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Chapter 33 The Herald

Ariel. -- Hark! they roar. Prospero. Let them be hunted soundly.

THE TEMPEST

There was room made in the assembly, and no small curiosity evinced by those present to see the herald whom the insurgent Liegeois had ventured to send to so haughty a Prince as the Duke of Burgundy, while in such high indignation against them. For it must be remembered that at this period heralds were only dispatched from sovereign princes to each other upon solemn occasions; and that the inferior nobility employed pursuivants, a lower rank of officers at arms. It may be also noticed, in passing, that Louis XI, an habitual derider of whatever did not promise real power or substantial advantage, was in especial a professed contemner of heralds and heraldry, "red, blue, and green, with all their trumpery," to which the pride of his rival Charles, which was of a very different kind, attached no small degree of ceremonious importance.

The herald, who was now introduced into the presence of the monarchs, was dressed in a tabard, or coat, embroidered with the arms of his master, in which the Boar's Head made a distinguished appearance, in blazonry, which in the opinion of the skilful was more showy than accurate. The rest of his dress -- a dress always sufficiently tawdry -- was overcharged with lace, embroidery, and ornament of every kind, and the plume of feathers which he wore was so high, as if intended to sweep the roof of the hall. In short, the usual gaudy splendour of the heraldic attire was caricatured and overdone. The Boar's Head was not only repeated on every part of his dress, but even his bonnet was formed into that shape, and it was represented with gory tongue and bloody tusks, or in proper language, langed and dentated gules, and there was something in the man's appearance which seemed to imply a mixture of boldness and apprehension, like one who has undertaken a dangerous commission, and is sensible that audacity alone can carry him through it with safety. Something of the same mixture of fear and effrontery was visible in the manner in which he paid his respects, and he showed also a grotesque awkwardness, not usual amongst those who were accustomed to be received in the presence of princes.

"Who art thou, in the devil's name?" was the greeting with which Charles the Bold received this singular envoy.

"I am Rouge Sanglier," answered the herald, "the officer at arms of William de la Marck, by the grace of God, and the election of the Chapter, Prince Bishop of Liege."

"Ha!" exclaimed Charles, but, as if subduing his own passion, he made a sign to him to proceed.

"And, in right of his wife, the Honourable Countess Hameline of Croye, Count of Croye, and Lord of Bracquemont."

The utter astonishment of Duke Charles at the extremity of boldness with which these titles were announced in his presence seemed to strike him dumb; and the herald conceiving, doubtless, that he had made a suitable impression by the annunciation of his character, proceeded to state his errand.

"Annuncio vobis gaudium magnum (I announce to you a great joy)," he said; "I let you, Charles of Burgundy and Earl of Flanders, to know, in my master's name, that under favour of a dispensation of our Holy Father of Rome, presently expected, and appointing a fitting substitute ad sacra (to the sacred office), he proposes to exercise at once the office of Prince Bishop, and maintain the rights of Count of Croye."

The Duke of Burgundy, at this and other pauses in the herald's speech, only ejaculated, "Ha!" or some similar interjection, without making any answer; and the tone of exclamation was that of one who, though surprised and moved, is willing to hear all that is to be said ere he commits himself by making an answer. To the further astonishment of all who were present, he forbore from his usual abrupt and violent gesticulations, remaining with the nail of his thumb pressed against his teeth, which was his favourite attitude when giving attention, and keeping his eyes bent on the ground, as if unwilling to betray the passion which might gleam in them.

The envoy, therefore, proceeded boldly and unabashed in the delivery of his message. "In the name, therefore, of the Prince Bishop of Liege, and Count of Croye, I am to require of you, Duke Charles, to desist from those pretensions and encroachments which you have made on the free and imperial city of Liege, by connivance with the late Louis of Bourbon, unworthy Bishop thereof."

"Ha," again exclaimed the Duke.

"Also to restore the banners of the community, which you took violently from the town, to the number of six and thirty -- to rebuild the breaches in their walls, and restore the fortifications which you tyrannically dismantled -- and to acknowledge my master, William de la Marck, as Prince Bishop, lawfully elected in a free Chapter of Canons, of which behold the proces verbal."

"Have you finished?" said the Duke.

"Not yet," replied the envoy. "I am farther to require your Grace, on the part of the said right noble and venerable Prince, Bishop, and Count, that you do presently withdraw the garrison from the Castle of Bracquemont, and other places of strength, belonging to the Earldom of Croye, which have been placed there, whether in your own most gracious name, or in that of Isabelle, calling herself Countess of Croye, or any other, until it shall be decided by the Imperial Diet whether the fiefs in question shall not pertain to the sister of the late Count, my most gracious Lady Hameline, rather than to his daughter, in respect of the jus emphyteusis (a permanent tenure of land upon condition of cultivating it properly, and paying a stipulated rent; a sort of fee farm or copyhold)."

"Your master is most learned," replied the Duke.

"Yet," continued the herald, "the noble and venerable Prince and Count will be disposed, all other disputes betwixt Burgundy and Liege being settled, to fix upon the Lady Isabelle such an appanage as may become her quality."

"He is generous and considerate," said the Duke, in the same tone.

"Now, by a poor fool's conscience," said Le Glorieux apart to the Count of Crevecoeur, "I would rather be in the worst cow's hide that ever died of the murrain than in that fellow's painted coat! The poor man goes on like drunkards, who only look to the ether pot, and not to the score which mine host chalks up behind the lattice."

