Chapter by Chapter
We are introduced to thirteen year old Catherine Legoix
and her childhood friend
Landry Pigasse. They watch the mob in Paris 1413 entering
the Palais St. Pol. Here
they witness the arrest of a young noble from Auvergne -
16 year old Michel de
Montsalvy. Catherine and her friend Landry try to save
him and hide Michel de
Montsalvy in the cellar of her father, goldsmith Gaucher
Legoix. While Landry is
getting help, Catherine brings nourishment to Michel and
falls innocently in love
with the 17 year old noble. But the prisoner is
discovered and betrayed by Marion,
the Legoix maid. He is taken out into the street and
killed by Catherine's own cousin
Thomas Legoix. Catherine faints at this terrible scene.
Catherine is in the house of Barnaby the Cockleshell
man. She has brain fever and is
looked after by a young and beautiful gypsy named Black
Sara. We learn that Catherine's
father Gaucher Legoix was hanged at his goldsmith shop,
by his own relatives, for hiding
the prisoner - and her sister Loyse was kidnapped. With
the help of her new friends, her
sister is freed - but is never the same again! Her
mother decides to flee with her daughters
and Sara to her brother's home in Burgundy.
and Landry Pigasse go with them.
Catherine is now 21 years old, a ravishing beauty with
huge violet eyes and long golden
hair. They live at her uncle's Mathieu Gautherin's house,
and he adores his niece. She
travels with him to Bruges where she is arrested, and
meets Duke Philippe of Burgundy.
On their way to Dijon, Catherine discovers on the
riverside an unconscious knight. They
take him to an inn where Abou-al-Khayr, an Arab doctor
from Cordoba, tends to his wounds
When the unknown knight awakes, we learn that he is
Michel de Montsalvy's younger
brother, Arnaud de Montsalvy. The bond between Catherine
and the knight becomes
stronger with each look that passes between them.
After dinner Catherine has a passionate longing to go
and see the wounded young Arnaud
de Montsalvy in his room. She finds him asleep and stays
with him. He awakens and they
kiss each other passionately. Catherine is on the point
of giving herself to Arnaud when she
hears her uncle calling her name in the courtyard. She
runs to the window and we hear a
Burgundian captain call for Catherine Legoix. The young
noble reacts explosively when the
name Legoix is mentioned and demands to know who is
called by that cursed name.
Innocently Catherine tells him it is her name. Arnaud's
whole manner towards her changes
instantly from desire to hate, and he is too enraged to
listen to her explain it was her cousin
who killed his brother Michel. He suspects Catherine of
spying for Philippe of Burgundy and
calls her amongst other things a whore...Catherine runs
to him, slaps his face and walks
proudly out of the room.
Catherine has returned to her uncle's house at Dijon.
One day she meets Garin de Brazey,
Lord Treasurer of Burgundy and keeper of the ducal crown
jewels. Duke Philippe is sending
her expensive presents. Soon she is called to her uncle
who informs her that Garin de Brazey
has asked for her hand in marriage. She refuses, still
secretly thinking of that fiercely tender
man who so quickly ravished her heart. Her uncle and
mother tell her that refusal to marry
Garin de Brazey will mean ruin and prison for all of
them. Catherine pretends to submit, but
then she remembers Barnaby, Landry's friend from Paris
and she sneaks out at night to pay
him a visit.
We learn that Barnaby had once told her to contact him,
if she was ever in need, at the
tavern of Jacquot-de-la-Mer where he works as a beggar.
Catherine explains her desperate
situation, but Barnaby already knows what is going on.
She tells him about meeting Arnaud
de Montsalvy, falling in love with him and wanting to
keep herself pure for him. Barnaby asks
her what she expects him to do...because this marriage
has been arranged by the Duke for
his own pleasure, and the only way to prevent it is for
either Garin de Brazey or Catherine
herself to die. Catherine's mind is made up - she does
not want to belong to a stranger.
Barnaby promises to see what can be done. At her return,
Catherine learns that she must go
and live with the Dame de Champdivers. She will be
educated in manners and courtly ways
so she can take her place at court life.
Catherine lives now at the house of Marie de Champdivers.
