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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 195



and Berengaria, proclaimed Queen of Beauty and Love, had assumed her regal state attended by all the beauties of Navarre, when to the infinite disappointment and morti-fication of the prince, Count Baimond of Toulouse arrived to say, that Richard, having received letters from his mother, had found it necessary to depart suddenly for Eng-land ; but that the festivities of the day might not be mar-red by his absence, he entreated that the bearer of the message, Count Raimond, might occupy his pavilion, be-stride his war-steed, and do his devoir in the lists. With a courtesy that ill-concealed his chagrin the noble Sancho accepted the substitute, and conducting him to the tent glittering with green and gold, consigned him to the care of the esquires ; while himself went to acquaint his sister with the mortifying fact that the spectacle, for which they had prepared with such enthusiastic anticipations, was yet to want the crowning grace expected from the presence of that flower of knighthood, Richard Plantagenet. To conceal from the spectators the knowledge of this un-toward event, their father, Sancho the Wise, who held the post of honor as judge of the combat, decided that Count Raimond of Toulouse should assume the armorial bearings of Richard, and personate him in the lists. These prelimi-naries being satisfactorily arranged, the heralds rode forth and proclaimed the laws of the tournament, and the games proceeded. The Count of Champagne and the royal Sancho, better practised in the exercises of the lance than the Spanish cavaliers who opposed them, won applause from all beholders ; but the crowd seemed to take especial delight in the prowess of Count Raimond, shouting at every gallant thrust, and every feat of horsemanship, " A Richard, a Richard ! A Plantagenet !" Notwithstanding the un-favorable auspices under which the tournament commen-ced, the sports of the day were as gay and animated as the most sanguine could have hoped. The three challengers had overborne all opponents. With a heart fluttering with pride and pleasure, the young Blanche of Navarre had seen her sister confer a golden coronet upon the Count of 206 HEROINES OP THE CRUSADES.


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