Citation
The children's crusade

Material Information

Title:
The children's crusade an episode of the thirteenth century
Creator:
Gray, George Zabriskie, 1838-1889
Hurd and Houghton ( Publisher )
H. O. Houghton and Company
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Hurd and Houghton
Manufacturer:
Stereotyped and Printed by H.O. Houghton and Company
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xiii, 238 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 19 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children's Crusade, 1212 -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Crusades -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Warfare -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Children and war -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Faith -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- Palestine ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1870
Genre:
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York
United States -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

Bibliography:
"Chronicles etc. consulted and quoted": p. [xi]-xiii.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by George Zabriskie Gray.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026793356 ( ALEPH )
ALH1122 ( NOTIS )
00649229 ( OCLC )
03009773 ( LCCN )

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Full Text


ae ava
Beas Scene
1




wa
ei a eal
eorg Sobriski 1 cy



ni














THE



AN EPISODE OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY.

BY

GEORGE ZABRISKIE GRAY.









































ee Tt

NEW YORK:
PUBLISHED BY HURD AND HOUGHTON.
Cambritge: Ribersite Press. ~
1870,

1



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
GrorGe ZaBRISKIz GRAY,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE:
STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BY
H. O. HOUGHTON AND COMPANY.





|
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Rubr. Hic vide perigrinacionem puerorum et qualiter per
incantaciones sunt decepti.

Illis temporibus stupendum quid crevit.

Mundoque mirabilis truffa inolevit.

Nam sub boni specie malum sic succrevit.

Arte quidem magica ista late sevit.

Ruby. Hic est carmen quod ubique cantabatur.

Nycolaus famulus Christi transfretabit.

Et cum innocentibus Ierusalem intrabit.

Mare siccis pedibus securus calcabit.

Juvenes et virgines caste copulabit.

Ad honorem Domini tanta perpetrabit.

Quod pax jubilacio Deo laus sonabit.

Paganos et perfidos omnes baptizabit.

Omnis in Jerusalem carmen hoc cantabit.

Pax nunc christicolis Christus proximabit.

Et redemptos sanguine mire collustrabit.

Nycolai pueros omnes coronabit.

Rubr. Talis devocio ante hec non est audita.

Aures cunctis pruriunt virgines ornantur.

Annos infra sedecim evangelizantur.

Concurrentes pueri certant ut sequantur.

Et rumare viderant casso consolantur.

Ungarus Theutunicus Francus sociantur.

Boemus Lombardicus Brittoque conantur.

Flandria Vestfalia omnes federantur.



iv

Friso cum Norwagia cuncti conglobantur.
‘Prurit pes et oculus pueros venantur.

Mili de Brundusio virgines stuprantur.

Et in arcum pessimum passim venumdantur.
Risum luctus occopat digne Jamentantur.
Plorant matres ut Rachel nati morti dantur.
Vanitates hauriunt pueri fraudantur,

Anon. Chron. Rhythmicum,



i

PREEACE.

—~—

THERE are some minor episodes of history
that have not received the attention which they
seem to merit. Historians have been too much
occupied with events of greater importance, to
stop and explore these by-ways as they passed
them. The same reason led the chroniclers of
the times to preserve no more than scanty de-
tails concerning them, and consequently these
worthies often dismiss with a few words, inci-
dents that have more interest than others to
which they give many a dreary page.

This has been the case with the transaction
to which this volume is devoted. Although
pertaining to a sphere so interesting as the
child-life of other and remote days, yet it has
been almost forgotten. Many are not aware of
its occurrence. Some have regarded it as a

myth,



Vi PREFACE.

It is generally referred to, with varying full-
ness, in works that treat of the Crusades, but
not always with accuracy of statement. The
most copious accounts are given in Raumer’s
“ Geschichte der Hohenstaufen,” Herter’s “In-
nocent III.,” Menzel’s “ Deutschland,” Wilken’s
“ Kreuzziige,” Haken’s “Gemiilde der Kreuz-
ziige,” Sporschild’s “ Kreuzziige,” “ L’Esprit
des Croisades,” by Mailly, “ Histoire des Croi-
sades,” by Michaud, “ Influence des Croisades,”
by Choiseul d’Aillecourt, Mill’s “ History of the
Crusades,” and Hecker’s “ Child-pilgrimages.”
Many authors, in whose writings we would ex-
pect some reference to the subject, are entirely
silent concerning it.

But, otherwise than with the brevity neces-
sary to a casual mention in the course of his-
torical narratives, this theme has never been’
treated. As far as I can ascertain, it has never
been the subject of a volume, nor have the origi-
nal materials been thoroughly explored and ex-
hausted. A small Sunday-school book was pub-
lished several years ago, called “The Crusade
of the Children,” but it was merely a brief
fiction based upon the event.

all



PREFACE. vii

It is therefore because the field was untrod-
den, and because I thought that the story told
in its completeness would possess interest, that
I have written this book.

As regards the Chronicles that refer to the
event, a list is given of all that have yet been
found by others and by myself. For their
trustworthiness, it is sufficient for me that
such writers as Wilken, Herter, and Michaud
rely fully upon their statements. In the notes
I have not thought it necessary to give the
particular source of each fact in the course of
the narrative, but have only done so in the
case of those of prominence, or of those that
are peculiar.

Hecker regards it and treats it as one of
the “ Epidemics of the Middle Ages” of which
he writes. They who wish to view it in that
light, can consult his pages. It may seem to
some that to regard it as such, and to call it by
such a name, is to open the door for the admis-
sion into the list of diseases,of many transac-
tions that the world has been wont to view, not
in that way, but rather as the manifestations of



Vili PREFACE.

the universal “epidemics” of human ignorance
and folly.

I have sought to write in sympathy with the
little ones whose fortunes are followed in this
strange movement. It has been difficult to
restrain feelings produced by a vivid realization
of their chequered experiences. While I pored,
during several months, over the story, in quaint
and dusty chronicles, where even monkish Latin
warms with its theme, it seemed as if the chil-
dren’s songs were in the air, and their banners
in the breeze.

I hope that the attractiveness which the
theme has had in my eyes, may not have caused
me to overestimate too much the interest it
may have for others, and that they who read it
may find in its perusal some of the pleasure
which accompanied its composition.

G. Z. G.

TRINITY RECTORY, BERGEN PoInt, N, J.,
May, 1870.





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CONTENTS.

—e—

CHRONICLES CONSULTED AND QUOTED :
CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY . Pape hss
CHAPTER II.

THE RISING IN FRANCE. . doe ees
CHAPTER III.

THE GATHERING OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN

CHAPTER IV.
THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS . . . «

CHAPTER V.
THE ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER .

CHAPTER VI.
THE RETURN OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN

CHAPTER VII.
THE JOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN .

CHAPTER VIII.
THE TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA .

PACE
xi

23

71

108

122

129

- 167



x CONTENTS.
CHAPTER IX.

° PAGE

THE FATE OF THE LEADERS AND OF THE BETRAYERS 212

CHAPTER X.
ECCLESIA NOVORUM INNOCENTIUM . . . « 222

ISPPENDICES = 2-2) '. 0. 0 we ae





ot

2.

wm

ey

OOS

CHRONICLES ETC. CONSULTED AND
QUOTED.

—— $=

. Caffari, Annales Genuenses, ab anno 1101. Annals of Ge-

noa, by Caffari, a statesman of the time. To be found
in Muratori’s collection of chronicles, called ‘“ Rerum
Italicarum Scriptores.”

Sicardi, Episcopit Cremonensis Chronicon. The Chronicle
of Sicardi, Bishop of Cremona. Also in Muratori’s col-
lection.

. Godefridi Monachi Sancti Pantaleonis apud Coloniam Agrip-

pinam annales, ab anno 1162 ad annum 1237. The An-
nals of Godfrey, Monk of St. Pantaleon in Cologne.
Found in the collection called “ Rerum Germanicarum
Scriptores,” edited by Struve.

Alberti Abbatis Stadensis Chronicon a condita orbe usque ad
annum Christi 1255. Chronicle of Albert, Abbot of
Stade, from the Creation to A. D. 1256. Also in “ Re-
rum Germ. Scriptores.”

. Chronicon Cenolit Mortui Maris.. Chronicle of the Monas-

tery of the Dead Sea, from A. D. I113 to A. D. 1235.
Found in “ Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la
France.”

Anon. Chron. Rhythmicum. Anonymous Rhythmical
Chronicle. In Rauch’s “Rerum Austriacarum Scripto-
res.” Probably written by Jo. Benedictus Gentilotus.

Roger Bacon, Opus Maus.

Chron. Alberici Monachi Trium Fontium Leodinensis Dijo-



Xil

CHRONICLES.

cesis. Chronicle of Alberic, Monk of Liége. Found in
the “‘ Accessiones Historica” of Leibnitius, vol. ii.

9. Roger de Wendover’s Chronicle, commonly identified with

To.

If.

12.

SiGe

14.

15.

16.
17.

18.
19.
20.

2i.

that of Matthew of Paris, of which it is a sequel.

Fragment by an unknown author, prefixed to the Chronicle
“ Alberti Argentinensis,” found in the collection of Chris-
tian-Urstisius, called ‘‘Germanize Historici Ilustres.”

Chron. anon. Laudunense. Anonymous Chronicle of Laon.
Found in “ Recueil des Hist. des Gaules et de la France.”

Bibliotheca Mundi, Vincentit Burgundi Presulis Bellova-
censis, etc. Library of the World, by Vincent, Bishop
of Beauvais. Vol. iv., which is called Speculum Histo-
rviale.

Chron. Sythiense Sancti Bertini. Chronicle of St. Bertin,
by Jean d’Ypres. In “Recueil des Historiens des Gaules
et de la France.”

Chron. Sancti Medardi Suessuonis. Chronicle of St. Me-
dard’s Monastery at Soissons.

Lamberti Parvi, Leodinensis Sancti Facobi Monasterii Mon-
achi Chron. Chronicle of Lambert of Liége, continued
by another monk, Razer, by whose name it is often
called. Found in the collection compiled by Edmund
Martin and Ursinus Durand, called “ Veterum Scripto-
rum Monumentorum, historicorum, dogmaticorum, mor-
alium amplissima collectio.”

Gesta Trevirorum, in same collection.

Thome Cantipratant, Bonum universale de Apibus. Thomas
of Champré.

Ogerii Panis Chronicon. Chronicle of Ogerius. In Mu-
ratori’s collection. :

Petri Bizari, Senatus Populique Genuensis Historia. His-
tory of Senate and People of Genoa, by Peter Bizarus.

Magnum Chronicon Belgicum. ‘The Great Belgian Chron-
icle. Found in Pistori’s Collection of German Writers.

Fasciculus Temporum. In the same collection.



CHRONICLES. Xili

22. Gesta Dei per Francos. Deeds of God by the French.

23. Chronicon Argenteum. The Silver Chronicle. In Mura-
tori’s collection.

24. Fohn Massey's Chronicle.

25. Anonymous Chronicle of Strasburg.

26. Uberti Folieti Chron. Chronicle of Hubertus Folietus.

27. Chron. Senoniense. Chronicle of the Senones.

28. Chronicon de Civitate Fanuense, ed. a Fratre Facobo de Vo-
vagine. Chronicle of Genoa, by James of Vorago, or
Jacques de Vitry. In Muratori.

29. Chron. Rotomagense. Chronicle of Rouen.

30. Anon. Chron. Austriacum. Anonymous Austrian Chroni-
cle.

At least the first six Chronicles are contemporaneous, that
is, they contain information written by persons that lived at
the time of the Children’s Crusade. The others were com-
piled at later dates (nearly all within a short time after the
event), and their value is due to the fact that their materials
were drawn from other contemporaneous documents that now
are either destroyed or else cannot be found.

As editions of these works vary, it is unnecessary to state
the volumes or pages where reference is made to the Chil-
dren’s Crusade. It will be found by simply turning to the date
of the transaction, as the Chronicles narrate the events of each
year consecutively. I found many of the authorities in the
Astor Library. Some of them I consulted in the Imperial
Library in Paris. Several had never been explored.

Other authors whose names are given in the notes are
writers who have, in recent times, treated of the Crusades or
kindred subjects.






THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE.

—~—

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

I.

Tue Holy Land! What manifold associa-
tions cluster around that little spot of earth on
which break the blue waves of the Mediterra-
nean when they reach its easternmost limit!
Memories the most sacred, the most tender,
and the most thrilling, cause the very name to
call up before us a vista of the past such as no
other land possesses. As we muse on the
sound of the words, we hear the Singer’s harp
and the Prophet’s lyre, and we catch echoes of
the Apostle’s eloquence; there rise up memo-
ries of men and women whose stories are the
world’s best treasure ; the forms of Abraham,
of Samuel, of David, and of Isaiah sweep by
in majesty, and, after them, lovelier and loftier

than all, we see the figure of that One for whom
4



2 ‘ INTRODUCTORY.

they looked. O, what a land is that which has
felt the footsteps of Incarnate Deity!

What a history that land has seen of peace and
of turmoil, of freedom and of bondage, of glory
and of shame! Across it has the tide of con-
quest rolled in every age ; its plains have been
enriched by the blood of many a different race.
It lies before us, as we think of it, now in the
sunshine of the days when Ruth gleaned in its
fields, now in the splendor of Solomon’s rule,
and then we see its condition portrayed in that
medal which the Roman victors struck, where,
at the foot of a lonely palm, a weeping maiden
sits, and beneath which we read the mournful
words: Fudea Capta.

How many hearts have loved that land! Pa-
triotism in its most ardent forms has never
equalled the devotion that Israel’s children
have felt for Israel’s soil, When within its bor-
ders, they have loved it with an intensity that
made each hill a shrine, and the thought of leav-
ing it like the thought of death. When absent
from it, in their repeated exiles, their hearts
have gone out to its mountains and its valleys,
its skies and its streams, with yearnings that
could not be expressed. Wherever they have
sojourned, it has still been to them their only
home, and to-day, in every clime, a scattered



INTRODUCTORY. 3

nation loves it of all lands alone. They dream
of the promised time when it shall be their own
abode again, and, when their lives are closing,
they journey thither with tottering limbs, to die,
because they think the sleep of the grave is
sweeter there.

How many feet have sought that land! The
pathways to it from every part of earth have
been worn by the staves and the footsteps of
pilgrims. In the front we see the venerable
form of him who, “ when he was called to go
out into a place which he should after receive
for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out,
not knowing whither he went.” Thence, down
to these busier times, stretches the long pro-
cession of those that have travelled far, to
* kneel and to dwell on soil that, to the pious
heart, is like no other soil. And as it has been
in the past, it will be in the future. Oldest
shrines may be deserted, superstition may pass
away, but the sense of reverence and the power
of association will never so far perish that they
who have the Bible will no longer care to visit
the Holy Land.

Poets may tell us of romance, but there is
no romance like that of this consecrated Pales-
tine, — consecrated by the lives that have illu-
mined it, by the love that has been lavished on



4 INTRODUCTORY.

it, by the blood that has been shed for it, by
the Voice that has been heard in it! What
land is like that ancient Canaan, which, so fair
and so cherished, has given us all a name for
Heaven!

But of all the associations linked with that
magic name, none are more strange than those
of the wars for its liberation from the Moslem.
The Crusades alone would endue any land
with a deathless interest.

When the followers of the false Prophet had
overcome its feeble defenders, pilgrims still
sought Palestine, undeterred by the perils they
might meet. But as years passed by, they were
more and more oppressed and maltreated, so
that they who returned brought back to Europe
sad tales of suffering of the believers there, and
of increasing desecration of the spots con-
nected with the life and the passion of Imman-
uel. At length, in the eleventh century, these
reports became so numerous and so exciting,
that there ran throughout Christendom a thrill
of indignation. Then Peter the Herthit raised
his voice to plead for the deliverance of those
sacred scenes, and the response came from
every nation of Europe. Thus began those
wonderful wars, in which, with a devotion and
persistency that are unique in history, host



INTRODUCTORY. 5

after host assembled, fought, and died. Even
as the billows of the sea roll, one after another,
against a rocky coast, so did the noblest and
best of Europe’s life, for more than two hun-
dred years, rush against the exhaustless ranks
of Asiatic power, and as vainly. At times
success seemed near at hand, but the heathen
front rolled back the tide, and stood defiant
and unmoved at last.

It is with an episode in this war of ages that
we are now to be concerned. We are to tell
how, in this mighty movement, there was a
wave of child-life, to describe the part in that
undying love for the Holy Land and in the
weary seeking of its shores, that has been
taken by children’s hearts and by children’s
feet.

But before entering upon the theme, it
would be well to prepare the way by glancing
at certain points that suggest themselves, and,
first of all, let us review the history of the Cru-
sades, in order that we may perceive the causes
which led to the arousing of the young to
interest themselves in the struggle —

“To chase these pagans in those holy fields,
Over whose acres walk’d those blessed feet,
Which egghteex hundred years ago were nail’d
For our advantage to the bitter cross.”



6 INTRODUCTORY.

II.
State of the Cause of the Crusades.

During eighty-eight years Palestine had been
in the hands of the Crusaders, and Christian
kings had ruled in Jerusalem. But this episode
of romance and of glory was ended when, in
1187, Saladin routed the Christian armies at
Tiberias, after which all the land was subdued,
save a few strongholds over which there still rose
the banner of the Crusaders. This catastrophe
awakened grief and consternation throughout
Europe, and at once the third Crusade was un-
dertaken by the Germans under Barbarossa
and the English under Cceur de Lion. The
exploits of the two allied armies revived for a
while the drooping hopes of the Christians, but
soon there arose perfidy at home and treason in
the camp. . These did as much to render fruit-
less the achievements of Richard as did the
power and skill of Saladin. Consequently, at
the end of the campaign the Crescent waved
as defiantly as ever, over the land of Israel.

The fourth Crusade, from 1195 to 1198, led
by Henry VI. of Germany, was equally a failure.
There were gained some brilliant victories, but
dissensions divided the armies, and at last a
truce was made with the Mohammedans. It is



STATE OF THE CAUSE OF THE CRUSADES. 7

true that these victories made the Crusaders
masters of the sea-coast, but, when the armies
departed, the Christian king found himself in
possession of cities which he was unable to gar-
rison, and which he felt could be held only by
the sufferance of the enemy.

The fifth Crusade, preached in 1198, was per-
verted by the avarice of Venice and the ambi-
tion of its leaders, to the conquest of Constan-
tinople. The knights, plunged in the luxury
of that city, heeded not the appeals from Pales-
tine, but allowed the besieged and suffering, for
whose rescue they had enlisted, to linger and
die without an effort in their behalf. Fortress
after fortress was wrested from the Christians,
until at length there remained to the king,
John of Brienne, but the city of Ptolemais;
while to the north, only Tripoli and Antioch
owned the sway of their counts. The Sultan
was preparing a vast army with which these
feeble forces would soon be overcome. Then,
moved to desperation by the emergency, the
Christians sent to Europe a heart-rending cry
for help.

But Europe responded sluggishly to the ap-
peal. It was not until several years after the
ordering of the sixth Crusade by Innocent, that
an army departed for the scene of conflict.



8 INTRODUCTORY.

It was during this interval that the movement
of the young occurred, they having been aroused
by the measures taken by the Pope to excite
the people.

For these measures were varied as the energy
of the man would lead us to expect, and resulted
in a feverish excitement throughout Europe.
He wrote to the Sultans of Cairo and Damas-
cus, urging them to yield the contested land.
But his other efforts were of a more practical
nature. Priests and bishops were sent every-
where, to awaken enthusiasm by appeals, argu-
ments, and threats, repeating often : “ I came not
to bring peace, but a sword.” Processions were
held in the cities and towns, to entreat God for
the imperilled cause and to enkindle the zeal of
the beholders, Sermons had no other theme.
The Saviour was spoken of asa king banished
from his heritage, and Jerusalem as a captive
queen, appealing to the loyal heart to enlist in
her behalf. Salvation was almost made to de-
pend upon the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre,
and, in dwelling on the scenes of the Saviour’s
sufferings, the true value of those sufferings was
forgotten. Innocent himself, in his uncompro-
mising zeal, revoked permission to engage in all
other Crusades, except that against the Albi-

genses, and endeavored to stop all wars, so

—



STATE OF THE CAUSE OF THE CRUSADES. 9

that nations might concentrate their energies
upon this great enterprise. He crowned his
labors and appeals with his famous exclamation,
“Sword, sword, start from the scabbard and
sharpen thyself to kill!”

As so many disastrous and fruitless expedi-
tions had dampened the interest of Christen-
dom and shaken its faith in the Crusades, little
response was given to the frantic efforts of the
Pope; but the arts and appeals which had so
slight effect upon the people, kindled the ardor
of the young, and made them zealous for the
cause to which their elders seemed indifferent.
They had not known the calamitous issues of so
many similar undertakings ; it was new to them,
and not an old, sad story. The flaming descrip-
tions of the Holy Land, vivid references to its
associations, the favor of God which attended
its defenders, and the glory of fighting in its
behalf, aroused them to become victims of a fate
more sad than that of others who sought to free
it, as it was more touching.

But their adventures have been passed over
with little notice. Amidst the din of the con-
tending armies of Crusaders and the clash of
steel, few have heard the footsteps and the
songs of three armies of youthful and unarmed
combatants, who made their little effort for the



10 INTRODUCTORY.

holy cause. Although they did not win great
victories or enduring renown, yet it may be
that their story will interest us as much as that
of the more hardy soldiers.

We are now to collect and narrate such de-
tails of that story as have been saved from ob-
livion, and, as we begin, it is with regret that
they are so few. Withdrawing our attention
from the conflicts of princes and of Sultans,
let us listen for a while to the part which was
taken by the children in that weary struggle
which has been aptly called the “World’s De-
bate.”

Til.

Contemporaneous Events.

THE thirteenth century opened in Europe
amidst bloodshed and confusion, and over many
lands there hung the lurid clouds of war. All
the troubles of that troubled era were due to
one moving spirit, who called himself the Vice-
gerent of the Prince of Peace, but who, under
the impulses of ambition and revenge, acted
rather as if the Vicar of the Prince of War.
Innocent III., surnamed “the Great,” the most
arrogant of popes, assumed the tiara in 1198,
and soon had embroiled all Europe in conflicts:
of different kinds.



CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS. II

Passing in review the various lands, there
comes first before us Germany, whose Em-
peror, Otho IV., possessed a character that ren-
dered it improbable that he could treat the
many vexed questions of jurisdiction over the
petty states of Italy, without clashing with ‘so
unyielding a rival as Innocent. New jealousies
grew rapidly between them, besides those in-
herited with their respective positions, until, in
1210, the Emperor was solemnly excommuni-
cated, and to the thunders of the Church was
added the more serious declaration of a war
without mercy. The Pope selected as his
champion, young Frederick, called “of Sicily,”
son of the Emperor Henry IV., and promised
him that, if he could wrest the crown from
Otho, he should wear it as his own, and occupy
the throne by whose steps he had been reared.
Otho replied by the ban of the empire against
the pretender, a weapon only second to excom-
munication, and, in 1211, there began a cruel
war, waged with skill on either side, that ended
in 1216, when the former combatant died and
Frederick succeeded to the empire, to com-
mence his splendid reign, the most brilliant one
of the Middle Ages.

In England, we find John on the throne.
He had been king since 1199, and was a mon-



12 INTRODUCTORY.

arch little inclined to bear with the pretensions
of the Pope, but as little fitted to oppose them.
In 1206, the storm broke, when an issue was
made on the appointment, by Innocent, of Ste-
phen Langton to be Archbishop of Canterbury.
This the King resisted, claiming that the Pri-
mate should be chosen in England. He de-
clared in a rage that no other should ever enter
the country. In 1208, Innocent excommuni-
cated him, and John was added to the motley
list of those who have fallen under the displeas-
ure of the Bishops of Rome, and who have been
subjects of a document so eminently Christian
and merciful as their ban. The King held out
well for a while, as the national feeling was on
his side, but at length the suspension of all re-
ligious rites produced their effect in the discon-
tent of the people. When to this was added
the preparation by Philip of France to conquer
the land, which the Pope had given him, John
was obliged to submit, and to consent to hold
his realm as a vassal of Rome.

As to France, it was to a great extent a
scene of combat. Philip, seeing his opportunity
in the weakness of the King of England, re-
solved to endeavor to expel all foreign rule
from the land, and to put an end to the anom-
aly of large parts of his realm being really the



CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS. 13

domains of John. He prosecuted the task with
vigor and success, and, in the opening decade
of the century, had regained many a prov-
ince that had long been a jewel in the Eng-
lish crown.

But there were other troubles and wars than
these. It was an era of Crusades, for no less
than three were commanded by Innocent at
the opening of this century. They were di-
rected, not against dwellers in Asia or Africa,
but against inhabitants of Europe, for now the
name was applied to all wars in which the Pope
was interested. Two of them were against
heathen. In Eastern Europe there was one
preached against the Prussians, excited chiefly
by the monks, who found that their unbeliev-
ing neighbors would not be converted by their
precept or example. As there were plunder
and the Church’s blessing to be won, as well
as the glory of doing missionary work among
idolaters, many flocked to the standard of the
Cross, and soon rested, either in the homes they
conquered, or (as we are to suppose) in the
glory which the Pope promised to those who
should fall in the conflict.

In the West, we find a Crusade against the
Saracens in Spain, who had assumed so threat-
ening an attitude as to alarm the Christians.



14 INTRODUCTORY.

These latter were divided among several petty
states, which enterprising men, who had con-
quered slices of land from the Moors, had called
kingdoms. The various rulers, appealing to
Christendom for aid, prepared: to strike a con-
certed blow. Innocent did all that he could for
them. He sent letters to France, urging the
bishops to raise soldiers for the cause, and held
processions in Rome. A large, number of
knights crossed the Pyrenees and joined the
army that was assembling under the King of
Castile. After a brief campaign, on the six-
teenth of July, 1212, on the plains of Tolosa, the
power of the Saracens was broken in a desper-
ate battle.

In a certain sense these two wars were really
Crusades, as against the heathen, but that to
which we now turn was a war against the
Cross, and in no sense a Crusade. It will ever
be accounted one of the greatest crimes upon
the page of history and in the career of the
Church that prosecuted it.

It is unnecessary to detail the horrors of the
persecution of the Albigenses. A brief state-
ment will suffice.

In 1208, a Crusade was ordered against Ray-
mond, Count of Toulouse, for venturing to pro-
tect his subjects who rejected the yoke of



CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS. 15

Rome. The energy of the Pope’s measures
and the prospect of plundering for Christ’s
sake that which was then the fairest and the
richest district of Europe, soon gathered an
army of great size. Under the skilful leader-
ship of Simon de Montfort, called “the General
of the Holy Ghost,” a coarse and brutal wretch,
the Crusaders won victory after victory. All
captives were put to death, in accordance with
Innocent’s command, who, when asked how to
tell heretic from catholic, replied: “Slay all;
thé Lord will know his own!” Itis a joy to
think how true this was, as we read of the suf-
ferings of these humble martyrs. Finally, the
battle of Muret, in 1213, put an end to all or-
ganized resistance on the part of the Albigenses,
and the “ banner of the Cross” waved in victory
over a devastated land. Their swords reeking
with the blood of women and children, and
their tents full of stolen riches, these exemplary
followers of this “ General of the Holy Ghost,”
from their orgies and their revels sent to the
Pope the pleasant news that false religion and
immorality had been extirpated. How nearly
connected, sometimes, are tragedy and comedy!

Such were the wars and transactions of the
era in which occurred the incident that we are
to describe. But what was the condition of the



16 INTRODUCTORY.

people? Let us briefly answer this question,
that one may know the state of the lands
whence the children issued, and the influences
which surrounded them in their homes.

IV.
The Condition of the People.

Tuts was such as might be expected from the
character of the times when war and turmoil
seemed everywhere supreme. Vast districts
were desolated and their inhabitants sighed
and starved, while in others, that armies had
not ravaged, the people lived in daily dread of
pillage. Society was disorganized, and law a
mockery, for the peasant had from it no protec-
tion, and the baron held it in defiance ; so that
the former, unless some lord was interested in
preserving him for his own plundering, was at
the mercy of any of the fierce outlaws, who
called themselves nobles. The only shelter for
the lowly was the Church ; the only fields that
were not pillaged were those her officials
owned. Nearly all Europe was in this con-
dition; the exempted regions were few, and
most of these were only safe because too poor
to devastate. Tormented and wearied, mil-
lions prayed in agony and want, for peace or
death.



THE CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE. 17

Such a state of affairs naturally resulted in
ignorance, as great as the prevailing poverty.
In the midst of such distractions there was little
chance for study, and any one who could read or
write, unless an ecclesiastic, was regarded as a
wizard ; while many of the clergy themselves
would not have been able, by either test, to
prove their position. There was not, perhaps, a
darker era during the ages of gloom, as regards
misery and ignorance, than this beginning of
the thirteenth century, Life must have been a
burden, and men little better informed than the
brutes, with which they tilled their fields for
precarious crops.

As may easily be imagined, religion was at
a low ebb, and, while armies were fighting for
the Cross, few knew the teachings of that
emblem. The instruction which the people
generally received from those appointed to
minister in holy things, was a system of absurd
superstitions, wherein they learnt of deeds of
questionable saints and supposititious martyrs,
and the honor due to God was rendered to a
woman, enthroned in his place.

To illustrate the state of affairs, and show
the example set by the clergy in France, where
the Children’s Crusade originated, with which
we are to be concerned, let us describe two

customs, or ceremonies, of regular occurrence,
2



18 INTRODUCTORY.

and they will help to realize the extent of the
prevailing ignorance concerning pure and un-
defiled religion. The first of these was called
the “Feast of the Fools.” It was observed,
not only in Paris, but in many other parts of the
land, in the cathedral cities. In the former
place it occurred on the Feast of the Circum-
cision, in others on Epiphany, and, in a few, on
Innocents’ Day ; whence it was also called the
- “Feast of the Innocents.” On the appointed
day the priests and clerks met and chose an
archbishop and a bishop from among their
number. They then proceeded to the cathe-
dral, led by the mock prelates, arrayed in
great pomp, and, after entering the edifice, be-
gan orgies of the most sacrilegious character.
Masked, and dressed in skins of animals, dis-
guised as buffoons, and even in the garments of
women, they danced and jumped about, shout-
ing blasphemous exclamations and obscenest
songs. They used the altar as a table, and,
during the performance of mass by the mock
bishops, the others ate and drank around it,
and played with dice. Exerting all their inge-
nuity to devise desecrations of the place, they
burned the leather of their old sandals as in-
cense, and crowned all by defiling the church,
in postures and acts of unmentionable inde-
1 Du Cange.



THE CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE. 19

cency. It seems as if this were giving vent to
that which they felt during the whole year, that
religion was a fable, and their duties the acts
of aplay. Eudes de Sully endeavored to sup-
press this sacrilege, but in vain. We find it
still practised a century later.

The other custom which shows the degrada-
tion of the Church, was that called the “ Feast
of the Asses.”1 Although as general as the
former, it was most popular in the south of
France. The proceedings in Beauvais were as
follows: The people and the clergy chose the
' prettiest girl of the town, and, placing a beau-
tiful babe in her arms, mounted her on a richly
caparisoned ass to represent Mary and the Sav-
iour. In great state she was led from the ca-
thedral, where the selection had been made, to
the parish church of St. Stephen, which the
procession entered. The maiden and child, still
on the ass, were placed on the gospel (or north)
side of the altar, and the mass was commenced.
Whenever the choir ended the Introit, the Ky-
rie, the Creed, or any other part which was
chanted, they added a chorus, consisting of the
sounds, “ Hin-ham, Hin-ham,” which were ut-
tered so as to represent, as nearly as possible,
the braying of the animal. A priest preached
a sermon in mingled French and Latin, de-

1 Celebrated January 14th.



20 INTRODUCTORY.

voted to the exposition of the good qualities of
the ass, and at the end repeated a hymn! com-

1 It being a curious relic, the entire hymn sung on this oc-
casion is added here. It is found in Du Cange’s Glossarium
Novum, etc. where the ceremony is described.

Orientis partibus

Adventavit asinus

Pulcher et fortissimus,

Sarcinis aptissimus.

Chorus: ez, sire asnes, car chantez?

Belle bouche réchignez?
Vous aurez du foin assez,
Et de Vavoine 4 plantez,

Lentus erat pedibus,

Nisi foret baculus,

Et eum in clunibus

Pungeret aculeus.
Chorus.

Hic in collibus Sichem,

Jam nutritus sub Ruben:

Transiit per Jordanem,

Saliit in Bethlehem.
Chorus.

Ecce magnis auribus,
Subjugalis filius,
Asinus egregius,
Asinorum dominus.

Chorus.

Saltu vincit hinnulos,

Damas et capreolos ;

Super dromedarios

Velox Medianeos.
Chorus.

Aurum de Arabia,
Thus et myrrhum de Saba,
Tulit in ecclesia
Virtus asinaria.
Chorus.



THE CONDITI ON OF THE PEOPLE. 21

posed of a barbarous mixture of the two lan-
guages, whose every stanza was followed bya
refrain which may be thus translated : —

“O Sir Ass, why do you bray?
Why with that beautiful voice do you scold?
You shall soon have plenty of hay,
And of oats, much more than can be told.”

When the whole profane farce was over, the
officiating priest, in dismissing the congrega-
tion, said, instead of “Ite, missa est,” “ Hin-
ham! Hin-ham! Hin-ham!” The people, as
they dispersed, replied with the same sounds,
repeated three times, instead of “Deo gratias.”

These things occurred in the most Christian

Dum trahit vehicula

Multa cum sarcinula,

Illius mandibula,

Dura terit pabula.
Chorus.

Cum aristis hordeum

Comedit et carduum :

Triticum e palea,

Segregat in area.
Chorus.

Amen dicas, asine,
(Hic genuflectebatur,)

Jam satur de gramine:

Amen, Amen, itera,

Aspernare vetera.

Chorus: ez va! hez va ! hez va hez!

Biax sire asnes car allez ?
Belle bouche car chantez?



22 INTRODUCTORY.

land of Europe, in the days of a pope who gloried
in his zeal for Christianity, without encounter-
ing any rebuke from king or pontiff! What
must have been the religious teachings of a
clergy, so degraded, and so defiant of all things
sacred! What ideas must the people have had
of the Gospel, when their guides knew so little.

These few facts and hints are all that can be
given, in view of our limits, to show what were
the times, what the state of the people, and what
the events transpiring when, in 1212,! that ep-
isode occurred, which is now to be described.
In Spain, the armies of Christians and Moslems
are gathering for the great battle. Frederick
is marshalling his adherents to conquer a
crown. The Albigenses are falling in martyr-
dom, and John is defying the Pope. Gladly do
we leave the transactions in the sphere of the
rulers of earth, to follow the fortunes of a move-
ment among the lowly and the young.

1 As regards the date of the Children’s Crusade, there is
some discrepancy among the chroniclers, but there is no doubt
that it occurred in 1212, as all contemporaries assert,
as well as the Chron. Argent., Chron. of Laon, and Ogerius
Panis. The variations are the following: Chron. S. Me-
dardi gives as the date, 1209 ; Thomas de Champré, 1213 ;
John Massey, 1210. Anerror in the existing MSS. of Jacques
de Vitry reads 1222 for 1212. But the authority of contempo-

raries should be conclusive, as the historians Michaud, Heck-
er, Wilken, and Raumer are agreed.



CHAPTER ILI.

THE RISING IN FRANCE,

I.
Cloyes and its Hero.

TuroucH that part of the old province of
Orleannais which is now called the Department
of Eure-et-Loir, and which is a vast, chalky
plain, almost denuded of verdure, there runs
the little river Loir, in a southerly direction, until
it joins the beautiful Loire, which on its course
to the sea flows past gray old ‘cities and famous
chateaux. About twenty miles west of Orleans
the valley of the former river widens, and in
this basin, between the hills, surrounded by
smiling meadows, is the town of Cloyes, that
has one association in a history of centuries
to endue it with interest. Although more an-
cient than many other places in the vicinity, it
has yet slumbered through the ages in obscu-
rity, its cares and traditions and characteristics
having been handed down undisturbed through
generations which witnessed many changes



24 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

elsewhere. Recently a railway has been con-

' structed, which runs near the town, and its loud

whistle sounds through the little streets, as
trains pass the station on the plateau above.

It is an ordinary French village, with its
square market-place, where are sold wooden
shoes, fruit, crockery, and the other miscellane-
ous articles peculiar to such a scene ; its Wazrie,
with the imperial escutcheon at present hang-
ing where so many other similar pictures have
swung; its dirty shops and staring houses, and
its dilapidated church, whose pictures and
images might be thought to render idolatry im-
possible, because they come up to none of the
requisites of the second commandment in re-
gard to resembling anything “in the heavens
above, in the earth beneath, or in the waters
under the earth.” But still the scene before one
is attractive, as he stands on the old stone bridge
by which the main street crosses the Loir.
The little river comes from behind the trees of
the park of an old chateau, which is seen a mile
distant. After lazily turning here and there a
mill-wheel, when it reaches the precincts of the
village, it passes beneath our standing-place, to
run through the green meadows and beneath
shady willows, until it enters the little valley, by
which it issues from this basin, where, in some





CLOYES AND ITS HERO. 25

earlier days, it formed a lake. On the eastern
side of us lies the village, extending about a
thousand feet to the declivity, which forms the
limit of the valley in that direction. On the
other side of the river, green fields extend
about half a mile to the base of vine-clad
slopes.

This bridge is a pleasant place for musing
on a summer afternoon, and the scene recalls
past days, for the country is full of historical
interest. Many a knight and soldier slept here
for the last time on the eve of the battle of
Fretteval, where, close at hand, Philip Augustus
was defeated by Richard Coeur de Lion, in
1194. And the people of this quiet hamlet
were awakened by enthusiasm, as was all that
nation, when Jeanne d’Arc passed through their
streets on the way to seek Orleans and to win
for herself immortal renown.

It is in this village that our story begins.!
For, here, in the last years of the twelfth cen-
tury or the first of the thirteenth, was born a
boy who was named Stephen, probably after

1 There are various authorities for the fact that Cloyes was
the birthplace and home of Stephen. Among others, see the
Chron. Anon. of Laon, which says he was “‘ex villa Cloies,
juxta castrum Vidocinum.” Joh. Yperius says he was from
the diocese of Chartres.



26 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

the saint of his birthday, the twenty-sixth of
December. Had it not been for him, this place
might never have been mentioned in history ;
but his fame is forever linked with it, as the
only name by which he is known is “ Stephen
of Cloyes.”

His father was a shepherd, or a poor peas-
ant, and Cloyes was then a miserable hamlet.
The Loir ran by it then as now, but the banks
which it washed, instead of being highly culti-
vated and densely peopled, were tilled to an ex-
tent only sufficient to feed the few inhabitants,
who, in squalor and ignorance, knew little of
luxury or of comfort. No hard and smooth
highway led to the neighboring cities. The
scanty traffic and the little travel, had for their
use a wretched and often impassable path.

Among such circumstances Stephen passed
his infancy and began his childhood. When old
enough to hold a staff and chase a refractory
lamb, he was sent to be a shepherd boy, and
he spent the summers upon the plains around
his home, no better and no worse than others
who led the same life, although, as his acts sub-
sequently proved, mature beyond his years.

Obscurely and quietly his life glided away,
until, in 1212, he became, as we are to see, the
one upon whom was centred the attention of
France.



CLOVES AND ITS HERO. 27

We have already noticed the many means
resorted to by the hierarchy to awaken the slum-
bering interest of the people in the shattered
cause of the Crusades. Among these were fre-
quent processions, when every expression of
grief and of entreaty was called into use, to
impress upon the beholders a feeling that God
commanded them to enlist under the again up-
lifted banner, and to arouse either their ardor or
their fear.

There had long existed an ancient custom
of the Church, observed on St. Mark’s day,
April 25th, called the “ Litania Major,” or
Greater Litany! It was a processional litany,
instituted centuries before by Gregory the
Great, during the ravages of the plague, but
generally still maintained in Latin Christendom.
On this day the altars were shrouded in black,
and priests and people went through the streets
of towns and cities, chanting prayers and carry-
ing crosses likewise draped. From this last
feature, the day was popularly called the “ Black
Crosses.” At the time of which we are speak-
ing, this ceremony was adapted to commemo-
rate the sufferings of those who had died in the
defense of the Holy Land, and to implore mercy
in behalf of the Christians now beleaguered

1 See among others Joinville’s Memoirs of Louis IX. for de-
scription.



28 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

there, as well as of the many others that were
pining in slavery. We can well imagine that
such an observance, accompanied by stirring
sermons and vivid threats and promises, would
have excited the people, especially the young,
who had neither the experience nor the judg-
ment requisite to discern the hopelessness of
the Crusades, and the delusiveness of such ap-
peals.

Stephen had of course heard of the desper-
ate state to which the combatants of the Cross
were reduced, and stray pilgrims and priests
had told to the villagers of Cloyes stories of
adventure and of glory which could not fail to
excite his credulous mind. But all his ardor was
redoubled when, in the neighboring city of
Chartres, he beheld the procession referred to
above.! The black crosses, the loud and affect-
ing litanies, the appeals which plead for an in-
sulted Christ and his enslaved soldiers, the sol-
emn ceremonials, the tears and emotions of the
crowds, worked upon him most powerfully, and
made him burn with desire to play a part in the
expulsion of the hated Mohammedans from the
land sanctified by the life of Jesus and hallowed
by the possession of his tomb.

All alive with such emotions, he retraced, at

1 Johannes Yperius.



CLOVES AND ITS HERO. 29

evening, his homeward steps. And as he
mused thereafter, in his loneliness on the hill-
side with his flocks, his imagination revelled in
deeds of daring, and in pictures of sacred scenes,
until he was ready for any enterprise, prepared -
to believe, with unquestioning credulity, any
story, however wild and improbable.

While in this excited state, there appeared to
him, one day, a stranger, who at first said that
he was a returned pilgrim from Palestine on his
way to adistant home, and asked for some food.
Stephen could refuse nothing to one who had
been where he longed to be, and had seen places
for whose rescue he was ready to die. He only
asked, in return, to be told of the wonders of the
Orient, and of the exploits of the brave heroes
who had fallen there in battle, or who still lin-
gered in the few remaining cities. Readily did
the stranger comply with his request and tell
him that which delighted his ears. Having
thus gained an influence over the boy, he an-
nounced himself to be Jesus Christ, and pro-
ceeded to commission Stephen to preach a Cru-
sade to the children, promising that, with him
as their leader and prophet, they should win
that victory which soldiers and nobles had failed
to gain. He also gave the astonished youth a
letter to the king of France, commanding that



30 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

monarch to furnish aid to the new enterprise.
Thereupon the pilgrim, undoubtedly a disguised
priest, who had heard of Stephen’s enthusiasm,
and thought him a suitable instrument for the
purpose of arousing the people, disappeared as
mysteriously as he had come.! But he had
played well his part, and rarely has a deception
been so successful.

After this, to be a shepherd boy was no more
possible to Stephen. Higher duties called him,
he said, when rushing homeward, he told of his
interview with the Lord to his bewildered par-
ents and neighbors, and showed his celestial
letter to the King. There was no reasoning

1The Chron. Anon. of Laon relates this interview of Stephen
with Christ, and says that he showed, without any expression
of doubt, the letter which the Saviour gave him. I have
adopted the explanation suggested by Sporschild and others,
and which commends itself to reason, that Stephen was duped
by some priest who found him ready to believe even such a
thing, and ardent enough to assume such a charge. There
must have been an incident of some kind to put it into the
boy’s head to undertake such a mission. Again, he certainly
showed some letter as proof of his call, which he could never
have written, nor any one else in Cloyes ; it was clearly the
work of an ecclesiastic, whic confirms the above ‘theory.
Andif, in the nineteenth century, the people of France believe
that the Virgin appeared at La Salette with a babe in her
arms, they would much more readily have believed in the
thirteenth century that Christ appeared in person, when it was
to effect an end considered so intimately allied with his religion.



