Le 4 janvier 2017, 05:31 dans Humeurs • 0
on himself was chafing in impotent fury at his lack of means, his failure, and the undignified figure he cut before the world. By the aid of his mother, a number of Frenchmen flocked over the frontier during the winter of 1582-3, and at length Marshal de Biron himself joined the Prince, and the plot that had long been hatching was attempted. This was nothing less than by a coup-de-main to326 seize and garrison in Flanders with Frenchmen. If this succeeded, Alen?on might demand his own terms, either from Philip or Elizabeth, and the combined attempt was made on the 16th of January, 1583. Alen?on himself took charge of the affair at Antwerp, wherein one thousand additional Frenchmen had secretly entered. This being noticed by the burghers aroused suspicion, and certain despatches from Alen?on to Marchaumont in England having been intercepted and read by Orange, the latter gave timely warning to the Antwerpers. A large body of Frenchmen arrived suddenly before the town, and an excuse was made that Alen?on was to review them outside the Burgerhout gate. As he sallied from the gate of the town with his Swiss and French Guard of four hundred men, he was joined by three hundred French horsemen, and turning towards the gate he cried to his countrymen, “Courage, comrades, Antwerp is yours!”
This was the signal, and the Flemings at the gate were massacred. The slight resistance overcome, the main force of the French, with banners flying, entered the town with cries of “The Duke and the mass.” The burghers, unaware at first what the tumult meant, were taken by surprise, and sought refuge in their houses. But soon pillage and murder began to remind them of the “Spanish fury” of six years before. Alen?on and Biron, however, were very different men from Sancho de Avila and Julian Romero; and the stout Antwerpers turned upon their false friends, blocked the streets, mustered their companies, and fought like the heroes they were in defence of their homes. Fire-eating327 Fervaques was taken prisoner, as were du Fargis, le Rieux, and Bodin. Biron’s son, the nephew of Cardinal Rambouillet, the Duke of St. Aignan, and his son, and two hundred and fifty other gentlemen were killed; the French loss altogether reaching two thousand men, one-half of their entire force, whilst the burghers lost only about one hundred. Alen?on, from afar, outside the town, watched with sinking heart the failure of his treachery, and when he saw that all was lost, fled with difficulty, by the swollen rivers hotly pursued until he arrived at Vilvorde, where the French had succeeded in gaining the upper hand, as they also had at Ostend, Dixmunde, Alost, and Dunkirk, whilst they had failed at Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges.
The news came to England confusedly and in fragments at first, and the Queen was inclined to bring her suitor over to England for safety; but when full accounts came from the Prince of Orange, and the treason was thoroughly understood, all England growled at the falseness of Frenchmen in general and Alen?on in particular. Orange sought to fasten some of the responsibility upon Elizabeth, because, in answer to all remonstrances as to his action and the increased number of Frenchmen with him, Alen?on had invariably said that he was there as the Queen of England’s lieutenant, and was acting with her full connivance.