The Baldwin Library
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In vain were all attempts to drag him from his steed; before his mighty
battle-axe the Saracens seemed to fall as corn before the reaper.-p. 169.
9t torg of the aga~ of Souas Ix.
J. G. EDGAR,
'THE BOY PRINCES,' ETC.
( 4igt ful age Iltton
AMONG the many adventurous enterprises which
rendered the age of feudalism and chain-armour
memorable in history, none were more remarkable or
important than the' armed pilgrimages' popularly known
as the Crusades; and, among the expeditions which the
warriors of medieval Europe undertook with the view of
rescuing the Holy Sepulchre from the Saracens, hardly
one is so interesting as that which had Louis IX. for its
chief and Joinville for its chronicler.
In this volume I have related the adventures of two
striplings, who, after serving their apprenticeship to
chivalry in a feudal castle in the north of England,
assumed the cross, embarked for the East, took part in
the crusade headed by the saint-King of France, and
participated in the glory and disaster which attended the
Christian army, after landing at Damietta-including
the carnage of Mansourah, and the massacre of Minieh.
In writing the 'Boy Crusaders' for juvenile readers,
my object has been-while endeavouring to give those,
for whose perusal the work is intended, as faithful a
picture as possible of the events which Joinville has
recorded-to convey, at the same time, as clear an idea
as my limits would permit, of the career and character
of the renowned French monarch who, in peril and per-
plexity; in captivity and chains, so eminently signalised
his valour and his piety.
J. G. E.
I. A FEUDAL CASTLE
II. THE BROTHERS IN-ARMS
III. THE HEIRS OF THE ES-EECS .
IV. ST. Louis .
V. TAKING THE CROSS .
VI. EMBARKING FOR THE EAST .
VII. THE ARMED PILGRIMS AT CYPRUS
VIII. EASTWARD .
IX. AN ADVENTURE .
X. ON TiHE LADDER O LIFE .
XI. THE VOYAGE .
XII. AT DAMIETTA ,
XIV. A RENEGADE .
XV. CAPTURE OF A CARAVAN .
XVI. A COUNCIL OF WAR .
XVII. FACE TO FACE .
XVIII. DELAY AND DANGER .
XIX. THE CAPTIVE .
XX. PASSING THE ACHMOUN
XXI. THE CARNAGE OF MANSOURAH
XXII. THE BATTLE .
XXIII. How JOINVILLE KEPT THE BRIDGE
XXIV. THE FIRST FRIDAY IN LENT .
XXV. MORTIFICATIONS AND MISERIES
XXVI. THE MASSACRE OF MINIEH .
XXVII. JOINVILLE IN PERIL
XXVIII. NEWS OF DISASTER .
XXIX. P WOUNDED PILGRIM
XXX. ST. Louis IN CHAINS
XXXI. THE TRAGEDY OF PHARESCOLUR
XXXII. PERILS AND SUSPENSE .
XXXIII. ACRE .
XXXIV. A RESCUE a *
XXXV. MISSION TO BAGDAD
XXXVI. THE LAST OF THE CALIPHS .
XXXVII. A RECOGNITION
XXXVIII. WOE TO THE CALIPH .
XXXIX. IN THE LION'S MOUTH .
XL. END OF THE ARMED PILGRIMAGE .
XLI. A SUDDEN DISCOVERY .
XLII. HOMEWAlID BOUND *
XLIII. A ROYAL VISIT .
XLIV. THE FEAST OF KINGS .
. > 9
a c 21
S 28 -
S & 41
S . 109
9 .. 124
S .* 199
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
A FEUDAL CASTLE.
T was the age of chain armour and tournaments-
of iron barons and barons' wars-of pilgrims
and armed pilgrimages-of forests and forest out-
laws-when Henry IlI. reigned as King of Eng-
land, and the feudal system, though no longer ram-
pant, was still full of life and energy; when Louis
King of France, afterwards canonised as St. Louis,
undertook one of the last and most celebrated of
those expeditions known as the Crusades, and de-
scribed as feudalism's great adventure, and popular
At the time when Henry was King of England
and when Louis of France was about to embark for
the East, with the object of rescuing the Holy
Sepulchre from the Saracens, there stood on the very
verge of Northumberland a strong baronial edifice,
known as the Castle of Wark, occupying a circular
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
eminence, visible from a great distance, and command-
ing such an extensive view to the north as seemed to
ensure the garrison against any sudden inroad on the
part of the restless and refractory Scots. On the
north the foundations were washed by the waters of
the Tweed, here broad and deep; and on the south
were a little town, which had risen under the protection
of the castle, and,-stretching away towards the hills
of Cheviot,-an extensive park or chase, abounding
with wild cattle and deer and beasts of game. At
an earlier period this castle had been a possession
of the famous house of Espec; and, when in after
days it came into the hands of the Montacute Earls
of Salisbury, Edward III. was inspired within its
walls with that romantic admiration of the Countess
of Salisbury which resulted in the institution of the
Order of the Garter. During the fifth decade of the
"thirteenth century, however, it was the chief seat of
Robert, Lord de Roos, a powerful Anglo-Norman
noble, whose father had been one of the barons of
Runnymede and one of the conservators of the Great
Like most of the fortresses built by the Norman
conquerors of England, Wark consisted of a base-court,
a keep, and a barbican in front of the base-court. The
sides of the walls were fortified with innumerable
angles, towers, and buttresses, and surmounted with
strong battlements and hornworks. For greater secu-
rity the castle was encompassed, save towards the
Tweed, with a moat or deep ditch, filled with water,
and fortified with strong palisades, and sharp stakes
set thick all around the walls. Over the moat, at the
THE MAIDEN'S WALK.
principal gate, was the drawbridge, which was almost
always raised, and the gate-house, a square building,
having strong towers at each corner. Over the en-
trance and within the square of the gate-house was
an arched vault, and over it was a chamber with
apertures, through which, on occasion of an assault,
the garrison, unseen the whilst, could watch the opera-
tions of the foe, and pour boiling water or melted lead
on the foremost assailants. On the west side were
the outworks, consisting of a platform with a trench
half a mile in length, and breastworks, and covered
ways, and mounds. The roofs of the building were
bordered with parapets, guard walks, and sentry
But the whole space was not appropriated to works
intended to ensure the stronghold against the assault
of foes. Near the mound was the chapel dedicated
to St. Giles. Under the outer wall was a military
walk, five yards wide, and forty-eight yards in length.
Underneath the walls, on the brink of the river, was a
beautiful terrace, called the Maiden's Walk, where the
lady of the castle and her damsels, after their labours
at the loom, were wont to take air and exercise on a
summer evening, ere the vesper bell rang, and the
bat began to hunt the moth. Within the precincts
of the building was the tiltyard, a broad space en-
closed with rails, and covered with sawdust, where
young men of gentle blood, in the capacity of pages
and squires, acquired the chivalrous accomplishments
which the age prized so highly.
In fact, the castle of Wark, like most feudal castles
of that century, was a school of chivalry, whither
THE BOY. CRUSADERS.
the sons of nobles and knights were sent to serve
their apprenticeship as warriors, taught their duty to
God and the ladies, and trained to the skill in arms
which enabled them to compel the respect of one
sex and influence the hearts of the other.
First, on foot, they were taught to attack the pel,
an imaginary adversary, which was simply the stump
of a tree six feet in height; then, on horseback, they
were made to charge the quintain, a wooden figure
in the form of a Saracen, armed in mail and holding
a sabre in one hand and a shield in the other, and
so constructed to move on a pivot that, unless the
youth was dexterous enough to strike the face or
breast, it revolved rapidly, and dealt him a heavy
blow on the back as he was retiring. As the lads
became more expert they tilted at each other with
blunt lances, practised riding at the ring, and learned
to excel as equestrians by riding in a circle, vaulting
from their steeds in the course of their career, and
mounting again while they galloped.
At the same time they were trained to acquit
themselves with credit in those encounters celebrated
as combats at the barriers. At the sieges of cities,
during the middle ages, knights of the besieging
army were in the habit of going to the barriers,
or grated palisades of the fortress, and defying the
garrison to break a lance for the honour of their
ladies. Indeed, this was so fashionable, that an army
could hardly appear before a town without the siege
giving rise to a variety of such combats, which
were generally conducted with fairness on both
sides. This mode of attack was early taught to the
apprentice to chivalry, and assiduously practised by
all who were ambitious of knightly honour.
Nor did the exercises of the tiltyard end at this
stage. At the time of which I write, the name of
Richard Cceur de Lion was famous in Europe and
Asia; and his feats in arms were on every tongue.
One of his great exploits at
especially the admiration c
that, when the Crusaders
almost overwhelmed by
Saladin, Richard, who, up
neither given nor received a
on his charger, drew his swo
and with his sword in one
the other, spurred against
the battle of Joppa was
)f the brave. It seems
were surrounded and
the swarming host of
to that moment, had
wound, suddenly sprang
)rd, laid his lance in rest,
hand, and his lance in
the Saracens, striking
sparks from their helmets and armour, and inspiring
such terror that his foes were completely routed.
Naturally such an exploit made a strong impression
on the imagination of aspirants to warlike fame, and
the youth who had the dexterity and the equestrian
skill to imitate it in mimic fray was regarded with
admiration and envy.
Now our concern with Wark, and its tiltyard, is
simply this -that, within the castle, there were trained
in the exercises of chivalry, and qualified for its ho-
nours, two striplings, who, when St. Louis took the
Cross, and undertook a holy war, embarked for the
East, and figured, during a memorable expedition,
as the Boy Crusaders.
SN. the last Wednesday of the month of July, in
the year 1248, the castle of Wark reposed in
the sunshine and warmth of a bright merry
summer's day; and, the exercises in the tiltyard
being over for the morning, two of the apprentices
to chivalry, whose dress indicated that they had
attained the rank of squires, strolled slowly along
the green border of the Tweed. Neither of them
had passed the age of seventeen, but both were tall
and strong and handsome for their years; and both
had the fair hair, blue eyes, aquiline features, and
air of authority which distinguished the descendants
of the valiant Northmen who accompanied Rollo
when he left Norway, sailed up the Seine, and
seized on Neustria. But in one rather important
respect there was a remarkable difference. One had
a countenance which expressed gaiety of heart; the
other had a countenance which expressed sadness of
spirit. One bore the name of Guy Muschamp; the
other the still greater name of Walter Espec.
And so, good Walter, we are actually soldiers of
the Cross, and vowed to combat the Saracens,' said
Guy, as they walked along the grassy margin of the
river, which flowed tranquilly on, while the salmon
leaped in its silver tide, and the trouts glided like
silver darts through the clear stream, an4l the white
and brindled cows cooled their hoofs in the water;
'and yet I know not how it comes to pass, good
Walter; but beshrew me if, at times, I do not fancy
that it is a dream of the night.'
In truth, brave Guy,' replied the other, I com-
prehend not how you can have any doubts on the
subject, when you see the sacred badge on our
shoulders, and when we have, even within the hour,
learned that the ships of the great Saxon earl, in
which we are to embark for the Holy Land, are now
riding at anchor before the town of Berwick.
You are right, good Walter,' said Guy, quickly;
' and marry! worse than an infidel am I to have a
doubt; and yet when I think of all the marvels we
are likely to behold, I can scarce credit my good
fortune. Just imagine, Walter Espec, the pictu-
resque scenery the palm-trees, the fig-trees, the
gardens with flowers, and vines, and citrons, and
pomegranates; the Saracenic castles, the long cara-
vans of camels, and the Eastern women veiled in
white, standing at fountains, and all the wonders
that palmers and pilgrims tell of! Oh! the adven-
ture appears so grand, that I now begin to dread
lest some mischance should come to prevent us
And I,' observed Walter, calmly,' have no dread ot
the kind ; and I am, heart and soul, bent on the holy
enterprise; albeit, I reck little of caravans of camels,
THiE BOY CRUSADERS.
or veiled women. But my heart yearns ior that far
land; for there it is that I am like to hear tidings of
him I have lost. Ah! credit me, brave Guy, that
you, and such as you, little know what it is to be
alone in this world, without kith or kindred, or
home, and how saddening is the thought, ever cross-
ing my mind, that one, near and dear, does live; and
He paused, bent his brow, clenched his hand, and
cast his eyes on the ground, as tears streamed down
'Good Walter, dear Walter,' said Guy, yielding to
sympathy till he was almost equally affected; droop
not, but be of good cheer. Forget not that we are
brothers-in-arms, that I am your friend, your true
and sworn friend; and I will aid your search. Nay,
I know what you are going to say; but you do me
wrong. I will not waste time in looking at the
camels and the veiled women, of whom palmer and
pilgrim tell; but I will go straightway with you to
the palace of the caliph; and, if he refuse to render
you justice, I will challenge him to mortal combat
on the spot. So again I say, be of good cheer.'
Walter Espec smiled mournfully. His enthu-
siasm was not, in reality, less than that of his com-
panion. But he had none of the gaiety, and little
of the buoyant spirit, which enabled Guy Muschamp
to make himself, at all times and seasons, a favourite
in castle hall and lady's bower.
