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Beaomanoir. Now these thirty companions, whom we ^laU call Eng-
lishmen, had tarried long for the others, whom we shall style Frenchmen.
When die thirty Frenc^en were come, they dismounted, and gare the
orders to their companions, as before related. Some say that five of
their number remained at the entrance of die place of combat, while
twenty-five dismounted, as die English had done. When the sixty were
drawn up in fixint of each other, they parleyed together for a short time^
and then retired on either hand, and made all thc«e who were looking on
withdraw to a distance. Then one of them gare the signal, and they
rushed together at once, fighting stouUy in a heap, and generously
rescuing one another when they saw their companions in danger.

Soon after they came togetbier thus, one of the Frenchmen wae killed,
but this did not prevent the others from fighting, but the combat was
maintained right valiandy on both sides, as if they had been so many
Rolands and Olivers. I cannot say for truth << if these or dioee did best,**
neither can I fairiy place one above the other ; but all fought so long that
they completely lost strength and breath. Being compelled to stop and
repose themselves awhile, a truce was proclaimed, which was to last until
they had rested sufficiently, when the first who should arise was to
summon the others. There were found dead four Frenchmen and two
Englishmen. They rested for a long time on etth^ side, and such
ae could] obtain it drank wine, which was brought them in botdes, then
braced up dieir battered armour, and dressed their wounds.

When they were thus refreshed, the first who aroee gave the signal, and
recalled the others. Then began again the combat as furiously as bi^re^
and it lasted for a long while. The combatants had swords from Bor-
deaux, short and stiff, pikes and daggers, ands ome had axes, wherewith
they gave each odier marvellously great blows. And some giamiled with
their foes in the strife, and smote diem and spared them not. z on may
well believe that amongst them there was many a fine feat of arms ; set
as they were man to man, body to body, band to hand« Not fer a
hundred years has been heard of the like.

Thus they fought like good champions, and very valiandy maintained
this second attack. But in the end tne English had die worst of it. For,
as I have heard tell, one of the Frenchmen, who remained on* horaebacky
broke their ranks and trampled them under foot without difficulty, so that
Brandebonrg, their captain, and eight of his companions, wen then
slain ; and the others, seeing that they could neither defend them nor
lend them aid, surrendered themselves prisoners, for they could not, and
would not fly. And the aforesaid Messire Robert, and such of his fellow-
ship as were left alive, took them and conducted them to Joesdin Casde
as their prisoners, and afterwards allowed them ransom courteously, whea
their hurts were healed, for there was not one amongst them, French or
English, who was not mevously wounded. Sithenee, I saw, seated at
the table of Charles, King of France,* a Breton knight, who had been

* Charles V., suraamed the Wise, who ascended the throne in 1364.

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pw s oD t at the oonfiiot, Messire Tenrains ( Yves) Charroel ; hit visage waf
80 gashed and hacked that it showed plainly enough lliat the a£Gur had
been well ibaght. There i^ I saw Messire Engoenaiit Doedins, a
good knight of Picardj, who gave like [nt)of that he had been at the fig^ ;
and another esqnne, named Hues de Rainceraiis. So this action came to
be mnch talked about, fit some it was looked npoo as of little aooonnt,
by others as a manrellous mat, and of great hardihood.

Froissart's aceonnt of the combat, as will be seen, corresponds in a
great measure with the description of the eng^agement given in the
ballad ; but the old chronicler says that the day appointed was the Wed-
nesday after the defiance, whereas the writer of the lay fixes it, with
great precision, upon Saturday, the Tigil of Sunday, Lcetare JerusaUm.
Froissart also makes no mention of tiie most striking incident in the
combat; namely, the tremendous rebuke administered by Geo£&oy da
Bois to the Breton leader, when the latter, athirst and bleeding, cried
out for drink — ^< Drink thy own blood, Beaumanoir, thy thirst will pass
away.** The old chronicler's description of Yves Charruel's slashed visage
is very striking; but the names of Enguerrant Duedins and Hues de
Raincevaus do not appear in the list of combatants given by other his-

