and without command, with only the stars for altar-
lights, solemnly chanted a portion of the sublime
Litany of their church. Galilee never before, nor since,
heard a more sincere orison: " Pour forth, we beseech
Thee, oh, Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to
whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made
known by the message of an angel, may by His passion
and His cross be brought to the glory of His resur
rection, through the same Christ, our Lord. Amen."
As they arose, a Templar spoke : " Companions, if it
so please you, put a seal, the seal of the Red Cross
Knights, upon our act." So saying, the knight crossed
his feet, then spread out his arms horizontally; simili
tude of the crucifixion. All reverently imitated the
action, meanwhile, their swords being in hand with
blades crossing, forming a fence of steel.
"Comrades," spoke Sir Charleroy, with emotion, "I
accept the trust, and vow by Him that gave the single-
handed Elijah on yonder far-off wrinkled Carmel, sign
by fire, that confounded Baal and its regal hosts, to
lead you to liberty and home or to glorious graves "
" /;/ hocsignovinceS) living or dead," was the chorused
response. Just then the rising moon flooded their
interlaced swords with light, and, as they glittered, the
knights took it for an omen that there was a blessing
in the union of their swords.
" Sir Charleroy, I proclaim thee king of Jerusalem ;
what say you, comrades? " exclaimed a hitherto silent
Knight of St. John. Once more every knight s sword
touched the leader s shield.
"Nobly proclaimed!" remarked the Templar.
" When De Lusignan deserted us, ceasing to be kingly,
he ceased to be king."
"Have charity, men," interrupted their chief; "it
takes a world of courage to fall with a falling cause
when a way of escape is open."
"Oh, we ll have charity ; the same that Tancred had
for that brave preacher and craven soldier, Hermit
Peter; the latter ran from peril and Tancred raced him
back. We can not reach Lusignan to whip him to duty,
but we can vote him dethroned and dead. All coward3
are dead to the brave."
" But, companions. I must decline the presumptuous
title and phantom throne. Jerusalem shall have, to
us, but one king ; the Son of Mary. For the future, to
you, let me be simply Sir Charleroy. Now let us be
" Whither? " anxiously inquired several knights in a
" Over the valley to the cactus hedges against the
limestone cliffs before us, where runs along the great
highway from Damascus to Egypt. We shall not
need the route to either point, probably ; but those
hills are full of caves for the living and tombs for the
dead." All obeyed.
72 The Queen of the House of David.
" Why so thoughtful ? " said the Hospitaler to the
Knight of the Golden Cross, who marched along with
his cloak partly shielding his face.
" I m living in the past," he sententiously answered.
" The past? Ah, to make up by a back journey for
an expected briefing of thy future ? "
" No, raillery here, Hospitaler. I was just wishing
that since we are so near Endor, Saul s witch would
call up some saintly Samuel to tell us where w r e shall
be this time to-morrow."
" Oh, Golden Cross, know we can best bear the good
or evil of the future by seeing it only as it comes ;
for me, I prefer to think of another place, near us, but
having a more helpful incident for the memory of such
" Dost thou mean Nain ? "
" The same. There a dead only son was raised from
the bier to comfort a widowed mother."
" Well said, Hospitaler," responded Sir Charleroy,
and let us not forget that it was a mother s, tearful
prayers that won the working of the miracle."
" Alas, knight," sighed the Templar, " we have no
mothers to so petition for us here, if we be quenched
"Some of us have living mothers who never cease to
pray for us, nor will until their breath ceases. In this
land, where God appeared through motherhood, I
have a strong confidence that our mothers prayers,
re-enforced by our appealing but unvoiced needs, will
move the motherhood of God, if such I may call His
tenderest lovings. I ll trust to-night my mother s
prayers, reaching from England to Heaven and from
thence to here, further than all the sympathy forgetful
Europe will vouchsafe us. A nation cheered us to bat
tle, and yet it will never seek for the fragments defeat
has left ; but the man never lived, no matter what his
ill deserts, whom true mother love and eternal God
love ever forgot." After this long address, Sir Char-
leroy again felt the glow within ard the approvings
that he felt on the quay when the bishop s hands were
on his head.
Tis not in mortals to command success;
But we ll do better, Sempronius ; we ll deserve H.~
HE fugitives slept, some in the obliviousness
of complete fatigue and others restlessly,
their minds perturbed by dreams of their
impending perils. Dawn summoned all to
renewed activity, but its coming was not greeted joy
fully by the knights.
