it, so stooped my pride to agree with him.

"Sir," I said, "I thank you heartily for your offer. You come of as
good a house as mine, and yours is the brag of the Border, as mine
is of the kingdom of Fife. If you can put your pride in your pouch,
faith, so can I; the rather that there is nothing else therein, and
so room enough and to spare. But, as touching what this gentle
demoiselle has said, I may march also, may I not, when the Maid
rides to Orleans?"

"Ay, verify, with my goodwill, then you may," he cried, laughing,
while the lass frowned.

Then we clapped hands on it, for a bargain, and he did not insult me
by the offer of any arles, or luck penny.

The girl was helped to horse, setting her foot on my hand, that
dirled as her little shoe sole touched it; and the jackanapes rode
on her saddle-bow very proudly. For me, I ran as well as I might,
but stiffly enough, being cold to the marrow, holding by the
father's stirrup-leather and watching the lass's yellow hair that
danced on her shoulders as she rode foremost. In this company,
then, so much better than that I had left, we entered Chinon town,
and came to their booth, and their house on the water-side. Then,
of their kindness, I must to bed, which comfort I sorely needed, and
there I slept, in fragrant linen sheets, till compline rang.



CHAPTER V--OF THE FRAY ON THE DRAWBRIDGE AT CHINON CASTLE

During supper, to which they called me, my master showed me the best
countenance that might be, and it was great joy to me to eat off
clean platters once again, on white linen strewn with spring
flowers. As the time was Lent, we had fare that they called meagre:
fish from the Vienne water, below the town, and eggs cooked in
divers fashions, all to the point of excellence, for the wine and
fare of Chinon are famous in France. As my duty was, I waited on my
master and on the maid Elliot, who was never silent, but babbled of
all that she had heard since she came into the town; as to where the
Pucelle had lighted off her horse (on the edge-stone of a well, so
it seemed), and where and with what goodwife she lodged, and how as
yet no message had come to her from the castle and the King; and
great joy it was to watch and to hear her. But her father mocked,
though in a loving manner; and once she wept at his bourdes, and
shone out again, when he fell on his knees, offering her a knife and
baring his breast to the stroke, for I have never seen more love
between father and child, my own experience being contrary. Yet to
my sisters my father was ever debonnair; for, as I have often
marked, the mothers love the sons best and the sons the mothers, and
between father and daughters it is the same. But of my mother I
have spoken in the beginning of this history.

When supper was ended, and all things made orderly, I had no great
mind for my bed, having slept my fill for that time. But the maid
Elliot left us early, which was as if the light had been taken out
of the room.

Beside the fire, my master fell to devising about the state of the
country, as burgesses love to do. And I said that, if I were the
Dauphin, Chinon Castle should not hold me long, for my "spur would
be in my horse's side, and the bridle on his mane," {9} as the old
song of the Battle of Harlaw runs, and I on the way to Orleans.
Thereto he answered, that he well wished it were so, and, mocking,
wished that I were the Dauphin.

"Not that our Dauphin is a coward, the blood of Saint Louis has not
fallen so low, but he is wholly under the Sieur de La Tremouille,
who was thrust on him while he was young, and still is his master,
or, as we say, his governor. Now, this lord is one that would fain
run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, and this side of him is
Burgundian and that is Armagnac, and on which of the sides his heart
is, none knows. At Azincour, as I have heard, he played the man
reasonably well. But he waxes very fat for a man-at-arms, and is
fond of women, and wine, and of his ease. Now, if once the King
ranges up with the Bastard of Orleans, and Xaintrailles, and the
other captains, who hate La Tremouille, then his power, and the
power of the Chancellor, the Archbishop of Rheims, is gone and
ended. So these two work ever to patch up a peace with Burgundy,
but, seeing that the duke has his father's death to avenge on our
King, they may patch and better patch, but no peace will come of it.
And the captains cry "Forward!" and the archbishop and La Tremouille
cry "Back!" and in the meantime Orleans will fall, and the Dauphin
may fly whither he will, for France is lost. But, for myself, I
would to the saints that I and my lass were home again, beneath the
old thorn-tree at Polwarth on the green, where I have been merry
lang syne."

With that word he fell silent, thinking, I doubt not, of his home,
as I did of mine, and of the house of Pitcullo and the ash-tree at
the door, and the sea beyond the ploughed land of the plain. So,
after some space of silence, he went to his bed, and I to mine,
where for long I lay wakeful, painting on the dark the face of
Elliot, and her blue eyes, and remembering her merry, changeful
ways.

Betimes in the morning I was awakened by the sound of her moving
about through the house, and having dressed and gone forth from my
little chamber, I found her in the house-place, she having come from
early Mass. She took little heed of me, giving me some bread and
wine, the same as she and her father took; and she was altogether
less gay and wilful than she had been, and there seemed to be
something that lay heavy on her mind. When her father asked her if
the gossips at the church door had given her any more tidings of the
Maid, she did but frown, and soon left the chamber, whence my master
led me forth into his booth, and bade me show him my hand in
writing. This pleased him not ill, and next I must grind colours to
his liking; and again he went about his business, while I must mind
the booth, and be cap in hand to every saucy page that came from the
castle with an order from his lord.

Full many a time my hand was on my whinger, and yet more often I
wished myself on the free road again, so that I were out of ill
company, and assuredly the Lorrainer Maid, whatever she might be,
was scarcely longing more than I for the day when she should unfurl
her banner and march, with me at her back, to Orleans. For so
irksome was my servitude, and the laying of colours on the ground of
banners for my master to paint, and the copying of books of Hours
and Missals, and the insolence of customers worse born than myself,
that I could have drowned myself in the Vienne water but for the
sight of Elliot. Yet she was become staid enough, and betimes sad;
as it seemed that there was no good news of her dear Maid, for the
King would not see her, and all men (it appeared), save those who
had ridden with her, mocked the Pucelle for a bold ramp, with a bee
in her bonnet. But the two gentlemen that had been her escort were
staunch. Their names were Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy,
good esquires.

Of me Elliot made ofttimes not much more account than of her
jackanapes, which was now in very high favour, and waxing fat, so
that, when none but her father could hear her, she would jest and
call him La Tremouille.

