Young Folks' History of England eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 165 pages of information about Young Folks' History of England.
so drunk that they did not know how to guide the ship, and ran her against a rock.  She filled with water and began to sink.  A boat was lowered, and William safely placed in it; but, just as he was rowed off he heard the cries of the ladies who were left behind, and caused the oarsmen to turn back for them.  So many drowning wretches crowded into it, as soon as it came near, that it sank with their weight, and all were lost.  Only the top-mast of the ship remained above water, and to it clung a butcher and the owner of the ship all night long.  When daylight came, and the owner knew that the king’s son was really dead, and by his fault, he lost heart, let go the mast and was drowned.  Only the butcher was taken off alive; and for a long time no one durst tell the king what had happened.  At last a boy was sent to fall at his feet, and tell him his son was dead.  He was a broken-hearted man, and never knew gladness again all the rest of his life.

His daughter Maude had lost her German husband, and came home.  He made her marry Geoffrey of Anjou, the brother of his son’s wife, and called upon all his chief noblemen to swear that they would take her for their queen in England and their duchess in Normandy after his own death.

He did not live much longer.  His death was caused, in the year 1135, by eating too much of the fish called lamprey, and he was buried in Reading Abbey.

CHAPTER X.

Stephen.  A.D. 1135—­1154.

Neither English nor Normans had ever been ruled by a woman, and the Empress Maude, as she still called herself, was a proud, disagreeable, ill-tempered woman, whom nobody liked.  So her cousin, Stephen de Blois—­whose mother, Adela, had been daughter of William the Conqueror —­thought to obtain the crown of England by promising to give everyone what they wished.  It was very wrong of him; for he, like all the other barons, had sworn that Maude should reign.  But the people knew he was a kindly, gracious sort of person, and greatly preferred him to her.  So he was crowned; and at once all the Norman barons, whom King Henry had kept down, began to think they could have their own way.  They built strong castles, and hired men, with whom they made war upon each other, robbed one another’s tenants, and, when they saw a peaceable traveler on his way, they would dash down upon him, drag him into the castle, take away all the jewels or money he had about him, or, if he had none, they would shut him up and torment him till he could get his friends to pay them a sum to let him loose.

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Young Folks' History of England from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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