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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 416



about to leave Burgos, and I would fain confer with the queen before my departure." " But wherefore the monkish habit? Has the Jew re-solved to do penance for his sins ?" inquired Eleanora. "Nay," replied Procida, evasively, "if my gracious mis-tress will grant me an audience, I will unfold to her the purpose that hath moved me to this disguise." "I cannot tell," replied the queen, with a tone of un-wonted reproach, " if it be desirable to entrust thy plans to my keeping, since I may not encourage deceit, and I would not that thy Agnes, so innocent of guile, should learn that her father, for some dark purpose, has assumed the garb he abhors." Tears glistened in the eyes of Procida, as he replied, " Thou sayest well and wisely. The sweet child knoweth not more of the secret schemes of her father, than do the angels of the dark deeds of fiends. But—" " I hear the voice of my maidens," exclaimed the queen impatiently, " expose not thyself to their observation." " Benedicite" murmured the counterfeit priest, turning away to avoid the scrutiny of the approaching group. But Procida was so determined to secure the approba-tion of the queen, that the following day he craved an audience at the palace. "My royal mistress," said he, "must permit me once more, to plead the rights of the illustrious house of Suabia, before I depart on my pilgrimage, that if I never return, Bhe may justify my acts in the eyes of my daughter." " Speak," said Eleanora, moved bjr the sorrowful earnest-ness of his manner. " My royal master Frederic," began the Jew, " had little cause to love the church. Hated by the pope, for that with a strong arm he claimed his hereditary possessions in Italy, he was excommnnicated for refusing the pilgrimage, and again cursed for fulfilling his vow ; and had not the honest pagan, Melech Camel, been more his friend than the christian troops by whom he was surrounded, he would have perished by treason in the Holy City itself. 432 HEROINES OF THE CRUSADES.


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