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merchants, knights, adventurers, swarmed in the streets, and streamed into the castle, which they did not leave empty-handed. "I have heard him say, when the King of Cyprus was in Béarn proposing a crusade, that if the kings of France and of England had gone to the Holy Land, he himself would have been the most considerable lord in the host, second only to them, and would have led the largest contingent."
Gaston Phœbus, Count of Foix and Viscount of Béarn, was the son of Gaston IX and the elderly Eleanor de Cominges. On account of his beauty he was given the name of Phœbus, and he adopted the blazing sun as his device. He was arrested by King John of France when at Paris because he refused to do homage for his lands, but was released and given command of an army in Guyenne to war against the English.
Froissart visited Orthez, and lodged at the tavern "La Lune," now rebuilt and renamed "La belle Hôtesse."
"I must say," wrote he, "that although I have seen many knights, kings, princes, and other great men, I have never seen any so handsome as he, either in mould of limb and shape, or in countenance, which was fair and ruddy, lit up with grey, amorous eyes, that delighted whenever he chose to express affection. He was so perfectly formed that it is not possible to overpraise him. Gaston Phœbus was a prudent knight, full of enterprise and wisdom. He never allowed men of abandoned character to be about his person; he reigned prudently, and was constant at his devotions. He mightily loved dogs above other animals, and during the summer and winter amused himself with hunting. He employed four secretaries, whom he called neither John, Walter, nor William, but his Good-for-noughts, and to these he gave his letters to copy out."