"Have you yet done?" said the Duke to the herald.

"One word more," answered Rouge Sanglier, "from my noble and venerable lord aforesaid, respecting his worthy and trusty ally, the most Christian King."

"Ha!" exclaimed the Duke, starting, and in a fiercer tone than he had yet used; but checking himself, he instantly composed himself again to attention.

"Which most Christian King's royal person it is rumoured that you, Charles of Burgundy, have placed under restraint contrary to your duty as a vassal of the Crown of France, and to the faith observed among Christian Sovereigns. For which reason, my said noble and venerable master, by my mouth, charges you to put his royal and most Christian ally forthwith at freedom, or to receive the defiance which I am authorized to pronounce to you."

"Have you yet done?" said the Duke.

"I have," answered the herald, "and await your Grace's answer, trusting it may be such as will save the effusion of Christian blood."

"Now, by Saint George of Burgundy!" said the Duke, but ere he could proceed farther, Louis arose, and struck in with a tone of so much dignity and authority that Charles could not interrupt him.

"Under your favour, fair cousin of Burgundy," said the King, "we ourselves crave priority of voice in replying to this insolent fellow. -- Sirrah herald, or whatever thou art, carry back notice to the perjured outlaw and murderer, William de la Marck, that the King of France will be presently before Liege, for the purpose of punishing the sacrilegious murderer of his late beloved kinsman, Louis of Bourbon; and that he proposes to gibbet De la Marck alive, for the insolence of terming himself his ally, and putting his royal name into the mouth of one of his own base messengers."

"Add whatever else on my part," said Charles, "which it may not misbecome a prince to send to a common thief and murderer. -- And begone! -- Yet stay. -- Never herald went from the Court of Burgundy without having cause to cry, Largesse! -- Let him be scourged till the bones are laid bare."

"Nay, but if it please your Grace," said Crevecoeur and D'Hymbercourt together, "he is a herald, and so far privileged."

"It is you, Messires," replied the Duke, "who are such owls as to think that the tabard makes the herald. I see by that fellow's blazoning he is a mere impostor. Let Toison d'Or step forward, and question him in your presence."

In spite of his natural effrontery, the envoy of the Wild Boar of Ardennes now became pale; and that notwithstanding some touches of paint with which he had adorned his countenance. Toison d'Or, the chief herald, as we have elsewhere said, of the Duke, and King at arms within his dominions, stepped forward with the solemnity of one who knew what was due to his office, and asked his supposed brother in what college he had studied the science which he professed.

"I was bred a pursuivant at the Heraldic College of Ratisbon," answered Rouge Sanglier, "and received the diploma of Ehrenhold (a herald) from that same learned fraternity."

"You could not derive it from a source more worthy," answered Toison d'Or, bowing still lower than he had done before; "and if I presume to confer with you on the mysteries of our sublime science, in obedience to the orders of the most gracious Duke, it is not in hopes of giving, but of receiving knowledge."

"Go to," said the Duke impatiently. "Leave off ceremony, and ask him some question that may try his skill."

"It were injustice to ask a disciple of the worthy College of Arms at Ratisbon if he comprehendeth the common terms of blazonry," said Toison d'Or, "but I may, without offence, crave of Rouge Sanglier to say if he is instructed in the more mysterious and secret terms of the science, by which the more learned do emblematically, and as it were parabolically, express to each other what is conveyed to others in the ordinary language, taught in the very accidence as it were of Heraldry."

"I understand one sort of blazonry as well as another," answered Rouge Sanglier boldly, "but it may be we have not the same terms in Germany which you have here in Flanders."

"Alas, that you will say so!" replied Toison d'Or. "our noble science, which is indeed the very banner of nobleness and glory of generosity, being the same in all Christian countries, nay, known and acknowledged even by the Saracens and Moors. I would, therefore, pray of you to describe what coat you will after the celestial fashion, that is, by the planets."

"Blazon it yourself as you will," said Rouge Sanglier; "I will do no such apish tricks upon commandment, as an ape is made to come aloft."

"Show him a coat and let him blazon it his own way," said the Duke; "and if he fails, I promise him that his back shall be gules, azure, and sable."

"Here," said the herald of Burgundy, taking from his pouch a piece of parchment, "is a scroll in which certain considerations led me to prick down, after my own poor fashion, an ancient coat. I will pray my brother, if indeed he belong to the honourable College of Arms at Ratisbon, to decipher it in fitting language."

Le Glorieux, who seemed to take great pleasure in this discussion, had by this time bustled himself close up to the two heralds. "I will help thee, good fellow," said he to Rouge Sanglier, as he looked hopelessly upon the scroll. "This, my lords and masters, represents the cat looking out at the dairy window."

This sally occasioned a laugh, which was something to the advantage of Rouge Sanglier, as it led Toison d'Or, indignant at the misconstruction of his drawing, to explain it as the coat of arms assumed by Childebert, King of France, after he had taken prisoner Gandemar, King of Burgundy; representing an ounce, or tiger cat, the emblem of the captive prince, behind a grating, or, as Toison d'Or technically defined it, "Sable, a musion (a tiger cat; a term of heraldry) passant Or, oppressed with a trellis gules, cloue of the second."

"By my bauble," said Le Glorieux, "if the cat resemble Burgundy, she has the right side of the grating nowadays."