I fear me, brave Guy,' said Walter, after a brief
silence, that the caliph is too great a potentate to be
dealt with as you would wish. But, come what may,
0 ]~t --= -. _-:,j_____-__
L i~ir -- _
I will go straightway with you, Walter," said Guy, "to the palace of the Caliph;
and if he refuses to render you justice, I will challenge him to mortal combat on the
THE LOST IhOTIi7II. 17
I am sworn to laugh at danger in the performance
of a duty. My dreams, awake and asleep, are of
him who is lost; and I fantasied last night,' added
he, lowering his voice, that my mother stood before
me, as I last saw her when living, and implored me,
in the name of St. Katherine, the patron saint of the
Especs, to fulfil my vow of rescuing her lost son
from captivity and from the enemies of Christ.'
Oh, fear not, doubt not, good Walter,' cried Guy,
with enthusiasm; it must, it shall, be done; and
then we can go and conquer a principality, like
Tancred, or Bohemund of Tarentum, or Count Ray-
mond of St. Giles, and other old heroes.'
Even the crown of Jerusalem may not be beyond
our grasp, if fortune favour us,' said Walter, with a
'Oh, fortune ever favours the brave,' exclaimed
Guy; and I hold that nothing is impossible to men
who are brave and ambitious; and no squire of your
years is braver or more ambitious than you, Walter,
or more expert in arms; albeit you never utter a
boast as to your own feats, while no one is more
ready to praise the actions of others.'
Even if I had anything to boast of,' replied
Walter, 'I should refrain from so doing; and therein
I should only be acting according to the maxims of
chivalry; for you know we are admonished to be
dumb as to our own deeds, and eloquent in praise of
others; and, moreover, that if the squire is vain-
glorious, he is not worthy to become a knight, and
that he who is silent as to the valour of others is a
thief and a robber.'
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
And thus conversing, the brothers-in-arms re-
turned to the castle, and entered the great hall,
which was so spacious and so high in the roof that
a man on horseback might have turned a spear* in it
with all the ease imaginable. It was, indeed, a
stately apartment; the ceiling consisting of a smooth
vault of ashlar-work, the stones being curiously
joined and fitted together; and the walls and roof
decorated by some of those great painters who flou-
rished in England under the patronage of King
Henry and his fair and accomplished queen, Eleanor
of Provence. Here was represented the battle of
Hastings; there the siege of Jerusalem by the
Crusaders under Godfrey of Bouillon and Robert
Curthose; here the battle of the Standard; there the
signing of the Great Charter by King John, under
the oak of Runnymede. Around the hall might be
traced the armorial bearings of the lord of the castle
and the chief families with whom the lord of the
castle was allied by blood the three water-budgets
of De Roos; the three Katherine-wheels of Espec;
the engrailed cross of De Vesci; the seven blackbirds
of Merley; the lion argent of Dunbar in its field of
gules; and the ruddy lion of Scotland, ramping in
gold; while on the roof was depicted the castle itself,
with gates, and battlements, and pinnacles, and
towers; and there also, very conspicuous, was the
form of a rose, and around it was inscribed in
Gothic letters the legend-
He who doth secrets reveal,
Beneath my roof shall never live.
it. was ten o'clock-in that age the hour of dinner
DINNER IN THE OLDEN TIMES.
--when Walter Espec and Gu-y Muschamp entered
the great hall of the castle, and, the household
having assembled for that important meal, a huge
oaken table, which in shape resembled the letter
T, groaned under massive sirloins. Attended by
his jesters, the lord of the castle took his seat on
the dais, which was reserved for his family and his
guests of high rank; while the knights, squires,
pages, and retainers ranged themselves above and
below the salt, according to their claims to pre-
cedence; and hawks stood around on perches, and
hounds lay stretched on the rushy floor, waiting their
turn to be fed.
Much ceremony was of course observed. The sir-
loins were succeeded by fish and fowl, and dishes
curiously compounded; and, as was the fashion of
that feudal age, the dinner lasted three hours. But,
notwithstanding the pride and pomp exhibited, the
meal was by no means dull. The jesters and min-
strels did their work. During the intervals the
jesters exercised all their wit to divert the lord and
his friends; and the minstrels, in the gallery set
apart for their accommodation, discoursed flourishes
of music, borrowed from the Saracens and brought
from the East, for the gratification of the company,
or roused -the aspirations of the youthful warriors
by some such spirit-stirring strain as the battle-hymn
'I marvel much, good Walter,' said Guy Mus-
champ to his brother-in-arms, I marvel much where
we are destined to dine this day next year.'
Beshrew me if I can even form a guess,' replied
THE BOY CRUSADERS,
Walter Espec, thoughtfully; 'methinks no seer less
potent than the Knight of Ercildoune, whom the
vulgar call True Thomas," could on such a point
do aught to satisfy your curiosity.'
'Mayhap at Acre or Jerusalem,' suggested Guy,
after a pause.
By Holy Katherine,' exclaimed Walter, ere you
named Acre and Jerusalem, my imagination had
carried me to the palace oi the caliph at Bagdad.'
THE HEIRS OF THE ESPECS.
N the days when the Norman kings reigned in
England, the Especs were of high account
among the Anglo-Norman barons. Many were the
brave 'and pious men who bore the name; but the
bravest and most pious of them all was that Walter
Espec, a great noble of the north, who maintained
high feudal state at the castles of WTrk, Helmsley,
and Kirkham, and who figured so conspicuously as
chief of the English at the battle of the Standard,
and harangued the soldiers before the battle from the
chariot from which the standard was displayed.
But not only as a warrior was Walter Espec known
to fame. As a benefactor to religion, his name was
held in honour and his memory regarded with vene-
It seems that Walter Espec had, by his wife
Adeline, an only son, who was a youth of great pro-
mise, and much beloved by his parents. Nothing,
however, pleased him more than a swift horse; and
he was so bold a rider that he would not have feared
to mount Bucephalus, in spite of heels and horns.
Leaping into the saddle one day, at the castle of
22 THE BOY CRUSADERS.
Kirkham, and scorning the thought of danger, he
spurred his charger beyond its strength, and, while
galloping towards Frithby, had a fall at the stone
cross, and was killed on the spot. Much afflicted at
his son's death, Waiter Espec sent for his brother,
who was a priest aml a :rctor.
My son being, alas! dead,' said he, I know not
who should be my heir,'
Brother mine,' replied the priest, your duty is
clear. Make Christ your heir.'
Now Walter Espec relished the advice, and pro-
ceeded to act on it forthwith. He founded three
religious houses, one at Warden, a second at Kirk-
ham, a third at Rievalle ; and, having been a disciple
of -Harding, and much attached to the Cistercian
order, he planted at each place a colony of monks, sent
him from beyond the sea by the great St. Bernard;
and, having further signalised his piety by becoming
a monk in the abbey of Rievalle, he died, full of
years and honours, and was buried in that religious
house; while his territorial possessions passed to the
Lord de Roos, as husband of his sister.
Nevertheless, the family of Espec was not yet
extinct. A branch still survived and flourished in
the north; and, as time passed over, a kinsman of
the great Walter won distinction in war, and, though
a knight of small estate, wedded a daughter of that
Anglo-Saxon race the Icinglas, once so great in Eng-
land, but of whom now almost everything is for-
gotten but the name. And this Espec, who had
lived as a soldier, died a soldier's death; falling
bravely with his feet to the foe, on that day in 1242
WALTER AND OSBERT.
when the English under King Henry fought against
such fearful odds, at the village of Saintonge. But
even now the Especs were not without representa-
tives; for, by his Anglo-Saxon spouse Algitha, the
Anglo-Norman warrior who fell in Gascony left
two sons, and of the two one was named Walter, the
While Dame Algitha Espec lived, the young
Especs scarcely felt the loss they had sustained in
the death of their father. Nothing, indeed, could
have been more exemplary than the care which the
Anglo-Saxon dame bestowed on her sons. In a con-
versation which Walter Espec held on the battle-
ments of the castle of Wark, with his brother-in-
arms Guy Muschamp, the heir of an Anglo-Norman-
baron of Northumberland, he lauded her excellence
as a woman, and her tenderness as a mother.
I was in my tenth year,' said Walter, when my
father, after having served King Henry as a knight
in Gascony, fell in battle; and, albeit my mother,
when she became a widow, was still fair and of fresh
age, a widow she resolved to remain; and she adhered
firmly to her purpose. In truth, her mouth was so
accustomed to repeat the name of her dead hus-
band that it seemed as if his memory had pos-
session of her whole heart and soul; for whether
in praying or giving alms, and even in the most
ordinary acts of life, she continually pronounced his
'My mother brought up my brother and myself
with the most tender care. Living at our castellated
house of Ieckspeth, in the Wansbeck, and hard by
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
the abbey of Newminster, she lived in great fear of
the Lord, and with an equal love for her neighbours,
especially such as were poor; and she prudently
managed us and our property. Scarcely had we
learned the first elements of letters, which she her-
self, being convent-bred, taught us, when, eager to
have us instructed, she confided us to a master
of grammar, who incited us to work, and taught
us to recite verses and compose them according to
It was while the brothers Espec were studying
under this master of grammar, and indulging with
spirit and energy in the sports and recreations
fashionable among the boys of the thirteenth
century-such as playing with whirligigs and paper
windmills, and mimic engines of war, and trundling
hoops, and shooting with bows and arrows, and learn-
ing to swim on bladders, that Dame Algitha followed
her husband to a better world, and they found them-
selves orphans and unprotected. For both, however,
Providence raised up friends in the day of need.
Remembering what he owed to his connection with
the Especs, the Lord de Roos received Walter into his
castle of Wark, to be trained to arms; and another
kinsman, who was a prior in France, received Osbert
into his convent, to be reared as a monk. The orphans,
who had never before been separated, and who were
fondly attached, parted after many embraces, and
many tears ; and, with as little knowledge of the world
into which they were entering as fishes have of the
sea in which they swim, each went where destiny
seemed to point the way.
On reaching the castle of Wark, Walter Espec felt
delighted with the novelty of the scene, and entered
with enthusiasm upon his duties as an aspirant to
the honours of chivalry. Besides learning to carve,
to sing, and to take part in that exciting sport which
has been described as 'the image of war'-such as
hawking, and hunting the hare, the deer, the boar,
and the wolf-he ere long signalised himself in the
tiltyard by the facility which he displayed in ac-
quiring skill in arms, and in chivalrous exercises.
Indeed, whether in assailing the pel, or charging the
quintain on horseback, or riding at the ring, or in
the combat at the barriers, Walter had hardly a rival
among the youths of his own age; and, after being
advanced to the rank of squire, he crowned his
triumphs in the tiltyard by successfully charging on
horseback, a la Coeur de Lion, with a sword in one
hand and a lance in the other.
But still Walter Espec was unhappy; and, even
when his dexterity and prowess in arms moved the
envy or admiration of his youthful compeers, his
heart was sad and his smile mournful.
And why was the brave boy so sad ?
At the time when Walter was winning such repu-
tation at the castle of Wark, Jerusalem was sacked
by the Karismians. A cry of distress came from the
Christians in the East; and the warriors of the West
were implored to undertake a new crusade, to rescue
the Holy Sepulchre and save the kingdom founded
by Godfrey and the Baldwins. The warriors of the
West, however, showed no inclination to leave their
homes; and the pope was lamenting the absence of
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
Christian zeal, when a boy went about France,
singing in his native tongue-
Jesus, Lord, repair our loss,
Restore to us thy blessed cross;
and met with much sympathy from those Of his
own age. Multitudes of children crowded round him
as their leader, and followed his footsteps wherever
he went. Nothing could restrain their enthusiasm;
and, assembling in crowds in the environs of Paris,
they prepared to cross Burgundy and make for
'And whither are you going, children?' people
We are going to Jerusalem, to deliver the Holy
Sepulchre,' answered they.
'But how are you to get there?' was the next
Oh,' replied they, 'you seem not to know how it
has been prophesied that this year the drought will
be very great, that the sun will dissipate all the*
waters, and that the abysses of the sea will be dry;
and that an easy road will lie open to us across the
bed of the Mediterranean.'
On reaching Marseilles, however, the young pil-
grims discovered that they had been deluded. Some
of them returned to their homes; but the majority
were not so fortunate. Many lost themselves in the
forests which then covered the country, and died
of hunger and fatigue; and the others became
objects of speculation to two merchants of Marseilles,
who carried on trade with the Saracens. Affecting
to act from motives of piety, the two merchants
SOLD TO THE SLAVE-DEALErS.
tempted the boy-pilgrims by offering to convey them,
without charge, to the
having been joyfully accepted, seven vessels,
children on board, sailed from Marseilles. Bt
voyage was not prosperous.
At the end of two days,
the ships were off
of St. Peter, near
of the Recluse, a tempest arose, and
wind blew so violently that two of them went down
with all on board.
The five others, however, wea-
there the storm, and reached Bugia and Alexandria.
And now the young Crusaders discovered to their con-
sternation how they had been deceived and betrayed.
Without delay they were sold by the merchants to the
slave-dealers, and by the slave-dealers to the Saracens.
of them were purchased
for the caliph
carried to Bagdad, where they were forced to abjure
Christianity, and brought up as slaves.
Now, among the boys who had y
prevailing excitement, and repaired to
embark for Syria, was Osbert Espec; and ever since
kinsman, the prior, intel-
his brother's disappearance, and heard the
f what had befallen the young pilgrims on
al in the
his memory had brooded
over the misfortune, and his imagination, which was
constantly at work, pictured Osbert
prison, laden with
chains, and forced
God of his fathers; and the I
brother was ever present to his
fore was Walter Espec's heart sa
his smile mournful.
in the caliph's
to forswear the
3ht of his lost
d. And there-
id, and therefore was
A MONG- the names of the European princes
associated with the history of the Holy War,
that of St. Louis is one of the most renowned.
