Page:The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Volume 16.djvu/79

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71
STEPHEN.

counted upon, and was long preparing himself against. He was glad to hear how ill she was provided, and resolved to use the opportunity of her brother's absence; for, hasting down to Arundel with a sufficient strength, he laid siege to the castle, in hopes, by securing her person, to put a speedy end to the war.

But there wanted not some very near about the king, who, favouring the party of Maude, had credit enough to prevail with him not to venture time and reputation against an impregnable fortress; but rather, by withdrawing his forces, permit her to retire to some less fortified place, where she might more easily fall into his hands. This advice the king took against his own opinion; the empress fled out of Arundel by night; and, after frequent shifting her stages through several towns, which had already declared in her favour, fixed herself at last at Lincoln; where, having all things provided necessary for her defence, she resolved to continue, and expect either a general revolt of the English to her side, or the decision of war between the king and her brother.

1141. But Stephen, who had pursued the empress from place to place, hearing she had shut herself up in Lincoln, resolved to give her no rest; and to help on his design, it fell out that the citizens, in hatred to the earl of Chester, who commanded there for the empress, sent a private invitation to the king, with promise to deliver the town and their governor into his hands. The king came accordingly, and possessed himself of the town; but Maude and the earl made their escape a few days before. However, many great persons of Maude's party remained prisoners to the king, and among the rest the earl of Ches-

ter's
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