OF THOSE WHO SEPARATED THEMSELVES FROM THE HOST TO GO TO SYRIA, AND OF THE FLEET OF THE COUNT OF FLANDERS
Thus did the host sojourn at Zara all that winter (1202-1203) in the face of the King of Hungary. And be it known to you that the hearts of the people were not at peace, for the one party used all efforts to break up the host, and the other to make it hold together.
Many of the lesser folk escaped in the vessels of the merchants. In one ship escaped well nigh five hundred, and they were all drowned, and so lost. Another company escaped by land, and thought to pass through Sclavonia; and the peasants of that land fell upon them, and killed many, so that the remainder came back flying to the host. Thus did the host go greatly dwindling day by day. At that time a great lord of the host, who was from Germany, Garnier of Borland by name, so wrought that he escaped in a merchant vessel, and abandoned the host, whereby he incurred great blame.
Not long afterwards, a great baron of France, Renaud of Monmirail by name, besought so earnestly, with the countenance of Count Louis, that he was sent to Syria on an embassy in one of the vessels of the fleet; and he swore with his right hand on holy relics, he and all the knights who went with him, that within fifteen days after they had arrived in Syria, and delivered their message, they would return to the host. On this condition he left the host, and with him Hervée of Chitel, his nephew, William the vidame of Chartres, Geoffry of Beaumont, John of Frouville, Peter his brother, and many others. And the oaths that they swore were not kept; for they did not rejoin the host.
Then came to the host news that was heard right willingly, viz., that the fleet from Flanders, of which mention has been made above, had arrived at Marseilles. And John of Nêle, Castellan of Bruges, who was captain of that host, and Thierri, who was the son of Count Philip of Flanders, and Nicholas of Mailly, advised the Count of Flanders, their lord, that they would winter at Marseilles, and asked him to let them know what was his will, and said that whatever was his will, that they would do. And he told them, by the advice of the Doge of Venice and the other barons, that they should sail at the end of the following March, and come to meet him at the port of Modon in Roumania. Alas! they acted very evilly, for never did they keep their word, but went to Syria, Where, as they well knew, they would achieve nothing.
Now be it known to you, lords, that if God had not loved the host, it could never have held together, seeing how many people wished evil to it!