Part 3 out of 8
hath not an ALAN which may match him, if he be as stanch as he is
swift. But let me pray you--speaking in all honour and kindness
--have you not heard the proclamation that no one under the rank
of earl shall keep hunting dogs within King Richard's camp
without the royal license, which, I think, Sir Kenneth, hath not
been issued to you? I speak as Master of the Horse."
"And I answer as a free Scottish knight," said Kenneth sternly.
"For the present I follow the banner of England, but I cannot
remember that I have ever subjected myself to the forest-laws of
that kingdom, nor have I such respect for them as would incline
me to do so. When the trumpet sounds to arms, my foot is in the
stirrup as soon as any--when it clangs for the charge, my lance
has not yet been the last laid in the rest. But for my hours of
liberty or of idleness King Richard has no title to bar my
"Nevertheless," said De Vaux, "it is a folly to disobey the
King's ordinance; so, with your good leave, I, as having
authority in that matter, will send you a protection for my
"I thank you," said the Scot coldly; "but he knows my allotted
quarters, and within these I can protect him myself.--And yet,"
he said, suddenly changing his manner, "this is but a cold return
for a well-meant kindness. I thank you, my lord, most heartily.
The King's equerries or prickers might find Roswal at
disadvantage, and do him some injury, which I should not,
perhaps, be slow in returning, and so ill might come of it. You
have seen so much of my house-keeping, my lord," he added, with a
smile, "that I need not shame to say that Roswal is our principal
purveyor, and well I hope our Lion Richard will not be like the
lion in the minstrel fable, that went a-hunting, and kept the
whole booty to himself. I cannot think he would grudge a poor
gentleman, who follows him faithfully, his hour of sport and his
morsel of game, more especially when other food is hard enough to
"By my faith, you do the King no more than justice; and yet,"
said the baron, "there is something in these words, vert and
venison, that turns the very brains of our Norman princes."
"We have heard of late," said the Scot, "by minstrels and
pilgrims, that your outlawed yeomen have formed great bands in
the shires of York and Nottingham, having at their head a most
stout archer, called Robin Hood, with his lieutenant, Little
John. Methinks it were better that Richard relaxed his forest-code in England, than endeavour to enforce it
in the Holy Land."
"Wild work, Sir Kenneth," replied De Vaux, shrugging his
shoulders, as one who would avoid a perilous or unpleasing topic
--"a mad world, sir. I must now bid you adieu, having presently
to return to the King's pavilion. At vespers I will again, with
your leave, visit your quarters, and speak with this same infidel
physician. I would, in the meantime, were it no offence,
willingly send you what would somewhat mend your cheer."
"I thank you, sir," said Sir Kenneth, "but it needs not. Roswal
hath already stocked my larder for two weeks, since the sun of
Palestine, if it brings diseases, serves also to dry venison."
The two warriors parted much better friends than they had met;
but ere they separated, Thomas de Vaux informed himself at more
length of the circumstances attending the mission of the Eastern
physician, and received from the Scottish knight the credentials
which he had brought to King Richard on the part of Saladin.
A wise physician, skilled our wounds to heal,
Is more than armies to the common weal. POPE'S ILLIAD.
"This is a strange tale, Sir Thomas," said the sick monarch, when
he had heard the report of the trusty Baron of Gilsland. "Art
thou sure this Scottish man is a tall man and true?"
"I cannot say, my lord," replied the jealous Borderer. "I live a
little too near the Scots to gather much truth among them, having
found them ever fair and false. But this man's bearing is that
of a true man, were he a devil as well as a Scot; that I must
needs say for him in conscience."
"And for his carriage as a knight, how sayest thou, De Vaux?"
demanded the King.
"It is your Majesty's business more than mine to note men's
bearings; and I warrant you have noted the manner in which this
man of the Leopard hath borne himself. He hath been full well
"And justly, Thomas," said the King. "We have ourselves
witnessed him. It is indeed our purpose in placing ourselves
ever in the front of battle, to see how our liegemen and
followers acquit themselves, and not from a desire to accumulate
vainglory to ourselves, as some have supposed. We know the
vanity of the praise of man, which is but a vapour, and buckle on
our armour for other purposes than to win it."
De Vaux was alarmed when he heard the King make a declaration so
inconsistent with his nature, and believed at first that nothing
short of the approach of death could have brought him to speak in
depreciating terms of military renown, which was the very breath
of his nostrils. But recollecting he had met the royal confessor
in the outer pavilion, he was shrewd enough to place this
temporary self-abasement to the effect of the reverend man's
lesson, and suffered the King to proceed without reply.
"Yes," continued Richard, "I have indeed marked the manner in
which this knight does his devoir. My leading-staff were not
worth a fool's bauble had he escaped my notice; and he had ere
now tasted of our bounty, but that I have also marked his
overweening and audacious presumption."
"My liege," said the Baron of Gilsland, observing the King's
countenance change, "I fear I have transgressed your pleasure in
lending some countenance to his transgression."
"How, De Multon,
thou?" said the King, contracting his brows, and speaking in a
tone of angry surprise. "Thou countenance his insolence? It
"Nay, your Majesty will pardon me to remind you that I have by
mine office right to grant liberty to men of gentle blood to keep
them a hound or two within camp, just to cherish the noble art of
venerie ; and besides, it were a sin to have maimed or harmed a
thing so noble as this gentleman's dog."
"Has he, then, a dog so handsome?" said the King.
"A most perfect creature of Heaven," said the baron, who was an
enthusiast in field-sports--"of the noblest Northern breed--deep
in the chest, strong in the stern--black colour, and brindled on
the breast and legs, not spotted with white, but just shaded into
grey--strength to pull down a bull, swiftness to cote an
The King laughed at his enthusiasm. "Well, thou hast given him
leave to keep the hound, so there is an end of it. Be not,
however, liberal of your licenses among those knights adventurers
who have no prince or leader to depend upon; they are
ungovernable, and leave no game in Palestine.--But to this piece
of learned heathenesse--sayest thou the Scot met him in the
"No, my liege; the Scot's tale runs thus. He was dispatched to
the old hermit of Engaddi, of whom men talk so much--"
"'Sdeath and hell!" said Richard, starting up. "By whom
dispatched, and for what? Who dared send any one thither, when
our Queen was in the Convent of Engaddi, upon her pilgrimage for
"The Council of the Crusade sent him, my lord," answered the
Baron de Vaux; "for what purpose, he declined to account to me.
I think it is scarce known in the camp that your royal consort is
on a pilgrimage; and even the princes may not have been aware, as
the Queen has been sequestered from company since your love
prohibited her attendance in case of infection."
"Well, it shall be looked into," said Richard. "So this Scottish
man, this envoy, met with a wandering physician at the grotto of
"Not so my liege," replied De Vaux? "but he met, I think, near
that place, with a Saracen Emir with whom he had some MELEE in
the way of proof of valour, and finding him worthy to bear brave
men company, they went together, as errant knights are wont, to
the grotto of Engaddi."
Here De Vaux stopped, for he was not one of those who can tell a
long story in a sentence.
"And did they there meet the physician?" demanded the King
"No, my liege," replied De Vaux; "but the Saracen, learning your
Majesty's grievous illness, undertook that Saladin should send
his own physician to you, and with many assurances of his eminent
skill; and he came to the grotto accordingly, after the Scottish
knight had tarried a day for him and more. He is attended as if
he were a prince, with drums and atabals, and servants on horse
and foot, and brings with him letters of credence from Saladin."
"Have they been examined by Giacomo Loredani?"
"I showed them to the interpreter ere bringing them hither, and
behold their contents in English."
Richard took a scroll, in which were inscribed these words: The
blessing of Allah and his Prophet Mohammed ["Out upon the hound!"
said Richard, spitting in contempt, by way of interjection],
Saladin, king of kings, Saldan of Egypt and of Syria, the light
and refuge of the earth, to the great Melech Ric, Richard of
England, greeting. Whereas, we have been informed that the hand
of sickness hath been heavy upon thee, our royal brother, and
that thou hast with thee only such Nazarene and Jewish mediciners
as work without the blessing of Allah and our holy Prophet
["Confusion on his head!" again muttered the English monarch],
we have therefore sent to tend and wait upon thee at this time
the physician to our own person, Adonbec el Hakim, before whose
face the angel Azrael [The Angel of Death.] spreads his wings and
departs from the sick chamber; who knows the virtues of herbs and
stones, the path of the sun, moon, and stars, and can save man
from all that is not written on his forehead. And this we do,
praying you heartily to honour and make use of his skill; not
only that we may do service to thy worth and valour, which is the
glory of all the nations of Frangistan, but that we may bring the
controversy which is at present between us to an end, either by
honourable agreement, or by open trial thereof with our weapons,
in a fair field--seeing that it neither becomes thy place and
courage to die the death of a slave who hath been overwrought by
his taskmaster, nor befits it our fame that a brave adversary be
snatched from our weapon by such a disease. And, therefore, may
"Hold, hold," said Richard, " I will have no more of his dog of a
prophet! It makes me sick to think the valiant and worthy Soldan
should believe in a dead dog. Yes, I will see his physician. I
will put myself into the charge of this Hakim--I will repay the
noble Soldan his generosity--I will meet Saladin in the field, as
he so worthily proposes, and he shall have no cause to term
Richard of England ungrateful. I will strike him to the earth
with my battle-axe--I will convert him to Holy Church with such
blows as he has rarely endured. He shall recant his errors
before my good cross-handled sword, and I will have him baptized
on the battle-field, from my own helmet, though the cleansing
waters were mixed with the blood of us both.--Haste, De Vaux, why
dost thou delay a conclusion so pleasing? Fetch the Hakim
"My lord," said the baron, who perhaps saw some accession of
fever in this overflow of confidence, "bethink you, the Soldan is
a pagan, and that you are his most formidable enemy--"
"For which reason he is the more bound to do me service in this
matter, lest a paltry fever end the quarrel betwixt two such
kings. I tell thee he loves me as I love him--as noble
adversaries ever love each other. By my honour, it were sin to
doubt his good faith!"
"Nevertheless, my lord, it were well to wait the issue of these
medicines upon the Scottish squire," said the Lord of Gilsland.
"My own life depends upon it, for worthy were I to die like a dog
did I proceed rashly in this matter, and make shipwreck of the
weal of Christendom."
"I never knew thee before hesitate for fear of life," said
"Nor would I now, my liege," replied the stout-hearted baron,
"save that yours lies at pledge as well as my own."
