When I arose up, the ships that were named L’Aiglon and La Reine d’enfer were both cleared of the Moors, and our men were steering the shattered vessel as well as could be done towards Le Saint Michel, which we presently boarded, letting the pirate ship with a hole in its bottom run away towards La Jaonneuse, a rock on the north-west that broke her up.
Now I saw that the victory in this sharp sea-battle was already won. For to right and left the second line, or those vessels that still remained, had retired, and were bearing away southward. Some five or six of the first line, that we afterwards overhauled had run aground for safety in L’Ancresse Bay; and the remnant, about twenty ships in all, drifted with shattered and broken masts and rigging on to the rocks, on which some lay foundered already.
So it was with a cheery voice I sang out to Samson d’Anville—
“Lo! the way lies open to the Vale.”
And he pointing to the stiff dead bodies floating in the water, and wiping his sword-blade carefully, cried back—
“So die all pirates, and enemies of the duke in the Norman Seas!”
The story of the relief of Vale Castle.
Now, by the ending of our battle before L’Ancresse Bay, the sun was setting, and for fear of some attack on us as we disembarked, Samson d’Anville thought it better that, though well in sight of Vale Castle, that already had lit beacons of joy upon its towers, we should drop anchor for the night in L’Ancresse Bay.
This we did, and there was much business in our fleet in the repairing of the damage of the fight. When the tale was made up, but forty men-at-arms had been lost with some sixty more who had sore damage, and two of our ships were so disabled that we left them to float upon the rocks.
From the prow, where I lay down to sleep, I thought of the joy in the hearts of our brethren and the abbot, and “Oh, Brother Hugo!” I thought, “now, by God’s grace, have I well-nigh fulfilled the task thou gavest me;” and then sleep drew my eyelids tight, and with no alarm of sea or enemy, I slept until the morning.
Now, the day that followed has ever been the brightest and the gladdest of my memories as I have trodden the path of my life. For on that day by Samson’s side I entered Vale gate in very sooth the deliverer of my friends.
I remember not in what manner that goodly army was disembarked, but well I know, through the long space it took, my heart burned to be away. But all was done in the due order of war, for Samson greatly feared an ambush of the Sarrasins in rocky spaces betwixt us and the Castle. And good companies of men were left in a little camp, hastily thrown up by the shore, lest there should be a mishap upon our march.