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lay there stunned.
"Who conquers?" gasped the crowd; while others answered, "Both are
sped!" And, leaning forward in her chair, Margaret tore off her veil and
watched with a face like the face of death.
See! As they had fallen together, so together they stirred and
rose--rose unharmed. Now they sprang back, out flashed the long swords,
and, while the squires caught the horses and, running in, seized the
broken spears, they faced each other. Having no helm, Peter held his
buckler above his head to shelter it, and, ever calm, awaited the
At him came Morella, and with a light, grating sound his sword fell upon
the steel. Before he could recover himself Peter struck back; but
Morella bent his knees, and the stroke only shore the black plumes from
his casque. Quick as light he drove at Peter's face with his point; but
the Englishman leapt to one side, and the thrust went past him. Again
Morella came at him, and struck so mighty a blow that, although Peter
caught it on his buckler, it sliced through the edge of it and fell upon
his unprotected neck and shoulder, wounding him, for now red blood
showed on the white armour, and Peter reeled back beneath the stroke.
"The Eagle wins!--the Eagle wins! Spain and the Eagle" shouted ten
thousand throats. In the momentary silence that followed, a single
voice, a clear woman's voice, which even then Margaret knew for that of
Inez, cried from among the crowd:
"Nay, the Falcon stoops!"
Before the sound of her words died away, maddened it would seem, by the
pain of his wound, or the fear of defeat, Peter shouted out his war-cry
of _"A Brome! A Brome"_! and, gathering himself together, sprang
straight at Morella as springs a starving wolf. The blue steel flickered
in the sunlight, then down it fell, and lo! half the Spaniard's helm lay
on the sand, while it was Morella's turn to reel backward--and more, as
he did so, he let fall his shield.
"A stroke!--a good stroke!" roared the crowd. "The Falcon!--the Falcon!"
Peter saw that fallen shield, and whether for chivalry's sake, as
thought the cheering multitude, or to free his left arm, he cast away
his own, and grasping the sword with both hands rushed on the Spaniard.
From that moment, helmless though he was, the issue lay in doubt no
longer. Betty had spoken of Peter as a stubborn swordsman and a hard
hitter, and both of these he now showed himself to be. As fresh to all
appearance as when he ran the first course, he rained blow after blow
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