Although flourishing in a century which produced
personages like Frederick, Emperor of Germany, and
our first great Edward, who far excelled him in genius
and prowess--as wise rulers in peace and mighty
chiefs in war-his saintliness, his patience in afflic-
tion, his respect for justice and the rights of his
neighbours, entitle him to a high place among the
men of the age which could boast of so many royal
heroes. In order to comprehend the crusade, of
which he was leader, it is necessary to refer briefly
to the character and career of the good and pious
king, who, in the midst of disaster and danger,
exhibited the courage of a hero and the resignation
of a martyr.
It was on the day of the Festival of St. Mark, in
the year 1215, that Blanche of Castille, wife of the
eighth Louis of France, gave birth, at Poissy, to an
heir to the crown, which Hugh Capet had, three
centuries earlier, taken from the feeble heir of
BLANCHE OF CASTILLE.
then in his twelfth
of his father,
year, became King of France, at
a time when it required a man with a strong hand
0to maintain the privileges of the crown against the
great nobles of the
young monarch Providence had
him with a
mother, who, whatever her faults and failings-and
chroniclers have not spared her reputation-brought
to the terrible task
of governing in
a feudal age
and a strong will,
earnestly to the duty of bringing up her son in the
way in which he should walk, and educating him in
such a manner as to prepare him
While, with the
aid of her
destined to fL
Count of Champagne, and the counsel of a
legate-with whom, by-the-bye, she was accused
being somewhat too familiar-Blanche of Casti
maintained the rights of the French monarchy against
the great vassals of France, she reared her son with
the utmost care.
She entrusted his
excellent masters, appointed
piety to attend to his reli
persons eminent for
that he should lead
virtuous and holy life.
'Rather,' she once said, would I see my son in
his grave, than learn that he had committed a mortal
gratification of finding that her toil and her anxiety
were not in vain.
other princes, in
Louis, indeed, was a model whom
their teens, would have done well
SO THE BOY CRUSADERS.
to copy. His piety, and his eagerness to do what
was right and to avoid what was wrong, raised the
wonder of his contemporaries. He passed much of
his time in devotional exercises, and, when not
occupied with religious duties, ever conducted him-
self as if with a consciousness that the eye of his
Maker was upon him, and that he would one day
have to give a strict account of all his actions.
Every morning he went to hear prayers chanted, and
mass and the service of the day sung; every after-
noon he reclined on his couch, and listened while
one of his chaplains repeated prayers for the dead;
and every evening he heard complines.
Nevertheless, Louis did not, like such royal per-
sonages as our Henry VI., allow his religious exer-
cises so wholly to monopolise his time or attention
as to neglect the duties which devolved upon him as
king. The reverse was the case. After arriving at
manhood he convinced the world that he was well
qualified to lead men in war, and to govern them in
It happened that, in the year 1242, Henry King
of England, who was several years older than Louis,
became ambitious of regaining the continental ter-
ritory wrested from his father, John, by Philip
Augustus; and the Count de la Marche, growing
malecontent with the government of France, formed
a confederacy against the throne, and invited Henry
to conduct an army to the Continent. Everything
seemed so promising, and the confederacy so formid-
able, that Henry, unable to resist the temptation of
recovering Normandy and Anjou, crossed the sea,
THE CONFEDERATES REPULSED.
landed at Bordeaux, and prepared for hostilities
At first, the confederates were confident of succeed-
ing in their objects; but, ere long, they discovered
that they had mistaken their position, and the
character of the prince whom they were defying.
In fact, Louis soon proved that he was no carpet
knight.' Assembling an army, he buckled on his
mail, mounted his charger; and placing himself at
the head of his forces, marched to encounter his
enemies. Reaching the banks of the Charente, he
offered the confederates battle, near the bridge of
Taillebourg; but his challenge was not accepted.
By this time the confederates had lost faith in their
enterprise; and while De la Marche was meditating a
reconciliation with Louis, Henry, accusing the count
of having deceived, and being about to betray, him,
retreated precipitately, and never drew rein till he
reached the village of Saintonge.
But Louis was unwilling to allow his royal foe to
escape so easily. Nor, indeed, could Henry without
reluctance fly from the peril he had provoked. At
all events, on reaching Saintonge, the English turned
to bay, and a battle began. But the odds were
overwhelming; and, though the Anglo-Norman barons
fought with characteristic courage, they were speedily
worsted, and under the necessity of making for
From the day on which this battle was fought, it
was no longer doubtful that Louis was quite able to
hold his own; and neither foreign kings nor conti-
nental counts cared to disturb his government or
defy his power. In fact, the fame of the King of
THlE BOY C1RUSADERS10
trancee became great throughout Christendom, and
inspired the hopes of the Christians of the East.
Nor was it merely as a warrior that Louis sig-
nalised himself among his contemporaries. At the
time when he was attending, with exemplary regu-
larity, to his religious devotions, and keeping watch
over the security of his dominions, he was devoting
himself assiduously to his duties as sovereign and to
the administration of justice.
One day, when Louis was at the castle of Hieros,
in Provence, a Cordelier friar approached.
'Sire,' said the friar, I have read of unbelieving
princes in the Bible and other good books; yet I
have never read of a kingdom of believers or un-
believers being ruined, but from want of justice
being duly administered. Now,' continued the friar,
'I perceive the king is going to France; let him
administer justice with care, that our Lord may
suffer him to enjoy his kingdom, and that it may
remain in peace and tranquillity all the days of his
life, and that God may not deprive him of it with
shame and dishonour.'
Louis listened attentively to the Cordelier, and the
friar's words sank deep into his mind. From that
date he gave much attention to the administration of
justice, and took especial care to prevent the poor
being wronged by their more powerful neighbours.
On summer days, after hearing mass, he was in the
habit of repairing to the gardens of his palace, seat-
ing himself on a carpet, and listening to such as
wished to appeal to him; at other times he went to
the wood of Vincennes, and there, sitting under an
MARGARET OF PROVENCE. 3
oak, listened to their statements with attention and
patience. No ceremony was allowed to keep the
poor man from the king's justice-seat.
'Whoever has a complaint to make,' Louis was
wont to say, 'let him now make it;' and when there
were several who wished to be heard, he would add,
' My friends, be silent for awhile, and your causes
shall be despatched one after another.'
When Louis was in his nineteenth year, Blanche
of Castille recognized the expediency of uniting him
to a princess worthy of sharing the French throne,
and bethought her of the family of Raymond
Berenger, Count of Provence, one of the most ac-
complished men in Europe, and whose countess,
Beatrice of Savoy, was even more accomplished
than her husband; Raymond and Beatrice had four
daughters, all remarkable for their wit and beauty,
and all destined to be queens. Of these four daugh-
ters, the eldest, Margaret of Provence, who was then
thirteen, was selected as the bride of Louis; and,
about two years before her younger sister, Eleanor,
was conducted to England to be espoused by King
Henry, Margaret arrived in Paris, and began to
figure as Queen of France.
The two princesses of Provence who had the for-
tune to form such high alliances found themselves in
very different positions. Eleanor did just as she
pleased, ruled her husband, and acted as if every-
thing in England had been created for her gratifi-
cation. Margaret's situation, though more safe, was
much less pleasant. In her husband's palace she could
not boast of being in the enjoyment even of personal
34~THlE ?BOY CRIUS.0triS.
liberty. In fact, Qtreen Blanche was too fond of
power to allow that which she had acquired to be
needlessly imperilled; and, apprehensive that the'
young queen should gain too much influence with
the king, she deliberately kept the royal pair sepa-
rate. Nothing, indeed, could exceed the domestic
tyranny under which they suffered. When Louis
and Margaret made royal progresses, Blanche of
Castille took care that her son and daughter-in-law
were lodged in separate houses. Even in cases of
sickness the queen-mother did not relent. On one
occasion, when Margaret was ill and in the utmost
danger, Louis stole to her chamber. While he was
there, Blanche entered, and he endeavoured to con-
ceal himself. Blanche, however, detected him, shook
her head, and forcibly pushed him out of the door.
Be off, sir,' said she, sternly; 'you have no right
Madam, madam,' exclaimed Margaret, in despair,
'will you not allow me to see my husband, either
when I am living, or when I am dying?' and the
poor queen fainted away.
It was while the young saint-king and his fair
Provencal spouse were enduring this treatment at the
hands of the old queen-mother that events occurred
which fired Louis with the idea of undertaking a
crusade, and gave Margaret an excellent excuse for
escaping from the society of the despotic dowager
who had embittered her life, and almost broken her
One day, when Louis was recovering from the
effects of a fever, which had so thoroughly prostrated
RECOVERY OF LOUIS.
him, that at times
dead, he ordered C
to be stitched
How is this,' asked Blanche
of Castille, when she
came to visit her son on his sick bed.
' Madam,' whispered
has, out of gratitude for his recovery, take a the Cross,
and vowed to combat the infidel.'
' Alas! alas !' exclaimed
struck as fearfully as if I had seen him dead.'
TAKING THE CROSS.
A CENTURY and a half had elapsed since Peter the
Hermit roused Christendom to rescue the Holy
Sepulchre, and since Godfrey and the Baldwins
established the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem; and
in the interval, many valiant warriors including
Richard Coeur de Lion, and Philip Augustus, and
Frederick Barbarossa-had gone forth to fight in its
defence; and the orders of military monks-the
Knights of the Temple, the Knigbts of St. John, the
Knights of St. Katherine of Sinai, and the Teutonic
Knights, had risen to keep watch over the safety of
the Holy Sepulchre. But the kingdom of Jerusalem,
constantly exposed to rude shocks, far from prosper-
ing, was always in danger of ruin; and in 1244 the
Holy City, its capital, was taken and sacked by a wild
race, without a country, known as the Karismians,
who, at the sultan's instance, slaughtered the inhab-
itants, opened the tombs, burnt the bodies of heroes,
scattered the relics of saints and martyrs .to the
wind, and perpetrated such enormities as Jerusalem,
in her varying fortunes, had never before witnessed.
When this event occurred, the Christians of the
WAR IN CHRISTENDOM.
East, more loudly than ever, implored the warriors
of Europe to come to their rescue. But, as it hap-
pened, most of the princes of Christendom were in
too much trouble at home to attend to the affairs of
Jerusalem. Baldwin Courtenay, Emperor of Constan-
tinople, was constantly threatened with expulsion
, by the Greeks; Frederick, Emperor of Germanyy,
was at war with the Pope; the King of Castille
was fighting with the Moors; the King of Poland
was fully occupied with the Tartars; the King of
Denmark had to defend his throne against his own
brother; the King of Sweden had to defend his
throne against the Tolekungers. As for Henry
King of England, he was already involved in those
disputes with the Anglo-Norman barons which ulti-
mately led to the Barons' War. One kingdom alone
was at peace; and it was France, then ruled by
Louis IX., since celebrated as St. Louis, that listened
to the cry of distress.
At that time Louis King of France, then not
more than thirty, but already, as we have seen, noted
for piety and valour, was stretched on a bed of sick-
ness, and so utterly prostrate that, at times, as has
been related, he was thought to be dead. Never-
theless, he did recover; and, snatched as if by
miracle from the gates of death, he evinced his
gratitude to Heaven by ordering the Cross to be fixed
to his vestments, and vowing to undertake an expe.
edition for the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre.
The resolution of the saintly monarch was not
quite agreeable to his family or his subjects, any
. more than to his mother, Blanche of Castille; and
TIHE BOY CRUSADERS.
many of his lords made earnest efforts to divert
him from his purpose. But remonstrance proved
unavailing. Cliniging steadfastly to his resolution,
Louis summoned a Parliaient at Paris, induced the
assembled magnates to take t]ie Cross, occupied three
years with preparations on a great scale, and ulti-
mately, having repaired to St. Denis, and received
from the lands of the papal legate the famous
standard known as the oriflanmme of France, em-
barked at Aigues Mortes, and sailed for Cyprus, with
his queen, Margaret of Provence, his brothers, the
Counts of Artois, Poictiers, and Anjou, and many
of the greatest lords of his kingdom.
Meanwhile, the barons of Eng land were not. in-
different to what was passing on the Continent.
Many of them, indeed, were desirous to take part in
the expedition. But King Henry not only forbade
them to assum, the Cross, but would not allow a
crusade to be preached in his dominions. No gene-
ral movement was therefore made in England.
Nevertheless, William Longsword, Eail of Salisbury,
grandson of the second Henry and Rosamond Clifford,
determined on an armedI pilgrimage,' and, in com-
pany with Lord Robert de Veie and others, vowed
to join the French Crusaders and combat the Saracens.
Henry, enraged at his mandate being disregarded,
seized Salisbury's manors and castles; but the earl,
faithful to his vow, embarked, with De Vere as
his standard-bearer, and with two hundred English
knights of noble name and dauntless courage, sworn
to bring the standard back with glory, o01 dye it-
with their hearts' blood
At the same time Patrick, Earl of March, the
most illustrious noble who sprang from the Anglo-
Saxon race, announced his intention of accompany-
ing King Louis to the East. Earl Patrick had seen
more than threescore years, and his hair was white,
and his limbs stiff; but his head was still as clear,
and his heart was still as courageous, as in the days
when he had dyed his lance in Celtic blood, van-
quished the great Somerled, and carried the Bastard
of Galloway in chains to Edinburgh; and, with
an earnest desire to couch against the enemies of
Christianity the lance which he had often couched
against the enemies of civilisation, he took the Cross,
sold his stud on the Leader Haughs to pay his
expenses, bade a last farewell to Euphemia Stewart,
his aged countess, received the pilgrim's staff and
scrip from the Ab')ot of Melrose, and left his castle
to embark with his knights and kinsmen.
