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CHILDLESS, AND A WIDOW
ARGARET did not trust entirely for her safety to the sacredness of the
sanctuary where she had sought refuge. She endeavored, by all the means in her
power, to keep the place of her retreat secret from all but her chosen and most
trustworthy friends. Very soon, however, she was visited by some of these,
especially by some young nobles, who came to her exasperated, and all on fire
with rage and resentment, on account of the death of their friends and
relatives, who had been slain in the battle.
They found Margaret, however, in a state of mind very different from their own.
She was beginning to be discouraged. The long continued and bitter experience of
failure and disappointment, which had now, for so many years, been her constant
lot, seemed at last to have had power to undermine and destroy even her
resolution and energy. Her friends, when they came to see her, found her plunged
in a sort of stupor of wretchedness and
 despair from which they found it difficult to rouse her.
And when, at length, they succeeded in so far awakening her from her despondency
as to induce her to take some interest in their consultations, her only feeling
for the time being seemed to be anxiety for the safety of her son. She begged
and implored them to take some measures to protect him. They endeavored to
convince her that her situation was not so desperate as she imagined. They had
still a powerful force, they said, on their side. That force was now rallying
and reassembling, and, with her presence and that of the young prince at their
head-quarters, the numbers and enthusiasm of their troops would be very rapidly
increased, and there was great hope that they might soon be able again to meet
the enemy under more favorable auspices than ever.
But the queen seemed very unwilling to accede to their views. It was of no use,
she said, to make any farther effort. They were not strong enough to meet their
enemies in battle, and nothing but fresh disasters would result from making the
attempt. There was nothing to be done but for herself and the young prince, with
as many others as were disposed to share her fortunes, to return as soon as
 France, and there to remain and wait for better times.
But the young prince was not willing to adopt this plan. He was young, and full
of confidence and hope, and he joined the nobles in urging his mother to consent
to take the field. His influence prevailed; and Margaret, though with great
reluctance and many forebodings, finally yielded.
So she left the sanctuary, and, with the prince, was escorted secretly to the
northward, in order to join the army there. The western counties of England,
those lying on the borders of Wales, had long been very favorable to Henry's
cause, and when the people learned that the queen and the young prince were
there, they came out in great numbers, as the nobles had predicted, to join her
standard. In a short time a large army was ready to take the field.
Margaret was at this time at Bath. She soon heard that King Edward was coming
against her from London with a large army. Her own forces, she thought, were not
yet strong enough to meet him; so she formed the plan of crossing the Severn
into Wales, and waiting there until she should have a larger force concentrated.
Accordingly, from Bath she went down to
 Bristol, which, as will be seen from the map, is on the banks of the Severn, at
a place where the river is very wide. She could not cross here, the lowest
bridge on the river being at Gloucester, thirty or forty miles farther up; so
she moved up to Gloucester, intending to cross there. But she found the bridge
fortified, and in the possession of an officer under the orders of the Duke of
Gloucester, who was a partisan of King Edward, and he refused to allow the queen
to pass without an order from his master.
It seemed not expedient to attempt to force the bridge, and, accordingly,
Margaret and her party went on up the river in order to find some other place to
cross into Wales. She was very much excited on this journey, and suffered great
anxiety, for the army of King Edward was advancing rapidly, and there was danger
that she would be intercepted and her retreat cut off; so she pressed forward
with the utmost diligence, and at length, after having marched thirty-seven
miles in one day with her troops, she arrived at Tewkesbury, a town situated
about midway between Gloucester and Worcester. When she arrived there, she found
that Edward had arrived already within a mile of the place, at the head of a
great army, and was ready for battle.
 There was, however, now an opportunity for Margaret to cross the river and
retire for a time into Wales, and she was herself extremely desirous of doing
so, but the young nobles who were with her, and especially the Duke of Somerset,
a violent and hot-headed young man, who acted as the leader of them, would not
consent. He declared that he would retreat no farther.
"We will make a stand here;" said he, "and take such fortune as God may send
So he pitched his camp in the park which lay upon the confines of the town, and
threw up intrenchments. Many of the other leaders were strongly opposed to his
plan of making a stand in this place, but Somerset was the chief in command, and
he would have his way.
He, however, showed no disposition to shelter himself personally from any
portion of the danger to which his friends and followers were to be exposed. He
took command of the advanced guard. The young prince, supported by some other
leaders of age and experience, was also to be placed in a responsible and
important position. When all was ready, Margaret and the prince rode along the
ranks, speaking words of encouragement to the troops, and promising large
rewards to them in case they gained the victory.
 Margaret's heart was full of anxiety and agitation as the hour for the
commencement of hostilities drew nigh. She had often before staked very dear and
highly-valued friends in the field of battle, but now, for the first time, she
was putting to hazard the life of her dearly beloved and only son. It was very
much against her will that she was brought to incur this terrible danger. It was
only the sternest necessity that compelled her to do it.
