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brother, who received her with much joy. The lady did her message from point to point.
“ Then the king answered— Fair lady, the sum of money is yours. The count should give it for your dower; it shall never go out of the realm of Navarre since I have it in possession.
“Ah, Sir,' quoth the lady, ' By this ye shall set great hate between the count, my husband, and you; and if ye hold your purpose, I dare not return again into the county of Foix, for my husband will slay me. He will say I have deceived him.'
“ I cannot tell,' quoth the king, 'what ye will do; either tarry or depart; but as for the money I will not depart from it; it pertaineth to me to keep it for you, but it shall never go out of Navarre.'
“The countess could have none other answer of the king her brother, and so she tarried still in Navarre, and durst not return again. The Count of Foix, when he saw the dealing of the King of Navarre, he began to hate his wife, and was evil content with her; howbeit she was in no fault, but that she had not returned again when she had done her message. But she durst not, for she knew well the count, her husband, was cruel where he took displeasure. Thus the matter standeth.
“The count's son, called Gaston, grew and waxed goodly, and was married to the daughter of the Count of Armagnac, a fair lady, sister to the count that now is, the Lord Bertrand of Armagnac; and, by the conjunction of that marriage, there should have been peace between Foix and Armagnac. The child was a fifteen or sixteen years of age, and resembled right well to his father. On a time he desired to go into Navarre to see his mother, and his uncle the King of Navarre ; which was in an evil hour for him and for all this country. When he was come into Navarre, he had there good cheer, and tarried with his mother a certain space, and then took his leave; but for all that he could do, he could not get his mother out of Navarre, to have gone with him into Foix. For she demanded if the count had commanded him so to do, or no; and he answered, that when he departed the count spake nothing thereof. Therefore the lady durst not go thither, but so tarried still.
“ Then the child went to Pampeluna to take his leave of the king, his uncle. The king made him great cheer, and tarried him there a
ten days, and gave to him great gifts, and to his men. Also the last gift that the king gave him was his death. I shall show you how.
“When this gentleman should depart, the king drew him apart into his chamber, and gave him a little purse full of powder, which powder was such, that if any creature living did eat thereof, he should incontinent die without remedy. Then the king said, 'Gaston, fair nephew, ye shall do as I shall shew to you. Ye see how the Count of Foix, your father, wrongfully hath your mother, my sister, in great hate; whereof I am sore displeased, and so ought ye to be; howbeit, to perform all the matter, and that your father should love again your mother, to that intent ye shall take a little of this powder and put it on some meat that your father may eat it; but beware that no man see you. And as soon as he hath eaten it, he shall intend to nothing but to have again his wife, and so to love her ever after, which ye ought greatly to desire; and of this that I shew you let no man know, but keep it secret, or else ye lose all the deed.' The child, who thought all that the king said to him had been true, said, “Sir, it shall be done as ye have devised ;' and so he departed from Pampeluna, and returned to Orthes. The count, his father, made him good cheer, and demanded tidings of the King of Navarre, and what gifts he had given him; and the child shewed him how he had given him divers, and shewed him all except the purse with the powder.
“Ofttimes this young Gaston and Juan, his bastard brother, lay together, for they loved each other like brethren, and were like arrayed and apparelled, for they were near of a greatness and of one age; and it happened on a time, as their clothes lay together on their bed, Juan saw a purse at Gaston's coat, and said " What thing is this that ye bear ever about you ?' Whereof Gaston had no joy, and said, “Juan, give me my coat, ye have nothing to do therewith :' and all that day after Gaston was pensive.
“ And it fortuned a three days after, as God would that the count should be saved, Gaston and his brother Juan fell out together, playing at tennis, and Gaston gave him a blow, and the child went into his father's chamber and wept. And the count as then had heard mass, and when the count saw him weep, he said, 'Son Juan, what ailest thou?" "Sir,' quoth he, “Gaston hath beaten me, but he were more worthy to be beaten than me.' •Why so ?' quoth the Count, and in
continent suspected something. ·By my faith, sir,' said he, since he returned out of Navarre, he beareth privily at his breast a purse full of powder; I wot not what it is, nor what he will do therewith, but he hath said to me once or twice, that my lady, his mother, should shortly be again in your grace, and better beloved than ever she was.' • Peace!' quoth the count, “and speak no more, and show this to no man living. “Sir,' said he, ‘no more I shall. Then the count entered into imagination, and so came to the hour of his dinner; and he washed, and sat down at his table in the hall. Gaston, his son, was used to set down all his service, and to make the essays*. And when he had set down the first course, the count cast his eyes on him, and saw the strings of the purse hanging at his bosom. Then his blood changed, and he said, "Gaston, come hither, I would speak with thee, in thine ear.' And the child came to him, and the count took him by the bosom, and found out the purse, and with his knife cut it from his bosom. The child was abashed, and stood still, and spake no word, and looked as pale as ashes for fear, and began to tremble. The Count of Foix opened the purse, and took of the powder, and laid it on a trencher of bread, and called to him a dog, and gave it him to eat; and as soon as the dog had eaten the first morsel, he turned his eyes in his head, and died incontinent. And when the count saw that, he was sore displeased, and also he had good cause, and so rose from the table, and took his knife, and would have stricken his son. Then the knights and squires ran between them, and said, “Sir, for God's sake have mercy, and be not so hasty ; be well informed first of the matter, ere ye do any evil to your child.' And the first word that the count said, was, “Ah! Gaston ! traitor! for to increase thine heritage that should come to thee, I have had war and hatred of the French King, of the King of England, of the King of Spain, of the King of Navarre, and of the King of Arragon, and as yet I have borne all their malice, and now thou wouldst murder me; it moveth of an evil nature ; but first thou shalt die with this stroke. And so he stepped forth with his knife, and would have slain him; but then all the knights and squires kneeled down before him weeping, and said, “Ah Sir, have mercy for God's sake-slay not Gaston, your son. Remember ye have no more children; Sir, cause him to be kept, and take good informa
* Tasted the dishes, to prevent the poisoning of the prince.
