CHAPTER XVII. RICHARD I AND THE CRUSADE
The siege was now pressed with more vigour, and before the middle of July, Acre surrendered. Then Philip, whose heart was always in his plans at home, pleaded ill health and returned to France. After this began the slow advance on Jerusalem, Saladin's troops hanging on the line of march and constantly attacking in small bodies, while the crusaders suffered greatly from the climate and from lack of supplies. So great were the difficulties which Richard had not foreseen that at one time he was disposed to give up the attempt and to secure what he could by treaty, but the negotiations failed. The battle of Arsuf gave him an opportunity to exercise his peculiar talents, and the Saracens were badly defeated; but the advance was not made any the easier. By the last day of the year the army had struggled through to within ten miles of the holy city. There a halt was made; a council of war was held on January 13,1192, and it was decided, much against the will of Richard, to return and occupy Ascalon before attempting to take and hold Jerusalem - probably a wise decision unless the city were to be held merely as material for negotiation. Various attempts to bring the war to an end by treaty had been going on during the whole march; Richard had even offered his sister, Joanna, in marriage to Saladin's brother, whether seriously or not it is hardly possible to say; but the demands of the two parties remained too far apart for an agreement to be reached. The winter and spring were occupied with the refortification of Ascalon and with the dissensions of the factions, the French finally withdrawing from Richard's army and going to Acre. In April the Marquis Conrad was assassinated by emissaries of "the Old Man of the Mountain"; Guy had little support for the throne except from Richard; and both parties found it easy to agree on Henry of Champagne, grandson of Queen Eleanor and Louis VII, and so nephew at once of Philip and Richard, and he was immediately proclaimed king on marrying Conrad's widow, Isabel. Richard provided for Guy by transferring to him the island of Cyprus as a new kingdom. On June 7 began the second march to Jerusalem, the army this time suffering from the heats of summer as before they had suffered from the winter climate of Palestine. They reached the same point as in the first advance, and there halted again; and though all were greatly encouraged by Richard's brilliant capture of a rich Saracen caravan, he himself was now convinced that success was impossible. On his arrival Richard had pushed forward with a scouting party until he could see the walls of the city in the distance, and obliged to be satisfied with this, he retreated in July to Acre. One more brilliant exploit of Richard's own kind remained for him to perform, the most brilliant of all perhaps, the relief of Joppa which Saladin was just on the point of taking when Richard with a small force saved the town and forced the Saracens to retire. On September 2 a truce for three years was made, and the third crusade was at an end. The progress of Saladin had been checked, a series of towns along the coast had been recovered, and the kingdom of Cyprus had been created; these were the results which had been gained by the expenditure of an enormous treasure and thousands of lives. Who shall say whether they were worth the cost.