" Sir Charleroy," mournfully spoke a Hospitaler to
the former, as they met at the outskirts of the camp
ing place, "our comrade, the Knight of the Holy
Sepulcher, made good his escape from this woeful
country during the early morning, before dawn, as our
comrades were sleeping!"
"Why, impossible!" questioningly responded the
" Alas, twas rather impossible for him riot to go ! "
" I m in no humor for such petty jesting ! See, his
steed is there yet," and Sir Charleroy turned on his
heel impatiently as he spoke.
" Pardon, companion, he that departed was born*
away by the white charger with black wings ! "
The Fugitives. 7^
Mortals say dead of such, but it were better to
say he is free."
" Peace to his soul," fervently spoke Sir Charleroy.
" Ah, knight, thou canst not imagine the peacefulness
of his going ! "
" But why were we not summoned ? We might have
consoled him at least ; perhaps we might have healed.
W. iat was his malady ? "
A poisoned, arrow wounded him in the retreat from
Acre. He did not realize his peril until the agonies of
the end we /e wracking his >ody. Then he said, Too
late ; it s useless to attempt resistance of the inevi
" Now this is pitiful a humiliation of us all.
Heavens, Hospitaler! there s not a knight among us
who would not have periled his life in effort in the
dying man s behalf."
"But he cautioned me against disturbing any one on
his account. Poor men, he said, they ll need all the
rest they can get for the struggles of the day to come.
Only once did he seem to yearn for a remedy, and that
time he spoke mostly as one dreaming. I remember
his every word I wish I could bathe these hot and
bleeding wounds in the all-healing nards said to exude
exhaustlessly from the image of the Virgin Most
Merciful at Damascus. I roused him, then, with an
appeal for permission to summon thee, but he forbade
" Thou shouldst have overridden all protests of his !
By my tokens! I d have emulated faithful Elenora,
who sucked the poison from the dagger stab given her
76 The Queen of the House of David.
spouse, our knightly Prince Edward, by the would-be
assassin at Acre."
" I could not resist him ; his face shone in the moon
light with heavenly brightness; mine was covered with
tears. Oh, chief, the dying man spoke like an angel.
Once he said : It is sweet to go out here, nigh where
the resurrection angel, Gabriel, gave Mary the glad
tidings that her humanity was to join with the Good
Father to bring forth One capable of sounding each
human sorrow here and hereafter. He overcomes the
dread last enemy of all our race ! I watched as he
fixed his dying gaze upon the golden cross he wore ;
his last words still fill and inflame my soul : Brother,
good-night say this to each for me. I feel great
darkness creeping in to possess this broken, weary
body. It comes to stay, but my soul moves forth out
of its dungeon. I see gates most lofty, all glorious,
and oh, so near! They open to an eternal day. Then
he breathed his last, murmuring tenderly: I m going;
good-night; good-morning! The Hospitaler ended
his recital with a great sob, then burying his face in his
cloak, was silent.
Presently the knights formed a hollow square about
an old tomb in the hillside. The Hospitaler sup
ported tenderly the head of the dead comrade in his
lap. On the naked breast of the corpse lay the many-
pointed golden cross of the Knights of the Sepulchcr,
while round the body was wrapped a Templar s ban
ner, with its significant emblem, two riders on one
horse ; symbol of friendship and necessity.
" Let the one who received the dying prayer of our
brave companion speak," said Sir Charleroy. The
The Ftigitives. 77
knights all knelt, and the Hospitaler still reverently
supporting the head of the dead, spoke. " Knight of
Christ, sleep ; the clamors of war shall no more dis
turb thee. The dead at least r.re just and merciful.
Israelite, Mohammedan and Christian may lie together
in these vales, reconciled at last. They that would not
share a loaf to save life to one another, in death share
quietly all they have, their beds. The ashes of the
long sleepers have no contentions ; here are no
crowdings of each other; no misunderstandings; no
alarms. Sleep, soldier, thy worthy warfare finished ;
thy cause appealed to the Judge of All ! Sleep and
leave us to battle on mid perils and pain. Sleep
thy body, while thy soul fathoms the mysteries to us
inscrutable. Rest now, and leave us here a little
longer to wonder why it is that human creatures must
needs inhumanly oppose and slay each other for the
enthroning of Truth, the friend, the quest of all !
