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Ah, traitors ! to your own misfortune have you laid hands upon the best man in the world! The five at once ran at him; he smote the first so sternly, that the wood of his lance appeared through his back, and he fell dead; the others smote hiin with such force that his horse fell upon his knees, and one of them drove his spear between Galaor's shield and breastplate. Galaor forced it from him, and striking at another with it, nailed his leg to the horse, and left the broken lance in them; then putting hand to sword, the others all came at him, and he defended himself so bravely that every one wondered how he could bear up against such blows. But being in this great press of danger, it pleased God to succour him with the two cousins who were in his pursuit, who seeing his great chivalry, exclaimed, Of a truth we wrongly called him coward : let us go help the best knight in the world! With that they ran full tilt to his assistance, like men who knew their business, for they had each been errant knights for ten years, and the one was called Ladasin, the sword-player, and the other Don Guilan the pensive, the good knight. At this time Galaor had great need of their aid, for his helmet was hacked and battered, his harness open in many places, and his horse tottering with loss of blood; yet he felt assured that, if his horse did not fail him, he should bring it to a good end. But when the two cousins came to his help, then he bestirred himself more hopefully, for he marvelled at their prowess. The load of blows was lightened, and he had room for action. When the cousin of Arcalaus saw how things were going, for his knights were falling on all sides, he ran to Lisuarte to slay him. Those who were with the king had fled, and he got from off the
upoth. The swordd, and with its skull ; but
palfrey with the chain about his neck, and caught up a shield and sword from the ground, and received upon the shield the blow that was meant for his death. The sword passed a palm's length through the rim of the shield, and with its point reaching the head made a slant wound to the skull; but the king smote at his enemy's horse in the face, so that the traitor could not repeat the blow, and the horse reared and fell back upon the rider. Galaor now on foot, for his horse could not move, ran to him to smite off his head; but the king called out not to slay him. By this the two cousins had made an end of their last enemy, and then turning round they knew the king, to their great wonder, for they knew nothing of what had happened ; and they took off their helmets, and knelt before him. He raised them up, saying, By my God, friends, you have succoured me in time! great wrong, Don Guilan, hath your mistress done me in withdrawing you from my company, and for your sake I lose Ladasin also. Guilan was ashamed at these words, and his cheeks crimsoned, for he loved the Duchess of Bristol and she loved him, and the duke always suspected it was he who had entered his castle when Galaor was there.
Galaor had now taken the chain from Lisuarte, and fastened it round the cousin of Arcalaus; they took the horses of the dead, one for the king, and one for Galaor, and rode towards London. They halted at the dwelling of Ladasin, and there found Galaor's squire and Ardian the dwarf, who thought his master had taken that way. A squire was sent forthwith to inform the queen of Lisuarte's safety. They rested that night; and, as they set forth on the morning, their prisoners confessed how all that had passed had
been concerted with Barsinan, that he might make himself king of Great Britain ; which, when Lisuarte heard, he spurred on in greater haste.
CHAP. XXXVIII.-How tidings came to the queen that King Lisuarte was niade prisoner, and how Barsinan executed his trenson, and how at last he was overthrown and the king restored to his kingdom.
HE woodmen had carried the news of Li
suarte's imprisonment to London; imme
diately there was a great stir in the city ; the knights all ran to horse, and gallopped to his rescue, so that the whole plain seemed full of them. King Arban of North Wales was talking with the queen, when his squires brought him horse and arms, and a page said to him, Arm yourself, sir! what are you doing? there is not a knight of all the king's company, except yourself, who is not gone full speed to the forest. And why? quoth Arban.-Because they say ten knights are carrying away the king prisoner. Holy Mary! exclaimed the queen ; I always feared this! and she fell down in a swoon. Arban left her to the care of her ladies, all making loud lamentation, and armed himself. As he was mounting, he heard a great cry that the tower was taken. Holy Mary! quoth he, we are all betrayed ! and then he knew he must not leave the queen. By this time there was such an uproar in the town, as if all the people of the world were there. Arban drew up his two hundred knights before the queen's palace, and sent two of them to discover the cause of the tumult. They went to the tower, and saw that Barsinan had got posses
sion of it, and was killing some and throwing others from the walls, for he had six hundred knights with him, besides footmen, and the king's knights suspecting nothing had all gone to their master's rescue. The townsmen hearing this, ran all armed as they could in haste to the queen's palace, and there also Barsinan went that he might take her, and get possession of the crown and throne. When he arrived he found Arban ready for defence. Arban, quoth he, you have hitherto been the wisest knight of a young man that has been kuown: see now that you lose not your wisdom. Why do you say this ? cried Arban.Because before five days end Lisuarte's head will be sent me, and there is no other in this land who can and ought to be king except myself, and king I will be! I give you the kingdom of North Wales which now you hold, because you are a good knight and wise : so retire now, and let me take the crown and throne, for whosoever opposes me shall lose his head. Villain and traitor ! quoth Arban; and then began a sharp conflict, wherein many were slain, which lasted till night, for the streets being narrow Barsinan could not avail himself of his numbers, and King Arban so behaved himself that he that day saved the queen.
At night both parties retired : The queen then sent for Arban ; he went to her armed as he was, and wounded in many places, and, when he came before her, took off his battered helmet. There were five wounds in his face and neck, and his countenance was all bloody; but it seemed a beautiful face to those who, under God, thought him their protector. But the queen seeing him, wept aloud with great pity : Ah, good nephew, God defend thee! what will become of the king ? and what will become of us? Of him, quoth Arban, we shall have good news; for ourselves, fear nothing from these traitors : your vassals who are with me can defend themselves in their great loyalty.
-But, nephew, you are not in a state to bear arms, and what can the others do without you! Fear not, lady, so long as life is in me I shall not forsake my arms.
Barsinan, who found his people had need of rest, took twenty knights with him in the morning, and went to a post which Arban's high steward kept. They at the barrier took their arms to defend themselves, hut Barsinan cried out that he came to speak with them, and make a truce till noon; to which Arban, being advised thereof, assented willingly, for the most part of his company had been so hardly handled that they could not bear arms, Barsinan then went to Arban, and said he would make a truce for five days. Agreed, said Arban, but provided that you shall not attempt to take anything in the town; and that if the king comes, we immediately act as he may order us. I grant all this, said Barsinan, that there may be no more battling, for I value my own knights, and I value you who will be mine sooner than you think. I will tell you how: the king is dead, and I have his daughter and will make her my wife. God forsake me then, quoth Arban, if ever thou shalt have truce with me, since thou art a partaker in the treason against my liege lord ! go and do thy worst! And before night Barsinan made three attacks upon him, and was repulsed.
the modeling advised si a truce
king comes, whimmediate