Mr. Weld, in his pleasant " Vacation in BriUany^^* states that, '' ac-
cording to tradition, Beaumanoir, though severely wounded and wearied,
slew no less than ^\e Englishmen with his own hands." But this won-
drous display of prowess on the part of the Baron is not supported by
more authentic narratives of the fight On the contrary, the real hero
of the day on the Breton nde, though the palm of valour was adjudged
to the Sire de Tint^niac, was Guillaiune de Montauban. But for Mon-
tanban's device, die English, under the guidance of Croquart, would un-
questionably have come off the victors. This stout German mercenary,
tile winner of the prize of valour on the English side, was taken with the
other prisoners to Josselin, and subsequently released. Froissart devotes
a chapter to him (chap, cxlviii.), and thus winds up his history : '* King
John of France made him the offer of knighting him, and marrying him
very richly, if he would quit the English party, and promised to give him
two thousand livres a year ; but Croquart would never listen to it. It
chanced one day, as he was riding a young horse, which he had just pur-
chased for three hundred crowns, and was putting him to his fim speed,
that the horse ran away with him, and, in leaping a ditch, stumbled into
it, and broke his master's neck. Such was the end of Croquart^

Of the chivalrous Marshal de Beaumanoir, the friend and companion-
at-arms of the renowned Bertrand du Gtiesclin, the character is thus
summed up by a French writer : " In his long career, Dlustrated by
inaportant embassies and difficult commands, he was ever remarkable for
loy&lty and courage; but his first title to glory is having been the leader
of the Bretons at the Combat of the Thirty.''

Concerning the English leader. Sir Robert Pembroke (Bembrough, -
Bembro, or Brandebourg, as he is indifferently styled), nothing can be dis*
covered; except that, on the death of the brave Sir Thomas d'Agworth
(** the English Achilles," as M. Pitre Chevalier terms him, " who covered


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himself with glory, by resisting with a handful of men the whole army^
of Charles de Blois"), he was appointed by Montfort and Edward IIL
to the conmiand of the garrison at Ploermely where he practised great
cruelties upon the unfortunate Bretons.

As it cannot fail to interest the reader, I will now cite the yery accu-
rate description of the locality of the memorable combat given by M.
Pitre Chevalier in his '^ Bretagne Ancienne et Modeme:** " The travel-
ler, proceeding from PloCrmel to Josselin, after quitting the smiling
environs of the first-named town, enters upon an arid and vast moor,
without verdure and without trees, covered with the wild heath of
Armorica, which hardly sparkles beneath the brightest rays of the sun»
In the centre of this moor, equidistant from the two towns, formerly
stood the venerable oak that shaded the champions of Mi-Yoie. To-
wards the end of the sixteenth century, this old witness of the combat of
giants was thrown to the earth by the aze of the League. Soon after-
wards a stone cross replaced the oak. Reared close by the roadside, it
enjoined the passer-by to bare his head and pray. The cross was thrown
down, firstly, in 1775 ; but at the request of M. Martin d*Aumont, the
States of Brittany restored it, and engraved upon its base the following
inscription, reported by Ogee :


DE Beaukanoib a gagn£e £k ce lieu
LE xxvn. XABS, l'ajt mcocl.

" The Revolution of 1793, not less brutal than the League, soufi;fat to
destroy the remembrance of the Thirty with the mark whereby it was
preserv^. But the memorial was gloriously revived, while the Revo-
lution itself perished.

" In 1811, the council of the arrondissement of Ploermel demanded
that a grant of 600 fr. should be dedicated to the erection of a monu-
ment in honour of the combatants of Mi-Voie. The council-general of
Morbihan applauded the idea, and voted for the same object the sum of
2400 fr. On the 11th of July, 1819, the first stone was kid by the
Comte de Coutard, lieutenant-eeneral, commander of the thirteenth
militarv divuion, by M. de Chazelles, Baron de Lunac, prefect of
Morbihan, and by M. Pitou, chief engineer of the corps of Sappers and
Miners. The benedic^on was pronounced by M. de Bausset Koquefbrt^
Bishop of Vannes.

*' This monument, which all may now see, is an obelisk fifteen metres
high, one metre and sixty centimetres wide at the base, and one metre
wide at the top. Composed of layers of granite, it occupies the centre
of a plantation of pines and cypresses, the highest of which does not
exceed a hundred and forty metres.

