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God Wills It! by William Stearns Davis

And Peter Barthelmy at their head


turned to the Bishop, who in sheer weariness had ceased chanting. "_Reverendissime_, the people are getting past control. In a moment they will break in on us and commit violence at the very altar; go and reason with them while there is yet time."

"Open! open! Death to Peter the Provencal!"

The roaring had swelled to thunders now. The strong iron-bound gates were yielding under the strokes of mace and battle-axe. Richard flung down his spade, and gripped Trenchefer. He would not defend the deceiving priest; but no unruly men-at-arms should touch a hair of Sebastian, if he also was menaced. But just as the portals began to give way, Peter Barthelmy, stripped of girdle and shoes, his hands empty, and only his shirt on his back, leaped into the deep black pit. Even as the doors flew open, but while the crowd stood awed and hesitant at sight of the dim splendor of the nigh empty church, Raymond of Agiles fell on his knees and prayed loudly:--

"O Lord God of battles and of mercy, have pity on Thy people. Have mercy! Give us the lance, sure token of victory!"

And the moment his words died away, Peter Barthelmy lifted one hand up from the pit--and in his hand _the rusted head of a lance_!...

Now what followed no man could tell in due order. For afterward Raymond, the chaplain, was sure that he was the first to seize

the lance from Peter, and kiss it fervently; and Sebastian and the Bishop and Richard Longsword each claimed the same for themselves. But all the toilers were kneeling ranged behind the Bishop, as he stood in the centre of the great aisle, and upheld the relic in sight of the multitude thrusting its way in.

"Kneel! Thank God with trembling!" rang the words; "for He has had mercy on His army, has remembered His elect! Behold the lance that pierced our Saviour's side!"

And at these words a wondrous sobbing ran through the swelling company; after the sobbing, a strange, terrible laughter, and after the laughter one great shout, that made the dark vaulting echo with thunder.

"_Gloria in excelsis Deo! et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis!_" so they sang in the church. But now the tidings had flown on wings unseen to the thousands without, and all the streets were rolling on the greater doxology: "_Laudemus te; benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te; gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam!_"

When Richard came out of the church, he was met by a cry from countless voices: "Hail! Richard de St. Julien! You were one who found the Holy Lance! The favor of God and the love of Christ go with you! May you ever prosper. You were one of those who saved us all!"


"No, sweet friends," said the Norman to those who could hear. "We are all saved by the favor of God. I am only like you, a very sinful man." And he bowed his head, remembering his misdeeds, and wondering why he was chosen to have part in so great a mercy. But the people would not listen to him or his fellows. They carried the twelve, and Peter Barthelmy at their head, borne on high to the palace of the Patriarch; and there the dear Bishop Adhemar was roused from his sickness, and cured in a twinkling by the cry that shot on ahead of the company, "_Gloria! Gloria!_ The lance! The lance! Let us fall upon Kerbogha!"

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