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falling short, the approach of famine compelled them to surrender. The three chiefs, who had landed with the first division of the French invading forces were taken in the fortress--namely, the Pope's Legate, General Murrono, and the Admiral Reynaldo de Avella. Amongst the prisoners was also a friar called Prono de Aydona, a Dominican, who bad been the bearer of letters and instructions from the Pope meant to stir up the people of Sicily to revolt. This person had previously been intrusted with a similar mission, and when taken had been generously pardoned and set at liberty by the King; and even now, when caught a second time in the same act, out of respect for religion and the order to which the monk belonged, he ordered him to be pardoned and released. But, stung with shame, and rather than appear in the presence of the offended monarch, he dashed his head against the walls of his prison, and so put an end to his life.

“ While matters were thus passing in Augusta, de Lauria learned that the enemy's fleet were assembled at Castelamar de Stabia, waiting a favourable opportunity to cross over to Sicily. This fleet consisted of eighty-four galleys, while that of Roger counted but forty. But he bore with him his skill and experience, his indomitable courage, and above all the prestige of his name and good fortune. The moment, therefore, that he reached Sorrento, he despatched a boat with a message to the enemy's commander, apprising him of his vicinity, and desiring him to prepare for battle. Upon receipt of this notice, the French fleet, on board of which a considerable number of lords and gentlemen of Provence were embarked, ranged itself in order of battle. Placing the two galleys, which carried the Neapolitan and Roman banners, in the centre, they stood out to meet the Sicilian and Aragonese fleet. Roger, too, had disposed his galleys in order of battle, and signified what vessels were to protect the royal banner, which he had placed in the centre. Then, giving directions about the manner in which the Catalan cross-bowmen were to ply their formidable artillery, the signal was thrown out to engage. A Sicilian vessel was the first in action. She was immediately surrounded by four French galleys, and, after a short but gallant struggle, compelled to surrender. Several Spanish and Sicilian galleys, hastening to her assistance, speedily retook her, whilst others assaulted the centre, where the knights and barons were for the most part stationed. The fleets were soon generally engaged, the French and Neapolitans being distinguished by their numbers and the courage with which they fought; whilst the Sicilians and Aragonese were conspicuous for the boldness of their attacks, and the skill with which they were conducted. Roger de Lauria, in complete armour, stood on the poop of his galley, animating his captains, and directing their movements. At the sound of their admiral's voice, which was heard above the noise of the battle, his men fought with renewed animation, while the courage of the enemy seemed evidently cowed and repressed. The action continued, however, for some time longer ; but at last fortune declared in favour of the most skilful. Their very numbers prevented the French and Neapolitans from manœuvring with dexterity. Acting confusedly and without concert, they fought rather to preserve honour than with any expectation of gaining the victory. Observing the disorder of the enemy, the Aragonese and Sicilians pressed the battle with more

vigour, committing great slaughter among them till, utterly routed and dismayed, they no longer offered any resistance. The vessels on board which the principal knights and barons were embarked were both taken, and the banners of France and Naples hauled down. Fortyfour galleys remained in possession of the Aragonese and Sicilians, the rest of the enemy's fleet having escaped under Henri de Mar, a man very dexterous in eluding such disasters.

Having sent the captured galleys and five thousand prisoners to Messina, de Lauria appeared off Naples, which was again thrown into disorder by the defeat of its fleet, the people assembling in crowds, and shouting . vivas' for the Aragonese admiral. In this emergency the governors of the kingdom consented to a truce_with Roger, who thought that a suspension of arms would serve the King of Sicily's interests. The truce was accordingly arranged for a year and three months, it being stipulated that Ischia, which had been recovered by the French, should be restored to the King of Sicily. But Don Jayme (King of Sicily) refused to confirm this convention, alleging that he considered himself badly served by the Admiral for entering into it. The malevolence and jealousy of his enemies seized this opportunity to accuse him of treachery, saying that he had been bribed by the enemy's gold. Roger de Lauria had sent a messenger to the King of Aragon, requesting him, on his part, to confirm the truce ; but that monarch, already prejudiced by the representations of his brother, also refuscd to give it his adherence, saying that he would accept and observe it, if the King of Sicily would consent to it, but not else.

“ In the following year (1288) the Prince of Salerno obtained his liberty, subject to the following conditions-viz., that he paid a ransom of three-and-twenty thousand marks of silver, gave his sons Roberto and Luis as hostages, and interceded successfully with the King of France and the Pope for a truce of three years, to which the Prince himself was also to be a party. There were other articles besides, of which it is not necessary to speak. It is sufficient to observe that neither the King of France nor the Pope Nicholas IV. accepted any of them ; that the Prince of Salerno was crowned by the Pope himself King of Sicily, and Lord of Apulia, Capua, and Calabria ; and that the war burst forth with greater fury than ever.