'* On the eastern front may be read these words :


Bai de France et de Navabbs,


<* The west front bears the same inscription in the Celtic language.
On the south are engraved the names of the combatants ; on the north

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ihe date of the combftt, March 27th, 1351. Near the monument is
placed the stone restored in 1775 hj the States of Brittany. Voila tout.**
M. Pitre ChcTalier then |^roceeds to hroach the notion of what he
deems would constitute a fittmg monument to the Thirty, and it must
he owned that the conception is not devoid of grandeur. " In place of
this needle of stone, which resemhles everything and signifies nothing,
dare to realise the dream of a Breton pilenm. Take from the bowels of

the 'land of granite ' thirty gigantic Uocks, such as are to be found at
Camac or at Lok-Mariaker. Feradrenture, you may find them on the
very moor which was bedewed with the blood of the Thirty. Range
these blocks in line of battle upon the place of the combat, as were
ranged the champions of Brittany before the Marshal de Beaumanoir.
Summon thirty Breton artists, and, if artists are wanting, summon work-
men ; order these simple statuaries to carve from each block a colossal
knight, with his helm on head, his hand upon his sword, and his shield
by his side ; all this to be naturally and lar^ly indicated, as becomes men
of iron sculptured in granite. I^vided that the manly visage is distin-
guishable under th*e visor, that the outiine of die human form is preserved,
that the armour defines itself boldly against the sky, and that the pedestal
and tiie statue form an indestructible mass, nothing more is wanted.
Upon these thirty escutcheons engrave the thirtnr names and the thirty
armorial bearings. Plant in the middle of tiie line an oak like that of
Mi-Voie. Let it grow and spread itself out freely till it shall cover all
the knights with its shade. And when, one day, the traveller crossing
this moor shall see rising before him this enormous tree, and those thir^
atone warriors, whether the sun may project afar their gigantic sil-
houettes, or the moon may multiply and render yet larger their phan-
toms, that traveller will recognise a nation which for three thousand
years has repulsed die foreigner, and which yet knows how, like the
ancient Druids, to erect memorial stones to its heroes."

It may be mentioned that among the signatures of those who were
not present at the ceremony of laying the first stone of the pyramidal
monument to the Thirty, but who desired to subscribe the proc^ verbal,
occur the names of the Due de Serent (the last descendant of Jean de
Serent, one of the Thirty), who died in 1822, without issue; the Comte
de Tint^niac, descendant of the renowned Sire de Tiut^niac ; the Comte
du Pare* and the Vicomte Maurice du Pare, descendants of Maurice du
Pare, one of the Thirty.

So great was the impression produced by the Battie of Mi-Voie, that,
for more than a centuiy after its occurrence, in Brittany, France, and
England, it was a common expression to say, in allusion to any gallant or
terrible action, << They fought as they did at the Combat of the Thirty."
The memory of the famous combat, so dear to their national pride, is
still fondly cherished by the Breton peasantry. To diis day, Mr. Weld
tells us, they chant its glories at their Pardons, in a ballad in the Cor-
nouaille dialect, called << Stourm Ann Tregont." Mr. Weld also states
that the same ballad was very generally sung, to incite each other to
valour, during the Chouan war.

Honour to the brave men, on either side, who fought by the Mid-
Way Oak. Honour to those who fell. Honour to those who won.
Honour to those who lost. Assuredly, we have no cause to be ashamed
of our share in the Combat of the Thirty.

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6t Dudlit Costello.

Part IIL
chapter i.


Ths ^Mt-Bailiog clipper Good Intent made a prosperous voyage to
Callao, but before Mr. Miranda decided upon tandiDg at tliat port
be instituted Tcry particular inqwriea at to toe state of political affiurs
in Peru.

It was a necessary precaution on tbe part of one who was tbe master
of more than twenty thousand pounds in gold; for though tbe soil of
Peru is rich in precious metals, its rulers - -for the* time being — very
seldom are so, and scruples with regard to the appropriation of private
property rarely trouble them.

The result of his inquiries satisfied him that it would be anything but
safe to go to lima. Another revolution — the twenty-fifth since the
estaUishment of the republic — had broken out only a few days before:
the new president was at war with the old president; each denounced the
other as a traitor to his country, each appealed to the patriotism of his
troops, and each was dreadfully in want of money to pay them. Such a
windfall as twenty thousand pounds was a godsend that did not happen
every day, and whether the lawful or the rebel president — ^for tbe time
being — got scent of it, Mr. Miranda's £Ate would have been the same :
both would have borrowed his cash, and from neither would he have got
it back again. Like a wise man, therefore, Mr. Miranda determined to
remain on board the Good Intent^ and proceed in h&r to Panama, her
final destination.

