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On her way southward to her own country, Eleanora remained some time at Blois. The count of this province was Thibaut, elder brother to king Stephen, one of the handsomest and bravest men of his time. Much captivated with the splendour of “ her great dower," Thibaut offered his hand to his fair guest. He met with a refusal, which by no means turned him from his purpose, as he resolved to detain the lady a prisoner in his fortress, till she complied with his proposal. Eleanora suspected his design, and departed by night, without the ceremony oi leave-taking. She embarked on the Loire, and went down the stream to Tours, which was then belonging to the dominions of Anjou.

Here her good luck, or dexterous management, brought her off clear from another mal-adventure. Young Geoffrey Plantagenet, the next brother to the man she intended to marry, had likewise a great inclination to be sovereign of the South. He placed himself in ambush at a part of the Loire called the “ Port of Piles," with the intention of seizing the duchess and her train, carrying her off, and marrying her. But,” says the chronicler, “ Eleanora was pre-warned by her good angel, and she suddenly turned down a branch of the stream southwards, towards her own country.” Thither Henry Plantagenet, the elder brother of Geoffrey, repaired to claim the hand which had been promised him months before the divorce. The celerity with which the marriage of Eleanora followed her divorce astonished all Europe

, for she gave her hand to Henry Plantagenet, duke of Normandy and count of Anjou, only six weeks after the divorce was pronounced

. Eleanora is supposed to have been in her thirty-second year, and the bridegroom in his twentieth,-a disparity somewhat ominous to thei future matrimonial felicity.

The duchess of Aquitaine and the duke of Normandy were married at Bordeaux1 on May-day, with all the pomp that the luxurious taste of Eleanora, aided by Provençal wealth, could effect. If Henry and Eleanora could have been married a few months earlier it would have been better for the reputation of the bride, since all chroniclers and very positive in fixing the birth of her eldest son, William, on the lith of August, 1152, little more than four months after their union on the first of May. The birth of this boy accounts for the haste with which Eleanora was divorced. Had king Louis detained his unfaithful wife, dispute might have arisen respecting the succession to the crown of France. Her child was born in Normandy, whither Henry conveyed Eleanora directly after their marriage, leaving the garrisons of Aquitaine commanded by Norman officers faithful to his interest ; a step which was the commencement of his unpopularity in his wife's dominions.

Louis VII. was much displeased at the marriage of his divorced queen with Henry of Anjou. He viewed with uneasiness the union of

1 Gervase. Brompton.

1153.] Her marriage to Henry of Anjou opposed. 175 the fair provinces of the South with Anjou and Normandy; and, in order to invalidate it, he actually forbade Henry to marry without his permission, claiming that authority as his feudal lord. His measures, we think, ought to acquit king Louis of the charge of too much righteousness in his political dealings, for which he is blamed by the superficial Voltaire. The hostility of Louis, who entered into a league with king Stephen, roused young Henry from the pleasures in which he was spending the first year of his nuptials; and breaking from his wedded Circe, he obtained, from her fondness, a fleet for the enforcement of his claims to his rightful inheritance. Eleanora was sovereign of a wealthy maritime country, whose ships were equally used for war and commerce. Leaving his wife and son in Normandy, Henry embarked from Harfleur with thirty-six ships, May 1153. Without the aid of this fleet, England would never have reckoned the name of Plantagenet among her royal dynasties.

These circumstances are alluded to, with some dry humour, in the following lines by Robert of Gloucester :

" In eleven hundred years of grace and forty-one,
Died Geoffry of Plantagenet, the earl of Anjou.
Henry his son and heir, earl was made through
All Anjou, and duke of Normand:-much it was his mind
To come and win England, for he was next of kind, [kin]
And to help his moder, who was oft in feeble chance.
But he was much acquaint with the queen of France,
Some deal too much, as me weened ; so that in some thing
The queen loved him, as me trowed, more than her lord the king;
So that it was forth put that the king and she
So sibbe were, that they must no longer together be.
The kindred was proved so near, that king Louis there
And Eleanor his queen by the pope y-parted were.
Some were glad enow, as might be truly seen,
For Henry the empress' son forthwith espoused the queen.
The queen riches enow had under her hand,
Which helped Henry then to war on England.
In the eleventh hundred year and fifty-two
After God on earthicame, this spousing was ado;
The next year after that, Henry his power nom, [took]

