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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 287



third on our center, throwing our whole force into confusion." This counter-attack only anticipated Richard's intentions, and with its manifest success he rushed to the front, adding the weight of his own personality to the irresistible onslaught of these powerful warriors. The defeat of the Moslems became a rout and, do what he could, Saladin was unable to stop the flight of his men. It was only Richard's fear that an ambush might be waiting his men in the woods that stopped the pursuit. Though greatly depressed by this defeat, Saladin made an effort the next day to draw the enemy on again, but Richard was once more marching on, his forces in close formation, and paid no heed to the challenge. It was the last effort to bring on a conflict at this time, and, while Richard took his army to Jaffa, Saladin went on to Ascalon, leaving part of his forces under el-Adel to mask the enemy. He had now definitely decided to destroy Ascalon, lest it should fall into Richard's hands and become a base for his attack upon Jerusalem, with a possible cutting of communication with Egypt. As he came in sight of the city he said to Beha ed-din : " I take God to witness I would rather lose all my children than cast down a single stone from the walls, but God wills it. It is necessary for the Moslem cause." Ascalon was a strongly fortified and prosperous city, beautiful to behold, and the Sultan's decision was as painful to all Moslem hearts as it was to his.


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