"True, good fellow," said Louis, laughing, while the rest of the presence, and even Charles himself, seemed disconcerted at so broad a jest.

"I owe thee a piece of gold for turning some thing that looked like sad earnest into the merry game, which I trust it will end in."

"Silence, Le Glorieux," said the Duke; "and you, Toison d'Or, who are too learned to be intelligible, stand back -- and bring that rascal forward, some of you. -- Hark ye, villain," he said in his harshest tone, "do you know the difference between argent and or, except in the shape of coined money?"

"For pity's sake, your Grace, be good unto me! -- Noble King Louis, speak for me!"

"Speak for thyself," said the Duke. "In a word, art thou herald or not?"

"Only for this occasion!" acknowledged the detected official.

"Now, by Saint George!" said the Duke, eyeing Louis askance, "we know no king -- no gentleman -- save one, who would have so prostituted the noble science on which royalty and gentry rest, save that King who sent to Edward of England a serving man disguised as a herald."

(The heralds of the middle ages were regarded almost as sacred characters. It was treasonable to strike a herald, or to counterfeit the character of one. Yet Louis "did not hesitate to practise such an imposition when he wished to enter into communication with Edward IV of England. . . . He selected, as an agentfit for his purpose, a simple valet. This man . . . he disguised as a herald, with all the insignia of his office, and sent him in that capacity to open a communication with the English army. The stratagem, though of so fraudulent a nature, does not seem to have been necessarily called for, since all that King Louis could gain by it would be that he did not commit himself by sending a more responsible messenger. . . . Ferne . . . imputes this intrusion on their rights in some degree to necessity. 'I have heard some,' he says, '. . . allow of the action of Louis XI who had so unknightly a regard both of his own honour, and also of armes, that he seldom had about his court any officer at armes. And therefore, at such time as Edward IV, King of England, . . . lay before the town of Saint Quentin, the same French King, for want of a herald to carry his mind to the English King, was constrained to suborn a vadelict, or common serving man, with a trumpet banner, having a hole made through the middest for this preposterous herauld to put his head through, and to cast it over his shoulders instead of a better coat armour of France. And thus came this hastily arrayed courier as a counterfeit officer at armes, with instructions from his sovereign's mouth to offer peace to our King.' Ferne's Blazen of Gentry, 1586, p. 161. -- S.)

"Such a stratagem," said Louis, laughing, or affecting to laugh, "could only be justified at a Court where no herald were at the time, and when the emergency was urgent. But, though it might have passed on the blunt and thick witted islander, no one with brains a whit better than those of a wild boar would have thought of passing such a trick upon the accomplished Court of Burgundy."

"Send him who will," said the Duke fiercely, "he shall return on their hands in poor case. -- Here! -- drag him to the market place! -- slash him with bridle reins and dog whips until the tabard hang about him in tatters! -- Upon the Rouge Sanglier! -- ca, ca! -- Haloo, haloo!"

Four or five large hounds, such as are painted in the hunting pieces upon which Rubens and Schneiders laboured in conjunction, caught the well known notes with which the Duke concluded, and began to yell and bay as if the boar were just roused from his lair.

(Rubens (1577-1640): a great Flemish artist whose works were sought by kings and princes. He painted the history of Marie de Medicis in the series of colossal pictures now in the Louvre. He was knighted by Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England.)

(Schneiders, or Snyders: a Flemish painter of the seventeenth century.)

"By the rood!" said King Louis, observant to catch the vein of his dangerous cousin, "since the ass has put on the boar's hide, I would set the dogs on him to bait him out of it!"

"Right! right!" exclaimed Duke Charles, the fancy exactly chiming in with his humour at the moment -- "it shall be done! -- Uncouple the hounds! -- Hyke a Talbot! (a hunter's cry to his dog. See Dame Berner's Boke of Hawking and Hunting.) hyke a Beaumont! -- We will course him from the door of the Castle to the east gate!"

"I trust your Grace will treat me as a beast of chase," said the fellow, putting the best face he could upon the matter, "and allow me fair law?"

"Thou art but vermin," said the Duke, "and entitled to no law, by the letter of the book of hunting; nevertheless, thou shalt have sixty yards in advance, were it but for the sake of thy unparalleled impudence. -- Away, away, sirs! -- we will see this sport."

And the council breaking up tumultuously, all hurried, none faster than the two Princes, to enjoy the humane pastime which King Louis had suggested.

The Rouge Sanglier showed excellent sport; for, winged with terror, and having half a score of fierce boar hounds hard at his haunches, encouraged by the blowing of horns and the woodland cheer of the hunters, he flew like the very wind, and had he not been encumbered with his herald's coat (the worst possible habit for a runner), he might fairly have escaped dog free; he also doubled once or twice, in a manner much approved of by the spectators. None of these, nay, not even Charles himself, was so delighted with the sport as King Louis, who, partly from political considerations, and partly as being naturally pleased with the sight of human suffering when ludicrously exhibited, laughed till the tears ran from his eyes, and in his ecstasies of rapture caught hold of the Duke's ermine cloak, as if to support himself; whilst the Duke, no less delighted, flung his arm around the King's shoulder, making thus an exhibition of confidential sympathy and familiarity, very much at variance with the terms on which they had so lately stood together. At length the speed of the pseudo herald could save him no longer from the fangs of his pursuers; they seized him, pulled him down, and would probably soon have throttled him, had not the Duke called out, "Stave and tail! -- stave and tail! (to strike the bear with a staff, and pull off the dogs by the tail, to separate them.) -- Take them off him! -- He hath shown so good a course, that, though he has made no sport at bay, we will not have him dispatched."

