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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 292



wi tri ose the conference in silence. York, who believed him to be secure in the Tower, after respectfully saluting the King, said, " Sir, it was with no other view than to bring that traitor, Somerset, to justice that I took up arms." Upon the mention of traitor, Somerset sprung from his hiding-place, and looking sternly at York, angrily exclaimed, " Lying varlet ! thou art the traitor, not I ; for years thou hast fervently desired to clutch the Crown from the head of Dur good and lawful King Henry ; but, by the blessing of the Lord, the ambition of York shall yet be bowed to the dust, and the red rose of Lancaster wave triumphant over the mightiest throne in Christendom." " Monster in human shape ! crafty wretch as thou art, I defy thee !" retorted York,who, having seized a gauntlet from one of the knights,flung it with great force at the feet of Somerset. "liut for thy cowardice and treachery, Normandy would still have shone a bright jewel in the crown of England." " Brand me traitor? In verity, the devil's deeds of all the traitors in Christendom since creation began would not fill a catalogue with such black infamy as thy unrighteous doings. Thou wert cursed in thy birth ! Pitchy midnight hurried thee into the world ! The tempest fiends and the furies heralded thy coming, and, but that Nature, overcome by the toils of day, then slept, she, in pity to mankind, would, in that hour of horror, have consigned thee to the icy arms of death, and saved the bloodshed that doubtless will succeed thy fall ; for, by the Lord's body! thy evil doings will yet greatly trouble the kingdom, and thy end, come when it may, be that of a detested traitor !" Then, turning to Henry, he concluded. 1 1 Indeed, cousin, I did not expect this from my Sovereign;" and, burning with rage, retired. Henry, being ignorant of the proximity of Somerset, stood motionless and speechless during this angry altercation. But, although astonishment had paralysed the Monarch, Margaret, incensed beyond measure at the bold insolence of York, ordered him to be arrested as he left the pavilion. Fortunately for York, the position of parties prevented bis enemies from wreaking their vengeance on him now he was in their power. The King recoiled from tho idea of shedding his blood, and the intelligence that his son, the Earl of March, wa3 about to advance with an army to liberate him, so alarmed the Queen and the Council, that on his solemnly swearing fealty to the King in St. Paul's, he was released, and retired to his castle of Wigmore. At this moment the inhabitants of Guienne, impatient under the yoke of their new masters, offered to renew their allegiance if Henry would supply them with forces. The offer was eagerly accepted, and, by the advice of Margaret, her friend Talbot, the veteran Earl of Shrewsbury, then in his eightieth year, hastened to Guienne, and took the field at the head of eight thousand men. At first, victory favoured the enterprise, but on the twentieth of July, 1453, at the siege of Chatillon, the English, overpowered by numbers, suffered a severe defeat, and. the gallant Talbot and his son were slain, and the power of France was again established in Guienne. CHAPTER III, Henry's incapacity—Birth of Prince Edward—York appointed Protector—Arrest of Somerset—-The King's recovery—His interview with the Queen and the Prime —York deprived of the Protectorate—Somerset released—The battle of St. Allan's—The King in the hands of the Yorkists—York again Protector-Margaret, with the King and their son, sent to Hertford—Her secret conferences with her friends at Greenwich—Henry again recovers—And assumes the regaldignity—The Queen and her party rule in the Council—She visits Coventry with the King—Where a great Council is held—Wilful perjury of the Yorkists—


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