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time:2023-12-03 19:34:25Classification:thanksedit:qsj

The infidels pressed them hard, and were gaining the advantage when Alonso de Aguilar, hearing of the danger of his brother Gonsalvo, flew to his assistance, accompanied by the count of Urena and a body of their troops. A fight ensued from cliff to cliff and glen to glen. The Moors were fewer in number, but excelled in the dexterity and lightness requisite for scrambling skirmishes. They were at length driven from their vantage-ground, and pursued by Alonso de Aguilar and his brother Gonsalvo to the very suburbs of the city, leaving many of their bravest men upon the field.

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Such was one of innumerable rough encounters daily taking place, in which many brave cavaliers were slain without apparent benefit to either party. The Moors, notwithstanding repeated defeats and losses, continued to sally forth daily with astonishing spirit and vigor, and the obstinacy of their defence seemed to increase with their sufferings.

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The prince Cid Hiaya was ever foremost in these sallies, but grew daily more despairing of success. All the money in the military chest was expended, and there was no longer wherewithal to pay the hired troops. Still, the veteran Mohammed undertook to provide for this emergency. Summoning the principal inhabitants, he represented the necessity of some exertion and sacrifice on their part to maintain the defence of the city. "The enemy," said he, "dreads the approach of winter, and our perseverance drives him to despair. A little longer, and he will leave you in quiet enjoyment of your homes and families. But our troops must be paid to keep them in good heart. Our money is exhausted and all our supplies are cut off. It is impossible to continue our defence without your aid."

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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.


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.

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