tion of the matter; peradventure he knew not what he bare, and peradventure is nothing guilty of the deed.' "Well,' quoth the Count, 'incontinent put him in prison, and let him be so kept that I may have a reckoning of him.' Then the child was put into the tower.
“And the count took a great many of them that served his son, and some of them departed; and as yet the Bishop of Lescar is out of the country, for he was had in suspect, and so were divers others. The count caused to be put to death a fifteen right horribly; and the cause that the count laid to them was, he said, it could be none otherwise but that they knew of the child's secrets, wherefore they ought to have shewed it to him, and to have said, “Sir, Gaston, your son, beareth a purse at his bosom.' Because they did not thus, they died horribly; whereof it was great pity, for some of them were as fresh and jolly squires as were any in all the country. For ever the count was served with good men.
“ This thing touched the count near to the heart, and that he well shewed: for, on a day, he assembled at Orthes all the nobles and prelates of Foix and of Bierne, and all the notable persons of his country; and when they were all assembled, he shewed them wherefore he sent for them, as how he had found his son in this default, for the which he said his intent was to put him to death, as he had well deserved. Then all the people answered to that case with one voice, and said, “Sir, saving your grace, we will not that Gaston should die; he is your heir, and ye have no more.' And when the Count heard the people, how they desired for his son, he somewhat refrained his ire. Then he thought to chastise him in prison a month or two, and then to send him on some voyage for two or three years, till he might somewhat forget his evil will, and that the child might be of greater age and of more knowledge.
“ Then he gave leave to all the people to depart; but they of Foix would not depart from Orthes till the Count should assure them that Gaston should not die ; they loved the child so well. Then the Count promised them, but he said he would keep him in prison a certain time to chastise him ; and so upon this promise every man departed, and Gaston abode still in prison.
“ These tidings spread abroad into divers places, and at that time Pope Gregory the Eleventh was at Avignon. Then he sent the Cardinal of Amiens in legation into Bierne, to have come to the Count of Foix
for that business. And by that time he came to Beziers, he heard such tidings that he needed not to go any further for that matter; for there he heard how Gaston, son to the Count of Foix, was dead. Since I have shewed you so much, now I shall shew you how he died.
“The Count of Foix caused his son to be kept in a dark chamber, in the town of Orthes, a ten days; little did he eat or drink, yet he had enough brought him every day, but when he saw it he would go therefrom, and set little thereby. And some said that all the meat that had been brought him stood whole and entire the day of his death, wherefore it was great marvel that he lived so long, for divers reasons. The count caused him to be kept in the chamber alone, without any company, either to counsel or comfort him; and all that season the child lay in his clothes as he came in, and he argued in himself, and was full of melancholy, and cursed the time that ever he was born and engendered, to come to such an end.
“ The same day that he died, they that served him of meat and drink, when they came to him, they said, 'Gaston, here is meat for you ;' he made no care thereof, and said, “Set it down there.' He that served him regarded and saw in the prison all the meat stand whole as it had been brought him before, and so departed and closed the chamberdoor, and went to the count and said, “Sir, for God's sake have mercy on your son, Gaston, for he is near famished in prison ; there he lieth. I think he never did eat anything since he came into prison, for I have seen there this day all that ever I brought him before, lying together in a corner.' Of these words the count was sore displeased ; and without any word speaking, went out of his chamber, and came to the prison where his son was, and in an evil hour. He had the same time a little knife in his hand to pare withal his nails. He opened the prison door, and came to his son, and had the little knife in his hand, and in great displeasure he thrust his hand to his son's throat, and the point of the knife a little entered into his throat into a certain vein, and said, “Ah traitor! why dost not thou eat thy meat ?' And therewith the earl departed without any more doing or saying, and went into his own chamber. The child was abashed, and afraid of the coming of his father, and also was feeble of fasting, and the point of the knife a little entered into a vein of his throat, and so he fell down suddenly and died. The count was scarcely in his chamber, but the keeper of the child came to him, and said, Sir, Gaston, your son, is