Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Agnes Strickland's Queens of England, Vol. I. (of III) - Abridged and Fully Illustrated
Author: Strickland, Agnes, Kaufman, Rosalie
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Agnes Strickland's Queens of England, Vol. I. (of III) - Abridged and Fully Illustrated" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



AGNES STRICKLAND'S QUEENS OF ENGLAND,

Abridged

By Rosalie Kaufman

Vol. I. of III

Fully Illustrated

Boston: Estes & Lauriat

1882

[Illustration: 0006]

[Illustration: 007]



PREFACE.

|Up to Queen Anne, this work is based upon Agnes Strickland's "Queens
of England;" but subsequent to that period many authorities have been
consulted, and only such matter used as would seem appropriate. My first
care was to prepare a narrative which should interest young people, but
I have endeavored also to produce a result that would prove a source,
not only of pleasure, but of profit. The limits of the design make it
evident that some eminent names and noteworthy events could receive
slight mention, or none at all, and that politics could be introduced
only when requisite for the comprehension of events that depended on
them. It will be a satisfaction to hope that my readers may be prompted
to independent inquiry.



CONTENTS.


PORTRAITS

Matilda of Flanders, Queen of William the Conqueror....015

Matilda of Scotland, Queen of Henry....045

Matilda of Boulogne, Queen of Stephen.....074

Eleanora of Aquitaine, Queen of Henry II.....089

Berengaria of Navarre, Queen of Richard I.....110

Isabella of Angouleme, Queen of King John.....123

Eleanor of Provence, Queen of Henry III...137

Eleanora of Castile, Queen of Edward I.....160

Marguerite of France, Second Queen of Edward I.....175

Isabella of France, Queen of Edward II......181

Philippa of Hainault, Queen of Edward III.....214

Anne of Bohemia, Queen of Richard II.....234

Isabella of Valois, Second Queen of Richard II.....243

Joanna of Navarre, Queen of Henry IV.....254

Katherine of Valois, Queen of Henry V.....263

Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI.....280

Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of Edward IV.......316

Anne of Warwick, Queen of Richard III.....327

Elizabeth of York, Queen of Henry VII.....332

Katharine of Arragon, First Queen of Henry VIII.....342

Anne Boleyn, Second Queen of Henry VIII.....378

Jane Seymour, Third Queen of Henry VIII.....403

Anne of Cleves, Fourth Queen of Henry VIII......409

Katharine Howard, Fifth Queen of Henry VIII......422

Katharine Parr, Sixth Queen of Henry VIII.....430



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

Canterbury Cathedral....Frontispiece

Matilda of Flanders.....014

Norman Arches.....016

William the Conqueror.....019

William the Conqueror, from Tapestries.....021

Conqueror and Conquered.....023

Landing of William the Conqueror.....025

Ruins of Hastings.....029

Battle of Hastings, from Bayeux Tapestries...........031

Old Westminster.....033

Ships of William the Conqueror, from Tapestries......036

The Tower....037

Robert Discovers his Father....039

Trophy of Norman and Saxon Arms....041

Pleasure Barge on the Thames....044

Matilda of Scotland....047

Queen Margaret's Chapel....051

The Beacon....053

Death of the Red King....055

College at Oxford....059

Playing at Bowls....061

Norman Font....065

Exterior Pulpit....066

Ancient Windsor Castle....068

Abbey of St. Etienne....071

Norman Tower....073

Entrance to Norman Chapel....075

Arundel Castle....078

Horn....079

Scold's Bridle....080

A Battle....081

Escape from Oxford....085

Norman Robe....088

The Pilgrim....090

Eleanora of Aquitaine....091

Crusaders on their March....095

The Maze.....101

Godstowe Nunnery.....102

Murder of Thomas à Becket.....103

Tomb of Henry II.....107

Berengaria of Navarre.....114

Leaders of the First Crusade.....115

Capture of Acre.....119

Costumes of the Period.....122

Isabella of Angoulême.....125

The Crypt in Old Windsor.....128

John's Anger after Signing Magna Charta.....129

Magna Charta Island.....132

Interior of Gloucester Cathedral.....133

Eleanor of Provence.....139

Angel Tower and Chapter-House, Canterbury.....143

York, Chapter-House.....147

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland.....151

Gateway and Keep, Alnwick.....153

King Henry and his Barons.....155

Archers.....159

Eleanora of Castile.....161

Attempt on Edward's Life.....165

Caernarvon Castle.....171

Marguerite of France.....177

Old Charing Cross.....180

Isabella of France.....183

Retamer's Hall.....190

Westminster Hall.....193

Under the Tower.....195

City Hall, Valenciennes.....201

Old Fort at Oxford.....205

Edward II. and his Jailers.....210

Tomb of Edward II., Gloucester Cathedral.....211

Philippa of Hainault.....215

Doorway.....219

Philippa on her Knees before the King.....227

Tomb of Edward III.....231

Anne of Bohemia.....235

Houses on Old London Bridge.....239

Beards.....242

Isabella of Valois.....245

Body of Richard interred at Westminster.....251

Joanna of Navarre.....255

Shrewsbury.....258

Before Agincourt.....259

Costumes.....262

Katherine of Valois.....265

Friar Bacon's Study.....267

Donjon at Vincennes....

Margaret of Anjou.....281

Ruins of Kenilworth Castle.....293

Royal Apartments.....297

Warwick Castle.....305

View of Verdun.....311

Elizabeth Woodville.....317

Windsor Castle.....321

Vault of St. George's Chapel.....324

Bloody Tower.....325

Crypt in Tower.....326

Anne of Warwick.....329

Dungeon, Tower.....331

Elizabeth of York.....333

Chapel of Henry VII.....340

Costumes.....341

Katherine of Arragon.....343

The Alhambra.....347

London Bridge.....350

Reception Room.....353

Richmond Church.....355

Richmond Palace.....359

Bedroom of Henry VIII., Knoll Castle.....363

House of Sir Thomas More.....368

Wolsey's Tower.....373

Beheading Block and Axe.....377

___________...................379

Hever Castle.....385

Whitehall, Wolsey's Palace.....388

Anne Boleyn's Chamber, Hever Castle.....390

Watergate, Tower.....393

Hampton Court.....397

Jane Seymour....405

Hampton Court, Garden Front....408

Waterloo Bridge and Somerset House....420

Guard Chamber, Lambeth Palace....421

Heads on Old London Bridge....423

Court Gardens....425

Stairway....429

Katharine Parr....431

Old St. Paul's....437

Essex House....443



STORIES OF THE LIVES OF THE QUEENS OF ENGLAND

Compiled From Agates Strickland, For Young People

By Rosalie Kaufman. {014}

[Illustration: 0018] {015}



THE QUEENS OF ENGLAND.



CHAPTER I. MATILDA OF FLANDERS, WIFE OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR
(1031-1083).

|Matilda, wife of the great William, the Conqueror, was an exceedingly
handsome woman, and as she had received the best education that was
possible in her times, she was as celebrated for her learning as for
her beauty. She was, besides, generous and religious, and had all the
qualities necessary for the position she was called upon to fill.

She was famed for her fancy-work, which was looked upon as one of the
most important and desirable occupations for ladies of rank; and
any woman who could spin, weave and embroider was considered quite a
treasure.

Matilda had three cousins who were such skilful needlewomen, that they
were sought in marriage by the greatest princes of Europe. Their work
has not been preserved, but Matilda's still remains and is called the
Bayeux Tapestry. It is the most wonderful achievement in needlework ever
accomplished by any woman. But we shall tell more about it, by-and-bye.

Matilda's father was Earl of Flanders, a rich, powerful prince, skilled
in the arts of peace and war. He was, besides, such a popular man that
all the rulers in his {016} neighborhood were anxious to win the hand of
his beautiful daughter.

[Illustration: 9020]

Her cousin, William of Normandy, was the most accomplished of them all,
and loved her devotedly. He was handsome, brave and talented, and so
strong, that, it is said, no man could bend his bow but himself. And he
was such a sure marksman, that even when riding at full speed, he seldom
missed his aim. It is remarkable that although he was the tallest man in
his army, he passed through all his battles without the loss of a drop
of blood, until towards the close of his career, when he was wounded by
his own son.

Strange to say, this young man did not find favor in the eyes of his
lady cousin at all; this mortified him so much, that he resolved to win
her in spite of herself.

He had a rival in a young Saxon nobleman named Brihtric Meaw, who had
come to Flanders as ambassador from Edward the Confessor, then on the
British throne. This favored gentleman was so fair and light-haired that
he was nicknamed "Snow." Matilda loved him in secret, which is probably
the reason why she would not listen to her cousin William. {017} But
Brihtric Meaw does not seem to have cared particularly for her, and
so did not find out what her sentiments were towards him. Thus, quite
innocently, he never attempted to court her, and she could not forgive
his indifference. Still her mind was filled with him, and this made her
treat William coldly. He was not to be baffled, however, but courted her
through seven long and tedious years.

At last he became impatient, so one day when Matilda was going home from
church, he managed to meet her, as lovers will. Perhaps she was more
unkind to him than usual and made him angry, otherwise I do not know how
to account for his behavior on that occasion, but he seized hold of her,
rolled her in the dirt, then actually beat her. Before she had time to
call for help, after she had recovered from her surprise, he jumped on
his horse, and rode off as fast as he could go.

Now, she might have been induced to forgive him for spoiling her good
clothes, but how she could have had anything more to do with a fellow,
no matter what his rank might be, who could dare to treat her so
brutally, is hard to understand. Perhaps the women were not so high
spirited then as they are now, but certain it is that instead of getting
into a rage, stamping her feet and forbidding him ever to approach her
again, the princess was won. This remarkable style of love-making went
straight to her heart, and brought matters to a crisis. It may be that
she feared another beating, or that she was finally convinced of the
greatness of his love; whatever it was, she consented to become his
wife, forthwith.

The wedding was celebrated at William's Castle in Normandy, Matilda
having gone there accompanied by her parents, and a large retinue of
ladies and gentlemen. Her trousseau was magnificent, and on her wedding
day she wore a superb velvet robe embroidered with gold and {018}
pearls. It was so rich and costly, that it was for a long time preserved
in the treasury of the Cathedral of Bayeux with William's mantle and
helmet, which were adorned with precious stones.

At the time of his marriage, William's affairs were in a most perilous
condition, for he was surrounded by powerful neighbors who wanted to
get possession of the rich fields of Normandy. They hoped to divide them
among themselves and leave the duke nothing. He had enemies among his
own subjects too, who would have been pleased to turn him off and have
his cousin Guy of Burgundy to govern them, because they thought he had
a better right to the dukedom of Normandy than William had. Perhaps this
was so, but the latter had too determined a will to yield, and he had
been a leader nearly all his life.

When he was only five years old, he formed a battalion of boys of his
own age whom he drilled in military practice every day. It must have
been a pretty sight, and no doubt the little fellows fancied themselves
real warriors. Of course disputes arose, all of which William settled
with remarkable skill.

He was a good student too, for he knew enough of Latin at eight years of
age, to read and explain Caesar's Commentaries.

When he was about seven, his father, Duke Robert, went on a pilgrimage
to the Holy Land. But before he did so, he assembled all the nobles of
his realm, and made them swear fealty to his bright, promising child,
whom he hugged and kissed tenderly, then presented to his subjects as
their future Sovereign, saying: "He is little, but he will grow."

Not long after this, Henry, King of France, invaded William's dominion,
but he was defeated, because the young duke had such excellent advisers
and assistants. {020}

[Illustration: 0023] {021}The King was so indignant at this defeat,
that he incited the Norman nobles to stir up an insurrection, hoping, no
doubt, to punish the boy by depriving him of his title, altogether.

[Illustration: 8025]

Once when William was out hunting, he passed the night at a remote
castle without military escort. His cousin, Guy of Burgundy, hearing of
it, laid a plot to kill him, but this was prevented by the Court fool,
who accidentally found it out and travelled all night, at full speed, to
warn the Duke of his danger. He managed to get into the castle at four
o'clock in the morning, and knocked violently on William's chamber
door with the handle of his whip, shouting: "get up! get up, my lord!"
William obeyed the summons, and mounting his swiftest horse, half
dressed, rode with fiery speed for many hours before he was beyond
danger. Even while making his escape, he might have been caught, for
his horse was almost exhausted when he had the good fortune to meet a
gentleman who supplied him with another.

Later, the young duke had a chance to turn the tables on his cousin,
Guy, whom he captured in battle. But remembering that they had been
friends in early childhood, William forgave the attempt his cousin had
made on his life, and released him.

The King of France was just planning another attack on William's
dominions when the young man married, and {022}then Matilda's father
became such a powerful ally that the king hesitated. Soon after he died.
Relieved of this anxiety, the duke thought he might settle down and
enjoy the society of his young wife; but, the Archbishop of Rouen, who
had reasons of his own for trying to prevent the marriage, pronounced it
unlawful, and the young couple were so distressed that they appealed
to the Pope. He decided that if each would build and endow an Abbey, as
well as a hospital for the blind, he would grant them dispensation. This
was not difficult, so Matilda founded the Holy Trinity for Nuns, and
William founded the Monastery of St. Stephen.

Then William set to work to erect a palace for his own dwelling very
near the Monastery. Matilda had a great taste for architecture and took
pleasure in superintending these buildings. The great hall of the palace
was one of the finest apartments in all Europe and the edifice itself
was superb.

This royal couple did everything to render their subjects happy and
contented, and provided work for them by building ships and harbors,
which promoted trade also.

Though we know that Matilda did not love her husband before marriage,
she became a devoted wife afterwards, and William showed his entire
confidence in her by leaving her to govern his country when he went over
to England to obtain a promise from Edward the Confessor that he would
adopt him as successor to the throne.

He was kindly received in England, and Edward gave him some fine hawks,
hounds and other presents. Then Matilda had a little boy whose birth
added considerably to her happiness. He was called Robert, after his
grandpapa, and there was great rejoicing in Normandy over this event. If
they could have foreseen how he would turn out, the feeling would have
been very different. {023}In course of time Matilda had eight other
children, and during many years of peace and national prosperity, she
and her husband devoted themselves to their care and education.

[[A.D. 1065.]] Now it happened that once, when Harold, Edward the
Confessor's half brother, was out fishing in an open boat, he was
overtaken by a storm and obliged to seek refuge in the territory of
the Earl of Ponthieu, who seized him and shut him up in prison. William
rescued him, treated him most kindly, and even promised him one of his
daughters in marriage, though she was but seven years old.

[Illustration: 8027]

Harold acted like a sneak, and pretended to be highly flattered; but it
was not his intention ever to marry the girl at all.

He listened to William's narration of how Edward had adopted him as his
successor to the British throne, and made a solemn promise to assist him
to get it. Soon after his return to England, he married the widow of the
Prince of Wales, and at Edward's death he took no notice of his promise
to William, but had himself proclaimed king.

Of course such conduct aroused William's wrath, and, with the aid of his
wife's relations, he resolved to invade England.

[[A.D. 1066.]] This was the year 1066, and a memorable {024}one on
account of the appearance in the heavens of a splendid three-tailed
comet. We are pleased to have such a visitor and to be able to gaze at
it and study it with the aid of telescopes, but in that time the people
were so superstitious that they thought it portended evil, and so it
spread terror throughout the land. The death of the King, which
occurred only a few days after its appearance, served to encourage the
superstition. When the astrologers foretold its approach they announced
it thus:

               "In the year one thousand and sixty-six,

               Comets to England's sons an end shall fix."

One of the largest and finest pieces of handiwork that Matilda
accomplished, was the tapestry representing this comet in the heavens
with its three fiery tails spread all across the canvas. A group of
terror-stricken Saxon princes, priests and ladies have rushed out of
their dwellings to look at it, and are pointing towards it, their
faces expressing the utmost anxiety. To be sure the comet looked, when
compared with the objects in the picture, a great deal larger than it
could possibly have been, but probably, the size was suggested by the
awe it inspired.

Matilda did not do all this work alone; if she had, Hood's Song of the
Shirt might well apply to the hundreds and thousands of cross stitches
that she would have made, and we should pity her for having such a weary
task. But she was assisted by all the ladies of her court, who laughed
and chatted merrily while their hands were busily employed.

Well, William started on his expedition to England, leaving his wife
to rule at home, and his son Robert, then only thirteen years of age,
military chief of Normandy.

A large number of his subjects objected to this invasion, SO when the
whole fleet was becalmed at St. Valleri, the

{025}

[Illustration: 0029]

{027}common soldiers complained and declared that God was their
adversary, and had stopped the wind to keep them back. The king did not
know what to say to this, but at last he hit upon something that he knew
would impress them. He ordered the shrine of St. Valleri to be brought
from the tomb and placed in an open field, then invited everybody to
pray to the saint to intercede with the Almighty for a breeze. Crowds of
people far and near, as well as the Norman soldiers, brought offerings,
and in a short time the shrine was buried in the gold, silver and other
precious gifts that they placed upon it. The wind did not immediately
change, but the malcontents had something to think about, and the delay
gave Matilda time to carry out a pleasant surprise that she had planned
for her husband. One day she appeared in the harbor on a splendid vessel
of war that she had caused to be built as a present for William. She
called it the Mora. At the prow of the vessel was a gold image of their
youngest son. With one hand he held a trumpet to his lips, and with
the other a bow with the arrow aimed towards England. Loud cheering and
joyful exclamations greeted Matilda's appearance, and her husband was
overcome by this mark of her affection.

The Mora carried a red flag at her mast-head by day; it was replaced at
night by a bright light that served as a guide for the other vessels of
the fleet. Scarcely was the duke well established on board than the long
wished-for wind arose, every man was summoned to his post, and they set
sail. Matilda went back home.

The Norman fleet met some very rough weather and lost two of their
ships. On the 28th of September, 1066, they landed on the coast of
Sussex.

The duke was the last person to step on shore. As he did so, he stumbled
and fell. Probably he was still giddy {028}from the motion of the
vessel, but his followers thought it an evil omen and raised a great cry
of distress. The duke's presence of mind did not desert him. He picked
up two handfuls of sand, exclaiming: "See, Seigneurs! by the splendor of
God, I have seized England with both hands!"

Then a meal was served on the beach, and afterwards the soldiers
having selected a spot, began to put up the wooden fortress that they
had brought in sections, from Normandy.

A piece of Matilda's tapestry represents the soldiers, assisting the
carpenters and builders in this work.

The army tarried four days on the beach. But there were no telegraphs or
newspapers in those days, so Harold knew nothing of the approach of
his enemy until a knight arrived from Sussex, having ridden all the way
without food or rest, and rushing into his presence shouted at the top
of his voice: "The Normans have come! they have landed at Hastings and
built up a fort! they will rend the land from thee and thine unless
thou defend it well!" Harold sent a messenger offering to buy off the
Normans, but William replied that he had not come for money, but to
claim the realm that Edward the Confessor had given him.

"Nay; you ask too much of us, Sire," said the messenger. "Harold is
willing to purchase your departure with silver, gold and fine garments,
but if you refuse, he will give you battle on Saturday night."

The duke accepted the challenge. The night preceding the battle was
passed by the English in dancing, singing and gambling; but the Normans
prayed, fasted, and confessed their sins.

The battle was fought seven miles from Hastings. Taillefer, the warrior
minstrel of Normandy, rode gallantly {029}

[Illustration: 0033]

{0031}at the head of the chivalry of his native land, singing the
war songs of Rollo. William had three horses killed under him that day
without receiving a single scratch himself. Harold was killed, and the
victorious Duke William pitched his tent on the battle-field that night.

When Matilda received the joyful tidings of her husband's triumph, she
was praying in a church, which, she ordered to be forever after called
Notre Dame de Bonnes Nouvelles, in memory of the good news she had
received there.

A celebrated piece of embroidery made by her after the victory
represents her husband pointing towards his noble steed. He is dressed
in a complete suit of armor, and the likeness is said to be as perfect
as it could be, represented in cross stitch.

[Illustration: 0035]


{032}



CHAPTER II.

[[A.D. 1066.]] On the Monday following the battle of Hastings, William
rode into the city of London, on horseback, followed by a long train of
the nobility of England and Normandy. He proceeded to Westminster Abbey,
where he was crowned King of England.

Grand preparations had been made for this event, and such a brilliant
coronation had never been seen. Crowds of people gathered in the
streets, and the duke's fine presence and noble bearing won all hearts.

Holding the crown aloft the archbishop asked the nobles assembled, if
they were willing to receive this duke for their king. They were so
boisterous in their eager assent, that the Norman soldiers who had
assembled outside the Abbey in case their protection should be needed,
mistook the noise for the rising of the Saxons, and set fire to most of
the buildings in the neighborhood. It required prompt action on the
part of the more sober-minded of the Normans, to prevent the flames from
destroying the Abbey itself. William was dismayed at this occurrence,
and it was not until he showed himself in his coronation robes and
crown, that his followers could be restored to order and quiet.

Now, one would naturally suppose that in those rude times, Matilda's
neighbors would have taken advantage of her husband's absence to invade
her dominion, but she governed with so much skill and prudence that they
did {033}not venture to molest her, and she made herself universally
beloved and respected.

Having recounted the good traits of this queen, it is only fair to
present the bad ones too, because nobody is entirely without faults, yet
it is painful to be obliged to refer to one very dark deed of which she
was guilty.

[Illustration: 0037]

She must have had a large share of vanity, for she never forgave
Brihtric Meaw because he did not return her early affection, and
fourteen years later she sought revenge in this wise: She persuaded her
husband to deprive Meaw of all his lands and bestow them on her; then
she had him put in prison where, after several months, he died. This
was a very serious crime, and it is hard to understand how a woman with
everything in the world to make her {034}happy, and with qualities so
fine and noble as Matilda's certainly were, could have been capable of
it.

After an absence of six months, William returned to Normandy,
accompanied by a number of Saxon noblemen. He brought a large quantity
of costly spoils, among which were garments richly embroidered in silver
and gold by the skilful hands of the Anglo-Saxon women, whose beautiful
work was renowned all over the world.

The whole summer was spent by the royal couple in travelling and
amusements until news was brought to William that his Saxon subjects
were planning an insurrection, when he hastened back to England. He
arrived before any very serious steps had been taken.

He now began to see that his position would be in every respect more
agreeable, and his subjects would be better, satisfied if he had his
family at court, so he sent a numerous company over to Normandy to
conduct them to England.

[[A.D. 1068.]] They proceeded at once to Winchester, where the queen's
coronation took place with great pomp and ceremony. In order to render
it still more imposing, William had himself crowned a second time, but
on this occasion there was no such excitement as disturbed the first
crowning. Everybody was charmed with the graceful, majestic appearance
of the new queen, though some of the Saxons objected to her being called
Regina, which is the Latin word, signifying Queen. However, William
insisted upon this honor being conferred on his wife; though previous to
his reign all the wives of the various kings had simply been termed "the
lady, his companion." To be sure, few of the queens of England could
claim more illustrious descent than Matilda; for Alfred, the best and
noblest of their sovereigns, was one of her ancestors, and {035}she was
connected with most of the royal families in Europe.

After the coronation ceremony, a grand banquet was served, at which both
the king and queen presided.

Now, Matilda had to be served by her hew subjects, the English, because
they would not have been satisfied if she had kept only her Norman
ladies in attendance.

The king was so happy that he bestowed favors right and left in order
to gain the affection of the nation. He also revived some of the old
offices at court, which was a very popular act. Among these, was that
of grand pannetier, whose duty it was to carry the salt and the
carving-knives from the pantry to the king's dining-table on state
occasions. His fees were the salt-cellars, spoons, knives, and
bread-covers laid on the royal table. Forks were not among the luxuries
of William the Conqueror's day, when people must have verified the
proverb of later times, that "fingers were made before forks." The Manor
of Addington was presented to the cook for preparing a kind of white
soup that tickled his majesty's palate.

During the grand coronation banquet, a noble cavalier, named Marmion,
rode into the hall on horseback, completely armed, and shouted out three
times: "If anybody denies that our most gracious sovereign Lord
William, and his spouse Matilda, are King and Queen of England, he is
a false-hearted traitor and liar, and here I do challenge him to single
combat."

Nobody accepted the challenge.

Under a glass case' at the Museum of Bayeux is preserved to this very
day, a piece of canvas, nineteen inches broad and sixty-seven yards
long, on which Queen Matilda embroidered the whole conquest of England
by her husband. There are many hundred figures of men, horses, birds,
beasts, houses, trees, castles, and churches, all done {036}in their
proper colors.

The designs were made by a dwarf artist named Turold, who seems to have
been farsighted enough to know that the work would become celebrated,
for he has curiously managed to introduce his own figure or name on the
canvas wherever it was possible.

[Illustration: 9040]

After William and his wife were seated on the throne, there was a season
of tranquillity. Then the Conqueror laid the foundation for the great
Tower of London, as well as other strong fortresses. But revolts began
again, and the Normans demanded the return of Matilda. She resolved to
gratify them, but in so doing displeased the English, for they knew that
during her absence there would be fewer celebrations at court, and they
would thus be deprived of opportunities for disposing of their fine
goods.

[[A.D. 1069.]] All the working people were affected, more or less,
by her departure, and they {037}got into a habit of gathering at each
other's houses to discuss their wrongs and grievances. Fearing that they
might stimulate one another to revolt, William instituted the Curfew, or
the tolling of a bell, at eight o'clock every evening. This was a signal
for all the lights and fires to be put out in the dwellings; the word
was originally _couvre feu_, which means extinguishing fires.

[Illustration: 8041]

Then William made war in the north of England and laid waste the whole
country. In one of the battles a fair young Saxon, who was engaged to
one of the king's daughters, was killed.

As time went on, Norman customs were adopted in England, and that
dialect, which was a mixture of French and Danish, became popular. The
learned wrote and conversed in Latin.

Now, the ladies of Normandy, whose husbands were fighting William's
battles, began to grow tired of the long separation; besides, certain
bits of gossip that came over the water to them aroused their jealousy.
So, many of them insisted on recalling their lords who, for the sake of
peace, were obliged to desert the king, and obey. The queen herself
set a very bad example, for growing jealous of a daughter of one of the
priests, she actually had the {038}poor girl secretly put to death. When
William went to Normandy, he beat her severely for this shameful deed.

Such treatment does not seem to have surprised her very much, though,
for she forgave him just as she did for a similar indignity before her
marriage, and the royal couple were soon living on the most amicable
terms again.

But there was one serious cause of disagreement between them. It was the
great affection that the queen felt for her eldest son Robert. She loved
him better than any of her other children, while the third son, William
Rufus, was the king's favorite.

Robert was a proud, self-willed, quick-tempered lad, who always wanted
to rule, and the position of trust and importance that he had filled in
Normandy during his father's absence had encouraged this disposition. He
was spoiled, and showed an inclination to rebel when William resumed the
reins of government.

[[A.D. 1076.]] One day when he was walking with some companions around
the castle, his two younger brothers, William Rufus and Richard, with a
desire for boyish fun, threw some dirty water out of the window
directly on his head. Instead of receiving the joke good-naturedly, or
retaliating as any brother might be expected to do, Robert flew into a
passion, and with a drawn sword in his hand rushed up-stairs, declaring
that he would kill the offenders. A great tumult ensued, and it was only
the appearance of their father who burst into the room, flourishing his
sword, and pronouncing angry threats, that prevented fatal consequences.

That evening Robert privately withdrew from court with a party of young
nobles who were attached to him. He stood upon his dignity and refused
to bow to his father's will.

{039}

[Illustration: 0043]

{041}About this time the Princess Constance married, and shortly after
Princess Cicely entered a convent.

Then the queen received a severe blow in the death of her second son,
Richard, a prince of most amiable disposition and studious habits. But
Robert's bad conduct and his disrespectful behavior towards his father
gave her more real sorrow than anything else in the world.

[Illustration: 8045]

After a short absence he sought the king's presence and made a request
that he should be appointed Sovereign of Normandy, saying, "It is my
right; have you not promised to bestow it on me?"

"It is not my custom to strip until I go to bed," replied the king,
adding some wholesome advice.

Then Robert, becoming impertinent,' said he did not come to listen to
sermons, and angrily withdrew. He immediately went to live with his
uncle, the Earl of Flanders. There he lived such a wild, extravagant
life that his mother was frequently called upon to supply him with extra
funds. When her private purse was empty, she sold her jewels and even
her garments to provide the wicked youth with what he demanded.

All this was kept secret from William, which was certainly very wrong.
But he found it out at last, and it need scarcely be said, that he was
exceedingly angry. However, {042}he did not beat his wife this time;
perhaps he had heard before of women making sacrifices for their
children, but he was hurt at Matilda's lack of confidence in him,
and told her very truly, "The woman who deceives her husband is the
destruction of her own house." She defended herself so well, that he
forgave her at last, and continued to love her till the very end of her
life.

But somebody had to be punished, and the victim was the agent who
had forwarded the money to Robert, and attended to the selling of the
queen's jewels and garments. The poor man was condemned to have his
eyes put out. Filled with terror, he ran to a monastery, where, within
twenty-four hours he was shaven and shorn and became a professed monk.
Thus was he protected.

Robert's ambition would not let him rest, so he prepared an attack on
England. There was a furious battle, and it so happened, that in the
midst of it a hand to hand encounter took place between father and son.
William was run through the arm with his adversary's lance and unhorsed.
It is to be hoped, that as the warriors wore their visors down they
did not recognize each other, for it would be horrible to think of a
father's being intentionally wounded by his own flesh and blood. He
cried out so loudly that he was known at once; then Robert raised him
tenderly from the ground and begged to be forgiven, while he placed the
wounded king on his own horse and led him to a place of safety.

It was a long time after the battle, in which Robert came off
victorious, before he was blessed with his father's forgiveness, and
this was brought about by the over-fond mother. Her health had suffered
so much on account of the constant anxiety to which she was subjected,
that William granted her request to invite his erring son home. But
Robert was never admitted to his father's confidence.

[[A.D. 1078.]] {043}It was William the Conqueror who established the
celebrated Doomsday Book which contained a survey of all the lands
throughout England. The object of this book was to enable the sovereign
so to regulate taxes as to feel sure that he received as much as he
dared exact from each subject.

It was while her husband was making one of his expeditions to Normandy
that Queen Matilda heard of a German hermit who was renowned for his
gift of prophecy. She sent to consult him as to what was likely to be
the result of the ill feeling existing between her husband and Robert.

The hermit required three days for his reply, which was: "Tell your
mistress that the Most High has made known to me in a dream, what she
desires to hear. I saw in my vision, a pasture covered with grass and
flowers. A noble charger was feeding thereon. A numerous herd gathered
near eager to share the feast, but the charger would not permit them to
approach. But, alas! suddenly he dropped dead, and a poor silly steer
appeared in his place. He had no power to keep off the meaner animals,
so they all rushed into the field and trampled down the grass and
flowers that they failed to devour. This is the explanation:

"The noble steed is William the Conqueror, who by his wisdom and power
keeps his surrounding foes in awe. The dull beast is Robert, who will
succeed him. The other animals are the envious princes who are waiting
for an opportunity to attack the fields of Normandy, and destroy the
land. If the illustrious lady do not labor to restore peace, there will
be nothing but misery, ruin, and desolation to her beloved country."
This message came close upon the death of the Princess Constance, and
added so much to Matilda's sorrow that her health broke down, and she
died. She had reigned seventeen years, and was the first Anglo-Norman
Queen of England.

Matilda's funeral was conducted with great pomp, and the tomb that was
placed over her grave was a mass of sculpture and precious stones.

The king mourned the loss of his noble companion for many days; he gave
up all his favorite sports and became an irritable, melancholy man. He
survived his wife only four years.

Then Robert got possession of Normandy, but his attempt to place himself
on the throne of England shortly afterwards failed.

[[A.D. 1087.]] William Rufus, called the Red King on account of the
color of his hair, succeeded William the Conqueror, and his brother
Henry became king when he died. Robert ended his life in a prison, after
being shut up in it for twenty-eight years.

[Illustration: 0048]

{045}



CHAPTER III. MATILDA OF SCOTLAND, QUEEN OF HENRY I.

[[A.D. 1077-1118.]]

|This princess is called "The Good Queen," a title that shows how dear
she must have been to her subjects, and how much she must have done to
promote their happiness. She is the only princess of Scotland who ever
shared the throne of an English king.

Her aunt, Christina Atheling, was Abbess of Rumsey, and did all she
could to influence Matilda to take the veil and enter a convent. But
this was very displeasing to her father, the King of Scotland, and one
day when she entered his presence with a nun's veil fastened to her
head, he indignantly tore it to pieces, saying that he intended her
to become a wife some day, not a nun. This circumstance made such an
impression on her youthful mind, that she never forgot it.

When the king made this remark, there was a young man present whose name
was Alan, Duke of Bretagne. He was the widower of Constance, William
the Conqueror's daughter, consequently much too old for Matilda;
nevertheless, he made up his mind on the spot that he would make her his
wife if he could get her consent.

But now we must tell something about the illustrious mother of this
princess, to whom she was indebted for her earliest lessons in piety and
virtue.

Her name was Margaret, and her parents were Edward Atheling, surnamed
the Outlaw, and a daughter of Henry II. of Germany.

[[A.D. 1068.]] {046}When she was a young lady, her family determined to
leave England and take up their residence in Hungary, but the ship on
which they embarked became disabled, and was driven by a storm into the
Frith of Forth. Malcolm Canmore, who was King of Scotland, chanced to be
present when they arrived, and so struck was he with the extreme beauty
of the Lady Margaret, that a few days later he demanded her hand in
marriage. This offer pleased her brother Edgar Atheling very much,
because, not only was it a fine thing to have his sister in such a lofty
position, but Malcolm had received them all so kindly and hospitably
that he had made an excellent impression, so Edgar joyfully gave his
consent.

The spot where Margaret first set foot on Scottish soil is to this day
called Queen's Ferry in memory of the circumstance.

Now, Malcolm could neither read nor write, and he was so rough and wild,
that many of her Saxon friends objected to so pure and intellectual a
girl as Margaret uniting herself to him. She loved him, however, and
immediately after her marriage she set to work to reform her household
as well as she could, and to introduce religious ceremonies, which were
sadly wanting..

Her husband felt her superiority, and had so much confidence in her
judgment that he left the entire control of the royal household in her
hands. He entertained such respect and admiration for her virtues as
well as her mental qualities, that her influence over him was excellent.

All persons who were leading bad, immoral lives were dismissed from the
court, and no one was allowed to hold an office of any kind who failed
in honesty or sobriety.

Although grace was said daily after each meal, by Turgot, the court
chaplain, the Scotch nobles were in the habit of leaving the table as
soon as they had satisfied their

{047}

[Illustration: 0051]

{049}stomachs, without waiting for the grace. This displeased Margaret,
and she began to consider what she could do to keep them in their seats
without commanding them to stay. At last her woman's ingenuity fixed
upon this arrangement. She ordered a cup of the very choicest wine in
the royal cellar to be served to each man after grace, and by degrees
she had the satisfaction of seeing not a single vacant chair at table so
long as Turgot remained. In time the "grace cup" became an established
custom not only at court, but in the castles of the nobility, and the
dwellings of the humbler classes throughout the land.

Margaret was also a devoted mother, and bestowed a great deal of care
upon the education of her seven children. The learned Turgot was their
preceptor and confessor, and when the queen was dying she said to him:
"Farewell! my life is drawing to a close; to you I commit the care of my
children; teach them above all things to love and fear God."

Her husband had been killed by treachery a short time previously, so the
five princes and two princesses were left orphans.

Their uncle Edgar was very kind to them all, and placed the girls,
Matilda and Mary, at the convent, with their aunt Christina, where he
knew that they would have a better training and education than he could
possibly bestow on them. There they remained for a long time, and were
carefully instructed in the art of reading as well as in good manners.

Christina always hoped that they would both become nuns, and considering
that they were entirely under her influence, with no parents, their
brothers at a distance, and no home but the convent, it seems strange
that they did not. But they were reserved for another fate.

In those rude times the Norman nobles were so rough {050}and
uncultivated that they had no respect for any woman excepting those
consecrated to religion, consequently it was a common custom for young
girls to dress in nun's attire for protection.

But Christina made her nieces wear the great, thick, heavy, black veil
because it was all settled in her mind that it was to be forever, and
whenever she saw Matilda without hers, she scolded her and treated
her very harshly. Poor Matilda found it so uncomfortable, and no doubt
unbecoming too, that she wept many a bitter tear over the infliction,
and the moment she was out of her stern aunt's sight, she would fling
the veil on the ground and stamp upon it. During the seven long years
that she spent in the dreary convent, she must, many a time, have wished
for her dear father to relieve her, as he once did.

Matilda was passionately fond of music and devoted much time and
attention to this art. When she became Queen of England she was
exceedingly liberal in her rewards to those monks who sang the church
service well, and did everything in her power to encourage them.

While at the convent, this princess received two offers of marriage. The
first was from the Alan, to whom we referred at the beginning of this
biography. But fortunately for her he died before she was called upon to
give an answer, for she positively asserted that she would rather wear
the odious veil forever than wed him. The other offer was from the young
and handsome William Warren, Earl of Surrey. But him she did not love,
and although he was one of the richest and most powerful of the baronets
of England or Normandy, she refused him. She was somewhat sly on this
occasion, for she pleaded her devotion to a religious life as excuse,
though the real one was the affection she entertained for Henry, fourth
son of William the Conqueror.

{051}

[Illustration: 0055]

{053}She was then at Wilton Abbey, near Winchester, the favorite home
of the Norman king. Edgar Atheling, who was very fond of his niece,
went frequently to see her, and Henry sometimes accompanied him. On such
occasions it is probable that Matilda managed to leave off her veil, for
she was too pretty not to be somewhat vain, and Henry was too young and
ardent not to have his heart touched by her charms.

[Illustration: 8057]

This prince was surnamed Beauclerc because he was such a good student,
and Matilda was so well, educated herself that she could appreciate his
intellect and accomplishments. Therefore she preferred him to Warren,
and no doubt by a whispered word, or a sly glance, succeeded in letting
him know it.

Of all William the Conqueror's sons, Henry was most in favor among the
English, owing to his having been born on their soil: nevertheless it
was a long time before he became king.

When on his deathbed, his father called Henry to him and made the
following prophecy: "Thy elder brothers may go before thee. Robert
shall have Normandy, and William shall have England, but thou shalt be
inheritor of all my honors, and shalt excel both thy brethren in riches
and power."

This dying prophecy was not fulfilled until he was thirty-two years old,
when Wat Tyrrel's arrow placed him on the throne. It happened in
this way: William Rufus, with his brother Henry and a large party of
attendants, were hunting one day, when Henry, by some mistake, was
separated from the others and found himself quite alone in an adjoining
forest. Suddenly, the string of his cross-bow {054}snapped, and he
entered the hut of the nearest forester to have it mended.

A shrivelled-up old woman, who sat on the hearth-stone and looked like
one of the witches in Macbeth, saluted him as king. He was very much
surprised at this, and began to assure her that she had made a mistake.
Without heeding his reply, she continued in a cracked voice, holding up
her long, bony forefinger in token of warning,

                   "Hasty news to thee I bring,

                   Henry, thou art now a king;

                   Mark the words and heed them well,

                   Which to thee in sooth I tell,

                   And recall them in the hour

                   Of thy regal state and power."

Henry was amazed, but had no time to reply before the Red King's
attendants surrounded the door of the hut with news that their Sovereign
had been shot and instantly killed. Wat Tyrrel's arrow had accidentally
struck him in the head, and the unlucky marksman had fled to escape
punishment.

Prince Henry did not wait to weep over the sad fate of his brother, nor
even to see his body properly cared for, but jumped into the saddle and
made speed for Winchester. The cause of this haste was that the
royal treasurer, who happened to be present at the chase, declared
emphatically that the crown now belonged to Robert, and started on a
race with Henry to announce it at the Norman palace. But Robert was in
the Holy Land, so, with drawn sword, Henry forced the treasurer to give
up his keys, and at once took possession of the royal robes, jewels,
and regalia. This high-handed action caused dissatisfaction among those
nobles who owned lands in Normandy, for they were desirous that their
duke should succeed; so it was resolved to settle the question in the
council chamber. All the

{055}

[Illustration: 0059]

{057}nobles and prelates assembled, and while they were debating the
matter, Henry gathered a crowd about him in the street, and eloquently
pleaded his own cause. First he reminded them that he was a born
Englishman, then he made the most flattering promises, and concluded his
speech by assuring them that they should have an English queen, and be
governed by English laws. Loud shouts and hurrahs greeted his ears, and
"Long live Henry, King of England!" passed from mouth to mouth, until it
was taken up in the council hall itself, and thus, by the voice of the
people was the succession settled.

On the day after this scene Henry was crowned at Westminster Abbey. The
promises he made he fully intended to execute, and set about his work of
reform without delay. His popularity increased, and when he made known
his intention to marry Matilda, a descendant of their beloved King
Alfred, and a girl educated in England, it met with great favor.

He then made a formal proposal for her to her brother, the King of
Scotland. But the Abbess Christina was determined not to give her up
without a struggle, moreover, she was a Saxon, and objected to having
the Norman line strengthened by such a union, so she declared that
Matilda was a consecrated nun, whom it would be a sacrilege to marry.

Henry did not dare to act in defiance of the church, though he had
resolved on this marriage, so he wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury
asking advice. That prelate refused to decide so important a question
alone, but summoned a council of churchmen, before whom Matilda was
requested to appear.

This must have been a most embarrassing ordeal for a young girl brought
up in the strict seclusion of a convent, but she was equal to it, and
answered all the questions {058}put to her clearly and intelligibly.
They asked her whether she had taken any vows, saying that if so, no
motive could induce them to consent to their being broken. The princess
denied that she had ever done so. The archbishop asked her if she had
not worn the black veil at her father's court, and subsequently in the
nunneries of Rumsey and Wilton.

"I do not deny," she replied, "having worn the veil in my father's
court, for when I was a child my aunt Christina put a piece of black
cloth over my head; but when my father saw it, he snatched it off in
great rage, and swore at the person who had put it on me, observing at
the same time that it was his intention to give me in marriage, not to
devote me to the church."

Then she told how she had worn the veil for protection at first, and
afterwards, because her aunt would beat and scold her whenever she left
it off.

This explanation was considered perfectly satisfactory, and the council
pronounced Matilda free to contract marriage with the king.

Now, although she loved Henry, and certainly had no desire to remain
longer in the convent, yet she hesitated about getting married because
she had heard the king was not so good and virtuous as he ought to
be, and she feared to trust her happiness in his keeping. But those
connected with the Saxon royal line entreated her with these words: "O
most noble and most gracious of women, if thou wouldst, thou couldst
raise up the ancient honor of England, thou wouldst be a pledge of
reconciliation; but if thou refusest, the enmity between the Saxon and
Norman races will be eternal; human blood will never cease to flow."

This was a strong argument in favor of her marriage. She was to become a
bond of peace to a divided nation,

{059}

[Illustration: 0063]

{061}and she ceased to object when Henry promised to be a constitutional
monarch, and observe the laws and privileges established by Alfred.

Three years and six months after his coronation Henry and Matilda were
married, and the latter was crowned at Westminster. Before performing
the ceremony, the archbishop stood up in the pulpit, and related the
whole history of the princess's life, because he wanted to leave no room
for doubt that she was justified in getting married. He then asked in
a loud tone whether anybody present had an objection to raise. All
declared that the matter was rightly settled.

This marriage proved one of the happiest events for the English nation,
for the queen's thoughts were always for the common people, and she
urged her husband to grant them all their rights and privileges. One of
his first acts was to abolish the curfew at her request, for she said
that everybody ought to be permitted to sit up and enjoy an evening chat
just as long as they pleased.

Henry's Anglo-Saxon subjects soon became so warmly attached to him, that
they were anxious to show him an allegiance which the stern laws of
his father, or of the Red King, never could have forced from them.
They loved the queen also, because they knew that a great deal of their
happiness was the result of her good influence.

[Illustration: 0065]

{062}



CHAPTER IV.

|The royal couple lived at Westminster, in the palace of Edward the
Confessor, and Matilda devoted much of her time to the care of the sick
and the needy. She was so strict concerning her religious duties, that
every day in Lent she went to Westminster Abbey barefooted and clothed
in a garment of haircloth. Then she would wash and kiss the feet of the
poorest people. One day a courtier reproved her for it, but she replied,
as the following curious dialogue, taken from a rhyming chronicle of the
day, will show,--

               "Madam, for God's love is this well ado

               To handle such unclean limbs and to kiss so?

               Foul would the king think if this thing he wist,

               And right well avile him ere he your lips kist."

               "Sir, sir!" quoth the queen, "be still. Why say you so?

               Our Lord himself example gave for to do so."

On another occasion, her brother, the King of Scotland, who was on a
visit to the English court, entered Matilda's apartments, and found her
on her knees washing the feet of some old beggars. She looked up,
and asked him if he would not assist her in this work of charity and
humiliation, for the good of his soul. His majesty smiled and left the
room without making any reply. Perhaps as he had never had any practice
in that sort of labor he feared that he might not be able to perform it
skilfully, or it may be that he did not care to encourage his sister
in the humility which she seemed inclined to carry to excess. How-
{063}ever, Matilda's good works were not all directed in one channel,
for she tried to benefit every class of her subjects, the rich as
well as the poor. Once when she was obliged to cross the river Lea
on horseback, the tide was so high that she ran great danger of being
drowned, so she caused a fine arched bridge to be built high up the
stream. The Saxons called it the Bow Bridge. Then she built more of
these structures, and to insure their being kept in good repair, she
presented a mill or dwelling-house to those whom she selected to attend
to them.

She planned new roads and repaired old ones, thus facilitating travel
through the wild, uncultivated parts of the country, so that in time
merchants could cross the desolate moors with their wares without
incurring much risk.

All this work was probably done during her husband's absence from home
when she was regent and could call on the public treasury, for certainly
her private purse could never have enabled her to undergo such a heavy
outlay. But that made no difference to her subjects, for they enjoyed
the benefit of her improvements, and looked upon her as a real
benefactress.

Henry's wise laws did not give universal satisfaction by any means; for
the Norman nobles objected to any check being placed on their actions.
They had been used to doing just exactly as they pleased with only their
sweet wills to govern them, and now when they found that they could not
commit crimes and outrages against the lower classes without incurring
punishment of some sort they made great complaints. They could not
understand why the laws that protected them and their families should
apply equally to the common people. Their amusements were restrained,
and their lawlessness no longer had free play. So they spoke with utter
contempt of "that Saxon woman," as they called Matilda, and actually
went so far {064}as to apply ridiculous nicknames to the royal couple,
before their very faces.

Just two years had passed since their marriage, when Duke Robert
returned from the Holy Land. He determined at once to invade England.
Now, as Henry's fleet was manned by Normans, under the influence of
Norman chiefs, they refused to guard the coasts of England against
their duke, but went out to meet him, and brought him in triumph to
Portsmouth, where he was joined by nearly all the Anglo-Norman nobles,
as well as a great many of the English themselves.

Well, Robert marched straight on to Winchester, but with all his faults,
he proved himself a true gentleman on this occasion; for when he got
there he heard that Matilda had a little baby and was ill in bed, so he
refused to storm the city.

This consideration on his part pleased the queen so much, that she used
her influence to bring about a reconciliation between her husband and
his brother, and Henry invited Robert to court, where he was feasted and
entertained in a sumptuous manner. The queen and her brother-in-law had
one taste in common: they both loved music. It is only a pity that all
Robert's fancies were not so refined and harmless.

Poets and minstrels from every part of Europe flocked to Matilda's court
to recite their verses or sing their songs in her presence, and she
took great pains to receive them kindly and make them welcome. The only
objection that could be made to this custom, was that it cost too much
money, for the queen was exceedingly liberal with her rewards. Robert
was so well pleased with the treatment he received at his brother's
court, that he prolonged his stay six months, and he and the queen
passed a great deal of time in each other's society singing and
{065}studying music; and quite a warm affection grew up between them.

[Illustration: 8069]

[[A.D. 1104.]] The following year the Duke of Normandy visited England
again, probably to demand the payment of his pension. As he was
accompanied by only twelve gentlemen it could scarcely have been his
purpose to raise a revolt. Nevertheless, when Henry heard of his arrival
he said, "By my faith, should he fall into my hands, I will keep him so
closely imprisoned that he shall never give me any more trouble."

A friend of Robert's heard this remark, and hastened to warn him of his
danger, advising him to seek the queen's protection, which he was very
glad to do. She spoke kind and comforting words, assuring him that she
would do all in her power to save him from the anger of the king. But
Robert was so alarmed that he scarcely listened to what she said.
He declared himself ready to make almost any sacrifice to insure his
personal safety, and even offered {066}to dispense with the annual sum
the king regularly allowed him for resigning his claim to the throne.

[Illustration: 9070]

When Henry heard this, he sent for the queen to come to him and bring
Duke Robert with her. She did so, and the duke thus addressed his
brother:

"Fair sire, I am come to show you our of affection, and not to injure
either you or yours. We are brothers, born of one father and one mother.
If I am the eldest, you have the honor of the crown, which is a much
better thing. I love you well, and thus it ought to be. I have given
over to the queen all you owe me for this kingdom. We will be friends
now and exchange gifts of jewels, dogs, and birds."

The king replied: "We will do as you say, with thanks." Now, one of
Robert's vices was intemperance, which was so great, that he would often
be in a state of intoxication for days together. So, not long after his
friendly speech, when he was under the influence of wine, he accused
Henry of having cheated him out of his pension, by making Matilda
mislead him with her fair words. Of course, after that there could be
nothing but bitter and {067}unkind feelings between the royal brothers,
and Robert made so many threats, that the king embarked for Normandy,
determined to make war on him.

But when he got there, Anselm, the old archbishop, effected a
reconciliation. Anselm then returned to England and gave Matilda much
pain, by putting in force a plan that he had agreed upon with Henry. It
was to forbid any of the Anglo-Saxon clergy to marry, and to turn those
out of the church who were already married. Two hundred of these poor
unfortunates stood barefooted in the streets of London, when Henry
returned, begging for compassion. He turned aside, and showed plainly
that they were to look for neither aid nor sympathy from him, while the
good Matilda wept bitterly, saying that "she dared not interfere."