Yet I, as young men will, was forward in all ways to serve her, and
to win her grace and favour. She was fain to hear of Scotland, her
own country, which she had never seen, and I was as fain to tell
her. And betimes I would say how fair were the maidens of our own
country, and how any man that saw her would know her to be a Scot,
though from her tongue, in French, none might guess it. And,
knowing that she loved wildflowers, I would search for them and
bring them to her, and would lead her to speak of romances which she
loved, no less than I, and of pages who had loved queens, and all
such matters as young men and maids are wont to devise of; and now
she would listen, and at other seasons would seem proud, and as if
her mind were otherwhere. Young knights many came to our booth, and
looked ill-pleased when I served them, and their eyes were ever on
the inner door, watching for Elliot, whom they seldom had sight of.

So here was I, in a double service, who, before I met Brother
Thomas, had been free of heart and hand. But, if my master's
service irked me, in that other I found comfort, when I could devise
with Elliot, as concerning our country and her hopes for the Maid.
But my own hopes were not high, nor could I mark any sign that she
favoured me more than another, though I had the joy to be often in
her company. And, indeed, what hope could I have, being so young,
and poor, and in visible station no more than any 'prentice lad? My
heart was much tormented in these fears, and mainly because we heard
no tidings that the Maid was accepted by the Dauphin, and that the
day of her marching, and of my deliverance from my base craft of
painting, was at hand.

It so fell out, how I knew not, whether I had shown me too
presumptuous for an apprentice, or because of any other reason, that
Elliot had much forborne my company, and was more often in church at
her prayers than in the house, or, when in the house, was busy in
divers ways, and I scarce ever could get word of her. Finding her
in this mood, I also withdrew within myself, and was both proud and
sorely unhappy, longing more than ever to take my own part in the
world as a man-at-arms. Now, one day right early, I being alone in
the chamber, copying a psalter, Elliot came in, looking for her
father. I rose at her coming, doffing my cap, and told her, in few
words, that my master had gone forth. Thereon she flitted about the
chamber, looking at this and that, while I stood silent, deeming
that she used me in a sort scarce becoming my blood and lineage.

Suddenly she said, without turning round, for she was standing by a
table gazing at the pictures in a Book of Hours -

"I have seen her!"

"The Pucelle?--do you speak of her, gentle maid?"

"I saw her and spoke to her, and heard her voice"; and here her own
broke, and I guessed that she was near to weeping. "I went up
within the castle precinct, to the tower Coudraye," she said, "for I
knew that she lodged hard by, with a good woman who dwells there. I
passed into the chapel of St. Martin on the cliff, and there heard
the voice of one praying before the image of Our Lady. The voice
was even as you said that day--the sweetest of voices. I knelt
beside her, and prayed aloud for her and for France. She rested her
hand on my hair--her hair is black, and cut "en ronde" like a man's.
It is true that they say, she dresses in man's garb. We came forth
together, and I put my hand into hers, and said, "I believe in you;
if none other believes, yet do I believe." Then she wept, and she
kissed me; she is to visit me here to-morrow, la fille de Dieu--"

She drew a long sob, and struck her hand hard on the table; then,
keeping her back ever towards me, she fled swiftly from the room. I
was amazed--so light of heart as she commonly seemed, and of late
disdainful--to find her in this passion. Yet it was to me that she
had spoken--to me that she had opened her heart. Now I guessed
that, if I was ever to win her, it must be through this Pucelle, on
whom her mind was so strangely bent. So I prayed that, if it might
be God's will, He would prosper the Maid, and let me be her loyal
servitor, and at last bring me to my desire.

Something also I dreamed, as young men will who have read many
romances, of myself made a knight for great feats of arms, and
wearing in my salade my lady's favour, and breaking a spear on
Talbot, or Fastolf, or Glasdale, in some last great victory for
France.

Then shone on my eyesight, as it were, the picture of these two
children, for they were little more, Elliot and the Maid, kneeling
together in the chapel of St. Martin, the gold hair and the black
blended; and what were they two alone against this world and the
prince of this world? Alas, how much, and again how little, doth
prayer avail us! These thoughts were in my mind all day, while
serving and answering customers, and carrying my master's wares
about the town, and up to the castle on the cliff, where the
soldiers and sentries now knew me well enough, and the Scots archers
treated me kindly. But as for Elliot, she was like her first self
again, and merrier than common with her father, to whom, as far as
my knowledge went, she said not a word about the meeting in the
crypt of St. Martin's chapel, though to me she had spoken so freely.
This gave me some hope; but when I would have tried to ask her a
question, she only gazed at me in a manner that abashed me, and
turned off to toy with her jackanapes. Whereby I went to my bed
perplexed, and with a heavy heart, as one that was not yet
conversant with the ways of women--nay, nor ever, in my secular
life, have I understood what they would be at. Happier had it been
for my temporal life if I had been wiser in woman's ways. But
commonly, when we have learned a lesson, the lore comes too late.

Next day my master had business at the castle with a certain lord,
and took me thither to help in carrying his wares. This castle was
a place that I loved well, it is so old, having first been builded
when the Romans were lords of the land; and is so great and strong
that our bishop's castle of St. Andrews seems but a cottage compared
to it. From the hill-top there is a wide prospect over the tower
and the valley of the Vienne, which I liked to gaze upon. My
master, then, went in by the drawbridge, high above the moat, which
is so deep that, I trow, no foeman could fill it up and cross it to
assail the walls. My master, in limping up the hill, had wearied
himself, but soon passed into the castle through the gateway of the
bell-tower, as they call it, while I waited for him on the further
end of the bridge, idly dropping morsels of bread to the swans that
swam in the moat below.

On the drawbridge, standing sentinel, was a French man-at-arms, a
young man of my own age, armed with a long fauchard, which we call a
bill or halberd, a weapon not unlike the Lochaber axes of the
Highlandmen. Other soldiers, French, Scottish, Spaniards, Germans,
a mixed company, were idling and dicing just within the gate.

I was throwing my last piece of crust to a swan, my mind empty of
thought, when I started out of my dream, hearing that rare woman's
voice which once I had heard before. Then turning quickly, I saw,
walking between two gentlemen, even those who had ridden with her
from Vaucouleurs, one whom no man could deem to be other than that
much-talked-of Maid of Lorraine. She was clad very simply, like the
varlet of some lord of no great estate, in a black cap with a little
silver brooch, a grey doublet, and black and grey hose, trussed up
with many points; a sword of small price hung by her side. {10} In
stature she was something above the common height of women, her face
brown with sun and wind, her eyes great, grey, and beautiful,
beneath black brows, her lips red and smiling. In figure she seemed
strong and shapely, but so slim--she being but seventeen years of
age--that, were it not for her sweet girl's voice, and for the
beauty of her grey eyes, she might well have passed for a page, her
black hair being cut "en ronde," as was and is the fashion among
men-at-arms. Thus much have I written concerning her bodily aspect,
because many have asked me what manner of woman was the blessed
Maid, and whether she was beautiful. I gazed at her like one moon-
struck, then, remembering my courtesy, I doffed my cap, and louted
low; and she bowed, smiling graciously like a great lady, but with
such an air as if her mind was far away.

