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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 79



while the resources of the country and what still remained of its former grandeur made it a most desirable prize. Cairo was still a wonderful city, beautiful in architecture and decoration, while the riches in the palace of the Caliph created a perfect fairyland. The ambassadors of Amalric, Hugh of Caesarea and Geoffrey Fulcher, Knight Templar, found it difficult to believe their eyes when they penetrated it somewhat later. Passing through mysterious corridors and doors guarded by soldiers in picturesque costume, they came into spacious courts open to the sky, surrounded by great arcades resting on marble pillars; saw carved and panelled ceilings inlaid with gold and rich mosiacs, and walked on mosaic pavements. Rich silks and other stuffs, embroidered with jewels, greeted their ravished eyes, while they listened to the songs of birds of wondrous plumage, the like of which they had never seen before. "Beasts that seemed to belong rather to the world of art and dreams than that of waking life " stalked in the gardens and in the halls beyond, " a variety of animals such as the ingenious hand of the painter might depict, or the license of the poet invent, or the mind of the sleeper conjure up in the visions of the night, — such, indeed, as the regions of the East and the South bring forth, but the West never sees, and scarcely hears of." Finally they reached the audience chamber where they were confronted by an array of gorgeously attired attendants and sumptuous curtains embroidered with pearls,


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