Post by J. Clarke
The rest of this pretty much supports my viewpoint. The Brits were
large and in charge for about a century and now they're back to their
That's one way of looking at it. Conan Doyle's seems equally valid:
"All is very well with me, Bertrand," said she. "The blessed
hour of sight has come round to me again."
"I could see it come! I could see it come!" he exclaimed,
passing his fingers through his hair with the same perplexed
expression as before.
"This is untoward, Sir Tristram," he said at last. "And I
scarce know in what words to make it clear to you, and to
your fair wife, and to Sir Nigel Loring, and to these other
stranger knights. My tongue is a blunt one, and fitter to
shout word of command than to clear up such a matter as
this, of which I can myself understand little. This, however,
I know, that my wife is come of a very sainted race, whom
God hath in His wisdom endowed with wondrous powers, so
that Tiphaine Raquenel was known throughout Brittany ere
ever I first saw her at Dinan. Yet these powers are ever
used for good, and they are the gift of God and not of the
devil, which is the difference betwixt white magic and
"Perchance it would be as well that we should send for
Father Stephen," said Sir Tristram.
"It would be best that he should come," cried the Hospitaller.
"And bring with him a flask of holy water," added the knight
"Not so, gentlemen," answered Sir Bertrand. "It is not
needful that this priest should be called, and it is in my
mind that in asking for this ye cast some slight shadow or
slur upon the good name of my wife, as though it were still
doubtful whether her power came to her from above or below.
If ye have indeed such a doubt I pray that you will say so,
that we may discuss the matter in a fitting way."
"For myself," said Sir Nigel, "I have heard such words fall
from the lips of this lady that I am of the opinion that
there is no woman, save only one, who can be in any way
compared to her in beauty and in goodness. Should any
gentleman think otherwise, I should deem it great honor to
run a small course with him, or debate the matter in whatever
way might be most pleasing to him."
"Nay, it would ill become me to cast a slur upon a lady who
is both my guest and the wife of my comrade-in-arms," said
the Seneschal of Villefranche. "I have perceived also that
on her mantle there is marked a silver cross, which is
surely sign enough that there is nought of evil in these
strange powers which you say that she possesses."
This argument of the seneschal's appealed so powerfully to
the Bohemian and to the Hospitaller that they at once
intimated that their objections had been entirely overcome,
while even the Lady Rochefort, who had sat shivering and
crossing herself, ceased to cast glances at the door, and
allowed her fears to turn to curiosity.
"Among the gifts which have been vouchsafed to my wife,"
said Du Guesclin, "there is the wondrous one of seeing into
the future; but it comes very seldom upon her, and goes as
quickly, for none can command it. The blessed hour of sight,
as she hath named it, has come but twice since I have known
her, and I can vouch for it that all that she hath told me
was true, for on the evening of the Battle of Auray she
said that the morrow would be an ill day for me and for
Charles of Blois. Ere the sun had sunk again he was dead,
and I the prisoner of Sir John Chandos. Yet it is not every
question that she can answer, but only those--"
"Bertrand, Bertrand!" cried the lady in the same muttering
far-away voice, "the blessed hour passes. Use it, Bertrand,
while you may."
"I will, my sweet. Tell me, then, what fortune comes upon
"Danger, Bertrand-deadly, pressing danger-which creeps upon
you and you know it not."
The French soldier burst into a thunderous laugh, and his
green eyes twinkled with amusement. "At what time during
these twenty years would not that have been a true word?"
he cried. "Danger is in the air that I breathe. But is this
so very close, Tiphaine?"
"Here-now-close upon you!" The words came out in broken,
strenuous speech, while the lady's fair face was writhed
and drawn like that of one who looks upon a horror which
strikes the words from her lips. Du Guesclin gazed round
the tapestried room, at the screens, the tables, the abace,
the credence, the buffet with its silver salver, and the
half-circle of friendly, wondering faces. There was an utter
stillness, save for the sharp breathing of the Lady Tiphaine
and for the gentle soughing of the wind outside, which
wafted to their ears the distant call upon a swine-herd's
"The danger may bide," said he, shrugging his broad shoulders.
"And now, Tiphaine, tell us what will come of this war in
"I can see little," she answered, straining her eyes and
puckering her brow, as one who would fain clear her sight.
"There are mountains, and dry plains, and flash of arms and
shouting of battle-cries. Yet it is whispered to me that
by failure you will succeed."
"Ha! Sir Nigel, how like you that?" quoth Bertrand, shaking
his head. "It is like mead and vinegar, half sweet, half
sour. And is there no question which you would ask my lady?"
"Certes there is. I would fain know, fair lady, how all
things are at Twynham Castle, and above all how my sweet
lady employs herself."
