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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 102



by not rising from their pillowsrill midday. At Easter, they were entertained by the Archbishop of Canterbury ; and as, in those days, the Primate always placed the crown on the head of the King and Queen whenever they took np their residence near to his, he again crowned them. The blissful enjoyments of the royal pair were soon destroyed by rumours of wars and troubles on the continent. Anjou and Maine had armed in the cause of Arthur Plantagcnet ; and Count Hugh, to revenge the abduction of Isabella, had raised the cry of revolt in Poitou and Brittany. Not a moment was to he lost, and embarking in different vessels, King John and his consort sailed from Portsmouth for Normandy. Foul weather drove the King to the Isle of Wight—a spot he was peculiarly fond of visiting—for shelter, and when at length he reached Barftcur, he found Isabella awaiting him, her staunch galley having bravely weathered the storm, and bore her in speed and safety across the channel. Having gained the battle of Mirabel, where he took prisoners Arthur, his foe in dominion, and Count Hugh, his rival in love, King John, after mint, futile efforts to restore his continental possessions to order, embarked with his consort and prisoners for England, in December, 1203. Immediately on landing, he closely confined Isabella's unfortunate lover in ) ristol Castle, where also was imprisoned Eleanora, the sister of Arthur, surnamed the Pearl of Brittany. Hugh was doubtless saved from starvation—the cruel fate of the other noble Poictevin prisoners — by the strenuous exertions of the Queen. At length, in 1206, the continued alarming rebellion in Aquitaine and other provinces induced John to liberate Hugh, and after conciliating him to the utmost, to embark with Mm for the continent, where, by his influence, most of the English provinces were reduced to order and subjection. On returning to England, John set all the ancient laws of the kingdom at defiance ; and disregarding the warnings of the wise, the threats of the strong, and the entreaties of the weak, sup ported his own extravagancies and pro fligacy by seizing on the revenues of the church and the poor, and by mercilessly mulcting the barons, knights, city cor porations, Jews, &c. When the nobles murmured at these and other uneonsti tutio nal extortions, the tyrannical King, under a pretext that Queen Isabella required a bevy of pages and waitingmaids, forced them to surrender their children as hostages for their good faith, on pain of incurring his vengeful displeasure—a thing terrible indeed, as we learn from the fate of the De Braose family, who, because, when John demanded her eldest son, Lady De Braose had imprudently declared she would never surrender her son to the keeping of a King who had assassinated his own nephew were all seized, father, mother, and five unoffending sons and daughters, and, by the orders of the cruel wretch, John, deliberately starved to death in Old Windsor Castle. The English Kings of the middle ages kept their own drapery establishments, from which nothing was passed but by order, signed by the sovereigns themselves, and when a queen required a new dress, the king reckoned it not beneath him to minutely note down the exact quantity, quality, and kind of material required. From these orders, entered in King John's wardrobe rolls, we learn that, extravagant as he was in his own dress, he, with a niggard's hand, doled out most humble attire to his beautiful Isabella. One of these entries is an order for drab cloth and grey fur for a habit for Isabella ; another is for green cloth and miniver skin for a robe; and further on is a warrant for four pairs of ornamented woman's shoes, six towels, and a pan, for her use. These entries for the Lady Queen contrast strangely with the orders in the same rolls for the costly, glittering dress of her royal lord, who, indeed, was as foppish as he was cruel. It appears that on Christmas, 1204, he wore a red sutin robe, a mantle of the sam ; colourrichly wrought with sapphires and pearls, a tunic of white damask, red satin shoes edged with gold, a richly


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