She passed, with her two gentlemen, but the French sentinel barred
the way, holding his fauchard thwartwise.

"On what business come you, and by what right?" he cried, in a rude
voice.

"By the Dauphin's gracious command, to see the Dauphin," said one of
the gentlemen right courteously. "Here is his own letter, and you
may know the seal, bidding La Pucelle to come before him at this
hour."

The fellow looked at the seal, and could not but acknowledge the
arms of France thereon. He dropped his fauchard over his shoulder,
and stood aside, staring impudently at the Maiden, and muttering
foul words.

"So this is the renowned Pucelle," he cried; "by God's name" . . .
and here he spoke words such as I may not set down in writing,
blaspheming God and the Maid.

She turned and looked at him, but as if she saw him not; and then, a
light of joy and love transfiguring her face, she knelt down on the
drawbridge, folding her hands, her face bowed, and so abode while
one might count twenty, we that beheld her being amazed. Then she
rose and bent as if in salutation to one we saw not; next,
addressing herself to the sentinel, she said, very gently -

"Sir, how canst thou take in vain the name of God, thou that art in
this very hour to die?"

So speaking, she with her gentlemen went within the gate, while the
soldier stood gazing after her like a man turned to stone.

The Maid passed from our sight, and then the sentinel, coming to
himself, turned in great wrath on me, who stood hard by.

"What make you gaping here, you lousy wine-sack of Scotland?" he
cried; and at the word, my prayer which I had made to St. Andrew in
my bonds came into my mind, namely, that I should not endure to hear
my country defamed.

I stopped not to think of words, wherein I never had a ready wit,
but his were still in his mouth when I had leaped within his guard,
so that he might not swing out his long halberd.

"Blasphemer and liar!" I cried, gripping his neck with my left hand,
while with two up-cuts of my right I sent his lies down his throat
in company, as I deem, with certain of his teeth.

He dropped his halberd against the wooden fence of the bridge, and
felt for his dagger. I caught at his right hand with mine; cries
were in my ears--St. Denis for France! St. Andrew for Scotland!--as
the other men on guard came running forth to see the sport.

We gripped and swayed for a moment, then the staff of his fauchard
coming between his legs, he tripped and fell, I above him; our
weight soused against the low pales of the bridge side, that were
crazy and old; there was a crash, and I felt myself in mid-air,
failing to the moat far below us. Down and down I whirled, and then
the deep water closed over me.


bring mine host to me instantly. For, at Louviers, we were so well
served by spies, the country siding with us rather than with the
English, that I knew how a company of the Earl of Warwick's men was
looked for in Winchelsea to sail when they had a fair wind for
Rouen.

Mine host came to me in a servile English fashion, and asked me what
I would?

"First, a horse," said I, "for mine dropped dead last night, ten
miles hence on the north road, in your marshes, God damn them, and
you may see by my rusty spur and miry boot that I have walked far.
Here," I cried, pulling off my boots, and flinging them down on the
rushes of the floor, "bid one of your varlets clean them! Next,
breakfast, and a pot of your ale; and then I shall see what manner
of horses you keep, for I must needs ride to Winchelsea."

"You would join the men under the banner of Sir Thomas Grey of
Falloden, I make no doubt?" he answered. "Your speech smacks of the
Northern parts, and the good knight comes from no long way south of
the border. His men rode through our town but few days agone."

"And me they left behind on the way," I answered, "so evil is my
luck in horse-flesh. But for this blessed wind out of the east that
hinders them, my honour were undone."

My tale was not too hard of belief, and before noon I was on my way
to Winchelsea, a stout nag enough between my legs.

The first man-at-arms whom I met I hailed, bidding him lead me
straight to Sir Thomas Grey of Falloden. "What, you would take
service?" he asked, in a Cumberland burr that I knew well, for
indeed it came ready enough on my own tongue.

"Yea, by St. Cuthbert," I answered, "for on the Marches nothing
stirs; moreover, I have slain a man, and fled my own country."

With that he bade God damn his soul if I were not a good fellow, and
so led me straight to the lodgings of the knight under whose colours
he served. To him I told the same tale, adding that I had heard
late of his levying of his men, otherwise I had ridden to join him
at his setting forth.

"You have seen war?" he asked.

"Only a Warden's raid or twain, on the moss-trooping Scots of
Liddesdale. Branxholme I have seen in a blaze, and have faced fire
at the Castle of the Hermitage."

"You speak the tongue of the Northern parts," he said; "are you
noble?"

"A poor cousin of the Storeys of Netherby," I answered, which was
true enough; and when he questioned me about my kin, I showed him
that I knew every name and scutcheon of the line, my mother having
instructed me in all such lore of her family. {38}

"And wherefore come you here alone, and in such plight?"

"By reason of a sword-stroke at Stainishawbank Fair," I answered
boldly.

"Faith, then, I see no cause why, as your will is so good, you
should not soon have your bellyful of sword-strokes. For, when once
we have burned that limb of the devil, the Puzel" (for so the
English call the Maid), "we shall shortly drive these forsworn dogs,
the French, back beyond the Loire."

I felt my face reddening at these ill words, so I stooped, as if to
clear my spur of mire.

"Shortly shall she taste the tar-barrel," I answered, whereat he
swore and laughed; then, calling a clerk, bade him write my
indenture, as is the English manner. Thus, thanks to my northern
English tongue, for which I was sore beaten by the other boys when I
was a boy myself, behold me a man-at-arms of King Henry, and so much
of my enterprise was achieved.

I make no boast of valour, and indeed I greatly feared for my neck,
both now and later. For my risk was that some one of the men-at-
arms in Rouen, whither we were bound, should have seen my face
either at Orleans, at Paris (where I was unhelmeted), or in the
taking of the Bastille at Compiegne. Yet my visor was down, both at
Orleans and Compiegne, and of those few who marked me in girl's gear
in Paris none might chance to meet me at Rouen, or to remember me in
changed garments. So I put a bold brow on it, for better might not
be. None cursed the Puzel more loudly than I, and, without
feigning, none longed so sorely as I for a fair wind to France,
wherefore I was ever going about Winchelsea with my head in the air,
gazing at the weather-cocks. And, as fortune would have it, the
wind went about, and we on board, and with no long delay were at
Rouen town.



bring mine host to me instantly. For, at Louviers, we were so well
served by spies, the country siding with us rather than with the
English, that I knew how a company of the Earl of Warwick's men was
looked for in Winchelsea to sail when they had a fair wind for
Rouen.

