NORMANS IN EUROPEAN HISTORY
valued it solely as a land from which revenue might be wrung by his ministers, nor did his continental dominions derive advantage from his presence. Impetuous and short-sighted, Richard Yea-and-Nay had to meet the greatest statesman of his day in deadly rivalry; and though panegyrists placed him above Alexander, Charlemagne, and King Arthur, he went down ignominiously before Philip Augustus.
Last of all comes the youngest son John, "my heart, my best beloved." Never did father lavish his affection on a more unworthy child. False to his father, false to his brother Richard, John proved false to all, man or woman, who ever trusted him. He had none of the dash and courage of Richard, none of his large and splendid way, and none of his popularity and gift of leadership. Men saw him as he was, no Charlemagne or Arthur, but petty, mean, and cowardly, small even in his blasphemies, swearing by the feet or the teeth of God, when Henry II had habitually sworn by his eyes, and William the Conqueror by his splendor — par la resplendor De! Always devious in his ways, John's cunning sometimes got him the reputation for cleverness, and John Richard Green went so far as to call him "the ablest and most ruthless of the Angevins." But his ability, particularly in military matters not inconsiderable, was of the kind which wasted itself in temporary expedients and small successes; it was incapable of continuous policy or sustained efforts; and it everywhere ended in failure. Ger-