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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 61



" The saints preserve thee," said the countess with a look of alarm, " and England"— Robert interrupted.,—" 'Tis of that I would speak. The Conqueror bitterly bewailing the desolation and woe he had wrought in England, protested that he had so misused that fair and beautiful land, that he dare not appoint a successor to it, but left the disposal of that matter in the hands of God." " Thou shouldst then have been king," said the Countess, " since God made thee his first-born." " So should I have been," said the duke, " but for the craft of William ; but while I tarried in Germany, little thinking that my father's illness would terminate so sud-denly, the red-haired usurper hastened over sea, and gain-ing Lanfranc to his interest secured the throne." " Always unready," sighed Adela. " And while the elder sons were thus employed, the young Henry watched by the bed of his dying father. Is it not so ?" " Small watching had the Conqueror's death-bed," said Robert, with something between a smile and a sneer. " The filial Beauclerk set off to secure the treasures, and the at-tendants equally rapacious and inhuman, plundered the house of all the money, plate, and precious furniture, and even stripped the person of the monarch. And after Herlwin had succeeded in conveying the body to the abbey of St. Stephen's, and they were about to place it in the grave, there stood forth an insolent noble, and forbade the interment. 'This spot,' said he, ' was the site of my father's house, which this dead duke took violently from him, and here upon part of my inheritance founded this church. This ground I therefore challenge, and charge ye all as ye shall answer it at the great and dreadful day of judgment, that ye lay not the bones of the destroyer on the hearth of my fathers.' And there, exposed to the jeers of the assembled multitudes, was the body forced to wait, while Henry drove a sharp bargain with the owner of the soil, and purchased leave of burial for the paltry sum of sixty shillings. Oh Adela!" said Robert, rising 68 HEROINES OF THE CRUSADES.


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