CONCLUSION OF THE TREATY, AND RETURN OF THE ENVOYS
When mass had been said, the Doge desired the envoys to humbly ask the people to assent to the proposed covenant. The envoys came into the church. Curiously were they looked upon by many who had not before had sight of them.
Geoffry of Villehardouin, the Marshal of Champagne, by will and consent of the other envoys, acted as spokesman and said unto them: " Lords, the barons of France, most high and puissant, have sent us to you; and they cry to you for mercy, that you take pity on Jerusalem, which is in bondage to the Turks, and that, for God's sake, you help to avenge the shame of Christ Jesus. And for this end they have elected to come to you, because they know full well that there is none other people having so great power on the seas, as you and your people. And they commanded us to fall at your feet, and not to rise till you consent to take pity on the Holy Land which is beyond the seas." Then the six envoys knelt at the feet of the people, weeping many tears. And the Doge and all the others burst into tears of pity and compassion, and cried with one voice, and lifted up their hands, saying: " We consent, we consent I " Then was there so great a noise and tumult that it seemed as if the earth itself were falling to pieces.
And when this great tumult and passion of pity - greater did never any man see-were appeased, the good Doge of Venice, who was very wise and valiant, went up into the reading-desk, and spoke to the people, and said to them: "Signors, behold the honour that God has done you; for the best people in the world have set aside all other people, and chosen you to join them in so high an enterprise as the deliverance of our Lord!
All the good and beautiful words that the Doge then spoke, I cannot repeat to you. But the end of the matter was, that the covenants were to be made on the following day; and made they were, and devised accordingly. When they were concluded, it was notified to the council that we should go to Babylon (Cairo), because the Turks could better be destroyed in Babylon than in any other land; but to the folk at large it was only told that we were bound to go overseass. We were then in Lent (March 1201), and by St. john's Day, in the following year-which would be twelve hundred and two years after the Incarnation of Jesus Christ-the barons and pilgrims were to be in Venice, and the ships ready against their coming.
When the treaties were duly indited and sealed, they were brought to the Doge in the grand palace, where had been assembled the great and the little council. And when the Doge delivered the treaties to the envoys, he knelt greatly weeping, and swore on holy relics faithfully to observe the conditions thereof, and so did all his council, which numbered fifty-six persons. And the envoys, on their side, swore to observe the treaties, and in all good faith to maintain their oaths and the oaths of their lords; and be it known to you that for great pity many a tear was there shed. And forthwith were messengers sent to Rome, to the Pope Innocent, that he might confirm this covenant-the which he did right willingly.
Then did the envoys borrow five thousand marks of silver, and gave them to the Doge so that the building of the ships might be begun. And taking leave to return to their own land, they journeyed day by day till they came to Placentia in Lombardy. There they parted. Geoffry, the Marshal of Champagne and Alard Maquereau went straight to France, and the others went to Genoa and Pisa to learn what help might there be had for the land overseass
When Geoffry, the Marshal of Champagne., passed over Mont Cenis, he came in with Walter of Brienne, going into Apulia, to conquer the land of his wife, whom he had married since he took the cross, and who was the daughter of King Tancred. With him went Walter of Montbéliard, and Eustace of Conflans, Robert of Joinville, and a great part of the people of worth in Champagne who had taken the cross.
And when he told them the news how the envoys had fared, great was their joy, and much did they prize the arrangements made. And they said, " We are already on our way; and when you come, you will find us ready." But events fall out as God wills, and never had they power to join the host. This was much to our loss; for they were of great prowess and valiant. And thus they parted, and each went on his way.
So rode Geoffry the Marshal, day by day, that he came to Troyes in Champagne, and found his lord the Count Thibaut sick and languishing, and right glad was the count of his coming. And when he had told the count how he had fared, the count was so rejoiced that he said he would mount horse, a thing he had not done of a long time. So he rose from his bed and rode forth. But alas, how great the pity! For never again did he bestride horse but that once.
His sickness waxed and grew worse, so that at the last he made his will and testament, and divided the money which he would have taken with him on pilgrimage among his followers and companions, of whom he had many that were very good men and true-no one at that time had more. And he ordered that each one, on receiving his money, should swear on holy relics, to join the host at Venice, according as he had promised. Many there were who kept that oath badly, and so incurred great blame. The count ordered that another portion of his treasure should be retained, and taken to the host, and there expended as might seem best.