SEVEN THOUSAND PILGRIMS LEAVE THE CRUSADERS
At the time when the messengers arrived, there were in Constantinople five ships of Venice, very large and very good, laden with pilgrims, and knights and sergeants, who were leaving the land and returning to their own countries. There were at least seven thousand men at arms in the ships, and one was William the advocate of Béthune, and there were besides Baldwin of Aubigny, and John of Virsin, who be- longed to the land of Count Louis, and was his liegeman, and at least one hundred other knights, whom the book does not here name. Master Peter of Capua, who was cardinal from the Pope of Rome, Innocent, and Conon of Béthune, who commanded in Constantinople, and Miles the Brabant, and a great number of other men of mark, went to the five ships, and prayed those who were in them, with sighs and tears, to have mercy and pity upon Christendom, and upon their liege lords who had been lost in battle, and to remain for the love of God. But they would not listen to a single word, and left the port. They spread their sails, and went their way, as God ordained, in such sort that the wind took them to the port of Rodosto; and this was on the day following that on which those who had escaped from the discomfiture came thither.
The same prayers, with tears and weeping, that had been addressed to them at Constantinople-those same prayers were now addressed to them at Rodosto; and Geoffry the Marshal, and those who were with him, besought them to have mercy and pity on the land, and remain, for never would they be able to succour any land in such dire need. They replied that they would consult together, and give an answer on the morrow.
And now listen to the adventure which befell that night in the city. There was a knight from the land of Count Louis, called Peter of Frouville, who was held in honour, and of great name. The same fled by night, and left all his baggage and his people, and gat himself to the ship of John of Virsin, who was from the land of Count Louis of Blois and Chartres. And those on board the five ships, who in the morning were to give their answer to Geoffry the Marshal and to the Doge of Venice, so soon as they saw the day, they spread their sails, and went their way without word said to any one. Much and great blame did they receive, both in the land whither they went, and in the land they had left; and he who received most blame of all was Peter of Frouville. For well has it been said that he is but ill-advised who, through fear of death, does what will be a reproach to him for ever.