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INEZ AND HER GARDEN
For two hours or more John Castell and Peter travelled on the Granada
road, running when it was smooth, walking when it was rough, and
stopping from time to time to get their breath and listen. But the night
was quite silent, no one seemed to be pursuing them. Evidently the
remaining cut-throats had either taken another way or, having their fill
of this adventure, wanted to see no more of Peter and his sword.
At length the dawn broke over the great misty plain, for now they were
crossing the _vega_. Then the sun rose and dispelled the vapours, and a
dozen miles or more away they saw Granada on its hill. They saw each
other also, and a sorry sight they were, torn by the sharp thorns, and
stained with blood from their scratches. Peter was bare-headed too, for
he had lost his cap, and almost beside himself now that the excitement
had left him, from lack of sleep, pain, and weariness. Moreover, as the
sun rose, it grew fearfully hot upon that plain, and its fierce rays,
striking full upon his head, seemed to stupefy him, so that at last they
were obliged to halt and weave a kind of hat out of corn and grasses,
which gave him so strange an appearance that some Moors, whom they met
going to their toil, thought that he must be a madman, and ran away.
Still they crawled forward, refreshing themselves with water whenever
they could find any in the irrigation ditches that these people used for
their crops, but covering little more than a mile an hour. Towards noon
the heat grew so dreadful that they were obliged to lie down to rest
under the shade of some palm-like trees, and here, absolutely outworn,
they sank into a kind of sleep.
They were awakened by a sound of voices, and staggered to their feet,
drawing their swords, for they thought that the thieves from the inn had
overtaken them. Instead of these ruffianly murderers, however, they saw
before them a body of eight Moors, beautifully mounted upon white
horses, and clad in turbans and flowing robes, the like of which Peter
had never yet beheld, who sat there regarding them gravely with their
quiet eyes, and, as it seemed, not without pity.
"Put up your swords, Senors," said the leader of these Moors in
excellent Spanish--indeed, he seemed to be a Spaniard dressed in Eastern
garments--"for we are many and fresh; and you are but two and wounded."
They obeyed, who could do nothing else.
"Now tell us, though there is little need to ask," went on the captain,
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