Reading Sir Walter:

Count Robert of Paris

(Chapter 5) The Western Crusades

Read by Dr. J.H. Alexander

I have long been fascinated by the haunting quality of Scott's final narratives. The passage I've chosen reworks in masterly fashion a pre-existing document: in this case a strikingly eerie section from the 6th-century historian Procopius. As a bonus Scott's undiminished ability to sketch character deftly and economically is evident in the lead-in and lead-out.

In this short extract from Count Robert of Paris, the Emperor Alexius is seeking information from his courtiers about the Western Crusaders who are passing through his territories.

December 2009

Count Robert of Paris. 1879 Steel engraving by William Greatbatch based on a painting by Sir William Boxall. Used here with the permission of the Walter Scott Digital Archive Image Collection.