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T was in this way that public affairs were mingled and complicated with private
and personal intrigues in the English court at the time of Margaret's arrival in
the country. Margaret was of a character which admirably fitted her to act her
part well in the management of such intrigues, and in playing off the passions
of ambition, love, resentment, envy, and hate, as manifested by those around
her—passions which always glow and rage with greater fury in a court than in any
other community—so as to accomplish her ends. She was very young indeed, but she
had arrived at a maturity, both mental and personal, far beyond her years. Her
countenance was beautiful, and her air and manner possessed an inexpressible
charm, but her mental powers were of a very masculine character, and in the
boldness of the plans which she formed, and in the mingled shrewdness and energy
with which she went on to the execution of them, she evinced less the qualities
of a woman than of a man.
 It was supposed by all parties in England that Lady Neville was dead. Of course
the Duke of Gloucester had no idea that any one could have escaped from the
boat. He supposed that he had effected the complete destruction of all on board
of it. Somerset's men, who had been stationed at some distance from the landing
to receive Lady Neville and convey her home, waited until long past the
appointed hour, but no one came. The inquiries which Somerset made secretly the
next day showed that the boat had sailed from the village, but no tidings of her
arrival in London could be obtained, and he supposed that she must have been
lost, with all on board, by some accident on the river. As for the Earl of
Salisbury, Lady Neville's father, Gloucester went to him at once, and informed
him what he had done. He had detected his daughter, he said, in a guilty
intrigue, which, if it had been made public, would have brought not only
herself, but all her family, to shame. The earl, who was a man of great
sternness and severity of character, said that Gloucester had done perfectly
right, and they agreed together to keep the whole transaction secret from the
world, and to circulate a report that Lady Neville had died from some natural
 Such was the state of things when Margaret and Lady Neville arrived in London.
As soon as the queen became somewhat established in her new home, she began to
revolve in her mind the means of deposing Gloucester. Her plan was first to
endeavor to arouse her husband from his lethargy, and to awaken in his mind
something like a spirit of independence and a feeling of ambition.
"You have in your hands," she used to say to him, "what may be easily made the
foundation of the noblest realm in Europe. Besides Great Britain, you have the
whole of Normandy, and other valuable possessions in France, which together form
a vast kingdom, the government of which you might acquire great glory, if you
would take the government of it into your own hands."
She went on to represent to him how unworthy it was of him to allow all the
power of such a realm to be wielded by his uncle, instead of assuming the
command at once himself, as every consideration of prudence and policy urged him
to do. A great many instances had occurred in English history, she said, in
which a favorite minister had been allowed to hold power so long, and to
strengthen himself in the possession of it so completely, that he could not
 be divested of it, so that the king himself came at length to be held in
subjection by his own minister. The Duke of Gloucester was advancing rapidly in
the same course; and, unless the king aroused himself from his inaction, and
took the government into his own hands, he would soon lose all power to do it,
and would sink into a condition of humiliating dependence upon one of his own
Then, again, she urged upon him at other times the example of his father and
grandfather, Henry IV. and Henry V., whose reigns, through the personal energy
and prowess which they had exhibited in strengthening and extending their
dominions, had given them a world-wide renown. It would be extremely inglorious
for the descendant of such a line to spend his life in spiritless inactivity,
and to leave the affairs of his kingdom in the hands of a relative, who of
course could only be expected to exercise his powers for the purpose of
promoting his own interest and glory.
Moreover, she reminded him of a danger that he was in from the representations
of other branches of the royal line who still claimed the throne, and might at
any time, whenever an opportunity offered, be expected to attempt to enforce
their claims. As will be seen by the
 genealogical table,
Lionel, the second son of Edward III.—whose immediate descendants
had been superseded by those of John of Gaunt, the third son, on account of the
fact that the only child of Lionel was a daughter, and she had been unable to
make good her claims—had a great-granddaughter, named Anne, who married Richard,
a son of Edmund, the fourth of the sons of Edward III.
Richard Plantagenet, who issued from this union, was, of course, the descendant
and heir of Lionel. He had also other claims to the throne, and Margaret
reminded her husband that there was danger at any time that he might come
forward and assert his claims.
