Of three things which I noted that happened before the armies tooke the fielde. The one pleasaunt, the other arteficiall, and the thirde lamen∣table.
THE Writers of greate Histories, who are to * represent more matters than there bee leaues vp∣pon a spread Oake, cannot alwayes expresse and Page 354 note euerie the perticulars that accompanie them: for if they shoulde binde themselues thereto, for euerie volume that they publish, they shoulde bee forced to sette out foure, and therefore it is enough for them to declare whatsoeuer is most notable. Where∣fore my selfe, if in reading things past I meete with ought eyther much or little, wherevppon a man to the ende to bring it into taste or reape anie profite, might dilate, doe somewhat delight so to doe, especiallie in those thinges whereof I haue beene an eie witnesse, which also may peraduenture somewhat serue to the vnderstan∣ding of the storie, which is the rich storehouse, whereto they that co∣uet goodly ornamentes ought to haue recourse: for that which I heere sette downe is but a Pedlers packe, conteyning wares of meane price, albeit vnlesse I bee deceiued, not falsefied or coun∣terfait.
The first matter that I meane to shew, is in what sort the Prince * of Conde and his troope ariued at Orleance. The daie before hee came hee sent the Lorde of Andelot to take the Towne, who comming vnknowen, perceiued there woulde bee some lette▪ wherevppon hee sent worde to the sayde Lorde to make speede to assist him, for hee was lykelie to haue some bickering. Nowe the whole companie beeing loth to loose so good a morcell desi∣red not to trot, but euen to galloppe, which was no sooner sayde but it was done. For sixe leagues off beganne the course: The Prince hauing with him as well in maisters as seruauntes aboute two thousande horse, taking the greate galloppe, the whole bodie did the lyke, and so continued euen to the verie gates.
Innumerable were the people that they mette by the waie going to Paris, who beholding the mysterie of this course, and withall, that none asked them anie question, did for the most part at the first thinke that all the fooles in Fraunce had beene there assembled, or else that it had beene for some wager: for as yet there was not anie noise of warre: Howbeit thinking better there∣of, and considering both the number and nobilitie, they grewe in∣to greate admiration, yet so as they coulde not but laughe at so for∣cible a motion, which did not beare downe the trees as the windes of Languedocke, but seemed rather to beare downe it selfe: for ordinarilie by the waie they might behold seruants cast downe, horses shouldered and tyred, and sumpters ouerthrowen, which bred continuall sporte euen in those which did runne.
Page 355 But they that the same daie were thrust forth of the towne did Ca∣tholikly bewaile, their dispossession from the staple of the pleasan∣test wines in France.
Concerning the second point, the matter is of more grauitie, as consisting in both generall and priuate accusations, defences, rea∣sons, * and other pollicies to perswade: which were the weapons wherewith so many great Captaines for the space of two moneths fought together, as also to comfort and hearten their confederates and partakers. For in these so new and extraordinarie alterations of estate, it was verie requisite to abolish all bad opinions out of the minds of those that knew not the drifts of the enterprisers: and as the assault was great, so was the defence forcible, as may appeare by reading the actions as well of the one part as of the other, which are inserted into the Annales. Some there are that weene if their cause be good, that it will so shew it selfe to all men, and therefore will not publish the truth thereof: wherein they ouershoote them∣selues. For albeit iust and true matters doe in time shew forth their light, yet is it in sundrie occurrences meete to anticipate them, and that men should betimes knowe that that will at length appeare, though not with so much fruit. Also as weedes doe many times for want of pulling vp, choke the good hearbes: so if the slanders which the aduersaries doe ordinarily obiect agaynst such things as bee good, be not refelled, they would no doubt many times thereby bee suppressed, besides that we are the more supported when (in whatso∣euer case) we haue proued that we walke vpright and labour with an euen hand.
To be briefe, in this world men are so slothful in publike duties, that without continuall calling vppon, they remaine immoueable. But they that haue but a bad cause in hand, haue more need of arte∣ficiall speeches to cloake that which being reauealed will bring it out of fauour: neither do I thinke them to be tongue tied, whereby we may perceiue that eloquence resembleth a two edged knife: but whatsoeuer men saie, it is a hard matter to disguise falsehood or ble∣mish the truth.
The third point consisteth in the parley néere to Toury in Beausse,* betweene the Queene Mother, the king of Nauare, & the Prince of Condie, to deuise vpon some meanes to appease the controuer∣sies fallen out. Many did imagine that the presence and conference of the greatest woulde bee of more efficacie than the sundrie em∣bassages from part to part: and albeit euteruiewes be sometimes Page 356 dangerous, yet was it concluded, the rather at the Queenes in∣stance, with the limitations ensuing: That on each side they shoulde bring one hundred Gentlemen with armour and speare: That no troops shuld come within two leagues of the place appointed: That thir∣tie light horse on each part should sixe houres before their meeting dis∣couer the fielde, which was as playne as the sea: That at the appoin∣ted houre the Queene and King of Nauarre should bee on horse backe in the place appointed, where the Prince and Admirall lykewise on horsebacke shoulde mee•e them to intreate together of the publyke af∣fayres.
In the meane time the two troopes consisting of choice men; and for the most parte Lordes to houer eight hundred pates asun∣der: the Marshall de Anuil commaunding ouer the one, and the Earle of Rochefoucault ouer the other. Hauing thus beheld ey∣ther other for the space of halfe an houre, each coueting to see one his brother, another his vnkle, cousen, friende, or olde companion, they •raued leaue of theyr superiours, which was hardlie graunted, in respect that at the first they were forbidden to meete for feare of iniuryes and affrayes. But so farre were they from quarelling, that contrariwise there was nothing but salutations and embra∣cings of such as could not forbeare ye demonstration of amitie vnto those whome parentage or honestie had vnited vnto them: not∣withstanding the contrarie tokens that they bare. For the King of Nauarres troope was clothed in cassockes of crimson veluet and redde scarfes, and the Prince of Condes in white. The Catho∣likes imagining the Protestants to bee lost, exhorted them to see to themselues, & not to enter obstinatlie into this miserable warre, wherein neere kinsmen must murther one another: heereto they aunswered, that they detested it, howbeit if they had not recourse to theyr defence, they were assured of lyke intreatie as many other Protestants had receiued, who were cruellie slaine in sundrie parts of France.
To be briefe, each prouoked other to peace, and to persuade their superiours to hearken thereto. Some who a parte did more deep∣lie consider of these things, bewayled publike discord as the spring of future mischiefes: Then waighing with themselues that all these greetings would bee conuerted into bloudie murthers, vppon the least token of battayle that the superiours shoulde giue: that the •iseardes being shut and readie, furie hauing •ayled their sight, one brother woulde scarce pardon another, the water euen stoode Page 357 in their eyes. My selfe was then among the Protestants, and I may truelie saie that on the other side there were a douzen of my friendes: whome I accounted as deere as my owne brethren, who also bare mee the lyke affection: In the meane time as well con∣science as honour bounde each one not to fayle in the one or the o∣ther. Priuate amitie did as thē liue, but since these great calamities had course, and conuersation discontinued, it is euen dead in many. The Queene and Prince of Conde hauing conferred two long houres together, when they coulde growe to no agreement, depar∣ted, each verie sorie that they had no better succesie.