ANXIETY AND TROUBLE
OR about six years after this time, that is, from the birth of Prince Edward
till he was six years old, and while Margaret was advancing from her
twenty-fourth to her thirtieth year, her life was one of continual anxiety,
contention, and alarm. The Duke of York and his party made continual difficulty,
and the quarrel between him, and the Earl of Warwick, and the other nobles who
espoused his cause, on one side, and the queen, supported by the Duke of
Somerset and other great Lancastrian partisans on the other, kept the kingdom in
a constant ferment. Sometimes the force of the quarrel spent itself in
intrigues, manúuvres, and plottings, or in fierce and angry debates in
Parliament, or in bitter animosities and contentions in private and social life.
At other times it would break out into open war, and again and again was
Margaret compelled to leave her child in the hands of nurses and guardians,
while she went with her poor helpless husband to follow the camp, in order to
over-  come the military assemblages which the Duke of York was continually bringing
together at his castles in the country or in the open fields.
The king's health during all this period was so frail, and his mind, especially
at certain times, was so feeble, that he was almost as helpless as a child.
There was an hereditary taint of insanity in the family, which made his case
still more discouraging.
Queen Margaret took the greatest pains to amuse him, and to provide employments
for him that would occupy his thoughts in a gentle and soothing manner. When
traveling about the country, she employed minstrels to sing and play to him;
and, in order to have a constant supply of these performers provided, and to
have them well trained to their art, she sent instructions to the sheriffs of
the counties in all parts of the kingdom, requiring them to seek for all the
beautiful boys that had good voices, and to have them instructed in the art of
music, so that they might be ready, when called upon, to perform before the
king. In the mean time they were to be paid good wages, and to be considered
already, while receiving their instruction, as acting under the charge and in
the service of the queen.
Margaret and the other friends of the king
 used to contrive various other ways of amusing and comforting his mind, some of
which were not very honest. One was, for example, to have different nobles and
gentlemen come to him and ask his permission that they should leave the kingdom
to go and make pilgrimages to various foreign shrines, in order to fulfill vows
and offer oblations and prayers for the restoration of his majesty's health. The
king was of a very devout frame of mind, and his thoughts were accustomed to
dwell a great deal on religious subjects, and especially on the performance of
the rites and ceremonies customary in those days, and it seemed to comfort him
very much to imagine that his friends were going to make such long pilgrimages
to pray for him.
So the nobles and other great personages would ask his consent that they might
go, and would take solemn leave of him as if they were really going, and then
would keep out of sight a little while, until the poor patient had forgotten
It is said, however, that one nobleman, the Duke of Norfolk, who was so
kind-hearted a man that he went by the name of the Good Duke, actually made the
pilgrimage to Jerusalem on this errand, and there offered up prayers
 and supplications at the famous chapel of the Holy Sepulchre for the restoration
of his sovereign's health.
They used also to amuse and cheer the king's mind by telling him, from time to
time, that he was going to be supplied with inexhaustible treasures of wealth by
the discovery of the philosopher's stone. The philosopher's stone was an
imaginary substance which the alchemists of those days were all the time
attempting to discover, by means of which lead and iron, and all other metals,
could be turned to gold. There were royal laboratories, and alchemists
continually at work in them making experiments, and the queen used to give the
king wonderful accounts of the progress which they were making, and tell him
that the discovery was nearly completed, and that very soon he would have in his
exchequer just as much money as his heart could desire. The poor king fully
believed all these stories, and was extremely pleased and gratified to hear
There were times during this interval when the king was tolerably well, his
malady being somewhat periodical in its character. This was the case
particularly on one occasion, soon after his first recovery from the state of
 insensibility which has been referred to. The Duke of York, as has already been
said, was put very much out of humor by the king's recovery on this occasion,
and by his own consequent deposition from the office of regent, and still more
so when he found that the first act which the queen performed on her recovery of
power was to release his hated enemy, Somerset, from the prison where he, the
Duke of York, had confined him, and make him prime minister again. He very soon
determined that he would not submit to this indignity. He assembled an army on
the frontiers of Wales, where some of his chief strong-holds were situated, and
assumed an attitude of hostility so defiant that the queen's government
determined to take the field to oppose him.