Several officers accordingly busied themselves in taking off the dogs; and they were soon seen coupling some up, and pursuing others which ran through the streets, shaking in sport and triumph the tattered fragments of painted cloth and embroidery rent from the tabard, which the unfortunate wearer had put on in an unlucky hour.

At this moment, and while the Duke was too much engaged with what passed before him to mind what was said behind him, Oliver le Dain, gliding behind King Louis, whispered into his ear, "It is the Bohemian, Hayraddin Maugrabin. -- It were not well he should come to speech of the Duke."

"He must die," answered Louis in the same tone, "dead men tell no tales."

One instant afterwards, Tristan l'Hermite, to whom Oliver had given the hint, stepped forward before the King and the Duke, and said, in his blunt manner, "So please your Majesty and your Grace, this piece of game is mine, and I claim him -- he is marked with my stamp -- the fleur de lis is branded on his shoulder, as all men may see. -- He is a known villain, and hath slain the King's subjects, robbed churches, deflowered virgins, slain deer in the royal parks --"

"Enough, enough," said Duke Charles, "he is my royal cousin's property by many a good title. What will your Majesty do with him?"

"If he is left to my disposal," said the King, "I will at least give him one lesson in the science of heraldry, in which he is so ignorant -- only explain to him practically the meaning of a cross potence, with a noose dangling proper."

"Not as to be by him borne, but as to bear him. -- Let him take the degrees under your gossip Tristan -- he is a deep professor in such mysteries."

Thus answered the Duke, with a burst of discordant laughter at his own wit, which was so cordially chorused by Louis that his rival could not help looking kindly at him, while he said, "Ah, Louis, Louis! would to God thou wert as faithful a monarch as thou art a merry companion! -- I cannot but think often on the jovial time we used to spend together."

"You may bring it back when you will," said Louis; "I will grant you as fair terms as for very shame's sake you ought to ask in my present condition, without making yourself the fable of Christendom; and I will swear to observe them upon the holy relique which I have ever the grace to bear about my person, being a fragment of the true cross."

Here he took a small golden reliquary, which was suspended from his neck next to his shirt by a chain of the same metal, and having kissed it devoutly, continued -- "Never was false oath sworn on this most sacred relique, but it was avenged within the year."

"Yet," said the Duke, "it was the same on which you swore amity to me when you left Burgundy, and shortly after sent the Bastard of Rubempre to murder or kidnap me."

"Nay, gracious cousin, now you are ripping up ancient grievances," said the King. "I promise you, that you were deceived in that matter. -- Moreover, it was not upon this relique which I then swore, but upon another fragment of the true cross which I got from the Grand Seignior, weakened in virtue, doubtless, by sojourning with infidels. Besides, did not the war of the Public Good break out within the year; and was not a Burgundian army encamped at Saint Denis, backed by all the great feudatories of France; and was I not obliged to yield up Normandy to my brother? -- O God, shield us from perjury on such a warrant as this!"

"Well, cousin," answered the Duke, "I do believe thou hadst a lesson to keep faith another time. -- And now for once, without finesse and doubling, will you make good your promise, and go with me to punish this murdering La Marck and the Liegeois?"

"I will march against them," said Louis, "with the Ban and Arriere Ban of France (the military force called out by the sovereign in early feudal times, together with their vassals, equipment, and three months' provision), and the Oriflamme displayed."

"Nay, nay," said the Duke, "that is more than is needful, or may be advisable. The presence of your Scottish Guard, and two hundred choice lances, will serve to show that you are a free agent. A large army might --"

"Make me so in effect, you would say, my fair cousin?" said the King. "Well, you shall dictate the number of my attendants."

"And to put this fair cause of mischief out of the way, you will agree to the Countess Isabelle of Croye's wedding with the Duke of Orleans?"

"Fair cousin," said the King, "you drive my courtesy to extremity. The Duke is the betrothed bridegroom of my daughter Joan. Be generous -- yield up this matter, and let us speak rather of the towns on the Somme."

"My council will talk to your Majesty of these," said Charles, "I myself have less at heart the acquisition of territory than the redress of injuries. You have tampered with my vassals, and your royal pleasure must needs dispose of the hand of a ward of Burgundy. Your Majesty must bestow it within the pale of your own royal family, since you have meddled with it -- otherwise our conference breaks off."

"Were I to say I did this willingly," said the King, "no one would believe me, therefore do you, my fair cousin, judge of the extent of my wish to oblige you, when I say most reluctantly, that the parties consenting, and a dispensation from the Pope being obtained, my own objections shall be no bar to this match which you purpose."

"All besides can be easily settled by our ministers," said the Duke, "and we are once more cousins and friends."

"May Heaven be praised!" said Louis, "who, holding in his hand the hearts of princes, doth mercifully incline them to peace and clemency, and prevent the effusion of human blood.

"Oliver," he added apart to that favourite, who ever waited around him like the familiar beside a sorcerer, "hark thee -- tell Tristan to be speedy in dealing with yonder runagate Bohemian."