"Well, thou suspicious mortal," answered Richard, "begone then,
and watch the progress of this remedy. I could almost wish it
might either cure or kill me, for I am weary of lying here like
an ox dying of the murrain, when tambours are beating, horses
stamping, and trumpets sounding without."
The baron hastily departed, resolved, however, to communicate his
errand to some churchman, as he felt something burdened in
conscience at the idea of his master being attended by an
The Archbishop of Tyre was the first to whom he confided his
doubts, knowing his interest with his master, Richard, who both
loved and honoured that sagacious prelate. The bishop heard the
doubts which De Vaux stated, with that acuteness of intelligence
which distinguishes the Roman Catholic clergy. The religious
scruples of De Vaux he treated with as much lightness as
propriety permitted him to exhibit on such a subject to a layman.
"Mediciners," he said, "like the medicines which they employed,
were often useful, though the one were by birth or manners the
vilest of humanity, as the others are, in many cases, extracted
from the basest materials. Men may use the assistance of pagans
and infidels," he continued, "in their need, and there is reason
to think that one cause of their being permitted to remain on
earth is that they might minister to the convenience of true
Christians. Thus we lawfully make slaves of heathen captives.
Again," proceeded the prelate, "there is no doubt that the
primitive Christians used the services of the unconverted
heathen. Thus in the ship of Alexandria, in which the blessed
Apostle Paul sailed to Italy, the sailors were doubtless pagans;
yet what said the holy saint when their ministry was needful?
--'NISI HI IN NAVI MANSERINT, VOS SALVI FIERI NON POTESTIS'--
Unless these men abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Again,
Jews are infidels to Christianity, as well as Mohammedans. But
there are few physicians in the camp excepting Jews, and such are
employed without scandal or scruple. Therefore, Mohammedans may
be used for their service in that capacity--QUOD ERAT
This reasoning entirely removed the scruples of Thomas de Vaux,
who was particularly moved by the Latin quotation, as he did not
understand a word of it.
But the bishop proceeded with far less fluency when he considered
the possibility of the Saracen's acting with bad faith; and here
he came not to a speedy decision. The baron showed him the
letters of credence. He read and re-read them, and compared the
original with the translation.
"It is a dish choicely cooked," he said, "to the palate of King
Richard, and I cannot but have my suspicions of the wily Saracen.
They are curious in the art of poisons, and can so temper them
that they shall be weeks in acting upon the party, during which
time the perpetrator has leisure to escape. They can impregnate
cloth and leather, nay, even paper and parchment, with the most
subtle venom. Our Lady forgive me! And wherefore, knowing this,
hold I these letters of credence so close to my face? Take them,
Sir Thomas--take them speedily!"
Here he gave them at arm's-length, and with some appearance of
haste, to the baron. "But come, my Lord de Vaux," he continued,
"wend we to the tent of this sick squire, where we shall learn
whether this Hakim hath really the art of curing which he
professeth, ere we consider whether there be safety in permitting
him to exercise his art upon King Richard.--Yet, hold! let me
first take my pouncet-box, for these fevers spread like an
infection. I would advise you to use dried rosemary steeped in
vinegar, my lord. I, too, know something of the healing art."
"I thank your reverend lordship," replied Thomas of Gilsland;
"but had I been accessible to the fever, I had caught it long
since by the bed of my master."
The Bishop of Tyre blushed, for he had rather avoided the
presence of the sick monarch; and he bid the baron lead on.
As they paused before the wretched hut in which Kenneth of the
Leopard and his follower abode, the bishop said to De Vaux, "Now,
of a surety, my lord, these Scottish Knights have worse care of
their followers than we of our dogs. Here is a knight, valiant,
they say, in battle, and thought fitting to be graced with
charges of weight in time of truce, whose esquire of the body is
lodged worse than in the worst dog-kennel in England. What say
you of your neighbours?"
"That a master doth well enough for his servant when he lodgeth
him in no worse dwelling than his own," said De Vaux, and entered
The bishop followed, not without evident reluctance; for though
he lacked not courage in some respects, yet it was tempered with
a strong and lively regard for his own safety. He recollected,
however, the necessity there was for judging personally of the
skill of the Arabian physician, and entered the hut with a
stateliness of manner calculated, as he thought, to impose
respect on the stranger.
The prelate was, indeed, a striking and commanding figure. In
his youth he had been eminently handsome, and even in age was
unwilling to appear less so. His episcopal dress was of the
richest fashion, trimmed with costly fur, and surrounded by a
cope of curious needlework. The rings on his fingers were worth
a goodly barony, and the hood which he wore, though now unclasped
and thrown back for heat, had studs of pure gold to fasten it
around his throat and under his chin when he so inclined. His
long beard, now silvered with age, descended over his breast.
One of two youthful acolytes who attended him created an
artificial shade, peculiar then to the East, by bearing over his
head an umbrella of palmetto leaves, while the other refreshed
his reverend master by agitating a fan of peacock-feathers.
When the Bishop of Tyre entered the hut of the Scottish knight,
the master was absent, and the Moorish physician, whom he had
come to see, sat in the very posture in which De Vaux had left
him several hours before, cross-legged upon a mat made of twisted
leaves, by the side of the patient, who appeared in deep slumber,
and whose pulse he felt from time to time. The bishop remained
standing before him in silence for two or three minutes, as if
expecting some honourable salutation, or at least that the
Saracen would seem struck with the dignity of his appearance.
But Adonbec el Hakim took no notice of him beyond a passing
glance, and when the prelate at length saluted him in the lingua
franca current in the country, he only replied by the ordinary
Oriental greeting, "SALAM ALICUM--Peace be with you."
"Art thou a physician, infidel?" said the bishop, somewhat
mortified at this cold reception. "I would speak with thee on
"If thou knewest aught of medicine," answered El Hakim, "thou
wouldst be aware that physicians hold no counsel or debate in the
sick chamber of their patient. Hear," he added, as the low
growling of the staghound was heard from the inner hut, "even the
dog might teach thee reason, Ulemat. His instinct teaches him to
suppress his barking in the sick man's hearing. Come without the
tent," said he, rising and leading the way, "if thou hast ought
to say with me."
Notwithstanding the plainness of the Saracen leech's dress, and
his inferiority of size when contrasted with the tall prelate and
gigantic English baron, there was something striking in his
manner and countenance, which prevented the Bishop of Tyre from
expressing strongly the displeasure he felt at this unceremonious
rebuke. When without the hut, he gazed upon Adonbec in silence
for several minutes before he could fix on the best manner to
renew the conversation. No locks were seen under the high bonnet
of the Arabian, which hid also part of a brow that seemed lofty
and expanded, smooth, and free from wrinkles, as were his cheeks,
where they were seen under the shade of his long beard. We have
elsewhere noticed the piercing quality of his dark eyes.
The prelate, struck with his apparent youth, at length broke a
pause, which the other seemed in no haste to interrupt, by
demanding of the Arabian how old he was?
"The years of ordinary men," said the Saracen, "are counted by
their wrinkles; those of sages by their studies. I dare not call
myself older than a hundred revolutions of the Hegira." [Meaning
that his attainments were those which might have been made in a
The Baron of Gilsland, who took this for a literal assertion that
he was a century old, looked doubtfully upon the prelate, who,
though he better understood the meaning of El Hakim, answered his
glance by mysteriously shaking his head. He resumed an air of
importance when he again authoritatively demanded what evidence
Adonbec could produce of his medical proficiency.
"Ye have the word of the mighty Saladin," said the sage, touching
his cap in sign of reverence--"a word which was never broken
towards friend or foe. What, Nazarene, wouldst thou demand
"I would have ocular proof of thy skill," said the baron, "and
without it thou approachest not to the couch of King Richard."
"The praise of the physician," said the Arabian, "is in the
recovery of his patient. Behold this sergeant, whose blood has
been dried up by the fever which has whitened your camp with
skeletons, and against which the art of your Nazarene leeches
hath been like a silken doublet against a lance of steel. Look
at his fingers and arms, wasted like the claws and shanks of the
crane. Death had this morning his clutch on him; but had Azrael
been on one side of the couch, I being on the other, his soul
should not have been left from his body. Disturb me not with
further questions, but await the critical minute, and behold in
silent wonder the marvellous event."
The physician had then recourse to his astrolabe, the oracle of
Eastern science, and watching with grave precision until the
precise time of the evening prayer had arrived, he sunk on his
knees, with his face turned to Mecca, and recited the petitions
which close the Moslemah's day of toil. The bishop and the
English baron looked on each other, meanwhile, with symptoms of
contempt and indignation, but neither judged it fit to interrupt
El Hakim in his devotions, unholy as they considered them to be.
The Arab arose from the earth, on which he had prostrated
himself, and walking into the hut where the patient lay extended,
he drew a sponge from a small silver box, dipped perhaps in some
aromatic distillation, for when he put it to the sleeper's nose,
he sneezed, awoke, and looked wildly around. He was a ghastly
spectacle as he sat up almost naked on his couch, the bones and
cartilages as visible through the surface of his skin as if they
had never been clothed with flesh. His face was long, and
furrowed with wrinkles; but his eye, though it wandered at first,
became gradually more settled. He seemed to be aware of the
presence of his dignified visitors, for he attempted feebly to
pull the covering from his head in token of reverence, as he
inquired, in a subdued and submissive voice, for his master.
"Do you know us, vassal?" said the Lord of Gilsland.
"Not perfectly, my lord," replied the squire faintly. "My sleep
has been long and full of dreams. Yet I know that you are a
great English lord, as seemeth by the red cross, and this a holy
prelate, whose blessing I crave on me a poor sinner."
"Thou hast it--BENEDICTIO DOMINI SIT VOBISCUM," said the prelate,
making the sign of the cross, but without approaching nearer to
the patient's bed.
"Your eyes witness," said the Arabian, "the fever hath been
subdued. He speaks with calmness and recollection--his pulse
beats composedly as yours--try its pulsations yourself."
The prelate declined the experiment; but Thomas of Gilsland, more
determined on making the trial, did so, and satisfied himself
that the fever was indeed gone.
"This is most wonderful," said the knight, looking to the bishop;
"the man is assuredly cured. I must conduct this mediciner
presently to King Richard's tent. What thinks your reverence?"
"Stay, let me finish one cure ere I commence another," said the
Arab; "I will pass with you when I have given my patient the
second cup of this most holy elixir."