'I was young, and now I am old,' said Earl
Patrick, with enthusiasm. 'In my youth I fought
with the foes of my race. In my old age I will
fare forth and combat the foes of my religion.'
It was under the banner of this aged hero that
Guy Muschamp and Walter Espec were about to
embark for the East; and, on the evening of the day
preceding that on which they were to set out, they
were conducted to the presence of the mother of the
lord of the castle, who was the daughter of a Scottish
king, that they might receive her blessing.
'My children,' said she, as they knelt before her,
and she laid her hands on their heads, do not forget,
when among strangers and exposed to temptation,
THE LOY CRUSADERS.
the lessons of piety and chivalry which you have
learned within these walls. Fear God, and He will
support you in all dangers. Be frank and courteous,
but not servile, to the rich and powerful; kind and
helpful to the poor and afflicted. Beware of merit-
ing the reproaches of the brave; and ever bear in
mind that evil befalls him who proves false to his
promises to his God, his country, and his lady. Be
brave in war; in peace, loyal and true in thought and
word; and Heaven will bless you, and men will hold
your names in honour, and you will be dreaded in
battle and loved in hall.'
Next morning the brothers-in-arms rose betimes;
and, all preparations for their departure having been
previously made, they mounted at daybreak, and
leaving the castle of Wark, and riding through the
great park that lay around it, startling the deer and
the wild cattle as they went, took their way towards
Berwick, before which rode the ships destined to
convey them from their native shores.
EMBARKING FOR THE EAST.
T was Saturday; and the sun shone brightly on
pool and stream, and even lighted up the dingy
corners of walled cities, as the Earl of March pro-
ceeded on foot from the castle to the port of Berwick,
and embarked with his knights and kinsmen.
The event created much excitement in the town.
In fact, though the princes and nobles of Europe
were weary of enterprises that had ruined so many
great houses, the people still thought of the crusades
with interest, and talked of them with enthusiasm.
The very name of Palestine exercised a magical
influence on the European Christians of that gene-
ration. At the mention of the Holy Land, their
imagination conjured up the most picturesque
scenery; Saracenic castles stored with gold and
jewels; cities the names of which were recorded in
the sacred book which the poorest knew by picture;
and they listened earnestly as palmer or pilgrim told
of Sharon with its roses without thorns; Lebanon
with its cedars and vines; and Carmel with its
solitary convent, and its summit covered with thyme,
and haunted by the eagle and the boar, till their
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
fancy pictured a land flowing with milk and honey,'
by repairing to which sinners could secure pardon
without penance in this world, and happiness without
purgatory in the next.
It is not wonderful that, when such sentiments
prevailed, the embarkation of a great noble for the
Holy Land should have excited much interest; and,
as Guy Muschamp and Walter Espec took their way
from the castle to the port, crowded with ships, and
passed warehouses stored with merchandise, the Red
Hall of the Flemings resounding with the noise of
artificers, the wealthy religious houses which kept
alive the flame of ancient learning, and dispensed be-
fitting charities, the streets presented. a motley assem-
blage of seafaring men, monks, warriors, and soldiers;
the wives and daughters of the burghers, all in
holiday attire, crowded the housetops or gazed
from the windows and balconies; and the burghers
themselves, leaving their booths and warehouses,
flocked to the port to gossip with each other, and to
witness the departure of the armed pilgrims.
'Oh, good Walter,' exclaimed Guy Muschamp,
whose spirit rose with the excitement, is not this a
stirring scene ? By St. John of Beverley, what rich
armour! what gallant ships! what stately churches!
And yet I would wager my basinet to a prentice's
flat cap that it is not, for a moment, to be compared
I deem that it can hardly be,' replied Walter,
calmly; 'and, in truth, I am in no mood to look
upon life with joyous emotions. But, brave Guy, I
am pleased to see you pleased; albeit, I own frankly
that I should
be more than human di, I
what envy you your gaiety.
Be gay, good Walter.'
Walter shook his head.
'Vain would be the
can only pray to God
effort,' he replied,
and Holy Katherine
that I may return with a lighter heart.'
As for me,' continued Guy,' I am ever gaoy-gay
as the laik; gay in the morning, gay at eve. It is my
nature so to be. My mother is a Frenchwoman-a
kinswoman of the Lord of
Join ville--and scale ce
knows what sadness is.
her spirit; and I
doubt not that, if I am slain by the Saracens, I shall
With this conversation they reached the quay, just
as Earl Patrick was stepping on board his ship, the
6 Hilda,' which, if less graceful and elegant than the
vessels of modern times, was imposing to look upon.
Adorned with painting and gilding, it had armorial
bearings and badges embroidered on various parts;
banners of gay and brilliant colours floated
masts; and the sails of azure and purple s
work of gold.
Armour glittered on deck; and martial
music was. not wanting to give variety to the display.
Meanwhile, amidst the bustle and shouts of the
crew,-the ports of the vessel were opened to allow
the horses of the armed pilgrims to enter; and, as
the ports were under water when the vessel was
sea, they were caulked and stopped up as close as a
tun of wine. This operation over, and all the adven-
turers embarked, the skirner raised his hand for
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
he to his
people in the prow; 'are you ready ?'
Yes, in truth, we are ready,' answered
mount to the castle of the
the captain made them
ship, and chant psalms
of God, and to pray that
pleased to grant
having ascended, s
a prosperous voyage; and they,
ang the beautiful hymn of Veni,
beginning to end.
While the priests
sang, the mariners set their
ordered them to haul up the anchor; and instantly
a breeze filled the sails, and the
but proudly away from the shore.
ships moved slowly
THE ARMED PILGRIMS AT CYPRUS.
T OT with the very best grace did the King of
France come to the resolution of sailing for
Cyprus. Indeed, the safety of his army depended,
in some degree, on the route selected; and the
safest way to the Holy Land was understood to be
by Sicily. Unluckily, however, Sicily was subject
to the Emperor Frederick; and Frederick and his
dominions had been excommunicated by the Pope;
and Louis, with his peculiar notions, feared -to set
foot on a soil that was under the ban of the Church.
At Lyons, where he received the papal blessing, he
endeavoured to reconcile the Emperor and the Pope;
but his Holiness declined to listen to mediation; and
the saint-king, yielding to conscientious scruples,
determined, without further hesitation, to sacrifice
his plan of passing through Sicily to Syria, and
announced his intention of proceeding by way of
Cyprus to Egypt.
At that time the King of Cyprus was Henry de Lu-
signan, to whose family Richard Coeur de Lion had,
in the twelfth century, given the throne, from which
he dragged the Emperor Isaac; and no sooner did
THE BOY uigUSADERS.
Louis reach the port of Limisso, than Henry, accom-
panied by nobles and clergy, appeared to bid him
welcome. Nothing, indeed, could have exceeded the
enthusiasm with which the French Crusaders were
received; and when Louis was conducted with much
ceremony to Nicosia, and entered that city, the capital
of the island, the pcpulace cheered loudly, and* the
clergy met him, singing 'Blessed is he that comes
in the name of the Lord.'
The glory of Nicosia has long since departed.
Situated in the centre of Cyprus, on the river Pedia,
in a low fertile plain, near the base of a range of
mountains that intersects the island, and surrounded
by walls, in the form of a hexagon, flanked with
bastions, the capital has many fine houses; but
these are mostly in ruins, and the inhabitants occupy
tenements reared of mud and brick, and rather
repulsive in appearance. At that time, however, the
state of Nicosia was very different. As the capital
of the Lusignans, the city exhibited the pomp and
pride of feudal chivalry, with much of the splen-
dour of oriental courts, and boasted of its palaces,
castles, churches, and convents, and chapelries, and
gardens, and vineyards, and pleasant places, and all
the luxuries likely to render medieval life enviable.
Now, when Louis landed at Limisso, and entered
Nicosia, he had no intention of wintering in Cyprus.
In fact, the saint-king was all eagerness to push
forward and combat the Saracens. But circum-
stances proved stronger than his will. The Crusaders
were highly captivated with all that they saw and
heard. The aspect of' the island was enchanting-;
THE EFFECTS OF DISSIPATION.
the wine, which even Solomon has deigned to cele-
brate, was to their taste: the dark-eyed Greek
women, who perhaps knew that the island had
anciently been the favourite seat of Venue, and who,
in any case, enjoyed the reputation of being devoted
to the worship of the goddess, were doubtless fasci-
natiiig; and almost every one of the days that suc-
ceeded Louis's arrival was devoted to rejoicings and
feastings. Not unnaturally, but most unfortunately,
the Crusaders yielded to the fascinations of an
existence which at first they all enjoyed, heart
and soul; and with one accord they cried out, We
must tarry here till spring. Let us eat, drink, and
Accordingly the Crusaders did winter in Cyprus;
and the consequences were most disastrous. Ener-
vated by luxury, they soon forgot their vows, and
rushed into every kind of extravagance and dissipa-
tion. Of course, their recklessness soon brought its
own punishment. As time passed on, and winter set
in, rain fell daily, and the intemperance, the strange
climate, and the weather soon did their work. By-
and-by, a pestilential disease made its appearance in
the camp of the pilgrims, and carried nff thousands
of victims, including two hundred and fifty knights.
Moreover, there was much discord and dissension.
The Greek clergy and the Latin clergy began to
quarrel; the Templars and the Knights of St. John
began to fight; and the saint-king found his position
the very reverse of satisfactory or agreeable.
By the time that the little fleet, on board of which
were Guy Muschamp and Walter Espec, reached
48 THE BOY CRUSADEfS.
Cyprus, matters were not what they should have
been; and the wise and prudent shook their heads,
and predicted that an expedition conducted in
such a fashion was too likely to end in disaster and
T was July, as I have intimated, when the ship
Hilda,' which carried Walter Espec and Guy
Muschamp, left the shores of England; and, soon after
having lost sight of land, both began to experience
a little of that vague fear of the blue above and the
blue below,' which, in the thirteenth century, made
some of the boldest feudal warriors, when they em-
barked, invoke the protection of the saints in
On my faith, good Walter,' remarked Guy, with
less than his wonted gaiety, for the ship was beginning
to toss, and he was beginning to feel rather sea sick,
'I cannot but think that the man is a great fool, who,
having wronged any of his neighbours, or having
any mortal sin on his conscience, puts himself in such
peril as this; for, when he goes to sleep at night, he
knows not if in the morning he may not find him-
self under the waves.'
'May the saints preserve us from such a fate,'
replied Walter, thoughtfully; 'yet I own I feel so
uneasy that I can hardly believe myself a descendant
of the kings of the north who made the ocean their
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
home, and called the tempest their servant., and
never felt so joyous as when they were treading the
pine plank, and giving the reins to their great sea
On my faith,' said Guy, who was ever3 moment
becoming more uncomfortable, I cannot but marvel
much at the eccentricity of their tastes, and could
almost wish myself back to the castle of Wark.'
Nevertheless,' replied Walter, 'we must bear in
mind that, having taken the Cross and vowed to
combat the Saracens, it beseems us not, as Christians
and gentlemen, to look backward.'
At the time when this conversation took place, the
sea was comparatively calm, and the weather most
favourable; and the skipper, naturally overjoyed with
his good fortune in both respects, predicted a speedy
voyage. In this, however, he was in some measure
disappointed. Many circumstances occurred to retard
the progress of the Saxon Earl and his companions
towards Cyprus; and, what with prolonged calms, and
contrary winds, and foul weather, it was late in
autumn ere they neared the island where the King
of France and his chivalry had, for their misfortune,
resolved on passing the winter.
So far all was well, and the Boy Crusaders, now
recovered from their sickness, rejoiced in the antici-
pation of soon reaching Cyprus. But the dangers of
the voyage were not yet over, and one evening, about
vespers, while Walter and Guy were regaling their
imaginations with the prospect of being speedily in
the company of the warriors of France, the mariners
found that they were unpleasantly close to a great
A PERILOUS MOUNTAIN.
the fear of the Saracens of Barbary
before their eyes the mariners pressed on, and
during the night made all the sail they could, and
themselves that they had run at least fifty
But what was their
that they were still off the mountain
which they fancied they must have left behind.
moreover, was their alarm as they
they laboured hard all
that day and all
that night to make sail, when the
sun rose next morningo-it was Saturday-the moun-
tain, from which they were so anxious to escape, was
still near at hand. All on board expressed their
alarm on discovering that the mariners deemed their
and the Earl, on learning
matters stood, appeared on deck, and summoned the
master of the ship.
' In wonder's name, skipper,'
happens this ??'
In truth, my
said he, sternly, how
r lord earl,' replied the skipper,
'I cannot tell how it happens; but
this I know, that we all run great risk of our lives.'
In what way ?'
From the Saracens of Barbary, who are cruel and
savage, and who are as likely as not to come down in
swarms and attack us.'
The idea of captivity and chains occurred to every
one who listened, and even the Earl changed coun-
At that moment, however, one of the chap-
lains stepped forward.
He was a discreet churchman,
and his words were ever treated with high respect.
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
My lord earl and gentlemen,' said the chaplain;
'I never remember any distress in our parish, either
from too much abundance or from want of rain, or
from any other plague, but that God delivered us
from it, and caused everything to happen as well as
could have been wished, when a procession had been
made three times with devotion on a Saturday.'
