Tales from Froissart

edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

A deed of arms  is not accomplished

During the Castilian campaign, two famous knights arrange for a deed of arms.

Book II, ch. 92 (Johnes, v. 2, pp. 292-3).  It happened, during the most active part of the campaign in Castille, when knights and squires were eager after adventures and deeds of arms, that the lord Boucicaut had taken the field, and had sent a herald to demand from sir John d'Ambreticourt three courses with spears on horseback.   Sir John had agreed to meet him, with the addtion of three courses with daggers, and the same with battle-axes, all on horseback.

Sir John, having so readily assented sought for him everywhere; but I know not for what reason he had not advanced to that part of the country.  I do not, however, say, nor mean to say, that the lord Boucicaut ws not equal to such a challenge, nor even to one of more hardy adventure.  When sir John d'Ambreticourt was at Bayonne, with sir John Holland, he thought much on this challenge, which, having accepted, he considered himself bound to accomplish; and that he could not honourably leave France without doing so, lest the French might say he had returned to England dishonourably.

He consulted his companions, but especially sir John Holland, how to act.  He was advised to pass through France, as he had a good passport, which the duke of Bourbon had obtained for him, and go to Paris in search of the lord Boucicaut:  he might hear of him on his road, or at Paris, and the matter would be settled to his honour.   This advice being agreeable to him, he departed, and took the road through the country of the Basques, and came to Orthès in Béarn, where he found the count de Foix.  The count received him handsomely, detained him some short time, and, on his going away, presented him with two hundred florins and a very fine horse.

Sir John d'Ambreticourt continued his road through Béarn, Bigorre, the Toulousain, and Carcassonnois.  He was accompanied by William de Soumain and other squires from Hainault, who were returning to their own country.  On their arrival at Paris, he learnt that the king was at that moment in Normandy, and the lord Boucicaut, as they said, in Arragon.  Sir John, to acquit himself honourably, waited on the principal barons of France that were then at Paris, and having staid there eight days to amuse himself, he continued his journey to Calais, and those from Hainault went home.   Thus were the different captains of the army of Castile separated.

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