Turks Franks Cumans and Manichaeans part 15

And there was no end to their unseasonable loquacity. If any one of the ministers tried to cut them short, the Emperor prevented him For knowing the Franks’ natural irritability he was afraid lest from some trifling pretext a great fire of scandal should be lighted and great harm ensue to the Roman rule. And really it was a most wonderful sight. For like a hammer-wrought statue, made perhaps of bronze or cold iron, he would sit the whole night through, from the evening until midnight perhaps, and often even till the third cock-crow, and very occasionally almost till the sun’s rays were bright. All his attendants were dead-tired and would retire and rest and then come back again grumbling. Not one of his courtiers could remain as long as he did without resting, but all kept fidgeting in one way or another. For one would sit, another would rest his head on something and lie down, and another would prop himself against the wall.

The Emperor alone presented an unyielding front to all this labour. And what words would properly describe his patience. For in this babel of tongues each one spoke at length and ‘wrangled on unbridled of tongue,’ as Homer says; then he would stand aside for another and give him the opportunity of speaking, and he passed it on to another and so on from one to the other. And they only stood at intervals, but he had to retain his position unceasingly up to the first or second cockcrow. After a short rest he was again seated on his throne when the sun rose and then fresh labours and new contentions succeeded those of the night.

Machinations against Christians

Clearly it was from this reason that the pain in his feet attacked the Emperor. And from that time on to his death the rheumatism visited him at periodical intervals, and caused him exquisite agony. But he endured it so patiently without ever uttering a word of complaint, but only said, “I deserve the pain; it comes upon me justly because of the multitude of my sins.” If perchance a word of despondency had escaped his lips, he at once made the sign of the cross against the miscreant demon, and said, ” way from me, thou wicked one! Perdition to thee and thy machinations against Christians!” I have said sufficient about the pains in his feet for the present.

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