Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/290

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who allowed the Holy Land to remain in the grasp of the Infidel and the good King Louis to languish in his Egyptian dungeon. God had tired of the selfishness and ambition of the nobles, and he called the poor and humble, without arms and captains, to rescue the Holy Places and the Good King. All this found ready response, but even greater applause followed his attacks upon the clergy. The Mendicant Orders were vagrants and hypocrites; the Cistercians were greedy of money and lands ; the Benedictines proud and gluttonous ; the canons wholly given to secular aims and the lusts of the flesh; the bishops and their officials were money-seekers, who shrank from no trickery to accomplish their aims. As for Rome, no terms of objurgation were too strong for the papal court. The people, whose hate and contempt for the clergy were unbounded, listened to this rhetoric with delight, and eagerly joined a movement which promised a reform in some unseen way. Shepherds left their sheep, husbandmen their ploughs, deaf to the commands of their lords, and followed him unarmed, taking no thought of the morrow, nor asking how they were to be fed.

There were not lacking those high in station who, carried away with the general enthusiasm, imagined that God was about to work miracles with the poor and helpless after the great ones of the earth had failed. Even Queen Blanche, eager for any means that promised to liberate her son, looked upon the movement for a while with favor, and lent it her countenance. It swelled and grew till the wandering multitudes amounted to more than a hundred thousand men, bearing fifty banners as an emblem of victory. It was impossible, of course, to confine such an uprising to the peaceful and humble. No sooner did it assume proportions promising immunity than it inevitably drew to itself all the disorderly elements inseparable from the society of the time — the "ruptarii" and "ribaldi," whom we have seen figure so largely in the Albigensian troubles. These flocked to it from all sides, bringing knife and dagger, sword and axe, and giving to the immense procession a still more menacing aspect. That outrages were committed we can well believe, for the wrongs of class against class were too flagrant to remain unavenged when opportunity offered for reprisals.

On June 11, 1251, they entered Orleans, against the commands of the bishop, but welcomed by the people, though the