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From Peter the Cruel, The Life Of The Notorious Don Pedro of Castile Together With An Account Of His Relations With The Famous Maria de Padilla, by Edward Storer; London: John Lane, The Bodley Head; New York: John Land Company, 1911; pp. 276-299.





AND in Castile, Don Pedro the Cruel was making such preparations for the reception of the invaders as his weakened will and authority might allow. He went up and down the country with something of the swiftness and energy which had characterised his earlier days. Burgos he fixed on as the rallying point for his troops, Burgos the city of independent burghers, the heart of the third estate of Castilian existence, the citadel of the Commons.

But woful reports came from over the hills of the dreadful qualities of the oncoming host. Tales were whispered of men who were all seven feet high, and had arms like young trees, and teeth like horses; who fought like devils, and were encased in impenetrable and glistening armour. The reputation of the White Company and of commanders like Du Guesclin, and the valiant Sir Hugh were thus carved by timid, imaginative spirits into immense figures of horror. It was hardly an army of men at all that was coming; superstition and ignorance pictured it as a huge cohort of mailed fiends approaching with irresistible vigour. And in the nearer Aragon friendly hands stretched out to greet them, and fire 277 answered fire from the hill-top, and guides and provisions met the invaders at the mountain passes.

A black and white picture of Don Enrique de Trastamara, by an unknown artist and unknown period


Don Pedro IV. and the old debauchee of Navarre entered into more treaties with each other, which neither of them intended to keep, and between them partitioned Castile, which they saw already conquered and in their hands.

The men of the Free Companies were no sooner in Aragon than they began their old tactics of pillage and rapine, and declined to believe that they were not yet in the enemy’s country, but in that of their ally. Don Pedro of Castile lost an opportunity which might have thrown the balance of things towards his side, when he declined the intervention on his behalf with the leaders of the English Companies of the Seigneur d’Albret, a vassal of the King of England.

The proposals included the payment by Don Pedro of considerable sums of money, and to this he could not agree.

In the March of 1366, the first blow was struck at Castile, when Sir Hugh de Calverley attacked the city of Borja, an Aragonese town then in Castilian hands. On the approach of the English the garrison fled. Then the entire army swept over Navarre into Castile, and entered the town of Calahorra as easily as they had taken Borja.

This defection, which was the work of the town’s rulers, nevertheless enraged the patriotic inhabitants very much. So much so, that the women tore their 278 hair, and beat their breasts at their disgrace. For the folk of Calahorra had an historical reputation to lose. Their constancy and endurance had been famous from Roman times, and it is known that Augustus Cæsar chose his bodyguard from its inhabitants.

Calahorra was made the scene of a rather premature coronation. Du Guesclin in the name of the French; Sir Hugh for the English; and the Conde de Denia for the Aragonese, solemnly offered to Don Enrique the Crown of Castile.

“Take the Crown,” said Du Guesclin. “You owe this honour to the many noble knights who have elected you their leader in this campaign.

“Besides, Don Pedro, your enemy, refuses to meet you in the battle-field, and thus himself acknowledges that the Castilian throne is vacant.”

With well-feigned modesty the courtly Conde resisted for a while these flatteries and honours, but, after allowing himself to be pressed a little further, accepted the Crown with the best grace in the world. As soon as it was placed on his head, Don Tello unfurled the royal standard, and passed through the camp crying, “Castile for King Enrique! Long live King Enrique!”

Then everyone cheered, and the march was resumed.

When the enemy was only a day’s journey away from Burgos, Don Pedro remained in retirement in his palace as if hypnotised by the coming disaster. Confusion and panic were in the air, ready to break out at any moment. Though the King issued no 279 orders, and seemed to have lost all confidence in himself and his fortunes, there were still many gallant gentlemen on his side, who looked but for a word to fling themselves before the foe.

The burghers were a stout-hearted lot. They had money and arms, and the city had good defences. Had the King but spoken, they were ready enough to fight.

