But he did not mean to keep it! No, not he! He had one of his father’s fits of rage when he got back to Windsor Castle—he gnawed the sticks for rage and swore he was no king. Then he sent for more of the fierce soldiers, who went about in bands, ready to be hired, and prepared to take vengeance on the barons. They found themselves not strong enough to make head against him; so they invited Louis, the son of Philip of France and husband of John’s niece, to come and be their king. He came, and was received in London, while John and his bands of soldiers were roaming about the eastern counties, wasting and burning everywhere till they came to the Wash—that curious bay between Lincolnshire and Norfolk, where so many rivers run into the sea. There is a safe way across the sands in this bay when the tide is low, but when it is coming in and meets the rivers, the waters rise suddenly into a flood. So it happened to King John; he did get out himself, but all carts with his goods and treasures were lost, and many of his men. He was full of rage and grief, but he went on to the abbey where he meant to sleep. He supped on peaches and new ale, and soon after became very ill. He died in a few days, a miserable, disgraced man, with half his people fighting against him and London in the hands of his worst enemy.
Henry III., Of Winchester. A.D. 1216—1272.
King John left two little sons, Henry and Richard, nine and seven years old, and all the English barons felt that they would rather have Henry as their king than the French Louis, whom they had only called in because John was such a wretch. So when little Henry had been crowned at Gloucester, with his mother’s bracelet, swearing to rule according to Magna Carta, and good Hubert de Burgh undertook to govern for him, one baron after another came back to him. Louis was beaten in a battle at Lincoln; and when his wife sent him more troops, Hubert de Burgh got ships together and sunk many vessels, and drove the others back in the Straits of Dover; so that Louis was forced to go home and leave England in peace.