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reconciled them, but not soundly, for Robert
soon strayed abroad, and went from court to
court with his complaints. He was a gay, careless, thoughtless fellow, spending all he got on
musicians and dancers; but his mother loved
him, and often, against the King's command,
supplied him with money through a messenger
named SAMSON. At length the incensed
King swore that he would tear out Samson's
eyes; and Samson, thinking that his only
hope of safety was in becoming a monk,
became one, went on such errands no more,
and kept his eyes in his head.

All this time, from the turbulent day of his
strange coronation, the Conqueror had been
struggling, you see, at any cost of cruelty and
bloodshed, to maintain what he had seized. All
his reign, he struggled still, with the same
object ever before him. He was a stern
bold man, and he succeeded in it.

He loved money, and was particular in his
eating, but had only leisure to indulge one
other passion, and that was his love of hunting.
He carried it to such a height that he ordered
whole villages and towns to be swept away to
make forests for the deer. Not satisfied with
sixty-eight Royal Forests, he laid waste an
immense tract of country, to form another in
Hampshire, called The New Forest. The
many thousands of miserable peasants who
saw their little houses pulled down, and
themselves and children turned into the open
country without a shelter, detested him for
this merciless addition to their many sufferings;
and when, in the twenty-first year of
his reign, (which proved to be the last) he
went over to Rouen, England was as full
of hatred against him as if every leaf on
every tree in all his Royal Forests had been
a curse upon his head. In the New Forest,
his son Richard (for he had had four sons)
had been gored to death by a Stag; and the
people said that this so cruelly-made Forest
would yet be fatal to others of the Conqueror's

He was engaged in a dispute with the King
of France about some territory. While he
stayed at Rouen negociating with that King
he kept his bed and took medicines; being
advised by his physicians to do so, on account
of having grown to an unwieldly size. Word
being brought to him that the King of France
made light of this, and joked about it, he
swore in a great rage that he should rue his
jests. He assembled his army, marched into
the disputed territory, burnthis old way!
the vines, the crops, and fruit, and set the
town of Mantes on fire. But, in an evil
hour; for, as he rode over the hot ruins his
horse setting his hoofs upon some burning
embers, started, threw him forward against
the pommel of the saddle, and gave him a
mortal hurt. For six weeks be lay dying in
a monastery near Rouen, and then made his
will, giving England to William, Normandy
to Robert, and five thousand pounds to
Henry. And now, his violent deeds lay
heavy on his mind. He ordered money to be
given to many English churches and monasteries,
andwhich was much better repentance
released his prisoners of state, some of whom
had been confined in his dungeons twenty years.

It was a September morning, and the sun
was rising, when the King was awakened
from slumber by the sound of a church bell.
"What bell is that?" he faintly asked. They
told him it was the bell of the chapel of Saint
Mary. "I commend my soul," said he, "to
Mary!" and died.

Think of his name, The Conqueror, and then
consider how he lay in death! The moment
he was dead, his physicians, priests, and nobles,
not knowing what contest for the throne
might now take place, or what might happen
in it, hastened away, each man for himself
and his own property; the mercenary servants
of the court began to rob and plunder; the
body of the King, in the indecent strife, was
rolled from the bed, and lay, alone, for hours,
half naked on the ground. O Conqueror, of
whom so many great names are proud now, of
whom so many great names thought nothing
then, it were better to have conquered one
true heart, than England!

By and bye, the priests came creeping in
with prayers and candles; and a good knight,
named HERLUIN, undertook (which no one
else would do) to convey the body to Caen, in
Normandy, in order that it might be buried
in Saint Stephen's Church there, which the
Conqueror had founded. But, fire, of which
he had made such bad use in his life, seemed
to follow him of itself in death. A great
conflagration broke out in the town when the
body was placed in the church; and those
present running out to extinguish the flames,
it was once again left alone.

It was not even buried in peace. It was
about to be let down, in its Royal robes, into
a tomb near the high altar, in presence of a
great concourse of people, when a loud voice
in the crowd cried out, "This ground is mine!
Upon it, stood my father's house. This King
despoiled me of both ground and house to
build this church. In the great name of GOD,
I here forbid his body to be covered with the
earth that is my right!" The priests and
bishops present, knowing the speaker's right,
and knowing that the King had often denied
him justice, paid him down sixty shillings
for the grave. Even then, the corpse was
not at rest. The tomb was too small, and
they tried to force it in. It broke, a dreadful
smell arose, the people hurried out into the
air, and, for the third time, it was left alone.

Where were the Conqueror's three sons,
that they were not at their father's burial?
Robert was lounging among minstrels, dancers,
and gamesters, in France or Germany. Henry
was carrying his five thousand pounds safely
away in a convenient chest he had got made.
William the Red was hurrying to England,
to lay hands upon the Royal treasure and
the crown.