But on Saturday, the eve of Palm Sunday, a body of horsemen was seen preparing to leave the city, and a guard of six hundred Moors was drawn up in order before the gates.

“The King deserts us. The King deserts us,” went from mouth to mouth, and a great crowd gathered round the palace.

The fathers of the city made their way to Don Pedro, and begged him not to desert them, saying that their lives and goods were at his service, if he would only use them.

Falteringly Pedro thanked them, but urged the necessity of his departure for Seville whither, he said, the enemy were thought to be marching.

“Do the best you can,” he replied to their entreaties and queries for instructions.

And then, with his Granadine bodyguard, he left the city to its fate.

Don Pedro evidently thought himself in a desperate state, though he had not yet relinquished all idea of holding his crown, for we can detect the outlines of a plan of defence in his movements and orders at this time. Thus he wrote to the captains of all the towns of the Aragonese frontier to desert their posts and to 280 join him at Toledo. It would seem that he wished to draw the enemy well into the interior of Spain, and then to trust to hardships, and the climate, and guerilla warfare for his means of defence. This was a policy which has often enough served its purpose both in the Peninsula and in France. Had Don Pedro possessed the affections of his nobles, it might have succeeded in this instance.

Burgos, after being deserted by its Sovereign, opened its gates readily enough to Enrique, and the next day the prince was crowned for the second time, in the church of the monastery of Las Huelgas.

The Conde signalised his accession by a shower of new honours and titles to his followers and friends. To Du Guesclin he gave his own late title of Trastamara; Sir Hugh he made Lord of Carrion; the Conde de Denia was created Marquis de Villena.

Don Tello resumed the title of Lord of Biscay, and Don Sancho inherited the estate of the late Don Juan de Alburquerque which, since his son’s death, had been forfeited to the Crown.

Indeed, so many favours, honours, and dignities were scattered among the knight-companions that a popular saying took its birth from this hour of easy generosity — Mercedes Enriquenas or Enrique’s favours signify gifts before they are earned. The more universal expression of “Castles in Spain” is also by some authorities attributed to this episode.

Don Pedro, after a short stay at Toledo, went to Seville. His flight through Spain was not unnaturally the means of bringing many of his adherents and 281 courtiers to the Pretender’s standard. One, Diego de Padilla, the Master of Calatrava, turned towards the new power in complete forgetfulness of the old.

Garci Alvarez sold Toledo to the allies for two extensive domains and a considerable sum of money. In this city Don Enrique held his first court, and received the homage of many deputations and nobles. The Jew, who had always looked on Don Pedro as a protector, were made by the new king to pay for their old loyalty. Large contributions in money were extracted from them.

Even in Seville, the city of Don Pedro’s heart, the city of his loves and his youth, Don Pedro found the populace no more united than elsewhere against the foe.

Rumours of his unholy alliances with the infidels and the Jews were bruited abroad; and talk of a Moorish invasion planned by the King served to make the people bitter against him.

Sedition burned in the city, and flamed up in ominous fashion, when great tumultuous crowds surged round the Alcazar.

One of the first things that Don Pedro did on arrival at Seville was to send his daughter Beatriz with a faithful servant into Portugal, to whose Infante she was betrothed. He sent also the stipulated dowry and a considerable quantity of jewellery which had belonged to Maria de Padilla.

Soon the discontent of Seville’s people turned to absolute insurrection, and an assault was made upon the palace. Even while the rabble was running through the galleries and patios of the place, the King 282 made his escape, accompanied by his two daughters, Constanza and Isabel, Marin Lopez, Master of Alcantara, Leonor, a natural daughter of Don Enrique, and some few caballeros. Froissart says “with his wife and children,” which may mean that he took either Isabella, the woman of the bed-chamber, or some one other of the royal concubines mentioned in his will.

Hardly was the party on horseback, before the mob burst with a roar into the Alcazar on its errand of destruction.

