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By the Author of “Coombe Abbey," " A Visit to my Birth-Place,” &c.
(Continued from page 552.)
DISAPPOINTED and wearied, the crusaders retired : many of them found little pleasure or honour in their seizure ; their term of forty days was about to expire, and numbers prepared to renounce it. Both Simon de Montfort and the Legate became uneasy, and Viscount Beziers, unconscious of what was passing in the camp of his foes, was oppressed with fears and anxieties for his people. The horrors of famine were beginning to be felt; the cisterns were drying up, and wives and mothers looked to him, as well as soldiers and leaders. It was in this extremity that a proposal was made for an amicable interview with the Legate; Raymond gladly accepted the proposal, for he felt assured that his rights only required to be openly pleaded, to be admitted.
Attended by three hundred of his chosen knights and followers, be went out to the crusading camp. He was received by De Montfort and the Legate : but while, after nobly pleading his own cause, he was endeavouring to plead that of his persecuted people, the Legate coolly told him, he must leave his people to make what terms they could for themselves; as to him he was a prisoner, and must remain so. It was truth ; his three hundred followers were already in custody, and he was consigned, first to the Duke of Burgundy, and afterwards from the Duke's leniency, to that of the savage De Montfort.
At sun-rise next morning, the crusaders prepared to fall on the devoted Carcassone, now likely to become as easy a prey as Beziers had been. They advanced against it with shoutings, and in formidable array ; but its stillness might cast a chill on many a heart-no sound, no sight, come on its walls : no armour glanced in the sunbeams: no anxious, timid forms appeared, stealing a hurried look over the fearful plain below : the banner still waved from the Keep, but the stillness of death was around it.
An artifice to allure them on, was readily conjectored; but the conjecture proved erroneous, and caution unnecessary; without the aid of crusading zeal Carcassone was a desert: they entered it, but its streets, its houses were empty!
By some means intelligence of their lord's seizure had been conveyed to the people he had so gallantly defended, with the information of the existence of a secret passage, reaching through a cavern, three leagues long, to another place of refuge. The walls of Carcassone alone were left; and these are left still, a memorial of the past.
Disappointment awaited the Crusaders, but per. haps keener disappointment awaited their fanatic leaders. Of the three hundred knights and followers of the Vicomte de Beziers, together with some of the poor creatures who were taken in the vicinity of Carcassone, an auto da fé was formed, when four hundred persons were burned, in lieu of the thousands who might otherwise have been sacrificed. It was shortly afterwards asserted, that the gallant Raymond Roger was dead: his keeper was Simon De Montfort; and history has never contradicted the story, that the young lord died by poison. His lands, honours and titles, were conferred on De Montfort.
The gallant Don Pedro, after a vain attempt at an alliance with the papal powers, fell at Marêt, figbting against them. To avert the danger that threatened him, a knight assumed his armour, but twice bending before the strokes of his assailants, they called out, “This is not the king: he is a better knight.' • No, truly,' called out Don Pedro, but here he is.' At the words, a troop surrounded him, and valour did not avail to save his life.
De Montfort came to the spot where the body of this gallant knight, and graceful Troubadour, lay stripped by the soldiers ; and the fanatic leader shed some tears over it. His own end was not far distant: at the siege of Toulouse, a sortie was made while de Montfort was hearing mass ; news was brought to bim of the fact, but he was unwilling to quit the Charch until the termination of the service. At the moment of the elevation of the host, his patience was exhausted, and crying out, “ Let thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,” he rushed forth to head his soldiers. A stone, said I believe, to be thrown by the hand of a woman, from the wall of the city, struck him on the head, and the scourge of heretics was no more.
The feeble and vacillating Count Raymond of Toulouse, the unhappy tool and slave of a spiritual power, whose temporal tyranny he at times resisted, and at times submitted to, died as he had lived, the victim of superstition : while he revolted from temporal oppression, he trentbled at spiritual malediction.
Unable to delight in the persecutions of his unoffending, pious subjects, he was accused by the inquisitorial Monks, and even accused himself, of sympathising with heretics : a devout believer in the Church that stripped him of his lands and dignity, he endured all the horrors that a state of excommunication can inflict, and remained on his knees outside the Churches, which he was not allowed to pollute by entering.
As is usually the case with such minds, suffering and misfortune only tended to deepen superstitious feelings and terrors. He had assumed the order of St. John, and when speechless, before his death, he was covered with the mantle of his order, and seen to kiss it with the utmost devotion. Yet as an early patron of the Provençal heresy, the persecution of the Church continued even after his death ; bis body was not allowed to be buried ; nor could bis son even obtain leave to do so. His skull was long preserved at Toulouse, and there I looked with interest on his bost.
The grave of Simon De Montfort, (if such it is) in the Cathedral of old Carcassone, is nameless : it is only a slab of red marble without name or date. I was looking at it with some of these thoughts in my mind, when a young Frenchman approached, and
asked if I could tell him where was the tomb of a great saint, who had fought for the Christians several ages ago.
I felt it strange to point down to that red slab, and answer-There'-Simon De Montfort, a great saint, and fighting for the Christians !
The simple contemplation of the fact, that the seed of Jacob, after centuries of dispersion, oppression, and misery, are, in exact accordance with the letter of inspiration, brought again to their own borders, and invested with pre-eminent dignities and favors, will of itself exert a moral influence such as we can now but inadequately conceive. Infidelity will be silenced for ever, and the world strock dumb by the occurrence of a virtual theophany made manifest before their eyes. When the Most High descended in all the pomp of the Godhead upon the flaming summit of Sinai, and there delivered his law and avouched the seed of Jacob as bis peculiar people, the transaction occurred in an obscure region of the earth, far removed from the eyes of the rest of the world, who little dreamt of the sublime exhibition that was then making to a comparative handful of the human race. But the event we are now considering will be as conspicuous as the other was latent. It will occur in the full view of the whole civilized world. It will blaze with notoriety. It will flash a splendid demonstration apon all kindreds and tongues, of the truth of revelation, wbich no sophistry can elude, no obduracy resist.-Professor Bush of New York.