阿里尔:听,他们在吼叫。

普罗斯贝罗:让我们狠狠地追逐他们。

《暴风雨》

听到叛乱的列日市民竟敢在勃艮第公爵对他们怒不可遏的这样一个时刻派一个纹章官作使节,来见这位高傲的君王,在座的人们都让出一条路,十分惊奇地目睹他的到来。值得一提的是,在当时只有拥有主权的君主才在庄严的场合互派纹章官,而较低等的贵族则仅派遣一种名为“传令”的低等典礼官。也值得附带一提的是,路易十一这人一贯瞧不起任何并不表明实际权力和实际利益的虚浮之物,特别是公开嘲讽纹章官和纹章这一类玩意,说这些都是“红红绿绿,华而不实”。然而,他的对手查尔斯公爵却具有与他全然不同的荣誉感,因而对这类事物礼仪上十分重视。

被引进来觐见君王们的这位纹章官穿着一件绣有主人纹章的外袍。纹章是以野猪头作为显赫的标志;但在行家看来描绘过于鲜艳,欠准确。其余的服饰——一般都十分俗丽——则满是些花边、刺绣和各式各样的装饰品,不胜繁杂。他戴的羽毛更是高得像要触到大厅的屋顶。总之,纹章官服装常见的那种华丽和俗气在此人身上更得到了成倍的丑化和夸张。不仅衣服到处都绣着野猪头,而且帽子也做成了带有血红的舌头和獠牙的野猪头形状,用专门术语说就是“红舌红牙”。这人的外表也具有某种既大胆又心虚的表情,说明他意识到自己在铤而走险,惟有孤注一掷才有可能安然无恙。他在向君王们敬礼时同样显示出这种恐惧兼大胆的混杂表情。他那奇怪而尴尬的动作在经常受到君王接见的人们当中也很不常见。

“以魔鬼的名义说说看,你究竟是谁?”这就是大胆的查尔斯见到这奇异的特使时讲的第一句话。

“我叫红野猪,”那纹章官回答道,“是威廉·德拉马克的纹章官。蒙上帝的宏恩,经教堂全体牧师选举,他已经当上了列日的王权主教。”

“嗬!”查尔斯吃惊地说道,一边压抑着自己的愤怒,打了个手势叫他继续讲下去。

“同时也承袭其爱妻——尊敬的克罗伊埃·哈梅琳女士之封号,理所当然地成了克罗伊埃伯爵和布拉克蒙大公。”

查尔斯公爵听到这人在他面前竟敢如此放肆地念出这么一串头衔,真是惊奇得目瞪口呆。纹章官肯定是意识到他宣告身份的结果已产生了相当深刻的印象,便继续陈述他的使命。

“Annuncio vobis gauddium magnum,”他说道,“我谨以我个人的名义,知照勃艮第·查尔斯及弗兰德伯爵:承蒙即将获得的神圣罗马教皇的恩准,在指派适当圣职代理人的条件下,我的主人准备行使王权主教的职务,同时保留克罗伊埃伯爵的权利。”

在纹章宫每次说话的停顿当中勃艮第公爵都不作回答,只是发出“嗬!”或其他类似的惊兀声。这些惊兀声所使用的声调说明他固然感到惊奇,但很想听对方把话讲完再作出回答。使在座的人感到更为惊奇的是,他不像往常那样用力做些突兀的手势,而是做出他注意听人讲话时最喜欢采用的一种姿势——用大拇指的指甲抵着牙齿,低头望着地面,仿佛不愿让人看见他眼睛里可能闪烁着的愤怒光芒。

这位特使便继续大胆而无耻地陈述他所担负的使命。“我以列日王权主教及克罗伊埃伯爵的名义要求您,查尔斯公爵,停止您在可耻的已故列日主教波旁·路易的纵容下,对帝国直辖的列日自由市进行的侵犯,并收回一切无理要求。”

“嗬!”公爵又惊奇地大声说道。

“此外还要求您归还您从该城用武力夺走的三十六面社团旗帜,并修复该城的城墙缺口和被您专横地拆掉的堡垒——要求您承认威廉·德拉马克为大教堂牧师团自由选举,并经正式备案的合法王权主教。”

“你说完了吗?”公爵问道。

“还没有,”特使回答道,“我还必须以高贵而尊敬的亲王、主教和伯爵的名义,要求您从布拉克蒙城堡以及属于克罗伊埃伯爵领地的其他要地立即撤走以您自己的名义或以佯称为克罗伊埃伯爵小姐的伊莎贝尔的名义派往上述地区的驻军,以静候帝国议会的裁决,根据土地永久佃让法,上述采邑究竟应归属已故的克罗伊埃伯爵的胞妹,最贤良的哈梅琳女士,抑或归属他的女儿。”

“你的主人很有学问。”公爵对答道。

“不过,”那纹章官继续说道,“一俟勃艮第与列日之间的争端获得解决,我高贵而尊敬的亲王将欣然赐予伊莎贝尔女士一块适合其身份的封地。”

“他为人慷慨又体贴。”公爵以同样的声调说道。

“我这可怜的傻瓜凭良心说,”勒格洛里尔对克雷维格悄悄说道,“我宁肯做一条害瘟病死的牛,也不愿做那穿得花花绿绿的傻瓜!那家伙就像个醉鬼,只顾喝酒,而不顾我的主人躲在格子富后面给他记下的账。”