At this time the royal couple had two children, a boy named William, and
a little daughter who was placed at Wilton Abbey for care and education.

The Anglo-Normans were so much pleased with the Saxon style of wearing
their hair, which was in long ringlets flowing to their shoulders, their
mouths and chins covered with it too, that they soon imitated them. The
king especially was remarkable for the beauty of his locks, which he
cherished with care, though the Norman clergy highly disapproved of such
vanity.

One day, while Henry was in Normandy, he and his train entered a church,
where the bishop began to preach about the sinfulness of this new
fashion, saying, "It was a device of the evil one to bring souls into
everlasting perdition, the moustached, bearded, and long-haired men
resembling filthy goats." The discourse was so touching that the King
of England and his courtiers wept. Then the bishop drew a large pair of
scissors from his sleeve and proceeded to crop off the curls and beards
of his {068}hearers, beginning with Henry, who was anxious to prove the
sincerity of his tears. Thus for nearly an hour the church resembled a
barber-shop, and afterwards Henry published an edict forever abolishing
such sinful adornments as ringlets and beards.

After this Henry pursued the war in Normandy, completely conquered that
country, and returned in triumph to England with Edgar Atheling, Robert,
and four hundred valiant knights as prisoners.

[Illustration: 0072]

He then removed his court to Windsor Castle, which had been completed by
Matilda during his absence. It now became necessary for Henry to spend
part of every year in Normandy, as he was ruler of that country as well
as of England.

In 1109 he received an ambassador from the Emperor Henry V., who came to
make a proposal for the hand of the little Princess Matilda, then only
six years of age. The offer was accepted, but the child was permitted to
remain at home until she had reached the mature age of twelve, when she
was married and crowned in the cathedral of Mentz. The little empress
was very kindly treated by {069}her husband, who was forty years her
senior; and she was so amiable and pretty, that she won the hearts of
the German princes, his sons.

When Prince William was twelve years old, the king took him to Normandy,
and presented him, with great pomp, as heir to the duchy. The barons and
freemen swore fealty to him.

The royal family passed the following Christmas at the Abbey of St.
Alban's as guests of the Abbot Richard, who invited them, as well as a
large company of prelates and nobles, to assist at the consecration of
the abbey. In a rich illuminated volume, called the Golden Book of
St. Alban's, (now in the British Museum,) is a likeness of the queen,
evidently made at this time.

In the year 1117, a fresh revolt called Henry to Normandy again, and
during his absence "the Good Queen," whose health had been failing for
many months, died. To the last hour of her life she was a beautiful
example of piety and self-denial, and her virtues had made her so dear
to her subjects of every class, that she was passionately lamented by
them all. She was buried at Westminster Abbey near her royal uncle,
Edward the Confessor.

After her death, her three Saxon maids of honor retired to a hermitage
where there was a holy well, or medicinal spring, and established a
convent there. They were pious ladies, always ready to bestow alms and
relieve the sick and suffering, and passed the rest of their lives in
imitating the charitable, worthy deeds of their royal mistress.

Prince William never returned to England after the death of his mother,
but spent much of his time fighting against the King of France, at his
father's side.

In 1119 he married Alice, daughter of the Earl of Anjou. A year later
he accompanied his father to Harfleur for the purpose of embarking for
England. The king set {070}sail the same night, leaving the prince to
follow in the "White Ship" the finest vessel in the Norman navy. William
went on board with a gay party of young friends, and ordered three casks
of wine to be given to the ship's crew. This was a mistake, for the
sailors were, for the most part, intoxicated when they sailed. Prince
William, desiring to overtake the rest of the fleet, ordered his captain
to put up all his sails, and the "White Ship" went rushing through the
water with such dangerous speed, that she suddenly struck a rock and
began to sink. All was terror and confusion. The life-boat was launched,
and the young heir of England, with several of his companions, got into
it, and would probably have been able to row back to the Norman shore in
safety; but the cries of his half-sister calling on him for assistance
reached his ear. He commanded the boat back, and as soon as it neared
the ship, such numbers sprang into it that it immediately sank. Out
of three hundred persons who embarked on the ill-fated vessel only one
escaped to tell the sad tale. This was a poor butcher, who climbed to
the top of the mast, and was rescued next morning by some fishermen.

The report of the disaster reached England next day, but there was
nobody bold enough to carry it to the king, so for three days he was
left in suspense.

At length his private little page was selected to break the news to the
bereaved father. Entering the room with pattering steps and a sorrowful
mien, the child knelt down at Henry's feet and told him of the dreadful
catastrophe. He sank upon the floor in a swoon, from which he did not
recover for many minutes. In all his life Henry I. was never known to
smile again.

[[A.D. 1120.]] Three years after the death of Queen Matilda he married
Adelicia of Louvaine, surnamed the Fair Maid of Brabant, a lady of
distinguished beauty and rare

{071}

[Illustration: 0075]

{073}talent. She occupied the English throne too short a time for us to
devote a separate chapter to her reign. She was a good, kind stepmother
to the little Empress Matilda, and took excellent care of her. But she
could not have been very happy as the wife of Henry I., because his
troubles made him such a cross, melancholy old man that even his
greatest nobles were afraid to approach him. He died in Normandy in
1135, and three years later Adelicia married William de Albini.

She had seven children after her second marriage, from one of whom by
lineal descent were two of the most unfortunate of all the queens of
England,--Anna Boleyn and Katherine Howard.

[Illustration: 0077]

{074}



CHAPTER V. MATILDA OF BOULOGNE, QUEEN OF STEPHEN

A.D.1106-1151.

|Matilda of Boulogne was the last of the Anglo-Norman queens, and the
only child of the Count and Countess of Boulogne. She was educated at
the Convent of Bermondsey, which was founded by her mother, but it was
never intended that she should spend her life there, because, at a very
early age, she was married to Stephen de Blois, a nephew of Henry I.

Stephen was a handsome, bright, intellectual boy when he went to seek
his fortune at the court of England, and Henry Beauclerc was pleased to
have an opportunity of showing kindness to the son of his sister Adela,
Countess of Blois, whom he had always loved very tenderly.

So he knighted the youth, and bestowed upon him the hand of his queen's
niece Matilda, the heiress of Boulogne. After the marriage, the king
presented the young couple with the Tower-Royal, a strongly fortified
palace, which became their London residence.

Stephen had embarked on board the ill-fated Blanche Nef, or White Ship,
with his cousin William, but prudently left just before the vessel
sailed, saying: "She was too much crowded with foolish, headstrong young
people."

After the death of his son William, the king placed his affections
on his nephew, and always liked his companionship in all his voyages.
Stephen was a great favorite in {075}England, for he was as affable and
agreeable to the poorest and humblest people as he was to the nobles.
His wife, too, was daily winning hearts, and when the king's health
began to decline, it was fondly hoped that this young couple would
succeed him instead of his daughter, the Empress Matilda. And so they
did, for no sooner was King Henry's

[Illustration: 0079]

death announced than Stephen left Normandy, and embarked for Dover,
leaving the last rites of his deceased uncle to the care of Robert, Earl
of Gloucester.

He hastened on to London in the midst of a terrible thunder-storm, and
convened an assembly of barons, before whom the steward of King Henry's
household swore that the late sovereign had disinherited the Empress
Matilda {076}on his deathbed, and named Stephen as his heir. Thereupon
the Archbishop of Canterbury absolved the nobles from the oath of fealty
they had twice sworn to the daughter of their dead king, and Stephen was
crowned without opposition.

This was easily managed, because the Empress Matilda, being the wife of
a foreign prince, was residing on the continent, and therefore out of
the way. Besides, at the time of her father's death, her husband was
dangerously ill, and she had no thought for anything but the care he
required. When he recovered she determined to remain quiet for awhile to
watch the condition of affairs in England.

[[A.D. 1136.]] Meanwhile Queen Matilda had given birth to a son, who was
named Eustace, and three months after her husband had claimed the crown,
her own coronation took place on Easter Sunday, 1136.

Stephen began his reign by making some wise and popular laws, but he
permitted his nobles to build or fortify over a thousand castles. This
was a grave mistake, because the owners of these strongholds could shut
themselves up in them and defy the crown when they chose.

The first sad experience Stephen had in this respect was when the Earl
of Devonshire refused to obey him, or to acknowledge his right as king.
Stephen proceeded to chastise him, when the King of Scotland, taking
advantage of this disturbance, invaded the northern counties under
pretence of revenging the wrongs of his niece, the Empress Matilda,
though Queen Matilda stood in the same degree of relationship to him as
the empress did.

Stephen met the King of Scotland with a large army, but Queen Matilda
interposed between the two sovereigns, and settled all differences
without any bloodshed.

[[A.D. 1137.]] This happy termination of the storm that had been
gathering was celebrated by a series of rejoicings, {077}but in the
midst of them Stephen was seized with an illness so serious that it
resulted in a stupor closely resembling death. It was reported in
Normandy that he really had died.

Thereupon the party of the Empress Matilda immediately began to take
measures to place her on the throne, her husband, the Count of Anjou,
entering Normandy at the head of an army to assert her right. Then
Stephen's elder brother, Theobold, put in his claim. Meanwhile Stephen
recovered, and no sooner did he see the danger that threatened him,
than, leaving his wife to look out for his interests in England, he
hastened with his little son to France, and by means of a large bribe
induced King Louis VII. to acknowledge the child's claim to the earldom
of Boulogne, which Queen Matilda had bestowed on the child.

During King Stephen's absence some enormous fires occurred in different
parts of England which seemed to be the work of discontented subjects;
conspiracies were formed in favor of the Empress Matilda, and, what
was worst of all, the King of Scotland made another invasion into
Northumberland. But Queen Matilda showed herself a woman of courage and
determination, for she actually went in person to fight the insurgents,
and kept them at bay until her husband arrived and drove the Scottish
army back into their own country.

The party that favored the empress had become so powerful by the autumn
of 1140 that, had she acted promptly, she would certainly have gained
the prize she sought. But she did not enter England until Stephen had
taken possession of the castles as well as of the great wealth of three
bishops who had opposed him.

Consequently, when she took up her abode at Arundel Castle, Stephen
might perfectly well have made her his {078}prisoner; but he remembered
what a debt of gratitude he owed to her father, and spared her for the
sake of his benefactor. When she expressed her desire to remove to the
Castle of Bristol, he was even so gallant as to offer his brother, the
Bishop of Winchester, as escort, and to pledge his word that she should
not be molested by the way.

[Illustration: 0082]

The Earl of Gloucester was still fighting for his sister's rights when
Queen Matilda went, with her son Eustace, to France for the purpose of
strengthening her husband's cause by the aid of her foreign relations.
While there, a {079}marriage was negotiated between Constance, sister of
Louis I., and little Eustace, who was just four years old.

Matilda was still in France when the battle of Lincoln, so disastrous to
Stephen's cause, was fought.

[Illustration: 0083]

It happened that Stephen had shut up a number of the Empress Matilda's
partisans and their families when he besieged the town of Lincoln; among
these was the Earl of Gloucester's youngest daughter, who had recently
married her cousin, the Earl of Chester. So determined were the father
and husband to liberate her, that, with all their followers, they
swam across the river Trent, behind which Stephen and his army thought
themselves safely encamped, and fiercely attacked him in their dripping
garments.

Stephen fought desperately, until he was left almost alone on the
field, when a stout knight seized him and led him captive before the
Empress Matilda, who ordered him into close confinement in Bristol
Castle.

Then the Empress Matilda made her public entry into the city of
Winchester, where she was received in state by Stephen's brother, the
bishop of that place, who excommunicated all those who adhered to the
imprisoned king, {080}and promised absolution to all those who joined
the cause of the empress.

At this melancholy juncture Queen Matilda returned from France. She at
once made a personal appeal to the citizens of London, with whom she
had always been popular, and so readily did they listen to her complaint
that they demanded the liberation of the king. But her brother-in-law,
Henry de Blois, the Bishop of Winchester, paid no attention to the
demand; he even refused to have Queen Matilda's address to the Synod
in behalf of her husband read aloud, and boldly declared the Empress
Matilda sovereign of England.

[Illustration: 0084]

Then Queen Matilda made a pathetic appeal to this haughty, arrogant
woman in behalf of Stephen, who remained, heavily ironed, in prison. She
assured the empress that the loss of power was of little moment; all she
asked was that her husband might be set at liberty. She even proposed
that if her life were spared, and her son were permitted to enjoy the
Earldom of Boulogne, she would enter a convent, her husband a monastery,
and promised that both would forever forego all claim to the crown of
England.

{081}

[Illustration: 0085]

{083}This petition, as well as all the others that King Stephen's wife
had made to the cruel empress, was rejected with contempt. But the
devoted wife was not to be baffled when working for her husband's life
and pardon, so taking advantage of a misunderstanding that arose between
the Bishop of Winchester and the empress, she induced that prelate
to absolve all those of her husband's party whom he had previously
excommunicated, and to aid her in the deliverance of his brother.

Then, in the name of her son, Prince Eustace, she raised the standard
of the captive king in Kent and Surrey, and a strong army was soon
organized in her support.

Meanwhile the empress had become exceeding unpopular, and when the
citizens of London found that she proposed to treat them as a conquered
nation, which her demand for a subsidy proved, they asked leave to
deliberate.

The empress retired to her palace of Westminster, where she awaited the
arrival of a deputy with the bags of gold she felt sure they would send.
Suddenly the bells of London rang out an alarm, and every man in
the city and its vicinity came out of his house carrying a sword. A
formidable army soon collected, ready to dispute any unjust demand for
subsidies, and proceeded to the palace.

But the empress, with her barons and chevaliers, had made good their
escape on horseback, and were far on the road to Oxford when the mob
broke open the doors of the palace.

The King of Scotland was with his niece, but he was so disgusted with
her behavior that he made the best of his way to his own borders. By the
time the empress reached Oxford, all of her train had deserted excepting
the Duke of Gloucester, with whom she entered the city alone.

With a large army ready to support her, Queen Matilda {084}now returned
to London, where she was received by the populace with open arms. Her
next step was to go with her son to the Bishop of Winchester and entreat
him to assist her in once more placing her husband on the throne.

He promised to do so, and urged the queen to put herself at the head of
her army and march to Winchester. At her approach, the prelate retired
to his castle in the suburbs, and a blockade was established that made
the empress tremble in her palace. No doubt, during the two months of
famine and warfare that succeeded, she regretted more than once the
scorn with which she had repulsed her cousin's humble appeal. At last,
when at least twenty-five churches and monasteries had been destroyed,
and the empress knew that her position was becoming daily more
dangerous, she prevailed on her brother, the Duke of Gloucester, to
assist her to escape. He and the King of Scotland attempted to do so by
forcing their way through the besiegers.

The Duke of Gloucester fought bravely, but was compelled to surrender at
last, when he was made captive and conducted before Queen Matilda. The
King of Scotland escaped with the empress, and got as far as Devizes,
where the queen's soldiers pursued them so closely that they would
certainly have been captured but for a stratagem to which the empress
was compelled to resort for safety. She had herself rolled in a
winding-sheet, and placed in a coffin, and was in this manner carried
on the shoulders of some of her faithful partisans to the fortress of
Gloucester, which belonged to her brother. There she was deposited at
last, after many hours of travel, worn out with fasting and terror.

[[A.D. 1141.]] The Duke of Gloucester was so necessary to his party,
that the empress opened communication with Queen Matilda to effect his
release. But the only terms

{085}

[Illustration: 0089]

{087}to which the devoted wife would listen, were those that would
secure the restoration of her husband. Consequently, after many
propositions had been made on one side and rejected on the other, and
after Queen Matilda had threatened severe measures against Gloucester,
the illustrious prisoners were exchanged. This important event took
place in November, 1141.

Stephen had another attack of his old malady soon after his release, but
he recovered with the tender care bestowed upon him by his loving wife,
and then entered the field again, determined to fight more desperately
than ever.

Then the party of the empress thought they would claim the assistance
of her husband, the Count of Anjou, for which purpose the Duke of
Gloucester was despatched to Normandy. Before leaving England, however,
he saw his sister established at the Castle of Oxford, where he felt
perfectly certain of her safety.

But Stephen was so bent upon capturing the empress that he laid siege to
the fortress she occupied and reduced her to such distress for want of
provisions that she escaped one night with only four attendants. The
fugitives dressed themselves from head to foot in white, and as the
ground was all covered with snow, they moved noiselessly and unnoticed
along, protected by the banks of snow and ice along the Thames, through
a blinding storm that flew full in their faces. When at a safe distance
from the castle, they walked faster, over hedges and ditches, until they
reached a town six miles off, where they obtained horses and rode on to
Wallingford the same night.

There the empress met her brother, who had just returned from Normandy.
The Count of Anjou had not seen fit to comply with the request of his
wife's party for assistance, but compromised by sending Prince Henry to
see his mother, keeping their other child, Geoffrey, with {088}him.
He was evidently not anxious to see her himself. Three years later the
count sent a train of Norman nobles to England to reclaim his heir. The
Duke of Gloucester accompanied his nephew part of the way, and then
bade him farewell forever; for he died in October, 1147. Deprived of the
support of this true-hearted brother, the Empress Matilda abandoned hope
and left England, nearly all of her friends having deserted her.

Stephen and Matilda were so delighted at the departure of the empress,
and the establishment of peace, that they celebrated the following
Christmas with unusual splendor, and prevailed upon some of the barons
to swear fealty to their son, Eustace, then thirteen years old, and
acknowledge him as heir-apparent to the throne.

In 1148, Queen Matilda founded and endowed the Church of St. Katherine,
by the tower; also the Royal Abbey of Feversham in Kent. Then she
spent a few months quietly at the convent. But her health had begun to
decline, and she died of a fever on the 3d of May, 1151, at the age of
forty-seven.

She was buried at the new abbey of Feversham, and was deeply lamented
by all who knew her. About three years later Stephen was laid beside his
beloved queen.

[Illustration: 0092]

{089}



CHAPTER VI. ELEANORA OF AQUITAINE, QUEEN OF HENRY II.

(A.D. 1134-1204.)

|Eleanora was born in the beautiful province of Aquitaine, a name that
Julius Caesar gave to the south of Gaul on account of its numerous
rivers and fine ports. The people liked the name and adopted it; but it
was really the ancient kingdom of Provence.

Eleanora and her sister Petronilla were daughters of William, Count of
Poitou, such a good, pious man,'that as he happened to be in the Holy
Land at the time of his death, he was forever after called St. William.

The grandfather of these girls was William IX., not a very good man, but
a learned one, and an excellent poet. The most polished and civilized
people on the face of the earth in the 12th and 13th centuries were to
be found in Provence, and their language, which was a mixture of French
and Italian, was particularly adapted for poetry and music. This is no
doubt the reason why there were so many minstrels in that country, who
wandered about from one nobleman's house to another, singing their songs
and reciting their poems.

William IX. was a troubadour, and his compositions were so popular that
they became models for all the others. He was the most powerful prince
in all Europe, but as he advanced in years his conscience began to
trouble him, and {090}he thought he must reform before it was too late.
So, when Eleanora was about fourteen years of age, he ap> pointed her
ruler of Aquitaine in his place, assembled all the nobles of the land,
and made them take an oath of allegiance to her, because, as he told
them, he wished to occupy himself with spiritual matters.

[Illustration: 9094]

This done, he planned a marriage between Eleanora and the son of Louis
VI. of France. The young people had no objections to offer, and they
were married at Bordeaux without delay.

[[A.D. 1137.]] As soon as they were crowned Duke and Duchess of
Aquitaine, William IX. laid aside his royal robes forever. Attired in a
hermit's gown, he started on a pilgrimage to Spain, and passed several
years in different caves in the gloomy, rocky wilderness, where he ended
his days.

Now, Eleanora was a great heiress, because all the rich territory that
her grandfather had owned passed into her possession.

Afterwards, young Louis was crowned Duke of Guienne, when he and his
youthful bride were summoned to France to attend the death-bed of his
father, Louis VI., the good king and wise law-maker. His dying words
were: "Remember, royalty is a public trust, for the exercise of

{091}

[Illustration: 0095]

{093}which a rigorous account will be exacted by Him who has the sole
disposal of crowns and sceptres."

Louis was impressed by these words, but they had little weight with the
thoughtless Eleanora. She was beautiful and accomplished, but seemed
to think that the chief object in life was enjoyment. She was a fine
musician, and wrote some beautiful poetry, which she set to music. These
verses were remembered and sung long after she had ceased to live, which
proves that they must have had considerable merit.

Eleanora's southern subjects adored her, and were dreadfully grieved
whenever she had to leave them to return to her court at Paris. She
preferred to stay among them, too, because, as she had entire control
of affairs in the south, all was life and fun there, while her husband's
palace was under such rigid rule that it was almost like a convent.

She gave festivals in Provence, called "Courts of Love," that were
very popular among her subjects. On such occasions she, with her
ladies-in-waiting, would receive all the troubadours who chose to come
with their new poems and songs. The ladies would hear them, and then
pronounce sentence upon them, and as Eleanora was a very accomplished
poetess, her judgment was considered of great value.

She could not induce her husband to take part in these amusements, yet
she had considerable influence oyer him, which, unfortunately, once
led him to commit an act of great injustice. It was on account of her
sister, Petronilla, whose beauty was equal to her own, and whose sense
of right was sadly wanting. This princess happened to fall in love
with a certain young count, whose affection she was determined to have,
although he was a married man. So she and Eleanora put their heads
together and planned, {094}until they brought about a divorce between
the count and his wife for some trifling excuse. Then Petronilla married
him. But the former wife had a brother, the Count of Champagne, who
would not stand such treatment towards his sister, so he laid the matter
before the pope, who commanded the divorced count to leave his new wife
immediately and take back the former one. This so enraged Eleanora that
she persuaded her husband to punish the Count of Champagne. Louis, who
had another cause of offence against this man, did not need much urging,
and invaded his country at the head of a large army. They destroyed
right and left until they came to the town of Vitry, which they began
to storm; thirteen hundred of the terrified inhabitants rushed to the
cathedral and locked themselves in for safety. The building was set on
fire by the besiegers, and every soul w'as burned to death. About
this period the eloquent St. Bernard came to Burgundy and preached
the crusade. Such crowds of people flocked to hear him that they were
obliged to meet in the market place, for there was no church in the town
nearly large enough to contain them. King Louis and Queen Eleanora
were present also, and the saint spoke so eloquently, and in such harsh
tones, about the burning of the Vitry cathedral that they both felt very
repentant. The king resolved to atone for the horrible deed by going to
the Holy Land to fight for the Christian cause. That was all very well,
and one can only admire him for such a resolution. But the queen vowed
that she would accompany her lord, and lead her southern forces in
person. This was a silly determination for a woman, and the excellent
Abbot Suger tried to persuade her to give up all idea of such a wild
expedition, but she had made up her mind to become a female crusader,
and no argument could change her. Throughout her life, she was weak
where she ought to have been

{095}

[Illustration: 0099]

{097}strong, and determined where timidity would have been, by far, more
becoming and womanly. The king did not oppose her crusade; but even if
he had, she would have forced him to yield to her will.

She received the holy cross from the hand of St. Bernard, and
immediately put on the dress of an Amazon and mounted a horse. All the
court ladies did the same, calling themselves the queen's body-guard.
Then they formed in parade every day, and practised military exercise in
public, making themselves as ridiculous as possible. In short, they were
a band of madwomen, and nobody could control them. When once they had
become Amazons they abandoned all womanly occupations, consequently had
no use for their distaffs; these they sent to all the knights and nobles
who kept out of this insane expedition. Thus, many of them being too
weak to stand such a taunt, were actually shamed into joining though
their good sense opposed it.

King Louis managed his difficult enterprise with a good deal of courage
and prudence, but it would have required a greater general than the
world has ever known to discipline a regiment of fantastic women. The
freaks of these female warriors were the cause of all the misfortunes
that befell the army, for the king, after landing in Thrace, sent them
forward with his choicest troops, and told them exactly how to choose
their camp so that they would overlook the valley of Laodicea. He
remained about five miles behind with the baggage, of which there was a
large supply, and had to stop frequently to fight the bands of Arabs who
attacked him.

Instead of obeying her husband's directions, Queen Eleanora insisted
that her part of the army should halt in a lovely valley, full of
grass and flowers. This inviting spot caught her fancy, and military
discipline became of secondary importance to her. {098}It was almost
night when the king approached the valley; he could not distinguish his
troops on the elevated ground where they ought to have been, and knew
not what to make of it. The queen was not encamped there, that was
certain, so there was nothing for him to do but to enter the valley in
search of her. Soon after he was attacked from the hills by swarms of
Arabs, and had to move in and out among the rocks to dodge them. At
one time he barely escaped with his life by climbing a tree, whence he
fought desperately. It was daylight before he discovered the troops that
he had sent in advance. During the night seven thousand French
soldiers had been killed, the provisions had been cut off, the baggage,
containing all the fine clothing of the lady warriors, had been
plundered by the Arabs, and the whole army was in great distress.
Fortunately, Eleanora had an uncle living near by; his name was Prince
Raymond, and he was the handsomest man of his time. He threw open his
friendly gates to the defeated French army, and they were glad to rest
and refresh themselves after all the hardships they had endured. The
uncle and niece met for the first time, and were so charmed with each
other that Louis soon became jealous; so one night he hurried his wife
off without taking leave of his polite host. This made Eleanora so angry
that when they arrived at Jerusalem she did nothing but grumble and
complain. Most pilgrims had their piety aroused on this holy ground, but
it was not so with Eleanora; she wanted to get home, and quarrelled with
her husband for keeping her there. In fact, she never forgave him for
forcing her away from her uncle's agreeable company, and from that time
all affection w'as at an end between this royal couple Eleanora was not
willing to submit to restraint of any sort, and her husband's temper was
so tried that he resolved to have a divorce. So, on his return to Paris,
he consulted {099}his confidant, the Abbot Suger, about this matter.
That worthy man advised him to wait; because, he argued, that it would
be troublesome for France to have to give up the money Eleanora's
provinces in the south yielded; besides Louis' daughter, the Princess
Marie, would probably be deprived of her inheritance if her mother
should take it into her head to marry again.

Louis accepted this advice, but he had his wife closely watched, and
would not allow her to go to Provence at all. She complained of the
stupid life she led in Paris, and made great fun of her husband for
wearing plain clothing and keeping his head and beard closely cropped,
which she declared made him look more like a priest than a king.

Well, in time another princess was born, and named Alice. Soon after
this event Henry Plantagenet visited Paris. He was a noble-looking young
prince, full of energy and very intellectual.

[[A.D. 1151.]] Eleanora fell so desperately in love with him that
without hesitation or advice she applied for a divorce from Louis,
and got it. No doubt the king was glad to be rid of such an undutiful,
unwomanly wife, though he did have to give up all control over his
southern provinces, even Guienne.

Eleanora went straight to her favorite home, where Henry Plantagenet
followed her. He was probably not so very much in love with her, for she
was twelve years his senior, but he needed her money and her ships to
fight King Stephen, and lay claim to the throne of England, which he did
during the first year of their marriage.

He returned in triumph, and was besieging the castle of a rebel duke
in Normandy when the news of Stephen's death reached him. For six weeks
England was without a king, until Eleanora and Henry arrived with their
young son. They were crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1154, {100}and such
a magnificent coronation had never been seen. The costumes of costly
silk and brocade worn on that occasion had been brought by Eleanora from
Constantinople. In one of her portraits she wears a close coif, or hood,
over which is a band of precious stones; a rich brocade gown is fastened
with full gathers just below the throat, and confined there with a
costly collar of exquisite gems. Over this is an outer robe, or pelisse,
bordered with fur, the large sleeves of which fall open from the
shoulder, displaying the tight ones of the gown beneath. In some
portraits her hair is braided and wound closely around her head with
jewelled bands, and over this is a piece of fine gauze, which could be
so arranged as to serve the double purpose of veil or bonnet, just as
the wearer chose.

Before marriage, the girls of that time wore their hair in long
ringlets, but the church required married ladies to conceal their locks.
After Henry I. cut off his curls, and forbade his courtiers to wear
their hair long, they adopted wigs, but Henry II. abolished them,
and appeared at his coronation with short hair and shaven chin. His
dalmatica, or long gown, was of the richest brocade with elaborate gold
embroidery; over this he wore the short cloak afterwards called the
court-mantle. This coronation introduced into England the sumptuous
robes of silk and velvet worn by the ecclesiastics there on that
occasion. The queen's first residence in England was at a little village
nearly opposite to London, and she must have been struck with the
grandeur of that remarkable city, with its tower, its tall spires, and
the river Thames running through it, so different from anything she had
ever seen before.

Now, although she did not please her new subjects, who were acquainted,
of course, with her former behavior, they felt the advantage of being
connected with her Aquitainian dominion, and in a few months large
fortunes were {101}made by the London traders in the wines imported from
the port of Bordeaux.

[Illustration: 8105]

One of the queen's country residences was at Woodstock, where rather a
peculiar incident occurred. She was resting in the park, concealed by
the shrubbery, one day when the king passed so close to her that she
observed a thread of silk tightly twisted into his spur. She wondered
where he could have been to have picked up such a thing, so, as he moved
off, she cut it, and resolved to ferret out the mystery. Next day he
left Woodstock for a long journey, and the queen immediately thought
that now was her time to gratify her curiosity. So she sought the piece
of silk, which proved to be the end of a ball, and followed its
windings among the roads and thickets until she came to a door cunningly
concealed by a luxuriant vine. This she opened, and found it to be the
entrance to a winding path under ground. A few minutes' walk brought her
to a bower at the further end of the forest, in which sat an exceedingly
pretty young girl embroidering. "Aha!" thought the lady, "now we know
where Henry gets his spurs caught in balls of silk."

This girl was Rosamond Clifford, who was said to have been a playmate
of Henry's in his youth, and as she was kept a prisoner, it is probable
that she did not know of his marriage until his wife informed her of it.
At all events, nobody ever heard what took place at this interview,
but it is certain that, in obedience to the queen's commands, Rosamond
entered the convent of Godstowe, where she passed the remaining twenty
years of her life.

II. fancied himself about to die, he left dominions to all his sons
excepting this one.

[Illustration: 9106]

Little Matilda was three years old when she was married to Henry the
Lion, Duke of Saxony.

A revolt in the south of France caused Eleanora's return, because her
subjects there insisted on having her to rule them. King Henry escorted
her to Bordeaux, where she stayed with her son Richard.

{103}

[Illustration: 0107]

[[A.D. 1156.]] {102} Shortly after this adventure, the Princess Matilda
was born, and a year later the celebrated Richard Cour de Lion came into
the world. In course of time, Queen Eleanora had several other children,
among whom was John, surnamed Lackland, because once, when Henry
{105}Great disputes had been going on in England for a long time
between the church and state, headed by Thomas à Becket, the celebrated
Archbishop of Canterbury. Prince Henry was so devoted to this priest,
who had been his tutor, that the king became jealous of the influence
exerted by Becket over the mind of his son. In order to change the
current of the prince's thoughts, the father offered him a share in the
government of his kingdom. This was gladly accepted, and young Henry
was crowned. But he had a perverse little wife, Marguerite, daughter of
Louis VII., who was fond of Becket, too, and she vowed that she would
wear no crown that had not been placed on her head by that fascinating
prelate; so she remained with her mother-in-law at Aquitaine.

King Henry met with so much opposition at the hands of Becket that he
became enraged at the very sight of that priest. Once, when he was
the subject of conversation among his knights, Henry asked, angrily,
"whether no man loved him enough to revenge the affronts he perpetually
received from an insolent priest?"

[[A.D. 1171.]] Four armed men instantly proceeded to the cathedral, and
slaughtered the archbishop while he was kneeling before the altar in
prayer.

When this happened Eleanora was still in the south with her son Richard,
who had been crowned Count of Poitou. Suddenly she chanced to hear that
Henry was thinking about getting a divorce from her, so she resolved to
seek the protection of her former husband, the King of France. Disguised
in male attire, she stole out of the palace at night, and started on her
journey. But Henry had his Norman agents on the spot, and they watched
her so closely that her absence was discovered in time for them to
overtake her. They captured her very roughly, and brought her back to
Bordeaux, where she was kept in close {106}imprisonment until her lord
was summoned. He remained only a few days in the south, then went back
to England with two royal captives, his wife and the young Princess
Marguerite, whom he had not forgiven for scorning the crown he offered
unless it could be consecrated by his enemy, Becket. Now, that he had
her in his power, he resolved to punish her. But after a few months'
confinement she was restored to her husband.

Eleanora was not so fortunate, for she was kept a prisoner at the royal
palace of Winchester for nearly sixteen years. During that time there
was no end of strife among her sons. The real mischief-makers were the
troubadours, of whom we have spoken, for with their inspiring war songs
they were constantly urging the princes to battle for one trivial reason
or another, even when they would gladly have been at peace.

It must not be supposed that the queen was unkindly treated at
Winchester, for, on the contrary, she received the attention and
respect due to her station. While she was there Louis VII., her divorced
husband, died; and shortly after, the death of her eldest son, Henry
Plantagenet, followed. This was a great sorrow to the royal couple, and
Henry mourned with the deep grief of David over Absalom. Still later,
their son Geoffrey was killed in a grand tournament in Paris.

In one of her letters to the pope, the queen thus writes about these
bereavements: "The younger king and Geoffrey, Count of Bretagne, both
sleep in the dust, while their most wretched mother is compelled to live
on, though tortured by recollections of the dead.".

In 1189, Henry II. died, and was succeeded by his son Richard I., Cour
de Lion. About the first act of the new king was to order his mother's
release, and from a captive Queen Eleanora at once became a sovereign,
for the reins

{107}

[Illustration: 0111]

{109}of government were placed in her hands as regent. Her long
confinement must have had a good effect on her, for she went about, from
city to city, releasing all the poor people that her husband had cruelly
locked up for violating the Norman game laws, and spent her whole time
in acts of mercy and charity. Richard was crowned in 1189, but, as his
mother's mourning prevented her being present on that occasion, no women
were admitted at all.

The king then settled a most liberal revenue on his mother, and she went
to Aquitaine, the government of which was also restored to her. But
she did not stay there; her old age was passed in England, where
she assisted her son in governing, and made him, as well as herself,
exceedingly popular.

Eleanora of Aquitaine is among the very few women who, after an
ill-spent youth, have become wise and benevolent in old age. But she had
a great deal more trouble to bear before her death. Her life exhibits
many traces of a great ruler. If she had only been blessed in her
early days with a good, moral education, she would have been one of
the greatest women of her time. Slowly and surely she learned the stern
lesson of life, which teaches that without virtue, power, beauty and
royalty are of slight avail.

[[A.D. 1204.]] She was a very old woman when she retired to a convent,
where she spent many months previous to her death, which occurred in
1204. She was buried by the side of Henry II., and on her tomb is a
reclining statue said to be a good portrait of herself. The features are
noble and intellectual. On the head is a hood, above which is a regal
diadem; and a blue mantle, figured with silver crescents, is folded
gracefully about her form. {110}



CHAPTER VII. BERENGARIA OF NAVARRE, QUEEN OF RICHARD I.

A.D. 1165-1230.

|Richard Cour de Lion first met the beautiful, accomplished Berengaria
at a tournament, and fell desperately in love with her; but,
unfortunately, he was at that time engaged to Alice of France, so could
not offer his hand to the Provençal princess.

Both Sancho the Wise, King of Navarre, Berengaria's father, and Sancho
the Strong, her brother, were poets of considerable merit, and early
came under the notice of Richard, who was not only a troubadour poet,
but as sovereign of Aquitaine, he was, besides, the prince and judge
of all the troubadours. Between him and Berengaria's brother a warm
friendship was formed in early youth, strengthened by their similarity
of tastes.

It was not until after his father's death that Richard was at liberty to
marry the Princess Berengaria, to whom he had been secretly engaged
for several years. So she was about twenty-six years old when Richard
ascended the throne of England. He at once sent his mother, Queen
Eleanora, to the court of Sancho the Wise to demand the princess in
marriage.

The royal father was much pleased, and placed his daughter in charge
of the queen without hesitation. The two ladies set out together and
travelled as far as Naples, where ships awaited them in the bay. But the
princess

{111}

[Illustration: 0115]

{113}would not join her lover until he had broken off his engagement
with Alice; so she spent the spring of 1191 at Brindisi with his mother.
At last a message came from Richard announcing that he was free to
marry, then his lady-love returned to France with his sister, Queen
Joanna, in whose charge she had been placed by the queen mother.

While Richard was waiting the arrival of Berengaria, he instituted the
order of Knights of the Blue Thong, to scale the walls of Acre. They
were twenty-four in number, and were distinguished by a band of blue
leather which each wore on his left leg.

[[A.D. 1192.]] It was Lent when Berengaria met her royal lover,
therefore their marriage had to be postponed; but so anxious was Richard
to begin his crusade, that he set out at once with his knights in his
favorite ship, which he had named "_Trenc-the-mere_," meaning cut
the sea. His fleet consisted of one hundred and fifty ships and fifty
galleys. Among the latter was one in which Berengaria and Queen Joanna,
guarded by a brave knight; accompanied the crusaders.

A dreadful storm drove the galley which contained the queen and princess
into the harbor of Limoussa, the capital of Cyprus, but when Isaac
Comnenus, the lord of the isle, found out who they were, he brutally
refused them shelter, and they were obliged to row out of the harbor. As
soon as the gale abated, Richard Cour de Lion, who had found shelter in
a harbor of Crete, started in search of his bride. When he beheld her
ship pitching and tossing in the Bay of Famaguta, he suspected that
something had prevented the knight in charge from seeking the protection
so near at hand. Armed, as he was, he jumped into the first boat that
could be got ready, and when, on reaching the queen's galley, he heard
how the Lord of Cyprus had behaved, his fury knew no bounds.

The Queens of England. {114}Determined to punish the offender at once,
Richard led his crusaders straight to Limoussa, and made such a sudden
and desperate attack that in a few hours he had captured the town,
and all the inhabitants had scampered to the neighboring mountains for
shelter.

Then, in response to King Richard's signals, the queen's vessel entered
the harbor and landed at Limoussa, where grand preparations were soon
under way for the marriage and coronation of the royal pair.

The wedding ceremony was performed in the month of May, 1191, and King
Richard gave a grand feast, to which he invited the people of Cyprus.

On that occasion Berengaria wore a richly-embroidered robe of velvet
and satin. Her dark hair fell in curls, over which hung a full long lace
veil, fastened to a crown studded with rich jewels.

King Richard wore a short rose-colored satin skirt, with a brocaded
mantle embroidered in silver. A richly jewelled Damascus sword hung at
his side, and on his head he wore a scarlet hood, brocaded in gold with
figures of animals. He had a bright complexion, and curly, yellow hair,
and' his figure was a perfect model of manly grace and strength.

The people of Cyprus had been so tyrannized over by Isaac Comnenus that
they gladly consented to receive Richard for their king; therefore, by
the advice of all the crusaders who had witnessed his marriage, he was
crowned King of Cyprus, and his bride Queen of England and Cyprus.

Then the daughter of the despot, Isaac, threw herself at King Richard's
feet and asked for mercy. He kindly raised her from the ground and sent
her to his wife and sister, with whom she remained until the end of the
crusade. Her father was bound in silver chains and presented to Queen
Berengaria as her captive.

{115}

[Illustration: 0119]

{117}Once more the fleet set sail for Palestine, and when Richard
appeared' before Acre, the whole army of Christians, already assembled
there, marched to the beach to welcome him.

The town was soon taken, and before proceeding further, Richard
established his wife and sister in safe quarters there, under the
protection of a couple of brave knights, to await his return.

King Richard distinguished himself by many brave deeds during his Syrian
campaign, and captured several important towns, but Jerusalem did not
fall into his hands. Once he was in sight of that coveted city, when the
Duke of Burgundy, who commanded the French forces, suddenly drew back
with his whole division when victory seemed certain, because he would
not have it said that the King of England had taken Jerusalem. This act,
which was prompted by envy, was a serious blow to Richard, who, throwing
down his weapon, said, with tears in his eyes and his hands raised to
heaven:--

"Ah! Lord God, I pray thee that I may never see thy holy city,
Jerusalem, since I have failed to deliver it from the hands of thine
enemies."

He returned to Acre in 1192, and, after spending a few days with his
wife and sister, saw them embark for home on the very day he himself set
out in the disguise of a Templar to return across Europe by a different
route.

His vessel was wrecked off the coast of Istria, and his ignorance of
geography led him to the neighborhood of Vienna, the capital of his
enemy, Leopold of Austria.

One day, after several narrow escapes, he sent a page to make some
purchases at a village near Vienna. The boy was recognized by an officer
who had been in the late crusade with Leopold's troops. He was seized,
and after suffering much cruelty, confessed where he had left his
{118}master. A party of soldiers set out for the inn designated, but
could not find King Richard. The landlord said, on being questioned:
"No, there is no stranger here, unless it be the Templar in the kitchen,
who is turning the fowls which are roasting for dinner."

The Austrian officer, accompanied by his soldiers, proceeded at once to
the kitchen, recognized the king, who sure enough was busily turning the
spit, and cried: "There he is. Seize him!"

Cour de Lion started up and fought desperately for liberty, but he was
only one man against a dozen, who captured him and carried him in chains
before Leopold.

He was forthwith locked up in a gloomy prison, where he remained for
many months, no one knowing whether he was alive or dead.

Meanwhile Berengaria and Joanna had landed at Naples and proceeded to
Rome, where they remained six months. While there, Berengaria saw a belt
of jewels offered for sale that she knew Richard had worn when he parted
from her. This convinced her that something dreadful had happened to
him, but she had no means of finding out the truth, and as soon as she
could get a safe escort she journeyed on until she arrived at Poitou.

As time went on, poor Richard fancied himself forgotten, and bitterly
lamented because he had no friend nor relation who loved him enough to
rescue him. But he was wrong, for as soon as his mother heard of his
captivity she spared no pains nor money to obtain his release. It was
a long time, though, before the exact spot of his imprisonment could be
ascertained, and this is how it happened, after many months: A certain
troubadour knight who had been with Richard when he was shipwrecked
at Istria, having heard of his captivity, wandered around through the
southern cities of Germany in search of him. One day he

{119}

[Illustration: 0123]

{121}stood beneath the tower that formed Richard's prison, and sang a
song that he and the king had composed together. When he finished the
first stanza, the prisoner replied with the second; then the troubadour
hastened with all speed to Queen Eleanora with the discovery he had
made.

She took immediate measures for her son's release, and with the
assistance of the pope, to whom she made a most pathetic appeal, a large
ransom was collected, with which the devoted mother set out for Germany.

[[A.D. 1195.]] After an absence of more than four years, Richard arrived
in England in company with Queen Eleanora.

During his imprisonment, John, his younger brother, had tried to
possess himself of the crown of England. It was the mother who prevented
anything so disgraceful, and who kept all Richard's dominions intact,
and it was she who proudly sat beside her brave son at his second
coronation, which took place in his own country.

Berengaria remained in France, and Richard was not at all anxious to
join her there, or to have her with him. The reason for this remarkable
conduct on the part of a husband is that on his return to England
Richard had been met by his former bachelor friends, into whose way of
living he fell, much to the disgust of the more sober of his subjects.
He drank with them to excess, and led such a gay, bad life, that
Berengaria could not join him.

At last he became alarmingly ill, and began to repent of his neglect of
his wife; but he knew that she was justly displeased with him, and did
not dare to approach her. So he assembled at his bedside all the monks
within ten miles and publicly confessed his sins, vowing that if Queen
Berengaria would forgive him he would never forsake her again.

A few months later he went to France and became {122}reconciled to his
wife. It was a year of famine and of suffering among the poor, and the
queen used her newly-restored influence over the heart of Richard to
persuade him to many acts of charity that preserved the lives of a
number of families. The Christmas of the year 1196, which occurred
shortly after the king's arrival in France, was celebrated in grand
style.

Berengaria accompanied her husband in all his campaigns after that, and
never left him during the remaining three years of his life.

It was when Richard was storming the Castle of Chaluz, in April, 1199,
that an arrow pierced his breast and caused his death. He was buried at
the Abbey of Fontevraud.

Queen Berengaria went to live at Mans, where she founded the Abbey of
L'Espan, and devoted her life to deeds of charity.

She lived to an advanced age, and was buried at the abbey she had
founded.

She deserves to be remembered as a Queen of England who was never in
that country, and as a woman possessed of many noble virtues.

[Illustration: 0126]

{123}



CHAPTER VII. ISABELLA OF ANGOULEME, QUEEN OF KING JOHN.

(A.D. 1185-1246.)

|John ascended the throne of England on the death of his brother,
Richard Cour de Lion, and it was at a festival given to him at Angouleme
that he first made the acquaintance of Isabella, who afterwards became
queen.

[[A.D. 1200.]] She was just fifteen years old and so beautiful that King
John fell madly in love with her. She was engaged to Hugh de Lusignan at
the time, but her parents were so ambitious for her to be raised to the
lofty position of Queen of England, that they kept her with them after
the festival instead of allowing her to return to the Castle of Valence,
the possession of her betrothed, where she had been living under the
protection of the Count of Eu, his brother.

Isabella really loved Hugh de Lusignan, but she was dazzled by the
splendor of the triple crown of England, Normandy and Aquitaine, and,
as her lover was absent, she denied that she had ever consented to marry
him.

According to the feudal laws of the thirteenth century, King John,
as ruler of Aquitaine, had the power to prevent any marriage that the
Provençale princess might contract, if he chose, and to deprive her of
her inheritance besides.

So, when King John and Isabella were married, in the month of August,
1200, Count Hugh dared not interfere to prevent it. But he challenged
the king to mortal combat. {124}The reply he got was that if he wished
to fight a champion should be appointed for that purpose, but he was
indignant at such a proposition and determined to await an opportunity
for revenge.

Isabella sailed with her husband for England, where she was duly crowned
by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Six months of feasting and enjoyment
succeeded, which were only terminated at last by rumors of war.

Thereupon, King John retired with his wife to Rouen, where he led such a
life of indolent ease as to excite the displeasure of all who surrounded
him.

His mother, the aged Eleanora, was then residing at the Castle of
Mirabel in Poitou, and was the ruler of Aquitaine. Quite suddenly and
unexpectedly her residence was besieged by Hugh de Lusignan, whose plan
was to capture the old lady and exchange her only for his lost love.

But Eleanora held out heroically until the arrival of her son John, whom
she had summoned at the first signal of danger.

King John's enemies had reckoned on his character as a sluggard, but
they found their mistake, for when he heard of the attack on his mother
he hastened to Mirabel with lightning speed, hemmed in Count Hugh and
Duke Arthur of Bretagne, who had joined him, and took both prisoners.
The one was his rival in love, the other in empire.

Count Hugh was subjected to the most insulting treatment at the hands of
the king, who had him and the other insurgent barons of Poitou chained
hand and foot to carts drawn by oxen. In this manner they were forced
to follow him wherever he went, until he made them embark with him for
England.

King John was not so cruel to his nephew, Arthur, whom he merely had
locked up in the citadel of Falaise,

{125}

[Illustration: 0129]

{127}leaving himself the sole representative of the house of
Plantagenet.

[[A.D. 1204.]] In 1204 Queen Eleanora died, and from that moment her
son John seemed lost to all sense of decency or fear, and became
more corrupt and wicked than the most brutal of his subjects. Queen
Isabella's influence was no check on his notorious conduct.

In 1206 he entered into a treaty with his prisoner, Hugh de Lusignan,
with whose aid he conquered the southern part of France.

On his return to England he made some most unreasonable demands of his
barons, one of them being the surrender of their children as hostages.
Those young nobles who fell into his hands were required to attend the
queen, serve her at meals and follow her at cavalcades and processions.
The Lord of Bramber resisted the King's demand, whereupon he, with his
wife and five children, were all shut up in a room at the old Castle of
Windsor and deliberately starved to death.

[[A.D. 1211.]] Queen Isabella had given birth to several children, but
that did not prevent her brutal husband from treating her with extreme
harshness. Once, when he fancied that she had a fancy for a certain
knight, he had the man assassinated, and his dead body suspended over
her bed. Then he shut her up in Gloucester Abbey, where she remained
until 1213, when it suited his majesty to take her with him to
Angoulême.

King John found himself again in need of Hugh de Lusignan's assistance
when Philip Augustus of France seized the northern provinces. But that
brave count refused his aid unless the king would give him his eldest
daughter, Joanna, for a wife. This was a singular request, considering
that he had once been engaged to the mother, but he was gratified, and
the infant princess was {128}forthwith handed over to him to be brought
up in one of his castles as her mother had been before her. Count Hugh
soon cleared the northern provinces of France of the invaders, and then
John returned to England to perpetrate new acts of tyranny.

[Illustration: 0132]

[[A.D. 1215.]] After the signing of the Magna Charta, which granted
certain privileges to all his subjects, King John behaved like a madman,
giving way to outbursts of fury, cursing the hour of his birth, and
biting and gnawing sticks and clubs until he reduced them to small bits.
The result of several sleepless nights at the fortress of Windsor, the
scene of many secret murders, was an expedition to the Isle of Wight,
where, after idly sauntering on the beach for days at a time and
conversing with the fishermen, he joined a band of pirates with whom he
made attacks on his own subjects. He was gone so long that everybody

{129}

[Illustration: 0133]

{131}hoped he would never return, but, like a bad penny, he turned up
at the end of a few weeks, when he was joined by troops from Brabant
and Guienne, whom he had summoned to aid him in revenging himself on the
rebellious barons. This he did by travelling around among them, obliging
them to entertain him, and then turning upon them and doing some damage
to their lives or property. It was not uncommon for him to set fire to a
house in which he had been sheltered over night.

In the midst of this diabolical career, Queen Isabella met her husband
at Marlborough, and after spending a few weeks with him, retired to
Gloucester with her children.

While she was there, Prince Louis of France made an invasion into
England, prompted to the act by the barons, who were so incensed against
their sovereign that they offered him the crown if he would come to
their aid.

Then the tormentor tried to escape towards the north, but when he
thought to cross the Wash to Lincolnshire, part of his army, his
baggage, and his splendid regalia were lost, and he barely escaped with
his life. He arrived at Swinshead Abbey ill and in a horrible temper.

