We too were carried on like a mad torrent that could not stay itself, and in the front we cut furiously with our swords at the tail of their long line whenever chance was afforded. Not many so we slew, but a number tripped over in the rush were trampled underfoot, or threw themselves in the streamlet’s bed, wherein afterwards they were speedily slain.
But an end came at last to that mad descent, and all-quivering and furious, we landed on the shore. We stayed a moment till a great troop was round us, every moment swelling as the laggards came up, thirsting to have a lot in so great a matter, and then with a mighty charge, that our foes scarce essayed to meet, we drove them before us into the sea. Ay! in that deadly rush, with swinging steel and echoing cry like angels of great Heaven’s power, we swept them like some unclean stuff off our island’s face into the water. There was great slaughter all along the bay. Some climbing into boats were knifed behind; some half-drowned in the water we cut to pieces; some, but poor swimmers, never reached their ships; and more than one boat capsized, being overfull of raging and infuriated men.
A little remnant speedily entrenched themselves amid the rugged boulders, and smarting as they were with wild and bitter rage, we left them in their fortress, till one of the ships espying them, a boat was sent amid the rocks that they climbed towards and entered safely without hindrance from us. These and the few that swam, and the few that escaped in boats, and some that hid themselves in cave or brake, and afterwards escaped, were the scanty sum of that bodyguard of Le Grand Geoffroy that got to their ships.
The rest lay on the road, or in the water-way, or here where the shore met the white roll of the surf, in great heaps that the waves played with, as they rolled up and ran back dyed with blood. So we islanders of Guernsey and Brethren of the Vale dealt with one-half of the pirates’ force, while good Samson d’Anville did likewise with the other half as they fled to the Grand Havre.
It was when we at last rested from this sad work of slaughter that I looked up to the clear sky, since earth and sea seemed all defiled with blood, and lo! there on the spur of land that divideth the Bay of Moulin Huet from the Bay of All Saints, high up on the top, with his form outlined against the sky, sat Le Grand Sarrasin on his Arabian steed. I showed him in a moment to Hugo.
“Fools that we be,” cried he, “that stain our hands in this foul work upon these paltry runaways, while he, the chief cause of these men’s offending, still goes free!”
“See,” I said, “the monster gazes down on the downfall of his lieges, and sees them die without a care!”
“Ay, for he knows,” said Hugo, “there is plenty of evil men in the world for him still to lead.”
With that Hugo picked out some twenty of his most trusted men and bade us follow him.