In this hour of affliction, Don Pedro turned to Portugal and its ruler. A marriage had long been in contemplation between the Infante Don Fernando and the King’s daughter, Doña Beatriz. Pedro hoped perhaps to obtain some assistance from the father-in-law-elect of his daughter. He sought an interview with the King of Portugal, but was surprised when on the way thither he was met by his daughter Beatriz, ignominiously sent back to him by his faithless ally. “The Infante Don Fernando no longer desires to wed the Infanta Doña Beatriz.”

That was the message from Portugal to Castile — Castile now a wanderer and a vagabond in his own land.

Further, Don Pedro was informed that he must hope for no asylum or assistance from Portugal. The King listened to this message, but returned no answer.

Alone afterwards with one of his own knights, he is said to have taken a few gold pieces from his pocket 283 and scattered them over the roof of the house where he had been staying.

The caballero, thinking, perhaps, of his unpaid stipend, said to the King that such money would be fitter given to his servants than sown in such inhospitable soil.

“Truly,” said the King savagely, “I sow now; but one day I shall return and reap.” Luckily for Portugal, this was a prophecy never to be fulfilled.

Then followed nearly two months of wanderings, privations, and constant flights from place to place, until, at last, at Monterey in Castile, a few faithful voices were raised to greet the King, and a few faithful knights gathered round him once more.

These were the vassals of that faithful servant, Don Fernando de Castro.

News of a rather better nature was now brought to Don Pedro. He learnt that some of his cities still held out against Enrique, and the valiant De Castro announced that he was gathering together an army.

In the castle of Zamora, at the extremities of his kingdom, Don Pedro thus gathered round him the shadow of a court.

He wrote from there to the Prince of Wales, then at Bordeaux, a letter in which he gave a pitiful account of his extremity, an account calculated to move the sensible and romantic heart of the Black Prince.

Into this composition Don Pedro threw all his cunning, for the help of the English Prince was, he knew, his only chance of keeping his crown on his head.

Don Pedro also wrote to Carlos the Bad, who was the 284 traditional enemy of the French, and the ally of the English.

At Santiago de Compostella, Don Pedro put the Archbishop to death.

Meanwhile Enrique and his troops went from town to town in one long triumphal progress, until at last they reached Seville. Here, in what Don Pedro had always considered his stronghold, they were received more delightedly than anywhere else.

So great was the crowd at the city’s gates that Don Enrique took hours to pass through the streets into the palace. So anxious was everyone to behold him that, although he reached the city’s gates in the morning, it was vesper time before he gained the Alcazar.

So, but for an insignificant corner of Galicia, Castile had been conquered by the Free Companies, almost, indeed, without blood, and certainly without any struggle.

It is probable that these pugnacious gentry were disappointed at meeting in Don Pedro a foe so unworthy of prowess. At any rate, Don Enrique soon began to find them a great trouble and source of expense, and suggested to Du Guesclin the question of their return. The bastard sought only to retain the Breton general, Sir Hugh, and some 1500 knights; the rest he was anxious to see will on their way back to France as soon as might be.

Some of the French did, indeed, return, including the Conte de la Marche and the Sire de Beaujeu, and a terrible journey was theirs.

All the fighting that had been lacking in the 285 anabasis was forthcoming in full measure in the return. The Castilians, the Navarrese, the French, all barred their way, but these tremendous fighters were everywhere victorious, and re-entered France somewhat decimated, but in good order.

Meanwhile the knight and his squires who had been charged with Don Pedro’s letter to the Black Prince — written, according to Froissart, in “a most piteous and lamentable strain” — had arrived at Bordeaux, and made their way to the monastery of St. Andrew where the Prince was staying.

Prince Edward, when he had taken the letter from the messengers and read it, said to them: —

“You are welcome to us from our cousin the King of Castile. You will stay in our court, and will not return without an answer.”

The Prince then remained in his apartment, thinking much on the contents of the letter from Don Pedro. Soon he called a conference of his knights, to which there came Sir John Chandos and Sir William Felton.

