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AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE.

BY HENRY CURLING,

AUTHOR OF

"THE SOLDIER OF FORTUNE.”

Nor powers from home, and discontents at home,
Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits
(As doth a raven on a sick-fallen heast),
The imminent decay of wrested pomp.
Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can
Hold out this tempest.
A thousand businesses are brief in hand,
And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.

KING JOHN.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

LONDON:
RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.

1846.

LONDON:
Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street.

WILLON

JOHN OF ENGLAND.

CHAPTER I.

THANET IN THE REIGN OF JOHN.

The posts come tiring on,
And not a man of them brings other news
Than they have learned of me.

SHAKSPERE.

Every minute now
Should be the father of some stratagem.
The times are wild,-contention, like a horse
Full of high feeding, madly hath broke loose,
And bears down all before him.

IBID.

It is our purpose to commence the present tale in and around a portion of merrie England, which we conceive to be a familiar spot to the

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majority of our readers—the pleasant fields and white-faced shores of the fertile Isle of Thanet.

There is, indeed, we opine, no portion of our “sceptered isle” which to the lover of English History, or to the antiquarian, possesses greater interest than this spot. Here Saxon and Dane, Briton and Roman, have alike encountered, “ face to face, and bloody point to point ;” and not a foot of its verdant surface, but must again and again have been bruised with the hoofs of hostile paces, from the Roman invasion down to the times of the York and Lancastrian dissensions and civil butcheries.

Gazing from the yellow sands upon that pale, that white-faced shore,

“ Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides,

from other lands her islanders,"

And coops

the spectator becomes peculiarly impressed with the deeds of other days—he feels, indeed, that as the waves, “those curly-headed monsters, ” roar and break at his feet, whilst the sea-bird screams aloft, the flood and the furious blast sweeps o'er the dizzy height; such must have been the exact scene, when the watch-fires of the Britons burned upon the wold, and the galleys of Cæsar first appeared in sight.

No remembrance of young England here interferes with the reverie of the wanderer but lost in dreams of early and shadowy recollection, as the eye traverses the beachy margin of the ocean, and rests upon the sea-built towers of the monastic Reculvers in the distance, he becomes lost in dreams.

For our own part, we must indeed confess to a considerable share of affection towards a portion of our island, which in the stirring periods of the early history of Britain has played so important a part, and we shall therefore make no apology for bringing our actors upon the scene, in the close vicinity of the well-known, lively town of Margate. In the good old times

“ All times when old are good," —and we purpose to go so far back as the reign of “English John”—this town (at present so

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