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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 339



Saracens, who lay in wait for us upon the banks of the river, and as the prince would not desert his people, we were all made prisoners together. After we had suffered many things, both in body and spirit, the Sultan, who had been recently elected by the Mamelukes, agreed to accept as ransom for the captives, the city of Damietta and the sum of 500,000 livres. When the Sultan found that King Louis complied with the first demand without striving to drive a bargain, ' Go and tell him from me,' he said, ' that I retract one-fifth of the sum, because I have found him .both gen-erous and liberal.' " After the affair was concluded, my royal master em-powered me to accompany the envoys to Damietta, and to receive from Queen Margaret the money for the ransom. When I came to the palace where the queen was lodged, I found her apartment guarded by' an aged knight, whom, when she heard of her royal husband's captivity, she had caused to take oath that, should the Saracens enter the town, he would himself put an end to her life before they could seize her person. My royal mistress received me graciously, and gave me the money which the king had com-manded, and she also bade me look upon the 6on she had borne to Louis during his absence, that I might assure him of their health and comfort. The misfortunes that had at-tended our arms caused us to quit Egypt ; and, sailing at once for Acre, we were received with great joy by the Christians of the East. We employed ourselves in restoring the fortifications of the principal towns, but the monarch, through dejection at the failure of his enterprise, returned to France without making a pilgrimage to the holy places." "By my faith," replied the young prince, "it were a matter of surprise that such well-appointed expeditions should suffer such total loss. Methinks a good soldier should never sheathe his sword till the hour of victory." De Joinville regarded the inexperienced youth with a benevolent smile, remarking only, that caution and pru-dence are virtues as essential to a ruler, as courage and prowess. ELEANORA. 355


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