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قراءة كتاب Young Folks' History of England

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‏اللغة: English
Young Folks' History of England

Young Folks' History of England

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 7

they were wasting their time and trouble.

They had a very good man to lead them, named Geoffrey de Buillon; and, after many toils and troubles, they did gain Jerusalem, and could kneel, weeping, at the Holy Sepulchre. It was proposed to make Robert King of Jerusalem, but he would not accept the offer, and Godfrey was made king instead, and staid to guard the holy places, while Duke Robert set out on his return home.

In the meantime, the Red King had gone on in as fierce and ungodly a way as ever, laughing good advice to scorn, and driving away the good Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Anselm, and everyone else who tried to warn him or withstand his wickedness. One day, in the year 1100, he went out to hunt deer in the New Forest, which his father had wasted, laughing and jesting in his rough way. By and by he was found under an oak tree, with an arrow through his heart; and a wood-cutter took up his body in his cart, and carried it to Winchester Cathedral, where is was buried.

Who shot the arrow nobody knew, and nobody ever will know. Some thought it must be a knight, named Walter Tyrrell, to whom the king had given three long good arrows that morning. He rode straight away to Southampton, and went off to the Holy Land; so it is likely that he knew something about the king's death. But he never seems to have told any one, whether it was only an accident, or a murder, or who did it. Anyway, it was a fearful end, for a bad man to die in his sin, without a moment to repent and pray.



A.D. 1100—1135

Henry, the brother of William Rufus, was one of the hunting party; and as soon as the cry spread through the forest that the king was dead, he rode off at full speed to Winchester, and took possession of all his brother's treasure. William Rufus had never been married, and left no children, and Henry was much the least violent and most sensible of the brothers; and, as he promised to govern according to the old laws of England, he did not find it difficult to persuade the people to let him be crowned king.

He was not really a good man, and he could be very cruel sometimes, as well as false and cunning; but he kept good order, and would not allow such horrible things to be done as in his brother's time. So the English were better off than they had been, and used to say the king would let no one break the laws but himself. They were pleased, too, that Henry married a lady who was half English—Maude, the daughter of Malcolm Greathead, King of Scotland, and of a lady of the old English royal line. They loved her greatly, and called her good Queen Maude.

Robert came back to Normandy, and tried to make himself King of England; but Henry soon drove him back. The brothers went on quarreling for some years, and Robert managed Normandy miserably, and wasted his money, so that he sometimes had no clothes to wear, and lay in bed for want of them.

Some of the Normans could not bear this any longer, and invited Henry to come and take the dukedom. He came with an army, many of whom were English, and fought a battle with Robert and his faithful Normans at Trenchebray, in Normandy. They gained a great victory, and the English thought it made up for Hastings. Poor Robert was made prisoner by his brother, who sent him off to Cardiff Castle, in Wales, where he lived for twenty-eight years, and then died, and was buried in Gloucester Cathedral, with his figure made in bog oak over his monument.

Henry had two children—William and Maude. The girl was married to the Emperor of Germany and the boy was to be the husband of Alice, daughter to the Count of Anjou, a great French Prince, whose lands were near Normandy. It was the custom to marry children very young then, before they were old enough to leave their parents and make a home for themselves. So William was taken by his father to Anjou, and there married to the little girl, and then she was left behind, while he was to return to England with his father. Just as he was going to embark, a man came to the king, and begged to have the honor of taking him across in his new vessel, called the White Ship. Henry could not change his own plans; but, as the man begged so hard, he said his son, the young bridegroom, and his friends might go in the White Ship. They sailed in the evening, and there was a great merry-making on board, till the sailors grew so drunk that they did not know how to guide the ship, and ran her against a rock. She filled with water and began to sink. A boat was lowered, and William safely placed in it; but, just as he was rowed off he heard the cries of the ladies who were left behind, and caused the oarsmen to turn back for them. So many drowning wretches crowded into it, as soon as it came near, that it sank with their weight, and all were lost. Only the top-mast of the ship remained above water, and to it clung a butcher and the owner of the ship all night long. When daylight came, and the owner knew that the king's son was really dead, and by his fault, he lost heart, let go the mast and was drowned. Only the butcher was taken off alive; and for a long time no one durst tell the king what had happened. At last a boy was sent to fall at his feet, and tell him his son was dead. He was a broken-hearted man, and never knew gladness again all the rest of his life.

His daughter Maude had lost her German husband, and came home. He made her marry Geoffrey of Anjou, the brother of his son's wife, and called upon all his chief noblemen to swear that they would take her for their queen in England and their duchess in Normandy after his own death. He did not live much longer. His death was caused, in the year 1135, by eating too much of the fish called lamprey, and he was buried in Reading Abbey.



A.D. 1135—1154

Neither English nor Normans had ever been ruled by a woman, and the Empress Maude, as she still called herself, was a proud, disagreeable, ill-tempered woman, whom nobody liked. So her cousin, Stephen de Blois—whose mother, Adela, had been daughter of William the Conqueror —thought to obtain the crown of England by promising to give everyone what they wished. It was very wrong of him; for he, like all the other barons, had sworn that Maude should reign. But the people knew he was a kindly, gracious sort of person, and greatly preferred him to her. So he was crowned; and at once all the Norman barons, whom King Henry had kept down, began to think they could have their own way. They built strong castles, and hired men, with whom they made war upon each other, robbed one another's tenants, and, when they saw a peaceable traveler on his way, they would dash down upon him, drag him into the castle, take away all the jewels or money he had about him, or, if he had none, they would shut him up and torment him till he could get his friends to pay them a sum to let him loose.

Stephen, who was a kind-hearted man himself, tried to stop these cruelties; but then the barons turned round on him, told him he was not their proper king, and invited Maude to come and be crowned in his stead. She came very willingly; and her uncle, King David of Scotland, set out with an army to fight for her; but all the English in the north came out to drive him back; and they beat him and his Scots at what they call the Battle of the Standard, because the English had a holy standard, which was kept in Durham Cathedral. Soon after, Stephen was taken prisoner at a battle at Lincoln, and there was nothing to prevent Maude from being queen but her own bad temper. She went to Winchester, and was there proclaimed; but she would not speak kindly or gently to the people; and when her friends entreated her to reply more kindly, she flew into a passion, and it is even said that she gave a box on the ear to her uncle—the good King of Scotland, who had come