“你说完了吗?”公爵对那纹章官说道。

“还有一点,”红野猪回答道,“我高贵而尊敬的主人还谈到他尊贵而可靠的朋友,最重基督之道的国王——”

“嗬!”公爵突然一怔,用比先前更凶狠的声调大声说道。但他马上控制住自己,继续镇定地注意听他讲。

“据说你勃艮第·查尔斯违背你作为藩臣对法国国王应尽的义务,也违背信奉基督的君主应遵守的信义,对这位最重基督之道的国王加以软禁,限制了他的人身自由。为此,我高贵而尊敬的主人谨通过我口头敦促你将他那最重基督之道的国王盟友立即释放,否则就必须接受我受权向你宣布的挑战。”

“你讲完了吗?”公爵问道。

“我讲完了,”那纹章官回答道,“现在等待殿下的回答。相信这回答将有助于避免基督徒之间的流血战争。”

“好吧,凭着勃艮第的圣乔治说……”公爵讲道,但他还来不及继续讲下去,路易已站了起来,用充满了尊严和权威的声调开口说话。查尔斯不能打断他,只好让他讲下去。

“请你同意,我的勃艮第好堂弟,”国王说道,“我想赶在你前面给这个狂妄无礼的家伙一个回答——听着,你这纹章官(或别的什么头衔),你带信回去,告诉那无法无天的强盗和凶手威廉·德拉马克,说法国国王马上会率兵前往列日,讨伐那亵渎神明地杀害了他所爱戴的已故亲属波旁·路易的元凶,并准备把德拉马克活活绞死,以惩罚他狂妄地自称为法国盟友,并纵使他卑贱的使者滥用其国王英名的罪过。”

“再加上我作为君主应向一个盗贼和杀人犯交待的几句话,”查尔斯说道,“滚你的吧!慢点。从来还没有哪个敌营的使者离开勃艮第宫廷时不喊饶命!来人!赏他一顿鞭打,直叫他皮开肉绽!”

“请殿下原谅,”克雷维格和丹伯古同声说道,“他是个纹章官,享有豁免权。”

“你们两位先生真是痴呆得像猫头鹰,”公爵对答道,“竟以为穿上纹章官的花袍就算得上纹章官。我看这家伙的纹章正好说明他是个骗子。叫特瓦松·多尔站出来,当你们的面好好考他一下。”

尽管这位“阿登内斯野猪”的特使天生胆大,性格狂妄,但一听见这句话,就吓得变了脸色,连脸上涂抹的一点红粉也掩饰不住他的苍白。正像我们在别的地方提到过的,特瓦松·多尔乃是公爵的首席纹章官。在公爵管辖的领域内也说得上是“国王的左右手”。这时他带着义不容辞的庄严神气走上前来,讯问这位自封的同行,他究竟是在哪个纹章学院研究他所从事的这门科学的。

“我是在雷根斯堡纹章学院被培养成为传令的,”“红野猪”回答道,“我还从该学院获得了荣誉毕业证书。”

“这是一个有资格颁发此种证书的最光荣的学术机构。”特瓦松·多尔比先前更低地鞠了一躬,对他说道,“如果我服从最贤明的公爵的命令,冒昧地和您探讨我们这门高尚的科学的种种奥秘,那只是为了向您求教。”

“得了,”公爵不耐烦地说道,“别搞这些客套了。你就问他几个问题,考考他是否内行。”

“既然他是光荣的雷根斯堡纹章学院的毕业生,要问他是否懂得纹章学的普通符号,那未免太说不过去,”特瓦松·多尔说道,“不过我想不揣冒昧地要求‘红野猪’先生说说,他是否研究过纹章学方面更玄妙更隐秘的一些符号——通过这些符号,学问更深的人们可以用象征的方法,或比喻的方法彼此表达纹章学的词法中用普通符号表达的概念。”

“各种纹章符号我都懂得,”“红野猪”大胆地说道,“不过,我们在德国所学的与你们弗兰德的可能不同。”

“哎呀!亏得你说的!”特瓦松·多尔回答道,“你要知道,我们这门高贵的科学之所以成其为光荣和高贵的标志和象征,就因为它在所有基督教国家都完全一致,甚至得到撒拉森人和摩尔人的了解和承认。所以,我想请您按天象,也就是按星象,对您选择的任何纹章进行一番解释。”

“你愿意解释你去解释好了,”“红野猪”说道,“我不想对老天爷开猿猴妄想登天这一类愚蠢的玩笑。”

“给他一个纹章,让他按他自己的方式去解释,”公爵说道,“假如他解释不出来,我担保他会被打得满身发青发紫。”

“你瞧,”勃艮第的纹章官从钱包里掏出一块羊皮纸说道,“这儿是一个羊皮纸卷,基于某种考虑我曾按我自己的方式在上面刺了一个古代的纹章。假如这位老兄真是鼎鼎有名的雷根斯堡纹章学院毕业的,那我就请他用适当的语言解释解释这个纹章。”

勒格洛里尔对这个讨论似乎很感兴趣,这时已挤到了两位纹章官的跟前。“好伙计,让我帮帮你吧,”他看到“红野猪”茫然地望着羊皮纸卷发愁便对他说道,“我的大人,这表示一个猫在一个牛奶店的窗口朝外望。”

这句俏皮话引起了一场大笑。这对“红野猪”倒很有利,因为特瓦松·多尔听到那弄臣对自己的图案作了如此荒谬的解说,一气之下赶忙解释说,这是法国国王契尔德伯特在将勃艮第国王冈德马尔囚禁以后所采用的纹章。描绘的是一只虎猫——被囚国王的标志——被关在铁栅栏后面,或者,像特瓦松·多尔用行话所解说的那样:“Sable,a musion passant Or,oppressed with a trellis gules,cloue of the second.”

