ALEXIUS BEGS THE CRUSADERS TO PROLONG THEIR STAY
The new emperor went oft to see the barons in the camp, and did them great honour, as much as he could; and this was but fitting, seeing that they had served him right well. And one day he came to the camp, to see the barons privily in the quarters of Count Baldwin of Hainault and Flanders. Thither were summoned the Doge of Venice, and the great barons, and he spoke to them and said: " Lords, I am emperor by God's grace and yours, and you have done me the highest service that ever yet was done by any people to Christian man. Now be it known to you that there are folk enough who show me a fair seeming, and yet love me not; and the Greeks are full of despite because it is by your help that I have entered into my inheritance.
Now the term of your departure is nigh, and your fellowship with the Venetians is timed only to last till the feast of St. Michael. And within so short a term I cannot fulfil our covenant. Be it known to you therefore, that, if you abandon me, the Greeks hate me because of you: I shall losemy land, and they will kill me. But now do this thing that I ask of you: remain here till March, and I will entertain your ships for one year from the feast of St. Michael, and bear the cost of the Venetians, and will give you such things as you may stand in need of till Easter. And within that term I shall have placed my land in such case that I cannot lose it again; and your covenant will be fulfilled, for I shall have paid such moneys as are due to you, obtaining them from all mi lands; and I shall be ready also with ships either to go with you myself, or to send others, as I have covenanted; and you will have the summer from end to end in which to carry on the war against the Saracens."
The barons thereupon said they would consult together apart; knowing full well that what the young man said was sooth, and that it would be better, both for the emperor and for themselves, to consent unto him. But they replied that they could not so consent save with the common agreement of the host, and that they would therefore lay the matter before the host, and then give such answer as might be devised. So the Emperor Alexius departed from them, and went back to Constantinople. And they remained in the camp and assembled a parliament the next day. To this parliament were summoned all the barons and the chieftains of the host, and of the knights the greater part; and in their hearing were repeated all the words that the emperor had spoken.