With his usual brutality, he gave vent to his spleen by saying, while
eating in the abbot's refectory, "that he hoped to make the half-penny
loaf cost a shilling before the year was over."

This malicious speech was heard by several monks, who, thinking that
John's outrages had extended far enough, treated him to a dose of poison
served in a dish of stewed pears. Ill as he was from the effect of
the poison, the king insisted on proceeding on his journey, and was
therefore carried on a litter to Newark, where he summoned several monks
for the purpose of confession. It was no trifling matter for this sinful
man to recount all the wrongs of which he had been guilty, but having
accomplished it, {132}he forgave his enemies and made all the officers
about him swear fealty to his eldest son, Henry. Then he expired, having
left directions for his burial. As soon as the news

[Illustration: 0136]

of the king's death reached her, Isabella caused Prince Henry to
be proclaimed in the streets of Gloucester, and nine days later she
assisted at his coronation in the cathedral of that place.

{133}

[Illustration: 0137]

[[A.D. 1217.]] {135}Although the young king was only nine years old,
his mother was so unpopular that she was not asked to act as regent, and
before the year of her widowhood had expired, she retired to her native
city of Angoulême.

The Princess Joanna, then just seven years of age, was still at Count
Lusignan's castle at Valence, but the count himself was absent on a
crusade.

In the year 1220 he returned, and frequently met the mother of his
little promised bride. The consequence was, that his early love was
renewed, and as Isabella was still a very handsome woman, only a few
years younger than himself, she was a much more appropriate mate for him
than Joanna could have been.

So they were married without asking the advice or consent of any one in
England; consequently Isabella's dower was withheld from her, much to
the indignation of her husband.

Now, it so happened that Henry III. was at war with the King of
Scotland, whom his council were anxious to conciliate. They therefore
resolved to offer the king the hand of the little Princess Joanna in
marriage, so when Henry wrote his mother a congratulatory letter on her
nuptials, he demanded, at the same time, the restoration of his sister.
Isabella refused to give up the princess, because she was highly
displeased at being deprived of her jointure.

Thereupon the young king applied to the pope, who took great pains to
inquire into the merits of the case. A voluminous correspondence was
carried on between the contending parties. The King of Scots insisted
upon his marriage with Joanna before he would come to terms; the result
was the payment of all the money due to Queen Isabella in exchange for
her daughter.

The King of France was the liege-lord of the Count de {136}Lusignan, and
it was so hurtful to the pride of Isabella to see her husband kneel at
the feet of any man, that she gave him no rest until he joined her son,
Henry III., whom she had instigated to undertake the conquest of Poitou.

Several years of warfare ensued, and at last the King of England fled to
Bordeaux. De Lusignan's possessions were overrun by the enemy, and Queen
Isabella was forced, after much suffering, to throw herself on the mercy
of the King of France, Louis IX.

She went to his camp with her husband and children, and, falling at his
feet, begged for mercy. He received them kindly, and granted forgiveness
on easy conditions.

Nevertheless, so ungrateful did Isabella show herself, that when an
attempt was made on the life of good King Louis, in 1244, it was proved
that she had bribed people to poison him. She flew to the Abbey of
Fontevraud for protection, and there hid herself from the French, who
held her responsible for so much sorrow and bloodshed that they gave her
the name of Jezebel.

She died in 1246, and was buried in the common cemetery of Fontevraud.
Some years later her son, Henry III., raised a stately monument over her
grave.

De Lusignan joined a crusade after the death of his wife, and was killed
at one of the battles in 1249. His eldest son was known as Hugh XI.,
Count de la Marche and Angoulême. His other children were liberally
provided for by Henry III., much to the indignation of his English
subjects.

{137}



CHAPTER IX. ELEANOR OF PROVENCE, QUEEN OF HENRY III.

(A.D. 1222 - 1291.)

|Eleanor of Provence was married when she was only fourteen years old,
and became the most unpopular queen that ever reigned over the English
court. She was so beautiful as to be called _La Belle_, but her judgment
was too immature tor her to stand all the adulation she received without
being spoiled by it.

Before she entered her teens, Eleanor had written a poem in the
Provençal dialect, which is remembered in her native country to this
day. Born in that land of poetry and song, of parents who were both
popular poets among the troubadors, young Eleanor's talent was fostered
and encouraged by the very air she breathed.

It was this talent that was the means of placing her on the throne, for
she wrote a romance in verse, selecting Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who
was then preparing a crusade, for her hero. Romeo, her tutor, and one of
the greatest Italian poets of his day, was so proud of his pupil, that
he carried the composition to Richard, who was immensely flattered by
it. But he could not, in return for the compliment, offer his hand and
heart to _La Belle_ Eleanor because he was already provided with one
wife; therefore he did the next best thing--recommended her to his
brother, Henry III.

So delighted was this king with the accounts he received of the beauty
and genius of the maid of Provence, that {138}he put 'a stop to the
treaty under way for the hand of Joanna, daughter of the Earl of
Pembroke, and forthwith despatched ambassadors to the court of
Count Berenger to demand his daughter Eleanor in marriage. With the
covetousness for which he was noted, he added a dower of twenty thousand
marks to his demand.

The court objected to so large a sum. Henry lowered it, but even then
the father would not agree, and so much bargaining was the result that
the high-spirited court was on the point of putting an end to the affair
altogether, when a peremptory order came from the king to conclude the
marriage at once, with or without money. Then the contract was signed
and the maiden was delivered with due solemnity to the ambassadors.

When she commenced her journey to England, the royal bride was attended
by a train of knights, ladies and minstrels who accompanied her to the
French frontier. There she was met by her eldest sister, the wife of
King Louis, and after receiving the congratulations of her relatives,
she embarked for Dover and landed there January 4, 1236.

[[A.D. 1236.]] She was married at Canterbury, where King Henry had
received her with a splendid train of followers, and after the ceremony
the royal couple proceeded to London, where preparations on a very grand
scale had been made for the reception and coronation of the new queen.

Her apartments at Westminster Palace had been newly decorated and
furnished by order of the king, and all the streets of London had been
thoroughly cleansed.

The 20th of January was appointed for the coronation, and on the
previous Saturday, Henry laid the first stone of the Lady Chapel in
Westminster Abbey.

The streets through which the procession passed were

{139}

[Illustration: 0143]

{141}hung with flags, banners and garlands of flowers, and the houses
were gaily decorated. Three hundred and sixty equestrians, preceded by
the king's trumpeters, who sounded as they moved along, accompanied the
royal pair from the tower. These were loyal citizens, who, mounted on
richly caparisoned horses and clad in bright, embroidered satin and
velvet garments, each carried in his hand a gold or silver cup to be
used at the banquet. They were called cellarers, and it was their duty
to hand wine to the royal butler, who passed it to the sovereigns. After
the banquet, the butler always claimed the cup out of which the king had
drank, the curtain that hung behind the royal table became the property
of the doorkeepers, other perquisites being divided among the cooks and
scullions. King Henry was very charitable and did not forget the poor,
among whom a liberal supply of money was distributed by his orders.

At this coronation were worn the most splendid garments ever seen in
England. They were made of the costliest satin and velvet, richly,
embroidered in gold and silver, and the ladies wore head-dresses
composed of rare and precious gems. The queen's crown was worth £1500,
and her girdle was studded with jewels of great value.

The king, who had a taste for finery not often seen in men, wore a
garment of gold tissue that glittered with every motion.

The expenses of Eleanor's coronation were so enormous that the king had
to petition the Lords for money. They refused, saying, "that they
had amply supplied funds both for his marriage and that of his sister
Isabella, who had just been united to the Emperor of Germany; and as he
had wasted the money he might defray the expenses of his wedding as best
he could."

Great dissatisfaction was felt in England on account of {142}the number
of foreigners who had accompanied Queen Eleanor. Among these was her
uncle, Peter of Savoy, who by the end of a year had gained such complete
control over Henry that all the affairs of the kingdom were submitted to
him.

Throughout his reign, Henry III. too frequently made demands on the
purses of his subjects, to supply his unbounded extravagance, and Queen
Eleanor was no check to him in this respect. Their tastes were similar,
and Henry had in his wife a congenial companion, interested, as he was,
in literature and art. Her influence over him was unbounded, and he was
never known to refuse any demand she made, no matter how unreasonable it
was.

Their first child was born at Westminster in 1239, and received the name
of Edward, in honor of Edward the Confessor.

An attempt was made on the king's life one night by a crazy man named
Ribald, who concealed himself in the palace during the day and stole
into the king's bed-chamber at midnight. Fortunately Henry spent the
night in another apartment, otherwise the score of stabs that the madman
inflicted on the bolster would certainly have put an end to his majesty.
The shrieks of one of the queen's maids of honor, who heard the would-be
murderer shouting horrible threats with each thrust of his dagger,
aroused the household, and the wretch was taken into custody.

[[A.D. 1241.]] In 1241, a year after the birth of her daughter Margaret,
Queen Eleanor accompanied her husband to France, on an expedition
against their brother-in-law, King Louis. After a series of defeats,
they took refuge in Bordeaux, where many of Henry's knights and nobles
forsook him and returned to England. He revenged himself by imposing
upon them heavy fines,--his favorite mode of punishment

{143}

[Illustration: 0147]

{145}Henry and Eleanor spent a merry winter at Bordeaux, amusing
themselves with feasts and pageants that they could ill afford, and on
their return to England, in 1243, Henry issued an order compelling the
principal inhabitants of every town on the route to appear on horseback
to give them welcome.

[[A.D. 1243.]] The marriage of the queen's youngest sister, to the
king's brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who had become a widower,
was solemnized in England the following autumn. On that occasion Henry
called upon his Jewish subjects to furnish funds for the sumptuous
festivities that he saw fit to give, and he spared no expense, for the
wedding-dinner alone consisted of thirty thousand dishes.

But he remembered the poor as usual, and ordered all the children from
the streets and highways of Windsor and its neighborhood to be collected
together and feasted in the great hall of the palace, after which the
royal children--of whom there were then three--were weighed, and
silver coin placed in the balance was distributed among the destitute
individuals present.

The following year the threatened war between England and Scotland was
averted by a contract of marriage between the infant Princess Margaret
of England and the heir of Scotland.

England was in such a dreadful state of misrule at this time that no
traveller was safe from plunder; and in some counties no jury dared
to punish the plunderer. Henry himself sat on the bench of justice and
tried many cases. Once he summoned Lord Clifford for some offence, but
the gentleman not only refused to answer, but forced the king's officers
to eat the royal warrant, seal and all. He was severely punished.

One great cause of Eleanor's unpopularity was the means {146}she
employed for extorting money from her subjects. She compelled vessels
carrying valuable cargoes to unload at her quay, no matter how
inconvenient it might be, in order that she might receive the toll. When
the royal funds were almost exhausted, the king and queen, with their
son, Prince Edward, daily invited themselves to dine with the different
rich men of London in turn, to save the expense of keeping up a table of
their own. They added to this economical mode of living by insisting on
costly presents from their entertainers as a proof of loyalty.

[[A.D. 1251.]] The year 1251 closed with the marriage of the Princess
Margaret and Alexander III. of Scotland, whose engagement had been
signed seven years before. As the bride was just ten years of age, and
the groom twelve, they probably had not much choice in this matter.

On the morning preceding the ceremony, the youthful groom was knighted
at York Cathedral. The wedding feast was served by the archbishop at a
cost of four thousand marks; and he supplied six hundred oxen, that were
all consumed at one meal. The costumes worn by the nobility were, as
when Eleanor, her mother, was married, of the most extravagant material,
scolloped, embroidered and ornamented with costly jewels. The queen and
her ladies wore robes that trailed on the ground, but, as they were the
same length all around, they had to be held up to enable the wearers to
walk. The height at which they were raised depended upon the beauty or
ugliness of the feet and ankles, no doubt. During this reign the hair
was gathered under a network of gold, over which was usually thrown a
gauze veil. Unmarried ladies wore ringlets, or long braids hanging down
the back and fastened with ribbons. A head-dress made in the shape of a
knight's helmet, with an aperture for the face to peep through, was

{147}

[Illustration: 0151]

{149}worn by ladies, old and young, in the street, and must have been
very becoming.

After Margaret's marriage, the king became even more extortionate in his
demands for money than ever, and thus made a host of enemies. He applied
for funds for a crusade, but was refused, and shortly after he was
called upon to quell an insurrection at Guienne. This was the result of
the recall of the Earl of Leicester, who had been governor there.

The earl had been replaced by Prince Edward, who was only fourteen, and
therefore incapable of managing public affairs. Before his departure,
King Henry appointed Eleanor regent of England, but requested her
to advise with his brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall, on matters of
importance. He sailed from Portsmouth August 6, and arrived at Bordeaux
on the 15th of the same month.

Queen Eleanor's first act, on finding herself in power, was to tax the
London citizens more heavily than her husband had ever done, and those
who refused her unjust claims were sent to the Marshalsea Prison. This
conduct aroused universal indignation, and the following year, when
parliament was summoned for the purpose of demanding aid to carry on the
war in Gascony, they peremptorily declined to give it.

Every other means having failed, Henry instructed his brother to extort
money from the Jews, and no sooner did he get it than he sent for
Eleanor to help him to squander it on the nuptials of Princess Eleanor
of Castile with their eldest son, Prince Edward. Queen Eleanor willingly
resigned the cares of government to the Earl of Cornwall, and with
his wife, Prince Edmund, her second son, and a retinue of knights
and ladies, sailed for Bordeaux, where she was warmly welcomed by her
husband.

[[A.D. 1255.]] {150}After Prince Edward's marriage, his parents went
to pass a fortnight at the court of King Louis. The day after their
arrival, King Henry distributed so much money among the poor of Paris
and gave such a grand entertainment to the crowned heads assembled to
meet him, that it was called the Feast of Kings.

On their return home, which occurred January 27, 1255, the king and
queen made a public entry into the city of London, and received a
present of a hundred pounds and a valuable piece of plate from the
citizens.

Shortly after, the royal couple were made extremely anxious by a report
that the young king and queen of Scots were deprived of their rights and
kept in close confinement by the regents, Sir John Baliol and Comyns.
The queen's physician was immediately despatched to Scotland to
ascertain the facts. He managed to obtain a secret interview with
Margaret, who gave a lamentable account of her treatment. She said,
"that she had been rudely torn from her husband and shut up in a dismal
place, the dampness of which had seriously injured her health, and, so
far from having any share in the government, she and he were treated
with disrespect and were in danger of their lives."

Queen Eleanor was so distressed at the condition of her child, that she
accompanied the king on a northern campaign, constantly urging him to
do something to aid her. The Earl of Gloucester was sent to Scotland
for that purpose, and with John Mansel gained admittance to Edinburgh
castle, by disguising themselves in the dress of Baliol's tenants.
Then, secretly admitting their followers, they surprised the garrison,
restored the young king and queen to each other's society and carried
their cruel jailers, Baliol and Ross, before King Henry at Alnwick.
Throwing themselves at the feet of the sovereign, the traitors implored
for mercy and were forgiven, but as Baliol

{151}

[Illustration: 0155]

{153}was Henry's own subject he had to pay a heavy fine, which his
majesty pocketed for his own private wants.

Queen Eleanor was lying ill at Wark Castle, and requested her daughter
Margaret, with the young king of Scotland, to join her without
delay. They obeyed, and as soon as the royal mother was convalescent,
accompanied her to Woodstock, where King Henry joined them. The court
was kept with extraordinary splendor at that beautiful palace, which
contained three kings and three queens, with their retinues, during the
winter of 1255, for besides the English and the Scottish royal couples,
there was Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who had been elected King of the
Romans, and his second wife, Queen Eleanor's sister.

[Illustration: 0157]

They all made a public entry into London in February, wearing their
crowns and royal robes, and the entire populace {154}assembled to
witness the splendid procession. After the departure of the royal
visitors, there was a season of misery and gloom caused by a dreadful
famine, and by the drain that had been made on the public treasury by
the King and Queen of the Romans, who, on departing for Aix-la-Chapelle,
where they were to be crowned, carried with them seven hundred thousand
pounds sterling. Added to this were the battles of the barons, to whom
both Henry and Eleanor had made themselves obnoxious by frequent acts
of selfishness and injustice, and finally the shameful attack upon the
Jews, whose wealth had excited the envy of the nation.

The mob was led on by the Marshal of London and John Fitz-John, a
powerful baron, killing and plundering without mercy, men, women and
children of that noble race, and driving hundreds from their beds into
the street half clad as they were. The next morning they began again
with such demoniacal yells that the queen, who was at the Tower, was
so terrified that she got into her barge with several of her ladies,
intending to escape to Windsor Castle. But as soon as the populace
observed the royal barge, they made a rush for the bridge, crying:
"Drown the witch!--drown the witch!" at the same pelting the queen with
mud and trying to sink the vessel by hurling down huge blocks of wood
and stone that they tore from the unfinished bridge. There was nothing
for Eleanor to do but to hasten back to the Tower, where she remained
until nightfall, then sought shelter in the Bishop of London's palace
at St. Paul's, whence she was privately removed to Windsor Castle, where
Prince Edward was garrisoned with his troops.

[[A.D. 1264.]] While the civil war continued King Henry took the queen
and her children to France, where she remained under the care of King
Louis and her sister Margaret.

{155}

[Illustration: 0159]

{157}At the battle of Lewes, the king and Prince Edward were captured
and locked up in the Castle of Wallingford. As soon as Eleanor heard
their sad fate she sent word to Sir Warren de Basingbourne, her son's
favorite knight, that Wallingford was feebly guarded and could not
resist an attack. Sir Warren lost no time in crossing the country with
three hundred horsemen, and laid siege to the castle, which, contrary to
his expectation, was warmly defended. At last the besiegers called out
to Sir Warren that "if they wanted Prince Edward, they should have him
bound hand and foot, and shot from the mangonel"--a war engine used for
throwing stones. On hearing this, the prince begged leave to speak
with his friends, and appearing on the wall "assured them that if they
persevered in the siege, he should be destroyed." Thereupon Sir Warren
and his chevaliers withdrew.

The royal prisoners were afterwards removed to Kenilworth Castle, and
Lady Maud Mortimer, who was warmly attached to the queen, helped Prince
Edward to escape. Having sent him the necessary instructions, she had a
swift horse concealed in a thicket on a certain day when it was planned
that he was to ride races with his attendants. When all the horses were
tired out, he approached the spot where Lady Maud's fresh one awaited
him, and after mounting, he turned to his guard and said: "Commend me
to my sire, the king, and tell him I shall soon be at liberty." He then
galloped off to a hill, about a mile distant, where a band of armed
knights awaited him.

Although the queen was living in France at this time, she made several
secret visits to England, to ascertain the true state of affairs there.
After her husband's dreadful defeat at Lewes, she pawned all her jewels,
and, with the money thus raised, collected a powerful army that might
have subdued the whole kingdom if they had ever reached {158}it. But the
Almighty mercifully ordained otherwise, and before Queen Eleanor, with
her foreign troops, set sail, the battle of Evesham was fought and won
by Prince Edward.

[[A.D. 1265.]] At this battle King Henry was wounded in the shoulder and
would have been cut down by one of his own soldiers, who mistook him
for an enemy, had he not cried out in a feeble voice: "Slay me not, I am
Henry of Winchester, your king."

An officer who happened to be within hearing, conducted him to Prince
Edward, and thus the royal father and son met once more. After tenderly
embracing his sire, the prince knelt to receive his blessing.

A succession of victories for Edward soon put an end to the barons' wars
and reinstated the royal family of England. It is much to the credit of
King Henry, that after he was restored to power, not one of his enemies
was brought to the scaffold. But he punished them with such heavy fines
that many of the rebel barons were reduced to penury.

[[A.D. 1269.]] Henry III. lived to witness the completion of St.
Edward's chapel at Westminster, which he had begun fifty years before.
On St. Edward's day, October 13, 1269, assisted by his two sons and
his brother, the King of the Romans, he bore the bier of Edward the
Confessor to the chapel and deposited it in the new receptacle. This
ceremony was witnessed by the whole court, and Queen Eleanor offered at
the shrine a silver image of the Virgin, besides jewels of great value.
King Henry reserved the old coffin of the saint for his own use, and
was placed in it just three years later, having expired on the 16th of
November, 1272.

He was buried at Westminster Abbey, near the shrine of Edward the
Confessor. His funeral was conducted with {159}great magnificence by
the Knights Templars-military monks who, in the middle ages, acted as
bankers and money-brokers to all Europe--and they raised a fine monument
to his memory, which was afterwards inlaid with precious stones brought
from the Holy Land for that purpose, by Edward I., King Henry's heir.

Queen Margaret, of Scotland, followed her royal father to the grave
within the year, and then, bowed down with suffering and sorrow, Queen
Eleanor retired to Ambresbury, where four years later she entered the
convent and took the veil.

[[A.D. 1291.]] She survived her husband nineteen years, and when she
died her body was embalmed and placed in a vault until King Edward, her
son, returned from his campaign in Scotland. Then he summoned all his
barons and clergy to Ambresbury, where the funeral rites were duly
performed and his mother's body was buried. Her heart was conveyed to
London and interred in a church.

[Illustration: 0163]

{160}



CHAPTER X. ELEANORA OF CASTILE, FIRST QUEEN OF EDWARD I.

(A.D. 1244-1291).

|Edward I. was only fifteen years old when he accompanied his mother
across the Pyrenees from Bordeaux, to claim the hand of Eleanora, sister
to King Alphonso of Castile, to whom he had been betrothed several
months before.

[[A.D. 1256.]] The marriage was solemnized a few days, after his
arrival, feasts and tournaments in honor of the event followed, and then
the little bride of ten years proceeded with her lord to Paris. She
was present at the feast of kings, given by King Henry to celebrate his
son's marriage, of which mention is made in the preceding reign.

When Henry III. and Queen Eleanor returned to England, the young couple
went with them and made their public entry into the metropolis in grand
state.

Among the numerous entertainments given to welcome the bride, that which
took place at the house of John Mansel, the secretary of state, was the
most remarkable. All the royal family, with their entire retinue,
were present, and as the mansion was by no means capacious enough to
accommodate so large a party, tents were erected on the surrounding
grounds. Considering that seven hundred messes of meat were served at
one meal, it is not surprising that Mansel's house was too small.

{161}

[Illustration: 0165]

{163}A few months later, Prince Edward took his little wife to Bordeaux
to complete her education, which had scarcely begun at the time of her
marriage. While she pursued her studies, the prince led the life of a
knight-errant, wandering from place to place, and taking part in various
tilting matches and tournaments until summoned to England to take part
in the civil wars that resulted, after several years, in the complete
restoration of Henry III.

[[A.D. 1265.]] Peace was so far established in 1265 as to warrant the
return of Queen Eleanor, who took her daughter-in-law home with her.

Prince Edward met the ladies at Dover, and was delighted to welcome his
wife, who had, during her absence, developed into a remarkably handsome
woman. She had clear cut, delicate features, a fine figure, and
magnificent black hair, peculiar to Spanish ladies.

The young couple set up their establishment at the palace of Savoy,
built by Edward's uncle, but passed much of their time at Windsor
Castle, where, a year later, their first son was born. He received the
name of John, after his unworthy grandfather. In 1267 a second son was
born and named Henry.

Prince Edward was too restless a man and too much of a soldier to settle
down to a life of luxury and ease, and an escape from injury, or perhaps
death, that he had one day when playing chess at Windsor, turned his
thoughts towards a crusade. He had just left the table, with no special
purpose, when the centre stone of the ceiling fell and crushed the
chair he had occupied. This circumstance convinced him that he was under
Divine protection and that his life was spared for some great work.

He therefore began his preparations for a campaign in Syria forthwith.
Prince Edward was eminently fitted for a crusader, being a powerful man,
tall, well formed, remarkably {164}agile in wielding his sword, and an
excellent horseman.

His wife loved him so fondly that she resolved to accompany him,
though it was a sacrifice to leave her two lovely little boys. All the
hardships and dangers attendant upon a crusade were laid before Eleanora
in graphic colors, but she was willing to brave them all rather than let
her husband go without her. "Nothing," said this faithful wife, "ought
to part those whom God hath joined, and the way to heaven is as near, if
not nearer, from Syria as from England or my native Spain."

Before leaving England, Eleanora, in company with Queen Eleanor, visited
the various shrines throughout the kingdom and made offerings, some of
them being of great value.

[[A.D. 1270.]] In the spring of 1270 the young couple bade farewell to
the two sons they were never to see again, and set sail for Bordeaux,
thence to Sicily, where they were to be joined by King Louis of France,
with his army.

But the death of King Louis occurring at this time, deprived Prince
Edward of the aid he had counted on, and caused his detention for
several months. The King of Sicily tried to persuade him to abandon
the crusade, but heroically striking his breast the prince
exclaimed:--"_Sang de Dieu_, if all should desert me, I would lay siege
to Acre, if only attended by Fowen my groom!"

In the spring and summer of 1271 Edward made two successful campaigns
and defeated the Saracens with great slaughter. Returning to Cyprus
for reinforcements, he undertook the siege of Acre, and established a
reputation in the Holy Land, not inferior to that of his great uncle,
Cour de Lion.

The Saracen admiral, bent on revenge, sent a messen-

{165}

[Illustration: 0169]

ger {167}several times to the prince, with letters, in which he
expressed his desire to become a Christian convert. He was always
received in private, because the admiral's life would be in danger from
his own people unless the utmost secrecy were observed. The fifth time
the ambassador presented himself, Edward was lying on a lounge, clad in
a loose garment, as the weather was very warm. He was soon absorbed in
the letters that had been written on purpose to please him. Suddenly
the letter-carrier drew forth a poniard and aimed at the prince, who
fortunately perceived the treachery in time to receive the blow on his
arm. The man made another attempt, but Edward felled him to the ground
with a powerful kick in the breast, then seizing a stool, killed
him outright. The sound of the scuffle brought in Prince Edward's
attendants, one of whom beat out the brains of the treacherous
messenger. "What was the use of striking a dead man?" asked the prince,
with stern reproach.

A surgical operation became necessary before the wounded arm could be
cured, but at the end of a fortnight Edward was able to mount his horse,
the attention and good nursing of his wife having hastened his recovery.

Eleanora had a little princess soon afterward, and called her Joanna of
Acre, from the place of her birth.

As his army had become much reduced, Prince Edward took leave of the
Holy Land and returned to Sicily with his wife and infant. Sad news
awaited them, for a messenger announced the death of their two little
boys in England, and they had scarcely recovered from the shock when
another arrived to inform them that Henry III. also had died.

The firmness and resignation with which Edward had borne the loss of
his sons now gave way to an outburst of grief that surprised every
one, particularly as his father's death made him King of England. When
questioned on {168}the subject Edward replied: "The loss of infants may
be repaired by the same God that gave them, but when a man has lost
a good father it is not in the course of nature for God to send him
another."

The royal pair spent a year in Rome before returning to England. During
their passage through France, Edward took part in several tournaments,
and did not land at Dover with his wife until August 2, 1273.

[[A.D. 1273.]] Preparations for their coronation were speedily
concluded, and that important ceremony took place on the 19th of August.
Great enthusiasm was exhibited by the citizens of London, who had
enjoyed a season of such prosperity since the establishment of peace
that they were anxious to prove their loyalty to the new king and queen
by lavish expenditure. Both houses of parliament assembled to welcome
their majesties, and for two weeks after the coronation banquets were
served every day in the wooden buildings that had been erected in the
palace grounds for that purpose. The rich and the poor, the country
yeoman and the Londoner, were welcomed alike and entertained free of
charge. It was a fortnight of universal rejoicing, and the opening
reign promised to be an exceedingly popular one. But the most remarkable
feature of the coronation was this: while the king was at a feast
prepared in the palace for the lords who had attended him during
the ceremony, King Alexander of Scotland came to pay his respects,
accompanied by a hundred knights. They arrived on horseback, and, as
each man alighted, his horse was turned loose to become the property
of any person, no matter what his station, who might be lucky enough to
capture him. Afterwards came Edmund, the king's brother, the Earls of
Pembroke and Warren, with their train of knights, and the horses of this
whole party were likewise turned loose. {169}Llewellyn, the Prince of
Wales, did not appear at the coronation, and this displeased the king
so much that he sent to inquire into the cause, whereupon the prince
replied that as he had reconquered all the Welsh territory that Edward's
Norman predecessors had taken possession of, he owed no homage to the
King of England.

Later, when Llewellyn's bride was on her way to Wales, her vessel was
captured by the Bristol merchantmen, and the damsel was taken prisoner.
King Edward treated her with courtesy, and placed her in charge of
the queen at Windsor Castle. Then the prince submitted to the required
homage with alacrity and went to Worcester, where the King and Queen of
England met him, bringing his lady love with them. The marriage ceremony
was performed at Worcester Cathedral; King Edward gave the bride away,
the queen supported her at the altar, and both honored the marriage
feast with their presence. A year later the young princess died, then
her husband repented of his homage and suddenly invaded England, but he
was killed on the battle-field without accomplishing anything.

[[A.D. 1283.]] Wales was in such an unsettled state in 1283 that King
Edward found his presence there very necessary. The queen went with him
and established her court at Rhuddlan Castle. By that time the royal
couple had several children, and their sixth daughter, Princess
Isabella, was born soon after their arrival in Wales.

The following year the queen removed to the Castle of Caernarvon,
because it was the strongest fortress in Wales, and the king wanted
to feel that she was safe from insurgents. There, in a gloomy little
chamber, ten feet by eight, a prince was born on the 25th of April,
1284. The room had no fireplace, but tapestry was hung on the walls to
keep out draughts. It was Queen Eleanora who first {170}put tapestry to
this use in England in imitation of a Moorish custom that she had seen
adopted in Spain. A Welsh nurse was procured for the infant, because
the queen knew that it would please the people to have a native woman in
that position. Edward I. was at Rhud-dlan Castle, trying to negotiate a
treaty of peace with the authorities of Wales, when a gentleman arrived
to inform him of the birth of his son. He was so delighted that he
knighted the man on the spot and made him a present of some lands.

The king then hastened to Caernarvon to see his wife and baby. Three
days later all the chiefs from the different parts of North Wales met at
the castle to tender their submission to Edward, and to implore him to
appoint them a prince of their own land, whose native tongue was neither
French nor Saxon.

Edward assured them that he would comply, whereupon they promised that
if his character was free from stain, they would certainly accept him
without a murmur. Then the king ordered his infant son to be brought in,
and presenting him to the assembly, said, "that he was a native of their
country, his character was without reproach, that he could not speak a
word of English or French, and that if they pleased, the first words he
uttered should be Welsh."

As there was no alternative, the rough mountaineers kissed the little
hand and swore fealty to Edward of Caernarvon.

The queen soon removed to Conway Castle, where she was surrounded with
all the comforts and luxuries the age afforded. Under her influence the
Welsh made rapid strides towards civilization, and she felt happy to be
among them; but they had been so barbarous when she first went to their
country that the king had to threaten se-

{171}

[Illustration: 0175]

vere {173}punishment to any one "who should strike the queen or snatch
anything out of her hand."

[[A.D. 1285.]] King Alexander of Scotland died in 1285, and his heiress,
the Princess Margaret of Norway, was by consent of the nobles of
Scotland, solemnly betrothed to little Edward of Caernarvon, Prince of
Wales.

In 1290, Queen Eleanora was the mother of nine beautiful princesses, to
whose care and education she devoted a great deal of time. They
occupied a retired portion of Westminster Palace, which was called in
consequence, Maiden Hall. One of these princesses entered a convent, not
long after the ninth one was born, and during the same year three
others married. The rejoicings that attended the nuptial ceremonies were
suddenly brought to a close by a dreadful calamity. It had been arranged
that the little Queen Margaret of Scotland should go to England to
be educated under the guidance of Queen Eleanora, but she died on the
voyage. This sad event was disastrous to Scotland, and threatened the
prosperity of the whole kingdom, by severing the bond that would have
united it had the marriage between Margaret and Edward been consummated.

[[A.D. 1291.]] As soon as the king heard of Margaret's death he started
for Scotland, bidding his beloved Eleanora to follow as speedily as
possible. But before he reached his destination a messenger overtook him
with news of the queen's dangerous illness. She had been attacked
with fever while travelling through Lincolnshire, and prevented from
proceeding. Edward turned back instantly, and everything was lost sight
of excepting that his dear wife was ill and suffering. Notwithstanding
that he pushed forward with utmost haste, he arrived too late, for the
queen was dead. King Edward's grief was so deep for a time that he was
unable to attend to public affairs of {174}any description. He followed
the corpse of his wife for thirteen days, stopping at every important
town to have a funeral ceremony performed at the largest church where
all the neighboring priests and monks assembled for the purpose. As the
royal bier approached London the officers and principal citizens met
it, clad in black hoods and gowns, and marched in solemn procession to
Westminster Abbey.

Queen Eleanora was buried at the feet of her royal father-in-law.
Besides the beautiful monument in bronze for which King Edward paid
an Italian artist £1700, he erected others in the shape of a cross
in memory of the _chère reine_, as he called his wife, at each of the
places where the funeral procession halted on the way to London. The
last stopping place was the one now called Charing Cross, a perversion
of the original French, which signified "dear queen's cross."

Eleanora of Castile was sincerely lamented in England; for as Walsingham
says of her: "To our nation, she was a living mother, the column
and pillar of the whole realm. She was a godly, modest and merciful
princess, who consoled the sorrow-stricken, and made those friends that
were at discord."

During the reign of Edward I. and Eleanora, sculpture, architecture,
casting in brass and bronze, and wood-carving were encouraged, and many
beautiful specimens of these branches of art appeared in England.

Of all the children of this royal couple, the nun-princess and Edward
II. were the only ones that reached middle age.

{175}



CHAPTER XI.

MARGUERITE OF FRANCE, SECOND QUEEN OF EDWARD I.

(A.D. 1282-1317.)

|King Edward I. was so grieved at the death of his "_chère reine_,"
that he gave himself up to the deepest melancholy, which lasted several
months. He was growing old, and felt the loss of his companion of
many years most keenly. However, he learned in time to submit to the
inevitable, and roused himself to attend to the affairs of his kingdom.

No sooner did his ministers observe this favorable change in the mind
of their monarch than they set to work to effect further improvement
by seeking a successor to the defunct queen. Their choice fell on
Marguerite, the sister of Philip le Bel of France.

[[A. D. 1299.]] After the usual preliminaries the treaty was duly
signed, and the marriage was celebrated at Canterbury, Sept. 8, 1299.

Marguerite was only seventeen years old, but she was such a good,
sedate and pious woman that her union with a man old enough to be her
grandfather proved by no means an unhappy one. On the contrary, she
exercised a wholesome influence over him, and prompted him to many
merciful and worthy actions.

It was due to her persuasion that the poor widow, Lady Marguerite
Howard, was released from a debt to the crown which she could not
possibly have paid, and many of her subjects could cite similar acts
prompted by her good and tender heart. {176}The citizens of Winchester
were deeply indebted to her for preserving them from King Henry's wrath
when Bernard Pereres, a hostage from the city of Bayonne, made his
escape. He had been confided to the care of the mayor of Winchester, and
was looked upon as a prisoner of the greatest importance. King Edward
placed a sheriff in charge of the city, deprived the people of all their
liberties, fined the mayor three hundred marks, and shut him up in the
Marshalsea prison until he should be able to pay the sum. The Winchester
citizens were in despair, and threw themselves on the mercy of their
queen. She recalled the exhibition of loyalty that they had made when
she appeared among them a bride, and her heart warmed towards them in
their distress. Fortunately, she was able to aid them, for the king had
presented her with the charter of Winchester, thus entitling her to
all the fines levied on its citizens. With this document she presented
herself before her lord, and claimed the unfortunate mayor with his
three hundred marks, as her property. Edward yielded, and even restored
the liberties of which he had, in his displeasure, deprived the
Winchester people. They never ceased to be grateful to Queen Marguerite.

But this occurred after she had been Edward's wife several years. We
must return to the beginning of her reign.

On the Wednesday after his marriage, the king was suddenly and
unexpectedly summoned to Scotland because of a rebellion that had broken
out there. During his absence the queen occupied apartments in the
Tower, and as the small-pox was raging in London that season, her court
were quarantined in that palace.

The following year she joined the king in Scotland, but stopped at
Brotherton in Yorkshire while he was fighting his battles.

[[A. D. 1300.]] On the first of June, 1300, her first child

{177}

[Illustration: 0181]

{179}was born. It was a boy, and Queen Marguerite gave him the name of
Thomas, after the favorite English saint, Thomas à Becket of Canterbury.

The queen occupied Cawood Castle at that time, and during the four years
she spent in that magnificent fortress, her husband was laying siege
to one stronghold after another, until Scotland was subdued from sea
to sea. Stirling Castle was the last one to yield, but when King
Edward made his triumphal journey home to England, its brave commander,
Wallace, was carried a captive in the royal train.

On their return to London, the king and queen gave a series of
entertainments to celebrate the conquest of Scotland. One of the
grandest tournaments ever witnessed in England took place at that time,
at Westminster Palace, on which occasion Prince Edward and two hundred
other noblemen were knighted. In 1308 the queen had another son. She
named him Edmund, and he afterward became the Earl of Kent.

[[A. D. 1308.]] King Edward was on his way to Scotland in 1308, but fell
ill before he reached the border. He lingered until the Prince of Wales
reached him, and with his dying breath commanded his son, "to be kind
to his little brothers, and, above all, to treat with respect and
tenderness his mother, Queen Marguerite."

Much sorrow was felt at the death of their warrior king, but his wife
mourned for the loss of the tender, affectionate husband Edward had
always been.

A few months after his death she went to France to be present at the
marriage of Edward II., with her niece, Isabella. On her return to
England she lived in seclusion, devoting her time and money to deeds of
charity. Marguerite died on the 14th of February, 1317, at the early
age of thirty-six, and was buried at the Grey Friars church, a splendid
building that she had founded.

[[A. D. 1317.]] {180} Her stepson, Edward II., had always loved her, and
to show his respect for her memory, he not only had her pall draped with
rich material of silk striped with gold, but erected a splendid monument
besides.

Queen Marguerite is the ancestress of all the English nobility bearing
the name of Howard, who unite in their veins the blood of St. Louis with
the greatest of the Plantagenet kings.

[Illustration: 0184]

{181}



CHAPTER XII. ISABELLA OF FRANCE, QUEEN OF EDWARD II.

(A.D. 1295-1358.)

|Isabella of France was a princess of the very highest rank, her father
being Philip IV. of France, and her mother Queen of Navarre. But she
was likewise one of the worst women that ever occupied the throne of
England. She was born in 1295, and when only nine years of age was
betrothed to Edward, Prince of Wales. At that time her father agreed to
settle on her the sum of £18,000 for her marriage portion.

He was not rich enough to give her so much money, but he got possession
of it by murdering and robbing the poor Knights Templars--a religious
body first established at Jerusalem to protect pilgrims travelling in
the Holy Land. Such ill-gotten gain could not be expected to bestow much
pleasure or profit on the possessor of it.

When Edward I. was dying, he charged his son to lose no time in
completing the arrangements for his marriage, and the prince had
received such favorable reports concerning the personal charms of
his lady-love that he hastened to obey. Before the king was buried he
dispatched two earls to France to appoint the wedding day.

He was so much in love, that it is said he lost the kingdom of Scotland
by hurrying away to get married when his presence in that country would
have made him its sovereign.

He need not have been in such haste, for Isabella was scarcely fourteen
years of age, and perhaps if he had waited {182}until her mind was more
matured, she would not have acted so unwisely as she did on several
occasions afterwards.

Grand preparations were made at Westminster Palace for the reception of
the young queen. The royal apartments were re-decorated and handsomely
furnished, the gardens were newly laid out and planted with the rarest
flowers, the fish-ponds were all cleaned out and freshly supplied,
and Queen's Bridge was repaired. The royal ship called Margaret of
Westminster was cleaned, painted, and newly fitted up under the king's
personal direction for the comfort of his expected bride, and no trouble
or expense was spared that could add to her pleasure.

When everything was ready, Edward appointed his favorite, Piers
Gaveston, guardian of the country, and sailed, accompanied by Queen
Marguerite, his stepmother, to meet his bride. He landed at Boulogne,
where Isabella and her royal parents awaited him, and the next day the
marriage was celebrated at the famous cathedral of that town.

[[A. D. 1308.]] Four kings and four queens were present, besides a
larger number of princes and nobility than had ever met together on
such an occasion, and the church presented an appearance of unusual
magnificence. The bride's beauty excited the greatest admiration, and
she was called Isabella the Fair. Had any member of that royal assembly
been told that before the end of her life she would be known as the
"She-wolf of France," he would not have believed it; appearances are
often deceptive.

Festivities were kept up for nearly two weeks, then the newly-wedded
couple went to Dover, where they were met by a large party of noble
ladies and gentlemen who attended them to Westminster.

Among those who met them on their arrival in England was the Piers
Gaveston whom Edward had left as guardian during his absence. This man
was the cause of a great {183}

[Illustration: 0187]

deal of trouble later because of his unbounded influence over the king,
who, the moment he caught sight of his favorite, flew to him and threw
his arms about his neck calling him "brother."

Isabella's outfit was magnificent. She had two superb solid gold crowns
ornamented with precious stones, a large number of gold and silver
drinking vessels, golden spoons, fifty silver soup-bowls, twelve large
silver dishes, and twelve smaller ones. Her dresses were made of gold
and silver stuff, velvet, and shot silk. Six of them were of the finest
imported green cloth, six were of mixed and figured material, and six
were scarlet; she had, besides, a supply of costly furs, four hundred
and nineteen yards of towels, and six dozen nightcaps. She brought with
her the tapestry for her own chamber, on which were embroidered in gold
the arms of France, England, and Brabant.

Her father presented his son-in-law with a large number of the costliest
rings, jewels, and other precious articles that could be found; but
Edward was foolish enough to give all to Piers Gaveston, who had a
perfect passion for finery.

Such conduct on the part of her husband made Isabella very angry, for
she looked upon these handsome gifts from her father as part of her
dowry, and naturally she objected very decidedly to having them handed
over to a stranger whom she had already begun to dislike.

Just a month after the marriage the day was appointed for the coronation
of the young king and queen, but the nobles informed Edward that unless
his haughty favorite were banished from court they would not attend the
ceremony. This threat signified that they meant to refuse their oath of
allegiance, so Edward was very much alarmed, but promised that at
the parliament, which was to meet immediately after the coronation,
everything should be arranged {186}to their entire satisfaction. But he
gave fresh cause for complaint by bestowing upon Piers Gaveston the
very highest office at the coronation,--that of bearing the St. Edward's
crown. This made one of the royal earls so angry that he would have
killed the favorite on the spot had it not been for the respect he felt
for the young queen.

Gaveston had taken it upon himself to manage everything; and either his
arrangements were badly made, or he was so unpopular, that nobody
would obey him, for there was nothing but disorder and confusion from
beginning to end. The crowd was so great that several people were
injured, and one poor knight was knocked down and trodden to death. It
was three o'clock in the afternoon before the coronation was over, and
since early morning those engaged in the ceremonies had eaten nothing.
The company were not seated at the banquet until after dark, and then
every dish was so poorly cooked and so badly served that the hungry
nobles were indignant, and felt that they could sooner have forgiven the
favorite for any offence than this one. Isabella, too, was out of humor
and exhausted; in short, all classes were dissatisfied, and many of the
customary ceremonies had to be omitted because the usual masters of them
were absent.

Whether by accident or design, several slights were put upon the young
queen that made her French followers so angry that they went back home
and complained to her father. Besides, Isabella sent a letter filled
with complaints against her husband and his too-powerful favorite. This
made the King of France use all his influence to strengthen the party of
French barons who despised Gaveston, and even to induce the English ones
to oppose him, too.

Probably, if the queen had been older, her beauty and talents might
have enabled her to gain such control over {187}her husband that his
favorite's presence would have had less effect; but she was so young and
inexperienced that, although _she_ felt the importance of her position
in the English court, Edward treated her like a child, and this vexed
her beyond everything.

Gaveston was just the sort of a person who could, if he chose, lead so
weak a young man as Edward II., and, unfortunately, he did so choose.
He was very handsome, a perfect Adonis, remarkable for his courteous
manners, courage, and sparkling wit. He would mimic and make fun of the
peculiarities of the English nobles for the amusement of the thoughtless
king, which was, of course, most displeasing to them, and he even went
so far as to ridicule the queen. She complained to her father, who
secretly induced the barons to insist upon the banishment of the
favorite. Edward was at last compelled to yield, and promised to send
him beyond the seas, but the wily Gaveston had recently strengthened his
position by marrying a niece of the king, so he had himself appointed
Governor of Ireland. Even his worst enemies own that he ruled that
country very well.

But the following year he came back to England to attend a tournament.
He brought such a magnificent retinue, and made so great a display, that
the barons were jealous, and hated him worse than ever. Little did their
dislike or their displeasure affect him, for he took his revenge by
ridiculing them anew, and calling them most provoking names. The Earl
of Pembroke was dark, thin, and sallow-complexioned, so he named him
"Joseph the Jew;" the Earl of Warwick, who foamed at the mouth when in a
passion, was "the Wild Boar of Ardenne;" and the Earl of Lancaster, who
dressed peculiarly, was styled "the_ Stage Player_." Thus he made fun
of the entire party. But the insults were treasured up against him;
{188}and when, some years later, his day of reckoning dawned, not much
mercy was shown him.

In the meantime he had stirred up such a storm that his royal master's
throne tottered under him. The queen and her uncle, the Earl of
Lancaster, with all the barons, formed a combination against him so
strong that Edward dared not oppose it, and dismissed him to Guienne. At
parting with his favorite, he lavished on him all his jewels, even the
rings, brooches, and buckles that his young wife had presented him with
at various times. This was one of the most foolish things Edward ever
did, and nobody can blame Isabella for feeling offended.

However, she was at that time much beloved by her subjects, and, with
Gaveston out of the way, we hear no more complaints until the year 1312,
when, to her great displeasure, he turned up again. This time, with
his usual lack of judgment, the king had recalled him, and made him his
principal secretary of state. This was a very high office, for he had
all the affairs of the country under his control, and so determined
was he to keep Edward under his thumb that nobody could speak to him
excepting through the secretary.

This arrangement gave great offence, and when the young queen saw how
the royal favorite was injuring her husband by making the nation dislike
him, and, what was still worse, by leading him into dissipation and
other acts of folly, she angrily remonstrated with him. He forgot the
respect due to her rank, and answered with contempt, whereupon she
complained to the king. But instead of upholding his wife and punishing
his insolent favorite, Edward treated the matter with the utmost
indifference. Isabella was furious, and wrote to her father, the King of
France, a letter filled with bitter complaints of her husband's coldness
and neglect, saying, "that she was the most wretched of wives, and that
Gaveston was the cause of all her troubles."

In reply, Philip secretly urged the peers to rebel, which they did at
last, headed by the Earl of Lancaster, and determined to compel Edward
to dismiss his hated secretary of state. Then began a civil war, the
most horrible disaster that can overtake any country. Edward, evidently
considering discretion the better part of valor, ran away with his wife
and his favorite. They got as far as York, but the victorious barons
entered that place in triumph, and the two fugitives sailed for
Scarborough, leaving the poor young queen alone, although she entreated
her husband with tears in her eyes to take her along.

Finding herself forsaken, Isabella retired to a remote castle, where
she passed her time in visiting the sick and poor, which the following
notes, found in the royal household book, prove:--

[[A.D. 1312.]] "October 9. To little Thomeline, the Scotch orphan boy,
to whom the queen, being moved to charity by his miseries, gave food and
raiment to the amount of six and sixpence."

And again:

"To the same orphan, on his being sent to London to dwell with Agnes,
the wife of Jean, the queen's French organist; for his education, for
necessaries bought him, and for curing his maladies, fifty-two shillings
and eightpence."

While at this castle the queen received a message from her uncle
Lancaster assuring her of her safety, and telling her that they were
only fighting to get hold of Gaveston.

The king, in the meantime, having left his favorite in the strong
fortress of Scarborough, proceeded to the midland counties to raise
forces for his defence. But the men of England were so indignant at
the treatment their young {190}queen had received at the hands of her
husband and his unworthy guide, that instead of obeying the orders they
received, they rose _en masse_ to storm Gaveston in his shelter. Being
destitute of provisions, and knowing that he could not withstand a
siege, he surrendered on condition that he was to be safely conducted to
the king and allowed to speak with him freely before his trial.

[Illustration: 0194]

The barons, after solemnly swearing to observe this treaty, lost no
time in bringing their prisoner to a sham trial. No mercy tempered their
judgment of a man who had ridiculed and defied them, so they beheaded
him then and there. Afterwards they enjoyed the extreme satisfaction of
ransacking the luckless favorite's baggage, and {191}found many of the
crown jewels, a number of precious ornaments that had been presented to
the king, and several articles of gold and silver plate from the royal
household.

When Edward heard of the murder of his friend, he was beside himself
with rage and grief, and swore vengeance on the heads of those who
had committed the deed. He then joined the queen and went with her to
Windsor, where their first child, afterwards Edward III., was born.

He was a fine healthy baby, and his parents, as well as the English
nation, and the French nobles who were in the country were all delighted
at this happy event. Four days after his birth the little fellow was
baptized with great pomp, having no less than seven godfathers.

After this period, Isabella's influence over her husband was so
strengthened that she brought about a reconciliation between him and his
barons, and there was peace in the realm once more. Then the king
and queen made a pleasure trip to Paris, where they spent two months
enjoying the feasts and amusements which the magnificent and wealthy
court of Philip provided for their entertainment.

At last, through the entreaties of the queen, the pardon to all those
who had assisted in causing the death of Gaveston was published, and her
excellent influence was felt in many ways.

During the next few years another prince and a princess were born, and
on each occasion presents of great value were distributed by the royal
pair.

In the household book there is mention of the king's gift of £333, "to
Isabella, Queen of England, for the baptismal feast after the birth of
the Lady Eleanora." There are also these entries, showing something of
the fashions of the time:--{192}"_To Vanne Ballard, for pieces of silk
and gold tissue of fustian and of flame-colored silk for the making of
cushions for the charrettes (carriages) of the queen and her ladies_."

