Young Folks' History of England HTML version

22. Edward IV, A.D. 1461—1483
Though Edward IV. was made king, the wars of the Red and White Roses
were not over yet. Queen Margaret and her friends were always trying to get
help for poor King Henry. Edward had been so base and mean as to have him
led into London, with his feet tied together under his horse, while men struck
him on the face, and cried out, "Behold the traitor!" But Henry was meek,
patient, and gentle throughout; and, when shut up in the Tower, spent his
time in reading and praying, or playing with his little dog.
Queen Margaret and her son Edward were living with her father in France,
and she was always trying to have her husband set free, and brought back to
his throne. In the meantime, all England was exceedingly surprised to find
that Edward IV. had been secretly married to a beautiful lady named
Elizabeth Woodville—Lady Grey. Her first husband had been killed fighting for
Henry, and she had stood under an oak tree, when King Edward was passing,
to entreat that his lands might not be taken from her little boys. The king fell
in love with her and married her, but for a long time he was afraid to tell the
Earl of Warwick; and when he did, Warwick was greatly offended—and all the
more because Elizabeth's relations were proud and gay in their dress, and
tried to set themselves above all the old nobles. Warwick himself had no son,
but he had two daughters, whom he meant to marry to the king's two
brothers—George, Duke of Clarence, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester.
Edward thought this would make Warwick too powerful, and though he could
not prevent George from marrying Isabel Nevil, the eldest daughter, the
discontent grew so strong that Warwick persuaded George to fly with him,
turn against his own brother, and offer Queen Margaret their help! No wonder
Margaret did not trust them, and was very hard to persuade that Warwick
could mean well by her; but at last she consented, and gave her son
Edward—a fine lad of sixteen—to marry his daughter, Anne Nevil; after
which, Warwick—whom men began to call the king-maker— went back to
England with Clarence, to raise their men, while she was to follow with her
son and his young wife. Warwick came so suddenly that he took the Yorkists
at unawares. Edward had to flee for his life to Flanders, leaving his wife and
his babies to take shelter in Westminster Abbey—since no one durst take any
one out of that holy place—and poor Henry was taken out of prison and set
on the throne again. However, Edward soon got help in Flanders, where his
sister was married to the Duke of Burgundy. He came back again, gathered
his friends, and sent messages to his brother Clarence that he would forgive
him if he would desert the earl. No one ever had less faith or honor than
George of Clarence. He did desert Warwick, just as the battle of Barnet Heath
was beginning; and Warwick's king-making all ended, for he was killed, with
his brother and many others, in the battle.
And this was the first news that met Margaret when, after being long
hindered by foul weather, she landed at Plymouth. She would have done