Her fiancé sends her precious
pearls and her clothes are made by the best seamstress
in town. The old lady herself is
very kind and knows enough of court life to understand
that her guest is to be groomed as
worthy mistress of Philippe le Bon. Catherine admits
that she knows what is going on - and
that she will refuse to be the Duke's mistress! Garin de
Brazey visits his bride-to-be. He
notices that Catherine is distressed. Catherine feels
regret for what is planned, but her love
for Arnaud de Montsalvy is stronger than her conscience.
At dawn she learns that the plan
went array - Garin is only slightly wounded and Barnaby
has been arrested.
hears that Barnaby is to be executed, she rushes to
Garin and tells him it was her fault that
he was almost killed. She begs him to save her old
friend Barnaby. Garin de Brazey promises
to arrange a pardon for Barnaby, but it is too
late...Barnaby dies under the torture. Catherine
reproaches herself bitterly...and knows she has to
accept her destiny now
On Christmas day, in the chapel of
the Brazey Château, Catherine marries Garin and becomes
Madame de Brazey. Attending her wedding is Odette de
Champdivers, the mistress of the
recently deceased Charles VI. Catherine's mother, sister
and uncle are not invited to the wedding,
so that the guests will not remember her inferior birth.
The wedding banquet is a sad occasion-Garin de Brazey shows no interest in his new bride.
Catherine knows that the true love God
created for her was Arnaud de Montsalvy, and is
distressed to think what will happen after
the feast. Trembling, she awaits her husband in the
great bed - but Garin de Brazey only comes
to look at his bride, then wishes her good-night. Next
day, Catherine does not tell Sara about
this, but plays her role as a new Châteleine to
perfection. The next day, Garin is called away
on duty by the Duke of Burgundy.
We find Catherine surprised that she is now a rich and
great lady. Her sister decides to enter
a convent to become a nun. While visiting her uncle and
mother at Marsannay, Abou-al-Khayr,
the Arab doctor, comes to visit and Catherine invites
him to her Palace in Dijon. He seems
sad that she is now a married woman, believing to have
read in her eyes a great love for
Arnaud. She explains and is desperate to know about her
secret love. Through Abou-al-Khayr
we learn that Arnaud was very popular at court, that he
shares great friendships with the
Dauphin's other captains, that there is a dazzling young
girl named Isabelle de Séverac who
is in love with him...and that he wants to come and
challenge the Duke of Burgundy, who he
believes to be Catherine's lover. Garin returns and
brings Catherine to a secret chamber,
showing his wife all his riches. She is made
Lady-in-Waiting to the Duke's mother, Duchess
Marguerite de Bavaria. To her surprise, she sees that
Landry Pigasse has become cavalry
officer in Duke Philippe's household. She meets the
Countess Ermengarde de Châteauvillain,
who is Mistress of the Duchess's robes. The older lady
instantly likes Catherine de Brazey.
Catherine had been overjoyed to find her old friend
Landry Pigasse - but Landry seemed
not to recognize his friend from childhood. The Dowager
Duchess had taken a great liking
to her new Lady-in-Waiting and places Catherine in
charge of her wardrobe. Catherine travels
with Ermengarde de Châteauvillain to Amiens where the
two sisters of the Duke of Burgundy
are to be married. The next day she is to be officially
presented to Philippe of Burgundy during
the ball. Catherine wears a simple black velvet dress,
with a black diamond placed on her brow.
When Garin presents his wife to the Duke, Philippe steps
down from his throne and takes
Catherine's hand. A unknown knight is announced, who
insists that he must speak with Philippe
We learn that the black knight is none other
than Arnaud de Montsalvy. He has come to
challenge the Duke to single combat and demands it shall
be a fight until death. Catherine's
heart almost stops beating and a little cry escapes
her...which is heard by her husband! Very
angry Philippe tells Arnaud that a ruling prince cannot
join in combat against a mere knight.
Lionel de Bourbon, bastard of Vendôme picks up the
gauntlet to fight instead. Arnaud points
out his friend Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, who will be
his second. He slowly walks towards the
door - but not before resting his gaze a moment on
Catherine - whom he has recognized.
After seeing Arnaud reappear so unexpectedly in her
life, the banquet is an ordeal for Catherine.
That evening, for the first time, she feels strong
enough to put aside all obstacles standing
between her and Arnaud. By marriage to Garin de Brazey,
she is almost on equal social terms
with the proud Comte de Montsalvy. When her husband
comes to say good-night, he asks how
she knows Messire de Montsalvy. She tells him only half
the truth, sensing it is safer. They travel
to Arras to attend the compat. On the day of the fight,
they take their places in the stand and
Catherine meets Jean de Saint-Rémy - a young noble who
supports Arnaud, to her great joy.