Under these circumstances, it was evident, said she, that the king could not
consider his interests safe in the care of any person whatsoever out of his own
immediate family—that is, in any one's hands but his own and those of his wife.
A minister, however strong his professions of fidelity and attachment might be,
could not be depended upon. If another dynasty offered him more advantageous
terms, there was not, and there could not be, any
secu-  rity against his changing sides; whereas a wife, whose interests were bound up
inseparably with those of her husband, might be relied upon with absolute
certainty to be faithful and true to her husband in every conceivable emergency.
These representations which Margaret made to her husband from time to time, as
she had opportunity, produced a very considerable impression upon him. Still he
seemed not to have resolution and energy enough to act in accordance with them.
He said that he did not see how he could take away from his uncle a power which
he had always exercised well and faithfully. And then, besides, he himself had
not the age and experience necessary for the successful management of the
affairs of so mighty a kingdom. If he were to undertake the duties of
government, he was convinced that he should make mistakes, and so get into difficulty.
Margaret, however, clearly perceived that she was making progress in producing an
impression upon her husband's mind. To increase the influence of her representations,
she watched for occasions in which Gloucester differed in opinion from the king, and failed
to carry out suggestions or recommendations which the king had made, relating probably, in
most cases, to appointments to office about the court. Some
 say she created these occasions by artfully inducing her husband to
make recommendations which she knew the duke would not sanction. At all events,
such cases occurred, and Margaret took advantage of them to urge her views still more
upon Henry's mind.
"How humiliating," said she, "that a great monarch should be dependent
upon one of his subjects for permission to do this or that, when he might have
all his affairs under his own absolute control!"
But Henry, in reply to this, said that it was not in human nature to escape
mistakes, and he thought he was very fortunate in having a minister who, when he
was in danger of making them, could interpose and save him from the ill
consequences which would otherwise result from his errors.
To this Margaret rejoined that it was indeed true that human nature was liable
to err, but that it was very humiliating for a great and powerful sovereign to
have public attention called to his errors by having them corrected in that
manner by an inferior, and to be restricted in the exercise of his powers by a
tutor and a governor, in order to keep him from doing wrong, as if he were a
child not competent to act for himself.
 "Besides," she added, "if you would really take the charge of your affairs into
your own hands and act independently, what you call your errors you may depend
upon it the public would designate by a different and a softer name. The world
is always disposed to consider what is done by a great and powerful monarch as
of course right, and even when it would seem to them wrong they believe that its
having that appearance is only because they are not in a position to form a just
judgment on the question, not being fully acquainted with the facts, or not
seeing all the bearings of them."
She assured her husband, moreover, that if he would take the business of the
government into his own hands, he would be very successful in his administration
of public affairs, and would be well sustained by all the people of the realm.
Besides thus operating upon the mind of the king, Margaret was secretly employed
all the time in ascertaining the views and feelings of the principal nobles and
other great personages of the realm, with a view to learning who were disposed
to feel hostile to the duke, and to unite all such into an organized opposition
to him. One of the first persons to whom she
 applied with this view was Somerset, the former lover of Lady Neville.
She presumed, of course, that Somerset would be predisposed to a feeling of
hostility to the duke on account of the old rivalry which had existed between
them, and she now proposed to make use of Lady Neville's return, and of her
agency in restoring her to him, as a means of inducing him to enter fully into
her plans for overturning his old rival's power. In order to retain the
management of the affair wholly in her own hands, she agreed with Lady Neville
that Lady Neville herself was not in any way to communicate with Somerset until
she, the queen, had first had an interview with him, and that he was to learn
the safety of Lady Neville only through her. Lady Neville readily consented to
this, believing that the queen could manage the matter better than she herself
could do it.
It will be recollected that Somerset was married during the period of his former
acquaintance with Lady Neville, but his wife had died while Lady Neville was in
France, and he was now free; so that the plan which the queen and lady Neville
now formed was to give him an opportunity, if he still retained his love for
her, to make her his wife.
 In the prosecution of her design, the queen made arrangements for a secret
interview with Somerset, and in the interview informed him that Lady Neville was
still alive and well; that she was, moreover, not far away, and it was in the
queen's power to restore her to him if he desired again to see her, and that she
would do so on certain conditions.