This arrangenaent caused no disturbance of Mr. Miranda's original
programme: it had been settled in London, when he discussed the plan
of his commercial operiitions with a city friend— one Mr. Montefiore —
that they should rendesvous, some six or eight months later, in New
York, Mr. Miranda proceeding by Australia, Mr. Montefiore by the Cape
of Good Hope. Personal reasons — such, for instance, as the met of his
being the possessor of more capital than he cared to divide with a partner
— might h%ve induced Mr. Miranda to alter his intentions en route,
if allured by a pleasant locality, and in that case his partner might shift
for himself; but when he found that if he made Peru his place of abode
be ran the risk of being robbed of every shilling he was worth, his bigb-
minded integrity carriM the day, and he resolved to act with good faith

* It is probable that most of the readers of Bentk^s MisoeOm^ have seen, in the
daily papers, the account of the painful suicide, in Blenheim Park, of Don Antonio
Arrom de Ayala, whose name appeared in the first part of *' ne History of Mr.
Miranda." We advert to the lamentable eveat with fedin^ of tbe profoandest
oommtseration for the onfortunate gentleman, in order to oaake it known that the
deception practised bj Mr. Miranda on tlie Spanish consul at Sydney was uo in-
vention of the writer of " The History,** but an occurrence which actually touk

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iowaidf Mr. Mcmtefiore, and mdtt Min» at he had promiiedy m the
United States.

Leaving, tiiea. General Cattilla to fight it oat with General Eeheniqiiey
tkose parties bebg at that time, as they prohahly are new, the oontending
Miriotic presidents, Mr. Miranda pofsiieid his voyage northward, and in
Que time arrired at Panama, where he only xemaiaM loi^ enough to pick
up a Kttle neeessazy iafomation, and then took the railway across the
Isthmoa. At Aspinwall Mr. Miranda embarked for New York, on board
the steamer GoUeu Eagky in oompany with several other gentlemeii —
adventurers horn CalilbrDiay none, perhaps, quite so wealthy as himself
b«t every one o£ them quite as capable of laying his hand on his heart
and asseverating with equal truth that what fortune he had was the fruit
of his own industry.

Not that Mr. Miranda boafted of his means. Such was not the habit
of this grave, dignified man. If be was rich, he left people to find out
the fact some other way : perhaps to ii^ it from the indifferent tone in
which he spoke of large transactions, as if they were occurrences toe
common to dilate upon. AUusioos of this kind, however, slipped out now
and then in the course of conversation ; those who listened drew the
natural condosion that where large transactions exist, cwresponding
profits most ensue; and the consequence. was that a vast deal of respect
was paid to Mr. Miranda by all on txwrd the Golden Eagle^ no one being
more assiduous in his attentions than Colonel Washington M. Snakes, ^
Snakesville^ New Jersey, a gentleman whose leading charaeteristio was
speculation, to an extent remarkable even amongst liis specolatbg coun*

Notwithstanding this tendency on the part of Colonel Snakes — ^per*
haps, indeed, on aeeoimt of it — his Califomian venture had not been
so suocessfnl as he expected, and to this circumstance it may be owing
that be attadied himself so dosely to Mr. Miranda. He had heard Mr.
Miranda say that he came from Peru, he had curiously tested the flight
of his luggage, he had fished out various admissions from him, sindt
putting these thmgs together. Colonel Wa^ington M. Snakes deckled
that he could not do better than make the ntost of his new acquaintance.
On the other hand, in his quiet way, Mr. Miranda gave the Americim
eyery encouragement, eliciting much about the country to which he was
bound that was likely to be useful to one fairly disposed to embark capital
in some great remunerating enterprise. Poor devils, who live from nand
to mouth, cannot understand why the man who hae realised a good round
sum, not satisfied with his accumulation, should run the risk of losing
it ; but '^ the wise" — that is to say, the socoessfulr— << have a far de^r
knowledge;*' they know that money makes money, and call him a fool
who, contentedly, halts on the high road to fortune.

Mr. Miranda was not one of these. He had vast designs. Most likely
they were philanthropic, but whatever character they bore he was bent
on carrying them out, and if he had been in want of an ally— if no
Montefiore had existed — he might, perhaps, have freely unbosomed him-
self to Washington M. Snakes, though unbosoming with freedom was
not altogether in his line. But Montefiore did exist, and, as it seemed^
in a very fiourishing way, for Mr. Miranda found a letter from him at
Aspinwall, in which the lively littie Jew gave a very satisfactory account
of bis doings at Cape Town.

