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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 367



duct the party. Eleanora afterwards remembered that he rode most of the way in close attendance upon Eva, and seemed engaged in earnest conversation, though several muttered oaths gave her the impression that the colloquy was not so satisfactory as he ^ould have wished. They ac-complished their pilgrimage safely, and commenced their return, when, stopping to refresh themselves in a small grove near Mount Tabor, a band of mounted Saracens fell upon them. There was a fierce struggle, and, for a few moments, the gleaming of swords and the flash of scimeters seemed to menace instant destruction. Both the assailants and defenders were scattered through the wood, and a few of the frantic females attempted flight. The Moslems at length retreated, but when the princess summoned her re-tainers to set forward, neither Sir Francis nor Eva could be found. Alarmed for the safety of her lovely companion, Elea-nora caused the vicinity to be searched in every direction. Her palfrey was discovered idly cropping the grass, but all trace of its fair rider was lost. With a bursting heart the princess gave orders to proceed with all haste to Acre, that scouts in greater numbers might be sent in quest of the lost jewel. The state of Edward's health was such, that it was not deemed advisable to acquaint him with the melancholy result of their pious enterprise. But de Courtenay at once comprehended the plot. Such a mêlée, without bloodshed, proved no hostile intention on the part of the Arabs, and there could be no doubt that Sir Francis was the instigator of the attack, and the possession of Eva, its object. His impatience to set off for her rescue did not prevent him from taking every precaution, both for the safety of Acre, and the success of his expedition. Eleanora, whose charac-teristic self-possession had left her at liberty to observe, described with the most scrupulous exactness the circum-stances of the fray, and each trifling peculiarity in the appearance of the robbers. Fortified with this intelligence, he set off at once, with a ELEANORA. 383


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