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Full text of "The jacquerie; or,The lady and the page; an historical romance"

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at jhttp : //books . qooqle . com/ 



WDENlvR 

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■32.1 



THE 

JACQUERIE; 

OR, 

THE LADY AND THE PAGE: 

&n Sitftcrrtcal Ktimmtt. 

BY 

G. P. R. JAMES, ESQ. 

AUTHOR. OF 

u THE GIPSY," " THE ROBBER," " THE GENTLEMAN OF THE 

OLD SCHOOL/' ETC. ETC. ETC. 

IN THREE VOLUMES. 

VOL. II. 
LONDON: 

PRINTED FOR 

LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, & LONGMANS, 

PATE RNOSTER- ROW. 

1841. 



a. vh^^'H 



MAY 20 1921 



^ 



Jl/8RAB>L 



OW43TM4Y 



t *, 



THE 



JACQUERIE. 



CHAPTER I. 

The moment that the man who held Adela by 
the arm saw that the flight of quarrels and 
arrows had ceased, he threw up the visor of his 
casque, exposing to view the fierce and dogged 
countenance of the man called Maillot. By 
his gestures he was evidently speaking aloud; 
but for a moment or two the noise and con- 
fusion, both on the battlements and under the 
walls, prevented one word that he uttered from 
being heard. 

The Lord of Mauvinet eagerly waved his 
Ijand, however, exclaiming, " Silence, silence ! 

VOL. II. B 



2 THE JACQUERIE. 

— Hear what he says ! Not a word, upon 
your lives !" 

A sudden pause instantly succeeded ; and the 
contrast was strange, when, after that scene of 
strife and confusion, and shouts and outcries, 
a deep stillness suddenly fell over the whole 
scene, and a robin, unscared by all that had 
preceded, was heard singing in a willow tree 
by the side of the moat. 

" Mark," cried Maillot, rolling his fierce eyes 
over the party that stood under the barbican 
and upon the bridge, " Mark, and take warning, 
every man of you ! Another bolt from a cross- 
bow shot against this castle, another blow from 
an axe struck against that gate, and I cast her 
headlong down ! I know how to deal with 
you, Lord of Mauvinet ! You now know how 
to have your daughter without ransom. If you 
like her better dead than living, bend your 
bows ! If not, draw off your men, for I am in 
no mood for jesting." 

The heart of the Lord of Mauvinet burnt 
within him. To be foiled by a pitiful band of 
adventurers in the attack of so poor a place, 



THE JACQUERIE. 3 

was a disgrace which no knightly heart could 
well endure ; and yet to risk his daughter's life, 
or by his own act to see her slain before his face, 
was what could scarcely be expected of a father. 

u Villain," he cried, after looking round his 
people for a moment, as if seeking counsel, 
" villain, you triumph now ; but the time will 
come when I will have vengeance, and bitter 
shall that vengeance be ! " 

"Vengeance!" shouted Maillot at the top 
of his voice. " Vengeance, by the Lord ! If 
such be your purpose, let your vengeance come 
now ! — I will have mine first ; " and at the 
same moment he seized Adela with a tighter 
grasp, and dragged her a step forward, as if to 
cast her over the battlements. 

The poor girFs shrieks rent the air, and 
though many a bow was drawn by the party 
below, no one durst shoot at the murderous 
villain, for fear of striking the object of his 
cruelty. The Lord of Mauvinet, with his eye 
fixed upon him, stretched out his hand for a 
crossbow, resolved to risk all to save her from 
the terrible death that menaced her; but in the 
b 2 



4 THE JACQUERIE. 

midst of that moment of horror, there came a 
loud cry from the angle of the wall close to 
Maillot, and the savage paused, turning his head 
to the side from which the sounds proceeded. 

In an instant two soldiers, who stood beside 
him, were dashed to the ground; and before 
he, or those who were below, could well see 
what was coming, with a spring like that of a 
tiger the Captal de Buch was upon him; and, 
wrenching his grasp from Adela, who sunk 
fainting upon the ground, the knight clasped 
the brutal plunderer in his powerful arms, and 
a terrible, though momentary struggle, took 
place between them ; while the swords of Albert 
Denyn and a number of the captaPs followers 
kept the space around clear of the adventurers, 
who hurried boldly up to the defence of their 
companion. 

"Now, wretch, now!" exclaimed the captal, 
dragging the marauder forward to the edge of 
the battlement, in spite of his resistance — 
* Now you shall taste the same fate yourself 
t^t you destined for another." 

The man finding himself mastered, clung to 



THE JACQUERIE. 5 

the captal with the strength both of despair and 
rage, determined to drag him over the low 
coping, if he were forced to try the terrible 
leap himself. Still the captal drew him on to 
the very edge, lifting him in his athletic arms 
to cast him over, while Maillot twined around 
him for life and vengeance; and twice they 
struggled together fiercely, the one to retain his 
grasp, the other to cast it off. At length, how- 
ever, the knight, as if wearied with the strife, 
and resolved to slay his adversary with the 
sword, relaxed his hold ; and Maillot suddenly 
drew back from his fierce embrace; but the 
instant he did so, the captal, without drawing 
his sword, smote him in the face with his gaunt* 
leted hand, and the man fell prostrate before 
him. Like lightning the knight caught him 
again in his arms, swung him high above the 
parapet; and, ere he could resume his grasp, 
pitched him over into mid-air, with a scream 
of terror bursting from his lips. The unhappy 
wretch fell first upon the chain of the draw- 
bridge, and a gush of blood upon the planks 
showed the terrible force of his descent He 
B 3 



O THE JACQUERIE, 

then rolled over with a deep groan, and plunged 
into the moat, sinking at once to the bottom, 
and, encumbered with his armour, never rising 
again. 

" On, on ! my Lord of Mauvinet," shouted 
the captal, waving his hand to the count, and 
drawing his sword, " Your child is safe, and we 
will soon open the gates for you. The dogs 
have had their day, but it is over now." 

Thus saying, he gently raised Adela from 
the ground; and though he dared not at that 
moment pause to call her back to recollection, 
he placed her safely in an angle of the wall, 
with her head leaning upon the battlements, 
while he hastened to head his men in the fierce 
contention which they were waging around him 
with the rest of the adventurers. The captaTs 
troop, indeed, was much out-numbered by the 
men within the castle : but the attack upon the 
gate had been renewed by the Lord of Mauvinet 
and his party; and scattered, confused, and dis- 
heartened at finding the enemy within their 
walls, the free companions offered an ill-con- 
ducted but desperate resistance. Albert Denyn 



TUt JACQUERIE. ? 

and the rest were already driving them on to- 
wards the court, when the captal again took the 
lead, and his greater military skill and expe- 
rience at once taught him to act upon a dif- 
ferent plan. 

" To the gate, Albert, to the gate 1" he cried: 
"always keep open your communication with 
your own friends. Ten of you hold firm the way 
up to the platform, Albert and the rest follow 
me. This way must lead to the gate!" and, 
rushing on at full speed, he soon turned the 
angle of the court, where a considerable body 
of the marauders were defending the entrance 
against the troops of Mauvinet. 

The attack upon their rear at once put them 
into confusion; and while a terrible slaughter 
took place amongst them, two or three of the 
eaptal's men forced their way on till they reached 
the chains of the gate, and drew up the port- 
cullis. The troops of Mauvinet rushed in, and 
in a moment the castle was gained ; while the 
adventurers, flying from court to court, for 
some time received little quarter from their 
enraged enemies. 

b 4 



8 THE JACQUERIE. 

When Adela opened her eyes, and raised her 
head from the stone against which it lay, she 
found herself quite alone, though the confused 
sounds which met her ears on every side, the 
clang of arms, the shouts, the cries, the screams, 
recalled painfully to her mind all the terrible 
circumstances of her situation, and showed lief 
that the strife was still going on. She sat up 
and listened, with an aching brow and a palpi* 
tating heart ; but the noise seemed to diminish 
and come from a greater distance, and then a 
loud shout and some laughter, mingling with 
the sadder sounds, announced that some party 
had won the day. 

With fear and hope struggling together, 
Adela raised herself faintly from the ground, 
and gazed over the country from the battle- 
ments. The multitude which had appeared 
before the walls when last her terrified eyes 
had been turned to the slope before the 
castle, looking for help and consolation in 
her deadly terror, and finding none, had 
now totally disappeared. A few men were 
seen in the barbican, a few standing in- 



THE JACQUERIE. 9 

active upon the bridge; but with joy inex- 
pressible Adela recognised the colours of the 
house of Mauvinet amongst them, and in a 
inoment after some rapid steps were heard 
approaching. 

It was more with hope than fear that the 
heart of Adela beat now, and supporting her- 
self by the wall she gazed eagerly forward, till 
those who approached had turned the angle of 
the wall, and she beheld the form of the Captal 
de Buch, followed by two or three of her 
lather's attendants. A sudden terror then took 
possession of her regarding her father, and she 
exclaimed, " My father? my lord captal, where 
is my father ?" 

" He is not hurt I No, dear lady, no," ex- 
claimed the captal — " he is not hurt, and, 
thanks be to Heaven, very few are so, but those 
who themselves deserved to suffer for their 
baseness, I have outrun your father, and come 
hither to seek you and bring you to him. He 
is even now in the castle hall, caring for the 
wounded. The fierceness of the strife is over ; 
those who still resist are not many, and doubt- 



10 THIS JACQUERIE. 

less they will, be received to mercy if they will 
yield." 

" Oh ! show them mercy, my lord captal," 
cried Adela eagerly : " we should not be cruel 
because they have been so." 

" Come, then, lady, and plead for them your- 
self," said the captal. " The whole body will 
soon be in your father's presence. Lean upon 
my arm, for I see you are faint and weak ; 
but I trust you will soon be well again, now 
this sad day's business is so happily accom- 
plished. These are thunder showers, lady, that 
beat down the flowers; but they raise their 
heads refreshed when the storm is over." 

Adela leant upon the captal's arm as he de- 
sired her, for she could not in courtesy refuse 
but, to say truth, she would more willingly 
have gone alone, although of. the two things 
which alone remained upon her memory con* 
cerning her deliverance from the grasp of 
Maillot, the most prominent was that it was 
the captal who had come to her aid. 

The other recollection that came back to 
her mind was a faint image of Albert Denyn, 



THE JACQUERIE. 11 

sword iii band, amongst a. fierce troop of the 
adventurers; and she would fain have inquired 
for him, she would fain have asked if he was 
hurt. But her lips refused to pronounce his 
name, and she suffered the captal to lead her 
on in silence. A few steps brought them 
down a gentle slope which led from the plat- 
form above the gate into the outer court, and 
Adela shuddered and shut her eyes, as she 
was obliged to choose her steps amongst the 
dead that lay opposite the entrance, and the 
pools of blood which had collected round them. 

" The struggle was fierce here," said the 
captal, feeling her hand tremble as he led her 
on ; " the inner court is clearer, however. — 
Morvin," he continued, speaking to one of 
the men who followed him, " let those bodies 
be looked to ; there may be some of the poor 
wretches not dead yet. That man's arm moved 
as we passed — his with the red feather." 

Thus saying, he led Adela onward, up 
the steps to the door of the great hall, from 
which issued forth the sounds of many voices. 
It was a large vaulted chamber, fully fifty 



12 the jacquerie; 

feet in length; but it appeared at that moment 
$o crowded by different groups of followers at- 
tached to the house of Mauvinet, that at first 
Adela could not see to the other end, though 
the towering height of the captal gave him a 
view over the heads of the rest. 

" There is your father," he said : M the strife 
is all over now, it seems." But at the same 
moment, some of those who were near the door 
turned their eyes upon the lady, and one or 
two voices pronounced, * The Lady Adela I M 

All the retainers hastened to make way for 
her; while the count sprang forward from the 
other end of the hall, and casting away his 
bloody sword, clasped her tenderly to his 
bosom. 

Father and child both wept for several 
moments in silence, while the armed men, 
with whom the hall was filled, formed a circle 
round; and Albert Denyn, who had raised the 
count's sword, stood a step behind him, with a 
cheek pale with emotion, and eyes bent jipon 
the ground. 

The count had not recovered himself enough 



THE JACQUERIE. 13 

to speak to any one, when, from the other side 
of the hall, a group of several persons entered, 
amongst whom were six or seven men with 
their hands tied, with four women and an 
infant. 

" Oh my father !" exclaimed Adela, " spare 
them, spare them, and treat them kindly, for 
well and kindly have they treated me. —Weep 
not, lady," she continued, advancing to one of 
the women, and taking her hand, " my father 
will show you all courtesy for my sake, I am 
sure." 

" I war not with women and children," said 
the count, speaking to the wife of Griffith: 
" I leave that to those who have cast off the 
character of soldiers and of men, to assume 'the 
habits of savage beasts. Madam, you shall be 
kindly dealt with, and sent in safety whither* 
soever you wish to go. — Lead the lady and her 
women away, Montel, and with ten of the 
freshest horses guide her safely to whatever 
town, she thinks fit to name.-— Be quick," he 
added in a lower tone ; " for as she has held 
companionship with the men around, she may 



14 THE JACQUERIE. 

feel it bitter to -witness what is in store for 
them. Away !" 

The old officer he spoke to conducted the 
wife of Griffith and her companions from the 
hall ; and the count, as soon as they were gone, 
turned with a frowning brow to the men who 
had been brought in, saying to one of his own 
people that stood near, " They have been fairly 
chosen by lot from amongst the prisoners ? " 

" They have, my lord," replied the man : 
" they drew the lots themselves.'* 

" Now, then," continued the count sternly, 
u before I doom you to the death you have all 
deserved, answer me these questions : first, by 
what authority you wage war here in France in 
time of truce?" 

" By my own," replied one of the men 
boldly. " Come, come, sir: there is not 
much to be said upon the matter. We have 
fought you, and you have fought us. You 
have won the day, and can do with us what 
you will. Hang us, if you please, but do not 
keep us standing here talking about it. What 
signifies it to any one, whether King Edward, 



THE JACQUERIE. 15 

or King John, or king anybody else told me to 
make war in France, so that wars be made ? " 

€ * It signifies to you, my friend," replied the 
count, " For it makes you a lawful soldier or a 
lawless plunderer: it renders you an honour- 
able prisoner or a captured robber, and insures 
your safety, or leads you to a halter." 

" Good faith, then," cried the man, " I 
fancy it must be the halter ; for I made war of 
my own hand, knowing what I was about, and 
so am quite ready. However, no one can say 
I have used him ill. I have never butchered 
a prisoner, or injured a woman, or offered 
wrong to a lady ; and had it been my day to 
command, all this would not have happened." 

" My noble lord," said Albert Denyn, 
taking a step forward, with his countenance 
glowing at the task of interfering -with his 
lord's judgment, "when I was a prisoner in 
these men's hands, and the scoundrel Maillot 
sought to put me to death, this person raised 
his voice in my behalf, and aided to save me." 

" So, my boy, thou wert a prisoner with 
them," said the count ; " well, then, his life 



16 THE JACQUERIE. 

shall be given for yours. Set him apart, 
Magnon." 

" Not without the rest ! " cried the captive. 
" All fair, my good lord ! I drew my lot 
with them, and their fate I will share, be it 
what it may. — I thank thee, good youth : thou 
art a noble lad, and wilt be a good soldier; but 
I won't part company with my friends here, 
though it be at the gallows-foot." 

" Thou art a good fellow thyself," exclaimed 
the captal. " I pray you, count, spare these 
men. — I vowed I would have vengeance for 
any wrong done to the lady, and the man who 
it seems was the chief offender has met with 
punishment, as you know. Speak, dear lady, 
did you receive any injury ?" 

"None!" replied Adela eagerly. "They 
treated me, my dear father, with all kindness 
and courtesy, till the castle was attacked, and 
that fearful man came and dragged me to the 
battlements. Spare them— Oh ! I entreat you, 
my father, put them not to death !— Consider 
how cruelly they might have used me had they 
been so disposed." 



THE JACQUERIE. 17 

" Nay, nay, my lord," said the captal, " let 
us show mercy to those that remain. Some 
seventy have been slain, it seems; and as I 
know that it is your wish to free Touraine 
from these plunderers, keep them in prison, or 
let those who will take service in my band; 
for I am bound upon a long journey in arms, 
and need tried, men*— Come, my dear lord— ■ 
for my share in this day's fight you shall give 
me the guerdon of the prisoners' lives." 

'? {'give them to you willingly, lord captal," 
cried the count, turning and grasping his hand, 
" not as your guerdon for such high deeds as 
you have done this day, but out of. love and 
friendship for so noble a knight. For your aid 
I have a better recompence. — Let the hall be 
cleared ! — Stay, Albert— stay, Chassain— and 
you, too, Delbas — let the rest leave us." 

The cheek of Adela grew as pale as death 
with a presentiment of the coining of a painful 
moment. Albert Denyn, with a quivering lip, 
fixed his eyes, upon the ground, scarcely daring 
to raise them, while the receding feet of the 
soldiery told that the hall was not yet clear. 

VOL. II. c 



18 THE JACQUERIE. 

When alT was becoming more still, however, 
he gave a momentary glance at the face of the 
captal. It, too, was pale ; and as he laid aside 
his casque, and pressed his hand upon his brow, 
Albert thought he saw tokens of strong emo- 
tion on that noble countenance. 

" My dear and gallant friend," said the count, 
turning to the knight as soon as the hall was 
clear, " to you, and to your courage alone, do I 
owe the safety of my beloved child, without the 
loss of my own honour and renown, by basely 
yielding to the demands of these lawless men. 
What reward can I offer you ? what, in other 
words, can I refuse you after this?— Forget, 
my lord captal, all that passed two mornings 
ago, except that you asked my daughter's hand: 
and believe that I then gave it to you. Take it, 
my lord, for I know no man in France so well 
calculated to defend, protect, and insure her 
honour. Take her, my lord, for I am sure that 
you will make her happy." * 

Adela's countenance was as pale as death, 
and her knees shook beneath her. Albert 
Denyn remained with his teeth hard set, his 



THE JACQUERIE. 19 

eyes fixed upon the pavement, and his hand so 
tightly clenched upon the count's sword, which 
he had raised from the ground and still held, 
that the fingers sank into the velvet with which 
the hilt was covered. The Captal de Buch, 
on his part, looked grave, and even sad, though 
he stood beside the count with his lofty person 
raised to its full height, and his brow calm, 
though somewhat stern. For a moment he kept 
silence, bending his look upon Adela, and 
seeming to strive for an insight into the feelings 
of her heart at that moment. He remained 
without making any reply so long, that the 
count turned towards him with some surprise ; 
and the captal, as if satisfied in regard to 
the subject of his contemplation, took his eyes 
from the countenance of poor Adela de Mau- 
vinet, and raised them for an instant towards 
heaven. 

" Pardon, my lord count/' he said, " that I 
have not yet thanked you for your generous 
kindness as I ought. Now let me thank you 
most truly, most sincerely : you know that the 
precious gift you offer, me can be esteemed by 
c 2 



20 THE JACQUERIE. 

no man living more than myself. You know how 
ardently I coveted it — how earnestly I asked it 
—-how bitter was my disappointment when 
you showed me that I ought not to expect it; 
that as an English subject, and long an enemy 
in arms against France, I ought not to as- 
pire to the hand of a French lady, whatever 
other claims I might have. I have felt the dis- 
appointment most bitterly — I feel it still; I still 
love this lady truly and well; I know that 
none other will ever hold my heart as she does. 
But, my lord, I cannot take advantage of your 
generous offer; and what you refused me on 
just and noble grounds, I cannot now accept, 
simply because I have done my mere duty, 
and fulfilled my oath as a knight." 

The count gazed in his face for a moment 
with a look both of inquiry and surprise, and 
then replied, Abruptly, " Captal, there is 
some other motive ! Can it be that you are 
offended at my first reply ?" 

" Oh no, upon my life," exclaimed the 
captal: " you gave the noblest and the best of 
reasons for your conduct, and I should be 



THE JACQUERIE. 21 

weak indeed, my friend, if I did not feel that 
you are right." 

"Still, captal," exclaimed the count, "still 
I see there is some other motive: I adjure you, 
on your honour, tell me, is there not?" 

The captal turned his eyes from the death- 
like countenance of Adela, to the sad but re- 
solute countenance of Albert Denyn, and then 
replied, " Thus adjured, my lord, I must ac- 
knowledge that there is." 

" Then I beseech you, in friendship and in 
honour, name it," exclaimed the count. 

The captal hesitated for an instant, but the 
moment after answered in a freer tone than he 
had yet used, though with a somewhat melan- 
choly smile, " I will not refuse to tell you my 
motive, my good lord," he said, " although it 
go somewhat against my own vanity to speak 
it. The cause is this, my lord — that with all 
the attention,' and care, and such means as 
gentlemen employ to win fair ladies' hearts, 
I Have not succeeded in gaining that of this 
dear lady here. I had hoped that it might be 
otherwise ; but from what I have this day seen 
c 3 



22 THE JACQUERIE. 

— nay this very moment, I am convinced, even 
against all the whisperings of pride and vanity, 
that my snit is not successful with her whose 
happiness I am bound to prize even more than 
my own." 

u Nay, nay," exclaimed the count, " yott are 
mistaken, my good lord : Adela turned some- 
what pale, it is true ; but think what she has 
gone through this day !— Besides, so young a 
creature hears not such things without emotion. 
— Speak, Adela, speak thyself; and i£ as is 
the way with woman, you will not say that you 
can love, tell the noble captal, at least, that it 
was but a passing beating of thy heart that 
took the colour from thy face just now." 

" I dare not, my dear father," replied the 
lady, in tones scarcely audible, " I dare not* 
Far be it from me to resist your will, or to 
oppose your wishes even by a word; but still 
when you ask me, I must speak the truth. The 
captal has read my feelings ' right. ; As the 
dearest, the noblest, the best of friends, I shall 
always regard him, but I cannot love him as he 
deserves to be loved." 



THE JACQUERIE. 23 

" Such love will come, such love will, come,'* 
exclaimed the count. 

" Nay, nay, my good lord," said the captal, 
" my pride now takes arms : I must be loved 
entirely by my wife — and henceforth I with- 
draw my suit. Pardon me, lady, if I have 
given you pain; and let me still assure you, 
that if ever the time should come, which God 
forbid, when you should want protection from 
another arm than that of your noble father, 
no knight in Europe will so willingly draw the 
sword in your defence, as he who has done so 
this day. To-morrow, God willing, he will 
leave the castle of Mauvinet, and try in other 
lands to forget — not that he has seen you — not 
that he has loved — but that he has ever loved 
you too well fop his own happiness. J)o you 
forget it likewise, for the few short hours that 
he has yet to stay. Look on him only as a 
valued friend who is soon to quit you, and so 
let the time pass as gaily as it may." 

The Count de Mauvinet turned and grasped 
the captaTs hand with a look in which there 
was some sorrow mixed strangely with otner 
c 4 



24 THE JACQUERIE. 

feelings. To unite his daughter with the 
captal, or, indeed, with any one who could 
ever become an enemy to France, was in 
itself painful to him, however much he might 
love and esteem the person; and though, in his 
gratitude for the rescue of his daughter, he 
had offered, and really wished, to give that 
which, in his eyes, was the best gift that man 
could bestow or could receive, there was a 
sensation of relief mingled with a certain sort 
of disappointment, which rendered his feelings 
somewhat strange and contradictory. 

<c Then, my lord," he said, " as you refuse 
the gift I offer you, what recompence can I 
make you ? for some token of gratitude you 
must accept To you, and you alone, I owe 
the safety of my beloved child : that deed must 
not go without its guerdon." 

, " Nay, count," replied the captal, " you 
mistake: it is not to me you owe the , lady's 
safety. Though I have had some share, others 
have had a greater; and, indeed, to this good 
youth here, Albert Denyn, are you truly in- 
debted for the deliverance of your daughter, 



THE JACQUERIE. 25 

without that compromise of your own honour, 
which r you would have felt and regretted for 
many a long day, if you had yielded to the 
unjust demands of these base men. To him, 
I say, more than to any other, is the safety 
of the Lady Adela owing." 

" Oh yes," exclaimed Adela, eagerly, but 
with a countenance into which the blood came 
quickly while she spoke. " He would have freed 
me long before, too, had it not been for my 
own weak fears in regard to crossing the moat, 
over which he offered to carry me." 

" Indeed !" exclaimed the count : w I do not 
understand this, captal ! I saw you with my 
own eyes " 

" True, my lord," replied the captal ; " but 
who was it led me by the path which enabled 
me to free the lady? But my part of the tale 
is soon told —Albert himself must relate to you 
the rest. While lying out in the fields this 
morning with my men, two of them suddenly 
came upon some one, whom they seized, think- 
ing him one of the companions from the castle, 
and brought him to me. His joy at finding 



26 THE JACQUERIE. 

me I shall not easily forget* He pressed me 
eagerly to go at once to the deliverance of 
the Lady Adela, assuring me that he could 
guide me by a way which would put the 
castle in my power without delay. From the 
numbers, however, that I found were within 
the place, I judged that we might risk the 
safety of the Lady 'Adela herself, if we ven- 
tured to attack the castle without yoi)r aid. 
Resolved, however, to have the honour of 
the enterprise as far as possible, I kept to 
myself the knowledge I had gained, sent 
on Albert with some of my men to wait till 
the whole forces of Mauvinet could come up; 
and then left you, as you know, to assail 
another side of the castle* Albert led us, 
without mistake, to the spot, where a small 
postern gate opened upon the moat; and he 
was the first to plunge into the water, under 
the arrows of those who were upon the walls. 
We followed, one by one, and through dark and 
difficult passages he guided us with certainty 
to a chamber which had lately been tenanted 
by the Lady Adela. She was. no longer in it, 



THE JACQUERIE. 27 

however, having been dragged by that vil- 
lain Maillot to the walls ; but we found a poor 
woman there in her place, who first, by her 
cries, alarmed some of the adventurers, but af- 
terwards did us good service, by telling us 
where we should find the lady, and leading 
us partly on the way. We were soon obliged to 
betake us to our arms ; for the woman's cries 
had brought men into the corridor, and thence 
we had to fight our way through, till we 
reached the gallery above the gates. What 
happened then/ my lord, you know : at least, as 
I saw you all gazing up while the wolf con- 
tinued to struggle in my grasp, I doubt not 
that you did see all that passed. What more 
remains to be said, my noble lord, is, merely, 
that, from the first,' Albert led us well and truly ; 
and also, when the strife came, he fought as 
gallantly as any man-at*arms I ever saw. So 
much so, in truth, and so well had he de- 
served, that, for a moment, I thought to leave 
him the whole adventure, and suffer him 
to deal with Maillot himself. Had the lady 
not been in danger, I would have done so; 



28 THE JACQUERIE. 

for I hold it to be the part of a man of 
honour to suffer every one to accomplish an 
enterprise he has well begun. The lady 
was in peril, however, and I durst not do 
the good youth that justice. To say truth, 
I am glad now I did not; for the scoundrel 
was strong and valiant, and even gave me 
some trouble; and his well-knit limbs and 
long experience were too much for a youth, 
however brave. My tale is told, my lord- 
Albert and the lady herself have more to 
say; for by some means he found his way 
to the chamber where they had placed her, 
before making his escape, and offered even then, 
with every likelihood of success, to set her free 
himself." 

The count held out his hand to Albert 
Denyn, saying, " How then shall I reward you, 
Albert? You lay up against me every day 
some heavy debt for gratitude to pay." 

" Oh no," my lord, replied Albert Denyn, 
" it is not so, indeed. I feel most deeply that 
all I can do is but little to show my thankfulness 
for all that you have done for me. Do I not 



THE JACQUERIE. 29 

owe you every thing, my lord? From a period 
of infancy that I can no more recollect, have 
you not been all in all to me — more a father 
than a lord ; a friend and not a master ?" 

" And well have you repaid me ever," replied 
the Lord of Mauvinet, "and daily do you 
repay me more and more for all that I have 
done; but for such services as this, any little 
kindness and favour that I may have shown you 
is little, and I must find some other means of 
recompensing the deliverance of my beloved 
child. You shall ask me some boon yourself 
when you have had time for thought; and I 
believe that it will be difficult for you to claim 
anything which I should be tempted to refuse." 

As the count spoke, the Captal de Buch 
turned his keen glance towards Adela, whose 
countenance, when first his eyes rested on her, 
was pale with various emotions ; but the mo- 
ment her look met his, her face became flushed 
like the morning sky, and her eyes, which 
had been for some time turned to the face of 
her father, sought the ground, and were not 
raised again. 



30 THE JACQUERIE. 

The captal mused for a moment with a brow 
slightly clouded'; but the moment after he 
smiled again, saying, " You have a long tale to 
hear, my lord. The Lady Adela, too, may 
well be faint and weary : let us prepare a litter 
for her as best we may, and all return to Mau- 
vinet ere the day goes down. The sun has 
already passed the hour of noon, though we 
were here at the dawning. Albert's history 
will cheer us over the fire to-night; and I 
will gladly spend the last day of my stay in 
Touraine within the hospitable walls where I 
have known no slight happiness." 

" Be it so, my good lord, be it so," replied 
the count : "but let us seek some refreshment 
first; we are sure to find plenty of good 
wine and stores of all kinds in a free com- 
panion's castle. In the meanwhile, some of the 
men shall prepare the litter ; and I will take 
such order here as to prevent this place ever 
becoming again a scourge to the country 
round." 

An hour of active employment succeeded, 
although, a conveyance for Adela having been 



THE JACQUERIE. 31 

found in the stables of the castle, less time 
would have sufficed for mere preparation. 
But the men of Mauvinet, although they had 
undertaken all the labour and peril of the ex- 
pedition with willing hearts, in order to deliver 
their lord's daughter, and revenge the insult 
offered to himself, were well disposed to seek 
some compensation for all the fatigue and danger 
they had undergone in the stores of the ad- 
venturers ; and^ it was consequently with some 
trouble and delay that they were gathered 
together to depart. The Lord of Mauvinet too 
took means to execute his purpose in regard to 
dismantling the castle ; and just as he and the 
captal were mounting their horses to ride away, 
the last touch was put to their triumph by the 
fall of a large part of the castle wall into the 
moat. 



32 THE JACQUERIE. 



CHAP. II. 

Those were strange times to live in; and 
although human nature is ever the same, yet 
the aspect which she assumes is very different 
at different periods. In the present day, when 
order and law, established throughout all civil- 
ised lands, give security to life and property, 
when violence and wrong are amongst those 
rare occurrences which excite the wonder of 
the countries where they take place, it is diffi- 
cult to conceive how lightly were borne, evea 
by those who suffered from them, deeds which 
now would set a whole world on fire, and 
spread terror and consternation through all 
hearts, — how soon after the pressure of afflic- 
tion and terror the mind recovered its elas- 
ticity, and gaiety and joy succeeded to sad- 
ness, to anger, or to apprehension. 

Thus any who had beheld the scenes, such 



THE JACQUERIE. 33 

as we have described them, which took place in 
the morning, during the attack upon the strong- 
hold of the adventurers, might have been much 
surprised to behold the picture presented by the 
castle of Mauvinet on the evening of the same 
day. Mirth and joy reigned in the halls, and 
feasting and revelry presented themselves on 
all sides. 

The retainers who had been gathered to- 
gether for the delivery of the Lady Adela 
were now all regaled by the hospitality of her 
father ; and though the sun was setting when 
the train, after a long and fatiguing march, 
once more came within sight of Mauvinet, yet 
before nine o'clock on the same night a sup- 
per had been prepared, which all those who 
partook of it declared to be excellent. Such 
was the continual state of preparation for pro- 
fuse hospitality in which a feudal lord of those 
days was bound to hold himself, and such, we 
may also say, were the simple tastes and good 
digestion of our ancestors of the fourteenth 
century. 

It was, of course, impossible that the whole 

VOL. II. D 



34 THE JACQUERIE. 

of the men who had followed the Lord of 
Mauvinet back to his dwelling could be enter- 
tained in one chamber. Though many had re- 
turned to their homes, and a considerable 
body had been left in the hold of the adven- 
turers, nearly two hundred were feasted in 
various rooms on the ground floor of the castle, 
while about half that number revelled in what 
was called the knights' hall. It was common 
in those days for all ranks to be mingled at 
one table on such occasions ; but in the present 
case, the numbers gave an excuse for a differ- 
ent and more convenient course. Beyond the 
knights' hall was a smaller one, where a table 
was spread for the count, the captal, and some 
twenty of the most distinguished guests ; and 
at that table appeared, sitting by her father's 
side, Adela herself, pale, indeed, and bearing 
many marks of past agitation and alarm, but 
yet far more calm and tranquil than any one 
could have been whose thoughts had not been 
like hers — familiar, all her life, with battles, 
dangers, and disasters. 

Ere she seated herself at her father's board, 



THE JACQUERIE. 35 

she had performed a task which her own heart, 
not less than the customs of the times, imposed 
upon her; and with grace, which mingled 
timidity and self-possession, she went round 
from room to room, spoke with most of those 
who were present, and offered, in few but 
heart-felt words, her thanks for the deliverance 
to which all had more or less contributed. 

At the same table with the count was also 
seated Albert Denyn, who, in truth, had pro- 
posed to himself to take a much more humble 
situation in one of the other chambers ; but the 
count had called him to his side, bidding him 
seat himself in a place which had been reserved 
for him, and the youth, without hesitation, 
obeyed, as he would any other order of his lord. 

The captal looked down while the command 
was given, and asked himself, in a low tone, 
as Albert took his seat, * c What will be the end, 
I wonder?" A slight frown contracted his coun- 
tenance too, as he thus thought; and, to say 
truth, there was some bitterness in the feelings 
of his bosom at that moment. But his heart was 
naturally too generous and kind to suffer such 
n 2 



36 THE JACQUERIE. 

sensations to hold it long ; and the instant after 
he added, " Well, let honour and great deeds 
still have their due," and he looked up with his 
face bright and clear again. 

Not long after the meal had begun, the count 
drank to the captal, and sent round to him, by 
the hands of his son — who served him with 
wine at the table, as was customary in those 
times — the large golden cup called the hanap. 
The captal drank some of the wine, and then, 
turning towards Albert Denyn, said, " To the 
best doer in this day's fight ! — It is not 
always, young man, that fortune shows such 
favour as she has done to you this day. She 
has given you opportunities such as many men 
long for in vain during a whole lifetime, and, 
to do you but justice, you have shown that you 
deserved them. — Take him round the cup, 
good youth." 

The young lord carried him the cup; and 
Albert Denyn took it with a glowing cheek, bow- 
ing his head towards the captal, but scarcely 
touching the gold with his lip ere he returned 
it The eyes of all men were upon him at 



THE JACQUERIE, 37 

that moment; but had they been turned to- 
wards Adela, they might have perceived that 
hers were filled with glistening moisture. The 
poor girl would fain have restrained the bright 
drop altogether, but she could do no more than 
prevent its passing from her eyelids. 

The tone of her mind was much changed from 
what it bad been in the morning. Great oc- 
casions excite great energies ; but after the dan- 
gers, and strifes, and anxieties have passed away, 
there comes a softness over the heart, a faint 
tranquillity, like the drowsiness succeeding long 
toil, when the vigour is relaxed, and tender 
things affect us more than all the harder and 
the harsher matters gone before. It was one 
of those moments with Adela, when she longed 
to have no eyes upon her, but to sit in the so- 
litude of her own chamber, and let the tears flow 
as they would. 

