“Have not the Brethren taught thee a word called ‘Duty,’ lad?” he slowly said, “a word for me, that was born a poor fisherman in the calling of the Lord’s Apostles, as well as for thee born of a great house.”
“Then it is thy duty thus to do?” I said, perceiving that naught could move him, and that indeed a noble strain within him forbade him to be moved.
“Ay, lad,” said he, “and may we all, thou, Jacques, and I, old though I be, do our duty right well this morn!”
Of our battle on the rocks of Jersey Isle, and how Simon gave up his life, and how I was taken captive and brought back.
The pirates had put off in two long-boats, and in a short space of time entered the creek, and climbed across our boat to shore—if shore it could be called, where the rocks stood broken into such strange and rude shapes, and where the footing amid them was so rough. I had no doubt of their errand, for each man had a great ugly naked weapon in his hand, such as we bore ourselves, only heavier.
Up the cliff they clambered, and soon spied us in our fastness.
“Come out, ye spies,” they shouted; “come out, cursed rats, or we will come and slay you where you stand.”
Our hearts panted to answer, but we said naught. Then they in a moment changed their tone, and two approaching more civilly, spoke with us almost at the entry of our fast place. Fair words they used, saying that their captain had business of great import with certain stalwart seamen of Jersey that day, and begged us for our own advantage to come down aboard their ship.
“And who is your captain?” curiously asked Renouf.
The rogue dissembled not. “Our captain is Le Grand Geoffroy, Lord of Guernsey, and his aide-de-camp, Mahmud le Terrible, is even now on board of yonder craft.”
“Then, hark you, Sarrasin dog!” said Simon. “Sooner will we three die on this rock as good men and true to the law of God and man, than have parley further in anywise with you and your men of blood.”
Our civil visitors saw that fair words were of no avail to save fighting, and so they ran back to their fellows, and with a few minutes’ chatter among themselves, half of them climbed up amid the rocks, to drop on us, as we guessed from above, where they might find foothold among the crevices, and the others with determined aspect ran up to us in single line, taking the narrow ledge for their road to our stronghold.
Then began the fray. It was no hard matter for Jacques de la Mare and me at first to stay their attack, for the first comer and the next, struck ere they strove to pass us, fell down helpless among the rocks below. But the third, running in quickly, closed with Jacques, and forcing him back, left room for another to close with me, and by this a shout above our heads warned us that the rest would be upon us