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God Wills It! by William Stearns Davis

Bohemond had them butchered and cooked


"I will trust in God!" he said, when he left the Duke.

At his tent he sat a long time with Louis over some rare wine they had taken that day; called for a backgammon board, and played against Louis, winning seven games running. Herbert, who was standing by, was glad when he heard his lord give a hearty, unforced laugh--not of the fearful kind which had been his custom before. When Richard prayed that night, he put forth a new petition: "Master, if I have been chastened sufficiently, and it is Thy will, grant that I may see Musa once more, for next to one whom clearly Thou willest I should not possess, I desire him beyond all the world."

And this prayer he repeated night after night. Louis de Valmont was grown a dear friend,--but the Spaniard! Richard never dreamed of making the Auvergner a rival. "Musa! Musa!" The longing to see him was too deep for words.

CHAPTER XXVIII

HOW RICHARD REGAINED HIS BROTHER

When the Christians sat down before Antioch in the autumn time, the delights of the country--the abundance of provisions and drink, the dark eyes of the sinful Syrian maids who swarmed to the camp--made the Franks intent on everything save warfare. The massy walls mocked all storming; and though Bohemond blockaded from the east by the Gate of St. Paul, Count Hugh on the north, and Godfrey and Raymond on the northeast, the south was open to every wind, and provisions entered the city freely. Much ado had Richard to keep discipline amongst his own men. "My merry masters," said he once, when even De Carnac clamored for a carouse over some skins of heady Laodicean, "whether we see the heavenly or the earthly Jerusalem, let us see it with pure hearts and pure bodies." And with Trenchefer he slit all the wine-skins. So that night, at least, the St. Julieners kept sober.

But the tide soon turned. A miserable winter it was; chill rains; the ill-placed camps swimming in water. Swords rusted in a night. There was hardly an hour when the heavens did not pour down their floods, until scarce a dry back was in the army. And as the floods continued, the provisions, once squandered so recklessly, began to fail. Longsword rode forth with Bohemond and Robert the Norman to sweep the country, and too often met only roving Saracen horse, who gave them hard blows and little booty. Then at last came the inevitable pursuer,--pestilence! and men began to die by scores; their faith all gone, cursing God and the saints, and the folly that drove them from lovely France on a fool's own errand. Evil tidings came in daily. Sweno the Dane, it was told, who was leading fifteen hundred horsemen across Cappadocia, had been overwhelmed by the Seljouks. And other ill news flowed fast as the rain torrents. Even the stoutest began to think more for their own lives than for ever seeing the Holy City. Some fled to Baldwin at Edessa; others to Cilicia. Duke Robert went to Laodicea, and only returned when admonished thrice in the name of Our Lord. William de Melun, the mightiest battle-axe in the whole army, fled away,--the infidels he did not fear, but who was proof against famine?

Yet many did not falter; Tancred did not, nor Count Raymond, nor Godfrey who, before all others, was the reproachless warrior of his Lord. Bishop Adhemar thundered against the vice in the camp, holding up the fate of Babylon and of pagan Rome, mother of harlots. Stern measures were taken against sins of the flesh. Blasphemers were branded with a hot iron. When some of Yaghi-Sian's spies were taken, Bohemond had them butchered and cooked, to spread the tale in Antioch that the Christians ate their captives, and that those who came after be discouraged.


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