The tears, however, which came against her 
will to the very brink of the fountain, were not 
unhappy ones : a load had been taken off her 
mind by more than one event which had oc- 
curred in the morning. She had no longer to 
d 3 



38 THE JACQUERIE. 

fear the suit of the captal; she had no longer to 
apprehend that she would be obliged either to 
excite her father's anger, by disobedience and 
opposition to his will, or doom herself to the 
long and agonising torture of marriage without 
love. She had obtained what she could scarcely 
have hoped to obtain — the opportunity of 
speaking openly a part at least of the feelings 
of her heart. Nor had her father expressed the 
least anger at the conduct she had pursued. He 
had sought her in her chamber, to bring her to 
the hall, and Adela had felt some apprehension 
when she saw him appear ; but his countenance 
wore the same look of affection that it had ever 
borne towards her, and the captal's name was 
never mentioned. Thus on all those points she 
was fully satisfied, and her heart at rest. The 
immediate danger was gone, and the apprehen- 
sions which had weighed her heart down for some 
days had passed away, like one of those heavy 
clouds that are borne afar by the wind at the mo- 
ment they seem about to burst upon our heads. 
This was quite sufficient for Adela; indeed, few 
women require more, under similar circum- 



THE JACQUERIE. 39 

stances. She sought not to investigate deeply 
her own feelings; she would not ask herself 
what they were, or whither they would lead her; 
she was afraid, and unwilling, to inquire into the 
future ; and, happy in the present, she sat, and 
only feared that the bright dream which sur- 
rounded her might vanish but too soon. 

Such, however, was not the state of mind of 
Albert Denyn: he had been agitated by ma- 
nifold feelings during the whole day, in the 
fight, on his way back, and after his return; 
and seldom, indeed, in the breast of any one, 
have more contending emotions struggled at 
one time, or succeeded each other so rapidly* 
Terror and agitation on account of Adela had 
begun the morning; then came joy for her 
deliverance, almost hand in hand with all the 
fierce and angry passions excited in the struggle 
with the adventurers ; a moment after, the de- 
light of seeing her safe was mingled with grief 
and apprehension, when her father offered her 
hand to the Captal de-Buch; and such sensa- 
tions gave way to a feeling of relief and gra- 
d 4 



40 THE JACQUERIE. 

titude, when the words of the captal removed 
that source of anxiety for ever. 
; On his return home, he had hastened to a 
chamber where he could be alone; and, ill 
thanking God for all the successes. of the dayy 
he had mingled tears with the words of grati- 
tude. But he, unlike Adela, was not satisfied 
with the present — he asked himself what the 
future was to be. Unlike her, he inquired of 
his own heart to what the feelings, which were 
$o busy in his bosom, were ultimately to lead, 
and the momentary light which had streamed 
over the prospect passed away as his eyes gazed 
upon it firmly. 

There was nothing but misery before him. 
Though the sorrow was delayed, yet it was no 
less certain. Though the hand of Adela was 
not yet given, it was equally sure to be bestowed 
on some one ere long — on some one, perhaps, 
less worthy, than the noble and generous man 
who had now renounced it. For him there was 
no expectation, for him the prospect of the com- 
ing years was all darkness ; and the speedy sepa- 
ration which was to take place between them did 



THE JACQUERIE. 41 

not even leave him the only mitigation which 
the hopelessness of his condition might have re- 
ceived—the delight of passing the intervening 
hours with her, till the bitter moment arrived 
which was to part them for ever. 

As he thus thought — and it must always be 
remembered that Albert Denyn never thought, 
but with the purposes of right — he asked himself 
what consolation it would be, or rather what 
advantage could arise, from his remaining where 
he was, even were it possible : to what could it 
bring him, he inquired : what could be the re- 
sult, either to himself o* to Adela. 

He felt, he knew that he was loved : it might 
be some temporary satisfaction to her as well as 
him, were he to remain ; but what would be the 
end ? what could be the ultimate consequence ? 
what, but more misery to her and to himself? 
Could he — he asked himself— could he assure 
his own heart, that the time would never come, 
yrhen, in some unforeseen moment, when, in 
some hour of strong temptation, his love might 
be spoken to Adela, and hers to him; when 
words might be said, which he had no right to 



42 THE JACQUERIE* 

say ; when feelings might find voice, which he 
had no right to entertain ; and when he might 
violate the confidence reposed in him, and have 
to reproach himself for ever with having volun- 
tarily, by his own rash act, contributed to con- 
firm a passion, which he was bound by every 
principle of honour to combat ? He felt that it 
was but too likely that such a thing might hap- 
pen, that such a moment might come : he ac- 
knowledged that both for Adela and himself it 
would be better that he were afar. 

When once he saw what was the clear way 
of duty, Albert bent ill the energies of his 
mind to follow it without hesitation; and instead 
of regretting the near approach of the time, 
when his departure was to take place, he thanked 
God that it was so, and looked forward to the 
moment with satisfaction. 

w It is better," he said to himself, " it is far 
better that it should be so : despair is my only 
portion through life ; but she cannot love me as 
well as I love her — that is impossible— and 
there is no reason why she should not be happy. 
She may forget me when I am gone— I can 



THE JACQUERIE. 43 

never forget her; bat my love for her must 
teach me to think of her happiness more than 
my own. I will love her as she deserves to be 
loved, nobly." 

Still, though such were his resolutions, they 
were not the less painful, and it had been with 
feelings of deep gloom that he descended to the 
hall. The honour that was there done him in no 
degree diminished that gloom : it was gratifying, 
indeed, to hear such praises, though he thought 
them more than he deserved, and it was pleasant, 
too, that Adela should hear them, for he knew 
that they would be echoed from her own heart ; 
but still they gave him no hope : for he was well 
aware that — except in cases where poverty was 
the portion of the noble, and great wealth that of 
the inferior rank — the union of a lady of high 
degree with any one less than noble had never 
been heard of in the land. 

" Such a vision would be vain indeed," he 
thought, " and is not for me to indulge. My 
path is clear, my duty unquestionable, and it I 
will perform, let it cost me what it may," 

He was sooner tried than he expected. The 



44 THE JACQUERIE. 

evening passed away at length; and Albert cast 
himself down to seek some troubled sleep ; but 
it came not for many hours ; and when it did 
come, it was full of restless and confused visions, 
till within a few hours of the dawn. Then, in- 
deed, he slept, and was still deep in slumber, 
when some one woke him, and called him to the 
chamber of the Captal de Buch. Albert rose 
and dressed himself hastily, somewhat ashamed 
to see the morning so far advanced 

. The captal, when the young man at length 
reached his chamber, appeared to have been 
long up. He was seated at a table reading, with 
a countenance grave, and somewhat sad — it 
might, indeed, be called stern ; for in his bosom 
there were feelings which he struggled to re- 
strain, and he felt as if he were in combat with 
an enemy, so that his brow bore upon it strong 
signs of the contest in which he was engaged. 

" You sleep late, young man," he said, when 
Albert entered. 

* w It is not my habit, my lord," replied Albert; 
" but I was much fatigued last night, too much, 
indeed, to sleep, till it was time to rise." 



THE JACQUERIE. 45 

The captal looked down for several moments 
in silence, " I sent for you," he said at length, 
"because, as you know, it is my purpose to go 
hence this day. Since first you entered into my 
band, as it seemed at the time gladly, you have 
had means of serving your own lord so well, that 
circumstances are greatly changed; and perhaps 
it may please you more to remain here, now that 
an honourable station is before you, than to 
accompany me to a distant land. Should it be 
so, I set you free : nay more, I will do what I 
can to advance you." 

" A thousand thanks, my noble lord," replied 
Albert Denyn ; " but you much mistake me, if 
you think that aught can alter my purpose, 
of seeking honour and renown in arms. I 
know nowhere where I can so well find it as in 
your steps ; and unless I have done something to 
offend, I beseech you let me follow you, as you 
once promised me." 

" Is such, indeed, your wish?" demanded the 
captal, with a look still incredulous. " Mark me, 
youth : fear not to displease either me or your 
good Lord of Mauvinet. If you desire rather 



46 THE JACQUERIE. 

to stay than go, I will so speak unto that noble 
gentleman, that the proposal shall come from 
him, and not from you, and doubtless he will 
promote your fortunes here." 

" I see, my lord, I must have offended," re- 
plied Albert; "but, believe me, it has been un- 
wittingly." 

" No, on my honour," replied the captal with 
a smile, " I have taken no offence. I thought 
but to please thee, youth. However, if thou wilt 
go, now is the time to say so." 

"Undoubtedly, my lord," replied Albert: 
u my choice has never been shaken. If you 
permit it, I will go with you, and am ready this 
very hour." 

^," So be it then," replied the captal, "and 
perchance it may go better with thee, than if 
thou hadst staid behind." 

"I doubt it not, my lord," replied Albert: 
"though it may give me some pain to part 
with many an old friend, and many a scene, 
where I have spent happy hours ; yet I am sure 
that in going I do what is right, and will there- 
fore cast behind me all regrets." 



THE JACQUERIE. 47 

" So shall you ever do well," replied the 
captal. " At three this afternoon we will begin 
our march, and enter Mons by moonlight. You 
have arms, I know : here is a purse of gold 
for thee, good youth — » you may find it needful 
on the road," 

" I would fain win it first," replied Albert, 
drawing back. "My Lord of Mauvinet has- 
supplied me plentifully; and wealth and re- 
nown are both sweetest when first earned. I 
have a noble horse, too, my good lord; so 
that I need nothing but your and fortune'^ 
favour, good opportunity, and a somewhat 
lighter heart" 

" Fie, lad ! " replied the captal, with a faint 
smile: " you would not have a lighter heart than 
your lord's? — and yet you have good cause," he 
added ; " but it matters not : get you gone, and 
be ready when my trumpets sound. You shall 
win honour and renown, which, after all, is 
better than all else on earth — ay, youth, even 
than a lady's favour ! So now away ; make the 
most of your minutes ; bid adieu to your friends* 
and give as little time to thought as may be ; for 



48 THE JACQUERIE. 

thought loads the heart, and does but little good, 
when resolutions are once taken." 

Albert withdrew, for the captal bent down 
his eyes upon his book again, as a signal for 
him to withdraw ; but as Albert passed through 
the doorway, he saw the gallant soldier raise 
his look towards the sky, and had he been 
near, might have heard him say, " This is very 
strange ! " 

Every one must have felt and acknowledged, 
\ ^ at some period of life, that there are few things 
bitterer on earth than to part with those we 
love ; but that bitterness is a thousand-fold in- 
creased, whei\ no tear must stain the eyelid, 
when no sigh must pass the lip, when we must 
speak hopeful words of future meetings, and 
seem to break easily the ties that tear our hearts 
to severl Then, indeed, the pain is terrible — 
then, indeed, the grief is deep. There were few 
pangs wanting in the breast of Albert Denyn 
when the trumpets of the captal sounded to 
horse, and the whole party assembled in the 
court-yard of the castle, to see the gallant train 
depart. The youth had not ventured within 



THE JACQUERIE* 49 

the halls, but stood with the rest of the retainers, 
till the captal himself, with the Lord of Mauvi- 
net, came forth into the court. Adela accom- 
panied them, leaning on her father's arm ; and 
as the great leader stood beside his horse, she 
forced herself to speak words of courtesy and 
of form to the departing nobleman, although 
her heart was full of tears, and her cheek was 
as pale as death. She looked towards Albert 
Denyn, but durst not speak to him, till at 
length her father called him by name, and the 
youth came near. 

" Adieu, Albert," said the Lord of Mauvinet. 
" You go to win honour and renown — I may 
say indeed that you have already won it, but glory 
may still be added to each day* Fare you well, 
my boy ; I part from you, as from a son, with re- 
gret, but with hope and expectation. Do ever 
such deeds as you have lately done, and you will 
rise to high fortunes, and win an immortal name. 
Give me your hand, Albert : I owe you more 
than I owe any other man on earth. The time 
of repayment will sooner or later come, and you 
shall ever find me both ready and willing to 

VOL. II. E 



50 THE JACQUERIE. 

acknowledge the debt, and to acquit it." 
Albert pressed his lips upon his lord's hand, 
and the count, yielding to the feelings of his 
heart, took him in his arms, and held him kindly 
to his bosom. 

« Thank him, Adela," added the Lord of 
Mauvinet, after a moment's silence : " in your 
behalf have his first deeds been done : •give him 
your cheek, girl, and bid him win high renown 
for your love." 

The Lord of Mauvinet spoke in jest, though, 
in the very jest itself, there might be deeper 
thoughts than there seemed ; but he little knew 
what were the sensations he excited in the 
hearts of Adela and Albert Denyn. She 
trembled in every limb as the youth approached 
her ; but Albert, with a calm and steady step, 
though with feelings as intense as her own, ad- 
vanced and took her hand, and then, according 
to her father's words, pressed his lips upon her 
cheek. 

" The first," murmured he, as he did so, in a 
voice inaudible to any other ear but her own ; 
« the first, perchance the last." 



THE JACQUERIE. $1 

Even as he spoke, he bent his knee to the 
ground, and taking her handtn his, imprinted 
a kiss there also ; then springing up with wild 
eagerness, he turned towards his horse, bowing 
low to the count as he passed, and put his foot 
into the stirrup. The captal waved his hand 
to the trumpeter of his troop, a loud blast 
echoed upon the air, and in a moment the 
whole troop was in motion, and winding out 
through the gates of the castle. 

The last who departed was the captal ; and 
as he disappeared beneath the portal of the 
barbican, the count turned round, startled by 
a sound of quick feet behind him, when, to his 
surprise and alarm, he beheld his daughter, sup- 
ported by some of her women, with her eyes 
closed, and the ashy hue of death upon her 
cheek. 



e 2 



52 THE JACQUERIE. 



CHAR III. 

A loud shout of laughter was the first thing 
that roused Albert Denyn from a state of mind 
for which it is difficult to find a name. It was 
not a reverie, for thought seemed quite extin- 
guished, and recollection to have left him so 
long as it lasted. It was as if all had gone out, 
even the active consciousness that he had 
parted, perhaps, for ever, from her he loved 
best. All appeared to be swallowed up in one 
painful sensation, vague, sad, ill-defined, but 
not the less terrible, because the dark cer- 
tainty seemed to have neither shape nor 
feature. 

The first thing that roused him, I have 
said, was a gay laugh; and looking round, 
he found that he himself, was the object of 
the mirth that met his ear. He might perhaps 
have been angry had he not been so sad ; but 



THE JACQUERIE. 53 

the bitterness of his heart left no room for 
other sensations, and he fell into his reverie 
again, though somewhat less profoundly than 
before. Had he been angry, his anger would 
but have raised more laughter. As it was, 
however, the calm sad look which he turned 
upon his merry companions had some effect 
even upon them; though they were men, 
for the most part, who had seen so many 
scenes of strife and desolation, that their hearts 
had become, as it were, hardened in the 
furnace of war, and they had little capability 
of feeling any of the softer affections of human 
nature. 

" There, let him alone, let him alone," said 
one of the old soldiers : " he is a moody youth : 
did you not see how he kept apart from us all 
in the castle ?" 

" Pride as well as melancholy, perhaps," 
said another. 

" No, no," replied a younger man : " old 
Henry the henchman told me that he used to 
be as gay as a lark ; but had fallen gloomy 
lately." 

E 3 



54 THE JACQUERIE. 

" In love, for a thousand mvJtitons*? said 
another youth. 

" Love !" exclaimed the old soldier again — 
" you young fools are always thinking of love. 
I will bet you, Tom Wilson, that if your 
mother's cat were sick of a quinsy, you would 
vow it was love." 

" All envy, old Raymond," replied the 
youth, in a gay tone : " you know very little 
of what love is, seeing that you find few 
enough to fall in love with you. You want 
experience, man, you want experience ! Now 
will I bet you a crown that the youth is in love, 
and I will ask him, too, ere the day be over." 

" He will give thee a buffet, I warrant," 
answered the elder man, "and so will I, if 
thou boldest not thy prate. But what is this 
our lord is speaking to ? by Heaven, he seems 
to have got hold of a tame bear ! Halt there ! 
Halt ! The word is given to halt ! Now I would 
give a gold chain to ride on and hear the bear 
speak, and the captal answer him." 

" Why, our moody comrade seems resolved 

* A gold coin of that day. 



THE JACQUERIE. 55 

to do so," said another. " See ! he sets spurs 
to his horse, and is up at the captal's side in a 
minute. By my life he is somewhat bold." 

'* Do as good service as he did yesterday," 
replied another, " and be as bold, if you will." 

It was, in truth, as the man had said; for 
Albert Denyn had galloped forward, suddenly, 
to the side of the captal, on seeing him pause 
and speak to an uncouth-looking being clad 
in goat-skins, who thrust himself right in the 
way of the leader's horse. The captal's fol- 
lowers were naturally surprised at what seemed 
an act of great presumption ; but such will not 
be the case with the reader, who must have 
perceived that the youth recognised at once, in 
the personage who stopped the captal, his com- 
panion in the prison of the adventurers, to 
whom, indeed, he owed so much. 

The captal was speaking with the old man, 
as we have said, when the youth came up, and 
continued his conversation without observing 
him, saying, — 

t( By my faith, I will go on ! They shall not 
turn me from my way." 
e 4 



56 THE JACQUERIE. 

" As thou wilt," replied the other, " as thou 
wilt, knight; nevertheless I have told thee 
truth, and that thou wilt find right soon." 

" How many, say you ?" demanded the 
captal. 

" Full five hundred/' replied the old man; 
" well armed, prepared, and eager." 

" That is too great an odds, indeed," said 
the Captal de Buch, after thinking for a 
moment ; " but how can I make sure of this ? 
You are a stranger to me, old man : it may be 
a falsehood, or a folly. How shall I know the 
truth?" 

" You may rely in all confidence, my lord," 
exclaimed Albert : " this is the man I men- 
tioned to you, who, in fact, set me free when 
I was a prisoner in the hands of the adventurers. 
I would trust him, my lord, on my life." 

" Ay," replied Walleran, " thou art young, 
and in the age of confidence. Your leader has 
learnt better in a harder school than thou hast 
ever known. Past thirty years,- man can trust 
no longer : the first thing that youth loses is its 
faith in human truth." 



THE JACQUERIE. 57 

" Nay," exclaimed the 'captal, "nay, thou 
shalt not say so of me. I will trust thee, too, 
old man : I have no right so to complain of 
man. Though I have seen much deceit, I have 
felt it little, and therefore cannot claim so sad 
a right to doubt. I will trust thee. Where 
say you that they lie in wait?" 

" On the straight road between this and 
Mans : come but to the top of yon high hill, and 
you may see them, or at least a part." 

" We must not show ourselves," replied the 
captal ; " we will leave the troop here, but I 
will go with you : not that I doubt your word, 
but that I may count our adventurous friends 
with my own eyes. It must never be said the 
Captal de Buch turned back before a force less 
than six times his numbers." 

" Be thy reputation as mad as it will," 
replied the old man, "here shall you find 
enough to satisfy it; for there are not only 
six, but twelve times your number. But come 
you, too, good youth," he added, " for I have 
something to claim from this great man, and 
may need some intercession." . 



58 THE JACQUERIE. 

The captal smiled. " Come," he said, 
" Albert, come, I too may need you. You 
know the country well, I think. — Halt there," 
he continued, speaking to those who followed ; 
and then riding slowly on, he proceeded up the 
hill, conversing with the old man and Albert 
Denyn. The latter soon found that Walleran 
Urgel had brought tidings of a large band of 
the adventurers — in number, it seemed, some 
five hundred — having posted themselves upon 
the road to Mans, as if seeking to intercept the 
captal on his way. His proposed journey had 
been made no secret; the part he had taken 
against the free companions had been conspi- 
cuous, the money he bore with him was neces- 
sarily considerable, and both revenge and avarice 
might well induce the adventurers to lay an am- 
bush in his way. From time to time, as he rode 
forward, the captal turned his eyes upon Albert 
Denyn, as if seeking to read his young compa- 
nion's feelings on this new danger. He could 
gather little, however, from the youth's counte- 
nance, which was quite calm; and when he had 
reached the summit of the hill, he demanded,-— 



THE JACQUERIE. 59 

" Well, Albert, what think you ? should we 
turn back to Mauvinet ?" 

" Nay, my lord," said Albert Denyn, " I 
am unfit to give advice; but to turn back, 
methinks, would ill become one of the most 
renowned soldiers in the land." 

The captal only answered by a smile, and, 
in a moment or two after, they reached a 
spot whence they could descry, at the distance 
of about a couple of miles, a considerable 
body of men gathered together in a hollow 
way. 

The captal gazed forth in silence for a mo- 
ment or two, and then, speaking to himself, he 
said, " About two hundred." 

" There are more beyond," said the old 
man. 

M I see them," answered the captal, calmly ; 
" but as nothing more than their spear heads 
Appear, we cannot count them, my good friend. 
Doubtless, however, their numbers are what 
you say; and as these free companions under 
Griffith are soldiers not to be despised, it 
would be something very like madness to at- 



60 THE JACQUERIE. 

tack five hundred, with somewhat under fifty 
men." 

" Methinks it were," replied the old man, 
in his usual sarcastic tone ; " but as no one can 
tell to what length knightly folly will sometimes 
lead, it is only for you to decide, most noble 
captal, whether your high renown requires of 
you to fall into certain captivity or death, rather 
than turn back upon your way." 

" My lord," said Albert, seeing the captal 
pause, " I know not why you should either 
attack these men or return to Mauvinet. There 
is a road, scarce a mile round, which leads 
as well to where you seek to go as that which 
these men have thus occupied. I can guide you 
by it well, for I have known every step thereof 
from my youth. On the whole ride, from this 
spot till within two miles of Mans, you come 
not within sight of that valley." 

" Such must be the road we take then," 
replied the captal ; " for back I go not, let 
what will come of it. Now let us see your 
skill, good youth, as guide to a retreating 
force. And you, old man, what shall we do 



THE JACQUERIE* 61 

with you, or for you ? Have you no boon to 
ask for this good intelligence that you have 
brought us?" 

" Yes," answered the old man, " I have ; it is, 
that you take me with you on your way : this part 
of the land is no longer safe for me, and I seek 
not to remain in it. Though I value not life, 
yet there is one act I would fain see performed, 
before I go on the long journey, from which 
one can never return to witness what passes 
on this earth." . 

" I know not well how that may be," replied 
the captal, gazing over the strange figure of the 
man who addressed him : " your information 
is worth its price, good friend ; but I see not 
well how the price can be so large a one. We 
are going far ; when we return, Heaven knows ! 
and I seek not fresh companions on my expe- 
dition." 

" You would say," replied the old man, 
" that your eye takes offence at these goat-skins 
— is it not so ? That can soon be changed, 
however. Captal de Buch, I have done you a 
service: you are held honest and honourable, 



62 . THE JACQUERIE. 

as the world goes: I ask you but one boon, and 
will take no other; give it or refuse it, as 
you think fit, and as you judge your name 
requires. A few short miputes would have 
brought you into the ambush of these men — 
through me you have found safety — will you 
take me with you ?" 

'* I do beseech you, my lord," said Albert 
Denyn — " this man did so much to befriend 
me, when I stood in need of help, and he 
so much aided in our yesterday's success, that 
I beseech you refuse him not. I have enough 
to purchase him a horse, wherever we shall 
halt, and till then there are several in the 
rear." 

" I will not refuse him," replied the captal, 
" though, to speak truth, what he has said is 
true — I covet not much his goat-skins in my 
train." 

* They shall soon be changed," exclaimed 
the old man ; " for I well know, that those who 
would willingly see a fool follow them with his 
cap and bells would shun a wise man in a goat- 
skin." 



THE JACQUERIE. 63 

u That is very true," replied the captal, 
laughing, " and yet they themselves no block- 
heads either, my good friend. There are too 
many fools wherever we may go in this good 
world, for us to be welcomed kindly for bring- 
ing a wise man eithei- in goat-skins or not. 
However, you shall go with us, as far as you ~ 
will; — into Prussia, if you like it, to fight 
against the Pagans." 

u Not so," the old man replied, " not so. 
I would fain make my way into Normandy if 
you bend your steps thither ; if not, take me to 
the Beauvoisis, or as near it as may be." 

" We pass through it," replied the captal, 
" but Normandy we shall not touch upon ; for 
there are many there who would fain engage 
me in other enterprises, which I must not un- 
dertake. I turn aside then from Mans, ajid 
make my way straight on to Beauvais, where 
one half of the ransom of this good Lord of 
Mauvinet is to be paid." 

" Ha t" said the old man, " is it as the 
price of blood, or the price of liberty, that you 
noble knights take ransoms ? A splendid way 



64 THE JACQUERIE. 

it is, in truth, of gaining money, giving up your 
own bodies to hard blows, cutting the throats of 
other people, or depriving them of God's fair 
light and the liberty of their limbs, till they 
pay you a certain price for freedom." 

" Not so," answered the captal, with a smile. 
" There is no time to argue with you, my good 
man : I follow the customs of the day in which 
I live. I risk my heart's blood in defence of 
a cause that I think righteous and just, and in 
the same cause I spend my wealth and employ 
my followers. It is but right that I should 
make an enemy repay me and reward my 
soldiery. But come, let us return — we will 
find you a horse; so follow us. — Come, Albert, 
come with me." 

Thus saying, he turned and put his horse 
into a quicker pace. " Who is this old man ? " 
he demanded, as soon as they were at a little 
distance : " his look and his words are far above 
his garb." 

" I know not, truly, sir," replied the youth, 
" though he seems to know well who I am, 
and all about me. I found him contending with 



THE JACQUERIE. 65 

the villain Caillet, in defence of the Lady 
Adela. He seemed to use his weapons skilfully ; 
but when I came up, he left Caillet to me, as 
if in contempt. Afterwards, when they thrust 
him into the prison where they kept me, he 
conversed with me long ; and though what he 
said was not like that which is uttered by ordi- 
nary men, yet it was all good, and wise, and 
noble — at least, so it seemed to me." 

" I will speak with him farther," said the 
captal. " See that he be well treated and 
gently used. Our soldiery is kind enough at 
heart, but somewhat rough withal. I leave 
him in your charge for the present, Albert, 
till we have passed by these good companions, 
who are lying in wait for us here. I must 
keep watch myself, till the danger is gone by ; 
afterwards, I will speak with him more at 
large." 

The captal and the youth rode onward till 
they reached the spot where the knight v s 
retainers had been left. Orders were then 
immediately given to provide a horse for 
Walleran Urgel ; and the captal aiding some 

VOL. II. F 



66 THE JACQUERIE. 

directions to the principal soldiers in his band, 
regarding the cautions to be taken, till they 
had passed by the spot where danger lay, ad- 
vanced a little on the road. The old man, in 
the mean time, had followed slowly down the 
hill, with his eyes bent upon the ground ; and 
manifold were the comments of the captal's 
band upon his person and clothing; in the 
course of which, their leader himself was not 
entirely spared. 

" We shall have a fine menagerie, " said one, 
" before we get to the end of our journey : a 
tame bear and a dumb monkey make a hope- 
ful beginning." 

" The captal was always fond of wild 
beasts," said another ; " but I thought it was 
more of lions than of apes." 

" His tastes seem to have changed," rejoined 
the first. 

" And not for the better," said a third. 

While these jests were passing, however, the 
horse had been brought forward for Walleran 
Urgel, and he approached calmly and slowly to 
the side of the animal, which, like most of those 



THE JACQUERIE. 67 

in the captaPs train, was full of fire and courage* 
The animal reared and plunged in the hands of 
the groom, and the men present laughed in anti- 
cipation of the figure which their new uncouth 
companion would make upon the fiery beast 
which he was about to mount. But to the sur- 
prise of all, when he approached with a calm air 
and laid his hand upon the bridle, bidding the 
groom stand back, the charger ceased to plunge, 
stood still and calm, and the old man at a 
bound leapt into the saddle, while the animal 
seemed instantly to obey his will, as if feeling 
at once that he had met with a master. 

The jests died away upon the lips, where 
they had been indulged somewhat too freely; 
and the old man would certainly have been 
treated with more respect on account of his 
display of horsemanship than all the wisdom 
of the world would have gained him, but at 
that moment the captal called him to his side, 
and added the name of Albert Denyn. 

Both rode on at once, and Albert received 
orders to advance some twenty yards before the 
rest, and lead the way by the road which he 
f 2 



68 TEH JACQUERIE. 

had promised to show. The captal himself, 
having thus signified his change of purpose, 
followed slowly, conversing with the old man, 
while his troop came at some distance behind, 
enjoying their usual thoughtless merriment, and 
little heeding what the next moment might 
bring forth. 



THE JACQUERIE. 69 



CHAP. IV. 

We must now turn, for a moment or two, to 
one whom we have not seen for a long time, 
but who is nevertheless a principal personage 
in the history which we have undertaken to re- 
count. Passing over what immediately followed 
the departure of Caillet from the castle of the 
adventurers, however, we will follow him on the 
very same road, which was afterwards taken by 
the Captal de Buch and Albert Denyn, though 
luckily for him they did not overtake him there- 
on. 

It was on a dark autumnal night in that part 
of France known by the name of the Beau- 
voisis; and a fair part of the land it is — indeed 
I know no sweeter scenes of what may be called 
home landscape than are presented from time to 
time during a summer ride through the neigh- 
bourhood of Clermont, Chantilly, &c. ; nor were 
f 3 



70 THE JACQUERIE. 

there less of these in those days than at present, 
but rather, perhaps, more ; for the features 
of nature have remained the same — except that 
forests have been cut down, and free common 
land changed into cultivated fields — and at that 
time, not only did the cottage and the church 
crown each rising bank as at present, but here 
and there the graceful towers and pinnacles of 
the feudal castle were seen raising their heads 
over the forest, or topping the highest hills. 

It was night, however, as we have said, and 
night without a star, so that the features of 
the scenery could not be at all discerned; 
when the tall fine figure of William Caillet 
moved along through the paths of a forest, 
not above a few miles from the little town of 
St. Leu. He seemed to tread those paths fami- 
liarly, and indeed it was so ; for amongst the 
scenes of the Beauvoisis, as the reader has been 
already told, he had been born and brought up ; 
— although for the last eight or nine years, since 
the Lord of Mauvinet had become seneschal of 
Touraine, he had lived with that nobleman near 
the banks of the Loire. 



THE JACQUERIE. 71 

He was in paths, then, and amongst scenes 
that were familiar to him. Every object that he 
had seen during his day's journey had called 
up some recollection of his youth; but how 
changed were all the feelings of his heart, 
since he had quitted that province, as a youth 
of sixteen or seventeen years of age ! There is, 
perhaps, not one of the passions which tenant 
the bosom of man whose effects are more baneful 
than smothered ambition : it is like a viper in the 
heart, preying upon all that is good and noble 
within it, and tearing the breast in which it is 
confined, in its vain efforts to force its way 
forth, and find a wider scope. 

The serpent, indeed, is of many sorts ; but of 
all ambitions, that which is the most injurious 
to ourselves and others is the ambition which is 
founded upon vanity — and such was the pas- 
sion in the heart of William Caillet. When 
he had gone forth from the Beauvoisis, though 
wayward, obstinate, and wild, there had been 
many a better trait observable in his character, 
many a nobler feeling existing in his heart. 
He had not only displayed talents of a high 
f 4 



72 .THE JACQUERIE. 

order, but graces which captivate so as to cause 
faults to be overlooked when they should be 
checked ; and the worthy chaplain of the Count 
of Mauvinet had fancied that he could never 
do enough to praise and to encourage the ex- 
ertions of the young serf Thus a heart naturally 
disposed to vanity was soon possessed therewith 
as with a demon ; and on its wings rose up the 
passion of ambition. He fancied that all ought to 
be open to him ; all that was done for him seemed 
too little; the distinctions made in his favour were 
in his eyes too small, when compared with his 
estimate of his own genius and powers ; and he 
became in the first instance eager to obtain more, 
and then discontented when his efforts so to do 
were not successful. Imagination but too often 
lends her aid to whatever passion of the heart 
is strongest; and as he walked in proud su- 
periority amongst his fellows, he would often 
dream wild and extravagant dreams, even at 
a time when he was a mere youth, of what 
he might one day become, and how he would 
then demean himself. But as experience was 
added, and years went on, he saw all the mani- 



THE JACQUERIE. 73 

fold difficulties that surrounded him, the in- 
numerable obstacles that presented themselves 
to his ambition on every side. It was in vain 
that he looked for any path, however narrow 
and difficult, by which he might hope to climb 
the hill of fame, to open a course to glory and 
renown. None was to be seen ; and the am- 
bition which for years had been growing up 
in his breast, like an eagle bred in a cage, 
only felt the power of its full-grown wings 
to beat them against the bars. He asked him- 
self, why should this be? why men, far, far in- 
ferior to himself, should possess advantages 
which to him were denied? Why, by a mere 
accident of birth, they should have every gift 
and opportunity of fortune, and he have none ? 
and every sensation that vanity and discontent 
united can produce now rose up to plague him. 
It was long, however, very long, before he 
could persuade himself that some opportunity 
would not sooner or later be afforded him for 
raising himself by strenuous exertion to the 
height for which he fancied himself formed. 
Fancy ranged wild amidst every thing that 



74 THE JACQUERIE. 

was possible, while probability was left ' far 
behind. The example of Artevelde was un- 
fortunately before his eyes, at a time when 
his mind was not sufficiently formed to enable 
him to see the difference between the brewer 
of Ghent and the French serf; and on that 
example he built up visions of power and 
might, which became, as it were, a part of his 
own mind. Those visions, too, arose at a 
period when new sensations enter into the 
human heart, and love claims his share, likewise, 
ere other passions can swallow up the whole. 
Dreams of tenderness then became mingled in 
the breast of Caillet with dreams of ambition— 
and Adela de Mauvinet, though then in extreme 
youth, formed part of all. 

At first, his feelings of love were pure and 
high, in some respects not unlike those which 
we have depicted as existing in the bosom of 
Albert Denyn. But vanity was mingled with 
the whole. He had fancied that he would find 
means to make her proud of his affection ; that 
he would raise himself to such a height, that he 
could honour her, rather than she honour him. 



THE JACQUERIF. 75 

But as such hopes began to disappear, coarser 
passions arose in the breast of William Caillet, 
and mingled themselves even with his love for 
Adela. He mixed with the peasantry in the 
neighbourhood, who were somewhat proud to 
be noticed by a favourite attendant of their 
lord. His fine person, too, and graceful car- 
riage, were not lost upon the girls of the village 
or the farm ; but a bad name began to follow 
him : the doors of many a dwelling were closed 
against him ; and tales of betrayal, and seduc- 
tion, and heartless licentiousness, began to 
spread around. 

In general, the injured, believing his favour 
with the count to be even greater than it really 
was, were afraid to complain ; but in one in- 
stance a father, in despair, flew to the castle, 
and told his tale at once to the Lord of Mau- 
vinet. The complainant was a man of the 
poorer class of peasantry, but of good repute, 
and honourable amongst his fellows ; and the 
count had no hesitation as to the conduct he 
should pursue. He promised that the offender 
should be compelled to make the only repar- 



76 THE JACQUERIE. 

ation in his power, and unite his fate for ever to 
her whom he had dishonoured. Fortunately 
for Caillet he was himself absent at the time ; 
for his was a spirit not to yield tamely to such 
injunctions as those which the count was deter- 
mined to lay upon him, and what might have 
been the result cannot be told. 