So saying he pulled out a silver cup, and filling it with water
from a gourd which stood by the bedside, he next drew forth a
small silken bag made of network, twisted with silver, the
contents of which the bystanders could not discover, and
immersing it in the cup, continued to watch it in silence during
the space of five minutes. It seemed to the spectators as if
some effervescence took place during the operation; but if so, it
"Drink," said the physician to the sick man--"sleep, and awaken
free from malady."
"And with this simple-seeming draught thou wilt undertake to cure
a monarch?" said the Bishop of Tyre.
"I have cured a beggar, as you may behold," replied the sage.
"Are the Kings of Frangistan made of other clay than the meanest
of their subjects?"
"Let us have him presently to the King," said the Baron of
Gilsland. "He hath shown that he possesses the secret which may
restore his health. If he fails to exercise it, I will put
himself past the power of medicine."
As they were about to leave the hut, the sick man, raising his
voice as much as his weakness permitted, exclaimed, "Reverend
father, noble knight, and you, kind leech, if you would have me
sleep and recover, tell me in charity what is become of my dear
"He is upon a distant expedition, friend," replied the prelate--
"on an honourable embassy, which may detain him for some days."
"Nay," said the Baron of Gilsland, "why deceive the poor fellow?
--Friend, thy master has returned to the camp, and you will
presently see him."
The invalid held up, as if in thankfulness, his wasted hands to
Heaven, and resisting no longer the soporiferous operation of the
elixir, sunk down in a gentle sleep.
"You are a better physician than I, Sir Thomas," said the
prelate--"a soothing falsehood is fitter for a sick-room than an
"How mean you, my reverend lord?" said De Vaux hastily. "Think
you I would tell a falsehood to save the lives of a dozen such as
"You said," replied the bishop, with manifest symptoms of alarm
--"you said the esquire's master was returned--he, I mean, of the
"And he IS returned," said De Vaux. "I spoke with him but a few
hours since. This learned leech came in his company."
"Holy Virgin! why told you not of his return to me?" said the
bishop, in evident perturbation.
"Did I not say that this same Knight of the Leopard had returned
in company with the physician? I thought I had," replied De Vaux
carelessly. "But what signified his return to the skill of the
physician, or the cure of his Majesty?"
"Much, Sir Thomas--it signified much," said the bishop, clenching
his hands, pressing his foot against the earth, and giving signs
of impatience, as if in an involuntary manner. "But where can he
be gone now, this same knight? God be with us--here may be some
"Yonder serf in the outer space," said De Vaux, not without
wonder at the bishop's emotion, "can probably tell us whither his
master has gone."
The lad was summoned, and in a language nearly incomprehensible
to them, gave them at length to understand that an officer had
summoned his master to the royal tent some time before their
arrival at that of his master. The anxiety of the bishop
appeared to rise to the highest, and became evident to De Vaux,
though, neither an acute observer nor of a suspicious temper.
But with his anxiety seemed to increase his wish to keep it
subdued and unobserved. He took a hasty leave of De Vaux, who
looked after him with astonishment, and after shrugging his
shoulders in silent wonder, proceeded to conduct the Arabian
physician to the tent of King Richard.
This is the prince of leeches; fever, plague,
Cold rheum, and hot podagra, do but look on him,
And quit their grasp upon the tortured sinews. ANONYMOUS.
The Baron of Gilsland walked with slow step and an anxious
countenance towards the royal pavilion. He had much diffidence
of his own capacity, except in a field of battle, and conscious
of no very acute intellect, was usually contented to wonder at
circumstances which a man of livelier imagination would have
endeavoured to investigate and understand, or at least would have
made the subject of speculation. But it seemed very
extraordinary, even to him, that the attention of the bishop
should have been at once abstracted from all reflection on the
marvellous cure which they had witnessed, and upon the
probability it afforded of Richard being restored to health, by
what seemed a very trivial piece of information announcing the
motions of a beggardly Scottish knight, than whom Thomas of
Gilsland knew nothing within the circle of gentle blood more
unimportant or contemptible; and despite his usual habit of
passively beholding passing events, the baron's spirit toiled
with unwonted attempts to form conjectures on the cause.
At length the idea occurred at once to him that the whole might
be a conspiracy against King Richard, formed within the camp of
the allies, and to which the bishop, who was by some represented
as a politic and unscrupulous person, was not unlikely to have
been accessory. It was true that, in his own opinion, there
existed no character so perfect as that of his master; for
Richard being the flower of chivalry, and the chief of Christian
leaders, and obeying in all points the commands of Holy Church,
De Vaux's ideas of perfection went no further. Still, he knew
that, however unworthily, it had been always his master's fate to
draw as much reproach and dislike as honour and attachment from
the display of his great qualities; and that in the very camp,
and amongst those princes bound by oath to the Crusade, were many
who would have sacrificed all hope of victory over the Saracens
to the pleasure of ruining, or at least of humbling, Richard of
"Wherefore," said the baron to himself, "it is in no sense
impossible that this El Hakim, with this his cure, or seeming
cure, wrought on the body of the Scottish squire, may mean
nothing but a trick, to which he of the Leopard may be accessory,
and wherein the Bishop of Tyre, prelate as he is, may have some
This hypothesis, indeed, could not be so easily reconciled with
the alarm manifested by the bishop on learning that, contrary to
his expectation, the Scottish knight had suddenly returned to the
Crusaders' camp. But De Vaux was influenced only by his general
prejudices, which dictated to him the assured belief that a wily
Italian priest, a false-hearted Scot, and an infidel physician,
formed a set of ingredients from which all evil, and no good, was
likely to be extracted. He resolved, however, to lay his
scruples bluntly before the King, of whose judgment he had nearly
as high an opinion as of his valour.
Meantime, events had taken place very contrary to the
suppositions which Thomas de Vaux had entertained. Scarce had he
left the royal pavilion, when, betwixt the impatience of the
fever, and that which was natural to his disposition, Richard
began to murmur at his delay, and express an earnest desire for
his return. He had seen enough to try to reason himself out of
this irritation, which greatly increased his bodily malady. He
wearied his attendants by demanding from them amusements, and the
breviary of the priest, the romance of the clerk, even the harp
of his favourite minstrel, were had recourse to in vain. At
length, some two hours before sundown, and long, therefore, ere
he could expect a satisfactory account of the process of the cure
which the Moor or Arabian had undertaken, he sent, as we have
already heard, a messenger commanding the attendance of the
Knight of the Leopard, determined to soothe his impatience by
obtaining from Sir Kenneth a more particular account of the cause
of his absence from the camp, and the circumstances of his
meeting with this celebrated physician.
The Scottish knight, thus summoned, entered the royal presence as
one who was no stranger to such scenes. He was scarcely known to
the King of England, even by sight, although, tenacious of his
rank, as devout in the adoration of the lady of his secret heart,
he had never been absent on those occasions when the munificence
and hospitality of England opened the Court of its monarch to all
who held a certain rank in chivalry. The King gazed fixedly on
Sir Kenneth approaching his bedside, while the knight bent his
knee for a moment, then arose, and stood before him in a posture
of deference, but not of subservience or humility, as became an
officer in the presence of his sovereign.
"Thy name," said the King, "is Kenneth of the Leopard--from whom
hadst thou degree of knighthood?"
"I took it from the sword of William the Lion, King of Scotland,"
replied the Scot.
"A weapon," said the King, "well worthy to confer honour; nor has
it been laid on an undeserving shoulder. We have seen thee bear
thyself knightly and valiantly in press of battle, when most need
there was; and thou hadst not been yet to learn that thy deserts
were known to us, but that thy presumption in other points has
been such that thy services can challenge no better reward than
that of pardon for thy transgression. What sayest thou--ha?"
Kenneth attempted to speak, but was unable to express himself
distinctly; the consciousness of his too ambitious love, and the
keen, falcon glance with which Coeur de Lion seemed to penetrate
his inmost soul, combining to disconcert him.
"And yet," said the King, "although soldiers should obey command,
and vassals be respectful towards their superiors, we might
forgive a brave knight greater offence than the keeping a simple
hound, though it were contrary to our express public ordinance."
Richard kept his eye fixed on the Scot's face, beheld and
beholding, smiling inwardly at the relief produced by the turn he
had given to his general accusation.
"So please you, my lord," said the Scot, "your majesty must be
good to us poor gentlemen of Scotland in this matter. We are far
from home, scant of revenues, and cannot support ourselves as
your wealthy nobles, who have credit of the Lombards. The
Saracens shall feel our blows the harder that we eat a piece of
dried venison from time to time with our herbs and barley-cakes."
"It skills not asking my leave," said Richard, "since Thomas de
Vaux, who doth, like all around me, that which is fittest in his
own eyes, hath already given thee permission for hunting and
"For hunting only, and please you," said the Scot. "But if it
please your Majesty to indulge me with the privilege of hawking
also, and you list to trust me with a falcon on fist, I trust I
could supply your royal mess with some choice waterfowl."
"I dread me, if thou hadst but the falcon," said the King, "thou
wouldst scarce wait for the permission. I wot well it is said
abroad that we of the line of Anjou resent offence against our
forest-laws as highly as we would do treason against our crown.
To brave and worthy men, however, we could pardon either
misdemeanour.--But enough of this. I desire to know of you, Sir
Knight, wherefore, and by whose authority, you took this recent
journey to the wilderness of the Dead Sea and Engaddi?"
"By order," replied the knight, "of the Council of Princes of the
"And how dared any one to give such an order, when I--not the
least, surely, in the league--was unacquainted with it?"
"It was not my part, please your highness," said the Scot, "to
inquire into such particulars. I am a soldier of the Cross
--serving, doubtless, for the present, under your highness's
banner, and proud of the permission to do so, but still one who
hath taken on him the holy symbol for the rights of Christianity
and the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, and bound, therefore, to
obey without question the orders of the princes and chiefs by
whom the blessed enterprise is directed. That indisposition
should seclude, I trust for but a short time, your highness from
their councils, in which you hold so potential a voice, I must
lament with all Christendom; but, as a soldier, I must obey those
on whom the lawful right of command devolves, or set but an evil
example in the Christian camp."
"Thou sayest well," said King Richard; "and the blame rests not
with thee, but with those with whom, when it shall please Heaven
to raise me from this accursed bed of pain and inactivity, I hope
to reckon roundly. What was the purport of thy message"
"Methinks, and please your highness," replied Sir Kenneth, "that
were best asked of those who sent me, and who can render the
reasons of mine errand; whereas I can only tell its outward form
"Palter not with me, Sir Scot--it were ill for thy safety," said
the irritable monarch.
