After having conquered the before-named knights, don Tello and don Sancho returned with their detachment in great joy to the army, and went in the evening to the quarters of king Henry. The two brothers who had been in this expedition made a present to the king of their prisoners, and related to him, in the presence of sir Bertrand du Guesclin, sir Arnold d’Andreghen and others, how the day had passed, and what road they had taken: how they had first fallen in with the people of sir Hugh Calverly, whom they had slain or chased even to the army of the English: that they had beaten up the quarters of the duke of Lancaster, alarmed the whole army, and done much mischief: that upon their retreat they had met those knights, whom they had taken prisoners. King Henry, who had listened to this account with great pride, replied most graciously to his brother, don Tello, and said: “Amiable brother, well have you performed your promise: I will reward you handsomely for it; and I feel, that all the rest of our enemies must ultimately come to this pass.”
Sir Arnold d’Andreghen, on this, stepped forth and said: “Sire, sire, with your permission, I wish not to doubt your majesty’s words, but to make an amendment by informing you, that when you shall meet the prince of Wales in battle, you will find men at arms such as they ought to be; for with him is the flower of chivalry of the whole world, and hardy and tough combatants: those who, in truth, would rather die on the spot than think of flying. It therefore behoves you to weigh maturely this point, before you determine: and, if you will believe what I am going to say, you may take them all, without striking a stroke. You have only to guard the passes and defiles, so that no provision can be brought them, when famine will do the business for you: they must then return back to their own country in disorder and spiritless, so that you may easily gain your object, and defeat them without striking a blow.”
King Henry answered, “By the soul of my father, marshal, I have such a desire to see this prince, and to try my strength with him, that we will never part without a battle. Thank God, I have enow of men to assist me. In the first place, there are already in our army seven thousand men at arms, each mounted on a good courser, and so well covered with armour that they fear not the arrows of the archer. In addition, I have twenty thousand more, mounted on genets and armed from head to foot. I have besides forty thousand common soldiers, with lances, darts and shields, who will do much service, for they have all sworn they will rather die than leave me; so that, my lord marshal, I ought not to be afraid, but rather place great confidence in the power of God and my men.” Thus ended this conversation: wine and spices were brought in by some knights, of which the king and the lords present partook; and then they all retired to their quarters. The knights and squires who had that day been made prisoners, gave their oaths as such, and were put under the care of different knights.
We will return to the prince, to speak of his arrangements. He and the duke of Lancaster had remained in the position they had taken in the morning, until about vespers, when they were informed that their advanced detachment had been all taken or killed; at which they were much vexed, but they could not then amend it. They retired to their quarters, where they remained that night. On the morrow morning, they called a council, and determined to leave their present position, to advance more into the country. They decamped, and took up their quarters nearer to Vittoria, marching full armed, as if 368 immediately to engage; for they had heard that king Henry and his brothers, with their army, were not far distant: however, they made no advances to meet them.
You must know, the prince and his brother were in great want of provision for themselves and their horses, as they had entered a very barren country, whilst king Henry and his army enjoyed a contrary situation. A loaf of bread, and of no great size, was sold in the prince’s army for a florin; and many were very eager to pay this price whenever they were able to get it. The weather was also extremely bad, with high wind, rain and snow; and in this miserable distressing plight they remained for six days.
When the prince and his lords found the Spaniards make no advances to offer them battle, and that their distress was great where they were, they held a council, and resolved to seek elsewhere for a passage over the Ebro. They therefore decamped, and took the road towards Navarretta, through a country called La Guardia, which having passed, they came to a town called Viana. There the prince, the duke of Lancaster, the earl of Armagnac, and the other lords, halted two days, to refresh themselves. They then crossed the river which divides Castille from Navarre, at the bridge of Logrono, in the midst of gardens and olive trees. They found there a richer country than that which they had left; but even here they were much distressed for want of provision.
When king Henry was told that the prince and his army had crossed the Ebro at the bridge of Logrono, he left St. Miguel, where he had kept his quarters for a long time, advanced to Najarra upon the same river, and there encamped. News was soon brought to the prince of king Henry’s approach. This gave him great joy; and he said aloud, “By St. George, this bastard proves himself a valiant knight, from the desire he shows to meet us in battle. We shall certainly soon see each other; for we cannot fail doing so much longer.” He then summoned his brother, the duke of Lancaster, and some other barons of his council who were there, and wrote, with their advice, an answer to the letter which king Henry had sent to him, in the following terms:
When this letter was finished, folded up and sealed, it was given to the herald who had brought king Henry’s, and who had waited for an answer for three weeks. He took his leave of the prince and the other lords, and rode on until he came to Navarretta, near to which place the king was encamped upon the heath. He made for the king’s tent, followed by the principal lords of the army, who, having heard of the return of the herald, were anxious to know what news he had brought.
The herald, on his knees, presented the king the letter which the prince had sent by him. The king took it and opened it, calling sir Bertrand du Guesclin, and some of the lords of his council, to its perusal. When the letter had been read and well considered, sir Bertrand du Guesclin thus spoke to king Henry: “Sire, be assured that very shortly you must have a battle: from what I know of the prince, I am convinced that it must be so. I therefore advise you to look well to this business, to order and arrange your men in the best possible manner.” “Sir Bertrand,” replied king Henry, ”in God’s name so it shall be. I have no dread of the prince’s army: for I have three thousand barbed horses, which will be 369 on our two wings, seven thousand warders1, and upwards of twenty thousand men at arms, the best that can be found in all Castille, Galicia, Portugal, Cordova and Sicily, besides ten thousand cross-bows, and full forty2 thousand foot, armed with lances, darts, swords, and all sorts of weapons, who have sworn to die rather than desert me. I trust, therefore, sir Bertrand, that through God’s grace, in whom I put my trust, we shall have the best of it, as well as from the justice of our right in this affair. I therefore entreat you all to be of good courage.”
Thus the king and sir Bertrand conversed together, as well as on different subjects, laying aside all thoughts of the letter which the prince had sent, for king Henry was determined to have a battle. Don Tello and Don Sancho, began to draw up their men in proper order, and to busy themselves in preparing everything: they were much esteemed, for the success of their late expedition. But we must now return to the prince, and show how he was going on.