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beautiful captive to his stronghold at Alcala, where he treated her and her companions with all the delicacy and respect due to their rank and to his own character as a courteous cavalier.

The tidings of the capture of his niece gave poignant afilic. tion to the vizier Alen Comixa. His royal master Boabdil, of whom he was the prime favorite and confidential adviser, sympathized in his distress. With his own hand he wrote a letter to the count, offering in exchange for the fair Fatima one hundred Christian captives, to be chosen from those detained in Granada. This royal letter was sent by Don Francisco de Zuniga, an Ara. gonese cavalier, who Aben Comixa held in captivity, and who was sct at liberty for the purpose.

On receiving the letter of Boabdil, the count de Tendilla at once gave freedom to the Moorish maid, making her a magnificent present of jewels, and sending her and her companions under honorable escort to the very gates of Granada.

Boabdil, exceeding his promises, immediately set free twenty captive priests, one hundred and thirty Castilian and Aragonian cavaliers, and a number of peasant women. His favorite and vizier, Aben Comixa, was so rejoiced at the liberation of his niece, and so struck with the chivalrous conduct of her captor, that he maintained from that day a constant and amicable correspondence with the count de Tendilla ; and became, in the hands of the latter, one of the most efficacious agents in bringing the war of Granada to a triumphant close.*

* This interesting anecdote of the count de Tendilla, which is a key to tho subsequent conduct of the vizier Aben Comixa, and had a singular infuence on the fortunes of Boabdil and his kingdom, is originally given in a manuscript history of the counts of Tendilla, written about the middle of the sixteenth century, by Gabriel Rodriguez de Ardila, a Grenadine clergyman. It has been brought to light recently by the researches of Alcantara for his History of Granada (Vol. 4, cap. 18.)

CHAPTER LXXXVIII.

Expedi'iou of Boabdil el Chico against Salobreña.--Esploit of Hernan

Perez del Pulgar.

tie sea.

King Boabdil found that his diminished territory was too closely dominated by Christian fortresses like Alcala la Real, and too strictly watched by vigilant alcaydes like the count of Tendilla, to be able to maintain itself by internal resources. His foraging expeditions were liable to be intercepted and defeated, while the ravage of the vega had swept off every thing on which the city depended for future sustenance. He felt the want of a seaport, through which, as formerly, he might keep open a communication with Africa, and obtain reinforcements and supplies from beyond

All the ports and harbors were in the hands of the Christians, and Granada and its remnant of dependent territory were completely landlocked.

In this emergency, the attention of Boabdil was called by cir. cumstances to the seaport of Salobreña. This redoubtable town has already been mentioned in this chronicle, as a place deemed impregnable by the Moors; insomuch, that their kings were accustomed, in time of peril, to keep their treasures in its citadel It was situated on a high rocky hill, dividing one of those rich little vegas or plains which lie open to the Mediterranean, but run like deep green bays into the stern bosoms of the mountains. The vega was corered with beautiful vegetation, with rice and

SURPRISE OF SALOBRENA.

471

cotton, with groves of oranges, citrons, figs and mulberries, and with gardens inclosed by hedges of reeds, of aloes and the Indian fig. Running streams of cool water from the springs and snows of the Sierra Nevada, kept this delightful valley continually fresh and verdant; while it was almost locked up by mountain barriers, and lofty promontories stretching far into the sea.

Through the centre of this rich vega, the rock of Salobreña reared its rugged back, nearly dividing the plain, and advancing to the margin of the sea, with just a strip of sandy beach at its foot, laved by the blue waves of the Mediterranean.

The town covered the ridge and sides of the rocky hill, and was fortified by strong walls and towers; while on the highest and most precipitate part stood the citadel, a huge castle that seemed to form a part of the living rock; the massive ruins of which, at the present day, attract the gaze of the traveller, as he winds his way far below, along the road through the vega.