"_To Robert le Termor, the bootmaker of Fleet Street, for six pairs of
boots with tassels of silk and drops of silver gilt, price of each pair
five shillings, bought for the king's use_."

When the royal couple kept Twelfth Night their presents were very
generous. To one of their subjects they gave a silver gilt pitcher with
stand and cover; to another, for presenting bunches of new grapes, 10s.;
to another, for bringing a box of rose-colored sugar, £2 10s.; to the
mother of the king's fool, 10s., besides many others. To the Lady
Mary, the king's sister, who was a nun, fifteen pieces of tapestry with
coats-of-arms embroidered thereon, besides £26 on her departure from
court, and to three of his knights for dragging him out of bed on Easter
morning Edward paid £20.

[[A.D. 1317.]] During this fourteenth century there was the most
dreadful famine ever known in England, which lasted nearly three years.
On one occasion, when the king and queen were dining in public in
the great hall of the palace at Westminster, a woman, wearing a mask,
entered on horseback, rode straight up to the royal table, and handed a
letter to the king. Thinking that it probably contained "some
agreeable flattery", he ordered it to be read aloud. But, to his great
mortification, it took him severely to task for his unkingly fancies,
and blamed his bad government for all the calamities that had befallen
the country. The woman was immediately arrested, and confessed that
she had been employed by a certain knight. The person she named boldly
acknowledged that he had written the letter, supposing that it would
be read in private, and that the king would thus be informed of the
complaints of his subjects.

[[A.D. 1321.]] {193}

[Illustration: 8197]

It was about four years after this event that the queen first met Roger
Mortimer, the man who exercised such an influence over her life. By this
time the king had two new favorites named Despencer. They were father
and son, and both were bitter enemies to Roger Mortimer.

The circumstances of Isabella's life so began to shape themselves at
this period that from being a lovely, amiable peace-maker, she became a
bad, cruel, dishonored traitor. {194}In 1321 she set out on a pilgrimage
to the tomb of St Thomas à Becket, proposing to spend the night at Leeds
Castle, which was her own property. Baron Badlesmere had charge, of this
castle, and lived there with his wife, so Isabella sent a marshal in
advance to have everything put in order for her reception, not imagining
for a moment that any objection could possibly be raised to her stopping
there. But the baron was absent from home, and had charged his wife to
protect the castle from any intruders whatsoever. Not knowing what might
be the real object of the queen's visit, Lady Badlesmere did just
the wrong thing when the royal messengers arrived, treated them with
insolence, and said, "that the queen might seek some other lodging,
for she would admit nobody within the castle without an order from her
lord."

The messenger was still arguing the case with the lady when Isabella
arrived at the castle gates with her train. A volley of arrows greeted
the party, and killed six of the royal escort. The queen was obliged
to seek other shelter for the night, but she was excessively angry,
and complained bitterly to the king of the treatment she had received,
begging him to avenge the insolence of Lady Badlesmere for daring to
exclude her from her own castle. Badlesmere himself was foolish enough
to send a most insulting letter to the queen in reply to the complaints
that had been addressed to him concerning his wife's conduct, declaring
that he heartily approved of what she had done. As this baron had held
the high position of steward of the royal household before he was
placed in charge of Leeds Castle, it is probable that the queen had done
something to make him her enemy. Neither her Uncle Lancaster nor any of
his associates seemed inclined to side with Isabella, so she determined
to be revenged on them all, and would not rest until her husband
promised to besiege the castle. {195}A large force was soon gathered
together before the walls, but Lady Badlesmere felt certain that, with
the stock of provisions she had laid in, she could resist any attack,
besides she expected all the barons to side with her. But she soon found
out her mistake, and in a few days the Castle of Leeds was obliged
to surrender, and eleven of its defenders, including Badlesmere, were
hanged just outside the gate. Lady Badlesmere was sent to the Tower of
London as a state prisoner.

[Illustration: 0199]

{196}Isabella now did all in her power to influence the king against
the barons, instead of working to restore peace, as she once did. So he
fought against them in person, and Lancaster was seized in the battle.
He was sentenced by the king with the least possible delay, and beheaded
a few hours later. The queen knew nothing about her uncle's sentence
until too late, otherwise, it is to be hoped, she would have endeavored
to save him. She was living in the Tower at the time, and it was there
that her youngest child, the Lady Joanna, was born.

Roger Mortimer had been captured while fighting against the king, and
imprisoned in the Tower under sentence of death; but he managed in some
unaccountable manner to see Isabella, and get her interested in him. Her
influence was all-powerful at that period, so, to the astonishment
of everybody, she made Edward change Mortimer's sentence of death to
imprisonment for life, though he had really commenced the civil war by
a fierce attack on the lands of the Despencers. These men now hated the
queen more than ever for assisting their enemy.

The following year Mortimer planned his escape from the Tower with the
assistance of the constable and others. The queen herself provided a
drink for the guard that put them into a heavy sleep. Then the prisoner,
who had worked a hole from his dungeon into the kitchen of the royal
apartments, climbed up the chimney and got out on the roof, along
which he stealthily crawled to the Thames side, and descended by a rope
ladder. The constable awaited him in a little boat, and rowed him across
the river, where seven of his friends met him on horseback. With this
guard he went to the coast of Hampshire, and pretended to sail to the
Isle of Wight; but, instead of that, the fugitive got on board a large
ship that had been engaged for him, and was soon landed in Normandy.
Thence he went to Paris. When the king heard of the escape a great hue
and cry was raised for Mortimer, dead or alive, but his whereabouts were
not suspected, and he remained safely hidden in France.

The Despencers now began to influence the king as powerfully as Gaveston
had done, and the queen commenced her plans for their destruction.
She declared that they were the cause of all the recent bloodshed, and
pretended that her Uncle Lancaster was a saint and a martyr, who only
met his death by the advice of these favorites.

They had really committed one fault for which Isabella could not forgive
them; they had caused her allowance to be curtailed, and no one ever
offended her without paying dearly for it.

She had ceased to be lovable to the king, and so had lost her hold on
him; but for this also she blamed the Despencers. Then she was deprived,
by their advice, of her French servants and of all her possessions in
England. She and her husband quarrelled to such an extent that at last
they refused to see each other at all.

But Isabella was not meek enough to stand ill-treatment, so she
complained to her brother, King Charles, who had succeeded to the throne
of France. He wrote a very indignant letter to Edward, declaring his
intention of seizing all the provinces of the French crown held by
England. But Edward was not prepared for war, and neither he nor his
ministers dared to go to France to face the angry brother of Isabella.

[[A.D. 1325.]] In this dilemma the queen volunteered her services as
peace-maker, providing she might be allowed to go to Paris herself.
Edward was only too happy to have the matter so easily settled, and the
Despencers were delighted at the thought of getting rid of her. Isabella
had a little plan of her own which she {198}intended to carry out. The
first step was a treaty of peace, which she arranged on her arrival in
France, between her brother and the King of England. She was not at all
surprised when the Despencers, who feared her influence over the weak
mind of Edward, had dissuaded him from crossing the channel with her,
even after his arrangements had been made. In fact, this was exactly
what she had desired, because it enabled her to propose that her son,
the Prince of Wales, should be invested with certain powers which she
named, and sent in his father's stead. Both the king and the Despencers
fell into the snare, and Isabella got the heir to the throne of England
into her own hands.

As soon as Isabella found herself safe in France with her son, she
laughed in her sleeve at the way she had hoodwinked her husband and
his despised favorites. She was just where she wanted to be, and had no
intention of returning to England until affairs there had changed to her
complete satisfaction. She and her brother, King Charles, had
concocted a treaty, it is true, but it was so written as to be almost
incomprehensible, and to leave much matter for dispute between the two
sovereigns.

Isabella made all sorts of frivolous excuses for prolonging her stay
in Paris, where she was joined by her favorite Mortimer and all the
banished English lords. Although these people were open enemies of her
husband and his government, the wicked queen held councils and
meetings with them, while she refused to have anything to do with the
commissioners Edward had appointed.

The Bishop of Exeter, horrified at her disgraceful behavior, went over
to England to inform the king of it, and to advise him to command her
immediate return with the Prince of Wales.

Edward wrote several letters to his wife on this subject, {199}but she
paid no attention either to his entreaties or his orders. She declared
openly "that it was the intention of the Despencers to cause her to
be put to death if she returned to England." She knew better, but this
statement aided her schemes, and she even succeeded in deceiving her
brother, King Charles of France, who wrote King Edward "that he could
not permit her to return to him unless she were guaranteed from the evil
that was meditated against her by her enemies, the Despencers."

Edward's reply to this letter was manly and dignified. He begged his
brother-in-law not to credit anything so false, but to send back his
wife, of whom he wrote in kind, affectionate terms.

Isabella refused to go, and used her vile influence to encourage her
son's disobedience in this matter also. Edward II. was very much hurt,
and wrote frequently to his wife, reminding her of her duty, and taking
her severely to task for her disloyal conduct.

It seems that during this time Isabella was treacherous enough to write
most friendly letters to Hugh Despencer, even though she had openly
pronounced him her enemy.

What offended King Edward most of all was that his son, whom he
loved dearly, was not only kept away from him, but that he constantly
associated with his mother's friend and adviser, Mortimer, who had
proved himself a shameless, worthless traitor. Besides, Isabella had
contracted a marriage between her son and a daughter of Count Hainault
without the slightest mention of the matter to her husband, and had even
gone so far as to receive the bride's marriage dowry, which was paid in
advance, and used it for her own private expenses.

Edward's touching appeals took effect at last on the heart of King
Charles, who began to treat his sister coolly and to urge her return to
England. But she had gone too {200}far to stop now, and her influence
over her son was so great that she made him believe her life was in
danger both at the hands of his father and the Despencers. The young
man naturally felt that he must stay by his persecuted mother, and, if
necessary, defend her.

Edward then applied to the Pope, who threatened to excommunicate King
Charles if he did not immediately dismiss Isabella and her son from his
dominions. The King of France was much alarmed at this threat, and
did not hesitate to act upon it at once, particularly as he was so
displeased with his sister that he had not spoken to her for a long
time. He swore "that whoever should speak in behalf of his sister, the
Queen of England, should forfeit his lands and be banished the realm."

Isabella had a cousin named Robert d'Artois, who was warmly attached to
her. One night he woke her up to inform her of a conspiracy that he
had just discovered to deliver her, the prince, the Earl of Kent, her
husband's brother, and Mortimer over to King Edward.

The queen was so alarmed that she did not know which way to turn. Robert
advised her to go to Germany, and place herself under the protection of
William, Earl of Hainault, whose wife was her cousin. This plan struck
her favorably, and the next night she left Paris with Mortimer, her son,
and the Earl of Kent who always sided with her against his brother, King
Edward.

After some days they got into the country of Cambray, and lodged at the
house of a poor knight, who received the party with great pleasure, and
entertained them in the best possible manner. The Earl of Hainault was
a good, kind-hearted man, and felt very sorry when he thought of the
queen's being obliged to seek refuge in a foreign country, so he sent
his young brother, Sir John, with a few other gentlemen, to pay his
respects to Isabella and conduct

{201}

[Illustration: 0205]

{203}her to Valenciennes, where he was then living with his family.

Sir John, being filled with the spirit of a true knight-errant, burst
into tears when he heard Isabella's sad complaints from her own lips.
"Lady," he said, "see here your knight who will not fail to die for you,
though every one else should forsake you; therefore I will do everything
in my power to conduct you safely to England with your son, and to
restore you to your rank with the assistance of your friends in those
parts; and I, and all those whom I can influence, will risk our lives on
the adventure for your sake; and we shall have a sufficient armed force,
if it please God, without fearing any danger from the King of France."

The queen would have thrown herself at his feet, but he would not allow
it, and said, as he caught her in his arms:

"God forbid that the Queen of England should do such a thing! Madam, be
of good comfort to yourself and company, for I will keep my promise,
and you shall come to see my brother and the countess, his wife, and all
their fine children, who will be rejoiced to see you, for I have heard
them say so."

The queen answered: "Sir, I find in you more kindness and comfort than
in all the world besides; and I give you five hundred thousand thanks
for all you have promised with so much courtesy. I and my son shall be
forever bound unto you, and we will put the kingdom of England under
your management, as in justice it ought to be."

Then Isabella mounted her horse, and set off with her train to follow
Sir John to Valenciennes. Many of the citizens of that town came
forth to meet her, and she was received very graciously by the Earl of
Hainault and his wife, who gave several feasts in her honor.

Isabella spent a week in this hospitable household, {204}during which
Sir John's sympathies were so aroused in her behalf that he obtained his
brother's permission to accompany her to England. In the meantime he
had written to certain knights in other parts of the country, beseeching
them to arm in the cause of the distressed Queen of England. The
expedition gathered at Dort, where the queen and her suite met them.
Here they all embarked, but the fleet was tossed about by a tempest for
several hours, and some of the ships were knocked to pieces. At last
the queen was brought safely to shore near Harwich, and her knights
and attendants built her a tent of carpets, and kindled a great fire of
pieces of the wrecked vessels. Then all the horses and arms were taken
from the ships which, the wind being favorable by that time, were sent
around to the opposite coast. At daybreak the queen marched with her
army to the next town, where she found the houses well stocked with all
sorts of provisions, though the people had fled in terror, not knowing
what to expect.

The advanced guard, meantime, marched through the country, seizing all
the cattle and food they could get hold of, and spreading misery
in every direction. When Isabella came along the owners complained
bitterly, but she paid them most liberally for all they had lost. The
money thus distributed made the queen popular, and the people were
anxious to supply her with whatever she desired after that.

Although the king had forbidden his subjects to meet Isabella, when she
arrived at Harwich a large number of knights, barons, and bishops were
assembled to welcome her. Her force numbered two thousand seven hundred
and fifty-seven soldiers, commanded by Sir John of Hainault, and Roger
Mortimer commanded the English, who joined them after, they landed.

So many false stories had been circulated by the queen's agents of the
persecutions she had endured from her hus{205}band and his barbarous
ministers, and of the way she had been driven into a foreign land by
plots against her life, that she was considered the most injured of
wives and queens.

[Illustration: 0209]

The common people were blinded by excitement, and flocked to meet her
without stopping to inquire whether her cause were just or not. All the
tales of her guilty conduct that had reached them from time to time
they now believed to have been pure inventions of her enemies, the
Despencers. No voice was raised against her though she came with her
son, the Prince of Wales, attended by an outlawed traitor and a band of
foreigners to raise a revolt against her own husband. It seems strange
that such a wicked woman should have met with such success; but
{206}every Plantagenet in England was on her side, and she had many
French relations there who always had thought her of more importance
than the king.

Instead of taking measures to defend himself, Edward wrote pathetic
letters to the Pope and to the King of France asking for aid, and issued
a proclamation offering £1,000 for the head of the arch traitor, Roger
Mortimer. The queen then offered a reward of double that sum for the
head of the younger Despencer, and declared that her only motive in
coming home was to deliver England from the king's bad advisers.

When Isabella attended church at Oxford in company with her son,
Mortimer, and all her followers, the Bishop of Hereford preached the
sermon and explained the queen's motive for taking up arms, concluding
with this sentence: "When the head of a kingdom becometh sick and
diseased, it must be taken off without useless attempts to administer
any other remedy." It is shocking to think of the wife and son of a man
so devoted to both, as King Edward certainly was, listening to such a
murderous speech without expressing their horror and indignation.
But the only effect of it was to increase the madness of the populace
against the unhappy king, who, attended by the two Despencers and a few
other friends, fled to Bristol, intending to seek refuge in Ireland.

His departure was the signal for a general uprising of the Londoners,
who mobbed the Tower, and set all the prisoners free in the queen's
name. Then Isabella pursued her husband with her army, which had largely
increased, and laid siege to Bristol. The king shut himself up with
the younger Despencer in the castle, much grieved to see how all his
subjects had turned against him. The older Despencer was seized and
brought before Isabella, who declared "that she should see that law and
justice were {207}executed on him according to his deeds."

"Ah, madam," he replied; "God grant me an upright judge and a just
sentence! and that if I cannot find it in this world, I may find it in
another."

The knight was ninety years of age when he made this reply, but that was
of no consequence to Isabella; she had him in her power at last, and was
determined to punish him. He was sentenced, and his execution took place
within sight of his son and the king, who were still shut up in the
castle. So alarmed were they at the old man's tragic fate that they
endeavored to escape to Wales in a little boat. After tossing about for
some days they were driven back by contrary winds to within a mile of
the castle they had fled from. A knight, observing the efforts of the
boatmen, rowed out in his own barge with a strong force to see what was
the matter, and soon succeeded in capturing the king and his favorite,
both of whom were delivered over to the queen as her prisoners.

Now Isabella's evil nature blazed out and showed her real character. She
started with all her army for London, having caused Sir Hugh Despencer
to be bound to the smallest and meanest horse that could be found,
and dressed in his mantle of state, on which was embroidered his
coat-of-arms. Thus was he led in mockery through all the towns they
passed, his approach being announced by trumpets and cymbals. When they
reached Hereford the royal party were received with great rejoicing, and
stopped there to celebrate the feast of All Saints.

The unfortunate Hugh Despencer, who had eaten not a mouthful since the
moment of his arrest, now became faint, and Isabella feared that he
might succumb before reaching London. He was, therefore, brought to
trial without further delay, and most cruelly put to death.

Several other gentlemen who had in one way or another {208}offended
either the queen or her friend, Mortimer, were executed in the same
place.

When the army, which had been increased to an enormous size by
volunteers by the way, arrived in London, great crowds flocked to
welcome them, presenting costly gifts to Isabella and some of her
followers.

On the 7th of January parliament met and decided to remove their absent
sovereign, proclaiming the Prince of Wales King of England by the title
of Edward III. When this was made known to the queen she pretended to be
very much distressed, and actually forced herself to shed tears, though
it was precisely what she had worked for. But she overacted her part,
and her counterfeit tears so deceived her son that he made a solemn vow
not to accept the crown unless his royal father should willingly resign
it to him.

This was awkward; for how could a committee wait upon the king to ask
him to abdicate? But young Edward adhered to his resolution, and a dozen
commissioners were appointed by Isabella to demand of the fallen monarch
his crown, sceptre, and the rest of the regalia.

They proceeded to Kenilworth Castle, where Edward was kept as a state
prisoner, and in a cruel, heartless manner pointed out to him the errors
he had committed as their reason for desiring him to resign his crown.
Edward listened to the mortifying recital and wept bitterly. At length
he replied, "that he knew he was punished for his many sins, and was
grieved for having incurred the hatred of his people. He was glad his
eldest son was so gracious in their sight, and gave them thanks for
choosing him to be their king." Although the poor monarch had fainted
during this interview, he failed to arouse the sympathy of the
commissioners.

Edward II. was by no means a bad man, for his chief {209}faults were
those of judgment, and at times want of dignity, which led him to engage
in boyish frolics, and occasionally to drink to excess.

[[A.D. 1326.]] On the following Christmas day, 1326, young King Edward,
who was just fifteen years of age, was crowned in Westminster Abbey.
Then twelve bishops and nobles were appointed to advise and assist the
youthful sovereign in affairs of state. The queen offered no objection,
but as she had the military power in her own hands she made Roger
Mortimer her prime minister, and demanded an enormous sum of money for
her own use. She sent presents and deceitful messages full of affection
to her husband, who in return wrote to request the favor of being once
more permitted to see her and his son. But Isabella was never softened
towards him, though she was, to a great extent, the cause of his
unfortunate situation. She was so thoroughly hard-hearted that, when she
heard he was kindly treated at Kenilworth, she had him removed from one
place to another under the care of two brutal fellows whose cruelties
were too horrible to mention. One night, just a year after the queen's
return, Edward II. was put to death by her order in Berkeley Castle, and
buried privately. Then the nation became indignant; many of Isabella's
friends deserted her when they found that they had been the tools of an
artful, ambitious, depraved woman, and a strong party was organized to
get rid of her. She had committed more crimes in one year than the late
king and his ministers had done in twenty, though she pretended to be a
reformer.

She was a cruel hypocrite, planning, with the slyness of a cat, the
destruction of each member of the royal family. Knowing that the Earl
of Kent was most miserable on account of the part he had taken in her
proceedings, she caused somebody to tell him that his brother was not
dead, {210}but a prisoner at Corfe Castle. The earl employed a friar to
inquire whether this was true.

[Illustration: 0214]

He was assured that it was, and had shown to him at a distance a person
seated at a table so disguised as to resemble the dead king. The earl
then went to the castle and requested the governor to conduct him to his
brother's apartment. The governor did {211}

[Illustration: 0215] {213}not deny that Edward was in the castle, but
said that he was not permitted to let any one see him, upon which the
earl wrote a letter to be conveyed to the supposed prisoner. This letter
was immediately carried to the queen, who used it as a pretence for the
earl's arrest, and after an absurd trial he was unjustly condemned to
die. His estates passed into the hands of Mortimer's son.

By this time Roger Mortimer had made himself so offensive with his
haughty display and his cruelty that the king had him arrested and
locked up in the Tower. A few days later he was executed with several of
his friends, and his body hung on the gallows at Tyburn for two days.

Having thus rid himself of his worst enemy, Edward III. ordered his
mother to live at Castle Rising, where, with plenty of people to wait
on her, and everything to make her comfortable, she passed her time
quietly, having no chance to scheme or plot against the government.

There she remained for about twenty-seven years, receiving occasional
visits from her son, who never permitted her name to be mentioned in his
presence, excepting with great respect.

[[A.D. 1358.]] She died in 1358, and was buried by Edward III. with much
ceremony at Grey Friars' Church, her body being attired in the uniform
of that order of nuns.

A fine alabaster tomb was erected to her memory, the only inscription
thereon being:

"ISABELLA REGINA."

{214}



CHAPTER XIII. PHILIPPA OF HAINAULT, QUEEN OF EDWARD III.

(A.D. 1311-1369).

|When Edward, Prince of Wales, was, with his mother, compelled to seek
refuge at the house of the Count of Hainault (of which we have given an
account in the story of Isabella of France), he fell violently in
love with the count's second daughter, Philippa, and she returned his
affection. She was only fifteen years of age, and he a few months
older, but they formed an attachment that lasted throughout their lives.
Philippa was a brilliant Flemish beauty, whose excellent heart and
lovable disposition endeared her to all who knew her. Later, as Queen
of England, she proved a blessing to that country by the wisdom and good
judgment she displayed in encouraging manufactures and trade. But before
she assumed that position she was doomed to many months of anxiety and
uncertainty; for her young lover, after only a fortnight's enjoyment
of her society, departed on the dangerous expedition of invading his
father's kingdom. There was considerable doubt as to whether he would
ever return, because not only were the affairs of his country in such a
condition that he could not foretell what turn they might take, but the
relatives of both the lovers might interpose many objections to their
union.

It was not the custom in those days for the heir of England to
acknowledge that he had made his choice of a wife without first
consulting his parliament and councillors,

{215}

[Illustration: 0219]

{217}but young Edward imparted his secret to his mother, and, as she had
taken a great fancy to pretty Philippa, she promised to aid him as best
she could. Therefore as soon as possible after her return home she led
the public authorities to decide that one of the four daughters of the
Count of Hainault would be the most desirable alliance for her son, but
without naming which one. However, we may be very sure that the young
man gave his own private instructions to his messengers, for they made
no mistake in their choice, nor is it likely that he would risk trusting
entirely to their discretion as to which of the young Hainault ladies
would prove most worthy to become Queen of England.

The messengers applied first to Sir John, Philippa's uncle, who had
been in England fighting the cause of the new king, and requested his
assistance in the selection of a wife for their young sovereign. Sir
John received them with all the honors he could lavish, and gave them
the most sumptuous feasts and splendid entertainments of all sorts.
After several days spent in this manner, he conducted them to
Valenciennes, where they were equally well received at his brother's
house. A special dispensation was required from the Pope, because the
two mothers of the lovers were cousins; so messengers were sent to
obtain it, which they did without much difficulty.

[[A.D. 1327.]] As soon as Edward heard that all necessary arrangements
had been completed, he ordered the marriage ceremony to be performed at
Valenciennes, though as he was engaged in a war on the Scottish border
with the renowned Robert Bruce, he could not be present. In the absence
of the bridegroom, the wedding must have been rather a tame affair,
but there was no help for it, and preparations were made for a grand
display. The costume and equipage of the bride were unusually costly and
elegant, {218}no expense or pains being spared to render the festival
worthy of the wealthy country in which it was given.

Afterwards Philippa, accompanied by her Uncle John and a large retinue,
proceeded to Dover, and then to London, where a solemn procession of the
clergy introduced her into the city, and she was presented by the lord
mayor with a service of silver worth three hundred pounds as a marriage
gift. The city was illuminated, and there were great rejoicings, feasts
and public entertainments of all sorts, that were kept up for three
weeks after the bride's arrival.

She did not stay long in London, however, but hurried on to York to meet
her husband, being received with honors at every town through which she
passed. All the parliament and royal council assembled at the union
of the young king and his bride, as well as a hundred of the principal
nobility of Scotland, who came to conclude a final peace with England.

Nothing is said about the bride's marriage dowry, because the
queen-mother had already got possession of it and spent it. She had
besides so managed to get hold of the public funds that the young
sovereign of England was nearly penniless. The following summer was
passed by the new couple at Woodstock, the beautiful country residence
which was the favorite home of Philippa so long as Isabella, the
queen-mother, and Mortimer ruled the kingdom.

Sir John of Hainault returned to his native land laden with jewels and
rich presents, almost all of his countrymen accompanying him. Among the
few who remained behind was a youth named Sir Walter Mauny, whose office
was to carve for Philippa. He became one of the first Knights of the
Garter, an order established by Edward III., of which we shall hear
later.

[[A.D. 1330.]] The coronation of the young queen did {219}not take place
for nearly two years after her marriage. All the customary duties were
performed on that occasion, but the ceremony was remarkable for the
absence of display on account of the emptiness of the treasury.

[Illustration: 0223]

The queen-mother, with her favorite, Mortimer, had used up all the
public funds for their own support, but young Edward was not going to
stand such a state of affairs much longer, and before the close of
the year he had liberated himself from his wicked mother's control and
executed her favorite.

With the reins of government in his own hands, the young king, aided
by his good and sensible wife, set to work to reform the abuses of his
mother's reign and to establish most excellent and satisfactory laws.

Edward had a very violent temper, which would have led him to commit
many an act of cruelty and injustice had it not been for the influence
of his kind-hearted, virtuous wife.

[[A.D. 1330.]] {220}Her eldest son, Edward, surnamed the Black Prince on
account of the color of the armor he wore in battle, was born while
she was living at Woodstock, and in celebration of that event a grand
tournament was arranged to take place in London. Philippa, with all the
noble ladies, was invited to attend. The preparations were on a much
grander scale than usual, thirteen knights being engaged on either
side. The arena was covered with sand to prevent the horses' feet from
slipping; flags and banners were ingeniously arranged as decorations,
and a temporary platform was erected and ornamented for the
accommodation of the queen and her ladies. No sooner were they all
seated than the scaffolding gave way, and they tumbled pell-mell to the
ground. Fortunately the platform was not high, and nobody was hurt,
but the ladies were terribly frightened, and, for a few moments, the
confusion and excitement were very great.

The king flew into a perfect fury and vowed that the careless carpenters
should instantly be put to death. This was rather a severe sentence,
particularly as the damage was slight, and so Philippa considered it,
for scarcely had she recovered from her fright than she threw herself on
her knees before her angry husband, and pleaded with angelic sweetness
for the pardon of the poor men. Edward soon became calm under the
influence of her gentle voice and words, and forgave the offenders.

Up to this time all the wool grown in England had been sent to the
Netherlands to be manufactured into cloth, and Philippa remembered what
a source of profit and occupation it had been for her own country. She
therefore set to work to establish a manufacturing colony at Norwich,
and a letter was sent to John Kemp of Flanders, cloth-weaver, in which
he is informed, "that if he will come to England with the servants and
apprentices of his mystery, and with {221}his goods and chattels, and
with any dyers who maybe willing to accompany him beyond the seas, and
exercise their mysteries in the kingdom of England, they shall have
letters of protection and assistance in their settlement."

[[A.D. 1335.]] He came, and was the patriarch of the Norwich woollen
manufactories. Philippa often visited the colony, which soon brought
considerable wealth into the country, encouraging the work by her
patronage, and, like a beneficent queen of the hive cherishing and
protecting the working bees, she made a law that no woollen clothes
should be worn except those made in England. Besides the occupation
which she thus provided for hundreds of her subjects, this young queen
displayed unusual foresight for a woman of her age in the tournament
exhibitions she held at Norwich, by which she gave the citizens
assurance of gallant protection on the part of the nobility in case of
need. These festivities brought together the workers and the defenders
of the nation, and Queen Philippa set them the example of mutual
respect. Edward III. did not often accompany his wife on her visits to
Norwich, but usually passed the time of her absence with his unhappy
mother at Castle Rising.

In 1333 Edward again commenced a furious war on Scotland. His faithful
Philippa went with him as far as she could, and while he laid siege to
Berwick took up her residence at Bamborough Castle. It was during this
siege that the king committed a deed so atrocious that it must forever
be a dark stain upon his character. Douglas, the defender of Scotland,
left King Edward before Berwick and made a forced march to the castle
that contained Queen Philippa, hoping to frighten the king and to force
him to fly to her assistance. But he was mistaken, for Edward had too
much confidence in the strength of the castle and the firmness of his
wife to budge. It is probable though {222}that this attempt to capture
Philippa aggravated his ferocious temper and prompted him to the cruel
deed to which we have referred. The two young Seatons, sons of the
Governor of Berwick, had been taken as prisoners, and the king had
them put to death because the father refused to surrender the town. His
object was to take Berwick by a desperate blow and fly to the relief of
his queen, and he succeeded, for the poor grief-stricken father of the
Seatons was so perfectly stunned by the infamous murder of his boys,
that he could offer no further resistance. Douglas and Edward fought not
far from Benwick, where the former was killed and the king entered the
town in triumph with Philippa at his side.

During the queen's residence in the north of England quite an amusing
circumstance occurred. King Edward had returned from Scotland, and his
wife, who had been separated from him for a long time, went as far as
Durham to welcome him back. He lodged at St. Cuthbert's Priory near the
castle. After supper the queen entered her husband's apartments, where,
feeling fatigued from her journey, she hoped to have a good night's
rest. Scarcely had she undressed than there came a loud knocking at her
door. Upon opening it several monks presented themselves with a pathetic
appeal to her not to offend their holy patron St. Cuthbert, who during
his life avoided the fair sex and would be dreadfully angry if one of
them, no matter how high her rank, should sleep beneath the roof of
his convent. The pious Philippa was distressed at the idea of having
unintentionally displeased the saint, and fled in her night-clothes to
the castle, which was fortunately not far away.

[[A.D. 1336.]] About this time Count William of Hainault died of gout,
and Edward thus lost the liberal supplies that he had always counted on
from that source. The English {223}people of that period chose always
to be at war; but expected their monarchs to pay the costs. Edward was
reduced to such extreme poverty that he was forced to pledge his wife's
crown for twenty-five hundred pounds, at the beginning of his long war,
and during his whole reign the crown jewels were seldom out of pawn. He
had been engaged in a naval battle with France since his victories in
Scotland, and in 1340 found himself bankrupt. By that time Philippa
had several children, and was residing in the Tower, where she devoted
herself to their education with her usual good sense.

Now we must see how Edward was led to establish the Order of the Garter.
Wark Castle was under the guardianship of the Earl of Salisbury, who,
while King Edward was encamped near Berwick, was taken prisoner. The
Countess of Salisbury was then left alone at the castle with her young
nephew, and it was besieged by the King of Scotland. Becoming alarmed at
the approach of danger she sent the youth to seek assistance of Edward
who immediately replied in person. At his appearance the siege was
raised, and the countess, to prove her gratitude, ordered the gates to
be thrown open, and received the king with great honors. She courtesied
low, thanked her preserver warmly for his prompt aid, and conducted
him into the castle, where he and all his knights and attendants were
entertained sumptuously. Everybody was struck with the countess' noble
deportment and affable behavior, and the king was charmed with her grace
and beauty.

While he was dancing with her after the banquet she gave in his honor
she unfortunately dropped her garter, and was overcome with confusion,
but Edward with his usual gallantry picked it up and, holding it aloft,
said: "_Honi soit qui mal y pense_,"

"evil to him who evil thinks." In commemoration of this event, and out
of compliment to the {224}countess, he established an order called the
Knights of the Garter. The queen attended the first meeting of this
order at Windsor, on which occasion all the knights were accompanied by
their ladies, who wore the badge with the motto the king had proposed as
a bracelet on their left arm. The object of this order of knighthood was
to assist distressed ladies, and after it was well established the king
announced his intention of going to the aid of the Countess de Montfort,
who was trying to uphold the cause of her infant son against the whole
power of France, while her husband was a prisoner in the tower of the
Louvre. He appointed Philippa regent, with the Earl of Kent as her
assistant, and departed for France with his son Edward, then only
sixteen years of age. At the battle of Cressy, which had occurred during
the siege of Calais, this boy proved himself a true hero.

During the king's absence, David of Scotland advanced into England and
set fire to the suburbs of York. Philippa hastened in person to the
relief of her northern subjects, and took up her residence at Newcastle.
On the following day the King of Scots, with forty thousand men, halted
within three miles of the town, and sent word to the queen that if her
men were willing he would wait and give them battle. She replied: "that
her barons would risk their lives for the realm of their lord, the
king."

When her army drew up in order of battle she rode among them mounted on
her white charger, entreating the men "to fight manfully for the love
of God." They promised to do the utmost in their power, and the queen
withdrew after commending them "to the protection of God and St.
George."

Philippa had the moral courage becoming in a woman, and as soon as she
had done all that a great queen could do for the encouragement of her
army, she left the battlefield, {225}which was no place for her, and
retired to pray for her invaded kingdom.

Her army gained the victory, and King David was taken prisoner by a
squire named John Copeland, who rode off with him and refused to give
him up. This displeased Philippa, who the next day wrote to the squire
commanding him to surrender the King of Scots to her forthwith. He
replied, "that he would not give up his royal prisoner to a woman but
only to his own lord, King Edward, for to him he had sworn allegiance
and not to any woman."

The queen was troubled at this obstinacy, and wrote all about it to the
king, who ordered John Copeland to come to him at Calais immediately.
When Edward saw the squire he took him by the hand, saying: "Ha! welcome
my squire, who by thy valor hast captured mine adversary, the King of
Scots."

John Copeland fell on one knee and replied: "If God out of his great
goodness has given me the King of Scotland, and permitted me to conquer
him in arms, no one ought to be jealous of it, for God can, if He
please, send His grace to a poor squire as well as to a great lord.
Sire, do not take it amiss if I did not surrender King David to the
orders of my lady queen, for I hold my lands of _you_ and not of _her_,
and my oath is to you and not her, unless indeed through choice."

The king thanked him warmly for his valor, and ordered him to go home
and hand his prisoner, the King of Scotland, over to Philippa, adding,
"and I assign lands as near your house as you can choose them to the
amount of five hundred pounds a year for you and your heirs." The squire
obeyed, and the excuses he made were so acceptable to the queen that she
bore him no ill-will. She ordered King David to be conducted in grand
procession through the streets mounted on a tall black war-horse,
so that every one {226}might know him and recognize him in case he
attempted to escape, and then to be locked up in the Tower of London.
Next day, accompanied by a large number of her ladies, she sailed for
Calais, where Edward gave a magnificent _fête_ to welcome his victorious
queen.

Meantime the defenders of Calais were so much reduced by famine that
they offered to surrender. At first Edward resolved to kill them every
one, but in compliance with the request of Sir Walter Mauny, one of
the Knights of the Garter, who begged him to be merciful, he softened
somewhat, and sent this message: "Tell the Governor of Calais that
the garrison and inhabitants shall be pardoned excepting six of the
principal citizens, who must surrender themselves to death with ropes
round their necks, bareheaded and barefooted, bringing the keys of the
town and castle in their hands."

Sir Walter carried the cruel verdict to the governor. He wept
bitterly; he was compelled, however, to break the dreadful news to the
inhabitants, who at the loud peals of the alarm-bell assembled in the
town-hall. When they heard the king's message, they broke into loud
lamentations of grief and despair. The hardest heart could not have
failed to be touched by such a scene. Men stared at each other, scarcely
knowing what to say or do. After a pause, Eustace St. Pierre, the most
wealthy citizen of Calais, arose and offered himself as one of the six
to make the horrible sacrifice for his fellow-townsmen. Five others
followed this noble example amid the blessings and thanks of the
assembly, and the number was completed. Mounted on a horse, the governor
slowly and solemnly conducted them to the barriers, where Sir Walter
Mauny awaited them, and said: "I deliver up to you, as Governor of
Calais, these six citizens, and swear to you they are the most wealthy
and respectable men of the town. I beg of you, gentle sir, that

{227}

[Illustration: 0231]

{229}you would beseech the king that they may not be put to death."

"I cannot answer what the king will do with them," replied Sir Walter;
"but you may depend upon this, that I will do all I can to save them."

All the English nobles wept at the sight of these six gentlemen as they
knelt before the king and begged for compassion, but Edward eyed them
angrily and ordered their heads to be struck off forthwith. Some of the
knights entreated the king to be more merciful, but he would not listen
to them, and sternly repeated his order.

At that moment Philippa appeared. Falling on her knees at her husband's
feet, she looked up into his face with tears in her eyes, and said: "Ah,
gentle sir, since I crossed the sea with great peril to see you I have
never asked you one favor; now I most humbly ask as a gift, for the sake
of the son of the blessed Mary, and as a proof of your love to me, the
lives of these six men."

King Edward looked at her for some time in silence, then replied: "Ah,
lady, I wish you had been anywhere else than here; you have entreated in
such a manner I cannot refuse you. I therefore give them to you--do as
you please with them."

Philippa then conducted the poor men to her own apartments, where their
halters were removed from their necks and they were served with an
excellent dinner. Afterwards she saw that they were conducted out of
the camp in safety. The king entered Calais and took possession of the
castle, where proper lodgings had been prepared for himself and his
queen.

[[A.D. 1348.]] After their return to England, in 1348, an awful
epidemic, called the "black death," visited the kingdom and carried off
the king and queen's second daughter, Johanna, a princess only fifteen
years old, but blessed with {230}so many charms that a number of
minstrels had chosen her for the subject of their verses. What made the
event more than ordinarily sad was, that she was engaged to be married,
and her funeral procession occurred at the very time that had been fixed
for the wedding ceremony. This was a great sorrow to the royal couple.
So dreadful was the pestilence that every household in London was
afflicted by it, and in some families all the members died..

Before this horrible visitation Philippa had turned her attention to the
working of the coal mines in England, which, like the cloth manufacture,
proved an industry of immense profit to the nation, besides enriching
many private individuals. Wherever this great queen turned her
patronage, prosperity was sure to follow, and her subjects loved and
trusted her.

[[A.D. 1357.]] In 1357 the English gained a grand victory at Poictiers,
and the Black Prince returned with many prisoners. Among them was one
Bertrand Du Guesclin. One day when Queen Philippa was entertaining at
her court a number of the noble French prisoners, the Prince of Wales
proposed that Du Guesclin should name his own ransom, adding that
whatever sum he mentioned should set him free. The warrior named a
hundred thousand crowns. The Prince of Wales was astonished at such
a sum, and asked how he could raise it. "I know a hundred knights,"
replied Du Guesclin, "in my native Bretagne, who would mortgage their
last acre rather than have me languish in captivity or be rated below
my value. Yea, and there is not a woman in France now toiling with her
distaff who would not devote a year's earnings to liberate me, for well
have I deserved of their sex. And if all the fair spinners of France
employ their hands to redeem me, think you, prince, that I shall abide
much longer with you?"

Queen Philippa, who had listened to this conversation

{231}

[Illustration: 0235]

{233}with great attention, now spoke: "I name," she said, "fifty
thousand crowns, my son, as my contribution towards your gallant
prisoner's ransom; for though an enemy to my husband, a knight who is
famed for the courteous protection he has afforded to my sex deserves
the assistance of every woman." Du Guesclin threw himself at the feet
of the generous queen, saying: "Ah, lady, being the ugliest knight in
France, I never reckoned on any goodness from your sex excepting those
whom I protected with my sword, but your bounty will make me think less
despicably of myself." Philippa, like all great women, honored those men
who paid most reverence to her own sex.

After a lingering illness, she sent for the king one day when she knew
that death was approaching. Taking his hand in her own, she asked him to
grant her three requests. He promised in advance with tears rolling
down his cheeks. "My lord," she said, "I beg you will fulfil whatever
engagements I have made with the merchants for their wares, as well on
this as on the other side of the sea; I beseech you to fulfil whatever
gifts or legacies I have made or left to churches and to all my
servants, whether male or female; and when it shall please God to call
upon you hence, you will choose no other sepulchre than mine, and that
you will lie by my side in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey." The king
replied: "Lady, all this shall be done."

[[A.D. 1369.]] Shortly after she died, and with her life departed the
happiness, good fortune and even respectability of Edward III. and his
family. Where Philippa had once promoted virtue, justice and wisdom,
scenes of folly, strife and sorrow now followed at court. One of the
chroniclers of the time says: "I firmly believe that her spirit was
caught by holy angels and carried to the glory of Heaven, for she had
never done anything by thought or deed to endanger her soul."

{234}



CHAPTER XIV. ANNE OF BOHEMIA, SURNAMED THE GOOD, FIRST QUEEN OF RICHARD
II.

(A.D. 1367-1394.)

|The marriage of King Richard II. with Anne of Bohemia gave general
satisfaction in England, and proved a happy one in every respect. At the
coronation, which followed a few days after, the young bride received
the title of "the good Queen Anne." It pained her to see the distress of
the unhappy peasantry caused by the bloodshed and barbarous executions
that had been the result of Wat Tyler's insurrection. She compared their
miserable lot with her own bright and joyous one, and was thus prompted
to ask a great favor of the king. Having first convinced herself
that she would not be refused, she demanded a general pardon for all
malefactors. Her mediation came in time to save the life of many an
unfortunate creature, and sent a thrill of happiness through scores of
afflicted households. No wonder then that she was called "good Queen
Anne," but what was better still, she never forfeited the title.

Queen Anne was not a beauty, but at the age of sixteen, when she became
King Richard's wife, she was a blooming, healthy girl, with a clear,
fresh complexion and bright eyes. She had a high, narrow forehead,
long upper lip and fat cheeks, but the remarkable head-dress she wore
neutralized these defects somewhat. It was a cap two feet high and
equally wide, scooped out at the top so as to leave two high points
resembling horns. This structure was made of wire and pasteboard,
covered with a silky gauze. Though

{235}

[Illustration: 0239]

{237}hideously ugly and excessively uncomfortable, it was universally
adopted by the English ladies in compliment to the queen, whose taste
must have been somewhat defective if she was responsible for the device
or crest she used, and required all her knights to wear at tournaments.
It consisted of an ostrich, that most ungraceful of birds, with a bit of
iron in his mouth. But Queen Anne introduced two articles into England
that were no doubt gratefully received; one was the ordinary pin
which we of the present day consider indispensable; the other was the
side-saddle, not such as we are accustomed to, but a bench with a step
suspended on which the rider's two feet were placed. This mode of
riding may have been comfortable, but the horse had to be led by a groom
because it was impossible for a lady to handle the reins herself.

[[A.D. 1384.]] At a festival of the Order of the Garter, in 1384, Queen
Anne wore a robe of violet cloth lined with fur, with a hood of the
same material faced with red. All her ladies were similarly attired. The
king, who was quite a dandy, wore on that occasion, a coat embroidered
in precious stones that cost thirty thousand marks. In this reign the
shoes had long-pointed toes of an absurd length fastened to the knees
with gold or silver chains, that must have been quite an annoyance to
the wearer. But Richard II. was very luxurious in his tastes and so fond
of spending money, that extravagant costumes were invented to please
him, regardless of taste or convenience.

Anne of Bohemia did not spend all her time in frivolous amusements, for
she read the Scriptures in her native tongue, and may be considered one
of the mothers of the Reformation. It is possible that she may have been
influenced by her mother-in-law, Joanna, the Princess of Wales, whom
she loved very much, but certain it is that when John Wickliffe was in
danger of his life, at the council of {238}Lambeth, in 1382, both these
royal ladies implored King Richard to aid in saving that reformer's
life.

A war in Scotland called the king from home when he had been married
a little over a year, and while he was away, his half-brother, John
Holland, murdered Lord Stafford. The cause of this dreadful crime was
jealousy. Stafford was a soldier of such high and noble character that
he was a great favorite with the whole English army, and so chivalrous
that the queen called him "her knight." It was when on his way with
messages from the king to Anne that the encounter, which resulted in the
death of the honored earl, took place. John Holland had noticed him, for
many months, with increasing envy, which led him, at last, to slay one
who had not given the slightest provocation for a quarrel. The father of
Stafford was so distressed at the atrocious murder of his dearly-beloved
son, that King Richard, prompted by the old man's demand for justice,
vowed his brother's life should pay the forfeit of his deed. Meanwhile
Holland had fled to the shrine of St. John of Beverly, and kept out of
the way until the king returned from Scotland. Then Joanna, Princess
of Wales, mother of Richard and John Holland, pleaded, with tears and
lamentations, to one son for the life of another. Before it was granted,
she died, and the king, unable to refuse her last request, pardoned the
criminal, who started, at once, on an atoning pilgrimage to Syria.

The queen was called upon to act as mediator again in 1387, after the
defeat of the royal troops by the Duke of Gloucester and young Henry of
Bolingbroke. The Archbishop of Canterbury was then sent to the king to
propose a treaty of peace, but was absolutely refused admittance to his
majesty's presence until the queen persuaded her husband to yield. After
the interview the royal household removed from Bristol, where it had
been established for several months, to London.

and actually went on her knees to plead for the life of John Calverly,
one of her esquires, but to no avail. That parliament was called "the
merciless," and merited the title.

[Illustration: 0243]

The succeeding two years were passed by the royal couple at Shene,
a favorite summer residence because of the beauty of the surrounding
landscape.

[[A.D. 1389.]] At the meeting of parliament in 1389 {239}the Duke of
Gloucester, with his adherents, established a reign of terror that made
fidelity to the king and queen an offence. Several members of Queen
Anne's household were selected as victims, principally because they
favored the cause of the Reformation and read the works of Wickliffe and
Lollard. The queen spared no pains in trying to save her friends, ard
{240}asked them, "how old he was."

"Twenty-two," was the reply, whereupon he declared that his ancestors
had been considered of age much earlier, and it was therefore his
intention to submit to control no longer. A sort of recoronation then
took place at St. Stephen's Chapel, when the nobility renewed their
oaths to the young sovereign, who thenceforth governed the kingdom
himself.

A splendid tournament was held in honor of this event, over which Queen
Anne presided. Sixty of her ladies, mounted on fine horses, each led by
a knight, rode, to the sound of the trumpets, and attended by a train
of minstrels, through the streets of London. When they arrived at the
tilting-grounds at Smithfield, they passed before the queen, who was
already seated on a richly decorated stand, then placed themselves on
either side of her. The prizes consisted of a richly jewelled clasp
and a gold crown, which the queen presented to the victors with her own
hands. At the close of the match, a fine banquet was served, succeeded
by dancing, which was kept up until a late hour in the night.

[[A.D. 1392.]] In 1392 King Richard applied to the citizens of London
for a loan of a thousand pounds. It was refused, but a wealthy Italian
came forward and offered the whole of the sum, whereupon a mob set upon
the unfortunate money-lender and tore him to pieces. Such a formidable
riot was the result of this outrage that Richard took away the city
charter and removed the law courts to York. This was a dilemma that had
not been counted on, and occasioned so much distress and disturbance
that Queen Anne was again called upon to act as mediator. This time she
merely persuaded her husband to make a public

passage through London with her, trusting to the citizens to do their
part, which she would follow up with her request at the proper moment.
{241}The king, with his escort, appeared first in the procession, then
followed the queen and her ladies. She wore her crown, a robe of
rich velvet, and a large collar of precious stones that blazed in the
sunlight as she moved along. The procession halted at Southwark bridge,
where it was welcomed by the lord-mayor and other authorities, followed
by representatives of every branch of trade carrying various devices.
There the king was presented with a pair of snow-white horses, covered
with trappings of gold cloth to which silver bells were attached. The
queen received a beautiful white palfrey, and after listening to a
long speech by the lord mayor, the procession moved on. All the streets
through which they passed were hung with flags, banners and rich
tapestry, the public fountains flowed with wine. At different points
bands of music and singers were stationed, the latter strewing the
path with fresh flowers as the royal couple approached. Some rare and
valuable gifts were presented, among which was a tablet set in jewels
with the crucifixion engraved thereon. The king took it in his hand and
said: "Peace be to this city!" Another was handed to the queen bearing a
request that she would not fail to plead for the king's pardon. She cast
her eyes over it and said, with a confident air, "leave all to me."

On arriving at Westminster Palace, the king entered first, and
proceeding to the great hall, mounted the throne, sceptre in hand, and
awaited the arrival of the queen and the rest of the procession. After
all had assembled, her majesty knelt at the feet of her royal spouse
and in a firm, clear voice made an humble and loving appeal that the
charters and liberties of his penitent subjects might be restored.

"Be satisfied, dearest wife," answered Richard, taking her hand and
raising her from her lowly position, "loth should we be to deny thee
any reasonable request. Meantime ascend, and sit beside me on my throne,
while I speak a few words to my people." {242}His majesty then addressed
the lord-mayor, thanked him for the exhibition of loyalty that had been
made that day, as well as for the costly presents made to himself and
his wife, bade him keep the peace of the city, and handed him back the
key and sword of his office. This reconciliation cost the city ten
times as much as the loan their sovereign had required. King Richard was
preparing for a campaign in Ireland in the June of 1394 when his beloved
wife was taken from him. She died at Shene, and in the bitterness of his
grief, unable to bear the sight of the palace in which he had spent so
many happy hours with his late companion, Richard had it destroyed.

The body of Anne of Bohemia was carried in grand procession to London
and buried at Westminster.

