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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 189



•would not allow him to rush upon certain death. Two or three gained the wall, and were thrown from it dead. Night put an end to the fight, and the Christians, dejected and beaten back, retired to their camp. Heaven would work no miracles for them, and it was clear that the city must be taken according to the ordinary methods of warfare.. Machines were necessary, but there was ' no wood. Chance threw into their possession a cavern, forgotten by the Saracens, filled with a store of timber, which went some way. There were still some beams in the houses and churches round Jerusalem not yet burned. All these were brought into the camp, but still there was not enough. Then a Syrian Christian bethought him of a wood six miles off, on the road to Samaria, whither he led the Crusaders. The trees were small, and not of the best kind, but such as they were they had to suffice, and all hands were employed in the construction of towers and engines of assault. They worked with the energy of men who have but one hope. For, in the midst of a Syrian summer, with a burning sun over their heads, they had no water. The nearest wells, except the intermittent spring of Siloam, were six or seven miles away. To bring the water into the camp, strong detachments were daily sent out ; the country was scoured for miles in every direction for water ; hundreds perished in casual encou titers with the enemy, while wandering in search of wells ; and the water, when it was procured, was often so muddy and impure that the very horses refused to drink it. As for those who worked in the camp, they dug up the ground and sucked the moist earth; they cut pieces of turf and laid them at their hearts to appease the devouring heat ; in the morning they licked the dew from the grass; they abstained from eating till they were compelled by faintness ; they drank the blood of their beasts. Never, not even in Antioch, not even in Phrygia, had their sufferings been so terrible, or so protracted.


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