Off the Deep End: Conclusion

After letting off some steam, someone needs to cool off with a swim.

Starring:

recap of Parts I, II, III, and IV:

Part V: In Too Deep

Can I let you in on a secret?

I don’t think Wautier had his back turned at all when Robin dismounted and drew his sword.

I think it was all part of the story.

But, let’s get back to the story as Wautier would end up telling it.

Understandably, whether he was watching Robin draw his sword or not, Wautier was not happy about this turn of events. So he pulled out “a big knife” and told Robin to sheath his sword.

Now, I don’t know how big this knife was, but I’m imagining it had to be in the Crocodile Dundee territory, because otherwise what happens next just doesn’t make sense.

“That’s not a knife…That’s a knife.”
I hope you’ve all enjoyed this piece of my childhood.

(Also, I think Wautier’s lying. But that’s me, and I study French history, so clearly I’m an Armagnac who sings songs about the English having devil tails, so don’t mind me.)

(Yes, French songs about English soldiers having devil tales were totally a thing during the Hundred Years War. I’ve seen ’em, but I can’t sing ’em.)

Yup, pretty sure Robin also grew up with Crocodile Dundee. No other explanation.

You starting to see why I think Wautier’s a liar?

Robin, apparently, thinks November’s an excellent time for a swim, because he doesn’t take Wautier’s hand.

Frustrated, Wautier throws a stone in the pond. Because why not?

Also, why this detail? I’ve been puzzling over this. Wautier’s angling for a pardon from the Duke of Bedford, so he and his supporters are doing everything they can to make him look good. Why have him throw a stone?

I don’t have a definite answer, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s to show Wautier’s frustration, but more probably because it was trying to explain away something he’d done.

You see, I don’t think Robin jumped into a fishpond in November to get away from a knife, however big, when he had a sword and a horse. I mean, sure, don’t fight Wautier, but Dude! You have a horse!

I think Wautier pushed him into the fishpond. And I think he threw stones at him once he was there, whether out of anger or in order to actually ensure Robin drowned.

But that’s a bad look for getting a pardon, so you find another way to account for anyone happening to have seen you throwing a rock or two at a guy in the water.

Good to his word, Robin died that way.

Wautier, fearing the rigour of justice ( = being hanged for murder), left the region.

Soon caught, he was imprisoned. At which point, we get his family and friends supplicating the regent on his behalf.

The remission, in the end, was granted in Chartres, first day of February 1428.

This interpretation, at last ended, was given in Kitchener, last day of June 2020.

The Credits

I give all credit for inspiration and design of the hedgehogs in this story to 20 Ways to Draw Everything by Lisa Congdon, Julia Kuo, and Eloise Renouf.

I take all blame for totally stuffing up their amazing work.

Off the Deep End: Part IV

After letting off some steam, someone needs to cool off with a swim.

Starring:

Recap of Parts I, II, and III:

Part IV: Them’s Fightin’ Words!

Some time later, on 8 November, Wautier came upon Robin riding through town. Remembering him, and who knows, maybe feeling ashamed over not confronting him before, Wautier came up and grabbed the bridle of Robin’s horse.

No, the real Wautier did not stand on a pig. I’m not sure whether or not he was riding a horse or not, but context seems to indicate not.

As for the pig in town.. First, I made the mistake of drawing the horse too big. Not wanting to redraw it, I needed to give Wautier a boost so he could reach the bridle.

Second, pigs absolutely wandered through town, unfettered, unfenced. It was a whole thing in the Middle Ages. Sometimes, they even ate babies. Maybe I’ll do a post about one of those murderous pigs sometime.

Wautier led Robin to the nearby fishpond of Glatigny.

Why did Robin go with him? Probably status.

We don’t know Robin’s actual status, but it’s a fair bet that he was lower on the social ladder than Wautier, for a couple reasons.

First and foremost, Wautier serves one of the top commanders of the English army and wears the household badge for that same Count of Suffolk.

Second, Wautier is himself an Englishman and, in an occupied territory, that had a rank all its own. The fact that the register doesn’t tell us Robin’s own status is enough to let us know he wasn’t important. We can safely assume he was some kind of labourer, though how he had a horse is anyone’s guess.

Whatever the reason, once the two were at the fishpond, Wautier asked if Robin stood by what he’d said.