King Richard went to Ireland shortly after, and frequently in the
council-chamber of Dublin when anything recalled his "good Queen Anne"
to his thoughts he suddenly would burst into tears and leave the room.

[Illustration: 0246]

{243}



CHAPTER XV. ISABELLA OF VALOIS, SURNAMED THE LITTLE QUEEN, SECOND WIFE
OF RICHARD II.

(A. D. 1387-1410.)

|It seems strange that when Richard II. reached the age of thirty he
should have had a fancy to share his throne with a child of nine, yet
that was the age of Isabella of Valois, when he married her.

She was the eldest daughter of Charles VI. of France and the wicked
Isabeau of Bavaria; but fortunately she inherited nothing from her
mother but her beautiful dark eyes and clear olive complexion; her
goodness and lovely character she got from her father.

When Richard was told that Isabella was too young for him, he replied:
"that every day would remedy the deficiency of age, and her youth was
one of his reasons for preferring her, because he should educate her to
his own mind, to the manners and customs of the English; and that, as
for himself, he was young enough to wait for her."

[[A.D. 1396.]] When the English ambassadors waited on Isabella to
solicit her hand for Richard, one of them dropped upon his knees and
said: "Madam, if it please God, you shall be our lady and queen."
Without any prompting, the little maid replied; "Sir, if it please God
and my lord and father that I be Queen of England, I shall be pleased
thereat, for I have been told I shall then be a great lady."

Her appearance and manners were very pleasing, and {244}from the
time when it was proposed that she should marry Richard, she began to
practise how to behave as queen, though she could not prepare herself
for the sad experience that awaited her in that exalted position.

King Richard went to Paris, attended by a retinue of the first noblemen
of his realm, to claim his little wife. At a magnificent dinner given by
the King of France, the last of a series of entertainments that had been
held in honor of his royal guest, Isabella was presented to her future
lord. Then, attended by her parents and the whole court, she was
conveyed in a rich litter to Calais, where the marriage ceremony was
performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. "The little queen," as
Isabella was called from that time, made a public entry into London a
few days later, when many rich and beautiful gifts were presented to
her.

The bride's marriage portion consisted of 800,000 francs in gold. Her
trousseau was magnificent; among the garments was a robe and mantle such
as had never been seen in England for costliness. It was composed of
crimson velvet, embossed with solid gold birds, perched on branches of
real pearls and emeralds. Down each side was a border of miniver, there
was a cape and hood of the same fur, and the mantle was lined throughout
with ermine. Another robe was light blue velvet, embroidered with pearl
roses; the little lady had besides coronets, rings, necklaces, and
buckles worth a large sum of money and beautiful enough to delight the
heart of any girl. Her bedroom curtains were of red and white satin with
embroidered figures. Isabella was crowned at Westminster in 1397, when
she was just ten years old; then she went to reside at Windsor, where
her education was continued under the guidance of Lady de Courcy.

King Richard made frequent visits to his little wife, each

{245}

[Illustration: 0249]

{247}one being the occasion of a holiday from study, and of a great deal
of pleasure to the child who anticipated the appearance of her lord with
no little impatience. Richard was always courteous and gentle in his
manners towards ladies, and had a lively disposition, which rendered
him a very congenial companion; besides, he dressed with such exquisite
taste that the admiration he inspired in the heart of Isabella warmed
into an affection that she never ceased to entertain for him as long as
he lived.

When King Richard went to France to claim his bride, he spent so much
money that he found himself deeply involved in debt. This led to
a fierce struggle with the party headed by his uncle, the Duke of
Gloucester, and the Earl of Arundel. At last Richard would bear it no
longer, so he managed to rid himself of both his opponents. This he
did by having the duke treacherously murdered, and the earl illegally
executed.

But Richard was not accustomed to such cruel deeds, and his conscience
troubled him to such a degree that he would often start up from his bed
at night and cry out in horror: "That his bed was covered with the
blood of the earl." The sudden death of Roger Mortimer, lord deputy of
Ireland, to whom Richard was warmly attached, called him to that country
to quell the rebellion that ensued.

Before his departure he went to Windsor to bid farewell to Isabella;
while there he dismissed Lady de Courcy on account of excessive
extravagance, and appointed his widowed niece, Lady Mortimer, in her
stead, as governess and first lady of honor to his young consort.

The parting scene between the royal couple was very touching, the
king lifting his wife up in his arms and kissing her repeatedly while
offering words of hope and comfort.

Henry of Bolingbroke, who had been absent from England {248}for several
years, returned while Richard was away,--a most unfortunate circumstance
for the royal cause. The Duke of York, who acted as regent in the king's
absence, was alive to the little queen's position, and hurried her off
to the fortress of Wallingford.

Attended by sixty thousand fighting men, Henry of Bolingbroke marched
through England and presented himself before the very gates of Flint
Castle, where Richard, with a handful of faithful knights, had fortified
himself. Upon Henry's boldly demanding admittance the king agreed to
allow him, with eleven others, to pass the wicket of the castle. But
it was soon evident that any such precaution was unnecessary, for on
looking out of the window the king beheld the army that had come to
besiege him, and surrendered himself at once.

While King Richard and Henry of Bolingbroke stood in the courtyard of
the castle waiting for their horses, Math, the beautiful greyhound that
always accompanied the king when he rode out, and would never follow
nor notice anyone else, suddenly dashed through the court, leaped upon
Henry, and put both paws on his shoulders, as he had been wont to do
to the king. Henry asked the meaning of his being thus selected for the
animal's caresses. "Cousin," replied the king sadly, "it means a great
deal for you, and very little for me; for the natural instinct of my
favorite dog prompts him to fondle and pay his court to you as King of
England, which you will be, and I shall be deposed."

Richard was taken to London and lodged in the Tower, where he suffered
torment because he could get no information as to the fate of his
Isabella. After a time he offered to resign his crown to Henry of
Bolingbroke, now called the Duke of Lancaster, but received only taunts
and reproaches in reply. Meanwhile "the little queen" had been removed
from Wallingford to Leeds Castle in Kent. {249}At the next session
of parliament, the members remained seated at Westminster Hall, while
Henry, with a number of priests, dukes, and earls rode to the Tower,
dismounted in the courtyard and entered the Hall. Then King Richard, on
being summoned, walked in with his crown upon his head and the sceptre
in his hand, and addressed the assembly as follows: "I have reigned
King of England, Duke of Aquitaine, and Lord of Ireland about twenty-two
years; which royalty, lordship, sceptre, and crown, I now freely and
willingly resign to my cousin, Henry of Lancaster, and entreat of him
in the presence of you all to accept this sceptre." The king was then
conducted back to his apartments in the Tower, and the crown and sceptre
were safely locked away in the treasury of Westminister Abbey.

The following October, Henry of Lancaster assembled parliament, and was
crowned with great ceremony as Henry IV. Isabella had been removed to
Sunning Hill, where she was treated as a state prisoner, and kept in
ignorance of the fate of her husband.

Shortly after the coronation of Henry IV. a plot against his life was
discovered, and then the fate of poor Richard was sealed, as we shall
see.

Henry's attendants kept constantly reminding him, by hints and
insinuations, that as long as Richard lived he could not reign
peaceably, until worn out with care and anxiety he wearily asked one day
while sitting at table: "Have I no faithful friend who will deliver me
of one whose life will be my death, and whose death my life?" After such
a speech from the king it was not likely that Richard's life would long
be spared. His attendants began to treat him with so little ceremony
at last that the royal prisoner remarked upon it one day when he was
dining; whereupon he was informed that King Henry had given new orders.

"The devil take Henry of Lancaster and thee together!" {250}exclaimed
Richard in a passion, striking the attendant who had answered with a
carving-knife. At that instant eight armed men rushed into the room;
Richard started up, seized the weapon that the one nearest to him, held,
and defended himself so valiantly that four of the attacking party were
slain outright. Then while he was fiercely warding off the blows of
three others, the leader of the band jumped upon the chair Richard had
occupied while dining, and dealt him a blow on the back of his head that
killed him instantly.

[[A.D. 1339.]] Thus fell the son of the Black Prince at the early age of
thirty-two, and Queen Isabella was made a widow before she was thirteen.

The King of France was suffering from an attack of insanity, therefore
could take no steps for the restoration of his daughter, but the French
council requested Henry IV. to allow her to return to her native land.
He refused, saying "that she should reside in England, as all other
queen-dowagers had done, in great honor; and that if she had unluckily
lost a husband she should be provided with another who would be young,
handsome, and in every way deserving of her love, that person being
no other than the Prince of Wales." But Isabella mourned her murdered
spouse so sincerely that she rejected the gallant Henry of Monmouth and
no longer felt any pride in being Queen of England.

When Charles VI. recovered, he sent ambassadors to inquire into the
condition of his daughter in England, and to make arrangements for her
return. But it was not until late in July, eighteen months after the
death of Richard II. that his widow was restored to her parents. Henry
had seized her jewels and dower, and refused to give them up.

[[A.D. 1402.]] The goodness and amiable disposition of the youthful
queen had won the affection of her English ladies, and when she parted
from them they wept so much

{251}

[Illustration: 0255]

{253}that she was obliged to comfort them, though she, too, was in
tears.

In 1406 Henry IV. again proposed for the hand of Isabella for the Prince
of Wales, declaring that if the marriage could be brought about he would
abdicate the English crown in favor of his son. But the little queen had
meanwhile promised to marry her cousin, Charles of Angoulême, sun of
the Duke of Orleans. An unfavorable answer was therefore given to the
English ambassadors, who were very much displeased at their failure.

Isabella was not married to her cousin until the murder of his father by
the Duke of Burgundy made him Duke of Orleans.

[[A.D. 1410.]] She loved him dearly, and lived happily with him for
nearly two years, but she was only a little more than twenty-one when
her death occurred. This Duke of Orleans was a celebrated poet, whose
compositions are still read in France. We quote one written shortly
after his sad bereavement, but it is much prettier in the original
French:--

                        "Alas!

               Death, who made thee so bold,

               To take from me my lovely princess?

               Who was my comfort, my life,

               My good, my pleasure, my riches.

               Alas! I am lonely, bereft of my mate

               Adieu, my lady, my lily!

               Our loves are forever severed."

{254}



CHAPTER XVI. JOANNA OF NAVARRE, QUEEN OF HENRY IV.

(A.D. 1370-1437.)

|It was to the Duke of Bretagne, Joanna of Navarre's first husband,
that Henry IV. was partly indebted for his elevation to the throne
of England. Henry was an exile when Richard II. was obliged to go to
Ireland, and finding that a clear field was thus left for his return,
he applied to the Duke of Bretagne for advice and assistance, and was
unhesitatingly provided by him with vessels, soldiers, and arms. The use
he made of them is recounted in the last reign.

Joanna, the duke's wife, met Henry of Bolingbroke, the first time when
he was making his preparations for this expedition to England, and was
very much pleased with his beauty and attractive manners.

[[A.D. 1401.]] When she had been a widow for two years, and Henry was
established on the throne, she willingly accepted an offer of his
hand in marriage. He had then been a widower since 1394, when Anne of
Bohemia, his first wife, died.

Joanna of Navarre agreed to marry Henry IV., but she had a family of
children, and before going to England she had to provide for them.
She knew that it would be unwise to take her sons with her, and as the
eldest had succeeded to his father's title, the people of Bretagne would
naturally object to his making England his home, so she entered into a
treaty with her uncle, the Duke of Burgundy,

{255}

[Illustration: 0259]

{257}who faithfully swore to preserve the laws, liberties and privileges
of the Bretons. Thereupon the little duke and his two brothers, Arthur
and Jules, were placed under his care, and taken to Paris to live.

[[A.D. 1402.]] The two daughters accompanied their mother to Winchester,
where King Henry awaited her. The marriage was publicly solemnized at
the church, of St Swithin, and afterwards there was a splendid feast.
The citizens of London made costly preparations to receive the bride,
whose coronation took place Feb. 26, 1403, nearly three weeks after her
landing in England.

Joanna was thirty-three years old at that time, but she was still
handsome, majestic, and graceful; she was, besides, a woman of excellent
common sense, but excessively avaricious. Indeed, this besetting sin not
only prompted her to make unjust demands on her subjects, and to accept
unlawful bribes, but also prevented her from performing those deeds of
charity that one reasonably expects from people in lofty positions.

The festivities that succeeded the coronation were rudely interrupted
by an attack of the Bretons on the merchant shipping along the coast of
Cornwall. This made the queen distasteful to her new subjects at once,
though as her own son, the Duke of Bretagne, was then entirely under
the influence of the Duke of Burgundy, it was the French who were
responsible for the attack. Then followed the Percy rebellion and the
battle of Shrewsbury, where the king so nearly lost his life.

[[A.D. 1404]] Joanna further increased her unpopularity by filling her
palace with her former subjects, an error that many Queens of England
had made before her. But in this instance it was soon rectified, for the
House of Commons took the matter in hand and cleared the royal household
of nearly all the Breton servants. As the king {258}was well aware that
the voice of the people had secured for him his position, he dared not
interfere.

[Illustration: 0262]

Three years after she had ascended the throne of England, Joanna was
called upon to part with her daughters, because their brother, whose
subjects they were, claimed them.

{259}

[Illustration: 0263]

{261}He had a husband provided for each, and they were married soon
after their return to France.

[[A.D. 1413.]] The death of Henry IV., which occurred in 1413, left
Joanna again a widow. His interview with the Prince of Wales, during
which he resigns his crown and offers most excellent advice, is
correctly given in the fifth act of Shakespeare's Henry IV.

When the new king, Henry V., ascended the throne, he treated his
stepmother with every mark of attention and respect, so much so that
when he started on his expedition against France she was appointed
regent in his absence.

[[A.D. 1415.]] The Duke of Bretagne took no part in this contest; but
Queen Joanna's second son, Arthur, made the first attack on Henry's
camp, at the head of two thousand French cavalry, near Agincourt. It was
midnight on the eve of St. Crispin's day and a violent storm was raging
when the assault was made. It resulted in victory for the English;
Arthur was wounded and taken prisoner.

It was with an aching heart that Queen Joanna was called upon to receive
the royal victor when all England rejoiced at his return; for her
son-in-law and her brother had both been killed at the battle of
Agincourt, and her son, Arthur, was brought to her kingdom in chains.
She had been separated from the boy for twelve years, and now she was
only permitted to give him a fond embrace, and then see him consigned to
the gloomy Tower. Although Henry continued for a time to treat the queen
with consideration, he would listen to no proposition or entreaty of
hers for Arthur's release.

[[A.D. 1419.]] At last, on an accusation of witchcraft, preferred
against Joanna by her confessor, who declared that she was planning
with two sorcerers who were dealing with the powers of darkness for the
destruction of the king, she {262}was committed to Pevensey Castle as a
prisoner. Henry V. gave the queen no opportunity of justifying herself,
but no attempt of hers on his life was ever proved.

[[A.D. 1422]] Her money was all appropriated by King Henry, and she did
not regain her liberty until his death was at hand; then his conscience
smote him, and he did his utmost to make amends.

Joanna lived many years to enjoy her restored liberty and kept her court
chiefly at Havering Bower, surrounded by all the luxuries that wealth
could procure.

She died in 1437, and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral beside Henry
IV.

[Illustration: 0266]

{263}



CHAPTER XVII. KATHERINE OF VALOIS, SURNAMED THE FAIR, WIFE OF HENRY V.

(A.D. 1401-1437.)

|Charles VI., King of France, and his wife, Queen Isabeau of Bavaria,
had eight children, three sons and five daughters, of whom Katherine was
the youngest. The boys became in turn Dauphins of France; Isabella, the
eldest of the family, was married to Richard II. when she was only eight
years of age, and had an experience throughout her short life such as
has never been recorded of so young a girl. But she proved herself a
devoted wife, and bore her sufferings with true heroism. She died when
Katherine was only nine years old. Two of the daughters of Charles VI.
became duchesses, Marie entered a convent, and the two little ones,
Michelle and Katherine, at the respective ages of three and five, we
find shut up in the dismal Hôtel de St. Paul with their brothers and
their infirm father.

Queen Isabeau was one of the most wicked women that ever lived, for she
not only joined her brother-in-law, the Duke of Orleans, in stealing the
revenues of the royal household, thus leaving her husband and children
with no means of support, but she neglected them most criminally, and
then, for a long time, deserted them. The poor king was insane, which
fact in itself would have kept any true wife at his side, but his
guilty, wretched consort deserved neither the title of wife nor
mother, for she neglected her duty as both. Her daughters inherited her
splendid, large, dark eyes, as veil as her clear, brilliant complexion,
but, {264}fortunately for themselves and others, none of her wickedness.

While at the Hôtel de St. Paul these poor little children were almost
starved to death, and as their mother had left them without a change of
linen they ran about in filthy rags. Some of the inferior attendants
of the palace had compassion enough to give them a little food, but the
servants of the royal family were left without money, consequently they
neither could nor would provide for the children. Their condition must
have been pitiable, indeed, but God watched over them, and as by a
miracle their father's reason suddenly returned to him one day. For a
long while he had been totally unconscious of the misery that surrounded
him. What must have been the agony of the good man when he beheld his
own plight and that of his innocent, forsaken little ones? It makes
one shudder at the thought. But it had a different effect on the cruel,
infamous Isabeau; for no sooner did she hear that her husband's reason
was restored than she began to tremble for her own safety, as well she
might. She therefore hurried away to Milan, and ordered her brother
Louis, who was as bad as she, to bring the children to her.

He obeyed, and not only carried off the five royal children but also
those of the Duke of Burgundy. Their absence was soon discovered, and
the duke sent a troop of armed men after them, who overtook them before
they had got very far. After securing the children of both families the
men turned respectfully to the Dauphin Louis, then only ten years old,
and asked him "whither he would please to go."

"I will return to my royal father," replied the boy. He was eagerly
obeyed and carried back to Paris with his companions.

Later, Isabeau got possession of the little Katherine, but her conduct
became so infamous that she was imprisoned,{265}

[Illustration: 0269]

excellent education. At the age of ten he played the harp well, and was
extremely fond of music. Later in life he performed on the organ
and composed sacred airs. After his mother's death, Richard II. took
possession of the boy, who then lived at the palace, until he was placed
at Oxford to complete his studies.

He was only sixteen years old when he fought at the bar {267}and the
child was sent to a convent to be educated. We will leave her there for
a while to tell something about Henry V., who became her husband.

[Illustration: 0271]

[[A.D. 1387.]] He was born in 1387, and was a very sickly infant, but he
had a devoted mother, who took such good care of him that he soon grew
strong. She gave him his first lessons in Latin, and he was afterwards
blessed with an title {268}of Shrewsbury, where he proved himself a brave
prince. He advanced too rashly on the enemy, and received a serious
wound in the face that left a scar to the end of his life. On being
advised to retire that the point of the arrow might be taken out, "To
what place?" he asked, "who will remain fighting, if I, the prince,
a king's son, retire for fear at the first taste of steel? let my
fellow-soldiers see that I bleed at the first onset; for deeds,
not words, are the duties of princes who should set the example of
boldness."

Henry V. was extremely poor while he was Prince of Wales; but that did
not prevent his enjoying himself, even though his dissipations, and
recklessness forced him into company far beneath him in rank. He was
at times so pushed for money that he would disguise himself as a
highwayman, and lie in wait for the collectors of the rents due the
crown and rob them. Sometimes he got soundly beaten himself, but he
always rewarded those officers who made the boldest fight. He knew how
to appreciate faithfulness, even when it told against himself.

He performed some of the wildest pranks when he lived at a manor near
Coventry. On one occasion he and some of his friends were arrested by
the mayor of that town for raising a riot, and this was not the only
time that he was locked up in jail. The young nobles found that they
could have so much liberty and fun at "Prince Hal's" house that they
preferred it to the king's court. This made Henry IV. quite jealous at
times, but it did not prevent their flocking to the manor and enjoying
their mad frolics. During one of these, a favorite servant of the prince
was arrested and taken before Judge Gascoigne. No sooner did Henry hear
of it than he rushed to the court of justice, where the servant stood
awaiting his trial. Walking boldly up to the man he endeavored to remove
his chains; the judge interfered, whereupon the prince boxed his ears
{269}soundly. Such an outrage caused great indignation on the part
of Gascoigne; who not only reproved the young man as he deserved, but
actually had him locked up in the prison of the King's Bench. No doubt
the prince regretted that he had allowed his temper to get the better of
his common sense; for, after he had taken time to reflect, he submitted
with a good grace to his well-merited punishment. When Henry IV. heard
of this occurrence, he said: "he was proud of having a son who would
thus submit himself to the laws, and that he had a judge who could so
fearlessly enforce them."

For a long time the king had been trying to get a wife for his wild son,
no doubt with the hope that marriage would improve his bad behavior.
Several ladies had been proposed, but in each case something happened to
prevent an engagement. At last both father and son seemed determined on
obtaining the fair Katherine for the lofty station of Princess of Wales.
The Duke of York was sent on a private mission to demand her hand in
marriage for Prince Henry, and while he was absent the king died.

A short but fierce civil war had to be fought before Henry V. could take
possession of the throne, because somebody raised a report that Richard
II., who would have succeeded, was still alive. In order to restore
peace, Henry was obliged to have Richard's corpse paraded through
the streets. It was carried in a chair of state adorned with regal
ornaments, Henry walking by its side, and all the court following. After
a solemn ceremony it was safely laid away in Westminster Abbey, and
tranquillity returned.

Then the new king made another application for the hand of Princess
Katherine, at the same time demanding the enormous dowry of two millions
of crowns and all the southern provinces of France.

Charles VI. tried to compromise,--and offered 450,000 {270}crowns. This
the English lover refused with disdain. In fact, he wanted an excuse for
invading France, so resolved to fight for Katherine the Fair, and to win
her, as well as the gold and the provinces he had demanded, at the point
of the sword. In order to raise money for this expedition he had to sell
or pawn all the valuables he owned, but his ambition was aroused and he
never doubted that "the game was worth the candle."

From Southampton Henry V. sent a letter to the King of France warning
him of his intended invasion, and adding that if the southern provinces
and the hand of Katherine were not bestowed on him at once he would take
them by force.

The king replied: "If that was his mind he would do his best to receive
him; but as to the marriage he thought it would be a strange way of
wooing Katherine, covered with the blood of her countrymen." This answer
might have had a favorable effect on the young king had not the Dauphin
Louis excited his anger by sending him a cask of tennis balls, saying,
"that they were fitter playthings for him, according to his former
course of life, than the provinces he demanded."

"These balls," replied Henry, making an angry pun, "shall be struck back
with such a racket as shall force open the Paris gates."

[[A.D. 1415.]] He left Southampton in August, 1415, and after a furious
battle took possession of Harfleur in October. In the winter he finished
his campaign by the victory of Agincourt, which shed everlasting glory
on his name. But it was a sad day for the enemy. France was thrown into
a dreadful panic by the number of her nobles and princes that were
slain at that battle. The Dauphin Louis is said to have died of grief on
account of it; but when, shortly after, his death was followed by
that of his brother, there was a report that the unnatural Isabeau had
poisoned both her sons. {271}The malady of poor King Charles returned
with so many misfortunes, and his wicked wife, taking advantage of the
confusion in the country, made her escape from prison. She then joined
the Duke of Burgundy, took the reins of government in her own hands, and
obtained control of her beautiful daughter Katherine.

Strange to say, although this woman had so shamefully neglected her
children when they most required her care, she became quite proud of
Katherine when she saw her such a lovely young woman, and soon exercised
a surprising influence over her. The young princess had set her heart on
becoming Queen of England, and in this her mother heartily seconded her.

When Henry V. was laying siege to Rouen Isabeau sent him a picture of
Katherine by an ambassador, who was to ask him, "whether so beautiful a
princess required such a great dowry as he demanded with her?" The king
gazed long and earnestly on the portrait, and acknowledged that it was
suprisingly fair, but refused to diminish his demands in the least.

[[A.D. 1418.]] At last the city of Rouen fell. France was in a state
of despair, and the queen resolved to try what effect Katherine herself
would have on the proud heart of the conqueror, since her picture had
failed to satisfy him. A truce was therefore obtained and a conference
appointed at a town called Pontoise.

The poor crazy king, with the queen and Katherine, came to the place of
meeting in a richly ornamented barge. There was a large enclosure made
with planks on the banks of the river Seine; outside were tents and
pavilions covered with blue and green velvet worked with gold. Some of
these were occupied by the King and Queen of France, the Princess, the
Duke of Burgundy, his council and a thousand soldiers. Then the King
of England {272}arrived with his two brothers and his escort of
men-at-arms, and took possession of the remaining tents.

When the conference was about to commence the queen entered the
enclosure from the right side followed by Katherine. The King of England
entered from the left, advanced towards the queen, whom he saluted with
profound respect, and kissed her as well as the princess. He then took
his seat opposite, while the Earl of Warwick made a long speech in
French. Some time was spent in discussion, when the parties took leave
of each other and separated, leaving everything as unsettled as before.
Three weeks later the same personages, with the exception of Katherine,
met for another conference on the same spot. Finding that her daughter's
beauty had not induced the conqueror to lower his demands, Queen
Isabeau would not permit Katherine to be present the second time. This
arrangement displeased Henry very much, for he was desperately in love
with the handsome dark-eyed princess. Still he remained firm, and the
second conference ended as unsatisfactorily as the first had done.

Hoping that the family of his beloved would send some flattering
messages, Henry waited a few days; but losing patience at last he
demanded a third interview. He had now made up his mind that he would
be satisfied with something less than he had at first required, and felt
certain that he would only have to open his arms to receive his pretty
lady-love. But lo, to his great surprise and disappointment, on arriving
at Pontoise he found the tents removed, the fence that marked the
enclosure torn down, and all the planks taken away, showing plainly
that the marriage treaty was supposed to be at an end. It served him
right, but he looked upon himself as the injured party, and flew into
a perfect rage. He now loved Katherine more than before, and turning to
the Duke of Burgundy, {273}the only member of the royal family of France
who was present, he said; "Fair cousin, we wish you to know that we
_will_ have the daughter of your king, or we will drive him and you out
of his kingdom." The duke replied angrily, and many high words passed
between the two men before they separated.

Henry continued his war in France, conquering at every step, until,
reduced to dire distress, the royal family were forced to pocket their
pride, and beg to have the marriage treaty renewed. Henry was even asked
to name his own terms. He haughtily replied: "That he had been deceived
so often that he would treat with no one but the Princess Katherine
herself, who, he was sure, would not try to deceive him." This message
was carried to the queen, who returned a love-letter written by the
princess, and a request that Henry would come to Troyes for the ceremony
of espousal. He consented with pleasure.

Henry V. had not been modest in his demands, for with the hand of
Katherine he was to receive not only the provinces he had named in
the first instance, but also the regency of the whole of France, thus
disinheriting the older children of the royal family.

[[A.D. 1420.]] On his arrival he was conducted with great ceremony to
the Hôtel de Ville, where apartments had been provided for him, and the
next day he met Queen Isabeau and his lady-love at the church of Notre
Dame, where, before the high altar, the articles of peace were read and
signed. Henry's tall, handsome figure was well set off that day by the
magnificent suit of burnished armor in which he appeared. In his helmet
was a fox's tail ornamented with precious stones. A flowing plume would
have been much prettier, but he liked to dress oddly sometimes, and
no doubt thought that a little surprise of this sort would excite
Katherine's interest. {274}After the treaty was signed, King Henry
requested an interview with his lady-love, which was granted, nobody
besides being present excepting one female attendant. Katherine could
speak little English, and Henry's knowledge of French was slight,
which made their love scene, as Shakspeare has represented it, quite
laughable. When he asks her: "Do you like me, Kate?" she replies:
"Pardonnez moi, I cannot tell vat is--'_like me?_'" But when he tells
her she is like an angel, her knowledge of English serves her very well,
though she modestly refers to her attendant, who speaks worse than she
does, to have it explained.

Henry makes a long speech, assuring her of his love, and asking for hers
in return, and this she understands so well as to say: "Is it possible
dat I sould love de enemy of France?"

"No," he replies, "it is not possible you should love the enemy of
France, Kate; but in loving me you should love the friend of France; for
I love France so well that I will not part with a village of it: I will
have it all mine; and, Kate, when France is mine and I am yours, then
yours is France, and you are mine."

That puts her head all in a whirl, and she says, with a slight frown: "I
cannot tell vat is dat." But the lover soon explains all that he wants
her to understand and receives her promise to marry him. Placing a
superb ring of great value upon her finger, Henry kisses his lady-love
and thus ends the ceremony of betrothal.

The following month they were married; but this event did not put an end
to the war, for the honeymoon was passed amidst a series of sieges and
bloodshed, and there is no account of Katherine's once interceding with
her husband for her wretched country. If she had not been selfish in her
happiness she might have spared much misery to others. {275}After the
siege of Melun, Henry had Queen Isabeau proclaimed regent of France, so
that he might visit England to show off his pretty bride and have her
crowned. First they made a triumphal' entry into Paris, where rich
presents were offered to the youthful queen, and the rejoicings were on
a most magnificent scale. The young couple spent Christmas in that
city, and went on the 1st of February to Calais, where they embarked for
England.

[[A.D. 1421.]] Towards the end of the month Katherine was crowned at
Westminster Abbey and then conducted to the great hall, where a feast
was served to a large party of noble ladies and gentlemen. But this
feast had to be prepared without meat of any kind, for it was Lent, and
called for a great deal of ingenuity on the part of the caterers. Each
course was contrived to express some political meaning, the motto of
explaining it being always attached to the most prominent dish.

The only instance of active benevolence that we hear of Katherine took
place at this feast, when she asked her husband to give James I. of
Scotland, who was a prisoner and sat at the table, his liberty. Henry
consented on condition that the king would go with him to fight in
France.

Then the young queen went to live at Windsor, where her husband would
have joined her, but he was compelled to go back to France to fight.

It was during the siege of Meaux that news was brought him of the birth
of a son. "Where was the boy born?" he asked eagerly, and when he was
told "at Windsor," he repeated the following prophetic verse, which
shows not only that he must have been very superstitious, but that he
was a wretched poet:--

               "I, Henry, born at Monmouth,

               Shall small time reign and much get;

               But Henry of Windsor shall long reign and lose all;

               But as God will, so be it."

{276} Henry requested that the child should not be born at Windsor,
because he had some mysterious belief that bad luck hung over that
palace, but Katherine had not chosen to obey him.

The following spring she wrote a loving letter to her lord, declaring
that she longed to see him, and he immediately wrote her to join him in
France.

She landed at Harfleur with an army of twenty thousand men, who were to
assist in fighting against her unhappy country. Her father and mother
advanced with Henry V. to meet her, and the reunion was a source of
great joy to them all. No doubt the king wanted to see his little baby,
but it had been left in England, and he was never to have that great
pleasure. His health had been failing for a long time, but amidst the
excitement of war he would not allow himself rest until he could no
longer stand. Shortly after his wife's arrival he was carried on a
litter to the castle in the wood of Vincennes, where she was stopping,
and where he spent his last hours on earth.

[[A.D. 1422.]] When he was dying, he said to the Duke of Bedford:
"Comfort my dear wife, the most afflicted creature living."

Katherine was not twenty-one years old when her husband died, and her
grief was most violent, for she loved him devotedly. She made all the
funeral arrangements herself, and they were conducted with great pomp.

The body was laid on a chariot drawn by four black horses. Above it was
a bed on which lay a figure made of leather, and painted to resemble the
dead king. On the head of this figure was a crown of gold and precious
stones, and around the body a purple robe lined and trimmed with ermine.
In the right hand was a sceptre, in the left a globe of gold with a
cross rising from it. The face was uncovered, and a canopy superbly
decorated was held above it. The

{277}

[Illustration: 0281]

{279}King of Scots and a number of princes, lords, and knights followed
in deep mourning. Four hundred armed knights rode around the car with
their lances pointing downward, and these were followed by a company of
men clothed in white bearing lighted torches. The queen with her retinue
came about a mile behind. When the procession reached London it was met
by fifteen bishops, a score of abbots, and a vast crowd of priests and
people. They proceeded along the streets chaunting hymns for their dead
king. After his burial Katherine raised a magnificent tomb to his
memory.

The little prince was just eight months old when his mother returned to
him at Windsor, where she spent the first few weeks of her widowhood.
When parliament met, four months later, she removed to London and passed
through the city on a throne drawn by white horses and surrounded by all
the princes and nobles of England. With her infant on her lap, the
young mother looked very pretty and interesting, and it is said that the
little fellow behaved remarkably well. As he grew up he was present each
year at the opening of parliament, and when he reached the age of
seven the Earl of Warwick was appointed his tutor. He was crowned at
Westminster, and afterwards the ceremony was repeated at Paris.

In the meantime his mother had become reconciled to the loss of her
husband, and had married one Owen Tudor, with whom she lived very
privately. After Henry V. died, the English met with many disasters
in France, for there was nobody to lead them as this great warrior had
done. This was a cause of deep sorrow to Katherine, and, with other
anxieties, broke down her health. She died on the 3d of January, 1437,
and was buried in "Our Lady's Chapel" at Westminster Abbey.

{280}



CHAPTER XVIII. MARGARET OF ANJOU, QUEEN OF HENRY VI.

(A.D. 1429-1479.)

|Margaret was the last of the Provençal Queens of England, and she
filled a most important position for more than a quarter of a century.
Through her mother she was a direct descendant of the great Emperor
Charlemagne, and her father, René of Anjou, was the son of the King of
Sicily and Jerusalem.

[[A.D. 1431.]] When she was about two years old her father fought a
battle against Anthony of Vaudemonte, and was taken prisoner. This
battle was to decide who was to rule over Lorraine, and as René was
captured he was handed over to the Duke of Burgundy, who locked him
up in the top of a high tower at Dijon. While there the royal captive
amused himself with painting on glass; some of the beautiful specimens
of his art were preserved, and are still to be seen in the chapel of the
Castle of Dijon.

During the imprisonment of her husband, which lasted a long time,
Margaret's mother was left with the entire care of their four young
children, two boys and two girls, all of whom were remarkably pretty and
interesting. Many months passed, and at last René was granted permission
to leave the prison on condition that he would consent to the marriage
of his elder daughter, Yolante, then in her ninth year, with Frederic of
Vaudemonte, the son of the man by whom he had been made a captive. She
was to have for her dowry part of the disputed lands

{281}

[Illustration: 0285]

{283}of Lorraine. Besides, René had to pledge himself to pay a heavy
ransom to the Duke of Burgundy, to give his two sons as hostages, and
to allow Yolante to go and live with her new mother-in-law. At the same
time, the baby Margaret was promised in marriage to Pierre, Count of
St. Pol, but in consideration of her youth she was permitted to stay at
home. So out of their four children these unhappy parents took back only
one to Nancy, where they were living.

All René's efforts to raise the ransom failed, and there was nothing
left for him to do but to deliver himself up at last and go back to
prison. His son John went with him, while Louis, the younger one, was
restored to his distressed mother.

Two years passed away, and Louis, King of Naples, died. René was his
rightful successor, and his faithful wife immediately took steps to
claim the throne for him. She was a woman of superior talent, courage,
and energy, and as she lived at the time when the renowned Joan of Arc
was flourishing, it did not appear in any way odd or strange that she
should fight for her rights. She at once assumed the title of Queen of
the Two Sicilies, and went to live in the Castle of Tarascon, on the
banks of the river Rhone.

Her two children became such pets among the Provençals, who loved their
captive prince, that they were almost worshipped. Every time they went
out the people would follow them in crowds, sing and strew flowers in
their path, and present them with offerings of wreaths. At night
they would light bonfires in front of the castle, because there was a
superstition among them that it was the way to keep off pestilence. Once
when a band of people, calling themselves witches and fairies, came with
the crowd to see the pretty children, they were all burned alive, the
ignorant of those times believing that pestilence was brought by the
magic of such creatures. Notwith{284}standing this precaution a plague
really did break out, and the queen was obliged to hurry away with her
little ones. They embarked at Marseilles and went to Naples, where there
was an ancient palace belonging to the family of Anjou.

The queen then had her husband proclaimed King of the Two Sicilies. At
this ceremony she was seated with her children in the chair of state,
which was covered with velvet embroidered with gold, and borne through
the streets of Naples. She never ceased working until she obtained
her husband's freedom, and witnessed his grand entry into Naples on a
stately white charger, followed by a Provençal army.

[[A.D. 1435.]] In the treaty for his liberation the following very
remarkable article, proposed by the Duke of Burgundy, appears:--"And
to cement the peace between the two powers, Margaret of Anjou, second
daughter of King René, shall espouse the young King of England."
Margaret was then only six years of age. Her parents removed to a
magnificent palace, where she and her brother Louis pursued their
studies together for several years. Then Louis died and Margaret
experienced in this loss her first real sorrow.

King René's territories fell into the hands of the English, and he was
reduced to such poverty that he retired with his family to Lorraine,
where he spent his time writing verses and composing music that was
the delight of all Europe. It was he who invented the opera ballet,
and while thus pleasantly engaged he bore his trials with perfect
indifference.

In the meantime, Margaret's engagement with St. Pol was broken off on
account of the prospect of an alliance with the King of England. She had
become a beautiful girl, and had created quite a sensation at the court
of her {285}aunt, the Queen of France, by her wit and accomplishments.
When Henry VI. heard of her charms he sent a gentleman to find out
if they had not been exaggerated, and at the same time to bring him a
correct portrait of the Lady Margaret. The messenger returned with an
eloquent description of her, partly because it was really deserved, and
partly because he, as well as many persons of both the English and the
French nations, hoped that this alliance would bring about a lasting
peace between their countries. Henry was then in his four-and-twentieth
year, good-looking, with a cultivated, refined mind, and excellent
morals.

[[A.D. 1444.]] In 1444, commissioners met to arrange a treaty of peace,
which was to be strengthened by the marriage of Henry and Margaret. When
King René's consent was asked he gave it on condition that the dominions
of Anjou and Maine were returned to him. This was granted by Henry and
his council, and neither money nor lands were required for a dowry
with the bride, her beauty and talents being considered sufficient "to
outweigh all the riches in the world."

There was some opposition made to this marriage by the Duke of
Gloucester and his party, who did not want peace with France, nor a
daughter of the house of Anjou on their throne; but it was all arranged
in spite of them, and the Duke of Suffolk sailed from England with a
splendid train of nobility to conduct Margaret to her future home.

The marriage ceremony was performed at Nancy in presence of the bride's
parents, the royal family of France, and a large number of nobles and
ladies. King Henry was not present, but Suffolk stood in his place, and
married the Lady Margaret in the name of the Sovereign of England.

King René gave a grand tournament in honor of the {286}marriage, and all
the princely knights and gallant warriors wore garlands of daisies out
of compliment to the bride, who had chosen this flower for her emblem.
The festivities lasted eight days, and were attended by most of the
nobles of France, England, and Burgundy. Margaret's sister, Yolante, was
married at the same time, and this is how it was managed: she had been
engaged to Frederic of Vaudemonte for more than nine years, but as
her father had been forced to agree to this engagement when he was a
prisoner he never intended to fulfil it. But the lover was not to be put
off any longer, so he made a plan with some of his daring young friends
to carry off his lady-love while the tournament was going on. King René
was very angry at first, but soon forgave the young couple, and the
festivities continued with fresh spirit.

At the end of the week Margaret took a mournful farewell of her weeping
family and friends, by whom she was deeply loved. Her uncle, Charles
VII. of France, went part of the way with her. At parting, he pressed
her in his arms tenderly, and said, with his eyes full of tears: "I seem
to have done nothing for you, my dear niece, in placing you on one of
the greatest thrones in Europe, for it is scarcely worthy of possessing
you." The young queen was sobbing so that she could not reply, and they
parted never to meet again. Her father went with her still further, and
when they embraced in farewell they could not speak, but turned away
from each other with hearts too full to permit of their uttering a
single word.

The wars with France that had lasted so long had made Henry so poor
that he was obliged to call a meeting of parliament, when his bride
was coming, to get money to defray the expenses of his wedding and
Margaret's coronation, and for the same purpose he pawned some of the
crown jewels.

The young queen had been so ill on the voyage that she {287}had to be
carried from the boat to the shore. A terrible storm was raging when
she landed, but in spite of the thunder and lightning, people flocked in
crowds to look at her. It was many days before she could proceed on her
journey, because her illness proved to be something that looked very
like small-pox. However, it could not have been a very severe case,
because her beauty was not impaired in the least.

[[A.D. 1445.]] She was able to join her husband at last, and their
nuptials were solemnized at Tichfield Abbey, in April, 1445. The bridal
ring contained a ruby of great value, and had been a present to the king
from his uncle, Cardinal Beaufort.

Poor Margaret's wardrobe was so scanty that Henry was obliged to buy
her some clothing before she could appear in public. This to a girl
of fifteen, who probably expected a fine trousseau when she married
at least, must have been distressing. Although the English were
dissatisfied because their new queen brought no dower, and because of
her relation to the royal family of France, her beauty won its way
to their hearts, and secured for her a hearty welcome where ever she
appeared. All the knights and nobles wore her emblem flower, the daisy,
in their caps, when they came in a body to receive her in state. This
must have been a very flattering compliment, and the king carried it
still further by having "Marguerites" engraved on his silver. Grand
preparations had been made in London for the young queen's reception;
there were triumphal arches across the principal streets bearing mottoes
and beautiful designs in flowers, besides banners and evergreens. At
every corner there were pictures or dressed-up figures having some
political meaning, or offering some mark of welcome and loyalty to the
new sovereign.

A large procession of men on horseback conducted her {288}into the
city.' These consisted of, first, the Duke of Gloucester with five
hundred attendants, all wearing his badge and livery; then the mayor,
aldermen, and sheriffs in blue gowns with embroidered sleeves and red
hoods. Next came the queen's carriage, surrounded by her suite, and a
long train of followers brought up the rear.

The coronation took place at Westminster two days later with great
splendor, though the king's treasury was almost empty. No doubt all this
display was very gratifying to King René's faithful steward, squire,
and minstrels, who came to England to witness the reception of their
princess, then went back home to tell all about it.

A few weeks after the coronation an embassy arrived with congratulations
to Henry VI. from the King of France, and René, Margaret's father.
Henry received them seated in a large chair of state covered with blue
tapestry. His long robe of scarlet velvet with gold embroidery swept the
floor. When the ambassadors made their speech, wishing him the blessings
of peace and prosperity, he raised his hat and said, several times: "St.
John, thanks; great thanks to St. John!" They then inquired after the
health of the young queen, and expressed a hope that the peace then
existing between France and England would last forever. Henry replied:
"That he desired the continuance of peace beyond anything on earth;" to
which all who were present answered, "Amen!"

For the first two years after Margaret's marriage, Cardinal Beaufort was
her chief adviser, and she became so fond of him that she would often
make visits at his house in Waltham Forest, where there was a room
magnificently fitted up for her special use with hangings of spun gold
from Damascus. Henry was attached to the good cardinal also, and
was always glad to be guided by his advice. He was of the greatest
assistance to the young couple on several {289}occasions, for his
immense wealth enabled him to help them out of many a debt that they
could not otherwise have paid.

At this time Margaret was a woman of unusual intellect and grace of
manners. One of the chroniclers of her reign says of her: "England had
never seen a queen more worthy of a throne than Margaret of Anjou. No
woman surpassed her in beauty, and few men equalled her in courage.
It seemed as if she had been formed by Heaven to supply to her royal
husband the qualities which he required in order to become a great
king."

It was a pity that she was called to share the throne of England when
she was so young, for her judgment was not formed, and she had a nature
that was more likely to create enemies than friends. She was very
foolish in her treatment of the Duke of Gloucester, Henry's uncle, who,
she knew, had been one of those most strongly opposed to her marriage.
For this she could not forgive him, and, like a spoiled child, took
every opportunity of showing him what influence she had over the king,
and how much she loved Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Suffolk, both
of whom were his sworn enemies. But there was a great change in her life
by the time she had been two years on the throne, for Henry's ministers
met in parliament, and decided on the destruction of the Duke of
Gloucester. He had shown a disposition to join the Duke of York for the
purpose of opposing the queen and her influence in every possible way.
Although the king had no particular evidence to offer against his uncle,
he was convinced that he was his enemy, and had him arrested for high
treason. The whole country was astonished at this charge, but the
astonishment was changed to horror, when, seventeen days later, the Duke
of Gloucester was found dead in his bed. Murder was suspected, but there
was no proof of it. Some people even {290}accused the queen of having
had a hand in it, but it is not at all probable that so young a girl,
and one of Margaret's open, candid nature, could have been guilty of so
foul a deed.

Eight weeks later the venerable Cardinal Beaufort died, and the young
queen was thus deprived of a friend and adviser, whose large experience
and profound wisdom had made his counsel so valuable to her. This was,
indeed, a most serious loss, for Henry had not the qualities requisite
for the government of a kingdom, and this duty, therefore, fell upon the
shoulders of Margaret, who was so young that she had scarcely learned
to govern herself. The king was absorbed in his studies and in the
regulation of the college at Eton, that he had just founded. Affairs of
state interested him but little, so his wife naturally turned for advice
to the nearest friend of the departed cardinal. This was the Duke of
Suffolk, a gray-haired statesman and soldier, who had served in the
English army for thirty-four years. He was also a member of the king's
cabinet, and his wife was Margaret's favorite maid of honor.

During the interval of peace that the English nation enjoyed before they
were again forced into war, Margaret laid the foundation for Queen's
College. She also tried to get the people interested in the manufacture
of woollen and silk goods that had been commenced there many years
before, but the desire for fighting had grown so that it was impossible
to make those men or their sons who had fought in France, till the soil
or weave cloth. The silk manufacture was chiefly carried on by women,
while the men thirsted for the excitement of war in spite of its
miseries.

[[A.D. 1449.]] In 1449 Charles VII. renewed hostilities, and in the
course of two years had got back most of the towns in Normandy. The Duke
of York and his party blamed "that French woman," as they contemptuously
{291}called Margaret, for all their losses, and declared that the king
was fit for a cloister rather than a throne, since he left all the
affairs of his kingdom in the hands of a woman.

The Duke of York made himself so offensive to Margaret that she resolved
to get rid of him at any cost; she therefore appointed him governor of
Ireland. This was a serious mistake, for it only increased his power. He
left a strong party in England who were opposed to the queen, though
not openly, and did everything to make her and her favorite minister
unpopular. They never ceased their efforts until they saw the Duke of
Suffolk first imprisoned, then banished, and finally put to death by his
enemies in defiance of the crown.

This tragedy was the first of many scenes of blood and horror that were
in store for England. The misery of the lower classes caused by famine
and disease was so great that they rose in rebellion, headed by Jack
Cade, who gathered his rough motley forces about him at Blackheath.
They numbered fifteen thousand, but when they heard that King Henry was
coming in person to fight them, they got frightened, and fled to a place
called Seven Oaks.

It was a pity that Queen Margaret went with her husband, for although
she became warlike later in life, she was so little disposed to fight at
that time that no sooner had Henry gained a victory than she persuaded
him to go back with her to London. She could scarcely have committed
a greater error, for the rebels mistook the king's departure for
cowardice, and marched straight to the metropolis, where there is no
telling what they would have done had not the churchmen interfered
and calmed the storm. At their approach the king and queen fled to
Kenilworth Castle, and the archbishop took it upon himself to pardon the
rebels if they would return in peace to their homes.

[[A.D. 1450.]] {292}Cade was not pardoned, but when he found himself
deserted by his followers he made his escape. A thousand pounds were
offered for his head, and the sheriff of Kent, who caught him, obtained
the reward. It was afterwards proved that the Duke of York was at the
bottom of this revolt.

The royal couple had now taken the Duke of Somerset into their favor,
and though he was exceedingly unpopular in England he succeeded to
Suffolk's high office. He belonged to the house of Lancaster, and it
is said that his violent temper caused the beginning of those dreadful
"wars of the roses" that lasted for twenty years. He had a dispute with
Warwick in the Temple Gardens, and plucked a red rose, calling on all
the bystanders who sided with him to do likewise. Warwick chose a white
rose, and did the same, and forever after the two parties of York and
Lancaster were distinguished by this sign. Instead of endeavoring
to settle the dispute, Queen Margaret wore the red rose, and very
imprudently declared herself an opponent of the other party.

In time the Duke of York became so powerful that the queen advised her
husband to make an attack on him. He consented, and marched toward the
Welsh border, but he was too weak to take a firm stand as he ought to
have done to crush his enemy, and consented to an interview with York,
who demanded that Somerset should first be put under arrest. Henry
consented. York then disbanded his army and entered the king's tent
quite alone. In the meantime the queen had contrived to get Somerset out
of the Tower without Henry's knowledge. She then concealed him behind a
curtain of the royal tent, so that he might be present at the interview.
When York assured the king that he had taken up arms for the sole
purpose of bringing Somerset to punishment, the concealed duke rushed
from

{293}

[Illustration: 0297]

{295}his hiding-place and accused his enemy of treason. A fierce quarrel
ensued, during which the king stood speechless with astonishment. As
York left the tent he was put under arrest, probably by the queen's
order; but later, when he swore fealty to the king at St. Paul's
Cathedral, he was released.

[[A.D. 1452.]] About this time Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, one of
Margaret's most devoted friends, was killed in battle. A magnificent
volume of sketches that he presented to her shows that he must have had
great taste for the fine arts. The colored title-page represents the
king and queen seated side by side on a low divan. Margaret wears a
royal crown; her hair is of a pale golden color, and falls gracefully
over her shoulders. Her mantle is of royal purple, fastened with gems
and bands of gold. She is beautiful and majestic in this picture, and
does not appear more than twenty years old. Talbot kneels before her
presenting the volume, with his dog by his side. Daisies are painted in
clusters on the title-page, and the queen's initial (M) is surrounded by
the garter and its motto. The ladies in attendance who stand behind the
divan wear heart-shaped caps, formed of a stuffed roll ornamented with
gold and jewels, and fastened in a fanciful turban shape over a close
cap of gold cloth or net-work brought to a point in front and rising at
the back of the head. At the end of the volume is an allegorical picture
representing Margaret and the ladies of her court as the Virtues.
Margaret is Faith and King Henry appears as Honor. The old earl was
mourned by all classes of people, for he was the greatest captain of the
age.