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** We sball be very poor men of homnen/* thought Mr. Minmday *^ i£,
with our combmed capital, we cannot pile np the dollars— as my new
friend here would say — till we have increased it tenfold; and in a very
short time, too, or I have mistaken the character of New Yotk specuU^
tion. The colonePs projects are worth thinking of, but I won't trust him
too &r : certainly not with anything in the shape of money V*

To all appearance, howeyer, Mr. Ifiranda trusted him with everything
else, conversing candidly — that was his way— with just so much reserve
as tended to make his candour the more valuable ; and if Washington
M. Snakes, charmed with the progress he had made in the rich Peruvian's
confidence, built a few castles in the air in consequence, some excuse
must be made for him in the fact that, knowing as he himself was, he
had met with more than his match in Mr. Miranda.

What a pity it is that men oi the world should indulge in castle-
building ! As g^at a pity as re-enact the fable of the dog and Ins
shadow. Who can predict with safety the proceedings of the mor-

Nothing could have been more delightful than the passage of the
Golden Eagle, She was a magnificent steamer, and made the run in
an incredibly short time, but unfortunately her commander, Captain
Isaac A. Dodge— familiarly called " Old Go-ahead" — had laid a wager
that this should be the quickest voyage on record. The last evening had
arrived, already the lights at Sandy Hook were in sight, the pilots would
be on board by daybreak, and the passengers turned in for the night
fully expecting to open their eyes on New York.

This expectation might have been realised, but suddenly a dense fbg
came on, and the chances now were that the captain would lose his wager.
He swore a tremendous oath : was he. Captain Isaac A. Dodge, going
to cave in for an almighty fog ? Not while he had an ounce of steam-
power to keep his paddles in motion ! So he carried on boldly, and just
about midnififht a violent crash informed him that the Golden Eagle had
not got safely into port She was, in fact, hard and fast on a sunken
reef to the west of Long Is^nd.

Up rose the passengers in affiright and rushed on deck, all, save a few,
in their night-dothes, amongst the exceptions being Colonel Washington
M. Snakes, who always slept in his pants. Mr. Miranda awoke like the
rest, and guessed the nature of the disaster which had befallen the
Golden Eagle* But his presence of mind did not forsake him : his
thoughts, as he hastily dressed himself, were how he best might save
his property* For once his habitual caution had proved his foe. While
at Panama he might have sold his specie for bills on the United States,
but he had not fancied the bills ; there was the possibility of their being
no better than those which he had discounted at Sydney and Melbourne;
so he kept his gold, and now it proved an encumbrance. Personal safety
was, however, the first consideration, and after securing such valuables as
were most accessible he also went on deck, where the noise and confusion
were at their height Still the fog prevailed, and still the vessel bumped
upon the rocks ; in vain the paddles were backed, in vain every nautical
expedient was tried for settbg her free ; vain were the oaths of Captain
Dodg^, vain the screams of the female passengers, for now the word went
round that the Golden Eagle was filling fast : she had gone end on
with so much force as to start every timber in her bows.

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« Out wWi tbe boats !" was the cry ; and before ihey were well lowered
the scared people were all leapmg in.

** Are we w from shore, captain ?'^ asked Mr. Bfiranda.

** No further, Z shoold say," replied the captiuny ^'than a man can
reach if he's able to Sfrim tolerable. Crently with those^boats. Hold on,

But words of command were, at this crisis, unheeded ; erery one shifted
for himself as well as he could without reference to his neighbour— with
<me slight exception*

That exception appeared in the person of Washington M. Snakes.

He had probably been taueht a lesson in philanthropy by Mr. ^firanda,
for it was with the afiairs of that gentleman, and not hu own, that Colonel
Snakes at that moment occupied himself.

He had disappeared from the deck immediately after Mr. Miranda
reached it, but just as the last boat was being lowered his head became
risible aboTe the companion stairs. He moTed slowly, as if impeded by
some heavy weight, and as he rose gradually to the view the quick eyes
of Mr. Miranda fell upon a box clasped in the colonel's arms, which he
recognised as his own : it was, indeed, the brass-bound chest which con-
tained his golden store.

*' Thank you, colonel," said Mr. ItCranda, confronting his aealous

Online LibraryCharles DickensBentley's miscellany → online text (page 60 of 86)