“When they were come, he said, smiling, ‘My lords, here is great news from Spain.’ ”

Prince Edward read King Peter’s letter over to his knights “who lent a willing ear.” He then asked their advice.

Sir John and Sir William stood looking at each other, but they said never a word. The Prince appealed to them again.

“Speak boldly, whatever be your opinion,” he demanded.

The Prince was then advised by his knights to invite 286 Don Pedro to state in person his wants and intentions “that they should be better informed from his conversation how they were to act.”

An expedition was therefore planned to escort Don Pedro from Corunna.

This was to consist of twelve vessels, which were to be filled with archers and men-at-arms. But when these ships were awaiting a wind at Bayonne, the King of Castile arrived there himself with a few of his people, and as much treasure as he could take away with him.

The English received him handsomely, and explained how they had been about to go to Corunna to escort him to Prince Edward. Don Pedro received this intelligence with great joy, and warmly thanked the knights present.

Without making a long stay in Bayonne, the whole company set out for Bordeaux, where they arrived safely.

The Prince of Wales rode out to meet his ally, accompanied by his knights and esquires.

“When they met, he saluted him very respectfully, and paid him every attention by speech and action, for he knew perfectly well how to do so; no prince of his time understood so well the practice of good breeding.”1

After refreshing themselves, the cavalcade returned to Bordeaux with Don Pedro riding at the Prince’s right hand side, “and he would not suffer it to be otherwise.”

On the way, the Castilian told the English warrior 287 the story of his misfortunes, and received in return many sympathetic replies.

Arrived at the monastery, Don Pedro was conducted to an apartment prepared for him, where he found fine linen and clothes ready for his service. “When he had dressed himself suitably to his rank, he waited on the Princess and the ladies who,” says Froissart, “all received him very politely.”

We know, however, that the Princess of Wales took an instinctive dislike to Don Pedro at once on account of the expression of his face. She was never able to bring herself to agree with the scheme afterwards arranged on his behalf by Prince Edward.

Among the knights who were gathered round the Black Prince there were some who had no liking for the proposed interference in the politics of the Peninsula, and felt that it was, as they said, their duty to lay their advice before their lord.

“My lord,” declared their spokesman, “You have often heard the old proverb, “all covet, all lose.” True it is, that you are one of the princes of this world, the most enlightened, esteemed, and honoured. It is also well-known that no king, far or near at this present moment, dares anger you, such reputation have you in chivalry for valour and good fortune. You ought therefore in reason to be contented with what you have got, and not seek enemies.”

They further mentioned the notorious reputation of Don Pedro for cruelty, irreligion, and lust, and reminded the Prince of the suspicious death of his wife, Blanche.

To these and similar addresses, Edward replied that 288 he was well aware of Don Pedro’s life and conduct, and of his faults, for which he was then suffering. But that a bastard should possess a kingdom for an inheritance, and drive his brother, the lawful heir, out of it, was not in his opinion to be suffered. Such a state of things was of the greatest prejudice to royalty.

Thus we see the Black Prince was a firm believer in the divine right of kings, and, to complete his point of view, he informed his council that the King of Castile and his father were old allies.

Pedro, in return for so fair a speech, was full of promises to his new friends, to which, says Froissart, they listened eagerly, “for both the English and Gascons, by nature, are of a covetous disposition.”

Thus the thing was settled, and the power of England called in to stem the overflowing flood of Enrique’s fortunes.

Further to secure the affections of King Edward and pledge him to the undertakings of that chivalrous son of his whose adventures we know were not always to the royal liking, Don Pedro sent an ambassador to London to treat for the marriage of his daughters, Constanza and Isabel, with the English princes. To the ambassadors he also gave a long letter, whose object was to incline the feelings of King Edward III. towards himself.

