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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 74



lings, thou wouldst be better inclined to laugli at their folly than relieve their poverty." " Adela counts it not folly for a man to sell all he hath for the kingdom of Heaven's sake." " I fancy," said Henry, laughiug, " that those self-sacri-ficers have an eye to the ' manifold more in this life,5 rather than to the heavenly inheritance; and some, I trow, under-stand by the kingdom of heaven, a principality in Pales-tine." " And were not the establishment of Christian powers in Asia a worthy purpose ?" returned Adela, little pleased at her brother's insinuations. " Certes, my beloved sister. But wherefore didst thou de-tain thy unworthy Beauclerk, is there not kingdom or duchy for him ?" " Nay ! I scarcely claim the me4ft of detaining thee," said Adela, " since I suspect that a stronger tie than com-passion for my lone estate has withheld thee." " That a tender interest in the declining health of tho Red King somewhat influenced my decision I cannot deny," replied Henry, evasively. "And had the superlative beeuty of the Red King's ward no influence ?" said Adela, pressing her advantage. " Nay, sister, since thou divinest my secret," said Henry, frankly, " I will e'en tell thee all. Perceiving that thy crusades would draw from the Norman power its military strength, I deemed it wise, in case of my brother's death, to entrench myself in the affections of the English people, by uniting my personal interest with the Saxon race. Ac-cordingly, when Robert sent me to England to negotiate the mortgage of his duchy with Rufus, I visited the nun-nery of Wilton, with Edgar Atheling." " And thou sawest there the fair novice, Matilda," in-terrupted Adela. " Call her not novice, she scorns the name, and hath a spirit like a queen. In presence of her uncle the Atheling, she tore the hateful veil from her head, and trampled it under her feet." ADELA. 81 6


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