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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 322



before her, and with a piercing cry she fell fainting to the floor. The husband calmly summoned the maids as he left the apartment, while the father, with a heart distracted between pity and anger, tenderly lifted her lifeless form and conveyed her to a couch. Robert, the second son of Peter Courtenay and Yoland, succeeded his father upon the throne of Constantinople. An inglorious reign of seven years left the empire in a distracted state, and an early death transferred the crown to his infant son Baldwin. The barons of the Greek Em-pire felt the necessity of placing the sceptre in the hands of a man and a hero ; and messengers were despatched to the veteran King of Jerusalem, to beg him to accept the imperial purple, and become the father of the young prince, by bestowing upon him the hand of his second daughter in marriage. The position and authority of Jean de Brienne as the Emperor of Constantinople, gave him power to pun-ish Frederic's baseness, and he speedily signified to the emperor, that the might of his sword, backed by the strength of the Greek forces, was now ready to enforce the decrees of the pope. Frederic, finding that he could no longer with any safety defer his pilgrimage, ordered a general rendezvous of his troops at Brundusium preparatory for departure. Before however the appointed time for sailing had arrived, a pes-tilence broke out in the camp, numbers died and greater numbers deserted, and the emperor himself, after having embarked and remained at sea three days, returned, declar-ing that his health would not admit of his taking the voy-age. Exulting in the fortunate circumstance that had re-leased him from the dreaded expedition, he hastened his march to Germany. As he entered his palace, he was struck by the grave and serious manner with which his retainers, usually so en-thusiastic, received him. An ominous gloom reigned in the court, and as with lordly tread he passed through the long corridors, he felt that his step was breaking the silence of death. In the anteroom of the queen's apartment, he found HEROINES OF THE CRUSADES.


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