Wherefore,' suggested the Earl, you would have
us do likewise, as deeming the ceremony likely to
deliver us from our peril ?'
Even so,' continued the churchman. I recom-
mend, noble Earl, that, as this day is Saturday, we
instantly commence walking in procession round the
masts of the ship.'
By all means,' replied the Earl, let us forth-
with walk in procession as you recommend. Worse
than foolish would it be on our parts to neglect such
a ceremony. A simple remedy, on my faith, for such
Accordingly, the skipper issued orders through
the ship; and all on board were assembled on deck,
and, headed by the priests, solemnly walked in pro-
cession round the masts, singing as they walked;
and, however it came to pass, the ceremony seemed
to have the effect which the chaplain had prog-
nosticated. From that moment everything went
smoothly. Almost immediately afterwards they lost
sight of the mountain, and cast all fear of the Saracens
of Barbary to the winds; and ere long they had the
gratification of hearing the cry of 'Land,' and of
seeing before their eyes the far-famed island of
It was latest autumn, however; -and Cyprus did
not look by any means so bright and beautiful as the
Boy Crusaders had, during the voyage, anticipated.
Indeed, clouds rested over the range of mountains
that intersects the island lengthways. The rain had
fallen somewhat heavily, and the aspect of the place
was so decidedly dismal and disheartening, that, as
the two squires landed, their countenances expressed
Now, by St. John of Beverley,' exclaimed Guy,
giving expression to his feelings, 'I marvel much
that this lovely queen, Venus, of whom minstrels
have sung so much, should, when she doubtless had
her free choice as to a residence, have so highly
favoured this place.
'Tastes differ,' replied Walter, rather gloomily.
' Certainly, had I my choice of a residence, I should
fix my abode elsewhere.'
But what have we here?' cried Guy, as he
pointed to countless casks of wine piled high, one on
the other, and to huge heaps of wheat, barley, and
other grains, which the purveyors of King Louis had
some time before prepared for his grand enterprise.
' Beshrew me, if, at a distance, I did not imagine the
casks of wine to be houses, and the heaps of corn
'Anyhow,' observed Walter, 'the sight of the
wine and the corn should give us comfort; for it is
clear that the King of France, however saintly, does
not forget that men have mouths, nor mean his
army to die of hunger or thirst.'
On my faith,' said Guy, I have a strong desire
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
to catch a glance of this miracle of saintliness. I
marvel if he rides about Cyprus on a Spanish steed,
magnificently harnessed, as chronicles tell of Richard
Cceur de Lion doing, dressed in a tunic of rose-
coloured satin, and a mantle of striped and silver
tissue, brocaded with half moons, and a scarlet
bonnet brocaded with gold, and wearing a Damascus
blade with a golden hilt in a silver sheath oh,
what a fine figure the English king must have cut!'
However,' said Walter, 'I fancy King Louis is
not quite so splendid in his appearance as Coeur de
Lion was. But we shall see him ere long.'
SAy,' cried Guy; 'we must have a peep at the
royal saint. Meanwhile, good Walter, one thing is
certain- that we are in Cyprus.'
T was not the good fortune of all the warriors who
had taken the Cross to escape the perils of the
deep, and reach Cyprus in safety.
About a month after Guy Muschamp and Walter
Espec had reached Limisso, a tall ship bearing a
Crusader of noble name, who had left Constantinople
to combat the Saracens under the banner of St.
Denis, was sailing gallantly towards Cyprus, when
a violent storm arose, and threatened her with
destruction. The wind blew fiercely; the sea ran
mountains high; and, though the ship for a time
struggled sturdily with the elements, she could
not resist her fate. Her cordage creaked, and her
timbers groaned dismally; and, as she was by turns
borne aloft on the waves crested with foam and
precipitated headlong into the gulphs that yawned
between, great was the terror, loud the wailing, and
frightful the turmoil. In vain the mariners exerted
their strength and skill. No efforts on their part
could enable the vessel to .resist the fury of the
Every minute matters became more desperate.
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
The sea, recently calm, seemed to boil from its very
depths; and the ship, incessantly tossed to and fro by
the roaring billows, appeared, every moment, on the
point of being engulphed. The skipper was lost in
consternation; the Crusaders gave way to despair;
and with death staring them in the face they ceased
to hope for safety, and, kneeling, confessed to each
other, and prayed aloud that their sins might be
forgiven. At length, in spite of the efforts made by
the mariners to resist the winds and waves, the ship,
driven on the rocks near the island, filled with water,
went to pieces, leaving those on board to struggle as
they best might to escape a watery grave. The
struggle was vain. Many, indeed, caught hold of the
vessel's timbers with a vague hope of reaching the
shore; but, unable to contend with the elements,
they, one after another, disappeared and sank to
rise no more.
Now this terrible shipwreck was not without
witnesses. On that part of the coast of Cyprus
where it occurred was a rude hamlet chiefly tenanted
by fishermen; and men, women, and children crowded
the beach, uttering loud cries, and highly excited,
but unable to render any assistance. It seemed that
no boat could live in such a sea; and the fishermen
could only gaze mournfully on the heartrending
scene, as the waves sprang up and rapaciously
claimed their prey.
It was while the sea, agitated by the gale, was
still running high; while the waves were leaping,
and tearing, and dashing against the rocks; and
while flocks of sea birds wheeled and screamed over
A SPECK ON THE OCEAN.
the troubled waters, that a knight and two
squires, who, having been caught in the storm,
while riding towards Limisso, reined up, and not
without difficulty learned from the natives, whose
language they scarcely comprehended, the nature
and extent of the disaster. The knight was an
English Crusader, named Bisset, who had taken
service with King Louis; the squires were Walter
Espec and Guy Muschamp. All three, as they
became aware of what had happened, crossed them-
selves and breathed a prayer for the souls of those
who had gone to their account.
We may as well ride on,' said Guy Muschamp,
who, like his companions, was very much affected;
'all of them have perished, and are now beyond the
reach of human aid.'
'Not all of them,' exclaimed Walter Espec, sud-
denly, as he sprang from his horse, and, with out-
stretched arm, pointed to a white object which was
carried hither and thither by the waves.
By the might of Henry, sir squire, you are right,
cried the English knight, highly excited; 'it is a
woman, as I live, and she is clinging to one of the
And she may yet be saved,' said Walter, calmly;
' and by the Holy Cross the attempt must be made,
if we are to escape the reproach of inhumanity and
And now the men, women, and children on the
beach became much excited, and shouted loudly.
No one, however, volunteered to go to the rescue.
In fact, the aspect of the sea was so menacing and
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
terrible, that the boldest and hardiest of the sea-
faring men felt that an attempt could only end in
the destruction of those making it, and shook their
heads with a significance there was no misunder-
It seems,' said the knight, mournfully, that the
business is desperate; and yet -'
And yet,' said Walter, taking up the word as the
knight hesitated and paused, it shall never be told
that a woman perished before my eyes, and that I
stood looking on, without making an effort to save
He is mad,' muttered the fishermen, as they
first eyed the English squire, and then exchanged
glances with each other, and shrugged their shoul-
But Walter Espec did not ponder or pause.
Throwing his bridle-rein to Guy Muschamp, whose
countenance expressed grave alarm, he quickly
divested himself of his mantle and the belt bearing
his sword, committed himself to the protection of
Holy Katherine, the patron saint of his house,
plunged into the water, and next moment was bat-
tling manfully with the waves. But everything was
against him, even the tide; and, in spite of his skill
as a swimmer, his efforts were at first abortive. But
it was not his nature to yield easily; and, as he put
forth all his strength, and made a desperate struggle,
the affair began to wear another face.
Good Walter,' murmured Guy, who stood, pale
as death, watching the swimmer. Brave Walter!'
'Now, may our lady, the Virgin, aid and prosper
him,' exclaimed the knight. Never have I witnessed
a bolder attempt.'
As the knight spoke, a loud cheer burst from the
crowd; and then there was silence. Walter drew
nearer and nearer to the woman, for whose life he
was freely venturing his own. In another minute
he clutched her with one hand, turned towards the
shore, and, favoured by the tide, came sailing towards
the spot which the crowd occupied.
A dozen of the men dashed knee-deep into the
water to relieve Walter of his burden; and as they
did so, a dozen of the women stretched out their
hands, and received the still unconscious form of
her who had been rescued; meanwhile the knight and
Guy Muschamp caught hold of Walter, who, fatigued
and overcome with his almost superhuman exertions,
would otherwise have fallen to the ground. How-
ever they laid him down carefully to rest; and, while
Guy stood watching over him, Bisset went to look to
the safety of the damsel who had been rescued.
Sir squire,' said he, with enthusiasm, as he re-
turned, you have done as noble a deed as it has ever
been my fate to witne-ss, and the King of France shall
hear of it, as I am a living man; and,' continued he, in
a whisper, hearken you may at the same time con-
gratulate yourself on having had the good luck to
save a woman well worth saving.'
'What mean you, sir knight,' asked Walter,
Simply this that she is young, fair to behold,
and evidently of high lineage.'
ON THE LADDER OF LIFE.
F OUR days passed over, and Walter Espec, quite
recovered from the effects of his struggle with
the waves, and of the salt water he had involuntarily
imbibed during his perilous adventure on the coast
of Cyprus, was at Nicosia, and engaged in chivalrous
exercises, in the courtyard of the house occupied by
the Earl of March; when he was accosted by Bisset,
the English knight, who had been a witness of his
daring exploit, and requested to repair to the presence
of the King of France.
Walter was somewhat taken by surprise and startled
by the summons. Recovering his serenity, however,
as well as he could, he intimated his readiness; and
with the air befitting a Norman gentleman who had
existed from childhood in the consciousness that his
name was known to fame, and who did not forget
that he had noble blood of Icingla in his veins, he
accompanied the knight to the palace in which the
saint-king was lodged.
At that time, Louis, not much satisfied with him-
self for having consented to winter in Cyprus, though
little dreaming of the terrible misfortunes that awaited
THE LORD OF JOINVILLE.
his army in the land for which he was bound, was
seated at table and endeavouring to forget his cares,
while conversing familiarly with a young and noble-
looking personage of great strength and stature, with
a head of immense size, and a countenance beaming
with sagacity. In truth this was a very remarkable
personage. He was then known as John, Lord of
Joinville, and seneschal of Champagne; and he has
since been famous as the chronicler of the triumphs
and disasters of the Crusade in which he acted a
SSeneschal,' said Louis, addressing Joinville, 'I
marvel much that you do not mix water with your
'In truth, sire,' replied Joinville, half jocularly, I
fear so to do; for physicians have told me I have so
large a head, and so cold a stomach, that water might
prove most injurious.'
',Nevertheless,' said Louis, earnestly, be advised
by me, and do not allow yourself to be deceived.
If you do not drink water till you are in the decline
of lire, you will then increase any disorders you may
'But, sire,' asked Joinville, innocently, 'why
should I drink water then more than now ? '
Ah,' answered Louis, simply because if you
take pure wine in your old age, you will be fre-
quently intoxicated; and verily it is a beastly thing
for an honourable man to make himself drunk.'
I acknowledge that it is very wrong, sire,' said
Joinville; but I am one of those who endeavour
to practise moderation in the. use of the wine-cup.'
62 THE BOY CRUSADERS.
And pray, seneschal,' asked Louis, after a pause,
' may I ask if you ever wash the feet of the poor ?'
'Oh, sire, no,' answered Joinville, not without
evincing surprise. 'I hardly deem that it would
become such a person as I am.'
In truth, seneschal,' exclaimed Louis,' this is
very ill said. You ought not to think that unbe-
coming which He, who was their Lord and Master,
did for our example when Re washed the feet of
His apostles. I doubt not you would very unwil-
lingly perform what the King of England does; for
on Holy Thursday he washes the feet of lepers.'
Oh, sire,' cried Joinville, in a conclusive tone,
'never will I wash the feet of such fellows.'
'Now, seneschal,' resumed Louis, still more se-
riously, let me ask you another question. Whether
would you be a leper, or have committed a deadly
Sire,' answered Joinville, frankly, 'rather than
be a leper, I would have committed thirty deadly
How could you make such an answer?' said
'Sire,' exclaimed Joinville, with decision, 'if I
were to answer' again, I should repeat the same
'Nevertheless,' urged Louis, with earnestness,
'you deceive yourself on the subject; for. no leprosy
can be so awful as deadly sin, and the soul that is
guilty of such is like the devil in hell.'
It was when the conversation between the King
of France and the Lord of Joinville had reached
this stage, that Walter Espec, guided by the English
knight, made his appearance, not without exhibiting
symptoms of agitation when he found himself face
to face with the monarch, who, of all the princes of
Christendom, enjoyed, at that period, the highest
reputation in Europe and the East.
But the appearance- and aspect of Louis were not
such as to daunt or dismay.
Nothing could have been more plain and simple
than the dress worn by the royal chief of the crusaders.
Indeed it was plain and simple to affectation; and
the coat of camlet, the surcoat of tyretaine, the
mantle of black sandal, contrasted remarkably with
the splendid garments of princes who were his con-
temporaries, especially Henry, King of England,
who, like most of the Plantagenets, was given tQ
magnificence of attire, and generally regarded as by
far the greatest dandy in his dominions. Nor had
Louis been endowed by nature with the qualities
which please the eye and impress the imagination.
