Page 1385


Europe was increased by every additional

item of news which he received from his own

kingdom. A conspiracy had been formed

by the faithless Prince John and Philip

Augustus to rob him of his crown; and the

Emperor Henry VI. of Germany was not

without a guilty knowledge of the plot.

Moreover, his recent triumphant defense of

Jaffa had so increased his influence in the

East that the aged Saladin, whose sands of

life were almost run, was more than willing

to come to an understanding with the Crusaders. A treaty, or rather a truce for three

years and three months, was accordingly

concluded between him and Plantagenet,

which, if both had lived, might have had in it

the elements of permanency. It was agreed

that Richard should dismantle the fortress of

Ascalon, the same being while held by the

Christians a constant menace to the peace of

Egypt. On the other hand, Tyre, Acre, and

Jaffa, with all the sea-coasts between them,

should remain to the Crusaders. Antioch and

Tripoli should not be molested by the Turks,

and all Christian pilgrims who came unarmed. should have free ingress and egress

in visiting the holy places of Palestine, especially those in Jerusalem. Having concluded this settlement, King Richard embarked from Acre in the autumn of 1192, and

started on his homeward voyage.

The great Crusader was now destined

to rough sailing and hard treatment. His

fame had filled all Europe, and nearly all

the monarchs of Christendom were in a league

of common jealousy against him. After making his way through many storms at sea

into the Adriatic, his vessel was wrecked

near the head of that water, and he was cast

ashore in the neighborhood of the coast town of Aquileia, in the dominions of Leopold, duke of Austria. That personage had

been among the German princes engaged in

the siege of Acre when Richard first arrived

in Palestine. On a certain occasion the English king had torn down the duke's banner,

and had struck him an insulting blow which

he durst not resent. It now happened that

Plantagenet, disguised as a pilgrim-for in

that guise he hoped to make his way in

safety to his own dominions-was brought into

the presence of the offended duke, who recognized him by a mark which no disguise could

hide-his kingly bearing and profuseness.

Here, then, was an opportunity for revenge.

But avarice prevailed over malice, and hoping to share in the large ransom which was

sure to follow the imprisonment of Richard,

the Duke of Austria sent him under guard to

the Emperor Henry VI.

Of all the people of England, Prince John

was most rejoiced at the news of his brother's

capture. Otherwise there was great grief

throughout the kingdom. John sent abroad

the lying report that the Lion Heart was dead,

and his confederate, the king of France, made

an invasion of Normandy. The English barons, however, remained loyal to Richard, and

defended his rights during his absence.

At the hands of the Emperor Henry,

Richard received every indignity. He was

put in chains and thrown into a dungeon.

Nothing but his abundance of animal spirits

saved him from despair. But the prisoner

was a man of so great distinction and fame

that the Emperor durst not destroy him,

or even continue to persecute. A diet of

the Empire was presently held at Worms,

and the princes, showing a disposition to

demand of Henry a reason for his course,

he had Richard conveyed to Worms to

be disposed of. As a justification for his

own conduct, he accused the English king

of having driven Philip Augustus out of

Palestine and maltreated the Duke of Austria. He also charged him with having

concluded with Saladin a peace wholly favorable to the Moslems and against the

interests and wishes of Christendom. The

defense of Richard against these charges was in every way triumphant,

insomuch that some of his judges were excited to tears by the eloquence and pathos

of his story. It was impossible to convict.

such a prisoner in such a presence. Nevertheless, the spirit of the age permitted the

Emperor to exact of his royal prisoner a

ransom of a hundred thousand marks as

the price of his liberation. Richard was

also obliged to give hostages as security

for the payment of sixty thousand marks

additional on his return to his own country.

On hearing the news that Richard was

again at liberty, his brother John and Philip

of France were in the frame of mind peculiar to a wolf and a fox when a lion is turned

into their keep. The king of France at once