"My safety, my lord," replied the knight firmly, "I cast behind
me as a regardless thing when I vowed myself to this enterprise,
looking rather to my immortal welfare than to that which concerns
my earthly body."
"By the mass," said King Richard, "thou art a brave fellow! Hark
thee, Sir Knight, I love the Scottish people; they are hardy,
though dogged and stubborn, and, I think, true men in the main,
though the necessity of state has sometimes constrained them to
be dissemblers. I deserve some love at their hand, for I have
voluntarily done what they could not by arms have extorted from
me any more than from my predecessors, I have re-established the
fortresses of Roxburgh and Berwick, which lay in pledge to
England; I have restored your ancient boundaries; and, finally, I
have renounced a claim to homage upon the crown of England, which
I thought unjustly forced on you. I have endeavoured to make
honourable and independent friends, where former kings of England
attempted only to compel unwilling and rebellious vassals."
"All this you have done, my Lord King," said Sir Kenneth, bowing
--"all this you have done, by your royal treaty with our
sovereign at Canterbury. Therefore have you me, and many better
Scottish men, making war against the infidels, under your
banners, who would else have been ravaging your frontiers in
England. If their numbers are now few, it is because their lives
have been freely waged and wasted."
"I grant it true," said the King; "and for the good offices I
have done your land I require you to remember that, as a
principal member of the Christian league, I have a right to know
the negotiations of my confederates. Do me, therefore, the
justice to tell me what I have a title to be acquainted with, and
which I am certain to know more truly from you than from others."
"My lord," said the Scot, "thus conjured, I will speak the truth;
for I well believe that your purposes towards the principal
object of our expedition are single-hearted and honest, and it is
more than I dare warrant for others of the Holy League. Be
pleased, therefore, to know my charge was to propose, through the
medium of the hermit of Engaddi--a holy man, respected and
protected by Saladin himself--"
"A continuation of the truce, I doubt not," said Richard, hastily
"No, by Saint Andrew, my liege," said the Scottish knight; "but
the establishment of a lasting peace, and the withdrawing our
armies from Palestine."
"Saint George!" said Richard, in astonishment. "Ill as I have
justly thought of them, I could not have dreamed they would have
humbled themselves to such dishonour. Speak, Sir Kenneth, with
what will did you carry such a message?"
"With right good will, my lord," said Kenneth; "because, when we
had lost our noble leader, under whose guidance alone I hoped for
victory, I saw none who could succeed him likely to lead us to
conquest, and I accounted it well in such circumstances to avoid
"And on what conditions was this hopeful peace to be contracted?"
said King Richard, painfully suppressing the passion with which
his heart was almost bursting.
"These were not entrusted to me, my lord," answered the Knight of
the Couchant Leopard. "I delivered them sealed to the hermit."
"And for what hold you this reverend hermit--for fool, madman,
traitor, or saint?" said Richard.
"His folly, sire," replied the shrewd Scottish man, "I hold to be
assumed to win favour and reverence from the Paynimrie, who
regard madmen as the inspired of Heaven--at least it seemed to me
as exhibited only occasionally, and not as mixing, like natural
folly, with the general tenor of his mind."
"Shrewdly replied," said the monarch, throwing himself back on
his couch, from which he had half-raised himself. "Now of his
"His penitence," continued Kenneth, "appears to me sincere, and
the fruits of remorse for some dreadful crime, for which he
seems, in his own opinion, condemned to reprobation."
"And for his policy?" said King Richard.
"Methinks, my lord," said the Scottish knight, "he despairs of
the security of Palestine, as of his own salvation, by any means
short of a miracle--at least, since the arm of Richard of England
hath ceased to strike for it."
"And, therefore, the coward policy of this hermit is like that of
these miserable princes, who, forgetful of their knighthood and
their faith, are only resolved and determined when the question
is retreat, and rather than go forward against an armed Saracen,
would trample in their flight over a dying ally!"
"Might I so far presume, my Lord King," said the Scottish knight,
"this discourse but heats your disease, the enemy from which
Christendom dreads more evil than from armed hosts of infidels."
The countenance of King Richard was, indeed, more flushed, and
his action became more feverishly vehement, as, with clenched
hand, extended arm, and flashing eyes, he seemed at once to
suffer under bodily pain, and at the same time under vexation of
mind, while his high spirit led him to speak on, as if in
contempt of both.
"You can flatter, Sir Knight," he said, "but you escape me not.
I must know more from you than you have yet told me. Saw you my
royal consort when at Engaddi?"
"To my knowledge--no, my lord," replied Sir Kenneth, with
considerable perturbation, for he remembered the midnight
procession in the chapel of the rocks.
"I ask you," said the King, in a sterner voice," whether you were
not in the chapel of the Carmelite nuns at Engaddi, and there saw
Berengaria, Queen of England, and the ladies of her Court, who
went thither on pilgrimage?"
"My lord," said Sir Kenneth, "I will speak the truth as in the
confessional. In a subterranean chapel, to which the anchorite
conducted me, I beheld a choir of ladies do homage to a relic of
the highest sanctity; but as I saw not their faces, nor heard
their voices, unless in the hymns which they chanted, I cannot
tell whether the Queen of England was of the bevy."
"And was there no one of these ladies known to you?"
Sir Kenneth stood silent.
"I ask you," said Richard, raising himself on his elbow, "as a
knight and a gentleman--and I shall know by your answer how you
value either character--did you, or did you not, know any lady
amongst that band of worshippers?"
"My lord," said Kenneth, not without much hesitation, "I might
"And I also may guess," said the King, frowning sternly; "but it
is enough. Leopard as you are, Sir Knight, beware tempting the
lion's paw. Hark ye--to become enamoured of the moon would be
but an act of folly; but to leap from the battlements of a lofty
tower, in the wild hope of coming within her sphere, were self-destructive madness."
At this moment some bustling was heard in the outer apartment,
and the King, hastily changing to his more natural manner, said,
"Enough--begone--speed to De Vaux, and send him hither with the
Arabian physician. My life for the faith of the Soldan! Would
he but abjure his false law, I would aid him with my sword to
drive this scum of French and Austrians from his dominions, and
think Palestine as well ruled by him as when her kings were
anointed by the decree of Heaven itself."
The Knight of the Leopard retired, and presently afterwards the
chamberlain announced a deputation from the Council, who had come
to wait on the Majesty of England.
"It is well they allow that I am living yet," was his reply.
"Who are the reverend ambassadors?"
"The Grand Master of the Templars and the Marquis of Montserrat."
"Our brother of France loves not sick-beds," said Richard; "yet,
had Philip been ill, I had stood by his couch long since.
--Jocelyn, lay me the couch more fairly--it is tumbled like a
stormy sea. Reach me yonder steel mirror--pass a comb through my
hair and beard. They look, indeed, liker a lion's mane than a
Christian man's locks. Bring water."
"My lord," said the trembling chamberlain, "the leeches say that
cold water may be fatal."
"To the foul fiend with the leeches!" replied the monarch; "if
they cannot cure me, think you I will allow them to torment me?
--There, then," he said, after having made his ablutions, "admit
the worshipful envoys; they will now, I think, scarcely see that
disease has made Richard negligent of his person."
The celebrated Master of the Templars was a tall, thin, war-worn
man, with a slow yet penetrating eye, and a brow on which a
thousand dark intrigues had stamped a portion of their obscurity.
At the head of that singular body, to whom their order was
everything, and their individuality nothing--seeking the
advancement of its power, even at the hazard of that very
religion which the fraternity were originally associated to
protect--accused of heresy and witchcraft, although by their
character Christian priests--suspected of secret league with the
Soldan, though by oath devoted to the protection of the Holy
Temple, or its recovery--the whole order, and the whole personal
character of its commander, or Grand Master, was a riddle, at the
exposition of which most men shuddered. The Grand Master was
dressed in his white robes of solemnity, and he bore the ABACUS,
a mystic staff of office, the peculiar form of which has given
rise to such singular conjectures and commentaries, leading to
suspicions that this celebrated fraternity of Christian knights
were embodied under the foulest symbols of paganism.
Conrade of Montserrat had a much more pleasing exterior than the
dark and mysterious priest-soldier by whom he was accompanied.
He was a handsome man, of middle age, or something past that
term, bold in the field, sagacious in council, gay and gallant in
times of festivity; but, on the other hand, he was generally
accused of versatility, of a narrow and selfish ambition, of a
desire to extend his own principality, without regard to the weal
of the Latin kingdom of Palestine, and of seeking his own
interest, by private negotiations with Saladin, to the prejudice
of the Christian leaguers.
When the usual salutations had been made by these dignitaries,
and courteously returned by King Richard, the Marquis of
Montserrat commenced an explanation of the motives of their
visit, sent, as he said they were, by the anxious kings and
princes who composed the Council of the Crusaders, "to inquire
into the health of their magnanimous ally, the valiant King of
"We know the importance in which the princes of the Council hold
our health," replied the English King; "and are well aware how
much they must have suffered by suppressing all curiosity
concerning it for fourteen days, for fear, doubtless, of
aggravating our disorder, by showing their anxiety regarding the
The flow of the Marquis's eloquence being checked, and he himself
thrown into some confusion by this reply, his more austere
companion took up the thread of the conversation, and with as
much dry and brief gravity as was consistent with the presence
which he addressed, informed the King that they came from the
Council, to pray, in the name of Christendom, "that he would not
suffer his health to be tampered with by an infidel physician,
said to be dispatched by Saladin, until the Council had taken
measures to remove or confirm the suspicion which they at present
conceived did attach itself to the mission of such a person."
"Grand Master of the Holy and Valiant Order of Knights Templars,
and you, most noble Marquis of Montserrat," replied Richard, "if
it please you to retire into the adjoining pavilion, you shall
presently see what account we make of the tender remonstrances of
our royal and princely colleagues in this religious warfare."
The Marquis and Grand Master retired accordingly; nor had they
been many minutes in the outward pavilion when the Eastern
physician arrived, accompanied by the Baron of Gilsland and
Kenneth of Scotland. The baron, however, was a little later of
entering the tent than the other two, stopping, perchance, to
issue some orders to the warders without.
As the Arabian physician entered, he made his obeisance, after
the Oriental fashion, to the Marquis and Grand Master, whose
dignity was apparent, both from their appearance and their
bearing. The Grand Master returned the salutation with an
expression of disdainful coldness, the Marquis with the popular
courtesy which he habitually practised to men of every rank and
nation. There was a pause, for the Scottish knight, waiting for
the arrival of De Vaux, presumed not, of his own authority, to
enter the tent of the King of England; and during this interval
the Grand Master sternly demanded of the Moslem, "Infidel, hast
thou the courage to practise thine art upon the person of an
anointed sovereign of the Christian host?"
