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The challengers were still successful; one of their antagonists was overthrown, and both the others failed in the attaint, that is, in striking the helmet and shield of their antagonist firmly and strongly, with the lance held in a direct line, so that the weapon might break, unless the champion was overthrown. After this fourth encounter, there was a considerable pause; nor did it appear that any one was very desirous of renewing the encounter.
The same subject, concluded. 1. At length, as the Saracenic music of the challengers concluded one of those long and high flourishes with which they had broken the silence of the lists, it was answered by a solitary trumpet, which breathed a note of defiance from the northern extremity.
2. All eyes were turned to see the new champion which these sounds announced; and no sooner were the barriers opened than he paced into the lists. As far as could be judged of a man sheathed in armor, the new adventurer did not greatly exceed the middle size, and seemed to be rather slender than strongly made.
3. His suit of armor was formed of steel, richly inlaid with gold, and the device on his shield was a young oak-tree pulled up by the roots, with the Spanish word Desdichado, signifying disinherited. He was mounted on a gallant black horse, and as he passed through the lists, he gracefully saluted the prince and the ladies by lowering his lance.
4. The dexterity with which he managed his horse, and something of youthful grace which be displayed in his manner, won him the favor of the multitude, which some of the lower classes expressed by crying, “ 'Touch Ralph de Vipont's shield touch the Hospitaller's shield; he has the least sure seat — he is your cheapest bargain!"
5. The champion, moving onward amid these well-meant hints, ascended the platform by the sloping alley which led to it from the lists, and, to the astonishment of all present, riding straight up to the central pavilion, struck with the sharp end of his spear the shield of Brian de Bois-Guilbert, until it rung again.
6. All stood astonished at his presumption, but none more than the redoubted knight whom he had thus defied to mortal conibat. “ Have you confessed yourself, brother ?" said the templar; “and have you heard mass this morning, that you peril your life so frankly ?” — “I am fitter to meet death than thou art,” answered the Disinherited Knight, — for by this name the stranger had recorded himself in the books of the tourney.
7. “ Then take your place in the lists,” said De BoisGuilbert, “and look your last upon the sun; for this night thou shalt sleep in paradise!” –“Gramercy for thy courtesy," replied the Disinherited Knight; "and, to requite it, I advise thee to take a fresh horse and a new lance; for, by my honor, you will need both.”
8. Having expressed himself thus confidently, he reined his horse backwards down the slope which he had ascended, and compelled him in the same manner to move backwards through the lists, till he reached the northern extremity, where he remained stationary, in expectation of his antagonist. This feat of horsemanship again attracted the applause of the multitude.
9. However incensed at his adversary for the precautions which he recommended, Brian de Bois-Guilbert did not neglect his advice; for his honor was too nearly concerned to permit his neglecting any means which might insure victory over his presumptuous opponent. He changed his horse for a fresh one, of great strength and spirit.
10. He chose a new and tough spear, lest the wood of the former might have been strained in the previous encounters he had sustained. Lastly, he laid aside his shield, which had received some little damage, and received another from his squires.
11. His first had only borne the general device of his rider, representing two knights riding upon one horse, -- an emblem expressive of the original humility and poverty of the templars' qualities, which they had since exchanged for the arrogance and the wealth that finally occasioned their suppression. Bois-Guilbert's new shield bore a raven in full flight, holding in its claws a skull, and bearing the motto Gare le Corbeau, *
12. When the two champions stood opposed to each other at the two extremities of the lists, the public expectation was strained to the highest pitch. Few augured the possibility that the encounter could terminate well for the Disinherited Knight, yet his courage and gallantry secured the general good wishes of the spectators.
*" Beware of the Raven!"
13. The trumpets had no sooner given the signal than the champions vanished from their posts with the speed of lightning, and closed in the center of the lists with the shock of a thunderbolt. The lances burst into shivers up to the very grasp, and it seemed at the moment that both knights had fallen, for the shock had made each horse recoil backwards upon its hams.
The address of the riders recovered their steeds by use of the bridle and spur; and having glared on each other for an instant with eyes which seemed to flash fire through the bars of their visors, each made a demi-volte, * and retiring to the extremity of the lists, received a fresh lance from the attendants.
14. A loud shout from the spectators, waving of scarfs and handkerchiefs, and general acclamations, attested the interest taken by the spectators in this encounter, - the most equal, as well as the best performed, which had graced the day. But no sooner had the knights resumed their station than the clamor of applause was hushed into a silence şo deep and so dead that it seemed the multitude were afraid even to breathe.
