Upon this the citizens consulted together, and collected all their vessels of gold and silver and brought them to Mohammed. "Take these," said they, "and coin or sell or pledge them for money wherewith to pay the troops." The women of Baza also were seized with generous emulation. "Shall we deck ourselves with gorgeous apparel," said they, "when our country is desolate and its defenders in want of bread?" So they took their collars and bracelets and anklets and other ornaments of gold, and all their jewels, and put them in the hands of the veteran alcayde. "Take these spoils of our vanity," said they, "and let them contribute to the defence of our homes and families. If Baza be delivered, we need no jewels to grace our rejoicing; and if Baza fall, of what avail are ornaments to the captive?"
By these contributions was Mohammed enabled to pay the soldiery and carry on the defence of the city with unabated spirit.
Tidings were speedily conveyed to King Ferdinand of this generous devotion on the part of the people of Baza, and the hopes which the Moorish commanders gave them that the Christian army would soon abandon the siege in despair. "They shall have a convincing proof of the fallacy of such hopes," said the politic monarch: so he wrote forthwith to Queen Isabella praying her to come to the camp in state, with all her train and retinue, and publicly to take up her residence there for the winter. By this means the Moors would be convinced of the settled determination of the sovereigns to persist in the siege until the city should surrender, and he trusted they would be brought to speedy capitulation.
HOW QUEEN ISABELLA ARRIVED AT THE CAMP, AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF HER ARRIVAL.
Mohammed Ibn Hassan still encouraged his companions with hopes that the royal army would soon relinquish the siege, when they heard one day shouts of joy from the Christian camp and thundering salvos of artillery. Word was brought at the same time, from the sentinels on the watch-towers, that a Christian army was approaching down the valley. Mohammed and his fellow-commanders ascended one of the highest towers of the walls, and beheld in truth a numerous force in shining array descending the hills, and heard the distant clangor of the trumpet and the faint swell of triumphant music.
As the host drew nearer they descried a stately dame magnificently attired, whom they soon discovered to be the queen. She was riding on a mule the sumptuous trappings of which were resplendent with gold and reached to the ground. On her right hand rode her daughter, the princess Isabella, equally splendid in her array, and on her left the venerable grand cardinal of Spain. A noble train of ladies and cavaliers followed, together with pages and esquires, and a numerous guard of hidalgos of high rank arrayed in superb armor. When the veteran Mohammed beheld the queen thus arriving in state to take up her residence in the camp, he shook his head mournfully, and, turning to his captains, "Cavaliers," said he, "the fate of Baza is decided."
The Moorish commanders remained gazing with a mingled feeling of grief and admiration at this magnificent pageant, which foreboded the fall of their city. Some of the troops would have sallied forth on one of their desperate skirmishes to attack the royal guard, but the prince Cid Hiaya forbade them; nor would he allow any artillery to be discharged or any molestation or insult offered; for the character of Isabella was venerated even by the Moors, and most of the commanders possessed that high and chivalrous courtesy which belongs to heroic spirits, for they were among the noblest and bravest of the Moorish cavaliers.
The inhabitants of Baza eagerly sought every eminence that could command a view of the plain, and every battlement and tower and mosque was covered with turbaned heads gazing at the glorious spectacle. They beheld King Ferdinand issue forth in royal state, attended by the marques of Cadiz, the master of Santiago, the duke of Alva, the admiral of Castile, and many other nobles of renown, while the whole chivalry of the camp, sumptuously arrayed, followed in his train, and the populace rent the air with acclamations at the sight of the patriotic queen.