[[A.D. 1453.]] It was in this year that the queen's dearly loved mother
died, and a still heavier calamity fell upon the royal household in the
fearful malady that began to show itself in the king. He had inherited
the brain disease {296}of his grandfather, Charles VI. of France, and
the trouble in his court had so affected him that his reason gave way
under it. Margaret was therefore compelled to govern alone, whether she
desired it or no, and, like a good wife, she made every effort to keep
her poor ailing husband in ignorance of all political disturbance. She
had him removed to his palace at Westminster, where he could be quiet
and kept free from all excitement, and it was there that his only child,
the unfortunate Edward of Lancaster, called "The child of sorrow,"
was born. This boy was named Edward, and was York's only rival to the
throne. He was therefore not welcome to the nation, who felt that his
existence would be the cause of much bloodshed between the two parties
of York and Lancaster.

At this period Queen Margaret was ruling, with the assistance of
Cardinal Kemp, Archbishop of Canterbury, but he died a few months after
the prince was born, and the House of Lords sent a committee to the
king to request him to name a successor. But poor Henry stared at them
without understanding a word they said, and of course could make no
reply. The Duke of York was then appointed defender and protector of the
king as long as his illness lasted, or until Prince Edward should be old
enough to ascend the throne. Five physicians and surgeons were appointed
to attend the royal sufferer and watch over his health.

Margaret was so wrapped up in her baby, and so worried on account of her
husband's condition, that she took no part in these political changes,
but her party insisted on her having absolute power as queen regent.
York objected, and had the Duke of Somerset put under arrest.

A few months later the king's consciousness suddenly returned, and he
seemed as though awakening from a deep sleep. His child was then shown
to him, and he noticed {297}

[Illustration: 0301] {299}the boy for the first time, although he was
more than a year old. The news of the cardinal's death brought tears
to his eyes, and he said "that he never knew of it till this time," and
"that one of the wisest lords in the land was dead."

There was great rejoicing over the king's recovery, and Margaret
immediately took measures to have him restored to power. Though still
weak, he attended parliament and replaced Somerset in office. But this
triumph of the queen's party did not last long, for the Duke of York
raised an army and marched towards London, intending to take the king by
surprise.

Henry had courage, but he could not bear to shed the blood of his
subjects; however, there was no help for it now, so he made his
headquarters at St. Albans, with not more than two thousand men. The
Earl of Warwick commenced the attack, and the battle, which lasted only
one hour, was a desperate one, large numbers being slain on both sides.
The king was wounded in the neck, but continued to fight until left
alone under the royal banner. He then walked coolly to a baker's shop
close by to have the wound attended to. The Duke of York followed him,
and falling on his knees before the sovereign, said: "Rejoice! for the
traitor, Somerset, is slain." Henry replied: "For God's sake stop the
slaughter of my subjects." York then took the wounded king by the
hand and led him to his apartments in the abbey of St. Albans. On the
following day they went together to London.

At the approach of the Duke of York's army Margaret had retired to
Greenwich with her ladies and the little prince, where she awaited the
result of the battle of St. Albans with great anxiety; and when the news
came of the defeat of her party, and the death of so many of her brave
friends, she fainted and remained in a stupor for several hours. The
king's wound was so serious that, added to {300}the excitement of the
battle, it brought a return of his disease. He was not in a condition to
attend the next parliament, so the Duke of York appeared in his name.

This was a parliament made up of the queen's enemies, who naturally
found great fault with her management of public affairs. They petitioned
the king to appoint the Duke of York protector of the realm, and urged
him so often and strongly to this step that at last he consented. No
sooner was this done than the queen was advised to withdraw to some
quiet spot with her husband and child. She was glad to comply, for her
mind was so filled with these objects of her care that she did not feel
capable of any other duties. She removed to Greenwich Palace, where she
devoted herself to the nursing of the king and the education of her boy.
But while there she received frequent visits from the princes of the
Lancaster family and the young Tudors, Henry's half brothers. Besides
these, a band of brave young nobles and gentlemen gathered around her,
panting to avenge the blood of their fathers who had fallen at St.
Albans. These so strengthened the Red Rose party that as soon as the
king's health improved Margaret felt it her duty to present him again at
parliament. She therefore held a meeting of her friends and made all the
arrangements for this step.

[[A.D. 1456.]] When King Henry entered the House of Lords, and addressed
them in a calm, dignified speech, telling them that since by the
blessing of God his health was so far restored that the kingdom no
longer needed a protector, they were so taken by surprise that they
immediately consented to his resuming the reins of government. The Duke
of York had not heard of this new move of Queen Margaret's, and happened
to be absent. When an order reached him next day, signed by the king,
requesting him to resign his office, he was so chagrined that he retired
to {301}the country. Henry Beaufort, heir to the late Duke of Somerset,
was then appointed prime minister.

The poor queen had her hands full, for not only was she obliged to keep
constantly prompting her husband how to act, but she took great pains
to amuse him and to preserve in him a calm, peaceful state of mind.
Minstrels were gathered from all parts of the country, and well paid
for reciting and playing to him, and daily requests came from nobles and
other subjects for leave to go on pilgrimages to the different shrines
to pray for his health. This had a very soothing influence and filled
King Henry's mind with hope.

Margaret showed a great deal of wisdom and prudence in the way she
exercised her power at this time, and feeling a desire to know whether
she was popular with her subjects, she resolved to travel with the king
and the little prince through some of the midland counties and spend a
short time at Coventry. Everywhere the royal party were received with
great enthusiasm, and processions were got up in their honor. Margaret
won her way to all hearts that were not prejudiced against her, and
during her stay at Coventry the citizens became so devoted to her that
the name of their town was changed to "Margaret's Safe Harbor."

Now the French and Scotch thought that as there were two parties
in England it was a good time to attack them, but they made a great
mistake, for although the nation were divided among themselves, they
became one as soon as a foreign power dared to attack them. A general
congress of the two parties was called, and presided over by the
lord-mayor, who was appointed guardian of the public peace. A treaty was
formed after two months of debate and quarrel, when the king and queen
made a public entry into London. The feast of the Annunciation was kept
as a day of public thanksgiving for the peace that reigned between the
houses of York and Lancaster, and when the {302}procession was formed to
march to St. Paul's Cathedral, the earls who had been the deadliest foes
headed it, walking arm in arm. The king followed alone, and just behind
him came the Duke of York, leading Margaret by the hand. All appeared to
be on the most loving terms, and the happiness of the citizens of
London manifested itself in their cheering, bonfires and other signs of
rejoicing. This patched-up, make-believe peace lasted only a short time,
for the Duke of York was at that time lord admiral of the whole English
navy, and with so much power he was not likely to remain long inactive.

[[A.D. 1459.]] The following year the queen made a tour through some of
the counties of England with her husband, for the benefit of his health,
as she said, though her real object was to gain favor for her son, then
a most engaging child of six years. So well did she succeed that at the
battle of Bloreheath, which was fought shortly after, ten thousand men
wore the Prince of Wales' livery. King Henry was dangerously ill when
this battle was fought. The Yorkists were victorious, and their leader
boldly asserted his right to the crown.

But Margaret was not crushed by defeat; on the contrary, her energies
were aroused, and she determined to take up arms herself to fight the
cause of her husband and son. The warlike blood of Charlemagne was
thrilling in her veins, and she was the countrywoman of Joan of Arc,
who had proved herself such a successful warrior. She went to Coventry,
where she succeeded in getting together another army. By this time the
king's health had so far improved that she persuaded him to march to
Ludlow and meet the Duke of York on the battle-field.

In the meantime Margaret had so increased her popularity that many of
the Yorkist soldiers refused to fight against her husband. The duke was
taken aback at this, and circulated {303}a report of the king's death,
and caused a mass to be sung in camp for the repose of his soul. Hearing
of this, the queen caused a pardon to be proclaimed in the king's name
for all who would return to their allegiance. The Yorkist leaders
did not believe in this offer of pardon until Henry, urged on by
his courageous wife, advanced to the very gates of Ludlow Castle and
proclaimed it again. Then so many soldiers of the other side deserted
that the duke made his escape and went to Calais, leaving his wife and
her two younger sons to defend the castle. They were taken prisoners,
and the whole town was destroyed.

Margaret was delighted with the success of her first campaign, but she
did not enjoy her triumph very long, for the Earl of Warwick, who was a
more determined enemy than York, brought a band of experienced soldiers
from Calais, and gathering all his forces, made a tremendous charge on
the Lancaster troops, killing ten thousand of them in two short hours,
and capturing King Henry. The queen was stationed near enough to receive
the dreadful news within an hour, and made her escape with her son to
a fortress in the north of Wales, where she was honorably received and
protected by a courageous chieftain of that country. Nobody knew where
she was hidden, not even the king, who was taken to London and carefully
guarded.

As soon as York heard of the victory of his party he entered the city of
London at the head of five hundred horsemen, with a sword of state borne
before him. He rode straight to Westminster, and, entering the House of
Lords, walked to the throne, and laid his right hand on it with a look
around among the peers that implied he awaited an invitation to take
his seat there. Not a word was spoken. At length the Archbishop of
Canterbury broke the dead silence, and asked him, "if he would be
pleased to visit the king."

"I know of no one in the realm who {304}ought not rather to visit me,"
he replied, haughtily, and left the house.

The peers then referred it to Henry to decide whether he or the Duke of
York had the legal claim to the throne. He replied: "My father was king;
his father was also king; I have worn the crown forty years from my
cradle; you have all sworn fealty to me as your sovereign, and your
fathers have done the like to my father and grandfather. How, then, can
my right be disputed?" Nevertheless, the king agreed that if he were
permitted to wear the crown during his life, he would resign it, at his
death, to the Duke of York or his heirs. He was next compelled to order
the return of his wife and son.

All the fire in Margaret's nature was aroused at hearing how the rights
of her boy had been surrendered, but she was without an army, and what
could she do? Suddenly it occurred to her to seek assistance from the
King of Scotland. He was the son of a Lancaster princess, and his
wife was a friend and relation of Margaret. She caused a report to be
circulated that she was raising an army in France, then went secretly to
Scotland, and within eight days after her husband's order for return had
been received she crossed the Scottish border at the head of the forces
she had gathered there, and unfurled the banner of the Red Rose. Her
numbers were increased by knights from all the northern counties of
England, and before the leaders of the White Rose party were aware of
her being in the country at all, she presented herself at the gates of
York.

The duke was so taken by surprise at this bold movement on the part
of the queen that he shut himself up in his strong Castle of Sandal to
await the arrival of his son. But Margaret followed him up, and defied
him day after day to meet her in the field, calling him a coward for
being afraid of a woman, until he arranged his forces for battle, hoping
to

{305}

[Illustration: 0309]

{307}frighten her away. He soon saw his mistake though, for Margaret was
not in the least daunted at the sight of his warriors. She did not play
the Amazon herself by fighting, but she directed her own forces, under
the command of Somerset, in such a way as to enclose the Yorkists
from all sides in a net, as it were, and in less than half an hour
two thousand of them lay dead on the field, the duke himself among the
number. Lord Clifford cut off the dead leader's head, crowned it with
paper, and presented it on the point of his lance to Queen Margaret,
saying: "Madam, your war is done; here is your king's ransom."

She shuddered at first and turned away, then suddenly remembering all
the trouble this man had given her, she looked again and smiled in
satisfaction. She then ordered the head to be placed over the gates of
York, and that of the Earl of Salisbury, who was her prisoner, to be
placed beside it, adding, that room must be left for those of the Earls
of March, York's son, and Warwick, which she intended should keep them
company. This was a grave mistake, and added much to the fury of her
enemies, who stopped at no deed of cruelty and horror after that.

Her next step was to try to rescue her husband, for which purpose she
hurried on to London. But she was met at St. Alban's by Warwick's forces
leading the king in their train. A furious battle ensued, but Margaret's
stout northern soldiers were too much for the Londoners, and when
night came all the Yorkists fled, leaving the king behind. One of his
attendants hastened to the queen's quarters to inform her that her lord
was near, whereupon she flew to embrace him. Accompanied by the Prince
of Wales and some of the northern lords, they went to the Abbey church
of St. Albans to return thanks to God for the king's deliverance. They
were received by the abbot and monks, who prepared apartments for them
in the abbey, where they remained for a while. {308}But Margaret's
better feelings were all changed by the hard experience she had had, and
in her desire for further vengeance she made so many mistakes that she
turned the good-will of the Londoners towards her into hatred, and
they refused to let her enter the city. So she removed with her troops
towards the northern counties, her husband and son accompanying her.
Then Edward of York entered London in triumph. He was received by the
citizens as their deliverer, and proclaimed king by the voice of the
people under the title of Edward IV.

This was considered the death-blow to the house of Lancaster, but not by
the persistent Margaret, who in the course of a few days rallied an army
of sixty thousand men. Her generals, Somerset and Clifford, persuaded
her to stay with her husband and son, while they engaged Edward and
the Earl of Warwick, first at Ferrybridge and then at Towton. A heavy
snow-storm that fell in the faces of the Lancastrians so blinded them
that their arrows did not take effect, while those of their enemy
covered the field with forty thousand of their dead.

Margaret fled to Scotland, and Edward IV. forbade all his subjects under
pain of death to hold any sort of communication with her or her husband;
yet there were many faithful hearts ready to sacrifice life and fortune
to the heroine of the Red Rose. She and Louis XI., then on the throne of
France, were first cousins, and had been brought up together. To him she
now turned for aid, but he received her coldly when she threw herself
at his feet, merely offering her a sum of money providing she would
give him Calais if she could not return it within a year. The people
of England objected to this, and thought that as Calais was not hers to
give she had committed treason in making the promise.

After five months' absence she returned to England with {309}two
thousand volunteers, obtained more assistance from the Scotch, and got
possession of several important fortresses.

In the spring the battle of Hexham was fought, the Yorkists being
victorious. Margaret fled with her son to the nearest forest, where,
after wandering about for awhile, she fell in with a gang of robbers,
who stole everything of value that she had about her. While they were
quarrelling over the division of the spoils, she snatched up her boy and
ran away to the nearest thicket. When evening came on she crept out of
her hiding-place, dreading above all things lest she might fall in with
a band of Edward's troops, when by the light of the moon she beheld a
robber of gigantic size advancing towards her with a drawn sword. Taking
her son by the hand she bravely advanced towards the man with all her
natural dignity of bearing and said: "Here, my friend, save the son of
your king." The robber was struck with astonishment, and dropping his
sword, offered to conduct them to a place of safety, telling the queen
that he was a Lancastrian gentleman who had been ruined in King Henry's
service. Taking the prince in his arms he led Queen Margaret to a cave
in the forest, where his wife received them and provided refreshments.
There the fugitives remained for two days. On the third their
hiding-place was discovered by the devoted followers who were determined
to stand by Margaret to the very end. These were Pierre de Brezé, one of
her own countrymen, his squire, Barville, and an English gentleman.

[[A.D. 1463.]] From them Margaret heard of the escape of her husband and
of the dreadful fate of her faithful friends, Somerset, Hungerford, and
Roos, who had been captured and beheaded in the public market-place of
Hexham without trial.

On leaving the hut of the generous outlaw, the queen {310}thanked him
and his wife with tears in her eyes. Her friends had offered them money,
which they had refused, and Margaret had nothing left to give them. "Of
all I have lost," she said, "I regret nothing so much as the power to
recompense such virtue." She then proceeded to Scotland, reaching
there only after a great deal of hardship and danger, to find that her
presence caused great uneasiness to the king, who feared that it might
be the means of bringing him into trouble with England.

She embarked for Flanders, where some of the ladies of the court had
taken refuge, accompanied by the prince, the faithful de Brezé, and
about two hundred of those ruined Lancastrians who still had faith in
her.

When she arrived at St. Pol, the Duke of Burgundy not only received her
with honors and gave a festival to welcome her, but he also assisted her
with money. To each of her ladies he presented a hundred crowns, to de
Brezé, who had spent the whole of his fortune in Margaret's service, a
thousand, and to the queen herself an order for twelve thousand crowns.
This princely behavior on the part of the duke was like heaping coals of
fire on Margaret's head, for she had always despised him, and had been
heard to say more than once, "that if by any chance he were to fall
into her hands she would make the axe pass between his head and his
shoulders." He sympathized with her misfortunes, and entertained her in
a way becoming her station, but he would give her no political aid nor
allow any of his subjects to take part in her quarrel. As his guest she
was welcome so long as she chose to stay, and when she left he provided
her with an escort.

Margaret next visited her sister Yolante, Countess of Vaudemonte, and
then her father offered one of his ancient castles in Verdun for her
residence, where, with a few of her ruined friends, she devoted herself
to the education of the last tender bud of the Red Rose of Lancaster.

{311}

[Illustration: 0315]

{313}After King Henry's escape at the battle of Hexham, he wandered
about, hiding himself in the house of one friend or another, but most of
the time in a cave, until he was betrayed by a monk, and taken to London
under arrest. There he was treated most brutally by a mob, and after
being led through the streets by the Earl of Warwick, who kept shouting
"Treason, treason, and behold the traitor!" he was locked up in the
Tower.

It seems that Edward IV. still feared Margaret's power in England, for
he had the coasts guarded to prevent her return, and put to the torture
several persons who were only suspected of having assisted her with
money.

Two years later there was a great change in the politics of England, and
the Earl of Warwick took up arms to drive the king from his throne. But
he failed and was obliged to fly to France, where Louis received him.
Now Margaret's relations saw a chance for regaining for her the throne
she had lost, so they all united in trying to bring about an interview
between her and her bitter enemy. At first she shuddered at the thought
of ever seeing him, but when he became very humble, offered the most
plausible excuses for his conduct, and swore to defend her and her son
with all the power he had once used in opposing them, she consented to
pardon him and influenced her son to do the same. The Earl of Oxford
also obtained her pardon.

Prince Edward was then eighteen years of age, and had fallen in love
with Anne, the Earl of Warwick's second daughter. Margaret did all
she could to oppose this match, but she was at last won over, and the
marriage was solemnized the following August, 1470.

In the meantime Warwick had raised an army to take to England, whither
he went as soon as the wedding ceremonies were over. His wife, Queen
Margaret, Prince Edward and his bride then went to Paris by invitation
from

Louis XI. The streets of the city were magnificently decorated and hung
with rich tapestry, and all the officers turned out in grand procession
to conduct the royal party to the palace of St. Paul, that had been
fitted up for their reception. It was there that news came of the
landing of the Earl of Warwick in England, and of his success in
liberating King Henry and placing him on the throne once more.

[[A.D. 1471.]] Then Margaret with all her party resolved to return. In
February the preparations were completed, and the fleet set sail from
Harfleur. But wind and weather were against them, and after three times
being driven back to the coast of Normandy, with great damage to the
ships, they resolved to wait.

When at last they were able to sail again, they were sixteen days and
nights making a voyage that usually took twelve hours. After landing,
they repaired to an abbey, where they were celebrating Easter when the
dreadful news came of the death of Warwick and the recapture of King
Henry.

For the first time in her life the poor queen was completely crushed,
and wished she might die rather than live for the misery that was yet
in store for her. Some of the Lancastrian nobles sought her out, and
expressed their intention of continuing the fight against Edward IV.,
and at last so aroused her from the despondent state into which she had
fallen that she consented to aid them. Placing herself at the head of
an army that they had raised, she marched thirty-seven miles in one day,
and met her enemy within a mile of Tewksbury.

When all arrangements were made for the battle, Margaret rode about the
field from rank to rank, encouraging the soldiers with promises of large
rewards if they won the victory. It proved a sorry day for the Lancaster
cause, {315}and when Queen Margaret saw her troops wofully defeated she
fell down in a swoon. She was carried from the battlefield to a small
convent near by, where her daughter-in-law and some of her ladies
awaited her. She was thus spared witnessing the fall of her son, who
was killed near the close of the battle; but when the dreadful truth
was brought to her, she cursed King Edward and all his posterity in her
agony of grief.

When this was repeated to the king, he thought of putting her to death,
but with a refinement of cruelty that was even worse, he forced her and
the unfortunate Princess of Wales to take part in his triumphal entry to
London. Margaret was then shut up in the dismal prison where her husband
had been for five years, but she beheld him never again, for he was
murdered the very night of her arrival in the gloomy fortress of the
Tower.

King René sacrificed his inheritance of Provence to Louis XI. for the
liberation of his daughter Margaret. Then an agreement having been made
between the Kings of France and England for her ransom, in August, 1475,
she landed in France, with three ladies and seven gentlemen sent by her
father to escort her. Thirty years before she had left the shores of
her native land a monarch's bride in all the pride and flush of youthful
beauty; she returned a broken-hearted, childless widow, for whose
afflictions it was treason to shed a tear.

               "Ambition, pride, the rival names

                   Of York and Lancaster,

               With all their long-contested claims,

               What were they then to her?"

[[A.D. 1479.]] She died in the fifty-first year of her age, and was
buried in the Cathedral of Angers, in the same tomb with her royal
parents. {316}



CHAPTER XIX. ELIZABETH WOODVILLE, QUEEN OF EDWARD IV.

(A.D. 1431-1492.)

|When Elizabeth Woodville was maid of honor to Queen Margaret of Anjou
she little supposed that she would ever ascend the throne of England,
yet that was her destiny not many years later.

But, first, she became the wife of John Grey, son and heir of the
wealthy Lord Ferrers, who owned the domain of Bradgate, where she
lived until her husband's death. John Grey was a brave, handsome man
of twenty-five when he married Elizabeth, and occupied the important
position of leader of Queen Margaret's cavalry. He was killed at the
second battle of St. Albans, leaving his young wife with two little
children, named Thomas and Richard, both under four years of age. By
the cruel fortunes of war these little ones were deprived of their
inheritance of Bradgate, and so, with their mother, went to live at the
Castle of Grafton, which belonged to the Duchess of Bedford, Elizabeth's
mother.

One day when Edward IV. was hunting in the forest of Whittlebury, the
young widow waylaid him, and throwing herself at his feet, pleaded
earnestly for the restoration of Bradgate to her fatherless boys, who
stood by her side. Struck by her beauty and downcast looks, the king
listened attentively to her request, and not only granted it, but fell
in love with her on the spot. This interview took place beneath the
shade of a wide-spreading tree that is known to this day as the Queen's
Oak.

{317}

[Illustration: 0321]

[[A.D. 1464.]] {319}Elizabeth met her royal lover many times after
that in the same place, and when the Duchess of Bedford, who was a
most ambitious and manoeuvring mother, found out how matters stood, she
arranged for a private marriage, which took place May 1, 1464, in the
town of Grafton.

The king's mother became very angry when she heard of this unequal
match, for she was queen at that period, and could not bear to resign
her place to the daughter of a man who began his career as a poor
squire. However, it was too late to lament, and in the autumn the bride
was led by the young Duke of Clarence to the abbey-church of Reading,
where the king took her by the hand, and presented her to the council
of peers assembled there as his lawfully wedded wife. Elizabeth appeared
that day in a dress of rich blue and gold brocade with a long, full
train bordered with ermine. The sleeves and body were tight, and a band
of ermine around the neck, and, passing down either side of the open
skirt in front, displayed a rich satin petticoat. Over her yellow hair,
which fell loosely down her back, she wore a lofty crown. A costly pearl
necklace encircled her throat.

Queen Elizabeth soon gained unbounded influence over the mind of her
husband, which she too frequently exerted for the advancement of her own
relatives. She had a soft, caressing voice, and always assumed an air
of humility, when desirous of gaining a point, that had its weight with
Edward. The acknowledgment of the king's marriage was followed by a
series of the most brilliant feasts and tournaments ever witnessed in
England.

The coronation of the new queen took place at Westminster Abbey, May
26th. That morning the king had knighted thirty-two citizens, who
preceded the queen's litter on horseback. After the coronation, which
was conducted {320}with great solemnity, a grand banquet was held, the
royal couple presiding.

Elizabeth was most unfortunate in soon incurring the ill-will of
Warwick, the prime minister, who had been all-powerful in England for
several years. It was increased by the influence gained through her
instrumentality by the various members of her family. Before long, the
popular rage was excited against the Woodvilles, and England was in a
state of insurrection.

[[A.D. 1469.]] The queen's father and one of her brothers concealed
themselves in a forest, but were discovered and beheaded, without judge
or jury. This was a dreadful blow to Elizabeth, who was warmly attached
to her family. The king went north to inquire into the cause of the
outrage, but could not get back for a long-time because Warwick and the
Duke of Clarence kept him under a kind of restraint; however he escaped
at last, and got back to London. Then Warwick and Clarence were so
frightened at having interfered with the king's movements that they got
away with their families as quickly as possible and went to France.

All this time the queen was safely lodged in the Tower. But it was not
very long before Warwick returned to England, and Edward came so near
falling into his hands again that he fled half-dressed one night just as
the troops approached the castle, and embarked on board a ship at Lynn.

Elizabeth was so alarmed for her own safety and that of her family that
she went at once to a gloomy monastery, called the Sanctuary, where her
mother and her three daughters, Elizabeth, Mary, and Cicely, accompanied
her.

[[A.D. 1470.]] It was there that the first son of Edward IV. was born.
He was named after his father, and christened with as little ceremony as
though he had been the son of the poorest man in the kingdom.

{321}

[Illustration: 0325]

{323}By the time the little prince was five months old, the Duke of
Clarence had parted from Warwick, and Edward returned to London, where
he was warmly received. He hastened to meet his family, and removed
them from the Sanctuary to his mother's palace, Castle Baynard. Several
battles that he fought and won after his return put an end to so many
of Edward's opponents--among them Warwick, the most formidable--that the
house of York was at last firmly established in power and the rebellion
crushed. Then followed several years of peace, when the royal family
were settled at Windsor or at Westminster, holding court with great
state and splendor.

King Edward's second son, Prince Richard, Duke of York, was born during
this season of enjoyment, and when he was five years old he was formally
married to Anne Mowbray, infant heiress of the Duchy of Norfolk, aged
three.

The following spring the singular death of the Duke of Clarence
occurred. He had been condemned to execution for an offence against the
king, his brother, but one morning he was found drowned in a butt of
malmsey. Clarence was in the habit of drinking to excess, and it was
supposed that he fell into the butt of his favorite wine while in a
state of intoxication.

[[A.D. 1483.]] In 1483 King Edward was seized with an attack of fever
that resulted in death. After lying in state for several days his body
was interred with great pomp in the Chapel of St. George.

Queen Elizabeth was left in a more unprotected state this time than
when her first husband died. The young king was pursuing his studies
at Ludlow Castle, under the care of her brother, Lord Rivers. Elizabeth
proposed to the council that he should be at once escorted to London
with a powerful army, but Lord Hastings, who presided, {324}could see
no necessity for such a step, and so, unfortunately for young Edward, it
was not taken.

Meanwhile the Duke of Gloucester, who was in Scotland, caused Edward V.
to be proclaimed at York, and wrote such a kind, deferential letter to
the queen, that she felt she had a friend in this first prince of the
blood.

[Illustration: 0328]

The council then commanded Earl Rivers to bring the young king to
London, and Elizabeth was eagerly awaiting him, when news was brought
to her that the Dukes of Gloucester and Buckingham had met him with
an armed force, seized his person, and arrested Earl Rivers and Lord
Richard Grey, who were with him. The poor mother could scarcely believe
such an astonishing report. As soon as the Archbishop of York heard
what had happened, he took the great seal and carried it to Elizabeth,
assuring her that if an attempt were made to crown anybody but her
eldest son he would take it upon himself to crown Richard. But, when
on the following day, he saw the Thames covered with boatloads of
Gloucester's soldiers, placed there to watch the queen, he regretted
what he had done, and went to the {325}Sanctuary, where Elizabeth had
taken refuge with the Duke of York, to get the seal back again..

The 4th of May had been appointed for the coronation of Edward V. He
entered the city surrounded by a retinue of the Duke of Gloucester's
officers, headed by the treacherous duke himself, and, under some
pretence, was lodged in the royal apartments of the Tower, the
coronation having been postponed for some trivial reason.

[Illustration: 0329]

Gloucester's next object was to get possession of Prince Richard. He
would have taken him by force, but the Archbishop of Canterbury took it
upon himself to persuade Elizabeth to give him up. This he accomplished,
after a great deal of persuasion, by working upon her sympathies and
telling her of the loneliness of her eldest son, Edward, who was pining
for a playmate. At last it was agreed that the child should go to his
brother until after the coronation, for which preparations were going on
night and day.

But the Duke of Gloucester intended that no such coronation should ever
take place, so he brought shameful accusations against Elizabeth and her
children, put several {326}of her adherents to death, and finally had
himself crowned King of England on the 26th of June.

In less than a month from that date the two little princes, whom he had
kept shut up in the Tower, were murdered by his order. It is impossible
to describe the agony of the poor mother when she learned the fate of
her two dear little boys. She cried to God for vengeance on the wretch
who had committed so foul a crime. Only a few months later Richard
of Gloucester's only son, for whose advancement he had shed so much
innocent blood, died.

Elizabeth was forced to submit to the will of the usurper, whose acts of
tyranny rendered her existence bitter in the extreme. But she lived
to see her daughter Elizabeth on the throne of England, as the wife of
Henry VII., and her own restoration to liberty.

[[A.D. 1492.]] She died in 1492, attended in her last ill ness by the
most affectionate care of her daughter. Her funeral was conducted with
the utmost simplicity, and she was buried at St. George's Chapel, in
the tomb with Edward IV. The monument is of steel, representing a double
gate between two ancient Gothic towers. On a flat stone, at the foot of
this monument, is engraved:

                   King Edward, and his Queen,

                        Elizabeth Woodville.

[Illustration: 0330]

{327}



CHAPTER XX. ANNE OF WARWICK, QUEEN OF RICHARD III.

(A.D. 1454-1485.)

|Few women living only to the age of thirty-one, have known as much
suffering and sorrow as came to the lot of Anne of Warwick in that
limited space of time. The greater part of her childhood was passed at
Calais, but she was in England with her father, the Earl of Warwick, at
intervals during the struggles between the houses of York and Lancaster,
in which he took such a prominent part, and fled with him in terror
after Edward IV. escaped from his clutches. The misery and danger of
that flight to France came to an end at last, and then succeeded a few
months of genuine happiness for this young girl.

[[A.D. 1470.]] The treaty concluding her marriage with Edward of
Lancaster having been duly concluded, Anne was united to him shortly
after her return to France, only to be deprived of his beloved
companionship within the year, for he was killed at the battle
of Tewksbury, and she was left a widow at seventeen. The Duke of
Gloucester, being Anne's cousin, had seen a great deal of her during
her childhood, for they were nearly of the same age, and had shared each
other's pastimes. But he had such a dreadful temper, and was, besides,
so disagreeable, being humpbacked and ungainly, that Anne was not fond
of him. He, on the contrary, was so much in love with her, that no
sooner was she free to marry than he determined to make her his wife.
{328}Being under the same charge of treason that included her mother and
Queen Margaret, after the Duke of Gloucester, had assumed the reins
of government, she was in his power. But she tried hard to elude his
attentions and even went so far as to take a situation in a house in
London disguised as a cook. The wily humpback found her out, however,
and placed her in a convent for safe-keeping. After a time she was
permitted to seek the protection of her uncle, the Archbishop of York,
but his arrest left her again exposed to the persecutions of her hated
cousin, who, by a series of wicked deeds, forced her at last to marry
him.

[[A.D. 1473.]] The ceremony took place at Westminster in 1473, and then
poor Anne was more unhappy than ever. She lived at Middleham Castle in
Yorkshire, where, for a time at least, she was rid of her hated tyrant
of a husband, for he was engaged fighting the Scotch, and only returned
after the death of Edward IV., as mentioned in the last reign.

In 1474 the son was born for whom the Earl of Gloucester had so foully
steeped his soul in crime. This child was Anne's one source of comfort
and joy, and on him she lavished all her affections.

A few days after his return from Scotland the Duke of Gloucester
started, as we have seen, with a troop of soldiers to intercept his
nephew, Edward V., on his way to London, and proceeded with the hapless
boy in his charge.

Anne joined her husband after he had caused the murder of his two
nephews in the Tower, and shared the coronation for which he had
committed so many shameful and outrageous deeds. The very preparations
that had been made for the coronation of Edward V. served to grace
that ceremony when his cruel uncle usurped his rights, and the same day
Gloucester's son, Edward, was created Prince of Wales.

{329}

[Illustration: 0333]

{331}A banquet succeeded, and every detail of the entire ceremony was
conducted with great splendor. Then the royal couple, attended by the
prince, passed through the metropolis in procession and took up their
abode at Windsor Castle. Later they kept court in grand style at Warwick
Castle for a week, and afterwards travelled through the kingdom. At York
these new sovereigns were crowned once more, and soon after Richard III.
was recalled to London on account of an insurrection headed by the
Duke of Buckingham. Anne accompanied him, leaving her son under the
protection of friends in the north, where she thought he would be safer
than in London. She never beheld the child again, for he died during
her absence. The shock caused by this sudden and dreadful calamity so
crushed the unfortunate mother that her health began to decline.

When she was ill and suffering her wicked husband was more unkind to
her than ever. He seemed anxious to be rid of her, and shed only a few
hypocritical tears when she

In 1485 the heart-broken Anne of Warwick was buried at Westminster, not
far from the altar.

Richard III. was killed at the battle of Bosworth within the year.

[Illustration: 0335]

{332}



CHAPTER XXI. ELIZABETH OF YORK, QUEEN OF HENRY VII.

(A.D. 1466-1503.)

|This princess was the daughter of Edward IV. and Elizabeth Woodville,
whose secret marriage caused so much trouble. She was shut up in the
sanctuary while her father's throne was in jeopardy, and danced at the
balls given to celebrate his restoration. She was at that time only six
years old, and when she reached the advanced age of nine her hand had
been promised in marriage four times as a peace-offering from her father
to other monarchs.

Elizabeth was well educated, for at a very early age she could read and
write her own language, as well as French and Spanish. She was sixteen
when her little brothers were murdered in the Tower, and her love for
them had been so great that she grieved very deeply over their cruel
fate. Her engagement with Henry of Richmond, who afterwards ascended
the throne, turned her attention from this dreadful event somewhat.
Elizabeth was separated from her mother when they left the sanctuary,
and went to the court of Richard III., whose queen always treated her
with great kindness and consideration.

Lord Stanley, Henry Tudor's stepfather, occupied a very high position
at court, and to him the Princess Elizabeth applied for assistance in
getting possession of the throne, to which she knew she had a right.
Stanley had several secret interviews with the princess on this subject,
and assured her that, at his bidding, his adherents in the north-

{333}

[Illustration: 0337]

{335}west would fly to her side, armed and equipped for battle. But,
like many of the earls of his day, Lord Stanley could not write, and
he did not dare trust a public scribe with his directions. Thereupon
Elizabeth assured him that if he would only dictate, and affix his seal,
she would do all the necessary writing. For this purpose they met in
disguise. Six letters were duly prepared and sealed, and committed to
the care of Humphrey Brereton, a knight who had been attached to the
cause of Edward IV. These dangerous despatches were delivered according
to their directions, and on his return from the expedition Brereton met
Stanley and Elizabeth at an old inn in the suburbs of London, with a
party of gentlemen who had returned with him. This meeting took place
at night, and when Elizabeth had satisfied herself that no prejudice
existed among these men against her Lancastrian lover, she agreed to
send him a ring through them as a token that he might trust himself
in Stanley's power. Brereton carried this ring to Henry, who was at a
monastery some miles from Rennes. The lover kissed his lady's present,
but kept the messenger waiting three weeks for his answer. Henry Tudor
had been a fugitive and a prisoner nearly all his life, and extreme
caution had become second nature to him.

At last he consented to undertake an expedition that would either make
or mar him, and sailed from Harfleur with a large fleet. He was received
in England with a hearty welcome, for the people regarded him as a
saviour who was to preserve them from Richard's tyranny.

[[A.D. 1485.]] On the evening of the 21st of August, 1485, three weeks
after his arrival, Henry encamped with his army near Bosworth. The
next day the celebrated battle was fought, which terminated the life of
Richard III., and placed Henry Tudor on the throne.

After the death of Anne of Warwick Richard III. had {336}sent his niece,
Elizabeth, to a castle in Yorkshire, where she was kept as a close
prisoner, and the first intimation she had of her royal lover's success
was when the people of the neighborhood gathered about the gloomy
building with shouts of joy. A guard of nobility and gentry escorted her
in state to London, and she went in company with her mother to live at
Westminster Palace.

Henry VII. was recognized as King of England, and crowned soon after;
but he seemed in no hurry about his marriage, which did not take place
until January 18th of the following year. The event was celebrated with
bonfires, banquets, dancing and songs, and the prelate who performed
the ceremony held a bunch of red and white roses, tied together for the
first time. This was in commemoration of the union of the rival houses
of York and Lancaster.

[[A.D. 1486.]] The royal couple then went to live at Winchester, where
in the course of a year their first child was born. He was named Arthur,
after King Henry's favorite hero and ancestor.

[[A.D. 1487.]] The birth of this prince was succeeded by his mother's
coronation, which took place in November, 1487. On the Friday before
that important ceremony Elizabeth went with her husband from London to
Greenwich. She was accompanied on the river Thames by a grand pageant of
boats, the finest being rowed by the students of Lincoln's Inn, who had
beautiful music performed on their barge throughout the route, and kept
side by side with that of the queen. That night was passed at the Tower,
where the king created eleven Knights of the Bath, and the next day
Elizabeth proceeded through the city to Westminster Palace. An immense
crowd collected to behold their queen, as this was her first public
appearance since her marriage. {337}She was not quite twenty-two; her
figure was tall and handsome; her complexion fair and brilliant. She had,
besides, soft blue eyes and delicate features, set off by a profusion
of yellow hair. Her costume on this occasion was a gown of white silk,
brocaded with gold, and a mantle of the same material, bordered with
ermine and fastened across the breast with gold cords and tassels. A
close-fitting cap, formed of rich gems in a golden network, encircled her
head, and her hair fell loosely around her shoulders.

The young queen was borne in an open litter, and four of the new Knights
of the Bath supported a rich canopy over her head. She was preceded by
four baronesses, riding on gray horses, and Henry's Uncle Jasper, as
grand steward. Lord Stanley, now Earl of Derby, was high constable,
and the Earl of Oxford, Lord Chamberlain. The queen was followed by her
sister Cicely, who sat in an open chariot with the Duchess of Bedford,
and a long train of other vehicles containing noble ladies, the rear
being brought up by six baronesses on horseback. The streets were all
decorated, and a chorus of children, dressed as angels, sang the queen's
praises as she passed along.

The following morning Elizabeth entered Westminster Hall in a rich robe
of purple velvet edged with ermine. A coronet of gold, set with large
pearls and colored gems, encircled her brow. She stood under a canopy of
state, and then, followed by her attendants, proceeded to the abbey. A
strip of carpet over which she walked was cut to pieces and distributed
among the throng assembled to gaze upon her, and so eager were they to
possess themselves of this memento that several people were trampled to
death. King Henry and his mother took no part in the coronation, but
sat in a latticed box placed for their use, and observed both the church
ceremony and the banquet, at which the queen presided, afterwards. From
that time she appeared in public with all the splendor of a Queen of
England.

[[A.D. 1489.]] In 1489 a little princess was born; she was named
Margaret after the king's mother, who presented the infant with a silver
box filled with gold pieces. At the christening a play was performed
before the royal family at the palace.

[[A.D. 1491.]] The second prince, who afterwards reigned as Henry VIII.,
was born June 28, 1491. He was always remarkable for strength and robust
health, but we shall have more to say about him hereafter.

Queen Elizabeth was so generous, not only to her own family, but
to those of her subjects who brought her trifling presents of early
vegetables, fruit, or flowers, that she often found herself in debt, and
had to pawn her plate or jewels to satisfy her creditors. But her own
wants were limited, and she managed her personal expenses with economy.

[[A.D. 1495.]] In 1495 the king and queen were in great trouble on
account of the invasion of Perkin Warbeck, who was married to one of
Henry's nearest relatives. This man was an impostor, but so active in
his movements, appearing in quick succession in various parts of the
realm, that for seven long years there was danger of his usurping the
crown. At last, the battle of Blackheath decided his cause; for it was
won by King Henry, and Perkin was soon after captured. Henry did
not wish to shed the blood of this kinsman, but it became absolutely
necessary before peace could be restored. He was therefore hanged at
Tyburn, November 16, 1499. The Earl of Warwick had allowed himself to
become so implicated in Perkin's schemes that he too was condemned to
death; his execution took place on Tower Hill a fortnight later.

[[A.D. 1499.]] A dreadful plague broke out in England, the same year,
and the king felt so alarmed for the safety of his family that he took
them to Calais, where they resided for a couple of months. During that
period two marriages of great importance were agreed upon. One was
between the little Princess Mary, Henry's youngest daughter, and
Charles, son of the archduke, Philip of Austria; the other was between
Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Katharine of Arragon, but within five
months, Prince Arthur was dead. The king and queen were at Greenwich
Palace when the loss of their eldest son was made known to them.
Each tried to comfort the other and to bear the sad bereavement with
Christian fortitude. But Arthur had been a promising youth, and it was
long before his afflicted mother could reconcile herself to his death.

The following January, 1502, the Princess Margaret was betrothed
to James VI. of Scotland. The ceremony was performed at St. Paul's
Cathedral and presided over by the queen, who afterwards led her
daughter by the hand to a grand banquet prepared at the Bishop of
London's Palace Margaret, who was only a little over twelve years of age
remained in England to finish her education under her mother's care.

[[A.D. 1503.]] But on February 11, 1503, the gentle, pious, lovely,
and dearly-loved Queen Elizabeth expired, suddenly, after a very short
illness. This event cast a gloom over the whole city; the bells of St.
Paul's and of all the churches in London tolled dismally, and the utmost
sorrow was felt in every household.

The queen's body was embalmed and placed within the Tower Chapel where
it lay in state for twelve days. Then? after mass had been celebrated,
it was placed in a hearse covered with black velvet, on which was a
large white cross. An image exactly representing the queen was placed
in a chair above. This image was decked out with royal robes, crown,
sceptre, jewels and everything just as Elizabeth had appeared when
living. Four women kneeled by the chair, on top of the hearse, which
was drawn by six horses, in black velvet trappings, from the Tower to
Westminster.

[Illustration: 0344]

The horses were led by men robed in black; eight ladies of honor rode
singly after the hearse, followed by the lordmayor, other authorities,
and a long train of citizens. At every door in the city stood a man
bearing a lighted torch, and at various points groups of thirty-seven
virgins, that number corresponding with the queen's age, were stationed,
all dressed in white and holding lighted tapers. Torches burned before
all the churches, and bands of monks and nuns, singing anthems, met the
funeral procession as it moved along. The Earl of Derby led a party of
nobles, who preceded the hearse into the churchyard of St. Margaret,
Westminster. The body was carried into the abbey, where it was placed on
a dais richly covered with velvet drapery, on which the queen's motto:
"Humble and Reverent," was embroidered. All the lords and ladies in
attendance then retired to Westminster Palace and took supper. Next
morning the remains of Elizabeth were put in the grave.

Henry VII. lived seven years after his wife's death, and developed some
very bad traits when her influence was removed. He had never permitted
her to have any voice in the government of the realm, but in her gentle
loving manner she had prompted him to many a generous, sensible action.
He died in 1509, and was buried in the splendid chapel at Westminster
Abbey which bears his name.

[Illustration: 345]

{342}



CHAPTER XXII. KATHARINE OF ARRAGON, FIRST QUEEN OF HENRY VIII.

(A.D. 1485-1536.)

|Katharine of Arragon was born when her native land was at the very
height of its prosperity. Her parents were Ferdinand and Isabella, the
powerful and popular sovereigns, who had conquered nearly the whole of
Spain.

Katharine's early infancy was passed in a camp where Queen Isabella
resided with her young family while her army besieged the town of
Granada. This siege lasted for several years, but the town was taken at
last; and when Katharine was four years old she accompanied her parents
in their grand triumphal entry into Granada, where she lived until she
went to England.

Her residence was in the Alhambra, that gorgeous palace, once the abode
of the Moorish kings, always an object of wonder and admiration, even to
this very day when it is almost in ruins. Part of her time was passed in
the cool, shady bowers of the Generalife, the fairy palace which stood
on a mountain high above the Alhambra, in the midst of luxuriant groves,
fruit, flowers, arbors and hedges, such as only a southern climate can
produce. It was from this home that Katharine took her device of the
pomegranate, which was used during her reign in England as a decoration.
This fruit was once a production of Granada, and was worked on the
coat-of-arms of the Moorish kings.

Queen Isabella was the most learned princess of her time in Europe, and
knew the importance of a good edu-

{343}

[Illustration: 0347]

cation {345}for her four daughters. Consequently she provided them with
the very best tutors she could find, and they early became excellent
Latin scholars. Katharine read the Scriptures in that tongue, and
throughout her whole life continued to study it.

When she was sixteen years old Henry VII. of England sent ambassadors
to Spain to demand her hand in marriage for his son, Prince Arthur. The
union was agreed upon, and Katharine sailed with four young ladies and
other attendants for Plymouth, where she was received by a crowd of
nobility and gentry, who entertained her all the time she was amongst
them with a variety of sports peculiar to their country. As soon as her
arrival was known the king sent Lord Brook, steward of the royal palace,
to provide everything for her comfort. The Duchess of Norfolk and the
Earl of Surrey went to meet her also, and the former remained as her
companion.

The following month the king himself set out for Plymouth, but the roads
were in such a wet, muddy condition that it was several days before he
reached East Hampstead, where he met Prince Arthur, who did not until
then know of the arrival of his bride. Next morning they continued their
journey, but had not gone far when they were met by a party of Spanish
cavaliers on horseback, who stopped them, and in a most solemn manner
informed them that they could not proceed further, because their Moorish
customs forbade the royal bridegroom or his father to look upon the face
of the bride until she stood at the altar.

King Henry was amazed. He was quite willing to observe all reasonable
forms and ceremonies, but to his English ideas this seemed thoroughly
absurd, and he was not willing to turn back.

He had come to a dead halt in the drenching rain on that cold November
morning, and felt rather cross at having {346}his progress thus
interrupted. After a few moments consideration he called his councillors
about him, and asked what he should do. A long discussion ensued, and
the conclusion was, "that the Spanish infanta, being now in the heart
of this realm of which King Henry was master, he might look at her if he
liked." This suited the king precisely, and, leaving his son behind, he
rode rapidly forward to the next town, where Katharine had arrived only
a couple of hours before. Her retinue were thrown into a terrible
state of perplexity when Henry made a request to see her, and presented
himself for that purpose at the very door of her apartments. An
archbishop, a bishop, and a count stood guard, and informed the king
"that the lady infanta had retired to her chamber." But the more
opposition he met with the more his curiosity was aroused, and the more
determined was he to see the bride. He declared that "if she were even
in bed he meant to see and speak with her, for that was his mind and the
whole intent of his coming."

There was nothing more to be said, and further opposition might have
given serious offence to the monarch, therefore the infanta dressed
herself and admitted him. The interview must have been rather
unsatisfactory, because neither could speak the language of the other;
however somebody must have interpreted what was said, for King Henry
seemed much pleased.

He withdrew, to change his damp garments, and within half an hour
presented himself again at Katharine's door, this time with the prince,
who had followed him. In the presence of several bishops and nobles the
young people went through the ceremony of betrothal, which was done
in Latin, and therefore understood by both. After supper the king and
Prince Arthur returned to the infanta's apartments, where the evening
was passed in music and dancing, {347}

[Illustration: 0351]

interspersed with singing by the minstrels. Prince Arthur could not join
in the Spanish dances, but he knew the English ones, and went through
the figures with one of the ladies of his own country.

Katharine continued her journey next day, and on her arrival at Kingston
was met by the Duke of Buckingham on horseback, the Earl of Kent, Lord
Henry Stafford, the Abbot of Bury, and four hundred dukes and gentlemen,
in the Stafford livery of scarlet and black, who came to welcome her
into the realm. She rested at that place all night, and was escorted
to Kensington Palace next day by Buckingham and his train. There she
stopped until the Spanish retinue, as well as all the nobility of
England, could make the necessary preparations for her grand entry to
London.

In the meantime King Henry went to meet his wife at Richmond, and to
tell her what he thought of their new daughter-in-law. The royal couple
then came down the Thames, in a barge, with a party of ladies to welcome
the stranger.

Three days later the infanta entered the city by London Bridge, riding
on a large mule, according to the Spanish custom. The Duke of York rode
on her right and the pope's ambassador on her left. She had on a broad,
round hat, the shape of those worn by cardinals, tied down at the sides
with a scarf of gold lace. Under this hat was a closely-fitting red cap,
and her long dark hair streamed over her shoulders. Her four Spanish
damsels followed on mules, each led by an English lady, dressed in cloth
of gold and riding on a small horse. After these came the whole grand
procession, and all advanced to Bishop's Palace.

[[A.D. 1501.]] Four days later the marriage ceremony was performed at
St. Paul's Cathedral, on a platform six feet high and large enough to
hold eight persons. The were present at the ceremony. The king and queen
sat in a box that had been built for their use near the platform. After
the ceremony the bride and bridegroom followed the churchmen to the high
altar, where mass was celebrated. Standing in the great doorway of
the cathedral, Prince Arthur endowed his bride with one-third of his
property. The princess was then led by her brother-in-law, young Henry,
to the Bishop's Palace of St. Paul's, where a banquet was spread. The
newly-wedded couple were served {350}bride, who never entirely gave up
her Spanish style of dress, wore a closely-fitting cap of white silk,
from which hung the Spanish mantilla, embroidered with gold, pearls and
precious stones, that almost concealed her figure. Her body and sleeves
were made very full, and she wore a large hoop under her skirts.

[Illustration: 0354]

Prince Arthur was dressed in white satin. The Archbishop of Canterbury
and nineteen bishops and abbots {351}on gold plate, ornamented with
pearls and precious stones, valued at twenty thousand pounds.

