Front Matter France Long Ago The Gauls In France The Priests of the Gauls Sailor Stories Conquests of the Gauls Two Great Battles Caesar in Gaul Gaul under the Romans First Christian Martyrs Patron Saint of France Franks Come to Gaul The First Kings Conquests of Clovis Clotaire and His Relatives Two Rival Queens Good King Dagobert The Saracens Checked End of the Merovingians Charlemagne's Wars Charlemagne's Manners Charlemagne, Emperor Feudalism Troublesome Sons The Strassburg Oath Normans Besiege Paris Last of the Carolingians The Year One Thousand Robert's Two Wives Wealth of the Clergy The First Crusade A Love Story The Second Crusade More Crusades The Battle of Bouvines Blanche of Castile The Sixth Crusade The Reign of Louis IX Effect of the Crusades The Battle of the Spurs End of Knights Templar The Hundred Years' War The Siege of Calais The Battle of Poitiers Seven Years of Misery The Brave du Guesclin Achievements of Charles V Charles VI Misrule in France The Disgraceful Treaty Joan to the Rescue Orleans and Rheims Joan's Martyrdom Charles's Successes The Crafty King Louis XI Louis XI's Reign Achievements of Louis XI Charles VIII The Second Italian War Death of Louis XII Francis I Rivalry of Kings Achievements of Francis I End of Francis's Reign Reign of Henry II A Young King and Queen Catherine's Regency The Forced Wedding Massacre of the Huguenots Death of Charles IX An Effeminate King he Battle of Coutras The Murder of the Guises Winning a Crown Conversion of Henry IV Henry IV's Second Marriage Death of Henry IV The Minority of Louis XIII Rule of the Favorites Richelieu and Louis XIII End of Louis XIII's Reign Beginning of a Great Reign Wars of the Fronde Death of Mazarin Versailles The Iron Mask Louis XIV's Campaigns Madame de Maintenon Later Wars of Louis XIV The Spanish Succession The Age of Louis XIV

Story of Old France - Helene Guerber

The Disgraceful Treaty

It was shortly after the disastrous day of Agincourt, that the title of Dauphin fell to Charles VI's fifth son, who had meantime married a younger daughter of the Count of Armagnac. It will not therefore surprise you to hear that the Armagnac party now got the upper hand in France, and, as Queen Isabella then favored the Burgundians, banished her to Tours.

The queen, however, made such an outcry over this treatment, that the Duke of Burgundy came to her rescue, and, taking advantage of mistakes made by the Armagnac faction, once more entered Paris. His return thither was marked by bloody massacres, which were speedily followed by a plague.

While civil war was thus tearing France asunder, the English, ably led by Henry V, had gradually won back all Normandy, although several cities there offered them heroic resistance. Rouen for instance, held out for many months, and yielded only after every horse, dog, and rat in the place had been devoured, and absolute famine was staring the inhabitants in the face.

But, Rouen having finally surrendered, the English could advance almost to the gates of Paris. In presence of this great peril, the two warring factions agreed to bury their differences for the time being, so a meeting was arranged between the Dauphin and the Duke of Burgundy (John the Fearless) at the bridge of Montereau. As each party mistrusted the other, elaborate preparations were made for this conference. The Dauphin and the duke advanced from opposite sides of the river, with equal numbers of followers, and met in the middle of the bridge, where a booth and barrier had been erected.

Just as the duke knelt before the Dauphin in homage, one of the latter's followers suddenly and treacherously killed him. Various futile excuses were given later for this crime; it was even said that the murderer, striking at a snake, had hit the duke accidentally. But the wanton crime so angered the Burgundians that they thenceforth refused to have any further dealings with the Dauphin, and, joining the English, greatly helped them in their efforts to become masters of France. Thus you see what the monk meant, who said, "The wounds of John the Fearless were the holes through which the English entered France!"

Influenced by the Burgundians and the English, Isabella at once disowned her son, who was accused of being a party to the murder of the Duke of Burgundy. She also induced her poor demented husband to sign the treaty of Troyes (1420), whereby he gave his daughter Catherine in marriage to the English king, Henry V, made him regent of all France, and promised that he and his children should be heirs to the throne. Shakespeare, in his play of Henry V, has described for us the English king's rough wooing of this pretty French princess, who married him at her mother's command, rode into Paris by his side, and was afterwards received with great rejoicings in England.

The Parisians, having suffered so much during the Armagnac-Burgundian quarrels, received the English gladly, thinking their rule would certainly be preferable to that of warring factions or of an insane king; but many of the other cities, scorning the treaty of Troyes, refused to recognize the English, and rallied loyally around the Dauphin, whom it was supposed to disinherit forever.

Strange to relate, the strong young English king died in France, a few months before the sickly French monarch whose title he had so confidently expected to bear for many a year. He left his crown to his baby son, Henry VI. When Charles VI died soon after, the people mourned for him faithfully, calling him "the Beloved," for they realized that had he not been so sorely afflicted, he would doubtless have saved them from many of the misfortunes they had endured. A herald solemnly announced that Charles VI. was dead, and that Henry VI was now King of England and France; but many loyal Frenchmen obstinately refused that title to a foreigner, and hailed the Dauphin as King Charles VII.

This poor monarch, however, had little power at first; he could not even go to Rheims and be anointed, for that city, as well as Paris and more than half his realm, was already in the hands of the English. In fact, the only section of country thoroughly loyal to him lay in the central part of the Loire country, so the English,—who pompously styled their own baby monarch "King of France and England,"—derisively called Charles "King of Bourges".

Still, the despised "King of Bourges" was not downcast; he even devoted so much time to pleasure, that one of his generals bitterly declared he was "losing his realm right joyously!"