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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 130



attack, rolled down the precipitous steep, and the expiring cries of familiar voices could be distinctly heard through the still air. Maurienne soon succeeded in putting to flight the Arabs that had attacked the Vanguard, but the most dreadful havoc was made among the followers of Louis, and the king himself was only saved by the greatest efforts of personal valor. Seven thousand of the flower of French chivalry paid with their lives the penalty of the queen's caprice. The baggage containing the fine array of the lady-warriors, was plundered by the Arabs, and the frag-ments of their dainty supper was the only provision left for their sustenance. The further progress of the French was beset with dan-gers and privations. The discipline of the army was-broken, and they marched or rather wandered, for they knew not the roads, along the coast of Pamphilia, purchasing or plun-dering food of the frightened inhabitants ; and famine thinned the ranks with such rapidity, and so many horses and other beasts of burden perished by the way, that it was finally determined to turn aside from these scenes of desolation and proceed by sea to Antioch. But upon reach-ing the coast, a new difficulty occurred. A sufficient num-ber of ships could not be procured to transport them all, and the brave peers of France, with honorable pride, agreed that the simple pilgrims, with the women and children, should alone make their passage with the king, while them-selves should continue their route on foot. Louis distribu-ted what money he had among the soldiers, who were left to surmount the higher difficulties of the land route, and engaged a Greek escort and guide to conduct them, and taking leave of the miserable beings who had followed him to their own destruction, went on board the ships. The es-cort soon deserted the French soldiers, the guide betrayed them, and but few if any ever reached Syria. The royal party arrived at Antioch in a condition little short of beggary ; but Prince Raimond, the uncle of Elea-nor, opened his hospitable gates to them, and by the beau-tiful stream of the Orontes, the distressed warriors of the ELEANOR. 139


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