Front Matter Gauls Defeat Romans Vercingetorix Saints of France Attila, Scourge of God Story of Clovis Sons of Clovis Mayors of the Palace Charles the Hammer Pepin the Short Charlemagne in Lombardy Defeat at Roncesvalles Emperor of the West Louis the Pious War of Three Brothers Louis the Stammerer Paris defies the Sea Kings Rollo the Viking Hugh Capet Becomes King Bishop Betrays the Duke Robert the Pious The Peace of God Harold Visits Duke William William Sails to England The Battle of Hastings Peter the Hermit First War of the Cross Louis the Fat and Laon King Fights his Vassal Second War of the Cross French Queen of England How Normandy Was Lost Albigenses War Battle of Bouvines Story of Hugh de La Marche Reign of St. Louis St. Louis's last Crusade Peter the Barber Knights vs. Weavers Pope vs. Philip the Fair Sons of Philip the Fair Philip VI vs. Flanders Battle and Plague King vs. Charles the Bad The Jacquerie Stephen Marcel Betrays Paris Charles V and du Guesclin Du Guesclin Fights for France The Madness of Charles VI The Battle of Agincourt The Maid of Orleans End of Hundred Years' War King vs. Charles the Bold Troubles of Duchess Mary Charles the Affable Knight Without Reproach Battle of the Spurs Francis I, Gentleman King King Taken Prisoner Duke of Guise Defends Metz Calais Returns to France The Riot of Amboise Huguenot and Catholic St. Bartholomew Massacre War of the Three Henries The Protestant King Edict of Nantes Reign of Favorites Taking of La Rochelle Power of the Cardinal-King Reign of Louis XIV The Man in the Iron Mask The Height of Power Edict of Nantes Revoked War of Spanish Succession

History of France - H. E. Marshall

How the Bishop Betrayed the Duke of Lorraine
Hugh Capet [987-996]

Although most of the nobles had chosen Hugh as King, all had not done so, and some would not acknowledge his right to reign. We hear of one proud noble who overran the country round him and called himself Count of it, caring nothing for Hugh. The King, angry that his authority should be thus set at naught, sent for the noble.

'Who made you Count?" he asked.

"Who made you King?" quickly answered the insolent lord. And Hugh had no reply to make, for well he knew that his power was but small. Well he knew that he sat upon the throne by the favor of even such haughty and turbulent nobles as he who now defied him.

So long as Charles of Lorraine lived and claimed a right to the throne, Hugh could not feel safe. So the rivals fought. But Charles was hard to beat, and it was by treachery that in the end he was overcome.

The traitor was named Ascelin, he was a Bishop, and he and Charles had once been friends. But they had quarrelled, and Charles had driven the Bishop into exile. Now, however, having agreed with Hugh to betray him, Ascelin pretended to make friends once more, and while he laid his wicked plans the Bishop went to stay with Charles. So it fell out that one night as they sat at supper Charles took a golden cup full of wine, and holding it toward the Bishop said: "Drink in token of your faith to me. But if you mean not to keep faith, drink not lest you would be classed with the traitor Judas."

Falsely smiling, Ascelin replied, "I will take the cup and willingly drink all it contains."

"You must say," cried Charles, "'and I will keep faith.'"

The Bishop took the golden cup and drank to the last drop. Then setting it down empty he cried, "I will keep faith, or I will perish as did Judas."

The evening passed in talk and laughter, the false Bishop being among the gayest of the company. At length the feast was over and all lay down to rest, save the traitor. He alone waked. For he felt that now the time had come to carry out his wicked plans.

So when every one was asleep Ascelin crept softly to the bedside of Charles. Cautiously he stole his sword and dagger, and those of the knights near him.

Then going to the sentinel at the door Ascelin ordered him to go quickly and gather his followers. The man hesitated.

"Go," said the Bishop, "I will guard the door till you return." So the man went.

As soon as the sentinel had gone, Ascelin placed himself in the middle of the doorway, holding his sword ready beneath his robe in case of attack.

Soon all his followers were gathered round the Bishop. They entered the room where Charles was sleeping, and he awakening from a heavy sleep found himself surrounded by armed men. He leaped from his bed, at the same time putting out his hand to seize his sword. It was not there.

"What means this?" he cried, as his eyes fell on the cruel face of the crafty Bishop.

"Once you forced me into exile," replied Ascelin, "now it is my turn. Now I will hunt you forth. I am a free man, but you will be in bondage to others."

"O Bishop," cried Charles bitterly, "I ask you have you no remembrance of last night's supper? Was your oath last night a lie?"

So saying Charles dashed in blind rage at the traitor. and taken But he had no sword. He was powerless. Armed soldiers closed in upon him. They seized him, and throwing him back on his bed held him there. In a few moments he was bound and cast prisoner into a darksome dungeon. There after a few months he died, and so Hugh was free from his greatest rival.