The following week a grand tournament was held in the open space in
front of Westminster Hall. There was a stage erected for the royal
party. On the right entered the king and his lords; on the left, the
queen, the bride, and their ladies, and took their seats on richly
embroidered cushions, under a canopy draped with cloth of gold. The
places, that were arranged one above another, in rows like those in a
circus, to form an enormous circle, were so packed with people that
only their heads could be seen. Presently loud blasts from the trumpets
announced the arrival of the knights, who were borne into the arena
under fanciful canopies. The Earl of Essex sat in a pavilion among
trees, flowers, and rocks, with curious-looking animals climbing up the
sides. A handsome young lady, fantastically dressed, stood on a green
hill above the earl. The Marquis of Dorset appeared in a pavilion all
draped in gold, wearing a complete suit of armor. Lord William Courtenay
rode an enormous red dragon, led by a giant carrying a tree in his
hands. There were twenty or thirty in all of these curiously-adorned
knights, who marched around the arena to the delight of the audience,
and then engaged in a tilt that caused many a bruise and scratch, but no
serious damage to anybody.

When evening came on the royal company withdrew to Westminster Hall. At
the upper end was a dais with elevated seats for the king, queen, the
bride and groom, and the king's mother. All the ladies sat on the left
side and the gentlemen on the right, and the nobility, who were not
engaged in the performance or ballets that followed, took their places
on the king's side of the hall according to their rank. When a couple
desired to dance between the entrances of the regular performers, the
gentleman would {352}advance to the front of the dais from his side,
the lady would do the same from hers, and after a few minutes' dancing
return to their respective places. The first pageant was a full-rigged
ship drawn in on wheels. The mariners performed their duties as though
they were really at sea, and used only seafaring terms. Next came a
castle all lighted up inside, eight young women appearing at the windows
handsomely attired in the newest styles. At the top window of the castle
sat a lady in Spanish costume representing Katharine of Arragon. The
princess must have been amused when she saw her double, who sat up quite
haughtily, while two gentlemen courted her and sought in every possible
way to gain her favor. For a while she treated their attentions with
disdain, but at last, as in all ballets, matters took a favorable turn;
the ladies came out of the castle, were joined by the sailors from
the ship, and the whole party danced a grand set of exceedingly pretty
figures, and then disappeared into the castle again. This structure was
drawn by marvellous gold and silver lions harnessed with massive gold
chains. But we must explain what these beasts really were. In each one
were two men, one in the fore and the other in the hind quarters, so
completely hidden that nothing appeared of them but their legs, which
were made to look like those of the real lions. Then Prince Arthur
danced with his aunt, the Princess Cicely, Henry, Duke of York, with his
sister Margaret, and Katharine with one of her Spanish ladies. There was
considerable difference in the two styles of dancing, for the English
movements were quick and lively, while those of the Spanish were slow
and stately, resembling a minuet. The king and queen were much pleased
with these performances of their children, and watched them with a great
deal of pride.

At a grand dinner given in Parliament Chamber on the {353}

[Illustration: 0357]

following Sunday, Katharine distributed the prizes won in the tilt. To
the Duke of Buckingham she gave a valuable diamond; to the Marquis
of Dorset, a superb ruby, and to the others, rings set with precious
stones.

[Illustration: 0359]

A week later the court went to Richmond, where, after mass on the first
Sunday, they all assembled in the gardens and played games of chess,
backgammon, cards, and dice, while some Spaniards entertained them with
tumbling and dancing. In the evening a huge rock was drawn by three
sea-horses into the grand hall, where the ladies and gentlemen were
assembled. On either side of the rock were mermaids made of shells, and
inside of the figures were the {356}sweet-voiced children who sang in
the king's chapel. These could not be seen, but their harmony filled the
air as the rock was drawn slowly through the whole length of the hall.
When it reached the platform on which sat the royal family, a large
number of white doves flew out, and live rabbits ran about the
hall, causing great shouting and merriment. King Henry closed the
entertainment by making rich gifts of plate to the lords and ladies from
Spain, who then took leave of their princess, as they were going back
home.

Katharine looked very sad after they had left her, and the king
observing this sent word for her and her ladies to join him in his
library. There he showed them all the pretty English and Latin books
that he thought would please them, laughed and chatted in a kind
friendly manner with his daughter-in-law, and then asked her to select
some jewels from a lot that he had ordered for her. After she had
made her choice, he distributed the rest among her ladies, and so won
Katharine's heart by his warm, affectionate treatment that she ceased to
feel depressed in her English home.

A few months later the princess went with her husband to Wales, where
they were to have a little court of their own similar to the one at
Westminster. Katharine performed the journey on horseback, and when she
felt fatigued she rested on a litter, borne between two horses. This was
the only mode of travelling before turnpike roads were made.

The Prince and Princess of Wales made themselves very popular in
their new home, but they did not stay there long, for Arthur was taken
suddenly ill, and died of the plague the following April, 1502, just six
months after his marriage.

[[A.D. 1502.]] The queen was sorely grieved at the sudden death of her
eldest child, but she did not forget to sympathize with the young widow
left alone in a strange land, the language of which had hardly become
familiar to {357}her ear. She sent for her immediately, and had her
brought to London in a litter covered with black velvet and black cloth
that must have looked very like a hearse, and settled her in a palace
called Arragon House, where she spent part of her widowhood. Her
marriage portion consisted of two hundred thousand crowns. Half the sum
had been paid, and her parents being unwilling to pay the other half,
requested that their daughter should be returned to them. But Henry VII.
wanted to get hold of the other half of his daughter-in-law's portion,
he therefore proposed a marriage between her and his younger son Henry.
This was accepted by the sovereigns of Spain, providing a dispensation
from the pope could be obtained. This was necessary on account of the
relationship.

Katharine seems to have been very unhappy at this time, and wrote her
father that she had no desire to marry again, adding, "that she did not
wish him to consider her tastes or wishes, but to act in all things as
suited him best."

Such dutiful conduct excites our surprise when we consider that she was
the principal person concerned. It seems quite natural that at the age
of eighteen she should have objected to a union with a boy five years
younger, even though he had not been so nearly related to her.

Notwithstanding her objections, two such diplomatists as King Ferdinand
and Henry VII. were pretty sure to arrange matters to suit themselves,
and about a year after Katharine became a widow, she was betrothed to
the young prince. Six years elapsed before the marriage was celebrated,
during which period Henry VII. died, and his son Henry ascended the
throne. Immediately after this event he assured the Spanish ambassador
of his attachment to Katharine, saying that he loved her better than any
other woman in the world.

There was a great deal of discussion among the church{358]men on
account of the relationship existing between Henry and Katharine, but
at last all difficulties were overcome and they were married. A few days
later the coronation took place at Westminster.

[[A.D. 1510.]] On this occasion the streets of London were as usual all
decorated, and part of the way to the abbey was lined with young maidens
dressed in pure white, bearing palms of white wax in their hands. They
were attended by priests swinging silver censers as the king and queen
passed by. Katharine was attired as a bride in white embroidered satin-,
her dark hair fell in rich profusion down her back, and on her head she
wore a crown set with rich jewels. She was seated in a litter covered
with white cloth of gold, borne by two white horses, and was followed by
all the noble ladies of England in little chariots. After the coronation
a grand banquet was spread in Westminster Hall. The king and queen
were served on an elevated platform at the upper end of the hall,
while several ladies of high rank sat at Katharine's feet holding her
pocket-handkerchief, table-napkin, fan and purse. At the end of a week
the festivities came suddenly to an end on account of the death of the
king's grandmother. Then a pestilence broke out in London, and the
court removed to Richmond Place, where Henry planned all sorts of
performances, parties and masquerades, in which he enjoyed taking part.
Katharine did not care so much for that kind of diversion, for she was
naturally quiet and studious, and felt more interested in practical
employment.

At one of the Christmas festivals the king slyly left her side during
the progress of a tournament, and returned in the disguise of a knight,
astonishing all the company with the grace and skill of his tilting. The
applause he received induced him to take part often in these exercises,
and when he would present himself before his wife in different
{359}disguises she good-humoredly pretended to be very much mystified.
Once he entered her room with several nobles dressed as Robin Hood and
his men, and another time when the foreign ambassadors were invited
to dine at court Henry conducted his wife to her throne, then suddenly
disappeared, and in a few minutes returned with the Earl of Essex, both
disguised as Turks, while other nobles followed him in Russian, Persian
and Moorish costumes, the last having their faces blacked. The king's
beautiful sister, Mary, with several of the court ladies, danced a
ballet in mask, which amused Katharine very much, particularly as the
princess was attired like an Ethiopian queen. In all the decorations
used on these occasions the pomegranate was mingled with the roses
of York and Lancaster, and the Tudor device of the hawthorn with its
scarlet berries.

[Illustration: 0363]

At the close of the year 1510 the queen had a little boy, {360}and he
was named Henry. The king was so much pleased at this event that a grand
tournament was given to celebrate it. In the evening a nobleman came
to inform the queen that there was a gold arbor full of ladies who
had prepared something for her entertainment. Katharine answered very
graciously "that both she and her ladies would be happy to behold them
and their pastimes." Then a large curtain was drawn aside, and an arbor
moved forward. It had posts and pillars covered with gold and twined
with branches of hawthorn, roses and eglantine, all made of satin
and silk, the colors of the different flowers. In the arbor were six
beautiful young girls in white and green satin dresses, covered with the
letters H. and K. knit together with gold lacing. Near the bower stood
the king himself, with five lords dressed in purple satin, likewise
covered with the gold letters H. and K. Then they all danced before
Katharine, and while they were thus engaged a very different scene was
going on at the other end of the hall. The golden arbor that the ladies
left for the dance had been rolled back close to where a large crowd of
Londoners had gathered to see the grand doings at court, as they always
did in those days. They began to finger the ornaments, and finally to
pluck them off until they had entirely stripped the bower. The chief
steward tried to prevent this destruction, but not wishing to disturb
the ballet by using violence he failed entirely. Meanwhile the king
finished his performance, and feeling in an excellent humor at its
success he called to the women in the crowd to come and help themselves
to the golden letters from his dress and that of his company. Little did
he imagine what would be the result of this order, for scarcely was it
given than the whole assembly rushed forward like a mob, and seized not
only on him but all his guests, helping themselves to every glittering
ornament that was in sight {361}They even went so far as to take
the jewels of the ladies, and to strip the king of most of his fine
clothing. One of the gentlemen was left with nothing on but his
flannels. It was amazing what a clean sweep was made in a few minutes
of all the finery. At last the guards succeeded in clearing the hall
without bloodshed, and the king laughing heartily handed his wife to the
banquet in his own chamber, where the court sat down in their tattered
condition, treating the whole scramble as a frolic. No doubt the young
king had received a lesson by which he profited later. A few weeks after
his birth the young prince died, much lamented by everybody at court.

The following year Henry invaded France in person, leaving the queen
not only with the reins of government in her own hands, but making her
besides captain of all his forces, with the assistance of five nobles.
During the king's absence the Scots invaded his kingdom, but were
repulsed. It is remarkable that two of the greatest victories gained
over that nation were those of Neville's Cross and Flodden Field, both
fought under the management of queens in the absence of their husbands.

After the battle at Neville's Cross Katharine went on a pilgrimage to
Walsingham shrine, and returned just in time to welcome her husband, who
took her by surprise at Richmond, where there was a most loving
meeting between the royal couple. He had travelled through his realm in
disguise, therefore the queen had not been informed that he was coming
so soon.

[[A.D. 1514.]] Henry had been victorious in France, and the war ended
there by the marriage of his beautiful young sister Mary and Louis
XII. Anne Boleyn, who was then a young girl, went with the bride as her
attendant.

Mary was in love with the Duke of Suffolk when she was forced into this
marriage with the King of France. In less {362}than three months the
young husband died, and then the duke, who was sent to France to take
care of the widow and her property, married her. Henry VIII. was
very angry at first at the sly way in which this love-affair had been
managed, but Katharine made peace between the brother and sister, and
invited the young couple to Greenwich Palace, where she entertained them
with a grand festival.

On the first of May the king gave a party, which was conducted in this
way: Katharine, with the young bride and all the court ladies, rode from
the palace to Shooter's Hill, where the king, with the archers of his
body-guard, met them, dressed like Robin Hood and his outlaws, and
begged that the royal party "would enter the good greenwood and see how
outlaws lived."

Katharine graciously consented, and was led to a rustic bower, covered
with hawthorn boughs and spring flowers, where a fine breakfast of
venison and other good things was laid out. This lodge in the wilderness
delighted all the ladies, and a couple of hours were very pleasantly
passed in eating and chatting. On their return to Greenwich they were
met by a car, all decorated with natural flowers and ribbons, and drawn
by five horses. Each horse was ridden by a fair damsel, dressed in gay
colors, and in the car, amidst garlands of flowers, stood lady May,
attended by the goddess Flora. As soon as the queen appeared at the foot
of the hill these young girls began a hymn about the return of spring,
and preceded the royal party all the way home, singing as they moved
along.

[[A.D. 1520.]] Queen Katharine had two royal visitors at her palace. One
was Queen Margaret, widow of James IV. of Scotland, who took refuge
with Henry VIII. from the troubles in her own country; the other was her
nephew, who afterwards became so illustrious as the Emperor {363}

[Illustration: 0367]

{365}Charles V. The latter spent several days with his aunt, who
entertained him royally, then proceeded with the English Court to that
congress with the King and Queen of France known on account of its
splendor as the Field of the Cloth of Gold. At that meeting the carpet
beneath Katharine's throne was all embroidered in pearls, and the
decorations of the camp were of corresponding magnificence.

At that time Katharine formed a warm friendship for Queen Claude of
France, surnamed the Good, a lady of superior intellect and taste. Henry
and King Francis also became very much attached to each other, though
that did not prevent their fighting when an opportunity offered.

When Charles V. parted from his Aunt Katharine she presented him with
a beautiful English horse, and a saddlecloth, of gold tissue, bordered
with precious stones. On his return home, he often spoke of Katharine's
happiness in having married so grand a prince as Henry VIII.

While Queen Katharine was in power several improvements were made in
England, particularly in the cultivation of fruit and flowers. During
the wars some of the finest trees had disappeared entirely, but
Katharine had them replanted, as well as salad, cabbage and carrots,
which she imported for that purpose from the Holland.

An old rhyme says:--

               "Hops and turkeys, carps and beer,

               Came to England all in one year."

We cannot help wondering why hops were cultivated, because Henry VIII.,
who interfered in all the most trifling concerns of his subjects,
forbade them to put hops in their ale. The turkeys were brought from
North America by a lieutenant in Sebastian Cabot's voyage of discovery.

Before giving an account of Katharine's wrongs and {366}sufferings,
which began after she had been married about ten years, let us see how
both she and King Henry VIII. are described by people who lived in their
time.

Sebastiano Giustiniani, an Italian who lived in England, says, writing
in 1519:--

"His majesty is about twenty-nine years of age, as handsome as nature
could form him,--handsomer by far than the King of France. He is
exceedingly fair, and as well-proportioned as possible. When he heard
that the King of France wore a beard he allowed his to grow also,
which, being somewhat red, has the appearance of being of gold. He is an
excellent musician and composer, an admirable horseman and wrestler. He
possesses a good knowledge of the French, Latin, and Spanish languages,
and is very devout. On the days when he goes hunting he hears mass three
times, but on other days as often as five times. He has vesper service
every day in the queen's chamber. He is uncommonly fond of the chase,
and every time he attends one he tires out eight or ten horses,
stationed at different places where he proposes to stop. When one is
fatigued he mounts another, and by the time he returns home they are all
used up. He takes great delight in bowling, and it is the pleasantest
sight in the world to see him engaged in this exercise with his fair
skin covered with a beautifully fine shirt. Affable and benign, he
offends none, and has often said to his ambassadors that he wished every
one were as content with his condition as he was."

Katharine was then about thirty-four, but looked no older than her
husband, because he was a robust, burly man, while she had a slender,
stately figure. Her face was oval, features regular, with a sweet, calm
look, though rather heavy. Her forehead was unusually high, and she had
large, dark eyes, and a bright brunette complexion. She usually wore a
five-cornered cap, bordered with rich gems, that stood up {367}around
her head like a crown, and came down the sides of her face, covering
the ears. From this cap hung the black Spanish mantilla, and around her
throat, waist and wrists were clusters of rubies, linked together with
strings of pearls, pendants of the same from the belt, reaching almost
to her feet. In one of her portraits she is represented in a robe of
dark-blue velvet, with a long train, bordered with sable fur, straight
sleeves, with ruffles around the hand, loose hanging sleeves over them,
and a petticoat of gold-colored satin, that shows beneath the velvet
dress, raised on one side.

Katharine was very pious, self-denying, and almost a nun in her
performance of religious duties. She would rise at different times of
the night for prayers, and always dressed for the day at five o'clock in
the morning. She wore the habit of the St. Francis order of nuns beneath
her royal robes, and unlike the ladies of the present day, she was often
heard to say that she considered no part of her time so much wasted as
that passed in dressing and adorning herself.

She fasted on Fridays and Saturdays and on all the saints' days,
confessed every week, and received the Eucharist every Sunday. For two
hours after dinner one of her attendants read books on religion to her.

Notwithstanding this devotion Katharine enjoyed lively conversation, and
often invited Sir Thomas More, whose society gave her great pleasure, to
her private suppers with the king. She was fond of needle-work also,
and left some rich specimens of her skill, that were for a long time
preserved in the Tower.

Although she took great interest in all English customs, and tried to
make her subjects forget that she was a foreigner, she never could fancy
field-sports, though Henry expressed great displeasure because she would
not mount.

[Illustration: 0372]

Cardinal Wolsey occupied a prominent position in England at this time,
and he was a very good friend to Katharine until she felt compelled to
express her opinion of a certain bad action of his, which was brought
about in this way: One day the Duke of Buckingham was holding the basin
for the king to wash his hands when the cardinal poked his in also. The
duke became very indignant at such presumption, for he considered
it beneath his dignity to perform such an office for anybody but his
sovereign; he therefore flung the water all over the cardinal's feet,
whereupon that worthy prelate scowled revengefully, and angrily {368}a
horse and hunt as Englishwomen did. For his sake she pretended to like
games, though she really had little taste in that direction. Even after
her misfortunes began, the great Erasmus said to Henry: "Your noble wife
spends the time reading the sacred volume which other princesses occupy
with cards and dice." That renowned scholar always held her up as an
example to her sex, and dedicated a very important work to her, called
"Christian Matrimony." {369}threatened punishment. He carried it into
effect, and succeeded in causing the execution of the duke on a charge
of treasonable sorcery.

Buckingham had been one of Katharine's earliest friends in England, and
she could not help remonstrating against the injustice of his sentence.
She even pleaded for him with the king, but failed. Wolsey's opposition
was too strong, so Katharine revenged herself by openly censuring his
cruel conduct, for which he never forgave her.

The next year Charles V. visited his aunt again at Greenwich Palace.
He came really for the purpose of urging the king to make war against
France, though he pretended that it was to engage himself to his little
cousin, Princess Mary, then only six years old.

Queen Katharine met him at the hall-door, with her daughter by her side,
and blessed him as he kneeled down before her. He stayed in England six
weeks, and the result of his visit was more fighting in France.

Then Anne Boleyn returned home, and was appointed maid of honor to
Queen Katharine. She was a great beauty, and such a belle at court that
unhappily Henry fell in love with her. But he did not make his feelings
known just then because the queen's health was very bad, and no doubt
he flattered himself that she might accommodate him by dying, and thus
spare him the trouble of a divorce. However she grew better, and then,
with Wolsey's assistance, Henry began to make plans for ridding himself
of her. His first step was to complain to his confessor that his
conscience troubled him for having married his brother's widow, but
it seems strange that that inward monitor had been silent for so many
years. He set spies to watch Katharine's actions, hoping, no doubt,
that something might be discovered to help his cause; but he was
disappointed, and the queen was secretly informed of his intentions.
{370}Naturally she was very indignant, and wanted to consult her nephew,
Charles V., as to what she ought to do. For that purpose she sent a
faithful servant, but he was stopped on the way by one of Wolsey's
agents.

She then expressed her intention of going to law about the matter, and
consulted her confessor, hoping that it would be laid before the church.
The poor, friendless woman might have known that she could scarcely look
for justice in a land not her own against a popular sovereign and his
all-powerful adviser. She had an interview with her husband, but he put
her off with deceitful excuses and fair promises, and she was forced to
await patiently whatever his pleasure might prompt.

In the meantime a pestilence broke out in London, and several of
the royal household died of it. This so alarmed Henry that he made
thirty-nine wills, confessed his sins every day, and passed most of his
time in penitence and prayer, his only recreation being the mixing of
medicines and the compounding of plasters and ointments. He even sent
Anne Boleyn home to her relations. But no sooner did the pestilence
disappear than his jovial spirits returned, and he began to write daily
love-letters to his favorite. Wolsey, to aid the king's divorce, had
made the pope believe that Katharine wished to retire from the world and
lead a religious life, and it is possible that he thought she might be
persuaded to do so.

[[A.D. 1528.]] She did not know of this deception until Campeggio, the
pope's legate, arrived in England in 1528. Then, in order to disprove
it, she adopted a different course of conduct, became gay and lively,
and encouraged all sorts of diversions among her court ladies. She tried
to make herself popular with her subjects too, by being more gracious
than before, and appearing oftener in public. This behavior was turned
against her by the king's council, t {371}who were told that the queen
was only gay because her husband was sad, and that she was conspiring
for his death and that of his cardinal. Thereupon they advised Henry to
separate himself from her entirely, and to remove the Princess Mary from
her guardianship. This piece of malice was a sting bitterer than death.

Katharine knew that Wolsey was her chief persecutor, and did not
hesitate to charge him with all her troubles as well as with being an
enemy to her nephew, Charles V.

That emperor was very much distressed when he heard of the turn affairs
had taken, and declared that if the pope decided against his aunt he
would not complain, but if not, he would support her and her daughter as
far as possible.

In May, 1529, there was a solemn court held in the great hall of the
palace at Blackfriars, Wolsey and Campeggio presiding. Each of the
prelates was seated in a large chair, covered with rich tapestry, near a
long table. On the right was a canopy with a massive chair for the king,
and on the left a similar one for the queen. Henry did not appear at
first, but Katharine entered the hall, attended by four bishops and a
train of court ladies, to say that she would only accept the decision of
the pope, because the cardinals who were present were too prejudiced to
be just. She then left.

After several weeks of discussion the king and queen were both summoned
to appear in court. When the crier called: "Henry, King of England, come
into court," he answered distinctly, and standing up beneath his canopy,
spoke of the virtues of his wife and of his unwillingness to part from
her, excepting to soothe the pangs of his conscience. Then Katharine was
called. She was already present, seated in her chair, and merely rose
to explain that the action of the court was illegal, stating reasons
why such was the case. {372}Her name was called again. Then she rose a
second time, and walked around the table the whole length of the court,
until she came to where the king sat. Kneeling down before him, she
made a most touching appeal, begging him to take compassion on her, a
stranger in his land, and let her have some justice. She also requested
him to suspend the trial until she could hear from her family in Spain
and get their advice.

After she had finished her long address to the king, she made a low bow,
and with a dignified air slowly marched out of court. As she moved away,
her name was called several times, whereupon the person on whose arm she
leaned said: "Madam, you are called back."

"I hear it well enough," she replied; "but on--on--go you on, for this
is no court wherein I can have justice."

Her appeal to the king had made such an impression on all present that
he made a long speech, lamenting "that his conscience should urge
the divorce of such a queen who had ever been a devoted wife, full of
gentleness and virtue." The members of his council knew well that he
was not speaking the truth, but they did not dare to tell him so. As
Cardinal Wolsey was still a favorite, the king closed his harangue by an
assurance that he was in no way to blame for the desired divorce.

A week later Katharine was summoned to court again, but refused to obey,
and with her own hand wrote an appeal to the pope. The cardinals had
done all they could think of to get the queen to consent to a divorce,
and being at a loss how to proceed, they took a vacation of three
months. At the expiration of that term the two cardinals went to
Bridewell, and requested a private interview with Katharine. She
received them courteously, impressed upon them her forlorn situation
in a foreign land, deprived of counsel, and told them that she would
be {373}grateful if they would advise her how to act. She then withdrew
with them to a private room, where they remained for nearly an hour in
earnest conversation. She must have argued her case well, for both the
cardinals were won over to her side, and would never say another word
against her. This was the only cause for offence that King Henry ever
had against Wolsey, who ceased, from that moment, to be his favorite.

[Illustration: 0377]

When the court met again, the king was very angry to hear that the
question of his divorce must be referred to the pope. He wanted
it settled in his way and in England. Shortly after, Wolsey had an
interview with the king, which proved his last.

The king and queen passed Christmas together at Greenwich with the
usual festivities, and seemed to be on very good terms, he treating the
Princess Mary very tenderly, and showing Katharine the respect due the
Queen of England.

Henry had an object in this; he wanted his wife to withdraw her appeal
from Rome, and let the matter be decided {374}in England, but she
refused. Then he got angry, put a sudden stop to the court diversions,
and retired to the palace at Whitehall that he had just taken from
Wolsey.

Later, he sent a message to the queen entreating her to "quiet his
conscience." She replied: "God grant my husband a quiet conscience; but
I mean to abide by no decision excepting that of Rome."

This answer put the king in a perfect fury. After the festival of
Trinity he accompanied the queen to Windsor, but left in a few days,
and sent her word to be out of the castle before his return. "Go where I
may," was the reply of the forsaken queen, "I am his wife, and for him I
will pray!" She immediately left Windsor Castle, and never again beheld
her husband or child. She went to reside at Ampthill, whence she wrote
her daughter letters full of most excellent advice, always praying her
to submit to her father's will. Her reason for this was that she wished
the child to keep in the king's good graces, knowing that he would
some time or other acknowledge her rights. Once, on hearing of Mary's
illness, Katharine wrote to Cromwell for permission to see her, but was
cruelly refused.

Finding at last that the decision at Rome was likely to be against
him, the king induced Dr. Cranmer, who had just been made Archbishop
of Canterbury, to conclude the long agitated question of the divorce by
granting it. At the commencement of the following year he married Anne
Boleyn, and there were insurrections raised in many parts of the kingdom
on account of it.

Had Queen Katharine not been such a good woman she might have given
the king a great deal of trouble by heading a party against him,
particularly as the House of Commons had requested him to take her back.
At the end of several months Cranmer succeeded in getting the divorce
{375}settled; but the sorrow and anxiety that poor Katharine had
suffered had broken down her health, so that when Lord Montjoy went to
inform her that she was no longer Queen of England, but dowager Princess
of Wales, he found her very ill in bed. She declared that she had been
crowned and anointed queen, and would be called by that title as long
as she lived, and no bribes or threats would move her in the least. She
forbade her servants to take an oath to serve her as Princess of Wales,
and many of them were obliged to quit her service because they would
not disobey her. Those who remained were excused from taking the oath at
all.

Katharine always judged her rival in the most charitable light, and
seemed to think her an object of pity. Once when one of her women cursed
Anne Boleyn, because she saw how troubled her mistress was, Katharine
said: "Hold your peace! curse her not, but rather pray for her, for even
now is the time fast coming when you shall have reason to pity her and
lament her case."

Katharine had removed to Buckden, where she passed her time in praying
and deeds of charity, or embroidering for the churches. After a while
she regained her peace of mind, and made herself greatly beloved by the
country people, who visited her frequently, and showed her the deepest
respect. Other messengers were sent to her from Henry, requesting her
to call herself Prince Arthur's widow, and to resign the title of queen.
This made her very angry, and she declared that she was the king's wife,
not his subject, and would be called queen until she died. She was the
only person in the realm who dared to defy the king; she had lost his
love, but not his esteem. Anybody at court who was known to speak in
Katharine's favor was either locked up in the Tower or executed, and
a perfect reign of terror was the result. When she heard {376}how her
friends had suffered on her account her health grew worse, and as she
was anxious to live for the sake of her daughter she sent a request to
the king to appoint her a residence nearer London. He named Fotheringay
Castle, a place that was notoriously unhealthy. But Katharine absolutely
refused to go there, and after a great deal of opposition on the part of
the king's agents she was removed to Kimbolton Castle, deprived of many
comforts that her ill-health made necessary for her. One serious cause
of distress to Katharine was the imprisonment of her two confessors,
who, simply because they took sides with her, were subjected to the most
cruel torments.

[[A.D. 1536.]] By the end of the year the queen was on her death-bed.
When she knew her end was approaching she sent an entreaty to Henry that
she might be permitted to see her child and give her a blessing. It was
refused. A few days before she expired Katharine called one of her maids
to her bedside and, dictated a farewell letter to the king, in which she
pardons him for all the misery he has caused her, and prays that God may
also pardon him. She commends their daughter Mary to his care, and begs
him to be a good father to her. And in conclusion she requests marriage
portions for her three maids, and a year's extra pay for all her other
servants lest they should be unprovided for. Henry shed tears on reading
the letter, and sent Eustachio, the Spanish ambassador, to attend
Katharine's death-bed. He and Lady Willoughby, the friend and
countrywoman of the queen, who hastened to her at the last, were the
only persons present when she passed away. In her will she left a few
legacies, but her income had been so cut down during the last few years
of her existence that she had not much to dispose of. She mentions her
dresses that Henry kept when she was so brutally turned away from his
palace, and begs that they be used for church {377}ornaments. She was
buried at Peterborough Abbey, and for several years a canopy covered
with a black velvet cloth, on which was embroidered a large silver cross
and the Spanish coat-of-arms, stood over the grave.

Henry had a solemn service at Greenwich on the day of Katharine's
burial, at which he appeared with his attendants in deep mourning, and
commanded all his court to do the same. Anne Boleyn dressed herself and
all her ladies in yellow instead, and heartlessly laughed over the death
of the queen. "I am grieved," she said, "not because she is dead, but
for the vaunting of the good end she made." She had reason to speak so,
for nothing was talked of but the Christian death-bed of Katharine, and
many books and papers were written in her praise.

A short time after her burial some of her friends ventured to suggest to
the king that a monument ought to be erected to her memory. He answered:
"That he would have to her memory one of the goodliest monuments in
Christendom." This was the beautiful abbey church of Peterborough,
for when Henry VIII. caused the destruction of all the convents and
monasteries in England he spared that one because it contained Queen
Katharine's remains. Through all her bitter trials no enemy was
successful in tarnishing Katharine of Arragon's good name, but
Shakspeare is the only writer who has properly appreciated her moral
worth.

[Illustration: 0381]

{378}



CHAPTER XXIII. ANNE BOLEYN, SECOND QUEEN OF HENRY VIII.

(A.D. 1501-1536.)

|Anne Boleyn was one of the beauties of the court of Katharine of
Arragon, and was particularly attractive to the king on account of her
wit and her fondness for pageants and masquerades, in which she took a
leading part. Henry performed at these entertainments, also; thus these
two were often thrown together, and the lady's vanity and ambition were
flattered by the attentions he paid her.

She was an Englishwoman by birth, though of French descent on her
father's side. Her mother died when she was only eleven years old, and
she was taken charge of by a French governess called Simonette. She was
carefully educated, and excelled in music and needlework. Besides, she
wrote both French and English letters to her father when he was away,
and that was an accomplishment very rare among ladies of the reign of
Henry VIII. {[A. D. 1514.]} It was probably on account of her superior
knowledge that she was selected to go with the young Princess Mary to
France when she married Louis XII., and her knowledge of the language
must have been of great service to the young girl, who could speak only
English. They had a very stormy voyage to Boulogne, and had to go ashore
in little boats at the risk of their lives. It was rather trying to the
Princess Mary and her four maids of honor to have to appear in their
drenched garments before all the French nobles who had assembled on the
beach to receive them.

{379}

[Illustration: 0383]

{381}But they soon had a chance of showing off their beauty to
advantage, for when within four miles of Abbeville they mounted white
horses, and with thirty other ladies who joined the procession, rode
into the town. Mary wore a superb embroidered robe, and her ladies'
dresses were of crimson velvet, which must have been particularly
becoming to the warm, brunette complexion and sparkling black eyes of
Anne Boleyn.

When the King of France died, and Mary went back to England, Anne did
not accompany her, but entered the service of Queen Claude, wife of
Francis I.

This queen was a most excellent woman, and exercised a wholesome
influence over her maids of honor. They went regularly with her to mass,
attended her when she appeared in public, and spent part of every day in
her society reading, embroidering, and weaving. The strict rules of this
sober-minded queen were rather irksome to the lively English maid of
honor, for she was fond of all sorts of games, music, and dancing, and
is said to have invented many new figures and steps which she performed
with much grace and agility. Another of her gifts was a remarkably
sweet voice, both in singing and speaking. While at the French court
her costume was a cap of velvet, trimmed in points, a little gold bell
hanging from each point; a vest of the same material with silver
stars, a jacket of watered silk with large hanging sleeves that almost
concealed her hands, and a skirt to match. Her feet were encased in blue
velvet slippers, with a strap across the instep, fastened with a diamond
star. Her hair fell in ringlets about her shoulders. Of course she
dressed in this manner only when she was very young; later, when she
lived in England, her costumes were very different. She had one serious
defect which, however, she managed to conceal with her long sleeves.
It was a deformity of the little finger of the left hand which some
chroniclers say was divided and formed two fingers.

[[A.D. 1522.]] {382}She was about twenty years old when she returned to
England and attached herself to the household of Katharine.

The maids of honor dined at mess in those days like officers of the army
or navy of the present time, and were plentifully served with all the
good food the markets afforded, besides an ample supply of ale and wine.
Each maid of honor was allowed a servant and a spaniel, and those who
were daughters of peers could have stabling for horses and carriages
besides.

There was a young man at court named Lord Henry Percy, the eldest son of
the Duke of Northumberland, whose duty it was to attend Cardinal Wolsey
to the palace daily; but while that prelate held council with the king,
Lord Henry would pass the time with the court ladies. The result of
these visits was a love affair between him and the fair Anne Boleyn. But
the king had made up his mind to marry the young maid of honor himself
as soon as he could get a divorce from his wife, consequently he
complained to the cardinal, and told him that he must break off the
match at once, because he had planned a marriage for Anne with another
person. The cardinal sent for Percy and took him to task for thinking
to unite himself to anybody without first consulting his father and the
king. The young man expressed his regret at having displeased the king,
but declared that he could not give up his lady-love. Thereupon Wolsey
swore that he should be forced to do so, adding: "I will send for your
father out of the North, and he and we shall take this matter in hand;
in the meantime I charge thee to go no more into her company to arouse
the king's indignation." With these words he arose and went into his own
room.

In answer to the king's summons the Earl of Northumberland did appear
with as little delay as possible. He was {383}an extremely proud, cold,
narrow-minded man, who wanted his son to marry a woman at least his
equal in rank and wealth; therefore at the conclusion of his secret
interview with the cardinal he rated Percy soundly, and applied to him
the most abusive and insulting names he could think of. He finished his
long lecture by telling him that he did not mean to make him his heir,
because he had other boys who, he trusted, would prove wiser men, and he
would choose one of them for his successor.

Percy was then banished from court, and forced to marry Mary Talbot, a
daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, with whom he was very unhappy. If
only he had been strong enough to hold out in his love for Anne a little
while longer he might have been spared a great deal of misery, for his
father died in less than three years after his forced marriage, and he
became Earl of Northumberland.

To punish Anne for loving Percy, the king banished her from court and
sent her home to her father's house. She laid the whole blame on Wolsey,
and was so angry with him as to declare she would be revenged on him. He
could never gain favor with her after that. She lived at Hever Castle,
with her father and stepmother, and was very unhappy on account of the
great disappointment she had suffered.

After a time the king made an unexpected visit at the castle, but Anne
pretended to be ill, and would not leave her room all the time he was
there. But the tyrant was bound to have everything to suit himself, so
he began to draw her family to court by giving them important offices,
and advanced her father to the peerage under the title of Viscount
Rochford. Still Anne did not return, and the king wrote her several
letters urging her to do so. She dared not show him how angry she was
because he had {384}broken off her engagement with Percy, but she was
treasuring up a store of vengeance against the cardinal, who had been
his tool, that she hoped some day to visit upon his head. She had been
away from court just four years when she returned, and Wolsey's enemies
were glad to be able to count on her influence to crush him.

A short time after he was sent on an embassy to France, and it was
during his absence that Anne gained a great deal of influence over the
king. Ambition had entered her head, and seeing that Henry admired her,
she determined to share his throne as soon as his wife could be got
out of the way. He had asked her to marry him, and only awaited the
settlement of the divorce, which was a long and tedious affair.

Anne Boleyn was soon living in Suffolk House, which the king had
secured for her, and there she had a regular court of her own, with
her ladies-in-waiting, her train-bearer, and her chaplains, quite
independent of the queen.

The first introduction of Tindal's translation of the Scriptures
was made while Anne was so powerful. Among her ladies was one called
Mistress Gaynsford, who had a lover, also employed at Suffolk House,
named George Zouch. One day the young lady was deeply interested in a
book, from which she would not raise her eyes, even to speak to George,
who tried several times to make her listen to him, At last he became
very angry and snatched the book out of her hand. It proved to be the
translation of Tindal, that had been privately presented by one of the
Reformers to Anne Boleyn. Now, this work had been proscribed by Cardinal
Wolsey, who was not in favor of any reforms in religion, and kept secret
from the king. Mistress Gaynsford knew this perfectly well, and was so
frightened at being discovered with it that she begged and implored her
lover to return it to her, but merely to tease her,

{385}

[Illustration: 0389]

{387}he ran off with it. The next time he went to the King's chapel,
with the other courtiers, he took it into his head to read the identical
book he had taken from his ladylove, and became so absorbed in it that
the service was concluded without his knowing it. The dean of the chapel
wondered what George could be reading with so much interest, and asked
to have a look at the volume. As soon as he saw what it was he carried
it to Cardinal Wolsey. Meantime, Anne had asked for it, and when she
heard into whose hands it had fallen, she said: "Well, it shall be the
dearest book that ever dean or cardinal detained." Then she went to the
king, and not only succeeded in persuading him to get the book back for
her, but made him read it.

This beautiful favorite continued to hate Cardinal Wolsey more and more,
and was determined that Henry should show him no favors if she could
help it. Her mind was constantly busy laying plans to keep them apart,
and to put the cardinal in an unfavorable light, though she used
the most flattering terms both in speaking and writing to him. This
deception she continued until he was won over to Queen Katharine's
cause, when she declared her hostility openly, and she was a woman who
would stop at nothing that would gratify her thirst for revenge. She was
constantly poisoning the king's mind against him, yet the old friendship
would crop out from time to time, and when the cardinal was seized with
the pestilence Dr. Butts, the king's physician, was sent to attend him.

"Have you seen yonder man?" asked King Henry of the doctor. "Yes," was
the reply; "and if you will have him dead, I warrant you that if he
receive not some comfort from you he will be dead within four days."

"God forbid!" cried the king, "I would not lose him for twenty thousand
pounds. I pray you go to him, and do you care for him." {388}"Then must
your grace send him some comfortable message," said Dr. Butts.

"Tell him that I am not offended with him in my heart for anything, and
bid him be of good comfort," returned the king, handing the doctor a
ruby ring with his own image carved thereon, and requesting him to carry
it to the patient. He desired Anne Boleyn to send some token of regard
also, and she handed the doctor a gold tablet that hung at her side,
adding a loving message, of which she did not mean a word. Wolsey raised
himself in his bed when the presents were shown to him, and thanked the
doctor joyfully for the comfort he had brought. At the end of four days
he was well again. But he was too near the court for the comfort or ease
of his enemies, so {389}the Duke of Norfolk, Anne's uncle, sent him word
through Cromwell "that if he did not instantly depart for the north he
would tear him with his teeth." He did go as far as Cawood, near York,
but Anne never ceased her persecutions until she had him arrested
for high treason, and employed her early lover Percy to carry him the
warrant. No doubt this was done to remind the cardinal of her first
cause of hatred towards him. He was in prison only twenty-five days when
he obtained his release.

At this time the Duke of Norfolk, Anne's uncle, was president of
the cabinet, while the Duke of Suffolk, her father, Sir Thomas More,
Fitzwilliam, and Stephen Gardiner conducted the affairs of the realm,
but she was the ruling power that influenced them all. She kept up her
court with great splendor, and spent money most extravagantly. Still
she could not marry the king until Cromwell's bold stroke that separated
England from the power of the pope enabled her to do so.

Then poor Queen Katharine was driven away from Windsor Castle, and the
king created Anne Boleyn Marchioness of Pembroke, with a pension of
£1000 per annum. This ceremony was performed with great pomp. The king
was seated on his throne in the presence chamber at Windsor, surrounded
by his councillors and a number of peers. Anne Boleyn entered, followed
by a long train of courtiers, and lords and ladies of the nobility. Lady
Mary carried on her left arm a robe of state made of crimson velvet,
lined and trimmed with ermine, and in her right hand a coronet of gold.
Anne wore a jacket of red velvet with short sleeves, her hair hanging
loosely about her shoulders. She courtesied three times before reaching
the throne, then kneeled down at the king's feet. After that the charter
was read aloud, and the king himself placed the mantle on the shoulders
of the new marchioness and {390}the coronet on her head. She thanked
the sovereign humbly, and withdrew amidst the sounding of trumpets. Anne
Boleyn's tastes were much more in harmony with those of the king than
Katharine's had been, for she was fond of hunting and all games of cards
and dice. She was a lucky gamester as a rule, but Henry's losses were
perfectly enormous, and formed quite an important item in his private
expenses.

[Illustration: 0394]

The exact time or place of the marriage between Henry VIII. and Anne
Boleyn is not known. It was kept secret because it was so unpopular in
England, but as soon as the ceremony was performed Viscount Rochford
was sent to France to announce the event to Francis I. When the secret
leaked out Cranmer publicly announced King Henry's divorce from Queen
Katharine and his marriage to Anne Boleyn, who then began to appear in
state.

[[A.D. 1534.]] Early in May, 1534, the king notified the {391}lord-mayor
that the coronation of Queen Anne would take place at Westminster on
Whitsunday, and requested him to conduct her grace from Greenwich to the
Tower by water a few days before. On the 19th of May the river Thames
presented a most festive appearance. In obedience to the royal order a
barge had been decorated and fitted up for Anne Boleyn's use in a
most gorgeous style. The lord-mayor embarked in this, and fifty others
followed in his train, one carrying a band of music, while the others
were filled with all the great men of London dressed in scarlet, many of
them wearing heavy gold chains about their necks, and others their order
of knighthood. Hundreds of little row-boats were moving about on
the water besides, for every one who could procure any sort of a tug
accompanied the chief of the city to Greenwich, or rested on their oars
in the best positions they could find to get a sight of the new queen.
On the deck of the royal barge was a tremendous dragon, surrounded by
other monsters that were from time to time made to vomit forth fire by
concealed artillerymen to the delight and terror of the different boats
that floated near. On one barge sat a score of young ladies amidst
festoons of red and white roses arranged on branches that formed a
canopy, at the summit of which sat a white falcon crowned, holding a
sceptre in one foot, and Anne Boleyn's motto "Me and Mine" hanging on
his breast. These young ladies sang the queen's praises in a chorus
as they glided over the water. All the barges were fitted up with
gay flags, flowers and banners. Having reached Greenwich Palace they
anchored, the band performing different pieces of music, and the chorus
of ladies singing until three o'clock, when Anne appeared superbly
dressed and attended by her ladies. She entered her barge, and the gay
flotilla moved down the river again amidst music, cheering, and the
sounding of trumpets until {392}it reached the Tower, when a marvellous
peal of guns was shot off. The lord-chamberlain received the queen and
conducted her to the king, who kissed her tenderly. The whole evening
the barges hovered near the Tower, and from them was a display of
brilliant fireworks, while crowds of people, stood to witness them on
the neighboring wharves and bridges.

How different were the feelings of the fair Anne within that self-same
fortress only two short years later. On the eve of the coronation,
according to the usual custom, the queen was conducted through the city
of London in grand procession. All the streets through which she passed
were decorated. The lord-mayor received her at the Tower gate. He wore a
crimson velvet gown with a gold collar. First in the procession came the
French ambassador with his retinue in blue and yellow velvet, then the
judges, next the newly-made Knights of the Bath in violet gowns with
hoods lined and trimmed with white fur. After them came the abbots,
then the nobility and the bishops. The Archbishop of York rode with the
ambassador of Venice, and Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, with the
French ambassador. Then followed two esquires wearing the coronet of
Normandy and Aquitaine, the lord-mayor with his mace and garter, several
more knights and nobles. Close behind them was an open litter drawn by
two white horses led by footmen dressed in white damask. In this litter
sat the bright object of the parade in a jacket of silver tissue, mantle
of the same lined with ermine, her dark hair falling in pretty contrast
over her shoulders. A band of precious stones encircled her head, and
above her was held by four knights on foot a canopy covered with cloth
of cold.

The master of the horse led the queen's own riding animal, bearing
a rich side-saddle with trappings of cloth of {393}gold that reached
nearly to the ground. Seven ladies on horseback, dressed in crimson
velvet, followed; then came two chariots, in one of which sat the old
Duchess of Norfolk with the Marchioness of Dorset, and in the other four
ladies of the bed-chamber. Fourteen more ladies with their waiting maids
came next, and the guard brought up the rear.

[Illustration: 8387]

At Fenchurch street was a pageant of children dressed up to represent
different kinds of merchants, who welcomed the queen both in French and
English, the whole procession halting for that purpose. At a corner of
another street was an enormous fountain that poured forth fine Rhenish
wine all day long, of which anybody could drink just as much as he
chose. One of the pageants was a white falcon similar to the one on
the barge, with this difference: it sat uncrowned amidst red and
white roses, and when the queen came opposite it, an angel flew down,
accompanied by soft music, and placed a crown of gold on its head. A
fountain of red wine flowed at another corner, and the three Graces stood
above it on a throne, before which sat a poet who recited verses and
presented the queen with appropriate gifts from Faith, Hope and Charity.

The city recorder handed the queen a purse containing a thousand marks
in gold, which she graciously received with thanks. At Cheapside was
a rich pageant from which proceeded music and singing, while Pallas,
Venus, and Juno held up their apples of gold containing wisdom, riches,
and felicity, which they presented to the queen. Over the gate of St.
Paul's was a banner with this inscription in Latin: "Proceed, Queen
Anne, and reign prosperously."

On a scaffold near by were two hundred children, all beautifully
dressed, who recited verses, and so after passing several other pageants
and fountains of red and white wine, the queen arrived at Westminster.
The palace was richly decorated within and without. She rode to the very
middle of the hall, where she was assisted to alight from her litter,
and led up the high dais, where she took her seat under the canopy of
state. At her left side stood a cabinet with ten shelves filled with
rich and costly cups and goblets of gold. After partaking of wine, cake,
and sugar-plums, which were handed to her ladies also, she withdrew
to change her dress, and probably to rest, for all the parading and
sightseeing of the past several hours must have been rather fatiguing.

The next day was the one that Anne had looked forward to for many years;
the one that was to place her on the throne of England. It was the
1st of July, and at a little after eight o'clock on that bright summer
morning she stood under her canopy of state in a purple velvet mantle
lined with ermine, a band of rubies encircling her brow. There was the
usual procession for such occasions, and the queen was conducted to
the high altar in Westminster Abbey, where she prostrated herself while
Cranmer recited part of the service. Then he anointed her on the head
and breast, placed the crown on her head, and handed her the sceptre,
while the choir sang the Te Deum. She returned to her seat between the
high altar and the choir, where she remained to the end of the mass,
when her father led her to her private room off Westminster Hall to
wait till the banquet was prepared. Then all the great earls stood
in {395}gorgeous attire prepared to wait on the queen in different
capacities, the Duke of Suffolk as high steward, assisted by Lord
William Howard, the Earl of Sussex as carver, the Earl of Arundel as
chief butler, and so on.

When all was ready, the queen entered the hall with her canopy borne
over her, washed her hands in the perfumed water poured over them by Sir
Thomas Wyatt, and took her seat at the table, the Countesses of
Oxford and Worcester standing on either side of her chair, while two
gentlewomen sat at her feet. All the tables in the hall were beautifully
laid and tastefully decorated, and there was music all through the meal.
The king took no part in this ceremony at all, but remained shut up
in the cloister of St. Stephen's a part of the abbey, whence he could
overlook all the proceedings without being seen himself. During the
dinner the Duke of Suffolk and Lord William Howard rode up and down the
hall, laughing and chatting with the lords and ladies, and when it was
over commanded them to remain in their places until the queen had washed
her hands. She arose and stood in the middle of the hall, while the Earl
of Sussex brought her some sweetmeats. Then the lord-mayor brought her a
golden cup filled with wine. After she had drunk, she presented him the
cup and walked towards the door of her room under her canopy. Before
disappearing, she turned and presented the gold bells, canopy, and all
its decorations to the barons who had carried it.

On the following day there were jousts before the king and queen in the
tilt-yard. But the pope did not approve of this second marriage, and so
expelled the royal couple from the church; and Henry's cousin Cardinal
Pole, wrote him letters of reproach, calling Anne "Jezebel,"

"Sorceress," and many other horrible names. Nevertheless, the king
treated her with all the dignity of her station, and had {396}her
initial A joined with his own on all the gold and silver coins that were
struck after their marriage. Henry VIII. was the first and last monarch
of England who ever paid his wife that compliment.

Sir Thomas More was one of Anne's special enemies, because he remained
true in his friendship for Queen Katherine to the day of her death. When
his daughter visited him in the Tower he asked her "how Queen Anne did?"

"Never better," she replied: "there is nothing else at court but dancing
and sporting."

"Never better!" said he, "alas! Meg, alas! it pitieth me to think into
what misery, poor soul, she will shortly come. These dances of hers will
prove such dances that she will spurn our heads off like foot-balls,
but it will not be long ere her head will dance the like dance." Her
tragical end proves the truth of that poet's prophetic words.

When that great and good man was executed, the announcement of it was
made to Henry while he happened to be playing cards with Anne. "Thou art
the cause of this man's death," he cried, looking at her angrily, and
rising from the table. He then shut himself up in his room, deeply
grieved.