He was at a distance, however, and the father 
remained at the castle, waiting for his return, 
with some anxiety, although, in those days, the 
command of a feudal lord was not to be dis- 
obeyed ; but ere the youth returned, the decree 
of a more powerful lord had reversed that of 
the Count de Mauvinet Despair and shame 
had driven the peasant's unhappy child to seek 
refuge in the grave ; and the tidings at once 
reached William Caillet, that the complaint had 
been made, the sentence given, and the decree 
rendered null by the death of his unhappy 
victim. 

The matter was different now: where he 
might have resisted with obduracy and daring 
hardihood, had there been a possibility of his 
obedience being put to the test, it now became 



THE JACQUERIE. 77 

his policy to yield, and feign repentance. He 
expressed, and, perhaps, indeed, felt much and 
deep regret at all that had occurred; but he 
stopped not there : he falsified the truth, and 
vowed that it had been his intention to do 
right to the unhappy girl, had not her own rash 
act prevented it All the atonement in his 
power he offered willingly to make, but that 
atonement soon reduced itself to nothing ; for 
the father, in mourning and indignation, would 
never see or hear mentioned one whom he 
looked upon as the betrayer and murderer of 
his child. 

The heart of Caillet, though it had conde- 
scended to hypocrisy, burned within him, when 
he remembered the words of repentance which he 
had spoken, and the bitter reproofs of the count ; 
and though his lord forgave his offence, and for- 
got, or nearly forgot, the circumstance altogether, 
Caillet neither forgave nor forgot. Feelings of 
anger and malevolence mingled with all his 
thoughts and sensations. He longed for re- 
venge upon one who had humiliated him ; and 
though in his anger the count had been but 



78 THE JACQUERIE. 

just — while in all his preceding conduct he had 
been generous, kind, and sparing — yet Caillet 
only remembered the bitter terms of reproba- 
tion and reproach in which his noble master 
had spoken of his error. 

He dreamed still, though the count had placed 
his real situation clearly before his eyes, and, 
in determining to wed him to one of the low- 
liest peasants, had shown him the point of 
view in which he looked upon him. Still 
Caillet mingled Adela with his visions, but 
in a different manner from before. He 
thought no longer of winning her admiration 
by high deeds and mighty efforts ; he thought 
not of acquiring power, and honour, and 
station, that he might obtain her, in despite of 
all the obstacles of birth; but he thought — or 
rather dreamed, for it deserved not the name of 
thought — of gaining, like Artevelde, mighty 
sway and great dominion, solely as a means of 
compelling her father humbly to meet his 
wishes, and, willing or unwilling, to make Adela 
his bride. 

Each day, however, as he lived and became 



THE JACQUERIE. 79 

more perfectly acquainted with the state of 
the country and the society around him, such 
phantasms became less frequent and less vivid, 
though the ambition still existed, and even 
grew stronger every hour ; while bitter discon- 
tent and envious jealousy followed naturally in 
its train. To such departed dreams succeeded 
things more dangerous ; schemes and plans, at 
first vague and fanciful, and little more tan- 
gible than the visions that went before. But 
his was a nature not to wait for opportunities, 
but to strive to make them ; and other circum- 
stances, which we shall soon mention, by in- 
creasing the intensity of all his passions, and 
adding a fresh one of still more terrible power, 
made him behold the disasters which befell his 
native country with joy and satisfaction, looking 
upon anarchy and strife as the only means by 
which his ends could be accomplished. 

The circumstances to which we have alluded 
were these : — Some three or four years after he 
himself had entered into the household of the 
Count of Mauvinet, Albert Denyn, then scarcely 
more than a mere child, had appeared in it also. 



80 THE JACQUERIE. 

Caillet had at that time all the best feelings of 
youth about him ; and though at first he felt 
some degree of boyish jealousy at the favour of 
the new-comer, it soon passed away, and they 
became companions and friends. Even the 
youthful fondness of Adela and Albert did not 
seem to pain or strike him ; for although the 
latter was somewhat older than his lord's daugh- 
ter, Caillet regarded him merely as a boy ; and 
a report to which the count's fondness for Albert 
gave rise, that he was, in fact, a natural son of 
that nobleman, tended to remove every thing 
like jealousy. At length, when Albert Denyn 
was about sixteen or seventeen years of age, he 
was absent in Paris, and in the Beauvoisis, for 
nearly a year and a half, part of the time with 
the prior, and part of the time with the count ; 
and about the same period also, the Lady of 
Mauvinet died, leaving but one son, then a 
somewhat weakly boy. It was shortly after that 
event, that some one thought fit to jest with the 
Lord of Mauvinet on his fondness for Albert, 
alluding to the report which I have mentioned. 
The count replied with so much indignation, in 



THE JACQUERIE. 81 

Caillet's hearing, that every suspicion of the 
kind was removed from his mind at once. 

It was not, however, till Albert returned, that 
Caillet himself understood how great a change 
the conviction that his companion was in no 
degree allied to the house of Mauvinet had 
made in his feelings ; but when he did come 
back, changed and improved in every respect, a 
man instead of a boy, full of eager life, and 
powerful energies, and withal a self-command, 
and strong determination in right, which won 
him respect and esteem from all around, new 
sensations rose up in Caillet's breast towards 
his young companion, and he soon learnt to 
hate him with a mortal antipathy. 

It is quite true that in the bosom of virtue 
there exists, as it were, a touchstone for vice, 
and that touchstone acted powerfully in the 
breast of Adela, for from a very early period 
she conceived a dislike towards Caillet, which 
nothing could ever remove ; and it must also be 
said, that by some acts of insolent presumption 
he contrived to render her aversion more marked 
and painful to himself. But in the heart of 

VOL. II. G 



82 THE JACQUERIE. 

Albert Deny n, the test did not produce the 
same effect, at least so soon. He had been 
Caillet's companion for many years ; and when 
he returned, it was long before he found that 
there was no longer between them that bond of 
union which had existed in their boyhood* 
He confided, he trusted, as before ; but day by 
day, and hour by hour, there came upon him 
convictions that Caillet was not worthy of the 
place he held in the household of the Count de 
Mauvinet; that he loved not the hand that 
showered benefits on his head ; that he was dis- 
contented, even with the high favour in which 
he stood ; in short, that there was a bad spirit 
within his breast, though it was difficult to dis- 
cover to what it tended or what it sought. 

In the mean while, the change in Caillet him- 
self went on. He soon became convinced that 
Adela loved him not, but he did not abandon 
on that account any one of his purposes or 
hopes. He saw that it would be necessary, in- 
deed, to pursue those hopes and purposes more 
circumspectly ; and as he was naturally of a 
reserved and impenetrable nature, he shut up 



THE JACQUERIE. 88 

bis thoughts and feelings in his own bosom, 
waiting for the time — which he judged to be 
near approaching-— when in the overthrow of all 
order, and the disruption of all the principles 
of society, he might burst the bonds that held 
him, and gratify every passion of his heart. 
His hatred for Albert Denyn, and his love for 
Adela, or rather the sort of passion which he 
called love— for it deserved not really the 
name — went hand in hand with bis ambition; 
and every murmur of the peasantry of France, 
every scene of misery on the one part, and 
violence and wrong on the other, called up the 
hopes of obtaining possession of Adela by any 
means, however harsh and violent, and of de- 
stroying him whom he envied by any device, 
however base and wicked. 

Even while he was jealous of Albert, how- 
ever, his vanity led him to undervalue him ; and 
when he saw the growing attachment of the 
youth towards Adela de Mauvinet, and the 
notice which she bestowed upon him, believing 
it impossible that she could ever really love 
him, he did all that he could to encourage 
a 2 



84 THE JACQUERIE. 

Albert, without seeming to do so, in a course 
Which he hoped and believed would lead him 
to destruction. He pictured to himself, with 
joy, the indignation of the Lord of Mauvinet, 
should he ever discover that the creature of 
his bounty had ventured to look with the 
eyes of love upon his daughter ; and the words 
of anger and indignation, which he had some- 
times feared might fall upon himself, he hoped 
to hear poured forth upon his young companion* 

Such had been his feelings shortly before the 
opening of this book, and the changes that they 
underwent afterwards have explained them- 
selves. It may easily then be conceived, what 
were his sensations now, when, under the im- 
pulse of passion and opportunity, he had taken 
a step which his better judgment told him was 
rash, if not absolutely foolish, and when the 
result had been iotal disappointment, and, for 
the time, apparent ruin and destruction. 

There was now no return for him, no repent- 
ance, no recovery : the act was done that shut him 
out for ever from a look behind : in the energy 
of despair was his only hope ; and the entire 



THE JACQUERIE. 85 

overthrow of every existing thing was the only 
instrument which he could now employ. It 
might have seemed, at first sight, that he had 
little opportunity to bring such great things 
to pass — that he was friendless, helpless, power- 
less. It was so, and yet Caillet did not de-» 
spair of being able still to break up the very 
principles of society in the land wherein he lived, 
and by such means to work out his own dark ends. 
There was a strong impression upon him that 
great minds make the circumstances in which 
they live, and that a powerful will, joined to 
native genius, can do all. In some degree, per-* 
haps, he was right, though he knew not that 
the greatest of all moral powers is virtue, and 
that wanting that, he wanted the crowning 
energy of all ; which insures to genius and to 
resolution the utmost success that it can obtain 
on fearth. It was a defect that he felt not, and 
therefore he was confident, even in the midst of 
disappointment and reverse. 

He had made now his way across the land 
alone : every where he had heard of warring 
parties, and bands, which might oppose his 
o 3 



66 THE JACQUERIE. 

course. He found fear and anxiety wherever 
he turned, but he had gone on in safety. Ob- 
stacles had seemed to disappear from before his 
steps, and from such facility he derived an au- 
gury of future success. He had now reached a 
spot where he knew that much misery existed ; 
where various fierce bands of adventurers, during 
his lord's absence, had ravaged and destroyed. 
He was aware, also, that amongst the peasantry 
of many of the neighbouring nobles tyranny 
and oppression of the basest kind had been ex- 
ercised by the lords of the soil themselves. Here, 
then, he was sure to find want, and grief, and 
discontent; and those were the elements with 
which he proposed to work. 

With almost every one in the neighbourhood 
around William Caillet was more or less ac- 
quainted; but the rough and honest peasant, 
though he might be led at an after period to 
follow the multitude, was not the person suited 
to his present purpose ; and with careful skill 
he sought for the dwellings of those alone who 
could serve him as tools or assist him as con- 
federates. 



THE JACQUERIE. 87 

At a late hour, then, as we have shown, he 
wandered on through the wood, notwithstanding 
the darkness, and the danger, and the solitude, 
although he might have found many a dwelling 
far nearer to the place at which night overtook 
him, where the inhabitants, ignorant of what 
had taken place at Mauvinet, would have 
received him with pleasure and hospitality: 
At length he stopped at the door of a hut, one 
of the poorest, apparently, in all the land 
around, in the aspect of which there was 
nothing, certainly, to attract the wayfaring 
traveller, and make him hope for either ac- 
commodation or welcome there. It was situ- 
ated upon the extreme edge of the forest, in the 
depths of the low brushwood which surrounded 
it; and it seemed, in fact, though it was not 
so, to be the abode of some inferior woodman 
or keeper of the game. It consisted of four 
square walls of mud, and a roof thatched with 
fern and straw mingled together. There was 
a window on either side, that is to say, an 
aperture, which, at that late hour of the 
g 4 



88 the jacquerie;. 

night, was blocked up with a board of rough 
sapin. All appeared dark therein, except where 
a treacherous flaw in the wood-work betrayed 
at ona point a faint glimmering of light, show- 
ing that the fire was not yet extinguished. 
Behind the building were seen several low 
sheds, from which, every now and then, is- 
sued forth an inharmonious noise, announcing 
that the master of the abode was a feeder of 
that useful sort of beast, which contributes, 
perhaps, more than any other, to the support 
and convenience of man in almost every country 
of the world. 

When opposite the dark line of the hut, 
Caillet paused and gazed around him. " Still 
the same," he said to himself, " still the same ! 
misery, and filth, and dirt ! — They have cut 
down much wood here," he continued, "and 
doubtless it will be said that the enemy did it, 
the adventurers, the free companions. They 
are good friends to the warm farmer's fireside, 
however much he may cry out upon them. 
One half of the fuel they take goes to keep 
him warm, that is certain. — It matters not 



THE JACQUERIE. 89 

to me, however : this poor wretch, here, dare 
not cut down the wood, I fancy. He has not 
been taught to dare yet — we will see whether 
he be an apt scholar ; " and, turning to the door, 
he knocked aloud, exclaiming, " Ho ! within 
there ! let me in!" 

At first no answer was returned, and again 
Caillet struck heavily upon the door, exclaiming, 
" Let me in there ! it is vain to pretend sleep : 
I see the light through the crevices — open the 
door." 

" Get thee gone, get thee gone," cried a 
surly voice from within, answering him at 
length— "get thee gone while thou art safe and 
well : if thou stayest longer, I will give thee a 
shot with the crossbow." 

"A crossbow!" exclaimed Caillet with a 
sneering laugh, "where shouldst thou get a 
crossbow, poor wretch ? — it is I, Morne ! it 
is I, William Caillet ! Let me in, I say. Prate 
not to me of crossbows, man ; thou that never 
hadst an iron pike in thy life, where shouldst 
thou get a crossbow ? " 

€i Do not open, do not open !" cried a woman's 






*« 



t 



90 THE JACQUERIE. 

voice: "it cannot be Caillet— Caillet is far 
away." 

" It is Caillet, sure enough," replied the 
man's voice again—" I know him by his scoff." 

" A good distinction," said Caillet to himself. 
u Come, open the door, Jacques Morne : I want 
shelter for the night ; and though I might as 
well, I know, lie with one of thy pigs as in thy 
cottage, yet I want to speak to thee, so undo 
the bolt, man." 

His tone and words leaving no longer any 
doubt of his identity, the door was opened, 
though still not without some hesitation. A 
faint light burst forth from some embers 
which were yet glowing on the hearth, and a 
dark and ragged figure presented itself in the 
doorway holding a crossbow in one hand, 
while over his right shoulder peeped the wild 
countenance of a woman, affording a terrible 
picture of misery and want. A loud unpleasant 
laugh burst from the man when he saw William 
Caillet; and he exclaimed aloud, " I told you 
so : I knew him by his scoff." 

" Come, come," exclaimed Caillet, " let us 



THE JACQUERIE. 91 

in, and tell me what you can give me for 
supper : I am hungry, Morne." 

" Hungry !" exclaimed the man — " supper ! 
— then you may remain hungry for all the 
supper you will find here : why I have been 
hungry for the last ten years, and never yet, 
but once, found sufficient food to say that I was 
not so." 

" Ay, it is a sad case," said Caillet, " and 
yet you have no reason to complain." 

" No reason to complain ! " replied the man : 
" if I have not, who has, I wonder ? " 

" No one," answered Caillet, abruptly^-" no 
one that suffers it. Why, think you now, that 
if you choose to go on starving all your days, 
luid, moreover, seeing your wife and children 
starve too — think you that men will come 
and put food into your mouth when you might 
take it if you would ? But get thee in, poor 
wretch, get thee in : stand not there with thy 
jaws apart, as if thunderstruck at hearing truth 
for once in thy life ; get thee in and close the 
door, and I will find means to provide a supper 
both for myself and thee*" 



THE JACQUERIE. 



CHAP. V. 

Amongst all the great moral lessons that 
Shakspeare, the greatest, perhaps, of all un- 
inspired moralists, ever gave, there is none 
more striking, none that would be more bene- 
ficial to the human heart, if we would but 
apply and follow it, than the exhortation, " Take 
physic, pomp; expose thyself to feel what 
wretches feel." Well, well were it for us— » 
well for the hearts of the rich, even mors 
than for the comforts of the poor whom they 
visit, were that lesson more generally applied. 

Did we examine with our own eyes, misery 
enough of all kinds would indeed be found 
in the world, at any time that the search was 
made; but, in the present day, it would be 
hardly possible to meet with any thing equal to 
that which the cottage of many a French peasant 
presented at the period of which I speak. 



THE JACQUERIE. 93 

That into which Caillet now entered was 
superior, in various respects, to some, and yet 
what was it that he found? A long crazy shed 
of rough timber with the interstices filled up 
with mud; the floor was of the mere earth 
of the forest, beaten down by the treading 
of feet; and in the thatch above, at many 
points, as well as in several parts of the walls* 
Were seen crevices, through which the night* 
wind whistled at liberty, and the rain of 
winter might find free admittance. No bed 
did the place possess, except two piles of 
heath and withered leaves, nestled in one of 
which slept soundly two rosy babes, the childreil 
of hardihood and want* At the farther side, 
immediately underneath a round hole in the 
roof of the cottage, was a spot where the 
rare and scanty fire was made, and on which 
still glimmered a few dying embers, the only 
object which gave an appearance of cheerfulness 
to the desolate hut 

Caillet's eyes fixed there as he entered, and 
the unhappy owner of the place immediately ex- 
claimed, as if fearful of blame, " It was all dry 



94 THE JACQUERIE. 

wood, branches that had fallen — I picked it 
up myself, when I wad driving out the swine." 

" And do you think that I would betray 
you, if it were not ? " demanded Caillet. " Poor 
fool, am not I of the same class that you are ? 
likely to meet with the same misery whenever 
it pleases the tyrants above us? — think you 
that I would betray you ?" 

" I know hot, I know not," answered Jacques 
Morne: "many a villain betrays another for 
what he can get." 

" Then he is only fit to be a noble," re- 
plied Caillet, with a sneering smile; <c but 
that is the fault, Morne, that is the fault — we 
are not united amongst ourselves : were we so, 
those men could not oppress us ; but I will 
soon show you that I am not one of those who 
would betray you. Give me yon hatchet — I 
will speedily mend your fire." 

The wretched peasant gave him the hatchet 
as he had demanded; and Caillet opening 
the door again, went out and returned a 
moment after, loaded with several large 
branches of wood. " There/' he said, H if any 



THE JACQUERIE. 95 

one asks you, tell him it was William Caillet 
who did it* 

" Ay," answered the other, " and then, per- 
haps, they may punish me for William Caillet'* 
fault" 

« If they do," replied Caillet, « I will pu- 
nish them. Now make you up the fire, and 
give me the crossbow : the moon is coming up ; 
and though one might have better food than 
venison at this season of the year, we must not 
be too particular when hunger presses." 

"What are you going to do?" exclaimed 
the man, turning pale at the very thought of 
any one killing his lord's game; "what are 
you going to do? Nay, Caillet, nay, think 
what you are about" 

" I have thought, and right well," replied 
Caillet ; " and I will tell you what I have 
thought, Morne — that these good beasts 
which God puts upon the earth — these good 
beasts in their brown coats, I say, were not 
sent hither for the benefit of those who call 
themselves lords, alone, but to feed mankind 
whenever man was hungry. The days are 



96 THE JACQUERIE. 

changing, and all this will be set to rights. 
Give me the crossbow, man, give me the 
crossbow! I know what I am doing ;" and 
snatching it from the unwilling hand of the 
swineherd, he once more went forth, but this 
time was somewhat longer absent. 

Taking his way through the wood, he cut 
across a small angle in the neighbourhood of 
the cottage, till he came to the extreme verge 
of the forest, where the trees broke away, and 
some meadows and corn-fields were seen out 
beyond, in the clear light of the rising moon. 
There he stationed himself, amongst some 
brushwood, under the shadow of a tall tree ; 
being careful, however, to place himself on the 
side opposite to that from which the wind 
Wew. He had waited some ten minutes, 
and was beginning to grow impatient, when, 
suddenly, he perceived, coming forth into the 
light, with a hopping, unequal pace, a large 
hare, every now and then stopping and raising 
up its long ears to listen for any approaching 
danger. The first sound that the unfortu- 
nate animal heard was the twang of Caillet's 



THE JACQUERIE. 97 

crossbow ; and the moment after — before it 
could spring away — the unerring bolt struck 
it, and it fell over struggling in the agonies of 
death. 

" This is better than larger game," said 
Caillet, lifting it from the ground : " it is enough, 
and will leave no traces." He then returned to 
the cottage, or rather hut, and throwing down the 
hare before the peasant's wife, he said, " There, 
make it ready, my good woman, quickly ; and 
be in no fear, I will answer for what I have 
done." 

" Oh I am in no fear," replied the woman : 
" it is he who is so frightened. Often do I tell 
him that we were never intended to starve; 
and that if food is not given to him he must 
take it." 

" You speak wisely, you speak wisely," 
said Caillet : " I know not why we should be 
hungry more than the men that live in castles 
— do you, good dame ?" 

" No, by my faith, not I," rejoined the 
woman ; " and though it is not for myself I 
care, yet my children shall have food." 

VOL. II. h 



98 THE JACQUERIE. 

The man had looked on in silence, but' the 
mention of the children roused him ; and he 
exclaimed, w They should not be hungry long, 
were there any other means of finding them 
meat for one day, without depriving them of it 
the next. Here Caillet dares to take a hare, or 
very likely a roe, were he to find one, because 
he is a favourite of his lord, who would protect 
him against mine; but were I to kill either 
one or the other, who would protect me from a 
dungeon, if not from hanging ? and then, what 
would become of the children ?" 

" Why, they would not be much worse than 
they were before," replied the woman, in a sharp 
tone, which instantly called forth a reply from 
her husband, of an angry kind. 

But Caillet waved his hand, exclaiming, 
" Cease, cease : this is one of the consequences 
of misery, dissension instead of union ; but all 
this shall soon come to an end. I tell thee, 
Jacques Morne, that the time is not far off when 
the fire shall blaze freely on every peasant's 
hearth through France, and when no one shall ask 
him where the meat came from that fills his pot." 



THE JACQUERIE. 99 

"Those will be bright times, indeed," replied 
the man with a doubtful shake of the head ; 
" but when will they come, Caillet, when will 
they come ? Is not every day making our con- 
dition worse instead of better ? We were always 
poor, now we are wretched ; we were always 
slaves to one lord, but now we are beat about 
by thousands." 

"True, true," answered Caillet, "and it 
wants but one thing more, to produce the 
change I have mentioned." 

" And what is that ? " demanded the man 
eagerly, " what is that ? " 

'*. That the thousands buffet you," replied 
Caillet, " till you can endure no longer — till 
you remember that you are many — till you are 
ashamed of being slaves to the few, and rend 
their chains asunder, as if they were but bands 
of straw. I say to you, that if they crush you, 
you deserve to be crushed ; if they tread upon 
yon, you deserve to be trampled; for every 
man that suffers tyranny commits a crime 
against his fellow-slaves." 
h 2 



100 THE JACQUERIE. 

Jacques Morhe gazed down upon the ground 
for several minutes. " It is all very true," he 
answered at length, " it is all very true, I dare 
say, and many a man would rise to shake off 
this accursed state if we knew what to do, and 
how to do it. — As the woman says, we could 
not be much worse than we were before. I 
have often thought when we sat shivering here, 
without food, or fire, or light, or hope, that it 
would be better to kill her and them, and then 
myself. I can't help believing that death would 
be very comfortable to people that suffer as we 
do ; but yet we have no one to guide us, to lead 
us, or tell us how to act ; and suppose I were 
to say that I would bear it no longer ; that I am 
a man as well as the Lord of St. Leu ; that I 
would have right, and food for my children; 
that no one had any business to make me carry 
wood to the castle upon my back, and for my 
pains only give me blows to make me go on 
faster — what would be the consequences, Cail- 
let ? — what if a dozen were to do so ? We should 
all be beaten till we were black and yellow, and 
most likely five or six of us would be hung 



THE JACQUERIE. 101 

from the branches of the oak, or the spouts of 
the castle. Is it not so ? " 

" Most likely it is/' replied Caillet, coolly, 
t( and serve you very right too, if you did such 
things without due deliberation and counsel. 
You want somebody to lead you, and tell you 
what to do : is it so ? — Well, I will do both, 
Morne: only promise me, that when I do tell 
you what to do, I shall find you ready to show 
yourself a man, and not a mere beast of the 
. orest, as these tyrants would make you. Pro- 
mise me, too, that you will not speak one word 
of these things till the time is come, and I give 
you leave." 

" Why, I thought but now," said Jacques 
Morne, " that you cared not who knew of your 
actions : you bade me tell them that you took 
the wood, that you killed the game." 

" So I did," replied Caillet, « and so I tell 
you still. Should it be ever inquired into, say 
so, at your will. It is no personal risk I fear. 
But I tell thee, Morne, that did I suspect for 
one minute thou wouldst go and betray my 
counsel in matters where others are concerned 
h 3 



102 THE JACQUERIE. 

that thou wouldst frustrate my hopes of deliver- 
ing the peasantry of France, by saying that 
Caillet is here, or Caillet is there, stirring 
up the people to revolt, I would take up yon 
axe and dash out thy brains this moment. But 
I know thee better, and have no fear : there is 
about thee an honesty, made dogged by oppres- 
sion, and which our tyrants call sullenness, 
which will make thee bear the rack or the 
bernicles, sooner than betray my trust." 

" No, no/' replied the man, " I will not be- 
tray thee; but I fear you deceive yourself, 
Caillet, and that with all your fine words you 
will find no one to be the first." 

Caillet laughed bitterly. "I am the first 
myself," he said: "I have been the first to 
shake off the yoke. I, at least, am a free man, 
if none will follow me. The tyrants now know 
me, as I have long known them. I have cast 
their chains from off my hands, I tell thee, and 
have spat at and defied them ; and though their 
blood-hounds have been out after me over the 
whole land, they have not caught me, Morne." 

" Ay, this is something like now," cried the 



THE JACQUERIE. 103 

other, grasping his hand : " once the strife be- 
gun, and there is hope; but tell me more, 
Caillet, tell me more ? " 

" When the time comes, I will tell you all," 
replied Caillet : " at present there is but little 
to tell. Were I alone to set myself up against 
these men, and put myself in their power, it 
would be the same with me as with you. We 
must have union, we must take counsel with 
others, we must have many men of different 
characters and kinds combined ; we must con- 
ceal our purposes and our plans ; we must have 
meetings of few, and meetings of many, and 
we must pretend that all these meetings have 
no other view than to deplore our sad con- 
dition, and the lamentable state of all France, 
given up as a spoil to the enemy. Then we 
must choose the best occasion; and when we 
have insured the aid of numbers, and the good 
will of more; when men's minds are excited by 
the story of their own sufferings, and their 
passions are hot, with a view of the wealth and 
prosperity of others, then we must suddenly 

call upon them to do great deeds, and let them 
h 4 



104 THE JACQUERIE. 

rise against their enemies, before pale fear has 
time to make them hesitate. Once begun, the 
conquest of our freedom is half accomplished, 
for no man will then dare go back ; for victory 
alone will give us security, at the same time 
that it gives us power, and wealth, and hap- 
piness." 

While Caillet spoke, his companion gazed 
down upon the ground, and strange were the 
manifold expressions that passed over his coun- 
tenance. That countenance itself was naturally 
dull and inexpressive; but when upon such a 
face strong passions display themselves by out- 
ward signs, the effect is even greater than 
where the features are naturally less cold and 
heavy. Sometimes it seemed as if his whole 
soul were carried away by the bright hopes 
which Caillet's words displayed before his eyes ; 
at other times, however, doubts seemed to rise 
up, and fears to take possession of his breast, as 
well they might, for at that time the dream 
of resisting their feudal tyrants had never yet 
entered into the mind of any of the peasantry 
of France, except that of the bold man who 



THE JACQUERIE. 105 

now addressed him. The words which he 
heard, however, the confidence with which his 
companion spoke, the natural ascendency of 
hope in the human mind, all had their effect ; 
and the thought of revenge, which was pleasant 
to him, as well as enjoyment and abundance, 
which he had never known, all affected him 
in turns, and made him resolve to dare the 
worst, rather than lose the prospect of things so 
coveted. 

All he replied, however, was, " Thou art a 
bold man* Caillet, thou art a bold man." 

"I am," answered Caillet, with his usual 
sneer upon his lips, " and I hope that thou art 
a bold man, too, Morne, for none but bold 
men deserve to be free. I work not to liberate 
willing slaves : those that are so may remain so 
for me ; but those who thirst for freedom, as I 
do myself, I will make free, if it be in the 
power of man to do so, and that it is in our 
power who can doubt ? Are we not in num- 
bers as ten to one ? are we not more hardy, 
more inured to want, and privation, and fa- 
tigue, than they are ? You will say that they 



106 THE JACQUERIE. 

have arms, let us take their weapons from 
them ; wealth, that wealth will soon be ours, if 
we do but strive rightly to make it so. Riches 
will then bring many to our cause, who leave us 
lonely so long as we are poor, and despise us so 
long as we are submissive. The people of the 
towns, who have set us the example in a long 
and bloody struggle with the men who were then 
their tyrants, and are now ours — they will aid us 
too, when they see us resolved and ready ; they, 
too, will assist and make common cause with us, 
when they find that we will bear the yoke no 
longer. Though they have accomplished their 
own freedom, they still suffer many grievances : 
they will take the opportunity to redress those, 
while we redress ours ; and even were they to 
seek nothing but their selfish benefits, they 
would do us good, by dividing the power of the 
lords." 

" Thou hast thought of it all," replied 
Jacques Morne, " thou hast thought of it all : 
I will go with thee, Caillet, to the death." 

" Go with me to life and happiness, Morne," 
replied Caillet, in a tone full of confidence. 



THE JACQUERIE. 107 

" If we are* resolute and true to ourselves, 
death is far from us — death is for those who 
oppose men seeking their liberty. But we 
must have much counsel, Morne. Do you 
remember an old man who lived upon the 
hill above Clermont, who had great expe- 
rience, and some learning; who had been 
with his lord into foreign lands, had seen 
many a strange sight, and marked many a 
curious fact ? Is he living still ?" 

" Oh yes," replied the other, " he is living, 
and still there — Old Thibalt, you mean ; but I 
know not how it is, he is not loved." 

" Wise men are seldom loved," replied 
Caillet, " because they have to deal with fools." 

" Ay," answered Morne ; " but it is not for 
that, Caillet, that old Thibalt is not loved : it 
is, that he does good to no one: though he 
has plenty of money, he gives not to those 
who are poor. He thinks of himself and of 
his own cunning ; and when he hears of our 
miseries, he only laughs at them." 

" Well may he laugh," rejoined Caillet, 
" when you are fools enough to bear the 



108 THE JACQUERIE. 

misery that you could redress with your own 
hands. Well may he laugh and set you at 
nought. — And yet," he continued, seeing that 
Mome's brow grew somewhat contracted, " and 
yet, what you say is, in some degree, true : the 
man is selfish, he always was; but in this 
world who is not, Morne ? who thinks not 
more or less of himself in all the concerns of 
life? I pretend to no such virtue; and the 
man who does pretend to it, be sure, is a 
hypocrite. However, we have nothing to do 
with his motives, so that he helps us with his 
counsel. If he joins us, it will be the surer 
sign of our success." 

" Ay, that it will," answered the other ; " for 
there is not a man throughout the land who 
will not say, ' Old Thibalt would not have 
joined them unless they had been sure to win/" 

" Then his name is, in itself, a host," replied 
Caillet; "for the expectation of success is the 
great first step to it. But now let us see 
where I can sleep o' nights, Morne? Can you 
not place me somewhere where I can remain 
unknown, and you can visit me after dark?" 



THE JACQUERIE. 109 

" Then you are obliged to conceal yourself" 
said Morne. " I thought that you were come 
openly and boldly, to proclaim our liberty." 

" Would that I could do so !" replied the 
other. " Have I not already said tliat all 
depends on caution? and with me life itself 
hangs on prudence. You must meet, Morne, 
-without my presence ; you must consult, without 
my being there. You must seem scarce to 
know that such a person exists; and yet you 
must tell me all things that take place, and 
act by my directions alone ! — Is this asking 
much — perhaps too much, Morne? You may, 
however, follow or reject the advice I give 
you. You may betray me or not, as you 
like, yourself; it is for you to choose, for 
you to determine. I only tell you the way, 
the only way by which your freedom can 
be worked out: having so done, you must 
do the rest. In three days the news will 
follow me hither, that William Caillet has 
rebelled against his lord and fled. Then 
every man that is seen with him, or who 
dares consort with him, even for an hour, 



110 THE JACQUERIE. 

will stamp himself for ever as an enemy to 
our lordly tyrants; and for him the dungeon 
or the gallows will be all that is left I 
have put myself in your power, Morne, and 
you can do what you will ; but depend upon 
it, that with my fete is wrapped up your own 
freedom." 

" You are right, Caillet, you are right," 
said Jacques Morne, "and I will do as you 
would have me. I have thought of a place too, 
where you can lodge likfe a boar in his lair. 
Do you not know in the middle of the wood 
there is a hut, where I saw you once, when 
your lord came hither to hunt with mine? 
I was to have had it first for my dwelling, 
but it was judged that I should be better here ; 
and so they changed their purposes and 
brought me hither. No one has inhabited 
it, but it is still good ; and very often, when 
I drive the swine into that part of the 
forest, I sit therein, and think how happy 
man might be if other men would let him. 
There you can have as good a house as this 
is; and there is a way out behind, too, by 



THE JACQUERIE. Ill 

the dingle and over the hill ; so that in any 
time of need you have nought to do but to slip 
out by the door behind, and away. I can visit 
you there every night, and bring you what you 
want." 

w Which will be but small," replied Caillet, 
" nor will my hiding last long. However, 
Morne, as thou wilt have to purchase for me 
something, here is money. Of that I have got 
abundance, and can command more. There 
is a golden crown for you, take that; and 
early to-morrow buy me some wine, and bring 
it to " 

u A golden crown !" cried the man, taking 
the money in his hand and looking at it: 
" bring thee wine, Caillet ! Dost thou drink 
wine?" 

" Ay," answered Caillet, " and so shalt thou, 
Morne, if thou followest what I tell thee to 
do : wine shall be as plentiful with thee, ere 
a month pass over, as it is at the table of 
the best lord in all the land; but in the 
mean time thou shalt share of mine : so take 
the money, and let the wine be bought." 



112 THE JACQUERIE. 

" A golden crown !" repeated the man : " I 
dare not take . it, Caillet. They would not 
give me the wine, and would ask me loudly 
where I got the gold. They would say I had 
stolen it, and take me to a prison." 

" Fie ! nonsense!" exclaimed his wife, who 
was, by this time, deep in the mysteries of 
cooking a hare in the most simple fashion : 
" thou art a fool, Jacques : give me the 
crown, and I will buy the wine. Then, should 
any one ask me, I will say that a charitable 
gentleman going through the forest gave me 
the money. No fear — there is no fear, man ! 
No fear ; give me the money ! Now, Master 
Caillet, your supper shall be ready ere ten 
minutes more are over ; and if you give us 
such every night in the week, you shall have 
my prayers, and the blessings of the children. 
So, if my husband fail thee, I will not; and 
he must follow where I lead, I trow." 



THE JACQUERIE. 113 



CHAP. VI. 

