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- At Agincourt - 40/58 -
At this point, Guy, seeing that the main business of the meeting had been declared, and that there now remained but to settle the details, got down from his post. With the aid of some ivy he climbed the wall and dropped down beyond it, and made his way back to his lodging. When Simon returned an hour later, Guy was apparently as fast asleep as before. When sleeping at the butchers' quarter he always rose at a very early hour, so that none who might have noticed him in his butcher's attire should see him go out in that of an apprentice, and he was obliged to walk about for some time before he could call at the count's. As soon as he thought that they would be likely to be stirring he knocked at the door. The old woman opened it.
"Is your master up yet?" he asked.
She nodded, and without further question he made his way upstairs to the Italian's chamber.
"You are early, Master Aylmer," the latter said in surprise as he entered. "Have you news of importance?"
"I have indeed, Count," and he at once related all that he had heard through the hole in the shutter.
"The insolence of these people surpasses all bounds," the count said angrily as he walked up and down the room. "Were there any force in the town that could resist them I would warn the Duke of Aquitaine what was intended, but as it is, nothing would be gained by it. You can only remember the eight or ten names that you have given me?"
"That is all; they were names that I was familiar with, while the others were strange to me."
"Two or three of them I can at least save from the grasp of these rascals," he said, "but I will take them all down on my tablets. What need was there for you," he went on after he had done this, "to run such risk as you did--for you would assuredly have been killed without mercy had they caught you spying upon them--when Simon, who you say was present, could have sent me full particulars of all that passed?"
Guy stated his reasons for fancying that upon this occasion Simon did not intend to send a full account.
"I thought so before I started," he said, "but I was well assured of it when I heard that, although Burgundy had given the names of twelve persons whom he desired to be arrested, he would go no further in the matter, and that he had no knowledge of their further pretensions. It seems to me, Count, that, believing as he does that you are an agent of the duke's, he was unwilling to say anything about this matter, as Burgundy might thwart the intentions of the butchers. The man is heart and soul with them, and though he is willing to sell you information that can do no harm to their plans, he will say nothing that might enable Burgundy to thwart them."
"If I thought that Burgundy could, or would do so, I would inform him as well as Aquitaine what is doing; but in the first place he has not the power, and in the second he would not have the will. What are a few score of lives to him, and those mostly of men of the Orleanist faction, in comparison with the support of Paris? I am vexed, too, at this failure of Simon, that is to say, if it be a failure. That we shall know by mid-day. My daughter will meet him in the Place de Grève at eleven, and we shall hear when she comes back how much he has told her. I am going after breakfast to my booth outside the walls, where you first saw me. I must send notes to the three gentlemen whom I know, begging them to see me there."
"Can I take them for you? I have nothing to do, and shall be glad of anything to occupy me."
"I shall be obliged if you will; you are sure to find them in at this hour."
He sat down and wrote three short communications. The wording was identical, but the times fixed for the interview were an hour apart. They ran as follows:
"_My Lord,--Consulting the stars last night I find that danger menaces you. It may be averted if you quit Paris when you receive this, for it seems to me that it is here only that your safety is menaced. Should you wish to consult me before doing so, come, I pray you, to my booth in the fair at two, but come mounted. _"
Instead of a signature a cabalistic figure was drawn below it, and then the words were added:
_The bearer can be trusted._
The slips of parchment were then rolled up and sealed; no addresses were put on.
"If they question you," he said, "say nothing, save that I told you that the matter contained in the letter was sure and certain, and that a great risk of life would assuredly be run unless my advice was taken. Deliver them into the hands of those they concern, and trust them to no others, Master Aylmer. If you cannot obtain access to them, say to the varlets that they are to inform their lords that one from the man in the Rue des Essarts desires urgently to see them, and that should be sufficient if the message is given. If they refuse to take it, then I pray you wait outside for a while on the chance of the gentlemen issuing out. This, on which you see I have made one dot, is for the Count de Rennes, who is at present at the Hotel of St. Pol, being in the company of the Duke of Berri; this is for Sir John Rembault, who is at the Louvre, where he is lodging with the governor, who is a relation of his; the third is for the Lord of Roubaix, who is also lodged at the Louvre."