15. A few minutes' pause having been allowed, that the combatants and their horses might recover breath, Prince John with his truncheon signed to the trumpets to sound the onset. The champions a second time sprung from their stations, and closed in the center of the lists, with the same speed, the same dexterity, the same violence, but not the same equal fortune, as before.
16. In this second encounter, the templar aimed at the center of his antagonist's shield, and struck it so fair and forcibly that his spear went to shivers, and the Disinherited Knight reeled in his saddle. On the other hand, that champion had, in the beginning of his career, directed the point of his lance towards Bois-Guilbert's shield, but, changing his aim almost in the moment of encounter, he addressed it to the helmet, a mark more difficult to hit, but which, if attained, rendered the shock more irresistible.
17. Yet, even at this disadvantage, the templar sustained his high reputation ; and had not the girths of his saddle burst, he might not have been unhorsed. As it chanced, however, saddle, horse, and man, rolled on the ground, under a cloud of dust.
* A turn hall around.
18. To extricate himself from the stirrups and fallen steed was to the templar scarce the work of a moment; and stung with madness, both at his disgrace and at the acclamations with which it was hailed by the spectators, he drew his sword and waved it in defiance of his conqueror.
19. The Disinherited Knight sprung from his steed, and also unsheathed his sword. The marshals of the field, however, spurred their horses between them, and reminded them that the laws of the tournament did not, on the present occasion, permit this species of encounter.
20. We shall meet again, I trust,” said the templar, casting a resentful glance at his antagonist; "and where there are none to separate us!” “ If we do not,” said the Disinherited Knight, “ the fault shall not be mine. On foot or horseback, with spear, with axe, or with sword, I am alike ready to encounter thee.”
21. More and angrier words would have been exchanged, but the marshals, crossing their lances betwixt them, compelled them to separate. The Disinherited Knight returned to his first station, and Bois-Guilbert to his tent, where he remained for the rest of the day, in an agony of despair.
22. Without alighting from his horse, the conqueror called for a bowl of wine, and opening the beaver or lower part of his helmet, announced that he quaffed it “ To all true English hearts, and to the confusion of foreign tyrants." He then commanded his trumpet to sound a defiance to the challengers, and desired a herald to announce to them that he should make no election, but was willing to encounter them in the order in which they pleased to advance against him.
23. The gigantic Front-de-Beuf, armed in sable armor, was the first who took the field. He bore on a white shield a black bull's head, half defaced by the numerous encounters which he had undergone, and bearing the arrogant motto, Cave, Adsum.* Over this champion the Disinherited Knight obtained a slight but decisive advantage. Both champions broke their lances fairly; but Front-de-Beuf, who lost a stirrùp in the encounter, was adjudged to have the disadvantage.
24. In the stranger's third encounter, with Sir Philip Malvoisin, he was equally successful; striking that baron so forcibly on the casque, that the laces of the helmet broke, and Malvoisin-only saved from falling by being unhelmed - was declared vanquished, like his companions.
25. In his fourth encounter, with De Grantmesnil, the
*" Take care, - I am here!”
Disinherited Knight showed as much courtesy as he had hitherto evinced courage and dexterity. De Grantmesnil's horse, which was young and violent, reared and plunged in the course of the career so as to disturb the rider's aim; and the stranger, declining to take the advantage which this accident afforded him, raised the lance, and passing his antagonist without touching him, wheeled his horse and rode again to his own end of the lists, offering his antagonist, by a herald, the chance of a second encounter.
26. This De Grantmesnil déclined, avowing himself vanquished as much by the courtesy as by the address of his opponent. Ralph de Viponi summed up the list of the stranger's triumphs, being hurled to the ground with such force that the blood gushed from his nose and his mouth, and he was borne senseless from the lists. The acclamations of thousands applauded the unanimous award of the prince and marshals, announcing that day's honors to the Disinherited Knight.
LESSON XXVII. Herculaneum and Pompeii.-ORIGINAL. 1. In the year 79 of the Christian era, during the reign of the Roman emperor Titus, a tremendous eruption from Mount Vesuvius occurred, which completely destroyed several of the large cities in its vicinity. The principal of these cities were Herculaneum and Pompeii, the former of which, being nearer to the mountain, was overwhelmed by the redhot stream of lava which rolled down from its sides, and hardening into stone as it cooled, entombed the devoted city in the solid rock.
2. The latter, the city of Pompeii, received the showers of ashes and cinders which fell like a deluge upon it, and was buried beneath the destructive mass.
Years rolled on, and the devoted cities were forgotten. New soil formed over them, and new villages arose above it, while history could furnish no clue to discover the spot under which they were concealed.
3. About the year 1738, an accident led to the discovery*
* It was discovered in sinking a well, which struck the door of the amphithéatre.