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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 321



secret chord in his heart, and the thought that Frederic had squandered the wealth of her affection, and repulsed her winning caresses with coldness and contempt, roused his indignation. He expostulated with the monarch in no measured terms. The emperor admitted, that he had won the affections of Violante, by his apparent interest in the Holy Land, and gained her hand by a promise to restore to her, her rightful inheritance ; but he sneeringly insinu-ated, that these courteous condescensions, were the fanciful gages staked by all lovers, which as husbands they were not bound to redeem. He laid down the proposition that oaths in religion, politics, and love were but means to an end, only binding, in so far as they accorded with the con-venience of those who made them. He cited examples of the clergy, with the pope at their head, who wedding the church, and professing to live alone for her interests, made her the means of their own aggrandizement, the pander of their base passions ; the policy of kings, who, receiving the sceptre of dominion for the ostensible purpose, of securing peace and happiness to their subjects, pursued their own pleasure, without regard to civil commotion or discord; and he illustrated his theory by multiplied instances in the domestic life of the sovereigns of Europe, who, for the gratification of personal pique, put away those whom they had promised to love and cherish to the end of life. Vio-lante listened to this discourse like one who for the first time comprehends the solution of a problem, that has long taxed the ingenuity and embarrassed the reason. His sen-timents explained the mystery in his manner, the discrep-ancy between his professions and performances, and like the spear of Ithuriel, dispelled at once the illusion of her fancy, and made him assume before her his own proper character. She fixed her large dark eyes upon his counte-nance, as though striving to recall the image she had wor-shipped there. She saw only the arrogant sneer of skepti-cism, and the smile of selfish exultation. Her sensitive heart recoiled with horror at the prospect of the cheerless future, which in one fearful moment passed like a vision VIOLANTE. 335


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