Thursday, February 28, 2013

Marshal Thursday. Episode 5 of the Histoire.

Marshal Thursday Episode 5
Last week we'd left William, a newly fledged knight, in the midst of a serious street battle. Here's the continuation.

But very frequently the Marshal’s men turned to face them, and, when they did, I can tell you that many of their side were thrown from their saddles. They did not retreat in disordered array but in serried ranks, and they made every effort to put up a defence. But they could not withstand them since they were not even in number; indeed the count’s side were at least six times their strength. Four times the enemy pushed them back, four times they drew them back again to the bridge on the highway; they certainly taught them the way! These are no exaggerated words of mine, for it was common knowledge that those inside overcame by force of arms those who had come from outside, with the help of the Marshal.
After that o the Marshal returned to his quarters, to the sheep pen where he was wont to hide, for he intended to do all within his power to inflict harm on those who were his enemies; it would be his pleasure to do them mischief. There were soldiers from Flanders there, who had found a pole with a hook on the end, made of iron, used to pull down houses. He had no chance of putting up a fight since they hooked him with it by the shoulder. More than 13 of them formed a band to knock him off his horse, but he held on by the breast piece of its harness. He spurred his horse on, and they tugged and by using force tore through 13 links on his hauberk, making a mark on his flesh that would last for many a day. It is true that he departed from their midst, but as he did, there were some pulling on the hook who paid a price for what they did, for he attacked them with great ferocity and dealt many a mighty blow. But as he departed from them, it was on a horse which had had the worst of it, for it was wounded in many places and from the wounds blood streamed from its body; such a loss of blood so impaired it that its death was inevitable.
The men in the town were overjoyed when they saw his valiant deeds and swiftly ran to take up their arms, swords, axes, and pikes, whilst the womenfolk sallied forced from their houses; wielding bludgeons and sticks, swords and clubs; off they went to pursue them through the streets. They gave them grievous injury and eventually rid the town of them, with the help of the knights of whom William marshal was in first place.
Once the town had been delivered by the lord of Tancarville and those in his troop, they all said as they could not help but do since they had seen it to be so, that out of both sides it was the Marshal who had been the foremost in combat that day, and that his was the fame and the glory. So witnessed the French too, who had little esteem for him before, prior to experiencing the treatment he had meted out to them. On the day that those events took place, the Chamberlain held a very big court gathering of all he was able to muster. No expense was spared if there was fine food to be found; it was immediately brought up and fully paid for with good money. He had at least 80 Knights with him that day at the opening meal, and those who were keen to come in to eat and drink had as much as they wanted to take; nobody dared to close the door on them. You should have seen the great gifts made by the burghers and all the other folk, of expensive wines and very fine fruit. They all paid honour to the Chamberlain, who had defended the town so that it was neither burnt or surrendered. It was he who delivered it for the constable and his men had surrendered it to pillage when they had made an ignominious departure.
The household was greatly cheered by the splendid words and the fine tales; people told one another what they had seen that day, the mighty blows and the fine exploits, and named him who had been responsible for them. They certainly said of the Marshal that he had stood firm before all, that he knew full well how to launch into them, knocking over some, striking down others, injuring here and taking prisoners there; he had no personal profit in mind, seeking a only for Louis to deliver the town.
Thereupon the lord of Mandeville the valiant and worthy William, who had not as then become count said: ‘Marshal, make me a gift, out of friendship, and you will get your reward.’
‘Willingly. What would it be?’
‘A crupper or, failing that, an old horse collar.’
The Marshal, hardly a man of words, and neither crafty nor arrogant, replied: ‘Upon my soul, I never owned one of those in my life.’
‘Marshal, what’s that you say? It’s a trifling thing you refuse me. Today you got 40 of them before my very eyes, or even 60, and now you intend to refuse me one!’
Then those who heard his words started to laugh, for they knew well what they meant.

There are two things going on here. One is the learning curve for William that he should have taken ransoms from those people he captured in order to increase his wealth. The other is that one of the roles of the Marshal was to see that everyone in a household was equipped with what they needed harness-wise. Although William wasn't the household marshal, he was a scion of the English royal Marshal John and would have been teased because of that aspect.

Temple Church , London

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