Days Like These

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
25 october, 1415

JEHAN DE WAVRIN,

a French knight, describes Henry V's war crime - the execution of the French

prisoners of war at the battle of Agincourt:

"At the hour when the English feared the least there befell them a perilous adventure, for a great gathering of the rearguard and centre division of the French, in which were many Bretons, Gascons and Poitevins, rallied with some standards and ensigns, and returned in good order, and marched vigorously against the conquerors of the field. When the King of England perceived them coming thus he caused it to be published that every one that had a prisoner should immediately kill him, which those who had any were unwilling to do, for they expected to get great ransoms for them. But when the King was informed of this he appointed a gentleman with 200 archers whom he commanded to go through the host and kill all the prisoners, whoever they might be. This esquire, without delay or objection, fulfilled the command of his sovereign lord, which was a most pitiable thing, for in cold blood all the nobility of France was beheaded and inhumanly cut to pieces."

25 october, 1897

ARNOLD BENNETT,

NOVELIST,

on a visit to Paris,

writes in his diary:

"Gardens of the Luxembourg. It is here that Bohemian Paris takes the air. This part of the city has an effective significance that is missing in the neighbourhood of the cosmopolitan Boulevard des Italiens. People are less self-conscious and more purposeful, more truly light-hearted and yet more earnest... Nursemaids, whose large white or blue aprons and white caps seem to strike the note of the scene; scores of children, many just able to walk, others learning to skip or clumsily trundling hoops, others in arms... Students in fine black hats and vast neckties, walking about or sitting in groups.

"Young women, carelessly chic, some powdered, all talkative, sitting about in pairs, with looks... of invitation. The deck-chair woman, buxom... with a large black apron.

"Here and there a few sedater groups, well dressed; papa, mama et bebe, or perhaps several old women full of volubility and gesture.

"A few inquisitive dogs.

"In the distance, the tooting of tram cars, and the vague roar of traffic."

Comments