Robin, of course, says he does, because otherwise there’d be no story, as I’m sure Robin was thinking at the time.

In the record of this case, Robin is reported to persevere “in his evil and damnable will.” In other words, the Duke of Bedford (using the voice of the king, fwiw), is none too happy with what Robin allegedly said and even less impressed that Robin insists on maintaining those horrible slurs against himself and the Count of Suffolk.

Willing to prove it with his body, Robin got off his horse and threw to the ground his long coat (known as a tabar), hood, and hat.

Yeah, I wasn’t going to try to draw a hedgehog wearing those. Sorry.

In any case, that done, he drew his sword (or, here, quill).

He did all this while Wautier had his back turned.

Why did Wautier have his back turned?!

Caught unawares, what will Wautier do? Has he come prepared to fight? Is his master’s honour worth his life?

Can just any hedgehog quill become a sword?

The mystery deepens!

Next time… the stunning conclusion!

Off the Deep End: Part III

After letting off some steam, someone needs to cool off with a swim.

Starring:

Recap of Parts I and II:

Part III: Jackanapes

Asked to leave off talking about the Duke of Bedford, Robin obliges.

Sort of.

Once Robin had seemingly exhausted himself of insults for the Duke of Bedford, he turned his attention to the Count of Suffolk, William de la Pole.

The Count (later, in 1448, to become Duke) of Suffolk was a commander in the English army. Later in the war he’d come to play a very large — and very unlucky — role, but at this point in the history he’s serving in the various campaigns headed first by King Henry V, then by the Duke of Bedford.

Right as Robin’s busy insulting him, the Count is one of the commanders at the Siege of Orléans, famous for the French force’s stunning victory over the English and the participation of Joan of Arc (when it finally ends, months from this moment).

Why’s Robin so mad at this random military commander?

Because the Count of Suffolk had had high command on the marches of Normandy at the end of the fighting-phase of the occupation (1421-1422).

More than that, in 1424, he had fought at the Battle of Verneuil in Normandy. This was an exceptionally bloody battle, sometimes known as the second Agincourt.

How bloody? And if like Agincourt, was it a lopsided victory?

Well, somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000 French troops died, with more taken prisoner. One chronicler claimed that the English had lost only 1,600 men, but the Duke of Bedford disagreed. He claimed that only two men-at-arms and “a very few archers” died.

Either way, lopsided.

Oh, and it also has a whole archery thing that’s part of it. So, you know, Agincourt 2.

It was the Battle of Verneuil that truly enabled the English to consolidate their power in Normandy, turning it into Lancastrian Normandy, the occupied territory.

Ah, the badge! I’ll leave off talking about badges generally for another post. For now, let’s talk about this badge.

The badge Wautier is wearing marks him as part of the Count of Suffolk’s household. This doesn’t mean he’s family; it means he serves the Count in some capacity.

The badge is also not the same as heraldry. The Count’s arms were on an azure field with a gold fess dividing three leopard faces, two above, one below.

The badge as you can see from my drawing is much simpler. It’s what was known as “an ape’s clog,” that is a wood block for chaining a monkey to so it wouldn’t escape. It was also known as a “jackanapes.” The term comes from “Jack of Naples,” slang for a monkey.

The Count of Suffolk’s nickname, unsurprisingly, became Jackanapes. He was the one who gave this term the meaning you might already know: an impertinent, conceited person. Why? For one, the Count of Suffolk was one of the nouveau riche: his great-grandfather had been a wool merchant (which means he was wealthy, but not noble).

Want to know another fun fact about Suffolk? Of course you do!

He married Alice Chaucer, the granddaughter of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer! For both his rise and hers, we can thank the Black Death. Not the only thing worth thanking, but those fleas definitely had a role to play.

There’s so much more to say about Suffolk and the way he messed up the war effort for England and was murdered for his troubles. But this isn’t his story.

Let’s get back to Robin and Wautier.

Okay, I admit, I didn’t quite know what to do here. Wautier has just heard Robin insulting the lord regent and his own master the Count of Suffolk, and he does…nothing. So, I made him leave. Maybe he didn’t. What we know from the register is that he’d heard Robin making these insults, but at the time did nothing about it.

So, is that it?

Is this the end of the story?

What a let down…

Oh? What’s that? There’s more to come? Hurray!