"The sun of Allah," answered the sage, "shines on the Nazarene as
well as on the true believer, and His servant dare make no
distinction betwixt them when called on to exercise the art of
"Misbelieving Hakim," said the Grand Master, "or whatsoever they
call thee for an unbaptized slave of darkness, dost thou well
know that thou shalt be torn asunder by wild horses should King
Richard die under thy charge?"
"That were hard justice," answered the physician, "seeing that I
can but use human means, and that the issue is written in the
book of light."
"Nay, reverend and valiant Grand Master," said the Marquis of
Montserrat, "consider that this learned man is not acquainted
with our Christian order, adopted in the fear of God, and for the
safety of His anointed.--Be it known to thee, grave physician,
whose skill we doubt not, that your wisest course is to repair to
the presence of the illustrious Council of our Holy League, and
there to give account and reckoning to such wise and learned
leeches as they shall nominate, concerning your means of process
and cure of this illustrious patient; so shall you escape all the
danger which, rashly taking such a high matter upon your sole
answer, you may else most likely incur."
"My lords," said El Hakim, "I understand you well. But knowledge
hath its champions as well as your military art--nay, hath
sometimes had its martyrs as well as religion. I have the
command of my sovereign, the Soldan Saladin, to heal this
Nazarene King, and, with the blessing of the Prophet, I will obey
his commands. If I fail, ye wear swords thirsting for the blood
of the faithful, and I proffer my body to your weapons. But I
will not reason with one uncircumcised upon the virtue of the
medicines of which I have obtained knowledge through the grace of
the Prophet, and I pray you interpose no delay between me and my
"Who talks of delay?" said the Baron de Vaux, hastily entering
the tent; "we have had but too much already. I salute you, my
Lord of Montserrat, and you, valiant Grand Master. But I must
presently pass with this learned physician to the bedside of my
"My lord," said the Marquis, in Norman-French, or the language of
Ouie, as it was then called, "are you well advised that we came
to expostulate, on the part of the Council of the Monarchs and
Princes of the Crusade, against the risk of permitting an infidel
and Eastern physician to tamper with a health so valuable as that
of your master, King Richard?"
"Noble Lord Marquis," replied the Englishman bluntly, "I can
neither use many words, nor do I delight in listening to them;
moreover, I am much more ready to believe what my eyes have seen
than what my ears have heard. I am satisfied that this heathen
can cure the sickness of King Richard, and I believe and trust he
will labour to do so. Time is precious. If Mohammed--may God's
curse be on him! stood at the door of the tent, with such fair
purpose as this Adonbec el Hakim entertains, I would hold it sin
to delay him for a minute. So, give ye God'en, my lords."
"Nay, but," said Conrade of Montserrat, "the King himself said we
should be present when this same physician dealt upon him."
The baron whispered the chamberlain, probably to know whether the
Marquis spoke truly, and then replied, "My lords, if you will
hold your patience, you are welcome to enter with us; but if you
interrupt, by action or threat, this accomplished physician in
his duty, be it known that, without respect to your high quality,
I will enforce your absence from Richard's tent; for know, I am
so well satisfied of the virtue of this man's medicines, that
were Richard himself to refuse them, by our Lady of Lanercost, I
think I could find in my heart to force him to take the means of
his cure whether he would or no.--Move onward, El Hakim."
The last word was spoken in the lingua franca, and instantly
obeyed by the physician. The Grand Master looked grimly on the
unceremonious old soldier, but, on exchanging a glance with the
Marquis, smoothed his frowning brow as well as he could, and both
followed De Vaux and the Arabian into the inner tent, where
Richard lay expecting them, with that impatience with which the
sick man watches the step of his physician. Sir Kenneth, whose
attendance seemed neither asked nor prohibited, felt himself, by
the circumstances in which he stood, entitled to follow these
high dignitaries; but, conscious of his inferior power and rank,
remained aloof during the scene which took place.
Richard, when they entered his apartment, immediately exclaimed,
"So ho! a goodly fellowship come to see Richard take his leap in
the dark. My noble allies, I greet you as the representatives of
our assembled league; Richard will again be amongst you in his
former fashion, or ye shall bear to the grave what is left of
him.--De Vaux, lives he or dies he, thou hast the thanks of thy
prince. There is yet another--but this fever hath wasted my
eyesight. What, the bold Scot, who would climb heaven without a
ladder! He is welcome too.--Come, Sir Hakim, to the work, to the
The physician, who had already informed himself of the various
symptoms of the King's illness, now felt his pulse for a long
time, and with deep attention, while all around stood silent, and
in breathless expectation. The sage next filled a cup with
spring water, and dipped into it the small red purse, which, as
formerly, he took from his bosom. When he seemed to think it
sufficiently medicated, he was about to offer it to the
sovereign, who prevented him by saying, "Hold an instant. Thou
hast felt my pulse--let me lay my finger on thine. I too, as
becomes a good knight, know something of thine art."
The Arabian yielded his hand without hesitation, and his long,
slender dark fingers were for an instant enclosed, and almost
buried, in the large enfoldment of King Richard's hand.
"His blood beats calm as an infant's," said the King; "so throbs
not theirs who poison princes. De Vaux, whether we live or die,
dismiss this Hakim with honour and safety.--Commend us, friend,
to the noble Saladin. Should I die, it is without doubt of his
faith; should I live, it will be to thank him as a warrior would
desire to be thanked."
He then raised himself in bed, took the cup in his hand, and
turning to the Marquis and the Grand Master--"Mark what I say,
and let my royal brethren pledge me in Cyprus wine, 'To the
immortal honour of the first Crusader who shall strike lance or
sword on the gate of Jerusalem; and to the shame and eternal
infamy of whomsoever shall turn back from the plough on which he
hath laid his hand!'"
He drained the cup to the bottom, resigned it to the Arabian, and
sunk back, as if exhausted, upon the cushions which were arranged
to receive him. The physician then, with silent but expressive
signs, directed that all should leave the tent excepting himself
and De Vaux, whom no remonstrance could induce to withdraw. The
apartment was cleared accordingly.
And now I will unclasp a secret book,
And, to your quick-conceiving discontent,
I'll read you matter deep and dangerous. HENRY IV., PART I.
The Marquis of Montserrat and the Grand Master of the Knights
Templars stood together in the front of the royal pavilion,
within which this singular scene had passed, and beheld a strong
guard of bills and bows drawn out to form a circle around it, and
keep at distance all which might disturb the sleeping monarch.
The soldiers wore the downcast, silent, and sullen looks with
which they trail their arms at a funeral, and stepped with such
caution that you could not hear a buckler ring or a sword
clatter, though so many men in armour were moving around the
tent. They lowered their weapons in deep reverence as the
dignitaries passed through their files, but with the same
"There is a change of cheer among these island dogs," said the
Grand Master to Conrade, when they had passed Richard's guards.
"What hoarse tumult and revel used to be before this pavilion!
--nought but pitching the bar, hurling the ball, wrestling,
roaring of songs, clattering of wine pots, and quaffing of
flagons among these burly yeomen, as if they were holding some
country wake, with a Maypole in the midst of them instead of a
"Mastiffs are a faithful race," said Conrade; "and the King their
Master has won their love by being ready to wrestle, brawl, or
revel amongst the foremost of them, whenever the humour seized
"He is totally compounded of humours," said the Grand Master.
"Marked you the pledge he gave us! instead of a prayer, over his
"He would have felt it a grace-cup, and a well-spiced one too,"
said the Marquis, "were Saladin like any other Turk that ever
wore turban, or turned him to Mecca at call of the muezzin. But
he affects faith, and honour, and generosity, as if it were for
an unbaptized dog like him to practise the virtuous bearing of a
Christian knight. It is said he hath applied to Richard to be
admitted within the pale of chivalry."
"By Saint Bernard!" exclaimed the Grand Master, "it were time
then to throw off our belts and spurs, Sir Conrade, deface our
armorial bearings, and renounce our burgonets, if the highest
honour of Christianity were conferred on an unchristened Turk of
"You rate the Soldan cheap," replied the Marquis; "yet though he
be a likely man, I have seen a better heathen sold for forty
pence at the bagnio."
They were now near their horses, which stood at some distance
from the royal tent, prancing among the gallant train of esquires
and pages by whom they were attended, when Conrade, after a
moment's pause, proposed that they should enjoy the coolness of
the evening breeze which had arisen, and, dismissing their steeds
and attendants, walk homewards to their own quarters through the
lines of the extended Christian camp. The Grand Master assented,
and they proceeded to walk together accordingly, avoiding, as if
by mutual consent, the more inhabited parts of the canvas city,
and tracing the broad esplanade which lay between the tents and
the external defences, where they could converse in private, and
unmarked, save by the sentinels as they passed them.
They spoke for a time upon the military points and preparations
for defence; but this sort of discourse, in which neither seemed
to take interest, at length died away, and there was a long
pause, which terminated by the Marquis of Montserrat stopping
short, like a man who has formed a sudden resolution, and gazing
for some moments on the dark, inflexible countenance of the Grand
Master, he at length addressed him thus: "Might it consist with
your valour and sanctity, reverend Sir Giles Amaury, I would pray
you for once to lay aside the dark visor which you wear, and to
converse with a friend barefaced."
The Templar half smiled.
"There are light-coloured masks," he said, "as well as dark
visors, and the one conceals the natural features as completely
as the other."
"Be it so," said the Marquis, putting his hand to his chin, and
withdrawing it with the action of one who unmasks himself; "there
lies my disguise. And now, what think you, as touching the
interests of your own order, of the prospects of this Crusade?"
"This is tearing the veil from my thoughts rather than exposing
your own," said the Grand Master; "yet I will reply with a
parable told to me by a santon of the desert. 'A certain farmer
prayed to Heaven for rain, and murmured when it fell not at his
need. To punish his impatience, Allah,' said the santon, 'sent
the Euphrates upon his farm, and he was destroyed, with all his
possessions, even by the granting of his own wishes.'"
"Most truly spoken," said the Marquis Conrade. "Would that the
ocean had swallowed up nineteen parts of the armaments of these
Western princes! What remained would better have served the
purpose of the Christian nobles of Palestine, the wretched
remnant of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. Left to ourselves, we
might have bent to the storm; or, moderately supported with money
and troops, we might have compelled Saladin to respect our
valour, and grant us peace and protection on easy terms. But
from the extremity of danger with which this powerful Crusade
threatens the Soldan, we cannot suppose, should it pass over,
that the Saracen will suffer any one of us to hold possessions or
principalities in Syria, far less permit the existence of the
Christian military fraternities, from whom they have experienced
so much mischief."
