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II


Agincourt was not the last of Henry's victories. He brought a second army of forty thousand men over to France . Town after town was captured, and at last Henry and his victorious troops laid siege to Rouen , which was then the largest and richest city in France .


The fortifications were so strong that Henry could not storm them, so he determined to take the place by starving the garrison. He said, "War has three handmaidens — fire, blood, and famine. I have chosen the meekest of the three."


He had trenches dug round the town and placed soldiers in them to prevent citizens from going out of the city for supplies, and to prevent the country people from taking provisions in.


A great number of the country people had left their homes when they heard that the English army was marching towards Rouen , and had taken refuge within the city walls. After the siege had gone on for six months there was so little food left in the place that the commander of the garrison ordered these poor people to go back to their homes.


Twelve thousand were put outside the gates, but Henry would not allow them to pass through his lines; so they starved to death between the walls of the French and the trenches of the English.


As winter came on the suffering of the citizens was terrible. At last they determined to set fire to the city, open their gates, and make a last desperate attack on the English.


Henry wished to preserve the city and offered such generous terms of surrender that the people accepted them. Not only Rouen but the whole of Normandy , which the French had held for two hundred years, was now forced to submit to Henry.


The war continued for about two years more, and the English gained possession of such a large part of France that at Christmas Henry entered Paris itself in triumph.


But, strange to say, the king against whom he had been fighting and over whom he was triumphing sat by his side as he rode through the streets. What did this mean? It meant that the French were so terrified by the many victories of Henry that all — king and people — were willing to give him whatever he asked. A treaty was made that as the king was feeble Henry should be regent of the kingdom and that when the king died Henry should succeed him as king of France .


In the treaty the French king also agreed to give to Henry his daughter, the Princess Katherine, in marriage. She became the mother of the English King, Henry VI.


The arrangement that an English sovereign should be king of France was never put into effect; for in less than two years after the treaty was signed the reign of the great conqueror came to an end. Henry died.


In the reign of his son all his work in gaining French territory was undone. By the time that Henry VI was twenty years old England , as you will read in the story of Joan of Arc, had nothing left of all that had been won by so many years of war except the single town of Calais .


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