It was the third morning after that which suc- 
ceeded the visit of Caillet to the swineherd's 
cottage, and he now sat in solitude within a 
lonely hut, situated in the midst of one of those 
wide forests, which, in that day, covered a very 
large portion of the soil of France. His habit- 
ation was composed of rough wood; and as 
a change of mind had taken place amongst the 
builders, while the small tenement was being 
erected, the mud with which the crevices were 
to have been filled had been applied but to one 
side of the building ; so that the other three 
were only stopped by a quantity of dried leaves 
and moss, which had been crammed into the 
crevices. Many efforts had been made to 
give the place an air of comfort since Caillet 
himself had tenanted it; but the attempt had 
produced very little effect, and the aspect of 
vol. n. I 



114 THE JACQUERIE. 

the interior was that of desolation. A stool 
and a table had been formed of the crooked 
branches of the trees; and the bed of dry 
leaves which one corner contained had been 
delicately covered over with moss, which 
glistened in its fresh greenness, as if a velvet 
pall had been there cast down upon the 
ground. A fire was lighted in another corner, 
for it was now cold; and in a third, stood 
several of the large leathern bottles, which 
were the common vehicles of wine in those 
days. 

The face of Caillet, however, was dark and 
gloomy, and bitter as well as agitated were the 
images which tenanted his bosom. Hope has not 
so terrible an enemy as long solitary thought ; 
and for several days Caillet had remained 
there, only seeing the swineherd once in the 
course of the evening, shortly after the sun 
had gone down. While he had been actively 
employed in threading the dangerous ways 
between Touraine and the Beauvoisis, his 
mind had rested little upon the past, and he 
had gone on, day by day, thinking only of the 



THE JACQUERIE* 115 

present. Such, however, was not the case 
now : he was alone, without occupation for mind 
or body during the greater part of the day ; 
and upon the past — though contemplation could 
not have chosen a more painful subject — all his 
thoughts now dwelt, whether he would or not. 

Oh happy, thrice and fully happy, is the 
man who can suffer his mind calmly to repose 
upon memory, without finding ought in all her 
stores to darken and embitter- his review of 
the times gone. Such, however, was not at all 
the case with William Caillet: there was scarcely 
one spot on which his eye rested, as he looked 
back, which did not offer something painful to 
his sight. Besides the thousand opportunities 
cast away through life, which every man has to 
regret ; besides the follies and the faults com- 
mitted, with which very few, even of the best, 
may not reproach themselves ; there were innu- 
merable opportunities wilfully neglected, there 
were innumerable faults and follies knowingly 
performed. 

But besides regrets that would intrude, 
there was a sensation, the most painful of all 
i 2 



116 THE JACQUERIE. 

others, creeping upon Caillet at this time: — a 
sensation which nothing could have produced 
in a mind so vain and stubborn as his, so 
proud, so resolute, except the power of solitary 
thought: it was the conviction that he might 
be wrong, the consciousness that if he had 
chosen another path he might have been wiser, 
greater, happier than he ever could be now, 
even were his efforts to be crowned with the 
utmost success. But there was something 
more than even that conviction — something 
which aggravated the pain thereof, in a very 
great degree; it was a growing belief that 
those efforts were not likely to succeed; that 
the men he had calculated upon for great 
deeds were not capable of accomplishing them ; 
that vast objects — we must not call them good 
ones — could not be appreciated or understood 
by the beings he had to work upon ; and that 
those even who had some faint glimmering of 
higher things and more important purposes than 
mere temporary deliverance from a particular 
inconvenience, each proposed to himself some 
individual benefit, some personal advantage, 



THE JACQUERIE. 117 

which would, in all probability, interrupt the 
pursuit of any'great general object at every step, 
and ultimately overthrow the whole enterprise. 
He cursed them all in his heart, and — strange 
as it may seem to those before whose eyes 
the whole of Caillet's selfishness and baseness 
has been openly displayed — he railed at the 
persons through whose interested pursuit of 
their own views his purposes were likely to be 
frustrated, as bitterly as if he himself had been 
actuated by the most disinterested patriotism, 
and as if every thing that he did was under-* 
taken solely for the benefit of his fellow-* 
creatures. The doubt of attaining his present 
object was to him a curse, indeed, during his 
solitary hours; for on success his every hope 
was staked ; and when he thought of Adela de 
Mauvinet and her disdain, of Albert Denyn and 
his good fortune, of the noble master whom he 
had repaid with ingratitude and injury — when 
he thought of all these, I say, and, at the same 
time, feared that his schemes would not sue* 
ceed, the bitterness of his heart knew no 
bounds. 

i 3 



118 THE JACQUERIE. 

Often would he start from his seat and take 
two or three steps across the hut in angry 
haste, and then return to the settle again and 
brood in dark despondency over every gloomy 
feature of his fortune. There was still one idea, 
however, which seemed to comfort him, and 
produced a dark and savage smile of satisfaction 
whenever his mind rested on it. 

" They will certainly rise," he said to him- 
self, "they will certainly rise"; for that,- at least, 
they are ripe, if not for greater things. Some 
revenge will assuredly be mine ; and that is the 
first object — I shall have some vengeance, if I 
have nothing more." 

But still sad thoughts and anticipations would 
return. The old man Thibalt had never 
visited him, though he had twice sent to urge 
him so to do; and from the reluctance which 
such conduct displayed, he naturally supposed 
that the wary veteran suspected his views, 
and judged not favourably of his enterprise. 
He was now waiting the result of a third 
application, couched in such terms as' he 
fancied might awaken the avarice of the old 



THE JACQUERIE. 119 

man, for his ambition he had failed to arouse ; 
and the period which his impatience had fixed 
as necessary for his messenger to return had 
already long expired, so that he was meditating 
gloomily upon the next step to be taken; 
giving, from time to time, a bitter look towards 
the past, or a desponding gaze towards the 
future, when some sounds, as of coming feet, 
met his ear ; and gazing through one of the 
chinks in the dilapidated wall, he beheld the 
swineherd Morne on foot accompanied by the 
old man Thibalt riding on an ass. 

The hopes of Caillet rose; but he had 
learned, as every one will learn, who gives 
himself up to the sway of evil passions, to be 
an actor — a dissembler, if not a hypocrite; 
and to assume such an aspect as was calcu- 
lated to produce a certain effect upon the 
minds of others, instead of allowing the natural 
emotions of his own mind to appear. 

That man has suffered a great and terrible 

loss, a loss of one of the heart's best jewels, who 

has been taught to frame his words and looks with 

a reference to the opinion of others rather than 

i 4 



120 THE JACQUERIE. 

to his own feelings, whose tones have an object, 
whose smiles, and frowns are schemed. Doubt- 
less it was the purpose of the Great Being who 
gave to man such varied powers of expressing 
his sensations — the infinite shades of intonation 
in the voice, the rapid play of features, and 
even the movements of the limbs — doubtless 
it was his will that all should harmonise, the one 
with the other, and the whole be the pure ex- 
pression of the human heart; and yet, since 
evil has had dominion over the human race, 
and all the gifts of God have been perverted, 
how rarely, except in a child, do we find the 
countenance and the lips speaking together the 
real emotions of the spirit, and the unadulterated 
thoughts of the mind. 

William Caillet, however, had been long 
too deeply plunged in evil purposes and vain 
ambitions to retain any thing like candid 
truth about him ; and though his was a bold 
hypocrisy, the hypocrisy of pride and strong 
passions, he was none the less a dissembler. 
In the present instance he .knew well the 
character of the man with whom he had to deal ; 



THE JACQUERIE. 121 

and though he trembled at the idea of losing 
the aid of one whose cunning and experience 
supplied the place of tho3e qualities which he 
himself wanted, he prepared to receive him 
with no crouching persuasions, but with that 
daring and firm demeanour which was the most 
opposite to the spirit of Thibalt himself. He 
knit his brow, then, he set his teeth, and folding 
his arms upon his chest, sat with his fine 
lustrous eyes fixed upon the door of the hut 
till it opened, and the swineherd and his com- 
panion appeared. 

" So you are come at length, Master 
Thibalt J" he said, with a frown. " Pray, why 
came you not when first I sent for you ? By 
Heaven, I have no light mind to take and dash 
your brains out against the door-post for keep- 
ing me here two whole days when I have 
business elsewhere !" 

He spoke so furiously, that the old man drew 
back in evident alarm : but, the moment after, 
he replied, " Nay, nay, Master Caillet, I could 
not come when you first sent: I had people 
with me, as Jaques Morne can tell you, and— " 



122 THE JACQUERIE. 

" And you had heard," added Caillet with a 
look of scorn, " that William Caillet had re- 
belled against his lord, and set him at de- 
fiance " 

" Ay, and tried to carry off his daughter ! " 
rejoined Thibalt, with a low laugh that he could 
not suppress. 

"And, moreover, that there is a reward offered 
for his head ! — Is it not so ? " added Caillet, 
bitterly. 

" No, no ! Is there?" exclaimed the old man, 
with his eyes twinkling at the idea of profitable 
treachery. " I heard not of it. Have they 
offered a reward ?" 

" I know not," answered Caillet, " and little 
care, for no man will betray me." 

"Are you sure of that, good William?" 
asked the old man, with a grin — " quite 
sure ? — There are sad villains in France^ 
good Caillet: you must not trust every one. 
t There are many rogues amongst us." 

" But none so bold," rejoined Caillet, " as 
to betray me when he is certain of dying within 
ten days after ; for rewards little profit a dead 



THE JACQUERIE. 123 

man ; and there are more than one hundred of 
the youths of Touraine bound by oath before 
the Virgin to kill the man who gives me up, 
within ten days after the act." 

Thibalt sunk into himself again ; for though 
he was not one to believe easily any thing but 
that of which he had proof, yet the oath Caillet 
mentioned was. so like the times, and a vow 
before the Virgin to commit murder was so 
in character with the savage ignorance of the 
peasantry, that there was a great probability 
of such an act having taken place* In as much, 
too, as the term of his earthly being was na- 
turally drawing towards an end, and his hopes 
regarding the future not very sanguine, he was 
fearful of losing any portion of a life within 
which he had bounded his desires, and shrunk 
from the thought of encountering the menaced 
death, though even death itself he would have 
risked for the certain attainment of gold. 
- " What, then ?" he said, after a moment's 
pause-— " you are not sure that there is a reward 
offered for your apprehension ? Then you have 
nothing to fear." 



124 THE JACQUERIE. 

*' I fear nothing, and have nothing to fear, 
old man," answered Caillet. " If I had, I should 
not have sent for you, who would sell your owil 
child for the price of a wolf's head." 

" Thank God I have no child," replied 
Thibalt, with his accustomed grin of misan- 
thropic bitterness, " or I know not what might 
happen. But what is it that you want with me, 
good Caillet? For though the news has reached 
lis that you have defied the Lord of Mau- 
vinet, and was forcing away his daughter, 
when you were overtaken by Albert Denyn — 
good little Albert, who, when he left us last, 
was as fair a stripling as my eyes ever saw — *■ 
when you were overtaken by little Albert, I say, 
who drew upon you, and forced you to give up 
the lady » 

The old man spoke with premeditated malice; 
for there is a sort of ill nature which seems 
to give an instinctive perception of every weak 
and painful part in the hearts of our fellow- 
creatures. But Caillet interrupted him furiously, 
exclaiming, " He is a liar ! a cowardly liar ! — «■ 
He force me!" 



THE JACQUERIE. 125 

" Nay, so came the report," replied Thibalt: 
" I know nothing of it. But what wantest 
thou with me, Caillet? for though we have 
heard all this, yet I see not how I can help 
thee." 

" They have sent forth falsehoods," answered 
Caillet ; " they have sent forth falsehoods, as 
they always do, to deceive the poor peasantry of 
France, and prevent them from taking ad- 
vantage of the only moment that has presented 
itself for years — the only moment that will ever 
come, for breaking their bonds, and revenging 
many a century of oppression ; but they shall 
find themselves deceived. Now will I tell you 
what I want with you, old Thibalt, if Morne 
have not already told you; but we must have 
some one to watch that no enemy comes. Get 
you up upon the hill, my good friend Morne, 
and keep an eye upon the country round, while 
I repeat to Thibalt here all that I have told 
you already. When we hold council, I will 
call you. At present, we only speak of what 
you already know." 



126 THE JACQUERIE. 

Morne showed some unwillingness to be left 
out of the conference, but obeyed Caillet's 
directions after a few words of persuasion ; 
while the old man Thibalt remained silent, 
with his eyes fixed upon the ground, and a 
look of deep thought taking place of the 
sarcastic grin upon his countenance. 

" Caillet," he exclaimed as soon as the other 
was gone, " Caillet, you are either a madman, 
or much more sure of all your steps than I can 
believe possible, if you have trusted such an ig- 
norant fool as that." 

" I am not a madman," answered Caillet, 
u and I am sure of my steps. But that 
has nothing to do with my trusting Jacques 
Morne. He is honest, old Thibalt, and will 
betray no one. He would bear torture and 
death sooner than utter a word of what he 
hears. I know each man with whom I deal, 
and act as I am sure they deserve at my 
hands. But think not that I confide either in 
Morne or any other more than needful. I have 
sent him hence even now ; for though he may 



THE JACQUERIE. 127 

be as serviceable as any other in bold deeds, 
and strong resolutions, yet his head would but 
embarrass council." 

" But you will trust me, good Caillet, you 
will trust me fully : — is it not so?" demanded 
the old man, his grin returning in a slight 
degree. " You will make an exception in my 
favour?" 

" No !" answered Caillet, sternly. " Do not 
suppose, Thibalt, that I am attempting to cajole 
j*ou ; I know you too well for that. You are 
not apt to be cheated ; and, to say truth, are not 
worth the trouble of cheating. Your qualities 
are different from those of Morne, and " 

" You desire to use both for your own pur- 
poses," interrupted Thibalt. 

"And if I do, where is the harm?" de- 
manded Caillet. " We have all our own pur- 
poses; and if yours be accomplished at the 
same time that mine are, what matters it to 
you ? — Listen to me. I am willing to trust 
you, Thibalt, and to trust you fully; not 
because you are either honest, or true; but 
because you are not brave, and, knowing what 



128 THE JACQUERIE. 

you know, dare not betray me> even were it 
your interest to do so. You hate the tyrants 
that grind us as well as I do. I have heard 
you a thousand times throw out to the peasants, 
at Christmas time, such biting hints as would 
have stung worms to rise; but revenge upon 
the nobles is not your chief passion. It is love 
of gold ! Now both shall be gratified — both 
vengeance and avarice. I, on my part " 

" Yet a while — yet a while I" cried the old 
man : " let us take things in order, Caillet. 
You have said enough respecting me to require 
some reply, and I will give you an answer at 
once upon each head. First, you own that you 
seek to use all men for your purposes." 

" Not more than they will use me for theirs," 
interrupted Caillet : " let each use the other, 
and each help the other." 

€S Well, well, such is wise council," replied 
the old man ; " and so may it be with you and 
I, Caillet, if we can first understand the prelimi- 
naries rightly. But when you talk of using me 
and Morne for your purposes, you forget it is a 
long while since I have been so used, and I am 



THE JACQUERIE* 129 

not a beggar's dog to guide any man whither he, 
will, without knowing where or why, and with 
only such a share as he chooses to give me. 
What I mean is this, Caillet — instead of using 
me, league with me, and we may perchance 
do much." 

" Such was what I meant," rejoined Caillet, 
" if I find you ready and willing ; but I am first, 
Thibalt, and I command, though it may be 
with your council and with your support, if you 
will give it. If not, say so at once ; for you and 
I know too much to be able to deceive each 
other." 

" I will speak more on that head by and by," 
replied the old man. " It is right that we 
should understand every step as we go; so 
this one being determined, that I am not to 
be used but to be consulted, let me say a 
word about bravery. What do you call brave, 
Caillet?" 

« That which you are not !" answered Caillet, 
with the sneer which always curled his lip, in 
moments of tranquillity resuming its place for the 
moment. " That which you are not, Thibalt ! 

VOL. II. k 



13(1 THE JACQUERIE. 

Bravery is not alone the courage which makes 
a man fight when he cannot avoid it, for the 
sparrow and the dove peck impotently the hand 
that grasps them ; not the courage which leads 
man to endure what he cannot avoid, for the 
bird brought down by the bolt of the fowler 
utters no cry, but eyes him silently till he 
wrings its neck. No ; to be brave, is to feel 
the spirit rise and glory at the thought of strife; 
to seek the danger, and find the perilous cup of 
enterprise more inspiring than the strongest 
wine ; to see, where the way opens in the very 
face of death, nought but a new road to triumph 
and to power. This is to be brave." 

" And this is what thou art, I know well," 
replied Thibalt, who caught a spark of his 
companion's fire from the vehemence with 
which he spoke ; " and if ever there was a man 
fit to rouse the slavish peasantry of France to 
struggle for rights that they have not only 
lost but forgotten, thou art he. Neverthe- 
less, I am quite contented with the other sort 
<rf courage. As you grant that I can fight 
when needful, I leave it to you and such as 



THE JACQUERIE. 131 

you to fight when it is not so. However, to 
spare the time which is precious, I will own 
that now, now is the moment, the only mo- 
ment that ever France has seen for her pea- 
santry^— her true people — to deliver themselves 
from the bondage of tyrants, who too long have 
oppressed them ; and that if this moment goes 
by, centuries may pass ere the hour come again. 
I will go farther still, Caillet, and tell thee that 
to behold the castles of these lords in flames, 
and their bodies strewing the plains, over which 
they have so often driven us like sheep, I 
would give — I would give this right hand. But 
I must first see my way clearly, Caillet — I 
must be assured of all that is before me — I 
must know what is to be the gain, and what 
the risk, and what the price." 

" What is to be gained, Thibalt ! " exclaimed 
Caillet, " what is to be gained ! — but I re- 
collect," he added bitterly ; " I must show you 
the immediate objects — I must show you the 
individual gratifications to be obtained. — Listen! 
You know the castle of Clermont — you know 
its ostentatious lord — you know the riches 
K 2 



132 THE JACQUERIE* 

that it contains — the gold — the silver — the 
jewels? — Well, then, Thibalt, what think you 
will become of all that wealth when, followed by 
the band of avengers, I set my foot across the 
threshold of the place ? — Now see you what 
is to be gained? Our objects are nearly the 
same, and our rewards will be nearly equal- 
You seek wealth and revenge, and I revenge 
and — and — " he was about to add the word 
power; but his keen clear insight into every 
turn of the minds of those with whom he had 
to act, showed him in time that he might raise 
tip fears against himself, which it would be dif- 
ficult to allay, and he added with a smile — " and 
I revenge— and love. We will both be gratified, 
Thibalt — we will both be gratified — ay and 
to the full ; for I swear to you, by all I hold 
sacred, that if you go hand in hand with me in 
this, you shall share as I share in every thing 
that is taken " 

The old man laughed with a low, chuckling, 
well-satisfied laugh ; but the next moment, some 
sort of apprehension seemed to come over him, 
and he said, after looking down upon the 



THE JACQUERIE* 133 

ground for a moment or two in thought, " If 
we should not succeed, Caiilet? if we should not 
succeed?" 

" But we shall succeed," exclaimed Caiilet, 
almost fiercely : " what should prevent us from 
succeeding but our own fears ? " 

*' The fears of others," answered the old 
man. " What if the peasants will not rise, 
Caiilet ? what if, ere a sufficient number are in 
arms, we are attacked and defeated ?" 

** They will rise ! they will rise !" answered 
Caiilet confidently : " the fire of discontent and 
hatred is barely kept down in the breasts of the 
people. When some holyday bonfire has been 
piled up, and load after load cast upon it, till 
the flame seemed smothered out, and every spark 
of light extinguished, have you not seen, Thi- 
balt, dark smoke rising up in sombre clouds, 
dull and heavy, and altogether unlike the glo-> 
rious blaze of the devouring element? then 
suddenly comes some hand with a small insig- 
nificant light, touches the rolling volume of 
black vapour, and in a moment all is blaze 
and brightness ! Such, Thibalt, such is the 
k 3 



134 THE JACQUERIE. 

picture of an enslaved people ; the fire of liberty 
still exists within their hearts, though the tyrants 
throw load after load upon it. From the midst 
of those loads rise up the clouds of discontent 
and sullen endurance, and murmured indig- 
nation, growing deeper and deeper, and blacker 
and more black, till suddenly some fiery spirit, 
more daring than the rest, bursts forth into 
resistance, and the flame spreads from one end 
of the land unto the other. Such, I tell thee, 
Thibalt, suqh is the state of France : now is 
the moment, and I am the man. Nay, I tell 
thee more, Thibalt, thou thyself knowest right 
well that it is as I have said ; none is more con- 
vinced than thou art that we are certain of 
success, or thou wouldest not have come hither. 
Thou art not a man — well aware as thou art 
that I am banned and proscribed by these ty- 
rants — thou art not a man, I say, to set thy 
foot here, unless thou wert right sure that suc- 
cess is likely to follow me." 

" I think it is, Caillet, I think it is," replied 
the old man ; " nay, I will own, I little doubt it, 
for reasons that I will tell thee of hereafter ; but 



THE JACQUERIE. 135 

yet I would fain see clearly what is to be the 
result, should reverse, instead of fair fortune, 
attend you. What, I repeat, what if the peasants 
will not rise — what if our first step be a defeat 
in arms." 

, "I have considered that, too," said Caillet, 
" and though I love not, when once I have 
thought of all things, and made up my mind to 
the result — although I love not, I say, to turn 
back my thoughts to dangers that I have con- 
sidered and prepared for, yet I will tell thee* 
Thibalt, what must be the resource, if, as you say, 
the peasants should not rise, or if we should 
suffer defeat before our numbers are, sufficient* 
Some brave spirits will join us assuredly, and 
with them would I form a band, which would 
gcourge-the land, rich and poor alike; the rich 
for having oppressed, the poor for having 
deserted me ; and from the spoils of all I would 
enrich .myself, and those thatfpllowed faithfully* 
Such should be the result in any case of reverse* 
but, nevertheless, we must take means to prevent 
reverses, Thibalt. Fancy not that, with all the 
fire and eagerness of my nature, I seek to hurry 
k 4 



136 THE JACQUERIE. 

forward before things are ripe; far from it, 
Thibalt, far from it; the greatness of my purpose 
shall make me patient, and, should it be ne- 
cessary, for months and months I will consent 
to walk in darkness, and hide myself from my 
fellow-men. It is upon all these first steps, 
Thibalt, that I would fain consult you. Is the 
time come yet, or is it not ? * 

" I believe it is," replied the old man, " I 
believe it is. In this part of the country I 
know that it wants but a spark to kindle the 
flame of which thou hast spoken. Thou canst 
judge better, however, thyself of other provinces 
of France. What are the feelings of the people 
of the south?" 

w Hatred ! " answered Caillet, «* universal 
hatred towards their oppressors ; but you said, 
Thibalt, that you would tell me why you augur 
so well of our success. If you be not sure as I 
am of all France, how can you have any con* 
fidence in our fortunes ? " 

« I will tell thee, Caillet," replied the old man. 
" It is because I count less upon the power of 
the peasantry, when they have risen, than upott 



THE JACQUERIE. 137 

the baseness, the cowardice, and the disunion 
of their lords. Upon this I count, Caillet; 
and who shall say that I have not good reason, 
too, to count upon it, when they see no power 
in the land to put down even the smallest force 
of foreign brigands that infests it— when a hun- 
dred and fifty of the English islanders dare 
calmly approach the very gates of Paris, and 
find none to oppose them while they ravage 
one of the suburbs of the French capital? If 
these men have not power to crush a pitiful 
handful of foreign adventurers, where will they 
find strength, I ask, to resist the rising up of 
the people of France? It is upon this I calculate, 
it is from this I derive my hopes, Caillet." 

" Upon that have I reckoned, too," replied 
Caillet,; " for I have not thought less deeply 
than you, Thibalt; but I have gone farther still, 
and have foreseen that these lords will have no 
power even to retard us, till we have gained 
some great and signal triumph. On that tri- 
umph will depend the movements of an im- 
mense multitude ; for not more than one in ten 
will join us at the first, who will come in when 



133 THE JACQUERIE. 

they find that success is upon our side. Nor, 
Thibalt, is it alone the mere peasantry that 
will join us when the result is once secure. 
Have you heard the news from Paris, that 
met me as I came along, how the people of 
the towns are already leading the way, and 
will gladly unite with us when they see us sue-* 
cessful?" 

" Oh yes," answered the old man, " I have 
heard of all that, but beware of the townspeople, 
Caillet : they are proud of their liberty, and are 
but little anxious that, we should share it,' 1 

" But we will share it," exclaimed Caillet. 
? Did I not tell you, Thibalt, that I intend to 
use all men ? and these proud communes of the 
towns as well as others. If you would know my 
whole purpose, it is to employ the aid of these 
communes till we have conquered for ourselves, 
and then to force from them an acknowledg- 
ment of the equal rights of all men. Once let 
the peasantry of France have gained some ad- 
vantage, Thibalt; once let them be tried in the 
fierce struggle, that must soon follow ; and I 
tell thee such a force will be raised up, that 



THE JACQUERIE. 139 

the lords and commons alike shall humbly 
bow the head before us, and thank us for 
permitting them to live on equal terms in the 
same land with ourselves. I have already held 
some conference with several of these discon- 
tented men from the towns, and I know they 
are ready and willing to make our success com- 
plete, as soon as they once see that we are likely 
to be successful." 

" Ay ! " said the old man, with a look of 
some surprise, " and have the citizens, the 
cautious, careful citizens, have they dealt with 
you, Caillet, you, banished, and fugitive, and 
poor, and powerless? Have they, then, held 
conferences with you, Caillet? their cause must 
b^ somewhat hopeless, meseems." 

" Banished I am," replied Caillet, " and 
fugitive I am, but neither powerless nor poor, 
Thibalt. Deceive yourself not, my good friend 
you think that wealth is power; you have yet 
to learn, perhaps, that power is wealth. Power, 
too, I have, though you know it not, and power 
of the kind that gives wealth. This I tell thee, 
that though it might be somewhat dangerous 



140 THE JACQUERIE. 

to keep much gold in this poor hut, and on 
the person of a man proscribed and fugitive, 
as yoli say, I have as much here as I need, 
even to accomplish great purposes. Thus this 
very night I shall give thee five crowns of 
gold to distribute amongst the peasantry, with 
such words as you shall judge fit, to produce 
the effects that we desire. Mind, Thibalt, 
mind: I know thee well! and therefore it is 
that I warn thee, this gold is not . destined 
for thyself, and I will exact a strict account of 
every piece I give thee. Thou shalt not be 
without thy reward. For thyself thou shalt have 
one of these same golden crowns, and 'more 
according to the service that thou dost with 
that which is intrusted to thee." 

" But five crowns!" said Thibalt musing: 
" the sum is small to distribute amongst the 
many whom I shall have to see." 

" It is enough," answered Caillet, u it is quite 
enough, and it, with the gold piece for thyself, 
is all that I have here now ; however, should 
need be, more can be soon procured. I told 
thee power was wealth ; and be you sure that 



THE JACQUERIE, 141 

these good commons would have had no dealings 
with me had they not found that I possessed 
such power. Here is the money ; and when it is 
all really and truly spent, spent so that thou 
canst tell me that for each crown thou hast 
two men's words to join us, two men whose 
hands and heads are worth the purchase, then 
come to me for more, and thou shalt have it, 
were it a thousand crowns." 

The sight of the gold produced by Caillet at 
this moment had far more effect upon the old 
man than any thing that had passed before, 
although it must be owned that the various 
objections which he had started were more the 
effect of the natural timidity of age and 
lautiori, than any real doubt as to his com- 
panion's means of Success ; for none knew the 
state of France better than old Thibalt, none 
knew better than he did the confusion that 
Existed amongst all classes. He grasped 
the gold eagerly then, saying, " Ay I this is 
good now : where did it come from, Caillet? — 
Mauvinet?" 

" Mauviriet never saw it since it was coined," 



142 THE JACQUERIE. 

replied Caillet. " From Mauvinet I brought 
nothing with me but a sword and a horse; 
whatever else I have, has been gained since* 
However, all this matters not, Thibalt : art thou 
mine, I ask thee, art thou mine?" 

" Ay," answered the old man, looking stead- 
fastly at the gold : " as the priests make men 
say when they wed, I am thine, Caillet, for 
better for worse ; and, to say truth, I fear little 
that it will be for the worse ; so now let us to 
counsel : what is the first step to be taken ? " 

" Nay," said Caillet, " on those points I 
must have your aid, my good friend. Being 
once agreed, our interests are inseparable. 
What is to be done, think you ? " 

" The first grand thing," replied the old 
man, "is to get the people to meet in large 
bodies ; it matters not much for what purpose : 
I think it had better be for prayer — prayer for 
deliverance from all the many enemies and 
evils that overwhelm the land. Then the 
priests themselves, who are the great supporters 
of our adversaries, will give us their unwitting 
help. Oh it is a mighty pleasant jest to make 



THE JACQUERIE. 143 

those tyrants cut each other's throats, and 
I know not which is most hateful to me, priest 
©r noble." 

" But what next, what next?" demanded 
Caillet. 

*' Why, when they have met," answered the 
old man, " and when they have begun to pray 
against their grievances, let some one propose 
to them to consider how those grievances may 
be remedied." 

" Right, right," exclaimed Caillet: " when 
once such a thing is discussed it will be easy to 
point out a way." 

" Oh yes, but we must do all gently," re- 
plied the old man : " there must be nothing 
rebellious, nothing treasonable in the first 
words, Caillet; all must be soft, and reasonable, 
and very loyal : we must offer to these noble 
lords our help and aid against' the common 
enemy; we must beseech them to take com* 
passion upon France, and exert their mighty 
valour to put down the plunderers that infest 
the land." 

" Nay, nay," cried Caillet — « " they will 



144 THE JACQUERIE* 

laugh you to Scofn, All this will take too 
much time to do." 

" Ay," said the old man, " to do —but not 
to propose." 

" I understand, I understand now," rejoined 
Caillet, " and you are right : we ihust frighten 
neither lords nor peasantry by the name of 
great deeds, till great deeds are to be done," 

" Assuredly not," answered the old man; 
" but as soon as ever the time comes when it 
is necessary they should be done, then we 
must suddenly plunge the people into acts that 
will leave them no choice but to go on or 
perish : we must put a barrier between them 
and all repentance, Caillet; we must dip them 
deep, deep up to the lips in blood, and with 
that red flood drown out every spark of re- 
morse." 

As he spoke, his shrewd, keen, withered 
countenance assumed an aspect almost fiendish, 
in which a degree of savage delight was mingled 
with bitter hatred, somewhat touched with 
scorn. That expression contrasted strongly 
knd strangely with the looks of Caillet, who 



THE JACQUERIE. 145 

sat for several moments with his eyes bent 
upon the ground, and, for the time, the lines 
of anxious grief taking place of the usual 
contemptuous curl of his lip. Stern and 
ruthless determination as well as violent pas- 
sion and fierce anger is, from time to time, 
found even in the character of youth, but it 
needs long years of hardening experience to 
render the act of resolving upon dark and evil 
deeds any thing but painful to ourselves. At 
first the resolution to do wrong to others, acts 
upon our own heart and grieves ourselves ; but 
afterwards, like those stimulating foods which, 
at first, are painful to the palate, but, in the 
course of time, become pleasant and even 
necessary to . our existence, evil actions carry 
their delight with them, as was the case with 
the old man, Thibalt. Caiilet, however, was 
not so far advanced in wickedness; and he 
felt no slight regret at the thought of being 
forced, at the very first step, to plunge into 
an ocean of blood. His vanity had always 
led him to believe that the greatness which he 
would attain might cast a mantle of glory over 

VOL. II. L 



146 THE JACQUERIE* 

any deeds that he might be compelled to 
commit, in order to reach the eminence he 
coveted, and that he would yet acquire a mighty, 
name, unstained with any but those dignified 
crimes which human vanity and folly have 
combined to render honourable. But now, 
when cold-blooded, premeditated, wholesale 
murder was thus nakedly proposed to him, as 
the only means of attaining his end, the only 
hope of rising to power, and when he felt that 
what his companion said was but too true, and 
that some barrier must be placed between those 
that he was to lead and all retreat from the way 
on which he guided them ; when he saw none 
other that could be raised up, but the dark 
and bloody one which the old man proposed, his 
heart experienced the anticipation of remorse ; 
and while one demon seemed to urge him on, 
others scourged him even for the path which he 
chose. 

" I am afraid," said Caillet, at length, " I 
am very much afraid that it must be as you 
say, Thibalt I would fain spare human blood, 
if possible; but there seem no other means, 



THE JACQUERIE. 147 

and we must take those which present them- 
selves." 

" Would fain spare human blood !" exclaimed 
the old man, with a look of contempt. " What, 
Caillet, is this you — you, who so speak ? This 
is strange enough : what is it that you pretend 
to ? Would you be a great man or a little one ? 
free or a slave? powerful or impotent? successful 
or frustrated ? If you would be a great man, 
you must shed blood, William Caillet : all 
great men have shed blood in this world, and 
ever will do so. If you would be free, you must 
shed blood, Caillet, for the times require it, 
and there is no other means of freedom. If 
you would have power, you must shed blood : 
power was never gained but by bloodshed. If 
you would be successful, you must shed blood ; 
for success can only be purchased by the blood 
of our tyrants." 

" I know it, I know it right well," answered 
Caillet, " and I am prepared for it, Thibalt ; 
but yet I may be permitted to regret it ; and* 
above all things, at first, we must have no 
mention made of bloodshed to the people : we 
l 2 



148 THE JACQUERIE. 

must let them come to the thought of it by 
degrees." 

" Oh they will come to the thought of it 
speedily enough*" replied the old man : (i the 
people of France, Caillet, the people of France, 
is but a tiger chained : once loose him, and he 
springs to blood, as to his natural food. Our 
only difficulty will be to keep the risen slaves 
from drenching the whole land in gore, when 
sometimes it may be necessary to spare." 

" We must try," answered Caillet, " we must 
try, but, at all events, no more of this for the 
present to any one ; and now tell me, Thibalt, 
where and when can you hold the first meeting?" 

" Why, any where," said the old man in re- 
ply ; " it matters not much where." 

" Nay," answered Caillet, " not so ; it matters 
much, Thibalt; for I must be near at hand, 
though not present As you say, it will be 
better that these assemblings should take place 
at some religious place. Do you remember the 
chapel some five leagues hence, by the edge of 
the forest, as you go to Beauvais ?" 

His companion nodded his head, and Caillet 



THE JACQUERIE. 149 

continued : — " Well, when I was here last there 
was a good old simple man there, a priest, who 
was himself a serf by birth. He would be easily 
induced, not knowing that there was any other 
object, to offer up prayers for the comfort of the 
people. Nay more, I am not sure that, when 
the first steps are taken, we may not manage to 
draw him to our cause. Nothing, however, must 
be said to him, in the beginning, but that the 
poor people of Beauvoisis do beseech him to offer 
prayers to Heaven for their deliverance from 
their enemies. Let Heaven judge, Thibalt, 
who those enemies are. The good priest will 
willingly consent, if he be there still, which I 
doubt not; and then many things can be done 
and said, when the people meet to join in 
his orisons. You, yourself, can call the best 
of them together — by the best, I mean the 
wisest and the freest. Let them speak to the 
others, gradually preparing for after meetings ; 
and before those come, you and I will be ready 
to take advantage of them. Shall it be so, Thi- 
balt ?" 

