AD VENTURES OF WILLIAM SHOR T NOSE 255
if the man whom they had killed at mid-day had been brought back to life by the help of devils. ' If we let them escape now we shall be covered with shame before Mahomet,' said they, 'but ere night falls William shall acknowledge that he is conquered.'
'Indeed !' said Bertrand, and with his cousins he fell upon them till they fled.
The Counts were victors on this field, but, wounded and weary as they were, another combat lay before them, for a force of twenty thousand Saracens was advancing from the valley. Their hearts never failed them, but they had no strength left; the young Counts were all taken prisoners, except Vivian, who was left for dead by the side of a fountain where he had been struck down. ' 0 Father in Heaven,' he said, feeling his life going from him, 'forgive me my sins, and help my uncle, if it is Thy holy will.'
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 the Holy Rood, the Infidels will know no rest while I am alive. I will give my forefathers no cause for shame, and the minstrels shall not tell in their songs how I fell back before the enemy.'
They then gave battle once more, and fought valiantly, till all lay dead upon the ground, save only William himself.
Now the Count knew that if the Infidel was ever to be vanquished and beaten out of fair France he must take heed of his own life, for the task was his and no other man's; so he turned his horse's head towards Orange, and then stopped, for he saw a troop of freshly landed Saracens approaching him along the same road.
'The whole world is full of these Infidels!' he cried in anger ; ' cursed be the day when they were born. Fair