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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 414



" Aye, verily," replied the Jew, fiercely, " but how doe3 the Lord repay vengeance ? Is it not by the hand of man he brings retribution upon the guilty ? Did he not commis-sion the sword to cut off the Canaanites, the Midianites, the Assyrians, and those who vexed his people in every age ? "Who can say he hath not inspired the heart, and nerved the arm of the proscribed and outcast Jew to exe-cute his wrath upon the proud tyrant of Sicily ?" "Thou," inquired the queen. " By what title claimest thou allegiance to that fallen house ?" " I know,?' said Procida, stung by her remark, " full well I know, that your Holy Church denies to the son of Abra-ham all the tender ties that bind the lord to his vassal, or the vassal to his lord. He may have neither house nor land, he may not dwell in Jerusalem the city of his fathers, or be buried in consecrated ground. His possessions be-come the spoil of the tyrant, his innocent offspring the victims of brutal passion ; and yet your priests say,—Be meek—Be patient—Obey the precepts of that gospel which we trample under foot." He paused, struck by the compassionate gaze of Eleano-ra, who, for the first time, comprehended the hopeless misery of the hapless race. " Thy pardon, noble queen," said Procida, softened by her tender pity. " Were there more like thee, 'twere easier for the Jew to embrace the faith of the Nazarene. Thou didst inquire byT what tie I followed the changing fortunes of Hohenstaufen." In agentlertonehecontinued— " The Jew loves gold. Loves he aught else ? Yea, to the death his friend. The Emperor Frederic was free from • the chains of superstition. Christian, Saracen, or Jew, found equal favor in his eye, and learning and genius not less than military prowess were rewarded with titles and lands. " Know me, then, royal lady, miserable and destitute as I appear, as favorite physician of the emperor, created by him Count de Procida, lord of the fairest island in the Bay of Naples." 430 HEROINES OF THE CRUSADES.


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