"Ay, but," said the Templar, "these adventurous Crusaders may
succeed, and again plant the Cross on the bulwarks of Zion."
"And what will that advantage either the Order of the Templars,
or Conrade of Montserrat?" said the Marquis.
"You it may advantage," replied the Grand Master. "Conrade of
Montserrat might become Conrade King of Jerusalem."
"That sounds like something," said the Marquis, "and yet it rings
but hollow. Godfrey of Bouillon might well choose the crown of
thorns for his emblem. Grand Master, I will confess to you I
have caught some attachment to the Eastern form of government--a
pure and simple monarchy should consist but of king and subjects.
Such is the simple and primitive structure--a shepherd and his
flock. All this internal chain of feudal dependance is
artificial and sophisticated; and I would rather hold the baton
of my poor marquisate with a firm gripe, and wield it after my
pleasure, than the sceptre of a monarch, to be in effect
restrained and curbed by the will of as many proud feudal barons
as hold land under the Assizes of Jerusalem. [The Assises de
Jerusalem were the digest of feudal law, composed by Godfrey of
Boulogne, for the government of the Latin kingdom of Palestine,
when reconquered from the Saracens. "It was composed with advice
of the patriarch and barons, the clergy and laity, and is," says
the historian Gibbon, "a precious monument of feudatory
jurisprudence, founded upon those principles of freedom which
were essential to the system."] A king should tread freely,
Grand Master, and should not be controlled by here a ditch, and
there a fence-here a feudal privilege, and there a mail-clad
baron with his sword in his hand to maintain it. To sum the
whole, I am aware that Guy de Lusignan's claims to the throne
would be preferred to mine, if Richard recovers, and has aught to
say in the choice."
"Enough," said the Grand Master; "thou hast indeed convinced me
of thy sincerity. Others may hold the same opinions, but few,
save Conrade of Montserrat, dared frankly avow that he desires
not the restitution of the kingdom of Jerusalem, but rather
prefers being master of a portion of its fragments--like the
barbarous islanders, who labour not for the deliverance of a
goodly vessel from the billows, expecting rather to enrich
themselves at the expense of the wreck."
"Thou wilt not betray my counsel?" said Conrade, looking sharply
and suspiciously. "Know, for certain, that my tongue shall never
wrong my head, nor my hand forsake the defence of either.
Impeach me if thou wilt--I am prepared to defend myself in the
lists against the best Templar who ever laid lance in rest."
"Yet thou start'st somewhat suddenly for so bold a steed," said
the Grand Master. "However, I swear to thee by the Holy Temple,
which our Order is sworn to defend, that I will keep counsel with
thee as a true comrade."
"By which Temple?" said the Marquis of Montserrat, whose love of
sarcasm often outran his policy and discretion; "swearest thou by
that on the hill of Zion, which was built by King Solomon, or by
that symbolical, emblematical edifice, which is said to be spoken
of in the councils held in the vaults of your Preceptories, as
something which infers the aggrandizement of thy valiant and
The Templar scowled upon him with an eye of death, but answered
calmly, "By whatever Temple I swear, be assured, Lord Marquis,
my oath is sacred. I would I knew how to bind THEE by one of
"I will swear truth to thee," said the Marquis, laughing, "by the
earl's coronet, which I hope to convert, ere these wars are over,
into something better. It feels cold on my brow, that same
slight coronal; a duke's cap of maintenance were a better
protection against such a night-breeze as now blows, and a king's
crown more preferable still, being lined with comfortable ermine
and velvet. In a word, our interests bind us together; for think
not, Lord Grand Master, that, were these allied princes to regain
Jerusalem, and place a king of their own choosing there, they
would suffer your Order, any more than my poor marquisate, to
retain the independence which we now hold. No, by Our Lady! In
such case, the proud Knights of Saint John must again spread
plasters and dress plague sores in the hospitals; and you, most
puissant and venerable Knights of the Temple, must return to your
condition of simple men-at-arms, sleep three on a pallet, and
mount two upon one horse, as your present seal still expresses to
have been your ancient most simple custom."
"The rank, privileges, and opulence of our Order prevent so much
degradation as you threaten," said the Templar haughtily.
"These are your bane," said Conrade of Montserrat; "and you, as
well as I, reverend Grand Master, know that, were the allied
princes to be successful in Palestine, it would be their first
point of policy to abate the independence of your Order, which,
but for the protection of our holy father the Pope, and the
necessity of employing your valour in the conquest of Palestine,
you would long since have experienced. Give them complete
success, and you will be flung aside, as the splinters of a
broken lance are tossed out of the tilt-yard."
"There may be truth in what you say," said the Templar, darkly
smiling. "But what were our hopes should the allies withdraw
their forces, and leave Palestine in the grasp of Saladin?"
"Great and assured," replied Conrade. "The Soldan would give
large provinces to maintain at his behest a body of well-appointed Frankish lances. In Egypt, in Persia, a
auxiliaries, joined to his own light cavalry, would turn the
battle against the most fearful odds. This dependence would be
but for a time--perhaps during the life of this enterprising
Soldan; but in the East empires arise like mushrooms. Suppose
him dead, and us strengthened with a constant succession of fiery
and adventurous spirits from Europe, what might we not hope to
achieve, uncontrolled by these monarchs, whose dignity throws us
at present into the shade--and, were they to remain here, and
succeed in this expedition, would willingly consign us for ever
to degradation and dependence?"
"You say well, my Lord Marquis," said the Grand Master, "and your
words find an echo in my bosom. Yet must we be cautious--Philip
of France is wise as well as valiant."
"True, and will be therefore the more easily diverted from an
expedition to which, in a moment of enthusiasm, or urged by his
nobles, he rashly bound himself. He is jealous of King Richard,
his natural enemy, and longs to return to prosecute plans of
ambition nearer to Paris than Palestine. Any fair pretence will
serve him for withdrawing from a scene in which he is aware he is
wasting the force of his kingdom."
"And the Duke of Austria?" said the Templar.
"Oh, touching the Duke," returned Conrade, "his self-conceit and
folly lead him to the same conclusions as do Philip's policy and
wisdom. He conceives himself, God help the while, ungratefully
treated, because men's mouths--even those of his own MINNE-SINGERS [The German minstrels were so
termed.]--are filled with
the praises of King Richard, whom he fears and hates, and in
whose harm he would rejoice, like those unbred, dastardly curs,
who, if the foremost of the pack is hurt by the gripe of the
wolf, are much more likely to assail the sufferer from behind
than to come to his assistance. But wherefore tell I this to
thee, save to show that I am in sincerity in desiring that this
league be broken up, and the country freed of these great
monarchs with their hosts? And thou well knowest, and hast
thyself seen, how all the princes of influence and power, one
alone excepted, are eager to enter into treaty with the Soldan."
"I acknowledge it," said the Templar; "he were blind that had not
seen this in their last deliberations. But lift yet thy mask an
inch higher, and tell me thy real reason for pressing upon the
Council that Northern Englishman, or Scot, or whatever you call
yonder Knight of the Leopard, to carry their proposals for a
"There was a policy in it," replied the Italian. "His character
of native of Britain was sufficient to meet what Saladin
required, who knew him to belong to the band of Richard; while
his character of Scot, and certain other personal grudges which I
wot of, rendered it most unlikely that our envoy should, on his
return, hold any communication with the sick-bed of Richard, to
whom his presence was ever unacceptable."
"Oh, too finespun policy," said the Grand Master; "trust me, that
Italian spiders' webs will never bind this unshorn Samson of the
Isle--well if you can do it with new cords, and those of the
toughest. See you not that the envoy whom you have selected so
carefully hath brought us, in this physician, the means of
restoring the lion-hearted, bull-necked Englishman to prosecute
his Crusading enterprise. And so soon as he is able once more to
rush on, which of the princes dare hold back? They must follow
him for very shame, although they would march under the banner of
Satan as soon."
"Be content," said Conrade of Montserrat; "ere this physician, if
he work by anything short of miraculous agency, can accomplish
Richard's cure, it may be possible to put some open rupture
betwixt the Frenchman--at least the Austrian--and his allies of
England, so that the breach shall be irreconcilable; and Richard
may arise from his bed, perhaps to command his own native troops,
but never again, by his sole energy, to wield the force of the
"Thou art a willing archer," said the Templar; "but, Conrade of
Montserrat, thy bow is over-slack to carry an arrow to the mark."
He then stopped short, cast a suspicious glance to see that no
one overheard him, and taking Conrade by the hand, pressed it
eagerly as he looked the Italian in the face, and repeated
slowly, "Richard arise from his bed, sayest thou? Conrade, he
must never arise!"
The Marquis of Montserrat started. "What! spoke you of Richard
of England--of Coeur de Lion--the champion of Christendom?"
His cheek turned pale and his knees trembled as he spoke. The
Templar looked at him, with his iron visage contorted into a
smile of contempt.
"Knowest thou what thou look'st like, Sir Conrade, at this
moment? Not like the politic and valiant Marquis of Montserrat,
not like him who would direct the Council of Princes and
determine the fate of empires--but like a novice, who, stumbling
upon a conjuration in his master's book of gramarye, has raised
the devil when he least thought of it, and now stands terrified
at the spirit which appears before him."
"I grant you," said Conrade, recovering himself, "that--unless
some other sure road could be discovered--thou hast hinted at
that which leads most direct to our purpose. But, blessed Mary!
we shall become the curse of all Europe, the malediction of every
one, from the Pope on his throne to the very beggar at the church
gate, who, ragged and leprous, in the last extremity of human
wretchedness, shall bless himself that he is neither Giles Amaury
nor Conrade of Montserrat."
"If thou takest it thus," said the Grand Master, with the same
composure which characterized him all through this remarkable
dialogue, "let us hold there has nothing passed between us--that
we have spoken in our sleep--have awakened, and the vision is
"It never can depart," answered Conrade.
"Visions of ducal crowns and kingly diadems are, indeed, somewhat
tenacious of their place in the imagination," replied the Grand
"Well," answered Conrade, "let me but first try to break peace
between Austria and England."