His figure, it is true, was tall and well proportioned;
but his face and features were not calculated to
dazzle. When compared with men of such noble
presence and regal air as our English Edwards and
Henrys, he was decidedly plain. He had the pecu-
liar face and slanting features which distinguished so
many of the descendants of Hugh Capet, and that
large long straight nose, which, instead of keeping
the Greek facial line, inclined forward, and hung
slightly over the short upper lip. Not even flattery
could have described the saint-king as a model of
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
Now it happened that Walter Espec had never
before seen a king, and was prepared to behold
something very grand, like Cceur de Lion, with his
scarlet bonnet, his rose-coloured tunic, and his mantle
of striped silver tissue, and his -Damascus blade
with a golden hilt in a silver sheath. Naturally,
therefore, he was at the first glance somewhat dis-
appointed with the appearance of the monarch in
whose presence he stood. But as Louis turned upon
him a countenance which, albeit not beautiful, de-
noted energy and decision of character, and expressed
at once goodness and good-nature, and high moral
and intellectual superiority, the youth, whose in-
stincts were strong, felt that he was in the presence
of a man who was worthy of reigning.
Young gentleman,' said Louis, mildly, as Walter
bent his knee, it has come to my knowledge that
you have performed an action noble in itself, and
worthy of the praises of the valiant.'
Sire,' replied Walter, colouring, and speaking
with less than his wonted confidence, I scarce know
to what your highness is pleased to refer.'
'Ah,' said Louis, glancing towards the Lord of
Joinville, 'I can hardly credit your words. But
such modesty is becoming in youth. However, I
mean that, four days since, as I learn, you saved a
noble demoiselle from the sea, at the most manifest
peril to your own life.'
Walter bowed in acknowledgement of the com-
pliment, but did not speak.
'Not,' continued Louis hastily, 'not that you
should therefore be vainglorious, or puffed up with
~ U~\ 'N
"Young gentleman," said King Louis, it has come to my knowledge that you have
performed an action noble in itself, and worthy of the praises of the valiant."- p. 64.
VALOUR AND PRUDENCE.
vanity, or think more highly of yourself than you
ought to think on account of your achievement,
however honourable; for I trust you know and feel
that, before our Maker, we are all but as potter's clay.'
'My lord,' replied Walter, pausing in some per-
xity, I would fain hope my ideas on the subject
I ever be such as befit a Christian and a gentleman.'
Well, well,' said Louis, hastily, on that point I
meant not to express a doubt, and,' added he, seeing
that you give promise of being a preuhommc, I pray
C od. out of His goodness, that you may prove a
preuOhomme as well as a preuhomme.'
'Sire,' said Walter, looking puzzled, 'you must
pardon me when I confess that I comprehend not
clearly the distinction.'
'Ah,' replied Louis, smiling, and shaking his head
gravely, 'the distinction is of much consequence;
for know that by preuhomme I mean a man who
is valiant and bold in person, whereas by preud-
homme I signify one who is prudent, discreet, and
who fears God, and has a good conscience.'
Walter bowed again; and, being at a loss for
words to answer, took refuge in silence. In fact, he
began to feel so awkward that he wished nothing so
fervently as that the interview would come to an
end; and Louis, after condescending to ask some*
more. questions, and inculcate some more lessons,
dismissed him with words of encouragement, and
gifted him with an amulet in the form of a ring,
which bore on it this inscription-
Who wears me shall perform exploits,
And with great joy return.
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
As Walter left the king's presence to depart from
the palace, he turned to the knight who had been
On my faith, sir knight,' said he laughing, but
rather nervously, 'this reminds me more of the
adventures which in childhood I have heard related
by pilgrims and pedlars at the chimney-corner, than
aught I ever expected to meet with in the real
breathing busy world.'
Indeed,' said Bisset, quietly; 'methinks there is
nothing so very wondrous about the business. It
only seems to me that you have been borfi with luck
on your side-not my own case-and that you have,
without hazarding more than you are likely to do
in the first battle with the Saracens, gained the
privilege of climbing some steps up the ladder that
leads to fortune and fame.'
'And yet,' observed Walter, as he laughed and
looked at the ring which Louis had bestowed on
him, beshrew me if I have had the courage to ask
either the rank or name of the demoiselle to whom
I had the fortune to render the service that has
made my existence known to this good and pious
'By the might of Mary,' exclaimed the knight,
'there is no reason why you should remain in
ignorance who the demoiselle is, or what is her
name. She is kinswoman of John de Brienne, who,
in his day, figured as King of Jerusalem, and kins-
woman also of Baldwin de Courtenay, who now
reigns at Constantinople as Emperor of the East;
and her name is Adeline de Brienne.'
ON THE LADDER OF LIFE.
Holy Katherine,' muttered Walter, again looking
closely at the inscription on the ring, as if for
evidence that the whole was not a dream, 'I begin
to think that I must assuredly have been born with
luck on my side, as you say; and, with such luck on
my side, I need not even despair of finding the
brother I have lost.'
'Credit me, at all events,' said Bisset, looking
wise, when I tell you that you have got upon the
ladder of life.'
T was the Saturday before Pentecost, in the yeal
1249, when the fleet of King Louis and the
armed pilgrims, consisting of no fewer than eighteen
hundred vessels, great and small, issued gallantly
from the port of Limisso, and steered towards
At first nothing could have been more gay and
pleasant than the voyage of the Crusaders. It
seemed as if the whole sea, so far as the eye could
reach, was covered with cloth and with banners of
bright colours. Everything appeared promising.
The voyage, however, was not destined to prove
prosperous. Suddenly the wind, which had been
favourable, changed, and blew violently from the
coast of Egypt. Great confusion was the conse-
quence; and, though the Genoese mariners exerted
all their skill, the fleet was utterly dispersed.
Indeed, when King Louis, having put back, reached
Limisso, he found, to his horror, that not more than
two-thirds of the armed pilgrims remained in his
company. Concluding that his companions had
been drowned, the saintly monarch was grieved
beyond measure, and on the point ot giving way to
It happened, however, that while Louis was
mourning over the mishap, William Longsword, Earl
of Salisbury, arrived at Cyprus with the English
Crusaders, and administered some degree of conso-
lation. In truth, Longsword was just the man to
explain all in the most satisfactory manner. Having
been accustomed from his youth to cross the narrow
seas, he felt none of that vague terror of the ocean
which made the French knights, when they embarked,
invoke the protection of the saints; and he expressed
his opinion that, in all probability, the missing vessels
were safe on the Syrian coast. But the indifference
which the earl showed for dangers at which the
French trembled had the effect of making him
many enemies, and arousing the natural jealousies
which afterwards proved so baneful to the expe-
It ought to be borne in mind, that at the period
of St. Louis's crusade there existed no love between
the nobles of France and the nobles of England; and
it appears that the French were in the habit of
treating the English with some degree of scorn. Nor
was it unnatural that such should have been the case;
for, during half a century, in almost every struggle
between the kingdoms, the French had been victo-
rious. Philip Augustus, after holding his own against
Richard Coeur de Lion, had succeeded in driving
John from the continent; and Louis, when forced to
take the field against Henry, had pursued his royal
brother-in-law from the bridge of Taillebourg to tho
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
gates of Bordeaux. Remembering such triumpOhs,
the French, who have in all ages-been vain and
boastful, were continually vaunting about their
prowess, and repeating the story of some Englishman
having cut off the tail of Thomas a Becket's horse,
and of Englishmen having ever after that outrage
been born with tails like horses.
Such being the state of affairs, the Earl of Salis-
bury did not inspire the French nobles with any
particular affection for him and his countrymen who
had arrived at Cyprus, when they beard him speak-
ing lightly of the dangers of the sea. In fact, the
French lords, who a few hours earlier had been sink-
ing under sea-sickness, trembling at the sound of
raging billows, and wishing themselves safely in
their own castles, cursed Longsword,' as the worst
of English tails.'
But the King of France did not share the malice
of his countrymen; and, much comforted by the
words of the English earl, he resolved on again
tempting the sea. Accordingly, on Monday morning,
he ordered the mariners to spread their sails to the
wind. The weather proving favourable, the fleet
made gallantly for the shores of Egypt; and on the
morning of Thursday, about sunrise, the watch on
deck of the vessel that led the van, shouted Land !'
Surely, not yet,' exclaimed several voices; but
the pilot to make certain ascended to the round-top
of the vessel.
'Gentlemen,' cried the pilot, it is all right. We
are before Damietta, so you have nothing to do but
to recommend yourselves to God.'
THE EMIR FAKREDDIN.
Hurrah!' shouted the mariners; and from ship
to ship the tidings passed; and, as the words of the
pilot flew from deck to deck, a cry of joy burst
from thousands of lips. Great was the excitement
that prevailed; and the chiefs of the expedition
hastily arrayed themselves to go on board the king's
ship and hold a council of war.
And now all eyes were turned towards the shore;
an1l it seemed that the Crusaders were likely to en-
counter a desperate resistance in any attempt to
land. A fleet and formidable engines of war de-
fended the mouth of the Nile. A numerous army of
horse and foot appeared on the beach, as if bent on
contesting every inch of ground. At the head of this
mighty host, wearing armour of burnished gold,
figured the Emir Fakreddin, one of the foremost
of Saracen warriors. From the midst trumpets and
drums sounded a stern defiance to the armament of
the Christians. But, undaunted by the aspect of
affairs, the armed pilgrims steadily pursued their
course; and ship after ship, moving calmly forward,
anchored within a mile of the shore.
Meanwhile, the pilgrims, princes, and nobles, had
reached the king's ship; and Louis, leaning on his
sword, received them with satisfaction on his coun-
Gentlemen,' said he, our voyage has not been
without its perils, but let us be thankful that we are
at length face to face with the enemies of Christ.'
'Yes, sire,' said the chiefs, 'and it is therefore
expedient to form some plan of action.'
And, under the circumstances,' added several, it
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
will be prudent to await our comrades who have
been separated from us by the tempest.'
It soon appeared that among the chiefs there was
a general wish to await the coming of their missing
comrades; but the king was young, and the drums
and horns of the Saracens had so chafed his pride
that he would not hear of delay.
We have not come hither,' said he, excitedly, to
listen to the insults of our enemies; nor have we
any port in which to shelter from the wind. A
second tempest may disperse what remains of our
fleet. To-day God offers us a victory; another day
He may punish us for having neglected to conquer.'
'Sire, be it as you will,' replied the assembled
chiefs, not caring to debate the point with their
And so, with much less deliberation than was
necessary under the circumstances, and without duly
considering the resources of the enemy whom they had
to combat, King Louis and the chief Crusaders re-
solved to disembark on the morrow and give battle.
Meantime a strict watch was maintained, and several
swift vessels were despatched towards the mouth of
the Nile to observe the motions of the Saracens.
It happened that the Saracens, in spite of their
dauntless show, were by no means in the best mood
to make an obstinate resistance, nor were they in
any sanguine mood as to the result of their prepa-
rations. At such a crisis, the presence of the sultan
was necessary to sustain their spirits, and stimulate
NXow at that time Melikul Salih was Sultan of
MELIKUL SALII. 73
Egypt; but he was not at Damietta, and his absence
caused much uncertainty and dismay among the
warriors assembled to defend his dominions. Meli-
kul Salih was then at Cairo; and almost every man
in Fakreddin's army knew that Melikul Salih was
A BOUT a mile from the sea, on the northern bank
of the second mouth of the Nile, stood the
city of Damietta, with its mosques, and palaces, and
towers, and warehouses, defended on the river side
by a double rampart, and on the land side by a
triple wall. Fair and enchanting to the eye was the
locality in which it was situated; and as the Crusaders
directed their gaze towards the groves of oranges
and citrons, loaded with flowers and fruit, the woods
of palms and sycamores, the thickets of jasmines
and odoriferous shrubs, the vast plains, with pools
and lakes well stocked with fish, the thousand canals
intersecting the land, and crowned with papyrus and.
reeds, they, feeling the influence of a rich climate
and a beautiful sky, could not find words sufficiently
strong to express their admiration and delight.
Now, good Walter,' said Guy Muschamp, as the
brothers-in-arms, having ascended to the castle of
the Hilda,' looked earnestly towards the shore,
' who can deny that such a land is worth fighting to
conquer ? '
On my faith,' exclaimed Walter Espec, with en-
ASPECT OF DAMIETTA.
thusiasm, it is so pleasant to the eye, that I could
almost persuade myself I am looking upon that ter-
restrial paradise in which the father and mother
of mankind lived so happily before eating the fatal
No wonder, when such was the aspect of the country
around Damietta, that the armed pilgrims were im-
patient to land.
And no time was lost; for, of all the armed pil-
grims, King Louis was perhaps the most eager to
encounter the enemies of his religion; and, soon
after daybreak, on the morning of Friday, a signal
was given for the fleet to weigh anchor and draw
near to the shore.
Meanwhile the Saracens, under the Emir Fak-
reddin, were on the alert; and while a bell, that had
remained in the great mosque of Damietta ever
since John de Brienne seized the city in 1217, tolled
loudly to warn the inhabitants of the danger, the
Moslem warriors got under arms, and with cavalry
and infantry occupied the whole of that part of the
strand at which the Crusaders had resolved to dis-
But the armed pilgrims were nothing daunted by
the sight of the formidable preparations made to
oppose their landing. Getting into barques which
had been provided for the purpose, they prepared to
fight their way ashore, in defiance of all dangers.
iRanging themselves in two lines, with their lances in
their hands, and their horses by their sides, the
knights and nobles stood erect in their boats, while
in front, and on the wings of the armament, were
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
placed crossbowmen to harass and keep off the foe.
