Page 1194

1194 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

fortresses were built in many parts, and into

these, when the cry of the "Saracen" was

raised in the country, the people would flee

for shelter.

On the whole, however, the disturbance

on the southern border was provoking rather

than dangerous. The incursions were made

by hordes of robbers, who expected to plunder and fly rather than plunder and fight.

Nor were the Mohammedans of Spain pressed

from behind by other hosts out of Africa,

as were the Northmen, driven from their

homes by innumerable swarms of Asiatic

barbarians. Thus it happened that, while

the northern and western frontier of France

was broken in and a large part of her territory taken by the audacious Danes, the

southern border was preserved from serious

infraction.

As to the new province thus ceded by

Charles the Simple to Rollo and his countrymen, the same soon became one of the most

prosperous districts in France. The great

Danish chieftain was recognized as Duke

of Normandy. Nor should the pen of history here fail to note that William the Conqueror, whose valorous blood has flowed into the veins of all the English kings and

queens who have reigned since the Norman

conquest of 1066, was himself-though illegitimate-the eighth in regular descent

from Rolf, the Danish pirate turned reformer and civilizen.

After the settlement between Charles the

Simple and Duke Rollo, the kingdom enjoyed

peace for the space of ten years; but in 922

the ever-growing ambition of the French

barons led to a revolt against the feebleminded Charles and in favor of Count Robert, brother of Eudes. Civil war broke out between the rival parties, and Charles, in attempting to maintain his rights, half redeemed his forfeited fame. He took the field in person, met Count Robert in battle and slew

him with his own hand. But the cause of

the rebellion was taken up by Hugh the

Great, son of the slain count, and the king

was soon disastrously defeated. Hugh, already Count of Paris, Was ambitious to be the

maker of kings rather than be king himself.

He would fain restore that ancient regime

in which the Mayor of the Palace stood

behind the throne and directed the affairs of the kingdom. Accordingly, after the defeat and flight of Charles the Simple-for the latter with all speed sought refuge

with Herbert, count of Vermandois-Hugh

brought it about that the French crown

should be conferred on Rodolph, duke of

Burgundy, to whom his own sister had

been given in marriage. So predominant

was the influence of the great count that

Rodolph's nomination was ratified by the

barons, while the deposed Charles was shut

up as a prisoner in the Chateau Thierry.

Elgiva, the wife of the dethroned monarch,

who was a sister to Athelstane, king

of England, escaped with her son Louis

and sought protection with her brother.

The status thus fixed by revolution was

maintained until 929. In that year Charles

the Simple died, his taking-off being ascribed

to poison. Rodolph continued to reign

until 926; but the real power of the kingdom was wielded by Hugh the Great. Rodolph died childless, and the crown of France was again at the disposal of the great leader,

who again refused to claim it for himself.

Nor can it be doubted that in his policy

Count Hugh was guided by a desire to secure the peace and prosperity of the kingdom.

In looking about for a new sovereign he

failed not to take note of the absent Prince

Louis, who with his mother was still sojourning with his uncle Athelstane, of England.

A message was sent to the English

court, requesting the exiled queen to return

with her son, in order that he might receive the crown of France. As was natural,

the sincerity of the count was distrusted,

and the queen at first refused to put herself at his mercy. King Athelstane also

shared his sister's apprehensions; but the

fears of the exiles were at length quieted,

and Louis returned with his mother to France.

They were received by Hugh with profound respect, and were conducted by him

to the cathedral at Rheims where the prince

was solemnly crowned with the title of

Lonis IV. Nor did the imaginative French

fail to find for their new sovereign an appropriate name. He was called D'Outremer, or the Stranger; for his youth had been passed beyond the sea.

It was not long until King Louis showed

in the management of public affairs an ability

and prudence greater than had been exhibited