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and furnished money to equip the little troop with which Don Enrique hoped to win a kingdom. There was no need to transport an army across the Pyrenees :--all that was wanted was a valiant escort as far as Castile. The bold pretender remembered how, on a former occasion, towns and castles had opened their gates at his approach: he depended much on the friends he had acquired during his short reign; but above all on the intense hatred which Pedro now inspired. It was a daring attempt. With only 400 lances he traversed Navarre and Aragon; and crossing the Ebro, was soon before Calahorra, where he had been proclaimed King the year before. When told that he had entered the territory of Castile, he dismounted, and after trncing a cross on the sand, knelt and kissed it: 'I • swear,' he said, "by this cross, the sacred symbol of our redemption, that whatever dangers or misfortunes may accrue, I will not leave Castile alive. In Castile will I await death, or such trials as Heaven may send.'
Success attended his progress : Calahorra, Burgos (the ancient capital of Castile), Leon and Madrid, then a thinly populated town, but important by its fortifications, surrendered to him;
and in the spring of the year 1368, the kingdom of Castile was nearly equally divided between the two brothers. The northern provinces had almost all taken part with Don Enrique; while the southern, with the exception of the town of Cordova, still recognised the King. Against Cordova Pedro resolved to direct his whole strength; and swore, that with the help of his Mahomedan ally, the King of Grenada, he would make such an example of the town as should strike terror into all rebels. The dread of his implacable resentment gave the apparently doomed citizens the energy of despair. Cut off from every hope of succour, they determined to resist to the last. The Moors of Andalusia had risen almost to a man. What the temple of Jerusalem had been to Christian armies, Cordova was to them. It had long been the capital of the Andalusian Moors:--- a holy city, containing the venerated Mosque built by Abder-Rahman. Their first onset was terrible, as is that of all fanatic troops. A breach was made, and for an instant the black banners of Islam waved over the walls. All appeared lost, when the women, with frantic shrieks and bitter reproaches, rushed through the streets, calling on their husbands and brothers to save them from slavery and brutal violence. The Christians rallied, and the victorious Moslems were driven back to their very tents. Once repulsed, the Moors could not be induced to renew the attack. Allah,' they said, “will not restore to us the holy city.' Within a few days, the whole Moorish army, amounting to 30,000 foot and
Pedro's League with the Moors,
500 horse, was disbanded. Pedro, forsaken by his allies, was obliged to raise the siege; but not before he had sent a herald to proclaim at the gates of the city, that when he returned, it would be to give it up to fames and to pass the plough over its foundations. This league with the infidels against his Christian subjects raised a universal cry of indignation ; which knew no bounds when he retired to Seville, leaving Andalusia to the Moors. Towns were sacked by them, and whole populations destroyed ;-11,000 persons, it is said, were carried off to slavery from the territory of Utrera alone, within a few leagues of Seville.
While Pedro, on the banks of the Guadalquiver, was concentrating his forces before Cordova, his rival was on the banks of the Tagus, besieging Toledo, reputed the strongest fortress of all Castile. During ten months the town had been subjected to a strict blockade, and famine was beginning to be cruelly felt. All the horses of the garrison had been killed to feed the soldiers. In this extremity a warning message was despatched by the Toledans to their king. A short time before, Logroño, Vittoria, and some other small royalist towns in the north which were isolated in the midst of revolted provinces, had informed him of their situation, and requested his permission (as he was unable to assist them) to open their gates to the King of Navarre, instead of surrendering to Don Enrique; by which concession, they thought it possible they might purchase the intervention of the Navarrese. Pedro's reply was such as few princes in his situation would have made ; and it exhibits conspicuously the one redeeming trait of his character. After urging them to hold out as long as possible, he concluded with the recommendation that, if Fortune betrayed him, and he could not come to their relief, they should make their surrender to Don Enrique: Remember, above all things, that the crown
of Castile must remain entire.' But Toledo could not be given up in this manner. Honour and even policy forbade it. Pedro, therefore, quitted Seville with all the troops he could command, and taking with him an auxiliary corps of Moorish cavalry, determined to offer battle to his rival beneath its walls.
While he was marching towards Toledo, its besieging army had received an important reinforcement. Du Guesclin, whose ransom had been again paid by the King of France, with the same object as before, rejoined Don Enrique with 600 men-atarms. Du Guesclin was a host in himself, and his soldiers were all picked men. Don Enrique, emboldened by this accession, resolved, in spite of inferiority of numbers, not to await the arrival of the King, but to surprise him at the castle of
Montiel, where he was known to have encamped. Pedro, believing himself to be in perfect security, and his brother far away, had allowed his forces to disperse in different detachments in quest of provisions. In the dead of night, the commander of the castle of Montiel awakened him to tell him that fires were seen advancing at the distance of about two leagues in the direction of the mountains. These were the torches carried by Du Guesclin's vanguard. The King, still unconcerned, sent a few horsemen to reconnoitre, and retired to sleep again. His messengers soon returned in breathless haste, to say that the enemy was at their heels: at daybreak the whole of Don Enrique's army was in sight. The guard which had remained with the King, although surprised and in disorder, issued from the castle, and, rallying round his banner, fought desperately. But the struggle was too unequal. Overpowered by numbers, the guard gave way, and Pedro himself, with some other fugitives, took refuge in the castle, a temporary though a most dangerous asylum.