CLOVES AND ITS HERO. 31

with him. Carried away by high hopes and by
the dignity of his supposed call, he entered at
once upon his work. To all he narrated his
story, and to the welcoming ears of his compan-
ions he told that now, when the defenders of the
Holy Sepulchre were few, and their ranks thin
from the ravages of disease and war, when
man’s plans had failed, God had revealed his
plan, which was to give the possession of Pal-
estine to the children who should enlist. “For
the last time have we heard of defeat,” cried he ;
“hereafter shall children show mailed warriors
and proud barons, how invincible are youths
when God leads them !”

But the field was too narrowin Cloyes. From
a point so obscure, he could not arouse France.
Some more central place must be sought, and
at once he fixed upon the great shrine of the
land, the object of countless pilgrimages, where
to ever changing crowds, he could preach his
Crusade and spread to homes of every district
the intelligence of his enterprise. He resolved
to go to St. Denys.

1 Anon, Chronicle of Laon.



32 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

II.
St. Denys.

Five miles north of Paris is the city of St.
Denys, the place of burial of the martyr Dio-
nysius. He was one of the seven holy men who
established churches in Gaul, and from whose
labors resulted the conversion of the land. Di-
onysius founded the Church of Paris and was
its first Bishop. In 272, under the reign of
Valerian, he suffered martyrdom. In the fifth
century a church was erected over his grave,
around which a town sprang up, to which was
given his name. From the time of Dagobert, |
all the kings, and many other members of the
royal family were buried there, so that it be-
came the central point of France and identified
with its interests. Here, too, was kept the sa-
cred Oriflamme, or the holy standard of. the
realm, which originally was the flag of the
Church, but was,committed to the king, as its
guardian, when he went to fight enemies of the
nation, and as such, was venerated by St.
Louis and inspirited the Maid of Orleans. The
royal standard had previously been the cloak
of St. Martin, but thejOriflamme superseded it,
and became the symbol of the honor and exist-
ence of the kingdom.



ST. DENYS. 33

The monks and priests who were interested
in rendering the place attractive, soon made it
a centre of pilgrimage and succeeded in im-
pressing it upon the people that great were the
benefits of a visit to the tomb of the Saint.
Legends without number were fabricated. He
himself was said to be Dionysius the Areopa-
gite, for which there was not a shadow of evi-
dence, and a marvelous series of events were
strung together and called his life. Of all these
fictions, the wildest, which is still taught and
believed, was that concerning his death. It
was said that, after very cruel treatment, he was
beheaded and his body thrown into the Seine,
but that, issuing from that river, he carried his
head in his hands for the distance of two miles,
to the place where he desired to be interred. }

Of course the grave of so eminent a saint
was soon a great resort for those who thought
that he who could do so much for himself
might do something for them. Pilgrims con-
tinued to increase in numbers, until it became,
like the tomb of St. James at Compostello in
Spain, a national shrine, whither came thou-
sands for physical relief and mental consola-
tion; perhaps, sometimes, for spiritual aid.

1 It was concerning this that Ninon de l’Enclos, when
asked if she believed that the Saint carried his head all the
way, said: “La distance ne vaut rien. Ce n’est que le pre-
mier pas qui coiite.”

3

Yared ae

Sei ¥



34 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

In the commencement of the thirteenth cen-
tury the influence of the shrine was at its
height, for wars and Crusades could not deter
the people from seeking its presence.

To St. Denys, then, do we behold Stephen of
Cloyes journeying in the month of May, 1212.
Dressed in his shepherd’s attire, his crook in
hand, and a little wallet by his side, he departed
from the obscurity of his home and of his in-
fancy. With bounding heart and exuberant
hopes, he walked in eagerness which ignored
fatigue. As he went, he preached his mission
in the towns and cities by the way. But even
Chartres and Paris could not delay him long, for
he was in haste to reach the place which was to
be the scene of his glorious labors. At last he
arrived there, and everywhere, by the door of -
the church which contained the tomb, in the
market-place, and at all hours, to astonished
audiences, he proclaimed the new Crusade.

Gifted with extraordinary powers of speech,
he succeeded in enchaining the attention and
gaining the admiring reverence of his hearers.
To an enthusiast this was an easy task, with
a subject so suggestive, and in such a place.
He told the old story of the sufferings of the
Christians in the Holy Land, and of their lan-
guishing in slavery, and the audience seemed to



ST. DENYS. 35

hear the clank of their chains as the speaker
dwelt on their cries for help. And not only
were their breasts stirred by that appeal; they
also were told of the state of their brethren
who were besieged in the few cities which they
still held, and their hardships were a fruitful
theme.

But Stephen had a still more powerful argu-
ment and a more potent appeal. He pointed
to the sepulchre of St. Denys, thronged by its
worshippers, and then contrasted its condition
with that of the sepulchre of the Saviour. The
one was guarded by believers, and the scene of
unrestrained devotion, the other, insulted by the ¢
presence of infidels and receiving not a prayer
from those who would love to worship there.
He then asked them. if they would tolerate this,
if they would not strive to make the Saviour’s
tomb as honored and as free from defilement, as
the Saint’s.

He showed the letter to the king, to confirm
the doubting, and asked if Christ's commands
were to be disregarded. He repeated the nar-
rative of his interview with the Lord, and, to
add credibility to his authorization to be the
prophet of the new Crusade, told many inci-
dents of a supernatural kind. He said that
when he returned from his visit to see the



36 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

procession held to implore God’s mercy for the
cause of the Crusades, before he had been com-
missioned by the Lord, he went to the pasture
grounds of his flocks and found them absent..:
After searching, he discovered them in a field
of grain. Enraged, he began to drive them
thence with blows, when they all fell on their
knees and begged his forgiveness. This, with
other signs, said he, led him to believe that
great things were in store for him, even before
he had been visited by Christ.

He soon became the Saint of the day, and the
shrine was abandoned to listen to his stirring
words. Especially was this the case, because
he worked miracles. It is said that he healed
the sick, and made other supernatural signs
bear witness to his authority... They who were
credulous enough to come to St. Denys and to
believe the legends which made the place what
it was, would not be apt to discredit the claims
and the miracles of Stephen.

But especially was enthusiasm aroused in the
young who visited the place, or who were
brought thither by their elders. The call of
Stephen appealed to natural feelings, and they
gladly believed him, when he said that for them
was reserved all the glory of the rescue of the
Holy Sepulchre.

1 Vincent de Beauvais.



ST. DENYS. 37

Accordingly, as the pilgrims departed from
St. Denys, they bore to their different homes
the story of the new apostle, the successor of
Peter the Hermit, and of Bernard. The chil-
dren rejoiced in being the exclusive recipients of
God’s lofty commission, and told their compan-
ions of the eloquence and the power of Stephen.
Alive with emulation to play a prominent part
in the enterprise, they commenced to seek ad-
herents. The matter spread like a contagion.
As there were in the audiences of Stephen pil-
grims from all parts of France, soon in every
"region of the land was his mission known, and
children were excited to dreams of terrestrial
fame and celestial glory. The movement be-
gan, regardless of feuds of rulers, of difference
of government, or of wars. It spread in Brit-
tany, where the English ruled, as well as in
Normandy, recently added to the domains of
Philip; in Aquitaine and Auvergne, likewise
just freed from the sway of the foreigners, as well
as in Provence, where the king of Aragon was
sovereign ; in Toulouse, red with the blood of
martyrs, as well as in peaceful Gascony. The
children knew not, or cared not, what rule their
elders acknowledged, and were not interested
in the wars for power. The undercurrent of
their life was untouched by the storms which



38 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

disturbed the surface. Consequently, while the
adults were prevented from unity of action
and from yielding to any interest in the Cru-
sades which they may have felt, by the commo-
tions and the political divisions of the land, the
young were one, and, regardless of tongue or of
state, responded to the appeal, from the Chan-
nel or the Pyrenees, from the Rhéne or the
Loire. The voice of Stephen found everywhere
a ready echo, and when there went among them
those who sought to enlist adherents, they had
an easy task. All the children. united in say-
ing exultingly, “Long enough have you, knights
and warriors, so boastful and so honored, been
making your fruitless attempts to rescue the
tomb of Christ! God can wait no longer!
He is tired of your vain, puny efforts! Stand
back and let us, whom you despise, carry out
his commission ! He who calls can insure the
victory, and we will show you what children
can do!”



THE MINOR PROPHETS. 39

III.
The Minor Prophets.

An old chronicler, while describing the
events of these times, dwells at length upon the
excitement caused in some parts of France by
the frantic appeals and by the arts of the clergy,
in their endeavors to awaken among the lower
classes that interest in Palestine which slum-
bered among the upper ranks of society. He
also gives many signs which the Lord sent to
add to the power of the emissaries of the Pope,
and tells us many a curious and wild story in
this connection. Among these he says that
“it is affirmed for a certainty, that, every ten
years, fishes, frogs, butterflies, and birds pro-
ceeded likewise according to their kinds and
seasons ; and at that time so great a multitude
of fishes was caught that all men greatly won-
dered. And certain old and decayed men af-
firm, as a certain thing, that, from different
parts of France, an innumerable multitude of
dogs were gathered together, at the town of
Champagne which is called Manshymer. But
those dogs, having divided into two parties, and
fighting bravely against each other, nearly all
slew one another in the mutual slaughter and
very few returned home.” Such, says he, were

1 Chron, St. Médard.



40 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

among the wonderful incidents whicn accom-
panied the commencement of the Children’s
Crusade, and, added to the prevalent excitement,
made the children ready to believe that their
call to rescue Palestine was the great event:
which those signs were intended to herald.

As has been said, the more enterprising
among the youths who had listened to Stephen,
returned home, resolved to play a part in the
coming episode of glory, only subordinate to
“The Prophet,” as he was called. Everywhere
there arose children of ten years, and some
even as young as eight, who claimed to be
prophets also, sent by Stephen in the name
of God. They went throughout their respect-
ive districts, eagerly appealing to their com-
panions to assume the Cross. They took as
their text, and their authorization, the passage
of Scripture which they interpreted to refer pe-
culiarly to this undertaking: “Out of the
mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou or-
dained strength, because of thine enemies, that
thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”
It would have been difficult for the adult Cru-
saders to find a text as appropriate.

These “minor prophets” (as the chronicles
call them) also claimed to work miracles, and
thus added to their authority and the effect of



THE MINOR PROPHETS. 41

their preaching. Among the many who thus
took it upon themselves to extend Stephen’s
call, the names of none have been preserved,
except one. He was an adult, and, had he not
risen to prominence on another occasion, his
name would also have been forgotten. It was
Jacob of Hungary, whose strange life, one of
the strangest on record, will be traced at an-
other time. In this movement he was active,
and was instrumental in arousing the north-
eastern part of France. The names and the
careers of the many who made the mountains
and valleys of the land echo with their dis-
courses and their delusive promises, are lost in
oblivion.

When they had gathered sufficient numbers,
they formed them into regular and solemn pro-
cessions and marched through the towns and
villages with circumstances of display, in order
to gain more recruits. Of course, in different
districts, there was variety in their arrangements,
and the details differed! But, as a general
thing, there was, at the head of each proces-
sion, a chosen youth, who bore the Oriflamme, a
copy of that at St. Denys, and which was, like
the colors of a regiment, an object of devotion,
the symbol of honor. Many carried wax can-

1 Chron, Rotom. and Chron. Mortui Maris.



42 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

dles, some waved perfumed censers, while here
and there were to be seen crosses borne aloft.
And as they marched they sang hymns,
many of which were the creation of their fevered
minds. Some were, however, ancient, having
been used in the previous Crusades, and having
awakened the enthusiasm of thousands who
slept on alien soil. But, in all the songs, the
constant theme was that expressed in the fre-
quently repeated refrains : “ Lord restore Chris-
tendom!” “Lord, restore to us the true and
holy Cross!”1 . They adopted the watchword
which for two centuries had rung through
Europe, and had been sounded on a hundred
battle-fields in Asia, which had spurred to ac-
tion many a victorious, as well as many a van-
quished army, and which now brings before us,
as we hear it, the whole drama of the Crusades.
Crying “Dieu le volt!” these children threw
aside all other obedience,? and considered that
they acted under a higher than human law.
The excitement was not confined to the chil-
dren of any particular class or rank. As.would
be expected, the greater number were of the
peasant order, or, as one chronicler says in
in general terms, “they were all shepherds.” ®
1 Roger de Wendover.

2 Godfrey ; Chron. St. Medard; Chron, Raineri.
8 Godfrey the monk.



THE MINOR PROPHETS. 43

The ignorance of the world which resulted from
their seclusion, rendered these peculiarly liable
‘to deception. They who had never passed
the precincts of their parishes or cantons, knew
nothing of the hardships of war, the extent of
this world and the distance to Palestine, nor of
the stern realities which were concealed by the
glory and the glitter of the Crusades.

But we are also told that many noble youths,
sons of counts and barons, joined the proces-
sions which they saw marching past their cas-
tellated homes. There were peculiar reasons
why they were susceptible to the appeals of the
prophets, and were seized with desire to take
part in the enterprise. They had, from their
birth, associated with the knights and warriors
who had won fame and honor in the Crusades.
They had heard for years, as familiar themes of
conversation, of the brilliant deeds of brave
men, who themselves often narrated to them
their feats at Ascalon or at Tiberias. They
had also heard recalled most tenderly, as ob-
jects of envy, those who had fallen in the.
sacred cause. Accounts of the beauty of the
East and of the richness of its scenes, descrip-
tions of Jerusalem and of the Sepulchre, had
they again and again listened to, from those
who had been in those wonderful places. It



44 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

was unavoidable that influences such as these
should have a mighty effect upon the young. It
was nattral that they would think and dream
of the time when they might go in gorgeous
armor, on prancing chargers, so to act, that
they too might be spoken of as were the many
whose names were the household words of
chivalry.

Again, there were those who had lost their
fathers in the wars for the Cross, and they saw
on the wall the sword and shield which re-
minded them that they were heirs of a noble
fame. It would have been strange if such
children were not fond of reveries and antici-
pations of glorious deeds in the same cause.
Many had resolved that one day they would
take those honored weapons, and, seeking the
land hallowed by deathless memories, would
complete the work of their sires, or else sleep
by their side in the same consecrated earth.

Consequently, when such youths heard of
the armies of children assembling at the sum-
mons of Christ to rescue Palestine, they felt
that the time had come for the realization of
their cherished dream.) And when from the
hills whereon stood their homes, they saw the
processions pass with uplifted crosses and with
banners waved by the breeze which bore to

1 Lambert of Liége.



THE MINOR. PROPHETS. 45

their ears inspiriting songs of triumph, they
could not stay, but hurried to join the throng,
and either to assume positions as leaders, or as
willingly to obey the orders of some once de-
spised peasant. And so it happened that in
the bands hurrying to Stephen, was represented
many a name that had been honored in the
hosts of Godfrey and of Guiscard, of Louis VII.
and of Thibaut. ‘

Of course, the motives which led ‘the young
to join in these processions were not always the
purest or the most religious. Many gladly em-
braced the opportunity to escape from the re-
straints of home, and to secure freedom for their
evil tempers and desires. To them this was
not the golden chance to deliver the sepulchre
of Christ ; they cared not for its honor or for
the sufferings of its champions, it was only the
golden chance to gain a dreamed-of liberty from
parental rule.

But we may not deny that the mass were
stirred by feelings of a pious nature. Tothosein
the tender years of childhood it was a touching
tale, that of the grave of Jesus in the hands of
heathen, and the recital of the sufferings en-
-dured in its behalf could not fail to impress
them most strongly. All, therefore, who had
any piety were as ready for this summons as



46 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

tow for the spark, when urged to join in this
new Crusade, which was to be triumphant and
bloodless, Christ himself having appeared and
promised victory.

But we are told that many girls also joined
the companies which traversed the land. Some
statements seem to indicate that quite a large
proportion were of this sex... The same reasons
which prompted many of the boys, would in-
fluence them, and both inability to repel them
and willingness to have their numbers as great
as possible, would induce the leaders to tolerate
and encourage their accession.

And thus from their thousand homes they
came, when in the market-places, at the cross-
roads, by the way-side, the youthful prophets
preached their mission, and pictured the glory
of the cause as well as the certainty of its suc-
cess. From the battlemented castle on the
mountain, from the cheerless houses of the town
beneath, and from the miserable mud hovels
of the hamlet in the fields, rushed the deluded
children to swell the ranks of an army, from
whose weary march few would return again to
their homes.

But the excitement was not confined to the
children. Men and women joined the assem-

1 Rainer’s Chronicle.



THE MINOR PROPHETS. 47

bling bands in no small numbers, prompted
by a desire to rescue the Holy Land. They
thought this appeal stronger than any other
which had been made, and, while they were
indifferent to the summons of priests, they list-
ened eagerly to the call of the young prophets,
thinking that they thus embarked upon a Cru-
sade which had greater hopes and was to share
a different fate from those whose disasters had
desolated Europe. Even old age did not stand
entirely aloof. Men of gray hairs and of totter-
ing steps were seized with the contagion, and,
in their second childhood, imitated the ardor
and credulity of that which had long since
passed away.t

But many other men and women joined the
armies from motives of a baser nature. All
that were depraved in every sense found this
a rare chance for profit. Abandoned women
flocked in numbers in the expectation of fulfill-
ing their infamous plans and of robbing as well
as of ruining the youths. Thieves and sharp-
ers never had such easy prey, and they did not
neglect it. Every one whose disposition would
lead them to consider this an occasion for gain
or plunder, hurried to the rendezvous. Conse-
quently there were introduced into the assem-

1 Chron. Dead Sea; Rainer.



48 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

bling troops of pilgrims, elements which would
necessarily work their demoralization, and we
are not surprised when we find that that re-
sult ensued.

One may now see how motley was the com-
position of the numbers which the subordinates
of Stephen gathered and led to him. Thus can
we imagine the appearance of the bands which
journeyed through the various districts, contain-
ing boys and girls, nobles and peasants, old and
young, men and women, pious dupes and crafty
thieves, praying pilgrims and vilest wretches.

IV.
Opposition and its Results.

It was not to be expected that such a move-
ment could continue long without attracting
the notice of the government. The king at
this time was Philip Augustus, an unprincipled
man and treacherous toward foreign nations,
but generally an able and a wise ruler of his

own. His crimes against his allies, although he
justified them on the plea of regaining his rights,
resulted in the elevation of France, which at his
death was united and strong.

When he first heard of the rising of the chil-
dren, he seemed inclined to favor it, probably



OPPOSITION AND ITS RESULTS. 49

hoping that it might result in the arousing of
the people to enlist in the Crusade and so
enable him to obey the Pope, whom he was
desirous to please that he might humiliate John
of England, while, at the same time, it would
save him the trouble of collecting an army for
the purpose.

But the matter soon grew serious, and his
counsellors urged upon him that it was no tem-
porary delusion of limited extent, but that the
interests of the realm demanded its suppres-
sion, for not only would it carry away the youth
to destruction, but it would also produce con-
fusion, disorder, and pillage. As Philip was
endeavoring to reorganize and consolidate his
kingdom, these representations succeeded in
making him direct his attention to the move-
ment. Yet it was a delicate thing to under-
take to suppress a Crusade, although an affair.
of children. “It might be really ordered by God,
he reasoned, and the Pope might also take it
under his protection and forbid all restraints
upon it. It was a perplexing question, and
therefore he referred it to the newly established
University of Paris, that their wisdom might
guide him.

After a consultation, in which they had to
meet the fact that they might be accused of

4



50 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

heresy, and where, in such an age of supersti-
tion, the natural advice would have been that
given by Gamaliel to the Sanhedrim, the doc-
tors gave the sensible reply that the movement
should be stopped, and, if needful, vigorous
measures should be used. Accordingly the
King issued an edict, commanding the children
to return to their homes and abandon the mad
enterprise. Whether he had received the letter
which Stephen showed, we are not told. Ifhe
had, he doubtless gave little heed to its alleged
authorship, as from the Saviour.

But his decree had little effect. The matter
had gone too far to be arrested by a command.
Few could be found who wished, or who dared
to enforce it,and it was unnoticed, except by
those who were influenced to obey it, or by
others who were glad to have an excuse for
leaving the assembling bands, being already
homesick and weary.

The King does not seem to have concerned
himself any further about the affair, but in his
many cares suffered his edict to remain un-
enforced. It may be that he was unable to
carry it out, from want of instruments or from
fear of the people. At any rate, the children
continued to assemble unimpeded.

1 Concerning the King’s conduct, see, among others, Chron.
of Laon.



OPPOSITION AND ITS RESULTS. 51

There were naturally other influences brought
to bear upon the young to restrain them. Par-
ents who had not been carried away by the
frenzy, did not like to see their sons and
daughters running to unknown dangers and
hardships. Their reason as well as their affec-
tion moved them to interfere. Yet persuasions,
threats, and punishments were all as vain as
had been the King’s command. Bolts and
bars could not hold the children. If shut up,
they broke through doors and windows, and
rushed, deaf to appeals of mothers and fathers,
to take their places in the processions, which
they saw passing by, whose crosses and ban-
ners, whose censers, songs, and shouts, and
paraphernalia seemed, like the winds of torrid
climates, to bear resistless infection. If the chil-
dren were forcibly held and confined so that es-
cape was impossible, they wept and mourned,
and at last pined, as if the receding sounds
carried away their hearts and their strength. It
was necessary to release them, and saddened
parents saw them exultingly depart, forgetting to
say farewell. Regardless of the severance of
tender ties, they ran to enlist in those deluded
throngs that knew not whither they went.!

Opposition was also made by the faithful

1 Roger de Wendover and Rainer.



52 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

among the clergy. Knowing the certain issue
of the scheme, and having hearts unwilling
to see the young overcome by inevitable dis-
asters, they endeavored to check the excitement.
But their efforts were also vain, for opposed to
them were others, the crafty and unprincipled
priests, and the emissaries of the Pope, who re-
joiced in the affair, because it was a means
to excite the adults. Accordingly the cry of
heresy was raised if any pious pastor used en-
treaty or earnest warning, and he was accused
of frustrating a holy cause. The people who
believed in the delusion caught up the cry, and
children adopted it, until opposition was si-
lenced. In this way, between the designs of
those who were to gain by the movement, the
superstition of the masses, and the enthusiasm
of the children, there was enough to overcome
all efforts “> arrest the.daily increasing excite-
ment.

The serious and right-minded among the
people were at a loss to understand so unpre-
cedented a phenomenon, and endeavored to
account for it in various ways. The generally
received belief was that it was the result of
magic, the devil’s agency, the cause assigned
for all remarkable and inexplicable events in
these ages. To this did the University of



OPPOSITION AND ITS RESULTS. 53

Paris attribute it, and more than one chronicler
quietly says, as a matter beyond question, that
Satan was the author and guide of the affair.

But among the many stories invented to ac-
count for the event, is one that, although beyond
all probability, yet is so strange that it deserves
a passing notice, illustrating, as it does, the
sentiment of the times.

It is said by one chronicler, who believed
it, that many held that the “old man of the
mountain” had liberated two enslaved clerks,
and sent them to France to bring back an army
of children, as the price of their liberty, and
that these had originated the present under-
taking.

This mysterious personage was the chief of
the Assassins, who dwelt in an impregnable
castle ona mountain in Syria. This sect of Mo-
hammedans flourished for a short time, and they
were the terror of the world, on account of their
wonderful devotion to their master, who hired
them out to those desiring their services, and,
in the execution of whose orders, treachery was
praiseworthy, danger was despised, and slaugh-
ter their habitual practice. The stealthiness
and. secrecy of their proceedings, and their
remorseless thirst for blood, has caused their
name to be adopted as the appellation of delib-



54 THE RISING IN FRANCE,

erate murderers. In order to secure such ser-
vants, who were called Avsacide, the chief
trained them from infancy, by an education
wherein every emotion of a tender nature was
stifled, and fear of disgrace and of death obliter-
ated. For such purposes, was it said, did he
wish some children of France, and the hosts
which were assembling were to be his prey.
The horror in which the people stood of this
man, led them to believe the story. It is curi-
ous, and awakens memories of our own days of
childish credulity, to find that the reigning “old
man of the mountain” at this time, was the
famous Aladdin, the story of whose wonderful
lamp is told in the “ Arabian Nights.” 1

Still the movement went on, reproved by a
few, applauded by many; variously regarded
as the work of God or of Satan. Through the
cities and hamlets, by the Seine and the Ga-
ronne, were seen the bands, marching with their
banners, singing their songs, and telling how
they were “ going to God andto get the Cross
in Holy Palestine.”

As they passed by, the laborers left the fields
and the artisans the shops; all business was
suspended, and they who did not join their

1 Vincent de Beauvais explains the movement in this way,
and Jourdain thinks it not improbable.



OPPOSITION AND ITS RESULTS. 55

numbers crowded to see them, in curiosity or
in admiration. They were housed and fed for
nought. Many gave this aid from kindness,
others from sympathy in the enterprise, while
few dared deny to such numbers any request
which they might make. And so, before long,
the various prophets could send word to Ste-
phen that they would bring avast army for him
to command and to lead.

But, as the nature of the narrative requires
that we follow the order of time, we now leave
France in the ferment of the gathering, and
turn to describe events which transpired in
Germany. These we will trace to their end,
and then return to Stephen and his followers.



CHAPTER III.
THE GATHERING OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN.

Tue tidings of the preaching of Stephen and
of his celestial mission were quickly carried east-
ward, and pilgrims returning from St. Denys
told of him in Burgundy and Champagne,
whence the story spread to the lands along the
Rhine. The people here had been subject to
the same attempts to arouse them to interest
in the Crusades which the French had experi-
enced, and were as ready for the new delu-
sion when it came, thanks to the activity of
the papal emissaries with their litanies and
their addresses.

In a village near Cologne, whose name has
not been recorded, there lived a boy who was
to be the apostle of this Crusade in Germany,
and play the part which Stephen acted in
France. He was born in about the year 1200,}
and had been familiar with the prevailing ex-
citement from his infancy, so that now he was

1 Sicardi says he was “a boy less than ten years old.”



GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 57

full of interest in the Crusades, and at once was
seized with a desire’to emulate the young
prophet of Cloyes, when the fame of this latter
reached his ears.

Nicholas, for we know no other name, is
said to have been induced to assume the part
of a prophet to preach the new Crusade by the
influence of his father. It was not now a crafty
priest, but a parent, who, knowing the precocity
and the zeal of his son, saw that he would bea
proper one to imitate the example of Stephen,
and worked upon his young mind until the
boy believed himself called by God to the task.
The motive which influenced the father may
have been a desire to see his child famous and
great, that he might enjoy the reflected honor ;
or it may have been desire to profit by the
event, and to rob the deluded victims ot his
work, This latter prompting is the one that
was ascribed to him by the people, for the old
monk who saw all the progress of the affair,
tells us that he was “a very wicked man ;” and
the people of the region have left on record
their opinion of his character in the summary
vengeance that they meted out to him when
the results of his work were apparent, as we will
see at the close of the story.

Probably directed by his father, Nicholas



58 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

went to Cologne, and there preached his mis-
sion. There were the same reasons to rec-
ommend it as a suitable place for the purpose,
which made St. Denys such for Stephen ; it was
a great national shrine.

Old Colonia had long been a great and in-
fluential city, but it rose into new prominence
when, in 1162, it became the religious centre
of Germany. At that time its archbishop, Ray-
nuldus, brought back as his share of the plunder
from his clerical foray with Barbarossa to sack
Milan, among other articles not mentioned, the
bones of the “ Three Kings of the East.” The
legend of these who came “with a great multi-
tude of camels to worshippe Christ, then a little
childe of thirteen dayes olde,” is one of the most
noted of the mediaeval myths. The history of
these particular bones, whether those of the
Magi or not, begins with their removal to Con-
stantinople by Helena, who discovered so many
valuable relics of a sacred nature. The emperor
Eustorgius took them from their shrine in Santa
Sophia, and gave them to the archbishop of Mi-
lan, from whence Raynuldus carried them to his
city in patriotic zeal. Fora while they reposed
in a splendid shrine in the cathedral which
Charlemagne had built, until the present grand
edifice was constructed, where they still re-



GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 59

main. From the very first there was great de-
votion paid to them, and the revered skele-
tons ! listened as patiently to the supplications
addressed by the Germans, as they had to those
which they had heard in Italy or Byzantium,
yielding as ready attention, in a forgiving spirit,
to those who had gained possession of them by
war and robbery, as they had to those to whom
they had been presented as gifts. Rightly or
wrongly won, relics always hear the prayers of
their de facto owners. This is a curious fact
connected with them.

In their common interest in this sacred
place, the adherents of Otho and of Frederick
forgot their feuds and quarrels, so that it was
never more frequented than now, when Nicho-
las went thither to proclaim his call to the great
work of rescuing Palestine by children.

What we know of his labors there is told us
by Godfrey, an eye-witness, the compiler of a
chronicle of that city. He was a monk, one of
those who passed their lives in quiet cloisters,
noting down events which transpired around
them, illuminating missals, and praying venera-
ble prayers.

According to his aggravatingly short record,

1 It has been discovered that one skull is that of a child,
having milk teeth.



60 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

Nicholas came to Cologne and at once began
to preach. He had, as had his French brother,
a story to tell of a supernaturally received
charge, which was readily believed, as a confir-
mation of his claims on their attention. He
said that, as he was tending his flocks in the
field, he saw a cross of blazing light in the sky,
and heard a voice which told him that it was
the pledge of his success in the holy war. His
father had probably heard of the history of
Constantine, or it was related to him by some
priest who had found him a credulous tool.
Through the throngs that filled the city he
moved, telling what he was to do, or preach-
ing from elevated stations to the gaping pil-
grims, who, having swallowed the story of the
bones, were ready for his lesser fable. The
people and the children had been familiar with
the incendiary labors of the envoys of Inno-
cent, and the latter were as excited as those
of France by the scenes which appealed to
their ignorant and unreasoning minds. He
therefore found the way paved for his success,
The scene was still more suggestive and appro-
priate for the theme than even St. Denys had
been. He could point to the shrine of the Wise
Men, glittering with gold and jewels, and sur-
rounded by precious votive offerings of undis-

x



GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. O61

turbed pilgrims, and comparing this with the
state of the sepulchre of that One, to their con-
nection with whose history these men owed all
their fame, ask if the children he saw, as well as
the adults, were not as ready as those of France
to endeavor to rescue the holier tomb from its
ignominy, under the guidance of him whom
the Lord had chosen to lead his servants
thither.

We can imagine the scene presented during
these days of the spring of 1212, when Nich-
olas was gathering his followers and pleading
his claims. We can see him by the door of
the old Byzantine cathedral, which disappeared
soon after that date, standing on a platform or
on a pile of stones, addressing the crowds in
motley attire who came to worship, and whose
many quaint dialects and curious dresses repre-
sented the different regions whence they had
journeyed. They listened eagerly as he spoke,
and discussed among themselves the new won-
der. What stories were related of similar prod-
igies which had been the theme of local pride
in many a remote village! What debates as
to the probabilities of the success of this new
prophet! What expressions of hope that this
might solve the mystery which hung over the
fate of many friends who had been hurried away



62 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

to the wars at the command of the baron who
was their lord! What eager thanks to God for
his interference to end the cruel and hopeless
struggle for the holy places ! Thus can we fancy
the manifestation of the interest of the throngs
that our little boy, so precocious and enthu-
siastic, addressed. Among them we see old
Godfrey moving, in his brown robe and sandals.
He has come out to see how this restless, tur-
bulent world is getting on, whose turmoil does
not reach the seclusion and stagnation of the
cloisters of St. Pantaleon, and is noting down
in his mind the strange things he sees, that
he may return to muse in his cell, or beneath
some tree in the slumberous garden of the con-
vent, upon the follies ofmen. At evening he will
record, in his precious manuscript, along with
the events of greater interest pertaining to the
history of his peaceful asylum, what he deems
worthy of mention among mundane affairs.
The oblivion which covers all these busy
scenes is well represented by the change that
has come over the shrine of the Wise Men,
which is edifying to the traveller who visits
Cologne to-day. A century or more ago, the
shrine—a golden box of great value which
contains the. bones —— was removed from the
chief place in the cathedral to the eastern end,



GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 63

where, though more confined, there was room
enough for the devotees who came in vastly di-
minished numbers to worship where hosts had
once knelt. But as the “ages of faith” became
more and more remote, the numbers lessened.
The days of pilgrimage were ended, save for
a few stragglers that still lingered in the rear of
the vanished crowds. Fewer and fewer they
became, until one day the last. faithful, credu-
lous soul, whom we would love if we knew him,
knelt alone, solitarily told his beads in lowest
murmur, asked some petition which came from
a heavy heart, then rose and went away, utter-
ing an “Amen” that closed the prolonged
prayer of centuries.

The officials of the cathedral, wisely judging
that the space might be better appropriated, and
the remains be so arranged that the pilgrimages
of curiosity, which took the place of those of
piety, might be. made profitable, moved the
bones to a corner, where they are kept in a
room, to which admittance is gained, not by a
prayer, but by a thaler. The writer not long
ago examined the gorgeous casket in company
with a number of nineteenth-century priests,
who calmly and curiously talked of its carvings
and adornments, and, without a genuflection,
looked at the smooth skulls which the attend-
ant exposed by opening a sliding panel.



64 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

But let us come back to Nicholas and other
days. From Cologne the excitement spread,
as from St. Denys, by means of those who
sought their different homes. The extent of
country, however, in which the children rose,
was limited, owing to the prevailing dissensions
of a civil nature, and because the Emperor
found it a part of his policy to suppress the
matter where he could, and thus thwart the
Pope, as well as retain his people for his armies.
Yet, within the limits of the vicinity of the
Rhine and the neighboring land of Burgundy,
the commotion was greater than in France, as
is shown by the proportionately greater num-
ber that flocked to the Crusade.

Nicholas was aided by other youths, who
acted as lieutenants, and labored to gather ad-
herents in their various districts, hoping to
hold positions of rank. Of their names we
have none preserved ; so many other and higher
sounding ones occupied the pens of the chroni-
clers that these were overlooked.

Very noticeable is one feature of the appeals
which Nicholas and his assistants used, The
triumph promised and expected was one of
peace. The Holy Land was not to be won by
battle nor restored to the Christian king by the
slaughter of the Mohammedans, but the latter



GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 65

to be converted, and to accept, as believing sub-
jects, the rule of the faith they had hated. In
strange and touching contrast does this spirit
stand out among the cruel and bloody memo-
ries of the time. It awakens a peculiar interest
to read that when they marched from place to
place, gathering adherents, their watch-word
was one so different from the barbarous and
ruthless mottoes which expressed the temper of
Crusaders, for they sang, “We go to get the
cross beyond the sea, and to baptize the Moslem
infidels !”}

The excitement spread rapidly from town to
town and from village to village, so that the
bands which the “minor prophets” collected
were rapidly recruited, and successively led to
the rendezvous at Cologne. The mania in-
creased daily and overcame opposition. For
opposition was made to those who would follow
the young preachers, but with the same results
as in France. Parents, friends, and pastors
. sought to restrain them by force or appeal, but
they whose hearts were set upon the enter-
prise mourned and pined so, that we are told
their lives were frequently endangered as by
disease, and it was necessary to allow them to
depart. Many hoped that at last, at Cologne,

1 Gest. Trevirorum ; Godfrey and others.

5



66 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

the delusion would end, and various causes dis-
perse the assemblage.

The composition of the gathering bands
was as motley as that of the companies that
were collected for Stephen,— probably more so.
There were numbers of unprincipled creatures
that joined the ranks, led by various base mo-
tives, to gratify their propensity to thieving or
to lust, and all the refuse of the region seems to
have been drained, as we would naturally ex-
pect. It was an opportunity for such persons
that was too good and too rare to be lost, and
it was not lost. The number of depraved
women that mingled with the armies was, it is
told us, especially great, and to them is attrib-
uted the greater part of the evils which ensued.
The chroniclers refer frequently to them, and
present a dark picture of the morals of the
time.1 We can well imagine how the people
dreaded the approach of these bands. They
not only feared lest their young would be car-
ried away by the infection, which no authority
or ties could overcome, but because with them
came such a lawless, demoralizing rabble, that
would steal and rob with impunity.

Nevertheless, the vast majority were prompt-

1 Jac. de Voragine says: “Multi autem inter eos erant filii
nobilium, quos ipsi etiam cum meretricibus destinarant.”



GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 67

ed by good, though mistaken motives. There
were many reasons which would lead multi-
tudes to a sincere desire to liberate the sepul-
chre of the Saviour, and purify his tomb from
pagan control, and such as these were ready to
undertake and to endure anything in order to
promote that end. This swayed, undoubtedly,
the mass of those children who persisted in the
enterprise, while of course some were ruled by
ambition or by desire for independence of the
restraints of home.

With regard to the station of those who were
gathered in the movement, there was great
variety, all ranks being represented, led by
promptings which appealed to each. There
was a larger proportion of children of noble
birth than was the case in France. Germany
was always more alive to chivalrous excitement,
and her nobility were more numerous. The
country, particularly along the romantic Rhine,
was studded with baronial halls, which were
nurseries of daring and of knightly feeling. All
the influences which would act on children of
the lords to embark in this Crusade were thus
especially potent, and there were more boys
here than in France ready to go and combat
the cruel Saracens, because a father or a brother
had fallen at their hands. Thus the excitement



68 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

ran through the upper class, and Cologne, the
home of many noble families, because a large
and imperial city, is said to have lost so many
children of rank, and to have furnished so many
scions on whom fair hopes were placed, that
the effects of the movement were felt for a long
time after it had died away.

As to age, there were very many adults in
the assembling crowds, as we gather from va-
rious statements of the chroniclers, and not only
of those who joined them from lower motives,
but many such were seized with the crusading
spirit. They had become weary of the vain
attempts to succeed in this terrible war, which
had been made in the usual way; and this new
plan at once was regarded by them as that de-
vised by God, and destined to triumph, where,
very evidently, ordinary warfare was not to
achieve the result.

We are told, as an interesting feature, which
shows that some attempt was made at disci-
pline, that a uniform was generally adopted.t
It was an adaptation of the usual costume of pil-
grims. They assumed a long coat, when pos-
sible, of a gray color, and upon the breast was
sewn a cross, as customary with the Crusaders ;
for they claimed this character as well as that

1Jac. de Voragine.



GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 69

of pilgrims. This latter aspect was further en-
hanced by the carrying of a palmer’s staff, and
on their heads they wore broad-brimmed hats.
There were many who but partially, if at all,
adopted this costume, because they would not
or could not procure it. Such a simple and
quaint attire must have made a pleasing effect
when a group marched by.

In this way was the region around Cologne
kept in a state of ferment, as the bands con-
tinued to arrive at this central point, where
Nicholas awaited them, until the time came for
their departure for the Holy Land. Little over
a month could have elapsed before the assem-
bling was completed, and the various leaders
had their recruits ready for the start, whether
in the always crowded city, now doubly full, or
in the towns and villages around. The great-
ness of the numbers collected in this brief
period shows the enthusiasm of the movement,
That it must have been so brief, is seen from
the facts that Stephen began his work in the
Spring, then the tidings spread to the Rhine;
after this the gathering took place here, and
these children marched to the Mediterranean,
yet they reached that sea- before the middle of
August. —

We now proceed to the next step in the



7O GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

prosecution of the Crusade, or pilgrimage. But
here our narrative divides, for there was a divis-
ion of the host assembled at Cologne, into two
armies. The fate of that which started under
the leadership of Nicholas will be first traced,
and afterwards we will return to the fortunes
of the other.



CHAPTER IV.

THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

I.
Zo the Alps.

One fair morning of June or July, in the year
of grace 1212, our friend Godfrey, monk of St.
Pantaleon, probably saw a strange scene, to
which we have now come in the course of this
narrative. Let us follow him out of the city,
and witness with him what he beheld as the
sun was gilding the towers of the churches,
and still casting the long, westward-stretching
shadows of early morning. Or, better, let us
take our place on the walls, where we may
stand, surrounded by eager crowds, and over-
look the spectacle.

Upon the plain before us is a dense, waving
concourse of people, who issue from streets and
lanes by the open gates, or who come from
neighboring villages by paths and roads _bor-
dered by hedges still glistening with the dew.
All ages and both sexes are represented, and



72 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

all are intent upon some important matter, as
their motions and their murmurs tell. In the
mingled sounds which come to us, we perceive
at times the refrain of a song, or the noise of
altercation, while we hear also the lamentations
of others, whose gestures express great sorrow.
As we watch the scene, a discrimination is in
progress, and many join the forming ranks of
an army, whose insignia and banners become
visible in regular array. At length all is ready.
Nicholas takes his place as leader, and at a
given signal the compact mass moves away, still
followed by friends who would not cease to seek
to arrest their beloved ones, and by the amazed
eyes of the throngs upon the walls. Vain had
been the efforts to stop the enterprise by par-
ents, priests, and rulers. Too confident to be
dissuaded, too reliant on their numbers to be
intimidated, too elated to be discouraged, this
band of twenty thousand children? commenced
its march toward Palestine. We watch them
from our station, as they recede, until, behind
some hill, the procession disappears, and the
sound of their songs and their shouts sinks into
silence in the distance.

Their route lay along the Rhine. This region
was not then, as now, densely peopled and ren-

1 Fasciculus Temporum.



‘TO THE ALPS. 73

dered romantic by frequent, picturesque ruins.
It was almost a wilderness then, with an occa-
sional castle rising from lofty crags that bear at
present but a- shattered tower or crumbling
walls. Upon the lordly Drachenfels, which
stands as a sentinel at the portal of the valley of
the Rhine, was the home of a wild Baron, whose
relics are now the peaceful loitering place of
the tourist ; and, as he saw the children wind
across the fields, beyond the river, there arose
in his mind pleasant thoughts of plunder. It
was a subject of congratulation to the latter,
that the Rhine rolled between them and those
grim walls. At Rolandseck was Roland’s
Tower, which then, as now, looked down upon
Nonnenwerth’s beautiful green isle, cradled in
the river. Gutenfels and Stahleck were the
homes of rough men and fair women, to whom
the lapse of centuries has given. associations
which are very poetical, but who found their
daily life as real and as prosaic as we find our
own. Rheinstein, from its vine-clad height,
frowned down upon the winding river which soon
disappeared in a gorge, where the superstitious
boatman saw in every nook and crevice an abode
of dragons or of sprites. Here dwelt then old
Siegfried, whose name is linked with many a
weird legend. And thus were some of the storied



74 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

spots of this wonderful stream then marked by
castles above or towers below; but, generally,
the hill-sides, at present so cultivated, and
whence come to the tourist the songs of “ peas-
ant girls with dark blue eyes,” were covered
with dense forests, where wandered the stags
and boars, the wolves and bears, whose pursuit
formed, beside war, the only amusement of these
rude men of old.

As our children wander southward, let us seek
to describe the manner of their march, and their
experiences.

Of all the strange armies which those days
of strange sights had witnessed, this was the
most notable. There were no mailed soldiers,
who marched beneath feudal banners that had
waved over battle-fields in Europe and in Asia ;
there were no chargers that carried strong war-
riors who held well-used swords ; nor yet were
there pilgrims of mature years, who had set
out, unarmed, to pray in consecrated spots. It
was an army of children, who were actually
departing to recover possession of a land .in
whose behalf many a host had died in vain.
In the van we see Nicholas, probably accom-
panied by an escort and attendants. Then
the line stretches with varying regularity for
several miles, and, over the uniformed ranks



TO THE ALPS. 75

of little ones, rise the crosses and banners
that are proudly carried. We see, among the
numbers, the many adults who desired to share
the glory of the enterprise or to plunder and
corrupt. There were women who came to
profit in their baseness or suffer in their weak-
ness, and girls who were destined to a bitter
lot of shame, instead of a rest in Palestine.
And priests and monks were there, some to
rob, and some to pray. But the mass were.
boys of about twelve years of age! They gave
character to the army, and it is with them that
we are concerned. They came from mansion
and from hovel, from luxury and from want ;
the pedigree of princes was possessed by those
who walked by the side of humble serfs.

