+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

Very soon Mrs. Leader attended her august
guest to her room, candle in hand, where
there was another secret and mysterious
consultation, whence Mrs. Leader returned
soon, much put out, and seeking her
stepdaughter. She spoke to her tartly.

"What made you go on in that way
tonight? Surely you ought to have sense.
Such folly might be expected in a child,
or in a person of such origin as we have

Mary Leader sighed. "Oh, please let
me go, if you are going to begin on that

"I tell you," said the other, growing
angry, "I will not have my guests treated
in this way. You have offended that
young man, and his mother too. You
know what he has come here for; and she
has told us plainly to-night that our getting
this baronetcy depends on it.".

"And am I to be the price?" said Mary
Leader, looking at her steadily.

"I don't choose to get into heroics on
this. It is enough that you must be
gracious and civil to guests in your own
house. Even your father will tell you that."

With another sigh Mary Leader turned
and left her to go to bed.


FOR several centuries after the Conquest
our English history is closely interwoven
with that of France. Our Norman kings
being half Frenchmen, their aspirations
and ambitions were naturally centred on
French fortresses and French provinces.
Our wars were in France, our monarchs,
for the most part, married French women.
Stephen wedded a daughter of the Count of
Boulogne; Maud, Stephen's rival, married
a Plantagenet, who was Earl of Anjou;
Henry the Second espoused Eleanor, the
divorced wife of Louis the Seventh of
France, the heiress of Guienne and Poitou;
Richard the First married a daughter of the
King of Navarre; John a daughter of the
'Count of Angoulême; Henry the Third a
daughter of the Count of Provence. The
second wife of the redoubtable Edward the
First was a sister of the King of France;
and Edward's miserable son married the
fatal Isabella, daughter of the French king
alliances that, considering what family
quarrels usually are, will quite account for
all the wars between France and England,
from the reign of John, when we lost
Normandy, to the reign of Mary, when we lost
Calais. Two years after the Restoration,
that agreeable rascal, Charles the Second,
always needy, and always eager for money
for his pleasures, sold Dunkirk to Louis
the Fourteenth for five hundred thousand
pounds; and since that time English
soldiers have held no long possession of any
French city, except when Wellington's
Peninsular men helped to occupy Paris with
the Allies, in 1814.

In the wars of Edward the Third's
reign, and those of his successors, Paris
was both besieged and defended by English
soldiers. The claims of Edward the Third
to the crown of France are soon explained.
On the death of Charles the Fourth, the
succession falling to a posthumous daughter,
who by the Salic law of the Franks was
unable to assume the crown, she was
superseded by Philip of Valois, the cousin-
german of Charles the Fourth, whose
claims French lawyers and statesmen
considered superior to those of Edward of
England, who was only nephew of Charles.
Edward at first paid homage for the fiefs
he held in France, but gradually he began
to raise a claim to the throne. He tried to
restore a Count of Artois, whom Philip
had banished for practising witchcraft. He
took the part of that great-hearted brewer
of Ghent, Artaveld, against the tyrannical
Count of Flanders and his ally, King
Philip. He accepted from the Emperor
Louis the Fourth of Bavaria the fiefs held
by Philip on the left bank of the Rhine.
Then, working himself more and more
into a rage and a belief in his right to the
crown of France, Edward attacked the
French fleet off the Flemish coast, and in a
terrible battle destroyed ninety French
vessels and thirty thousand French sailors,
cross-bowmen, and men-at-arms. Finally,
to crown all these aggravations and make
himself a thorough bad neighbour to Philip,
Edward took the part for twenty-four years
of Montfort, a disinherited claimant to the
Duchy of Brittany, against Charles of Blois,
a nephew of Philip's. Our warlike king
invaded France first by Cambrai, in Flanders.
He then devastated Brittany, and lastly, in
1346, passed over with a large army into
Normandy, sailing on St. John the
Baptist's Day from Southampton, with half the
nobles of England, the Black Prince, then
only a lad of sixteen, four thousand men-
at-arms and ten thousand archers, not
including a rabble of fierce Irish and Welsh,
who served on foot. Our army soon took
Caen, and amassed great wealth. The