"Exactly," answered the old man; "but 
l 3 



150 THE JACQUERIE. 

here, Caillet, you will find us more prepared than 
you expect, more, doubtless, than in the south." 

Caillet well understood that the last part of 
what the old man said was a trap intended to 
discover what was the state of preparation in 
other parts of France, rather than a mere ab- 
stract expression of belief; and he replied at 
once to his companion's thoughts : — " Nay, nay, 
you are mistaken, Thibalt; the south is fully 
prepared, too," he said ; " but there is a reason 
why we must keep these men back. If the 
rising is to take place here first, our friends 
in the south must have due notice of the day 
and hour, in order that we may have their 
immediate support, and that they may have 
ours. If we attack our tyrants at all points at 
once, they will have no defence ; but each will 
have to guard his own castle, and to fight for 
his own life and lands. Now, old Thibalt, now 
swear to me one thing — that thou wilt act in 
this with me, and by me, only." 

" What is the use of an oath?" said the old 
man, with a cynical smile : " oaths are but wind, 
you know, Caillet." 



THE JACQUERIE. 151 

" They are," answered Caillet, " they are, 
Thibalt; but we will put oath against oath. 
You swear to me what I require, and I will 
swear to you, that this day six months, if I 
be then living and successful, I will count out 
to you five hundred golden pieces, such as you 
have now in your hand." 

" Will you give it in writing, will you give 
it in writing?" demanded the miser. " If I 
get a scribe to put it down, will you make your 
mark thereunto ?" 

u I will do better," answered Caillet — " I 
will draw it up myself — it is better than employ- 
ing any scribe." 

" Ay, I forgot, I forgot," said the old man : 
" thou canst write, which is more than many of 
these lords can do: they taught me not that 
art; but perhaps had it been otherwise, me- 
mory might not have served me so well as 
now she does : however, thou shalt put it 
down, good Caillet, thou shalt put it down. 
I will bring an inkhorn with me when I come 
again." 

" And thou wilt swear then," added Caillet, 
L 4 



152 THE JACQUERIE. 

•«* to act in this mattei- by my word alone, other- 
wise the agreement is of no avail. Mark that, 
my friend, and recollect such are the terms," . 

" I know, I know," he replied ; " but thou 
shalt command, Caillet, thou shalt command 
in all things. — Remember, five hundred golden 
pieces, it was five hundred that thou saidst" 

" It was, it was," answered Caillet ; " but 
what is that noise before the house ? Look out, 
look out, good Thibalu" 

" Nay, look thou out thyself," said the old man; 
but ere Caillet, with a glance of scorn, could 
stride to the door and open it, the goatherd 
Morne entered in haste, and closing the 
creeking wood-work after him, exclaimed, " Out 
by the other side, Caillet, out by the other side ! 
I have just seen a baron's banner coming 
through the wood, with a long train of men-at- 
arms behind. They stopped and gazed about 
them as if they knew not the way, and we may 
be sure they will halt here to inquire." 

Notwithstanding the eagerness with which the 
swineherd spoke, Caillet paused for a moment 
in thought ere he followed his advice* 



THE JACQUERIE. 153 

"There are many chances," he said, at 
length, "there are many chances, that they 
draw no bridle here : the place looks quite de- 
serted." 

. " But the old man's beast," cried the swine- 
herd sharply, " you forget that the old man's 
beast is at the door." 

. . " True," answered Caillet in the same calm 
tone, " true, that might betray us. You two stay 
here, then. There is no risk for you ; and you, 
good Morne, seek me as soon as they have passed 
on their way : you will find me in the rugged 
parts of the mountain under the rocks, where 
there is the little well, most likely. — But here 
they are : I hear their horses' feet ; bid them 
good day for me, if they inquire, and tell them 
J am gone ; " and thus saying, with a sneering 
smile, he turned away and left his two conv- 
panions in the hut* making his exit by a door 
in the back of the building, which had been 
originally formed to afford an easy communi- 
cation with the styes for swine, a long range 
of which had formerly stood close behind the 
cottage. Those styes, however, had long been 



154 THE JACQUERIE. 

removed, and that part of the cottage which 
turned away from the road was covered with 
thick trees and underwood, through which a 
path led to some wilder and more mountainous 
spots in the forest, but rarely traversed by the 
foot of any human being. 

Whether the indifference which Caillet had 
displayed on the approach of danger was real 
or assumed, and it may be very doubtful which 
was truly the case, it had its full effect upon his 
companions, who admired his calm self-pos- 
session, just in proportion as they were them- 
selves alarmed. They had, however, some need 
of forethought, for the troop of those whom they 
looked upon as their natural enemies, was by 
this time at the door, and the minds of both 
turned instantly to devise some plausible cause, 
which might be assigned for their being found 
together in that solitary place. 

" Say that you have been pursued by a band 
of companions," said Morne. 

" No, no," cried the other, " they would in- 
stantly set out to seek them, and find that I 
had lied. Nay, nay, tell them rather that I had 



THE JACQUERIE. 155 

lost my way, and came in here to ask it of you : 
are your swine far off? " 

" Some quarter of a league," replied the 
man; but even as he spoke, the door of the cot- 
tage opened, and a page, with his horse's bridle 
thrown over his left arm, broke in upon their 
conference. 



156 THE JACQUERIE* 



CHAP. VII. 

(C Holla, my masters, holla !" said the page— 
" come forth and speak to my noble lord the 
Captal de Buch." 

Morne gazed at him sullenly without reply ; 
but the old man, who in his day had seen some- 
thing both of courts and camps, replied, with a 
lowly intonation of the head, " What would the 
noble captal ? we are ever his humble slaves and 
bondmen." 

" Who have you there, Maurice?" inquired 
the voice of the captal. " Any body who can 
give us information ? " 

" One seems a dull swine enough," replied the 
boy, with all the insolence of presumptuous 
youth, u a mere Jacques Bonhomme, but the 
other is civil. Come hither, come hither and 
speak to my lord — him who has a tongue in 
his head, I mean." 



THE JACQUERIE. 157 

<c What would my noble lord, the renowned 
Captal de Buch?" demanded the old man 
advancing with a courtly air, which he could 
well assume even towards those whom he most 
bitterly detested, 

*' Simply," replied the Captal de Buch, " to 
know my best way towards Clermont; for I 
have spent so much time needlessly by misdi-» 
rection, that I would fain lose no more, if it be 
possible to help it : you are doubtless of this 
country, and can therefore afford the informa- 
tion that I want." 

" Good faith, my noble lord," answered Thi- 
balt, " I fear that I should make you but a 
sorry guide, for I am even now inquiring my 
way of this good swineherd ; but from the di- 
rections he has givjen me, I doubt not that I 
can guide you to the next small village, where 
certainly you will find some one to conduct you 
onward gladly," 

The words had scarcely passed his lips, how-* 
ever, when the old man suddenly started and 
turned pale; for a personage rode up to the 
side of the captal from behind, whom Thibalt 



158 THE JACQUERIE. 

had not before seen, and who gazed upon him 
with an inquiring and somewhat doubtful air, till 
at length the voice of Walleran Urgel exclaimed, 
" How now, old Thibalt la Rue, how now ! — Do 
you pretend not to know the road to Clermont, 
you who have lived here for so many years?" 

" I speak truth, noble sir, upon my word," 
replied the white-haired villain : " this] forest 
puzzles and confounds me, and I was even now 
inquiring of my good friend the swineherd here 
the nearest way home." 

" Pshaw, pshaw ! " cried Walleran Urgel, 
" thou knowest the way right well, whatever it 
was that brought thee hither. Lead on, lead on ! 
I remember thee of old, Thibalt." 

" Ay, but it is many years since'we have met, 
noble sir," said Thibalt, " and my memory has 
sadly failed me." 

" Forward, without more words !" exclaimed 
the old man impatiently. — I beseech you, my 
good lord captal, let him be sent forward : he will 
guide us well enough if he be compelled, for it is 
as cunning an old slave as ever lived. There is 
some cause to think that to him is owing the 



THE JACQUERIE. 159 

death of more than one noble gentleman in years 
long gone. He is here in the forest for no right 
purpose, I will warrant, and his anxiety to re- 
main behind us does but increase suspicion. 
Send him on before, my lord, and believe not his 
tale of want of knowledge — he knows well 
enough whatever he will know." 

" Come, mount thy beast, old man," cried 
the captal : " you see you have established no 
good character for truth, and therefore I must 
not credit your affected ignorance. Lead on 
then, and quickly — What wouldst thou have 
from me ? " 

As he spoke, Thibalt approached close to his 
horse's side, saying, in a low tone, " I will do 
my best to guide you, my noble lord ; but put 
not implicit faith in what your honourable friend 
tells you ! You know he was always reputed 
somewhat wanting here/' and he laid his fingers 
significantly on his forehead ; " some fancied in* 
jury done to his brother in days long past has 
made him always hate me, though I call Heaven 
to witness it was not I that betrayed the count ; 
how could I ? " 



160 THE JACQUERIE. 

" Enough, enough," cried the captal : "I want 
no defence, good man ! So that you lead me 
honestly on my way, that is all I have to do 
with thee. Mount thy beast and go on : thou 
shalt be rewarded for thy pains; so now prattle 
no more, but be quick, for it is late in the day, 
and we must reach Clermont this night." 

" Not by my help," murmured Thibalt to 
himself, " not by my help, proud captal." He 
took care, however, to give no vent to such 
feelings, but proceeded to the side of his ass, 
and spent a few moments in arranging his 
saddle, calling upon Morne to help him, and 
whispering with him eagerly as he did so. 

This continued so long, that the captal grew 
impatient, and he exclaimed, " Come, come, no 
more of this, old sir, lest I ask why thou speakest 
below thy breath : mount thy beast, and lead on 
at once, or worse will befall thee. I am not one 
to be trifled with. Ride behind him, Hardman, 
and if it should turn out that his whisperings have 
been to evil effect, send thy spear through him. 
— Methinks, I never saw a less honest face," he 
continued, speaking to Walleran Urgel : " you 



THE JACQUERIE. 161 

tell me you know him well, and that he did some 
evil in other days ; and I can easily believe it." 
u It is true, my lord captal," said Urgel, 
riding on beside him, " it is true, that we should 
never condemn without proof, and there is no 
absolute proof against this old man ; but yet there 
are moral convictions beyond all evidence, which 
come in when our reason fails us — and how often 
does it do so, in every stageof our journey through 
life ? An instinctive feeling of love or antipathy 
will suddenly rise up, we know not why or 
wherefore, and God himself will seem to point 
out to us, our enemies or our friends. All that 
is proved is that the master of that old villain 
trusted, confided in, consulted him, found in 
him much cunning, much experience, and in 
the end was betrayed, no one clearly knew by 
whom, dying without trial by the act of a brutal 
king : that all his relations and followers be- 
ing proscribed, this man alone was suffered 
to enjoy wealth and freedom, and has since be- 
come a freeman, having obtained his franchise 
by long living in a town, protected by the very 
monarch who slew his master. Where his 

VOL. II. m 



162 THE JACQUERIE. 

riches come from, no one can tell, but it is 
known that he is wealthy ; and few entertain a 
doubt that his wealth, like that of Judas, is the 
price of blood." 

" The case seems very clear," replied the 
captal ; "and we must watch him narrowly; for 
it is not unlikely that he may think fit, by his 
whisperings with that dull villain, to sell our 
blood, too, to any body of adventurers he may 
know of; and my head would certainly be 
prized at some gold amongst them." 

" Thank God," answered the old man, " I 
have not yet murdered a sufficient number of 
my fellow-creatures to be worth the purchase. 
My ransom would not buy you a pair of gaunt- 
lets, captal; and yours would, at any time, 
enrich the families of all those that you have 
slain. Such is the difference, in the ^world's 
estimation, between the man of peace and the 
man of bloodshed." 

" Nay, now, tell me/' said the captal, smiling, 
" supposing that you were able and had the 
right to educate yon youth" — and he pointed 
to Albert Denyn — "exactly as you would — 



THE JACQUERIE. 163 

tell me, you who cry out so much against the 
noble vocation of arms, what would you make 
him ? the singer of dull canticles in the chapel 
of a monastery? — or the solitary teacher of 
some country church ? — or the vain priest of 
some city congregation, the corrupter of citizens' 
wives, the hypocritical preacher of temperance 
and chastity, little followed by himself?" 

" No, no, no ! " exclaimed the old man, 
vehemently: " I would have him none of 
these things; but I would make him what 
knights were in other times, before bloodshed 
was a trade and knighthood but an office. I 
would make him the defender of the wronged 
and the oppressed; the man to whom, under 
God, the widow and the orphan might look up 
for help against tyranny : one who should shed 
the blood of the oppressor, but of none other, and 
should not lend his sword to selfish quarrels. 
I would make him, in short, in every thing, like 
the Lord of Mauvinet, except in not serving a 
tyrant, and fancying that he is serving his 
country. Such would I make him, if I had 
power to make, but I have no power; and 
M 2 



164 THE JACQUERIE. 

though I do believe he deserves well, and to be 
something better than a mer6 sworder, yet he 
must take his chance, even as the rest do, and 
turn out what fortune will." 

The captal smiled. "In this world, my good 
friend," he said, " we must follow the current 
of the world ; and all that we can do, I fear, is 
to take the top wave and swim above our 
fellows. As for that good youth, I will do the 
best for him that I can, the rest he must do for 
himself; but I doubt much, whether whatever 
he or I can do will make him one of those 
same errant knights whereof the fabliaux talk 
so prettily. But let us be sure this old man 
is leading us right. Do you, yourself, know the 
country ?" 

" Very slightly," answered Walleran Urgel, 
" and yet, it seems to me, he is following the 
road honestly enough. But see here comes a 
peasant on a mule : we can get tidings from 
him, doubtless — Look, the villain stops to talk 
with him himself" * 

The Captal de Buch touched his horse with 
the spur, and the animal darted forward at a 



THE JACQUERIE. 165 

bound, bringing him up to the side of the 
peasant with whom Thibalt had been speaking 
in a moment. " What did he ask you?" de- 
manded the captal, sternly. 

" He asked me the way to Clermont, noble 
lord," replied the man ; " he asked me nothing 
more." 

. The answer, perhaps, might have satisfied 
the captal, had his suspicions been only slightly 
awakened ; but, as it was, he turned at once, 
sharply towards Thibalt, and detected at one 
glance a quiet, satisfied, sneering smile, which 
made him conclude, that the question he had 
put to the peasant had been asked merely to 
deceive him; and to make the story which 
had been told, regarding ignorance of the road, 
the more credible. " And which, then, is the 
way to Clermont?" he demanded. 

" It is along way, sir," answered the peasant; 
" it will be much nearer for you, noble sir, to go 
to St. Leu ; for you will not arrive at Clermont 
till after midnight." 

" And how far is St. Leu?" demanded the 
captal. 

m 3 



166 THE JACQUERIE. 

" Not above four leagues, sir," replied the 
man: "it is but a little distance to St. Leu; 
and at the hostelrie there you will find all that 
any one can desire." . 

" Indeed," answered the captal, " that must 
be an abundant place. I have been in many a 
hostelrie in my life, without finding one of 
these much boasted lodgings, where nothing 
remained to be desired. However, once more 
lead on ! We will try this hostelrie at St Leu ; 
for certainly midnight is somewhat too late to 
arrive at Clermont. — You will go with us, my 
good friend," he continued, addressing Walleran 
Urgel : " you know that we have much to talk 
about." 

" We have, we have," answered the old man : 
" I seek not to quit you yet, captal ; for my 
mission is not fulfilled, and I must not leave 
you till it be done." 

The captal gave the signal for marching 
forward again, and the band, with Thibalt at 
its head, once more resumed its progress 
through the long glades of the forest. 

By the side of the fcaptal rode Walleran 



THE JACQUERIE. 167 

Urgel ; but it must be remarked that by this 
time his external appearance was very greatly 
altered. The goat-skins which had formerly 
enveloped him had been exchanged at the 
town of Mans for other garments of a kind less 
liable to excite remark ; and he now appeared 
habited simply, but well, and as might become 
a person fitted by station to ride in company 
with the Captal de Buch. Nor did his air and 
manner belie his dress in the least, but on 
the contrary were still above it ; and the rough 
men-at-arms who saw him managing his fiery 
horse with ease and dignity, and dressed in 
the clothing of a nobleman of that day, felt 
somewhat ashamed of the rude jests which 
they had poured forth when they had first 
beheld him, and acknowledged, that, though 
contorted and deformed, the old man had a 
princely air, and must have been brought up 
in no mean school of knightly graces, where 
such an air and movements had been com- 
municated to a form like his. 

For the rest of the way the captal and his 
mis-shapen companion continued in eager con- 
m 4 



168 THE JACQUERIE. 

versation; and it became clear, that, al- 
though the attendants of the English leader 
marked with reverence . the eager and confi- 
dential tone in which their lord's conversation 
was carried on, and kept at some distance 
behind, the old man Thibalt, on the con* 
trary, was eager to catch the words that were 
spoken, and for that purpose suffered his ass to 
lag in its pace till forced to go on. He then, 
pretending to have dropped something, . slipped 
off the beast suddenly, and, ere the captal and 
his companion perceived him, was close to their 
horses* feet. 

For this last act, the motive of which the 
dwarf seemed well to understand, Walleran 
Urgel struck him a sharp stroke with a willow 
wand which he carried in his hand, saying, 
" Get thee on, traitor ! Thou canst hear nothing 
here that will profit thee. Get thee on, I say, 
and remember that thou art known and under- 
stood." 

Thibalt made no reply, but crept forward 
and mounted his beast again, murmuring 
something to himself, the substance of which, 



THE JACQUERIE. 169 

however, no one could distinguish. The 
conversation between the captal and his 
companion was at once resumed, and pro- 
ceeded in a low tone, but with evident 
eagerness, on both parts. Those who came 
behind distinguished only three words, which 
were spoken by Walleran Urgel— " This very 
night, this very night :" but it would seem that 
Thibalt had heard more, for two or three times 
he laughed, with a low, quiet, peculiar laugh, 
unpleasant in its sound; and several times he 
muttered, " So, so — I thought so ; but we will 
see, but we will see. Foxes bite as well as 
wolves ; so we will see." 

Low clouds covered the sky, almost to the 
very edge of the horizon where the autumnal 
sun was setting, with somewhat angry redness, 
when a tall steeple rising up above the trees 
announced that the travellers were approaching 
a small town or villagie. 

" What place have we here?" demanded the 
captal. 

" I really do not know," answered the old 
man, Thibalt, to whom he spoke; " but it 



170 THE JACQUERIE. 

looks to me very much like the steeple of St, 
Just." 

" Why, that is on the borders of Picardy," 
said the captal, " and many a mile beyond 
Clermont : how is this ? " 

" I told you, noble sir," replied the other, 
" that I had no good knowledge of the way, 
and it would seem that the peasant we spoke to 
not long ago deceived me. At all events, it is 
not my fault, for I forewarned you that I could 
not guide you right." 

" There is some truth in what he says," re- 
marked the captal, turning partly towards 
Wallefan Urgel. 

" As much truth as to season the lie more 
completely," was the reply ; " but let us ride 
on, my lord captal. Heaven knows whether 
we shall ever discover, or shall not, the motive 
of his falsehood ; but you may be as sure that 
he is acquainted with this road as well as any 
man now living, as that you yourself are not." 

" Of that at least I am quite certain," replied 
the captal laughing ; " but if his object be an 
evil one, he may find himself mistaken. We 



THE JACQUERIE. 171 

shall surely meet with an inn here ; and whether 
it be good or bad, we must make the best of 
it for the night." 

The party rode on, and the little hostelrie at 
St. Just soon received them within its ever hos- 
pitable walls. Though the chambers were not 
many, and the accommodation somewhat scanty, 
considering the numbers that now poured into 
the court-yard of the inn, sufficient room was 
found for all ; and the captal, who had kept his 
eye upon the old man Thibalt, saw with some 
satisfaction that he made no effort to escape, 
during the hurry and bustle which succeeded 
their arrival, but looked carefully to the 
housing of his ass, and to the preparation of 
his own supper. 

It may be well supposed that a personage 
of such importance as the captal monopolised 
a great part of the host's attention, and 
every thing was confusion and anxiety to 
provide him with all he wanted. He took 
care, however, to speak a word or two to 
one of his men, giving him manifold cau- 
tions in regard to watching the proceedings 



172 THE JACQUERIE. 

of their guide, in regard to whose purposes he 
still felt some suspicion. He then went away 
for a few moments to see the chamber which 
had been prepared for him, leaving his train 
below. Several matters occurred to detain 
him longer than he had at first expected, 
and when he came down again he found the 
whole kitchen vacant, except where one or 
two of the servants of the inn were busily 
employed in laying out tables for supper, 
and otherwise making ready for the enter- 
tainment of himself and his followers during 
the evening. The rest, to say the truth, were 
all out in the court-yard, amusing themselves 
with the gambles of a monkey, except indeed 
Albert Denyn, who was sitting at the door of 
the inn with a cuirass, which he had been 
polishing, leaning against his knee, while his 
mind seemed to have reverted to other scenes 
and times ; and an expression of deep melan- 
choly sat upon his countenance, very different 
from the thoughtless gaiety which sparkled in the 
eyes of his companions, as the monkey sprang 
hither and thither at the commands of his master. 



THE JACQUERIE. 173 

For a moment no one saw the captal; and 
he at length laid his hand upon Albert's arm, 
saying in a low tone, as if not to interrupt the 
spott that was going forward, " Have you 
seen our good friend Walleran, Albert ? " 

" No, my lord," cried Albert, starting up. 
"Nor the old man Thibalt?" asked the 
captal. 

u Neither, my lord," replied Albert, " but 
they cannot be far." 

The captal shook his head with a doubtful 
look, and called to him the soldier whom he 
had charged to watch the movement of their 
suspected guide. The man stared, and looked 
confused at his lord's question ; but frankly 
owned that his task had been forgotten, 
" though he felt sure," he said, " that the old 
man was still there." 

The captal said " that he did not believe it," 
and it soon proved that his suspicions were 
just. Search was made for Thibalt, but in 
vain ; and the captal, though he only laughed 
at the idea of danger, commanded his negligent 
follower to do penance for his forgetfulness of 



174 THE JACQUERIE. 

orders by keeping watch in the court-yard 
of the inn during the first four hours of the 
night. The rest of the evening passed over 
tranquilly ; and Walleran Urgel, who had gone 
forth for a short time to inquire if, in the neigh- 
bourhood, there was to be found one of those 
solitary habitations which best suited his dis- 
position and frame of mind, returned soon 
after, and partook of the meal which had been 
prepared for the captal, though he joined not in 
the gaiety which reigned around the board. 
When the supper was over, the great leader 
and the old man retired, for a time, to the 
chamber of the English knight, and those who 
passed by heard them speaking long and eagerly. 
They separated not till nearly midnight, and 
the last words of Walleran Urgel, as they did 
part, were, " You shall have them all — at your 
return, you shall have them all." 



THE JACQUERIE. 175 



CHAP. VIII. 

On the same night of which we have just been 
speaking, the sun went down red and angrily, 
leaving storms in the sky behind him ; and the 
wind blew, and the rain pattered hard, amidst the 
branches of the forest, in which Caillet had fixed 
his abode. The torrent from the sky rushed in 
at various points, and indeed only one corner of 
^ the hut offered any thing like comfort. Amongst 
the hay and fern with which that corner was 
strewed, Caillet had cast himself down to 
sleep ; but slumber had not yet approached his 
eyelids, when somebody lifted sharply the 
latch of the cottage. 

Caillet started up and listened, doubting 
whether his ears deceived him ; but a moment 
or two after, the door shook violently, and 
a voice exclaimed, " Caillet, Caillet ! let me 
in : it is I, Thibalt la Rue ; quick, let me in." 



176 THE JACQUERIE. 

Caillet instantly drew back the large wooden 
bolt, and gave the old man admittance, though 
not a little surprised at such a visit and at such 
an hour. 

" This is, indeed, entering into the scheme 
eagerly, Thibalt," he said : " the youngest of us 
could not do better than this." 

" Hush, Caillet, hush," replied the old man : 
" put to the door and listen. Surely I heard 
some one by the well under the hill." 

" Your own fears, your own fears, Thibalt," 
answered Caillet : " you will find few people 
wandering here at this time of night, except 
those who have such business as you and I 
have; but tell me what brings you ?" 

" Matters of much importance," said Thibalt, 
in a hurried, anxious tone, "matters of much im- 
portance ; but listen, still listen, good Caillet." 

" Pshaw," answered the latter : " if any one 
comes here, he leaves not the place alive." 

" But suppose," rejoined Thibalt, " thefe 
should be such things as spirits, Caillet?" 

Caillet laughed aloud. " What, Thibalt ! " he 
exclaimed, " you with such fears ! I never 



THE JACQUERIE. 177 

dreamt that you could believe in spirits ! 
Visions of old women and children, of fools and 
dotards ! Speak something like sense, and tell 
me what you dread." 

" Nay, nay," answered the old man, " but 
I have heard, Caillet, I have heard " 

" And so have I," interrupted Caillet scorn- 
fully, " and so have I heard, a thousand times — 
I have heard the priest of St. Peter's chapel 
swear that he had seen a whole legion of devils 
come whirling round the place — that he had 
beheld it with his own eyes ; but it was found 
out at length that the saint would not protect 
the place from such infernal visiters, unless his 
priest had ten golden crowns to buy a new 
censer, which, in reality, cost five. The old 
women of the parish soon provided the money, 
and the devils disappeared. Out upon it, Thibal t ! 
Speak sense, and tell me what it is that brings 
thee here at this time of night ; or, rather, in- 
form me first what made you go wandering about 
this afternoon, through every road in the forest, 
as if it had been your pleasure to puzzle and 
perplex those you were guiding, and to lead 

VOL. II. N 



178 THE JACQUERIE. 

them round and round this spot, instead of 
taking them away." 

The old villain answered with a low chuckle, 
for he was now somewhat re-assured by the 
presence of his companion, though, strange as 
it may seem, he who was restrained by no con- 
scientious feeling, by no fear of God's retributive 
justice, was terrified at the idea of unearthly 
beings, and fully believed in their power of 
visiting and chastising the sins of man. 

" You watched us, did you ? " he demanded ; 
H you watched us from the top of the hill, then?" 

" Yes, and with no slight surprise," replied 
Caillet, " to find you keep them in the forest 
nearly till sunset, when you knew I wanted 
them away." 

" But / wanted them here," he said ; " I 
wanted them here, Caillet. I sought to detain 
them within reach of you, and for a reason 
which you shall soon hear. Think you, Caillet, 
that I know who is the man you hate the most 
on earth ? " 

" You mean the Lord of Mauvinet," an- 
swered Caillet ; " but you are mistaken." 



THE JACQUERIE. 179 

" It is you who are mistaken/' replied the 
old man. " I do not mean the Lord of Mail- 
vinet, I speak of Albert Denyn, my good friend, 
the fair youth Albert Denyn ; it is him you hate. 
Between you and the Lord of Mauvinet there 
can be no rivalry, between you and Albert 
Denyn there is. I know it all, as well as if 
I had seen it Now tell me, Caillet, what 
would you give to injure him? What would 
you give to blast all his fortunes for ever, to 
take from him hopes and prospects of the 
brightest kind, and keep him in servitude and 
bondage all his life ? " 

" What would I give !" exclaimed Caillet — "I 
would give my right hand." 

" Ha, ha," said the old man, " you are 
honest in your hatreds, however, Caillet. Well, 
then, now for another question ; do you know 
who these people were that came hither to-day?" 

" No," answered the other, "I do not. 
Morne and you were both gone before I came 
down, and I have seen no one since." 

" Well, then, I will tell thee," rejoined the 
N 2 



180 THE JACQUERIE. 

old man : " the troop was that of the Captal de 
Buch, and with him " 

" Was that boy," exclaimed Caillet, in- 
terrupting him. 

" Yes, he was," replied his companion; " but 
it was not of him I spoke — it was of another, of 
an old man; of one, perhaps, whom you have 
never beheld — deformed, contorted." 

" Ah ! I have seen him," answered Caillet : 
" long in the arms, wrapped up in goat-skins ; 
a madman, a mere fool." 

" A madman, if you will," said Thibalt, 
" but no fool, and without goat-skins now, 
though what dresses he may wear at times, 
he only knows. However, this man is my 
enemy — " 

" And therefore you would make him mine, 
of course," replied Caillet, blowing up the 
embers of the half-extinct fire, and smiling 
bitterly as he did so ; " but you may save 
yourself the trouble, old Thibalt: he is my 
foe already. He came between me and my 
purposes, and that is what I pardon not, 
Thibalt. So that boy is here, is he ? What 



THE JACQUERIE. 181 

would I give now For one half hour face to 
face with him in this forest ! It were worth ten 
years from any other period of my life — - but 
that is impossible — However, what is it that 
you would tell me ? How can you give me the 
means of punishing him ? " 

" Through this old man," answered Thibalt, 
" through this old man, Caillet ; so shall we 
both have vengeance of our enemies; you of 
yours, and I of mine ; through this dwarf you 
shall inflict the greatest evil, punishment — if 
you will — upon that boy." 

" How — how •— how ? " demanded Caillet 
impetuously. " What has he to do with Albert 
Denyn?" 

" Much, very, very, very much," replied 
Thibalt. " That cripple, that half mad, half- 
roguish cripple, possesses the means of raising 
Albert Denyn from what he is to high and 
noble fortunes — he will do it, too, if he be not 
prevented." 

" And how can I stay him ? " asked Caillet 
sullenly ; " you tell me such facts but to tor- 
ment me. This man is with the Captal de 
N 3 



182 THE JACQUERIE. 

Bucb, is he ? — What does he with him? — How 
came he in the train of the captal ? — How can 
he raise this Albert? — He, a beggarly wandering 
outcast ! " 

" I will tell thee, I will tell thee all," replied 
Thibalt ; " but give us a light first, I pray 
thee: thou sittest blowing the embers there 
till thou lookest like a fiend, by the glimmering 
glare; thou hast a torch or a lamp, or something, 
surely." 

Caillet made no answer ; but, searching sul- 
lenly amongst the dry fern in one corner of 
the hut, he produced a large rosin torch, which 
he soon contrived to light, though the fire was 
low. Its red and smoky flame, however, did not 
serve to make the expression of his own coun- 
tenance, or that of the old man, assume an 
appearance less fierce and terrible ; and as he 
moved about the point of the torch amongst the 
ashes, he continued to murmur something 
concerning Albert Denyn, which showed his 
companion how completely he had aroused the 
bitter passions of his heart 

Thibalt lost not the opportunity, but, with 



THE JACQUERIE. 183 

matchless skill, threw fresh fuel upon the flame 
of anger and jealousy, till Caillet turned angrily 
upon him, demanding, "How is it to be done? 
Speak at once ; for, by Heaven, if you continue 
teasing me any longer, without telling me what 
you seek, I will drive you out into the forest, 
and leave you to the care of the spirits you talk 
of." 

" What I mean is this," answered the old 
man, " that he who, with a good and unflinching 
blow, cleaves the skull of this same mischievous 
vagrant, will do more to injure Albert Denyn 
than were he to lop off the youth's right hand." 

" But why should I not cleave the skull of 
Albert Denyn himself?" asked Caillet. 

" That is impossible," answered Thibalt, 
" that is quite impossible. There is no chance 
of his straying from the band of the Captal de 
Buch ; and though a wolf may snatch a lamb 
from amidst a flock of sheep, yet one would 
jieed to be a lion indeed to seek prey amidst 
such a herd as that. It cannot be, Caillet." 

" Then how can the other be?" demanded 
his companion. w Will the mis-shapen dwarf, who 
n 4 



• / 



184 THE JACQUERIE. 

needs protection most, will be wander away, and 
leave the troop with whom he has already sought 
safety ? No, no, Thibalt, none of such vain, 
idle schemes ! I have already hazarded too 
much by seeking to seize opportunity ere it was 
ripe. Deal with him yourself; I will have 
nothing to do with that deed." 

" I would deal with him readily," replied 
Thibalt, "were not good King John a cap- 
tive in England; but this man, whom you 
hold to be a fool, has been wise enough to 
keep himself hid from all eyes till that danger 
was past. Now he comes forth, however, into 
sunshine, and fears not to show himself to any 
one. You need not fear that opportunity 
will be wanting. The captal leaves him here 
in Beauvoisis till" he returns with this Albert 
Denyn from the north. So much have I learnt 
by the way ; but if ybu let the present occasion 
pass, when he is near at hand, I will predict 
that you will see one enemy at least triumph 
over you." 

" That he shall never," answered Caillet, 
" that he shall never, if I can prevent him ; 



THE JACQUERIE. 185 

and if this meddling fool must thrust himself in 
my way again, the consequences be upon his 
own head. Nevertheless, you shall tell why, 
and how, and wherefore — by what tie this old 
man is linked with Albert Denyn, and what is 
the source of your enmity towards him. Ay, 
Thibalt, to the most minute particular." 

" But listen, Caillet, listen," cried his cunning 
companion, who did not seem particularly willing 
to enter into the causes of his hatred towards 
Walleran Urgel. " This old knave must die, 
that is clear; but can we not so manage it that 
his death shall seem to lie at the door of one of 
these lords?" 

" How can that be," demanded Caillet, " if 
I am to do the deed? — But I will tell thee 
what, Thibalt, I will kill no man secretly and 
in cold blood. If I meet him in the forest, he 
shall answer me for having crossed my path 
before ; but I will not seek him and slay him 
in his sleep, as doubtless thou wouldst have." 

" Not I," answered Thibalt. " Thou shalt 
meet him in the forest, and there do with him 
what thou wilt —ay, to-morrow morning by day- 



186 THE JACQUERIE. 

break — but thou art so impatient ! Hear me 
out, and let us speak low/' and bending down 
his head, he continued in whispered conver- 
sation with Caillet, detailing a scheme of 
cunning villany, to which the other listened 
with strange feelings, wherein stern satisfaction 
at the prospect of the promised vengeance was 
mingled with some sensations of contempt at 
the serpent-like art of his companion. 

The result will be seen hereafter. 

The morning was as dull and drizzly as the 
opening of any autumnal day could be, when 
the Captal de Buch and his party assembled 
in the court-yard of the inn. The hour was 
early, too, and the grey twilight and the 
greyer shower scarcely permitted the per- 
sonages there gathered together to see each 
other's faces, as they bustled about in pre- 
parations for speedy departure. The captal 
himself, with his arms folded on his chest, 
stood watching the progress of the rest, and 
giving orders from time to time, till at length 
all was completed, the horses caparisoned and 
brought forth, baggage and provisions charged 



THE JACQUERIE. 187 

upon inferior beasts of burden, and nothing, 
in short, wanting, but the foot in the stirrup 
and the hand upon the mane. 

It was at that moment, when the principal 
squire of the captal had approached to tell 
him that all was ready, that the great leader, 
looking round, inquired, in a quiet tone, 
" Where is our good friend Walleran Urgel ? 
Will he not come to bid us adieu ? Ay, and 
that old man, too, that led us hither ? Although 
he left us last night somewhat strangely, as yet, 
we have no cause to think that he has deceived 
or betrayed us, and I would fain give him a 
reward for his trouble." 

" He has not been seen since last night, my 
lord," replied the man to whom he spoke. "I 
sat up to watch if he would come back, but he 
has not made his appearance again." 