Sleep, and leave us to wonder why death and conflict
are the openers of the gates of life and peace." Some
of those kneeling wept, but they were too much de
pressed to speak. Quietly they laid the body within
its resting place ; quietly they sealed up the tomb s
entrance. Then they mounted their steeds at their
chief s command.
" There are but twelve of us left ; a lucky number.
Perhaps the breaking of the fateful spell believed to
follow the number thirteen, was death s beneficence ! "
It was the Templar who so spoke.
"It is said, Templar," responded Charleroy, "that
our Mary, in her girlhood, was escorted ever by an in
visible heavenly guard, a thousand strong. In the guard
78 TJic Queen of the House of David.
there were twelve palm-bearing angels of rare splendor,
commissioned to reveal charity."
" A worthy companionship, chief! "
"I m inclined to pray heaven to send again to these
parts the beautiful twelve, to assure us good fortune
" Surely the prayers of us all join thine, Sir Charle-
roy ; but methinks we have forgotten how to pray aright,
or heaven has forgotten to answer us. We have been
praying and fighting for months only to find at last
that our prayers and our battlings are alike vain, 1
fear there are no palm-bearing angels at hand."
The horsemen slowly wended their way back to fne
hill-top, overlooking Nazareth, on which they first
paused the night before. Again they halted to aa-
mire the prospect, as well as to look for a route or
safe retreat. Nazareth was astir. The little band on
the hill could hear the morning trumpeters calling the
Moslem to worship.
" Gentlemen," said the leader of the band on the
hill, " it is wisdom to divide into two parties, and
make for the sea by different routes. At Caesarea we
may find some vessels wth which to leave these to us
fateful shores. If we Yieet the foe anywhere, the
odds against us now are so great that death or en
slavement must be the result. Perhaps if there be
two parties one may escape." The knights paused
about their leader a few moments in affectionate de
bate ; all opposing at first the plan that was to scatter
them, but all, finally, convinced that it was the highest
wisdom to go on their ways apart. Lots were cast by
the leven, De Griffin not participating. Four were
The Fugitives. 79
grouped in one party and seven in the other by the
"I ll join the weaker party, remembering the five
wounds of Jesus," said SirCharleroy, reining his steed
to the smaller company. A moment after he contin
ued : "Now, good souls, away with grief; part we
must : here and now. May God go tenderly with the
seven, a covenant number. Now make your wills;
then a brief farewell; then use the spur. "
"Wills?" said a Templar, and they all smiled in a
sickly way at the word. " We knights, boasting our
poverty, our holding of all we have in community,
know nothing of will-making."
" True, the pelf we each have is small enough ; a
few keep-sakes,our arms and such like ; but our love is
something. Let s will that, and if we ve aught to say
before we die, we d better say it now. There is work
ahead, and plenty of it. There will be no time for
ante-mortcm statement when we meet the cimeters of
the Crescent." So spoke Sir Charieroy. He con
tinued, " My slayer will take good care of my jewels."
Me commenced writing upon a bit of parchment,
using for rest the pommel of his saddle. In a few
moments he paused.
"Wilt thou read thine, that we may know how to
make ours, chief ? " inquired one near him.
" A message to my mother; that s all."
" Enough; that s sacred."
"Yes but no. Misery has knit us into one fam
ily. I feel to confide." So saying, he read his
writing, omitting only the portion that recited their
recent vicissitudes :
8o The Queen of the House of David.
" And now, beloved mother, we turn from Naza
reth toward the sea with only a forlorn hope of
reaching it. I long to meet thee, but the longing
must, I fear, content itself in reaching out my heart s
best love across the distant ocean toward thyself. It
is all I can give in return for the mysterious conscious
ness that thine is a constant presence. My memory
teems with records of my life-long ingratitude toward
thyself, that gave me birth and all a loving heart
could bestow, and now I m tasting bitterest remorse
for all those selfish days of mine. I wish I could
recall their acts. Take these words as my request for
pardon. I shall bind this little parchment scrap in my
belt in a vague hope that some way, some time, it may
reach thee. If it do, remember it is sent to bear to
thee, beloved mother, the assurance that thy once way
ward boy remembers now, as he has for months, as the
brightest, best, most exalting and blessed things of all
his life, thy loving words, thy patient trust in him and
all thy pious exhortations. I thank God now for all
my trials and perils. They have brought me to full
prizing of thy goodness and near to the religion thou
The reader paused, and the companion knights at
once began begging him to inscribe messages for them
each, he being the only one in all the company
having the priestly gift of the pen. Most of them
said, "To my mother" or "To my sister, write ;"
but one blushed as he said, " I ve no mother nor
sister." His comrades rallied him at once: "Name
her, the other only woman ! "
"A heart as brave as thine, knight," said the Hos
pitaler to the blushing youth, " has a queen on its
The youth blushed more and drew away a little.
