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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.
page 383



of the foolish women ; far from me, far from me may so detestable an action be, which, if it were perpetrated, would be an everlasting reproach to me and my successors." And, having said this, the king departed from her. Afterwards, when his agitation had become gradually calmed, both the kings sat down at table, where, having refreshed themselves with royal food, they spent the whole day with music, and dancing, and harp-playing, to their great delight. But in the meantime, the wicked queen, not abandoning her foul design, treacherously ordered a bed-chamber to be adorned in royal fashion with silk mattrasses and curtains, for king Ethelbert to pass the night upon ; and near the royal bed she caused a chair to be made ready, furnished with the most princely decorations, and surrounded on all sides by curtains, beneath which, wretch that she was, she caused a deep hole to he dug, in order to effect her wicked purpose. Accordingly, when king Ethelbert, after a day of pleasure, wished to give up his limbs to sleep, he was conducted into this bed-chamber, and, as soon as he sat down in the chair which I have described, he was suddenly precipitated into the deep hole, chair and all, and strangled by the executioners whom the queen had concealed there. In the moment that the king had fallen into the pit, the wicked traitors threw over him pillows, and garments, and curtains, that his cries might not he heard. And thus that king and martyr, being murdered, though inno* cent, received the crown of life which God has promised to those that love him. But when this detestable action which the wicked queen had done to the suitor of her daughter became known to the comrades of the murdered king, they departed from the palace before daylight, fearing lest they themselves might be subjected to similar treatment. And the noble king Offa, when he had received information of the crime that had been committed, mourned, and shut himself up in a chamber, and for three days would not taste food. But, although he was quite innocent of all participation in the king's death, he nevertheless sent a powerful expedition, and annexed the kingdom of the East Angles to his own dominions. And the holy Ethelbert was buried without any honour, and the place was known to no one, till his body, having been pointed out by light from heaven, was found by the faithful, and was conveyed to the


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