" Your fierce looks affrighted him," replied 
the captal, laughing. " But where is our other 
companion ? I must needs speak one word with 
him before we go. — Seek him, Albert, seek him. 
He promised me some papers which I have not 
yet received. He is not wont to be a sluggard." 



188 THE JACQUERIE. 

It was in vain that Albert Denyn sought for 
the old man, Walieran Urgel, throughout the 
house and the village. The bed in which he 
had lain was found vacant; the host of the 
little inn expressed a belief that he had gone 
forth, with the first ray of the morning, to visit 
an old hermitage in the wood hard by ; and one 
of the horseboys declared that he had seen him 
speaking with somebody in the court just before 
the dawn of day. 

" We have a long march to make," said the 
captal, " and I cannot stop." He paused, with 
his eyes moodily fixed on the ground for a 
moment, and then added, " Albert, you shall 
remain behind ; wait for his return ; receive the 
papers, and bring them after me to Peronne." 

Had the wishes of Albert Denyn been 
consulted it is probable that he would gladly 
have left the task to some one else ; although 
he was now quitting his native land with none 
of those feelings of bounding joy which often 
fill the heart of youth at the aspect of new 
scenes and new adventures. He went not 
willingly, but he went resolved ; and the very 



THE JACQUERIE. 189 

pangs that he felt on parting with those he 
loved best on earth made him anxious to hurry 
forward till all was accomplished. The linger- 
ing regrets, the wishes, the hopes — all the 
bright things, in short, that he was leaving 
behind him — were to his eyes as one of those 
fairy visions in the legends of old romance 
which obstruct the way of the adventurous 
knight in the path of duty ; and he longed to 
break through and to quit all such illusions 
for ever. He knew, however, that, in the pre- 
sent instance, there was nothing left for him 
but to obey; and he accordingly made no 
further reply to his leader than a mere demand 
of what he was to require at the hands of the 
old man, Walleran Urgel. 

" He will know," replied the captal : " if you 
but say the papers that he promised me, he 
will give them to you at once. You shall have 
Martin and Grandison with you to bear you 
company ; for these are times when it does not 
do to ride alone." 

In the choice he had made of the two com- 
panions left with Albert Denyn, the captal had 



190 THE JACQUERIE. 

been guided by his observation of the relation* 
ships which had sprung up in the course of the 
march between his young follower and his old 
retainers. He had perceived that the two men, 
Martin and Grandison, though older and more 
experienced soldiers than Albert Denyn, had, 
nevertheless, felt the influence which his su- 
perior education gave him, and willingly sub- 
mitted thereunto, courting his friendship and 
society, while many of the other veteran troopers 
looked with no small jealousy upon him whom 
they stigmatised as their lord's new favourite. 

Although the captal was too strict a com- 
mander ever to suffer idle murmurs to affect 
his conduct, or even to meet his ear without 
reproof or punishment, he took care to avoid all 
cause of reasonable discontent ; and, in order 
to show both to the youth himself and the rest 
of his retainers, that there was a motive, inde- 
pendent of favour, for assigning the present 
task to Albert Denyn, he turned again to- 
wards his young follower, saying, " I am sure, 
Albert, that I can trust you as fully as even my 
older comrades ; and, in this instance, you have 



THE JACQUERIE. 191 

the advantage over them, of knowing something 
of the country between Beauvais and Peronne " 

" I knew every road and path, my lord, in 
days of old," replied Albert Denyn ; " and I 
do not think that I have altogether forgotten 
them yet, although I got bewildered in the 
forest yesterday. I will rejoin you, then, my 
lord, with all speed; but how long am I to 
wait?" 

" If he come not soon, seek him," answered 
the captal; "but, at all events, set out for 
Peronne by to-morrow morning." 

Albert Denyn promised to obey, and the great 
leader, who carried almost to the point of pro- 
fusion the knightly virtue of liberality, took his 
departure, amongst the reverent salutations and 
commendations of his host, and all the crowd 
of horseboys, tapsters, and such other knaves in 
grain and spirit which usually collected at the 
door of an inn of those days, either to welcome 
the coming or speed the parting guest* 



192 THE JACQUERIE. 



CHAP. IX. 

The morning, which had opened unfavourably, 
made good all its promises of evil. Every 
moment the clouds overhead became darker, 
and the rain poured down in torrents ; and for 
nearly a couple of hours after the departure of 
the captal and his band Albert Denyn stood 
under the projecting doorway of his inn, gazing 
out in the direction of the forest, whence he 
expected to see Walleran Urgel make his ap- 
pearance. His two companions had often tried 
to engage him in conversation ; but though he 
had replied kindly and with a smile, he had so 
soon fallen into thought again, that they had 
at length ceased their efforts, Martin saying 
to his fellow trooper, " Leave him, leave him, 
Grandison ! He is just upon the edge of his 
own land. I recollect you blubbered like a 
baby at the last look of the Isle of Wight ; so 



THE JACQUERIE. 193 

he may well be somewhat sad on quitting his 
native country." 

At the end of those two hours Albert Denyn 
seemed to suffer his impatience to get the better 
of him ; and, after cross-questioning the people 
of the inn once more in regard to the old 
man, he proposed to his two companions to 
set out in search of the ancient hermitage 
in the wood, which had been mentioned dur- 
ing the morning in connection with Walleran 
Urgel. 

Movement, activity, change, enterprise, 
formed the life of the man-at-arms in that day. 
Scarcely had the suggestion passed the lips of 
Albert Denyn, when he and his comrades 
were in the saddle, and riding on towards the 
forest ; while three or four of the horseboys of 
the hostelry stood and looked after them as they 
went, till the tall strong figures of the three 
horsemen and their powerful chargers became 
dim and indistinct, as seen through the heavy 
rain, and were then lost altogether amidst the 
glades of the forest. 

Little did the youth or his comrades care 
vol. 11. o 



194 THE JACQUERIE. 

for the weather; but onward they rode for 
several miles along the grassy roads which 
were cut through the wood, with the water 
splashing up under their horses' feet from the 
well-soaked ground ; till at length Albert, 
whose eyes were bent forward with a kind of 
apprehensive feeling which he could not account 
for, exclaimed, " What is that on there before 
us, Grandison ? It looks like the body of a 
man lying with the feet among the bushes.' 1 

Before his companion could bring his eyes 
to the spot, or make any reply, the youth 
had spurred forward, and ascertained that his 
worst apprehensions were right. The corpse 
of Walleran Urgel lay before him, whilst the 
moist ground near the spot was marked with 
thick pools of blood. Albert sprang from his 
horse, and raised the head of the unfortunate 
old man, gazing on his face, in the hope of 
seeing some signs of animation left. All was 
still and calm, however — all was ashy pale, 
except where, from a deep gash upon the brow, 
a stream of red blood had run across the fore- 
head, and dabbled the long grey hair* 



THE JACQUERIE. 195 

" Who can have done this?" exclaimed 
Martin, riding up, and gazing with a degree of 
horror upon the bloody countenance of the 
old man, which he had never felt at the sight 
of death's ghastly image written in the same 
red characters upon youth or lusty manhood. 
" Who can have done this ? " 

" I know not," answered Albert Denyn 
sadly ; " but it was a brutal and a savage act. 
— God forgive me if I am unchristian-like ; but 
I know not why, my mind turns to William 
Caillet. He has already proved himself base 
enough ; and were he in Beauvoisis, I should 
say he had done this deed. Poor old man,'* 
continued Albert ; " it is strange what feelings 
I have experienced towards him, and could I 
discover his murderer I would have blood for 
blood. Where can we carry the body to, I 
wonder ? — The castle of St Leu cannot be 
far; and it were well to seek assistance there* 
Perhaps, after all, life may not be extinct. 
My own good lord lay for many hours among 
the dead at Poitiers. You two, Martin and 
Grandison, go on for a. mile or two along this 
o 2 



196 THE JACQUERIE. 

road. Through some of the gaps you will 
soon see the tall grey towers of an old castle, 
rising upon a hill. You will find a leech there: 
bring him down with you. I will wait here to 
keep the wolves from the body." 

" No, no ! " exclaimed the man called 
Grandison. " You know the country better 
than we do, Albert Go on with Martin; I 
will stay with the corpse." 

As he spoke he dismounted, and Albert, 
again springing on his horse, led the way in 
search of the chateau of St. Leu, which he was 
not long in discovering. 

In the mean while Grandison stood by the 
side of the body with his horse's bridle over his 
arm. At first he gazed upon it with those grave 
and sombre feelings which the solitary presence 
of death naturally produces even in the mind of 
the rude and uncultivated. Who can stand and 
contemplate the deserted habitation of the im- 
mortal soul, without asking himself strange and 
moving questions regarding the mysterious link 
between spirit and matter, regarding all the 
warm relationships of. life, and all the cold 



THE JACQUERIE. 19? 

corruption of the tomb, regarding the final state 
of both the mortal and immortal parts of our 
mixed nature? Who, in short, is there who 
can so look upon death without applying the 
sight before him to his own heart, without 
employing the dark hieroglyphic as a key to 
read something of his own destiny ? 

Such feelings were, indeed, in a degree, 
present in the breast of the stout trooper as he 
stood beside the dead ; but his was not a cha- 
racter to encourage or analyse them. Even 
as he gazed in musing meditation he began to 
whistle a light air, and soon turned his eyes 
away, looking up and down the road, and every 
now and then mingling an articulate word or 
two of the song with the tune which poured 
from his compressed lips : — 

u The hooded crow, the hooded crow, 
Sat on the tree by the river side, 
And up and down, the boat did row, 
As the lover sat by the lady's side." 

So sang Grandison, and then broke off and 
whistled some more bars of the air : — 
o 3 



198 THE JACQUERIE. 

" The lover sat by the lady's side, 
And much he talk'd of love's soft law, 
And nobody heard what the dame replied ; 
But the hooded crow still answer'd, ' Caw,' n 
And again he whistled. - 

" The boat glided down the river's course. 
And the lovers were gay as gay could be ; 
But the hooded crow, with his accents hoarse, 
Followed them still from tree to tree. 

" The boat glided quick o'er the glassy wave, 
To where the waterfall broke the flood ; 
And, at night, the lovers were still as the grave ; 
But the hooded crow was there at his food." 

And once more Grandison whistled, and began 
to march up and down as if on duty at an 
outpost. 

His music, however, was soon interrupted 
by various discordant shouts coming apparently 
from one of the side alleys of the wood which 
he and his companions had passed in their 
advance. 

" Ay, here they come," said he, thinking 
that Albert and Martin were bringing down 
some assistance from the castle; but a few 
moments showed him a party of country people, 
comprising a number of boys, advancing upon 



THE JACQUERIE. 199 

him with furious cries and gesticulations, and 
evidently regarding him with feelings of enmity 
and wrath. His surprise, which was not slight, 
increased when they came near, on hearing 
nine or ten voices accuse him loudly of the 
murder of the old man ! 

As soon as he found that such was the 
case, however, Grandison sprang into the saddle 
and grasped his lance, exclaiming, " Keep off, 
my men ; keep off ! You are all fools ; but, if 
your folly brings you too near me, you may get 
a broken head." 

" Seize upon him, seize upon him," cried an 
old man advancing from the crowd, in whom 
Grandison recognised their somewhat doubtful 
guide of the day before : " but there were 
more of them," he continued. " I saw them 
with my own eyes. But seize upon this one, 
at least, even though the others have escaped." 

How the matter might have ended, had 
Grandison been left alone to deal with the 
undisciplined mob that surrounded him, can- 
not, of course, be told. It is very probable 
that they might have made good their object, 
o 4 



200 THE JACQUERIE. 

yet not impossible that the stout ntan-at-arm$ 
might have drubbed them all; but* in the 
midst of the outcry, the sound of galloping 
horse was heard; and, to the good trooper's 
great satisfaction, his companion Martin and 
Albert Denyn were seen coming down the 
green road at foil speed, accompanied by a 
considerable body of horsemen. At Albert 
Penyn's right hand was a noble-looking man, 
considerably past the middle age, whom Gran- 
dison had never beheld before; but whose 
name he soon learned from the exclamations of 
the people, who shouted as soon as they beheld 
him, « The Lord of St. Leu ! the Lord of St. 
Leu!" 

As the party came near, the nobleman ad- 
vanced more rapidly than the rest, exclaiming, 
" What is all this ! Why do you attack the 
trooper, my friends ? Stand back there, I say ! 
— By the Lord, Jacques Bonhomme, I. will 
teach you to hear ! " and he struck a young 
peasant who was pressing forward upon 
Grandison a blow with his clenched fist, which 
levelled him to the ground. The young man 



THE JACQUERIE. 201 

rtse cowed, but sullen, while one of the others 
exclaimed in a humble tone, " Here has been 
a terrible murder, my lord, and we only sought 
to seize the murderer, and bring him up to the 
castle." 

" That's the man I that's the man !" cried 
another voice. 

w But there were two others, there were two 
others," shouted a third from the crowd. 
w Thibalt saw them, Thibalt saw them," said 
a fourth. 

" Who saw them ? " exclaimed the Lord of 
St. Leu. " Who do you say ? " 

« Old Thibalt, my noble lord ; old Thibalt 
la Rue," cried the man who had last spoken. 

" He saw it, did he ? " demanded the Lord 
of St. Leu in return. " That is important 
evidence. Stand forward, old Thibalt. — 
Nay, sneak not away out behind. Come 
forward, I say. They call you *• cunning 
Thibalt,' I think. Now, let me see whether 
you can be honest Thibalt, and give me a 
straightforward answer. You saw the people 
that murdered this poor old man. Now, point 



202 THE JACQUERIE. 

out to me, if you see them here, any of the 
persons concerned in the deed." 

Thibalt was evidently disinclined to give his 
personal testimony before the Lord of St. Leu* 
He hesitated ; he stammered : he was quite 
sure, he said, of Grandison being one of the 
murderers, and he then pointed to Albert 
Denyn and Martin as the two others. 

" And you saw them commit the murder ? " 
rejoined the Lord of Su Leu, waving his hand 
for Martin to hold his peace. 

" Not exactly commit the murder, my good 
and noble lord," replied the old man in a low 
and humble tone ; " but I saw them near the 
place." 

" But when ? but when ? " exclaimed the 
Lord of St. Leu sharply. " I see them near 
the place too, and I see you there ; but that is 
no proof that either you or they committed 
the murder. When did you first behold them 
near the place." 

" About two hours ago, my good lord," 
replied Thibalt, "just at the time I heard the 
old man's cries for help." 



THE JACQUERIE. 203 

" And so you were two whole hours/* said 
the JLord of St. Leu, " before you brought 
the help for which he cried." 

" My lord, I could not get the people to- 
gether sooner," answered the old man. 

" Why came you not to the castle?" de- 
manded the Lord of St. Leu fiercely. " Why 
went you not to the village ? — Take him, Ber- 
trand and Hugh. Bind his arms tight, and 
away with him to the chateau of Monsieur de 
Plessy ; for it is on his lands he lives. Tell 
him what has happened, and what you have 
heard. He will easily perceive that this old 
fox evidently knows more of the murder than 
he will admit You can say, too, that I know 
his charge against these men to be false ; for 
that, hearing there was an armed party in the 
village, and not being aware that it was the 
train of the noble Captal de Buch, I sent 
down to watch all its movements. — Yet, stay; 
this old man is reputed rich, is not he?" 

« Oh, that he is ! that he is ! " cried a dozen 
voices from the peasantry around. 

" Then I will deal with him myself," said 



204 THB JACQUERIE. 

the Lord of St Leu dryly ; " take him to the 
castle. Has not the leech come down yet? 
-—But the old man is evidently dead." 

" I see the leech at the end of the alley, my 
noble lord,** said one of the retainers. * He 
seems to put no great faith in his own powers, 
he is coming so slow." 

" Who can have done this deed?" con- 
tinued the Lord of St. Leu, gazing on the 
body, while two of his attendants carried off 
the old man Thibalt, with a pale face, towards 
the chateau of St. Leu. 

" Have you no idea? Can you form no 
suspicion, good youth ? " he continued, address- 
ing Albert Denyn. " You say that the mur- 
dered man accompanied the captal's train out 
of Touraine. Is there any one on whom your 
suspicions would turn ?" 

«' I know no one, my good lord," replied 
Albert, " in this part of the world, who could 
have any motive for such a bloody act. That 
old man, Thibalt, indeed, seemed to have 
known him in days of yore, and referred to 
some enmity between them. But, then, such 



THE JACQUERIE, 205 

feeble hands as his could not have done this 
deed* There was one other, indeed, whose 
enmity this poor gentleman had provoked; 
but he must be far absent. -—Were he here, 
I should say he was the man who did it." 

" Name him ! name him ! " said the Lord of 
St. Leu, in his usual quick and stern manner. 

" He means that scoundrel William Caillet !" 
exclaimed Martin, u A serf, my good lord, 
who tried " 

"I know, I know I " rejoined the Lord of 
St. Leu. " My good friend the Count de 
Mauvinet sent me a messenger to tell me all, 
and bid me keep a strict watch in Beauvoisis, 
lest this base villain should seek refuge in these 
parts. — So," he continued, turning to Albert 
Denyn, " you judge that, were he here, we 
might reasonably suspect him of the murder 
of this old man ? " 

" I do, my lord, I do," replied Albert boldly. 
" Poor Walleran Urgel crossed him in his pur- 
poses, and by his timely coming saved my 
noble lord's daughter from the brutal violence 
of that very Caillet, It was an act which he 



206 THE JACQUERIE. 

would not soon forgive, and were he in Beau- 
voisis, I should believe he is the man who has 
done this." 

" He is in Beauvoisis," said the Lord of St. 
Leu, with a dark smile. " I have certain in- 
formation that he is here. Not many a mile 
distant from this very spot, he has been seen 
twice by those who know him well ; and, even 
now, my people are watching for him, that he 
may not escape the punishment of his offences. 
Doubtless we shall soon discover whether this 
crime also is to be added to the number. What 
say you, leech ; is the man dead?" 

The surgeon, who had been brought down 
from the castle, and who, during the few last 
words spoken by the Lord of St. Leu, had been 
examining carefully the body of Walleran Ur- 
gel, now raised his head to reply, with a look of 
great gravity and sagacity. " My lord," he 
answered, " it is a very difficult thing to say 
what is death, and what is not." 

" Pshaw !" cried the Lord of St. Leu; " I 
ask you will that man ever get up from that 
grass, and walk?" 



THE JACQUERIE, 207 

" Not till the day of judgment," replied the 
leech. 

" Then the man is dead !" exclaimed the 
Lord of St. Leu. — " Out upon philosophy ! It is 
truth I want. Take up the body and carry it 
to the castle. You, too, good youth, and your 
companions, had better speed on at once after the 
noble Captal de Buch, as he left you to look for 
this old man, to whom you can now render no 
farther service. Tell him what lias happened, 
and say that, if he wishes to investigate the 
matter himself, a hearty welcome awaits him at 
St. Leu." 

" But, my lord," replied Albert Denyn, 
" the object of our stay was to obtain some 
papers which this poor gentleman had pro- 
mised to my good lord the captal." 

" Let the body be searched," interrupted the 
Lord of St. Leu. " Let the body be searched ; 
so that you can make your own report, youth, 
to your lord." 

The corpse was searched accordingly ; but 
nothing of any kind was found amongst the 
clothes ; and Albert Denyn, satisfied that poor 



208 THE JACQUERIE. 

Walleran Urgel had been plundered as well as 
murdered, took his leave of the Lord of St. 
Leu, and, according to the directions he had 
received, rode on to rejoin the captaL 

The body of Walleran Urgel was raised by 
the attendants of the Lord of St, Leu, and 
carried towards the castle, while some of the 
peasantry followed the nobleman and his train, 
as they rode slowly back, and the rest re- 
mained gathered together round the spot, dis- 
cussing the events that had taken place, and 
secretly declaring among themselves that the 
real murderers had been suffered to depart, 
and the crime, in order to shield them, had 
been attributed to those who had nothing to do 
with it. Such were the suspicions whispered 
amongst the crowd; but there was one who 
ventured to go farther than any of his com- 
rades. The young peasant, whom the Lord of 
St, Leu had somewhat brutally struck down, 
clenched his fist tight as he saw the nobleman 
and his train depart, and muttered between his 
teeth, " The time will come," 



THE JACQUERIE. 209 



CHAP. X. 

Some time had passed; the weather had cleared 
up again; the heavens were soft and bright; 
the sun shone out; and, though there was a light 
winter's mist lying in the low grounds, it scarcely 
interrupted the eye that ran over the scene 
around, but only served to soften the principal 
features of the landscape, and to give a vague 
vastness of the whole, by blending the distance 
insensibly with the sky. 

Upon one of the highest hills in that part of 
the country, which, though not mountainous, is 
— as the reader well knows — rich in graceful 
undulations, stood a small chapel, with a cottage, 
tenanted by the officiating priest, hard by. It 
was reached by a winding path issuing from 
the deep woods below; but the chapel itself 
stood bare upon a little esplanade, overtopping 
every thing around it; and high above the 
little belfry appeared the symbol of man's sal- 

vol. 11. p 



210 THE JACQUERIE. 

vation, at the foot of which lay the old emblem 
of an anchor, meaning, perhaps, to represent 
Faith arising out of Hope. 

On the day we speak of, various groups of 
peasantry were seen winding up the tortuous 
road* They consisted almost altogether of men 
— hard-featured, gaunt, hollow-eyed peasants— 
on whose faces as well as on whose garments 
appeared sad signs of misery and want, labour, 
exposure, and distress. Such traces were common 
to the countenances of all ; but every different 
shade of expression was there besides, and, by 
the aspect, one might see how each man bore his 
burden. There was the downcast eager gaze 
upon the ground, which seemed despairingly to 
ask the stones for bread. There was the gay and 
laughing misery which sets despondency at de- 
fiance. There was the calm firm look of re- 
solute endurance. There was the wild, yet 
sullen stare of fierce discontent, seeking the 
object of its hatred from under the bent eye- 
brows. Some of them spoke together as they 
came ; some of them chattered quickly and ges- 
ticulated vehemently; some advanced in deep 



THE JACQUERIE. 211 

silence, buried, apparently, in the thoughts of 
their own sorrow. The object of all, however, 
was the same. A whisper had gone through 
the miserable peasantry in the neighbourhood of 
Claremont, Beauvais, and St. Leu, that a meet* 
ing of some of those who suffered most severely 
under the horrors and privations of the time 
was to take place, for the purpose of bewailing 
their misery ami praying to God in that chapel 
for some alleviation of the load which had fallen 
upon them. With whom the rumour originated 
no one appeared to know, but it seemed to 
have been universal through the country, and 
the day and the hour had been named exactly 
to every one. No one had been summoned -— 
no one had been called— -but all had heard 
that such a meeting was to be held, and all went 
to join their sorrows to those of men who suf- 
fered like themselves. 

The good old priest had not been made 
aware that any such assembly was proposed, 
though the poor of the neighbourhood had often 
asked him to petition God for some relief, and 
the worthy man had never failed to do so, both 
p 2 



212 THE JACQUERIE* 

in his secret orisons, and in the public service 
of the chapel. He was not a little surprised^ 
then, to see from his windows, about the hour of 
mass, so great a number of the peasantry ap* 
proaching his lonely habitation; for his ordinary 
congregation amounted rarely to more than 
twenty or thirty, and now two or three hun- 
dred men were evidently climbing the hills. 

" Poor people," he said to himself; " poor 
people, their misery brings them to God. A 
sad pity is it that gratitude for happiness is not 
as strong a motive as terror or expectation ; but 
so it is with our earthly nature. We must be 
driven, rather than led. We need the scourge 
of sorrow, and forget the Almighty too soon in 
the very prosperity which he has given." 

Thus saying, he hastened into the chapel* 
which soon overflowed with people, and the 
mass began, and proceeded reverently to a close. 
In a prayer to God — introduced perhaps 
somewhat irregularly — the priest spoke of the 
sorrows of the peasantry of France, of the misery 
which they had so long endured, of the scourges 
of all kinds under which they suffered, and he 
besought some speedy and effectual relief. 



THE JACQUERIE. 213 

The multitude listened to the prayer ; but, 
if the ordinary service of the mass had soothed 
and consoled them, the mention of their dis- 
astrous situation seemed to revive all their 
anguish; and when they quitted the chapel, 
and had assembled on the little esplanade which 
we have mentioned, their minds were full of 
their wretchedness, and many real and many 
fancied causes of discontent were busy in their 
imaginations. 

As they issued forth, they broke into separate 
groups, according as they found friends or 
acquaintances, and each little knot went on to 
detail griefs and privations enough to make 
the heart sick and the blood run cold. Gra- 
dually, however, the more angry and vehement 
speakers drew the attention of listeners from the 
groups around. The whole numbers collected 
were speedily gathered into three or four parties. 
The voice of lamentation and sorrow was 
changed into complaint and murmuring, and 
curses deep and strong against the oppressors 
burst from the lips of the oppressed. 

The good priest had mingled with them 
p 3 



2J4 THE JACQUERIE. 

to .soothe and to console; but, when he heard 
the turn which the people's words were taking, 
he endeavoured to pacify and to calm, and 
even ventured upon expostulation and re- 
proof. He showed that many of the state- 
ments of wrongs suffered were as false as the 
miseries endured were true; and he was en- 
deavouring to prove that some of the charges 
brought against the nobles were unfounded, 
when a loud voice proceeding from a man 
who had not yet spoken, stopped him in the 
midst. 

" Get thee hence," said a tall peasant co- 
vered from head to foot with the grey cloak 
of a shepherd, the hood of which had hung far 
over his face, concealing the features from view* 
" Get thee hence, good priest ! This is no 
moment for thee ; thou art a man of peace, 
and hast done thy mission. — Get thee hence, 
I say. — But who is this riding so fast up the 
hill ? The bailiff of the Lord of St. Leu, with 
one of his archers, come to say that we shall not 
even tell our miseries to God, I suppose." 

All eyes were now turned in the direction of 



THE JACQUERIE. 215 

the road; on. which was seen approaching a 
stout, well-fed, portly-looking man on horse* 
back, followed by an archer on foot ; the latter, 
besides his usual arms, bore a partisan on his 
shoulder, and as far as beard and ugliness went, 
he was as forbidding a personage, and bore as 
formidable an appearance, as can well be con- 
ceived. Nor was the countenance of the bailiff 
of the Lord of St. Leu very prepossessing; 
not that the features were in themselves bad, 
but there was withal a look of insolent and 
domineering pride, a fat scorn for all things 
more miserable and meagre than himself, 
which certainly, was not at all calculated to 
conciliate the affection of the starving pea-> 
santry of the neighbourhood Thus, as he 
rode up, many a murmured comment on his 
insolent tyranny passed through the people, 
who watched his approach. 

Such are the men who make their lords 
hated; for very, very often the detestation 
of their inferiors falls upon persons in high 
station, without any actual oppression on their 
own part. Nevertheless, let them not think 
p 4 



216 THE JACQUERIE. 

themselves ill-treated if the acts of their agents 
draw down upon their head the enmity of those 
whom they have not themselves trampled on; 
for power and wealth bring with them a great 
responsibility, and demand at our hands a 
watchfulness over the conduct of others as 
well as our own ; so that the man whose 
servant uses his authority for the purpose of 
oppression is little less culpable than the op- 
pressor himself. 

The Lord of St Leu, as times went, was 
neither a tyrant nor an unjust man: his morality 
was not very strict; and in cases of offences 
committed within his jurisdiction, though he 
certainly did not suffer the guilty to escape, 
yet he contrived, when it was possible, to make 
the punishment profitable to himself. He was 
fonder, in short, of fines than of bloodshed, 
and preferred making a culprit pay in pocket 
rather than in person. To a certain degree 
he was kind to the poor, often supplied them 
with food, and commiserated their distresses; 
but he was quick and severe when opposed, and 
stern in his general demeanour. His greatest 



THE JACQUERIE. 217 

crin\e was the licence which he allowed his 
inferior officers, who committed . many a 
wrong, and many a cruelty, without his 
knowledge, but it cannot be said, without his 
fault 

Amongst the most detested of these subor- 
dinate tyrants was the bailiff of St* Leu ; not 
that he was more cruel than others, but 
that he was more insolent in his cruelty, for 
people will bear tyranny more easily than 
scorn ; and the secret why some of the greatest 
tyrants that ever lived have gone on to the 
end of their lives uninjured and unopposed, 
has generally been that they gained to their 
side the vanity of those whom they oppressed, 
rather than arrayed it against them. 

The peasantry assembled before the chapel 
on the top of the hill drew back on either 
side as the bailiff advanced, but without 
showing any disposition to fly; and, indeed, 
bad he examined closely, he might have seen 
some cause for apprehension in the sullen 
looks of some, and the fierce, wild expression of 
others. In those days, however, the idea of 



218 THE JACQUERIE. 

any thing like resistance on the part of the 
serfs had never entered into the mind of 
the nobles of France. They regarded the 
villeins, as they called them, as the njere 
creatures of their will. If they treated them 
well, it was merely from general kindness 
of heart and natural good feeling; if they 
abstained from oppressing and actually ill- 
using them, when they had any inclination so 
to do, it was simply on account of sdme respect 
for the few laws which gave them a scanty 
protection ; but no idea that the worm might 
turn on him who trampled it ever entered into 
the calculation of the lords of the soil. A 
terrible day of retribution, however, was now 
coming, and the bailiff of the Lord of St. Leu 
was the one to hurry it on. 

" How now, Jacques Bonhommes," he 
exclaimed, " what are you doing here in such 
a crowd? Why get ye not to. your labour? 
What are ye doing here in idleness ?" > 

" We have been praying God to deliver us 
from evil," replied a voice from the crowd. 

" Away with you ! away with you ! " cried 



THE JACQUERIE. 219 

the insolent officer; " think you that God will 
attend to such scum as you are ?— But first let 
me see who. you. have got amongst you ; march 
down that road, every man of you, one by 

One." 

" Why should we do that ? " demanded one 
of the boldest amongst the peasantry, " or why 
should you meddle with us, when we are 
praying to the only ear that will hear us ? " 

" Insolent villain ! " exclaimed the bailiff, 
striking him a slight blow with a truncheon he 
carried in his hand. " Dare you put ques- 
tions to me ? " 

The man drew back with a frowning brow, 
but made no reply ; and the bailiff continued, 
" I will answer you, however. — Here, archer, 
take my horse ; " and throwing the rein to his 
follower, he slowly dismounted from his horse, 
while a little group at the other side of the 
crowd were seen eagerly conversing together. 

"JSTow, then," said the bailiff, "pass on before 
me, bne^yone; for there is a criminal amongst 
you who, having first committed felony against 
his lord, has fled hither to add murder to his 



220 THE JACQUERIE. 

other crimes. You all know him well, and his 
name is William Caillet. Come, quick, pass 
before me, one by one, and each man let me 
see his face as he goes by." 

The people paused and hesitated; but, at 
that moment, the person who had spoken to the 
priest, and who was, as we have said, covered 
from head to foot with a grey shepherd's cloak 
and hood, advanced slowly and deliberately 
from the other side of the crowd, as if to lead 
the way in passing before] the bailiff of St 
Leu. Several others of those who were near 
followed close behind him; and when he apr 
proached the place where the officer stood, 
the bailiff, although there was something in 
the man's demeanour which evidently struck 
and disconcerted him, exclaimed, aloud, " Come, 
come, throw back your hood ! " 

The peasant made no reply, but took another 
step forward, and then turning suddenly face 
to face with the bailiff, he threw the cloak off 
entirely, and stood out before the eyes of all, 
the very William Caillet whom the officer had 
demanded. 



THE JACQUERIE. 221 

" Now, what want you with me?" demanded 
Caillet 

" To apprehend "you for a felony," replied 
the officer, boldly. 

w Then take that for thy pains," exclaimed 
Caillet, striking him a blow in the face, which 
inade him reel back. u Gut-throat slave of a 
bloody tyrant, take that — and that — and that !" 
and, drawing the sword with which he was 
armed, he plunged it again and again into the 
body of the bailiff, before the unhappy manj 
taken by surprise, had power to do more than 
grasp the hilt of his sword convulsively. Ere 
he could pluck it from the sheath, his spirit had 
fled for ever, and, almost at the same instant, 
the peasant, called Jacques Morne, had sprung 
upon the archer, exclaiming, — 

" Tear him to pieces ! Down with the 
monster ! Down with the nobles, and all the 
bloody tyrants who keep us without bread !" 

The archer, however, was more upon his 
guard than his officer had been, and, shorten- 
ing his partisan, he struck Morne a blow upon 
the head, which, though it did not kill him, 



222 ' THE JACQUERIE. 

laid him bleeding and senseless at his feet. 
Ere he could do more, Caillet, seeing that 
the bailiff could offer no further resistance 
Jo any one, turned also to the archer, and 
strode over the prostrate body of Morne. The 
soldier aimed a fierce stroke at him likewise; 
but Caillet was far superior to him both, in 
skill and strength, and, parrying it, in a moment 
he struck him a blow upon the shoulder, which 
would have cleft him to the waist had he not 
been protected by his brigandine. Notwith- 
standing that defence, it wounded him severely, 
and brought him, at once, upon his knees : but 
Caillet drew back, with a scornful smile ; and 
exclaiming to the peasants, "If he ever rise 
again, it is your fault," he thrust his sword 
back into the sheath. 

The people rushed upon the unfortunate 
man in a crowd, bore him down to the earth ; 
and in a moment they had literally torn him 
to pieces. 

The priest placed his hands over his eyes 
for an instant, to shut out the dreadful sight; 
but, taking them away again, he raised them 



TBS JACQUERIE. 223 

up to heaven, exclaiming, " Ob, man of blood, 
man of blood, you have brought down a new 
curse upon the land !" 

" I have brought it deliverance/' eriec^ 
Caillet, in his voice of thunder. " Get thee to 
prayers, good priest ; get thee to prayers. Pray 
unto God for his blessing upon the course 
which has been begun this day: pray for 
strength to those arms that are now raised to 
deliver their country: pray for resolution to 
those hearts which have undertaken the great 
work of restoring to mankind the liberty which 
is man's birthright !" 

The few words which had passed between 
the priest and Caillet had afforded the people 
time to think for a moment over the act which 
had just been done, or rather to see clearly the 
situation in which they had so suddenly been 
placed; and strange and terrible were the 
contending sensations excited in their bosoms* 
The long habit of submission and fear of 
their lords had given way, for an instant, to 
the impulse of momentary passion; but as 
soon as the deed, to which the passion had 



1224. THE JACQUERIE. 

prompted, was accomplished, the feeling of awe 
returned, and with it the terror of punishment. 
They recoiled in a mass from the mangled body 
j>f the archer ; and they gazed with feelings of 
horror and affright on the bloody work they 
had made. 