The Fugitives, 81
" Only a lover," said the Templar. " Lovers, absent;
assuage their pinings by new mating! They forget;
mothers never do. Write for us, Sir Charleroy. "
The blush of the youth deepened to anger, evincing
his heart s high protest against any hint of doubt
being aimed at his queen ; but he was self-restraining,
silent. " I ll not reveal her by defense even," was his
The writing was finished. " Farewell ! Forward.
The chief suited the action to the commands, and
soon his steed was dashing swiftly away with its
rider, followed by the others of his party. The seven
departed toward Nain ; perhaps it was an ominous
choice, for their route led them toward the cave of
incantation, where Endor s witch called up for Saul the
shade of Samuel. Most likely the words or the dead
prophet to the haunted warrior. "To-morrow thou
shalt be with me," would have told the fate of the
seven that morning fittingly, for thev were never
heard from by any of their earthly rnends.
" Oh. that many may know
Thfc end of this day s business, ere it come ;
But it sufficeth that the day will end,
And then the end is known."
TEDIOUS ride brought the five knights
nigh Shunem, the City of Elijah.
" We ll find no prophet s chamber here
for such as we," remarked Sir Charleroy.
" Perhaps," said a comrade, " we may by force or
cajoling find a breakfast ; a cake or cruse of oil."
"Anyhow," replied the chief, "we must try for a
little food. We can neither fight nor flee with gaunt
hunger on our flanks. Who knows, after all, but that
we may happen on a humane being in these parts."
" Well, good captain, if we should find a Shulamite,
black, but comely, she might be as loving to thee as
that one of old was to Solomon, although
The sentence was broken off by the interrupting
command of Sir Charleroy, " Men, quick to cover ; to
the lemon-tree grove on the right ! "
A glance back revealed a host of armed men behind
" All saints defend !" cried the Templar, as the little
band wheeled toward the refuge.
The tale of the battle to the death that ensued, is
Sir Charlcroy, though he had fought with reckless
bravery, as one hotly pursuing death, alone survived.
A bludgeon blow felled him ; when he recovered
consciousness, he beheld standing by his side a
gorgeously bedecked Moslem. The clangor of the
conflict was over; the blood in which he weltered, and
the vicious eyes that watched him, were all that re
minded the knight of what had recently transpired.
Presently the latter addressed the one that stood
" Why is the infidel so tardy in finishing his work?"
" Is the Crusader in a hurry to reach night ? sen-
tentiously replied the man of gorgeous trappings.
" He would like to stay long enough to execute a
murderer the chief of thy horde."
"My here 1 "? Thou knowest me?"
" Oh, ye; Azrael, Angel of Death, thy minions call
thee ; but i defy thee as I loathe thee."
The chief s brow darkened ; his sword rose in air,
and he exclaimed : " Hercules was healed of a ser
pent bite, ages ago, at Acre; Islamism in the same
place recently ; I must finish the hydra by cutting off
thy hissing head, Christian."
Sir Charleroy steadily met his captor s gaze, eye to
eye, and was silent.
The chief paused ; then lowering his sword, toyed
its point against the cross on the prostrate man s
"Bitter tongue, thou dost worship a death sign 5
dost thou so love death?"
8^. The Queen of the House of David.
" Death befriends those who wear that sign in truth ;
this is my comfort standing now at the rim of earth s
"Thy bright red blood and unwrinkled brow be
speak youth, the power to enjoy life. Youth and such
power is ever a prayer for more time ; thou liest to thy
self and me by professing to seek thy end."
" How wonderful ! The Angel of Death is a soul-
reader as well as a murderer!" bitterly rejoined Sir
" Well, then, refute me ! Here s thy greasy, blood
stained sword ; now go, by thine own hands, if thou
darest, to judgment."
"Trusting God, I may defy thee ; yet not hurry
"I like the Christian s metal. I might let him live."
" Life would be a mean gift now ; a painful depart
ure from the threshold of Paradise, to renew weary
" I may be merciful."
" I do not believe it."