“ The King Dou Jayme crossed over to Calabria, with an army for the purpose of reducing those places which had been retaken by the enemy, after which he meant to lay siege to Gaeta. Having recovered and punished many towns and fortresses, and forced the Count d'Artois to retire, who, with a large army, endeavoured to oppose him, Don Jayme marched along the coast and invested the strong castle of Belvedere. Roger de Sangeneto, lord of the surrounding country, was in the castle at the time. This nobleman had once been a prisoner of the King of Aragon, and had obtained his liberty through the interference of the Admiral, promising to submit himself and his castles to

, the obedience ef the King, and leaving his two sons as hostages for his sincerity. But the faith which he had pledged to his former lord had more weight with Sangeneto than had his affection for his children ; and the moment he was again at liberty, he prosecuted the war with his utmost vigour and all the resources of his extensive possessions.

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“ The Castle of Belvedere was attacked, and pressed with the greato est animation, but Sangeneto defended it with valour; and by means of a machine of the nature of a catapult planted on the wall, and directed against the King's quarters, he caused great havoc among the besiegers. The Admiral, who accompanied Don Jayme in the expedition, and who was in the camp at the time, then had recourse to ono of those acts which have been condemned in every age by all nations, as alike odious to justice and humanity. He had a triangle erected with the oars of one of the galleys, to the top of which the eldest son of Sangeneto was run up, where he swung a target for the shafts discharged by the machine. All the triumphs and renown of Roger de Laur a will never efface the stain which such an atrocity leaves upon his character; and all his deeds of heroism and valour are eclipsed by the firmness and loyalty of the noble but unhappy father, who, deaf to the ties and claims of blood, rigorously commanded the machine to continue its service. The innocent young man soon fell, a missile from the machine having fairly cut his head in two. His death would seem to have awakened some feeling of remorse in the breast of the cruel and obdurate de Lauria, for he sent the corpse, covered with a rich mantle, to the father. The other son was in a few days after liberated, and restorad to Sangeneto ; and Don Jayme, not willing to lose more time before Belvedere, raised the siege.

“Having re-embarked the army, the fleet proceeded to Gaeta, and entered the harbour without opposition. The place was immediately summoned to surrender ; and, upon receiving a haughty and insolent refusal, the King, having made all necessary preparations, immediately invested it. The King of Naples hastened to its relief with a powerful army, the reputation and success of the rival monarchs being staked, as it were, upon the issue of the enterprise.

“ In his favour, the King of Sicily counted a number of the best officers in Europe, men accustomed to victory both by land and by sea, å sort of pledge for the success of the undertaking, being the first which he had conducted in person. On the other hand, the King of Naples glowed with anxiety to repair his former affronts and losses, with a strong desire to give éclât to the commencement of his reign, and with the hope of conquering, which the brilliant army collected in Italy and Provence and commanded by the Count d’Artois (one of the most renowned captains of the day) held out.

“The French commenced by attacking the eastern extremity of the Sicilian camp, where de Lauria commanded, but were repulsed with loss, and compelled to retire. But after this the strength of the French army was daily increased by auxiliaries supplied by the Guelphic faction in Italy, and the Sicilians soon seemed to be besieged rather than the fortress of Gaeta. A battle which was to decide the fate of Naples and Sicily seemed now inevitable. But the King of England, who during those sanguinary wars had all along played the noble part of pacificator, had sent an ambassador to the Pope, entreating him to use his influence to procure a peace between the contending princes. The Pope listened to the request, and a legate to Gaeta was despatched, who, in conjunction with the English ambassador, prevailed with the two kings to consent to a truce for two years, upon condition that the King of Naples should first break up his camp.

This he did ; and in three days after, Don Jayme sailed with his fleet and army for Sicily.

“But, notwithstanding the advantages which they had themselves obtained, and the mediation of foreign powers to procure a peace, the fate of the unhappy Sicilians had well-nigh brought them again under the yoke of their old oppressors. The only assistance and support in their struggles for freedom, which hitherto they had had, were furnished by Aragon and Catalonia; and now that support was about to be withdrawn, if not perhaps turned against them." Not thinking bimself sufficiently strong at the time to make head against the French and quiet the intestine divisions in his own kingdom-divisions set on foot by the nobles, whose rights and privileges the King his father had infringed-and to give assistance to Sicily against the combined forces of Naples, the Pope, and the Guelphic party in Italy, while he was also threatened with a rupture with Castile, the King of Aragon judged it more prudent to give peace and tranquillity to his subjects than to endeavour to maintain pretensions at the expense of a war to which he saw no limit. Influenced therefore by those views, he entered into a treaty of peace with his enemies, and among other conditions undertook to withdraw his troops from, and renounce his claim upon, Sicily; to use his best endeavours to persuade his mother and brother to give up the thought of maintaining themselves in the island; and, failing to do 80, to use eren force to compel them to leave it.

