Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Count Julian; or, The Last Days of the Goth >> Chapter XII >> Page 199

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 199

Novel (Romance) | William Taylor & Co. | 1845 - 1846
Transcription THE LAST DAYS OF THE GOTH. 199

gle instant only—in order to indicate the fortunes of the two persons thus singularly and happily brought together. The events of that meeting between Egilona and Abdalazis constituted but the beginning of an interesting drama, terminating in his final ascent to the throne of Spain, and his marriage with the widow of Roderick the Goth. Let this suffice of their history. The chronicles go a step farther, and it is more than suspected that the pure and lovely Egilona finally won the heart of her Arab lover to the foot of the cross ; a triumph of the wife and the devotee which brought them both to the scaffold, victims to the brutal rage of a populace as warmly devoted to Islam as Egilona was to Christ.

CHAPTER XII.

WHILE these exciting events were in progress in one quarter of the field, what was the fate of Roderick, and whither did his footsteps tend ? With the vindictive shouts of Julian ringing in his ears, conscience-stricken, he urged his noble steed—the good steed Orelia, of which tradition has deemed it not beneath its care to pre-serve some pleasing memorials for posterity—to the utmost powers of limb and muscle, in the fond hope of escaping from the avenger. But, as eagerly as he fled did the father of the unhappy Cava pursue. His instincts were all aroused and unerring in the chase, and while the feet of Orelia were laving themselves in the edges of the Guadalete, some seven miles from the field of battle, the steed of Count Julian came thundering down the banks. The oozy surface of the marsh on the sides of the river deceived the unhappy Roderick. Orelia, striving with generous effort, in obedience to the voice and spur of the rider, became entangled in the sedge and mire at the perilous moment, and, compelled to abandon her, Roderick leapt from the saddle to the shore, only to meet with the avenger. Julian was not the first to encounter with the fugitive monarch. This was a fortune reserved to a valiant Moor, the captain of a select body of Bedouin horse, named Maguel el. Rami. Their weapons were already opposed, when, hot with haste, weary from hard riding and fighting, and feeble from several wounds, Julian of Consuegra dashed between them, and struck their swords asunder.
" God ! how I thank thee that he lives," was the first exclamation of the panting sire ! Moor !" said he, turning to L1'Iaguel el Rarni, " hadst thou slain him by thy unwitting sword, all Barbary had not saved thee from my wrath. Away ! choose thee out other victims—leave this to me !"
He was obeyed ! The Moor was in a moment out of sight.
Roderick !" said Julian, " how I rejoice me thou lost survive this hour—that thou livest to satisfy, however poorly, the hungry passion of revenge which is consuming within my heart."
Slave !" cried Roderick, with a show of scorn and confidence which he did not feel—" I am still thy king."
King ! to be sirre thou art ! a king still—but none of mine ! ft is a part of my rejoicing that I slay in thee a sovereign. The memory of Cava, her bloody wrongs, call for no less a sacrifice. I would not rob thee of a single dignity. Nay, were the passion of my heart once satisfied—could this thing be possible—I would re-store thee to thy power—restore myself again to Spain—and all for one small boon which thou hast to bestow.""And that !" demanded Roderick, somewhat eagerly, deceived by the suddenly subdued tones of the apostate, and the calm and, as he fancied, the gentle expression of his eye. Roderick began to flatter himself with new hopes. He began