As they marched along, they beguiled the
time with narrative and song. As to the for-
mer, there was among them a store which was
not soon exhausted.

The children from the castle told of knightly
deeds by men of famous names, and to the
more credulous peasants, repeated what they
had so often heard from their proud kindred,
who had won such fame in conflict. They who
had never before spoken with the despised
boor, forgot their station, and wearied not to

1 Sicardi.



76 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

answer questions concerning the life of the no-
ble born, which had been almost as sacred and
revered in the cabins of the lowly as the associ-
ations of the Holy Land. The serf-child could
only tell of obscurer feats of arms and of less
exalted deeds, which his kindred had known;
but yet each was ready to hear the wonderful,
stories of the other. In this way, throughout
the host, the spirit of the cause was kept alive,
and their minds were inflamed into resolution to
surpass the achievement of squire, and knight,
and baron. The fame of the heroes who had
fallen, to be immortal in song, or who had sur-
vived to receive the love: of woman and the
envy of man, was yet to pale before the lustre
of the deeds of God’s own army.

And songs, too, whiled away the tedioug
hours of wandering, as well as aided in sustain-
ing their spirits. Chroniclers expressly say
that singing formed a marked feature in their
journey. They sang many lyrics which re-
turned pilgrims and warriors had taught them,
but which, it is sad to say, have been lost.
They also composed many of their own, which
have shared the same fate. It is natural to
wish most earnestly that some of these had
survived, that thence we might learn something
of the children’s feelings, and that we might



TO THE ALPS. 77

enter into a fuller sympathy with them, in read-
ing the words which conveyed their emotions.
But, although we have not the language of these
songs, we can well imagine their themes. The
constant subjects were the restoration of the
Holy Sepulchre, and the glory of that triumph.
We need not labor much to realize the ardor
which nerved them to endure fatigue, when,
their little hearts bounding with excitement,
they shouted in spirited tunes the expressions
of the hopes and dreams of years.

From the oblivion of ages there has survived,
however, only one of the hymns which were
‘sung by them. It was brought by the recruits
from Westphalia, and had been sung by many
a pilgrim before, on the way to Palestine. Its
words and air, so well adapted to this present
assemblage, made it popular, and it delights the
Christian of to-day by the evidence which it
affords that there lingered yet some apprecia-
tion of the truth of the Gospel, some love to the
Saviour. It seems as a gleam of light in the
darkness of the age. Listen, then, children of
the nineteenth century, to words which other
children sang, as they marched along the Rhine,
nearly eight hundred years ago.

Let us quote it first in the original, in which
these little crusaders were wont to sing it, having
modernized its antique German : —



78

THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

“ Schoénster Herr Jesus,
Herrscher aller Erden,
Gottes und Maria Sohn ;
Dich will ich lieben,
Dich will ich ehren,
Du, meiner Seele Freud’ und Kron !

“ Schon sind die Felder,
Noch schoner sind die Walder,
In der schénen Friihlingszeit ;
Jesus ist schoner,
Jesus ist reiner,
Der unser traurig Herz erfreut.

“ Schon leuchtet die Sonne,
Noch schoéner leuchtet der Monde,
Und die Sternlein allzumal ;
Jesus leuchtet schoner,
Jesus leuchtet reiner,
Als all’ die Engel im Himmelsaal.”

TRANSLATION.

“Fairest Lord Jesus,
Ruler of all nature,
Thou of Mary and of God the Son!
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor,
Thee my soul’s glory, joy, and crown!

“ Fair are the meadows,
Fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring :
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer,
Who makes our saddened heart to sing.



TO THE ALPS. 79

“ Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And the sparkling, starry host ;
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.”

How welcome is such a hymn from the past
ages, and how does it add to our interest in these
youths who used it !4

Thus singing their songs, they passed on
southwards, seeking Palestine. But it is nat-
ural to inquire if they did not know that the
Mediterranean intervened ; and if so, how did
they expect to cross it? Did their leaders not
have an answer ready for this question? We
find, as a feature of curious interest, that they
who had excited and promoted the Crusade, had
promised that the Lord would provide a path-
way through that great sea to the land beyond
its waters. Availing themselves of a home
argument, they pointed to the fearful drought
which is recorded to have prevailed that Sum-
mer, as evidence from Heaven that the army

1 For an account of the discovery of this hymn, see Zvan-
gelical Christendom for May, 1850. This was a magazine for-
merly issued in London, and to its'editors I am indebted for
a copy. The hymn has since been. published in various col-
lections of sacred music in the above version, which is that

made by the author of the article in the magazine referred to.
Hecker asserts that it was used by the children.



80 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

was to pass, like Israel’s hosts, through the
sea, for they said that the Mediterranean was
drying up for this end. This was asserted in
reply to the natural objections that there would
not be enough vessels to carry such a vast num-
ber, or that, if they were obtained, the young
pilgrims would lack money to pay for their
transportation and their food. The story was
believed, and the children were buoyed up and
encouraged on the march by the anticipation
of so signal an interference in their behalf.
Surely, said they, if we are thus to triumph over
the deep waters, as did the people of God in old
times, we must win an equal success, and rest
in the same land, by virtue of the same divine
aid.

They journeyed onward through the domains
of the lords and nobles who owed allegiance
to France, or to the Empire. Their fame may
have preceded them, or it may not, yet their
arrival was always the signal of commotion in
every village, where they won new recuits from
the astonished and enraptured children. Each
member of the host told, in his own words, the
same tale of a celestial call and of a certain suc-
cess, and repeated, with embellishments of his
own invention, the appeal in behalf of the de-
filed Tomb of Christ. If night overtook them



TO THE ALPS. 8I

by any town or hamlet, they sought shelter
where they could find it. One chronicler tells
us that no city on the way could contain the
army. Some slept in houses, where the kind-
hearted or the sympathizing invited them to
rest ; others reposed in the streets and market-
places; while they who could find no space
within, lay down without the walls. But if, as
was generally the case, the darkness found them
in the open country, they passed the night in
the barns and hovels, under the trees of the
forest, or on the green bank of some stream,
and the angel of sleep closed their heavy eye-
lids under the starlight. The day’s march was
wearisome to little ones who had never before
been out of sight of home, and therefore they
soon fell asleep, wherever it was. When morn-
ing came, they ate whatever they had in their
wallets or what they begged or bought as they
went. The line of march was again formed, the
banners unfurled, the crosses uplifted, and, with
the morning song they began another day of
fatigue. At noon they rested by some brook to
eat their scanty meal and quench their thirst,
and again started to wander on through the
quiet hours of afternoon, until the welcome sun-
set reminded them that they had passed an-
other stage of their journey to distant — O, so

distant !— Palestine.
6



82 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

But their great trials soon began. After
what we have learned of the mingled elements
in the army, it does not surprise us to learn that
the evil-disposed spread every kind of misery,
and that there ensued all sorts of demoraliza-
tion. Those children who had any money were
robbed or cheated of it, and they who had only
food in their wallets soon had that stolen by
the hangers-on and thieves. The depraved
men and women gave way to their passions, °
so that vice grew daily, and parts of the camp
became scenes of sin and lust. The disorders
were increased by the rivalries of subordinate
leaders, until at last they moved on, but little
more than a loose, lawless concourse, without
chiefs and without discipline. Consequently,
they were at the mercy of those who for vari-
ous reasons saw fit to molest them, and with
impunity the wild barons could swoop down
upon them from their fastnesses, and seize as
many as they would, to hold them in harsh or
basest servitude.

They reached at length the territory now
called Switzerland, but which was then a con-
glomeration of petty lordships, most of them be-
ing subject to the Duke of Burgundy, but many
belonging to the Emperor. Threading its beau-
tiful valleys, and passing along its foaming rivers,



Full Text




ae ava
Beas Scene
1




wa
ei a eal
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ni


THE



AN EPISODE OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY.

BY

GEORGE ZABRISKIE GRAY.









































ee Tt

NEW YORK:
PUBLISHED BY HURD AND HOUGHTON.
Cambritge: Ribersite Press. ~
1870,

1
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
GrorGe ZaBRISKIz GRAY,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE:
STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BY
H. O. HOUGHTON AND COMPANY.


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Rubr. Hic vide perigrinacionem puerorum et qualiter per
incantaciones sunt decepti.

Illis temporibus stupendum quid crevit.

Mundoque mirabilis truffa inolevit.

Nam sub boni specie malum sic succrevit.

Arte quidem magica ista late sevit.

Ruby. Hic est carmen quod ubique cantabatur.

Nycolaus famulus Christi transfretabit.

Et cum innocentibus Ierusalem intrabit.

Mare siccis pedibus securus calcabit.

Juvenes et virgines caste copulabit.

Ad honorem Domini tanta perpetrabit.

Quod pax jubilacio Deo laus sonabit.

Paganos et perfidos omnes baptizabit.

Omnis in Jerusalem carmen hoc cantabit.

Pax nunc christicolis Christus proximabit.

Et redemptos sanguine mire collustrabit.

Nycolai pueros omnes coronabit.

Rubr. Talis devocio ante hec non est audita.

Aures cunctis pruriunt virgines ornantur.

Annos infra sedecim evangelizantur.

Concurrentes pueri certant ut sequantur.

Et rumare viderant casso consolantur.

Ungarus Theutunicus Francus sociantur.

Boemus Lombardicus Brittoque conantur.

Flandria Vestfalia omnes federantur.
iv

Friso cum Norwagia cuncti conglobantur.
‘Prurit pes et oculus pueros venantur.

Mili de Brundusio virgines stuprantur.

Et in arcum pessimum passim venumdantur.
Risum luctus occopat digne Jamentantur.
Plorant matres ut Rachel nati morti dantur.
Vanitates hauriunt pueri fraudantur,

Anon. Chron. Rhythmicum,
i

PREEACE.

—~—

THERE are some minor episodes of history
that have not received the attention which they
seem to merit. Historians have been too much
occupied with events of greater importance, to
stop and explore these by-ways as they passed
them. The same reason led the chroniclers of
the times to preserve no more than scanty de-
tails concerning them, and consequently these
worthies often dismiss with a few words, inci-
dents that have more interest than others to
which they give many a dreary page.

This has been the case with the transaction
to which this volume is devoted. Although
pertaining to a sphere so interesting as the
child-life of other and remote days, yet it has
been almost forgotten. Many are not aware of
its occurrence. Some have regarded it as a

myth,
Vi PREFACE.

It is generally referred to, with varying full-
ness, in works that treat of the Crusades, but
not always with accuracy of statement. The
most copious accounts are given in Raumer’s
“ Geschichte der Hohenstaufen,” Herter’s “In-
nocent III.,” Menzel’s “ Deutschland,” Wilken’s
“ Kreuzziige,” Haken’s “Gemiilde der Kreuz-
ziige,” Sporschild’s “ Kreuzziige,” “ L’Esprit
des Croisades,” by Mailly, “ Histoire des Croi-
sades,” by Michaud, “ Influence des Croisades,”
by Choiseul d’Aillecourt, Mill’s “ History of the
Crusades,” and Hecker’s “ Child-pilgrimages.”
Many authors, in whose writings we would ex-
pect some reference to the subject, are entirely
silent concerning it.

But, otherwise than with the brevity neces-
sary to a casual mention in the course of his-
torical narratives, this theme has never been’
treated. As far as I can ascertain, it has never
been the subject of a volume, nor have the origi-
nal materials been thoroughly explored and ex-
hausted. A small Sunday-school book was pub-
lished several years ago, called “The Crusade
of the Children,” but it was merely a brief
fiction based upon the event.

all
PREFACE. vii

It is therefore because the field was untrod-
den, and because I thought that the story told
in its completeness would possess interest, that
I have written this book.

As regards the Chronicles that refer to the
event, a list is given of all that have yet been
found by others and by myself. For their
trustworthiness, it is sufficient for me that
such writers as Wilken, Herter, and Michaud
rely fully upon their statements. In the notes
I have not thought it necessary to give the
particular source of each fact in the course of
the narrative, but have only done so in the
case of those of prominence, or of those that
are peculiar.

Hecker regards it and treats it as one of
the “ Epidemics of the Middle Ages” of which
he writes. They who wish to view it in that
light, can consult his pages. It may seem to
some that to regard it as such, and to call it by
such a name, is to open the door for the admis-
sion into the list of diseases,of many transac-
tions that the world has been wont to view, not
in that way, but rather as the manifestations of
Vili PREFACE.

the universal “epidemics” of human ignorance
and folly.

I have sought to write in sympathy with the
little ones whose fortunes are followed in this
strange movement. It has been difficult to
restrain feelings produced by a vivid realization
of their chequered experiences. While I pored,
during several months, over the story, in quaint
and dusty chronicles, where even monkish Latin
warms with its theme, it seemed as if the chil-
dren’s songs were in the air, and their banners
in the breeze.

I hope that the attractiveness which the
theme has had in my eyes, may not have caused
me to overestimate too much the interest it
may have for others, and that they who read it
may find in its perusal some of the pleasure
which accompanied its composition.

G. Z. G.

TRINITY RECTORY, BERGEN PoInt, N, J.,
May, 1870.


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CONTENTS.

—e—

CHRONICLES CONSULTED AND QUOTED :
CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY . Pape hss
CHAPTER II.

THE RISING IN FRANCE. . doe ees
CHAPTER III.

THE GATHERING OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN

CHAPTER IV.
THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS . . . «

CHAPTER V.
THE ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER .

CHAPTER VI.
THE RETURN OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN

CHAPTER VII.
THE JOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN .

CHAPTER VIII.
THE TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA .

PACE
xi

23

71

108

122

129

- 167
x CONTENTS.
CHAPTER IX.

° PAGE

THE FATE OF THE LEADERS AND OF THE BETRAYERS 212

CHAPTER X.
ECCLESIA NOVORUM INNOCENTIUM . . . « 222

ISPPENDICES = 2-2) '. 0. 0 we ae


ot

2.

wm

ey

OOS

CHRONICLES ETC. CONSULTED AND
QUOTED.

—— $=

. Caffari, Annales Genuenses, ab anno 1101. Annals of Ge-

noa, by Caffari, a statesman of the time. To be found
in Muratori’s collection of chronicles, called ‘“ Rerum
Italicarum Scriptores.”

Sicardi, Episcopit Cremonensis Chronicon. The Chronicle
of Sicardi, Bishop of Cremona. Also in Muratori’s col-
lection.

. Godefridi Monachi Sancti Pantaleonis apud Coloniam Agrip-

pinam annales, ab anno 1162 ad annum 1237. The An-
nals of Godfrey, Monk of St. Pantaleon in Cologne.
Found in the collection called “ Rerum Germanicarum
Scriptores,” edited by Struve.

Alberti Abbatis Stadensis Chronicon a condita orbe usque ad
annum Christi 1255. Chronicle of Albert, Abbot of
Stade, from the Creation to A. D. 1256. Also in “ Re-
rum Germ. Scriptores.”

. Chronicon Cenolit Mortui Maris.. Chronicle of the Monas-

tery of the Dead Sea, from A. D. I113 to A. D. 1235.
Found in “ Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la
France.”

Anon. Chron. Rhythmicum. Anonymous Rhythmical
Chronicle. In Rauch’s “Rerum Austriacarum Scripto-
res.” Probably written by Jo. Benedictus Gentilotus.

Roger Bacon, Opus Maus.

Chron. Alberici Monachi Trium Fontium Leodinensis Dijo-
Xil

CHRONICLES.

cesis. Chronicle of Alberic, Monk of Liége. Found in
the “‘ Accessiones Historica” of Leibnitius, vol. ii.

9. Roger de Wendover’s Chronicle, commonly identified with

To.

If.

12.

SiGe

14.

15.

16.
17.

18.
19.
20.

2i.

that of Matthew of Paris, of which it is a sequel.

Fragment by an unknown author, prefixed to the Chronicle
“ Alberti Argentinensis,” found in the collection of Chris-
tian-Urstisius, called ‘‘Germanize Historici Ilustres.”

Chron. anon. Laudunense. Anonymous Chronicle of Laon.
Found in “ Recueil des Hist. des Gaules et de la France.”

Bibliotheca Mundi, Vincentit Burgundi Presulis Bellova-
censis, etc. Library of the World, by Vincent, Bishop
of Beauvais. Vol. iv., which is called Speculum Histo-
rviale.

Chron. Sythiense Sancti Bertini. Chronicle of St. Bertin,
by Jean d’Ypres. In “Recueil des Historiens des Gaules
et de la France.”

Chron. Sancti Medardi Suessuonis. Chronicle of St. Me-
dard’s Monastery at Soissons.

Lamberti Parvi, Leodinensis Sancti Facobi Monasterii Mon-
achi Chron. Chronicle of Lambert of Liége, continued
by another monk, Razer, by whose name it is often
called. Found in the collection compiled by Edmund
Martin and Ursinus Durand, called “ Veterum Scripto-
rum Monumentorum, historicorum, dogmaticorum, mor-
alium amplissima collectio.”

Gesta Trevirorum, in same collection.

Thome Cantipratant, Bonum universale de Apibus. Thomas
of Champré.

Ogerii Panis Chronicon. Chronicle of Ogerius. In Mu-
ratori’s collection. :

Petri Bizari, Senatus Populique Genuensis Historia. His-
tory of Senate and People of Genoa, by Peter Bizarus.

Magnum Chronicon Belgicum. ‘The Great Belgian Chron-
icle. Found in Pistori’s Collection of German Writers.

Fasciculus Temporum. In the same collection.
CHRONICLES. Xili

22. Gesta Dei per Francos. Deeds of God by the French.

23. Chronicon Argenteum. The Silver Chronicle. In Mura-
tori’s collection.

24. Fohn Massey's Chronicle.

25. Anonymous Chronicle of Strasburg.

26. Uberti Folieti Chron. Chronicle of Hubertus Folietus.

27. Chron. Senoniense. Chronicle of the Senones.

28. Chronicon de Civitate Fanuense, ed. a Fratre Facobo de Vo-
vagine. Chronicle of Genoa, by James of Vorago, or
Jacques de Vitry. In Muratori.

29. Chron. Rotomagense. Chronicle of Rouen.

30. Anon. Chron. Austriacum. Anonymous Austrian Chroni-
cle.

At least the first six Chronicles are contemporaneous, that
is, they contain information written by persons that lived at
the time of the Children’s Crusade. The others were com-
piled at later dates (nearly all within a short time after the
event), and their value is due to the fact that their materials
were drawn from other contemporaneous documents that now
are either destroyed or else cannot be found.

As editions of these works vary, it is unnecessary to state
the volumes or pages where reference is made to the Chil-
dren’s Crusade. It will be found by simply turning to the date
of the transaction, as the Chronicles narrate the events of each
year consecutively. I found many of the authorities in the
Astor Library. Some of them I consulted in the Imperial
Library in Paris. Several had never been explored.

Other authors whose names are given in the notes are
writers who have, in recent times, treated of the Crusades or
kindred subjects.
THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE.

—~—

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

I.

Tue Holy Land! What manifold associa-
tions cluster around that little spot of earth on
which break the blue waves of the Mediterra-
nean when they reach its easternmost limit!
Memories the most sacred, the most tender,
and the most thrilling, cause the very name to
call up before us a vista of the past such as no
other land possesses. As we muse on the
sound of the words, we hear the Singer’s harp
and the Prophet’s lyre, and we catch echoes of
the Apostle’s eloquence; there rise up memo-
ries of men and women whose stories are the
world’s best treasure ; the forms of Abraham,
of Samuel, of David, and of Isaiah sweep by
in majesty, and, after them, lovelier and loftier

than all, we see the figure of that One for whom
4
2 ‘ INTRODUCTORY.

they looked. O, what a land is that which has
felt the footsteps of Incarnate Deity!

What a history that land has seen of peace and
of turmoil, of freedom and of bondage, of glory
and of shame! Across it has the tide of con-
quest rolled in every age ; its plains have been
enriched by the blood of many a different race.
It lies before us, as we think of it, now in the
sunshine of the days when Ruth gleaned in its
fields, now in the splendor of Solomon’s rule,
and then we see its condition portrayed in that
medal which the Roman victors struck, where,
at the foot of a lonely palm, a weeping maiden
sits, and beneath which we read the mournful
words: Fudea Capta.

How many hearts have loved that land! Pa-
triotism in its most ardent forms has never
equalled the devotion that Israel’s children
have felt for Israel’s soil, When within its bor-
ders, they have loved it with an intensity that
made each hill a shrine, and the thought of leav-
ing it like the thought of death. When absent
from it, in their repeated exiles, their hearts
have gone out to its mountains and its valleys,
its skies and its streams, with yearnings that
could not be expressed. Wherever they have
sojourned, it has still been to them their only
home, and to-day, in every clime, a scattered
INTRODUCTORY. 3

nation loves it of all lands alone. They dream
of the promised time when it shall be their own
abode again, and, when their lives are closing,
they journey thither with tottering limbs, to die,
because they think the sleep of the grave is
sweeter there.

How many feet have sought that land! The
pathways to it from every part of earth have
been worn by the staves and the footsteps of
pilgrims. In the front we see the venerable
form of him who, “ when he was called to go
out into a place which he should after receive
for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out,
not knowing whither he went.” Thence, down
to these busier times, stretches the long pro-
cession of those that have travelled far, to
* kneel and to dwell on soil that, to the pious
heart, is like no other soil. And as it has been
in the past, it will be in the future. Oldest
shrines may be deserted, superstition may pass
away, but the sense of reverence and the power
of association will never so far perish that they
who have the Bible will no longer care to visit
the Holy Land.

Poets may tell us of romance, but there is
no romance like that of this consecrated Pales-
tine, — consecrated by the lives that have illu-
mined it, by the love that has been lavished on
4 INTRODUCTORY.

it, by the blood that has been shed for it, by
the Voice that has been heard in it! What
land is like that ancient Canaan, which, so fair
and so cherished, has given us all a name for
Heaven!

But of all the associations linked with that
magic name, none are more strange than those
of the wars for its liberation from the Moslem.
The Crusades alone would endue any land
with a deathless interest.

When the followers of the false Prophet had
overcome its feeble defenders, pilgrims still
sought Palestine, undeterred by the perils they
might meet. But as years passed by, they were
more and more oppressed and maltreated, so
that they who returned brought back to Europe
sad tales of suffering of the believers there, and
of increasing desecration of the spots con-
nected with the life and the passion of Imman-
uel. At length, in the eleventh century, these
reports became so numerous and so exciting,
that there ran throughout Christendom a thrill
of indignation. Then Peter the Herthit raised
his voice to plead for the deliverance of those
sacred scenes, and the response came from
every nation of Europe. Thus began those
wonderful wars, in which, with a devotion and
persistency that are unique in history, host
INTRODUCTORY. 5

after host assembled, fought, and died. Even
as the billows of the sea roll, one after another,
against a rocky coast, so did the noblest and
best of Europe’s life, for more than two hun-
dred years, rush against the exhaustless ranks
of Asiatic power, and as vainly. At times
success seemed near at hand, but the heathen
front rolled back the tide, and stood defiant
and unmoved at last.

It is with an episode in this war of ages that
we are now to be concerned. We are to tell
how, in this mighty movement, there was a
wave of child-life, to describe the part in that
undying love for the Holy Land and in the
weary seeking of its shores, that has been
taken by children’s hearts and by children’s
feet.

But before entering upon the theme, it
would be well to prepare the way by glancing
at certain points that suggest themselves, and,
first of all, let us review the history of the Cru-
sades, in order that we may perceive the causes
which led to the arousing of the young to
interest themselves in the struggle —

“To chase these pagans in those holy fields,
Over whose acres walk’d those blessed feet,
Which egghteex hundred years ago were nail’d
For our advantage to the bitter cross.”
6 INTRODUCTORY.

II.
State of the Cause of the Crusades.

During eighty-eight years Palestine had been
in the hands of the Crusaders, and Christian
kings had ruled in Jerusalem. But this episode
of romance and of glory was ended when, in
1187, Saladin routed the Christian armies at
Tiberias, after which all the land was subdued,
save a few strongholds over which there still rose
the banner of the Crusaders. This catastrophe
awakened grief and consternation throughout
Europe, and at once the third Crusade was un-
dertaken by the Germans under Barbarossa
and the English under Cceur de Lion. The
exploits of the two allied armies revived for a
while the drooping hopes of the Christians, but
soon there arose perfidy at home and treason in
the camp. . These did as much to render fruit-
less the achievements of Richard as did the
power and skill of Saladin. Consequently, at
the end of the campaign the Crescent waved
as defiantly as ever, over the land of Israel.

The fourth Crusade, from 1195 to 1198, led
by Henry VI. of Germany, was equally a failure.
There were gained some brilliant victories, but
dissensions divided the armies, and at last a
truce was made with the Mohammedans. It is
STATE OF THE CAUSE OF THE CRUSADES. 7

true that these victories made the Crusaders
masters of the sea-coast, but, when the armies
departed, the Christian king found himself in
possession of cities which he was unable to gar-
rison, and which he felt could be held only by
the sufferance of the enemy.

The fifth Crusade, preached in 1198, was per-
verted by the avarice of Venice and the ambi-
tion of its leaders, to the conquest of Constan-
tinople. The knights, plunged in the luxury
of that city, heeded not the appeals from Pales-
tine, but allowed the besieged and suffering, for
whose rescue they had enlisted, to linger and
die without an effort in their behalf. Fortress
after fortress was wrested from the Christians,
until at length there remained to the king,
John of Brienne, but the city of Ptolemais;
while to the north, only Tripoli and Antioch
owned the sway of their counts. The Sultan
was preparing a vast army with which these
feeble forces would soon be overcome. Then,
moved to desperation by the emergency, the
Christians sent to Europe a heart-rending cry
for help.

But Europe responded sluggishly to the ap-
peal. It was not until several years after the
ordering of the sixth Crusade by Innocent, that
an army departed for the scene of conflict.
8 INTRODUCTORY.

It was during this interval that the movement
of the young occurred, they having been aroused
by the measures taken by the Pope to excite
the people.

For these measures were varied as the energy
of the man would lead us to expect, and resulted
in a feverish excitement throughout Europe.
He wrote to the Sultans of Cairo and Damas-
cus, urging them to yield the contested land.
But his other efforts were of a more practical
nature. Priests and bishops were sent every-
where, to awaken enthusiasm by appeals, argu-
ments, and threats, repeating often : “ I came not
to bring peace, but a sword.” Processions were
held in the cities and towns, to entreat God for
the imperilled cause and to enkindle the zeal of
the beholders, Sermons had no other theme.
The Saviour was spoken of asa king banished
from his heritage, and Jerusalem as a captive
queen, appealing to the loyal heart to enlist in
her behalf. Salvation was almost made to de-
pend upon the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre,
and, in dwelling on the scenes of the Saviour’s
sufferings, the true value of those sufferings was
forgotten. Innocent himself, in his uncompro-
mising zeal, revoked permission to engage in all
other Crusades, except that against the Albi-

genses, and endeavored to stop all wars, so

—
STATE OF THE CAUSE OF THE CRUSADES. 9

that nations might concentrate their energies
upon this great enterprise. He crowned his
labors and appeals with his famous exclamation,
“Sword, sword, start from the scabbard and
sharpen thyself to kill!”

As so many disastrous and fruitless expedi-
tions had dampened the interest of Christen-
dom and shaken its faith in the Crusades, little
response was given to the frantic efforts of the
Pope; but the arts and appeals which had so
slight effect upon the people, kindled the ardor
of the young, and made them zealous for the
cause to which their elders seemed indifferent.
They had not known the calamitous issues of so
many similar undertakings ; it was new to them,
and not an old, sad story. The flaming descrip-
tions of the Holy Land, vivid references to its
associations, the favor of God which attended
its defenders, and the glory of fighting in its
behalf, aroused them to become victims of a fate
more sad than that of others who sought to free
it, as it was more touching.

But their adventures have been passed over
with little notice. Amidst the din of the con-
tending armies of Crusaders and the clash of
steel, few have heard the footsteps and the
songs of three armies of youthful and unarmed
combatants, who made their little effort for the
10 INTRODUCTORY.

holy cause. Although they did not win great
victories or enduring renown, yet it may be
that their story will interest us as much as that
of the more hardy soldiers.

We are now to collect and narrate such de-
tails of that story as have been saved from ob-
livion, and, as we begin, it is with regret that
they are so few. Withdrawing our attention
from the conflicts of princes and of Sultans,
let us listen for a while to the part which was
taken by the children in that weary struggle
which has been aptly called the “World’s De-
bate.”

Til.

Contemporaneous Events.

THE thirteenth century opened in Europe
amidst bloodshed and confusion, and over many
lands there hung the lurid clouds of war. All
the troubles of that troubled era were due to
one moving spirit, who called himself the Vice-
gerent of the Prince of Peace, but who, under
the impulses of ambition and revenge, acted
rather as if the Vicar of the Prince of War.
Innocent III., surnamed “the Great,” the most
arrogant of popes, assumed the tiara in 1198,
and soon had embroiled all Europe in conflicts:
of different kinds.
CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS. II

Passing in review the various lands, there
comes first before us Germany, whose Em-
peror, Otho IV., possessed a character that ren-
dered it improbable that he could treat the
many vexed questions of jurisdiction over the
petty states of Italy, without clashing with ‘so
unyielding a rival as Innocent. New jealousies
grew rapidly between them, besides those in-
herited with their respective positions, until, in
1210, the Emperor was solemnly excommuni-
cated, and to the thunders of the Church was
added the more serious declaration of a war
without mercy. The Pope selected as his
champion, young Frederick, called “of Sicily,”
son of the Emperor Henry IV., and promised
him that, if he could wrest the crown from
Otho, he should wear it as his own, and occupy
the throne by whose steps he had been reared.
Otho replied by the ban of the empire against
the pretender, a weapon only second to excom-
munication, and, in 1211, there began a cruel
war, waged with skill on either side, that ended
in 1216, when the former combatant died and
Frederick succeeded to the empire, to com-
mence his splendid reign, the most brilliant one
of the Middle Ages.

In England, we find John on the throne.
He had been king since 1199, and was a mon-
12 INTRODUCTORY.

arch little inclined to bear with the pretensions
of the Pope, but as little fitted to oppose them.
In 1206, the storm broke, when an issue was
made on the appointment, by Innocent, of Ste-
phen Langton to be Archbishop of Canterbury.
This the King resisted, claiming that the Pri-
mate should be chosen in England. He de-
clared in a rage that no other should ever enter
the country. In 1208, Innocent excommuni-
cated him, and John was added to the motley
list of those who have fallen under the displeas-
ure of the Bishops of Rome, and who have been
subjects of a document so eminently Christian
and merciful as their ban. The King held out
well for a while, as the national feeling was on
his side, but at length the suspension of all re-
ligious rites produced their effect in the discon-
tent of the people. When to this was added
the preparation by Philip of France to conquer
the land, which the Pope had given him, John
was obliged to submit, and to consent to hold
his realm as a vassal of Rome.

As to France, it was to a great extent a
scene of combat. Philip, seeing his opportunity
in the weakness of the King of England, re-
solved to endeavor to expel all foreign rule
from the land, and to put an end to the anom-
aly of large parts of his realm being really the
CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS. 13

domains of John. He prosecuted the task with
vigor and success, and, in the opening decade
of the century, had regained many a prov-
ince that had long been a jewel in the Eng-
lish crown.

But there were other troubles and wars than
these. It was an era of Crusades, for no less
than three were commanded by Innocent at
the opening of this century. They were di-
rected, not against dwellers in Asia or Africa,
but against inhabitants of Europe, for now the
name was applied to all wars in which the Pope
was interested. Two of them were against
heathen. In Eastern Europe there was one
preached against the Prussians, excited chiefly
by the monks, who found that their unbeliev-
ing neighbors would not be converted by their
precept or example. As there were plunder
and the Church’s blessing to be won, as well
as the glory of doing missionary work among
idolaters, many flocked to the standard of the
Cross, and soon rested, either in the homes they
conquered, or (as we are to suppose) in the
glory which the Pope promised to those who
should fall in the conflict.

In the West, we find a Crusade against the
Saracens in Spain, who had assumed so threat-
ening an attitude as to alarm the Christians.
14 INTRODUCTORY.

These latter were divided among several petty
states, which enterprising men, who had con-
quered slices of land from the Moors, had called
kingdoms. The various rulers, appealing to
Christendom for aid, prepared: to strike a con-
certed blow. Innocent did all that he could for
them. He sent letters to France, urging the
bishops to raise soldiers for the cause, and held
processions in Rome. A large, number of
knights crossed the Pyrenees and joined the
army that was assembling under the King of
Castile. After a brief campaign, on the six-
teenth of July, 1212, on the plains of Tolosa, the
power of the Saracens was broken in a desper-
ate battle.

In a certain sense these two wars were really
Crusades, as against the heathen, but that to
which we now turn was a war against the
Cross, and in no sense a Crusade. It will ever
be accounted one of the greatest crimes upon
the page of history and in the career of the
Church that prosecuted it.

It is unnecessary to detail the horrors of the
persecution of the Albigenses. A brief state-
ment will suffice.

In 1208, a Crusade was ordered against Ray-
mond, Count of Toulouse, for venturing to pro-
tect his subjects who rejected the yoke of
CONTEMPORANEOUS EVENTS. 15

Rome. The energy of the Pope’s measures
and the prospect of plundering for Christ’s
sake that which was then the fairest and the
richest district of Europe, soon gathered an
army of great size. Under the skilful leader-
ship of Simon de Montfort, called “the General
of the Holy Ghost,” a coarse and brutal wretch,
the Crusaders won victory after victory. All
captives were put to death, in accordance with
Innocent’s command, who, when asked how to
tell heretic from catholic, replied: “Slay all;
thé Lord will know his own!” Itis a joy to
think how true this was, as we read of the suf-
ferings of these humble martyrs. Finally, the
battle of Muret, in 1213, put an end to all or-
ganized resistance on the part of the Albigenses,
and the “ banner of the Cross” waved in victory
over a devastated land. Their swords reeking
with the blood of women and children, and
their tents full of stolen riches, these exemplary
followers of this “ General of the Holy Ghost,”
from their orgies and their revels sent to the
Pope the pleasant news that false religion and
immorality had been extirpated. How nearly
connected, sometimes, are tragedy and comedy!

Such were the wars and transactions of the
era in which occurred the incident that we are
to describe. But what was the condition of the
16 INTRODUCTORY.

people? Let us briefly answer this question,
that one may know the state of the lands
whence the children issued, and the influences
which surrounded them in their homes.

IV.
The Condition of the People.

Tuts was such as might be expected from the
character of the times when war and turmoil
seemed everywhere supreme. Vast districts
were desolated and their inhabitants sighed
and starved, while in others, that armies had
not ravaged, the people lived in daily dread of
pillage. Society was disorganized, and law a
mockery, for the peasant had from it no protec-
tion, and the baron held it in defiance ; so that
the former, unless some lord was interested in
preserving him for his own plundering, was at
the mercy of any of the fierce outlaws, who
called themselves nobles. The only shelter for
the lowly was the Church ; the only fields that
were not pillaged were those her officials
owned. Nearly all Europe was in this con-
dition; the exempted regions were few, and
most of these were only safe because too poor
to devastate. Tormented and wearied, mil-
lions prayed in agony and want, for peace or
death.
THE CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE. 17

Such a state of affairs naturally resulted in
ignorance, as great as the prevailing poverty.
In the midst of such distractions there was little
chance for study, and any one who could read or
write, unless an ecclesiastic, was regarded as a
wizard ; while many of the clergy themselves
would not have been able, by either test, to
prove their position. There was not, perhaps, a
darker era during the ages of gloom, as regards
misery and ignorance, than this beginning of
the thirteenth century, Life must have been a
burden, and men little better informed than the
brutes, with which they tilled their fields for
precarious crops.

As may easily be imagined, religion was at
a low ebb, and, while armies were fighting for
the Cross, few knew the teachings of that
emblem. The instruction which the people
generally received from those appointed to
minister in holy things, was a system of absurd
superstitions, wherein they learnt of deeds of
questionable saints and supposititious martyrs,
and the honor due to God was rendered to a
woman, enthroned in his place.

To illustrate the state of affairs, and show
the example set by the clergy in France, where
the Children’s Crusade originated, with which
we are to be concerned, let us describe two

customs, or ceremonies, of regular occurrence,
2
18 INTRODUCTORY.

and they will help to realize the extent of the
prevailing ignorance concerning pure and un-
defiled religion. The first of these was called
the “Feast of the Fools.” It was observed,
not only in Paris, but in many other parts of the
land, in the cathedral cities. In the former
place it occurred on the Feast of the Circum-
cision, in others on Epiphany, and, in a few, on
Innocents’ Day ; whence it was also called the
- “Feast of the Innocents.” On the appointed
day the priests and clerks met and chose an
archbishop and a bishop from among their
number. They then proceeded to the cathe-
dral, led by the mock prelates, arrayed in
great pomp, and, after entering the edifice, be-
gan orgies of the most sacrilegious character.
Masked, and dressed in skins of animals, dis-
guised as buffoons, and even in the garments of
women, they danced and jumped about, shout-
ing blasphemous exclamations and obscenest
songs. They used the altar as a table, and,
during the performance of mass by the mock
bishops, the others ate and drank around it,
and played with dice. Exerting all their inge-
nuity to devise desecrations of the place, they
burned the leather of their old sandals as in-
cense, and crowned all by defiling the church,
in postures and acts of unmentionable inde-
1 Du Cange.
THE CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE. 19

cency. It seems as if this were giving vent to
that which they felt during the whole year, that
religion was a fable, and their duties the acts
of aplay. Eudes de Sully endeavored to sup-
press this sacrilege, but in vain. We find it
still practised a century later.

The other custom which shows the degrada-
tion of the Church, was that called the “ Feast
of the Asses.”1 Although as general as the
former, it was most popular in the south of
France. The proceedings in Beauvais were as
follows: The people and the clergy chose the
' prettiest girl of the town, and, placing a beau-
tiful babe in her arms, mounted her on a richly
caparisoned ass to represent Mary and the Sav-
iour. In great state she was led from the ca-
thedral, where the selection had been made, to
the parish church of St. Stephen, which the
procession entered. The maiden and child, still
on the ass, were placed on the gospel (or north)
side of the altar, and the mass was commenced.
Whenever the choir ended the Introit, the Ky-
rie, the Creed, or any other part which was
chanted, they added a chorus, consisting of the
sounds, “ Hin-ham, Hin-ham,” which were ut-
tered so as to represent, as nearly as possible,
the braying of the animal. A priest preached
a sermon in mingled French and Latin, de-

1 Celebrated January 14th.
20 INTRODUCTORY.

voted to the exposition of the good qualities of
the ass, and at the end repeated a hymn! com-

1 It being a curious relic, the entire hymn sung on this oc-
casion is added here. It is found in Du Cange’s Glossarium
Novum, etc. where the ceremony is described.

Orientis partibus

Adventavit asinus

Pulcher et fortissimus,

Sarcinis aptissimus.

Chorus: ez, sire asnes, car chantez?

Belle bouche réchignez?
Vous aurez du foin assez,
Et de Vavoine 4 plantez,

Lentus erat pedibus,

Nisi foret baculus,

Et eum in clunibus

Pungeret aculeus.
Chorus.

Hic in collibus Sichem,

Jam nutritus sub Ruben:

Transiit per Jordanem,

Saliit in Bethlehem.
Chorus.

Ecce magnis auribus,
Subjugalis filius,
Asinus egregius,
Asinorum dominus.

Chorus.

Saltu vincit hinnulos,

Damas et capreolos ;

Super dromedarios

Velox Medianeos.
Chorus.

Aurum de Arabia,
Thus et myrrhum de Saba,
Tulit in ecclesia
Virtus asinaria.
Chorus.
THE CONDITI ON OF THE PEOPLE. 21

posed of a barbarous mixture of the two lan-
guages, whose every stanza was followed bya
refrain which may be thus translated : —

“O Sir Ass, why do you bray?
Why with that beautiful voice do you scold?
You shall soon have plenty of hay,
And of oats, much more than can be told.”

When the whole profane farce was over, the
officiating priest, in dismissing the congrega-
tion, said, instead of “Ite, missa est,” “ Hin-
ham! Hin-ham! Hin-ham!” The people, as
they dispersed, replied with the same sounds,
repeated three times, instead of “Deo gratias.”

These things occurred in the most Christian

Dum trahit vehicula

Multa cum sarcinula,

Illius mandibula,

Dura terit pabula.
Chorus.

Cum aristis hordeum

Comedit et carduum :

Triticum e palea,

Segregat in area.
Chorus.

Amen dicas, asine,
(Hic genuflectebatur,)

Jam satur de gramine:

Amen, Amen, itera,

Aspernare vetera.

Chorus: ez va! hez va ! hez va hez!

Biax sire asnes car allez ?
Belle bouche car chantez?
22 INTRODUCTORY.

land of Europe, in the days of a pope who gloried
in his zeal for Christianity, without encounter-
ing any rebuke from king or pontiff! What
must have been the religious teachings of a
clergy, so degraded, and so defiant of all things
sacred! What ideas must the people have had
of the Gospel, when their guides knew so little.

These few facts and hints are all that can be
given, in view of our limits, to show what were
the times, what the state of the people, and what
the events transpiring when, in 1212,! that ep-
isode occurred, which is now to be described.
In Spain, the armies of Christians and Moslems
are gathering for the great battle. Frederick
is marshalling his adherents to conquer a
crown. The Albigenses are falling in martyr-
dom, and John is defying the Pope. Gladly do
we leave the transactions in the sphere of the
rulers of earth, to follow the fortunes of a move-
ment among the lowly and the young.

1 As regards the date of the Children’s Crusade, there is
some discrepancy among the chroniclers, but there is no doubt
that it occurred in 1212, as all contemporaries assert,
as well as the Chron. Argent., Chron. of Laon, and Ogerius
Panis. The variations are the following: Chron. S. Me-
dardi gives as the date, 1209 ; Thomas de Champré, 1213 ;
John Massey, 1210. Anerror in the existing MSS. of Jacques
de Vitry reads 1222 for 1212. But the authority of contempo-

raries should be conclusive, as the historians Michaud, Heck-
er, Wilken, and Raumer are agreed.
CHAPTER ILI.

THE RISING IN FRANCE,

I.
Cloyes and its Hero.

TuroucH that part of the old province of
Orleannais which is now called the Department
of Eure-et-Loir, and which is a vast, chalky
plain, almost denuded of verdure, there runs
the little river Loir, in a southerly direction, until
it joins the beautiful Loire, which on its course
to the sea flows past gray old ‘cities and famous
chateaux. About twenty miles west of Orleans
the valley of the former river widens, and in
this basin, between the hills, surrounded by
smiling meadows, is the town of Cloyes, that
has one association in a history of centuries
to endue it with interest. Although more an-
cient than many other places in the vicinity, it
has yet slumbered through the ages in obscu-
rity, its cares and traditions and characteristics
having been handed down undisturbed through
generations which witnessed many changes
24 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

elsewhere. Recently a railway has been con-

' structed, which runs near the town, and its loud

whistle sounds through the little streets, as
trains pass the station on the plateau above.

It is an ordinary French village, with its
square market-place, where are sold wooden
shoes, fruit, crockery, and the other miscellane-
ous articles peculiar to such a scene ; its Wazrie,
with the imperial escutcheon at present hang-
ing where so many other similar pictures have
swung; its dirty shops and staring houses, and
its dilapidated church, whose pictures and
images might be thought to render idolatry im-
possible, because they come up to none of the
requisites of the second commandment in re-
gard to resembling anything “in the heavens
above, in the earth beneath, or in the waters
under the earth.” But still the scene before one
is attractive, as he stands on the old stone bridge
by which the main street crosses the Loir.
The little river comes from behind the trees of
the park of an old chateau, which is seen a mile
distant. After lazily turning here and there a
mill-wheel, when it reaches the precincts of the
village, it passes beneath our standing-place, to
run through the green meadows and beneath
shady willows, until it enters the little valley, by
which it issues from this basin, where, in some


CLOYES AND ITS HERO. 25

earlier days, it formed a lake. On the eastern
side of us lies the village, extending about a
thousand feet to the declivity, which forms the
limit of the valley in that direction. On the
other side of the river, green fields extend
about half a mile to the base of vine-clad
slopes.

