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saved. In the morning, some fishermen saw
him floating in his sheepskin coat, and got
him into their boat: the sole relater of the
dismal tale.

For three days, no one dared to carry the
intelligence to the King. At length, they
sent into his presence a little boy, who, weeping
bitterly, and kneeling at his feet, told
him that The White Ship was lost with all on
board. He fell to the ground like a dead
man, and never, never afterwards, was seen to

But, he plotted again, and promised again,
and bribed and bought again, in his old
deceitful way. Having no son to succeed
him, after all his pains ("The Prince will
never yoke us to the plough, now," said the
English people), he took a second wife
ADELAIS or ALICE, a Duke's daughter, and the
Pope's niece. Having no more children,
however, he proposed to the Barons to swear that
they would recognise as his successor, his
daughter Matilda, whom, as she was now a
widow, he married to the eldest son of the
Count of Anjou, GEOFFREY, surnamed
PLANTAGENET, from a custom he had of wearing a
sprig of flowering broom (called GenĂȘt in
French) in his cap, for a feather. As one
false man usually makes many, and as a false
King, in particular, is pretty certain to make
a false Court, the Barons took the oath about
the succession of Matilda (and her children
after her), twice over, without in the least
intending to keep it. The King was now
relieved from any remaining fears of William
Fitz Robert, by his death in the Monastery of
St. Omer, in France, at twenty-six years old,
of a pike-wound in the hand. And as Matilda
give birth to three sons, he thought the
succession to the throne secure.

He spent most of the latter part of his life,
which was troubled by family quarrels, in
Normandy, to be near Matilda. When he
had reigned upwards of thirty-five years, and
was sixty-seven years old, he died of an
indigestion and fever, brought on by eating, when
he was far from well, of a fish called Lamprey,
against which he had often been cautioned by
his physicians. His remains were brought
over to Reading Abbey to be buried.

You may perhaps hear the cunning and
promise-breaking of King Henry the First,
called "policy" by some people, and "diplomacy"
by others. Neither of these fine words
will in the least mean that it was true; and
nothing that is not true can possibly be good.

His greatest merit, that I know of, was his
love of learning. I should have given him
greater credit even for that, if it had been
strong enough to induce him to spare the
eyes of a certain poet he once took prisoner,
who was a knight besides. But, he ordered
the poet's eyes to be torn from his head,
because he had laughed at him in his verses;
and the poet, in the pain of that torture,
dashed out his own brains against his prison-
wall. King Henry the First was avaricious,
revengeful, and so false, that I suppose a man
never lived whose word was less to be relied
upon. When the Bishop of Lincoln, who
knew him thoroughly and had served him
well for many years, was told that the King
had praised him, he said, in alarm, "Then I
am lost! I know that whenever he praises
a man, he has resolved on that man's ruin."
The bishop was quite right. Fine-Scholar
ruined him.


THE King was no sooner dead, than all the
plans and schemes he had labored at so long,
and lied so much for, crumbled away like a
hollow heap of sand. STEPHEN, a grandson of
the Conqueror, whom he had never mistrusted
or suspected, started up to claim the throne.

Stephen was the son of ADELA, the
Conqueror's daughter, married to the Count of
Blois. To Stephen, and to his brother HENRY,
the late King had been liberal; making Henry
bishop of Winchester, and finding a good
marriage for Stephen, and much enriching
him. This did not prevent Stephen from
hastily producing a false witness, a servant of
the late King, to swear that the King had
named him for his heir upon his deathbed.
On this evidence the Archbishop of Canterbury
crowned him. The new King, so
suddenly made, lost not a moment in seizing the
royal treasure, and hiring foreign soldiers
with some of it to protect his throne.

If the dead King had even done as the false
witness said, he would have had small right
to will away the English people, like so many
sheep or oxen, without their consent. But
he had, in fact, bequeathed all his territory to
Matilda, who, supported by her brother
ROBERT, Earl of Gloucester, soon began to
dispute the crown. Some of the powerful
barons and priests took her side; some took
Stephen's; all fortified their castles; and
again the miserable English people were
involved in war, from which they could never
derive advantage whosoever was victorious,
and in which all parties plundered, tortured,
starved, and ruined them.

Five years had passed since the death of
Henry the Firstand during those five years
there had been two terrible invasions by the
people of Scotland under their King, David,
who was at last defeated with all his army
when Matilda, attended by her brother
Robert, and a large force, appeared in England
to maintain her claim. A battle was fought
between her troops and King Stephen's at
Lincoln, in which the King himself was taken
prisoner, after bravely fighting until his
battle-axe and sword were broken, and was
carried into strict confinement at Gloucester.
Matilda then submitted herself to the Priests,
and the Priests crowned her Queen of England.

She did not long enjoy this dignity. The
people of London had a great affection for
Stephen; many of the Barons considered it
degrading to be ruled by a woman; and the