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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 23



CHAPTER IV. Princess Cecil veiled a nun—Robert quarrvls-with his father—Quits the court of Normandy in disgust—Matilda secretly supplies his wants—Her agent taken—The Con* queror's reproof—Matilda's reply—Escape of her agent—Robert takes up arms— William Rufus knighted—Supports his father—BattU of Archembraye—Robert unconsciously wounds his father—Implores forgiveness—Matilda brings about a reconciliation—The Conqueror returns itith Robert to England—The Scots chastised— Jhomsday book—Royal Revenue—-Court of Exchequer established^Itinerating justices—Conqueror's rule productive of lasting benefits. 111 ï^^&Çp ' "Easter of 1075 W^^^^^^^ifo was kept by Matilda ο^^^Η^^^νλ^ and her royal lord at ι'/^^ΙπίΓ^^^ΐ] ^escaTnpj where, atΠ %^VltS'l —tended themselves am τ^β'ίβ-^ their eourt, the Princess Cecil, their Consecrated a nun. This princess had been educated from her earliest years in the convent founded by her mother at Caen. Accordinolo a writer of her times—''She was learned, meek, and holy, excelling all her sisters in gentleness of heart, and of righteous mind. In the paths only of godliness she walked, and throughout her life she was a peerless pattern of Christian meekness and virgin purity." The indifference of ΛΥΊΙΗατη, and the over-fondness of Matilda for their eldest son, Robert, now gave rise to domestic troubles, so serious and protracted, as to materially influence the future life of the royal pair. Although proud and hasty, Robert was brave, kind-hearted, and generous to a fault. The Normans, over whom he had exercised sovereign sway during the lengthened absence of their liege lord, loved him for his bravery and generosity, und knowing that his father had promised some day to resign the duchy in his favour, they had regarded him as their monarch ; he therefore felt highly humiliated when William on his return assumed the reins of royalty, and compelled him to play the part of a subject. He had another more serious cause of complaint against his parent. The heiress of the last Pari of Maine, whom, when a child, he had espoused, died in her girlhood, and on her death, his father, the Duke of Normandy, had annexed her territory to his own patrimonial dominions. Being now of age, and seconded by the voice of the nobles of Maine, he demanded to be put in possession of the dower of his wife ; but William, either from ambition or personal dislike, put him oil' with vague promises, and kept **&$^**&Ur^'^&' eldest daughter, was possession of the territory. William Rufus, the third son of William and Matilda, was politic and crafty, and as much idolized by his father às Robert was despised. From his earliest youth, he sedulously endeavoured to win his father's highest esteem, his whole ambition being to supplant his brother Robert in the sovereignty of the Conqueror's possessions. These artful efforts in time produced their fruits—when the Conqueror died, he left Rufus his richest treasure, the crown of England. Jn 1076, whilst William and Matilda held their court at the castle of Eagle, so named from its height and difficulty of access, Robert's younger brothers, William and Henry, maliciously threw some dirty water over him from a balcony above, which so exasperated him, that, in the heat of the moment, he drew his sword, and was about rushing up stairs to revenge the insult, when the king, alarmed at the noise, entered sword in hand, just in time to prevent serious consequences. A fiery wrangle ensued between the parent and his hot-headed heir, in which words ran so high, that Robert, stung to the soul with the covetousness and the sarcastic implications of his father, retired that very evening from court ; and being beloved by the Norman nobles, many of them espoused his cause, and urged him to arm for his rights. By the mediation of Matilda, it was


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