Quick, however, to catch and take advan- 
tage of the passing feelings of the moment, 
Caillet perceived, at once, what was passing in 
the minds of the peasantry : he saw that appre- 
hension of their lord's vengeance was, for the 
time, uppermost, and he determined to use that 
very apprehension to counteract its natural 
effects. He looked on them sternly, then, for a 
short space, while they turned their eyes from 
the dead bodies towards him, — 

" See what you have done," he said, in a 
voice which was heard by every one present ; 
" see what you have done. You have slain one 
of the Lord of St. Leu's archers. You have 
torn him to pieces. You cannot hide the deed, 
for too many have witnessed it. You cannot 
justify it, for he will hear no justification: 
he will neither pardon nor spare. To-morrow, 



THE JACQUERIE. 2*25 

his men-at-arms and his archers will be amongst 
you ; and there is not a man here, but myself, 
who will not be hanging up to some of the oak 
trees of the forest, before sunset to-morrow 
night. You have done a terrible and unheard- 
of thing: a thing that was never known in 
France before. It is true, you have been goad- 
ed to desperation; it is true, you have been 
trampled on, and misused, and ground to 
the dust; it is true, you have been kept in 
starvation and misery by men no better than 
yourselves ; it is true, you have seen your wives 
and children die of want and cold, that your 
lives have been one endless sorrow, and your 
existence but a length of drudgery and pain ; 
it is true, that human patience could endure no 
more; that the insolence of your tyrants added 
insult, and scorn, and contempt, and cruelty to 
wretchedness, and penury, and affliction ! But 
will your persecutors spare you on that account ? 
Will they have pity, because you were driven 
by wrongs that no creatures on the earth could 
bear, under which a timid hare would find 
courage, against which a worm would turn? 

VOL. II. Q 



226 THE JACQUERIE. 

Oh, no, no ! deceive yourselves not, my friends ; 
they will neither spare nor forgive. They know 
the interests of their own tyranny too well : 
they know that, if once you find resistance in 
any case successful, you will regain your rights 
and liberties — that you will take back, with a 
strong hand, that of which they have robbed 
you; that their fine castles, and glorious lands, 
and rich furniture, and dainty food, will all be 
yours; that you will no longer consent to be 
oppressed and trampled on ; that the rod with 
which they have ruled you is broken, and their 
power gone for even They know it, I say, 
they know it; and why do they know it? be- 
cause they know that you are many, and they 
are few; that you are strong by endurance and 
labour, and that they are weak; that you 
are brave, and that they are cowardly; ay, 
cowardly I say. See how a handful of the En- 
glish scattered their millions like a flock of sheep 
at Poitiers. See how a few bands of adventurers 
ravage the land without their daring to oppose 
them. So would you scatter them if you chose 
it ; so may you ravage their lands, if you do not 



THE JACQUERIE. 227 

prefer to submit your necks to the baiter, and 
pay for the death of yon minion of tyranny 
with your lives. To them, to them alone, is at- 
tributable all the evils which we endure — first 
to their oppression, then to their folly, then to 
their cowardice. Will you stand tamely, and 
bend your heads to the blood-thirsty monsters 
who have devoured you, or will you boldly 
follow me to punish them for their misdeeds ? 
to burn their castles, to ravage their lands* 
to smite the smiter, and to feed upon the 
fruits that they have torn from you?" 

" We will ! we will ! " cried Jacques Morne ; 
and, excited to a pitch of wild enthusiasm such 
as they had never before felt, by the vehement 
oratory of Caillet, a number of the peasants 
echoed, « We will ! we will ! " 

" Will you follow me," reiterated Caillet, " to 
avenge the wrongs that you have suffered, and 
to taste all the pleasures that have been denied 
to you ? Will you follow me to wipe out in 
blood and flame the memory of long years of 
suffering and oppression ? Choose your course, 
imd choose at once ; and think not that I try to 
Q2 



228 THE JACQUERIE, 

lead you to violence in order to shield my 
own head, for there is not a man here who is 
not even now in greater danger than I am. 
I have known how to protect myself, and I 
can protect myself still, against all the lords 
in the land. They cannot hurt me, they can 
do me no hatm ; but I ask you, Is there one 
man here, after what you have done to-day, 
Avho can ever lay down his head in safety? 
Are you not aware that the rope is round 
>your necks ? Are you not aware that it must 
be your own hands and your own knives that 
*cutit?" 

" We are ! we are ! " exclaimed a hundred 
voices round ; " we will follow you, we will 
follow you to death." 

" No, not to death," cried Caillet, in an 
exulting tone ; " to life ! to liberty ! to en- 
joyment ! to revenge ! to every thing that man 
can hope for and desire ! Oh, thou bloody 
spectacle!" he continued, addressing the dead 
body at his foot, " I thank thee ! for the sight 
of thee has roused my country to shake off the 
chains that bound her ! I thank thee ! for the 



THE JACQUERIE. 229 

sight of thee has given back to my countrymen 
their hearts of lions. Let us spend no more • 
time in vain words. I, long ago, my men, 
and you, this day, have done deeds that bar us 
from all retreat. We must conquer our liberty 
or die. Let us strike, then, at once ; let us 
this very hour perform some other great act 
which may fill the hearts of our enemies with 
fear." 

i " But," said one of those timid counsellors 
who so often, in moments of excitement and 
enthusiasm, throw a damp upon the brightest 
ardour, " but we are here not more than two 
hundred men, without arms, without assistance." 
" But two hundred men !" exclaimed Caillet 
with a frowning brow and a loud voice ; " I tell 
you that, by my voice, speak all the peasantry of 
France. I tell you that the castle which I will 
set in flames this night — ay, though it be 
perched upon a rock, and defended by triple 
walls — the castle which I will set on fire .this 
night, shall serve but as a beacon to call forth 
the millions of the nation to join with us in 
punishing their oppressors. No arms, did the 
Q 3 



230 the jacquerie; 

man say ? Have you not knives— have you not 
the knives with which the commons of France 
have more than once routed the enemies of 
their land ? Have you not scythes, weapons 
more terrible than all the lances of your 
enemies ? Let each man seize his scythe, then, 
and follow me; I will teach him to mow down 
harvests which he has never reaped before. 
Take such arms as are nearest at hand, for 
the time being ! and we will soon snatch 
from the hands of our enemies the swords they 
have too long used against ourselves. No 
assistance did he say ? I tell you, you shall have 
the best assistance in the world ; you, the 
peasantry of France, shall be aided by all the 
citizens of France. The people of Paris are 
already in revolt, and the commons of every 
other town only wait our signal to rise as one 
man. Then, then a few thousand nobles, 
cooped up in their strong-holds, and besieged 
by millions of their injured countrymen, shall 
pay the penalty of their long and terrible 
crimes, washing out in blood the stains they 
have fixed upon the land ; and may destruction 



THE JACQUERIE. 231 

fall upon them all, except sucb as frankly come 
over and join the people. Now, then, let those 
who will, follow me ! for we have already wasted 
much time ; and this night you shall have the 
first taste of that glorious revenge of which you 
shall drink deep day by day, till the whole be 
accomplished. But, if there be one man amongst 
you who has not been injured by these nobles— 
if there be one man whose children have been 
suffered to know plenty, or one even who thinks 
that, after the death of that archer, we can ob- 
tain peace and forgiveness, let him stay away, 
and take part with those whom we devote to 
destruction. We want none but such as have 
willing hearts and ready hands ; for the mul- 
titudes throughout all France that are prepared 
to join us — the thousands that I have seen on 
the banks of the Loire, cursing and scoffing at 
the coward nobles as they fled from Poitiers, 
will put all resistance at defiance, and in a few 
days make us masters of the country. — Whither 
shall we go ? — what place shall we first attack ? 
— Let it be the castle of St. Leu : it is strong 
and full of men, and will be a glorious conquest. 
Q 4 



232 THE JACQUERIE. 

There, too, is confined good old Thibalt la Rue, 
whom they have accused of a murder that he 
did not commit, simply because they knew he 
wished the people to rise and throw off their 
tyranny." 

" No, no !" cried a voice ; " he is not there : 
they moved him from St. Leu nearly a fortnight 
ago, and took him to Plessy en Val, because 
he lived upon those lands. He is in the tower 
of the Lord of Plessy, by the stream." 

" Let us go thither, then," exclaimed Caillet ; 
" that will be an easy conquest, and perhaps 
we may have time to take the castle of St. Leu 
also before night." 

Every strong feeling of the human heart is 
more or less infectious; and, unless guarded 
against its influence by some counteracting 
passion in our own bosom, we can hardly help 
participating in any sensation which we see 
powerfully displayed by another. Every word, 
every look, every gesture of Caillet was full of 
strength, and confidence, and determination ; 
and there was not one person, in the crowd 
that surrounded him, who did not feel his own 



THE JACQUERIE. 233 

energies rise, his own fears decrease, bis own 
courage glow, as he listened to and marked the 
extraordinary man who stood before him. Even 
the cold counsellor, who had been the first to 
think of difficulties and impediments, was 
carried away by the words he heard, and ex- 
claimed with the rest, " Lead on, lead on ! We 
will follow you." 

"Forward, then," exclaimed Caillet; "for- 
ward towards Plessy, and, as we go, let us call 
out our fellow-men to aid us in our enterprise." 

Thus saying, he led the way down the hill with 
a rapid step. The crowd followed him to a 
man; and no one but the good old priest gazed 
after them, as they rushed away into the paths 
of the forest. 



234 THE JACQUERIE. 



CHAR XL 

There was a man singing at his work, and two 
or three children playing about the door, while 
a mother sat within rocking a wicker cradle with 
her foot, and twirling the busy distaff with her 
hands, in the little village of peasants' huts which 
lay at the distance of about a mile from the 
tower of Plessy en Val. The short afternoon was 
drawing towards its close, and the evening light 
of a bright day in the beginning of the year shone 
calm upon the peaceful scene, the woods swept 
up over the neighbouring hills, the tall donjon 
of the castle was seen rising over the trees, and 
there was a sort of misty calmness in the aspect 
of all things, which communicated a sweet and 
tranquil feeling to the mind. 

Merrily worked on the contented labourer, 
watching the gambols of his babes, and speaking 
from time to time a word to his wife within. 



THE JACQUERIE. 235 

Suddenly some unusual sound caused the man 
to look up and turn towards the road which 
came out of the wood. The noise was a very 
peculiar one : neither cry, nor shout, nor human 
voice was heard ; but there was the quick tramp 
of many feet, blended with the buzz of a number 
of people speaking in a low tone. 

" What is all this ? " said the peasant, raising 
himself to his full height, and leaning on the 
axe with which he had been hewing into 
shape a large mass of oak. " What is all this, 
Janette? Here's a crowd of several hundred 
men coming down, as fast as they can come 
without running, a number of the good folks of 
St. Leu I see, and some of the people from 
Beauvais; there is Jacques Morne too, and 
long Phillipe of Argenton, and some of the serfs 
of Beaulieu ; but who is that at their head with a 
sword in his hand ? On my life I believe it is 
the felon, William Caillet ! They must be about 
some mischief." 

A minute more brought the first men of the 
crowd to the entrance of the village, and the 
loud voice of Caillet exclaimed in a tone of 



236 THE JACQUERIE. 

command, " Take your axe on your shoulder, 
and join us to deliver France from her tyrants !" 

" I beg your pardon, Master Caillet," replied 
the man to whom he had addressed himself; " I 
never join people without knowing what they 
are going to be about," 

" To deliver France, I tell you," answered 
Caillet sternly. 

" Ay, ay," cried the peasant ; " but how ? — 
How are you going to begin ? " 

" By burning down the castle of Plessy, and 
setting free good old Thibalt la Rue," growled 
forth Jacques Morne. " Waste not many words 
upon him, Caillet : I told you all the people 
here are willing slaves." 

" I am an honest man, at all events," replied 
the peasant boldly, " and I will have no hand in 
burning down the castle of my good lord, or 
setting free an old rogue who never left us at 
peace while he was amongst us. — Think what 
you are about, my men," he continued, addressing 
the followers of Caillet. " Think what you are 
about, and where these people are leading you." 

" Take that for your pains," cried Jacques 



THE JACQUERIE. 237 

Morne, plunging a knife into his throat; and as 
the unfortunate man fell back, weltering in his 
blood, Caillet exclaimed, " So die all the willing 
slaves of the tyrants of our country ! Disperse 
through the houses; gather all the arms and the 
tools that you can get, and let us on as fast as 
possible." 

In a moment every cabin was invaded, and a 
general pillage began ; some men were found in 
the houses who willingly joined the insurgents, 
some, it may be supposed, followed the example 
of the peasant whom the insurgents had first 
met, and more than once a scream, or a deep 
groan, or a supplication for mercy, issued from 
the doors of the huts, telling how well the orders 
which had been given were obeyed. When the 
crowd again began to move on, flames were 
bursting from various parts of the village, and a 
few women and children were seen flying in 
terror and agony towards the woods. It required 
but five minutes to change a sweet and peace- 
ful place into a scene of blood and devastation. 
. Caillet . himself had entered none of the 
houses, but stood for a short time in the midst 



238 THE JACQUERIE. 

of the road, with his right hand still grasping 
his naked sword, and his left pressed tight upon 
his brow.' At length he shouted to his followers 
to come forth ; and as they obeyed that loud 
and echoing voice, he led them on without look- 
ing behind. 

Forward they rushed through a narrow, wind- 
ing lane, with a small stream crossing it in the 
bottom of the valley ; but ere the multitude had 
proceeded half a mile, swelling their numbers by 
some peasants who had been working in the 
fields, they were suddenly met by the white- 
haired Lord of Plessy, and three attendants, gal- 
loping down at full speed towards the village, 
the flames of which had been observed from the 
watch-tower of the'castle. The good old baron 
was all eagerness to give aid to his people in 
the calamity under which he thought they were 
suffering, and he was within twenty or thirty 
yards of Caillet and his followers before he saw 
the threatening aspect of the crowd. 

At that moment, however, the thundering 
voice of the leader of the insurrection exclaimed, 
somewhat too soon for his own purpose, " This 



THE JACQUERIE* 239 

is one of the tyrants ! Upon him, upon him, 
my men, and tear him to pieces !" And he him- 
self rushed forward to seize the bridle of the 
old lord. 

But one of the nobleman's attendants spurred 
forward his horse before his master, exclaiming, 
€ * Fly, my lord, fly ! We are too few tajresist." 
The Lord of Plessy and the rest, confused and 
astounded, and guessing but vaguely what had 
occurred, turned their horses and fled at full 
speed towards the castle, while the furious mob 
darted upon the gallant servant who had devoted 
himself for his master, and ere he could strike 
three strokes in his own defence, had pulled 
him from his horse, and dashed his brains out 
with an axe. 

Caillet caught the beast the man had ridden 
by the bridle, and sprang at once into the 
saddle, exclaiming, " Follow me quickly ! we 
must not lose our advantage. If you delay a 
moment you will have to choose another leader ;" 
and thus saying, he galloped on at full speed 
after the Lord of Plessy and his attendants. 

The crowd who came behind quickened their 



240 THE JACQUERIE. 

pace, and hurried forward as fast as possible; but 
they could not keep pace with Caillet, and at the 
turn of the road which led up towards the castle, 
lost sight of him altogether. Some anxiety and 
apprehension took possession of them, and made 
them waver for a moment; but Jacques Morne, 
waving a heavy axe over his head, exclaim- 
ed, " Run, men, run ! Why do you pause? If 
you hesitate he will be killed before we are 
there. ,, 

Onward they rushed again, and in two 
minutes more the barbican of the castle was 
before them. The sight that they there saw 
renewed their courage, and roused them into 
fury. Caillet himself had reached the place 
almost at the same moment with its lord, and 
to insure that the gates of the outwork should 
not be shut, had sprung from the horse which 
bore him, and plunged his sword into the animal's 
chest. Falling dead under the archway, the 
carcass blocked up the way, and both served as 
a rampart for the bold man who stood there un T 
supported against the armed followers of the 
feudal chief, and prevented the portcullis from 



THE JACQUERIE. 241 

falling completely, or the heavy door beyond 
from being closed. 

All was confusion and bustle in the gate, though 
only a few of the usual guards had as yet arrived. 
Some were endeavouring to drag the horse 
away, some were striking at Caillet with swords 
and partisans, some were calling for cross-bows 
and quarrels to shoot him as he stood ; but as 
the head of the rushing multitude appeared 
and came on with a wild yell of rage and ex- 
ultation, a panic seized upon the soldiery, and 
abandoning the. barbican and the drawbridge, 
they sought for safety within the walls of the 
castle itself. 

" Victory! victory !" shouted Caillet: " we 
have won the first triumph. On, on, my men, 
and the place will soon be ours." 

The crowd rushed forward; the portcullis, 
which had partly fallen, was soon raised; the 
barbican was rifled of the various weapons it 
contained ; and, defended by some shields and 
casques which had belonged to the soldiery of 
the place, Caillet and seven of his followers 
passed the drawbridge, in spite of the arrows 

VOL. II. R 



242 THE JACQUERIE. 

and quarrels which were now showered thickly 
upon them from the walls. Each man bore 
with him a load of faggots and wood, which 
had been found in the outwork, laid up as the 
warder's winter provision ; and a pile was soon 
raised against the chief gate of the castle, as 
high as could be reached. No light, however, 
was to be had for some minutes; and when 
at length one of the peasants, with a flint 
and steel, contrived to kindle a flame, an 
arrow from a projecting turret struck his 
shoulder, and pierced him to the heart. A 
loud shout of satisfaction burst from the man 
who had discharged the shaft, and some signs of 
terror showed themselves amongst the insur- 
gents, at the first appearance of death amongst 
themselves. But Caillet boldly thrust himself 
forward into the very aim of the archer, and 
shaking his clenched hand at him, exclaimed, 
* In this fire will I burn thy heart ! Revenge, 
revenge, my friends ! The blood of our brother 
calls out to us for revenge. Let us spread round 
the castle while the flame burns down the gate; 
perhaps we may find some speedier way in." 



THE JACQUERIE. 243 

Hia wish was but to occupy the peasantry 
while the fire did its work; for he knew 
well that men unaccustomed to warfare are 
with difficulty brought to wait in inactivity 
while any preliminary operation is carried on, 
especially when they are exposed to danger 
during the delay. Part, then, he left to watch 
the-burning of the gate under cover of the bar- 
bican, the rest he led round the castle, affecting 
to seek another point of entrance. In the 
mean while, the Lord of Plessy and his attend- 
ants, astounded by what had occurred, con- 
fused, terrified, and utterly unprepared to 
offer vigorous resistance to an attack which 
had never been anticipated, lost much time in 
wild and hurried consultations ; and it was not 
till the fire had made considerable progress 
that they thought of pouring down water upon 
it through the machicoulis. Several minutes 
more were spent in bringing it up from the well 
to the tower above the gate, and then it was 
unfortunately found that the stream fell beyond 
the spot where the flame was raging, and the 
water flowed away into the moat. 
r 2 



244 THE JACQUERIE. 

By this time it was evident that, notwith- 
standing the plating of iron, the wood-work of 
the door was beginning to ignite, and another 
hurried and confused consultation took place, in 
which some one proposed to parley with the as- 
sailants, and try to make some terms. The old 
lord himself, however, refused to hear of such 
a disgraceful act ; and it was resolved to open 
the gate for a moment, and, rushing out, en- 
deavour to throw the flaming pile into the 
ditch. 

Unhappily for the besieged, at the instant 
this determination was executed, Caillet himself 
had returned from his progress round the walls. 
He had passed the drawbridge, with Jacques 
Morne and another, to see what had been the 
effect of the flame upon the doors, and, notwith- 
standing the intense heat, was standing almost 
in the blaze, when the gate was thrown open, 
and the old lord with ten or twelve men rushed 
out, scattering the fire before them. For a mo- 
ment Caillet and his companions were driven 
back some steps ; but his quick and daring mind 
instantly conceived the object of the enemy, and 



THE JACQUERIE. 245 

he determined to turn their attempt to his own 
advantage. Suddenly those who were watching 
under the barbican lost sight of him and his 
comrades in the midst of the smoke and flame, 
but the next moment the bold insurgents and 
their leader appeared again, striking on all sides, 
and literally surrounded by fire and enemies. 
At the same time the voice of Caillet was heard 
shouting aloud, "The gate is won! The gate is 
won f On, on, my men, and the castle is ours!" 
With a wild yell of triumph the multitude 
rushed across the bridge, and bearing all before 
them, entered the castle of Plessy together with 
its devoted lord and his followers. Resistance 
was now vain, for the numbers of the assailants 
exceeded so terribly those of the defenders of the 
eastle, that the lack of arms and discipline was 
far more than compensated. One or two of the 
men of Plessis, struck with panic, threw down 
their weapons, and declared they would surren- 
der, forgetting that the enemy had none of the 
conventional feelings and principles of action 
which are to be found amongst regular soldiery. 
They had. now, however, a terrible lesson to 
r 3 



246 THE JACQUERIE, 

learn ; that those who know no mercy will be 
shown to them if defeated, show no mercy 
themselves when successful. The offer to sur- 
render, the cries for quarter, were met by 
knives in the throats or in the hearts of the 
defeated garrison. Those who were not killed 
by the first blow were trodden to death under 
the feet of the multitude, which, rushing ve- 
hemently forward one man behind another, 
drove all before them, or trampled down with- 
out mercy those that fell. On, on they poured 
through the courts and narrow passages of the 
castle, slaying without remorse all the men they 
found; and still in the front of the brutal 
crowd was the tall and powerful form of 
William Caillet, casting himself upon any who 
yet dared to resist, and accomplishing in a 
moment, by skill of arms, what his rude fol- 
lowers sometimes failed to do by force. On, 
on they poured, deluging the pavement with 
blood, strewing the court-yards with corpses, 
and shouting with savage delight at every 
head that fell, till at length the lower part 
of the castle was entirely cleared, and up the 



THE JACQUERIE, 247 

narrow staircase in the keep they rushed, led on 
by Caillet and some of the most fierce and 
determined of his comrades. 

Here, however, the last desperate opposition 
was prepared for them. The Lord of Plessy 
himself, and his few surviving followers, stood 
side by side at the top of the first flight of steps, 
determined to keep that narrow passage so long 
as an arm could wave or a heart could beat. 
They ranged themselves in double row, the 
first rank armed with swords and battle-axes, 
and the men behind passing their shortened 
lances between their companions in front. It 
was an awful moment, but each heart was 
armed with something more than courage. The 
women and the children were above; and they 
who had hitherto fought with resolute valour, 
for their own lives, now struck for what was 
dearer still, for. the best, bright, dear gifts of 
human existence. " There is hope," said the 
Lord of Plessy, as he took his station, " there 
is still hope, while one man guards this stair- 
case ! The news of the attack will soon be 
known; people will come to our rescue from 
n 4 



248 THE JACQUERIE. 

St. Leu and Clermont, and we shall save the 
women and children ; let some one above hang 
oat a black flag from the top of the tower* — 
Hark ! the wretches are rushing up." 

As he spoke, a tall, athletic man, who had 
been the blacksmith at St Leu, rushed past 
Caillet to be first in the work of butchery ; but 
while he was still ascending, the old noble 
took a step forward, raised his battle axe in the 
air, and struck the broad swarthy brbw of the 
insurgent with the clear sharp edge of the 
weapon, felling him to the ground like an ox 
under the blow of the butcher. His brains 
strewed the stone steps as Caillet and Jacques 
Morne ascended ; and the dauntless aspect of 
the old lord and bis companions made even the 
bold leader of the insurgents pause for a mo- 
ment, to think how he might best attack them. - 

The means that suggested themselves were 
like the man who hesitated not to seize them. 
" Cover my head, Jacques Morne," he cried, 
and, bending down, he raised the yet warm 
and quivering form of the dead man in his 
strong arms. 



THE JACQUERIE. 249 

The Lord of Plessy viewed him with a 
scornful smile, thinking that he was going to 
bear the corpse away ; but heaving it up with 
his full strength, Caillet cast it at once upon 
the spears and axes of the men above, and then 
rushed forward, sword in hand, into the midst, 
before they could strike him from above. The 
rest of the insurgents sprang after him, shout* 
ing their triumph, and in three minutes the 
white hair of the old baron lay dabbled with 
gore amongst the corpses of his last gallant 
followers. 

The insurgents paused not in their work: 
there was a door on the other side of the landing 
towards which they ran at once. They found 
it fastened strongly on the inside ; but it was 
instantly dashed open; and a large chamber 
or upper hall presented itself, at the farther side 
of which stood some seven or eight women, 
with their eyes fixed in an agony of terror 
upon the opening door. In the middle was a 
young lady of noble mien, with her hands 
clasped, and three children clinging round 
her knees. The moment she saw the faces 



250 THE JACQUERIE. 

of the insurgents, she uttered a shrill cry, 
and looked behind her as if for some means of 
escape.— There was none; and the next im- 
pulse brought her to the feet of Caillet, exclaim- 
ing, " Have pity ! have pity ! — You have killed 
my father, my husband has long been dead, 
slay me, too, if you will ; but, oh ! spare my 
children!" 

Caillet paused, and put his hand to his head, 
while those who followed him rushed on towards 
the shrieking group at the other side of the 
room. He seemed to hesitate for a moment ; but 
the instant after, muttering to himself, " They 
must be bound by deeds that can never be for- 
given," he spurned the lady from him, ex- 
claiming, " I slay you not, but I will not save 
you !" and turned towards the door, leaving his 
infuriated followers mad with blood and lust to 
work their horrid will upon the defenceless beings 
who were now all that remained alive of the 
former numerous inhabitants of the castle. 

Shriek after shriek rang from the hall, as 
Caillet forced his way out through the multitude 
who were thronging into it; and as soon as 



THE JACQUERIE. 251 

he was in the open air, he paused and listened, 
till the cries of agony and horror ceased ; and 
then, while a loud hoarse laugh from some 
human demon succeeded, he muttered, " There 
is no retreat for them now ! They are mine for 
ever ! " 



259 THE JACQUERIE. 



CHAP. XII. 

A victory achieved — what a grand thing it 
is, a victory achieved ! In any course of action, 
moral or physical, whether it be in the strife of 
contending thousands, in the daily battle-field 
of our rivalry with other men, in the fierce and 
bitter struggle with our own passions, or in 
our warfare against the stern opposition of 
circumstances, a victory gained is always a 
grand thing that bears up the heart, like a 
triumphant general upon the shields of his 
conquering soldiery. But even in the ordinary 
conflicts of hostile armies, cases will occur when 
the successful commander — while shouts of 
success ring around, and glory prepares her 
laurel for his brow — lies writhing in the agony 
of wounds and shattered limbs, with the 
frowning image of death before his eyes, ready 
to snatch the wreath from off his head. 



THE JACQUERIE. 258 

Thus stood William Caillet in the court of 
the castle of Plessy : the victory was won, and 
it was a double victory, for it was not only that 
he had triumphed over the foes that opposed 
him, but likewise over the supporters -who 
followed him. He had trampled the one 
under his feet, he had bound the others to his 
cause with chains that they could not break; 
but still out of the strife he had come wounded 
and shattered, not in limbs and in body, but 
in spirit and in heart. The dark end of all, 
the sure damnation of the future, was for a 
moment before his eyes ; and the consciousness 
of having accomplished the first great triumph- 
ant step in the career that he had longed for, 
scarcely made up for the fiery agony of the 
means by which it was worked out. Each blow 
that he had struck, each step that he had 
taken, seemed to have crushed some of those 
better feelings that linger like reluctant angels 
to the very last, long after all hope of re- 
pentance and reformation seem extinguished, 
and the pang of their parting came upon him 
along with the exultation of victory. 



254 THE JACQUERIE. 

He stood for more than a minute, then, in 
deep thought at the foot of the staircase ; and a 
minute in the midst of such scenes is equal to 
years at any other period. He was interrupted 
at last, however, by one of those who were 
hurrying about through the courts, in the 
chambers, and amongst the corridors of the 
castle, inquiring with an unsated appetite for 
blood if there were any more to slay. 

" Where go you, Caillet V* demanded the 
man, as his leader took a step forward on seeing 
him approach. 

" I go to set free old Thibalt la Rue," 
replied Caillet. 

" He is in the little tower at the end of the 
court," said the peasant; " I saw his thin white 
face peeping through the bars." 

Caillet strode down and crossed the court- 
yard, gazing with a smjle of scornful satisfaction 
upon the dead bodies of some of the soldiers as 
he passed, and muttering to himself, " These 
mighty lords ! these mighty lords !" A few 
moments brought him to the tower the man 
had spoken of, and looking up, he still saw the 



THE JACQUERIE. 255 

countenance of old Thibalt gazing through the 
grating. Two heavy bolts upon the door were 
soon drawn ; but there still remained a lock, and 
Caillet was searching for some means of dashing 
it off, when the voice of old Thibalt exclaimed 
from above, " There is an axe in that man's hand 
in the middle of the court." Without reply, Caillet 
turned thither, and with some difficulty wrenched 
the battle axe from the stern grasp in which the 
dead man held it. A single blow then dashed the 
lock to atoms; and as Caillet threw open the door, 
the form of old Thibalt was seen descending 
the stairs. The old villain said nothing, but 
grasped his liberator's hand, and then taking a 
step or two forward, gazed into the faces of two 
or three of the dead men with a quiet inqui- 
sitive grin, in which contempt and triumph 
were strangely blended. 

" A good beginning, ^ Caillet," he said, " a 
good beginning: they have fleshed themselves 
well. What are they about now, and where are 
they ? Let there be no sparing. — Blood, blood's 
the thing." 

" No fear of that, no fear of that," answered 



2M THE JACQUERIE. 

Cafllet: "they have had blood enough; too 
modi, indeed!" 

" That can't be, that can't be," cried the old 
man: u they must drink to the very dregs, Caillet, 
if yon would have any thing like success. First, 
because blood is like wine to a drunken man, 
the more he takes the more he must have; 
next, because this blood can never be forgiven, 
so that each man that joins us must have his 
baptism in gore; next, because as long as there 
is one drop of this noble blood left in France, 
there will be war between it and ours. Let 
them drink deep, Caillet, let them drink deep! 
Break down the bridge behind your people, 
and they must go forward. Where are they 
now?" 

" Murdering the women and children," re- 
plied Caillet, " up in the keep there." 

" That is right, that is right," cried Thibalt, 
rubbing his hands with a low laugh ; " kill 
the mother serpent, and crush the eggs. Now, 
let you and I go and seek for the gold." 

" Not you and I only," said Caillet sternly. 
" We must call others to help, and to witness. 



THE JACQUERIE, 257 

I come to free the people of France, not to seek 
for wealth for myself." 

The old man looked disappointed ; and he 
replied with a sneering turn of the lip, " Do 
you think, Caillet, that these people will so deal 
with you likewise ? Will not they get all the 
gold that they can, and let you know nothing 
about it?" 

" The first that does so shall die," rejoined 
Caillet ; " and I will take means to insure that 
it is not done undiscovered." 

" You are wrong, you are wrong," said 
Thibalt, setting his teeth bitterly. " Wealth is 
always power, Caillet ; every other sort is uncer- 
tain. You can always buy men even when you 
cannot command them. Bethink thee, Caillet; 
the time may come when some one rises up to 
oppose thee, some one as full of knowledge and 
strength as thou art. If thou hast secured to 
thyself wealth in the mean while, thou hast still 
the advantage, and wilt triumph over him. But 
if thou hast not, he will triumph over thee, for 
novelty will be in his favour. Come, let you 

VOL. II. s 



258 THE JACQUERIE. 

and I go and seek for gold, else it will be too 
late." 

But Caillet kept his purpose firmly, replying 
with a sharp sneer, " I seek it not, Thibalt, and 
I will take care that you seek it not either; for 
if you do none will share it with you, and none 
will find any where you have passed." 

Thibalt would fain have resisted ; but he found, 
not without bitterness and disappointment, that 
the bold man with whom he was leagued had 
assumed that command which his powers of 
mind naturally bestowed upon him, and that 
Caillet was determined both to lead and to be 
obeyed. Perceiving that opposition for the time 
was in vain, the ancient knave followed his 
companion in search of some of the other in- 
surgents. He, indeed, speculated upon thwart- 
ing him* at some future period, and seizing 
upon a greater share of authority than Caillet 
seemed willing to assign him. But when they 
had joined a party of some twenty or thirty 
of the rebels who by this time had gathered 
together in the court, and he saw the enthu- 
siasm with which the people regarded their 



THE JACQUERIE. 259 

leader, the power with which he swayed their 
passions, and the prompt obedience which 
every one was prepared to show, Thibalt per- 
ceived that he must not hope to be more than 
second, and made up his mind to secure to 
himself that station. 

One by one the insurgents poured forth from 
various parts of the castle ; and just as the even- 
ing was falling they assembled in the great 
court, round the pile of every sort of plunder 
which had been taken in the castle of Plessy. 
To blood-thirsty vengeance now succeeded 
another appetite : — rapine glared in the eager 
eyes and fierce countenances of the men around 
as they gazed upon piles of wealth, such as in 
the wildest dreams of imagination they never 
expected to call their own. For his part, Cail- 
let left them to assign what share they would 
to their leader ; and in the joy and triumph of 
the moment they were liberal, declaring that 
of all booty taken from the nobles one eighth 
part should be allotted to him, who had led 
them on to their first success. 

" I receive it," said Caillet, w not for my own 
s 2 



260 THE JACQUERIE. 

sake, but for yours, for we shall need money to 
meet many expenses that you dream not of. 
One half of what you give me I set apart for 
the common use of the great cause, the other I 
divide between myself and good old Thibalt 
la Rue, who has sacrificed every thing for us, 
so that his portion, whatever it be in the general 
distribution, shall be equal to my own." 

All that Caillet said was, for the time being, 
law to those that surrounded him ; for, in fact, 
he had at that moment every thing in his 
favour to give him authority over the peasantry 
of France : high education, natural genius, skill 
in arms and in all sort of exercises, great elo- 
quence, keen foresight, dauntless courage, cor- 
poreal vigour, beauty, and grace, inexhaustible 
activity, unshakable hardiness of constitution. 
He felt all these advantages, too, and the very 
consciousness of his power served but to aug- 
ment it There was one feeling, indeed, in 
his bosom, which might have diminished his 
influence if indulged. It was not the wild, rash, 
passionate love which he felt towards Adela 
de Mauvinet ; for that he knew might lead him 



THE JACQUERIE. 261 

on to efforts almost superhuman. It was not 
the burning thirst for revenge against those 
who hitherto had thwarted him"; for that would 
carry him forward even more fiercely in the path 
which it was necessary for him to pursue. It 
was* that something like remorse was still 
present in his heart ; that the natural effect of 
the education he had received was to make him 
look upon deeds of mere butchery with some 
degree of horror. 

About two hours after the partition of the 
booty had been made, Caillet and Thibalt sat 
above, in one of the higher rooms of the keep, 
upon pretence of taking counsel in regard to 
what was next to be done, while their com- 
rades revelled below; but, in reality, for the 
purpose of escaping for the time from a scene 
of brutal excess. Caillet had already taken 
steps for the defence of himself and his com- 
panions, should they be attacked during the 
night; and his measures displayed a deep 
insight into the characters of all around. He 
had chosen out some twenty men, whose nature, 
though fierce and resolute, was abhorrent to 
s 3 



262 THE JACQUERIE. 

mere animal indulgence, and had appointed 
them to guard the castle while the rest wallowed 
in wine and gluttony. Each of those he chose 
had his passion, as Caillet well knew. With 
one it was blood, with another it was gold, with 
another it was authority; but with none of 
them was it the love of dainty food or intoxi- 
cating drink. Still some inducement was ne- 
cessary to make them relish the solitary watch 
of the castle wall while their companions were 
making merry within ; and Caillet, as he had no 
power to order, had picked them out from the 
rest, and had led them to the task he assigned 
them by the very means to which their several 
characters rendered them most susceptible. 
To one he had given money from his own 
store ; to another he had held out the prospect of 
command ; to a third he had spoken of the 
proposed massacre of the following day; and 
he had met with no opposition from any, but 
all obeyed with a promptitude which paved the 
way for that sort of discipline, if it may be so 
called, which he intended soon to introduce. 
The two chief insurgents then conferred to- 



THE JACQUERIE. 263 

gether in the chamber which had once been the 
lady's bower in the castle of Plessy. The dead 
bodies had been removed, and the gold and 
trinkets which had been found there had long 
before been carried away, as we have said, and 
distributed amongst the plunderers. Many 
another decoration, however, remained ; and as 
Caillet sat by the table with his head leaning 
moodily upon his hand, he rolled his eyes over 
the hangings of silk and fine linen that covered 
the walls like the curtains of a tent, and 
thought of the soft and happy hours which 
might there have passed, the scenes of do- 
mestic love and joy that were now at an end 
for ever. The dreams of his own youthful 
years, the hopes and aspirations of the purer 
part of his being, came like the long sad train 
of early friends departed which will sometimes 
throng upon our slumber. 

