"Hamet el Zegri," says Fray Antonio Agapida, "stood on the top of the high tower of Gibralfaro and beheld this injury wrought upon the Christian force, and his proud heart was puffed up. And the Moorish nigromancer stood beside him. And he pointed out to him the Christian host below, encamped on every eminence around the city and covering its fertile valley, and the many ships floating upon the tranquil sea, and he bade him be strong of heart, for that in a few days all this mighty fleet would be scattered by the winds of heaven, and that he should sally forth under the guidance of the sacred banner and attack this host, and utterly defeat it, and make spoil of those sumptuous tents; and Malaga should be triumphantly revenged upon her assailants. So the heart of Hamet was hardened like that of Pharaoh, and he persisted in setting at defiance the Catholic sovereigns and their army of saintly warriors."
SIEGE OF MALAGA CONTINUED.--DESTRUCTION OF A TOWER BY FRANCISCO RAMIREZ DE MADRID.
Seeing the infatuated obstinacy of the besieged, the Christians now approached their works to the walls, gaining one position after another preparatory to a general assault. Near the barrier of the city was a bridge with four arches, defended at each end by a strong and lofty tower, by which a part of the army would have to pass in making an attack. The commander-in-chief of the artillery, Francisco Ramirez de Madrid, was ordered to take possession of this bridge. The approach to it was perilous in the extreme, from the exposed situation of the assailants and the number of Moors that garrisoned the towers. Francisco Ramirez therefore secretly excavated a mine leading beneath the first tower, and placed a piece of ordnance with its mouth upward immediately under the foundation, with a train of powder to produce an explosion at the necessary moment.
When this was arranged he advanced slowly with his forces in face of the towers, erecting bulwarks at every step, and gradually gaining ground until he arrived near to the bridge. He then planted several pieces of artillery in his works and began to batter the tower. The Moors replied bravely from their battlements, but in the heat of the combat the piece of ordnance under the foundation was discharged. The earth was rent open, a part of the tower overthrown, and several of the Moors were torn to pieces; the rest took to flight, overwhelmed with terror at this thundering explosion bursting beneath their feet and at beholding the earth vomiting flames and smoke, for never before had they witnessed such a stratagem in warfare. The Christians rushed forward and took possession of the abandoned post, and immediately commenced an attack upon the other tower at the opposite end of the bridge, to which the Moors had retired. An incessant fire of crossbows and arquebuses was kept up between the rival towers, volleys of stones were discharged, and no one dared to venture upon the intermediate bridge.
Francisco de Ramirez at length renewed his former mode of approach, making bulwarks step by step, while the Moors, stationed at the other end, swept the bridge with their artillery. The combat was long and bloody--furious on the part of the Moors, patient and persevering on the part of the Christians. By slow degrees they accomplished their advance across the bridge, drove the enemy before them, and remained masters of this important pass.
For this valiant and skilful achievement King Ferdinand after the surrender of the city conferred the dignity of knighthood upon Francisco Ramirez in the tower which he had so gloriously gained.* The worthy padre Fray Antonio Agapida indulges in more than a page of extravagant eulogy upon this invention of blowing up the foundation of the tower by a piece of ordnance; which, in fact, is said to be the first instance on record of gunpowder being used in a mine.
HOW THE PEOPLE OF MALAGA EXPOSTULATED WITH HAMET EL ZEGRI.
While the dervise was deluding the garrison of Malaga with vain hopes the famine increased to a terrible degree. The Gomeres ranged about the city as though it had been a conquered place, taking by force whatever they found eatable in the houses of the peaceful citizens, and breaking open vaults and cellars and demolishing walls wherever they thought provisions might be concealed.