Among other points which he makes may be noticed the following: —

“It is notorious how, at an early age, we lost our lord and father, King Alfonso; and how that this Don Enrique and another of our brothers, Don Fadrique, 289 both of them our elders, who ought to have defended and counselled us, far from so doing, coveted our heritage, and entered into a League at Medina Sidonia against us. . . . The death of the Master Don Fadrique was well deserved. . . . Tell King Edward, moreover, that I am called cruel and a tyrant because I have chastised whose who refused to obey me, and who did much injury to the peaceable inhabitants of my kingdom.”

Edward III. granted Don Pedro his protection, and promised to restore him to his throne.

Then followed the Treaty of Libourne, in which Don Pedro engaged himself, in the event of the recovery of his kingdom, to grant to England a part of Biscay, and especially certain sea-ports there, and the sum of 550,000 golden florins of Florentine coinage. The young Infantas, his daughters by Maria de Padilla, were to be left with the English as hostages at Bordeaux.

Thus we see that the Black Prince did not make, on the face of it, a bad bargain for himself.

The matter once settled, the Prince of Wales threw himself with great energy into the preparation for hostilities. He was glad of a chance to test once again his good fortune in war, and to exhibit to all men his great valour and prowess, which had now nearly ten years of indolence lying upon it.

In order to pay his soldiers, he melted down his plate and in all friendliness he gave his new comrade and ally a hint on the art of kingship.

“Treat,” said he to Don Pedro, “your vassals 290 kindly. Unless you win their affection, your Crown will never be assured to you.

The Castilian monarch appeared to be convinced of the wisdom of this advice, but in his heart the old hatred and vengeance were still smouldering.

The Prince’s admonitions may have represented a knightly qualm that the cause of England’s new adventure was not the cleanliest and best-advised in the world. Attracted by the activity at England’s continental headquarters, many wandering or deserting knights came late into the camp at Bordeaux, with ugly tales of the deeds of the man for whom all this excitement was stirring.

As to water in the desert were irresistibly attracted from France, Navarre, and the whole Peninsula, all sorts and conditions of exiled English knights, ready enough to fight under their own standard again.

Don Enrique, for his part, seems to have treated the reported English invasion as a matter of no great seriousness. But Du Guesclin evidently attached weight to the rumours, and had, we know, a great respect for the English captain.

“Sir Bertrand, think of the Prince of Wales; they say he intends to make war upon us, and to restore Don Pedro. What do you say to this?”

To which Sir Bertrand replied: —

“He is so valiant and determined a knight that, since he has undertaken it, he will exert himself to the utmost to accomplish it.”

The future Constable of France added the advice that Henry should keep up the affections of his subjects 291 and suffer no one to leave the kingdom without his permission. For his own part, he (Du Guesclin) would go into France to seek assistance there, where his popularity was likely to bring followers to his side.

Thus, by the eternal principle of compensation, the fortunes of Don Enrique, after having been borne along on a full and vigorous flood-tide, were now beginning to show signs of the succeeding ebb. His chief ally, Charles of France, was not in a position to offer him much practical assistance, and the old King of Navarre had played as usual into the hands of the highest bidder. As for Pedro IV., he began to insist on a speedy payment for such services to the cause as he had already rendered, and was in no wise anxious to supply the reinforcements which Don Enrique sought of him.

The Pretender convoked a Cortes at Burgos, the first city of Castile which had recognised his authority, and there demanded of the Commons the means to repel the threatened invasion of the English. The Commons voted a tax, which was to supply the money necessary for the occasion.

This impost, which was enforced with great vigour, produced the sum of nineteen millions of maravedis, a sum which is considerable, but is nothing like so enormous as it sounds.

Almost with enthusiasm did the nobility of Castile rally to the standard of the new sovereign. Probably it was an instinct of self-defence that brought them into the field on this occasion, for though the Ricos Hombres assembled in good numbers at Seville, there were 292 several small insurrections against Don Enrique in the more distant parts of the kingdom. It must be believed that they really were turbulent barons, and that many of the rigours of Don Pedro’s rule, though doubtless excessive, were rather essential after all.

About this time the King of Portugal died, and Don Tello engaged in an extraordinary affair.