When the battle began, Margaret withdrew to an elevation within the park, from
which she could witness the progress of the fight. For some time her army
remained on the defensive within their intrenchments, but at length Somerset,
becoming impatient and impetuous, determined on making a sally and attacking the
assailants in the open field.
So, ordering the others to follow him, he issued forth from the lines. Some
obeyed him, and others did not. After a while he returned within the lines
again, apparently for the purpose of calling those who remained there to account
for not obeying him. He found Lord Wenlock, one of the leaders, sitting upon his
horse idle, as he said, in the town. He immediately denounced him as a traitor,
and, riding up to him, cut him down with a blow from his battle-axe, which cleft
 The men who were under Lord Wenlock's banner, seeing their leader thus
mercilessly slain, immediately began to fly. Their flight caused a panic, which
rapidly spread among all the other troops, and the whole field was soon in utter
When Margaret saw this, and thought of the prince, exposed, as he was, to the
most imminent danger in the defeat, she became almost frantic with excitement
and terror. She insisted on rushing into the field to find and save her son.
Those around found it almost impossible to restrain her. At length, in the
struggle, her excitement and terror entirely overpowered her. She swooned away,
and her attendants then bore her senseless to a carriage, and she was driven
rapidly away out through one of the park gates, and thence by a by-road to a
religious house near by, where it was thought she would be for the moment
The poor prince was taken prisoner. He was conveyed, after the battle, to
Edward's tent. The historians of the day relate the following story of the sad
termination of his career.
THE MURDER OF PRINCE HENRY.
When Edward, accompanied by his officers and the nobles in attendance upon him,
covered with the blood and the dust of the conflict, and fierce and exultant
under the excitement
 of slaughter and victory, came into the tent, and saw the handsome young prince
standing there in the hands of his captors, he was at first struck with the
elegance of his appearance and his frank and manly bearing. He, however,
accosted him fiercely by demanding what brought him to England. The prince
replied fearlessly that he came to recover his father's crown and his own
inheritance. Upon this, Edward threw his glove, a heavy iron gauntlet, in his
The men standing by took this as an indication of Edward's feelings and wishes
in respect to his prisoner, and they fell upon him at once with their swords and
murdered him upon the spot.
Margaret did not know what had become of her son until the following day. By
that time King Edward had discovered the place of her retreat, and he sent a
certain Sir William Stanley, who had always been one of her most inveterate
enemies, to take her prisoner and bring her to him. It was this Stanley who,
when he came, brought her the news of her son's death. He communicated the news
to her, it was said, in an exultant manner, as if he was not only glad of the
prince's death, but as if he rejoiced in having the opportunity of witnessing
 despair and grief with which the mother was overwhelmed in hearing the tidings.
Stanley conveyed the queen to Coventry, where King Edward then was, and placed
her at his disposal. Edward was then going to London in a sort of triumphant
march in honor of his victory, and he ordered that Stanley should take Margaret
with him in his train. Anne of Warwick, her son's young bride, was taken to
London too, at the same time and in the same way.
During the whole of the journey Margaret was in a continued state of the highest
excitement, being almost wild with grief and rage. She uttered continual
maledictions against Edward for having murdered her boy, and nothing could
soothe or quiet her.
It might be supposed that there would have been one source of comfort open to
her during this dreadful journey in the thought that, in going to the Tower,
which was now undoubtedly to be her destination, she should rejoin her husband,
who had been for some time imprisoned there. But the hope of being thus once
more united to almost the last object of affection that now remained to her upon
earth, if Margaret really cherished it, was doomed to a bitter disappointment.
The death of the
 young prince made it now an object of great importance to the reigning line that
Henry himself should be put out of the way, and, on the very night of Margaret's
arrival at the Tower, her husband was assassinated in the room which had so long
been his prison.
Thus all Queen Margaret's bright hopes of happiness were, in two short months,
completely and forever destroyed. At the close of the month of March she was the
proud and happy queen of a monarch ruling over one of the most wealthy and
powerful kingdoms on the globe, and the mother of a prince who was endowed with
every personal grace and noble accomplishment, affianced to a high-born,
beautiful, and immensely wealthy bride, and just entering what promised to be a
long and glorious career. In May, just two months later, she was childless and a
widow. Both her husband and her son were lying in bloody graves, and she
herself, fallen from her throne, was shut up, a helpless captive, in a gloomy
dungeon, with no prospect of deliverance before her to the end of her days. The
annals even of royalty, filled as they are with examples of overwhelming
calamity, can perhaps furnish no other instance of so total and terrible reverse
of fortune as this.