After a full week of haar hovering over us, it is now a beautiful gorgeous day. I want to stay inside and read or watch mindless movies and eat food that someone else has prepared. The doctor agreed with me on Friday: I have a sinus infection, and he gave me antibiotics. My energy is zapped, but I have things to do, though I keep zoning out when I read. Somehow from the DNB article on Henry IV I found myself reading about the Sahara and cheetahs on Wikipedia, and then about Blackadder. I’ve looked up properties of folic acid and read about a friend’s journey from being Baptist to Episcopalian. I’m just plain tired and don’t really care about Walsingham or his Chronica Maiora.
I’ve been reading To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis each night before bed, and this morning I realized that it was having a lingering effect. I was innocently reading the DNB’s article on Richard II:
At this point, however, events in France took a turn which Richard could not have foreseen. Burgundy’s enforced absence from Paris in May and June allowed his rival, the duke of Orléans, to establish his ascendancy over the intermittently insane Charles VI, and Orléans now allowed Henry freedom to prepare an invasion of England. He concluded an alliance with Henry, and may secretly have given him some help. His motives were opportunistic: he hoped to destabilize Richard’s regime in England, undermine the Anglo-French accord, and thereby weaken Burgundy’s standing at court in France. With a small body of supporters, including Archbishop Arundel, Henry landed at Ravenspur in Yorkshire about 1 July 1399. Many duchy of Lancaster retainers rallied to him, and he was soon joined by the earls of Northumberland and Westmorland, who had their own grievances against the king. With the north thus quickly secured, Henry marched south, gaining support as he went.
…and as I read, I heard Professor Peddick shouting, “Ha! Individual action! Not blind forces! Would Henry Bolingbroke have had support from the French if the duke of Burgundy hadn’t been away? If it weren’t for the opportunism of the duke of Orléans, Henry may have never returned to England! Richard II would never have been deposed! Blind forces, pah!”
Of course, I wouldn’t want to get in an argument with him on the detail that Burgundy was kept out of Paris by an outbreak of the plague, lest I be considered an ally of Professor Overforce and his amazing tree-leaping canine, Darwin.