A very unfortunate adventure befel sir Eustace d’Ambreticourt much about this time. As he was riding one day through Limousin, he came in the evening to the castle of the lord de Pierre Buffiere, which he entered, thinking him a friend, a brother soldier, and a good Englishman. But Pierre Buffiere had given up his castle to Thibaut du Pont, a man at arms from Brittany, and his company. Thibaut seized sir Eustace, who was not any way on his guard, made him his prisoner, and afterward ransomed him for twelve thousand francs, of which he paid down four thousand, and left his son, François d’Ambreticourt, his hostage for the remainder to the duke of Bourbon, who had gone surety for him, and had taken great pains to obtain his liberty, because sir Eustace had been very active in obtaining the freedom of the lady his mother, when she had been made prisoner by the free companies at Belleperche. After he had obtained his liberty, sir Eustace went and resided in Carentan, beyond the fords of St. Clement, in lower Normandy, a very handsome town which the king of Navarre had given him, and where he died. God have mercy on his soul! for whilst he lived and remained in the world he was a most valiant knight.
Nearly at this period, sir Raymond de Marneil, who had changed his party from the English to the French, was returning to his own country from Paris, when he met with a disagreeable accident. On his road, he encountered a body of English, belonging to the forces of Hugh Calverley, commanded by a knight of Poitou, and came so suddenly among them that he could not escape: he was thus taken, and carried prisoner to the castle of the knight in Poitou. The capture of sir Raymond was known in England, and came to the king’s knowledge, who immediately wrote to the knight, ordering him to send that enemy and traitor sir Raymond de Marneil directly to England, on whom he would wreak such vengeance that it should serve as an example to all others; and that he would pay him six thousand francs for his ransom. Sir Geoffry d’Argenton, who had taken sir Raymond, was not willing to disobey the orders of his sovereign and lord, and replied he would punctually follow his commands. Sir Raymond de Marneil was informed that the king of England wished to have his person, and had sent orders to that effect; and also that sir Geoffry was determined to obey him. He was therefore more alarmed than ever, and not without reason. He began to utter in his prison the most piteous moans, insomuch that the person who guarded him, and was an Englishman, began to compassionate him, and gently to soothe him. Sir Raymond, who saw no rays of comfort in his distress, since he was to be sent to England, at last opened his mind to his keeper. “My friend,” said he, “if you will engage to deliver me from the peril in which I am, I will promise and swear on my loyalty to divide half and half with you all my landed possessions, which you shall have for your inheritance; and never as long as I live will I be wanting to you in whatever manner you may please.” The Englishman, who was poor, considered that sir Raymond was in danger of his life, and as he had promised him such a handsome recompense to save it, he took compassion on him, and said he would do all he could to serve him. Sir Raymond heard 459 this with great joy, and swore upon his honour to perform strictly what he had promised, and even more if he insisted upon it. Upon which they consulted how they could best bring this business to a happy end.
When night came, the Englishman, who kept the keys of the tower of the castle where sir Raymond lay, opened his prison and a postern-gate, from which they issued into the plain, and made for a wood, to prevent themselves being overtaken. They were in greater distress all the night than can be imagined; for they marched seven leagues on foot, and it had frozen so hard that their feet were all cut and torn. At last, however, at the dawn they came to a French fortress, where they were heartily received by the companions who guarded it. Sir Raymond related to them his adventures, and they all returned thanks to God for his fortunate escape. In truth, when the knight on the morrow found they had gone off, he sent horsemen everywhere round the country in search of them, but in vain. In this manner did sir Raymond de Marneil escape from such imminent danger. He returned to Limousin, and told all his friends his great obligations to the English squire. The Englishman was much honoured by them, and sir Raymond wanted to divide his estate with him; but he refused to accept so much, and would only take two hundred livres a-year, adding that was fully sufficient for the support of himself in his situation.