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Again the clarions blew, and again they started forward, and presently
again they met in mid career. As before, the lances struck upon the
shields; but so fearful was the impact, that Peter's shivered, while
that of Morella, sliding from the topmost rim of his foe's buckler, got
hold in his visor bars. Back went Peter beneath the blow, back and still
back, till almost he lay upon his horse's crupper. Then, when it seemed
that he must fall, the lacings of his helm burst. It was torn from his
head, and Morella passed on bearing it transfixed upon his spear point.
"The Falcon falls," screamed the spectators; "he is unhorsed."
But Peter was not unhorsed. Freed from that awful pressure, he let drop
the shattered shaft and, grasping at his saddle strap, dragged himself
back into the selle. Morella tried to stay his charger, that he might
come about and fall upon the Englishman before he could recover himself;
but the brute was heady, and would not be turned till he saw the wall of
faces in front of him. Now they were round, both of them, but Peter had
no spear and no helm, while the lance of Morella was cumbered with his
adversary's casque that he strove to shake free from it, but in vain.
"Draw your sword," shouted voices to Peter--the English voices of Smith
and his sailors--and he put his hand down to do so, then bethought him
of some other counsel, for he let it lie within its scabbard, and,
spurring the white horse, came at Morella like a storm.
"The Falcon will be spiked," they screamed. "The Eagle wins!--the Eagle
wins!" And indeed it seemed that it must be so. Straight at Peter's
undefended face drove Morella's lance, but lo! as it came he let fall
his reins and with his shield he struck at the white plumes about its
point, the plumes torn from his own head. He had judged well, for up
flew those plumes, a little, a very little, yet far enough to give him
space, crouching on his saddle-bow, to pass beneath the deadly spear.
Then, as they swept past each other, out shot that long, right arm of
his and, gripping Morella like a hook of steel, tore him from his
saddle, so that the black horse rushed forward riderless, and the white
sped on bearing a double burden.
Grasping desperately, Morella threw his arms about his neck, and
intertwined, black armour mixed with white, they swayed to and fro,
while the frightened horse beneath rushed this way and that till,
swerving suddenly, together they fell upon the sand, and for a moment
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