Mine host came to me in a servile English fashion, and asked me what
I would?

"First, a horse," said I, "for mine dropped dead last night, ten
miles hence on the north road, in your marshes, God damn them, and
you may see by my rusty spur and miry boot that I have walked far.
Here," I cried, pulling off my boots, and flinging them down on the
rushes of the floor, "bid one of your varlets clean them! Next,
breakfast, and a pot of your ale; and then I shall see what manner
of horses you keep, for I must needs ride to Winchelsea."

"You would join the men under the banner of Sir Thomas Grey of
Falloden, I make no doubt?" he answered. "Your speech smacks of the
Northern parts, and the good knight comes from no long way south of
the border. His men rode through our town but few days agone."

"And me they left behind on the way," I answered, "so evil is my
luck in horse-flesh. But for this blessed wind out of the east that
hinders them, my honour were undone."

My tale was not too hard of belief, and before noon I was on my way
to Winchelsea, a stout nag enough between my legs.

The first man-at-arms whom I met I hailed, bidding him lead me
straight to Sir Thomas Grey of Falloden. "What, you would take
service?" he asked, in a Cumberland burr that I knew well, for
indeed it came ready enough on my own tongue.

"Yea, by St. Cuthbert," I answered, "for on the Marches nothing
stirs; moreover, I have slain a man, and fled my own country."

With that he bade God damn his soul if I were not a good fellow, and
so led me straight to the lodgings of the knight under whose colours
he served. To him I told the same tale, adding that I had heard
late of his levying of his men, otherwise I had ridden to join him
at his setting forth.

"You have seen war?" he asked.

"Only a Warden's raid or twain, on the moss-trooping Scots of
Liddesdale. Branxholme I have seen in a blaze, and have faced fire
at the Castle of the Hermitage."

"You speak the tongue of the Northern parts," he said; "are you
noble?"

"A poor cousin of the Storeys of Netherby," I answered, which was
true enough; and when he questioned me about my kin, I showed him
that I knew every name and scutcheon of the line, my mother having
instructed me in all such lore of her family. {38}

"And wherefore come you here alone, and in such plight?"

"By reason of a sword-stroke at Stainishawbank Fair," I answered
boldly.

"Faith, then, I see no cause why, as your will is so good, you
should not soon have your bellyful of sword-strokes. For, when once
we have burned that limb of the devil, the Puzel" (for so the
English call the Maid), "we shall shortly drive these forsworn dogs,
the French, back beyond the Loire."

I felt my face reddening at these ill words, so I stooped, as if to
clear my spur of mire.

"Shortly shall she taste the tar-barrel," I answered, whereat he
swore and laughed; then, calling a clerk, bade him write my
indenture, as is the English manner. Thus, thanks to my northern
English tongue, for which I was sore beaten by the other boys when I
was a boy myself, behold me a man-at-arms of King Henry, and so much
of my enterprise was achieved.

I make no boast of valour, and indeed I greatly feared for my neck,
both now and later. For my risk was that some one of the men-at-
arms in Rouen, whither we were bound, should have seen my face
either at Orleans, at Paris (where I was unhelmeted), or in the
taking of the Bastille at Compiegne. Yet my visor was down, both at
Orleans and Compiegne, and of those few who marked me in girl's gear
in Paris none might chance to meet me at Rouen, or to remember me in
changed garments. So I put a bold brow on it, for better might not
be. None cursed the Puzel more loudly than I, and, without
feigning, none longed so sorely as I for a fair wind to France,
wherefore I was ever going about Winchelsea with my head in the air,
gazing at the weather-cocks. And, as fortune would have it, the
wind went about, and we on board, and with no long delay were at
Rouen town.

Chapter 6.

HOW NORMAN LESLIE SAW THE MAID IN HER PRISON


On arriving in the town of Rouen, three things were my chief care,
whereof the second helped me in the third. The first was to be
lodged as near as I might to the castle, wherein the Maid lay, being
chained (so fell was the cruelty of the English) to her bed. The
next matter was to purvey me three horses of the fleetest. Here my
fortune served me well, for the young esquires and pages would ever
be riding races outside of the gates, they being in no fear of war,
and the time till the Maid was burned hung heavy on their hands. I
therefore, following the manner of the English Marchmen, thrust
myself forward in these sports, and would change horses, giving
money to boot, for any that outran my own. My money I spent with a
very free hand, both in wagers and in feasting men-at-arms, so that
I was taken to be a good fellow, and I willingly let many make their
profit of me. In the end, I had three horses that, with a light
rider in the saddle, could be caught by none in the whole garrison
of Rouen.

Thirdly, I was most sedulous in all duty, and so won the favour of
Sir Thomas Grey, the rather that he counted cousins with me, and
reckoned that we were of some far-off kindred, wherein he spoke the
truth. Thus, partly for our common blood, partly for that I was
ever ready at call, and forward to do his will, and partly because
none could carry a message swifter, or adventure further to spy out
any bands of the French, he kept me close to him, and trusted me as
his galloper. Nay, he gave me, on occasion, his signet, to open the
town gates whensoever he would send me on any errand. Moreover, the
man (noble by birth, but base by breeding) who had the chief charge
and custody of the Maid, was the brother's son of Sir Thomas. He
had to name John Grey, and was an esquire of the body of the English
King, Henry, then a boy. This miscreant it was often my fortune to
meet, at his uncle's table, and to hear his pitiless and cruel
speech. Yet, making friends, as Scripture commands us, of the
Mammon of unrighteousness, I set myself to win the affection of John
Grey by laughing at his jests and doing him what service I might.

Once or twice I dropped to him a word of my great desire to see the
famed Puzel, for the trials that had been held in open hall were now
done in the dungeon, where only the bishop, the doctors of law, and
the notaries might hear them. Her noble bearing, indeed, and wise
answers (which were plainly put into her mouth by the Saints, for
she was simple and ignorant) had gained men's hearts.

