Thursday, January 26, 2012

First Paragraph

Louis the Sixth of France, Louis the Fat, lay sick in his hunting lodge at Bethizy, whither his bearers had brought him from the unprecedented heat and the fetid odors of the summer in Paris. He was not old - verging on sixty - but he was failing perceptively. The chalky pallor, the bleared vision, the occasional palsy that had long marked him, were attributed to an abortive attempt of his stepmother, Queen Bertrade, to dispose of him by poison in his early years. Latterly he had grown so ponderous that he could no longer mount a horse or stoop to lace a shoe. About him in the sultry room were gathered some of his prelates and barons palatine, chief among them his lifelong friend and counselor, Abbe Suger. A confessor stood by prepared to administer the sacrament in extremis.

- From Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings by Amy Kelly

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