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JACQUELINE OF BAVARIA.
brought about a marriage between him and the Lady Jacqueline.
Under any circumstances the marriage would have been ill-sorted, for the wife, with such qualities as we have described, was many years the elder, and the godmother of the husband; and he, feeble in body and mind, irregular in conduct, and led by humble dependants, was altogether one of the weakest princes of his time. His imperious Duchess, feeling contempt and aversion for him, took no pains to conceal it; and soon did the conjugal infelicities of the princely pair become the talk of the Netherlands.
But Jacqueline was a bold woman, who cared nothing for public opinion. Her plans were laid with so much skill and caution that-no one suspecting her purposeshe contrived to steal away from Hainault with her priest, whom she had won over to give his help, and by way of Calais crossed the seas and got to London. This happened the year before the death of Henry v. That Prince, knowing the value of an ally who held such large continental possessions, received Jacqueline with much courtesy, and heard her story of dissatisfaction. She wanted to be rid of her husband. But nothing could be done without the Pope. So to Martin v., therefore, Jacqueline sent her priest, to represent to his Holiness how much she was afflicted by being the wife of her godson, and how much her conscience desired to be relieved by a divorce. Now Pope Martin was by no means disposed to admit her plea. But there was a schism in the Church at this time,-another Pope living in the mountains of Aragon; and whilst Pope Martin was excommunicating Benedict XIII., Benedict returned the compliment by excommunicating his rival at Rome. To Benedict, therefore, the lady applied, and he at once granted her desire for a divorce, in return for which she declared him to be the true and infallible Pope.
Whilst at the Court of London, she became acquainted with the Duke of Gloucester, brother to Henry v. He was handsome, spirited, and ambitious, and not at all averse to respond to the favour with which the Lady Jacqueline distinguished him, though more charmed with her wealth than with her personal merits,
Gloucester married her without consulting Henry, whose anxiety to retain the friendship of the Duke of Burgundy would have made him condemn the match. Burgundy declared he would, by an appeal to Pope Martin, procure for Jacqueline a second divorce. Gloucester, however, had no mind to lose the lady and her lands, and threatened to maintain his right with the sword, and, in opposition to Bedford's advice, actually declared hostilities.
To add to Bedford's vexation, the struggles between Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort to grasp supreme power had thrown the kingdom of England into such confusion, that, in the hope to prevent a civil war, the Regent was compelled for a time to leave France for his native country. The state of disorganization and the violence
DISTURBED STATE OF ENGLAND.
of parties had grown to such a head, that the child King, Henry vi., was often carried dreadfully frightened to the House of Parliament and seated on the throne, in the hope that his presence would lull the storm and produce unity and peace. This state of affairs would not allow Bedford, the only man of any great ability and judgment then in power, to return to the Continent till the spring of the following year.
Bedford fears Burgundy will make Peace with Charles-Charles in
dulges in Indolence and Pleasures at Bourges—Yolande, DowagerDuchess of Anjou, goes into Brittany-Dangers of her Journey -wins Richmond for the Service of Charles—Richmond Constable of France— Tannegue, Violence and Generosity of his Character—Louvet an evil Counsellor—Bishop Clermont dismissed -Court removes to Saumur—the Constable and Trémoille seize Giac-his Confession—Giac put to Death—De Camus the new Favourite — Charles's Prodigality-his Courtiers—the Army left without Pay or Food-Bedford resumes Hostilities—De Camus assassinated—La Tremoille the new Favourite-The Constable attempts to save Montargis—La Hire—his eccentric Character-his Reproof to Charles — Montargis rescued — Charles and his Favourite-Richmond banished-Bedford attempts to seize Church Property-France in the deepest Distress.
IN his return, Bedford feared, and not without
reason, that Burgundy would make up matters with Charles VII., and restore him in safety
to the throne. There was the more cause to fear this, as the Duke of Savoy (who had just brought about a marriage between the youngest sister of Burgundy and the Count de Clermont) had sent the Archbishop of Rheims to propose terms of peace. Burgundy replied that he could accept none whilst Charles kept about him THE DOWAGER-DUCHESS OF ANJOU.
for counsellors those who had murdered his father, JeanSans-Peur.
This was an obstacle of the most serious kind; but Charles, who throughout his whole life was indebted to women for the most serious services, now in this momentous crisis of his affairs experienced how much could be done for him by a woman of sense and spirit. Instead of straining every nerve to take advantage of the dissensions among the English, to rouse up his friends, and make a vigorous effort to recover his kingdom, Charles was amusing himself at his little Court of Bourges with idle pleasures and indolent ease in the society of his favourites, and was seemingly content to let things run their own course.
But at this time there was with him his wife's widowed mother, Yolande, Dowager-Duchess of Anjou and Queen of Sicily, who, with a view to gain for him that energetic assistance he so much needed, set off in company with the Bishop of Clermont on an expedition to Brittany. The journey was long, and, except in the towns, not without danger. The people spoke a foreign language (akin to the Welsh, for both were descended from the Celts), and the country in many parts was wild and scarcely civilised; the peasantry often lived in huts with the goats they reared, and whose skins the men wore for their jackets, feeding mostly on chestnuts gathered from their vast forests. Such was Brittany, a country not altogether desirable for the journey of an elderly Princess