This bridge is a pleasant place for musing
on a summer afternoon, and the scene recalls
past days, for the country is full of historical
interest. Many a knight and soldier slept here
for the last time on the eve of the battle of
Fretteval, where, close at hand, Philip Augustus
was defeated by Richard Coeur de Lion, in
1194. And the people of this quiet hamlet
were awakened by enthusiasm, as was all that
nation, when Jeanne d’Arc passed through their
streets on the way to seek Orleans and to win
for herself immortal renown.

It is in this village that our story begins.!
For, here, in the last years of the twelfth cen-
tury or the first of the thirteenth, was born a
boy who was named Stephen, probably after

1 There are various authorities for the fact that Cloyes was
the birthplace and home of Stephen. Among others, see the
Chron. Anon. of Laon, which says he was “‘ex villa Cloies,
juxta castrum Vidocinum.” Joh. Yperius says he was from
the diocese of Chartres.
26 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

the saint of his birthday, the twenty-sixth of
December. Had it not been for him, this place
might never have been mentioned in history ;
but his fame is forever linked with it, as the
only name by which he is known is “ Stephen
of Cloyes.”

His father was a shepherd, or a poor peas-
ant, and Cloyes was then a miserable hamlet.
The Loir ran by it then as now, but the banks
which it washed, instead of being highly culti-
vated and densely peopled, were tilled to an ex-
tent only sufficient to feed the few inhabitants,
who, in squalor and ignorance, knew little of
luxury or of comfort. No hard and smooth
highway led to the neighboring cities. The
scanty traffic and the little travel, had for their
use a wretched and often impassable path.

Among such circumstances Stephen passed
his infancy and began his childhood. When old
enough to hold a staff and chase a refractory
lamb, he was sent to be a shepherd boy, and
he spent the summers upon the plains around
his home, no better and no worse than others
who led the same life, although, as his acts sub-
sequently proved, mature beyond his years.

Obscurely and quietly his life glided away,
until, in 1212, he became, as we are to see, the
one upon whom was centred the attention of
France.
CLOVES AND ITS HERO. 27

We have already noticed the many means
resorted to by the hierarchy to awaken the slum-
bering interest of the people in the shattered
cause of the Crusades. Among these were fre-
quent processions, when every expression of
grief and of entreaty was called into use, to
impress upon the beholders a feeling that God
commanded them to enlist under the again up-
lifted banner, and to arouse either their ardor or
their fear.

There had long existed an ancient custom
of the Church, observed on St. Mark’s day,
April 25th, called the “ Litania Major,” or
Greater Litany! It was a processional litany,
instituted centuries before by Gregory the
Great, during the ravages of the plague, but
generally still maintained in Latin Christendom.
On this day the altars were shrouded in black,
and priests and people went through the streets
of towns and cities, chanting prayers and carry-
ing crosses likewise draped. From this last
feature, the day was popularly called the “ Black
Crosses.” At the time of which we are speak-
ing, this ceremony was adapted to commemo-
rate the sufferings of those who had died in the
defense of the Holy Land, and to implore mercy
in behalf of the Christians now beleaguered

1 See among others Joinville’s Memoirs of Louis IX. for de-
scription.
28 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

there, as well as of the many others that were
pining in slavery. We can well imagine that
such an observance, accompanied by stirring
sermons and vivid threats and promises, would
have excited the people, especially the young,
who had neither the experience nor the judg-
ment requisite to discern the hopelessness of
the Crusades, and the delusiveness of such ap-
peals.

Stephen had of course heard of the desper-
ate state to which the combatants of the Cross
were reduced, and stray pilgrims and priests
had told to the villagers of Cloyes stories of
adventure and of glory which could not fail to
excite his credulous mind. But all his ardor was
redoubled when, in the neighboring city of
Chartres, he beheld the procession referred to
above.! The black crosses, the loud and affect-
ing litanies, the appeals which plead for an in-
sulted Christ and his enslaved soldiers, the sol-
emn ceremonials, the tears and emotions of the
crowds, worked upon him most powerfully, and
made him burn with desire to play a part in the
expulsion of the hated Mohammedans from the
land sanctified by the life of Jesus and hallowed
by the possession of his tomb.

All alive with such emotions, he retraced, at

1 Johannes Yperius.
CLOVES AND ITS HERO. 29

evening, his homeward steps. And as he
mused thereafter, in his loneliness on the hill-
side with his flocks, his imagination revelled in
deeds of daring, and in pictures of sacred scenes,
until he was ready for any enterprise, prepared -
to believe, with unquestioning credulity, any
story, however wild and improbable.

While in this excited state, there appeared to
him, one day, a stranger, who at first said that
he was a returned pilgrim from Palestine on his
way to adistant home, and asked for some food.
Stephen could refuse nothing to one who had
been where he longed to be, and had seen places
for whose rescue he was ready to die. He only
asked, in return, to be told of the wonders of the
Orient, and of the exploits of the brave heroes
who had fallen there in battle, or who still lin-
gered in the few remaining cities. Readily did
the stranger comply with his request and tell
him that which delighted his ears. Having
thus gained an influence over the boy, he an-
nounced himself to be Jesus Christ, and pro-
ceeded to commission Stephen to preach a Cru-
sade to the children, promising that, with him
as their leader and prophet, they should win
that victory which soldiers and nobles had failed
to gain. He also gave the astonished youth a
letter to the king of France, commanding that
30 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

monarch to furnish aid to the new enterprise.
Thereupon the pilgrim, undoubtedly a disguised
priest, who had heard of Stephen’s enthusiasm,
and thought him a suitable instrument for the
purpose of arousing the people, disappeared as
mysteriously as he had come.! But he had
played well his part, and rarely has a deception
been so successful.

After this, to be a shepherd boy was no more
possible to Stephen. Higher duties called him,
he said, when rushing homeward, he told of his
interview with the Lord to his bewildered par-
ents and neighbors, and showed his celestial
letter to the King. There was no reasoning

1The Chron. Anon. of Laon relates this interview of Stephen
with Christ, and says that he showed, without any expression
of doubt, the letter which the Saviour gave him. I have
adopted the explanation suggested by Sporschild and others,
and which commends itself to reason, that Stephen was duped
by some priest who found him ready to believe even such a
thing, and ardent enough to assume such a charge. There
must have been an incident of some kind to put it into the
boy’s head to undertake such a mission. Again, he certainly
showed some letter as proof of his call, which he could never
have written, nor any one else in Cloyes ; it was clearly the
work of an ecclesiastic, whic confirms the above ‘theory.
Andif, in the nineteenth century, the people of France believe
that the Virgin appeared at La Salette with a babe in her
arms, they would much more readily have believed in the
thirteenth century that Christ appeared in person, when it was
to effect an end considered so intimately allied with his religion.
CLOVES AND ITS HERO. 31

with him. Carried away by high hopes and by
the dignity of his supposed call, he entered at
once upon his work. To all he narrated his
story, and to the welcoming ears of his compan-
ions he told that now, when the defenders of the
Holy Sepulchre were few, and their ranks thin
from the ravages of disease and war, when
man’s plans had failed, God had revealed his
plan, which was to give the possession of Pal-
estine to the children who should enlist. “For
the last time have we heard of defeat,” cried he ;
“hereafter shall children show mailed warriors
and proud barons, how invincible are youths
when God leads them !”

But the field was too narrowin Cloyes. From
a point so obscure, he could not arouse France.
Some more central place must be sought, and
at once he fixed upon the great shrine of the
land, the object of countless pilgrimages, where
to ever changing crowds, he could preach his
Crusade and spread to homes of every district
the intelligence of his enterprise. He resolved
to go to St. Denys.

1 Anon, Chronicle of Laon.
32 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

II.
St. Denys.

Five miles north of Paris is the city of St.
Denys, the place of burial of the martyr Dio-
nysius. He was one of the seven holy men who
established churches in Gaul, and from whose
labors resulted the conversion of the land. Di-
onysius founded the Church of Paris and was
its first Bishop. In 272, under the reign of
Valerian, he suffered martyrdom. In the fifth
century a church was erected over his grave,
around which a town sprang up, to which was
given his name. From the time of Dagobert, |
all the kings, and many other members of the
royal family were buried there, so that it be-
came the central point of France and identified
with its interests. Here, too, was kept the sa-
cred Oriflamme, or the holy standard of. the
realm, which originally was the flag of the
Church, but was,committed to the king, as its
guardian, when he went to fight enemies of the
nation, and as such, was venerated by St.
Louis and inspirited the Maid of Orleans. The
royal standard had previously been the cloak
of St. Martin, but thejOriflamme superseded it,
and became the symbol of the honor and exist-
ence of the kingdom.
ST. DENYS. 33

The monks and priests who were interested
in rendering the place attractive, soon made it
a centre of pilgrimage and succeeded in im-
pressing it upon the people that great were the
benefits of a visit to the tomb of the Saint.
Legends without number were fabricated. He
himself was said to be Dionysius the Areopa-
gite, for which there was not a shadow of evi-
dence, and a marvelous series of events were
strung together and called his life. Of all these
fictions, the wildest, which is still taught and
believed, was that concerning his death. It
was said that, after very cruel treatment, he was
beheaded and his body thrown into the Seine,
but that, issuing from that river, he carried his
head in his hands for the distance of two miles,
to the place where he desired to be interred. }

Of course the grave of so eminent a saint
was soon a great resort for those who thought
that he who could do so much for himself
might do something for them. Pilgrims con-
tinued to increase in numbers, until it became,
like the tomb of St. James at Compostello in
Spain, a national shrine, whither came thou-
sands for physical relief and mental consola-
tion; perhaps, sometimes, for spiritual aid.

1 It was concerning this that Ninon de l’Enclos, when
asked if she believed that the Saint carried his head all the
way, said: “La distance ne vaut rien. Ce n’est que le pre-
mier pas qui coiite.”

3

Yared ae

Sei ¥
34 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

In the commencement of the thirteenth cen-
tury the influence of the shrine was at its
height, for wars and Crusades could not deter
the people from seeking its presence.

To St. Denys, then, do we behold Stephen of
Cloyes journeying in the month of May, 1212.
Dressed in his shepherd’s attire, his crook in
hand, and a little wallet by his side, he departed
from the obscurity of his home and of his in-
fancy. With bounding heart and exuberant
hopes, he walked in eagerness which ignored
fatigue. As he went, he preached his mission
in the towns and cities by the way. But even
Chartres and Paris could not delay him long, for
he was in haste to reach the place which was to
be the scene of his glorious labors. At last he
arrived there, and everywhere, by the door of -
the church which contained the tomb, in the
market-place, and at all hours, to astonished
audiences, he proclaimed the new Crusade.

Gifted with extraordinary powers of speech,
he succeeded in enchaining the attention and
gaining the admiring reverence of his hearers.
To an enthusiast this was an easy task, with
a subject so suggestive, and in such a place.
He told the old story of the sufferings of the
Christians in the Holy Land, and of their lan-
guishing in slavery, and the audience seemed to
ST. DENYS. 35

hear the clank of their chains as the speaker
dwelt on their cries for help. And not only
were their breasts stirred by that appeal; they
also were told of the state of their brethren
who were besieged in the few cities which they
still held, and their hardships were a fruitful
theme.

But Stephen had a still more powerful argu-
ment and a more potent appeal. He pointed
to the sepulchre of St. Denys, thronged by its
worshippers, and then contrasted its condition
with that of the sepulchre of the Saviour. The
one was guarded by believers, and the scene of
unrestrained devotion, the other, insulted by the ¢
presence of infidels and receiving not a prayer
from those who would love to worship there.
He then asked them. if they would tolerate this,
if they would not strive to make the Saviour’s
tomb as honored and as free from defilement, as
the Saint’s.

He showed the letter to the king, to confirm
the doubting, and asked if Christ's commands
were to be disregarded. He repeated the nar-
rative of his interview with the Lord, and, to
add credibility to his authorization to be the
prophet of the new Crusade, told many inci-
dents of a supernatural kind. He said that
when he returned from his visit to see the
36 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

procession held to implore God’s mercy for the
cause of the Crusades, before he had been com-
missioned by the Lord, he went to the pasture
grounds of his flocks and found them absent..:
After searching, he discovered them in a field
of grain. Enraged, he began to drive them
thence with blows, when they all fell on their
knees and begged his forgiveness. This, with
other signs, said he, led him to believe that
great things were in store for him, even before
he had been visited by Christ.

He soon became the Saint of the day, and the
shrine was abandoned to listen to his stirring
words. Especially was this the case, because
he worked miracles. It is said that he healed
the sick, and made other supernatural signs
bear witness to his authority... They who were
credulous enough to come to St. Denys and to
believe the legends which made the place what
it was, would not be apt to discredit the claims
and the miracles of Stephen.

But especially was enthusiasm aroused in the
young who visited the place, or who were
brought thither by their elders. The call of
Stephen appealed to natural feelings, and they
gladly believed him, when he said that for them
was reserved all the glory of the rescue of the
Holy Sepulchre.

1 Vincent de Beauvais.
ST. DENYS. 37

Accordingly, as the pilgrims departed from
St. Denys, they bore to their different homes
the story of the new apostle, the successor of
Peter the Hermit, and of Bernard. The chil-
dren rejoiced in being the exclusive recipients of
God’s lofty commission, and told their compan-
ions of the eloquence and the power of Stephen.
Alive with emulation to play a prominent part
in the enterprise, they commenced to seek ad-
herents. The matter spread like a contagion.
As there were in the audiences of Stephen pil-
grims from all parts of France, soon in every
"region of the land was his mission known, and
children were excited to dreams of terrestrial
fame and celestial glory. The movement be-
gan, regardless of feuds of rulers, of difference
of government, or of wars. It spread in Brit-
tany, where the English ruled, as well as in
Normandy, recently added to the domains of
Philip; in Aquitaine and Auvergne, likewise
just freed from the sway of the foreigners, as well
as in Provence, where the king of Aragon was
sovereign ; in Toulouse, red with the blood of
martyrs, as well as in peaceful Gascony. The
children knew not, or cared not, what rule their
elders acknowledged, and were not interested
in the wars for power. The undercurrent of
their life was untouched by the storms which
38 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

disturbed the surface. Consequently, while the
adults were prevented from unity of action
and from yielding to any interest in the Cru-
sades which they may have felt, by the commo-
tions and the political divisions of the land, the
young were one, and, regardless of tongue or of
state, responded to the appeal, from the Chan-
nel or the Pyrenees, from the Rhéne or the
Loire. The voice of Stephen found everywhere
a ready echo, and when there went among them
those who sought to enlist adherents, they had
an easy task. All the children. united in say-
ing exultingly, “Long enough have you, knights
and warriors, so boastful and so honored, been
making your fruitless attempts to rescue the
tomb of Christ! God can wait no longer!
He is tired of your vain, puny efforts! Stand
back and let us, whom you despise, carry out
his commission ! He who calls can insure the
victory, and we will show you what children
can do!”
THE MINOR PROPHETS. 39

III.
The Minor Prophets.

An old chronicler, while describing the
events of these times, dwells at length upon the
excitement caused in some parts of France by
the frantic appeals and by the arts of the clergy,
in their endeavors to awaken among the lower
classes that interest in Palestine which slum-
bered among the upper ranks of society. He
also gives many signs which the Lord sent to
add to the power of the emissaries of the Pope,
and tells us many a curious and wild story in
this connection. Among these he says that
“it is affirmed for a certainty, that, every ten
years, fishes, frogs, butterflies, and birds pro-
ceeded likewise according to their kinds and
seasons ; and at that time so great a multitude
of fishes was caught that all men greatly won-
dered. And certain old and decayed men af-
firm, as a certain thing, that, from different
parts of France, an innumerable multitude of
dogs were gathered together, at the town of
Champagne which is called Manshymer. But
those dogs, having divided into two parties, and
fighting bravely against each other, nearly all
slew one another in the mutual slaughter and
very few returned home.” Such, says he, were

1 Chron, St. Médard.
40 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

among the wonderful incidents whicn accom-
panied the commencement of the Children’s
Crusade, and, added to the prevalent excitement,
made the children ready to believe that their
call to rescue Palestine was the great event:
which those signs were intended to herald.

As has been said, the more enterprising
among the youths who had listened to Stephen,
returned home, resolved to play a part in the
coming episode of glory, only subordinate to
“The Prophet,” as he was called. Everywhere
there arose children of ten years, and some
even as young as eight, who claimed to be
prophets also, sent by Stephen in the name
of God. They went throughout their respect-
ive districts, eagerly appealing to their com-
panions to assume the Cross. They took as
their text, and their authorization, the passage
of Scripture which they interpreted to refer pe-
culiarly to this undertaking: “Out of the
mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou or-
dained strength, because of thine enemies, that
thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.”
It would have been difficult for the adult Cru-
saders to find a text as appropriate.

These “minor prophets” (as the chronicles
call them) also claimed to work miracles, and
thus added to their authority and the effect of
THE MINOR PROPHETS. 41

their preaching. Among the many who thus
took it upon themselves to extend Stephen’s
call, the names of none have been preserved,
except one. He was an adult, and, had he not
risen to prominence on another occasion, his
name would also have been forgotten. It was
Jacob of Hungary, whose strange life, one of
the strangest on record, will be traced at an-
other time. In this movement he was active,
and was instrumental in arousing the north-
eastern part of France. The names and the
careers of the many who made the mountains
and valleys of the land echo with their dis-
courses and their delusive promises, are lost in
oblivion.

When they had gathered sufficient numbers,
they formed them into regular and solemn pro-
cessions and marched through the towns and
villages with circumstances of display, in order
to gain more recruits. Of course, in different
districts, there was variety in their arrangements,
and the details differed! But, as a general
thing, there was, at the head of each proces-
sion, a chosen youth, who bore the Oriflamme, a
copy of that at St. Denys, and which was, like
the colors of a regiment, an object of devotion,
the symbol of honor. Many carried wax can-

1 Chron, Rotom. and Chron. Mortui Maris.
42 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

dles, some waved perfumed censers, while here
and there were to be seen crosses borne aloft.
And as they marched they sang hymns,
many of which were the creation of their fevered
minds. Some were, however, ancient, having
been used in the previous Crusades, and having
awakened the enthusiasm of thousands who
slept on alien soil. But, in all the songs, the
constant theme was that expressed in the fre-
quently repeated refrains : “ Lord restore Chris-
tendom!” “Lord, restore to us the true and
holy Cross!”1 . They adopted the watchword
which for two centuries had rung through
Europe, and had been sounded on a hundred
battle-fields in Asia, which had spurred to ac-
tion many a victorious, as well as many a van-
quished army, and which now brings before us,
as we hear it, the whole drama of the Crusades.
Crying “Dieu le volt!” these children threw
aside all other obedience,? and considered that
they acted under a higher than human law.
The excitement was not confined to the chil-
dren of any particular class or rank. As.would
be expected, the greater number were of the
peasant order, or, as one chronicler says in
in general terms, “they were all shepherds.” ®
1 Roger de Wendover.

2 Godfrey ; Chron. St. Medard; Chron, Raineri.
8 Godfrey the monk.
THE MINOR PROPHETS. 43

The ignorance of the world which resulted from
their seclusion, rendered these peculiarly liable
‘to deception. They who had never passed
the precincts of their parishes or cantons, knew
nothing of the hardships of war, the extent of
this world and the distance to Palestine, nor of
the stern realities which were concealed by the
glory and the glitter of the Crusades.

But we are also told that many noble youths,
sons of counts and barons, joined the proces-
sions which they saw marching past their cas-
tellated homes. There were peculiar reasons
why they were susceptible to the appeals of the
prophets, and were seized with desire to take
part in the enterprise. They had, from their
birth, associated with the knights and warriors
who had won fame and honor in the Crusades.
They had heard for years, as familiar themes of
conversation, of the brilliant deeds of brave
men, who themselves often narrated to them
their feats at Ascalon or at Tiberias. They
had also heard recalled most tenderly, as ob-
jects of envy, those who had fallen in the.
sacred cause. Accounts of the beauty of the
East and of the richness of its scenes, descrip-
tions of Jerusalem and of the Sepulchre, had
they again and again listened to, from those
who had been in those wonderful places. It
44 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

was unavoidable that influences such as these
should have a mighty effect upon the young. It
was nattral that they would think and dream
of the time when they might go in gorgeous
armor, on prancing chargers, so to act, that
they too might be spoken of as were the many
whose names were the household words of
chivalry.

Again, there were those who had lost their
fathers in the wars for the Cross, and they saw
on the wall the sword and shield which re-
minded them that they were heirs of a noble
fame. It would have been strange if such
children were not fond of reveries and antici-
pations of glorious deeds in the same cause.
Many had resolved that one day they would
take those honored weapons, and, seeking the
land hallowed by deathless memories, would
complete the work of their sires, or else sleep
by their side in the same consecrated earth.

Consequently, when such youths heard of
the armies of children assembling at the sum-
mons of Christ to rescue Palestine, they felt
that the time had come for the realization of
their cherished dream.) And when from the
hills whereon stood their homes, they saw the
processions pass with uplifted crosses and with
banners waved by the breeze which bore to

1 Lambert of Liége.
THE MINOR. PROPHETS. 45

their ears inspiriting songs of triumph, they
could not stay, but hurried to join the throng,
and either to assume positions as leaders, or as
willingly to obey the orders of some once de-
spised peasant. And so it happened that in
the bands hurrying to Stephen, was represented
many a name that had been honored in the
hosts of Godfrey and of Guiscard, of Louis VII.
and of Thibaut. ‘

Of course, the motives which led ‘the young
to join in these processions were not always the
purest or the most religious. Many gladly em-
braced the opportunity to escape from the re-
straints of home, and to secure freedom for their
evil tempers and desires. To them this was
not the golden chance to deliver the sepulchre
of Christ ; they cared not for its honor or for
the sufferings of its champions, it was only the
golden chance to gain a dreamed-of liberty from
parental rule.

But we may not deny that the mass were
stirred by feelings of a pious nature. Tothosein
the tender years of childhood it was a touching
tale, that of the grave of Jesus in the hands of
heathen, and the recital of the sufferings en-
-dured in its behalf could not fail to impress
them most strongly. All, therefore, who had
any piety were as ready for this summons as
46 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

tow for the spark, when urged to join in this
new Crusade, which was to be triumphant and
bloodless, Christ himself having appeared and
promised victory.

But we are told that many girls also joined
the companies which traversed the land. Some
statements seem to indicate that quite a large
proportion were of this sex... The same reasons
which prompted many of the boys, would in-
fluence them, and both inability to repel them
and willingness to have their numbers as great
as possible, would induce the leaders to tolerate
and encourage their accession.

And thus from their thousand homes they
came, when in the market-places, at the cross-
roads, by the way-side, the youthful prophets
preached their mission, and pictured the glory
of the cause as well as the certainty of its suc-
cess. From the battlemented castle on the
mountain, from the cheerless houses of the town
beneath, and from the miserable mud hovels
of the hamlet in the fields, rushed the deluded
children to swell the ranks of an army, from
whose weary march few would return again to
their homes.

But the excitement was not confined to the
children. Men and women joined the assem-

1 Rainer’s Chronicle.
THE MINOR PROPHETS. 47

bling bands in no small numbers, prompted
by a desire to rescue the Holy Land. They
thought this appeal stronger than any other
which had been made, and, while they were
indifferent to the summons of priests, they list-
ened eagerly to the call of the young prophets,
thinking that they thus embarked upon a Cru-
sade which had greater hopes and was to share
a different fate from those whose disasters had
desolated Europe. Even old age did not stand
entirely aloof. Men of gray hairs and of totter-
ing steps were seized with the contagion, and,
in their second childhood, imitated the ardor
and credulity of that which had long since
passed away.t

But many other men and women joined the
armies from motives of a baser nature. All
that were depraved in every sense found this
a rare chance for profit. Abandoned women
flocked in numbers in the expectation of fulfill-
ing their infamous plans and of robbing as well
as of ruining the youths. Thieves and sharp-
ers never had such easy prey, and they did not
neglect it. Every one whose disposition would
lead them to consider this an occasion for gain
or plunder, hurried to the rendezvous. Conse-
quently there were introduced into the assem-

1 Chron. Dead Sea; Rainer.
48 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

bling troops of pilgrims, elements which would
necessarily work their demoralization, and we
are not surprised when we find that that re-
sult ensued.

One may now see how motley was the com-
position of the numbers which the subordinates
of Stephen gathered and led to him. Thus can
we imagine the appearance of the bands which
journeyed through the various districts, contain-
ing boys and girls, nobles and peasants, old and
young, men and women, pious dupes and crafty
thieves, praying pilgrims and vilest wretches.

IV.
Opposition and its Results.

It was not to be expected that such a move-
ment could continue long without attracting
the notice of the government. The king at
this time was Philip Augustus, an unprincipled
man and treacherous toward foreign nations,
but generally an able and a wise ruler of his

own. His crimes against his allies, although he
justified them on the plea of regaining his rights,
resulted in the elevation of France, which at his
death was united and strong.

When he first heard of the rising of the chil-
dren, he seemed inclined to favor it, probably
OPPOSITION AND ITS RESULTS. 49

hoping that it might result in the arousing of
the people to enlist in the Crusade and so
enable him to obey the Pope, whom he was
desirous to please that he might humiliate John
of England, while, at the same time, it would
save him the trouble of collecting an army for
the purpose.

But the matter soon grew serious, and his
counsellors urged upon him that it was no tem-
porary delusion of limited extent, but that the
interests of the realm demanded its suppres-
sion, for not only would it carry away the youth
to destruction, but it would also produce con-
fusion, disorder, and pillage. As Philip was
endeavoring to reorganize and consolidate his
kingdom, these representations succeeded in
making him direct his attention to the move-
ment. Yet it was a delicate thing to under-
take to suppress a Crusade, although an affair.
of children. “It might be really ordered by God,
he reasoned, and the Pope might also take it
under his protection and forbid all restraints
upon it. It was a perplexing question, and
therefore he referred it to the newly established
University of Paris, that their wisdom might
guide him.

After a consultation, in which they had to
meet the fact that they might be accused of

4
50 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

heresy, and where, in such an age of supersti-
tion, the natural advice would have been that
given by Gamaliel to the Sanhedrim, the doc-
tors gave the sensible reply that the movement
should be stopped, and, if needful, vigorous
measures should be used. Accordingly the
King issued an edict, commanding the children
to return to their homes and abandon the mad
enterprise. Whether he had received the letter
which Stephen showed, we are not told. Ifhe
had, he doubtless gave little heed to its alleged
authorship, as from the Saviour.

But his decree had little effect. The matter
had gone too far to be arrested by a command.
Few could be found who wished, or who dared
to enforce it,and it was unnoticed, except by
those who were influenced to obey it, or by
others who were glad to have an excuse for
leaving the assembling bands, being already
homesick and weary.

The King does not seem to have concerned
himself any further about the affair, but in his
many cares suffered his edict to remain un-
enforced. It may be that he was unable to
carry it out, from want of instruments or from
fear of the people. At any rate, the children
continued to assemble unimpeded.

1 Concerning the King’s conduct, see, among others, Chron.
of Laon.
OPPOSITION AND ITS RESULTS. 51

There were naturally other influences brought
to bear upon the young to restrain them. Par-
ents who had not been carried away by the
frenzy, did not like to see their sons and
daughters running to unknown dangers and
hardships. Their reason as well as their affec-
tion moved them to interfere. Yet persuasions,
threats, and punishments were all as vain as
had been the King’s command. Bolts and
bars could not hold the children. If shut up,
they broke through doors and windows, and
rushed, deaf to appeals of mothers and fathers,
to take their places in the processions, which
they saw passing by, whose crosses and ban-
ners, whose censers, songs, and shouts, and
paraphernalia seemed, like the winds of torrid
climates, to bear resistless infection. If the chil-
dren were forcibly held and confined so that es-
cape was impossible, they wept and mourned,
and at last pined, as if the receding sounds
carried away their hearts and their strength. It
was necessary to release them, and saddened
parents saw them exultingly depart, forgetting to
say farewell. Regardless of the severance of
tender ties, they ran to enlist in those deluded
throngs that knew not whither they went.!

Opposition was also made by the faithful

1 Roger de Wendover and Rainer.
52 THE RISING IN FRANCE.

among the clergy. Knowing the certain issue
of the scheme, and having hearts unwilling
to see the young overcome by inevitable dis-
asters, they endeavored to check the excitement.
But their efforts were also vain, for opposed to
them were others, the crafty and unprincipled
priests, and the emissaries of the Pope, who re-
joiced in the affair, because it was a means
to excite the adults. Accordingly the cry of
heresy was raised if any pious pastor used en-
treaty or earnest warning, and he was accused
of frustrating a holy cause. The people who
believed in the delusion caught up the cry, and
children adopted it, until opposition was si-
lenced. In this way, between the designs of
those who were to gain by the movement, the
superstition of the masses, and the enthusiasm
of the children, there was enough to overcome
all efforts “> arrest the.daily increasing excite-
ment.

The serious and right-minded among the
people were at a loss to understand so unpre-
cedented a phenomenon, and endeavored to
account for it in various ways. The generally
received belief was that it was the result of
magic, the devil’s agency, the cause assigned
for all remarkable and inexplicable events in
these ages. To this did the University of
OPPOSITION AND ITS RESULTS. 53

Paris attribute it, and more than one chronicler
quietly says, as a matter beyond question, that
Satan was the author and guide of the affair.

But among the many stories invented to ac-
count for the event, is one that, although beyond
all probability, yet is so strange that it deserves
a passing notice, illustrating, as it does, the
sentiment of the times.

It is said by one chronicler, who believed
it, that many held that the “old man of the
mountain” had liberated two enslaved clerks,
and sent them to France to bring back an army
of children, as the price of their liberty, and
that these had originated the present under-
taking.

This mysterious personage was the chief of
the Assassins, who dwelt in an impregnable
castle ona mountain in Syria. This sect of Mo-
hammedans flourished for a short time, and they
were the terror of the world, on account of their
wonderful devotion to their master, who hired
them out to those desiring their services, and,
in the execution of whose orders, treachery was
praiseworthy, danger was despised, and slaugh-
ter their habitual practice. The stealthiness
and. secrecy of their proceedings, and their
remorseless thirst for blood, has caused their
name to be adopted as the appellation of delib-
54 THE RISING IN FRANCE,

erate murderers. In order to secure such ser-
vants, who were called Avsacide, the chief
trained them from infancy, by an education
wherein every emotion of a tender nature was
stifled, and fear of disgrace and of death obliter-
ated. For such purposes, was it said, did he
wish some children of France, and the hosts
which were assembling were to be his prey.
The horror in which the people stood of this
man, led them to believe the story. It is curi-
ous, and awakens memories of our own days of
childish credulity, to find that the reigning “old
man of the mountain” at this time, was the
famous Aladdin, the story of whose wonderful
lamp is told in the “ Arabian Nights.” 1

Still the movement went on, reproved by a
few, applauded by many; variously regarded
as the work of God or of Satan. Through the
cities and hamlets, by the Seine and the Ga-
ronne, were seen the bands, marching with their
banners, singing their songs, and telling how
they were “ going to God andto get the Cross
in Holy Palestine.”

As they passed by, the laborers left the fields
and the artisans the shops; all business was
suspended, and they who did not join their

1 Vincent de Beauvais explains the movement in this way,
and Jourdain thinks it not improbable.
OPPOSITION AND ITS RESULTS. 55

numbers crowded to see them, in curiosity or
in admiration. They were housed and fed for
nought. Many gave this aid from kindness,
others from sympathy in the enterprise, while
few dared deny to such numbers any request
which they might make. And so, before long,
the various prophets could send word to Ste-
phen that they would bring avast army for him
to command and to lead.

But, as the nature of the narrative requires
that we follow the order of time, we now leave
France in the ferment of the gathering, and
turn to describe events which transpired in
Germany. These we will trace to their end,
and then return to Stephen and his followers.
CHAPTER III.
THE GATHERING OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN.

Tue tidings of the preaching of Stephen and
of his celestial mission were quickly carried east-
ward, and pilgrims returning from St. Denys
told of him in Burgundy and Champagne,
whence the story spread to the lands along the
Rhine. The people here had been subject to
the same attempts to arouse them to interest
in the Crusades which the French had experi-
enced, and were as ready for the new delu-
sion when it came, thanks to the activity of
the papal emissaries with their litanies and
their addresses.

In a village near Cologne, whose name has
not been recorded, there lived a boy who was
to be the apostle of this Crusade in Germany,
and play the part which Stephen acted in
France. He was born in about the year 1200,}
and had been familiar with the prevailing ex-
citement from his infancy, so that now he was

1 Sicardi says he was “a boy less than ten years old.”
GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 57

full of interest in the Crusades, and at once was
seized with a desire’to emulate the young
prophet of Cloyes, when the fame of this latter
reached his ears.

Nicholas, for we know no other name, is
said to have been induced to assume the part
of a prophet to preach the new Crusade by the
influence of his father. It was not now a crafty
priest, but a parent, who, knowing the precocity
and the zeal of his son, saw that he would bea
proper one to imitate the example of Stephen,
and worked upon his young mind until the
boy believed himself called by God to the task.
The motive which influenced the father may
have been a desire to see his child famous and
great, that he might enjoy the reflected honor ;
or it may have been desire to profit by the
event, and to rob the deluded victims ot his
work, This latter prompting is the one that
was ascribed to him by the people, for the old
monk who saw all the progress of the affair,
tells us that he was “a very wicked man ;” and
the people of the region have left on record
their opinion of his character in the summary
vengeance that they meted out to him when
the results of his work were apparent, as we will
see at the close of the story.

Probably directed by his father, Nicholas
58 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

went to Cologne, and there preached his mis-
sion. There were the same reasons to rec-
ommend it as a suitable place for the purpose,
which made St. Denys such for Stephen ; it was
a great national shrine.

Old Colonia had long been a great and in-
fluential city, but it rose into new prominence
when, in 1162, it became the religious centre
of Germany. At that time its archbishop, Ray-
nuldus, brought back as his share of the plunder
from his clerical foray with Barbarossa to sack
Milan, among other articles not mentioned, the
bones of the “ Three Kings of the East.” The
legend of these who came “with a great multi-
tude of camels to worshippe Christ, then a little
childe of thirteen dayes olde,” is one of the most
noted of the mediaeval myths. The history of
these particular bones, whether those of the
Magi or not, begins with their removal to Con-
stantinople by Helena, who discovered so many
valuable relics of a sacred nature. The emperor
Eustorgius took them from their shrine in Santa
Sophia, and gave them to the archbishop of Mi-
lan, from whence Raynuldus carried them to his
city in patriotic zeal. Fora while they reposed
in a splendid shrine in the cathedral which
Charlemagne had built, until the present grand
edifice was constructed, where they still re-
GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 59

main. From the very first there was great de-
votion paid to them, and the revered skele-
tons ! listened as patiently to the supplications
addressed by the Germans, as they had to those
which they had heard in Italy or Byzantium,
yielding as ready attention, in a forgiving spirit,
to those who had gained possession of them by
war and robbery, as they had to those to whom
they had been presented as gifts. Rightly or
wrongly won, relics always hear the prayers of
their de facto owners. This is a curious fact
connected with them.

In their common interest in this sacred
place, the adherents of Otho and of Frederick
forgot their feuds and quarrels, so that it was
never more frequented than now, when Nicho-
las went thither to proclaim his call to the great
work of rescuing Palestine by children.

What we know of his labors there is told us
by Godfrey, an eye-witness, the compiler of a
chronicle of that city. He was a monk, one of
those who passed their lives in quiet cloisters,
noting down events which transpired around
them, illuminating missals, and praying venera-
ble prayers.

According to his aggravatingly short record,

1 It has been discovered that one skull is that of a child,
having milk teeth.
60 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

Nicholas came to Cologne and at once began
to preach. He had, as had his French brother,
a story to tell of a supernaturally received
charge, which was readily believed, as a confir-
mation of his claims on their attention. He
said that, as he was tending his flocks in the
field, he saw a cross of blazing light in the sky,
and heard a voice which told him that it was
the pledge of his success in the holy war. His
father had probably heard of the history of
Constantine, or it was related to him by some
priest who had found him a credulous tool.
Through the throngs that filled the city he
moved, telling what he was to do, or preach-
ing from elevated stations to the gaping pil-
grims, who, having swallowed the story of the
bones, were ready for his lesser fable. The
people and the children had been familiar with
the incendiary labors of the envoys of Inno-
cent, and the latter were as excited as those
of France by the scenes which appealed to
their ignorant and unreasoning minds. He
therefore found the way paved for his success,
The scene was still more suggestive and appro-
priate for the theme than even St. Denys had
been. He could point to the shrine of the Wise
Men, glittering with gold and jewels, and sur-
rounded by precious votive offerings of undis-

x
GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. O61

turbed pilgrims, and comparing this with the
state of the sepulchre of that One, to their con-
nection with whose history these men owed all
their fame, ask if the children he saw, as well as
the adults, were not as ready as those of France
to endeavor to rescue the holier tomb from its
ignominy, under the guidance of him whom
the Lord had chosen to lead his servants
thither.

We can imagine the scene presented during
these days of the spring of 1212, when Nich-
olas was gathering his followers and pleading
his claims. We can see him by the door of
the old Byzantine cathedral, which disappeared
soon after that date, standing on a platform or
on a pile of stones, addressing the crowds in
motley attire who came to worship, and whose
many quaint dialects and curious dresses repre-
sented the different regions whence they had
journeyed. They listened eagerly as he spoke,
and discussed among themselves the new won-
der. What stories were related of similar prod-
igies which had been the theme of local pride
in many a remote village! What debates as
to the probabilities of the success of this new
prophet! What expressions of hope that this
might solve the mystery which hung over the
fate of many friends who had been hurried away
62 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

to the wars at the command of the baron who
was their lord! What eager thanks to God for
his interference to end the cruel and hopeless
struggle for the holy places ! Thus can we fancy
the manifestation of the interest of the throngs
that our little boy, so precocious and enthu-
siastic, addressed. Among them we see old
Godfrey moving, in his brown robe and sandals.
He has come out to see how this restless, tur-
bulent world is getting on, whose turmoil does
not reach the seclusion and stagnation of the
cloisters of St. Pantaleon, and is noting down
in his mind the strange things he sees, that
he may return to muse in his cell, or beneath
some tree in the slumberous garden of the con-
vent, upon the follies ofmen. At evening he will
record, in his precious manuscript, along with
the events of greater interest pertaining to the
history of his peaceful asylum, what he deems
worthy of mention among mundane affairs.
The oblivion which covers all these busy
scenes is well represented by the change that
has come over the shrine of the Wise Men,
which is edifying to the traveller who visits
Cologne to-day. A century or more ago, the
shrine—a golden box of great value which
contains the. bones —— was removed from the
chief place in the cathedral to the eastern end,
GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 63

where, though more confined, there was room
enough for the devotees who came in vastly di-
minished numbers to worship where hosts had
once knelt. But as the “ages of faith” became
more and more remote, the numbers lessened.
The days of pilgrimage were ended, save for
a few stragglers that still lingered in the rear of
the vanished crowds. Fewer and fewer they
became, until one day the last. faithful, credu-
lous soul, whom we would love if we knew him,
knelt alone, solitarily told his beads in lowest
murmur, asked some petition which came from
a heavy heart, then rose and went away, utter-
ing an “Amen” that closed the prolonged
prayer of centuries.

The officials of the cathedral, wisely judging
that the space might be better appropriated, and
the remains be so arranged that the pilgrimages
of curiosity, which took the place of those of
piety, might be. made profitable, moved the
bones to a corner, where they are kept in a
room, to which admittance is gained, not by a
prayer, but by a thaler. The writer not long
ago examined the gorgeous casket in company
with a number of nineteenth-century priests,
who calmly and curiously talked of its carvings
and adornments, and, without a genuflection,
looked at the smooth skulls which the attend-
ant exposed by opening a sliding panel.
64 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

But let us come back to Nicholas and other
days. From Cologne the excitement spread,
as from St. Denys, by means of those who
sought their different homes. The extent of
country, however, in which the children rose,
was limited, owing to the prevailing dissensions
of a civil nature, and because the Emperor
found it a part of his policy to suppress the
matter where he could, and thus thwart the
Pope, as well as retain his people for his armies.
Yet, within the limits of the vicinity of the
Rhine and the neighboring land of Burgundy,
the commotion was greater than in France, as
is shown by the proportionately greater num-
ber that flocked to the Crusade.

Nicholas was aided by other youths, who
acted as lieutenants, and labored to gather ad-
herents in their various districts, hoping to
hold positions of rank. Of their names we
have none preserved ; so many other and higher
sounding ones occupied the pens of the chroni-
clers that these were overlooked.

Very noticeable is one feature of the appeals
which Nicholas and his assistants used, The
triumph promised and expected was one of
peace. The Holy Land was not to be won by
battle nor restored to the Christian king by the
slaughter of the Mohammedans, but the latter
GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 65

to be converted, and to accept, as believing sub-
jects, the rule of the faith they had hated. In
strange and touching contrast does this spirit
stand out among the cruel and bloody memo-
ries of the time. It awakens a peculiar interest
to read that when they marched from place to
place, gathering adherents, their watch-word
was one so different from the barbarous and
ruthless mottoes which expressed the temper of
Crusaders, for they sang, “We go to get the
cross beyond the sea, and to baptize the Moslem
infidels !”}

The excitement spread rapidly from town to
town and from village to village, so that the
bands which the “minor prophets” collected
were rapidly recruited, and successively led to
the rendezvous at Cologne. The mania in-
creased daily and overcame opposition. For
opposition was made to those who would follow
the young preachers, but with the same results
as in France. Parents, friends, and pastors
. sought to restrain them by force or appeal, but
they whose hearts were set upon the enter-
prise mourned and pined so, that we are told
their lives were frequently endangered as by
disease, and it was necessary to allow them to
depart. Many hoped that at last, at Cologne,

1 Gest. Trevirorum ; Godfrey and others.

5
66 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

the delusion would end, and various causes dis-
perse the assemblage.

The composition of the gathering bands
was as motley as that of the companies that
were collected for Stephen,— probably more so.
There were numbers of unprincipled creatures
that joined the ranks, led by various base mo-
tives, to gratify their propensity to thieving or
to lust, and all the refuse of the region seems to
have been drained, as we would naturally ex-
pect. It was an opportunity for such persons
that was too good and too rare to be lost, and
it was not lost. The number of depraved
women that mingled with the armies was, it is
told us, especially great, and to them is attrib-
uted the greater part of the evils which ensued.
The chroniclers refer frequently to them, and
present a dark picture of the morals of the
time.1 We can well imagine how the people
dreaded the approach of these bands. They
not only feared lest their young would be car-
ried away by the infection, which no authority
or ties could overcome, but because with them
came such a lawless, demoralizing rabble, that
would steal and rob with impunity.

Nevertheless, the vast majority were prompt-

1 Jac. de Voragine says: “Multi autem inter eos erant filii
nobilium, quos ipsi etiam cum meretricibus destinarant.”
GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 67

ed by good, though mistaken motives. There
were many reasons which would lead multi-
tudes to a sincere desire to liberate the sepul-
chre of the Saviour, and purify his tomb from
pagan control, and such as these were ready to
undertake and to endure anything in order to
promote that end. This swayed, undoubtedly,
the mass of those children who persisted in the
enterprise, while of course some were ruled by
ambition or by desire for independence of the
restraints of home.

With regard to the station of those who were
gathered in the movement, there was great
variety, all ranks being represented, led by
promptings which appealed to each. There
was a larger proportion of children of noble
birth than was the case in France. Germany
was always more alive to chivalrous excitement,
and her nobility were more numerous. The
country, particularly along the romantic Rhine,
was studded with baronial halls, which were
nurseries of daring and of knightly feeling. All
the influences which would act on children of
the lords to embark in this Crusade were thus
especially potent, and there were more boys
here than in France ready to go and combat
the cruel Saracens, because a father or a brother
had fallen at their hands. Thus the excitement
68 GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

ran through the upper class, and Cologne, the
home of many noble families, because a large
and imperial city, is said to have lost so many
children of rank, and to have furnished so many
scions on whom fair hopes were placed, that
the effects of the movement were felt for a long
time after it had died away.

