Tales from Froissart

edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

The Lord de Coucy turns French

For years Enguerrand de Coucy, who was married the daughter of the King of England but on good terms with the court of France, has been preserving a careful neutrality in the French wars, and pursuing interests abroad. After the death of Edward, Prince of Wales, he reconsiders his position.

Book I, ch. 325. We will now say something of the lord de Coucy and the Germans. When those of Austria and Germany heard that he was advancing with so strong a force to carry on the war against them, they burnt and destroyed three days' march of country by the river side, and then they retreated to their mountains and inaccessible places. The men at arms, of whom the lord de Coucy was the leader, expected to find plenty of forage, but they met with nothing: they suffered all this winter very great distress, and knew not what place to seek provision for themselves, or forage for their horses, who were dying of cold, hunger, and disorders: for this reason, when spring came, they returned to France, and separated into different troops to recruit themselves. The king of France sent the greater part of the companies into Brittany and lower Normandy, as he imagined that he would have occasion for their services.

The lord de Coucy, on his return into France, began to think of becoming a good and true Frenchman; for he had found the king of France very kind and attentive to his concerns. His relationship to the king made him consider it was not worth his while to risk the loss of his inheritance, for so slender a reason as the war with the king of England; for he was a Frenchman by name, arms, blood, and extraction. He therefore sent the lady his wife to England, and kept with him only the eldest of his two daughters: the youngest had been left in England, where she had been educated. The king of France sent the lord de Coucy to attend the negotiations carrying on at Bruges, which continued all the winter. None of the great lords were there, except the duke of Brittany, who had staid with his cousin the count of Flanders; but he entered very little into the business.

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