One day, they told me, an English lord had cried--"The brave lass,
pity she is not English." For to the English all the rest of God's
earth is as Nazareth, out of which can come no good thing. Thus
none might see the Maid, and, once and again, I let fall a word in
John Grey's ear concerning my desire to look on her in prison. I
dared make no show of eagerness, though now the month of May had
come, which was both her good and ill month. For in May she first
went to Vaucouleurs and prophesied, in May she delivered Orleans,
and in May she was taken at Compiegne. Wherefore I deemed, as men
will, that in May she should escape her prison, or in May should
die. Moreover, on the first day of March they had asked her,
mocking her -

"Shalt thou be delivered?"

And she had answered -

"Ask me on this day three months, and I shall declare it to you."

The English, knowing this, made all haste to end her ere May ended,
wherefore I had the more occasion for speed.

Now, on a certain day, being May the eighth, the heart of John Grey
was merry within him. He had well drunk, and I had let him win of
me, at the dice, that one of my three horses which most he coveted.

He then struck me in friendly fashion on the back, and cried -

"An unlucky day for thee, and for England. This very day, two years
agone, that limb of the devil drove us by her sorceries from before
Orleans. But to-morrow--" and he laughed grossly in his beard.
"Storey, you are a good fellow, though a fool at the dice."

"Faith, I have met my master," I said. "But the lesson you gave me
was worth bay Salkeld," for so I had named my horse, after a great
English house on the Border who dwell at the Castle of Corby.

"I will do thee a good turn," he said. "You crave to see this
Puzel, ere they put on her the high witch's cap for her hellward
journey."

"I should like it not ill," I said; "it were something to tell my
grandchildren, when all France is English land."

"Then you shall see her, for this is your last chance to see her
whole."

"What mean you, fair sir?" I asked, while my heart gave a turn in my
body, and I put out my hand to a great tankard of wine.

"To-morrow the charity of the Church hath resolved that she shall be
had into the torture-chamber."

I set my lips to the tankard, and drank long, to hide my face, and
for that I was nigh swooning with a passion of fear and wrath.

"Thanks to St. George," I said, "the end is nigh!"

"The end of the tankard," quoth he, looking into it, "hath already
come. You drink like a man of the Land Debatable."

Yet I was in such case that, though by custom I drink little, the
great draught touched not my brain, and did but give me heart.

"You might challenge at skinking that great Danish knight who was
with us under Orleans, Sir Andrew Haggard was his name, and his
bearings were . . . " {39}

So he was running on, for he himself had drunk more than his share,
when I brought him back to my matter.

"But as touching this Puzel, how may I have my view of her, that you
graciously offered me?"

"My men change guard at curfew," he said; "five come out and five go
in, and I shall bid them seek you here at your lodgings. So now,
farewell, and your revenge with the dice you shall have when so you
will."

"Nay, pardon me one moment: when relieve you the guard that enters
at curfew?"

"An hour after point of day. But, now I bethink me, you scarce will
care to pass all the night in the Puzel's company. Hast thou paper
or parchment?"

I set paper and ink before him, who said -

"Nay, write yourself; I am no great clerk, yet I can sign and seal."

Therewith, at his wording, I set down an order to the Castle porter
to let me forth as early in the night as I would. This pass he
signed with his name, and sealed with his ring, bearing his arms.

"So I wish you joy of this tryst and bonne fortune," he said, and
departed.

I had two hours before me ere curfew rang, and the time was more
than I needed. Therefore I went first to the Church of St. Ouen,
which is very great and fair, and there clean confessed me, and made
my orisons that, if it were God's will, this enterprise might turn
to His honour, and to the salvation of the Maid. And pitifully I
besought Madame St. Catherine of Fierbois, that as she had delivered
me, a sinner, she would deliver the Sister of the Saints.

Next I went back to my lodgings, and there bade the hostler to have
my two best steeds saddled and bridled in stall, by point of day,
for a council was being held that night in the Castle, and I and
another of Sir Thomas's company might be sent early with a message
to the Bishop of Avranches. This holy man, as then, was a cause of
trouble and delay to the Regent and Pierre Cauchon, Bishop of
Beauvais, because he was just, and fell not in with their treasons.

Next I clad myself in double raiment, doublet above doublet, and
hose over hose, my doublets bearing the red cross of St. George.
Over all I threw a great mantle, falling to the feet, as if I feared
the night chills. Thereafter I made a fair copy of my own writing
in the pass given to me by John Grey, and copied his signature also,
and feigned his seal with a seal of clay, for it might chance that
two passes proved better than one. Then I put in a little wallet
hanging to my girdle the signet of Sir Thomas Grey, and the pass
given to me by John Grey, also an ink-horn with pen and paper, and
in my hand, secretly, I held that phial which I had bought of the
apothecary in Tours. All my gold and jewels I hid about my body; I
sharpened my sword and dagger, and then had no more to do but wait
till curfew rang.

This was the weariest part of all; for what, I thought, if John Grey
had forgotten his promise, the wine being about his wits. Therefore
I walked hither and thither in my chamber, in much misdoubt; but at
the chime of curfew I heard rude voices below, and a heavy step on
the stairs. It was a man-at-arms of the basest sort, who, lurching
with his shoulder against my door, came in, and said that he and his
fellows waited my pleasure. Thereon I showed him the best
countenance, and bade my host fill a pannier with meat and cakes and
wine, to pass the hours in the prison merrily. I myself ran down
into the host's cellar, and was very busy in tasting wine, for I
would have the best. And in making my choice, while the host
stooped over a cask to draw a fresh tankard, I poured all the drugs
of my phial into a large pewter vessel with a lid, filled it with
wine, and, tasting it, swore it would serve my turn. This flagon,
such as we call a 'tappit hen' in my country, but far greater, I
bore with me up the cellar stairs, and gave it to one of the guard,
bidding him spill not a drop, or he should go thirsty.

The lourdaud, that was their captain, carried the pannier, and,
laughing, we crossed the street and the moat, giving the word
"Bedford." To the porter I showed my pass, telling him that, though
I was loath to disturb him, I counted not to watch all night in the
cell, wherefore I gave him a gold piece for the trouble he might
have in letting me go forth at an hour untimely. Herewith he was
well content, and so, passing the word to the sentinel at each post,
we entered.

