« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
creased, yet the eyes of men began to turn towards her son Henry, who having now reached sixteen years of age, displayed the promise of great abilities, and already possessed many graces of person and demeanour. An invitation to return to England was accordingly sent to him; and many motives induced him to comply. He felt certain of support from the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had now risen superior to the Bishop of Winchester ; the Earls of Chester and Hereford, with the young Earl of Gloucester, called eagerly for his presence, and promised him their fealty; and his mother's uncle, David, King of Scotland, held out to him hopes of still more important assistance; though this was coupled with a demand, that he should not be disturbed in possession of the three Northern counties which he had obtained during the struggle between Stephen and Matilda. Everything promised him success; and escorted by a chosen body of troops, he landed on the coast of England—it is supposed in Dorsetshire; and proceeded to join the King of Scotland at Carlisle. From the hand of that monarch he received the honour of knighthood, and nothing was thought of during the winter months but the invasion of England.
Henry, however, had either accepted the invitation too soon, or his friends were timid or faithless. Stephen advanced with an army to York, and his son, Prince Eustace, made incursions upon the terri
tories of the inimical Barons. David remained at Carlisle with a force strong enough to protect his own territories, but not sufficiently numerous to attempt the invasion of England. The noblemen who had promised Henry their full support failed to join him. The King of Scotland would not march without them; and Henry, after seeing great part of the year wasted in inactivity, returned to Normandy in 1150, though not till he had created a srong interest in his favour amongst the Barons of England and Scotland.
His return to the continent was very soon followed by an act which affected the fortunes of Henry during his whole life; and a few preliminary words are necessary in order to explain the events which succeeded. Not many years before, the well known Crusade under Louis the Young had taken place, the French King being moved to the enterprise both by remorse for some acts of inhuman barbarity which he had committed, and by the preaching of St. Bernard, one of the most singular and eloquent men of his age. Some years previous to the period of his taking the Cross, Louis had married Eleanor, eldest daughter of the Duke of Aquitaine, a princess of beauty, wit, and talent, eager passions and flexible principles; who readily agreed to accompany her husband to the Holy Land, determined, as it would appear, from the very first, to turn the whole crusade into a matter of gallantry and amusement. She was accompanied by almost all the ladies of her court;
and certainly from the accounts we possess of the levity with which the expedition was undertaken and carried on, the result that followed might have been fairly anticipated.
In regard to this crusade I shall have more to relate hereafter. Suffice it to say at present that both the King of France and the Emperor, who had also taken the Cross, were deceived entirely by those whom they believed to be their friends. Louis was misled by guides, assailed unexpectedly at every turn by enemies; and it was not till his forces were diminished in a lamentable degree, both by carnage and sickness, that he found a temporary shelter within the walls of Antioch. There however, he was hospitably received by Raymond of Poitiers, the sovereign of that city, who was also uncle to Eleanor, the young wife of the French King.
If Louis found repose in Antioch from the fatigues and dangers of the march, his mind was not suffered to enjoy lengthened tranquillity. The levity of his wife's conduct, if we may not call it by a harsher name, soon troubled his domestic peace, and drove him from his place of temporary repose. Her uncle Raymond, one of the most accomplished men of his day, endeavoured, it would seem, to engage his niece in the views he entertained of extending his territories in the neighbourhood of Antioch, and, through her means, to obtain the assistance of Louis and his forces. What
mode of persuasion the Prince of Antioch employed, we do not know; but it is certain that Louis became jealous of Raymond's favour with his Queen, and assured his council, that he had discovered a design on the part of the former to de. prive him of Eleanor by force, to which scheme he asserted Eleanor throughout was a consenting party.
Whatever cause of jealousy might really exist in regard to Raymond of Poitiers, there can be no doubt whatever, if the concurring testimony of all the writers of the day may be believed, that Eleanor's incontinence, while in the east, was great and notorious. She is not only generally supposed to have entered into a criminal intrigue with her uncle, but she is accused of the same crime with a young convert from Mahommedism, and also with a Mahometan, named Saladin. In regard to the latter, however, it may be necessary to remark, that if the writers who made the charge, intended to designate the famous Saladin as the lover of Eleanor, they committed a great error; as it is proved by the Arabic, as well as the European writers, that not the slightest communication could ever have taken place between Saladin and the French princess; and even if it had, it must necessarily have been of a very innocent nature, as Saladin was at that time under eleven years of age. The fact of her incontinence, however, is placed beyond all doubt, by the testimony of William of Tyre, who would not have perpetuated the scandal had not his vast means of information satisfied him of the truth of the tale.
However that may be, Louis was himself convinced of his wife's guilt; and, with all the intemperate fury of jealousy, he carried her forcibly out of Antioch in the midst of the night, and marched on as fast as possible to Jerusalem. From the holy city, Louis wrote to the famous Suger, Abbot of St. Denis, asking counsel as to how he should deal with Eleanor. Suger, whom he had left in France as Regent of the kingdom, and who was more a statesman than a prelate, replied by advising him strongly to smother his anger towards Eleanor, at least till his return to France; and the monarch wisely followed his advice. It was less easy, however, to make Eleanor forget her anger at the treatment she had received. Her husband had become hateful to her. She declared that she had married a monk and not a king; and she did all that was possible after her return to France for the purpose of driving Louis to propose or consent to a divorce.
In the meantime the prospects of Henry Plantagenet were daily becoming more bright. Before the absolute return of the King of France from the crusade, Robert, Count of Dreux, his brother, who had preceded him, endeavoured to raise a civil war in the land, for the purpose of deposing Louis. It would appear that Geoffrey, the father of Henry and husband of Matilda, strongly supported the power of the Regent Suger, and thus aided to save