THE CRUSADERS LOOK FOR ANOTHER CHIEF
When the Count was buried, Matthew of Montmorency, Simon of Montfort, Geoffry of Joinville who was seneschal, and Geoffry the Marshal, went to Odo, Duke of Burgundy, and said to him, " Sire, your cousin is dead. You see what evil has befallen the land overseass We pray you by God that you take the cross, and succour the land overseas in his stead. And we will cause you to have all his treasure, and will swear on holy relics, and make the others swear also, to serve you in all good faith, even as we should have served him."
Such was his pleasure that he refused. And be it known to you that he might have done much better. The envoys charged Geoffry of Joinville to make the self-same offer to the Count of Bar-le-Duc, Thibaut, who was cousin to the dead count, and he refused also.
Very great was the discomfort of the pilgrims, and of all who were about to go on God's service, at the death of Count Thibaut of Champagne; and they held a parliament, at the
beginning, of the month, at Soissons, to determine what they should do. There were present Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault, the Count Louis of Blois and Chartres, the Count Geoffry of Perche, the Count Hugh of Saint- Paul, and many other men of worth.
Geoffry the Marshal spake to them and told them of the offer made to the Duke of Burgundy, and to the Count of Bar-le-Duc, and how they had refused it. " My lords," said he, " listen, I will advise you of somewhat if you will consent thereto. The Marquis of Montferrat* is very worthy and valiant, and one of the most highly prized of living men. If you asked him to come here, and take the sign of the cross and put himself in place of the Count of Champagne, and you gave him the lordship of the host, full soon would he accept thereof."
[note: Boniface, Marquis of Montferrat, was one of the most accomplished men of the time, and an approved soldier. His little court at Montferrat was the resort of artist and troubadour. His family was a family of Crusaders. The father, William of Montferrat, had gone overseass and fought valiantly against the infidel. Boniface's eldest brother, William of the Long Sword, married a daughter of the titular King of Jerusalem, and their son became titular king in turn. Another brother, Conrad, starting for the Holy Land, stopped at Constantinople, and did there such good service that the Greek emperor gave his sister to him in marriage; but afterwards fearing the perfidy of his brother-in-law, Conrad fled to Syria, and there battled against Saladin. Yet another brother, Renier, also served in the Greek Empire, married an Emperor's daughter, and received for guerdon of his deeds the kingdom of Salonika. Boniface himself had fought valiantly against Saladin, been made prisoner, and afterwards liberated on exchange. It was no mean and nameless knight that Villehardouin was proposing as chief to the assembled Crusaders, but a princely noble, the patron of poets, verrsed in state affairs, and possessing personal experience of Eastern warfare. I extract these details from M. Bouchet's
Many were the words spoken for and against; but in the end all agreed, both small and great. So were letters written, and envoys chosen, and the marquis was sent for. And he came, on the day appointed, through Champagne and the Isle-de-France, where he received much honour, and specially from the King of France, who was his cousin.