And now, indeed, my heart beat so that my body seemed to shake with
hope and fear as I walked. At the door of the chamber wherein the
Maid lay we met her guards coming forth, who cried roughly, bidding
her good even, and to think well of what waited her, meaning the
torments. They tumbled down the stairs laughing, while we went in,
and I last. It was a dark vaulted chamber with one window near the
roof, narrow and heavily barred. In the recess by the window was a
brazier burning, and casting as much shadow as light by reason of
the smoke. Here also was a rude table, stained with foul circles of
pot-rims, and there were five or six stools. On a weighty oaken bed
lay one in man's raiment, black in hue, her face downwards, and her
arms spread over her neck. It could scarce be that she slept, but
she lay like one dead, only shuddering when the lourdaud, the
captain of the guard, smote her on the shoulder, asking, in English,
how she did?

"Here she is, sir, surly as ever, and poor company for Christian
men. See you how cunningly all her limbs are gyved, and chained to
the iron bolts of the bed? What would my lady Jeanne give me for
this little master-key?"

Here he showed a slender key, hung on a steel chain about his neck.

"Never a saint of the three, Michael, Margaret, and Catherine, can
take this from me; nay, nor the devils who wear their forms."

"Have you seen this fair company of hers?" I whispered in English,
crossing myself.

"No more than she saw the white lady that goes with that other
witch, Catherine of La Rochelle. But, sir, she is sullen; it is her
manner. With your good leave, shall we sup?"

This was my own desire, so putting the pannier on the table, I
carved the meat with my dagger, and poured out the wine in cups, and
they fell to, being hungry, as Englishmen are at all times. They
roared over their meat, eating like wolves and drinking like fishes,
and one would sing a lewd song, and the others strike in with the
over-word, but drinking was their main avail.

"This is better stuff," says the lourdaud, "than our English ale.
Faith, 'tis strong, my lads! Wake up, Jenkin; wake up, Hal," and
then he roared a snatch, but stopped, looking drowsily about him.

O brothers in Christ, who hear this tale, remember ye that, for now
four months and more, the cleanest soul in Christenty, and the
chastest lady, and of manners the noblest, had endured this company
by night and by day!

"Nay, wake up," I cried; "ye are dull revellers; what say ye to the
dice?"

Therewith I set out my tablier and the dice. Then I filled up the
cup afresh, pretending to drink, and laid on the foul table a great
shining heap of gold. Their dull eyes shone like the metal when I
said -

"Myself will be judge and umpire; play ye, honest fellows, for I
crave no gains from you. Only, a cup for luck!"

They camped at the table, all the five of them, and some while their
greed kept them wakeful, and they called the mains, but their
drought kept them drinking. And, one by one, their heads fell heavy
on the table, or they sprawled on their stools, and so sank on to
the floor, so potent were the poppy and mandragora of the leech in
Tours.

At last they were all sound on sleep, one man's hand yet clutching a
pile of my gold that now and again would slip forth and jingle on
the stone floor.

Now all this time she had never stirred, but lay as she had lain,
her face downwards, her arms above her neck.

Stealthily I took the chain and the key from about the neck of the
sleeping lourdaud, and then drew near her on tiptoe.

I listened, and, from her breathing, I believe that she slept, as
extreme labour and weariness and sorrow do sometimes bring their own
remede.

Then a thought came into my mind, how I should best awake her, and
stooping, I said in her ear -

"Fille De!"

Instantly she turned about, and, sitting up, folded her hands as one
in prayer, deeming, belike, that she was aroused by the voices of
her Saints. I kneeled down beside the bed, and whispered--"Madame,
Jeanne, look on my face!"

She gazed on me, and now I saw her brave face, weary and thin and
white, and, greater than of old, the great grey eyes.

"I said once," came her sweet voice, "that thou alone shouldst stand
by me when all had forsaken me. Fair Saints, do I dream but a
dream?"

"Nay, Madame," I said, "thou wakest and dost not dream. One has
sent me who loves thee, even my lady Elliot; and now listen, for the
time is short. See, here I have the master-key, and when I have
unlocked thy bonds . . . "

"Thou hast not slain these men?" she asked. "That were deadly sin."

"Nay, they do but sleep, and will waken belike ere the fresh guard
comes, wherefore we must make haste."

"When I have freed thee, do on thy body, above thy raiment, this
doublet of mine, for it carries the cross of England, and, I being
of little stature, you may well pass for me. Moreover, this cloak
and its hood, which I wore when I came in, will cover thee. Then,
when thou goest forth give the word "Bedford" to the sentinels; and,
to the porter in the gate, show this written pass of John Grey's.
He knows it already, having seen it this night. Next, when thou art
without the castle, fare to the hostelry called "The Rose and
Apple," which is nearest the castle gate, and so straight into the
stable, where stand two steeds, saddled and bridled. Choose the
black, he is the swifter. If the hostler be awake, he expects me,
and will take thee for me; mount, with no word, and ride to the
eastern port. There show to the gate ward this signet of Sir Thomas
Grey, and he will up with portcullis and down with drawbridge, for
he has often done no less for me and that signet.

"Then, Madame, ride for Louviers, and you shall break your fast with
the Bastard and La Hire." Her white face changed to red, like the
morning light, as on that day at Orleans, before she took Les
Tourelles.

Then the flush faded, and she grew ashen pale, while she said -

"But thou, how shalt thou get forth?"

"Madame," I said, "fear not for me. I will follow after thee, and
shame the sleepy porter to believe that he has dreamed a dream. And
I have written this other pass, on seeing which he will needs credit
me, being adrowse, and, moreover, I will pay him well. And I shall
be at the stable as soon almost as thou, and I have told the hostler
that belike I shall ride with a friend, carrying a message to the
Bishop of Avranches. For I have beguiled the English to believe me
of their party, as Madame Judith wrought to the tyrant Holofernes."

"Nay," she answered simply, "this may not be. Even if the porter
were to be bought or beguiled, thou couldst not pass the sentinels.
It may not be."

"The sentinels, belike, are sleeping, or wellnigh sleeping, and I
have a dagger. O Madame! for the sake of the fortune of France, and
the honour of the King"--for this, I knew, was my surest hope--
"delay not, nor reck at all of me. I have but one life, and it is
thine freely."

"They will burn thee, or slay thee with other torments."

"Not so," I said; "I shall not be taken alive."

"That were deadly sin," she answered. "I shall not go and leave
thee to die for me. Then were my honour lost, and I could not
endure to live. Entreat me not, for I will not go forth, as now.
Nay more, I tell thee as I have told my judges, that which the
Saints have spoken to me. 'Bear this thy martyrdom gently,' they
say, 'tu t'en viendras en royaume du Paradis.' Moreover, this I
know, that I am to be delivered with great victory!"

Here she clasped her hands, looking upwards, and her face was as the
face of an angel.

