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the little queen. These debts had now to be liquidated; and a struggle soon commenced between the king and the popular party concerning the supplies, which ended in the destruction of the duke of Gloucester, and his more honest colleague, the earl of Arundel. A short but fierce despotism was established by Richard, which ultimately led to his deposition. From the earliest period of her sojourn in England, there was more probability that Isabella would share a prison than a throne. Froissart thus details one of the duke of Gloucester's plots, the object of which was the life-long incarceration of the harmless little queen: “He invited the earl of March' to come and visit him at Pleshy. There he unbosomed to him all the secrets of his heart, telling him that certain influential persons had elected him as king of England, resolving that king Richard and his queen were to be deposed and forthwith confined in prison, where they were to be maintained with ample provision during their lives; and he besought his nephew “to give due consideration to this project, which was supported by the earl of Arundel, the earl of Warwick, and many of the prelates and barons of England.’ The earl of March was thunderstruck at hearing this proposal from his uncle; but, young as he was, he concealed his emotion.” The duke of Gloucester, observing the manner of his nephew, entreated that he would keep his discourse very secret. This Mortimer promised to do, and faithfully kept his word; but honourably resolving to flee from such strong temptation to his integrity and loyalty, he craved leave of king Richard to visit his Irish domains.” “The count de St. Pol had been sent into England by the king of France, in order to see his daughter, and learn how she was going on. The king consulted him, and his uncles Lancaster and York, on the danger that threatened him and his young consort. “My good uncles,” said he, “for the love of God, advise me how to act. I am daily informed that * It will be remembered this prince was the heir-presumptive to the throne, the grandson of Lionel of Clarence. A deep obscurity rests on the characters and your brother, the duke of Gloucester, is determined to seize and confine me for life in one of my castles, and that the Londoners mean to join him in this iniquity. Their plan is, withal, to separate my queen from me, who is but a child, and shut her up in some other place of confinement. Now, my dear uncles, such cruel acts as these must be prevented.’ The dukes of Lancaster and York saw that their nephew was in great anguish of heart, and they knew that what he said was strictly true, but they replied to this effect: ‘Have a little patience, my lord king. We know well that our brother Gloucester has the most passionate and wrong-headed temper of any man in England. He talks frequently of things he cannot execute, and neither he nor his abettors can break the peace which has been signed, nor succeed in imprisoning you in any castle. Depend on it, we will never suffer it, nor that you should be separated from the queen.’ “By these words the two dukes calmed king Richard's mind; but to avoid being called on by either party, they left the king's household with their families, and retired to their own castles, the duke of Lancaster taking with him his duchess, who had for some time been the companion of the young queen of England. This desertion was followed by sir Thomas Percy's retirement from court, and surrender of his office of steward of the king's household, avowedly out of apprehension lest he should incur the fate of sir Simon Burley. The king's remaining servants very frequently represented to him the danger of remaining in their offices, in words such as these: “Be assured, dear sir, that as long as the duke of Gloucester lives, there will never be any quiet for your court, nor for England. Besides, he publicly threatens to confine you and your queen. As for the queen, she need not care: she is young, and the beloved child of the king of France; the duke of Gloucester dare not hurt her, but many evils will he bring on you and on England.’ These representations sank deeply in the mind of king Richard, and soon after led to his uncle's violent death.” Whatever were the ill intentions of the duke of Gloucester against the king and his unoffending little queen, the treacherous manner in which king Richard lured his uncle to destruction must revolt all minds, for every tie of hospitality and social intercourse was violated by him. This, his first step in guilt, was followed by the illegal execution of the earl of Arundel. Richard's conscience was not accustomed to cruelty; and after the death of Arundel his sleep was broken, and his peace was gone. He used to awake in horror, exclaiming “that his bed was covered with the blood of the earl.”
conduct of the princes of the blood of the line of Mortimer in general history. * He was made lord deputy (w.eroy) of Ireland.
The young queen assisted publicly at the celebration of St. George's-day, 1898. She had, in this scene, to play a conspicuous part, and seems to have acquitted herself to the satisfaction of the beholders. The hollow peace of the court was soon broken by the quarrel between Henry of Bolingbroke, heir to John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and the earl-marshal, who had been created duke of Norfolk. They mutually accused each other of treasonable conversation against the king. In the true spirit of the age, they appealed to wager of battle, and actually presented themselves in the lists at Coventry, when the king parted them by throwing down his warder, and finished the scene by sentencing Mowbray duke of Norfolk to banishment for life, and Henry to exile for seven years.