As to age, there were very many adults in
the assembling crowds, as we gather from va-
rious statements of the chroniclers, and not only
of those who joined them from lower motives,
but many such were seized with the crusading
spirit. They had become weary of the vain
attempts to succeed in this terrible war, which
had been made in the usual way; and this new
plan at once was regarded by them as that de-
vised by God, and destined to triumph, where,
very evidently, ordinary warfare was not to
achieve the result.

We are told, as an interesting feature, which
shows that some attempt was made at disci-
pline, that a uniform was generally adopted.t
It was an adaptation of the usual costume of pil-
grims. They assumed a long coat, when pos-
sible, of a gray color, and upon the breast was
sewn a cross, as customary with the Crusaders ;
for they claimed this character as well as that

1Jac. de Voragine.
GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN. 69

of pilgrims. This latter aspect was further en-
hanced by the carrying of a palmer’s staff, and
on their heads they wore broad-brimmed hats.
There were many who but partially, if at all,
adopted this costume, because they would not
or could not procure it. Such a simple and
quaint attire must have made a pleasing effect
when a group marched by.

In this way was the region around Cologne
kept in a state of ferment, as the bands con-
tinued to arrive at this central point, where
Nicholas awaited them, until the time came for
their departure for the Holy Land. Little over
a month could have elapsed before the assem-
bling was completed, and the various leaders
had their recruits ready for the start, whether
in the always crowded city, now doubly full, or
in the towns and villages around. The great-
ness of the numbers collected in this brief
period shows the enthusiasm of the movement,
That it must have been so brief, is seen from
the facts that Stephen began his work in the
Spring, then the tidings spread to the Rhine;
after this the gathering took place here, and
these children marched to the Mediterranean,
yet they reached that sea- before the middle of
August. —

We now proceed to the next step in the
7O GATHERING OF GERMAN CHILDREN.

prosecution of the Crusade, or pilgrimage. But
here our narrative divides, for there was a divis-
ion of the host assembled at Cologne, into two
armies. The fate of that which started under
the leadership of Nicholas will be first traced,
and afterwards we will return to the fortunes
of the other.
CHAPTER IV.

THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

I.
Zo the Alps.

One fair morning of June or July, in the year
of grace 1212, our friend Godfrey, monk of St.
Pantaleon, probably saw a strange scene, to
which we have now come in the course of this
narrative. Let us follow him out of the city,
and witness with him what he beheld as the
sun was gilding the towers of the churches,
and still casting the long, westward-stretching
shadows of early morning. Or, better, let us
take our place on the walls, where we may
stand, surrounded by eager crowds, and over-
look the spectacle.

Upon the plain before us is a dense, waving
concourse of people, who issue from streets and
lanes by the open gates, or who come from
neighboring villages by paths and roads _bor-
dered by hedges still glistening with the dew.
All ages and both sexes are represented, and
72 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

all are intent upon some important matter, as
their motions and their murmurs tell. In the
mingled sounds which come to us, we perceive
at times the refrain of a song, or the noise of
altercation, while we hear also the lamentations
of others, whose gestures express great sorrow.
As we watch the scene, a discrimination is in
progress, and many join the forming ranks of
an army, whose insignia and banners become
visible in regular array. At length all is ready.
Nicholas takes his place as leader, and at a
given signal the compact mass moves away, still
followed by friends who would not cease to seek
to arrest their beloved ones, and by the amazed
eyes of the throngs upon the walls. Vain had
been the efforts to stop the enterprise by par-
ents, priests, and rulers. Too confident to be
dissuaded, too reliant on their numbers to be
intimidated, too elated to be discouraged, this
band of twenty thousand children? commenced
its march toward Palestine. We watch them
from our station, as they recede, until, behind
some hill, the procession disappears, and the
sound of their songs and their shouts sinks into
silence in the distance.

Their route lay along the Rhine. This region
was not then, as now, densely peopled and ren-

1 Fasciculus Temporum.
‘TO THE ALPS. 73

dered romantic by frequent, picturesque ruins.
It was almost a wilderness then, with an occa-
sional castle rising from lofty crags that bear at
present but a- shattered tower or crumbling
walls. Upon the lordly Drachenfels, which
stands as a sentinel at the portal of the valley of
the Rhine, was the home of a wild Baron, whose
relics are now the peaceful loitering place of
the tourist ; and, as he saw the children wind
across the fields, beyond the river, there arose
in his mind pleasant thoughts of plunder. It
was a subject of congratulation to the latter,
that the Rhine rolled between them and those
grim walls. At Rolandseck was Roland’s
Tower, which then, as now, looked down upon
Nonnenwerth’s beautiful green isle, cradled in
the river. Gutenfels and Stahleck were the
homes of rough men and fair women, to whom
the lapse of centuries has given. associations
which are very poetical, but who found their
daily life as real and as prosaic as we find our
own. Rheinstein, from its vine-clad height,
frowned down upon the winding river which soon
disappeared in a gorge, where the superstitious
boatman saw in every nook and crevice an abode
of dragons or of sprites. Here dwelt then old
Siegfried, whose name is linked with many a
weird legend. And thus were some of the storied
74 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

spots of this wonderful stream then marked by
castles above or towers below; but, generally,
the hill-sides, at present so cultivated, and
whence come to the tourist the songs of “ peas-
ant girls with dark blue eyes,” were covered
with dense forests, where wandered the stags
and boars, the wolves and bears, whose pursuit
formed, beside war, the only amusement of these
rude men of old.

As our children wander southward, let us seek
to describe the manner of their march, and their
experiences.

Of all the strange armies which those days
of strange sights had witnessed, this was the
most notable. There were no mailed soldiers,
who marched beneath feudal banners that had
waved over battle-fields in Europe and in Asia ;
there were no chargers that carried strong war-
riors who held well-used swords ; nor yet were
there pilgrims of mature years, who had set
out, unarmed, to pray in consecrated spots. It
was an army of children, who were actually
departing to recover possession of a land .in
whose behalf many a host had died in vain.
In the van we see Nicholas, probably accom-
panied by an escort and attendants. Then
the line stretches with varying regularity for
several miles, and, over the uniformed ranks
TO THE ALPS. 75

of little ones, rise the crosses and banners
that are proudly carried. We see, among the
numbers, the many adults who desired to share
the glory of the enterprise or to plunder and
corrupt. There were women who came to
profit in their baseness or suffer in their weak-
ness, and girls who were destined to a bitter
lot of shame, instead of a rest in Palestine.
And priests and monks were there, some to
rob, and some to pray. But the mass were.
boys of about twelve years of age! They gave
character to the army, and it is with them that
we are concerned. They came from mansion
and from hovel, from luxury and from want ;
the pedigree of princes was possessed by those
who walked by the side of humble serfs.

As they marched along, they beguiled the
time with narrative and song. As to the for-
mer, there was among them a store which was
not soon exhausted.

The children from the castle told of knightly
deeds by men of famous names, and to the
more credulous peasants, repeated what they
had so often heard from their proud kindred,
who had won such fame in conflict. They who
had never before spoken with the despised
boor, forgot their station, and wearied not to

1 Sicardi.
76 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

answer questions concerning the life of the no-
ble born, which had been almost as sacred and
revered in the cabins of the lowly as the associ-
ations of the Holy Land. The serf-child could
only tell of obscurer feats of arms and of less
exalted deeds, which his kindred had known;
but yet each was ready to hear the wonderful,
stories of the other. In this way, throughout
the host, the spirit of the cause was kept alive,
and their minds were inflamed into resolution to
surpass the achievement of squire, and knight,
and baron. The fame of the heroes who had
fallen, to be immortal in song, or who had sur-
vived to receive the love: of woman and the
envy of man, was yet to pale before the lustre
of the deeds of God’s own army.

And songs, too, whiled away the tedioug
hours of wandering, as well as aided in sustain-
ing their spirits. Chroniclers expressly say
that singing formed a marked feature in their
journey. They sang many lyrics which re-
turned pilgrims and warriors had taught them,
but which, it is sad to say, have been lost.
They also composed many of their own, which
have shared the same fate. It is natural to
wish most earnestly that some of these had
survived, that thence we might learn something
of the children’s feelings, and that we might
TO THE ALPS. 77

enter into a fuller sympathy with them, in read-
ing the words which conveyed their emotions.
But, although we have not the language of these
songs, we can well imagine their themes. The
constant subjects were the restoration of the
Holy Sepulchre, and the glory of that triumph.
We need not labor much to realize the ardor
which nerved them to endure fatigue, when,
their little hearts bounding with excitement,
they shouted in spirited tunes the expressions
of the hopes and dreams of years.

From the oblivion of ages there has survived,
however, only one of the hymns which were
‘sung by them. It was brought by the recruits
from Westphalia, and had been sung by many
a pilgrim before, on the way to Palestine. Its
words and air, so well adapted to this present
assemblage, made it popular, and it delights the
Christian of to-day by the evidence which it
affords that there lingered yet some apprecia-
tion of the truth of the Gospel, some love to the
Saviour. It seems as a gleam of light in the
darkness of the age. Listen, then, children of
the nineteenth century, to words which other
children sang, as they marched along the Rhine,
nearly eight hundred years ago.

Let us quote it first in the original, in which
these little crusaders were wont to sing it, having
modernized its antique German : —
78

THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

“ Schoénster Herr Jesus,
Herrscher aller Erden,
Gottes und Maria Sohn ;
Dich will ich lieben,
Dich will ich ehren,
Du, meiner Seele Freud’ und Kron !

“ Schon sind die Felder,
Noch schoner sind die Walder,
In der schénen Friihlingszeit ;
Jesus ist schoner,
Jesus ist reiner,
Der unser traurig Herz erfreut.

“ Schon leuchtet die Sonne,
Noch schoéner leuchtet der Monde,
Und die Sternlein allzumal ;
Jesus leuchtet schoner,
Jesus leuchtet reiner,
Als all’ die Engel im Himmelsaal.”

TRANSLATION.

“Fairest Lord Jesus,
Ruler of all nature,
Thou of Mary and of God the Son!
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor,
Thee my soul’s glory, joy, and crown!

“ Fair are the meadows,
Fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring :
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer,
Who makes our saddened heart to sing.
TO THE ALPS. 79

“ Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And the sparkling, starry host ;
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.”

How welcome is such a hymn from the past
ages, and how does it add to our interest in these
youths who used it !4

Thus singing their songs, they passed on
southwards, seeking Palestine. But it is nat-
ural to inquire if they did not know that the
Mediterranean intervened ; and if so, how did
they expect to cross it? Did their leaders not
have an answer ready for this question? We
find, as a feature of curious interest, that they
who had excited and promoted the Crusade, had
promised that the Lord would provide a path-
way through that great sea to the land beyond
its waters. Availing themselves of a home
argument, they pointed to the fearful drought
which is recorded to have prevailed that Sum-
mer, as evidence from Heaven that the army

1 For an account of the discovery of this hymn, see Zvan-
gelical Christendom for May, 1850. This was a magazine for-
merly issued in London, and to its'editors I am indebted for
a copy. The hymn has since been. published in various col-
lections of sacred music in the above version, which is that

made by the author of the article in the magazine referred to.
Hecker asserts that it was used by the children.
80 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

was to pass, like Israel’s hosts, through the
sea, for they said that the Mediterranean was
drying up for this end. This was asserted in
reply to the natural objections that there would
not be enough vessels to carry such a vast num-
ber, or that, if they were obtained, the young
pilgrims would lack money to pay for their
transportation and their food. The story was
believed, and the children were buoyed up and
encouraged on the march by the anticipation
of so signal an interference in their behalf.
Surely, said they, if we are thus to triumph over
the deep waters, as did the people of God in old
times, we must win an equal success, and rest
in the same land, by virtue of the same divine
aid.

They journeyed onward through the domains
of the lords and nobles who owed allegiance
to France, or to the Empire. Their fame may
have preceded them, or it may not, yet their
arrival was always the signal of commotion in
every village, where they won new recuits from
the astonished and enraptured children. Each
member of the host told, in his own words, the
same tale of a celestial call and of a certain suc-
cess, and repeated, with embellishments of his
own invention, the appeal in behalf of the de-
filed Tomb of Christ. If night overtook them
TO THE ALPS. 8I

by any town or hamlet, they sought shelter
where they could find it. One chronicler tells
us that no city on the way could contain the
army. Some slept in houses, where the kind-
hearted or the sympathizing invited them to
rest ; others reposed in the streets and market-
places; while they who could find no space
within, lay down without the walls. But if, as
was generally the case, the darkness found them
in the open country, they passed the night in
the barns and hovels, under the trees of the
forest, or on the green bank of some stream,
and the angel of sleep closed their heavy eye-
lids under the starlight. The day’s march was
wearisome to little ones who had never before
been out of sight of home, and therefore they
soon fell asleep, wherever it was. When morn-
ing came, they ate whatever they had in their
wallets or what they begged or bought as they
went. The line of march was again formed, the
banners unfurled, the crosses uplifted, and, with
the morning song they began another day of
fatigue. At noon they rested by some brook to
eat their scanty meal and quench their thirst,
and again started to wander on through the
quiet hours of afternoon, until the welcome sun-
set reminded them that they had passed an-
other stage of their journey to distant — O, so

distant !— Palestine.
6
82 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

But their great trials soon began. After
what we have learned of the mingled elements
in the army, it does not surprise us to learn that
the evil-disposed spread every kind of misery,
and that there ensued all sorts of demoraliza-
tion. Those children who had any money were
robbed or cheated of it, and they who had only
food in their wallets soon had that stolen by
the hangers-on and thieves. The depraved
men and women gave way to their passions, °
so that vice grew daily, and parts of the camp
became scenes of sin and lust. The disorders
were increased by the rivalries of subordinate
leaders, until at last they moved on, but little
more than a loose, lawless concourse, without
chiefs and without discipline. Consequently,
they were at the mercy of those who for vari-
ous reasons saw fit to molest them, and with
impunity the wild barons could swoop down
upon them from their fastnesses, and seize as
many as they would, to hold them in harsh or
basest servitude.

They reached at length the territory now
called Switzerland, but which was then a con-
glomeration of petty lordships, most of them be-
ing subject to the Duke of Burgundy, but many
belonging to the Emperor. Threading its beau-
tiful valleys, and passing along its foaming rivers,
THE PASSAGE OF THE MONT CENIS. 83

they came to the shores of Lake Leman, and
encamped by the walls of Geneva. Thence they
sought the Alps, which rose grand and impos-
ing before them. To cross those trackless
heights was now the task to which the poor lit-
tle children were to address themselves. Weary
and worn, singing and sighing, they neared the
blue mountains on whose summits rested the
eternal snows.

II.
The Passage of the Mont Cenis.

Other causes than those already referred to,
had tended to diminish the numbers of the
youthful army. As we hurry, by railroad or
steamboat, through the regions they traversed,
we have to exert our imagination to form an
accurate picture of the condition of those lands
at the date of which we are speaking. The
population of Europe was very sparse, probably
not one tenth of its present amount, and it was
generally restricted to the vicinity of cities.
Tracts now thickly peopled and smiling with
crops were uninhabited and untilled, and in
them animals roamed unmolested. The few
highways which led from city to city were
wretched and devious, passing through dense
84 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

forests, and by haunts of robbers who could,
with no terror of law, plunder the unguarded
traveller.

Journeying through countries such as those
on the route which they followed, where popu-
lation was scanty even for those times, produced
terrible effects among the children. In fording
streams where there were no bridges, many
are said to have been drowned. We are also
told that the wild beasts seized many an unwary
or worn-out straggler. They often found them-
selves in these unpeopled regions without any
food, and then they had nothing to eat but the
. wild fruit and berries by the way-side, so that
starvation ended the lives of numbers, whose
exhausted frames easily yielded to its pangs.
Disease, produced by constantly recurring cir-
cumstances, tended also to thin the ranks. And
from all these sorrows resulted the chief cause
of the diminution of the army, which was deser-
tion. Weary and discouraged, they fell away at
every step, and sought their homes in groups.

As far as can be ascertained, about one half
of the original number remained when they
came in sight of the Alps, which rose before
them peak beyond peak.

The route they selected was that over the
Mont Cenis, which, in the Middle Ages, was
THE PASSAGE OF THE MONT CENIS. 85

the most frequented of all the passes into Italy.
Into the heart of the mountains, then, the chil-
dren plunged, where was a sparse population
that tilled the valleys, and dwelt by the foaming
torrents, gathering scanty crops from the little
meadows which lay, here and there, between the
streams and the rocks. But in these people our
Crusaders found enemies instead of friends.
For they were, we are told, to a great extent
heathen and even idolaters, as were many of the
inhabitants of the Alps up to this date, and the
records of the time contain allusion to their
constant depredations upon pilgrims and trav-
ellers. In the Valais there were numbers of
Saracen Mohammedans, who had penetrated
thither from the sea on forays, and had re-
mained, unable or unwilling to return.) Through
these hostile ravines the army persevered until
the ascent began in earnest. New trials now
commenced, which rendered those of the past
insignificant. The road was merely a narrow,
stony path over streams and along precipices,
over dreary mountain slopes, where grew only
the heather and rhododendron, or over fields of
unmelted snow.

The chronicles of the time abound in narra-
tives of the perils encountered in the Alps, by

1 Michaud’s Crusades.
86 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

those journeying, not for pleasure, but on vari-
ous errands. There were merchants seeking
their marts, soldiers seeking the battle-fields or
their homes, ecclesiastics passing to and from
Rome. In view of the great amount of travel
produced by the relations between the Pope
and Northern Europe, by the pilgrim spirit that
has long since almost died away, by the cease-
less plying of diplomacy, and by other causes
peculiar to the Middle Ages, there is reason to
believe that the passes over the Alps were
probably as much frequented then as they are
now. Consequently the frequency of incidents
of suffering was far greater when there were no
roads as at present, but only rude bridle-paths.

Among the most remarkable of all the pas-
sages on record was that of Henry IV., with
his wife and child, when he was on his way to
Canossa to humiliate himself before the Pope.
His experience casts light on that of the chil-
dren. His route was also over the Mont Cenis.
Vast quantities of snow had fallen, and for
several weeks no one had ventured to cross
to or from Italy. At length the Emperor se-
cured reluctant guides, and started with many
attendants. The ascent was toilsome and terri-
ble. The Empress, with her babe, was dragged
over the snow on ox-hides, and wrapped in
THE PASSAGE OF THE MONT CENIS. 87

furs. The descent was still more perilous. The
horses and mules were lowered from ledge
to ledge, or else their feet were tied, and then
‘they were suffered to slide down the icy slopes.
Over the cliffs and precipices many a guide
and servant fell, to be found no more. It was
through such untold terrors and hardships that
the subdued ruler of Germany passed to meet
the stern presence of the Pope, his rival and
his conqueror. Well has it been said that “he
would be a hardy mountaineer, even now, who
would undertake such a journey, unless a soul
or an empire were at stake.”

Many of the children who had not yielded
under the past trials, now felt they could do
no more. The rocks cut their shoeless feet;
the air of sunless chasms chilled them ; while
they saw that there was no hope of food or rest
until the pass were traversed. Group after group
then sadly turned their faces homeward, their
ardor for the Sepulchre and the Land quenched
by this revelation of what lay in the path by ~
which they must be reached.

We may briefly follow, by the aid of scanty
records and conjecture, the adventures of those
who resolved to brave the passage. It lasted
several days and nights, longer than usual, as
they were disorganized, and their sufferings
88 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

during this period surpassed powers of descrip-
tion.

The children of wealthy or noble families
had been provided, we are told, with attendants
who carried supplies of food and clothing, and
thus were these enabled to endure the hard-
ships of the path. But as these cases were al-
most exceptional, there was little done in this
way to lessen the trials of the mass. The others
suffered severely from the want of food, and
in this state were entirely unequal to the ex-
hausting labor of climbing difficult ascents.
They had left home in the summer, when their
raiment was thin; it had become scanty and
ragged in the long and dusty march, so that
they were exposed to the full severity of the
cold. So they toiled on, hungry and tired,
disheartened and discouraged by the gloomy
mountain scenery, and by the ever new revela-
tion of other heights beyond those they had
thought the last. On, through black forests of
pines and firs, through moors, over ridges, leap-
ing from stone to stone, as they met a stream,
across treacherous snows into which they sank,
and which froze their feet, and over jagged
rocks which lacerated them, travelled this deci-
mated band of children, which, a short month
before, had departed from the walls of Cologne
with exultant hearts and gleaming eyes.
THE PASSAGE OF THE MONT CENTS. 89

No scene was more impressive and character-
istic than that presented as they stopped to rest
at evening. Glad, and yet sorrowful, to see the
sun set, they ceased the weary walk, wherever
the darkness overtook them. They ate the
little bread that was left, drank of the thirst-
provoking snow-water, and then, in their wet
and ragged clothing, lay down upon the heather
or the rocks. They who were so fortunate as to
find any wood, made a fire, around which they
crowded for protection from. the piercing cold,
that came in blasts from the gorges and glaciers
above them. What pen can describe the emo-
tions of those children, as they thus prepared
to sleep, while they thought of their distant
dear ones and of the comforts they had so wil-
fully abandoned !

What a sight did the Spirit of the Alps behold,
as he saw these encampments, where, under the
cold and solemn starlight, or in the chilly rain,
thousands of boys and girls lay sleeping, and,
in dreams of home and of the Holy Land,
whence they were to return in triumph, forget-
ting the trials of the day which had closed, and
those to come with the morrow! How many
fell into the sleep that knows no waking, and,
when comrades rose to start in the morning,
remained cold and stiff where they had dropped
90 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

at evening! They could not be buried in the
frozen earth; their bodies were left to moulder
away to dust.

At the summit of the pass of Mont Cenis
there was, as there is still, a monastery, where
already, for four hundred years, kind monks
had dwelt, to furnish food to the pilgrims and
travellers who had ventured on the journey
unprovided, or who needed somewhere to rest
at night or a refuge from the storm. They
also acted as missionaries to the heathen
population around them, and performed the
necessary offices of religion for the Chris-
tians. Rejoiced must the young Crusaders
have been to reach this Hospice, which not
only gave them food and partial shelter, but
also reminded them that the worst of the
journey was accomplished, the most dreaded
obstacles surmounted, and that the exhaust-
ing ascent was now to be exchanged for de-
scent.

After a brief stay, they passed on. As at
length a turn in the path showed them the
plains at the foot of the mountain, how the
sight thrilled them! They saw the rivers,
which looked like threads of silver through
green fields of tapestry, and villages and vine-
yards, that formed a scene of cultivation and of
THE PASSAGE OF THE MONT CENIS. QI

beauty which was unknown in their northern
home. With renewed strength, they rushed
downwards until they trod the soil of Italy.
The present territory of Piedmont was, in
these days, divided into many small states, in-
dependent and proud, but generally owing alle-
giance to the Duke of Savoy, or to the Marquis
of Montserrat. Through these domains lay the
path of the army, and it was a path of continued
trial, They had hoped that, with the passage
of the Alps, their sufferings would end; but
they had now to endure trials of another nature.
The Italians were embittered against the Ger-
mans, owing to the constant wars carried on by
the Emperors, and, when these children were
in their power, they visited upon them the sins
of their fathers. They were subjected to cruel-
ties of every sort. They were refused entrance
to the towns; the lords seized many of them,
whom they carried away to hold as slaves, dis-
regarding the voice of the Church and of hu-
manity. The army hurried from peril to peril,
through a land to which they had looked for-
ward so hopefully. At length they reached a
mountain range, from whose summit they saw,
in its beautiful amphitheatre and facing its noble
bay, Genoa “the proud.” There was the sea,
blue and boundless, which they had never be-
92 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

held before, and, on the shore, bathed in the
sunlight, lay a city which seemed ‘a vision of
fairy land to their eyes, accustomed only to the
scanty splendor of Germany.

The effect of this sight can be easily im-
agined. The youngest and weariest were
strong again, and the departed were pitied, as
the goal of the journey lay before the crusading
army. Banners, which had been furled in de-
spondency, were raised again to float in the sea-
born ait. Crosses were again held aloft in ex-
ultation. Songs were resumed, which had not
been heard for many a tearful day, and hymns
of triumph were shouted as hopefully as when
they had been heard by the distant City of the
Kings. Discords were forgotten. Nicholas,
whose sway had been disregarded, was again
their prophet and leader, and again were stories
of triumph and of glory on every lip, and dreams
of fame in every heart. No more Alps! No
more wilderness! No more want, fatigue, and
suffering! Only the path through the sea re-
mains to be traversed, and then we will tread the
shores of Palestine! Thus did the children ex-
claim, as they saw, from the hills whereon they
stood, the towers and palaces of Genoa.
GENOA. 93

III.
Genoa.

On Saturday, the twenty-fifth day of August,
in the year 1212, the army of children stood by
the gates of Genoa, begging in the name of
Christ and the Cross for admission, that they
might rest after a journey of seven hundred
miles.1

It was not such a band as had left the banks
of the Rhine. Of the twenty thousand, but
seven thousand remained under the guidance
of Nicholas. Where were the rest ? They slept
by every torrent, in every forest, on every hill-
side along the weary way. The route through
Burgundy and Switzerland, and over the moun-
tain paths, was marked by their graves or by
their unburied corpses. Many had returned in
sorrow to the homes they had left in enthusiasm,
and others who had found new homes or had
been kidnapped, were never more to see, or to
desire to see, the scenes of infancy. Only
the most determined and robust were left,
and as a consequence there stood by Genoa
the flower of the youth of the Rhine-lands, who

3 Ogerius Panis: “‘ Die Sabbati, VIII. Kal. Sept.” Vincent
de Beauvais also gives this date.
2 Sicardi and Ogerius Panis.
94. THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

had become rugged and strong ; the weak and
sickly having been sifted out by the experiences
of the way. The same causes which had
forced the feeble to relinquish the enterprise,
or had exhausted them, had contributed to
purge the band of the dissolute and depraved.
Those who had enlisted merely with the desire
to escape parental restraint and to indulge
their sinful propensities, would not be expected
to endure the continued hardships, and, as soon
as the attendant difficulties exceeded the grati-
fication which they derived, they had turned
their backs on the band, and either sought their
homes readier to submit to rule, or else, as was
the case with many, remained in the cities along
the route, where they grew up in vilest habits,
and where they swelled the ranks of the de-
praved. Likewise did the adults who had joined
to plunder and to demoralize, shrink from
fatigue, and seek other spheres for plying their
arts, although not until they had worked great
misery. In all respects, the army was there-
fore purified by its trials.

But very changed was the appearance of the
seven thousand. Their garments were tattered
and faded, their feet shoeless and wounded.
Their faces had been burned by the sun and
the snow, and their expressions saddened by
GENOA. 95

sorrow. Yet they were capable of more endur-
ance than they had been at first, and they were
buoyed up by new confidence as they reached
the shore of the Mediterranean.

Genoa was at this time at the height of her
prosperity, and shared with Venice and Pisa
the commerce of Europe. Not yet had her
decadence begun. It was to be a hundred
years, before, in that long war, the Lion of St.
Mark was to humble her, after that she had
herself crushed her rival, Pisa. Now her port
was filled with the shipping of all climes. Her
merchant princes dwelt in palaces, many of
which yet astonish the stranger. Her Senate
surpassed in dignity all other governments, and
the state of her Doges excelled in pomp that of
the monarchs of Europe, with whom they treated
as equals. Many a score of galleys rode at
anchor in her blue harbor, ready to avenge
her insults and to preserve her colonies. Her
territory extended far into the interior, for the
Republic, though a city, owned wide domains,
from whence came her soldiers and her food.

Before the august body which governed this
state came the petition of Nicholas and his
army, that they might sleep within the walls
but one night. They asked not to remain longer.
They could not tarry, as they were in haste to
96 . THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

reach the Holy Land, to whose shores duty
and desire impelled them. Nor did they ask
for galleys, or for vessels of any kind, to trans-
port them thither. On the morrow, the sea
which Genoa had failed to curb, was to be
divided by the Lord, and this army was to
march dry-shod to the coast it sought. God
had chosen that city as the place of this mira-
cle, and the astonished Senators were warned,
lest they refuse to aid those so signally under
the care of Omnipotence.

The authorities heard the petition, and, in
mingled wonder and pity, they considered it.
But they did not hesitate long. Sympathy with
the deluded youths moved them to consent:
that they might tarry six or seven days for rest
and refreshment, for surely, said the Senators,
they will return homewards when they discover
their deception.

Eagerly did the boys receive the permission,
and exultingly did they enter the city, where
they anticipated enjoying such repose as they
had not known since they had started from Co-
logne. They marched through the stately
streets, regarding in amazement the sumptuous-
ness visible on every hand, and thinking of the
meanness of their own less favored homes.
What a change was this from desert wilds and
Alpine heights!
GENOA. Gea

Their joy’and wonder were equalled by the
astonishment of the inhabitants, when they saw
defiling through the gates, and crowding the
streets, so many fair-haired children, who, carry-
ing banners and crosses, sang in spirited songs
their determination to rescue the Holy Sepul-
chre, to achieve which they had come from far
beyond the Alps, under the guidance of a child.
The merchant left his desk, the young ceased
their play, the maidens gazed in wonder or in
tenderness, the grave nobles were moved to sur-
prise,as these blue-eyed youths from the Rhine
passed by.

But, when once the permission to enter had
been accorded by the Senate, they resolved on
that same day to rescind it. There were three
reasons which were imperative! In the first
place there was to be feared the effect upon the
morals of the city that might be produced by
seven thousand unrestrained boys. In a short
time they might, relying on their numbers, give
way to lawlessness, and introduce results which
the jealous government well knew how to dread.
Again, the Senate feared lest so sudden an
addition to the population might produce a

1 For this action of the Senate, and the motives which ruled
them, see Sicardi, Og, Panis, Petrus Bizarus, Ubert. Folietus,
Jac. de Voragine.

7
98 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

famine, for, situated as Genoa was, there was
never any great superabundance of food. But
the last and principal reason which weighed
with the Senators was political. The Emperor
Otho was, as we have seen, at war with the
Pope, and in the contest Genoa was ranged on
the Guelph or papal side. This had been its
party for many years, and the name of German
had become odious. The adults had learned
to cherish this animosity in their experience of
the rigor of the wars of Barbarossa, and the
young had been trained to regard the coarse
“Tedescas” as enemies of the Church, enemies
of Italy, and as panting to lay hands on fair
Genoa, as they had so ruthlessly done upon
Milan. To shelter German children, then, al-
though ostensibly on a Crusade, would be to
harbor foes, and to care for a hated race, which
the Pope had declared outlawed. Why might
they not, the Genoese mob exclaimed, be emis-
saries of Otho, and endeavor to seize the city for
him? But, more potent in the minds of the
Senators than these fanatical cries of the popu-
lace, was the consideration that Innocent might
take it in bad part if they sheltered so many
Germans, whose object, so absurd, might be
doubted. To use a modern phrase, it would
not give as clear a record as they wished. It
GENOA. 99

might be used against them by some rival for
the favor of the Pope.

The result of the deliberations was that the
authorities told the children that they could
only remain one night; on the morrow they
must depart from the territory of the Republic.
But, that mercy might not be denied them,
exceptions would be made for those who should
desire to remain permanently, and, giving up
their wild scheme, promise to become good
citizens. This was politic, for it might secure
an infusion of strong and robust blood into the
population, in which respect the hardy North-
erners were the envy of the enervated dwellers
in warmer lands.

The confident youths received the command
in derision, and laughed at the offer to give
those who desired it a home. “We only ask
to rest one night. To-morrow you shall see
how God cares for his army! Who would
remain here, when there lies a path in the sea,
between emerald walls, to the land where glory
waitsus?” Thus they cried as they prepared
to sleep that night, in the houses, or in the
streets, and with hopeful, proud thoughts they
closed their eyes at evening.

The night passed away. In the morning,
they rose to rush to the sea-shore and behold
100 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

the new way upon its bed. But that sea rolled
as yesterday ; no miraculous chasm yawned to
receive their eager footsteps. They looked in
despair out upon the blue and sparkling waves,
which danced in mockery, and learnt at last
how terribly they had been deceived. Hours
wore away, but brought no change. They then
had to prepare, with disappointed hearts, to
leave the city, and to deliberate upon the next
step to be taken.

But the once derided offer of the Senate was
not fruitless now. Many who had become
awakened to an appreciation of their deception,
and who could not resist the argument of that
undivided sea, resolved to remain in Genoa.
They could not tear themselves away from the
comforts of the city, to encounter a renewal of
hardships, such as they had experienced. No,
here would they stay, and, as well as they could,
secure a luxurious home among scenes so dif-
ferent from their own abodes, which, if they
could reach them, would now appear squalid
and mean, in a cold land, where were no figs,
no oranges, no vineyards. How many remained
we are not told. It is stated by the chroniclers
that there were a large number, and, which
is passing strange, we are informed that many
of the youths rose to wealth and eminence,
TO ROME. IOI

founding pedigrees which ranked high in the
state, among whom was the princely house of
Vivaldi Those of noble rank naturally found a
home with their own class, and so to-day even,
many a Genoese, who rejoices in a proud title,
may trace his ancestry back to some boy who,
born by the Rhine, had been led by a mighty
delusion to find a new home by the Mediterra-
nean.

Those who desired to stay having secreted
themselves, the rest of the band mournfully
quitted the city where their hopes had been
so cruelly shattered, amidst the jeers or the pity
of the spectators, who lined the streets and the
walls to see them depart, as they had done to
see them arrive.

IV.
To Rome.

On Sunday, August 26th, the army which
had so hopefully and proudly entered Genoa on
the preceding day, issued with sad hearts from
its gates.?

What is to be done now? they asked, as they
gathered in the fields to deliberate. They
could not return. No, better remain and die in

1 Sicardi and Petrus Bizarus.
? Ogerius Panis, ‘Die Dominica sequente.”
102 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

sunny Italy, than perish in the mountains and
the wilds which lay between them and home!
The memory of the past two months was too
vivid to allow any to desire to repeat their ex-
periences.

But encouraging voices said: “ Why yield to
despondency? Are there no other cities which,
more hospitable, will give us shelter and vessels
to transport us to Palestine? Or, why think
that Genoa was meant to be the place at which
the way through the sea was to be made? It
may be elsewhere! Let us push on to the
southward, until we find the passage which God
has promised!” In this way they revived their
drooping hopes, and thought that theirs might
yet be the happy destiny of kneeling on the sa-
cred soil of Israel, and returning from a suc-
cessful Crusade.

Resolved to march by land, as far as they
could, in the direction of Palestine, they turned
their faces eastward, and soon the people of
Genoa saw them pass out of sight over the
hills. Their spirit was broken, however, and
the disintegration, which had ceased for a while,
was renewed. The people by the way induced
many to remain, and compelled others. Many
became daily more willing to secure homes in
so fair a land, and to exchange weary marching
for repose.
TO ROME. 103

And henceforth discipline seems to have
been lost ; they became an unregulated, headless
band. Nicholas is not heard of again. It is
not probable that his authority survived the
disappointment at Genoa, where his many
prophecies had been so signally falsified. He
may have remained in that city, or he may have
departed from it with the army, but we can feel
sure that he was no more the revered prophet
that he had been.

Struggling on, the band of pilgrims journeyed
through the mountain roads which lie to the
eastward of Genoa. After many hardships,
they reached Pisa, and gladly hailed its appear-
ance, thinking it might be the hoped-for termi-
nation of their march. This city was then the
rival of Genoa, and almost always its enemy
in war. It was at this time in its prime. The
streets, at present so deserted, which sadden
the visitor by their silence, were full of busy life,
and the Arno bore on its bosom countless ves-
sels laden with the produce of all lands. On
the quays and in the thoroughfares were seen
as common things the bright and quaint cos-
tumes of the East, and the dark-hued children
of warmer climes, who sojourned here for pur-
poses of traffic; but that which astonished the
stranger most of all was meeting camels in the
104 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

streets. Slaves of all races tugged the oar of far
wandering ships, and bore witness to the prow-
ess and the wealth of Pisa. There stood then,
new and fresh, the wonderful Cathedral and
Baptistery, with the leaning Campanile, and, in
the exquisite Church of Santa Maria by the
river, the sailors prayed and gave votive offer-
ings as they departed or as they returned from
sea.

Concerning their reception and stay in Pisa,
we know but little. That they were kindly re-
ceived, may be inferred in a twofold way. In
the first place, that Genoa had expelled them,
would be a title to the hospitality of Pisa. And
we are informed, in the next place, that two
shiploads of children sailed thence to the Holy
Land.! This fact is merely mentioned. To our
regret, we know not if they reached that desti-
nation. There seems to be an indication, how-
ever, that they succeeded in arriving at Ptole-
mais, then the only port in the hands of the
Christians. If they did, the Crusaders there
must have thought that there had been at home
a cessation of authority and of sense, to allow
children to embark on so mad an enterprise,

‘and to add their hungry mouths to the popula-
tion already scant of food. Therefore if these

1 Chron. Senoniense.
TO ROME. 105

children from Pisa reached the land for which
they hoped, it was only to be pent up in a belea-
guered city, and to suffer and die of want and
of disease.

Those who did not embark from Pisa, left its
walls and sought to journey still farther south-
wards, resolved to follow the roads towards Pal-
estine, as far as they would lead them. They
broke up into bands and groups, and pursued
different routes. Florence and Arezzo saw
them in their streets, and wondered at their ap-
pearance. Perugia beheld them pass beneath
her rocky height, or else welcomed them in her
walls, while others took their way by Sienna.
And, as they went through this land of figs
and of olives, the same story was repeated, of
enticement and of seizure, to which they sub-
mitted with few regrets:

At last a remnant of the original number
who had left the place of gathering, reached
Rome, which was to be the limit of their jour-
ney. On some pleasant Autumn day, they
passed by Soracte, over the already ruin-strewed
Campagna, and greeted the great city where
their faith centered

Strange must have been the contrast pre-
sented by Rome, to those who came directly

1 Chron, Argenteum.
106 THE ARMY OF NICHOLAS.

from the wealthy marts of Genoa and Pisa.
Distracted by feuds, the city was impoverished,
and squalid misery crouched among the crum-
bling remains of palaces and temples. This was
the middle of that period of desolation which
intervened between the ruin worked by the
barbarians and the return of the present pros-
perity. Rome was, probably, at this time the
most miserable city in Europe.

The children were brought before the Pope.
Innocent was never known to feel or to yield
to emotions of pity or of tenderness, His na-
ture knew but little of kindness, and his con-
duct now showed his character. The children
told their story of wandering, of suffering, of
wrong, and of frustrated hopes. They rehearsed
the account of their call by the Lord, and of the
promises made to them, asking that he would
assist them in prosecuting their journey, and
give them encouragement and advice. Very
naturally he praised their ardor and persever-
ance in so good a cause, but commanded them
to desist from the further attempt to reach Pal-
estine, showing the vanity of the enterprise.
With a heartlessness born of his absorption in
the cause of the Crusades, he said that never-
theless they could not be released from their
vows ; that they must, when they reached ma-
TO ROME. 107

turer years, redeem their promise to fight for the
rescue of the Holy Sepulchre, whenever he
should call upon them. He also sent word
abroad to all who had returned, or who had found
homes by the way, that they would be likewise
held to their assumption of the Cross, and that
exceptions would only be made in favor of the
aged who had joined in the movement, and of
the very young, who could not have understood
‘the language of the promise when they made it.
In this way were the children bound to a repeti-
tion of their adventures and hardships. One
writer justifies this edict of Innocent, compar-
ing it to the fulfillment of Jephthah’s vow.!

Here the journey of the army which left Co-
logne under Nicholas, ended at last, and we
close its story. The few who had reached
Rome prepared to return homewards, their
hopes all given up, and their dreams of tri-
umph and of glory forever abandoned.

The few particulars which have been pre-
served concerning their return will be related
when we reach the termination of the march of
the other army, as the features of the homeward
journey of both bands were similar.

We now turn again to those who had not left
Cologne under the leadership of Nicholas.

1 Herter, in his Life of Innocent IT.


CHAPTER V.
THE ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER,

OveER the army which departed from Cologne
under other leadership than that of Nicholas,
there hangs, to our regret, great obscurity.
Of its adventures but little detail has been pre-
served. Who its commander was, we do not
know. He, who enjoyed the praises of thou-
sands and revelled in the adulation of a host,
surely thought that the part he played was des-
tined to be forever memorable, and that his
name would be recalled when others of contem-
porary fame were forgotten. As he contrasted
his task, which was to lead the Lord’s children
to a bloodless victory, with the exploits of the
soldiers and nobles who were fighting for rival
claimants of a crown, he doubtless imagined
that, when the wars of Otho and of Frederick
had been dropped by the Muse of History
as trifling, she would linger long and fondly
over the record of the rescue of the Holy City
and the reinstatement of the Saviour’s worship
among scenes consecrated by the story of his
ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER. 109

Incarnation. But his hopes were vain and his
dreams of glory delusive. Less fortunate than
his two fellow-leaders in the same Crusade, he
has been forgotten, and there exists to-day, as
far as can be ascertained, no clue to his name.
It may yet be found in the unfrequented library
of some old monastery, or in the dusty alcoves
of some other repository of the learning and the
piety of other days.

Nor do we know why the children at Co-
logne divided; why they did not unite under
Nicholas. We are only told their route in gen-
eral terms, and a few particulars of the issue of
their journey.

They pursued a route which was longer;
taking a circuitous course through Swabia, to
the frontiers of what we now call Switzerland.
In numbers they equalled those under Nicholas,
and were equally heterogeneous. There were
the many adults, male and female, old and
young, wicked and pious. ‘There was equal
variety in the classes and ranks from whence
recruits were won, and in all respects the as-
semblage was as motley and as ungovernable.
It is possible that this variety produced such
disorganization that, whoever may have led
them at first, ere long all semblance of author-
ity was lost, and the people only saw an undis-
IlO0 ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER.

ciplined, and, as they thought, a headless throng.
In this way we may account for the loss of the
name of this rival of Nicholas.

On some unrecorded day, — it may have been
before or after the departure of that other mis-
guided host whose journey we have described,
—this band passed across the Rhine and soon
disappeared from the gaze of those who watched
them from the river’s bank. Why they chose
this course we do not know; it may have been
to gain new adherents, and to carry the excite-
ment to districts which had not been aroused.
The same circumstances attended their march
as that of the others. They bore crosses and
flags, and sang songs and hymns to beguile the
tedious hours. As they passed along, the labor-
ers quitted their toil, the young ran away to
follow them, and they left in their wake a series
of childless homes. In their presence, the con-
testing bands of the Emperor and his insurgent
subject ceased to fight. Towns ‘and cities re-
ceived them, in sympathy or in fear.

And they met also with the same vicissitudes.
The depraved plied arts of infamy, and the
thieves stole their money and their food. The
journey wearied them, and, want joined fatigue
to breed and foster disease. The lawless nobles
seized stragglers to carry them to their castles,
ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER. UII

which, now in such peaceful ruins, crown the
hills and crags of central Germany. From
hardship to hardship they persisted, losing
heart at each step, until, having passed the
lands watered by the Main and the Neckar,
they reached the Danube. From hence they
marched on, until they stood by the Rhine again,
probably near to where it issues from the Lake
of Constance. Crossing this, they passed
through Switzerland, and reached the banks of
the Lake of Lucerne. As they intended to
cross the Alps by the Pass of the St. Gotthard,
then next in importance to that of the Mont
Cenis, they had to sail the length of this beau-
tiful sheet of water, for no path led around its
perpendicular and uninhabitable shores.