Tello was well aware that his right to the Lordship of Biscay, lay in the fact of his having married Juana the heiress of the country. When, however, she died as a prisoner of Don Pedro, Tello thought himself thereby the less secure of his hold on the affections of the Biscayans.

Thus, at the time when the generous Enrique gave back to his younger brother the province, there was discovered a young woman who declared herself to be the original Juana. Tello lived with her as his wife for the better security of his estate, although he knew she was an imposter. The ruse was, of course, discovered, and proved somewhat injurious to Tello’s reputation with his very independent and haughty vassals.

For the purpose of that campaign, which was to decide whether Castile should be ruled over by a Pedro or an Enrique, the kingdom of Navarre was necessary in many ways.

Probably Carlos, passing his life in orgies which it is said were quite equal to the most fantastic and savage of Nero or Caligula, had never been so sorely beset with invitations for an alliance in his life.

Like most remarkable spirits, good or bad, of his own 293 or, indeed, of any time, he was but imperfectly in touch with the conventions and ideas of his day. Chivalry was no more to him than it was to Du Guesclin or Don Pedro, or the Captal de Buch or any of the rest of them.

Probably the only class who had any respect for the notion was the bourgeoisie whom it affected to despise.

Carlos then was offered money and promises on every hand, both by Edward, Don Pedro, and Don Enrique. He took all he could get from everybody, and did as little for it as he could contrive. He promised and swore anything and everything. At length, however, the contributors of these subsidies and the parties to these oaths which were never kept, became peremptory and demanded their part of the bargain. Edward of Wales had no mind to be trifled with by this Spanish Nero, and when he appeared with his army before the pass of Roncesvalles, he announced his intention of forcing it, if the treaty agreeing to its being kept open were not fulfilled.

Carlos the Bad issued at the same time orders to defend it, and orders to allow it to be surprised — a diplomacy of a dainty cynicism.

And when called upon by Don Pedro and Don Enrique to carry out his various promises, he evolved the following expedient to allow himself the advantage of being on the side of the victor whoever he might be. In this adventure Carlos displayed a quiet humour and freshness of his idea, which gives him a distinct character among his peers of the Peninsula.

On the Navarrese frontier was a certain castle of Borja, occupied by one Olivier de Mauny, a 294 Breton knight, and cousin to Du Guesclin. This man was an adventurer, to whom war was a means of livelihood. With him Carlos had a conference, where, we may imagine, the two enjoyed a good laugh at the plot they then hatched. At the very moment that the English were forcing their way through the pass of Roncesvalles, the King of Navarre set out on a hunting expedition. As had been arranged with Mauny, he became separated from the main body of his huntsmen, and allowed himself to be surrounded by De Mauny’s knights. He was then placed in the Castle of Borja, where he fancied he could safely await the ultimate falling out of things before declaring for the stronger party.


1  Froissart.




“ONE of the best knights of this world, a valiant man and a noble prince.”

Thus Froissart on Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, victor of Poitiers and newly-made ally of Castile.

“His liberality was his staff, and noblemen his director. Rightly might men say,” remarks Chandos the Herald in his rhyming chronicle, “that search the world over, you could find no such Prince.”

“As gallant in time of peace, as he was fiery in combat,” declares the Abbé de Choisy, in his History of Charles V.

We have seen what Du Guesclin thought of him in the last chapter. Du Guesclin knew him for a chivalrous knight and a bold warrior.

Only to the Spaniards themselves does it seems that his fame amounted to little. The Jesuit Moissant, in his Le Prince Noir remarks how he completely failed to find any trace of his reputation or doings in the archives of Valladolid and Burgos. Neither was he more successful with the private registers of the monastery of Las Huelgas where, as we have seen, the Prince was staying at the time of Don Pedro’s visit.

His reputation was, of course, a European one, and 296 the kingdoms of the Spanish Peninsula only really began to be a feature of Continental politics from the reign of Don Pedro and his successor.

But for Aragon’s connection with Majorca, and Castile’s with Sicily, Cyprus and Naples, the Spaniards were shut off from much political intercourse by the Pyrenees.

