192 THE BATTLE OF RONCEVALLES
death, and that of the twelve peers of France. So the bond of treachery was sealed. Then the Infidels crowded round, and one offered Ganelon his sword, and another his helmet, while the Queen brought bracelets of precious stones as gifts for his wife. Marsile asked his treasurer if he had made ready the presents that were to be sent to Charles, and pressing Ganelon in his arms, he declared that not a day should pass without his friend likewise receiving presents, if only he would give his help in the slaying of Roland. ' You keep me too long,' was Ganelon's answer, and he mounted his horse and went.
All this while the Emperor Charles was marching towards France, but he halted at a small town which long ago had been taken by Roland, wraiting till he heard some tidings of Gauelon, and received the news that Marsile had agreed to do homage for Spain. At length, one morning at dawn, a messenger came to the King's tent telling him that Ganelon had arrived, and Charles hastened forth with Roland and Oliver, Duke Nairnes and a thousand more, to meet Ganelon. ' Greeting,' said the traitor, bowing low; ' I bring you the keys of Sara-gossa, and twenty hostages, and great gifts. The noble King Marsile beseeches you not to blame him, because the Caliph, his uncle, has not come with me. I have seen — seen with my own eyes — three hundred thousand men all covered with armour sail away in ships with the Caliph for their leader, because they could neither defend their own faith nor forswear it. But hardly were they out of sight of land than a fierce tempest overtook them, and they were all lost. The Caliph must have died with the rest, or the King would have bade him come with me. As to the King himself, sire, before a month has passed he will be in France, ready to receive baptism in your presence. And he will become your vassal, and do homage for the kingdom of Spain.'
' You have done wisely,' said Charles, ' and your reward shall be great.' So trumpets were sounded and tents