Very, very suggestive is it to imagine them
passing up this lake, and especially up the
weirdly magnificent Bay of Uri, whose cliffs
were then as silent as they are now. More si-
lent they could not have been, for all the in-
crease of population of modern days, and the
progress of science, have resulted in no more
disturbance than the plash of the little steamer’s
wheel, which wakes the lesser echoes of these
mighty mountains only for a moment. Upon
those fathomless blue waters we see them
moving in many skiffs, their banners wav-
Il2 ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER.

ing in the air, and their hearts thrilled by the
grandeur of the scenery. What a sight it must
have been! This lake had not yet the history
which renders it so hallowed to-day. Grriitli,
where ninety-five years later the immortal three,
Stauffacher, Fiirst, and Melchthal were to meet,
and, in that moonlight conspiracy, to form the
little confederacy of which Switzerland was
born, was then an unnamed meadow, and flow-
ers grew undisturbed upon the rock where now
there stands Tell’s Chapel in beauty which de-
fies forgetfulness.

They reached the head of the lake, and, dis-
embarking, prepared to tread the path which
led over the Alps to the sunny lands of the
South. Thirty miles of weary climbing were
to be achieved before the top was reached.
There was. no road. A wretched path wound
from side to side of deep gorges and from peril
to peril, often obliterated or swept away by
the snows and torrents. Frequently the frail
bridges, made in the Spring, had been also
washed away, and the children must wade
through the freezing waters, which carried off,
in their violence, more than one who could not
resist the rushing, chilling stream. Those who
have followed this route, even upon the present
fine causeway, well remember the gloom of its
ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER. 113

defiles, the giddiness of its precipices, the awe-
inspiring effect of the lofty mountains above,
and the ceaseless roar of the cataracts below.
Let such imagine the emotions of the little
ones who trod this path seven hundred years
ago! But, of all places, one appals the traveller
to-day more than any other. Between two per-
pendicular walls of rock, rushes, in concentrated
force, the foaming Reuss. Within this chasm
there springs from side to side, the Devil’s
Bridge. As we now cross the strong and no-
ble arch which carries the road over the yawn-
ing abyss, we cannot fail to shudder at the pre-
cariousness of the ancient route, which was only
superseded within the present century. The
path then led for quite a distance along an un-
even shelf that projected about a yard from the
face of the perpendicular cliff, until directly in
front of a cataract. From this ledge the bridge,
hardly four feet wide, sprang to the opposite
side, where the path was resumed, almost as
dizzy as before. In fact so difficult was it to
understand how an arch had been built here,
that the people attributed its origin to Satan.
They said that, after many unsuccessful at-
tempts had been made to construct a bridge
and prevent the frequent loss of life, a man un-

dertook the task, who came to the conclusion
8
II4 ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER.

that no mortal could build one in that place.
Then there appeared to him that person so ac-
tive in records of the Middle Ages, the Devil.
He said that he would complete the contract,
if he were to have, as his pay, the soul of the
first one that passed over the work. The bar-
gain was gladly closed, and the next morning
revealed a fine stone arch, spanning the con-
quered chasm. The happy man kept his agree-
ment, but, with a pious regard for human wel-
fare, sent over it first ——his dog. The enraged
architect seized a rock and threw it to ruin his
work, but Providence diverted it, so that it fell,
where it still lies, in the bed of the stream be-
low.

Through scenes so wild did our children
pass, and over other bridges almost as preca-
rious. It needs not the record of the chroni-
cler to tell us that many met death in these
gloomy scenes of Uri. They died from hunger
and fatigue, from disease and exposure. Ava-
lanches and streams swept them away as they
unwarily crossed their courses. Others, when
the valleys were shrouded in mist, strayed from
the path and wandered off into lateral gorges,
where they lay down exhausted, on moors or
in ravines, to sleep away their lives. The Al-
pine rose was beautiful, but it could give no
ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER. 115

sympathy. The springs sang cheerily, but
they sounded as mockery. Worn out, bodily
and mentally, hundreds, who in wanderings
of mind saw vividly their once unvalued but
now: beloved homes, with children’s grief and
children’s timidity, sobbed till they ceased to
breathe. Over their remains no requiem was
sung, except the voice of torrents ; no weeping
was heard but the sighing of the wind through
the firs, which seemed responsive to their sighs ;
no monument was reared, except the wild flow-
ers which, when Spring came again, were nur-
tured by their dust; while the lofty mountain
peaks, which kissed the sky and caught the
clouds, pointed upwards to their rest. We often
hear, or read, of the sadness and interest of the
graves of ocean, but not-less secret or touch-
ing are the sepulchres on trackless mountain
heights.

On the top of the pass there stood, as stands
to-day, a monastery like that on Mont Cenis,
where the traveller or pilgrim could rest or take
refuge. We can imagine the astonishment of
the good monks when they saw a vast proces-
sion of youths, ragged and weary, issuing from
the gorges and commencing to file across the
plain on which the Hospice stood. They
rubbed their eyes, but did not rub away the


116 ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER.

vision, for it was real, and they soon learnt, to
their additional surprise, that this was the
Lord’s army on the way to Jerusalem. The
band tarried a while, ate what food was pro-
vided ; it may be they slept there, and then pro-
‘ ceeded to descend the pass. A day or two
brought them to the lovely plains of Lombardy,
whose cultivation and richness revived their
spirits. But Italy was to be to them, as to those
led by Nicholas, no friendly land. During his
long wars, Barbarossa had repeatedly ravaged
this region, and he had excelled himself in the
destruction of beautiful and ancient Milan.
These injuries were still fresh in the hearts of
the people, and we are expressly informed that
they made these children of the hated race feel
that they had been unfortunate in their choice
ofaroute. Full of enmity, they made the young
Crusaders pay for the excesses of their country-
men, so that their journey was stained with
tears and blood. Many were murdered ; others
were stolen to be carried away to misery, dis-
honor, and slavery.

But they persevered, expecting, as the other
band, to find a pathway through the sea, when
they had reached the end of their journey by
land. It was a long march along that road that
lay to the east of the Appenines. When they


ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER. 117

came to Ravenna, or some other city, they
were disappointed to find in each case that it
was not the place where the waters were to be
divided for them. At times, as in Umbria and
by Ancona, they had mountains to pass over,
and, as here, or when near the shore, they saw
the blue Adriatic, how welcome were the cool
breezes, how earnestly did they long to cross
its waters! How interminable must that
journey have seemed! Of course they knew
nothing of geography, and as the names of
places were told them by the people whom they
saw, they conveyed no idea whether the goal
they sought was far or near. They only knew
that, if they travelled long enough, they would
reach the extreme point of Italy, which was
nearest to the Holy Land, and there, surely,
God would interfere to promote their farther
progress. In this hope they toiled on, by vil-
lage and town, by frequent shrine and way-side
cross ; now ina cool valley, soon afterwards upon
some fetid marsh; to-day under the shadow
of the dark mountains, to-morrow on some
waving campagna. Was there to be no respite
to all this? Are we to see our comrades fall
away and die, until none remain? Questions
such as these were daily asked. At length
they reached Apulia. Here new trials awaited
118 ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER.

them. They came now to traverse a stricken
land, for it writhed under the tortures of famine
caused by the drought of which we have spoken
before. They had succeeded, by begging and
gathering fruits along the way, in gaining a
scanty supply of food, but now they were to
be dependent upon the alms of a starving
people. All the excesses of dearth were visi-
ble, and, instead of the usually luxurious crops
of Italy’s genial soil and climate, the Cru-
saders beheld fruitless trees, and parched fields
whereon waved stunted stalks that bore no
grain. So great was the want, so memorable
the suffering, that their report spread to dis-
tant Cremona, and its bishop, Sicardi, tells us,
in strongest language, of the terrors of the
season, adding that mothers in their hunger
ate their children. It needs no long statement
of chroniclers to portray the scenes witnessed
as a band of unprovided children, emaciated
and fatigued with marching, journeyed through
this famishing region.

Causes above alluded to had tended to the
diminution of their numbers, all the way from
the Rhine to this point, and there now re-
mained but a small fraction of the numerous
company, who had entered upon their expedi-
tion so confident of easy march to sure success.
ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER. 119

But this remainder was again lessened by the
hardships of Apulia, and each day saw many
dying, returning, or straggling away, to be lost
in a vain search for food.

A considerable number at length reached
Brundusium, almost at the extremity of the
Italian peninsula. This was in ancient days an
important place, and at this time was the princi-
pal port on that coast, having commerce with
Eastern lands, to which its situation adapted it.

Here then we find the children at last, after
their long march over a route where all forms
of difficulty had been encountered.

They who reached this point, although they
had shown such endurance that they had borne
up under every kind of temptation and trial,
were now ready to confess, that, if there was pro-
vided no sign of any intervention of God in their
behalf, they would desist from farther attempts.
Would that we knew how many there were
who entered the quaint and dirty streets of
Brindisi, as it is now called, on that August or
September day! We know their state. We
know that their garments, so tattered, bore lit-
tle evidence of having once been a uniform,
and that they had not such bright ensigns, nor
so many crosses as they had’ taken from
Cologne. But as to number, we have no indi-
120 ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER.

cation to guide us. All that can be said is that
two or three thousand are as many as could
be expected to remain, after such an incessant
decimation.

Concerning their reception in Brindisi, we
have some information. We learn that they
were treated with extreme cruelty, and that they
found its people even baser than those who lived
to the northward. The girls were maltreated,
seized, and decoyed away, and all the privileges
of their character of pilgrims were despised.
As the girls were thus treated, we can justly
infer that the boys did not escape, but that they
found it a city of sorrow. What its state must
have been can easily be conceived, when we
think upon the condition of Italy. In a few
cities were centred all the light and all the civ-
ilization of the times, and in places so remote
as Brindisi were to be found without alleviation
the misery, the ignorance, and the irreligion of
the dark ages. They who to-day visit it and
find it worse than cities such as Capua or Terni,
or those of lower Italy in general, can form
some idea of what it must have been in the
thirteenth century.

But the bishop of this evil city, whose name
has been forgotten, seems to have been a kind-
hearted man. Heis said to have understood the
ARMY WITH THE UNKNOWN LEADER. 121

fraud of which the children were victims, and
to have labored to undeceive them. He told
them of the futility of their enterprise and of
the sin of their disobedience, and then entreated
them to return, instead of encountering the dan-
gers that were still to be surmounted ere the
Holy Land would be reached.!

Most of them listened to advice so obviously
wise, enforced by an experience so memorable
as that of their journey. But many neverthe-
less wished to persevere, and these embarked in
several ships, whose owners offered to convey
them to the goal of their desires. They were
deaf to all remonstrances, and departed for the
shores of the land in which they longed to rest.

They were never heard of again. They
sailed away from the blue headlands of Cavallo,
watched with strange interest by the people of
Brindisi. And they sailed away into oblivion
and silence, for where they died — whether in
the hour of shipwreck on some lone rock in the
sea, or in slavery in heathen lands, or yet in
battle with the Saracen — shall not be known
to mortals, until the day when “the earth and
the sea shall give up their dead.”

1 Herter briefly gives these facts regarding Brindisi, from
authorities I have not been able to find.
CHAPTER VI.
THE RETURN OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN,

THERE are various hints and statements
scattered among the chronicles, concerning the
homeward wanderings of the German children,
which may be briefly summed up. The reader
may consider the relation of the experience of
these little Crusaders monotonous, as a con-
stant repetition of hardships and trials. It is
natural to think how much greater would have
been the interest of the narrative, if we knew
more of the reception they met in the cities
of Italy or Germany, if we had details of their
adventures, and could associate definite spots
with certain incidents of their pilgrimage. Epi-
sodes of romance must have been frequent, for
we cannot imagine otherwise, when we think of
hosts of children marching from place to place
in an age so strange, passing by walls and
towers which we now regard with veneration,
and which we visit to recall the departed past.
There must have been also many events of
RETURN OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN. 123

interest which attended the return of these
youths, when they sought, in tears and regret,
their homes again. As we look upon the route
from Genoa, or Rome, from Brindisi or Lom-
bardy, we can find food for many fancies, in
picturing their northward journey. But only
a few particulars are preserved, and bea are
told us in general terms.

It has been seen how the children of both
of the armies, whose march we have traced,
dropped away from day to day, and how in this
way the columns gradually diminished, until but
a fraction of. the original numbers reached the
termination of the pilgrimage.

As was to be expected, when liberated from
all restraint, they fell a prey to vice in the vari-
ous cities of Italy, while in their condition of ex-
haustion and of want they were ready to listen
to any temptations. The result was that every
city and town through which they passed re-
tained numbers of them, especially of the girls.
Years afterwards travellers found them still
there, sunken in vice and lost to purity. It is
stated that for a long time they formed a large
element in the depraved classes of the land.
According to one chronicle, Brindisi has to bear
the charge of being peculiarly fatal to virtue.
It says :—
124. RETURN OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN.

“Jlli de Brundusio virgines stuprantur,
Et in arcum pessimum passim venumdantur.’’!

Many, however, remained from better mo-
tives, and to lead lives of industry in a land
which was so enticing to those born in a re-
gion where neither nature nor art had done
much for luxury and comfort. As it happened
in Genoa, it was the case that in other cities
numbers remained to mingle their blood with
that of the dark Italians, and, in the pursuit of
ease and wealth, to forget their dreams of fame
and the associations of their childhood.

Yet the most of them persisted in returning.
There were to be seen frequent groups from both
bands passing through the towns along the way.
As they journeyed, they constantly came upon
traces of their predecessors, and slept night after
night by the scenes of former encampments,
and by nameless graves. The people who had
seen them hurrying southwards with some or-
der and discipline, now saw them returning in
disorderly companies, which were an easier
prey than ever to the lawless. The land had
been inhospitable before, but the few who may
have been kind to them then, had no care for
them when foiled and disappointed.

And when they had crossed the Alps, and

1 Anon. Chron. Rhythmicum.
RETURN OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN. 125

stood on German soil, where they had hoped
for kindly treatment, they learned again that it
was one thing to belong to a large and enthusi-
astic army which was seeking to rescue the
Sepulchre, and another to be a defeated and
worn-out penitent coming home. As one sym-
pathizingly says, who may have seen some of
them, “They who used to pass through coun-
tries in parties and troops, and never without
the song of encouragement, now returned
singly and in silence, barefooted and famished.
They were a scoffing to all men.”! He also
adds that not only did the misery of their ap-
pearance contribute to render them subjects of
scorn, and liable to reproach and cruelty, but
their conduct was such, their morals so ruined
by the experiences of the past, that they were
repelled and despised by the same persons who
once had regarded them as pious deliverers of
the Holy Land. We can well believe that there
were many of the groups who so conducted
themselves that others succeeding them fared
the worse. But even where there was no mo-
tive for retaliation, the treatment the children
received from their countrymen was most cruel.
Loading them with reproaches and taunts, they
now turned away from their doors those to
1 Chron. Argent.
126 RETURN OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN.

whom not long before they had not dared or
wished to refuse food and shelter.

Consequently, their pathway through Ger-
many to their homes was as trying as it had
been in Italy, and they sickened and died, from
exhaustion and starvation, in a land to which
they had looked forward with fondness, and
hope of reaching which had nerved them to
cross again the terrible Alps. And when they
had breathed out their weary lives, the barba-
rous people would not bury their corpses, but in
heartless inhumanity let them rot by the way-
side}

Day by day, there came straggling into
Cologne, or the other cities from whence they
had departed, groups of these victims of a sad
delusion, their heads drooping in shame, their
eyes red with tears, their clothing in rags. They
bore not home their insignia, their banners, and
their crosses. They had cast them away when
they had learned the folly of their proud boasts,
and the vanity of this display. They sought
again the lowly hut and the baronial castle,
where, at last, they rested, home again! Alas!
how they had paid for their. wilfulness! They
were asked where they had been, and we are
told that they replied, “they did not know!”

1 Gesta Trevirorum.
RETURN OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN. 127.

They only knew of days of varied vicissitude.
They knew not, in their ignorance, what had
been their route, what lands they had traversed,
or what cities they had seen. They had jour-
neyed until they could journey no longer, and
then they had turned homewards. What a con-
fused and wild story did they tell, of strange
languages and costumes, of curious edifices and
wonderful fruits! How many days elapsed be-
fore they had answered all the questions which
their friends, in mingled wonder and pity, asked
of those who had survived! And those who had
not survived ! How eagerly were they inquired
after! How anxiously did parents greet each
band to ascertain whether their own dear ones
had yet come! How many hearts were kept in
suspense for days and weeks, while the compa-
nies continued to arrive, until they found the
children they cared for, or else learned their fate,
that they had died in the forest or on the moun-
tain, on the plain or in the valley, or had re-
mained in some distant Italian city, to return
no more! There was many a Rachel by the
Rhine and the Moselle, by the Meuse and the
Lippe, who wept long years for children dead
or forever separated from them.

The Winter had passed, and the following
Spring had come and gone, before the last com-
128 RETURN OF THE GERMAN CHILDREN.

pany came struggling back. Soon the excite-
ment died away, and, in the confusion and rav-
ages of war, the sorrows and adventures of the
little Crusaders were forgotten by the same
people who had rushed to see them depart, and
who had wondered at the issue of their enter-
prise.

Yet, for many years were they remembered
by those who had been partakers in the move-
ment, or by those who had lost a beloved one
in its whirl. Long afterwards did peasant, no-
ble, shepherd, and merchant gather with ever
new interest to hear the old story, and many a
child became a father, to tell to little ones
around him the tear-awakening tale of what he
had seen and suffered, when in childhood he
set out in credulous enthusiasm “to seek the
Cross beyond the sea.”

Thus have we, imperfectly enough, attempted
to tell the story of the Crusade of the German
children, which arose from the preaching of
Nicholas at the shrine of the Kings.

‘Tersely does an old epigram sum up the
whole matter :!—

“ Ad mare stultorum
Tendebat iter puerorum.”
1 Quoted by Herter from an unknown source : —

“To the sea of fools
Led the path of the children.”
CHAPTER VII.

THE JOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN,

I.
The Gathering at Vendome.

WE left Stephen preaching at St. Denys, and
his youthful lieutenants gathering children from
various parts of France. This continued long
after the German army had started and the lat-
ter was well on its way to Italy before the
French little ones were ready to begin their
journey. The probable reason for this was
that the movement was spread over a greater
extent of country, and therefore the collecting
of an army required a longer time.

Stephen indicated Vendéme as the place of
assembling and of united departure for Pales-
tine! This city had the advantages of being
central and near to his home. It was a town
of importance, and from it there diverged roads
in all directions.

During the latter part of June the various

1 All the chronicles agree in this.
9
130 YOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

bands continued to arrive in this city, all led
by a common enthusiasm, and full of common
hopes. Very stirring must have been the
streets as daily some new company came, with
its young prophet, and loud were the noises
of their greetings. We can imagine how it
must have seemed to look across the plains
and see some group coming over the distant
hills, or defiling across the country, their flags
and oriflammes waving high in air and crosses
rising higher yet. As they approach, their
songs are heard, first faint in the distance and
then clearer and louder until the words are
distinct, and the dialect discloses the region
whence they come.

For they arrived from each province, with
their different languages and costumes and
peculiarities ; some speaking the soft accents
of the South, others the harsher dialects of
Brittany or Normandy ; some the langue d’Oc,
others the langue d’Oil. Very great were the
consequent confusion and the variety in the
composition of the assembling army, which was
to march to bloodless glory under Stephen.
The largest band which came to the gathering
was that from Paris. Of this company a chron-
icler says that there were collected in that city
“fifteen thousand, of whom none were more
THE GATHERING AT VENDOME. 131

than twelve years of age,”! a statement which
we may take with caution, but at the same
time it shows, as do many others similar, relat-
ing to the event, how very young the children
really were, and how great their numbers. The
cause of so many being recruited in Paris was
its proximity to St. Denys, as well as its being
the capital and principal city of the realm. The
march of this body to Vendéme must have been
peculiarly imposing, and their arrival the great
excitement of exciting days. The crowds gath-
ering here were therefore still more motley than
those at Cologne, as regards diversity of cus-
toms and of dialects. There were the same
kinds of hangers-on mingled with the boys.
The number of depraved men and women was
as great, and they came from every quarter of
France to profit by so unique an opportunity.
There were also many girls, some of whom,
afraid of detection, assumed male attire. But,
although there was a large proportion of these
men and women and girls, attracted by motives
of a base or of a pious nature, it is nevertheless
true that their number was relatively smaller
than it-was in the German armies, and therefore
this movement is more interesting, from being
more exclusively one of boys.
" 1 Roger de Wendover.
132 YOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

Yet, however varied their languages and dif-
ferent their dresses and customs, they all were
one in their feelings, and understood one another
in the sympathy of a common, beloved cause.
Repeating the promises of their leaders, for it
was with them as with the Germans in this re-
spect, they all said that they were not to wait,
as their predecessors in the holy war had done,
for vessels to carry them to Palestine, and in
them to find, as had so many brave men, a
grave in the wide Mediterranean. “Between
waters, which are to be to us as a wall on the
right hand and on the left, are we to cross the
untrodden bed of the sea, and, with dry feet
will we stand on the distant beach by the walls
of Acre or of Tripoli. We bear no weapons
and we wear no armor! ‘The pathway of other
Crusaders may be marked by the stain of blood
and the glitter of steel, and martial music may
have timed their many steps, but our pilgrim’s
robes are our armor, our Crosses are our swords,
and our hymns shall time our march !”

We are not told whether they assumed any
general uniform, but the analogy of all other
Crusades and scattered hints would seem to
indicate that all who could procure it wore a
prescribed dress. They all wore the Cross at
least. This was made of woolen cloth, and
sewed on the right shoulder of the coat. To
THE GATHERING AT VENDOME. 133

place it there was a duty reserved to the proph-
ets alone, as it was the formal act of enlistment.
The little fellows were as proud of them as the
young officer of his epaulettes, and were beside
themselves with joy at being thus enrolled
among the Crusaders, and in a company which
contained so many famous names, the recollec-
tion of whose deeds fired every heart with a
desire to equal their achievements.

As their numbers were too great to be con-
tained within the city, they encamped without
its walls, each band by itself and keeping its
identity until merged into the common mass
at departure. Day by day they waited, as re-
cruits continued to arrive. The monks and
priests who had joined them, either in piety to
guide them or as pilgrims themselves, aided
the young leaders in maintaining the spirit of
enthusiasm and in promoting unity and peace.
The discouraged were cheered, the homesick
consoled, and the depraved, as far as possible,
expelled.

At last, the latest band had come, and Ste-
phen announced that they were ready to start.
The number then assembled around Vendéme
was about thirty thousand,! as all the estimates

1 Albericus; Vincent de Beauvais; Chron. Laon; Jean
d’Ypres.


134 YOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

warrant us in concluding. What an uprising
of homes this was! How sad a scene to the
thoughtful, who foresaw the certain fate of that
vast multitude! It was to melt away that
same Autumn, as the snows of Winter, and
when a year had rolled around and brought an-
other Summer, but few of them were to be at
home again. Many would fill graves among
strangers or in the deep sea! For the Summer
was well advanced, and it was at least the end
of July when in the camps was heard the bustle
of departure. We will now follow these thirty
thousand children seeking, in the heat of Au-
gust, the port of Marseilles, where they were to
find that wonderful pathway through the sea.

II.
The Fourney to Marseilles.

The fields around Vendéme had never seen
before, and never shall see again, a sight like
that which on that day was witnessed, when
the army of children formed its ranks, to com-
mence its chimerical pilgrimage. Pleading rela-
tives and weeping friends were mingled with
admirers, and entreaties to repent and remain
were met and counteracted by applause and en-
couragement. The latter form of advice ac-
THE FOURNEY TO MARSEILLES. 135

corded with their wishes, and the deluded
youths answered the arguments of dissuasion
with the wild and baseless assertions which
they had heard from those who urged them on-
ward. It was too late to reasonnow. To with-
draw was impossible, if desired. They could
not encounter the ridicule of abandoning their
comrades in this the hour of hope. After relig-
ious exercises, wherein the blessing of God was
invoked, the oriflammes and Crosses were raised
in gladness, and with visions of pleasant wander-
ings to triumphant rest, these thousands of chil-
dren commenced their journey.

Their route was to lie by Blois, where the
ancient road crossed the Loire, in a southeast-
erly direction to the Rhéne, and thence south-
wards to Marseilles. Far different was this
journey from that of the Germans, for there
were no Alpine heights or Alpine torrents, and
the country was not so little civilized and unpeo-
pled as that which intervened between Cologne
and Italy. The result of this difference was that
the hardships of the band whom we are now to
follow were very much less than those which
we have described. ‘

Childlike was their ardor as they began to
tread the way to Palestine. They looked on
the red Crosses on their shoulders in order to
j
136 JOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

acquire that resolution in the holy cause which
would enable them to exclude regrets for home
and fear of fatigue. Determined to act as faith-
ful soldiers in the army of God, they set their
feet down at each step with manly firmness.
There was a much better spirit among those
composing this army, than among those who de-
parted from Cologne, owing to the presence of
fewer depraved adults and youths. There were
also very many ecclesiastics, and their presence
was some restraint upon the tendencies to vice
and dissension, while they also could encourage
and advise the desponding.

They have departed from Venddéme, and as
evening closes around the landscape, the peo-
ple of that old city have seen disappear the last
straggler of thatarmy of children led bya child.
Let us now turn to this leader, of whom little
has been heard since he preached at St. Denys.
Fortunately, the chroniclers have preserved to
us some particulars concerning the deportment
of this commander of Liliputian Crusaders.

As would be expected, the applause and
homage which Stephen received had turned
his head, as has so often been the case with
older persons. Elevated in a few weeks, from
being an obscure shepherd boy in Cloyes, for
whom none cared, and accustomed to regard
THE FOURNEY TO MARSEILLES. 137

the nobles who despised his condition as unat-
tainably above him, to a station where he
received the admiration of thousands, was re-
garded as a saint, and received adulatory obe-
dience, he would have been more than human
if he had not learned to be vain, to indulge in
display, and to exact extreme reverence. Ac-
cordingly we find that, as he led his army from
Vendéme, he assumed a pretense of pomp, and
presented a marked contrast with the appear-
ance of those whom he commanded. He could
not walk. That was too humble for such a
leader. The Lord’s own general and prophet
must assume the style which became his rank.
He therefore rode in a chariot, as splendid as
could be procured, which was covered with rare
carpets of brilliant colors. Over his head, to pro-
tect him from the heat of the sun, was a canopy,
whence there hung in folds rich draperies of
every hue. Around this chariot, to guard him
and carry out his commands, as well as to add
to the impressiveness of his station, there rode
a band of chosen youths of noble birth, on
chargers, dressed in splendid accoutrements,
and armed with lances and spears.1 They vied
with each other in zeal in his behalf, and
gladly obeyed him whom once they would
have spurned.

1 Roger de Wendover, zzter al.
138 FYOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

All this assumption of display does not seem
to have shaken the confidence of his followers.
It appears, on the contrary, to have increased
it, upon principles which we can easily under-
stand. Too young to see the inconsistency of
his conduct, they listened to his words as those
of God, and regarded his desires as law. In
order to maintain the spirit of the host, which
fatigue would tend to lessen, he wisely ad-
dressed them often. When they departed in the
morning from their resting-place, or when they
halted at noon or encamped at evening, and
also during the march, he spoke encouraging
words from his chariot. It is said that on such
occasions they thronged around him so tumultu-
ously that it frequently required the strenuous
efforts of his guards to protect him from the
consequences of their eager homage, and, that
as they thus pushed and struggled in endeavors
to approach the prophet boy, accidents occurred,
many of those who were small and weak being
crushed to death. i

But such incidents made merely transient
_ impressions on this thoughtless crowd. They
forgot them all when some event awakened
anew their enthusiasm. To such an extent
was their regard for Stephen carried, that it
amounted to investing him with all the attri-


THE FOURNEY TO MARSEILLES. 139

butes of sanctity. They vied in efforts to pro-
cure from his person or his chariot some little
fragment, which was kept as a relic and valued
as a charm. They who had succeeded in secur-
ing a thread of his raiment, or a piece of the
trappings of the car, or even of the accoutre-
ments of the horses, showed them with exulta-
tion to the others ; while they who had a single
hair of his head were regarded as possessors of
a priceless treasure.

As regards the moral character of Stephen,
one chronicler says: “He was a child in years
but accomplished in vice.”+ But he wrote
long after the event, and in his whole narrative
is under the conviction that Stephen had origi-
nated and carried out the deception, and visits
on this child’s head all the disasters and sor-
rows which resulted. Of course,if he had been
a wilful deceiver, and had acted a conscious
fraud so cruelly and with so many lies, he would
have been remarkably mature in depravity as
well as in intellect. But if, as we have seen,
it was the case that he was himself the subject
of deception by a priest, then the above accu-
sation, founded on the supposition of his origi-
nating the movement and fabricating the story
of his call, falls to the ground. And while, nev-

1 Roger de Wendover.
140 FYOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

ertheless, there may have been reasons for the
assertion, still, other considerations render it
difficult to believe that he was notoriously
vicious. We can hardly think that the priest
who sought him out would have chosen him as
the instrument of arousing the country, if he had
won such a reputation ; the very object in view
would have been frustrated at once, if those who
knew him could tell his dupes that such was his
character. It is natural to suppose that he had
something winning about him to gain so many
adherents of all ages and classes, and that he
was not known to be immoral, or else he would
scarcely have received veneration as a saint.
The very success of his preaching therefore
leads us to believe that he was not known to be
particularly bad. On the other hand, if we be-
lieve that he was duped and thought himself
intrusted by Christ with the duty of proclaiming
and conducting the Crusade, we would be led to
suppose that he was piously disposed and felt
what he uttered when he depicted the misery
of the Christians in the Holy Land, and the
ignominious state of the Sepulchre of the Sav-
iour. Nothing that we know concerning his
conduct is inconsistent with childish piety.
The state which he assumed does not contra-
dict such a supposition, for it would have re-
THE JOURNEY TO MARSEILLES. 141

quired the years and spirit of a Peter or of a
Bernard to have been unaffected by flattery
and luxury, after having been accustomed to the
lot of the poor and to the scorn and abuse which
that class received from the nobles.

We see in him, then, a child of twelve years
of age, who was carried away with the belief
that he was God’s chosen leader to rescue
Palestine, and whose unreasoning mind was
inflated by constant respect and adulation of
a host. He was evidently precocious and pos-
‘sessed of no slight abilities, however much of
the direction and control of the vast army
which he led, may be attributed to older per-
sons with whom he consulted. For although
no reference is made to such counselors, it is
wild to suppose that there were none, but that
he actually chose the route, and regulated the
march.

So they trudge wearily along, this host of
deluded children, led by their child prophet,
reclining at ease in his luxurious chariot.
Their little limbs were not used to more than
short journeys to and from the pastures where
they had fed their flocks, and they soon learned
that, although glory and honor were at the end
of the pilgrimage, fatigue and suffering inter-
vened. The girls, and the children of gentle
I42 YOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

birth, were especially unfitted to endure such
a march, and when the first day ended, there
were many blistered feet and tearful eyes.

As has been said, their pathway was marked
by much fewer hardships than those of the Ger-
man armies, inasmuch as the country was more
peopled, as well as because the distance to be
traversed was much shorter. They did not
have to sleep on rocky heights or on freezing
moors; they always found fields to rest in, and
as they passed through no strange land, they
received the sympathy of countrymen instead
of the hostility of aliens. Consequently, as
we shall see, their numbers were comparatively
little affected by desertion and death. But yet
it was not a path of roses, their journey was
not unalloyed with trials.

Of course a frequent source of trouble was
scarcity of food. There was no regular provis-
ion for its supply, and soon they were reduced
to what they could beg. We are told that
this was readily given, and even that money
was furnished in many cases by the people
who sympathized with them. But there were
some districts which were uninhabited, and here
they suffered from hunger and disease.

A great deal of misery was caused by the
great heat of this Summer, which, as we have
THE FOURNEY TO MARSEILLES. 143

seen, was of unusual intensity! This caused
the great drought of which we spoke when fol-
lowing the fortunes of the other armies, and
here, as there, it was said to be the evident
intervention of God to dry up the sea.

It was terrible to walk from day to day under
a broiling sun, through fields that were parched
and burnt, where the brooks were dry, and the
moss on the stones was dead, where morning
brought no freshness, and evening no dew.
This prostrated numbers of the children, and
their corpses lay scattered along the road for
many a mile.

These hardships and the influence of the un-
worthy characters soon resulted in more or less
complete loss of discipline and of authority.
Want produced dissensions and developed self-
ishness, each one being on the alert to outwit
the others in the search for food and in en-
deavors to keep it concealed. They then strag-
gled on, becoming more and more a loose, con-
gregated horde, until at last Stephen’s authority
was entirely disregarded, and it was a race for
the sea. Their spirits had been for a while kept
up by the impulse of the original excitement ;
then they had sung their songs and told tales
of adventure, and the leaders had artfully tried

1 Lambert of Liége.
144. ¥OURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

to make them forget fatigue in anticipation of
the coming glory. For they had their songs
as had the children of Germany, but they are
all lost to us. With these they passed away
many a monotonous hour, proclaiming their
determination to rescue and restore to its honor
the Sepulchre of Christ. Constantly renewed
promises and imaginary descriptions of rest to
be won were also effective in counteracting the
desire to return, which their trials engendered,
and kept together those who still persevered.
Stephen was always wont to reply, and his lieu-
tenants also, in answer to inquiries as to when
the weary march would be over, that the end
was near at hand, and that a few more days or
hours would bring them to. the sea. Their
ignorance of geography rendered them unable
to detect the falsehoods thus told them, and
they were therefore repeatedly led to hope for
the morrow, only to be grievously disappointed
when that morrow came. Their innocence and
confiding credulity are vividly represented by
the statement of an historian,! who says that,
as they thought of nothing but Jerusalem, and
day by day were told that their toils would soon
be over, when they came in sight of a castle or
a walled town, some of them would ask, for-
1 Choiseul d’Aillecourt.
THE FOURNEY TO MARSEILLES. 145

getful of the sea which intervened, “Is that
Jerusalem?” Poor little pilgrims! How often
have children of a larger growth, as they
labored and toiled, fancied that they beheld in
some prospect before them the Jerusalem they
sought! And it reminds us also that possibly
there was often heard among them that appeal
which heralds in other crusading armies were
wont to make to the weak-hearted and weary,
who were aroused to new effort when they
heard it: “This is not Jerusalem!”

They passed through Central France, cross-
ing the Rhéne, as was most usual, at Lyons,
and then entered the kingdom of Burgundy or
Arelate. The crusading spirit was peculiarly
strong here, and the children received sympathy
and aid. But nevertheless it was still a fatigu-
ing march until they reached Provence, which
seemed as anew world to them. This was
the garden of all Europe. Among fields of un-
equaled luxuriance there stood moss-covered
ruins of ancient days, which, by their frequency

-and elegance, showed how the Romans had
prized the region, and loved to embellish it.

Past broken aqueducts and roofless temples, |
they wandered in a beautiful country, and began
to forget the trials of a route through uninhab-

ited districts and uncultivated wilds. Their
Io
146 JOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

spirits revived, and their hopes again were
raised, Finally they reached the last range
of hills they had to climb, when there burst
upon them a view which awakened in them
emotions of astonishment and delight. Before
them was the cool, blue sea. The crisp waves
broke on its bosom, and clouds chased each
other across its vast horizon, while beautiful
islands dotted its surface here and there along
the coast. Below them upon the shore was
Marseilles, which, though not forming so en-
‘chanting a vision as Genoa, yet astonished
these young pilgrims, who had never seen such
a sight before. They hurried down to its walls.
Songs of loud accord announced their coming
to the people of the city, and they went out to
meet this most curious of all the many curious
armies that had come thither in order to em-
bark on the historic Mediterranean.

III.
Marseilles and the Good Merchants.

After a long period of obscurity, Marseilles
had at this time become again, as it had been
centuries before, one of the chief cities on the
shore of the Mediterranean. Since the days
when it was able to resist so long the arms of
MARSEILLES AND THE MERCHANTS. 147

Czesar, in upholding the interests of Pompey,
there had intervened an era of poverty and of
feebleness. It had been a part of the king-
dom of Provence until a. D. 930, when the lat-
ter became united to Burgundy Trans-jurane.
In A. D. 1032, this kingdom was inherited by
the Emperor Conrad. But, as it was a re-
mote dependency of the Empire, the Imperial
rule rested lightly upon it; so lightly, indeed,
that it was practically independent, under its
own feudal counts, acting as a sovereign state,
and making treaties with other powers. At
the time of the event we are describing, it was
still thus situated, but was on the verge of a
revolution, for in 1214 the citizens expelled the
Count, and, tempted and excited by the exam-
ples of sister cities, formed a republic, which
flourished until 1251, when the Count of Pro-
vence annexed the aspiring state to his own
dominions. The chief cause of the recovery of
the importance and influence of Marseilles was
the Crusades. Its harbor being so secure, for
a Mediterranean port, it was a great point for
shipping men and-supplies in the prosecution
of the wars in the Orient. It was thence that
Richard I. departed in great state, and later
still, Louis IX. was furnished by the town with
all the ships which his vain enterprise required.
148 YOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

During the preceding centuries, the classic
cities of Nimes, Narbonne, and Montpellier
had risen to be the chief places of France, and,
nestled amid their luxuriant fields and groves,
they had become synonymous with splendor
and wealth. But,with the revival of commerce,
Marseilles was destined to resume her prece-
dence of these less ancient rivals, and already
in 1212 her people anticipated even surpassing
more favored Genoa or Pisa. Stately edifices
were being erected by her ambitious citizens,
and in the ship-yards they were constructing
those mighty vessels which were regarded as
able to conquer the seas.

Such then was Marseilles when our young
Crusaders reached it. The distance they had
travelled was about three hundred miles, and
the time, nearly a month. It was therefore
towards the middle of August when they ar-
rived at their destination, Although they
started later than the German children, yet
they reached the sea at an earlier day, as their
journey was so much shorter ; and, when they
were resting from their fatigues, the followers
of Nicholas and of the other leader were yet
suffering in the Alps or in Italy.

Many children had left the army on the way,
and many more had succumbed to fatigue or
MARSEILLES AND THE MERCHANTS. 149

had been captured. Yet the diminution of
their numbers was not to be compared with
that experienced by the German armies. One
authority says that the number was almost as
great as when they left Vendéme, and that
many new adherents had joined the throng to
take the places of those who deserted or fell by
the way-side. Therefore it was not a worn-out
and tattered band, counting but a fraction of its
original size, which reached Marseilles, as had
been that one which greeted Genoa so gladly ;
but we see approaching the imposing number of
at least twenty thousand children, who, though
they had not reached Jerusalem as soon as
they had hoped, still had their faith in their un-
dertaking restored by arrival at the sea-shore.
Halting, then, by the walls, they asked for
shelter in the city. As at Genoa, it was stated
that temporary rest was all they needed ; that,
as God had promised to open for them a way
through the sea, they would ask no vessels, re-
quire no prolonged hospitality, but that per-
haps on the morrow they would depart. Con-
gratulated should be the people of that city
which was selected as the point of departure
of those who, as the Lord’s soldiers, were to
pass in security, as Israel had done, through
the waves which had ever been the terror of
ISO YÂ¥OURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

powerless mariners. Whether the Massilians
appreciated the honor or not, is another ques-
tion. Having lived for some time by the sea-
side, and not being credulous victims of a de-
lusion, we may believe that they expected to
have to make provision for some other mode
of reaching Palestine, and did not rely much
upon the prospect of having their city placed
in history by the side of Pi-hahiroth and Gil-
gal, as the scene of a miraculous control of
the waters. On the contrary, many of the cit-
izens were doubtless rejoiced at the chance of
profiting by such an influx of pilgrims. The
authorities may well have hesitated at admit-
ting so formidable a host into the city, which
did not even have the restraining influences of
discipline, as was the case with older Crusad-
ers. But there was a strong sympathy with the
cause, and especially in view of the fact that
the pilgrims were countrymen, did they hesitate
to refuse to shelter them; while, on the other
hand, there was no political reason to awaken
distrust or fear, and the city had too often pro-
vided for larger armies to be exhausted by one
like this. Accordingly, permission to tarry
was granted, and among the throngs of won-
dering people, the children, with their leaders,
their priests, and their adult companions, en-
MARSEILLES AND THE MERCHANTS. 151

tered the venerable gates.. Their hymns were
now sung with new earnestness, born of the
encouragement of reaching so advanced a stage
in their journey. Prouder than ever, they de-
clared to the astonished beholders that they
were to render brilliant with associations of
victory, fields now for ages synonymous with
defeat. The people, who had seen the hosts
of Richard, in their manly strength and with
their splendid accoutrements, enter the same
gates with like high hopes twenty-two years
before, may well have wondered at the sim-
plicity of these youthful warriors. Some pitied
them, as they thought of the rich harvest death
was to reap where he had already reaped so
many, and prayed they might be spared the
sad fate which thousands had met who sought
that land, the footsteps on the road to which,
like those before the cave of the fabled mon-
ster, all pointed but in one direction. Others
eagerly believed the story of divine interposi-
tion to raise this army, and piously hoped that
at last the object of so many toils and of so
many prayers was to be attained.

The children dispersed and sought lodging
where it was to be had. The youths of noble
birth found rest with those of their kindred or
of their rank. Others were received into inns
152 YOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

and convents and monasteries. Others still,
unable to find room, slept in those bed-cham-
bers of the poor in every age — the streets.

That night, as they saw the darkness creep
over the earth, they went to sleep, full of hope
that in the morning the constantly repeated
promise of Stephen would be realized, and that
their mission would be confirmed, as well as
doubters refuted, by the spectacle of a way
through the deep waters.

The night passed away. Morning dawned,
but its light showed a still unsevered expanse,
presenting no path for the pilgrim’s foot. The
waves rolled and curled and broke as unre-
strainedly as ever, and told as plainly of un-
bridled power. Great then was the perplexity
of the children, but nevertheless they still
hoped that another day might be more pro-
pitious. And they waited for that day, and
for still another and another. But during this
delay their numbers diminished rapidly. The
deception of the leaders became apparent, and
the promises which had solaced them in weary
marches, and kept up their courage, being so
repeatedly falsified, they began to yield to de-
spair and disgust. The army melted away,
some departing each morning, when the path-
way in the sea was again found unopened.
MARSEILLES AND. THE MERCHANTS. 153

However, there were still many who would not
yield, but cherished the hope of reaching the
Holy Land, and would wait longer for the ap-
pointed passage thither. They looked wist-
fully at the vessels in the harbor, and wished
that, if their promised pathway were not to be
granted, they might seek their destination on
these. But their poverty precluded the pos-
sibility of that, and as day by day they stood
sadly watching the sea and yet found no re-
alization of their hopes, even the most hopeful
commenced to resign themselves to the belief
that they had seen the end of a Crusade so tri-
umphantly and so proudly begun. Throughout
the ranks spread the determination to return,
and in silent or in recriminating sorrow, all
prepared for a disgraceful retracing of their
steps. They cursed the deceivers who had led
them thus astray, and reproached themselves
as they thought of the taunts to be encoun-
tered on the return, which they dreaded more
than they prized the joy of being at home
again.

When in this sad plight, there came unex-
pected relief, and their discouragement was
changed to exultation, by an event which they
considered a fulfilment of their hopes.

There were in Marseilles two merchants who
154 ¥OURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

drove a lucrative trade with other lands, and
who, from their wealth, were clearly prominent
men on the primitive “Change” of those days,
Their names, in the French form, have not
- been preserved ; the chroniclers tell us them
in Latin, and they figure in history under the
euphonious appellations of Hugo Ferreus and
William Porcus. Undoubtedly the wits of the
city had enjoyed many a joke upon them, but
the conduct of the men who bore them was now
to show these wits that a man’s character is not
to be determined by his name. For, as they
heard the complaints and witnessed the heart-
rending disappointment of the little Crusaders,
they were deeply moved. They saw them go
down by the shore and in childish eagerness
scan the horizon, to find if there were no way
to pass over the sea. The tears and cries of
these weary, deluded ones, which awakened so
much sympathy in all hearts, at last prompted
these merchants to interfere and aid in the
prosecution of a holy work apparently about
to be frustrated. Accordingly, to the wonder
and delight of all, they voluntarily offered to
provide vessels to convey to Palestine as many
as still'desired to continue the pilgrimage. In
their pious sympathy and interest in the de-
filed Sepulchre, they would ask of Christ’s sol-
MARSEILLES AND THE MERCHANTS. 155

diers no money for their passage. They wished
to do the deed, said they, Causa Det, absque pre-
tio, “for the cause of God, and without price.”
All the reward they desired was the conscious-
ness of duty done, the prayers of the child-
warriors of God, and the honor of aiding in
the final and successful effort to rescue sacred
places from unholy rulers. What better gain
could they ask than the fame of being the great
benefactors of those who were to place the
Cross above the insulting Crescent?