[[A.D. 1533.]] In 1533 Anne had a little daughter born, who afterwards
became the renowned Queen Elizabeth. The opposition her marriage had met
with from Rome caused Anne to side with the Reformation party,
though she always continued a Catholic at heart, and observed all the
ceremonies of that church. It is probable that she took no part in the
cruelty that Henry exercised over the pious reformers, but it is certain
that she made no effort to prevent it; for had she done so, she was
still powerful enough to have succeeded. She had enjoyed one triumph.

Probably this change was due to the influence of the reformer, Hugh
Latimer, whom she rescued from prison, where he had been sent by the
bishop of London; for it was after he preached to her and pointed out
her duty that she so generously distributed alms and even paid for the
education of promising lads who were likely to devote themselves to the
church. She must often have felt that {397}after another, but when she
reached the very summit of her greatness, no doubt she found that her
path had been more thickly strewn with thorns than roses, and that in
reading the Scriptures she felt the force of the text, which says: "What
is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"
She became grave and serious, and spent more time at needlework with her
ladies, whom she assisted in making clothing which she distributed among
the poor.

[Illustration: 0401]

{398}her position on the throne of England was not very secure, for as
her capricious husband had behaved towards his first wife might he not
behave towards her also?

When the news of Katharine's death was brought to her she exclaimed:
"Now I am indeed a queen!" But it was not long before she was suffering
all the bitter pangs that the good queen over whose death she rejoiced
had endured.

Henry had grown tired of her, and was carrying on a flirtation with the
beautiful Jane Seymour, one of her attendants. And so, under one pretext
or another, her friends were either beheaded or locked up in the Tower.

At last her turn came, and just as she had finished her dinner, on the
2d of May, the Duke of Norfolk, with Cromwell and other lords of the
council entered, while Sir William Kingston, lieutenant of the Tower,
stood in the doorway.

Anne asked "why they had come?" They replied: "That they came by the
king's command to conduct her to the Tower, there to abide during his
highness' pleasure."

"If it be his majesty's pleasure I am ready to obey," she said, going
with them to her barge without waiting to make the least change in her
garments. Arriving at the Tower, she was placed in the apartment she
had occupied on the night before her coronation. Her attendants were two
enemies, who were particularly disagreeable to her--Lady Boleyn and Mrs.
Cosyns. These two women never left her, night or day, for they slept on
a pallet at the foot of her bed, and reported every word she uttered.
They made all sorts of impertinent remarks to her, and kept constantly
annoying her with questions by which they hoped to prove something
against her.

The poor queen was so affected by her close imprisonment that at times
she seemed to have lost her reason. She wrote a touching letter to the
king, appealing to his {399}mercy, but he took not the slightest notice
of it, and just one week after she was sent to prison a charge of high
treason was made by the grand jury of Westminster against Anne Boleyn,
her brother, and four of her best friends.

The friends were condemned to death, as almost everybody was in
Henry VIII.'s reign who was brought to trial for high treason, though
sometimes they were not even tried at all.

Twenty-six "lords' triers," from the body of nobles in England were
selected to try Lord Rochford, Anne's brother; and, although he defended
himself with great spirit and eloquence, and many of the judges sided
with him, he was found guilty.

After his removal, Anne, Queen of England, was called into court by an
usher.

She appeared immediately, and took her stand "with the true dignity of a
queen, courtesying to her judges without any sign of fear."

The charges were read, and she pleaded "Not guilty," but the trial was
continued for a long time, and ended by a verdict of guilty. It was
her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, who presided at this trial, and he
pronounced her sentence. She was condemned to be burnt or beheaded,
at the king's pleasure. Anne Boleyn heard this dreadful doom without
changing color, but when her stern kinsman had ended, she clasped her
hands and raising her eyes to Heaven exclaimed: "O Father! O Creator!
Thou who art the way the life, and the truth, knowest whether I have
deserved this death."

She then turned to her judges and proclaimed her innocence of every
charge made against her, closing her remarks with: "Think not I say this
in the hope of prolonging my life. God has taught me how to die, and
he will strengthen my faith. As for my brother and those others who are
unjustly {400}condemned, I would willingly suffer many deaths to deliver
them; but since I see it so pleases the king I shall willingly accompany
them to death, with this assurance, that I shall lead an endless life
with them in peace." With a composed air, she rose, made a parting
salutation to her judges, and left the court.

The 19th of May was the day appointed for her execution, and the
interval was passed in prayer and confession, receiving the sacraments
of the church, and other preparations for death.

It was the king's pleasure that she should be beheaded in the grounds
of the Tower, and that no strangers should be admitted. A headsman
from Calais was brought over to do the horrible deed, because he was
considered particularly expert. Anne Boleyn's fate had had no precedent
in English history, for even in the Norman reigns of terror woman's
life had been held sacred, and the most merciless of the Plantagenet
sovereigns had been too manly to butcher ladies. But the age of chivalry
was over, and Henry VIII. was the first sovereign who sent queens and
princesses to the block, without justice or mercy.

The unfortunate queen was duly informed of her fate; her mournful
experience had shown her the vanity and vexation of flattery. Beauty,
wealth, genius, pleasure, power, royalty, had all been hers, and whither
had they led her?

She had not condescended to implore the mercy of the king, for she knew
his pitiless nature too well even to attempt to touch his feelings. She
passed the last night in prayer, and when morning came, and she heard
that her execution was to be a few hours later than she expected, she
said to Mr. Kingston: "I hear I shall not die afore noon, and I am
very sorry, for I thought to be dead by this time, and past my pain,"
{401}Mr. Kingston told her that the pain would be little and very short.

"I have heard say," she replied, "that the executioner is very good,
and I have a little neck," and she spanned it with her hands, laughing
heartily as she did so.

[[A.D. 1536.]] Her last message to the king was: "Commend me to his
majesty, and tell him he hath been ever constant in his career of
advancing me; from a private gentlewoman he made me a marchioness, from
a marchioness a queen, and now he hath left no higher degree of honor he
gives my innocency the crown of martyrdom."

A few minutes before twelve o'clock the massive doors of the Tower were
thrown open, and the royal victim appeared in a robe of black damask
with a deep white cape falling around her shoulders.

She looked very beautiful when she ascended the scaffold, with a calm
and dignified air, and turning to Kingston she requested him not to
hasten the signal of her death until she had spoken what she desired to
say.

Then she began: "Good Christian people, I am come hither to die by the
law, therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to
accuse no man, but only to die, and to yield myself humbly unto the will
of my lord the king. I pray God to save the king, and send him long to
reign over you, for a gentler or more merciful prince there never was.
If any person will meddle with my cause, I require them to judge the
best. Thus I take my leave of the world and of you, and I heartily
desire that you all will pray for me." She then removed her hat and
collar, as well as the close cap from her head, and handed them to her
ladies, who were weeping so bitterly that they could not aid her.
Then turning to them she said: "And ye, my damsels, who ever showed
yourselves so diligent in my service, and who are now to be present at
my last hour {402}and mortal agony, as in good fortune ye were faithful
to me, so even in this my miserable death ye do not forsake me. And as
I cannot reward you for your true service to me, I pray you take comfort
for my loss. Forget me not, and be always faithful to the king's grace,
and to her whom with happier fortune, ye may have as your queen and
mistress. Esteem your honor far above your life, and in prayers forget
not to pray for my soul."

Mary Wyatt, the sister of Sir Thomas Wyatt, the poet, who was one of
Anne's devoted friends, attended her on the scaffold, and received her
last gift, which was a little book of devotions bound in black enamel
and gilt. She then whispered a few words to this lady, and kneeling
down, placed her head upon the block. Time was allowed the poor
unfortunate queen to say; "O Lord God, have pity on my soul," when the
sword fell. With one stroke, the head of Anne Boleyn was severed from
her body, and rolled in the dust.

There is a black marble monument in the ancient church of
Horndon-on-the-Hill, in Essex, pointed out as the burial place of Anne
Boleyn, but as it bears no name, no notice or inscription of any kind,
there is no proof that her body lies there.

A great epic poet has beautifully said:--

               "Tradition! oh, tradition! thou of the seraph tongue;

               The ark that links two ages, the ancient and the young."

{403}



CHAPTER XXIV. JANE SEYMOUR, THIRD QUEEN OF HENRY VIII.

(A.D. 1536-1537.)

|Jane Seymour has always been pronounced the most beautiful of all the
wives of Henry VIII. But she has also been presented to the world as a
meritorious, discreet, young woman. We cannot consider her so when we
remember that within twenty-four hours after Anne Boleyn's head was cut
off she became the king's wife. For it must have been while acting
as maid of honor for that unhappy lady that she not only received the
attentions of her fickle, heartless husband, but even made all the
necessary arrangements for her marriage with him. We shudder at the
thought of the preparations that must have been going forward for
the wedding-feast at the palace, while the Tower was the scene of
heart-rending agony to the queen, who was about to sacrifice her life
for the gratification of a tyrant.

The giddiness of youth cannot be pleaded as apology for Jane Seymour's
indecency, for she was no child when she permitted herself to be courted
by the royal Bluebeard, and must have been entirely conscious of the
enormity of her actions.

Perhaps her early education was at fault, but of that little is known
excepting that it was acquired in France. She was maid of honor to Mary
Tudor, queen of Louis XII., and went to England after her dismissal
from the French court. Anne Boleyn occupied a similar position at the
{404}same time, therefore the two maids of honor probably knew each
other intimately.

One day, after Anne Boleyn had ascended the throne, she observed
a locket that hung from a pretty gold chain about the neck of Jane
Seymour, and expressed a desire to see it closer. The maid of honor
blushed, faltered, and drew back, whereupon the queen snatched the
locket from her, opened it, and beheld the likeness of the king, her
husband.

From that moment Anne Boleyn knew that her fate was sealed; she was
indignant, but that availed her nothing. She found herself supplanted
by a rival as she had supplanted her predecessor. Perhaps her punishment
was deserved, but it does not justify the conduct of the king or his new
lady-love.

[[A.D. 1536.]] When the axe made Henry VIII. a widower, Jane Seymour was
at Wolf Hall, in Wiltshire, and her royal lover at Richmond Park. On the
morning of the 19th of May his majesty stood under a spreading oak, with
his huntsmen and hounds prepared for the chaise, awaiting the signal gun
from the Tower to announce that he was free. At last the welcome sound
reached his ear. "Ha, ha!" he cried, "the deed is done! uncouple the
hounds and away." This was all the regret he expressed for the death of
the woman he had pretended to love so well.

His widowhood lasted just one night, for the next morning he was at Wolf
Hall, where he was united to the beautiful Jane Seymour. The ceremony
was performed in the parish church, and was succeeded by a feast at
which several members of the king's privy council were present.

Then the royal couple proceeded to Winchester, and from there to London.
A grand reception was held on the 29th of May, when Jane was presented
as queen.

When parliament met, a few days later, the lord-chan-

{405}

[Illustration: 0409]

cellor {407}made a lengthy speech setting forth the king's virtues,
trying to justify his vagaries in the matrimonial line by a great deal
of tedious, false reasoning, and winding up with the information that
Anne Boleyn's daughter was not heir to the throne of England. Part of
this speech was devoted to setting forth the noble sacrifices made by
Henry VIII. for the benefit of his people.

The speaker chosen by the House of Commons went further, and loaded
the king with the most fulsome compliments, comparing him to Samson,
Solomon, and Absalom combined. Thus was Henry VIII. encouraged in his
wickedness, until, as Cardinal Wolsey wisely said: "he actually forgot
that there was both heaven and hell."

The Princess Mary was on good terms with her stepmother, who effected
a reconciliation between her and the king; but the conditions were so
cruel, that there was not much to be grateful for. Perhaps Jane was
not responsible for them, and as we have so little that is favorable
to relate of this queen, we will give her the benefit of the doubt. She
made no enemies, because she avoided expressing any decided opinions,
and preserved as much as possible a placid silence, and permitted
herself to be governed, in all things, by her husband. If regard for her
head prompted such behavior, at least she was wise.

The winter of 1537 was a remarkably cold one, and the royal couple with
their entire court crossed the frozen Thames on horseback, so thick and
solid was the ice.

Henry's two other queens had been crowned, so he thought the same
honor ought to be conferred on the third, but the continuance of the
pestilence caused that ceremony to be postponed so long that death
prevented it altogether, for Jane Seymour lived only eighteen months
after her marriage. Meanwhile, she was living at Hampton Court, where
her little son was born, who afterwards became Edward VI.

vet cloth. On top of this pall was a wax figure resembling the dead
queen dressed in regal robes with a crown, sceptre, and jewels.

On the 12th of November the car was drawn by six horses to St. George's
Chapel, where the corpse was interred.

Henry VIII. wrote a letter to Francis I. rejoicing over the birth of
his son and expressing considerable regret at the death of his wife. He
really did put on mourning attire, and appeared depressed in spirits for
several weeks. This is all that could be expected of so worldly and gay
a king.

[[A.D. 1537.]] This prince was baptized at midnight, and both his
sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, took part in the ceremony, which was
succeeded by such a blowing of trumpets as must have been very trying,
indeed, to the nerves of a young infant.

[Illustration: 0412]

The next day Jane Seymour died. Her body was embalmed and laid on a car
of state covered with a rich velvet.

{409}



CHAPTER XXV. ANNE OF CLEVES, FOURTH QUEEN OF HENRY VIII.

(A.D. 1516-1577.)

|Anne of Cleves was a most unfortunate, ill-treated princess, but she
possessed so many virtues that she surely deserved a better fate than
to become the wife of a king so devoid of the feelings of a gentleman as
Henry' VIII.

After the death of his third queen, this capricious monarch did not find
it so easy to get another as he probably expected it would be. Certainly
it must have been a woman of rare courage who would willingly subject
herself to such a yoke, knowing the experience of his other victims.

Jane Seymour had not been dead more than a month when he made a request
of Francis I. that he might be permitted to choose a lady from the royal
blood of France for his queen. That monarch replied, "that there was
not a damsel of any degree in his own dominions who should not be at his
disposal."

Henry was quite flattered at this compliment, and thought it would only
be necessary for him to put out his hand to secure any woman he might
condescend to favor, so he requested Francis just to bring all the
fairest ladies of his court to Calais for him to take his choice.
The gallantry of the French king was shocked at such an idea, and he
replied, "that it was impossible to bring ladies of noble blood to
market as horses are trotted out at a fair."

Then Henry wanted to marry James V.'s lady-love, whom he had seen and
admired, not paying the slightest attention to the fact that she was
already engaged. When he found it impossible to get her, he was ready to
consider the proposition of his ambassador with regard to her sister or
Mademoiselle Vendôme.

"Let them be brought to Calais," he said, "and I will take a look at
them."

"That would be impossible," was the reply; "but your majesty could send
somebody to Paris to see them."

"Good gracious! how can I depend upon any one but myself?" asked Henry.
"I must see them, and hear them sing; and what is more, I must see how
they look while they are singing," he added.

By the end of the year he found that there was no hope for him in
France, so he put on a most melancholy air, and pretended to be
dreadfully grieved at the death of his pretty Jane.

This state of mind lasted for about two years; then Cromwell spoke in
such flattering terms of the princesses of the house of Cleves that
Henry began to think he had played the _rôle_ of forlorn widower long
enough.

Cromwell had only seen Sybilla, the eldest daughter of the Duke of
Cleves. She was married to the Duke of Saxony, and was famed for
her talents, virtues, charming manners, and extreme beauty. But
unfortunately for Henry, Anne, the second daughter, was as unlike
her sister as possible, and had no accomplishments whatever, with the
exception of needlework.

Holbein, the celebrated Dutch artist, was required to paint the
portraits of both Anne and her younger sister, Amelia, for Henry's
inspection, and Christopher Mount was sent to negotiate the treaty of
marriage. He wrote a letter to Cromwell filled with Anne's praises and
said, "she as far excelleth the Dutchess of Saxony as the golden sun
excelleth the silver moon." {411}The Duke of Saxony was very much
opposed to a union of his sister-in-law with a man of Henry VIII.'s
character, but he was the champion of the Reformation, and Christopher
Mount assured him "that the cause of Protestantism in Europe would be
greatly advanced by the influence of a Lutheran Queen of England, for
Henry was easily managed through his wives."

The Duke of Cleves died in 1559, but his son, who succeeded him, favored
Anne's marriage with King Henry, and so did their mother, both being
strong allies of the Protestant cause, and feeling that even though
it might be a sacrifice, it ought to be made for the sake of their
religion.

One of Henry's commissioners wrote him that Anne "occupieth much of
her time with her needle. She can read and write her own language, but
French and Latin or other language she knoweth not; nor yet can sing or
play on any instrument, for they take it here in Germany for a rebuke
and an occasion of lightness that great ladies should be learned, or
have any knowledge of music." He also speaks of her gentle and amiable
temper, but above all he praises her sobriety, which is quite amusing.

Ever since the death of Jane Seymour the Catholics and Protestants of
England had vied with each other as to which should be next represented
in the queen. It was the magic brush of Hans Holbein that decided the
question, and Cromwell won a triumph over Gardiner, Norfolk, and his
other rivals, though it brought him ruin at last.

At length all matters of state policy and ceremony were arranged, and
the young princess bade farewell to her mother, brother, and sisters, by
whom she was tenderly beloved.

The first week in October, 1539, she left her native city, Dusseldorf on
the Rhine, attended by a splendid escort. On her arrival at Antwerp she
was received by the English {412}merchants there, who gave her a
grand torchlight procession by daylight. Next day she proceeded on her
journey, and arrived at Calais December 11.

About a mile outside of the town she was met by a regiment of armed
men, with the king's archers, all in gay attire, besides the Earl of
Southampton, Lord William Howard, and many other lords and gentlemen.
Gregory Cromwell, with twenty-four others wore coats of satin damask
and velvet, with gold chains of great value, and two hundred yeoman who
followed them were dressed in the king's colors, red and blue cloth.

The Earl of Southampton welcomed the royal bride and conducted her into
Calais, where such a peal of guns was shot from the ships on her arrival
that all her retinue were astonished. Then firing began all along the
coast, and was continued by the vessels until there were one hundred and
fifty rounds, and so much smoke that the people in Anne's train could
scarcely see each other.

The following day she was presented by the mayor with a hundred gold
sovereigns, and for about three weeks after her arrival there were all
sorts of pastimes and festivities. Meanwhile Henry impatiently awaited
his long-expected bride, and busied himself with the execution of four
worthy abbots.

The wind did not favor her progress until the 27th, when she embarked,
attended by a fleet of fifty ships, and arrived at Deal the same day.
The princess was received by a great company of ladies and gentlemen,
and conducted to Dover Castle, where she remained until the next Monday,
when, in a dreadful storm, she set out for Canterbury. Several days
of travel brought the royal bride to Rochester, and New Year's Day was
spent at the bishop's palace in that town.

The king was so impatient to see her, that, in company {423}with eight
of his gentlemen-in-waiting, he rode to Rochester to steal a look at
his German bride, who, no doubt he thought, would rival the bright-eyed
Boleyn and the fair Seymour.

On his arrival he sent a messenger to inform Anne "that he had brought
her a New Year's gift, if she would please to receive it."

He followed his messenger into the room where she sat, but a glance was
sufficient to show him that he had been deceived. She was by no means a
pretty woman, and Henry regarded himself as an injured person in having
to marry her. Perhaps she was not more charmed with his appearance or
manners, but she sank upon her knees at his approach and did her best
to receive him lovingly. He raised her gently, and kissed her, but there
could not have been much conversation between them so long as they had
to employ an interpreter. Besides her language was so displeasing to his
musical ear that he did not want to hear more of it than he could help,
though he knew before she came that she could speak no English. The
moment he left her presence he sent for the lords who had brought her
over and made his complaints.

The New Year's gift that he had provided for Anne was a muff and tippet
of rich sable, but when he found she was not handsome he would not honor
her by presenting it with his own hands, but sent it on the following
morning by a messenger.

He returned to Greenwich in a melancholy frame of mind, and abused
Cromwell for having provided him with a wife whom, with his usual
brutality, he called a "great Flanders mare." Cromwell tried to put
the blame on the Earl of Southampton, and said: "That when he found the
princess so different from the pictures, and the reports that had been
made of her, he ought to have stopped her {414}at Calais till he had
given the king notice that she was not so handsome as she had been
represented." The admiral replied bluntly "that he was not invested with
any such authority, his commission was to bring her to England, and he
had obeyed orders." The king interrupted them by ordering them to find
some means to get him out of his engagement. There was a great deal of
discussion about the matter, but no objection to the marriage could
be invented that would be at all satisfactory to Anne's relations in
Germany, so Cromwell assured the king that as a matter of policy he must
do nothing to gain the ill-will of her friends.

"Is there no remedy but that I must needs put my neck into this yoke?"
exclaimed Henry, passionately.

After these gracious words, which it is to be hoped did not reach the
ears of the insulted lady who was waiting his orders at Dartford, he
commanded the most splendid preparations to be made for his marriage. On
the 3d of January a rich tent, covered with cloth of gold, was pitched
at the foot of Shooter's Hill for the royal bride, and other tents
around for her ladies. Twelve hundred gentlemen were ranged in double
file from the park gates to the heath awaiting the arrival of the king
with his bride. About twelve o'clock her grace came down from Shooter's
Hill, accompanied by a hundred of her own nation, the Dukes of Norfolk
and Suffolk, the Archbishop of Canterbury, with other bishops, lords and
knights who had come from France, and went towards the tents, where
Dr. Kaye, her almoner, presented all the officers and servants of her
household, and addressed to her an eloquent Latin oration, of which she
did not understand a word. It was answered by her brother's secretary,
who acted as interpreter. Then Anne stepped out of her chariot, and was
saluted and welcomed by sixty-five ladies, whom she thanked and kissed,
after {415}which all entered the tents to warm themselves, for the
weather was exceedingly cold and disagreeable. When the king heard that
his bride had arrived at her tent he set out through the park to meet
her, accompanied by the officers of his council and his gentlemen in
waiting, all richly attired in velvet coats embroidered in gold, and
mounted on fine large horses. The Marquis of Dorset rode alone, attired
in purple velvet and bearing the king's sword of state. Some distance
behind him came Henry VIII., mounted on a splendid white courser with
trappings of cloth of gold embroidered with pearls. All the buckles,
bit, and pendants were of solid gold. The king wore an embroidered
purple velvet coat, the sleeves and breast of which were slashed,
showing cloth of gold beneath, and fastened together with large buttons
of diamonds, rubies, and oriental pearls. His sword and girdle were
studded with costly emeralds, and his cap was so covered with jewels
that it was not possible to fix a value on it. Around his neck was a
deep collar thickly studded with rubies and pearls.

When the bride was informed of Henry's approach she walked out of
her tent, mounted a white horse, and, surrounded by her footmen, rode
forward to meet him. Her dress was made of rich cloth of gold, cut round
in Dutch fashion without a train. On her head she wore a close cap,
above which was a circular bonnet ornamented with oriental pearls.
Across her brow was a coronet of black velvet, and around her neck a
band of superb diamonds. Henry saluted her in the most courteous manner,
took off his hat and embraced her as though he really cared for her,
while she, not forgetting her duty, and perhaps the instructions she had
received, thanked him sweetly and praised the arrangements he had made
for her reception. No doubt he was pleased with all the flattering
remarks she {416}felt obliged to make to him. Then he put her on his
right side and they rode along together, he acting a deceitful part in
trying to appear pleased, and she filled with indignation at the way he
had scorned her.

When the grand cavalcade that followed and preceded the royal pair
arrived at Greenwich Castle all the men alighted from their horses
excepting the king, who rode to the inner court with his bride. When the
queen had alighted from her horse Henry tenderly embraced her, and bade
her "welcome to her own," then conducted her through the hall that had
been prepared for her reception. There he left her and went to his
room, where he had an interview with Cromwell, to whom he made bitter
complaints about the appearance of his unlucky bride.

Cromwell said he was sorry his grace was not better satisfied, whereupon
Henry bade him call his council together to see whether they could not
hit upon some plan for getting him out of this marriage. The council met
that very afternoon, but failed to aid the king out of his dilemma,
and this put him in such a bad humor that he would not say what he had
determined to do until the next Monday morning; then he ordered the
marriage ceremony to be performed next day, without even consulting the
bride..

He wore a gown of cloth of gold, with raised silver flowers all over it.
His coat was crimson satin embroidered and slashed, the points fastened
with large diamonds, and a rich collar about his neck.

He entered the presence-chamber, and calling Cromwell to him, said, "My
lord, if it were not to satisfy the world and my realm, I would not do
what I must do this day for any earthly thing." Then one of the officers
of the household informed him that the queen was ready. He advanced
towards her chamber door, but had to wait {417}several minutes before
she appeared, which made him very angry. Who can blame the poor woman
for her tardiness? she would have been excusable if she had refused to
come at all. At last Henry sent one of his lords to bring her. She was
dressed in a robe of cloth of gold, thickly embroidered in large flowers
of oriental pearls. The skirt was cut, as before, round without a train,
and at her neck and waist were costly jewels. Her hair fell luxuriantly
over her shoulders, and on her head was a coronet of diamonds, with a
few sprigs of rosemary. She walked modestly forward, between the
Earls of Overstein and Essex, with a sad, demure expression, and on
approaching the spot where the king stood made three low obeisances. She
was followed by her ladies.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Cranmer performed the marriage
ceremony, the Earl of Overstein gave her away, and on her wedding-ring
was engraved this sentence "God send me weel to keepe."

On the 4th of February the king and queen went up the Thames in grand
state to their palace of Westminster. Henry kept up an outward show of
attention to his bride, but she knew not the art of pleasing, felt no
sympathy with his tastes, and could not gain his affection.

She knew this, but could not help it. Several times she sent for
Cromwell, hoping with his advice to be more successful, but he
positively refused to talk privately with her. He had reasons of his own
for doing so.

On the 1st of May a company of the gallant knights at court, all dressed
in white velvet with rich ornaments, had a grand tournament in honor of
the recent marriage, and this was the last time Henry and Anne of Cleves
ever appeared together in public.

Anne studied the English language industriously, and tried in every
possible manner to please her lord, but by {418}the end of five months
she was convinced that it was hopeless.

There was a low-born, unprincipled creature at court, named Sir Thomas
Wriothesley, who would have done or said anything to gain favor with his
sovereign, and he kept constantly lamenting over Henry's position, and
how hard it was for him to be bound to a wife whom he could not love. In
this way he prepared the way for a divorce, and Henry was only too ready
to avail himself of any excuse. Now his sensitive conscience began to
trouble him again. This time it was on the score of religion; he could
not bear to think of having a Lutheran wife. No wonder poor Anne lost
patience, and in a moment of pique, told him that, "if she had not been
compelled to marry him she might have fulfilled her engagement with
another to whom she had promised her hand."

That was enough for him; she could scarcely have said anything that
would have suited him better, and he at once set to work to make her
position as unpleasant as possible. His first move was to dismiss all
her foreign attendants, and supply their places with English ladies of
his own selection.

By this time he was in love with the young and beautiful Katharine
Howard, niece to the Duke of Norfolk, and had decided to make her his
wife as soon as he could manage it. The leaders of the Catholic party
favored this union, and hoped at the same time for the downfall of their
great enemy, Cromwell. They were soon to be gratified, for Henry now
required a tool, who would not be guided by the nice feelings of a
gentleman, for carrying out his plans. Cromwell was not such a one,
and he must be put out of the way. In this reign of terror nothing was
easier, and in less than a month he was arrested and shut up in the
Tower.

A few days later Anne was sent to Richmond under pretence {419}that her
health required change of air, and this was the prelude to the divorce
for which Henry had now grown impatient.

Archbishop Cranmer had performed the marriage ceremony, and it now
became his duty to divorce the king for the third time in less than
seven years. This was accomplished by unanimous consent of the clergy
July 13. As the queen was a stranger to English laws and customs, she
was spared the humiliation of appearing before the council.

When everything was settled, Suffolk, Southampton, and Wriothesley
were appointed to go to Richmond to get the queen's consent. She was
so alarmed when she saw them that before the true object of their visit
could be explained to her she fell fainting to the ground. No doubt the
poor woman thought she was on the point of having her head cut off.
When she recovered consciousness, she was told that if she would resign
her title as queen Henry would adopt her for a sister, and that she
should be endowed with estates to the value of £3,000 a year. This was
an immense relief, and Anne expressed her willingness to resign her
honors with such alacrity that the lords were quite surprised.

When Henry heard this, and saw the paper she had signed to that effect,
he could not believe that she was so ready to part with so supremely
precious a person. Fearing that she might relent, he wrote to his
council requesting them to have her write a letter to her brother
explaining her position, and expressing her earnest desire for the
divorce.

Anne then wrote her mother and brother that she was honorably treated,
and felt quite cheerful and contented. She hoped that no dispute would
arise between her native land and England, where she purposed spending
her life, and begged them in no way to interfere, no doubt dreading that
if they did so it would be visited on her head.

In the meantime Anne passed her time very pleasantly at Richmond,
dressed magnificently, and performed many deeds of charity; in short,
she was happier than she had been since her departure from home.

Sixteen months later Katharine was thrown into prison, and then several
attempts were made by various parties to bring about the reunion of
Henry and Anne, but fortunately for her without success. From her
retirement she heard

[[A.D. 1540.]] On the 28th of July, Cromwell was beheaded, and the
pious, learned Doctor Barnes, who had been instrumental in bringing
about the marriage, was burned at the stake.

[Illustration: 0424]

In August Henry visited his divorced wife at Richmond, and was so well
received by her that he stayed to supper and seemed in excellent humor.
Two days later he publicly introduced Katharine Howard at court as his
queen. {421}of the misery the king endured when he became convinced
of how his new wife had deceived him, and she must have been more than
human if she did not feel somewhat gratified when the royal Bluebeard
was compelled to part from her.

Katharine Howard enjoyed sixteen months of boundless influence over her
husband, but her lucky star was soon to wane, and without being allowed
to open her lips in her own defence save to her confessor, she walked
like a sheep to the slaughter. Her execution took place February 13.

[[A.D. 1577.]] Anne of Cleves outlived Henry VIII. and his last wife,
and died during the reign of Queen Mary at the Palace of Chelsea, aged
forty-one.

[Illustration: 0425]

{422}



CHAPTER XXVI. KATHARINE HOWARD, FIFTH QUEEN OF HENRY VIII.

(A.D. 1521-1542.)

|There is not a family in England whose name has appeared so often in
its history, whether for good or for bad, as that of the Howards, nor
one whose members filled such varied and important positions, as every
attentive reader will admit.

Katharine Howard was nearly related to Anne Boleyn; she became the fifth
wife of Henry VIII., and is by no means one of the nobler specimens of
the family to which she belonged.

She was born in 1521, and had the misfortune to lose her mother while
she was still young. Her father's duties called him from home a greater
part of the time, and the Duchess of Norfolk, her grandmother, who had
charge of Katharine, was so neglectful of her duty as to permit the
child to choose her own companions, and they were unfortunately low and
degraded.

Unlike most grandmothers, the duchess merely tolerated Katharine in her
household, and felt that she had performed her part when the little maid
was locked in her room, and the key safely deposited in her own pocket.
But, like many naughty girls, Katharine managed, in spite of locks, to
meet Francis Derham, one of the Duke of Norfolk's retainers, to whom she
secretly engaged herself. In order to be nearer his lady-love, Derham
entered the service of her grandmother as gentleman-usher. After a
{423}time the old lady began to observe certain signs of intimacy
between this pair of lovers, and on entering a room one day unexpectedly
she found them romping together. Shocked at the familiarity of her usher
towards her granddaughter, she boxed the ears of the lady-attendant
for permitting it, punished Katharine, and dismissed Derham from her
service.

[Illustration: 0427]

After that Katharine was kept under greater restraint, and as she grew
into womanhood learned to behave properly, and became remarkable for her
charming and graceful manners.

She met Henry VIII. the first time at a banquet given by the Bishop of
Winchester to celebrate the monarch's marriage with Anne of Cleves, and
afterwards at the house of Gardiner. The king took such a fancy to her
that it was not long before he secured her appointment as maid-of-honor
to the queen. It has been supposed that Katharine was instrumental in
bringing about the death of {424}Cromwell, but, as she only intrigued
for the king's favors, it is not probable that she troubled her head
about politics.

Henry VIII. fell in love with her as he had done with Anne Boleyn and
Jane Seymour, when they were maids-of-honor, and little Katharine was
silly enough to be flattered by the marks of favor he showed her. The
Duchess of Norfolk, instead of warning the girl of her danger, was
foolish enough to encourage her to court the king's attention, and
provided her with fine clothes to make her as attractive as possible to
his majesty.

Henry was easily won, and privately married Katharine a few days after
he was divorced from Anne of Cleves.

[[A.D. 1540.]] On the 8th of August, 1540, the new bride was introduced
at Hampton Court as Queen of England. A short honeymoon was passed at
Windsor, and then the royal couple made a tour through several counties,
but the king had exhausted his treasury when he married his Flemish
bride, so he could not honor Katharine Howard with either a coronation
or a marriage festival. But he was very much in love, and lavished
affection on her.

Six months of peace and happiness were enjoyed by the royal couple,
Henry seldom leaving the side of his young wife, nor permitting any of
his councillors to interrupt his pleasures. Katharine felt her power and
forgot what had been the fate of her predecessors. She was soon to
be reminded, however, for the realm had become divided into two
parties--the Catholic and Protestant, and both were strong. The
Reformers fondly hoped that Anne of Cleves might be restored to her
former position, and regarded Katharine in the same unfavorable light as
Anne Boleyn had been looked upon by the Catholics.

At last, in the spring, came a crisis in the shape of an insurrection by
the Catholics in Yorkshire, headed by Sir {425}

[Illustration: 0429] {427}John Neville. Henry thought Cardinal Pole was
the cause of it, and so took his revenge by ordering the execution of
the Countess of Salisbury, Pole's mother, who had been in the Tower for
more than a year: When the aged lady heard of it she refused to lay her
head upon the block, saying, "So should traitors do, but I am none,
and if you will have my head you must win it as you can." Thereupon the
brutal ruffian who acted as executioner dragged her by her hoary locks,
and "slovenly butchered the woman in whose veins flowed the noblest
blood of England."

For the purpose of ascertaining the exact state of affairs in Yorkshire,
King Henry set out with his wife for that place early in July, 1541,
leaving Cranmer, Audley, and Seymour, three Protestant adherents, among
his councillors at home. At Yorkshire the royal couple were met by two
hundred gentlemen in velvet coats, with four thousand yeomen, who knelt
while one of their number offered nine hundred pounds. At another place
three hundred ecclesiastics presented six hundred pounds, and so on
until Henry found himself much richer than when he started on his
journey. Queen Katharine saw more of the pomp of royalty at this
time than she had done during the whole year before, for the wealthy
aristocracy in every part of the country vied with each other in the
grandeur of their entertainments given in honor of the royal couple.

Katharine had been married little more than a year when Francis Derham
returned to England, and she committed the error of appointing him as
her private secretary. As soon as the king heard of the relation that
had existed between this man and his wife previous to her marriage his
jealousy was aroused, and the Protestant statesmen took good care to
encourage every suspicion that entered their monarch's head. Meanwhile
poor little Katharine was {428}entirely unconscious of the storm that
was gathering about her.

King Henry was soon forced to order her removal from Hampton Court.
Wriothesley and Rich were the unprincipled, cruel agents who, determined
upon the destruction of the queen, persecuted her until she was beside
herself with terror and grief. Then, too, she loved her husband, and
when she was compelled to leave him without one word of farewell, one
look of compassion, her heart was almost broken. The king suffered also,
but his council took little heed of that; it would be dangerous for them
were Katharine to regain her power.

Shakespeare truly says:

                        "Trifles, light as air,

               Are to the jealous confirmations strong

               As proofs of holy writ."

Katharine was removed to Sion House, and thence a few days later to the
gloomy dungeon of the Tower.

During the short season of terror that succeeded the queen's arrest,
Derham, the poor old Duchess of Norfolk, Culpepper, Katharine's cousin,
and several other persons who were guilty of no crime but that of
suspecting the attachment that had existed before her marriage between
Katharine and Derham, were executed.

On the 16th of January, 1542, parliament met to decide the fate of the
queen, and without granting her the privilege of uttering one word in
her own defence she was condemned to die. The 14th of the following
month was fixed upon for the execution of this beautiful young girl,
against whom no crime could be proved even through the instrumentality
of the torture.

[[A.D. 1542.]] She met her death calmly and meekly, professing to the
last her loyalty to the king. Her burial {429}took place immediately
without even the ceremonies that would have been accorded to the meanest
of her subjects; she was interred in St. Peter's chapel of the Tower.
When speaking of Henry VIII., Sir Walter Raleigh says: "If all the
patterns of a merciless tyrant had been lost to the world they might
have been found in this prince."

[Illustration: 0433]

{430}



CHAPTER XXVII. KATHARINE PARR, SIXTH QUEEN OF HENRY VIII.

(A.D. 1513-1548.)

|Katharine Parr was the first Protestant Queen of England, and the
only one of the wives of Henry VIII. who supported the doctrine of the
Reformation with sincerity. She was an Englishwoman, but not of royal
birth, being the only daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, a knight. She was
gifted by nature with a fine mind, which was carefully cultivated by
her excellent mother, as some of her writings that still exist certainly
prove. She read and wrote Latin well, and had some knowledge of Greek.

When a little girl she never could bear to sew, and often said to
her mother, "my hands are ordained to touch crowns and sceptres, not
spindles and needles." But Lady Parr was too wise to allow such notions
to take a strong hold of her daughter's mind, and insisted on her
performing those duties that befitted her station in life; consequently
her embroidery, of which specimens have been preserved, shows unusual
skill and industry. At Lizergh Castle a magnificent counterpane and
toilet-cover are exhibited as the work of her hands, and although three
centuries have passed since it was done, the colors are scarcely dimmed
at all. The material is the richest white satin. In the centre is a
medallion of a raised eagle beneath the royal crown, surrounded by a
wreath of flowers in colored silks and gold thread. At each corner is a
large dragon in purple, crimson, and gold, while bouquets of

{431}

[Illustration: 0435]

{433}flowers in gorgeous colors are dispersed here and there over the
other part. The pieces match, but are of different proportions.

Katharine was married twice before she became the wife of Henry VIII.
Her first husband was Lord Edward Borough, a middle-aged widower
with several children, who died a short time after the marriage. John
Neville, Lord Latimer, was her second choice; he was also a widower with
children, and Katharine's amiable temper and sound sense so well fitted
her to perform the duties a stepmother that she was loved and esteemed
by the families of both her husbands.

She was not more than twenty-nine years old when she was left a widow
for the second time. It was then that she became a convert to the
Reformed religion, and encouraged its apostles to meet daily in her
chamber of state to preach their sermons.

She was not only pious, learned and handsome, but she possessed great
wealth, and was connected by descent or marriage with some of the
noblest families in England.

Scarcely six months had elapsed after the death of Lord Latimer when she
was informed by Henry VIII. that she was the lady whom he intended
to honor by making her his sixth wife. She was amazed, and no doubt
terrified, when she recalled the cruel treatment of her royal suitor's
other victims'. Besides Lord Seymour was courting her, and she had
favored his attentions. But that gentleman valued his head so much
that no sooner did he hear of his all-powerful royal brother-in-law's
intention than he vanished from the scene, leaving Katharine to transfer
her affection as best she might.

[[A.D. 1543.]] She exchanged her widow's weeds for bridal robes, and
was married at Hampton Court without pageantry, but with all suitable
observance of ceremony. {434}We are reminded of the fair Scheherazade
in the Arabian Nights, who married the sultan, knowing that it was
his custom to take a fresh wife every day and cut off her head in the
morning.

But the cross, selfish old tyrant whom Katharine Parr had the courage to
marry was in such bad health that he needed a skilful nurse; perhaps for
that reason she felt confident that her position would be secure. On the
day of her marriage she gave presents of bracelets set with rubies, as
well as a liberal sum of money, to the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth.

The University of Cambridge sent the king a congratulatory letter on
his choice of a Protestant wife, and the celebrated Roger Ascham
corresponded with her in the name of that college, requesting her to
write oftener, and not to shrink from being called learned. The dignity
of the scholar and the queen are beautifully blended with the tenderness
of the woman in the character of Katharine Parr after she ascended the
throne.

She became an object of jealous ill-will to Gardiner, the leader of the
Catholic party, who feared her influence over the king. Scarcely two
weeks after the marriage he advised Henry to appoint a commission to
search every house in Windsor for books written in favor of the new
religion. Henry consented, but made an exception of the castle, no doubt
having reason to know that more of such works would be found hidden away
in his own household than in all the town put together.

The result was that many men and women were arrested, tried, and
condemned to death, and although the flames of their martyrdom were
kindled almost in sight of the Protestant queen, she was unable to
save the victims. She knew well enough that the murder of these
humble Reformers was a blow aimed at herself, and that Gardiner was
{435}playing a bold game against all those professing her religion.

One of the first acts of justice that Katharine performed after
she became queen was to restore the king's two daughters, Mary and
Elizabeth, to their proper position at court, after which she was
constantly making them presents, and showing them many deeds of
tenderness and motherly care. She and Mary were opposed to each other
in religious belief, but they were about the same age, had the same
accomplishments and tastes, and soon became warm and steadfast friends.
Elizabeth's brilliant talents were drawn forth and encouraged by her
gifted stepmother, who also directed the studies of Edward.

In one of his letters to her he says: "I thank you, most noble and
excellent queen, for the letters you have lately sent me; not only for
their beauty, but for their imagination. When I see your good writing
and the excellence of your genius, quite surpassing my invention, I
am sick of writing. But then I think how kind your nature is, and that
whatever proceeds from a good, kind intention will be acceptable; and so
I write you this letter."

Her celebrated work, "The Lamentations of a Sinner," is one of the
finest specimens of English composition of that period. It is a treatise
on morality and the imperfections of human nature.

Henry would have been miserable with a woman of such superior intellect
if she had not constantly flattered him and studied his various moods.
But so great was the influence she acquired over him, and the confidence
he felt in her wisdom, that when he went on an expedition against France
he appointed her to govern his realm as Queen Regent of England and
Ireland, assisted by the Earl of Hertford.

During his absence he wrote very loving letters to his {436}wife, who,
together with her royal step-children, resided in one house.

[[A.D. 1544.]] She showed a great deal of moral courage, but by her
beauty, tact, and domestic virtues she had made herself so necessary to
her fat, dropsical husband that she was dearer to him than any of her
predecessors had been.

Henry had become so unwieldy from disease that he could not move without
assistance, and his wife showed herself the most patient and tender of
nurses. Sometimes she would remain on her knees for hours bathing and
bandaging his ulcerated leg, for he would not permit anybody to touch it
but her.

[[A.D. 1546.]] The last occasion of festivity at the court of Henry
VIII. was when ambassadors arrived to arrange terms of peace between
France and England. They were met by a numerous cavalcade of nobles,
knights and gentlemen, headed by the young heir to the throne, Prince
Edward, who, though only in his ninth year, was mounted on a charger,
and welcomed them in the most graceful and engaging manner. He conducted
them to Hampton Court, where for ten day's they were feasted and
entertained with great magnificence by the king and queen.

Henry presented Katharine with jewels of great value, that she might
make a good appearance before their French guests, he also provided
new and costly hangings and furniture for her apartments as well as a
quantity of handsome silver.

Wriothesley and Bishop Gardiner were alarmed at Katharine's
ever-increasing influence, not only over her husband, but over the mind
of young Edward as well, and watched her closely, in the hope that they
might be able to make some charge against her. Nothing offered itself
excepting her religious opinions, which were opposed to Henry's.

{437}

[Illustration: 0441]

{439}Several persons were burned to death about this
time for professing the reformed doctrine, among whom was the young,
beautiful and learned Anne Askew. She was a lady of honorable birth,
who became a convert to the new faith, and was for that reason violently
driven from her home by her cruel husband. Resuming her maiden name,
she worked hard for her religion, and was aided by the first ladies at
court. When it was discovered that she had sent books to the queen, she
was singled out as a victim by those who hoped by means of torture to
wring some confession from her by which Katharine might be charged with
heresy or treason. But they were mistaken, for the heroic Anne Askew
died at the stake like a true martyr, "with an angelic expression on
her smiling countenance." Sir George Blagge was arrested also, but he
happened to be one of the king's prime favorites, and was sometimes
called by the endearing nickname of "pig." As soon as Henry heard of
this arrest he sent for Wriothesley and rated him well, commanding him
to draw up a pardon on the spot. On his release Blagge flew to thank his
preserver, who on seeing him cried out, "Ah! my pig, are you here safe
again!"

"Yes, sire," was the reply, "and if your majesty had not been better
than your bishops your pig had been roasted ere this time."

The next attack was on the queen herself, whom Wriothesley and Gardiner
had resolved to strike with a fatal blow. They told the king that her
sister, Lady Herbert, not only read the books that he had prohibited,
but also gave them to Katharine to read. Now it happened that the
royal couple often conversed on theological subjects in their hours of
domestic privacy, and Henry enjoyed his wife's ready wit and eloquence.
She courted these subjects, because, knowing that he was suffering from
an incurable malady, she felt it her duty to turn his mind heavenward.
{440}One day in the presence of Gardiner she went a little too far in
opposing her lord's views, and as he was suffering with his leg he felt
rather more irritable than usual. He therefore snappishly put a stop to
the discussion; after making a few pleasant remarks Katharine left the
room. "A good hearing it is," said Henry sharply, "when women become
such clerks; and much to my comfort to come, in mine old age, to be
taught by my wife!" Gardiner took advantage of the king's wounded vanity
to insinuate things against his wife that he would not have dared to say
a few days before. He flattered him on his knowledge of theology, and
declared that his majesty excelled the princes of that age and every
other, as well as all the professed doctors of divinity, so much that
it was absurd for anybody to think of arguing with him as the queen had
just done. He added that it was painful for any of his counsellors to
hear it, because those who were so bold in words would not hesitate to
commit any act of disobedience. In fact he so poisoned the king's mind
as to gain from him a warrant to consult with others of his party about
drawing up articles against the queen that might bring her head to the
block. But they decided to begin with the ladies of the court whom she
esteemed most, and to search their trunks and closets for something to
charge Katharine with, and after they had found it to arrest her in the
middle of the night and take her in a barge to the Tower.

All this time the queen suspected nothing, but continued her nursing of
her husband and her religious discussions with him as before. One day an
attendant of Katharine's picked up a paper in the gallery of Whitehall
that Wriothesley had dropped. It contained a list of charges against
the queen with an order for her arrest, and bore Henry's signature.
The terrified woman had an attack of hysterics as soon as she became
acquainted with the contents of the {441}paper; as her apartment was
next to the king's he heard her shrieks and cries, and sent to inquire
what was the matter. Her doctor informed the messenger that the queen
was seriously ill, and that the cause seemed to be distress of mind. No
doubt Henry realized how much he should miss her gentle nursing if she
should die, so he determined to pay her a visit. Accordingly he was
wheeled into her room in a chair, and was really alarmed when he saw how
ill she looked. After a few minutes she assured him that his visit had
greatly revived her, and at the same time expressed her regret at
having seen so little of him for a few days, and her fears that she had
unintentionally given him some cause for offence. Henry replied kindly
and affectionately. Then she was so humble and loving in her manner that
a reaction took place in the humor of her imperious lord, and he told
the physician of the plot against the patient's life.

The next evening Katharine felt well enough to return the king's visit.
She entered his room, attended by her sister, Lady Herbert, and the
king's young niece, Lady Jane Grey, who carried the candles before her
majesty. Henry welcomed her courteously, but in course of time tried to
draw her into a religious argument as usual. She avoided the snare by
observing, "that she was but a woman, with all the imperfections natural
to the weakness of her sex, therefore in all matters of doubt and
difficulty she must refer herself to his majesty's better judgment;
for," she continued, "God hath appointed you supreme head of us all, and
of you, next unto God, will I ever learn."

"Not so, by St. Mary!" cried the king, "ye are become a doctor, Kate, to
instruct us, and not to be instructed of us, as oftentime we have seen."

"Indeed," replied she, "if your majesty have so conceived {442}my
meaning has been mistaken, for I have always held it preposterous for a
woman to instruct her lord; and if I have ever presumed to differ with
your highness on religion it was partly to gain information for my own
comfort regarding certain nice points on which I stood in doubt, and
sometimes because I perceived that in talking you were better able
to pass away the pain and weariness of your present infirmity, which
encouraged me to this boldness, in the hope of profiting by your
majesty's learned discourse."

There was no limit to the flattery that this egotist could stand. With
a complacent smile he replied, "And is it so, sweetheart? Then we are
perfect friends." He then kissed her, and gave her leave to depart.

On the day appointed for her arrest the king felt better, and sent for
her to take the air with him in the garden. She came attended by three
ladies. Presently Wriothesley with forty armed men entered the garden
with the intention of carrying the queen off to the Tower. But he
had not been informed of the change in the king's mind. To his great
surprise Henry received him with a burst of indignation, calling him
beast, fool, and knave, and bidding him get out of his sight. Katharine
tried to calm him, and begged forgiveness for her foe.

"Ah! poor soul," said the king, "thou little knowest, Kate, how evil he
deserveth this grace at thy hands. On my word, sweetheart, he hath been
to thee a very knave!"

Now if Katharine had not been a woman of forbearance and real virtue she
would immediately have turned on her enemies when she had the king in
her power, but instead of that she induced him to overlook Wriothesley's
offence, but he never forgave Gardiner the blunder he had made, and not
only struck his name from his council-book but forbade him his presence.
Henry is said to have been very kind {443}and affectionate to Katharine
during his latter days, yet it was well-known that he was preparing
another charge of heresy against her when death overtook him, and that
she survived him only by special good luck.

[[A.D. 1547.]] Henry VIII. expired January 28, 1547, at the royal palace
of Westminster, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.

When his will was opened Katharine was surprised and indignant to find
that she was not appointed regent of the realm, with the care of the
young King Edward VI., as she deserved to be.

The king's body lay in state for several days, and was then buried with
great pomp in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

A few months after his death Katharine returned to her former lover, Sir
Thomas Seymour, to whom she was married in the month of May, 1547. Her
royal stepchildren were much pleased at this match, and continued their
affection for Katharine throughout her life.

[Illustration: 0447]





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Agnes Strickland's Queens of England, Vol. I. (of III) - Abridged and Fully Illustrated" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home