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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 364



CHAPTER VI. THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN. THE benevolent Louis could not rest in the palace of Vin-cennes while the Mamelukes were slaughtering the Chris-tians, or destroying their souls by forcing them to renounce their faith. In his protracted devotions in the Sainte Cha-pelle, he fancied he heard the groails of the dying in Pal-estine, and his soul was stirred for their relief. He convened the barons in the great hall of the Louvre, and entered bearing the holy crown of thorns. He took the cross in their presence, and made his sons and brothers take it, and after those no one dared refuse. Especially did he exert himself to gain the concurrence of the English. Edward joyfully assented to the proposal, and Eleanora, with her female train, departed in the spring of 1270 for Bordeaux, where she superintended the preparations for the crusade campaign. Thither Edward followed her when his own arrangements were complete. From Bordeaux they sailed for Sicily, where they remained the winter, and where they heard the melancholy intelligence of the death of King • Louis, who bad advanced as far as Tunis on his way to Egypt. With his last breath, the sainted king whispered the name that was set as a seal upon his heart. " Oh ! Jerusalem ! Jerusalem !" His brother, Charles d'Anjou, King of Sicily, attempted to dissuade Edward from prose-cuting the expedition. But the noble prince, striking his hand upon his breast, exclaimed, with energy, " Sangue de Dieu ! if all should desert me, I would redeem Acre if only attended by my groom." When Edward turned the prow of his vessel up the Med-iterranean, Acre was in a state of closer siege than it had formerly been, at the advent of Bichard Cœur de Lion. But now it was the Mussulmans who lay encamped around its walls, and the Christians who feebly defended it from 380 HEROINES OF THE CRUSADES.


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