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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 95



In this state of mind Stephen found it impossible to in-terest her in any of their accustomed occupations and amusements. News from the Crusade alone restored her wonted animation, and as these tidings, generally, reflected little honor upon himself, he suppressed as much as possi-ble all intelligence from the East, and contrived to pass his time in distant parts of his domains. The torturing sus-pense of the countess at length induced her secretly to dis-patch a messenger to Italy. He returned bearing a tran-script of an official letter, which the chiefs of the Crusade had sent to Pope Urban. After giving the details of the march from Antioch along the sea-coast past Tripoli, through the country of- Sidon to Eamula, the letter went on. " Thence our troops continued their route to the village formerly called Emmaus, and like the disciples of old ' our hearts burned within us,' when there came to us certain brethren from Bethlehem to comfort us, after all our fa-tigues, and to welcome us to this holy and beautiful land. Sleep was banished from every eye, and ere midnight was well passed, every man animated by the fervor of hope and the intensity of desire, had girded on his armor and come forth from his tent, prepared for the last conflict. We wandered along the highways and fields, in darkness ; but at length the heavens blushed with the glorious suddenness of eastern dawn, and as the sun shot his level rays across the sacred brow of Olivet, the holy city lay before our eyes. ' Jerusalem ! Jerusalem !' was repeated with tumultuous wonder, by a thousand tongues. Every fatigue, every danger, every hardship, was forgotten, and the warrior be-came at once a simple pilgrim ; his lance and sword were thrown aside, and the passion which stirred every heart, was clothed with divers gestures. Some shouted to the sky—some wept in silence—some knelt and prayed—some cast themselves down and kissed the blessed earth—' all had much to do to manage so great a gladness.' Taking off our shoes, we trod the sacred ground with naked feet, and thus proceeding, came in front of the city and pitched our camp upon the north, between the gate of St. Stephen 102 HEROINES OF THE CRUSADES.


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