Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/196

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176
THE ALBIGENSIAN CRUSADES.

with Pedro. Notwithstanding the disparity of numbers, he did not hesitate a moment to advance and succor his people. Sending back the Countess Alice, who was with him, to Carcassonne, where she persuaded some retiring Crusaders to return to his aid, he set forth at once, hastily collecting such troops as were within reach. At Bolbonne, near Saverdun, where he halted to hear mass, Maurin, the sacristan, afterwards Abbot of Pamiers, expressed wonder at his risking with a mere handful of men an encounter with a warrior so renowned as the King of Aragon. De Montfort in reply drew from his pouch an intercepted letter to a lady in Toulouse, in which Pedro assured her that he was coming out of love for her to drive the Frenchman from her land, and when Maurin asked him what he meant by it, he exclaimed, "What do I mean ? God help me as much as I little fear him who comes for the sake of a woman to undo the work of God!" It was the God-trusting Norman against the chivalrous Catalan gallant, and he never doubted the result.

The next day de Montfort entered Muret, which was besieged only on one side, the enemy interposing no obstacle, as they hoped to capture the chief of the Crusaders. The bishops sought to negotiate with Pedro, but no terms could be reached, and the following morning, Thursday, September 13, the Crusaders, numbering perhaps a thousand cavaUers, sallied forth for the attack. As they passed, the Bishop of Comminges comforted them greatly by assuring them that on the Day of Judgment he would be their witness, and that none who might be slain would have to undergo the fires of purgatory for any sins which they had confessed or might intend to confess after the battle. The holy men then gathered in the church, praying fervently to God for the success of his warriors ; and here we get a traditional glimpse of Dominic, who is said to have been one of the little band; indeed, we are gravely told by his followers that the ensuing victory was due to the devotion of the Rosary, which he invented and assiduously practised.

As de Montfort drew away in the opposite direction, the besiegers at first thought that he was abandoning the town, and they were only undeceived when he wheeled and they saw he had made a circuit to obtain a level field for the attack. Count Raymond counselled awaiting the onset behind the rampart of wagons