So they raised an army, and the Duke of Somerset, with the queen, taking the
king with them, set out from London and marched toward the northwest. They
stopped first at the town of St. Alban's.
When they were about to resume their march from St. Alban's, they saw that the
hills before them were covered with bands of armed men, the forces of the Duke
of York, which he was leading on toward the capital. Somerset's forces
immediate-  ly returned to the town. Margaret, who was for a time greatly distressed and
perplexed to decide between her duty toward her husband and toward her child,
finally concluded to retire to Greenwich with the little prince, and await there
the result of the battle, leaving the Duke of Somerset to do the best he could
with the king.
Very soon a herald came from the Duke of York to the gates of St. Alban's, and
demanded a parley. He said that the duke had not taken arms against the king,
but, only against Somerset. He professed great loyalty and affection for Henry
himself, and only wished to save him from the dangerous counsels of a corrupt
and traitorous minister, and he said that if the king would deliver up Somerset
to him, he would at once disband his armies, and the difficulty would be all at
The reply sent to this was that the king declared that he would lose both his
crown and his life before he would deliver up either the Duke of Somerset or
even the meanest soldier in his army to such a demand.
The Duke of York, on receiving this answer, immediately advanced to attack the
town. For some time Henry's men defended the walls and gates successfully
against him, but at length
 the Earl of Warwick, who was the Duke of York's principal confederate and
supporter in this movement, passed with a strong detachment by another way round
a hill, and through some gardens, and thence, by breaking down the wall which
stood between the garden and the town, he succeeded in getting in. A terrible
conflict then ensued in the streets and narrow lanes of the city, and the
attention of the besieged being thus drawn off from the walls and the gates, the
Duke of York soon succeeded in forcing his way in too.
King Henry's forces were soon routed with great slaughter. The Duke of Somerset
and several other prominent nobles were killed. The king himself was wounded by
an arrow, which struck him in the neck as he was standing under his banner in
the street with his officers around him. When these his attendants saw that the
battle was going against him, they all forsook him and fled, leaving him by his
banner alone. He remained here quietly for some time, and then went into a shop
near by, where presently the Duke of York found him.
As soon as the Duke came into the king's presence he kneeled before him, thus
acknowledging him as king, and said,
 "The traitor and public enemy against whom we took up arms is dead, and now
there will be no farther trouble."
"Then," said the king, "for God's sake, go and stop the slaughter of my
The duke immediately sent orders to stop the fighting, and, taking the king by
the hand, he led him to the Abbey of St. Alban's, a venerable monastic edifice,
greatly celebrated in the histories of these times, and there caused him to be
conveyed to his apartment. The next day he took him to London. He rendered him
all external tokens of homage and obedience by the way, but still virtually the
king was his prisoner.
Poor Queen Margaret was all this time at Greenwich, waiting in the utmost
suspense and anxiety to hear tidings of the battle. When, at length, the news
arrived that the battle had been lost, that the king had been wounded, and was
now virtually a prisoner in the hands of her abhorred and hated enemy, she was
thrown into a state of utter despair, so much so that she remained for some
hours in a sort of stupor, as if all was now lost, and it was useless and
hopeless to continue the struggle any longer.
She however, at length, revived, and began to consider again what was to be
 prospect before her, however, seemed to grow darker and darker. The fatigue and
excitement which the king had suffered, joined to the effects of his wound,
which seemed not disposed to heal, produced a relapse. The Duke of York appears
to have considered that the time had not yet come for him to attempt to assert
his claims to the throne. He contented himself with so exhibiting the condition
of the king to members of Parliament as to induce that body to appoint him
protector again. When he had thus regained possession of power, he restored the
king to the care of the queen, and sent her, with him and the little prince,
into the country.