“凭我挂的铃铛说,”勒格洛里尔说道,“如果这猫是象征勃艮第,那么它现在可是站在铁栅栏的外面,而不是关在里面。”

“好伙计,你说得很对,”路易大声笑道,尽管在场的其他人,甚至包括公爵本人在内,都对如此露骨的俏皮话感到不安,“我得奖给你一枚金币,赞扬你把一件严肃的事说成了令人开心的趣事。我相信事情也会以这种愉快的气氛得到了结。”

“别再讲了,勒格洛里尔,”公爵说道,“而你,特瓦松·多尔的学问也实在叫人莫测高深,你也靠边站吧——你们谁把这流氓给我拉上来!你这无赖,好好听着,”他用最严厉的声调说道,“除开铸成钱币,你就连金和银都分不清吗?”

“殿下,看在怜悯的分上,饶了我吧!高贵的路易王,代我说说情吧!”

“你代你自己说说得了,”公爵讲道,“一句话,你是不是纹章官?”

“只是这一次临时当当!”这原形毕露的纹章官承认道。

“圣乔治在上!”公爵用眼角望着路易说道,“我只知道有一位国王——一位绅士——曾经滥用过王室和贵族所依靠的这门高贵的纹章学;惟独这位国王曾经把一名仆役冒充纹章官派往英国爱德华的宫廷。”

“这样一个计策,”路易大笑(或假装大笑)地说道,“在情况迫不得已时用来对付当时还没有纹章官的英国宫廷,也还说得过去。不过,尽管这事骗过了鲁钝愚蠢的岛民,但任何稍比‘野猪’聪明的人也不会想到把这样一个鬼把戏用来欺骗高级的勃艮第宫廷。”

“把他带走,”公爵狠狠地说道,“得让他狼狈不堪地滚回去——来人!把他拽到市场去!用缰绳和狗鞭抽打他,直到他衣不蔽体,体无完肤!嗨!嗨!快咬这个‘红野猪’!这儿!这儿!”

一听到公爵最后发出的熟悉声音,便有四五只像鲁本斯和施莱德斯合画的狩猎图里所描绘的那种大狼狗,像听到野猪被赶出窝似的大声吠叫起来。

“凭着耶稣受难的十字架说!”为了迎合他凶残的堂弟这一时的兴致,路易王赶紧说道,“既然这笨驴披上野猪皮,那就让狗追赶他,给他剥掉这层皮!”

“对,对!”公爵大声说道,显然这一想法正迎合他此刻的情绪,“就这么办!解开狼狗——把塔尔波特吆过来!把波蒙特也吆过来!我得让狗把他从城堡大门一直追到东城门。”

“我想,殿下会像对待一头猎物那样对待我,”那家伙强作镇定地说道,“容许我享受狩猎法的公平待遇吧?”

“你是一头害兽,”公爵说道,“无权享受狩猎法规定的法律保护。不过,看在你史无前例的厚颜无耻的分上,让你先跑六十码。走吧,走吧,先生们!让我们去观看这场比赛。”会议在一片哄闹声中收场以后,人们都急忙跟在比谁都跑得更快的两位君王后面,欣赏路易王提出的以人为对象的这场娱乐。

那“红野猪”表现得十分擅长跑步。看到在号角声和猎人的吆喝声鼓舞下,有十来头凶狠的狼狗正猛追过来,恐惧就像给他添上了翅膀,更使他快步如飞。要不是那纹章官的外袍(这是对跑步者最不利的一种服装)使他行动不便,他很可能摆脱掉狗的追赶。他也曾迂回闪躲过一两次,技巧之高博得了观众的喝彩。然而,在包括查尔斯本人在内的观众中,没有谁比路易王对这场比赛更显得乐不可支。这一方面是出于政治上的考虑,一方面是由于他天性残忍,乐于看到别人以滑稽的方式表现出来的痛苦。他笑得眼泪都淌了出来,而在他如痴如狂的大笑当中,他一把抓住了公爵的貂皮外套,像是想有个支持,免得自己摔倒。笑得同样开心的公爵也一把搂住国王的肩膀,从而表现出与他们最近的关系大相径庭的亲热友好和感情共鸣。

最后,这伪装的纹章官跑的速度已无法使他摆脱犬牙的袭击。狼狗咬住他,把他拉倒在地,正准备扑向他的喉咙,把他一口咬死,这时公爵忽然大声喊道:“别咬!别咬!把狗拖开!他跑得很不错,尽管在狗逼到面前时没作什么精彩表演,我也不想就这么把他打发掉。”

几位官员应命跑过去,赶紧把狗拉开。人们看见有几条狗被他们套住了,而另外几条则被追得满街乱跑,一边得意洋洋地在口里抖动着从那倒霉的纹章官在一个倒霉的时刻穿上的那件外袍上撕下来的花花绿绿的碎布。