"Fair victory it were to leave thee in my place, and so make liars
of my brethren of Paradise."

Then, alas! I knew that I was of no more avail to move her; yet one
last art I tried.

"Madame," I said, "I have prayed you in the name of the fortune of
France, and the honour of the King, which is tarnished for ever if
you escape not."

"I shall be delivered," she answered.

"I pray you in the dear name of your lady mother, Madame du Lys."

"I shall be delivered," she said, "and with great victory!"

"Now I pray thee in my own name, and in that of thy first friend, my
lady. She has made a vow to give her virginity to Heaven unless
either thou art set free, or she have tidings from thee that thou
willest her to wed me, without whom I have no desire to live, but
far rather this very night to perish. For I am clean confessed,
within these six hours, knowing that I was like to be in some
jeopardy."

"Then," she said, smiling sweetly, and signing that I should take
her hand--"Then live, Norman Leslie, for this is to me an easy thing
and a joyous. Thou art a clerk, hast thou wherewithal to write?"

"Yes, Madame, here in my wallet."

"Then write as I tell thee:-


"JHESU MARIA"


"'I, Jehanne la Pucelle, send from prison here in Rouen my tidings
of love to Elliot Hume, my first friend among women, and bid her,
for my sake, wed him who loves her, Norman Leslie of Pitcullo, my
faithful servant, praying that all happiness may go with them. In
witness whereto, my hand being guided to write, I set my name,
Jehanne la Pucelle, this ninth day of May, in the year Fourteen
hundred and thirty-one.'


"So guide my hand," she said, taking the pen from my fingers; and
thus guided, while my tears fell on her hand, she wrote JEHANNE LA
PUCELLE.

"Now," quoth she, smiling as of old, "we must seal this missive.
Cut off one lock of my hair with your dagger, for my last gift to my
first friend, and make the seal all orderly."

I did as she bade, and, bringing a lighted stick from the brazier, I
melted wax. Then, when it was smooth, she laid on it two hairs from
the little sundered lock (as was sometimes her custom), and bade me
seal with my own signet, and put the brief in my wallet.

"Now, all is done," she said.

"Nay, nay," I said, "to die for thee is more to me than to live in
love. Ah, nay, go forth, I beseech thee!"

"With victory shall I go forth, and now I lay my last commands on
the last of all my servants. If in aught I have ever offended thee,
in word or deed, forgive me!"

I could but bow my head, for I was weeping, though her eyes were
dry.

"And so, farewell," she said -

"As thou art leal and true, begone; it is my order, and make no
tarrying. To-morrow I have much to do, and needs must I sleep while
these men are quiet. Say to thy lady that I love her dearly, and
bid her hope, as I also hope. Farewell!"

She moved her thin hand, which I kissed, kneeling.

Again she said "Farewell," and turned her back on me as if she would
sleep.

Then I hung the chain and key again on the neck of the lourdaud; I
put some of the fallen coins in the men's pouches, but bestowed the
dice and tablier in my wallet. I opened the door, and went forth,
not looking back; and so from the castle, showing my pass, and
giving the porter another coin. Then I went home, in the sweet dawn
of May, and casting myself on my bed, I wept bitterly, for to-day
she should be tormented.


Of the rest I have no mind to tell (though they had not the heart to
torture the Maid), for it puts me out of charity with a people who
have a name to be Christians, and it is my desire, if I may, to
forgive all men before I die.

At Rouen I endured to abide, even until the day of unjust doom, and
my reason was that I ever hoped for some miracle, even as her Saints
had promised. But it was their will that she should be made perfect
through suffering, and being set free through the gate of fire,
should win her victory over unfaith and mortal fear. Wherefore I
stood afar off at the end, seeing nothing of what befell; yet I
clearly heard, as did all men there, the last word of her sweet
voice, and the cry of JHESUS!

Then I passed through the streets where men and women, and the very
English, were weeping, and, saddling my swiftest horse, I rode to
the east port. When the gate had closed behind me, I turned, and,
lifting my hand, I tore the cross of St. George from my doublet.

"Dogs!" I cried, "ye have burned a Saint! A curse on cruel English
and coward French! St Andrew for Scotland!" The shafts and bolts
hailed past me as I wheeled about; there was mounting of steeds, and
a clatter of hoofs behind me, but the sound died away ere I rode
into Louviers.

There I told them the tale which was their shame, and so betook me
to Tours, and to my lady.



THE END OF THIS CHRONICLE

It serves not to speak of my later fortunes, being those of a
private man, nor have I the heart to recall old sorrows. We were
wedded when Elliot's grief had in some sort abated, and for one year
we were happier than God has willed that sinful men should long be
in this world. Then that befell which has befallen many. I may not
write of it: suffice it that God took from me both her and her
child. Then, after certain weeks and days of which I am blessed
enough to keep little memory, I forswore arms, and served in the
household of the Lady Margaret of Scotland, who married the Dauphin
on an unhappy day. I have known much of Courts and of the learned,
I have seen the wicked man exalted, and Brother Thomas Noiroufle in
great honour with Charles VII. King of France, and offering before
him, with his murderous hands, the blessed sacrifice of the Mass.

The death of the Lady Margaret, slain by lying tongues, and the
sudden sight of that evil man, Brother Thomas, raised to power and
place, drove me from France, and I was certain years with the King's
ambassadors at the Courts of Italy. There I heard how the Holy
Inquisition had reversed that false judgment of the English and
false French at Rouen, which made me some joy. And then, finding
old age come upon me, I withdrew to my own country, where I have
lived in religion, somewhile in the Abbey of Dunfermline, and this
year gone in our cell of Pluscardine, where I now write, and where I
hope to die and be buried.

Here ends my tale, in my Latin Chronicle left untold, of how a Scots
Monk was with the Maid both in her victories and recoveries of
towns, and even till her death.

For myself, I now grow old, and the earthly time to come is short,
and there remaineth a rest for all souls Christian. Miscreants I
have heard of, men misbelieving and heretics, who deny that the
spirit abides after the death of the body, for in the long years,
say they, the spirit with the flesh wanes, and at last dies with the
bodily death. Wherein they not only make Holy Church a liar, but
are visibly confounded by this truth which I know and feel, namely,
that while my flesh wastes hourly towards old age, and of many
things my memory is weakened, yet of that day in Chinon I mind me as
clearly, and see my love as well, and hear her sweet voice as plain,
as if she had but now left the room.