But as in sleep, also, such visions of the past 
were mingled with the sterner realities of the 
present. The image of the lady of that bower, 
herself, rose up before the wand of the en- 
chanter, Imagination : he saw her in her calm 
s 4 



26'1 THE JACQUERIE. 

beauty as she might have moved through 
those halls that morning; he saw her with 
her clasped hands in that terrible hour when 
he first burst upon her sight; he saw her at 
his knees praying for that mercy which he had 
refused to grant; and at the same time, from 
the hall beneath, rose up in loud revelry the 
voices of the very men who had polluted and 
destroyed her. 

For a moment Caillet became sick at heart, 
and again he pressed his hand upon that brow 
where the fiend crime had stamped, in cha- 
racters of fire, the sentence of eternal condem- 
nation. His hell had begun upon earth, but 
he felt that he must be the demon altogether. 
The burden of remorse, the weight of irre- 
vocable sins, the impossibility of retreat, the 
wild burning thirst for more which always 
follows wickedness, urged him to cast away 
every human feeling; and after clenching his 
hands hard, and setting his teeth, as if to 
smother in his own bosom the last sighs of 
humanity, he rose slowly from the table, took 
up the lamp that stood before him, and de- 



THE JACQUERIE. 265 

liberately applied the light in several places to 
the hangings of the room. 

Old Thibalt laughed aloud. In an instant all 
was in a blaze ; and in less than half an hour, 
from the watch-towers of the country round was 
seen a tall flame, like a cathedral spire of fire, 
rising up from the devoted castle of Plessy. 



266 THE JACQUERIE. 



CHAP. XIII. 

It was the same sweet calm evening in the 
early year which, as we have related in the last 
chapter, was blackened by the first outbreak of 
the most bloody and ferocious insurrection that 
was ever recorded by the page of history, when 
a large body of horsemen, in number perhaps 
fifty, accompanied by twelve or fourteen women, 
arrived at a little village in the Beauvoisis not 
above twelve miles from the fated castle of 
Plessy. 

We may well call it fated ; for had that troop 
of veteran soldiers but united with the force 
in Beauvais and St. Leu, and turned its arms 
against the insurgents, the Jacquerie would have 
been nipped in the bud, and would never have 
brought forth the baleful fruit it did ; but, alas ! 
the leader of that body and those who were 
with him were utterly unaware of the events 
that were taking place so near. They had 



THE JACQUERIE. 267 

made inquiries during the morning, and had 
found that all the parties of adventurers which 
had lately scourged that part of the country had 
been called away, by the prospect of greater 
gain, into the neighbourhood of Paris, and 
that the whole of the Beauvoisis was now free 
from foreign plunderers. Thus with a feeling 
of perfect security they journeyed on gaily and 
happily; and on arriving at the little village 
which I have mentioned paused to get some re- 
freshment from the country people. Hostelrie, 
indeed, there was none, but the gentleman at 
the head of the band seemed well known to 
the peasantry ; and every thing that could be 
found was speedily brought forth to set before 
the Lord of Mauvinet, and his fair daughter 
Adela, as they sat upon the little green that 
ran between two rows of houses, one on either 
side. 

" Thanks, my good woman, thanks," said 
the Lord of Mauvinet, as he rose from the 
grass : " your milk is better than in our more 
southern land of Touraine; and I hope and 
trust you have not suffered so severely here as 



268 THE JACQUERIE. 

our good people on the banks of the once merry 
Loire," 

" We have been somewhat better off than 
our neighbours, noble sir/' replied the woman 
who served them, taking with lowly reverence 
some pieces of money that the Lord of Mau- 
vinet gave her ; " you see the forest shelters us 
here, beau sire ; but the folks out in the open 
country have been driven almost to despair. I 
know hundreds of them who have fed all the 
winter upon acorns." 

" Poor souls ! " cried the Lord of Mauvinet, 
" we must do somewhat to help them, and 
that right speedily. It is sad to hear of such 
misery ; and the more patiently our peasantry 
bear it, the more terrible it is to witness." 

" Ay, sir, they do bear it patiently," said 
the woman, "but there are some bad spirits 
amongst them too. That same William Caillet 
has been roaming about for the last three 
months, and " 

" If I catch him," interrupted the Lord of 
Mauvinet, " he shall curse the day that he was 
born. Does he show himself openly then ? 



THE JACQUERIE. 269 

The Lord of St. Leu wrote me that he would 
cause him to be seized long ago." 

" Ah ! noble sir, but the good lord has not 
the power," replied the woman; and looking 
fearfully around, she added, in a low tone, 
" why, I have just now heard that this very 
morning, the bailiff of the Lord of St. Leu 
found him at Chapelle en Mont and tried to 
seize him, but that Caillet killed the bailiff and 
an archer that was with him too." 

" I will to St. Leu this night!" exclaimed 
the Lord of Mauvinet. — " Adela, you shall go 
on with the rest, and I, with Huguenin and 
five of the men-at-arms, will turn aside at the 
top of the hill, that I may confer with my noble 
friend, and insure that this monster roams the 
country no more." 

Adela, however, pleaded hard to accompany 
him. She would fain, she said, see her fair 
friend Margaret of St. Leu; and she loved 
not to ride at the head of a troop of men-at- 
arms without her father or her brother as a 
companion. 

" We must not burden the good lord," an- 



270 THE JACQUERIE. 

swered the count, " with too many unexpected 
guests." 

But Adela still entreated ; and at length it was 
so arranged, that she, with five of the men-at- 
arms, should go with her father, sending on her 
women and the rest of the troop to the place 
where they had originally proposed to stop. 

" There is no time for delay, then," said the 
Lord of Mauvinet, " for we are far from St. 
Leu, and it will be dark long ere we reach 
it. Let your travelling gear, Adela, be charged 
behind one of the men-at-arms ! We must 
quicken the speed of our horses, for we have 
lost much time by the way." 

No long preparations were requisite, and the 
troop was soon once more in motion. The 
road they took wound through the forest and up 
one of the numerous hills which diversified the 
woodland, passing not very far from the spot 
where stood the hut which Caillet had tenanted 
for many weeks. The whole country was per- 
fectly well known to the Lord of Mauvinet; 
and halting where the road to St. Leu branched 
off from that which led to Beaumont, he sent 



THE JACQUERIE. 271 

forward the greater part of the troop, while 
he, with Adela and the four or five men that 
he had chosen to accompany him, pursued 
the same path which the Captal de Buch 
had taken a month or two before. But in- 
stead of embarrassing himself in the in- 
tricacies of the forest, he followed a direct 
course towards St. Leu, skirting along the 
woods as they fringed the top of the hill. A 
wide scene was thence exposed to his eye ; for 
although the patches of brushwood sometimes 
crossed the road and ran a considerable way 
down the slope, the declivity was in general 
so considerable as to enable a mounted cavalier 
to see over the whole country towards Beauvais 
and La Houssaye. 

As they proceeded, however, the sun, which 
had been casting long shadows over the scene 
during the whole of the latter part of their 
ride, sank beneath the horizon altogether, and 
after a brief moment or two of twilight, night 
fell, and the stars came brightly out in the 
heaven above. Still the Lord of Mauvinet 
rode on without any apprehension, conversing 



272 THE JACQUERIE. 

with his daughter on the beauty of the night, 
and calculating when the moon would rise. 

" I think she is coming up now, my father," 
said Adela, after they had gone on for about half 
an hour in darkness: — " what a red light she 
gives at this time of the year, when low in the 
sky!" 

The count looked out towards the part 01 
the horizon to which she pointed, and for a 
moment or two made no reply, watching a faint 
rosy streak that hung upon some low clouds 
on the edge of the sky. 

" That cannot be the moon, Adela,'* he an- 
swered at length — u that is to the westward. It 
must be the light of some fire that the poor pea- 
santry have kindled to warm themselves by. It 
is probably nearer to us than it seems. But it is 
increasing very rapidly. How the dull red glare 
flickers against the heavens ! and see, there is 
smoke curling up in the midst of the blaze, like 
some dark demon in his fiery element. — Where 
can that be, Huguenin ?" he continued, drawing 
in his rein. " It must surely be at Plessy." 

" It is farther than Plessy, I should think, 



THE JACQUERIE. 273 

my lord," replied the gentleman to whom he 
addressed himself. 

But almost as he spoke, the blaze appeared 
well nigh extinguished for a moment, and then 
rose up in a pyramid of light, rendering every 
object round almost as bright as day. The 
Lord of Mauvinet spurred on his horse to a 
spot a few yards in advance, for the purpose of 
obtaining a better sight; and thence the towers 
of Plessy were plainly to be distinguished, with 
the fire pouring through the windows of the 
keep, and the spire of flame topping the dungeon 
tower. 

"By Heaven !" exclaimed the count, " it is 
the castle itself. On my knighthood, I must 
ride down to see if I can aid them. What can 
I do with thee, my Adela? Take Huguenin 
and go on to St. Leu." 

" Nay," said Adela, st there are some cot- 
tages not far on. Do you not remember the 
beautiful child that was bitten by the viper just 
as we were passing one day, and that I cured it 
with the oil my uncle brought from Palestine ?'» 

" Yes, I remember well," replied the count, 

VOL. II. T 



274 THE JACQUERIE. 

quickly; " but what of that, Adela? wilt thou 
stay there ? The people are most likely gone 
to sleep by this time." 

"Let us try," said Adela. "It is straight 
between Plessy and St. Leu, and you can take 
me with you as you return : you cannot be 
long, my father, for that castle is well nigh 
down, I fear." 

" I fear so too," answered the count; "but let 
us make haste, dear child. Once I have be- 
stowed thee safely, I shall soon be down and 
back again." 

They accordingly rode on, and approached a 
wild-looking hut, which has been already de- 
scribed in this book. It was that of Jacques 
Morne. As they drew up their horses, a mo- 
mentary apprehension, a sort of presentiment of 
evil, seemed to cross the mind of the count* 
" Keep Huguenin with thee, my child," he said: 
" ever since that villain Caillet's conduct, I fear 
for thee, Adela." 

" Oh, there is no danger, my father," replied 
the lady : " these good people would give their 
life for me. Never shall I forget how the 



THE JACQUERIE. 275 

woman watched me as I poured the oil into 
the viper's bite, and how she blessed me when 
the child looked up and smiled again." 

While they had been speaking, one of the 
men-at-arms had dismounted, and knocked with 
his gauntlet at the door. A female voice almost 
immediately demanded, " Who is there ? Is it 
thou, Jacques ? " 

" It is I, good mother," replied Adela, riding 
up to the door : " 1 want to rest with you 
awhile." 

The woman undid the bolt and came forth, 
gazing wildly under her bent brows at the lady 
and the armed men. She gave Adela no 
welcome ; but her looks and her apparel spoke 
so much misery, that the fair girl believed 
want to be the cause of her coldness ; and dis- 
mounting from her horse, without fear or hesi- 
tation, she said, " Do you not remember me, 
good mother ? How is your sweet boy that was 
bitten by the viper ? " 

" He has been worse bitten by the viper 
hunger," replied the woman : " we have been 
starving, lady." 

T 2 



276 THE JACQUERIE. 

" Well you shall starve no longer," rejoined 
Adela, while one of the men took her horse and 
fastened it to a tree. 

" I know that," answered the woman, wildly, 
" those days have passed." 

" Well, good woman, I will wait here a 
while," continued Adela, " till the count comes 
back. — Ride on, my dear father — I shall be 
quite safe here." 

"You had better stay and watch without, 
Huguenin," said the count. 

But the wife of Jacques Morne now ex- 
claimed eagerly, though with the same wild 
look, " She is safe, noble sir, she is quite safe — » 
no one shall harm her here, if I were to die for 
it. Do you think any one should hurt, in my 
cottage, the lady that saved my child ?" 

" Nay, I doubt you not," replied the count, 
turning away without giving any farther orders; 
and Huguenin, who to say the truth was eager: 
to see what was going on below, rode after his 
lord, leaving Adela in the hut. 

The Lord of Mauvinet put his horse into a 
quick pace, and galloped rapidly over the two 



THE JACQUERIE. 277 

miles that lay between the hut of the swine- 
herd and the serfs' village of Plessy en Val. 
The fire still raged; and though now and 
then the trees cut off the view of the castle, 
and threw a dark shadow 'over the road, the 
light was still so strong, either direct from the 
burning building or reflected from the sky, 
that every object was quite distinct at some 
distance. At the entrance of the place, the 
Lord of Mauvinet drew up his horse in 
surprise and horror at the sight of one of 
the peasants lying dead at his own door, and 
springing to the ground he looked into the 
hut. It was partly burnt, but the fire seemed 
to have gone out of itself after merely con- 
suming the rafters. On the floor lay a woman 
and three children weltering in their blood, 
and the count drew back troubled and be- 
wildered. 

" What can be the meaning of this ? " he 
said. " Some band of adventurers must have 
sacked the place and taken the castle. This 
is no accidental fire, Huguenin." 

" I fear that it is not, beau sire," replied Hu- 
t 3 



278 THE JACQUERIE. 

guenin; "but look, there's a head peeping at 
us from behind that second cottage. It is a 
woman; she takes us for some of the com- 
panions." 

" Come hither, my poor girl," said the 
count speaking aloud — "we will not hurt, but 
rather defend thee." 

His voice caught the woman's ear ; and after 
twice looking cautiously out from behind the 
building, she ventured to come forth altogether: 
at first approaching slowly, but then running 
on and clasping the count's knees. 

" Fly, my lord! fly!" she cried — "fly, or 
they will murder you too ! " 

" Who? " demanded the Lord of Mauvinet, 
raising the young woman from the ground. 
" Who has done all that bloody work?" 

" Fly, fly ! " reiterated the poor creature, 
wildly: "get into the forest and hide you among 
the trees : I have left my baby amongst the 
bushes, and come to see if my husband be living 
or dead." 

"But who?" demanded the count again, 
" who are they that have outdone all the wicked- 



THE JACQUERIE. 279 

hess of others, and have butchered the poor 
peasantry in their huts ?" 

"It is William Caillet and his people," an- 
swered the woman : " there are thousands and 
tens of thousands. They have taken Plessy, 
and murdered my good lord, and now they 
have set fire to the castle, and will soon be 
coming back again. So fly if you would save 
your lives." 

The Lord of Mauvinet pressed his hand 
upon his brow,' cursing the day that he had 
ever raised the villain who had so ill requited 
all his kindness from the low state in which he 
had first found him. " Thousands, and tens of 
thousands?" he cried. "Taken the castle of 
Plessy, a strongly defended fortress? — But my 
child, Huguenin ! my child I We must indeed 
fly, and take her from this place, and that right 
quickly." 

As he spoke, he remounted his horse, and 
was turning his bridle to go back by the road he 
came, but the woman caught the rein, ex- 
claiming, " Not that way, not that way ! Look, 
look! They are going over the hill;" and 
t 4 



280 THE JACQUEBIE. 

directing his eyes towards the fields, the Lord of 
Mauvinet perceived, at the distance of half a 
mile, a large troop of men, some four or five 
hundred in number, already between him and 
the cottage of the swineherd Morne. They 
were holding no array, though keeping close 
together; but from the bright reflection of the 
fire, from various weapons of steel that they 
carried on their shoulders, it was evident that 
they were well armed. At the same time a 
sound of loud shouting and singing came from 
the road to Plessy, and the woman exclaimed, 
w Hark, hark ! they are upon that road too. 
They will kill us if they find us here." 

" I must up the hill at all risks," cried the 
Lord of Mauvinet. " Let go my rein, girl ! 
My daughter is at the swineherd's hut above." 

"What, Morne?" she asked, "Jacques Morne? 
why he is one of the chief butchers ! Your 
daughter is dead by this time ; for they have 
vowed not to leave one drop of noble blood un- 
spilled throughout the land. — If you will go, 
come hither with me. I will guide you to the 
back of the hut by a shorter way." 



THE JACQUERIE. 281 

" Take her up behind thee, Francis," cried 
the count, " and ride on as she directs." 

" Speed ! speed ! " cried the woman, as soon as 
the man had raised her on his horse. " They 
are coming quick — - I hear them, and they will 
kill us all as they did Martin the wheelright. — 
Through between those cottages there — am ongs t 
the willows by the stream. — Now up," she con- 
tinued, as they rode along, "across that break 
in the wood, and then, the narrow road to the 
left. — It is steep and slippery." 

Onward, however, they galloped without a 
moment's pause, till they had reached the top of 
the hill. 

"Now which way?" demanded the Lord of 
Mauvinet 

" Hush ! speak low," said the woman, " for 
you are near. Let me down — my babe lies 
under those trees. Follow the path straight 
on — it will lead you to the styes behind the hut. 
Perchance you may get there before them, and 
save your daughter ; but if you find them there, 
you may die with her, but not deliver her." 

The count spurred forward quickly though 



282 THE JACQUERIE. 

more cautiously, the trees for some way shutting 
out all view beyond. A moment or two after, 
however, the light of the still burning fire came 
through the branches, and the next instant he 
could distinguish the mass of low buildings in 
which were kept the swine. But, alas ! there 
came upon his ear the sound of loud voices 
talking and laughing; and as he looked between 
the trees, he saw the multitude, some sitting, 
some standing at a halt before the cottage, where 
he had left his child. 



THE JACQUERIE. 283 



CHAP. XIV. 

Many are the lessons that the guileless heart of 
youth requires ere it learns the hard and terrible 
task of suspicion ; and though, assuredly, Adela 
had seen enough of baseness and ingratitude, in 
one who had been loaded with benefits, to make 
her doubt that any tie can bind the corrupt spirit 
of man, yet she entered the cottage of the swine- 
herd without the slightest fear, and approached 
a large fire near which was placed the bed of 
the peasant's children. They were buried in 
profound sleep, on their lowly couch of dried 
rushes and withered leaves ; and Adela stooped 
down, with a feeling of natural satisfaction, to 
look at the little being she had saved from 
almost certain death. 

When she raised her head again, two things 
struck her with some surprise, and created 
the first apprehension that had entered her 



284 THE JACQUERIE, 

mind. The woman was still standing at 
the door, gazing upon her with an expression 
difficult to describe. It could be scarcely called 
fierce,, and yet there was a wild, glaring savage- 
ness in her eyes that startled and alarmed her 
young guest. There was a sort of hesitation, a 
doubt, even perhaps a shade of fear in it, that 
naturally excited terror ; but at the same time, 
there was a second object even more calculated 
to create suspicion than the face of the woman 
herself. On a rough wooden block in the midst 
of the room, which served for the purpose of a 
table, appeared a multitude of things that 
entirely contradicted the tale of starvation which 
she had told. There were rich meats, and 
leathern bottles apparently filled with wine. 
There was a large golden drinking cup too, and 
another smaller one of silver, with a number of 
spoons of precious metal, a rich hunting horn, 
and a bracelet from a lady's arm. Where 
could all these come from ? The question 
flashed through Adela's mind in a moment, and 
& fit of involuntary trembling seized her at the 
thought. 



THE JACQUERIE. 285 

" You shake, lady," said the woman, ap- 
proaching her — " it cannot be with cold." 

" I know not why," replied Adela hesitating 5 
" but my father, he will soon be back againi 

and » 

" Perhaps he may never come back again," 
rejoined the woman, sternly. " How many men 
has he with him ? " 

" Only five," replied Adela. 
" And none behind ? " asked the swineherd's 
wife. 

" The rest have gone on towards Beaumont," 
answered Adela. " Oh God ! why did I not go 
with him?" 

" To die ? " demanded the woman. 
'* Ay, if need be," said the lady, more firmly; 
" but why should he die ? Tell me more ! 
The adventurers have not left the country then 
— this is their plunder — and they leave it 
with you, unhappy woman!— Have you pro- 
mised me protection but to destroy me ? " 

" No," answered the swineherd's wife, 
coming close to her, and speaking in a solemn 
tone; "no, lady, I have not. You have been 



286 THE JACQUERIE. 

looking at that child," she continued : " you 
saved his life, and by that child I swear that I 
will save yours, or they shall take mine." 

" But my father," cried Adela, dropping her 
riding glove, and clasping her hands — " oh save 
him too, then ! " 

" That I cannot do," she replied : " I am 
sorry that I let him go on, because I have heard 
that he is a good man ; but if he reach Plessy 
he dies." 

" Then let me ride after him, and tell him 
not," exclaimed Adela, darting towards the door. 
But the woman stopped her, saying, " It is all in 
vain — they are halfway thereby this time — but 
perhaps they may meet a warning by the way. 
They must pass through the village ; and if they 
use their senses, they will find enough to make 
them draw the bridle there." 

Adela covered her eyes with her hands and 
wept, and the woman stood gazing at her for a 
minute or two in silence; but at length she 
added, " Thou art a pretty creature and a good, 
and perhaps it were as well for thee to die now 



THE JACQUERIE. 287 

as hereafter ; but yet I will save thee, even if 
these men come back." 

" They may pass by without dismounting," 
cried Adela; "and surely, even if they take my 
father and myself, they will put us to ransom as 
they did before. But shut the door, good mo- 
ther, close it well, deaden the fire, and let them 
think we all sleep — they may pass by without 
dismounting." 

The woman shook her head. " You mistake, 
you mistake," she said. " These are not people 
who either give or take ransoms. — It is the pea- 
santry of France, lady, who have risen to slay 
their oppressors, and to drown out in the blood 
of our tyrants the very memory of the chains 
we have broken. The work has begun already, 
Flessy is taken, its lord and all his minions are 
dead; and the gold, and the wealth, and the rich 
food, and the fine wine, which they had hoarded 
up, while we were starving in misery and wretch- 
edness, is now divided amongst those who had a 
better right to it than the men who kept it : that 
is the share of my husband, and one or two 
others, to whom it fell by lot." 



288 THE JACQUERIE. 

Adela kept her hand pressed tight over her 
eyes. She durst not say what she felt ; for there 
Was a fierceness in the woman's manner which 
made her fear that any unguarded word might 
be made a pretext to betray her to the de- 
stroyers, and she only hiurmured, therefore* 
" Then your husband is one of them ? " 

" Ay is he, lady," answered the woman J 
"he is at length a man — a human being. 
He is no longer the beast of the field for any 
lord !— But hark ! was not that a sound ? " 

*' Oh save, save me ! " cried Adela, her natural 
repugnance to death overcoming every other 
feeling for the moment. 

" Fear not, fear not," replied Jacques Morne'a 
wife : " I will save thee ! " and lowering her tone 
a little, she added, with a softened manner, 
" Did you not save my boy ? — But you must do 
exactly what I tell you," she continued. " It 
may be difficult ; my husband is a changed man ; 
and when he came back an hour ago, to leavg 
those things here, he was over the knees in blood. 
Mercy and fear have no place in his heart now; 
and I must conceal you from him if he should 



THE JACQUERIE. 289 

come, though I do not believe he will, for they 
are going on with all speed to burn the castle of 
St. Leu or some other place, and they will not 
be satisfied so long as there is a stronghold left 
in the Beauvoisis. First, I must lead away your 
horse — for if they see him, they will suspect the 
truth — and then I will soon find some place 
where you may be hidden." 

" Where, where ? " cried Adela. 

" Wait till I come back and I will show you," 
answered the woman, and she turned and left 
the cottage for a moment or two. 

Adela looked wildly round her ; there seemed 
no place where even a child could conceal itself, 
and in despair she thought of going out into the 
forest and seeking some obscure spot amongst 
the trees ; but ere she could reach the door, the 
swineherd's wife returned, and leading her back, 
said, « Be not afraid, you shall be here in 
safety. — I hear them coming over the fields and 
through the woods," she continued, "singing 
and rejoicing in the great deeds that they have 
done. We shall have bread now — no more 
lack of food — no more want and starvation: 

VOL. II. u 



290 THE JACQUERIE. 

furred gowns for the children, and milk, and 
wine, and bread." 

While thus she went on, the predominant 
idea taking up her whole attention, and making 
her forget the terrors of her guest, Adela stood 
before her ready to drop, clasping her hands 
in the wildness of fear, and murmuring inco- 
herent prayers and entreaties, mingled with low 
words expressive of her apprehensions for her 
father, which not even the dread of immediate 
death could banish. 

At length the woman noticed her again, ex- 
claiming, " Fear not, poor trembler, fear not, 
but come hither with me;" and walking slowly 
and deliberately to the other side of the room, 
she opened a rude door, which Adela had ima- 
gined afforded another outlet into the forest. 
As soon as it was thrown open, however, she 
perceived that it led merely to a low narrow 
receptacle for fuel, in which were piled up, nearly 
to the top, a number of faggots, composed of 
dry branches gathered in the "wood during the 
winter season. 
. " There is room for thee behind," cried the 



THE JACQUERIE. 291 

woman eagerly, as if startled by some sound ; 
"get thee in, round there: lie still, and stir 
not, whatever thou hearest. — Hark ! they are 
coming !" 

" Oli, ask for iny father," cried Adela, as with 
difficulty she made her way into the recess 
round the pile of faggots* 

"Hush !" said the swineherd's wife — "crouch 
down behind there. I will leave the door open 
that they may suspect nothing — stay, I will 
put a fresh faggot on the fire : then they will 
seek none themselves ;" and thus saying, she 
took up one of the bundles of wood and cast it 
upon the hearth. 

In the mean while, Adela, shaking in every 
limb with terror, lay down behind the pile, 
listening, with her sense of hearing quickened 
by fear, to the steps and tones of the men who 
were approaching. The sounds grew louder 
every moment as the insurgents came nearer, 
some singing with drunken ribaldry, some 
shouting, some laughing, while the hurried and 
irregular tread of their feet seemed to the poor 
v 2 



292 THE JACQUERIE. 

girl like the rush of a flood of waters destined 
to overwhelm her. 

In a minute, some one stopped at the door of 
the hut and shook it violently, while the voice 
of Jacques Morne exclaimed, " Open, wife, 
open, it is I. Why, in the fiend's name," he 
continued, as he entered, "do you bolt the 
door? Are we not lords and masters now? 
Come in, Caillet ; come in, old Thibalt." 

"Lords and masters wot ye?" said the 
woman. " Not quite that yet, Jacques. You 
have much to do before you will be that. Know 
you there have been men-at-arms here since 
you went?" 

" Why did you not kill them, then ?" de- 
manded Jacques Morne. " It is no more killing 
a man-at-arms than a weazel." 

" Thou art drunk," said his wife. " Did you 
not meet them, Caillet?" 

" No," answered Caillet : " which way did 
they take ? and how many were there ?" * 

" Some nine or ten," replied the woman; 
" and as for the way they took I cannot tell. 
It seemed as if they went towards Plessy." 



THE JACQUERIE. 293 

" Did you let them know what had hap- 
pened ? " demanded Caillet. 

" No, no," exclaimed the swineherd's wife ; 
" I took care not to do that. I thought that 
they might, perhaps, fall in with you, and get . 
the fate of the others." 

" If they have gone down to Plessy," said 
Caillet, " they will find plenty ready to deal 
with them. Know you who they were ? If there 
be any great man amongst them, it may be as 
well to go back again to do him honour." 

Adela's heart sunk, while the woman paused 
a moment ere she replied, and, small as was the 
chance of her father's escape, it was a relief to 
her to hear the words, " I marked not their 
faces, but they seemed common men-at-arms." 

A voice then shouted from without, " Hallo ! 
where do we go to ? where do we go to ? Don't 
keep us here waiting. — Some say St. Leu, 
others say Argot." 

" I come, I come ! " cried Caillet. '? Take 

the way to Argot," he continued, speaking from 

the door : " the serfs of the village there will 

join us, and we can sleep in the huts round 

u 3 



294 THE JACQUERIE. 

about the castle; so that to-morrow by day- 
break we have them in a net — To Argot ! to 
Argot ! — Go on, I will follow you. — Give me 
a cup of wine, Jacques Morne," he added, " I 
have a burning thirst upon me." 

" Thou hast drunk blood enough, Caillet," 
answered Morne, in a drunken tone ; " but it 
quenches no drought I know; and the more 
one tastes the more one longs for. I should 
like to kill a dozen more to-night." 

As he spoke, he moved towards the table 
where the bottle stood, while Caillet remained 
with his eyes bent firmly upon the blazing 
faggots, as if he found a great interest in watch- 
ing the progress of the devouring element 
Adela continued, as before, behind the pile of 
brushwood, holding her breath, as Jacques 
Morne came nearer to her, lest even the slight- 
est sound should call his attention. What were 
her feelings, however, when he suddenly stopped 
as he was advancing towards the table, and 
stooped down exclaiming, " Here is a woman's 
glove ! Who brought it here ?" 

" Yourself, you fool," replied his wife readily. 



THE JACQUERIE. 295 

" You are so drunk you do not know what you 
are doing. You brought it with the other 
things, and one of the children had it to play 
with." 

"It is a lie!" said Jacques Morne. "I 
brought no glove." 

"Hush, hush!" cried Caillet: "give me 
the wine, Jacques Morne, and squabble not 
for foolery. Wilt thou come with us, or wilt 
thou not ?" 

" I will stay here and sleep," replied the 
swineherd, "and come to you in the morning \" 

t( That thou shalt not !" exclaimed his wife: 
"I will have none of thee here till thou hast 
done more of the good work ; or else I will give 
thee a petticoat and make thee mind the 
children, while I take an axe on my shoulder, 
and follow the deliverers of the land. It is 
such men as thou art that spoil all things by 
fancying them done when they are scarce 
begun." 

"Thou art right, thou art right!" cried 
Caillet : " though we have seized one castle, 
destroyed the nest of one vulture, yet there 



296 THE JACQUERIE. 

is many another foul brood to be exterminated 
before we can be at all secure. Those who 
stop short, in such matters as these, are almost 
as bad as enemies, for they cool the hearts of 
others. Come, come, Morne, you have been 
amongst the first, and must not halt now." 

" I will not halt, I will not halt, Caillet !" 
cried Jacques Morne, who had filled himself 
a cup of wine, while he gave another to Caillet, 
and had thereby added to the inebriety which 
was already upon him. " Here, old Thibalt— 
drink, man, drink ! — I will not halt, Caillet, I 
will not halt, if all the fiends of hell wanted 
to keep me; — but this glove, I want to know 
about this accursed glove! — No, halt? I'll 
not halt. I'll only sit down for a minute to 
rest myself, and come on directly ; " and as 
he spoke, he proceeded with somewhat unsteady 
steps, as if to seek a seat upon the very pile of 
faggots behind which poor Adela de Mauvinet 
lay concealed. 

Before he reached it, however, he stumbled, 
and fell prone upon the bed of leaves and rushes 
where the children lay, waking them in terror 



THE JACQUERIE. 297 

and surprise. His wife scolded vehemently, 
and would have pushed him out, but Caillet, 
turning away with a look of contempt, told her 
to keep him where he was. *' He is in no state 
to go with us," he added ; " let him come on 
to-morrow. — But, my faith, we must have less 
drunkenness." 

Thus saying, he strode to the door, and left 
the cottage together with old Thibalt, who had 
taken up the golden cup Jnto which the swine- 
herd had poured the wine, and forgot to put it 
down ere he departed. 

. "What is to be done now?" murmured 
Jacques Morne's wife to herself, looking from 
her husband to her children. " Hush, hush, 
Hue ! lie down, my boy, and go to sleep again. 
— Drunken beast, why have you wakened the 
children?" 

" You lie," cried Morne ; " I did not waken 
them ; you woke them yourself ; " and sitting 
up on the end of the bed he prepared to rise, 
though it was evidently with difficulty. 

" Ha ! " said the woman, a new thought 
seeming to strike her, " thou shalt have no more 



298 THE JACQUERIE. 

wine ! though thou wouldst drink the whole 
bottle if thy pitiful stomach would hold it ; but 
thou shalt have no more, I say;" and as she 
spoke she moved to the table, affecting to take 
the means of further potations out of his reach. 

" I will, I will ! " cried Jacques Morne, 
rushing forward with the obstinacy of drunken- 
ness ; "I will drink the whole bottieau, I declare, 
as I saw the juggler do at the Cour Pleniere." 

" That thou couldst not if thou wouldst, and 
shouldst not if thou couldst," replied his wife, 
affecting to struggle with him for the large 
leathern bottle. She suffered him to take it 
easily enough, and setting the mouth to his lips, 
he drank a long deep draught. Then staggering 
back to the corner of the bed, he sat for a little 
while poising the bottle on his knee, and at 
length raised it once more to his head. He 
could not hold it up long, however, but let it 
drop from his hands, spilling part of the con- 
tents upon the floor ; and after swaying back- 
wards and forwards for a moment or two, with 
his eyes half closed, he fell backwards upon the 
bed dead asleep. 



THE JACQUERIE. 299 

The woman easily hushed the children to 
sleep again, and then looked out at the door ; 
but she suddenly drew back her head, and 
waited for a moment listening. Then ap- 
proaching to the spot where Adela lay, she 
took her by the hand, and brought her forth, 
saying, " All is safe now, I think. Drink 
some of this wine to give you strength. Mount 
your horse again, and away, either to Beau- 
mont or St. Leu, with all speed." 

" But my father, my father?" exclaimed 
Adela. 

" He is safe," said a voice apparently close 
to her, which she instantly recognised as that of 
the count ; and turning round she gazed over 
the part of the cottage from which it seemed to 
proceed, but could see nothing except a small 
square hole made apparently to look from the 
hut itself towards the styes for the swine. 

The swineherd's wife grasped the fair girl's 
arm tight, and pointed to Jacques Morne as he 
lay prostrate on the bed, saying, " My husband 
shall be safe ! Is it not so ? I have delivered 
your life, remember, and I will " 



300 THE JACQUERIE. 

Ere she could add more, however, the Lord 
of Mauvinet was in the cottage, and in another 
instant had clasped Adela to his heart. The 
woman plucked him by the sleeve, murmuring 
some anxious questions ; but the count turned 
towards her with a sad and frowning brow, 
replying, "You have spared and shall be 
spared ; but add not a word : the curse of God 
is upon such deeds as have been done this day; 
and, though I take not yon wretch's life, ven- 
geance is not the less sure. Come, my child, 
come ! I have seen all, and heard all, and for 
your sake the sword rests in the scabbard, 
which, perhaps, ought to be drawn." 



END OF THE SECOND VOLUME. 



London 
Printed by A. 



ited by A. Spottiswoodk, 
New-Street-Square. 



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- BWULLij'jK, 




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