Therouanne, whose walls had been constantly bombarded with much destruction, was soon compelled by famine to capitulate. The garrison were to march out freely, with all their arms and armour; but the fortifications were destroyed and the town partly burnt.
[Illustration: FRANCIS the FIRST KING of FRANCE from the portrait by Titian Vecelli.]
The next year, 1514, brought many changes in France. First came the death of the good Queen Anne of Brittany, who was greatly lamented by her husband and mourned by all her people. The next notable event was the marriage of the Princess Claude, her daughter, to the young Duke of Angouleme, who was to succeed to the throne under the name of Francis I.
He had not long to wait for his inheritance as Louis XII., having made an alliance with England, was induced for political reasons to marry the Princess Mary, sister of Henry VIII. The poor King was already in ill-health, and he only survived his wedding three months, dying on New Year’s day, 1515. He had a splendid funeral at St. Denis, which was scarcely over before all the great nobles of the realm put off their mourning and hastened in splendid magnificence to Rheims to the coronation of the new King, Francis I., a gay and handsome youth of twenty.
The young King at once set about carrying out the desire of his heart—the conquest of Milan. Charles de Bourbon was made Constable of France, and a great army was collected at Grenoble. But secret news was received that the Swiss were guarding on the other side the only passes which were then thought possible for the crossing of armies. One was the Mont Cenis, where the descent is made by Susa, and the other was by the Mont Genevre. Bourbon, however, heard of a new way by the Col d’Argentiere, and meantime sent several French generals and the Chevalier Bayard to cross the mountains by the Col de Cabre and make a sudden raid upon Prospero Colonna, who with a band of Italian horsemen was awaiting the descent of the French army into Piedmont. The gallant little company rode across the rocky Col, where cavalry had never passed before, descended by Droniez into the plain of Piedmont, crossed the Po at a ford, where they had to swim their horses, inquired at the Castle of Carmagnola and found that Prospero Colonna and his company had left barely a quarter of an hour before.