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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 145



VI.] ELEANOR AND HER SONS. 139 merely the man of business that his more lasting works prove him to have been. It has been the fashion to suppose that some literary influences were brought into England from Southern France by Queen Eleanor, and that it was from her that Richard, and perhaps John also, inherited some instincts of the kind. But I confess that, as against the claims of her husband,' Eleanor's title to our gratitude depends very much on con» jecture, and partly on a confusion between Aquitanian and Provençal civilisation. That Eleanor was a clever and cultivated companion for her husband we may accept as a matter of course, and she probably would have some share in the early education of her sons; but they were very soon removed from her influence, and after the year 1173 she probably saw very little of either them or her husband: whilst in England, court or country, her direct influence could never have been comparable with that of the king. As for her judgments in the Courts of Love, I suppose, we may safely relegate them to the regions of romance, and if they were authentic they would not prove much as to her literary culture. But we may, I think, confidently assume that she was a well-educated woman for those days, and that in her long captivity she had something else to amuse herself with besides needlework. A woman who, after twelve years of seclusion, could come out of prison not only fit to take the reins of government during a short interregnum, but able to exercise great influence in European politics until she was nearly eighty years old, must have possessed not merely vitality and ability, but mental resources also of no ordinary character. However this may have been, some of her children, if not all, were educated with care, and appear as either possessed of learning themselves or as the patrons of learned


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