Perhaps, therefore, to them, Edward was no more than a prince enjoying a kind of luxurious exile. His fame had the rust of ten years on it, and it may well be that the reports of his extravagance and fine living in Aquitaine portrayed him for Castilian and Aragonese minds as a noble knight, playing the part of a slumberous and heavily-landed proprietor.

Certain it is, that ten years of peace, however good it may be for everybody else, is very bad for a soldier. It always has been so since the luxury of Capua destroyed the fine anger of Hannibal.

The Black Prince was first and foremost a soldier. In politics he was a poor figure, a poorer even than his father who was never too brilliant a man in this direction. By the side of men like Charles V., or the Pope, or Du Guesclin, or the Emperor, he was little better than a child.

He looks rather like the first complete Englishman on whom the full light of history falls, the father in spirit of so many more of his type, simple — as men go — incredibly insistent, not clever, but wonderfully successful.

Engraving of Edward the Black Prince, in armor, with his visor raised revealing his face and is beard, unknown source or artist.


Sentimental to a point, morosely religious, in conversation probably not brilliant, brave, of course, 297 unimaginative and yet — secret of the type’s success — dynamic.

Nelson’s prototype, and Clyde’s, and that of many an English general.

Joan, the fair maid of Kent,1 loved him very deeply, an affection which — reading between the lines of certain chroniclers — we may suspect bored the famous knight not a little.

In Choisy we read that the Prince declared of her —

“She would have me by her all day in her chamber, if she had her way. And that I will not do.”

We may also notice that this was not the first occasion on which a “king in exile” had flung himself for protection upon the clemency of the victor of Poitiers.

Already at his court was another poor little princeling, King James of Majorca, whom Pedro IV. of Aragon had despoiled of his inheritance. In the advance against Enrique which followed, King James led one of the divisions.

Among the knights who drifted to Prince Edward’s standard during the period of mobilisation at Dax, were Sir Hugh de Calverley and the English contingent of the Free Companies.

They explained to Enrique that their promise to fight for him had excluded the possibility of war with their own lord and they asked leave to depart, which Enrique courteously and generously enough granted. The parting took place with every species 298 of good-will on either side. Calverley expressed his regret, and Don Enrique his. The Conde loaded his late captain with magnificent presents, and wished him every good fortune.

The next occasion on which they met was to find them in arms against each other.

At last, in Aquitaine, the months of preparations drew to an end. The armourers of Bordeaux finished their task, and a great store of swords and coats of mail were ready for the warriors of the expedition.

The Princess gave birth to a son just before the army started, and many saw in this event a happy augury for the success of the campaign.

Poor Joan was very sad at parting with her lord, and her words, as Chandos gives them, have in them a ring of intense feeling.

“I have no heart, no blood, no veins, but every member fails me when I think of his departure.”2

Two months were the troops in the mountain passes, where they were detained by overwhelming snowstorms. Much privation and suffering were experienced during this journey.

At last, however, the little English army came through the passes after a few skirmishes with the Navarrese, and debouched into the plains.

At the news of the approach of the Black Prince, Don Enrique, who was at Treviño, held a council of war with his chiefs and captains.


To them he read a letter from the shrewd King Charles of France, who, though no soldier himself, was quick enough to appreciate the military strength of others.

In this communication he advised the Companies and Enrique not to risk a general engagement with so skilful a warrior as the Prince of Wales, and soldier so formidable as his veterans.

To this Du Guesclin added his expressed conviction, that in a pitched battle the English were invincible. He suggested the adoption of a guerilla warfare.

Other knights of the Companies seconded these resolutions, for the fame of Prince Edward was very great among the French.


1  For a charming account of her love-story with the Prince, see the Chronique des quatre premiers Valois quoted in Luce.

2  “Ore nay je coer, sang ne vayne qe ne me faille et tout li membre

        Quant de son partier me remembre.”

— Chandos Herald.


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