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Richard of Devizes Chronicle

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Richard of Devizes
page 3

the indemnity of the church's treasure, for his patrimony, for the county of Hampshire and for the custody of the castles of Winchester and Porchester. And because the time for the payment of so much money was nigh at hand, as he could not pass over the day fixed for the payment without detriment to the whole business, and he could find no nearer resource under heaven, although against his will, he laid his hand on the treasure of his church, to restore which, however, he obliged himself and his successors, providing security to the convent by the testimony of a sealed bond. A man of such courtesy and moderation, who not even when angry ever did any thing to those who were under him, but what savoured of mildness: truly of his family, and one of his familiars, of whom it is said, under whom to live is to reign.

Sect. 12. The king readily disburthened all, whose money was a burthen to them, such powers and possessions as they chose being given to anybody at pleasure; wherewith also on a time an old acquaintance in the company joking him, he broke off with this evasion, "I would sell London if I could find a chapman." Many a one might have been forewarned by that expression, had it been uttered sooner, not to learn to be a wise merchant, after the English proverb, "by buying for a dozen, and selling for one and a half."

In the Year of the Lord MCXC.

Sect. 13. In the year from the incarnation of the Lord 1190,(4) the king crossed the Channel to Neustria (Normandy), the care of the whole kingdom being committed to the chancellor. Richard, bishop elect of London, and William of Ely, were consecrated by Archbishop Baldwin at Westminster, the second of the kalends of January (Dec. 31, 1189). William de Mandeville, earl of Albemarle, being seized with delirium in an acute semitertian fever, died at Gisorz: whose relict, a woman almost a man, who was deficient in nothing masculine but manhood, William de Fortibus, a knight a thousand times approved in arms, received to wife by King Richard's gift, together with all the honours of her former husband.

Sect. 14. William, bishop of Ely, and the king's chancellor, by nature a second Jacob, although he did not wrestle with the angel, a goodly person, making up in mind for his shortness in stature, secure for his master's love, and presuming on his favour, because all power was, is, and will be impatient of a partner, expelled Hugh de Pusac from the Exchequer, and barely leaving him even his sword with which he had been invested as an earl of the king's hand, after a short time, deprived

(4) December 12.

him of the honour of his earldom also. And lest the bishop of Durham alone should bewail his misfortunes, the villain, who was now more cruel than a wild beast, and spared nobody, fell upon the bishop of Winchester also. The custody of the castles and county is taken away from him, nor is he even permitted to enjoy his own patrimony. The kingdom is disturbed, and the discontented are charged with disaffection to the king. Everybody crosses the sea to importune the king against the tyrant, but he having crossed first of all, briefly related before the king a partial account of his entire proceeding and expulsion; by whom also he was fully instructed in all things to be done; he thus foiled the adverse wishes of his rivals, and was on his return before those who assailed him could obtain admission to the king's presence. So he returns to the English not less powerful and prosperous, than one who has accomplished all things whatsoever he desired. The king having returned from Gascony, where he had forcibly put down the thieves, and captured the holds they had occupied, all those whom the chancellor had injured assembled before him, who satisfying every one as then to each seemed good, sent them all back to the chancellor with such letters as they then desired. John, bishop of Norwich, being also one of those who threatened Saladin, amply furnished for his journey and the cause, whilst proceeding on his way in the borders of Burgundy, fell among robbers, who took from him all his substance; and, as he had no means left wherewith he might proceed, he turned his course towards the pope, and when with his insinuation he had bemoaned his mischance and poverty to him, the clemency of the Holy See dismissed him home, absolved from his vow.

Sect. 15. The bishop of Winchester, being affected with a serious disease, remained some time beyond the sea. The bishop of Durham in haste proceeded direct to London, but not being received by the barons of the Exchequer, he hastily, as if sure to triumph, pursues his way after the chancellor, who at the time had one on an expedition towards Lincoln; whom having overtaken, he saluted in the king's name, not freely nor without a frown, and then questioned him seriously concerning the affairs of state, and, indeed, as if he would not suffer any thing to be done without his consent. He neglected fine language and long words, and while he boasted too much of power not yet received, not considering with whom he was speaking, he loosely uttered whatever he ought to have kept secret. At the conclusion of his address, the staff is put forth to silence talk, the king's solemn act much to be reverenced is exhibited for recital. The mountains travail, the silly mouse is produced. The observance of strict silence is enjoined during the king's mandate; all were hushed, and attentive held their tongues. The epistle is read in public, which would have been much more to be feared if it had not been so soon read; he (Longchamp), well able to conceal his device, shrewdly deferred to answer what he had heard till the seventh day, appointing their place of conference at Tickhill. On the day appointed the bishop of Durham comes to the castle, and his attendants being commanded to wait for him before the gates, he goes into the chancellor quite alone; he who before had held his peace, speaks first, and compels the deceived to recite with his own mouth letters he had obtained after the former against whatever he had hoped. As he was preparing to answer, he added, "The other day while you were speaking it was time for me to be silent; now that you may discern why I have taken a time for speaking, you being silent; as my lord the king lives, you shall not depart hence until you have given me hostages for all the castles which you hold being delivered up to me, for I do not take you as a bishop a bishop, but as a chancellor a chancellor " The ensnared had neither the firmness nor the opportunity to resist; the hostages are given, and at the term assigned the castles

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