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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 294



upon a palmer's staff. Her beneficence to the Christians, and her affability towards all her dependents had made her a frequent listener to the tales of pilgrims, and intent upon her own thoughts she heard with an abstracted air the story of the mendicant, till he uttered the name of Richard. Instantly she was all attention. The old man had been the confessor of Henry II., but won by the cordial frankness and generous impulses of Cœur de Lion, he availed himself of every opportunity af-forded by his intimacy with Henry to forward the interests of the young prince. The king had confided to the priest, as his spiritual father, his attachment to the fair and frail Alice of France ; and the monk had betrayed the secret of the confessional to Prince Richard. By a law of Henry I., all priests guilty of this crime were condemned to perpetual wandering, and Richard, in his first agony and remorse, at the death of his father, caused the penalty to be strictly enforced. The poor monk, therefore, had for nearly twenty years practised a weary piligrimage from one holy place to another, resting in monasteries, walking unshod before shrines of peculiar sanctity, and kneeling or watching in every cave or hermitage where the hallowed remains of a saint might be supposed to avail for his absolution. Pur-sued thus by the furies of remorse, and the curses of the church, he had visited the shrines of St. Wulstan, St. Dtfn-stan, St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. James of Compostella, the crucifix of Lucca, the congregated Saints at Rome, the cave of St. Cyprian in Africa, and had now come to pray God to release his soul at the church of .the Holy Sepulchre. At the mention of St. James of Compostella, Elsiebede seemed agitated, and when the monk ceased his story, she anxiously inquired whether in his travels through Spain, he had rested in Pampeluna. " I tarried there some days," returned the pilgrim, " but it is several years since, and but for a strange circumstance it might have faded from my memory ; for he who thinks ever upon his own sins has little leisure to studyr that which pleases or benefits others." HEROINES OF THE CRUSADES.


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