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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 222



junction of her royal lord, had satisfied her, and insured for him her good will. The Scotch King waa conveyed with all joy and speed to London, and, on the sixth of January, 1347, mounted on a tall black war-horse, conducted in triumph from Westminster through the streets of the metropolis, which were thronged with spectators, to the Tower, and lodged in the state prison in that fortress. Meanwhile, the Queen proceeded to Calais, accompanied by most of the highborn ladies of England, who were all anxious to enjoy a temporary reunion with their husbands and kindred, occupied at tho blockade of that important city. The fair voyagers reached Calais, in safety, on tho twenty-ninth of October, J 346, and Edward welcomed their arrival by a grand court and a sumptuous feast, presided over by himself and his victorious consort. The blockade of Calais continued till the third of August, 1347, when the brave garrison, overcome by famine and despair, surrendered at discretion. Tho Governor sent a messenger soliciting easier terms, and after much entreaty, Edward ordered Sir Walter Manny to go and say, that all should be pardoned save six of tho principal burghers, who must surrender their lives as a sacrifice to his vengeance. This answer struck the dejected inhabitants with consternation. They met the weeping Governor in the marketplace to consult, when, after a brief pause, Eustace de St. Pierre, the most wealthy of the citizens, dispelled the common gloom by naming himself first of the six to die tor the behoof of their starving fellow-townsmen. His example was immediately imitated by five others, and the procession walked from the gate to the English camp with the greatest sorrow and lamentation. It was headed by the Governor, mounted on a small horse, on account of his wounds ; then followed fifteen knights bare-headed, with their swords pointed to the ground, and next came the six citizens walking with their heads and feet bare, clad only in their shirts, and with halters round their necks. When presented to Edward by Sir Walter Manny, the six citizens fell on their knees, handed him the keys of the town and the castle, declared they surrendered themselves to his absolute will and pleasure to save their fellow-citizens from starvation and misery, and with uplifted hands implored his mercy. The English nobles present wept over their misfortunes, but Edward received them with an air of severity, and, rejecting the intercession of his barons, ordered their heads to be struck ofF. Being determined, if possible, to save them, Sir Walter Mauny stepped forward and said :— " I beseech you, sire, cool your wrath ; for if you put to death these six good citizens, the act will tarnish your fair fame, arid the world will brand you as a cruel despot." Tho king gave a wink to his attendants, and answered :— " Let the world think as it will, I am. resolved that these men shall suffer for the evil done me by the stubborn inhabitants of Calais." Then addressing his marshal, he concluded:— " Send for tho executioner, and see that he instantly decapitates them." On hearing this, Philippa fell on her knees before her royal lord, and with dishevelled hair, and bathed in tear's, exclaimed :— " Ah, gentle sir ! since I have voyaged over the perilous waters to sec you, I have never asked you one favour; now I earnestly implore, for the sake of the Son of the blessed 'Mary, and for your love to me, that you will spare the lives of these six good men !" Edward looked at her for a few se conds in silence, and then said :— " Dearest Philippa, I would you had been anywhere else than here, for I can not refuse your entreaty. I give them you, do as you will with them." The gentle Queen then conducted the prisoners to her chamber took the halters from their necks, clothed them in becoming apparel, served them with a plentiful repast, made to each a present of six nobles, and had them safely escorted out of the camp. On theii departure, St. Pierre exclaimed:— ρ 2


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