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combing her goodly locks; and when she saw him, she put a fair garland on her head and went to him ; You are very welcome, sir, being the best knight that I know; And you, lady, said he, are very well-found, being the fairest lady that ever I saw. Then said the damsel who had guided him, Here, sir, is my mistress, and I have fulfilled my promise ; her name is Aldeva, the daughter of the King of Serolis, and she has been brought up here by her aunt, wife to the Duke of Bristol. Then turning to her lady, I give you the son of King Perion of Gaul; you are both children of kings, and both fair persons: if ye should love each other no one can blame ye. And with that the damsels left them together, and nothing more shall be here related, for these and such like things which are neither conformable to good conscience nor virtue, man ought in reason lightly to pass over, holding them in as little estimation as they deserve.
The hour being come when it behoved him to depart, the damsels conducted him to the place where overnight he had left his arms : and being armed he went again into the garden, and there he found the dwarf, who cried out, In an ill hour didst thou enter here, for now thou shalt die and the wretch that led thee here! Then he called out aloud, come out, knights, come out, for here is a man Come out of the duke's chamber! Galaor lightly got over the wall, and mounted his horse, but the dwarf and his people speedily came out upon him; and when Galaor saw himself so beset, he said within himself, let me die if I be not revenged upon that villainous dwarf! but he kept behind upon his horse, and the rest compassed the knight on all sides. Galaor laid manfully about him, and slew two before he broke his lance; then
fell on them with his sword, and made them so soundly acquainted with its sharp edge, that he who thought himself hardiest was glad to give way; but before he could cut his road through they killed his horse, and when the dwarf saw him on foot he attempted to ride over him. Galaor stept aside and caught his bridle, and gave him such a blow on the breast with his sword-hilt that he fell off, and the blood gushed out of his ears and nose; then he leapt upon his horse, but in springing up he dropt the reins, and the horse rode off some distance before he could recover them ; he would then have turned back to revenge himself, but he saw his lady shaking a handkerchief from a tower window in token that he should depart, and so he rode into the forest.
There were some who were of opinion that they should follow him, but others said it was in vain seeing that he had gotten into the wood; and they were all astonished at what they had done. The dwarf now recovering, cried out, Carry me to the duke, and I will tell him on whom to take vengeance. They took him in their arms, and he told the duke how he found the damsel in the forest, and wished to bring her back, and all that had followed. The duke then asked him if he knew the damsel, which she was? And all the damsels in the palace were called before him, and as soon as the dwarf beheld her, he said, this is she by whom your palace is dishonoured. Ah, traitor ! quoth she, you were beating me in the forest, and that good knight defended me! but the duke was greatly incensed, and said he would force her to confess the truth, and he put her in prison; yet neither evils nor torments made her discover any thing, and there she remained in prison, to the great grief of Aldeva who dearly loved her, and knew not by whom to send tidings to her friend Galaor.
CHAP. XIV.-How Amadis came to the castle of Dardan the
Proud, and of the words which he had with him, and of the battle which he had with him in the court of King Lisuarte.
MADIS, after he had left Urganda, rode on
through the forest till he was benighted. e After some time he saw a light above the trees, and rode toward it thinking to find a lodging. He came at length to a goodly fortress wherein were the lights that he had seen, which were from the window of a tower, and he heard the voices of men and women singing and making mirth. He called at the gate, but they heard him not; at last those in the tower saw him through the battlements, and a knight asked who was there ?-A strange knight.—So it seems, quoth he, you must be a strange knight to go about in the dark; I believe it is for fear lest you should be obliged to do battle with us by day-light, and now you can meet none but the devils. Amadis answered, If you were good for any thing you would know that many are benighted who cannot help it. Be gone! quoth the knight, you shall not enter here. As God shall help me, said Amadis, I think thou hast no man of valour in thy company! tell me thy name before we part.-- That shall I do on condition that whensoever we meet thou wilt fight me. To that Amadis, who was in wrath, readily assented.-Know then that my name is Dardan, and badly as thou wilt fare this night, thou wilt fare much worse the day that I shall meet thee! Come out, quoth Amadis, and let them light us by those torches to do battle ! What! said Dardan, arm myself at this hour to fight with thee? ill fall the knight who should put on his spurs and harness for such an enemy! and with that he went in.
Amadis proceeded through the forest, seeking some bush under which he might shelter himself. Presently he heard voices, and proceeding faster he came up to two damsels on their palfreys, attended by a squire. They saluted courteously, and Amadis recounted his adventure. Know you the knight's name? said they.
-He told me it was Dardan.—True! he is called Dardan the Proud, the haughtiest knight in this country : but, sir, seeing that you are so unprovided of lodging, will you abide this night in our tents which are pitched near at hand ? He, glad of their courtesy, rode with them; and having there alighted he unarmed, and when the damsels saw how fair he was they delighted to see him. So they supped cheerfully together, and a tent was spread for him wherein he should sleep. Meantime they asked him whither he was bound ?- To the court of King Lisuarte.--And we are going there also ; to see what will happen to a lady, one of the best and noblest in the land : all that she hath in the world is put upon the issue of a combat, which is to be performed within ten days before King Lisuarte ; but we know not who will appear to defend her, for he against whom her champion must fight is the best knight in Great Britain, that very Dardan the Proud, whom you so lately left. And on what cause, said Amadis, ariseth the combat ?—This Dardan loveth the daughter of a knight, who at his second nuptials, married the lady I speak of. Now hath this damsel conceived such hatred against her stepmother, that she hath vowed never to love Dardan
unless he bring her to King Lisuarte's court, and affirm that all her step-mother's goods appertain to her, and maintain it by battle against whomsoever dare gainsay; and the dame, who was not well advised, said she would produce a champion, and this she did for her manifest right, thinking that one would be found to combat for her ; but Dardan is so good a knight in arms, that be it for right or wrong all fear him. These tidings rejoiced Amadis, for the knight was against all pride, and now might he indulge his own anger in a just cause, and that in the presence of Oriana. I pray ye, sir, said one of the damsels, for courtesy acquaint us with the reason of your sudden musing.–Willingly, if you will promise me, as loyal damsels, not to reveal it, I mean, quoth he, to combat for the lady. Gentle sir, that thought proceedeth from a high resolved mind : God grant it a good issue! So gave they each to other the good night, and went to rest.
In the morning the damsels intreated that he would not leave them, seeing they were bound to one place, and that in the forest kept men of evil behaviour. They rode along with sundry discoursings, and among other talk they asked the knight, since God had placed them in company, that he would tell them his name; the which he did, but charged them to let none know it. So they proceeded through unfrequented ways, lodging in their tents, and regaling on the food they took with them. At length they saw two knights under a tree, armed and on horseback, who seeing them placed themselves in the way, the one saying to his companion, which of these damsels will you have? This ! quoth he, and seized the one, as his comrade did the other. What, sirs ! quoth