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BLOSS C.A. Heroines of the Crusades

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BLOSS C.A.
Heroines of the Crusades
page 440



of her royal mother-in-law, Eleanora of Provence. But no sooner was the ceremony concluded, than she complied with her husband's earnest request, that she should follow him to Scotland. Regardless of fatigue, she. hurried forward, though sen-sible that an incipient fever preyed upon her strength. As the dangerous symptoms increased, she redoubled her speed, hoping at least to reach Alnwick castle, and die in her husband's arms. But at Grantham, in Lincolnshire, her strength utterly failed, and in the residence of a private gentleman, who had belonged to their household in Pales-tine, she awaited the coming of the King of Terrors. A courier was immediately despatched to Edward, with news of her alarming illness. At the gentle call of conjugal love, all other considerations gave way in the heart of Ed-ward. He turned southward instantly, and by forced stages, hurried towards Grantham. The dying Eleanora watched for his coming with an anxiety born of an intense devotion to the welfare of her husband and his subjects. She longed to repeat with her last breath the tender coun-sels that had ever influenced him to clemency and mercy, and which she had enforced by the strongest of all argu-ments, the daily example of a holy life. But the last sad duty to the cold remains of his beloved consort, was the only consolation left to the bereaved monarch, when he arrived at Lincolnshire. "With a sorrow that found relief in every outward testimonial of woe, he followed her corpse in person during thirteen days in progress of the funeral to Westminster. In every town where the royal bier rested the ecclesiastics assembled, and in solemn procession con-ducted it to the high altar of the principal church, and at each resting-place, Edward set up a crucifix in memory of " La chère reine" as he passionately called his lost Elea-nora. Charing Cross, erected upon the site now occupied by the statue of Charles I., was the London monument of this saintly queen. An English writer, in a tribute to her memory, thus enu-merates her virtues, "To our nation she was a loving 456 HEROINES OF THE CRUSADES.


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