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GEOFFREY VINSAUF Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land

 
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GEOFFREY VINSAUF
Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land
page 122

writing to King Richard, who gave it his approbation, for in his weak condition, and having so few troops about him, and that too within two miles of the enemy, he did not think it in his power to secure more favourable terms. Whoever entertains a different opinion concerning this treaty, I would have him know that he will expose himself to the charge of perversely deviating from the truth.

Chapter XXVIII. - How the king and Saladin corresponded amicably with one another by means of messengers.

When therefore the king, in his present emergency, had settled matters in the way described, he, in his magnanimity, which always aimed at something lowly and difficult, sent ambassadors to Saladin, announcing to him, in the presence of numerous of his chiefs, that he had only asked for a truce of three years for the purpose of revisiting his country, and collecting more men and money, wherewith to return and rescue all the land of Jerusalem from his domination, if indeed Saladin should have the courage to face him in the field. To this Saladin replied, calling his own Holy Law and God Almighty to witness, that he entertained such an exalted opinion of King Richard’s honour, magnanimity, and general excellence, that he would rather lose his dominions to him than to any other king he had ever seen, always supposing that he was obliged to lose his dominions at all. Alas! how blind are men, whilst they lay plans for many years to come, they know not what to-morrow may bring forth: the king’s mind was looking forward into the future, and he hoped to recover the Sepulchre of our Lord; but he did not
Reflect how every human thing
Hangs pendent on a slender string.

Chapter XXIX. - How the king went to Cayphas for his health.

The truce having been reduced to writing, and confirmed by oaths on both sides, the king went to Cayphas in the best manner he could, to take medicine and get himself cured.

Chapter XXX. - How the French, by the king’s agency, for their malice, were forbidden to visit the Holy Sepulchre, whilst the others had permission.

In the meantime the French, who had been long enjoying a holiday at Acre, were getting ready to return home; but though they had venomously opposed the truce, they now, before leaving the country, wished to complete their pilgrimage by visiting our Lord’s Sepulchre. The king, remembering their backwardness to assist him at Joppa, as we have related, and also on many other occasions, sent messengers to request that neither Saladin nor Saphadin, his brother, would allow any one to visit the Holy Sepulchre who did not bring a passport from either himself or Count Henry. The French were much vexed at this, and foiled of their object, soon afterwards returned to their own country, carrying back nothing with them but the reproach of ingratitude. The king, hearing that the greater part of the French who did their utmost to defame him were gone home, and that the mouths of his slanderers were stopped, caused it to be announced by proclamation, that whoever wished might visit our Lord’s tomb, and bring back their offerings to help in repairing the walls of Joppa.

Chapter XXXI. - Of the first company who made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, led by Andrew de Chavegui, and of the alarm occasioned by their indiscretion on the way.

The people were now arrayed to visit Jerusalem in three companies, each of which was placed under a separate leader. The first was led by Andrew de Chavegui; the second by Ralph Teissun; and the third by Hubert bishop of Salisbury. The first company then advanced under Andrew bearing letters from the king. But, for their sins, they fell into a snare on the journey; for when they reached the Plain of Ramula, they by common consent despatched messengers to inform Saladin that they were coming with letters from King Richard, and that they wished to have a safe-conduct, coming and going. The messengers were noble men, and energetic in character, but on this occasion they well nigh incurred the charge of neglecting their duty; their names were William des Roches, Girard de Tourneval, and Peter de Pratelles. When they came to "the Tower of the Soldiers," they halted there to procure the authority of Saphadin for proceeding further; but there they fell asleep, and slept till sunset, and found on awaking that all the pilgrims, on whose behalf they came, had passed by and were gone on before them. The whole number crossed the plains and were approaching the hills, when Andrew de Chavegui and the rest, looking behind them, saw their own messengers coming after them as fast as they were able. Seeing this, they halted in much alarm, considering that they were in great danger of being put to death, for the army of the Turks had not yet departed, and their messengers, who ought to have brought back for them a safe-conduct from

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