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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 86



All being now as his fondest hopes had desired, Shirkuh relaxed and gave himself up fully to the joys of the famous flesh-pots of Egypt. The cares of government he turned over to his trusted nephew, who seems to have handled them very well for one who was alleged to be a recluse and inexperienced in practical affairs. There is an intimation by one of the chroniclers that the young man had anticipated some such result, he being made to do all the work and bear all the responsibilities while his jolly uncle enjoyed himself and took unto himself the fame and the emoluments of his new rank. However, this situation did not last long. Shirkuh had a weakness for the pleasures of the table which passed beyond reasonable bounds. His fondness for rich dishes led him to overeat, with the result that often he suffered from indigestion. Still he would not be advised, and finally outraged nature forced the penalty. Less than three months after he had been named Victorious King and Commander-in-Chief by the Caliph he succumbed to an unusually severe attack. Now the fates made clear why they had constrained the unwilling youth of Damascus to accept the distasteful role forced upon him. No sooner had Shirkuh passed from the scene than Saladin was called to the Palace to be invested with the viziership by the Caliph. " It is strange," writes Ibn el-Athir, in an alfeged quotation from the Prophet, " that to bring certain persons to Paradise it is necessary "to drag them there in chains." Beha ed-din, quoting the Koran, pointed to


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