THE BATTLE OF RONGEVALLES 201
of them the Franks embraced each other for the last time, while the Archbishop promised them a speedy entrance into Paradise. ' The Emperor will avenge the treachery of Ganelon,' cried Roland, ' whether we live or die, but the worst part of the fight is before us, and we shall need all our strength to beat back the Unbelievers. They must not tell tales of cowardice in the fair land of France.' Then they spurred their horses and advanced in line, crying ' Moiitjoie ! Montjoie !'
' Count Roland is not as other men,' said King Mar-sile, ' and as he is not content with twro battles, we will give him a third. To-day Charles will cease to have power over Spain, and France will bow her head with shame.' And he gave his orders to the vanguard to go forward, while he himself waited on a little hill till the 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 cnrsed his foes as he bore them from their saddles. ' He fights well,' said the Franks who watched his blows. But the Franks had fought long, and were faint and weary. They had lost much blood, and their arms were weak to strike. ' See how our brothers fall,' they whispered one to another, and Roland heard their groans, and his heart was near breaking. Thousands lay dead, thousands more were wounded, but still the battle went on. Horses without riders wandered about the field neighing for their masters. Then Marsile bade the trumpets sound, and his army gathered round the great standard with the Dragon, borne by a Saracen named Abimus. When Turpin the Archbishop caught sight of him, he dashed straight towards the banner, and with one blow of his mighty sword stretched the Unbeliever dead on the ground before the Dragon. ' Montjoie ! Montjoie!' he cried, and the Franks heard, and said one to the other, ' Heaven send that Charles has many like him!' The lances