Richard seems to have really wished to take away some of the laws that were so hard upon them, but his lords would not let him, and he had as yet very little power—being only a boy—and by the time he grew up his head was full of vanity and folly. He was very handsome, and he cared more for fine clothes and amusements than for business; and his youngest uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, did all he could to keep him back, and hinder him from taking his affairs into his own hands. Not till he was twenty-four did Richard begin to govern for himself; and then the Duke of Gloucester was always grumbling and setting the people to grumble, because the king chose to have peace with France. Duke Thomas used to lament over the glories of the battles of Edward III., and tell the people they had taxes to pay to keep the king in ermine robes, and rings, and jewels, and to let him give feasts and tilting matches—when the knights, in beautiful, gorgeous armor, rode against one another in sham fight, and the king and ladies looked on and gave the prize.
Now, Richard knew very well that all this did not cost half so much as his grandfather’s wars, and he said it did not signify to the people what he wore, or how he amused himself, as long as he did not tax them and take their lambs and sheaves to pay for it. But the people would not believe him, and Gloucester was always stirring them up against him, and interfering with him in council. At last, Richard went as if on a visit to his uncle at Pleshy Castle; and there, in his own presence, caused him to be seized and sent off to Calais. In a few days’ time Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, was dead; and to this day nobody knows whether his grief and rage brought on a fit, or if he was put to death. It is certain, at least, that Richard’s other