Somerset was overjoyed at hearing this news. At first he could not be persuaded
that it was true; and when assured positively that it was so, and that the long
lost Lady Neville was alive and well, and in England, he was in a fever of
impatience to see her again. He would agree to any conditions, he said, that the
queen might name, as the price of having her restored to him.
The queen said that the conditions were three.
The first was that he was to see her but once, and that only for a few minutes,
in order that he might be convinced that she was really alive, and then was to
leave her and not to see her again until the Duke of Gloucester had fallen from
The second was that he should pretend to be not on good terms with the queen
herself, in order to avert suspicion in respect to some of
 her schemes until such time as she should be ready to receive him again into
The third was that he should do all he could to increase and strengthen the
party against the duke, by turning as many as possible of his friends, and those
over whom he had any influence, against him, and then finally, when the party
should become sufficiently strong, to prefer charges against him in Parliament,
and bring him to trial.
Somerset at once agreed to all these conditions, and the queen then admitted him
to an interview with Lady Neville.
He was overwhelmed with transports of love and joy at once more beholding her
and pressing her in his arms. The queen, who was present, was very much
interested in witnessing the proofs of the ardor of the affection by which the
lovers were still bound to each other, but she soon interrupted their
expressions and demonstrations of delight by calling Somerset's attention to the
steps which were next to be taken to further their plans.
"The first thing to be done," said she, "is for you to see the Earl of Salisbury
and ask the hand of his daughter, and at the same time endeavor to induce him to
join our party."
The Earl of Salisbury had a son, the brother,
 of course, of Lady Neville, whose title was the Earl of Warwick. He was the
celebrated king-maker, so called, referred to in a former chapter. He received
that title on account of the great influence which he subsequently exercised in
raising up and putting down one after another of the two great dynasties. His
power was at this time very great, partly on account of his immense wealth, and
partly on account of his commanding personal character. Margaret was extremely
desirous of bringing him over to her side.
Somerset readily undertook the duty of communicating with the Earl of Salisbury,
with a view, of informing him of his daughter's safety and asking her hand, and
at the same time of ascertaining what hope there might be of drawing him into
the combination which the queen was forming against the Duke of Gloucester.
Somerset accordingly sought an interview with Salisbury, and told him that the
report which had been circulated that his daughter was dead was not true—that
she was still alive—that, instead of having been drowned in the Thames, as had
been supposed, she had made her escape to France, where she had since lived
under the protection of the dauphiness.
He was, of course, not willing to make known
 the real circumstances of the case in respect to the cause of her flight, and so
he represented to the earl that the reason why she left the country was to
escape the marriage with Gloucester, which would have been extremely
disagreeable to her. She had now, however, returned, and he was commissioned by
her to ask the earl's forgiveness for what had passed, and his consent that he
himself—that is, Somerset, who had always been strongly attached to her, and who
now, by the death of his former wife, was free, should be united to her in
If Somerset had succeeded in this part of his mission, he was then intending,
when the old earl's love for his daughter should have been reawakened in his
bosom by the joyful news that she was alive, and by the prospect of a brilliant
marriage for her, to introduce the subject of the Duke of Gloucester, and
perhaps cautiously reveal to him the true state of the case in respect to the
murderous violence with which the duke had assailed his daughter, and which was
the true cause of her flight. But the earl did not give him any opportunity to
approach the second part of his commission. After having heard the statement
which Somerset made to him in respect to his daughter,
 he broke out in a furious rage against her. He called her by the most
opprobrious names. He had full proof of her dishonor, and he would have nothing
more to do with her. He had disinherited her, and given all her share of the
family property to her brother; and the only reason why he ever wished her to
come into his sight again was that he might with a surer blow inflict upon her
the punishment which Gloucester had designed for her.
Somerset saw at once that the case was hopeless, and he withdrew.
Thus the attempt to draw Salisbury into the conspiracy against the duke seemed
for the time to fail. But Margaret was not at all discouraged. She pushed her
manúuvres and intrigues in other quarters with so much diligence and success
that, in about two years after her arrival in England, she found her party large
enough and strong enough for action.