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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 93



CHAPTER II. Berengario-, Joanna, and the Cypriot Princess voyage from Acrç to Sicily—They journey to Pome—Peach Poitou in safety—Richard's disastrous voyage to Europe —Sis adventures and captivity—He is sold to the Emperor—Sis place of confinement discovered by the poet Blondel—Eleanora appeals to the Pope on his behalf— He is released on the payment of a heavy ransom—Returns to England, greatly to the discomfiture of the French King—Berengario's father dies. f,AVING completed a truce with Saladin for the fanciful period of three years, three months, three weeks, three days, and three hours, Richard, grieved that through the Crusaders' own jealousies and dissensions, two hundred thousand Christian warriors had perished to so little purpose, proceeded to Acre, and prepared to return to England. For reasons nowhere clearly explained, the Queens Berengaria and Joanna, and the Cypriot Princess, quitted Aero in the same vessel, and under the care of the same wise and valiant knight who had brought them thither. But, although they sailed from Palestine on the same day that Richard hove his anchor—the twenty-ninth of September — they bid him adieu, and taking a different route to Europe to that taken by him, voyaged to Naples, where they were honourably received and entertained as the guests of King Tancred. After a short stay at the Sicilian court, they were escorted to Rome by Stephen de Turnham, where, through fear of the Emperor Henry the Fourth, they remainca for about six months under the safe protection of Pope Cœlestine, who treated them with great kindness. At length, moved by the earnest entreaties of Berengaria, the Sovereign Pontiff sent them under the guardianship of Cardinal Mellar to Pisa, whence they proceeded to Genoa, and thence by sea to Marseilles, At Marseilles, the King of Arragon met them, and had them conducted, with marked honour and respect, to the province of Toulouse, where the renowned Raimond St. Giles, who afterwards married the Queen Joanna, and who, having fought under the banner of Cœur de Lion, was no stranger to them, escorted them in safety to Poitou, in Queen Berengaria'a own dominions. On quitting the shores of Asia, Richard piously exclaimed " Oh, most Holy Land, I commend thee to the care of the Almighty ! may he grant me life to return and rescue thee from the infidels !" His voyage to Europe was a disastrous one. To avoid the malignity of his foes, he assumed the disguise of a Templar, and fearing to venture through hostile France, sailed for the Adriatic sea, in a vessel belonging to the Master of the Temple. On nearing Aquileia, the weather, which, for several days, had been " foul and dirty," became violently stormy, and wrecked the shin off the coast. He, however, landed in safety, but took the unfortunate step of travelling through Germany in disguise. Habited as a pilgrim, and assuming the name of "Hugh the Merchant," he proceeded to Geritz, when it being necessary to solicit a safe conduct through that dominion, he endeavoured to secure the aid and protection of its ruling Lord, by presenting him, amongst other articles of value, with a ring set with a rich ruby worth three hundred bezants, equal in value to four thousand five hundred pounds sterling. Astonished at the great value of the present, the Lord suspected the deception, " This is no merchant's gift," saidhn, as he gazed with delight on the matchless ring. And after a little reflection, he exclaimed, " Most assuredly it comes from the far-famed King Richard himself. I will send and especially enquire, for he, indeed, would be a mighty prize, could I but secure him."


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