Nor did Louis in that hour appear in any way un-
worthy to be the leader of brave men. Attended by
his brothers and his knights, the King of France,
arrayed in chain-mail, with his helmet on his brow,
his shield on his neck, and his lance in his hand,
figured prominently on the right of his array. By
his side stood the cardinal legate; and in front of
him was a boat in which the oriflamme, brought
from the abbey of St. Denis, was proudly dis-
It was an exciting occasion, and the hearts of the
saint-king and his mailed comrades beat high as
the barques moved onward to the Egyptian strand.
The warriors, standing steady and silent as graven
images, gazed earnestly on their multitudinous foes.
For a time no attempt was made to oppose their
progress. No sooner, however, were they within
bowshot, than a shower of arrows and javelins rattled
against the mail of the Crusaders. For a moment
the ranks of the .Christian warriors were shaken.
But the crossbowmen, without the delay of an
instant, retaliated with damaging effect; and while
their shafts carried death into the Saracen' host, the
rowers redoubled their efforts to reach the shore,
and bring Christian and Moslem hand to hand and
foot to foot.
Again the silence was unbroken, save by the
plashing of oars and the tumultuous shock of the
barques pressing on in disorder. Ere long, however,
there was a loud shout. The Lord of Joinville,
closely followed by Baldwin de Rheims, had reached
THE ORIFLAMME LANDED.
the shore; and they were setting their men in battle
order, and covering themselves with their shields,
and presenting the points of their lances to check
the impetuosity of the enemy.
And now King Louis lost all patience; and deem-
ing it no time to stand on his regal dignity, he leaped
from his barge, and plunging up to his shoulders in
the water, struggled towards the shore. Inspired by
his example, the Crusaders threw themselves into the
sea in a body, and pressed eagerly onward, with cries
of 'Montjoie St. Denis!' Again the silence was
unbroken, save by the clash of mail, the noise of
a dense crowd of armed men struggling with the
waves, which were so elevated by the rush, that
they fell and broke at the feet of the Saracens. In
a few moments, however, the oriflamme was landed,
and the saint-king, with the salt water running off
his armour, was on his knees giving thanks to God
for having preserved him and his companions from
the perils of the deep.
And now, gentlemen,' said Louis, as he rose and
looked excitedly around him, 'let us forthwith
charge our enemies in the name of God.' .
Be patient, sire,' replied the knights, interfering;
'it is better to await the landing of our comrades,
that we may fight with advantage.'
Louis allowed himself to be persuaded; and it
speedily appeared that caution was necessary; for,
while the Crusaders were still struggling ashore in
disorder, the Saracen cavalry came down upon them
with an impetuosity which convinced the French
that their adversaries were not to be despised. But
78 THE BOY CRUSADERS. 4
Joinville and Baldwin of Rheims rendered their
comrades good service. Hastily closing their ranks,
they contrived not only to stay the rush, but to
present so impenetrable a front, that the Saracens
retired baffled to prepare for a fresh spring.
And again, with an enthusiastic energy which
would have struck terror into antagonists less bold,
the Saracens under Fakreddin charged down upon
the Crusaders; and then began, all along the coast,
a confused conflict which raged for hours-Chris-
tian and Moslem fighting hand to hand; while the
two fleets engaged at the mouth of the Nile ; and
the Queen of France and the Countess of Anjou,
and other ladies of high rank, who remained on
board at a distance, awaited the issue of the contest
with terrible anxiety, and, with priests'around them,
sang psalms and prayed fervently for the aid and
protection of the God of battles. At length the con-
flict came to an end. Both on the water and on the
land the Crusaders were victorious. The Saracen fleet,
after getting decidedly the worst of the combat,
escaped up the Nile; and the Saracen soldiers, beaten
and dispersed, retired precipitately, and flying in
confusion towards Damietta, abandoned their camp,
and left several of their emirs dead on the field.
After witnessing the flight of the Saracens, Louis
ordered his pavilion, which was of bright scarlet, to
be pitched on the ground where. he had conquered,
and caused the clergy to- sing the Te Deum. The
Crusaders then set up their tents around that of the
king, and passed the night in rejoicing over the
victory they had won.
Next day the Crusaders had still stronger reason to
congratulate themselves on the good fortune which
had attended their arms. At daybreak, looking
towards Damietta, they observed that columns of smoke
were rising from the bosom of the city, and that the
whole horizon was on fire. Without delay the King
of France sent one of his knights and a body of
cavalry to ascertain the cause; and, on reaching
Damietta, the knight found the gates open, and
learned on entering that the Saracens, after setting
fire to that part called the Fonde, which was a row
of shops and warehouses, had abandoned the city.
Returning to the camp at a gallop, while his men
remained to exthirguish the fire, the knight announced
the glad tidings to the saint-king.
'Sire,' said he, I bring good news; Damietta may
be taken possession of without striking a blow.'
It was not very easy, even after hearing all, to
credit this knight's report; and Louis was somewhat
suspicious of a stratagem. However, he gave orders
for marching towards the gates, and moving slowly,
and with much caution, took possession. It was
clear that the city had been abandoned by its
defenders; and the king, the cardinal legate, and
the clergy, having formed in procession, walked to
the grand mosque, which was speedily converted
into a Christian church, and sang psalms of praise
And now the Crusaders, with Damietta in their
possession, were indeed elate, and rather inclined to
magnify their successes; and the Queen of France
rnd the Countess of Anjou, and the other ladies
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
were brought ashore and lodged in the palaces of
the city; and five hundred knights were charged
with the duty of guarding the ramparts and towers;
and the warriors of the Cross, encamping in the plain
outside the gates, gave themselves up to dissipation,
and deluded themselves with the idea that no enter-
prise was too difficult for them to accomplish.
Now,' said the French, as they quaffed the red
wine and rattled the dice-box, 'we have only to
await the coming of our companions from the coast
of Syria, and of the Count of Poictiers, with the
arriere ban of France, to undertake the conquest of
Ay,' said others, and then let the Saracens and
their sultan tremble.'
'Nothing,' echoed a third party, 'can withstand
the warriors of France, when animated by the presence
and example of their king.'
I dislike all this boasting,' remarked Bisset, the
English knight, to Walter Espec and Guy Muschamp,
'and, albeit I wish not to be thought a prophet of
evil, I predict that it will end in mischief and
The saints forbid,' exclaimed Guy, gaily. For
my part I dread nothing but the thought of being
devoured by some of the crocodiles which, men say,
are hatched in the waters of the Nile.'
'Nevertheless, mark my words,' said Bisset, more
gravely than it was his wont to speak. At present
the Frenchmen believe that, because they have plied
their swords with some effect, that henceforth the
Saracens will fly before their scabbards. Now they
are all singing songs of triumph; ere long, if you
and I live, we'll hear them singing to a very different
'Ah, sir knight,' said Walter, smiling, 'you say
this from national jealousy, and because they call us
'"English tails !"' repeated Bisset, scornfully; 'r
tell you, for your comfort, that when the hour of
real danger arrives, we English tails" are likely to
find our way so deep into the Saracens' ranks, that
not a bragging Frenchman will venture to come nigh
the tails of our war-steeds.'
'By St. John of Beverley,' exclaimed Guy, laugh-
ing merrily, 'I cannot but think that the French
and English Crusaders are already inclined to hate
each other much more than either French or English
hate the Saracens.'
ND what were the sultan and the Saracens
saying and doing while the Crusaders were
establishing themselves at Damietta, and delighting
their souls with visions of the conquest of Egypt ?
In order to ascertain we must, in imagination, pass
from the camp at Damietta to the palace of Cairo.
Melikul Salih was under the influence of a malady
which his physicians pronounced to be incurable.
On that point there was no mistake. Nevertheless,
when pigeons carried to Cairo intelligence of the
French king's victory and Fakreddin's defeat, the
sultan roused himself to energy, and, after having
sentenced fifty of the principal fugitives to execution,
and taken Fakreddin severely to task for allowing
his men to be vanquished, he caused himself to be
removed to Mansourah. On reaching that city,
Melikul Salih expended his remaining strength in
rallying his army and strengthening the fortifications,
and at the same time sent men to attack the Cru-
saders in their camp, to kill the Franks and cut off
their heads,-promising a golden besant for every
head brought to him.
THE ARABS AND KARISMIANS.
The Arab cavalry of the Desert, and bands of
horsemen belonging to that wild nation known as
the Karismians, were employed on this service; and
the Crusaders found themselves exposed to dangers
against which it seemed impossible to guard. As
wild animals prowl around the habitations of men on
the watch for prey, so around the Christian camp
prowled the Arabs and Karismians by day and by
night. If even at noon a soldier wandered from the
camp he was lost; and, in hours of darkness, sentinel
after sentinel disappeared, and knight after knight
was struck dead, as if by invisible hands. Every
morning the Crusaders had to listen to some new
tale of horror which made their blood run cold.
Ere the Arabs and Karismians had carried alarm
into the camp of the Crusaders, many of the warriors
of the West had begun to suffer from the climate of
Egypt; and among others who were prostrated, was
the old Earl of March. For a time he seemed likely
to fall a victim to the malady; but the natural vigour
of his constitution at length prevailed; and he had
almost recovered, when a sudden inroad of the enemy
exposed him to a new peril.
It was the afternoon of an August day; and Earl
Patrick was arraying himself to ride into Damietta
to attend a council of war. His white charger stood
at the entrance of his pavilion, and there sat Walter
Espec, looking somewhat gloomy, as many of the
armed pilgrims were already doing, when Guy
Muschamp approached with a countenance frorn
which much of the habitual gaiety had vanished.
What tidings ?' asked Walter, eagerly.
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
On my faith, good Walter,' answered G-uy, shaking
his head, I now. know of a truth that this Damietta
is not quite such a paradise as we fancied when
gazing at it from the sea.'
Serpents often lurk where flowers grow,' said
Walter; 'but what now tidings of mishap have
clouded your brow ?'
Nothing less,' replied Guy, than that these foul
Saracens have been marvellously near us. No later
than last night they entered the camp, surprised the
watch of Lord Courtenay, and this morning his body
was found on the table; his head was gone.'
By the saints!' exclaimed Walter, such warfare,
waged by invisible foes, may well daunt the bravest;
and albeit I trust much from the protection of the
Holy Katherine, yet I at times feel a vague dread of
being the next victim.'
At that moment, and almost ere Walter had
spoken, there arose loud and shrill cries, and then
loud shouts of alarm.
By good St. George!' shouted Hugh Bisset, rush-
ing in, the Saracens are upon us; they are carrying
off the Lord Perron, and his brother the Lord Duval.
Arm, arm, brave squires. To the rescue! to the
As Bisset gave the alarm, the Earl of March came
forth. He was arrayed in chain-mail, and his helmet
v as on his brow.
'What, ho !' cried the earl, with lofty indignation;
' do the sons of darkness, who worship Mahound and
Termagaunt, venture where my white lion ramps in
his field of red ? Out upon them My axe and shield.'
A BRAVE OLD WARRIOR.
Mounting his white steed. the earl caused one of
the sides of his pavilion to be raised, and issuino-
forth, spurred against the foe with shouts of 'Let
him who loves me follow me Holy Cross! Holy
Cross!' Nor did the aged warrior confine his hostility
to words. Encountering the leader of the Saracens
face to face, he bravely commenced the attack, and,
after a brief conflict, with his heavy axe cleft the
infidel from the crown almost to the chest.
Pagan dog !' exclaimed the earl, as the Saracen
fell lifeless to the ground; 'I devote thine impure
soul to the powers of hell.'
But this achievement was the last which Earl
Patrick was destined to perform. As he spurred
forward to pursue his success, his steed became re-
fractory, and he was flung violently to the ground.
Ere his friends could come to his aid, the Saracens
gave him several blows with their clubs, and he
would have been killed on the spot but for the
arrival of Bisset, with Guy Muschamnp and Walter
Espec, who, having mounted, now came with a rush
to the rescue. A sharp conflict then took place.
Guy, advancing as gaily as if he had been in the
tiltyard at Wark, gallantly unhorsed one Saracen
with the point of his lance. Walter, going more
gravely into the combat, killed another with his
falchion, at the use of which he was expert. After
much trouble the French lords were rescued; and such
of the Saracens as had not fallen, fled, and galloped
along the banks of the Nile.
Meanwhile the squires and grooms of the Earl of
March raised him from the ground; and, supported
THLE BOY CRU,-sAI)E1 Rs,
by them, he contrived to reach his tent; but he was
much bruised, and so exhausted that he could not
muster voice to speak. When, however, surgeons
and physicians were called, they expressed themselves
hopefully, and, not comprehending his dangerous
state, bled him freely in the arm, and then adminis-
tering a composing draught, left him under the
charge of the squires.
As evening was falling, the Earl of Salisbury, after
a long conference with King Louis, during which the
unfortunate quarrel of the English and French Cru-
saders were discussed with a view of averting fatal
consequences, left the royal quarters, in company
with the Lord of Joinville.
'Seneschal,' said Salisbury, I would fain visit the
Earl of March; and I pray you to bear me com-
Right willingly,' replied Joinville; 'for he is a
man of great valour and renown, and wise in council;
and it were ill for our expedition if his wounds
should prove fatal.'
And how fares the earl ?' asked Salisbury, as they
reached the tent over which ramped that ancient
lion argent, so terrible on many a foughten field.