公爵正全神贯注地观看眼前的趣事,没注意到后边有人在说什么。这时奥利弗·丹溜到国王背后对他耳语道:“这正是那个波希米亚人海拉丁·毛格拉宾。要是他找到机会和公爵讲话,那就糟了。”

“得把他干掉,”国王用同样的声调回答道,“死人就无法告密了。”

奥利弗给特里斯顿·勒尔米特一个暗示,这人立即走到国王和公爵面前,以粗率的态度说道:“陛下和殿下请原谅,这家伙是属于我的猎物。我要求领走他。大家都看得见,这人肩上烙有百合花印记。他是个有名的歹徒,杀害过国王的臣民,抢劫过教堂,奸污过少女,偷猎过御花园里的糜鹿。”

“够了,够了,”查尔斯公爵说道,“根据这么多的名目,那他肯定是属于我堂兄的财产。陛下想怎么处置他呢?”

“如果把他交给我处置,”国王说道,“那我至少还得给他上一堂他所一窍不通的纹章课——要他老老实实领会,带有摆动的套索的大十字架究竟意味着什么。”

“不是要他承负的十字架,而是承负他的十字架。让他在你的老伙计特里斯顿的指导下,攻读他的博士学位吧——他是深谙此种玄秘知识的大教授。”

公爵接着对自己这个俏皮话发出自鸣得意的刺耳的笑声,路易对他这笑声也报以如此热诚的响应,连他的对手也禁不住一边温和地望着他,一边说道:

“唉,路易,路易!祷告上帝,但愿你既是一个快活的伙伴,又是个讲信义的君主!我不能不经常回想起我们过去常在一起度过的快乐时光。”

“只要你愿意,这种时光还可以再回来,”路易说道,“我愿允诺在我当前的处境下你能体面地提出的任何公平合理的条件,亦即不致使你自己成为基督世界非议对象的任何条件。我愿凭着我身上经常佩戴的耶稣受难十字架的残片这一圣物发誓,我将遵守这些条件。”

这时,他解下用一条金项链贴着衬衣套在脖子上的小金匣,虔诚地吻了它之后继续说道:

“谁要是对这最神圣的圣物发伪誓,不出一年就会有报应。”

“不过,”公爵说道,“这也是你离开勃艮第之前向我发誓要保持友谊时使用过的同一圣物。但不久你就派遣鲁邦布雷那杂种来对我进行暗杀和绑架。”

“我的好堂弟,你又在翻老账了,”国王说道,“我敢说,那事你是误解了。不过,我当时也不是凭着这个圣物发的誓,而是凭着我从宰相那儿拿来的另一块耶稣受难十字架的残片发的誓。那块残片曾在异教徒当中停留太久,效力肯定减弱了。再说,不正是不出一年就爆发了‘公益战争’吗?当时,一支勃艮第军队在所有法国大封建主的支持下进驻圣丹尼斯城,结果我被迫把诺曼底移交给我兄弟。上帝保佑我们,可别对这样一种神圣的信物发伪誓!”

“好吧,堂哥,”公爵对答道,“我的确相信你得到了一个教训,下次该守信用了。不过这回我想开门见山,直截了当地问问你:你愿履行你的诺言,和我一道去惩罚凶手德拉马克和列日市民吗?”

“我愿意带兵去打他们,”路易说道,“我要叫我的人马把法国军旗和殿后军旗以及法国王室旗都打出来。”

“不必,不必,”公爵说道,“这样做既不需要,也未必可取。只消有你的苏格兰卫队和两百名精选的长矛手在场,就足以表明你是作为自由的一方参加战争了。一只大的队伍可能——”

“好堂弟,你想说,这将使我事实上成为自由的一方,对吗?”国王说道,“好吧,我让你决定我的随从人数好了。”

“为了消除引起我们这次不和的因素,你同意让克罗伊埃·伊莎贝尔伯爵小姐与奥尔良公爵成婚,行吗?”

“我的好堂弟,”国王说道,“我一再礼让,终归还是被你逼上了绝路。你要知道,公爵是我女儿让娜的未婚夫。我求你大方一些,放弃这个要求。让我们还是谈谈索姆河上几座城镇的归属问题吧。”

“我的大臣们会和陛下谈判这些问题的,”查尔斯说道,“就我个人来说,我更关心的是弥补所受的委屈,而不是攫取领土。陛下干预我的藩属,硬要插手勃艮第的一个被保护者的婚事。既然陛下已经插手,您就得把她许配给您的一位王室成员。否则我们就得宣告谈判破裂。”

“要是我说我情愿这样做,那谁也不会相信,”国王说道,“好堂弟,我只能十分勉强地表示这样一点意思:假如双方同意,而又获得教皇的恩准,那么我个人的反对将不会妨碍这桩婚姻的实现。因此,你可以判断,我希望能使你满意的愿望达到了什么样的程度。”

“其他问题都不难通过我们的大臣来求得解决,”公爵说道,“现在我们又成了堂兄弟和朋友了。”

“谢天谢地!”路易说道,“仁慈的上帝掌握着君王们的心灵,要他们以和平为重,宽厚为怀,这样天下的黎民百姓就可免遭兵燹。奥利弗,”他对那老像徒弟伴随巫师似的和他形影不离的宠臣悄悄说道,“你听我说——你去告诉特里斯顿,叫他把那个波希米亚流浪汉立即干掉。”



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