"They shall have them," Guy said as he placed them in his doublet, "if I have to stop till midnight to get speech with them; the matter of waiting a few hours is but a trifle in comparison with the life of a man. I would that I could warn others."
The Italian shook his head. "It could not be done without great danger," he said. "Were you to carry an anonymous letter to others you might be seized and questioned. The three to whom you now carry notes have all reason for knowing that my predictions are not to be despised, but the others would not accept any warning from an unknown person. They might take it for a plot, and you might be interrogated and even put to torture to discover who you are and whence you obtained this information. Things must go on as they are; assuredly this is no time for meddling in other people's affairs. We are only at the beginning of troubles yet, and know not how great they may grow. Moreover, you have no right to run a risk for strangers when your life may be of vital service to your mistress. Should you succeed in handing these three letters to the gentlemen to whom they are written by noon, I shall be glad if you will bring the news to me at my booth, and I shall then be able to tell, you how much information the butcher has sent of the proceedings last night."
Guy went first to the Louvre. As many people were going in and out, no question was asked him, and on reaching the entrance he inquired of some varlets standing there for the lodgings of the Lord de Roubaix and Sir John Rembault.
"I am in the service of the Lord de Roubaix; what would you with him?"
"I am charged with a message for him; I was told to deliver it only to himself."
"From whom do you come? I cannot disturb him with such a message from I know not who."
"That is reasonable," Guy replied, "but if you tell him that I come from the man in the Rue des Essarts I warrant that he will see me. You don't suppose that I am joking with you," he went on as the varlet looked at him suspiciously, "when I should likely be whipped for my pains. If you will give the message to your lord I doubt not that he will give me audience."
"Follow me," the varlet said, and led the way upstairs and through several corridors, then he motioned to him to wait, and entered a room. He returned in a minute.
"My lord will see you," he said, and led the way into the room. "This is the person, my lord," he said, and then retired.
The Lord of Roubaix was a tall man of some forty years of age. Guy bowed deeply and handed to him the roll of parchment. The count broke the seal and read it, and when he had finished looked fixedly at Guy.
"The writer tells me that you are to be trusted?"
"I hope so, my lord."
"Do you know the contents of this letter?"
"I know so much, my lord, that the writer told me to assure you that the matter was urgent, and that he could not be mistaken as to what was written in the letter."
The count stood irresolute for a minute or two; then he said:
"Tell him that I will act upon his advice. He has before now proved to me that his warnings are not to be neglected. You seem by your attire to be an apprentice, young sir, and yet your manner is one of higher degree."
"Disguises are convenient in times like these, my lord," Guy said.
"You are right, lad." He put his hand to his pouch, but Guy drew back with a smile.
"No, my lord, had you offered me gold before you remarked that I was but playing a part, I should have taken it in order to keep up that part; as it is I can refuse it without your considering it strange that I should do so."
The count smiled. "Whoever you are, you are shrewd and bold, young sir. I shall doubtless see you when I return to Paris."
Guy then left, and delivered the other two missives. In each case those who received them simply returned an answer that they would be at the place at the hour named, and he then went beyond the walls, observing as he passed out through the gates that a party of White Hoods had stationed themselves there. However, they interfered with no one passing in or out. On reaching the booth he informed the count of the success of his visits.
"I doubt, however," he said, "whether either of the three gentlemen will be here at the time appointed, for the White Hoods are watching at the gate."
"I think that they will not stop anyone to-day, Master Aylmer. They intend to make a great haul to-morrow, and would not wish to excite suspicion by seizing anyone to-day. Were it known that they had done so, many others who have reason to believe they are obnoxious to Burgundy or to the Parisians, might conceal themselves or make their escape in various disguises. I hear that a request has been made that a deputation of the
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