They parted. Conrade remained standing still upon the spot, and
watching the flowing white cloak of the Templar as he stalked
slowly away, and gradually disappeared amid the fast-sinking
darkness of the Oriental night. Proud, ambitious, unscrupulous,
and politic, the Marquis of Montserrat was yet not cruel by
nature. He was a voluptuary and an epicurean, and, like many who
profess this character, was averse, even upon selfish motives,
from inflicting pain or witnessing acts of cruelty; and he
retained also a general sense of respect for his own reputation,
which sometimes supplies the want of the better principle by
which reputation is to be maintained.
"I have," he said, as his eyes still watched the point at which
he had seen the last slight wave of the Templar's mantle--"I
have, in truth, raised the devil with a vengeance! Who would
have thought this stern, ascetic Grand Master, whose whole
fortune and misfortune is merged in that of his order, would be
willing to do more for its advancement than I who labour for my
own interest? To check this wild Crusade was my motive, indeed,
but I durst not think on the ready mode which this determined
priest has dared to suggest. Yet it is the surest--perhaps even
Such were the Marquis's meditations, when his muttered soliloquy
was broken by a voice from a little distance, which proclaimed
with the emphatic tone of a herald, "Remember the Holy
The exhortation was echoed from post to post, for it was the duty
of the sentinels to raise this cry from time to time upon their
periodical watch, that the host of the Crusaders might always
have in their remembrance the purpose of their being in arms.
But though Conrade was familiar with the custom, and had heard
the warning voice on all former occasions as a matter of habit,
yet it came at the present moment so strongly in contact with his
own train of thought, that it seemed a voice from Heaven warning
him against the iniquity which his heart meditated. He looked
around anxiously, as if, like the patriarch of old, though from
very different circumstances, he was expecting some ram caught in
a thicket some substitution for the sacrifice which his comrade
proposed to offer, not to the Supreme Being, but to the Moloch of
their own ambition. As he looked, the broad folds of the ensign
of England, heavily distending itself to the failing night-breeze, caught his eye. It was displayed upon an
mound, nearly in the midst of the camp, which perhaps of old some
Hebrew chief or champion had chosen as a memorial of his place of
rest. If so, the name was now forgotten, and the Crusaders had
christened it Saint George's Mount, because from that commanding
height the banner of England was supereminently displayed, as if
an emblem of sovereignty over the many distinguished, noble, and
even royal ensigns, which floated in lower situations.
A quick intellect like that of Conrade catches ideas from the
glance of a moment. A single look on the standard seemed to
dispel the uncertainty of mind which had affected him. He walked
to his pavilion with the hasty and determined step of one who has
adopted a plan which he is resolved to achieve, dismissed the
almost princely train who waited to attend him, and, as he
committed himself to his couch, muttered his amended resolution,
that the milder means are to be tried before the more desperate
are resorted to.
"To-morrow," he said, "I sit at the board of the Archduke of
Austria. We will see what can be done to advance our purpose
before prosecuting the dark suggestions of this Templar."
One thing is certain in our Northern land--
Allow that birth or valour, wealth or wit,
Give each precedence to their possessor,
Envy, that follows on such eminence,
As comes the lyme-hound on the roebuck's trace,
Shall pull them down each one. SIR DAVID LINDSAY.
Leopold, Grand Duke of Austria, was the first possessor of that
noble country to whom the princely rank belonged. He had been
raised to the ducal sway in the German Empire on account of his
near relationship to the Emperor, Henry the Stern, and held under
his government the finest provinces which are watered by the
Danube. His character has been stained in history on account of
one action of violence and perfidy, which arose out of these very
transactions in the Holy Land; and yet the shame of having made
Richard a prisoner when he returned through his dominions;
unattended and in disguise, was not one which flowed from
Leopold's natural disposition. He was rather a weak and a vain
than an ambitious or tyrannical prince. His mental powers
resembled the qualities of his person. He was tall, strong, and
handsome, with a complexion in which red and white were strongly
contrasted, and had long flowing locks of fair hair. But there
was an awkwardness in his gait which seemed as if his size was
not animated by energy sufficient to put in motion such a mass;
and in the same manner, wearing the richest dresses, it always
seemed as if they became him not. As a prince, he appeared too
little familiar with his own dignity; and being often at a loss
how to assert his authority when the occasion demanded it, he
frequently thought himself obliged to recover, by acts and
expressions of ill-timed violence, the ground which might have
been easily and gracefully maintained by a little more presence
of mind in the beginning of the controversy.
Not only were these deficiencies visible to others, but the
Archduke himself could not but sometimes entertain a painful
consciousness that he was not altogether fit to maintain and
assert the high rank which he had acquired; and to this was
joined the strong, and sometimes the just, suspicion that others
esteemed him lightly accordingly.
When he first joined the Crusade, with a most princely
attendance, Leopold had desired much to enjoy the friendship and
intimacy of Richard, and had made such advances towards
cultivating his regard as the King of England ought, in policy,
to have received and answered. But the Archduke, though not
deficient in bravery, was so infinitely inferior to Coeur de Lion
in that ardour of mind which wooed danger as a bride, that the
King very soon held him in a certain degree of contempt.
Richard, also, as a Norman prince, a people with whom temperance
was habitual, despised the inclination of the German for the
pleasures of the table, and particularly his liberal indulgence
in the use of wine. For these, and other personal reasons, the
King of England very soon looked upon the Austrian Prince with
feelings of contempt, which he was at no pains to conceal or
modify, and which, therefore, were speedily remarked, and
returned with deep hatred, by the suspicious Leopold. The
discord between them was fanned by the secret and politic arts of
Philip of France, one of the most sagacious monarchs of the time,
who, dreading the fiery and overbearing character of Richard,
considering him as his natural rival, and feeling offended,
moreover, at the dictatorial manner in which he, a vassal of
France for his Continental domains, conducted himself towards his
liege lord, endeavoured to strengthen his own party, and weaken
that of Richard, by uniting the Crusading princes of inferior
degree in resistance to what he termed the usurping authority of
the King of England. Such was the state of politics and opinions
entertained by the Archduke of Austria, when Conrade of
Montserrat resolved upon employing his jealousy of England as the
means of dissolving, or loosening at least, the league of the
The time which he chose for his visit was noon; and the pretence,
to present the Archduke with some choice Cyprus wine which had
lately fallen into his hands, and discuss its comparative merits
with those of Hungary and of the Rhine. An intimation of his
purpose was, of course, answered by a courteous invitation to
partake of the Archducal meal, and every effort was used to
render it fitting the splendour of a sovereign prince. Yet the
refined taste of the Italian saw more cumbrous profusion than
elegance or splendour in the display of provisions under which
the board groaned.
The Germans, though still possessing the martial and frank
character of their ancestors--who subdued the Roman Empire--had
retained withal no slight tinge of their barbarism. The
practices and principles of chivalry were not carried to such a
nice pitch amongst them as amongst the French and English
knights, nor were they strict observers of the prescribed rules
of society, which among those nations were supposed to express
the height of civilization. Sitting at the table of the
Archduke, Conrade was at once stunned and amused with the clang
of Teutonic sounds assaulting his ears on all sides,
notwithstanding the solemnity of a princely banquet. Their dress
seemed equally fantastic to him, many of the Austrian nobles
retaining their long beards, and almost all of them wearing short
jerkins of various colours, cut, and flourished, and fringed in a
manner not common in Western Europe.
Numbers of dependants, old and young, attended in the pavilion,
mingled at times in the conversation, received from their masters
the relics of the entertainment, and devoured them as they stood
behind the backs of the company. Jesters, dwarfs, and minstrels
were there in unusual numbers, and more noisy and intrusive than
they were permitted to be in better regulated society. As they
were allowed to share freely in the wine, which flowed round in
large quantities, their licensed tumult was the more excessive.
All this while, and in the midst of a clamour and confusion which
would better have become a German tavern during a fair than the
tent of a sovereign prince, the Archduke was waited upon with a
minuteness of form and observance which showed how anxious he was
to maintain rigidly the state and character to which his
elevation had entitled him. He was served on the knee, and only
by pages of noble blood, fed upon plate of silver, and drank his
Tokay and Rhenish wines from a cup of gold. His ducal mantle was
splendidly adorned with ermine, his coronet might have equalled
in value a royal crown, and his feet, cased in velvet shoes (the
length of which, peaks included, might be two feet), rested upon
a footstool of solid silver. But it served partly to intimate
the character of the man, that, although desirous to show
attention to the Marquis of Montserrat, whom he had courteously
placed at his right hand, he gave much more of his attention to
his SPRUCH-SPRECHER--that is, his man of conversation, or SAYER-OF-SAYINGS --who stood behind
the Duke's right shoulder.
This personage was well attired in a cloak and doublet of black
velvet, the last of which was decorated with various silver and
gold coins stitched upon it, in memory of the munificent princes
who had conferred them, and bearing a short staff to which also
bunches of silver coins were attached by rings, which he jingled
by way of attracting attention when he was about to say anything
which he judged worthy of it. This person's capacity in the
household of the Archduke was somewhat betwixt that of a minstrel
and a counsellor. He was by turns a flatterer, a poet, and an
orator; and those who desired to be well with the Duke generally
studied to gain the good-will of the SPRUCH-SPRECHER.
Lest too much of this officer's wisdom should become tiresome,
the Duke's other shoulder was occupied by his HOFF-NARR, or
court-jester, called Jonas Schwanker, who made almost as much
noise with his fool's cap, bells, and bauble, as did the orator,
or man of talk, with his jingling baton.
These two personages threw out grave and comic nonsense
alternately; while their master, laughing or applauding them
himself, yet carefully watched the countenance of his noble
guest, to discern what impressions so accomplished a cavalier
received from this display of Austrian eloquence and wit. It is
hard to say whether the man of wisdom or the man of folly
contributed most to the amusement of the party, or stood highest
in the estimation of their princely master; but the sallies of
both seemed excellently well received. Sometimes they became
rivals for the conversation, and clanged their flappers in
emulation of each other with a most alarming contention; but, in
general, they seemed on such good terms, and so accustomed to
support each other's play, that the SPRUCH-SPRECHER often
condescended to follow up the jester's witticisms with an
explanation, to render them more obvious to the capacity of the
audience, so that his wisdom became a sort of commentary on the
buffoon's folly. And sometimes, in requital, the HOFF-NARR, with
a pithy jest, wound up the conclusion of the orator's tedious
Whatever his real sentiments might be, Conrade took especial care
that his countenance should express nothing but satisfaction with
what he heard, and smiled or applauded as zealously, to all
appearance, as the Archduke himself at the solemn folly of the
SPRUCH-SPRECHER and the gibbering wit of the fool. In fact, he
watched carefully until the one or other should introduce some
topic favourable to the purpose which was uppermost in his mind.