And with six-and-thirty ships to England com." There is reason to believe that at this period Henry won the affections of the beautiful Rosamond Clifford, and seduced her, under the promise of marriage, as the birth of her eldest son corresponds with Henry's visit to England at this time; for he left England the year before Stephen's death, 1153. Henry was busy laying siege to the castle of one of his rebels in Normandy when the news of Stephen's death reached him. Six weeks elapsed before he sailed to take possession of his kingdom. His queen and infant son accompanied him. They waited a month at Barfleur for a favourable wind, and after all

i Brompton.

they had a dangerous passage, but landed safely at Osterham, Decemar ber 8. The king and queen waited at the port for some days, while th fleet, dispersed by the wind, collected. They then went to Winchester, where they received the homage of the southern barons. Theobald archbishop of Canterbury, and some of the chief nobles, came to haster ** their appearance in London, “where Henry was,” says the Saxon chron clers, “received with great honour and worship, and blessed to king tha Sunday before Midwinter-day." Eleanora and Henry were crowned i Westminster-abbey, December 19, 1154, “after England,” to use the words of Henry of Huntingdon, “had been without a king for six weeks. Henry's security during this interval, was owing to the powerful fleet o his queen, which commanded the seas between Normandy and England, and kept all rebels in awe.

The coronation of the king of England and the luxurious lady of the South was without parallel for magnificence. Here were seen in profusion, mantles of silk and brocade, of a new fashion and splendid texture, brought by queen Eleanora’ from Constantinople. In the illuminated portraits of this queen she wears a wimple, or close coif, with a circlet of gems over it; her kirtle, or close gown, has tight sleeves, and is drawn up with full gathers just below the throat, confined with a rich collar of gems. TT Over this is worn the elegant pelisson, or outer robe, bordered with fur

, with very full loose sleeves lined with ermine, showing gracefully the tight kirtle, sleeves beneath. In some portraits the queen is seen with her hair braided, and closely wound round the head with jewelled bands. I Over all was thrown a square of fine lawn or gauze, which supplied the place of a veil and was worn precisely like the faziola, still the national costume of the lower orders of Venice. This coverchief, or kerchief

, could be drawn down below the chin; and supplied the place of veil and bonnet, when abroad; sometimes it descended but to the brow, just as the wearer was disposed to show or conceal her face. Frequently the coverchief was confined by the bandeau, or circlet, being placed on the head over it. Girls before marriage wore their hair in ringlets or tresses on their shoulders. The church was very earnest in preaching against the public display of ladies' hair after marriage. The long hair of the men likewise drew down the constant fulminations of the church ; but after Henry I. had cut off his curls, and forbidden long hair at court

, his courtiers adopted periwigs ; indeed, if we may judge by the queer effigy on his coins, the handsome Stephen himself wore a wig. It is cera tain that the thunder of the pulpit was constantly levelled at wigs, which were forbidden by a sumptuary law of king Henry. Henry II. made his appearance, at his coronation, with short hair,

2 It is said she introduced the growth of silk in her southern dominions, a benefit attributed to Henry the Great.

a

i Nicolas's Chron, of Hist.

a

155.]
Her coronation in England.

177 noustaches, and shaven chin; he wore a doublet and short Angevin loak, which immediately gained for him from his subjects, Norman and English, the sobriquet of “ Court-mantle.” His dalmatica was of the ichest brocade, bordered with gold embroidery. At his coronation, cclesiastics were first seen in England dressed in sumptuous robes of ilk and velvet, worked with gold in imitation of the luxury of the Greek church. Such was the costume of the court of Eleanora of Aquitaine, the queen of England, in the year of her coronation, 1154. The Christmas festivities were celebrated that year with great pomp, at Westminster-palace ; but directly the coronation was over, the king conducted his queen to the palace of Bermondsey, where, after remaining some weeks in retirement, she gave birth to her second son, the last day of February, 1155.

