him to mount his horse, and rally his men, and bring up
fresh soldiers to deal the Franks a last blow, while they
were exhausted from the long fight. It will be easy to
revenge the thousands that they have slain, said he; but
if you let them slip now the
me, let him come to meet me with the great lords of his
Court. If he does not come, I have no other hope.
I will tell him what you say, said Sanson, and if it rests
with me you shall be content.
Then Sanson went back to the King. It is William, the
deal you a blow that will unhorse you! Begone, I tell you,
and as quick as you can, or when William Short Nose
returns from the Aliscans it will be the worse for you.
Fear nothing, friend, replied the Count, for I am
William himself. I went to the Aliscan
I should be mad if I did so, answered Roland. In
France, when they knew it, I should lose all my glory!
No; but my sword Durendal knows how to strike, and our
Franks will fight hard, and with what joy! It was an ill
day for the Unbelievers when they came
Aimeri smiled and sighed as he listened to her words, and
his sons shed tears.
William answered nothing, but remained standing in the
middle of the hall, his eyes fixed on his sister sitting on
her throne, with a small golden crown upon her head, and
prisoners in the hands of the Saracens. It is the Lady
Gibourc who bade me come here, and it is she who asks
for help through me. Have pity on us, and help us. But
without a word, they rose up and went into the Palace,
and William knew what their love was
a path to the centre, where the prisoners stood bound. The
Pagans expected the city gates to open and a body of
Franks to come forth to destroy them, and without waiting
another moment they turned and fled. Though the
prisoners were free, William pursued
Oliver had climbed a hill, from which he could see into
the plains of Spain. Roland, cried he, do you see those
shining helmets and glittering swords? It is Ganelon who
has done this, and it was he who had you left here.
Be silent, Oliver, answered Roland
his own father. One by one Vivian remembered them all,
then a mist floated before his eyes, and, murmuring a
farewell to the Lady Gibourc, his soul left the world.
William laid him gently down on his shield, and took
another shield for covering, and turne
I will sound my horn, said Roland, and Charles will
hear, and come back through the defiles. I know that the
Franks will retrace their steps and come to our aid.
That would be a shameful thing for them, replied Oliver;
all our kinsfolk would blush for us
I will visit them, answered Grania, and will try to make
peace between you.
And Fionn bade her offer them terms such as no man then
living would refuse, yet for long the young men did refuse
them. But at the last the prayers of Grania prevailed, and
William Short Nose was still fighting, though he knew
that the victory lay with the Unbelievers and their hosts.
We are beaten, he said to the fourteen faithful comrades
that stood by him. Listen as you will, no sound of our
war cry can be heard. But by t
they knew not which would be victorious. And all the
while Charles slept soundly. With the dawn a thousand
horns awoke the sleepers, and the clamour of a camp
began. My lords, said Charles, calling all his barons
together, you see these narrow defiles thr
struck, and the host marched with gaiety in their hearts to
France the Fair.
My war is finished, said the King, as his army gladly
turned their backs on Spain, and at nightfall spread their
tents and slept till day began. But little he knew that four
revenge. And Ganelon swore. But Marsile was not
content with the oath that Ganelon made. He commanded
that a copy of the Koran should be brought, the sacred
book of Mahomet, and placed it on a chair of ivory, which
stood under an olive tree. With his hand
of Ganelon, and received the news that Marsile had
agreed to do homage for Spain. At length, one morning at
dawn, a messenger came to the Kings tent telling him
that Ganelon had arrived, and Charles hastened forth with
Roland and Oliver, Duke Naimes and a
moment came to charge. Fierce was the shock as the
two armies met, and bravely did their leaders fight, hand
to hand and sword to sword. None struck harder than
Turpin the Archbishop, who cursed his foes as he bore
them from their saddles. He fights well,
Oh, lady! answered he, open the gate, and that quickly.
Twenty thousand Saracens are close upon my track; if
they reach me, I am a dead man.
You cannot enter, replied Gibourc. I am alone here
except for this porter, a priest, a few children, and some
Fair lord, replied Marsile, what shall I have to do in
order to kill Roland?
That I can easily tell you, answered Ganelon. When
Charlemagne has passed safely through the mountains,
with the most part of his soldiers, his baggage and his
hostages, then hav
no one was so fit to lead the army of the Franks as
William Short Nose, Count of Orange, husband of the
It was at the Aliscans that he met them, and a great host
they were, spreading over the country till whichever way
you looked you saw men
the very midst of the Saracens. Orange never will have
peace till they are subdued. So send messengers to Paris,
to your brother-in-law King Louis, and to your father
Aimeri, asking for aid. Then march upon the Saracens,
and rescue the captives that are i
defiles, and all his Franks heard it too. It is Rolands
horn, said the King, and he is fighting.
He is not fighting, answered Ganelon; you are old, and
your words are those of a child. Beside, you know how
great is the pride of Roland; it is a marvel that
William loved his horse, and would not have parted with
him to Charles himself; so he cut off the Saracens head
with his sword, and mounted his horse Folatisse, taking
the saddle and bridle off Bausant so that he might the
more easily escape from the Paga
most part split in two, but three hundred naked swords
still were left to deal blows at the shining helmets of the
Infidels. Help! help! O King! cried the Saracens, and
Marsile heard, and answered, Better die than flee before
these Franks. Let no one thin
for our danger. Ride as hard as you can, and think only of
two things, how best to give and receive blows. And do
not forget the battle cry of King Charles.
Montjoie! Montjoie! shouted the Franks, as the two
armies came together with a crash.
It were long
you to death, cried the Franks as they saw him. But
Roland answered them nothing. The first to come to his
side was Oliver, his old companion, then Turpin the
Archbishop, the Count Gautier, and many more, and after
that they chose twenty thousand men, the
and trouble which before had reigned throughout the hall,
and Ermengarde flung herself at Williams feet and
besought his pardon for the Queen. William raised his
mother from her knees, but his anger was not soothed. I
have no love for the King, he said, a
Roland was brave, but Oliver was wise also, and the souls
of both were as high as their words. Look round you,
and think for a moment, said Oliver; they are close to us,
and Charles is far. Ah! if you would only have sounded
your horn, the King would have
well-tempered steel! Where is your sword Hauteclair,
with its guard of gold and its handle of crystal?
I have no time to draw it, said Oliver. There are too
many blows to strike.
Fiercer and fiercer grew the combat; thicker and thicker
the corpses lay on
In this manner the pride of the King was broken.
But when one man is shifty and another is hasty wrath is
not apt to slumber long, and treaties of peace are easier
made than kept. When the feast was over William pressed
King Louis to prepare an army at on