Arnaud is wearing the King's arms of France! The contest
is fierce, but Arnaud de Montsalvy is
a superb fighter and wins. When Lionel de Vêndome cries
for mercy, he disdainfully grants it.
He turns to his pavillion and begins to stagger and can
only be held at the last moment by his
squire and Xaintrailles. Catherine rises and begins
walking, telling the worried Countess
Ermengard that ot even the Duke can stop her from going
to see the wounded knight.
The worried Catherine pushes her way through the crowd
to seek the blue silk pavillion.
She sees Arnaud lying on a low couch, his squire still
tending to his injuries. He looks at
her...and says she will have a busy time if she runs to
his bedside whenever he is injured.
Catherine tells him that she was afraid his old wound
might have re-opened. But he tells her
he does not want her sympathy...this she shall give her
husband - or her lover Duke Philippe!
At this Jean de Xaintrailles intervenes, calling his
friend a Auvergnat bear.
When they are
alone, Arnaud stares at her, reflecting that she has the
biggest and loveliest violet eyes he
has ever seen. He fiercely wants to know the reason for
her coming to him. Very softly, Catherine
says she came to tell that she loves him. Whereas Arnaud
reminds her that there are gulfs
between them which cannot be overcome. They argue, and
Catherine tells him she is still
a maiden - they embrace passionatelly and he admits that
he had not forgotten her. He admires
her beautiful hair and kisses her again - only to be
interupted by Xaintrailles, who says that
something is wrong -their men have vanished!
goes to the entrance and is pushed
back by Jean de Luxembourg, commander-in-chief of the
Duke's army who has come to arrest
the two French knights...and thanks Catherine for having
detained them. Arnaud turns on her
with a angry voice, calling her a filthy whore - he had
almost believed her and forgotten his
murdered brother Michel. She cries that she is innocent
and not the Duke's mistress. But
Arnaud will not believe her and asks Jean de Luxembourg
to take them away. Catherine is
left in the tent sobbing. She picks up Arnaud's helmet
with the fleur-de-lys, and decides
to go to the Duke.
Catherine goes to Duke Philippe's Palace and demands to
see the Duke. He is very angry
with her, informing her it is him who sends for people
and not the other way around! Catherine
tells him she does not care - that he will be known from
now on as the least honourable prince
in Christendom. The Duke harshly asks what she is
talking about. She explains what had happened
in the blue pavillion. Philippe claims he had nothing to
do with the arrest of the two French knights..and wants to know what she was doing in the Comte de
Montsalvy's tent! Catherine would love
to throw the truth in his face, but knows this would
endanger Arnaud's life. She tells the Duke
her father was a goldsmith in Paris who worked for the
Montsalvy's in times past. Philippe
does not entirely believe her and says he will not
tolerate a romance - not after he has gone
to such trouble to raise her to an appropriate rank! He
hopes she appreciates her good fortune!
He sends her to a little room to take off her clothes.
Catherine has no choice but to obey and
enters the room - where she is locked in! Dinner is
brought to her, but when no-one else appears
she decides to rest. In the morning she wakes up to find
the Duke standing by the window. He
comes over and kisses her, saying he has still some
business to attend. He picks up a little bell
and tells the page he wanted to see captain Roussay and
the "others"! Through the door come
the captain, followed by Arnaud de Montsalvy and Jean de
Xaintrailles. Catherine feels her
strength ebb away and sees the trap Philippe laid for
her...to find out if she had told him the
truth about Arnaud. How could Arnaud now not believe
that she was indeed the Duke of
Burgundy's mistress! She suffers great torment, feeling
Philippe le Bon watering her reaction.
He informs the two knights that everything was a
misunderstanding, and that it was Dame
Catherine they should thank for their good fortune.
Arnaud does not look at Catherine, and it is
Xaintrailles who thanks her. The two friends walk away
and Catherine is alone with the Duke.
He asks her forgiveness for suspecting that Montsalvy
was more than an old friend, saying that
he had never before felt so jealous. She may go home now...
but he would send for her the
Linda Compagnoni Walther
English proof-reading by Jean Brittain
Linda Compagnoni Walther
design by LaLuna