It was not long ere the King of England was brought on the carpet
by the jester, who had been accustomed to consider Dickon of the
Broom (which irreverent epithet he substituted for Richard
Plantagenet) as a subject of mirth, acceptable and inexhaustible.
The orator, indeed, was silent, and it was only when applied to
by Conrade that he observed, "The GENISTA, or broom-plant, was an
emblem of humility; and it would be well when those who wore it
would remember the warning."
The allusion to the illustrious badge of Plantagenet was thus
rendered sufficiently manifest, and Jonas Schwanker observed that
they who humbled themselves had been exalted with a vengeance.
"Honour unto whom honour is due," answered the Marquis of
Montserrat. "We have all had some part in these marches and
battles, and methinks other princes might share a little in the
renown which Richard of England engrosses amongst minstrels and
MINNE-SINGERS. Has no one of the joyeuse science here present a
song in praise of the royal Archduke of Austria, our princely
Three minstrels emulously stepped forward with voice and harp.
Two were silenced with difficulty by the SPRUCH-SPRECHER, who
seemed to act as master of the revels, and a hearing was at
length procured for the poet preferred, who sung, in high German,
stanzas which may be thus translated:--
"What brave chief shall head the forces,
Where the red-cross legions gather?
Best of horsemen, best of horses,
Highest head and fairest feather."
Here the orator, jingling his staff, interrupted the bard to
intimate to the party--what they might not have inferred from the
description--that their royal host was the party indicated, and a
full-crowned goblet went round to the acclamation, HOCH LEBE DER
HERZOG LEOPOLD! Another stanza followed:--
"Ask not Austria why, 'midst princes,
Still her banner rises highest;
Ask as well the strong-wing'd eagle,
Why to heaven he soars the highest."
"The eagle," said the expounder of dark sayings, "is the
cognizance of our noble lord the Archduke--of his royal Grace, I
would say--and the eagle flies the highest and nearest to the sun
of all the feathered creation."
"The lion hath taken a spring above the eagle," said Conrade
The Archduke reddened, and fixed his eyes on the speaker, while
the SPRUCH-SPRECHER answered, after a minute's consideration,
"The Lord Marquis will pardon me--a lion cannot fly above an
eagle, because no lion hath got wings."
"Except the lion of Saint Mark," responded the jester.
"That is the Venetian's banner," said the Duke; "but assuredly
that amphibious race, half nobles, half merchants, will not dare
to place their rank in comparison with ours."
"Nay, it was not of the Venetian lion that I spoke," said the
Marquis of Montserrat, "but of the three lions passant of
England. Formerly, it is said, they were leopards; but now they
are become lions at all points, and must take precedence of
beast, fish, or fowl, or woe worth the gainstander."
"Mean you seriously, my lord?" said the Austrian, now
considerably flushed with wine. "Think you that Richard of
England asserts any pre-eminence over the free sovereigns who
have been his voluntary allies in this Crusade?"
"I know not but from circumstances," answered Conrade. "Yonder
hangs his banner alone in the midst of our camp, as if he were
king and generalissimo of our whole Christian army."
"And do you endure this so patiently, and speak of it so coldly?"
said the Archduke.
"Nay, my lord," answered Conrade, "it cannot concern the poor
Marquis of Montserrat to contend against an injury patiently
submitted to by such potent princes as Philip of France and
Leopold of Austria. What dishonour you are pleased to submit to
cannot be a disgrace to me."
Leopold closed his fist, and struck on the table with violence.
"I have told Philip of this," he said. "I have often told him
that it was our duty to protect the inferior princes against the
usurpation of this islander; but he answers me ever with cold
respects of their relations together as suzerain and vassal, and
that it were impolitic in him to make an open breach at this time
"The world knows that Philip is wise," said Conrade, "and will
judge his submission to be policy. Yours, my lord, you can
yourself alone account for; but I doubt not you have deep reasons
for submitting to English domination."
"I submit!" said Leopold indignantly--"I, the Archduke of
Austria, so important and vital a limb of the Holy Roman Empire
--I submit myself to this king of half an island, this grandson
of a Norman bastard! No, by Heaven! The camp and all
Christendom shall see that I know how to right myself, and
whether I yield ground one inch to the English bandog.--Up, my
lieges and merry men; up and follow me! We will--and that
without losing one instant--place the eagle of Austria where she
shall float as high as ever floated the cognizance of king or
With that he started from his seat, and amidst the tumultuous
cheering of his guests and followers, made for the door of the
pavilion, and seized his own banner, which stood pitched before
"Nay, my lord," said Conrade, affecting to interfere, "it will
blemish your wisdom to make an affray in the camp at this hour;
and perhaps it is better to submit to the usurpation of England a
little longer than to--"
"Not an hour, not a moment longer," vociferated the Duke; and
with the banner in his hand, and followed by his shouting guests
and attendants, marched hastily to the central mount, from which
the banner of England floated, and laid his hand on the standard-spear, as if to pluck it from the ground.
"My master, my dear master!" said Jonas Schwanker, throwing his
arms about the Duke, "take heed--lions have teeth--"
"And eagles have claws," said the Duke, not relinquishing his
hold on the banner-staff, yet hesitating to pull it from the
The speaker of sentences, notwithstanding such was his
occupation, had nevertheless some intervals of sound sense. He
clashed his staff loudly, and Leopold, as if by habit, turned his
head towards his man of counsel.
"The eagle is king among the fowls of the air," said the SPRUCH-SPRECHER, "as is the lion among the
beasts of the field--each has
his dominion, separated as wide as England and Germany. Do thou,
noble eagle, no dishonour to the princely lion, but let your
banners remain floating in peace side by side."
Leopold withdrew his hand from the banner-spear, and looked round
for Conrade of Montserrat, but he saw him not; for the Marquis,
so soon as he saw the mischief afoot, had withdrawn himself from
the crowd, taking care, in the first place, to express before
several neutral persons his regret that the Archduke should have
chosen the hours after dinner to avenge any wrong of which he
might think he had a right to complain. Not seeing his guest, to
whom he wished more particularly to have addressed himself, the
Archduke said aloud that, having no wish to breed dissension in
the army of the Cross, he did but vindicate his own privileges
and right to stand upon an equality with the King of England,
without desiring, as he might have done, to advance his banner
--which he derived from emperors, his progenitors--above that of
a mere descendant of the Counts of Anjou; and in the meantime he
commanded a cask of wine to be brought hither and pierced, for
regaling the bystanders, who, with tuck of drum and sound of
music, quaffed many a carouse round the Austrian standard.
This disorderly scene was not acted without a degree of noise,
which alarmed the whole camp.
The critical hour had arrived at which the physician, according
to the rules of his art, had predicted that his royal patient
might be awakened with safety, and the sponge had been applied
for that purpose; and the leech had not made many observations
ere he assured the Baron of Gilsland that the fever had entirely
left his sovereign, and that, such was the happy strength of his
constitution, it would not be even necessary, as in most cases,
to give a second dose of the powerful medicine. Richard himself
seemed to be of the same opinion, for, sitting up and rubbing his
eyes, he demanded of De Vaux what present sum of money was in the
The baron could not exactly inform him of the amount.
"It matters not," said Richard; "be it greater or smaller,
bestow it all on this learned leech, who hath, I trust, given me
back again to the service of the Crusade. If it be less than a
thousand byzants, let him have jewels to make it up."
"I sell not the wisdom with which Allah has endowed me," answered
the Arabian physician; "and be it known to you, great Prince,
that the divine medicine of which you have partaken would lose
its effects in my unworthy hands did I exchange its virtues
either for gold or diamonds."
"The Physician refuseth a gratuity!" said De Vaux to himself.
"This is more extraordinary than his being a hundred years old."
"Thomas de Vaux," said Richard, "thou knowest no courage but what
belongs to the sword, no bounty and virtue but what are used in
chivalry. I tell thee that this Moor, in his independence, might
set an example to them who account themselves the flower of
"It is reward enough for me," said the Moor, folding his arms on
his bosom, and maintaining an attitude at once respectful and
dignified, "that so great a king as the Melech Ric [Richard was
thus called by the Eastern nations.] should thus speak of his
servant.--But now let me pray you again to compose yourself on
your couch; for though I think there needs no further repetition
of the divine draught, yet injury might ensue from any too early
exertion ere your strength be entirely restored."
"I must obey thee, Hakim," said the King; "yet believe me, my
bosom feels so free from the wasting fire which for so many days
hath scorched it, that I care not how soon I expose it to a brave
man's lance.--But hark! what mean these shouts, and that distant
music, in the camp? Go, Thomas de Vaux, and make inquiry."
"It is the Archduke Leopold," said De Vaux, returning after a
minute's absence, "who makes with his pot-companions some
procession through the camp."
"The drunken fool!" exclaimed King Richard; "can he not keep his
brutal inebriety within the veil of his pavilion, that he must
needs show his shame to all Christendom?--What say you, Sir
Marquis?" he added, addressing himself to Conrade of Montserrat,
who at that moment entered the tent.
"Thus much, honoured Prince," answered the Marquis, "that I
delight to see your Majesty so well, and so far recovered; and
that is a long speech for any one to make who has partaken of the
Duke of Austria's hospitality."
"What! you have been dining with the Teutonic wine-skin!" said
the monarch. "And what frolic has he found out to cause all this
disturbance? Truly, Sir Conrade, I have still held you so good a
reveller that I wonder at your quitting the game."
De Vaux, who had got a little behind the King, now exerted
himself by look and sign to make the Marquis understand that he
should say nothing to Richard of what was passing without. But
Conrade understood not, or heeded not, the prohibition.
"What the Archduke does," he said, "is of little consequence to
any one, least of all to himself, since he probably knows not
what he is acting; yet, to say truth, it is a gambol I should not
like to share in, since he is pulling down the banner of England
from Saint George's Mount, in the centre of the camp yonder, and
displaying his own in its stead."
"WHAT sayest thou?" exclaimed the King, in a tone which might
have waked the dead.
"Nay," said the Marquis, "let it not chafe your Highness that a
fool should act according to his folly--"
"Speak not to me," said Richard, springing from his couch, and
casting on his clothes with a dispatch which seemed marvellous
--"Speak not to me, Lord Marquis!--De Multon, I command thee
speak not a word to me--he that breathes but a syllable is no
friend to Richard Plantagenet.--Hakim, be silent, I charge thee!"