" Thou shalt."
" When I believe in the tenderness of jackals and
tigers, in the sincerity of transparent hypocrisy, I ll
praise the mercy of Azrael."
" Our holy Koran reveals a bridge finer than a hair,
sharper than a sword, beset with thorns, laid over hell.
From that bridge, with an awful plunge, the wicked go
eternally down ; over it safely, swiftly, the holy pass
to happiness. Art ready to try that bridge? "
"Ready for the land of forgetfulness ; no swords nor
crescents are there."
" No, thou wouldst only reach Orf, the partition of
Aell, where the half-saints tarry ; thy bravery merits that
much; but I ll teach thee to reach better realms."
" Turk, Mameluke, tis fiendish to prejudge a dying
soul ; leave judgment to God, and share now all that is
within thy power, my body, with thy fit partners, the
vultures ! "
" A living slave is wort r more to me than a dead
knight ; I ve an humor to let thee live."
" Oh, most merciful hypocrite ! I did not think thou
couldst tell the truth so readily ; but let me, I beseech
thee, be the dead knight."
" What if I save thy life, teach thee the puissant
faith of Islam, give thee leadership, and with it oppor
tunity to win entrance to that highest Paradise, whose
gateway is overshadowed by swords of the brave?
There thou mayest dwell forever with Allah and the
" Enough ; unless thou dost aim to torture me ! I m
a Knight of Saint Mary, and thou full well knowest
the measure of my vows ; how throughout this land my
Order has warred against thy hateful polygamy, thy
gilded lusts here, thy Harem heaven hereafter! Ye
thrive by luring to your standards men aflame now
with the fire that burns such souls at last in black per
dition. I tell thee to thy teeth, thou and thine are
living devils. But ye war against the wisdom of the
world and the law of God ; though triumphing now, ye
will rot amid your riots and victories."
The chief s face grew black as night for an instant,
but recovering himself, he continued, sarcastically at
first, then with the zeal of a proselyter:
86 The Queen of the House of David.
" Speak low, thou, last dying vestige of a wan faith !
Thou mightst make my solemn followers yell with ridi
culing laughter! I tell thee of life and of a faith as
natural as nature herself. Listen ; there is for the brave
and faithful a Paradise whose rivers are white as milk
as odoriferous as musk. There are sights for the eye
fetes most delicious and music never ceasing to ravish ;
these lure the brilliantly-robed faithful to the black-
eyed daughters of Pleasure. One look at them
would reward such as we for a world-life of pain ; and
the children of the prophet s faith are given the
eternities to companion these splendid creatures whose
forms created of musk know no infirmity, but survive,
always, as adolescent fountains. The heaven of
Islamism is eternal youth, eternally luxurious."
" It befits the Angel of Death to gild a deformed
hell with bedazzling words. Thou and thine glorify lust,
and thy heaven, like thy harem, is but a brothel after
all. Now let me blast thy gorgeous charnel-house
with the lightning of God s Word : Blessed are the
pure in heart for they shall see God !
Sir Charleroy had raised himself up as he was speak
ing; now he fell back, exhausted. He again felt the
glow in his heart that he felt on the quay when the
English bishop blessed him ; but it seemed more real
now than then, and the approvings of conscience some
way came with rebukes that caused tears to flow. He
felt something akin to real penitence fora life that had
not been always up to the ideal that this debate had
caused him to exalt. As he fell back he closed his
eyes and turned his face from- his captor ; the act was a
prayer to be helped to shut out of his mind the pic-
ture of gilded lust depicted by the false teacher that
stood by. For a few moments the wounded man was
left to his own thoughts, and then his heart went out
toward home crying like a sick or lost child in the
night, for " Mother! " Once more he returned to that
duality of existence which comes when one enters into
personal introspections. There seemed to be two Sir
Charlcroys, one writing the history of the other, and
the writer was recording such estimates as these : "As
he lay there, nigh death, he drew near to God. He
had once been a rover, seeking the wildest pleasures of
the European capitals; but meeting passion, presented
as the ultimate of life, for all eternity, his soul recoiled
from it and he became the herald of purity. Ofice he
had friends, wealth and physical prowess; but he
squandered them as a prodigal ; when he lay bleeding,
powerless in body, amid strangers, a slave, he rose to
the majesty of a moral giant." The Sir Charleroy that
was thus reviewed was comforted, and he stood oft
from the picture in imagination to admire it, as one