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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 210



choly circumstances that had so affected his own, but he carried to heran assurance that Richard would wed only Berengaria, sealed with the mysterious .jewel now reset as the signet ring of the King of England. He described the splendid coronation of his friend, the wealth of his new realm, and the enthusiastic rapture with which his new subjects hailed his accession to the throne. He also in-formed her that Richard, previous to his father's death, had taken the cross for the Holy Land, and that all his time and thoughts were now occupied in settling the affairs of the realm for this object ; and that the alliance with Philip, which had caused her so much anxiety, was an engage-ment, not to marry Alice, but to enter with the French monarch upon the Third Crusade. The prospects of her mistress awakened all the enthusi-asm of Elsiebede. She dreamed by night and prophesied by day of long journeys on horseback and by sea, and she interspersed her prognostications with agreeable tales of distressed damsels carried off by unbelieving Afrites, and miraculous escapes from shipwreck by the interposition of good Genii. But though her tongue was thus busy, her bands were not idle. She set in motion all the domestic springs to furnish forth the wardrobe of her mistress and herself with suitable splendor, and amused the needle-wo-men with such accounts of eastern magnificence that they began to regard the rich fabrics upon which they were em-ployed as scarcely worthy of attention. In the beginning of the autumn of 1190, Queen Eleanor arrived at the court of Navarre to demand of her friend Sancho the Wise the hand of his daughter for lier son Rich-ard. The king readily accepted the proposal, for beside being Berengaria's lover, the gallant Plantagenet was the most accomplished, if not the most powerful sovereign of Europe. Under the escort of the queen dowager the royal fiancée journeyed to Naples, where she learned to her mor-tification and dismay that her intended lord was nut yet released from the claims of Alice, and that the potentates assembled for the crusade were in hourly expectation of BERENGARIA OP NAVARRE. 221


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