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The Fall of the Grand Sarrasin Being a Chronicle of Sir Nigel de Bessin, Knight, of Things that Happed in Guernsey Island, in the Norman Seas, in and about the Year One Thousand and Fifty-Seven   By:

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THE FALL OF THE GRAND SARRASIN

BEING A CHRONICLE OF SIR NIGEL DE BESSIN , KNIGHT, OF THINGS THAT HAPPED IN GUERNSEY ISLAND, IN THE NORMAN SEAS , IN AND ABOUT THE YEAR ONE THOUSAND AND FIFTY SEVEN.

BY

WILLIAM JOHN FERRAR.

ILLUSTRATED BY HAROLD PIFFARD.

PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE GENERAL LITERATURE COMMITTEE.

LONDON:

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE,

NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, W.C.;

43, QUEEN VICTORIA STREET, E.C.

BRIGHTON: 129, NORTH STREET.

NEW YORK: E.S. GORHAM.

PREFACE.

Some people bring home a bundle of sketches from their summer holiday water colour memories of cliff, of sea, ruined castle, and ancient abbey. I brought back from the Channel Islands these pages here printed, as a kind of bundle of sketches in black and white, put together day by day as a holiday task, and forming a string, as it were, on which the memories of ramble after ramble were threaded, rambles from end to end of Guernsey, and rambles, too, among the treasures of the Guille Allés Library. I enjoyed my holiday all the better, as I peopled the cliffs and glens with the shadows of eight hundred years ago, and I hope that others may find some reality and some pleasure in the result as it is given here.

If any inquire into the real historical foundations for the story, I refer them to the few notes at the end of the book, which will reveal without much doubt where fiction begins and fact ends. I hope I may be allowed a little license in the treatment of facts. There is is there not? a logic of fiction, as well as a logic of facts. At least there seemed to be as I wrote the story, and I hope no one who reads it will be inclined to quarrel with any part of it because its only basis is imagination. Anyway, I will shelter myself under the great words of a great man, in the preface of one of the great books of the world: "For herein may be seen noble chivalry, courtesy, humanity, friendliness, hardiness, love, friendship, cowardice, murder, hate, virtue, and sin. Do after the good and leave the evil, and it shall bring you to good fame and renommée . And for to pass the time this book shall be pleasant to read in, but for to give faith and belief that all is true that is contained herein, ye be at your liberty: but all is written for our doctrine, and for to beware that we fall not to vice nor sin, but to exercise and follow virtue by the which we may come and attain to good fame and renown in this life, and after this short and transitory life to come unto everlasting bliss in heaven" (Preface of William Caxton to "The Book of King Arthur").

W.J. FERRAR.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

Of how I, Nigel de Bessin , was brought up by the monks of the Vale in Guernsey Island , and how on a certain day the abbot gave me choice of two lives, and which I chose. 5

CHAPTER II.

Of Vale Castle hard by the Abbey, and how I was sent with a letter to Archbishop Maugher , and by the way first saw the Sarrasin pirates at work. 12

CHAPTER III.

Of my Lord Maugher and his Familiar Demon . How he received the abbot's letter, and how I was courteously entertained at his house of Blanchelande . 18

CHAPTER IV.

Of the coming of the Sarrasins in force, and of the building of their château Of Brother Hugo's confidence in God, and how I rang the alarm bell at St. Pierre Port . 28

CHAPTER V.

Of what befell the abbot's envoys to Duke William , our liege lord, and more particularly Brother Ralf , and how we were hemmed in by our foes. 34

CHAPTER VI.

Of our passing from cloister to castle, and of the burning of Vale Abbey Of the siege of the castle, and the exploits of Brother Hugo . 40

CHAPTER VII.

Of Le Grand Sarrasin , and of the renewed attack upon Vale Castle Of my first deeds of arms, and how the Moors were beaten back. 47

CHAPTER VIII.

How I was sent forth by my lord abbot to seek protection of Duke William , and of what befell me by the way of the pirates. 54

CHAPTER IX... Continue reading book >>




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