We must hurry on to the catastrophe. It soon became evident that the enemy were aware of the King's presence in the castle, and that escape was impossible. It would have been hopeless for Pedro to attempt a sally, and, sword in hand, force his way through soldiers, who were watching all the issues day and night. One only chance remained. Some of the captains of the mercenaries might be bribed. Men Rodriguez de Senabria, one of Pedro's most faithful servants, offered to undertake the negotiation. He had had some acquaintance with Du Guesclin, and, in consequence, addressed himself to the French knight. The offers of Pedro were proportioned to the occasion. The fee simple of six towns and 200,000 doubloons were to recompense
Du Guesclin's services. At first the offers were received with indignation. He reminded Men Rodriguez that he was a subject of the king of France fighting against an ally of England, and wondered that he should be thought capable of acting against the interests of the chief to whom he was engaged. But when the Castilian became more pressing, Du Guesclin, with the same steady countenance which he had maintained throughout, requested time for reflection and for consultation with his captains. Men Rodriguez retired full of hope ; for bribes which seemed to have shaken the honesty of Du Guesclin were not likely to be rejected by inferior captains of adventure.
But it was not on the expediency of accepting or refusing Pedro's offers that Du Guesclin sought advice. A casuistical doubt, characteristic of the times, had arisen in his mind, Was he, or was he not, to divulge the King's offers to Don
The Duel of the Two Brothers.
Enrique ? Such was the question he put to his counsellors. All were of opinion that Don Enrique should be informed. According to these military judges, treachery authorised treachery, and a knight who proposed to another what chivalry forbade, could not claim to be treated as a knight. Du Guesclin appears to have deferred to the authority of his captains, as a military man of the present day might abide by the decision of his brother officers. The worst remains to be told. Pedro was to be lured from the castle. We should like to think, for the credit of one of the most valiant soldiers even of France, so fertile in valour, that Du Guesclin, having communicated his information, stood aloof from all further part in the transaction. But this seems difficult: and one thing, at least, is certain, - the King was led to believe that he could depend on Du Guesclin, and was betrayed into his brother's hands.
On a dark night, Pedro, with a few followers, quitted the castle of Montiel. The horses of the little band had been shod with cloth, and every man walked in silence by the side of his steed. The sentinels, who had received their orders, allowed them to pass unchallenged, and they soon reached the dry wall which enclosed the camp, where Du Guesclin was waiting for them; “To horse, Messire Bertrand,' whispered the King; it 'is time we were gone. No reply was made, and the embarrassed countenances of the French knights showed the King he was betrayed. Before he could spring into his saddle, he was seized and led to a tent close by. His brother soon appeared. Fifteen years had elapsed since they last met, and at first they did not recognise each other. • Where is the bastard, the Jew, that calls himself King of Castile ?' exclaimed Don Enrique. A French squire pointed to the King, saying, “There is your enemy.' · Yes, I am he,' cried Pedro, 'Í the King of Castile. Every man knows that I am the lawful son of the good King * Alphonso,—thou art the bastard. Our readers are aware of what followed ;--so like a Grecian legend from under the walls of Thebes. Even those least acquainted with the events of this contest for the succession, know the catastrophe which terminated it, and gave the crown of Castile to the House of Trastamara, - how the brothers closed in mortal combat, and how the fratricide died at last by his brother's hand.
The spectators of this royal duel appear to have thought it a worthy sight, and tradition relates that one of the adventurers even called out for "fair play.' Perhaps the feelings of the times in which they lived, might induce the greater part of them to consider the issue of the combat as the judgment of God, and that any interference on their part would be a presumptuous
opposition to the Divine Decree. Yet, according to the Chronique de Du Guesclin, Du Guesclin so far interfered, when the two brothers were struggling on the ground and Pedro uppermost, as to order the bastard of Anières to break in and set Don Enrique free.* Pedro was now thirty-six years old; and of these he had reigned twenty.
We have already carried this review to such a length, that we must forego more than one remark which we would fain have made. But there is one which we cannot omit in conscience. M. Mérimée has not, we think, been sufficiently on his guard against the seduction which almost all heroes, even the worst, exercise on their biographers. He has laid so much stress on the causes which produced the crimes of Pedro, that he seems involuntarily to come to the conclusion that these crimes were unavoidable, and that any other prince in the same situation would have acted as he did. To this we most absolutely demur. True it is, that three princes reigned at the same time in the Peninsula, all of whom obtained the surname of Cruel: yet Pedro had other contemporaries placed in circumstances scarcely less trying, whose virtues have been recorded by history. Our English Edward left a glorious memory. Of the two princes who successively filled the French throne during Pedro's reign, one is known as the Good, the other as the Wise. In vain are the barbarous manners of his time invoked as an excuse for a hateful tyrant; there is no carrying back the public conscience to any period, however remote, when the crimes we have been relating would have been looked upon with indifference. Cain is still as odious as the fratricide of yesterday. The reader of history should, we allow, strive to shade from his mind's eye the bright day of freedom and civilisation which may surround him, and endeavour to view past events as they appeared in the ages to which they historically belong. This voluntary assimilation of our position to that of the men whose deeds we are about to judge, will enable us to perceive much which would otherwise have remained obscure; as the eye which has been closed awhile, opens to a clearer perception even amid the darkest scene. Still, even then, guilt such as Pedro's — systematic treachery, perjury, and murder — would stand out in accusing blackness even in the moral twilight of the Middle Ages, or in the night of the foulest barbarism.
* Another version attributes this interference to an Aragonese knight, named Rocaberti. The particulars are so obscure, that in the recent Memoirs of the Queens of Spain, written by Anita George, a Spanish lady, and edited by Miss Pardoe, the editor objects to her author's narrative, as too unfavourable to Du Guesclin.