'My lord,' said Walter Espec, in a hushed voice,
as they came to the entrance, 'the earl sleeps; so
pray tread softly, lest you should disturb his repose.'
They did so, and entering, found the earl lying on
his mantle of minever, which covered him.
'He sleeps soundly,' whispered Walter, looking up.
Boy,' said Salisbury, solemnly, 'lie sleeps the
seep that knows no waking.'
DEATH OF EARL PATRICK.
Walter stooped down, and perceived that
bury was right. The earl was dead.
'May paradise be open to him,' said Sal:
crossing himself with pious fervour.
'Amen,' said Joinville. 'May his soul rep
T was a sad day for Guy Muschamp and Walter
Espec, when they suddenly found themselves
deprived of the protection of the aged war-chief
under whose banner they had embarked for the East.
However, they were not long without patrons. Guy
attached himself to the Lord of Joinville, who was
his mother's kinsman. Walter became squire to the
Earl of Salisbury, and in that capacity- joined the
English Crusaders. In fact, Longsword, having heard
from Joinville of Walter's adventure at Cyprus, took
a decided liking to the young northern man, ex-
amined him as to his lineage, his parentage, and his
education, heard the sad story of his brother's disap-
pearance, and spoke words of such kind encourage-
ment, that the tears started to Walter's eyes, and his
brave heart was quite won.
One day, soon after entering Longsword's service,
Walter was standing at the entrance of the tent
occupied by the chief of the English Crusaders, now
thinking somewhat sadly of the green fields and oak
forests of his native land, now longinog to behold
some of the wonders of the Nile, when a man of
forty or thereabouts, handsome and
a Frank, presented himself, and bowed low.
,'You are of the
you serve the
him with curi-
called Longsword ?'
It is my pride to serve that famous
replied Walter, quietly.
with him if you
obtain me a hearing.'
Walter shook his head significantly.
'Before I can make such an attempt,' said
must learn who you are, and what you want.'
' My name
I am a Frank
' By the Holy
Cross, you must know the country well-nigh
timately as the Egyptians themselves.'
'Much knowledge I do possess of
and of the wonders it contains.'
Well,' said Walter, I will put your knowledge to
the test. Whence comes this river, the Nile, of
which so many stories are told?
Is it true
takes its rise in the terrestrial paradise ?'
' I would I could
answer your question to your satisfaction.
It is the
report of the country that the Nile does come from
known on the subject.
I have heard that the sultan
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
has attempted to learn whence it came, by sending
experienced persons to follow the course of it.'
'Yes,' said Walter, eagerly
These persons, on their return,' continued Beltran,
'reported that they had followed the river till -they
came to a large mountain of perpendicular rocks,
which it was impossible to climb, and over these
rocks fell the water. And it seemed to them that on
the top of this mountain were many trees; and they
saw strange wild beasts, such as lions, elephants, and
other sorts, which came to gaze at them. And, not
daring to advance further, they returned to the
'And this is all that is known ?' said Walter.
Yes,' replied Beltran. Where the Nile enters
Egypt, it spreads in branches over the plain. One
of them flows to Damietta; a second to Alexandria;
a third to Tunis; and a fourth to Rexi. About St.
Remy's Day it expands itself into seven branches,
and thence flows over the plains. When the waters
retire, the labourers appear and till the ground with
ploughs without wheels, and then sow wheat, barley,
rice, and cumin, which succeed so well that nowhere
are finer crops.'
And whence,' asked Walter, comes this yearly
increase of water ?'
'c I cannot tell, except that it comes from God's
mercy. Some say that this overflowing is caused by
heavy rains in Abyssinia; but many Arabs believe
that a drop of dew falls into the river, and causes
the inundation; and some declare they have seen it
fall, like a star. The night when it falls is called
THE WATER OF THEB NJLI'.
the drop-night." But certain it is that, were it not
to happen, Egypt, from the great heat, would produce
nothing; for, being near the rising sun, it scarcely
ever rains, save at very long intervals.'
'Of a truth,' observed Walter, 'all this sounds
strange to English ears.'
'Where the river enters Egypt,' continued Beltran,
there are expert persons, who may be called the
fishermen of this stream, and who, in the evening,
cast their nets into the water, and in the morning
frequently find many spices in them, such as ginger,
cinnamon, rhubarb, cloves, lignum-aloes, and other
good things, which they sell by weight.'
'But how come the spices into the water ?' enquired
Well, it is the belief of the country that they
come from the terrestrial paradise, and that the
wind blows them down from these fine trees, as,
in your forests, the wind blows down the old dry
wood. But such is mere surmise, albeit widely
And the water of the Nile is deemed sweet to the
taste ?' said Walter.
'None in the world more sweet. The Arabs hold
that, if Mahomet had once tasted it, he would have
prayed that he might live for ever, so as unceasingly
to enjoy its sweetness.'
'And yet it seems so turbid to the eye ?'
True; but, when the natives drink of it, it is
clear as crystal. Towards evening, crowds come down
to get water, and- especially women, who, on such
occasions, are decorated with all the ornaments they
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
possess. You must understand that they come in
companies, because it is not deemed decorous for a
woman to go alone. And marvellous it is to see
how they balance the water-pots on their head, and
walk gracefully up steep banks which even you-
agile as you may be-might have some difficulty in
clambering up without any burden. Then they put
into their vessels almonds or beans, which they shake
well; and on the morrow the water is wondrous clear,
and more refreshing than the daintiest wine.'
On my faith !P said Walter, all this is so curious
that, were it a time of truce, I should be-tempted to
adventure up this river and behold some of the
strange things of which you tell. But here comes
my lord.' And, as he spoke, the Earl of Salisbury
rode up, and, while Walter held the stirrup, dis-
Immediately the stranger stepped forward, and,
humbling himself, with respect offered Salisbury
some lard in pots, and a variety of sweet-smelling
I bring them to you, noble earl,' said the man,
in French,' because you are cousin of Prince Richard,
who is called Earl of Cornwall, and because you are
nephew of the Crusader whose memory is held in
most respect and dread by the Saracens.'
Of whom speak you?' asked Salisbury, a little
'I speak of King Richard of England,' was the
reply; 'for he performed such deeds when he was
in the Holy Land that the Saracens, when their
horses are frightened at a bush or a shadow, cry
BELTRAN'S ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 93
out, "What! dost think King Richard is there?"
In like manner, when their children cry, their
mothers say to them, "Hush, hush! or I will bring
King Richard of England to you."'
On my faith!' said the earl, looking more and
more surprised,' I cannot comprehend you; for,
albeit speaking French, and wearing the dress of
a Frank, you seem from your words to be an inha-
bitant of this country.'
It is true,' replied the man, slowly. You must
know that I am a Christian renegade.'
'A Christian renegade !' exclaimed Salisbury,
with pious horror. And then asked, But who are
you, and why became you a renegade ?'
'Well, it came to pass in this wise,' answered the
man, frankly. I was born in Poictiers, whence I
followed Richard, Earl of Cornwall, to the East, and
found my way to Egypt, where I have acquired some
'But,' demanded the earl, indignantly, 'know
you not that if you were to die while leading your
present life, you would descend straight to hell, and
be for ever damned ?'
In truth,' replied the man, 'I know full well
that there is not a better religion than that of the
Christians. But what can I do ? Suppose I returned
to it -and had to go back to France, I should assur-
edly suffer great poverty, and be continually re-
proached all my days, and be called Renegado!
'Even with that prospect you ought not to hesi-
tate,' said the earl; 'for surely it would be much
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
better to suffer the scorn of the world than await
your sentence in the day of judgment, when your
evil deeds will be made manifest, and damnation will
'Nevertheless, protested the renegade, 'I had
rather live at my ease, as I am, like a rich man,
than become an object of contempt.'
SI cannot brook your presence,' said the earl,
growing very indignant: 'therefore begone; I can
have no more to say to you.'
Be not over-hasty,' said the renegade; for be it
known to you, noble Earl, that I have that to tell
which it will profit you much to know.'
Speak, then,' said the earl, hesitating, but be
brief; for my patience is not so long as was my
'It is of a rich caravan I would speak,' said the
renegade, with a glance and a gesture of peculiar
'Ah!' exclaimed the earl, pricking up his ears, and
listening with evident interest.
4 It is on its way to Alexandria, and will pass with-
in six leagues of Damietta within four days,' said the
renegade. 'And whoever can capture that caravan
may gain an immense booty.'
And how does this concern me ?' asked the earl.
My lord,' replied the renegade,' I see not where-
fore you should not seize the prize as well as another.'
But how am I to trust your report ? How am I to
know that your intent is not to betray me ?'
'My lord,' answered the renegade, I am in your
power. I will answer for the truth of my story with
A SELFISH GUIDE.
my head; and, I promise you, I am as yet neither
so old nor so weary of life as to hazard it needlessly.'
One question further,' said the earl, who was by
this time much excited with the prospect of a rich
booty. How am I, being in a strange country, to find
this caravan of which you speak ?'
I myself will be your guide,' replied the renegade.
And wherefore do you hazard so much to put me
in possession of this prize, when, by doing so, you
expose yourself to the enmity of the Egyptians,
among whom you have cast your lot?'
'Well, my lord,' said the renegade, after a pause,
' I will be frank. I expect my share of the spoil; and,
besides, I see very clearly that this army of pilgrims
is likely to conquer Egypt, in spite of all the resist-
ance sultans and emirs may make; and, at such a
time, I would fain have some powerful lord among
the conquerors to befriend me.'
Ha!' exclaimed Longsword, smiling grimly,' I am
'Of what, noble earl ?'
Either that I must have the caravan or your
CAPTURE OF A CARAVAN.
W tHILE King Louis lay at Damietta, awaiting the
arrival of Crusaders from France and Syria, ere
venturing to march into Egypt, the utmost disorder
began to prevail in the camp. The armed pilgrims,
left to inactivity in a delightful climate, under a
bright sky, and surrounded by beautiful scenery,
appeared once more to forget the oaths they had
taken, and indulged in still worse riot and debauchery
than when they wintered in Cyprus. Gambling was
their daily occupation; and the rattle of the dice-box
was constantly heard through the camp. And men
with the Cross of Christ upon their shoulders had
the name of the devil continually on their tongues.
Nor was this the worst. Vice reigned all around in its
grossest form; and the saint-king complained mourn-
fully to the Lord of Joinville, that, within a stone's-
throw of his own pavilion, houses of infamous repute
were kept by his personal attendants.
At the same time, the jealousy between the French
and English grew more and more intense, and threat-
ened disastrous consequences. In vain did Louis
exert his influence to restrain the insolence .of his
THE INSOLENT PRINCE.
countrymen. The English were constantly reminded
of their inferiority as a nation, and exposed to such
insults as it was difficult to brook. Bitter taunts and
insinuations of cowardice were unhesitatingly used to
mortify the island warriors; and men who had dis-
obeyed their king's mandate, and forfeited lands and
living to combat the Saracens, were, day by day, driven
nearer the conclusion that they would ere long be
under the necessity of drawing their swords against
their fellow-soldiers of the Cross.
Of all the French Crusaders, however, none were so
foolishly insolent as Robert, Count of Artois, brother
of King Louis. From a boy the French prince had
been remarkable for the ferocity of his temper, and
had early signalised himself by throwing a cheese at
the face of his mother's chivalrous admirer, Thibault
of Champagne. For some reason or other, the Count
of Artois conceived a strong aversion to the Earl of
Salisbury, and treated Longsword with the utmost
insolence. And, though the Earl only retaliated by
glances of cold contempt, it was known that his pa-
tience was wearing away, and it was feared that there
would yet be bloodshed.
By my father's sword !' said he, speaking partly to
himself, partly to Walter Espec, one day after return-
ing to his tent, 'I fear me that my spirit will not
much longer brook the reproaches of that vain prince.
Even this day, as he spoke, my hand stole to the hilt
of my sword; and I panted to defy him to mortal
combat on the spot.'
'My lord,' replied Walter, gravely and cautiously,
'I perceived that, albeit striving to be calm, you felt
THE BOY CRUSADERS.
your ancestral blood boiling in your veins. And, in
truth, I marvel not that such should have been the
case; and yet
'6 And yet Well, speak freely. I listen.'
Well, my lord,' continued Walter, 'I was about
to say that it seemed to me the part of a wise man,
and one so renowned in arms, not to deign to answer
a fool according to his folly.'
Doubtless you are right,' replied the earl. 'And
sinful, I feel, and calculated to provoke God's ven-
geance, would it be to draw the sword against one
marked with the Cross, and engaged, like ourselves, in
this holy war. Nevertheless, my patience may come
to an end, as the patience of better men has done in
such cases. However, a truce to such talk for the pre-
sent; and see that, at daybreak, this renegade is ready
to guide us on our expedition after the caravan; for I
am weary of-inactivity, and eager for change of scene.'
Accordingly, preparations for the expedition were
. made; and, next morning, Salisbury and his knights
dashed away from Damietta to intercept the caravan
that was reported to be on its way to Alexandria.
For a time they waited patiently at a place where it
was expected to pass. But this mode of spending
time was not much to the taste of men whose spirits
were raised by the novelty of everything around.
Panting for action, Longsword left Walter Espec
with a band of horse and Beltran the renegade to
keep watch, and, at the head of his knights, went
off in quest of adventure.
Hours passed; evening fell and deepened into
night; and still neither the caravan nor the warriors