This important fortress had been intrusted to the command of Don Francisco Ramirez de Madrid, captain-general of the artillery, and the most scientific of all the Spanish leaders. That experienced veteran, however, was with the king at Cordova, having left a valiant cavalier as alcayde of the place.

Boabdil had full information of the state of the garrison and the absence of its commander. Putting himself at the head of a powerful force, therefore, he departed from Granada, and made a rapid march through the mountains; hoping to seize upon Salobreña before king Ferdinand could come to its assistance.

The inhabitants of Salobreña were Mudexares, or Moors who had sworn allegiance to the Christians. Still, when they heard the sound of the Moorish drums and trumpets, and beheld the squadrons of their countrymen advancing across the vega, their bearts yearned towards the standard of their nation and their faith. A tumult arose in the place; the populace shouted the name of Boabdil el Chico, and, throwing open the gatus, admitted bim within the walls.

The Christian garrison was too few in number, to contend for the possession of the town: they retreated to the citadel, and shut themselves within its massive walls, which were considered impregnable. Here they maintained a desperate defence, hoping to hold out until succor should arrive from the neighboring for tresses.

The tidings that Salobreña was invested by the Moorish king, spread along the sea-coast, and filled the Christians with alarm. Don Francisco Enriquez, uncle of the king, commanded the city of Velez Malaga, about twelve leagues distant, but separated by ranges of those vast rocky mountains which are piled along the Mediterranean, and tower in steep promontories and precipices above its waves.

Don Francisco summoned the alcaydes of his district to bas. ten with him to the relief of this important fortress. A number of cavaliers and their retainers answered to his call, among whom was Hernan Perez del Pulgar, surnamed “ El de las Hazanas,' (he of the exploits,)—the same who had signalized himself in a foray, by elevating a handkerchief on a lance for a banner, and leading on his disheartened comrades to victory. As soon as Don Francisco beheld a little band collected round him, he set out with all speed for Salobreña. The march was rugged and severe, climbing and descending immense mountains, and sometimes winding along the edge of giddy precipices, with the surges of the sea raging far below. When Don Francisco arrived with his followers at the lofty promontory that stretches along one side of the little vega of Salobreña, he looked down with sorrow and anxiety upon a Moorish army of great force, encamped at the foot of the fortress, while Moorish banners, on various parts of the walls, proved that the town was already in possession of

EXPLOIT OF HERNAN DEL PULGAR.

473

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the infidels. A solitary Christian standard alone floated on the top of the castle-keep, showing that the brave garrison were hemmed in their rock-built citadel. They were in fact reduced to great extremity, through want of water and provisions.

Don Francisco found it impossible, with his small force, to make any impression on the camp of the Moors, or to get to tho relief of the castle. He stationed his little band upon a rocky height near the sea, where they were safe from the assaults of the enemy. The sight of his friendly banner waving in their neighborhood cheered the heart of the garrison, and gave them assurance of speedy succor from the king; while the hostile menaces of Don Francisco, served to check the attacks of the Moors upon the citadel.

In the mean time, Hernan Perez del Pulgar, who always burned to distinguish himself by bold and striking exploits, had discovered in the course of his prowlings, a postern gate of the castle opening upon the steep part of the rocky hill looking towards the mountains. The thought occurred to him, that by a bold dash at a favorable moment, this postern might be attained. and succor thrown into the castle. He pointed the place out to bis comrades. Who will follow my banner,” said he, “and make a dash for yonder postern ?" A bold proposition in time of warfare never wants for bold spirits to accept it. Seventy resolute men stepped forward to second him. Pulgar chose the early daybreak for his enterprise, when the Moors, just aroused from sleep, were changing guard, and making the various arrangements of the morning. Favored by these movements, and the drowsi. ness of the hour, Pulgar approached the Moorish line silently and steadily, most of his followers armed with cross-bows and espingardas, or muskets. Then suddenly making an onset, they broke through a weak part of the camp, before the alarm had

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