Great was the rejoicing now! Stephen and
his lieutenant prophets triumphantly proclaimed
that their predictions were verified, and taunted
the lack of faith of the discouraged. “This,”
said they, “was the vindication of their pro-
phetic character! This was the way through
the sea which God had meant! Was it nota
miracle? Was it not a fulfilment of his prom-
ise that they would find a path across the deep
waters? All other Crusaders and all other pil-
grims had been obliged to pay heavily for their
conveyance to Palestine, yet it was to cost them
nothing! What better evidence of God’s sanc-
tion and aid could there be than this, that an
obstacle, so insurmountable to others, had been
removed for them?”

There were those, however, who did’ not
156 YÂ¥OURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

yield to the newly awakened enthusiasm, They
had learned to dread the sea, from the many
adventures of peril of which they had heard
during the previous Crusades, and while they
would have readily marched upon its bed, they
feared to sail upon its surface. They gazed on
its unbounded expanse, and its vastness awed
them. They had seen vessels come into port,
rolling from side to side, and dashing the spray
from their bows, and there was no charm for
them in the idea of trusting themselves to its
treacherous power. But there were many others
who were willing to brave all this if they could
only reach Jerusalem. The Lord, who sent the
vessels, could guide and guard them. Their
vows, their Crosses on their breasts, their prom-
ises, and their pride, made these resolve to per-
severe and seek the sacred shores.
Accordingly, all who were willing to em-
brace the offer of the merchants reported
themselves, and it was ascertained that seven
vessels would be required for their transporta-
tion. From this we may, in connection with
other data, conjecture how many they num-
bered. We find, for instance, that in the ex-
pedition of Saint Louis, there were seven hun-
dred on each ship, and we cannot be far wrong
in supposing that the merchants would at
THE FYOURNEY TO MARSEILLES. 157

least allot as many children to each of their
vessels. There would be then, we conclude,
nearly five thousand to be provided for by
these kind-hearted men. So we are reasona-
bly led to believe that this, or one sixth of the
original, host which left Vendéme, was the num-
ber of those who expressed their readiness, after
so many discouragements, to embark upon the
sea. Among them, as we shall see in the sequel,
were many adults, priests, and other ecclesias-
tics, who really may never have expected to
cross the Mediterranean in any other way, and
to whom the perils of navigation were not un-
anticipated.

We now see the enterprising and benevolent
merchants preparing their vessels for the de-
parture of the earnest little Crusaders, who
would not return unless they came as deliver-
ers of the Sepulchre. The inhabitants of
Marseilles were proud of their townsmen’s
liberality, and of the fact that they possessed
citizens able to afford so munificent a ben-
efaction. Their praises were on every lip, and
the people lent their lively interest in behalf of
an enterprise which, once so apparently vain,
now promised such success,
158 50URNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

IV.
The Embarkation.

When we look through the chronicles of the
days to which our story carries us, we are en-
tertained by the many and quaint names by
which the different kinds of vessels were dis-
tinguished. We read enthusiastic accounts of
the grace, the elegance, and speed of their gal-
leys, designed both to convey passengers and
also for purposes of war. Those of similar style
but’ of smaller size, were galleons, employed for
light work, and for skirmishing. We then read
of busses, or buzas, which were used chiefly
for commerce, and were consequently more
clumsy, while the simple-hearted old writers
who in their cloistered homes had never seen
such things, descant with wonder on the gigan-
tic dromons, the largest barks that ploughed the
sea, and whose mention suggested wealth that
astonished the landsman and made the pirate
sleepless. And some, with a superabundance
of nautical lore, probably to show that knowl-
edge, dilate upon the speed and the size, the
mishaps and adventures of gulafres, cats, and
other undescribed. triumphs of human inge-
nuity. The language which is employed by
Richard of Devizes, or Geoffrey de Vinsauf,


THE EMBARKATION. 159

or Joinville, concerning the ships which bore
Richard I. and Louis IX. across the waters,
would lead us to picture these heroes as sailing
on vessels like those which astonish us to-day.
In the light of modern achievements in the con-
struction of vessels, it sounds rather amusing to
hear the qualifications “gigantic,” “towering,”
“mighty,” applied to boats of two hundred, or,
at the most, three hundred tons. It was not
until the emergencies of later ages, and the
development of the arts and sciences, that
larger hulks were built. At this time a great
change was taking place in navigation. The
use of oars was being discarded, and vessels
were made to be propelled entirely by the
wind. Some of the “dromons” are said, won-
derful to relate, to have had three masts!
There were no graceful stems which divided
the waters like knives.. The waves were pushed
aside by broad bows, which presented tempting
expanses for those waves to retaliate by buffet-
ings. Instead of delicate sterns, whose graceful
curves would scarcely cause a perceptible wake,
angular, clumsy surfaces sustained a lofty and
perilous poop, and the entire form of the struc-
ture was eminently adapted to unlimited rolling
and pitching, evidence of which is furnished by
the constantly narrated miseries of voyagers.
160 yYOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

As regards the vessels provided by the mer-
chants, the rate at which they travelled, as we
shall subsequently see, shows that they were
propelled by sails. But whether the seven
ships, which in the port of Marseilles awaited
their precious burdens, were gulafres, or gal-
leys, or cats, or dromons, or buzas, to those
who were accustomed only to the barks which
floated on the Seine or the Loire or the Rhéne,
they seemed immense monsters, and reassured
the hearts of the little ones, by their evident
ability to conquer the deep, and brave in safety
perils of wind, of water, or of reef.

At last the preparations were all completed,
and the day dawned when the young heroes
were to leave their native shores and seek those
whither had gone so many other hosts, as full
of hope, to find only misery and death! The
sun, as it gilded with its first rays the hills
around the city, called from sleepless couches
the excited and anxious children, who to-day
were to become real Crusaders, and, like other
brave heroes, to sail out upon the sea. They
passed the necessary time in religious prepar-
ation, thronging the churches to receive bless-
ings and absolutions, and then sought the water’s

1 For ceremonies attending embarkation, see Joinville and
other crusading chroniclers.
THE. EMBARKATION. 161

edge to await embarkation.-, Very striking must
the spectacle have been, when in that land-
locked bay the vessels were waiting with flags
flying, and when along the shore, the citizens,
attracted by the interest and novelty of the
event, crowded to behold the scene. The
gaudy colors of the banners and of the dresses
of the groups upon the beach, blended with
the golden tints in which the fronts of the
quaint old houses were bathed, and with the
blue water and the azure sky, made a picture
on which imagination fondly dwells.

It was natural for the people to contrast the
embarkation of these Crusaders with the last
departure of an army from that port, bound on
a similar enterprise. It had occurred twenty-
two years before, when, in 1190, Richard I. of
England had sailed from thence to Messina,
where he was to meet Philip of France, from
which place they proceeded together to Pales-
tine. That had. been a notable sight. There
were “one hundred and fourteen vessels of
great magnitude,” and at the masthead of each
flew the ensign of England’s king. The his-
torian, sober Richard of Devizes, a credulous
and honest old soul, tells us that “there was
on each ship double of whatever a ship could

want, except the mast and the ship’s boat; a
Ir
162 y0URNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

fleet wonderful for its numbers, complement,
and the splendor of its array, and the like of
which none was ever seen, fitted out with such
labor, and so numerous.” But now the Massil-
ians saw a few thousand children about to em-
bark on seven vessels, with no king or prince to
lead them, no bright armor or glittering lances,
no flag that told of victories, but, nevertheless,
as confident and as hopeful as the warriors who
had preceded them on the pathway to Pales-
tine. How many were there in that crowd of
observers who foresaw the certain issue of this
enterprise! They had seen the army of Rich-
ard depart, but to perish, and they judged well
_ that where those heroes had fallen, these chil-
dren would not succeed. It may be that some
were present who had been beyond the seas,
and knew by bitter experience the perils of the
deep and the character of the Moslem enemy,
and they shuddered at the vision which was
conjured up as they thought of so many chil-
dren falling into the power of those heathen.
The embarkation proceeded. Entering into
skiffs, the youths were borne to the vessels
amidst the sad farewells of friends who loved
them, and of companions who feared to con-
tinue the undertaking, which they had vowed
to complete ere they knew its dangers, as well
THE EMBARKATION. 163

as amidst the cheers of the enthusiastic and of
the sympathizing. Steeling their little hearts
against discouragement and dread, they left
the shore in companies, until the last one had
stepped from the soil of France. When the
ships were full, the ports were closed, through
which they had entered, and they within, as
well as those on the beach, were reminded that
there was now no withdrawing, no retreat.

The ceremonies attending setting sail were
solemn, because in those times it was a serious
thing to commence.a voyage over the sea, and
the nature of the enterprise made religious rites
appropriate and customary.

The captains examined all parts of the ships
to make certain that they were in proper order
for such a dangerous voyage.’ As one says,
“The ports were stopped up as close as a large
tun of wine.” The sailors were stationed at
their respective posts ; the anchor chains were
loosened, ready to release the vessels in a mo-
ment, and the sheets held in hand. All being
thus prepared, silence ensued for a brief space
of time. Then upon the elevated “castle” or
stern of each ship, the assembled priests, in
sweet accord, commenced to chant that dear
old hymn, sacred with the associations of cen-
turies, “Veni Creator Spiritus.” As these
164 ¥YOURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

words, which the Church in all ages has used
on holy occasions, were begun by those on the
foremost vessel, the sound floated to the next,
where it was taken up, and then the next con-
tinued it, so that soon, from all the ships rose
the solemn, prayerful chant, in which the strong
voices of manhood blended with the silvery
tones of children, and formed a harmony that
was wafted away to the hills by the willing
breeze.1

While this hymn was still sounding on the
air, and the hearts of all were full of contending
emotions, “the sailors set their sails in the
name of God.” The white wings filled at once
and sought to set the vessels free. Another
moment of pause and then, at a common signal,
the anchors were raised from their rocky beds.
The ships began to move. With none of the
noisy circumstances of these days of steamers,
but silently gliding, they sought the mouth of
the harbor,. without interrupting the music,
which still rose on the air. In quiet stateliness,
they passed beneath the lofty rock of Nétre
Dame de la Garde, from which looked down on
them, as it does to-day, the Chapel of the Sail-
ors, and immediately the crisp waves and the

1 This hymn was always sung on such occasions. Vide
Joinville.
THE EMBARKATION. 165

fresh breeze and the boundless horizon told the
little voyagers that they were at sea!

The crowds sought the cliffs that they might
watch the seven vessels until they disappeared.
How eagerly did they look who had once been
numbered with the army! As now they saw
the ships bounding gladly over the waters, the
sails bellying with the health-giving wind, and
the oriflammes and banners waving so brilliant-
ly, and as they heard the shouts of exultation
and the songs of triumph which their former
companions uttered, more than one regretted
his retreat, and would gladly have rejoined
the band that seemed really destined to win
fame and honor. But they sadly felt that it
was too late, and that now they must commence
again the weary and tedious march back to
their distant and inglorious homes, where they
would have to bear the shame of hearing tidings
of the progress of an enterprise from which
they had cravenly withdrawn.

Behold then the citizens and the timid chil-
dren watching the receding ships. Soon the
songs grow indistinct, as they come over the
water—then they become inaudible. After
that the flags and banners still tell of hope and
of joy, until their colors are invisible. The day
draws to its close, and when, upon the blue hills
166 y¥OURNEY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN.

of the east there fall the bright rays of the set-
ting sun, the ships which bear the precious
burdens are far away, and seem as seven white
birds nestling on the deep for the slumber of
night. Then over all creeps the twilight, and
. the watchers on the shore return to the city,
casting a longing look after the pilgrims, as they
had often done before, after other and. older
ones.

Darkness then comes on, and in its sable
folds covers the land and the sea, and envelops:
the seven ships that were sailing away with the
five thousand little pilgrims to seek the land of
Israel,
CHAPTER VIII.

THE TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

I.
The Long Suspense.

WueEn the seven ships sailed away into that
August night they were not heard of again for
eighteen long years.

After that several months had elapsed and
the time had come when tidings of their arri-
val in Palestine should reach France, each re-
turning Crusader, or pilgrim, or merchant, was
asked if he had any news of the children who
had embarked to seek the Holy Land. To all
these inquiries the reply was given that no such
fleet had been heard of in any port. As weeks
passed by, the anxiety increased, and every
ship was eagerly expected to bring the news,
but yet none could give the hoped-for answer.
Still the anxious trusted that the delay was due
to contrary winds, or to the children having dis-
embarked in Sicily or Rhodes to rest, and that
they would yet laugh at their fears, when some
168 Z7IDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

welcome bark brought the story of arrival and
of victory. A year passed away, and another,
until all hope died, and they who had treasures
on the missing vessels resigned themselves to
the belief that beneath the waters their dear
ones lay, overwhelmed in some disastrous
storm.

The succeeding years were stirring ones.
The strife between Otho and Frederick for the
crown of Germany was ended by the triurhph
of the latter, who began his splendid reign in
his southern home at Naples, where he gath-
ered the most elegant court which had yet been
seen in Europe. But Innocent, who had raised
him, found that he could not rule him ; and, after
years of strife, he had to compromise with him
at last in 1230. In England, the misfortunes
of John continued. His barons made him sign
the Magna Charta in 1215, and then Innocent,
with whose claims this document conflicted,
found himself obliged to turn and uphold the
King whom he had so lately sought to crush,
in order that John might be able to break loose
from the engagement. Thus, beaten about by
the Pope and his subjects, the poor man died,
broken-hearted. Henry III. ascended the
throne, and his reign, during the period with
which we are concerned, was peaceful.
THE LONG SUSPENSE. 169

But above all was Europe excited by the
resuscitation of interest in the Crusades. Inno-
cent, finding his previous measures vain, had
summoned the Lateran Council in order to
awaken the Church to its duty. At this great
assembly from all parts of Christendom, the
Pontiff urged in plaintive or in threatening
tones, as suited him, the sorrowful condition of
the Christians in Palestine, and the hopeless
state of the cause. He appealed to them to
avenge the slain, to put an end to the sufferings
of those pining in prisons, or in slavery, and
to deliver the holy places, now weeping under
the footsteps of the heathen. His endeavors
succeeded. The Council granted him all the
aid he asked, passed the measures he proposed,
and the Sixth Crusade was ordered. It was so
diligently and effectually preached that, in 1217,
the largest army was gathered which had ever
taken the Cross, and, under Andrew, King of
Hungary; departed from Spalatro and Brundu-
sium. The peculiar feature of this Crusade
was, that, while the interest in the cause was
less than usual among the nobility, among the
people it was greater, and they rushed to en-
list, indignant at the apathy of their superiors.
The fleets reached Ptolemais in safety, and were
welcomed as liberating angels by the belea-
170 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

guered Christians. Hopes long dormant were
revived, and again was it expected that the
King of Jerusalem would, from his throne in
that city, rule the redeemed land. But these
hopes were soon to be dashed by the weak
conduct of Andrew, who became discouraged
in the hour of success and returned to Europe
with half of his troops. As trophies, he took |
with him the head of Peter, the right hand of
Thomas, and one of the seven “ water-pots” in
which the wine was madeat Cana. This treas-
ure comforted him, and, as he said, rewarded
his trust in its efficacy, for at once a dangerous
conspiracy was suppressed, when he reached
his dominions with these relics. Yet, as other
bands of Crusaders from the northern parts of
Europe arrived afterwards, the armies in Pales-
tine were still formidable. At this time, how-
ever, the resolve was made to seek a new road
to Jerusalem by breaking the Mohammedan
power in another quarter. Accordingly, they
all embarked for Egypt, and in April, 1218,
after a siege of several months, had gained
only part of the defenses of Damietta, when
the most of the army, weary and discouraged
by the desperate resistance which they met,
returned home with no fruits of their valor.
But others who came from Southern Europe as
THE LONG SUSPENSE. 171

these departed, maintained the siege for a year
and a half, enduring all forms of suffering. At
last, finding that no beleaguering could starve
the defenders into a surrender, an assault was
ordered, when to the horror of the Christians,
they found defenseless walls around a deserted
city. Of the seventy thousand Moslems who
had entered there to uphold their cause, only
three thousand remained, who looked more like
spectres than men. This was one of the most
brilliant crises of the Crusades. The Moham-
medans now offered full possession of the Holy
Land, if the Christians would abandon Egypt.
But in the flush of victory these terms were
foolishly rejected, and they demanded the wealth
of the latter to minister to the glory of the for-
mer. The Saracens refused to yield any more,
and renewed the war, the result of which was
that soon they were so victorious that the deci-
mated and famished Crusaders were glad to ask
permission to embark and return to Europe.
After an interval of several years, Frederick
of Germany at last undertook his long contem-
plated Crusade. He had made the promise to
the Pope, but now being under excommunica-
tion, was forbidden to carry it out, and actually
had to encounter a prohibition addressed to all
the world against aiding him. But he persisted
172 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

and gained splendid success. Within a year
he had so humbled the Sultan that a treaty was
granted, by which a truce of ten years was de-
clared, and the possession of Jerusalem freely
made over to the Christians. The Emperor
signalized his triumph there by his coronation.
The affairs of his dominions calling him home,
the Christians were left in 1229 by this, the
most romantic of the Crusades, dwelling se-
curely again in the city which had been the
object of so many prayers, so many tears, and
so many wars,

These were the events which intervened be-
tween the departure of the army of children
from Marseilles, and the date at which we
again take up the thread of their story.

During all these vicissitudes, and the attend-
ant excitement throughout Europe, the events
of 1212 grew remote, and the children were
forgotten by the nations who had seen and suf-
fered so much in the interval. Yet they were
not forgotten by all, for that strange Crusade
was ever in the minds of many a noble and of
many a peasant of France.

They who had been members of the army of
Stephen, but who had returned from Mar-
seilles, did not forget their companions, whose
fate was involved in obscurity. As had been
THE LONG SUSPENSE. 173

the case with the Germans, they were held to
their vows by the Pope, and commanded to re-
deem their promise to fight for the sacred
cause when they reached maturer years; only
those were exempted who were too young to
comprehend the nature of a vow, or too aged to
be of any service in the army. Many of these
were in the ranks which fought at Damietta
and fell there, or returned wiser men. When
they had abandoned the enterprise at Mar-
seilles, they regretted for a while that they had
not possessed enough endurance to persevere.
But as time flew by, and no tidings came of
glory, nor even of the fate of those who had
sailed on the seven vessels, and as the different
ways in which they might have perished were
considered, they rejoiced at their return and
compassionated those whom they once had
envied.

And the five thousand were also remembered
by many a stricken household, and many a tear
was called forth by the recollection of their
departure. As long as there was any chance,
hope lingered, but, when year after year had
passed away, and there had come no tidings,
it vanished, and all hearts yielded to the con-
viction that the bed of the sea had become the
unknelled and uncoffined sepulchre of those
174. TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

who had expected to make it their triumphant
pathway. The people of Marseilles remem-
bered too the seven vessels that had departed
from their port with their novel burdens, but
that had never reached their destination, and
they were wont to speak of and muse upon
the mystery of their fate. Porcus and Ferreus
were objects of sympathy, it may be, for their
disinterestedness, which had cost them so
much. But they asked no reward or sympathy
when so great a calamity as the destruction of
the children overshadowed their lesser misfor-
tune.

During the progress of the Crusades which
had occurred since 1212, it was natural to sup-
pose that those expeditions would lead to a
solution of the mystery, and efforts were prob-
ably made by them to ascertain the fate of the
children. But all was in vain. Victory was
enjoyed and defeat experienced, but no light
was shed upon the sad question.

Eighteen years thus passed without any
tidings from beyond the sea, or any clue as to
the fate of the five thousand children. The
day of judgment alone, it was believed, would
raise the veil from the sad mystery.

The year 1230 had come, and the cloud
THE DEPARTURE FROM MARSEILLES. 175

which enveloped the strange story was as dark
as ever, when one day an aged priest arrived
in Europe who said that he was one of those
who had sailed from Marseilles in 1212, and
that he was able to tell the result of the enter-
prise. The news spread through France and
Germany, and all hearts were thrilled, as from
home to home the report flew that the long-
mourned little ones had been heard from, that
one of their company had returned. Let us
now take up the narrative where we dropped it,
and continue it, as related by the priest, whose
tale is preserved by several chroniclers, but
principally by one old monk who dwelt in
Liége.t

II.
The Departure from Marseilles.

If they who, from the mouth of the harbor,
watched the receding vessels on that day of
parting, had strange thoughts passing through
their minds, more peculiar were the emotions
experienced by those who, sailing out upon the
great and mysterious deep, saw the land becom-
ing hourly more remote and more indistinct.

1 The priest’s story is preserved by Albericus, the Magnum
Chron. Belgicum, Roger Bacon, and Thomas de Champré,
176 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

At first, the flush of hope drew shouts and
songs from all, but soon more than one face
was wet with tears, as they realized that strange
and sorrowful vicissitudes might have to be en-
countered before they should again greet those
retreating shores. They felt that they might
yet have to share the captivity and death of
those whom they had enlisted to avenge. The
leaders sought diligently to banish all such
gloomy thoughts, by promises of glory and
reminding them of God’s evident favor. They
spoke of a brief and pleasant voyage over the
beautiful sea, by many a lovely island on which
all fruits grew, to the land made sacred by the
memories of Jesus and of Mary, and where they
were to reap the honors which kings and no-
bles and mailed men had failed to win. This
may have succeeded for a while, but as the day
advanced, the children could not be kept from
despondent musings on the perils of the sea.
The terrors associated with it in those days of
superstition and of ignorance, cannot be appre-
ciated by us, in whose time it seems so nearly
conquered. Each pilgrim, or sailor, or Cru-
sader who crossed it, brought home many won-
derful stories, which were readily believed by
the credulous, and all were credulous then.
Priest and layman, noble and peasant, lived
THE DEPARTURE FROM MARSEILLES. 177

equally under a craven fear of the supernatural.
By those whose minds were so full of fables,
the ordinary phenomena of nature were trans-
formed into miracles of God, or wonders of
Satan, and every voyage added to the stock
of tales which were current as to the terrors of
the deep. The chronicles of medizval times
are full of them, when they refer to the sea at
all, One writer tells us that “in that part of
the Mediterranean which lies by the coast of
Africa, the water is always boiling, on account
of the, great heat, and that consequently there
are no fishes,” of course implying that naviga-
tion is not pleasant there. Another tells us
that in some parts of the same coast “the sea
is higher than the land, and it seemeth that it
would cover the earth, and yet it passeth not
its bounds. And in this land, whoso turneth
himself toward the East, the shadow of himself
is on the right side, and here in our country
the shadow is on the left side.” The peculiar
reason for assigning these strange features to
the coast of Africa was, that, owing to dread of
the Mohammedans who peopled it, the Chris-
tian sailors dared not approach it, and where
they could not discover by investigation, imagi-
nation was always busy in filling up the un-
known regions, very much as human nature is

prone to do, even now.
12
178 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

Another traveller tells us of “a great, round
mountain” which they met with at sea one
Saturday at vesper time. Having passed it,
they made all sail during the night, and as
their fancy peopled it with “ griffons,” Saracens,
and other disagreeable inhabitants, they desired
to leave it behind as rapidly as possible. But
in the morning, when they supposed it “fifty
leagues astern,” they were dismayed at behold-
ing it fearfully near. In terror lest the dwell-
ers on this remarkable island should capture
them and put them to death, at the recom-
mendation of “a discreet churchman,” the pas-
sengers sought, by religious ceremonies, to dis-
solve the spell which either kept the vessel still,
or else drew the mountain after it. Proces-
sions with litanies were made around the masts
of the ship, and soon, to their joy, it receded
rapidly. The narrator, in simplicity, and ap-
parently to shift the responsibility for the story,
adds that during this time he was below, ter-
ribly sea-sick. The phenomenon of the Fata
Morgana was not understood, and very natu-
rally plays a prominent part among the wonders
of the sea. Pilgrims often tell us of its freaks.
They say that before them they would see a
beautiful expanse, with gardens and groves,
among which were stately edifices and dazzling
THE DEPARTURE FROM MARSEILLES. 179

palaces, forming a scene of rare luxuriance, all
resting upon the waters, and fading away on
either side into nothingness. In wonder the
mariners would sail towards the shore, and when
it seemed that their course was about to lie
through fields and flowers, all would vanish in
a twinkling, leaving the unrelieved waste of
waters.

In consequence of such stories, the real perils
were those the least dreaded. Saints could not
be relied on against such things as phantom
ships, and mighty spirits which appeared in the
storm, or against ravishing sights and sounds
which treacherously led the unwary to the hid-
den reefs, or “single waves of towering size,”
that were sometimes to be seen rolling alone
over the sea, or winds that often lifted vessels
out of the water. “Yet the people also feared
the ordinary dangers of the deep, and with
reason. The vessels were comparatively frail ;
they were scarcely manageable in a storm, and
navigation was little understood. Hardly a
fleet is reported to have crossed the Mediterra-
nean without a large part of the ships being lost
in one way or another, and rarely were any of
the passengers or of the crew rescued, because
there were no proper means to that end.

All these and other perils were, of course,
180 ZIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

familiar by report to the children whose for-
tunes we are following, and an excited memory
brought them up as the hills of France grew
indistinct and the twilight came on. Wistfully
did they watch the coast, until no longer dis-
cernible, and as darkness descended there were
many hearts which regretted the decision to
persevere in the Crusade. But even the most
anxious became weary, and eyes which had
been strained to peer through the dimness
were tired, and readily closed in sleep. Side
by side, the seven vessels sailed through the
night before the favoring breeze, gently rising
and falling on the billows, while their living
cargoes, slumbering within them, forgot, in the
pleasures of dream-land, their regrets and their
fears.

The morning came and found the ships
making good progress on their course, with
the dark and rocky coast of Corsica in the
distance on their left hand. This day closed,
and the second evening after their departure
the vessels were sailing by the southern ex-
tremity of that rugged island. A few more’
such days, said the little ones, and we will
reach the Holy Land. Alas! they knew not
what the morrow was to reveal !
SHIPWRECK ON THE ISLE OF FALCONS. 181

‘ III.
The Shipwreck on the Isle of Falcons, or San Pietro.

Clustered around the southwestern extrem-
ity of the Island of Sardinia, lies a group of
smaller islands, which were well known to the
ancients, as they lay in the much travelled route
between Gaul and Greece, Italy, or Egypt. As
adventurous Greeks had passed them, far back
in the twilight of history, they noticed that the |
largest and the most westward of them was
frequented by flocks of falcons. In view of this
they gave it the name of Hierakon, which in
later times was translated into the Latin equiv-
alent, Accipitrum, both meaning the Island
of Falcons. When this latter languagé had
passed away, and Italian had taken its place, we
find that the name it bore was San Pietro, by
which it is still called. It is probable, as has
been suggested, that this was a mere corrup-
tion of the Latin, for the words resemble each
other in sound, and the former designation
could easily glide into the latter, especially
among those who loved to call all places after
saints, and to whom such an opportunity to
honor Peter was too good to be lost.

This island, two or three miles long, termi-


182 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

nates to the northward in an abrupt and high
cliff. Thence it slopes away to the southward,
and ends in a plain that inclines gently to the
sea. Its surface being barren and destitute of
fresh water, it has not been inhabited, until
recently, except that, in Summer, fishermen
made it their temporary place of sojourn, while
they caught the tunnies which abound in the
surrounding waters. But they only enlivened
the scene for a few weeks, and, after that, the
ashes of their fires alone remained to tell that
man had trodden its silent shores.

Â¥et, in the long history of the island, it had
known a brief period when it was not entirely
uninhabited. In days which are remote and un-
recorded, some man, disgusted with the world,
had made there his abode. He did not dwell
actually on the main island, but upon a smaller
one which is severed from it by a chasm,—a
mere rock in comparison, —but which, seen
from certain directions, seems as one with it.
It may be that he fled hither from the scenes
-@f pillage which were witnessed when the
northern barbarians overran Italy, or that,
when religion had sunk as low as the once
proud city. of Caesar had fallen, his heart longed
for purer associations, and: deliverance from
scenes of temptation and of hypocrisy. What-
SHIPWRECK ON THE ISLE OF FALCONS. 183

ever it was that impelled this unnamed man, he
knew that only in solitude could he worship
God in freedom,—only in some remote spot
could he escape the miseries of the age. And
it may have been that, as he had, on some jour-
ney, been musing on this longing of his heart,
he passed by this lonely isle, whose solitude
and beauty met his desires, so that he chose it
as his home, and fixed on the small islet by its
side for the erection of his hut.

There through the years he dwelt, and from
the high cliffs, where the fresh winds brought
exhilaration and associations of purity, he looked
forth over the magnificent waters to where they
met the sky, and found food for ceaseless medi-
tation in contemplating their ever varying ap-
pearance. When the storm was abroad he
watched its fury, and then, when it was subdued,
he beheld the foam-streaked waves settle to
rest again beneath the returned sunlight. And
from scenes like these, his thoughts wandered
forth to that land beyond the sunset and be-
yond the clouds, where weary mortals rest, and
of which he read, in the vision of Patmos, which
was congenial to him, written by another exile
on a lonely rock, that “there shall be no more
sea.” When, day by day, the vessels passed
in the offing to and from the busy marts of
184 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

commerce, he thought of the life he had left,
of which they were suggestive reminders, not to
wish he were again in its scenes, but to rejoice
that he was free from its cares, its perils, and its
sins. The fishermen, as they came each Sum-
mer, used to see him standing by his little hut,
or sitting on some rocky eminence, and they
returned to tell strange stories of the solitary
inhabitant of that barren island, while he found
pleasure in listening to their melodious songs,
which were borne to his ears as they dried
their nets on the shore. Time rolled on; the
seasons came and went until he died in his
loneliness, and the waters he had learned to
love, sounded a dirge around his desolate sep-
ulchre. When the next Summer arrived, the
returning fishermen missed him in his accus-
tomed places, and they knew that on some
wild, cold day of Winter, the mysterious re-:
cluse had gone away from the world which had
afforded him so -unenviable a home. :

And thus he came and passed away, but the
place of his dwelling was remembered and his
story perpetuated, for fishermen were wont to
point out to their comrades from age to age
the Hermit’s Rock, lying beneath the cliffs
of San Pietro.

When last we saw the children on the seven


SHIPWRECK ON THE ISLE OF FALCONS. 185

ships, the second evening of their voyage was
approaching, and they were about passing from
the coast of Corsica to that of Sardinia. The
night passed away, and -when the morning -
came, they saw, on their left hand, the moun-
tains and bays of the latter island. Their prog-
ress had therefore been so rapid that all au-
gured well for a speedy passage to Palestine.
But that day was to blight their hopes. Fora
storm arose, and in its power tossed the vessels
about like toys, bringing to the children’s hearts
dismay and misery. As the hours elapsed,
their sufferings and terror increased, for, as we
have seen, the primitive build of the ships and
the undeveloped. state of navigation, rendered
a tempest a fearful thing, beyond what we can
now appreciate. Huddled together below the
decks, the little Crusaders heard the waves strike
blows upon the frail planks, which threatened
each moment to yield, and they were thrown
from side to side as the vessels pitched and
rolled. Whatever elation they may have felt at
the prospect of reaching the goal of their en-
terprise, now died away, and their fears, their
sickness, and their bruises drew forth ejacula-
tions of distress and prayers for mercy, which
were smothered by the roaring winds ere they
had wandered far from the staggering barks.
186 Z7/DINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

The scene on each vessel may easily be im-
agined, where several hundred children were
crowded, expecting momentarily to be engulfed
in the sea. The priests who had accompanied
them, if they sought to administer consolation,
told of the promise of the Church that they
who died in the cause of the Cross should
enter at once upon eternal blessedness, and be
sure of a complete forgiveness; that they
might meet their death in the storm or in the
battle: either was, for such as they, a portal
Opening directly into Paradise. They said
that, in that world of bliss, they might stand
side by side with the heroes who had fallen
on the blood-stained fields of Palestine, though
their feet had never trodden those plains.
But words were vain to these terrified children.
They dreaded death in the angry sea. At
length, as the unmanageable ships drove on,
they came in sight of the island of San Pietro,
looming up before them in the mist. Here
was a faint hope! If they could weather that
point, before them was,an open sea where
they could run before the wind, with no fear
‘of reefs or rocks, The vessels had become
scattered in the storm, and it was evident that
some of them could avoid the island, while
others were too far to leeward. How anxiously
SHIPWRECK ON THE ISLE OF FALCONS. 187~

did they see the island become nearer and
nearer! It soon became manifest that at least
two of the ships were doomed, — that they
were drifting irresistibly toward the great white
breakers, which seemed exulting at the prospect
of the fair prey that they were soon to grasp
and to dash to pieces in their remorseless
sport. The minutes passed in awful suspense.
Those on the five vessels which were to escape
beheld with anguish the approaching fate of
their comrades. Swiftly they drifted on to-
wards their dreadful end. At last they were °
close to that rock which was washed by: the
spray, beneath the high cliffs of San Pietro, and
over which the falcons hovered and screamed.
There was a moment of pause between the
final billows. That moment passed, and the
next wave tossed them among the breakers.
The shrieks and prayers of the perishing rose
in agony on the air. Wave after wave washed
them off the decks. A few more blows broke
the hulks in pieces, and then all cries were
silenced in the waters.

When the storm had ended and the darkness
had gone, the returning sunlight fell on broken
timbers and splintered spars, and beheld the
subsiding seas tossing to and fro among the
wet rocks the pale and mangled corpses of
more than a thousand children.
*

188 Z7DINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

And so, in the twelve hundred and twelfth
year of grace, were two ships, laden with fair
and hopeful youths of France, who had taken
the Cross under the guidance of Stephen,
wrecked in a wild storm at the foot of the
Hermit’s Rock.~

Iv.
The Captives of Bujeiah.

About one hundred miles east of the city of
Algiers, the sailor finds the best harbor on the
Mediterranean coast of Africa, where in case
of storm he may have that safe and pleasant
anchorage which Alexandria and others more
famous cannot provide. It runs obliquely into
the land, and the winds and waves of the sea
are shut out by an elevated, narrow promon-
tory, which forms a splendid breakwater of a
mile in length, in the lee of which there is
always a calm. And as the mariner lies there
at anchor, waiting for the tempest without to
cease, he is struck by the picturesque beauty
of the scenery around him. To the south and
westward rise lofty mountains, one behind an-
other, until lost in the distance, and they are
of so great an altitude that snow rests on them
until June, although the climate is tropical.

#
THE CAPTIVES OF BUFZEIAA. 189

Their slopes, and the valleys between, are cov-
ered with luxuriant groves of cypress and fig-
trees, chestnuts and olives, while down to the
shore come yellow fields of barley, and arbors
laden with purple grapes. In the corner,where
the promontory juts out from the main-land,
looking across the gulf toward the mountains,
extensive and ancient walls inclose a vast, luxu-
riant orchard, and through its dense foliage
peep out the white houses and turrets of the
city of Bujeiah. Above this there rises the hill
of Gouraya, beautifully terraced to the eleva-
tion of two thousand feet, and as it were guard-
ing the town which nestles at its base.

Those walls, so entirely disproportioned to
the population they now contain, indicate a
past of greater prosperity, and tell the beholder
that once there was a vast city where the
orchards grow. The feature of a safe harbor,
so rare on that inhospitable coast, made this
a commercial point at an early period. The
Carthaginians founded here an important col-
ony, called Saldze, which continued to flourish

1 For descriptions of Bujeiah as it was and as it is, see
Rozet, Shaw, Dureau de la Malle, and other travelers in Alge-
ria and Kabylia; also Condé’s Arabs in Spain, chap. XLII.
It is because wax candles were once imported in great quanti-
ties from this place that the French called them “ Bougies,”
which is the French name of the city.
Tgo TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

after, Rome had conquered and absorbed the
possessions of her rival. When Rome in turn
fell before conquerors, Saldz declined and al-
most disappeared. When the Saracens became
masters of this part of Africa, they saw the
value of the position, and a new city rose on
the ruins of the -old one, which was called
Bedschijah, or Bujeiah. In the twelfth century
it was the capital of a large kingdom, whose
sovereigns were independent of the Caliphs, and
ruled from Tunis to Gibraltar. But in 1151,
Abdelraumen, who governed the Saracens in
Spain, subdued this kingdom, and, at the time
of the Children’s Crusade, it remained subject to
his successors. It was now in its glory, hav-
ing within its walls over one hundred thousand
inhabitants. It was, next to Cairo, the princi-
pal city in Africa, and possessed a. lucrative
and extensive commerce. The writers of the
time dwell fondly on its beauty, telling us that,
in the splendor of its edifices and the wealth
and luxury of its people, it excelled, as it proba-
bly did at the time, any place on the Mediterra-
nean. The Mohammedans of all lands ac-
knowledged it to be one of the holy cities, and
gave it the name of “Little Mecca.” To this
place, in this its era of power and beauty, does
our story take us now.
THE CAPTIVES OF BUFZETAH. Igi

The children on the five ships had sorrow-
fully seen their unfortunate comrades drifting
toward the breakers. It may be they had lost
sight of them before they struck, or they may
have even witnessed the dreadful catastrophe.
At any rate, they felt that they were safe them-
selves when the threatening headland was
weathered. When the storm ceased they were
grateful for deliverance from the perils which
had surrounded them, while hope revived that
they would yet reach the port they sought.
They counted the days to elapse, and began to
imagine the scenes of welcome which awaited
them.

But that hope was only revived to be more
cruelly blighted. They now learnt that they
were victims of an infamous treachery, and we
are to follow them, not to the Holy Land, but
to slavery among the Saracens. We learn, to
our dismay, from the returned priest, that Hugo
Porcus and William Ferreus, the kind and dis-
interested merchants of Marseilles, were simply
slave dealers, and that they had contracted to sell
these confiding children to the Mohammedans,
to whom such a consignment would be of rare
value, to minister to their luxury. Thus was
explained the remarkable readiness of these
men to furnish vessels gratuitously, and the




192 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

hypocrisy of professing to do it all causa Det
absque pretio exposed, but, alas, when too late!
How the victims learned their betrayal, we
do not know. It may have been when Saracen
vessels came in sight, and, surrounding them,
separated the ships, making the sailors steer as
they ordered ; or it may be that they were re-
moved from the vessels of Marseilles and car-
ried to those of the enemy, on which they were
to be conveyed whither their captors chose.
Whatever was the event which revealed the
treachery of the merchants, never has the sea
beheld a sadder moment than when these
thousands of children became aware that they
were slaves to the Mohammedans. For all
knew what that lot implied. In every village
of Europe had some escaped or liberated cap-
tive told the story of his slavery, and, by addi-
tions of his own to facts which, unimproved,
were terrible enough, made that fate proverbi-
ally horrible. We can therefore easily picture
the feelings of the young pilgrims when they

_ discovered that in that bondage, the description

of which had always made them shudder, they
were to pass their lives. They looked around
upon the sea, but found none to help. The
limitless expanse told them that they were com-:
pletely at the mercy of that race whom they.
\ THE CAPTIVES OF BUFETAL. 193

had learned to hate and fear from earliest in-
fancy. During their lamentations they were.
separated, and while part were carried towards
Alexandria, the rest were conveyed to Bujeiah
by their captors. Following these we soon
‘reach this harbor, and behold the final destina-
tion of this fragment of the hosts which we saw
depart from Vendéme.

Very beautiful was the view presented as one
entered the bay of Bujeiah in 1212. The city
covered the flank of the Gouraya, built on ter-
races, where dark and luxuriant verdure almost
hid the houses, and seemed to try to conceal
also the high and slender minarets, while the
blue sky and scented breezes told of a voluptu-
ous climate. The fields and valleys around
were assiduously cultivated, and revealed a
teeming and prosperous population, which was
also proved by the masts of many vessels riding
safely at anchor. There was no scene so fair
from the Pillars of -Hercules to the River of
Egypt, although now few know that it ever ex-
isted. But to the children, these beauties had
no power to charm. They knew that before
them was a life of labor in the service of those
whom they had been taught to despise, and for
whose extermination they had been taught to
pray. Among scenes so fair, and landscapes

13 *
194 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

so lovely, they were to be slaves in a hopeless
slavery. ;

The vessels came to, the sails were furled,
the anchors dropped, and the voyage, begun in
Marseilles, was at length ended. But how dif-
ferently from their hopes! “Was it for this,”
said they, “that we have taken the Cross and
enlisted in the army of Christ? Is it thus
the soldiers of the holy cause are rewarded ?
Has God’s arm been shortened that it cannot
save ?”

They were taken ashore and dispersed, as they
who bought them wished, and then their servi-
tude began! To their respective homes we
cannot follow them. Scattered over the neigh-
boring territory and throughout the city, they
found their lot eased or hardened by cruel or -
_ kinder masters, or according to the nature of
the work allotted to them. And so they en-
tered upon their menial tasks, while the friends
whom they had left in distant France supposed
they were reaping glory in rescuing the Sepul-
chre and restoring the fallen kingdom of Jerusa-
lem. They soon saw how vain it was for them
to look for rescue or ransom. They felt that
the tidings of their fate had not reached their
kindred, and that long since they had been
given upasdead. How did they wish that word
could be sent to the distant dear ones, that their
THE CAPTIVES OF BUFZEIALH. 195

condition might at least be known, if it could
not be changed! But the winds would bear
no message, nor did the waves, as they broke,
bring any news from the far-off shore whence
they had rolled, regardless whether Christian or
heathen owned the coast whereon they dashed.
In course of time the children grew up to man-
hood, and age crept over them, finding them
still slaves. Now and then they probably met
with other captives taken in the wars, or on
the sea, and from them heard of their homes.
They learnt of the Crusades undertaken since
their departure, of the successes achieved and
of the failures experienced, and then the old
men wept at their tasks, as they thought how
much more enviable it would have been to have
perished in some hour of ve on the holy
soil of Palestine.

One by one the captives died, some by dis-
ease, some by cruelty ; others pined away in old
age. At length all had dropped their weary
burdens, and their toils and sorrows ended, the
betrayed Crusaders slept the sleep which liber-
ates from the oppressor’s yoke, and rested in
the land where the voice of the task-master is
not heard.

They all died in slavery. Not one of the
many hundreds ever saw Europe again.

1 Albericus ; Hecker.
196 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA. *

One. hundred years later, this same Bujeiah
was the scene of the martyrdom of one whose
labors and death have invested the place with
interest as great as that associated with the
memory of these children.

Raymond Lully spent a large part of his life
in this city, preaching among enemies and in
fearlessness of peril the Gospel of Christ. This
man, one of the most remarkable of the Middle
Ages, will forever stand in the front rank of the
army of missionaries ; for truly like the Master
was he who could, in the midst of the Crusades,
proclaim everywhere, “The Holy Land can be
won in no other way than as thou, O Lord Je-
sus Christ, and thy Apostles, won it, by love, by
prayers, by shedding of tears and of blood.”
And it was here, in this scene of the young Cru-
saders’ servitude, that he was stoned to death
by the Mohammedans in 1314.

Bujeiah has long since fallen. Its natural
beauties are unchanged. The foliage is as
green, the fruits as luscious, the sky as blue, as
when the betrayed little ones labored there and
pined. But a few broken columns and illegible
inscriptions are all that remain of the once
proud edifices of a great and luxurious city.

It is now in the possession of the French, and
people from the land ofthe children bear rule
ALEXANDRIA AND BAGDAD. 197

where the children were captives. But few of
those who have made it their home for pur-
poses of business, think that, with the soil they
tread, there is mingled the dust of these youths
of their own fair France, who died there seven
centuries ago.’