Herein my memory does not fail, nor does love faint, growing
stronger with the years, like the stream as it races to the fall.
Wherefore, being more strong than Time, Love shall be more strong
than Death. The river of my life speeds yearly swifter, the years
like months go by, the months like weeks, the weeks like days. Even
so fleet on, O Time, till I rest beside her feet! Nay, never, being
young, did I more desire my love's presence when we were apart than
to-day I desire it, the memory of her filling all my heart as
fragrance of flowers fills a room, till it seems as if she were not
far away, but near me, as I write of her. And, foolish that I am! I
look up as if I might see her by my side. I know not if this be so
with all men, for, indeed, I have asked none, nor spoken to any of
the matter save in confession. For I have loved this once, and no
more; wherefore I deem me happier than most, and more certain of a
good end to my love, where the blessed dwell in the Rose of
Paradise, beholding the Beatific Vision.

To this end I implore the prayers of all Christian souls who read
this book, and of all the Saints, and of that Sister of the Saints
whom, while I might, I served in my degree.

VENERABILIS JOHANNA
ORA PRO NOBIS



APPENDIX A--NORMAN'S MIRACLE

(See "Livre des Miracles de Madame Sainte Katherine de Fierboys.
MSS. Bib. Nat. 7335, fol. lxxxiv.)

Le xvi jour du moys de janvier, l'an mil cccc. xxx., vint en la
chapelle de ceans Norman Leslie de Pytquhoulle, escoth, escuyer de
la compagnie de Hugues Cande, capitaine. {40} Lequel dist et
afferma par serment estre vray le miracle cy apres declaire. C'est
assavoir que le dit Leslie fut prins des Anglois e Paris le jour de
la Nativite de Nostre Dame de l'an dernier passe. Lequel Norman
Leslie avoit entre dans la ville de Paris avec c. Escossoys en
guise d'Angloys, lesqueuls Escossoys furent prins des Angloys, et
ledit Norman fut mis en fers et en ceps. Et estoit l'intention de
ceux qui l'avoient pris de le faire lendemain ardre, parce qu'il
portoit robe de femme par maniere de ruse de guerre.

Si s'avint que ledit Norman se voua e Madame Sainte Katherine, qu'il
luy pleust prier Dieu qu'il le voulsist delivrer de la prison ou il
estoit; et incontinent qu'il pourroit estre dehors, il yroit mercier
Madame Sainte Katherine en sa chapelle de Fierboys. Et incontinent
son veu fait si s'en dormit, et au reveiller trouva en la tour
avecques luy un Singe, qui lui apporta deux files, et un petit
cousteau. Ainsi il trouva maniere de se deferrer, et adoncques s'en
sortit de la prison emportant avecques luy le singe. Si se laissoit
cheoir a val en priant Madame Sainte Katherine et chut a bas, et
oncques ne se fist mal, et se rendit e Saint Denys ou il trouvoit
des compagnons Escossoys.

Et ainsy ledit Norman Leslie s'en est venu audit lieu de Fierboys,
tout sain et sauf, emportant avecques luy ledit singe, qui est beste
estrange et fol de son corps. Et a jure ledit Norman ce estre vray
par la foy et serment de son corps.

Presens messire Richart Kyrthrizian, frere Giles Lacourt, prestres
gouverneurs de la dite chapelle, et messire Hauves Polnoire, peintre
du Roy, et plusieurs aultres.



APPENDIX B--ELLIOT'S RING

The Ring of the Maid, inscribed with the Holy Names, is often
referred to in her Trial ("Proces," i. 86, 103, 185, 236, 238), and
is mentioned by Bower, the contemporary Scottish chronicler
("Proces," iv. 480), whose work was continued in the "Liber
Pluscardensis." We have also, in the text, Norman's statement that
a copy of this ring was presented by the Maid to Elliot Hume.

While correcting the proof-sheets of this Chronicle, the Translator
received from Mr. George Black, Assistant Keeper of the National
Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh, a copy of his essay on "Scottish
Charms and Amulets" ("Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of
Scotland," May 8, 1893, p. 488). There, to his astonishment, the
Translator read: "The formula MARI. IHS. occurs on two finger-rings
of silver-gilt, one of which was found at Pluscarden, Elginshire,
and the other in an old graveyard near Fintray House,
Aberdeenshire." Have we in the Pluscarden ring a relic of the Monk
of Pluscarden, the companion of Jeanne d'Arc, the author of "Liber
Pluscardensis"?



Footnotes:

{1} Several copies of this book, the Liber Pluscardensis, are
extant, but the author's original MS. is lost.

{2} This was written after the Act of the Scots Parliament of 1457.

{3} Daggers.

{4} Rude wall surrounding a keep.

{5} Sisters in the rule of St. Francis.

{6} These tricks of sleight-of-hand are attributed by Jean Nider,
in his "Formicarium," to the false Jeanne d'Arc.--A. L.

{7} Very intimate.

{8} When the sky falls and smothers the larks,

{9} This quotation makes it certain that Scott's ballad of Harlaw,
in "The Antiquary," is, at least in part, derived from tradition

{10} This description confirms that of the contemporary town-clerk
of La Rochelle.

{11} The staircase still exists.

{12} "My neck would learn the weight of my more solid proportions."

{13} Neck.

{14} "Frightened by a ghost."

{15} "Airt," i.e. "quarter."

{16} "Fright for fright."

{17} Lameter, a lame.

{18} Bor-brief, certificate of gentle birth.

{19} Howlet, a young owl; a proverb for voracity.

{20} Battle-axe.

{21} Bougran, lustrous white linen.

{22} There are some slight variations, as is natural, in the
Fierbois record.

{23} Equipped for battle.

{24} That is, in the "Liber Pluscardensis."

{25} Englishman.

{26} Heavy and still.

{27} Daughter of God, go on, and I will be thine aid. Go on!

{28} Lyrat, grey.

{29} The king's evil: "ecrouelles," scrofula.

{30} Darg, day's work.

{31} "Par mon martin," the oath which she permitted to La Hire.

{32} See Appendix A, 'Norman's Miracle,' Appendix B, 'Elliot's
Ring.'

{33} That in to say, some two thousand combatants.

{34} Echevins--magistrates.

{35} "Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas."

{36} Pavises--large portable shelters.

{37} Block-houses.

{38} The Grahames had not yet possessed themselves of Netherby.--A.
L.

{39} "Substituting 'or' for 'argent,' his bearings were those of
the distinguished modern novelist of the same name.--A. L.

{40} Cande = Kennedy.