Bermondsey, the first place of Eleanora's residence in England, was, as delineated in its ancient plans, a pastoral village nearly opposite to London, of a character decidedly Flemish. Rich in well-cultivated garlens and wealthy velvet meads, it possessed, likewise, an ancient Saxon valace,' and a priory then newly built. Asssuredly the metropolis must lave presented itself to the view of its foreign queen, from the palace of Bermondsey, with much more picturesque grandeur than it does at present, when its unwieldy size and smoky atmosphere prevent an entire coup d'ail. But at one glance from the opposite bank of the river the eyes of the fair Provençal could then behold London, situated on ground rising from the Thames. It was at that time girdled with an embattled wall, which was studded with gateways, both by land and water. The new Tower of London kept guard on the eastern extremity of the city, ind the lofty spire of the ancient cathedral soared over the western side, just behind the antique gateway of Ludgate. This gate led to the pleasant road of the river's Strand, ornamented with the old Temple, its fair gardens and wharf, and interspersed with a few inns, or metropolitan dwellings of the nobility, the cultivated grounds of which sloped down to their water-stairs and boat-houses, the Thames being then the highway of London. The Strand road terminated in the majestic palace and abbey of Westminster, the old palace, with its yard and gardens, once belonging to St. Edward, and the new palace, its noble hall and water-stairs, which owed their origin to the Norman dynasty. Such was the me tropolis when Henry II. succeeded to the English crown.

If the example and conduct of the first Provençal queen was neither difying nor pleasing to her subjects, yet, in a commercial point of view, the connexion of the merchants of England with her Aquitanian

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dominions was highly advantageous. The wine trade with Bourdeaur became considerable.' In a few months after the accession of Eleanora as queen-consort of England, large fortunes were made by the London traders, who imported the wines of Gascony from the port of Bourdeaux;" and above all (by the example of the maritime cities of Guienne), the shipping of England was governed by the ancient code of laws, called the code of Oleron. In compliment to his consort Eleanora, Henry II adopted for his plate-mark the cross of Aquitaine, with the addition ci his initial letter W. An instance of this curious fact is still to be seen in the grace-cup of Thomas à-Becket.3

The English chose to regard Henry II. solely as the descendant of their ancient Saxon line. Thou art son,” said they, “to the most glorious empress Matilda, whose mother was Matilda Atheling, daughter to Margaret, saint and queen, whose father was Edward, son to king Edmuni Ironside, who was great-grandson to king Alfred.” Such were the expressions of the English, when Henry convened a great meeting of the nobility and chief people at Wallingford, in March 1155; where, by the advice of his mother, the empress Matilda (who had learned wisdom from adversity), he swore to confirm to the English the laws of Alfred and Edward the Confessor, as set forth in the great charter of Henry I. At this grand convocation queen Eleanora appeared with her eldest son, then. in his fourth year, and the infant Henry. The baronage of England kissed the hands of the infants, and vowed to recognise them as the heirs of the English monarchy. A few weeks after this recognition, the queen lost her eldest son, who was buried at Reading, at the feet of his great grandfather, Henry I.

The principal residences of the court were Winchester-palace, Westminster-palace, and the country palace of Woodstock. The amusemente most favoured by queen Eleanora were of a dramatic kind. Besides the Mysteries and Miracles played by the parish-clerks and students of divinity, the classic taste of the accomplished Eleanora patronised représentations nearly allied to the regular drama, since we find that Peter of Blois, in his epistles, congratulates his brother William on his tragedy of Flaura and Marcus, played before the queen. This William was an abbot, but was master of the revels or amusements at cour:

1 Anderson's History of Commerce. taine somewhat resembles the Maltese cres:

2 “ The land,” says one of the malcontent the cup is of ivory mounted with silver Saxon chroniclers, " became full of drink and which is studded on the summit and bene drunkards. Claret was 4d. per gallon at this with pearls and precious stones. The me time. Gascon wine in general sold at 20. scription round the cup is, VINUM TER

BIBE CUM GAUDIO,_" Drink thy wine site 3 This cup formerly belonged to the Arun- joy;" but round the lid, deeply engraved, del collection, and was given by Bernard the restraining injunction, SOBRII ESTUTE Edward, the late duke of Norfolk, to H. with the initials T. B. interlacing a mitre

, the Howard, Esq., of Corby-castle, who thus be: peculiarly low form of which stamps the antia came the possessor of this highly-prized quity of the whole. relic of Eleanora's era. The cross of Aqui

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