Previously on Burgundy’s Zenith
Place: Péronne, France
|cc 3.0 wikipedia, Marco Zanoli|
The citizens were worn out by guarding an open town against a powerful army for more than a week; they imagined that as it was a Sunday they would not be attacked till the morrow. The assailants entered the town with little or no resistance. Yet the fury and license of the soldiery could not have been greater had their passions been excited by an obstinate and bloody struggle. The horrors of the sack of Dinant were surpassed, although many of the citizens were able to escape across the Meuse. The deliberate vengeance of the Duke was more searching and not less cruel than the lust and rapine of his army; all prisoners who would not pay a heavy ransom were drowned. Although the cold was so intense that wine froze, and that his men lost fingers and toes from frost-bites, Charles did not shrink from the labor of hunting down those who had fled to the mountains, and burning the villages in which they had sought a refuge. He had previously taken leave of the King.
Four or five days after the occupation of Liège, Louis had expressed a wish to depart. If he could be of any further use, his brother might command his services; but he was anxious to see that their treaty was registered by the Parliament of Paris, without which it could not be valid. The Duke seemed unwilling to let his prey escape, but could find no pretence for his detention. Next year, said the King, he would come again and spend a month pleasantly with his dear brother in festivities and good cheer. The treaty, now drawn up in its final shape by the Burgundian lawyers, was read over to Louis, in order that he might object to any article of which he disapproved. But he readily ratified all that he had promised at Pèronne. It had seemed useless to require him to bestow Normandy on Charles of France; nor is the question of his appanage mentioned in the treaty itself. But the King was compelled to promise to invest his brother with Champagne and Brie. These provinces, lying between Burgundy and the Low Countries, would, in the hands of an ally, serve to consolidate the Duke's dominions, and could be easily defended in case the King attempted to resume his concessions. Just before the princes departed, Louis said, as if the thought had suddenly occurred: "What do you wish me to do if my brother is not content with the appanage I offer him for your sake?" Charles answered carelessly: "If he will not take it, I leave the matter to you two to settle; only let him be satisfied." The King considered the thoughtless admission into which he had tricked his rival most important, since he fancied that it released him, so far as his brother's appanage was concerned, from the fearful obligation of his oath.
But notwithstanding this last advantage, we cannot doubt that Louis felt bitterly disappointed and ashamed. Although all songs, caricatures, and writings reflecting on the perfidy of the Duke of Burgundy, and by implication on the folly of the King, were forbidden under severe penalties, and even all manner of talking birds which might be taught the hateful word "Peronne" had been seized by the royal officers, he had not the heart to visit Paris. The parliament was summoned to meet him at Senlis. He ordered it to register the treaty without comment, and hastened southward to hide his mortification in his favorite castles of Touraine.