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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 102



nance before me, the lineaments of Stephen Earl of Blois. ' Take courage, noble count,' said the voice that had be-fore spoken in mine ear, ' I have caught a priest whose ghostly counsels will speedily prepare thee for the long journey, which all must sooner or later take.' With a tenderness which one would scarcely look for in such a savage, the chief raised the dying earl, and gently sup-ported him while I received his directions concerning cer-tain affairs, and ministered the last rites of our holy faith. The count pressed me to promise that I would, myself, bring to thee the epistle, which he had with much pain and difficulty indited. And when I hesitated, by reason of the monastery which I had resolved to found, he summoned all his remaining strength, and while I guided his trem-bling hand, drew for me a deed of the vale of Montier, and bade me bring it to thee for thou wouldst ratify it, and.en-dow the abbey by thy bounty. Scarcely had he finished it, when his wounds bleeding afresh, a deadly faintness seized him. The chief laid him back upon the cushions. I held up the crucifix before his eyes, and murmuring a prayer in which were mingled the names of wife and children, he expired. That night I gave him christian burial beneath one of the cedar-trees of Mount Lebanon, the swarthy bar-barians holding torches, and looking with reverent awe upon the solemn scene. Before morning I was again blind-folded, and conducted to the sea-coast, and put on board a vessel bound for Italy." So intent had the Hermit been on his narration, that he had not observed the countess, pale and rigid as though turned to stone ; and when she clutched with convulsive eagerness the parcel he extended, he bowed and withdrew. She tore off the envelope, and the scarf which her girl-ish hand had wrought in the hours of her first sweet love, soiled and blood-stained, fell across her lap, and crept ac-cusingly to her feet. She opened the letter and read— "To Adela, my best and only beloved, thy Stephen sends this last token of affection. In this my dying hour it is my sweetest consolation to feel that with my sword I ADELA. 109


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