Vv.
Alexandria and Bagdad.

Having seen the fate of the children on the
vessels which were taken to Bujeiah, we turn
to follow those from whom they were separated.
They were also destined never to see their
homes again. The port to which they were to
be taken was Alexandria, nearly fifteen hundred
miles distant from San Pietro. Long and te-
dious was the voyage, giving them painfully
ample time to realize their condition, and medi-
tate on the future before them. Suffering in
body and in mind, they sailed along the inhos-
pitable coast of Africa, until at length they saw
a faint line of sand hills, in front of which rose
the two solitary columns, Cleopatra’s Needle
and Pompey’s Pillar, which then, as now, formed
the landmarks for the mariner on that monoto-
nous shore, and indicated the site of Alexan-
dria. This once great city was at this time
sunk to the lowest point that it reached be-
198 ZIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

tween its grandeur in ancient times and its
revival in modern days. It had gradually de-
clined after the fall of the Roman Empire, but
the conquest by the Saracens in the tenth cen-
tury, and the building of Cairo, completed its
humiliation. In 1212 it was a mere port of
the latter city, containing a few hovels, where
a scanty and miserable population dwelt, among
noble ruins which told of the ages when it had
rivaled Rome in size, and eclipsed it in luxury
and wealth. The superior beauty of its situa-
tion, as well as the residence of the Sultan,
made Cairo rise at the cost of the older city, so
that soon it seemed that the site of the capital
of the Ptolemies, and the abode of Mark and
of Cyril, was to be tenantless, and that deso-
lation was to reign in it as supreme as it had
before the conqueror of Darius ordered its
construction, to perpetuate his name, and:con-
stitute his sepulchral monument.

-Past the ruins of the fallen Pharos the chil-
dren were carried into the deserted harbor, and
perhaps to some broken column on the Hepta-
stadium their captors made fast the ships.

When landed, they were sold and dispersed.
Bitter were the tears, heart-rending the partings,
as their purchasers tore them from each other,
and they bade farewell with that intensity
ALEXANDRIA AND BAGDAD. 199

which they feel who never expect to meet again ‘
on earth.

A great many of the children were bought
on the spot by the Governor of Alexandria,
Maschemuth, and were destined to lead a mis-
erable life in cultivating his lands and in me-
nial services about his dwelling, for he is said
to have been’a cruel master.

The ecclesiastics were more fortunate who
had accompanied the little Crusaders, whether
with the good intention of caring for, and advis-
ing them, or, as was more probable, because
carried away by the prevailing excitement.
Here, for the first time, we learn how consid-
erable was their number. We are told that the
Sultan of Egypt, or the Caliph,! as He is errone-
ously called by chroniclers, “bought four hun-
dred clerks, among whom were eighty priests.”
This Sultan was Malek Kamel,:son of the usur-
per Malek Adel, better known as the famous
Saphadin, who was still alive, but had abdicated
and divided his vast empire among his sons,
with whom he lived. One chronicler tells us
that this Malek Adel was the son of the great
Saladin, and that he had studied twenty-three
years in Paris, during which time he had mas-
tered all the languages of Europe, and that

1 Albericus.
200 ZIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

even on his throne he still wore his university
robe, while he had ceased to offer, as Moham-
“medans were believed to do, camel’s flesh in
sacrifice. The whole story is evidently a fic-
tion ; for, instead of his being the son of Sala-
din, his father had dethroned and killed Sala-
din’s son, Al Aziz. As regards his studying
in Paris, the relations existing between the
adherents of the two religions would have pre-
vented it, if his father had been capable of per-
mitting so unique an occurrence.

Thus, while we cannot believe this story, al-
though some have not thought it impossible,
nevertheless his conduct in regard to the ec-
clesiastics whom he purchased of the slave deal-
ers, shows us remarkable traits of character for
one circumstanced as he was. His selection
was one which awakens our surprise, as does his
treatment of them afterwards. He took them to
Cairo, and kept them in a merely nominal slav-
ery in that beautiful and luxurious city. They
dwelt by themselves in his palace, and their
“only duties were teaching him, and whom else
he chose, the letters of Europe. Their yoke
was as easy as a yoke could ever be, and in
learned pursuits they passed their time, pos-
sessing all they wished, save their liberty.

In another direction are we taken, as we fol-
ALEXANDRIA AND BAGDAD. 201

low the fate of the. other children besides
those bought by the Caliph and Maschemuth.
They fell into the hands of masters who, to sell
them the better, prepared to take them to far
distant Bagdad. Their route lay across the
Delta of the Nile, then over the weary des-
‘ert to Palestine, and into that Holy Land where
they had hoped to’march as conquerors, they
were brought as captives. With what emotions
did they behold the walls of the sacred city, for
whose conquest they had enlisted, but which
now was only a stopping-place on the path to
bondage! Theirs was not the privilege to
worship by a liberated Sepulchre. They may
have seen the dome which covered it, from the
khan where their captors kept them, only to
know it was inaccessible, and defiled by the
custody of heathen. Thus sadly was fulfilled
the hope they had often expressed, as on their
march to Marseilles they had sung —“ Our feet
shall stand within thy walls, O Jerusalem !”
But their owners hurried them away. Past
Nazareth, and Hattin, the scene of the disas-
trous defeat of the Crusaders, past the dark
waters of Galilee, and over the mountains, they

were dragged towards Damascus. The beauty.

which here enchants the traveller had no
power to please them, and it was without the
202 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

regret he feels that they saw its minarets and
domes and lovely foliage disappear, when, leav-
ing it, they penetrated the desert on their east-
ward journey. Then ensued that dreadful |
march across the wide waste which stretches,
unrelieved, from Syria to Mesopotamia. Once
was the monotony of sand broken, as they
tarried to encamp among the solitary ruins of
Palmyra, where the moon then, as_ to-day,
looked down on no sleepers save the Bedouins
or the caravans, that make its deserted streets
their resting-place. But these ruins also disap-
peared behind the desert horizon, and one day,
as at sea, was like another, sad, long, and unre-
lieved, until, after several weeks, the weary cam-
els gladly drank of the waters of the Euphra-
tes. They were transported down the river
for a few days, and then, leaving it and cross-
ing the intervening plains, they reached the
city they sought, on the banks of the Tigris.
Here their journeyings were ended. For this
had they assumed the Cross a few short months
ago! This was the destination where the pil-
grimage, begun by the Loire or the Seine, was to
terminate! Since the year, now nearly closed,
had commenced, how much had they seen!
How far had they travelled! How much had
they endured! It must have seemed, in view
ALEXANDRIA AND BAGDAD. 203

of the rapidity with which the events had suc-
ceeded each other, as a horrid dream since,
yesterday as it were, they had parted from their
kindred in far distant France.

They were now dispersed, as each purchaser
took to his home those whom he selected. Ac-
cording to the character of the various masters
was the hardship of their servitude. The city
was, as Cairo, extremely luxurious and beauti-
ful, being the theme of poets for its splendor.
Here resided the great chief of the Moslems,
the Caliph, and the wealth of many lands was
made to minister to their common capital. But
though the children found here refinement and
comfort which France or Europe could not

‘equal, they thought wistfully of their ruder
homes, far away to the westward, and, during
the long years of bondage, they longed to. see
once again their native villages and their be-_
loved friends.

There is some definite light cast on the lot
of a few, which brings us to the last scene, and
it is a scene of martyrdom. Not long after the
arrival of these captives, there was held a meet-
ing of Saracen princes in Bagdad The object
of it is not told us. It was probably for con-

1 Albericus says this was in the same year with their de-
parture.


204. TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

sultation, in view of the distracted state of the
Mohammedan world; for, at the time, there
were many dissensions among the turbulent
and aspiring sultans of the different provinces,
and the once compact empire was divided, and
apparently in danger of self-destruction. What-
ever was the reason for this gathering, the
princes agreed in-one thing, — enmity to the
Christians ; and when they learned of the pres-
ence of the children who had vainly enlisted as
Crusaders, they considered it becoming the
capital of “the chief of all the faithful,” and a
proper object for so august an assembly, to
endeavor to convert these young unbelievers.
Into their presence some of the children were
brought. Every art was used to win them.
Entreaty, argument, and threat were employed
to lead them to adopt the creed of the Prophet.
They were promised the sensual delights of the
believers, and all the comforts that that city
could provide, if they would yield; while, on
the other hand, death by torture and agony

would be the result of obstinacy. But tempta-

tions could not move them ; threats could not
intimidate them. Though before such power-

‘ful sovereigns, they remained steadfast, and —

children of tender age baffled all the wiles of
these rulers of Asia. When their ‘determina-
ALEXANDRIA AND BAGDAD. 205

tion was evident, some were ordered to be put
to death, in the expectation that the spectacle
might affect the rest; but the survivors were
still firm, and the enraged Saracens commanded
that others should be executed, until their ven-
geance was gratified, or until they judged it
wiser to let the rest live, in the hope that time
might do what threats could not effect. Before
their thirst for blood was satisfied, eighteen
were put to death, by the bowstring, or by
drowning.

Where is there a scene in history more touch-
ing than the martyrdom of these eighteen little
ones, whom all the power and state of the Caliph
and his princes could neither tempt nor dis-
may? How noble a termination of their Cru-
sade! How much more illustrious is their
memory for this faithfulness, than any victories
in battle or subjugation of enemies could have
rendered it! —

These children, who died rather than gain a
life of ease by denying their Lord, remind us
of others, who on the banks of the same river, in
days long previous, had manifested equal firm-
ness. By that Tigris had the captive children
of Israel been enslaved, and their tears had
mingled with the waters which now were tur-
gid with the Crusaders’ blood. There did the
206 ZIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

latter, like their predecessors, not forget Jeru-
salem, neither did they cease to cling to their
faith at the cost of their “chief joy.” Like
them did the tortured and betrayed little ones
“speak of the Lord’s testimonies even before
princes, and were not ashamed ;” and with the
remains of those who could not for their sor- ,
rows “sing the Lord’s song in a strange land,”
lie mingled the now indistinguishable dust of
those who only dared in concealment to pray
the prayers they had learnt in their unforgotten
homes beyond the desert, and beyond the’sea.
As the sufferings of the former exiles expiated
many sins which caused God to let the Assyri-
ans “carry them away captive,” thus does the
constancy of these whose fate we have seen
make us forget their folly, and it atones for
their disobedience to the parents whose wis-
dom they now confessed in tears. Such deaths
cover, to human eyes, the ‘imperfections and
spots in the lives of those who meet them.
Strange is it that Bujeiah and Bagdad are
each rendered memorable by two separate testi-
monies to God’s truth in bondage and death!
STORY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN. 207

VI.
Conclusion of the Story of the French Children.

The martyrdom of the eighteen children in
Bagdad occurred, as was stated, in the same
year in which they had left their homes. It
must have been in the ensuing Winter. _

Concerning the fate of the rest who were
taken to that distant region, we know no more.
That single scene of bloodshed and cruelty
alone has been recorded. They lived and la-
bored, grew old and died, by the banks of the
Tigris and of the Euphrates, waiting in vain for
the day: of liberation; hearing, it may be, as
did those in Bujeiah, of the disasters or of the
successes of the Christian Crusaders, but feel-
ing that no victory could bring relief to them.

As years passed away, hopes grew feebler,
and, at last, they resigned themselves to the
sad belief that they were forgotten, or deemed
by their friends to have perished. In Egypt,
we saw that there were a number who dwelt
in Cairo, and many in Alexandria. Those in
the former city continued in their easy slavery,
and found in their companionship some conso-
lation for their exile. The priest who returned
was one of these. The Sultan had liberated
208 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

him, but we do not know why. Whatever was
the reason, it was an act of precious moment
to those in Europe who first heard from him
of the fate of the ships which had departed
from Marseilles eighteen years before, and of
the thousands they had carried. He said that,
after these intervening years, the ecclesiastics
in Cairo were still as kindly treated, and had,
as their only occupation, literary pursuits.

It was stated that Maschemuth, Governor of
Alexandria, had purchased a large number of
the children on their arrival. The returned
priest said that there were still living, at the
time of his release, seven hundred of these, now,
of course, having attained the age of manhood.

One fact, related by this priest concerning
the children, ends his story. He said that he
had never heard of a single one of the Cru-
saders, old or young, who had abandoned the
faith of their home and of their infancy.
There may have been others exposed to perse-
cution than those in Bagdad; many were sub-
ject to countless strong temptations to adopt
the easy, sensuous faith of their masters, but
they resisted threats and wiles unto the end,
It is true that the sphere of knowledge of this,
priest was but partial, yet those for whom he
could speak positively were as much liable to
STORY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN. 209

apostasy as any, and consequently, when he
says that he never heard that one abandoned
Christianity, it is enough to show that this
faithfulness was general. The earnest were
too pious to become heathen. They who had
undertaken the Crusade for other motives were
led by their perils to find their comfort in the
faith they had once neglected.

The effect of the promulgation of these tid-
ings by the priest can be more easily imagined
than described. It revived interest in a theme
which had become almost forgotten.

Many a question did he have to answer, ad-
dressed by anxious parents, and few were the
cases where he could give to the bereaved the
welcome reply that their “Joseph” was “« still
alive and in Egypt.”

Of course, with their interest in the news,the
people also expressed their indignation at the
conduct of the merchants, Porcus and Ferreus.
But, as we shall see, they were not yet to re-
ceive their due reward. :

Efforts may have been made to secure the
liberaticn of the Crusaders that still lived, but
in vain, for none ever returned. ‘They lingered
on in servitude in their various places of abode
through passing years. They may have heard
of the violent and many political changes of the

14




210 TIDINGS FROM BEYOND THE SEA.

Mohammedan world, but these did not help
them ; they only changed their masters. Those
who lived until twenty years after the priest’s
return, when Saint Louis waged his war in
Egypt, may have thought that this would end
in their deliverance. But it was in vain that
they looked to this. How anxiously must they
have heard or seen the conflicts between their
brethren and their oppressors !

When this Crusade was ended, in 1250, the
last chance had vanished, for nothing occurred
afterwards which could help them or that might
free them.

And so, without hope, the scattered captives
worked at their tasks in the various regions

‘whither they had been carried, forgetting the
tongue of their infancy, but not forgetting its
scenes, experiencing the vicissitudes which re-
sulted from the caprices of their masters, until

‘all was over. The last straggler in the rear of
the dissolving band escaped from slavery by
the great gate-way to liberty, and at length the
morning dawned when the muezzin’s cry from
airy tower, calling the faithful to prayer, was
heard no longer by any of those whose for-
tunes we have followed to their mournful
close.

Was ever journey sad.as that one? We have
STORY OF THE FRENCH CHILDREN. 211

seen an army which left Vendéme, so full of
hope under their youthful leader, betrayed,
scattered, andenslaved. They had indeed found
a way through the sea, but the price of their
passage was their life and their freedom. Some
of them reached Jerusalem, but they walked
its streets as captives, and looked upon Olivet
in chains.
CHAPTER IX.

THE FATE OF THE LEADERS AND OF THE
BETRAYERS.

Ir remains for us, in closing, to gather up
the hints that are preserved regarding the three
youths who led the children, that, as we have
seen “from the towns and cities of all coun-
tries, ran with eager steps to the parts beyond
the sea,” and concerning those who betrayed
them so basely.

As regards Stephen, Roger de Wendover
says that “an infinite number followed the
aforesaid master to the Mediterranean,’ but
rather shows his ignorance of the details of the
transaction and of the state of affairs in Pales-
tine, by adding, “crossing which, they went on
their way, singing in orderly procession and.in
troops.” We cannot feel certain from so gen-
eral a statement that Stephen retained his
influence until they reached Marseilles, and yet
FATE OF LEADERS AND BETRAYVERS. 213

itis not improbable. The journey was not long,
though tedious while it lasted, and with him
were many others who were interested in con-
tinuing his authority from reasons of a selfish
character. He may have really led them into
the city they sought. After that we know no
more about him. We cannot tell whether or not
he embarked on the ships of the merchants,
and shared the fate of his victims in shipwreck
or slavery. It may be that he returned to
Cloyes, and there passed succeeding years in
tending the sheep he had left to conduct an
army, and that, in quiet hours on the hill-sides
about his home, he mused in after days on that
summer dream of glory.

Concerning Nicholas we know that he-was
the leader of his band when they entered
Genoa, for two eye-witnesses record the fact.t
But this is the last that we hear of him.

Whether he remained there is not stated. It
may be that he was of those who concluded to
make there their home, or that he persevered
to Rome. That he did not return to Cologne
seems apparent from one fact which is re-
corded. It is said that when the people of
that city learned the fate of the children, and
the story of their sufferings, they revenged the

1 Caffari and Sicardi.
214 FATE OF LEADERS AND BETRAVYERS.

little ones by hanging his ther! This would
lead us to infer that they could not lay hold of
Nicholas, or they would have visited their in-
dignation also upon him, for they would have
sooner identified him with the deceivers than
with the deceived. It also shows that his
father played a prominent part in originating
the Crusade, and aimed at his own advantage.

His colleague is not spoken of in the chroni-
cles by name. We only are told that the other
army had a léader. Who he was, or what be-
came of him, cannot now be discovered.

One other leader to whom we referred has
been more fortunate in the extent to which his
fame has been preserved. We saw that in
northern France, a man of mature years, Jacob
of Hungary, preached the Crusade of Stephen,
and led many children to Vendéme. He is not
mentioned again in connection with the move-
ment. We do not know if he accompanied the -
band to Marseilles, or left it when on the way
thither.

But he comes forward again in history, and
as a prominent actor in a transaction of a
nature similar to this of which we are treating.

Seasons passed away, and the sad year of
1250 came, when the vast army of Saint Louis

1 Gesta Trevirorum.
FATE OF LEADERS AND BETRAYVERS. 215

‘had been dispersed on the shores of the Medi-
terranean, and the King himself made prisoner.
A general feeling of despondency spread over
France, and the people were broken-hearted by
the captivity of their beloved sovereign. Then,
in some way which cannot be traced, a feeling
arose that the cause of the Crusades was to be
made victorious by means of the shepherds, and
it spread as rapidly as had done the idea in 1212
that the children were to render it triumphant.
Here Jacob of Hungary comes to the surface
again. He was now an old man, with a long,
white beard and the aspect of a prophet, and
had spent the intervening years as a shepherd.
He preached in all the towns of France and
Flanders that he was commissioned by God to
lead an army of peasants to rescue the Holy
Land and liberate the King. Soon he found
himself at the head of more than a hundred
thousand enthusiastic “Pastors,” as they called
themselves, and they started to seek the way to
Palestine. But they soon found that they
might use their power more advantageously to
themselves nearer home, and they declaimed no
longer against the Saracens, but against the
Church, the rulers, and the rich. Pillaging and
robbing as they went, they resolved to assemble
at Bourges, where Jacob was to perform mira-
216 FATE OF LEADERS AND BETRAVERS.

cles, and where he was to rule asaking. But
by this time the people were aroused, and unit-
ed to oppose the rabble. They met them at
Villeneuve, and, in a sanguinary battle, routed
the Pastors beyond all possibility of, reassem-
bling. Jacob of Hungary was killed by a sol-
dier in the conflict, who with his axe finished
_ the old man’s career by cutting off his head.
So terminated the strange story of this twice
successful deceiver.

If our sympathies were awakened by the sad
fate which befell the children who formed the
French army in this strange Crusade, our indig-
nation must have been equally aroused at the
peculiarly cruel treachery of the merchants,
who played upon their ignorance and their
confidence in order to betray them.

It is with satisfaction that we learn that they-
did not go unpunished, but that they met with
justice, although for another crime.

. Whether they fled from Marseilles in order
to escape the vengeance which they dreaded,
or left that city for other reasons, we are not
told, but they appear again upon another field
of action, and in the prosecution of an under-
taking similar to this one in which we have

1 Roger de Wendover and Roger Bacon.
FATE OF LEADERS AND BETRAYERS. 217

seen them, but, happily, not with equal suc-
cess.
Frederick II., Emperor of Germany, was also
king of Sicily. This beautiful and fertile island
had been wrested from the Saracens by Guis-
card in 1090, but the latter never ceased to de-
sire to regain it, or to make frequent desperate
attempts to that end. These efforts continued
up to the date of which we are speaking. At
the time, the Mohammedans had a slight foot-
hold upon the island, when they sought by a
new plan to secure it altogether. That was to
capture the Emperor. The opportunity to do
this was afforded by the frequent visits which
he made to this part of his dominions, to attend
to its wants and to promote that administration
of justice for which his reign was conspicuous.

The Emir Mirabel, ruler of the Saracens in
Sicily, conceived this plan, and found ready
agents in the merchants, Porcus and Ferreus,
who probably had been in relation with him in
their old trade of selling Christians into slavery.
The agreement was made that they should
seek to capture Frederick alive, or, if this could
not be accomplished, to assassinate him. But, ©
carefully as they laid their schemes, the vigi-
lance of the Emperor was too great for them.
The plot was discovered, and Mirabel, with his
21 8 FATE OF LEADERS AND BETRAYERS.

two sons and the merchants, were made prison-
ers. In such a case punishment was summary
and severe. The five, though the heathen were
far less guilty than their treacherous assistants,
were all hung upon one gallows, and we leave
them hanging there, not sorry that the martyrs
of San Pietro, Bujeiah, Alexandria, and Bagdad
were avenged.}



We have now traced, from its commence-
ment to its sad termination, a movement which
~ is unique in the varied history of the world, and
the wildest delusion of an age of delusions.?

Sixty thousand families, it is estimated, were
by it saddened or bereaved, and, in its mad
current, nearly a hundred thousand children
were carried away to hardships or to death.
Of this number at least a third never saw
again the homes whence the songs and banners
had lured them. They died by the banks of
every stream, and on every hill-side along the
routes of the three armies; some while seek-
ing the distant sea, others while wearily seeking
their homes. Others still, as we have seen,

1 Albericus. 2 Appendix A.
FATE OF LEADERS AND BETRAVERS. 219

sailed from Pisa, Brindisi, and Marseilles to die
in shipwreck and in slavery.

And most extraordinary is the briefness of
the space of time within which it was all com-
prehended. Eight short months comprised it,
from the call of Stephen among his flocks by
Cloyes, to the scene of martyrdom in distant
Bagdad. Within this short period, the great
throb of child-life rose and ceased, its work
complete. We can scarcely believe that all
transpired so rapidly, but this rests upon dis-
tinct assertions of the authorities.

It was stated that the cruel delusion was the
work of the emissaries of Rome, who, despair-
ing of arousing Europe to a new interest in the
Crusades, thought such a movement, for which
they found the children ready, owing to the
arts and appeals to which their elders were ac-
customed, would conduce to the result which
they sought to effect. They succeeded prob-
ably better than they had intended, and awoke
a spirit which they could not, if they would,
suppress. For the deception the Pope had no
words of rebuke, for its progress no syllables of
prohibition, for the victims no tears of sympa-
thy. He was not a man to be influenced by
sentiments of a tender nature, and he saw in
this an auxiliary to his great desire. We no-
220 FATE OF LEADERS AND BETRAVERS.

ticed the cruelty with which he decreed that
the children must renew the attempt to rescue
Palestine when older, and redeem the vows
which they had taken. In keeping with this
conduct was a remark which has been pre-
served, uttered by him when endeavoring to
raise a new crusade: “These boys shame us,
for, while they rush to the recovery of the Holy
Land, we sleep.” It resulted then, as we saw,
that this fatal and delusive undertaking fur-
nished an argument wherewith to appeal to the
adults. And this man’s assumed name was
Innocent. His original name was Lothario,
Count of Segno.

One more consideration occurs to us, which
is the illustration which this strange Crusade
affords us of the unsettled state of Europe in
these times. We are apt to rise from perusal
of medizval history with a strong, yet vague
idea of disorder and unrest, lawlessness and
anarchy. But the vast difference between so-
ciety now and what it was then, is manifested
in new vividness when we think what the con-
dition of affairs must have been, in order that
it could have been possible for such an affair
as this to occur, or that which soon followed,
the ravages of the Pastors. Demoralization so

1 Albert Stadensis quotes the Pope’s language.
FATE OF LEADERS AND BETRAYERS. 221

complete makes one grateful that his lot has
been cast in these latter days, whose turmoils
and disorders seem as tranquility itself, com-
pared with the life which our ancestors led.
They were romantic days, as they are called,
but the pen of the novelist or poet has endued
them with a halo which would surprise those
who lived in them, and found them to be days
of want, of trouble, and of struggle. They
were sadly commonplace to the generations
who had to endure them.

But we now must turn to the last part of our
task, the description of the monument of the
shipwrecked children, which is also the sole
relic of the entire transaction.
CHAPTER: X:

ECCLESIA NOVORUM INNOCENTIUM.

1
The Church.

WHEN the sad tidings of the fate of the chil-
dren that left Marseilles became known, as we
have seen, by the return of the liberated priest
eighteen years later, the reigning Pope, Greg-
ory IX., resolved to erect a tribute to the
memory of those who were victims of the am-
bition or the zeal of his predecessor. There
was one place eminently appropriate for such a
structure, — the Island of San Pietro, where it
would serve to recall the event in the scene of
one of its most touching episodes, and which
was, moreover, the only place of the many
where they had met their deaths, which was
not inaccessible to Christians,

Many of the bodies had been washed ashore,
after that fatal storm, and some kind hands
had gathered and buried them on the lonely
island. During the intervening years they had
THE CHURCH. ‘ 223

lain there, but they were now to have a more
appropriate resting-place. The Pope caused a
church to be built, and the remains of the little
ones were placed within it. It was to be both
their memorial and their shrine. With touch-
ing and beautiful reference to the murdered
children of Bethlehem, this monument over the
remains of youths who died, as they thought,
in Christ’s cause, was called, Eccurs1a Novo-
RUM INNOcCENTIUM ; the Church of the New In-
nocents. Rarely has a name been given to a
church more appropriate, or more replete with
suggestiveness.

In order that services might be maintained
in so sacred a spot, and that the structure
might be cared for where there was no popula-
tion to attend to it, the Pope endowed the
church sufficiently to support twelve prebends,
who were to form the only inhabitants of the
isle, and to continue the sounds of prayer and
praise from day to day and from year to year.

But they were not destined to be as lonely
as they may have anticipated. In an age of
pilgrimages and of holy places, a spot like this
would not remain unvisited. It soon became a
favorite shrine, and, from the islands around,
crowds came to utter eager prayers or to fulfill
the vows of superstition. The blue waters bore
224. ECCLESIA NOVORUM INNOCENTIUM.

on their bosom many a boat, laden with pil-
grims, who, as they approached the shore,
heard the music of the services, that was wafted
towards them by the breeze. It became the
noted place of that part of the Mediterranean,
and was looked upon with reverence as a “ Holy
Isle,” where the wonderful children slept, whose
intercession was most precious in view of their
virtues and their martyrdom.

Thus did years pass away, and generation
after generation came to worship where their
ancestors had prayed. Three centuries after
its erection we hear of the church again.
Alberic tells us that it was then as much fre-
quented as ever, and that the story of the chil-
dren was listened to with undiminished inter-
est. This interest was also increased by the
priests, in that they showed to the pilgrims the
bodies of the shipwrecked Crusaders, still en-
tire and undecayed, which was a perpetual mir-
acle to encourage the faithful in their prayers,
and stimulate their liberality. This succeeded,
for it was comparatively a small tax upon the
credulity of the happy mortals who lived in the
regretted ages when all was believed, and no
questions were asked.

After this glimpse, which Alberic gives us,
we lose sight of the church, and it is no more
THE CHURCH. 225

mentioned in historic records. How long a
time priests and pilgrims continued to pray
there we know not. But, probably before
many years, various causes led to its being de-
serted. As the turmoils and excitements of
the. succeeding ages came on, or as_ other
shrines rose into favor, the interest in the sep-
ulchre of the children, whose story was now so
old, naturally waned, and the number of the
visitors to the island decreased. When the
prebends found their occupation gone, and the
offerings scanty and rare, they desisted from
their thankless duties and departed. On some
day that is unrecorded, the last mass was sung,
the last taper extinguished, and the lonely
priests sought the boat that was to bear them
away, leaving to silence and desertion the scene
of three centuries of pilgrimage and prayer.
When thus abandoned and uncared -for, the
church soon became dilapidated. In that ex-
posed situation the storms of Winter told with
annually increasing effect, and the work of ruin
made. rapid progress. The decayed and beaten
roof gave way at length, and left the edifice
open to the sunlight and the rain. Vines
clambered up the crumbling walls, and waved
their branches in the open windows, while
growing mosses beautified the wreck. Weeds
15
226 ECCLESTA NOVORUM INNOCENTIUM.

choked up the once thronged portal, and oblit-
erated the long-trodden pathway, while in the
silent grass-grown aisle and around the falling
altar, wild animals played undisturbed.

Thus were the children left to slumber on
in their neglected and deserted tomb; but the
little birds that found there a nest and a home,
sang over them sweeter, purer requiems than
ever had been chanted by forgotten priests.

II.
The Ruin.

_ The island that had again become deserted
and silent, remained so until five hundred
years after the shipwreck of the children, but
we do not know how long after the abandon-
ment of their shrine, when, for the first time
in its history, it became peopled, and its scanty
fields received cultivation.

In 1737, a party of Christian captives held in
slavery in Tabarca, on the coast of Africa, suc-
ceeded in effecting their escape, under the
leadership of one Tagliafico, whom they se-
lected as their chief. Sailing northwards,
across the sea, they reached San Pietro and re-
solved to colonize it. Being encouraged by the
King of Sardinia, the colony grew rapidly in

eaten
THE RUIN. 227

numbers and wealth, profiting by the valuable
fisheries in the vicinity, and the precious de-
posits of coral which were not too deep to es-
cape the search of the adventurous divers of
the island. In course of time the popula-
tion has reached the number of ten thousand,
who dwell mostly in the little city of Carlo
Forte, whose white houses may be seen from
far over the sea, nestled close to the shore, be-
neath the shadow of the mountains which form.
the northern end of the island. They contain
a happy, peaceful people, as is shown by the
fact, recorded by a traveller who visited them in
1828, that there had never been a lawsuit among
them during the ninety years of their history
that had elapsed. When the fugitives landed
in 1737, they found upon the island the remains
of the Church of the New Innocents, which filled
them with astonishment, as they knew that they
were the first inhabitants of the isle. Being
able to find no clue to its origin, they regarded
it asa thing of mystery, and often talked to
one another about that desolate edifice which
they had discovered where, as they supposed,
before them, man had never dwelt. When
strangers visited San Pietro, they were shown
this relic, but no one could conjecture its his-
tory. In the beginning of this century an
228 ECCLESIA NOVORUM INNOCENTIUM.

English traveller, wandering among the islands
of the Mediterranean, reached this one. He
tells us that the wonder of the people was as
great as ever, and that they were wont to assert
that the island had been named after this
church, by their fathers when they landed. He
knew no more himself, and seems to indorse
the story. But the next generation forgot even
all about the edifice itself; and, of late years,
any one who would have asked to be conducted
to the ruined church, would have been told that
there was no such thing to be found on the
island, even by those most familiar with its
surface and its history. So completely has the
memory of the children perished, that the people
who dwell on San Pietro know not that their
monument and their shrine is among them,
that, close to their homes, are the remains of
the edifice where for centuries prayers were said
above their sepulchre, and a spot which has
been sought by the feet of throngs of pilgrims.
Within that silent inclosure many a shepherd
has slept, little dreaming of those young Cru-
saders who lay buried there; and many chil-
dren have played in this falling structure, with-_
out suspecting that it was the memorial of a
touching story of the betrayal and death of
hundreds like themselves, of a long past age.
THE RUIN. 229

But let us, in closing, describe this relic
around which our interest centres! It stands
upon an eminence behind the city of Carlo
Forte, and overlooks a large part of San Pietro,
while from it may be seen the rocky and high
outlines of the island of Sardinia, beyond the
sparkling waters of the strait. The church was
originally quadrangular, with a steep, peaked
roof. In the eastern end was the altar, and
over it a window; the entrance being from the
westward. But the front face has fallen down,
and leaves but the rear and sides remaining,
and these latter are crumbling away. There
are no signs of the roof; if there was a tower,
it has disappeared. All is deserted and grass-
grown within. The stones of which the walls
are built are of irregular size, and put in place
without having been carefully dressed, while
around the ruin, the turf is thickly strewn with
those that have fallen. Near by are two deep
and ancient wells, which were probably exca-
vated when the church was built, for the use of
the priests and the pilgrims, and, not far dis-
tant, catacombs have been discovered, which
may have been the resting-places for those
who died there during the period when the
sanctity of the spot made it an abode of men,
between the two epochs of its loneliness.

1 Appendix B.
230 ECCLESIA NOVORUM INNOCENTIUM.

There it stands, weather-beaten and gray,
between the mountains and the water, a neg-
lected monument of a forgotten tragedy !
May the hand of time deal gently with it, and
the strong-armed ivy, clambering over its
stones, long hold them together in its firm
grasp! The sepulchres of Godfrey, of Bald-
win, of Richard, and of other. Crusaders, are
honored by many a visitor; but lonely and un-
frequented is this tomb of those who, having
entered on the same great cause with more
unselfish motives, found their deaths in the
horrors of the storm, a tomb which recalls all
of our now finished story of the most touching
and romantic episode of that struggle which
convulsed and excited the world during more
than two hundred years.

For here our task is ended. We conclude
the narrative of the event which we have
sought to rescue from the oblivion into which
it had fallen, with our gaze resting upon the
only relic of it which we possess, the one me-
morial which has survived the lapse of centu-
ries. The closing scene is a ruined church,
looking out over the blue sea, and within its
crumbling walls the shipwrecked children are
still sleeping.
APPENDICES.

——

APPENDIX A.

THIS movement has not been entirely unique in
kind, though it was quite so in degree.

Two events in subsequent years resembled it.
The first is recorded by Marten Crusius, in his
“ Annales Suevici,” Fol. LVII. Part III. p. 4os,
and also in the chronicle of the Monastery of El-
wangen. The second is related by John Lindner,
of Pirna, in his “Excerpta.” I quote the narration
of them in Hecker’s “ Child-pilgrimages,” a rare
work, translated and issued in England by the
Sydenham Society.

“Tt (‘the excitement of the world of children’)
was confined to the city of Erfurt, and was very
transient, but not the less presents all the distinc-
tive marks of a religious disease, and was more. so
than other pilgrimages, as far at least as has come
down to posterity. On the fifteenth of July, 1237,
there assembled, unknown to their parents, more
than a thousand children, who left by the Lober
gate, and wandered, dancing and leaping, by the
Steigerwald, to Armstadt. A congress, such as this,
232 APPENDICES.

as if by agreement, resembles an instinctive im-
pulse, as in animals, when, for instance, storks and
swallows assemble for their migration ; the same
phenomenon has doubtless taken place in all child-
pilgrimages ; it was also remarked by eye-witnesses
of the first of them, in a manner characteristic of the
Middle Ages. It was not until the next day that the
parents learned the occurrence, and they fetched
the children back in carts. No one could say who
had enticed them away. Many of them are said to
have continued ill some time after, and, in particu-
lar, to have suffered from trembling of the limbs ;
perhaps also from convulsions. The whole affair is
obscure, and so little an account has been taken
of it by contemporaries, that the chronicles only
speak of the fact, and say nothing of its causes.
The only probable conjecture is that the festivities
connected with the canonization of St. Elizabeth,
the Landgravine of Thuringia, had excited, in the
child-world of Erfurt, this itch for devotion, which
sought to relieve itself by displays of spinal activity,
for this child-pilgrimage is in very near proximity
to the dancing mania.

“Still more obscure is a child-pilgrimage of 1458,
of which the motives were clearly religious. It is
probably, at present, almost impossible to trace the
chain of ideas which occasioned it; it is enough
that it was in honor of the Archangel Michael.
More than one hundred children, from Hall in Sua-
bia, set out, against the will of their parents, for
APPENDICES. 233

Mont St. Michel, in Normandy. They could not,
by any means, be restrained ; and if force was emi-
ployed, they fell severely ill, and some even died.
The mayor, unable to prevent the journey, kindly
furnished them a guide for the long distance, and
an ass to carry their luggage. They are said to
have actually reached the then world-renowned ab-
bey, now, as is well known, a state prison, and to
have performed their devotions there. We have
absolutely no other information of them.”

Who, that has been at this wonderful St. Michael’s
Mount, near Avranches, can fail to be impressed by
the scene of these: children marching across the
wide expanse of beach to seek it, where it rises as
a fretted pyramid, at high tide an inaccessible isl-
and, nearly three miles from the shore. It is of all
spots in Europe probably the most surrounded by
curious and vivid associations of a legendary and
historical nature. It is not now a state prison,
having been given to the Bishop of Avranches.

APPENDIX B.

As the discovery of the ruins of this church is
rather interesting I have thought it worth relat-
ing.

When compiling this Hook, having discovered
that such an edifice had been erected, I naturally
234 APPENDICES.

desired to know if any ruins remained, and sup-
posed that its loneliness would have tended to its
preservation. After a long search for some de-
scription of the island, an account of a visit to San
Pietro was found in Smythe’s “Travels in Sardinia,”
published in London in 1828. To my gratification,
I found that he said that its present appellation is
derived from a little old chapel near the town
(Carlo Forte), the date of which is unknown, it hav-
ing been found in a ruined state when the colony
arrived. No other account of this ruin could be
found, and I therefore took steps to secure a fur-
ther description of it, presuming it to be the church
of the New Innocents, for reasons given below.

A letter to the polite Curé of Carlo Forte brought
a reply from him that there was no such edifice on
the island as that which I told him Smythe had
seen.

Then, through my father, who was in Italy, my
friend, Mr. Newton Perkins, an art student, was
persuaded to go to the island, which he kindly did.
The following letter tells his story, and shows the
extent to which the ruin had become forgotten.

Caauiari, ISLAND oF SARDINIA, March 18, 1867.
Rev. Mr. Gray:

My Dear Sir, —I have just returned from a trip to the
Island of San Pietro, where I have been to look for the chapel
known to have been erected by Pope Gregory IX. to com-
memorate the shipwreck of vessels, near that spot, containing
young Crusaders. I left Leghorn in a steamer, on the evening
APPENDICES. 235

of the 12th of March, and after a pleasant sail of thirty-eight
hours arrived at Cagliari, the largest town in the Island of Sar-
dinia, being a place of some 28,000 inhabitants. I spent one
day and night at Cagliari, and while there called on the Eng-
lish Consul. I found him a very agreeable old gentleman, and
derived some information from him about my present business.
On the morning of Friday the 15th, I started in an open car-
riage for a ride across the southern portion of the island, to
the village of Iglesias, a small town on the western coast,
Thad with me an intelligent Sard, who acted as guide. We
rode all day, stopping occasionally for refreshment at some
dirty little village or settlement on our route. The houses
were built of clay-baked brick, held together by straw; the
ends of which could be clearly seen where the bricks had
been cut in two. About six in the evening I arrived at Igle-
sias, and called upon an Englishman, the superintendent of a
company of miners working in that neighborhood. Through
the kindness of this superintendent (whose name, I regret to
say, has slipped my mind) I was provided with letters of in-
troduction to several persons, which were of great service.
On the morning of the 16th March, I started quite early for
a drive over the mountain to the shore of the westérn coast.
After reaching the summit of Mount Sirai, I had a fine view
of the two islands lying before me. San Pietro is the more
northern one, quite high and precipitous at the northern ex-
tremity, and gradually sloping towards the sea at the south-
ern part. San Antiocho is larger in size, but not so thickly
populated. In this island excavations are in progress, and
many valuable relics have been discovered. About nine
o’clock I arrived at a little fishermen’s village, called Porto-
scuro, but so small and insignificant as not to be noted on any
map I had seen. I was unfortunate in missing the boat at
this point, and had to wait several hours for its return.
About eleven o’clock, however, I started in a sail boat from
Portoscuro for San Pietro. An hour’s sail brought me to
Carlo Forte, the only settlement on the Island of San Pietro.
236 APPENDICES.

It is a small town, and, what is quite a rarity in this country,
the houses look ‘clean, are whitewashed, and numbered on
the outside. The town is surrounded by a wall, and sur-
mounted by a fortress. At a distance the appearance of the
town is quite pleasing. The white houses, the gray walls and
fortress, and the tall white spire of the church, make quite a
striking contrast. A few fishermen’s boats were lying at the
wharf, and the lazy beggars were sunning themselves, lying
on the hard cobble-stones, as we approached. Having landed,
I went to the residence of the French Consul, Mr. Romby, to
whom I had a letter of introduction. He received me very
kindly. But now the object of my mission seemed to be an
absurd one. When I mentioned that there probably were the
ruins of a church on the island, erected in the thirteenth cen-
tury, people shook their heads. There were two churches,
indeed, one called a cathedral ; but one was wooden, and had
a spire; the other, a dingy-looking stone building, with a
cracked bell. Mr. Romby, however, very politely walked out
with me about the island, and explained all that he could of the
history of the churches then existing. Outside the wall, how-
ever, nearly a mile from the shore, we came upon the ruins of
something, either a house or a church. The gentleman said
it had been there ever since he had lived on the island. He
knew not, and had never cared to inquire, what it originally
was. ‘This, he said, was the only ruin on the island, except
an old Roman wall and two deep wells; both of which we
examined. ‘At some distance from this spot were the remains
of an old catacomb. Thinking that possibly this might be
the ruins I was in search of, I made two sketches of it for
you, that you might consider the matter yourself There
are reasons why this might have been the church known as
the “ Ecclesia Novorum Innocentium.” First, Because it
stood entirely by itself, no habitation being within twenty rods
of it and is on a slight eminence. Second, The building
faces directly east, if we may consider the standing wall as the
place of the altar; and this is probable, as it had a high
APPENDICES. 237

window, and no door. Third, The stones were quite large
and irregular at the base, and smaller as they approached the
top. Fourth, It had not the appearance of having been re-
stored, since the ground was strewed with stones and déér7s.

The inhabitants of the island are a mixture of the Genoese
and Italians. Coral fishery and the catching of the tunny
are the chief employments of the men: the women cultivate
the fields. Northward from the Island of San Pietro are two
smaller islands, which from the shores of Sardinia appear to
be but parts of the island itself. On these islands are several
houses ; and here are the peculiar nets placed for catching the
tunnies, which are taken in the summer months only.

I regret that I cannot give you a photograph of the island
or its buildings. Iwas promised some bya brother of the
consul, who was an amateur photographer, but never received
them.

This is about all the information I can give you of the Isl-
and of San Pietro and the Church of the New Innocents.
I was obliged to return that same afternoon to Iglesias, and
could not spend more time on the island.

Very truly yours,
NEWTON PERKINS.

It will be seen that Mr. Perkins thinks that the
' edifice he saw was the Church of the New Inno-
cents. The argument seems so conclusive that I
have not hesitated in claiming that it was. It is
briefly thus : —

Three hundred years ago, in the middle of the
sixteenth century, Albericus said that the church
was still standing, and still resorted to as a shrine.
It continued to be so for some time after, we do
not. know how long, but let us allow fifty years.
Therefore the church was entire, up to about 1600.
238 APPENDICES.

_ After this, there were no inhabitants upon San
Pietro until 1737, when the colonists under Taglia-
fico landed. Yet they find, upon landing, a church,
and wonder at it, on an uninhabited island. What
they found must have been that which was stand-
ing in 1600, for there was no population in, the
interval to build any edifices, and there never had
been any before, except those sent by the Pope to
erect the monument and shrine of the children.

Now, Smythe saw the same edifice that the col-
onists found ; he was there fifty years ago, and the
people pointed it out to him as having been dis-
covered by Tagliafico and his followers, and as
having, as they supposed, given the name to the
island. He saw this structure when it was less
dilapidated than now, and says it was a church,
Furthermore, the edifice of which Mr. Perkins
speaks is the same one that Smythe describes, and
thus all the links seem found to identify this lonely
ruin with the Church of the New Innocents, built
six hundred years ago.

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