Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/206

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200 BATTLE OF HASTINGS.


his hand as long as life should last. Then the duke bade Galtier Giffart bear the standard. But he was old and white-headed, and bade the duke give the standard to some younger and stronger man to carry. Then the duke said fiercely, 'By the splendor of God, my lords, I think you mean to betray and fail me in this great need.' 'Sire,' said Giffart, 'not so! we have done no treason, nor do I refuse from any felony toward you; but I have to lead a great chivalry, both hired men and the men of my fief. If ever had I such good means of serving you as I now have; and, if God please, I will serve you; if need be, I will die for you, and will give my own heart for yours.'

"By my faith,' quoth the duke, 'I always loved thee, and now I love thee more; if I survive this day, thou shalt be the better for it all thy days.' Then he called out a knight, whom he had heard much praised, Tosteins Fitz-Rou le Blanc by name, whose abode was at Bec-en-Caux. To him he delivered the standard; and Tosteins took it right cheerfully, and bowed low to him in thanks, and bore it gallantly, and with good heart. His kindred still have quittance of all service for their inheritance on this account, and their heirs are entitled so to hold their inheritance forever.

"William sat on his war-horse, and called out Rogier, whom they call De Montgomeri. 'I rely much on you,' said he; 'lead your men thitherward, and attack them from that side. William, the son of Osber, the seneschal, a right good vassal, shall go with you and help in the attach, and you shall have the men of Boilogne and Poix, and all my soldiers. Alain Fergert and Ameri shall attack on the other side; they shall lead the Poitevins and the Bretons, and all the barons of Maine; and I, with my own great men, my friends and kindred, will fight in the middle throng, where the battle shall be the hottest.

"The barons, and knights, and men-at-arms were all now armed; the foot-soldiers were well equipped, each bearing bow and sword; on their heads were caps, and to their feet were bound buskins. Some had good hides which they had bound round their bodies; and many were clad in frocks, and had quivers and bows hung to their girdles. The knights had hauberks and swords, boots of steel, and shining helmets; shields at their necks, and in their hands lances. And all had their cognizances, so that each might know his fellow, and Norman might not strike