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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 120



had the pleasure of greeting the bridegroom and his train of Scotch nobles. On Christmas day, Alexander "was knighted by the English King, and at an early hour on the ensuing morning, the marriage was solemnized, Henry agreeing to pay, before the lapse of four years, five hundred marks of silver, as the bride's wedding portion. Matthew Paris was présentât the gay scene, "which," says the worthy chronicler, " was indescribably gorgeous. There was collected such a host of English, French, and Scotch nobles, and such crowds of gaily-dressed warriors, that it would be tedious to describe the elegance of the clothing—the worldly vanity of the scene. There was a thousand .English, clad in rich silken quaintises—robe-like gannente, bordered with ornamental vandyking, and adorned with the coat of arms of the wearer, or some other quaint device—which they changed on the morrow, thus presenting themselves at court in a new robe each day, whilst sixty Scotch knights, with nearly all the gentry of Scotland, were present, and excited universal admiration by the richness of their dresses and their manly bearing." The marriage feast was profuse ; every variety of flesh, fish, fowl, fruit, and wine was in abundance ; sixty fat bullocks forming the first course at table. The guests alternately dined with one or the other of the Kings or the Archbishop of York. The latter provided homes for the guests, food for the horses, provisions for the table, fuel for the fires, and other necessaries, which together cost him about four thousand marks. *' This heavy sum," the chronicler remarks, " the prelate was forced to sow on a barren soil, that his good name might be preserved, and the mouths of evil-speakers closed." Ere the conclusion of the festivity, Alexander did homage to Henry, foT his possessions in England. After which, the English King demanded the so-oftcn contested homage for the kingdom of Scotland; but the young Prince, although taken by surprise, in a moment of joyous excitement, spiritedly answered : " I came to York to marry the English Princess, and not to treat of state affairs. Besides, being a minor, I cannot take so important a step without the concurrence of the national council." Finding the Scotch king so resolute, and being unwilling to throw a cloud over the peaceful festival, Henry dissembled his feelings, and let the matter drop. This conditional homage, however, led to a fierce war between England and Scotland in the subsequent reign. At the early part of the year 1251, the King had a bitter quarrel with Simon l)e Montfort, Earl of Leicester, which was occasioned by his own base conduct. About twenty-seven years previously, he had ceded Gascony to his brother, Earl Kichard, which he, some years afterwards, confirmed to him by a royal charter. However, on Eleanora giving birth to an heir, he forcibly took back Gascony, to bestow it on his eldestborn, Edward; and as the Gascons very naturally rebelled against this injustice, he appointed Leicester as their governor, with strict injunctions to crush their rebellious pride, and treat them with all possible severity. Leicester did his royal master's bidding so effectually, that the Archbishop of Bourdeaux and other Gascon nobles came to England, and complained to the King of his tyranny. " "We will choose another liege lord than the King of England," said they, with an oath, " rather than obey that detestable, exterminating Earl I" On hearing of these proceedings against him, Leicester hastened to England, and, accompanied by Earl Richard and other of his friends, went before Henry, and refuted and silenced his Gascon foes. Still, however, the King spoke against him, and at length both parties grew warm, when, on'the Earl of Leicester calling upon the King to reward him for his services, as he had promised to do, Henry sharply replied — " I am not bound to keep my word with a traitor." " By the image of death, thou licst !" retorted the angry Earl ; 1 ( and wert thou not a King, I would make thee cat thy words ! I a traitor, indeed ! Hid not I rescue thee fiom the snares of the French at Santongc ? Have not I impoverished my earldom for the sake of thy honour i


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