While Richard’s affairs remained in this feverish and unsettled state, the English court was thrown into consternation by the death of the heir-presumptive of the kingdom, Roger Mortimer, who was at that time lord deputy of Ireland. There was a strong attachment between Richard and his chivalric heir: the king passionately bewailed him, and resolved to make an expedition to Ireland, to quell the rebellion that ensued on the death of his viceroy. Just before the departure of king Richard for his Irish campaign, he proclaimed throughout his realm that a grand tournament would be held at Windsor by forty knights and forty squires, all clad in green, bearing the young queen's device of a white falcon. They maintained the beauty of the virgin queen of England against all comers. Isabella herself, attended by the noblest ladies and damsels of the land, was present, and dispensed the prizes.
King Richard commenced his march to Ireland, May 1399; he tarried some hours at Windsor-castle, on his road to the western coast, in order to bid his young queen farewell before he departed for Ireland. Although only eleven years of age, . Isabella had grown tall and very lovely; she was rapidly assuming a womanly appearance. The king seemed greatly struck with the improvement in her person, and the progress she had made in her education. He treated her with the utmost deference; and, if the chronicles' of her country are to be believed, he entirely won her young heart at this interview. Yet he had sent to dwell with her witnesses, whose deep grief and mournful habiliments for the loss of a husband and father could have told their young queen, even if their lips dared not speak, that the king had stained his hands with kindred blood. According to Froissart, Richard II. had sent the widowed duchess of Gloucester and her daughters to reside with Isabella at Windsor, apparently under some species of restraint. Before king Richard left Windsor-castle, he discovered that considerable reforms were required in his consort's establishment. The lady de Coucy, his cousin-german, was the queen's governess and principal lady of honour; but, on his arrival at Windsor, it was represented to him that this lady took as much state upon her as if she had been in the situation of her mother, the princess-royal of England, or even the queen herself. In fact, the extravagance of the lady de Coucy knew no bounds; “for,” said the king's informer, “she has eighteen horses at her command, But this does not suffice; she has a large train belonging to her husband, and in his livery, whenever she comes and goes. She keeps two or three goldsmiths, two or three cutlers, and two or three furriers constantly employed, as much as you and your queen. She is also building a chapel that will cost 1400 nobles.” Exasperated at this extravagance, the king dismissed the lady de Coucy from her office in the queen's establishment: he paid all the debts she had incurred, and commanded her to leave * Monstrelet and the MS. of the Ambassades.
the country forthwith, an order she certainly disobeyed, as will afterwards be seen. In the place of this lady, Richard appointed the widowed lady Mortimer," who was his own niece Eleanor; to her he gave the precious charge of his fair young consort. The scene of Richard’s parting from Isabella was Windsor church. He had previously assisted at a solemn mass, and indulged his musical tastes by chanting a collect; he likewise made a rich offering. On leaving the church, he partook of wine and comfits at the door with his little consort; then lifting her up in his arms, he kissed her repeatedly, saying, “Adieu, madame 1 adieu, till we meet again.” The king immediately resumed his march to Bristol, and embarked on his ill-timed expedition to Ireland. Henry of Bolingbroke landed with hostile intentions at Ravenspur, in Yorkshire, July 4, the same summer, during Richard’s absence. His invasion had an immediate effect on the destination of the little queen Isabella; the regent York hurried her from the castle of Windsor to the still stronger fortress of Wallingford, where she remained while England was lost by her royal lord, and won by his rival Henry of Bolingbroke. After landing at Milford-Haven on his return from Ireland, king Richard took shelter among the Welsh castles still loyal to him. Here he might have found refuge till a re-action in his favour in England gave hopes of better times; but the king's luxurious habits made the rough living at these castles intolerable to him. Indeed, as the chronicler De Marque declares, “they were totally unfurnished, and that Richard had to sleep on straw during his sojourn in Wales. He endured this inconvenience for five or six nights; but, in truth, a farthing's worth of victuals was not to be found at any of them. Certes, I cannot tell the misery of the king's train, even at Caernarvon. He then returned to Conway, where he thus bewailed his absence from his wife, of whom he was very
*The whole of this passage is drawn from the MS. of the Ambassades. Lady Mortimer was Eleanor Holland.