"To answer this I would fain lay hand upon one whose thoughts
turn strongly to this castle which you have named. Nay, my
Lord Loring, it is whispered to me that there is another
here who hath thought more deeply of it than you."
"Thought more of mine own home?" cried Sir Nigel. "Lady, I
fear that in this matter at least you are mistaken."
"Not so, Sir Nigel. Come hither, young man, young English
squire with the gray eyes! Now give me your hand, and place
it here across my brow, that I may see that which you have
seen. What is this that rises before me? Mist, mist, rolling
mist with a square black tower above it. See it shreds out,
it thins, it rises, and there lies a castle in green plain,
with the sea beneath it, and a great church within a bow-shot.
There are two rivers which run through the meadows, and
between them lie the tents of the besiegers."
"The besiegers!" cried Alleyne, Ford, and Sir Nigel, all
three in a breath.
"Yes, truly, and they press hard upon the castle, for they
are an exceeding multitude and full of courage. See how
they storm and rage against the gate, while some rear
ladders, and others, line after line, sweep the walls with
their arrows. There are many leaders who shout and beckon,
and one, a tall man with a golden beard, who stands before
the gate stamping his foot and hallooing them on, as a
pricker doth the hounds. But those in the castle fight
bravely. There is a woman, two women, who stand upon the
walls, and give heart to the men-at-arms. They shower down
arrows, darts and great stones. Ah! they have struck down
the tall leader, and the others give back. The mist thickens
and I can see no more."
"By Saint Paul!" said Sir Nigel, "I do not think that there
can be any such doings at Christchurch, and I am very easy
of the fortalice so long as my sweet wife hangs the key of
the outer bailey at the head of her bed. Yet I will not
deny that you have pictured the castle as well as I could
have done myself, and I am full of wonderment at all that
I have heard and seen."
"I would, Lady Tiphaine," cried the Lady Rochefort, "that
you would use your power to tell me what hath befallen my
golden bracelet which I wore when hawking upon the second
Sunday of Advent, and have never set eyes upon since."
"Nay, lady," said du Guesclin, "it does not befit so great
and wondrous a power to pry and search and play the varlet
even to the beautiful chatelaine of Villefranche. Ask a
worthy question, and, with the blessing of God, you shall
have a worthy answer."
"Then I would fain ask," cried one of the French squires,
"as to which may hope to conquer in these wars betwixt the
English and ourselves."
"Both will conquer and each will hold its own," answered
the Lady Tiphaine.
"Then we shall still hold Gascony and Guienne?" cried Sir
The lady shook her head. "French land, French blood, French
speech," she answered. "They are French, and France shall
"But not Bordeaux?" cried Sir Nigel excitedly.
"Bordeaux also is for France."
"Woe worth me then, and ill hail to these evil words! If
Bordeaux and Calais be gone, then what is left for England?"
"It seems indeed that there are evil times coming upon your
country," said Du Guesclin. "In our fondest hopes we never
thought to hold Bordeaux. By Saint Ives! this news hath
warmed the heart within me. Our dear country will then be
very great in the future, Tiphaine?"
"Great, and rich, and beautiful," she cried. "Far down the
course of time I can see her still leading the nations, a
wayward queen among the peoples, great in war, but greater
in peace, quick in thought, deft in action, with her people's
will for her sole monarch, from the sands of Calais to the
blue seas of the south."
"Ha!" cried Du Guesclin, with his eyes flashing in triumph,
"you hear her, Sir Nigel?-and she never yet said word which
was not sooth."
The English knight shook his head moodily. "What of my own
poor country?" said he. "I fear, lady, that what you have
said bodes but small good for her."
The lady sat with parted lips, and her breath came quick
and fast. "My God!" she cried, "what is this that is shown
me? Whence come they, these peoples, these lordly nations,
these mighty countries which rise up before me? I look
beyond, and others rise, and yet others, far and farther
to the shores of the uttermost waters. They crowd! They
swarm! The world is given to them, and it resounds with the
clang of their hammers and the ringing of their church
bells. They call them many names, and they rule them this
way or that but they are all English, for I can hear the
voices of the people. On I go, and onwards over seas where
man hath never yet sailed, and I see a great land under new
stars and a stranger sky, and still the land is England.
Where have her children not gone? What have they not done?
Her banner is planted on ice. Her banner is scorched in the
sun. She lies athwart the lands, and her shadow is over the
seas. Bertrand, Bertrand! we are undone for the buds of her
bud are even as our choicest flower!" Her voice rose into
a wild cry, and throwing up her arms she sank back white
and nerveless into the deep oaken chair.
"It is over," said Du Guesclin moodily, as he raised her
drooping head with his strong brown hand. "Wine for the
lady, squire! The blessed hour of sight hath passed."
What's not in Columbia anymore..