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which we could illustrate abundantly, if that
were needful. The manufacture of this
charcoal is commencing now upon some
portions of the Irish bogs; and the product
of the manufacture is supplied already at a
very cheap rate. As the value of the bog-
products becomes more generally known, the
stimulus to enterprise in Ireland will increase,
and Nature's cheques will be converted into
gold at last, and happily applied to the
maintenance and clothing of a hungry family.


AT two-and-thirty years of age, JOHN
became King of England. His pretty little
nephew ARTHUR had the best claim to the
throne; but John seized the treasure, and
made fine promises to the nobility, and got
himself crowned at Westminster within a few
weeks after his brother Richard's death. I
doubt whether the crown could possibly have
been put upon the head of a meaner coward,
or a more detestable villain, if the country had
been searched from end to end to find him

The French King, Philip, refused to
acknowledge the right of John to his new
dignity, and declared in favour of Arthur.
You must not suppose that he had any
generosity of feeling for the fatherless boy;
it merely suited his ambitious schemes to
oppose the King of England. So, John and
the French King went to war about Arthur.

He was a handsome boy, at that time only
twelve years old. He was not born when his
father, Geoffrey, had his brains trampled out
at the tournament; and, beside the misfortune
of never having known a father's guidance
and protection, he had the additional
misfortune to have a foolish mother (CONSTANCE
by name), lately married to her third husband.
She took Arthur, upon John's accession, to
the French King, who pretended to be very
much his friend, and made him a Knight, and
promised him his daughter in marriage; but,
who cared so little about him in reality, that
finding it his interest to make peace with
King John for a time, he did so without the
least consideration for the poor little Prince,
and heartlessly sacrificed all his interests.

Young Arthur, for two years afterwards,
lived quietly; and in the course of that time
his mother died. But, the French King then
finding it his interest to quarrel with King
John again, again made Arthur his pretence,
and invited the orphan boy to court. "You
know your rights, Prince," said the French
King, ''and you would like to be a King. Is
it not so?" "Truly," said Prince Arthur. 'I
should greatly like to be a King!" "Then,"
said Philip, "you shall have two hundred
gentlemen who are Knights of mine, and with
them you shall go to win back the provinces
belonging to you, of which your uncle, the
usurping King of England, has taken
possession. I myself, meanwhile, will head a
force against him in Normandy." Poor
Arthur was so flattered and so grateful, that
he. signed a treaty with the crafty French
King, agreeing to consider him his superior
Lord, and that the French King should keep
for himself whatever he could lake from King

Now, King John was so bad in all ways,
and King Philip was so perfidious, that
Arthur, between the two, might as well have
been a lamb between a fox and a wolf. But,
being so young, he was ardent and flushed
with hope; and, when the people of Brittany
(which was his inheritance) sent him five
hundred more knights and five thousand foot
soldiers, he believed his fortune was made.
The people of Brittany had been fond of him
from his birth, and had requested that he
might be called Arthur, in remembrance of
that dimly-famous English Arthur, of whom
I told you early in this book, whom they
believed to have been the brave friend and
companion of an old King of their own. They
had tales among them about a prophet called
MERLIN (of the same old time), who had
foretold that their own King should be restored
to them after hundreds of years; and they
believed that the prophecy would be fulfilled
in Arthur; that the time would come when
he would rule them with a crown of Brittany
upon his head; and when neither King of
France nor King of England would have any
power over them. When Arthur found
himself riding in a glittering suit of armour on a
richly caparisoned horse, at the head of his
train of knights and soldiers, he began to
believe this too, and to consider old Merlin a
very superior prophet.

He did not knowhow could he, being so
innocent and inexperienced?—that his little
army was a mere nothing against the power
of the King of England. The French King
knew it; but the poor boy's fate was little to
him, so that the King of England was worried
and distressed. Therefore, King Philip went
his way into Normandy, and Prince Arthur
went his way towards Mirebeau, a French
town near Poietiers, both very well pleased.

Prince Arthur went to attack the town of
Mirebeau, because his grandmother Eleanor,
who has so often made her appearance in this
history (and who had always been his mother's
enemy), was living there, and because his
Knights said, "Prince, if you can take her
prisoner, you will be able to bring, the King
your uncle to terms!" But she was not to
be easily taken. She was old enough by this
timeeightybut she was as full of stratagem
as she was full of years and wickedness.
Receiving intelligence of young Arthur's
approach, she shut herself up in a high tower,
and encouraged her soldiers to defend it like
men. Prince Arthur with his little army
besieged the high tower. King John, hearing
how matters stood, came up to the rescue,
with his army. So here was a strange family-

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