(To be continued.)

THE FIRST DAY OF THE SEASON

BY CECIL.

Like the first challenge of the fox-hound there is an exciting impulse connected with the First Day of the Season, for it is an event which recalls to our memories many vivid charms of bygone times and anticipations flow merrily in various forms. It has been a custom in many hunts to commence advertising on the first of their usual days of meeting, which occurs in November, and as that month on this occasion happens to commence on Monday, many packs of hounds will have their “opening day" at the same date as this communication is presented to its patrons.

The Quorn have for many years conferred this distinction on Kirby Gate, and there is no reason to imagine that Mr. Musters will depart from the olden usage. In former days there was wont to be a grand show, as the most aristocratic visitors at Melton, out of compliment to the master, generally mounted on their best nags, and attired in costume of the most distingué pretensions, sporting something fresh by way of setting the fashion of the season. The regular occupation of hunting quarters did not, however, commence so soon. While hedgerows are green, and ditches blind many of the most undeniable performers scarcely care to encounter them.

An imposing feature on these occasions is the usually large assemblage of first-rate hunters, indulging in exuberant playfulness, the result of high condition, and they appear to rejoice at the reunion with as much extasy as their riders, who have to exert their best energies to avoid accidents. A kick on the sbins, or perchance a broken leg is far from agreeable at any time, and is more unwelcome thus early in the season. The road is always full of carriages, mostly occupied by ladies, who, like their lords, rather prefer being spectators than participate in riding the hounds, till the country is in a more favourable condition.

The Quorn have had a capital cubbing time, and have killed their share. The Albrighton are doing remarkably well, and with the exception of one portion of the country, where it is almost hopeless to expect a change, foxes are plentiful. There is a very curious coincidence appertaining to this country. For a very lengthened period, with only a short intermission, the letter B has been the initial of either the master or the huntsman. This commenced with Sir Bellingham Graham, in 1823; two years afterwards, his successor was Mr. Boy. cott. In 1831 Mr. Walter Gifford held the mastership, and Beardshaw was huntsman. Five years of capital sport followed, with the cheery master, Mr. Aston ; Mr. Richard Evans, Mr. Henry Horden, and Doctor Mannix, all going wonderfully well, but with the exception of Mr. Gifford, the most hospitable, zealous, and liberal of fox preservers, and Doctor Mannix, none are left to talk over the fun as they sip their port, which they were accustomed to do with wonderful relish. Sir Thomas Boughey then continued to sustain the initial three seasons, when Mr. Thomas Holyoake and a committee worked the country with Baylis as huntsman. An interval then occurred, during which time the Earl of Stamford kept the hounds, handing them over after one season to the Honourable Arthur, now Lord Wrottesley, in whose possession they continued three years. Mr. Hellier in 1852, renewed the letter, having Bullen for huntsman. Then came Mr. Baker in 1854, and the next year Lord Stamford hunted the country a second time, with Ben Boothroyd for huntsman. When Mr. Stubbs commenced in 1856, he had Sam Bacon as first whip and kennel huntsman. This continued ten seasons, when Mr. Boughey, the present most esteemed and worthy master accepted the charge, and it is to be hoped he will sustain the initial very many years to come.

The Oakley hounds have had a rare time of it with the cubs, and one day at Hinwick, was particularly good. They met at an early hour, and found close to the house, ran a ring through the plantations, and after a fast twenty minutes killed in the open. Foxes very plentiful. A move was then made for Dungey Corner, found again, and brought another to hand. It will be a memorable day with a young sportsman named Burman, who went through the honourable ordeal of being blooded, an event he will ever be proud of.

The Badsworth hounds commence with a new master, Mr. J. H. Barton, of Stapleton Park, a famous man over a country, and enthusiastically fond of everything appertaining to the sport; moreover, he is a first-rate judge of bounds, wonderfully well up both in pedigrees and performances. He is particularly fortunate in having a rare pack to begin with. They were first established by the gentlemen of the country when Mr. Tom Hodgson was in office, more than fifty years ago,

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