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party! The boy-Prince besieging his grand-mother,
and his uncle besieging him!

This position of affairs did not last long.
One summer night King John, by treachery,
got his men into the town, surprised Prince
Arthur's force, took two hundred of his
knights, and seized the Prince himself in his
bed. The knights were put in heavy irons,
and driven away in open carts drawn by
bullocks, to various dungeons where they were
most inhumanly treated, and where some of
them were starved to death. Prince Arthur
was sent to the castle of Falaise.

One day, while he was in prison at that
castle, mournfully thinking it strange that
one so young should be in so much trouble,
and looking out of the small window in the
deep dark wall, at the summer sky and the
birds, the door was softly opened, and he saw
his uncle the King standing in the shadow of
the archway, looking very grim.

"Arthur," said the King, with his wicked
eyes more on the stone floor than on his
nephew, "will you not trust to the gentleness,
the friendship, and the truthfulness, of your
loving uncle?"

"I will tell my loving uncle that," replied
the boy, "when he does me right. Let him
restore to me my kingdom of England, and
then come to me and ask the question."

The King looked at him and went out.
"Keep that boy close prisoner," said he to the
warden of the castle.

Then the King took secret counsel with the
worst of his nobles how the Prince was to be
got rid of. Some said, "Put out his eyes
and keep him in prison, as Robert of
Normandy was kept." Others said, "Have him
stabbed." Others, "Have him hanged."
Others, "Have him poisoned."

King John, feeling that in any case, whatever
was done afterwards, it would be a satisfaction
to his mind to have those handsome
eyes burnt out that had looked at him so
proudly while his own royal eyes were blinking
at the stone floor, sent certain ruffians to
Falaise to blind the boy with red-hot irons.
But Arthur so pathetically entreated them,
and shed such piteous tears, and so appealed
to HUBERT DE BOURG, the warden of the
castle, who had a love for him, and was an
honourable tender man, that Hubert could
not bear it. To his eternal honour he
prevented the torture from being performed, and,
at his own risk, sent the savages away.

The chafed and disappointed King
bethought himself of the stabbing suggestion
next, and, with his shuffling manner and his
cruel face, proposed it to one William de Bray.
"I am a gentleman and not an executioner,"
said William de Brity, and left the presence
with disdain.

But it was not difficult for a King to hire a
murderer in those days. King John found
one for his money, and sent him down to the
castle of Falaise. "On what errand dost thou
come?" said Hubert to this fellow. "To
despatch young Arthur," he returned. "Go
back to him who sent thee," answered Hubert,
"and say that I will do it!"

King John very well knowing that Hubert
would never do it, but that he courageously
sent this reply to save the Prince or gain
time, despatched messengers to convey the
young prisoner to the castle of Rouen.

Arthur was soon forced from the good
Hubert of whom he had never stood in
greater need than thencarried away by
night, and lodged in his new prison: where,
through his grated window, he could hear the
deep waters of the river Seine, rippling against
the stone wall below.

One dark night, as he lay sleeping, dreaming
perhaps of rescue by those unfortunate
gentlemen who were obscurely suffering and
dying in his cause, he was roused, and bidden
by his jailer to come down the staircase to the
foot of the tower. He hurriedly dressed
himself and obeyed. When they came to the
bottom of the winding stairs, and the night
air from the river blew upon their faces, the
jailer trod upon his torch and put it out.
Then, Arthur, in the darkness, was hurriedly
drawn into a solitary boat. And in that boat,
he found his uncle and one other man.

He knelt to them, and prayed them not to
murder him. Deaf to his entreaties, they
stabbed him and sunk his body in the river
with heavy stones. When the spring-morning
broke, the tower-door was closed, the boat
was gone, the river sparkled on its way, and
never more was any trace of the poor boy
beheld by mortal eyes.

The news of this atrocious murder being
spread in England, awakened a hatred of the
King (already odious for his many vices, and
for his having stolen away and married a
noble lady while his own wife was living) that
never slept again through his whole reign.
In Brittany, he indignation was intense.
Arthur's own sister ELEANOR was in the
power of John and shut up in a convent at
Bristol, but his half-sister ALICE was in
Brittany. The people chose her, and the murdered
prince's father-in-law, the last husband of
Constance, to represent them; and carried
their fiery complaints to King Philip. King
Philip summoned King John (as the holder
of territory in France) to come before him
and defend himself. King John refusing to
appear, King Philip declared him false,
perjured, and guilty; and again made war. In a
little time, by conquering the greater part of
his French territory, King Philip deprived
him of one-third of his dominions. And,
through all the fighting that took place, King
John was always found, either to be eating
and drinking, like a gluttonous fool, when the
danger was at a distance, or to be running
away, like a beaten cur, when it was near.

You might suppose that when he was
losing his dominions at this rate, and when his
own Nobles cared so little for him or his cause
that they plainly refused to follow his banner

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