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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 258



king, to whom he performed a reluctant homage at Paris. Meanwhile Joanna hecame enceinte. As the two former wives of her husband, Duke John, had proved childless, he now longed for an heir ; but, to his annoyance, the infant proved a girl, who, to the sorrow of her mother, died when only a few months old. The Duke's desire for a successor was, however, soon gratified; in December, 1388, Joanna brought into the world a son, christened Pierre, but whose name was afterwards changed to that of John. The birth of the Princess Mary occurred shortly afterwards, and Joanna became the mother of five other children by the Duke of Brittany, all of whom were born in quick succession. In 1391, the Duke and Clisson were again at open war, and the King of France, to prevent the effusion of blood, summoned them both to appear before him. Instead of obeying this summons, the Duke renewed his ancient alliances with England ; a step so repugnant to the court of France, that an embassy, headed by the Duke of Bcrri, waited upon him, and demanded a renewal of his fealty to his suzerain, the monarch of France. Believing that these ambassadors were only sent to humble him in the eyes of his subjects and strengthen the cause of Clisson against him, the haughty Duke John gave orders for their arrest. Fortunately, ere these orders were put in execution, Joanna, dreading the dangers to which so perfidious an outrage would expose the duchy, took her children in her arms, hastened to the presence of the Duke, and throwing herself at his feet, prevailed upon him, by the eloquence of her prayers and tears, to desist from his diabolical purpose, to receive the ambassadors with the honour due to their sacred office, and to do the bidding of his liege lord by renewing his oath of allegiance. But as the self-willed duke had obeyed the commands of his suzerain with reluctance, and as his hatred towards Clisson had so increased, that in defiance of his sovereign, he afforded a hidingplace to the outlawed Sir Pierre de Craon, who, in 1392, had made a das tardly attempt upon the life of the constable in the Place de St. Katherin, Paris, the French King again declared war against him, and with a large army marched against the duchy. The ruin of herself and her family was now fully anticipated by the sorrowing Joanna. But by a singular turn of fortune, the dreaded blow was arrested when just about to fall. The French King, bent upon the ruin of the ancient House of Do Montfort, collected a large army at Mans ; the route lay across an arid plain, the month was August, the heat intense, the army proceeded slowly onward for several miles, when suddenly and with uncontrollable fury, the King, sword in hand, run at and maimed or killed all who came within his reach. For more than an hour he leaped in the air—writhed on the ground—gnashed his teeth—gnawed his clothes—and whilst foaming at the mouth, vented his passion in horrible oaths. His uncles were sent for, and when, by their orders, he was disarmed, it was discovered that he was raving mad. The army halted till the following day, when, as the King had not recovered his reason, be was conveyed home in a chariot, the troops were disbanded, and the expe dition was abandoned. Clisson and the duke now carried on fierce and murderous private warfare. From a petty feud the strife became general ; every Breton who could bear arms took part in the contest; no quarter was shewn on either side ; and at length, the arts, trade, commerce, and the operations of husbandry were all suspended, and throughout the desolated duchy no sound was so audible as the din of arms ; no cry so universal as the dying groans of the warrior, and the deep wailings of the famishing widows and orphans. At length, however, Joanna, who was certainly a better politician than her hot-headed husband, succeeded in mediating a peace. The Duke, saith the Breton historians, was closely besieging Clisson in his castle of Josselin, when Yiscount Rohan came to the duchess, and implored her to prevail on the duke to raise the siege, and take the rebel


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