One of the most extraordinary circumstances which occurred in the course of
these anxious and troubled years was a famous reconciliation which took place at
one time between the parties to this great quarrel. It was at a time when
England was threatened with an invasion from France. Queen Margaret proposed a
grand meeting of all the lords and nobles on both sides, to agree upon some
terms of pacification by which the intestine feud which divided and distracted
the country might be healed, and the way prepared for turning their united
strength against the foe. But it was a very dangerous thing to attempt to bring
tur-  bulent leaders together. They had no confidence in each other, and no one of
them would be willing to come to the congress without bringing with him a large
armed force of followers and retainers, to defend him in case of violence or
treachery. Finally, it was agreed to appoint the Lord-mayor of London to keep
the peace among the various parties, and, to enable him to do this effectually,
he was provided with a force of ten thousand men. These men were volunteers
raised from among the citizens of London.
When the time arrived for the meeting, the various leaders came in toward
London, each at the head of a body of retainers. One man came with five hundred
men, another with four hundred, and another with six hundred, who were all
dressed in uniform with scarlet coats. Another nobleman, representing the great
Percy family, came at the head of a body of fifteen hundred men, all his own
personal retainers, and every one of them ready to fight any where and against
any body, the moment that their feudal lord should give the word.
These various chieftains, each at the head of his troops, came to London at the
appointed time, and established themselves at different castles and strong-holds
in and around the city,
 like so many independent sovereigns coming together to negotiate a treaty of
They spent two whole months in disputes
and debates, in which the fiercest invectives and
the most angry criminations and recriminations
were uttered continually on both sides. At
length, marvelous to relate, they came to an
agreement All the points in dispute were arranged, a treaty was signed, and a
grand reconciliation—that is, a pretended one—was the result.
This meeting was convened about the middle of January, and on the twenty-fourth
of March the agreement was finally made and ratified, and sealed, in a solemn
manner, by the great seal. It contained a great variety of agreements and
specifications, which it is not necessary to recapitulate here, but when all was
concluded there was a grand public ceremony in commemoration of the event.
At this celebration the king and queen, wearing their crowns and royal robes,
walked in solemn procession to St. Paul's Cathedral in the city. They were
followed by the leading peers and prelates walking two and two; and, in order to
exhibit to public view the most perfect tokens and pledges of the fullness and
sincerity of this grand reconciliation, it was arranged that
 those who had been most bitterly hostile to each other in the late quarrels
should be paired together as they walked. Thus, immediately behind the king, who
walked alone, came the queen and the Duke of York walking together hand in hand,
as if they were on the most loving terms imaginable, and so with the rest.
The citizens of London, and vast crowds of other people who had come in from the
surrounding towns to witness the spectacle, joined in the celebration by forming
lines along the streets as the procession passed by, and greeting the reconciled
pairs with long and loud acclamations; and when night came, they brightened up
the whole city with illuminations of their houses and bonfires in the streets.
In about a year after this the parties to this grand pacification were fighting
each other more fiercely and furiously than ever.
THE LITTLE PRINCE AND HIS SWANS.
At one time, when the little prince was about six years old, the queen made a
royal progress through certain counties in the interior of the country,
ostensibly to benefit the king's health by change of air, and by the gentle
exercise and agreeable recreation afforded by a journey, but really, it is said,
to interest the nobles and the people of the region through which she passed in
her cause, and especially in that of the little
 prince, whom she took on that occasion to show to all the people on her route.
She had adopted for him the device of his renowned ancestor, Edward III., which
was a swan; and she had caused to be made for him a large number of small silver
swans, which he was to present to the nobles and gentlemen, and to all who were
admitted to a personal audience, in the towns through which he passed. He was a
bright and beautiful boy, and he gave these little swans to the people who came
around him with such a sweet and charming grace, that all who saw him were
inspired with feelings of the warmest interest and affection for him.
Very soon after this time the war between the two great contending parties broke
out anew, and took such a course as very soon deprived King Henry of his crown.
The events which led to this result will be related in the next chapter.