By William S Davis

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The Rhone is 507 miles long and drains 38,180 square miles, but one tenth of this area is in Switzerland. It rises really in the St. Gothard Alps and issues from Lake Geneva. At Lyons (the second city of France) it is joined by the long and powerful Saone coming down from the north; then the united current advances southward through another rich vineyard-lined valley until, after a long course, at Avignon its banks suddenly become far less fertile and attractive, and the end of a stream, that has rushed down from the clear Alpine glaciers, is a muddy, sandy delta beside the Mediterranean.

Many parts of this plateau are comparatively level and without striking scenery: but nearly one seventh of the entire area of France is embraced in the great "Massif Central" radiating around Auvergne, which rises sometimes to a height of 3300 to 4000 feet, throwing up sharp mountains to over 6000 feet high. The upper parts of this plateau are rather barren, and raise only scanty crops for a correspondingly sparse population. On the southern side of the Plateau, cutting off warm Languedoc and the plains of the lower Rhone from the more barren plains of Rouergue, the Cévennes rise, as very respectable mountains, to over 5000 feet.

One thing is certain. If Charles the Frank had been badly defeated, there was no other Christian leader in all western Europe with military power enough to curb the Islamites. For several days the armies confronted, then Abd-Rahman flung his magnificent Moorish cavalry on the Frankish battlelines. But the Northern infantry, standing in dense array "like solid walls or icebergs," as says the old chronicler, smote back the plunging lancers with terrible loss. Presently the Christians took the offensive, and began hewing their way into the Infidels' camp.

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