Page images

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, but 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 any thing 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.


Meantime Amadis asked Oriana what Arcalaus had said to her. He told me not to grieve, said she, for within fifteen days he would make me Queen of London, and give me Barsinan for my husband, to whom he was to give me and my father's head, and be made his High Steward in return. Holy Mary! quoth Amadis: Barsinan, who seemed such a friend I fear lest he do injury to the Queen. Dear friend, cried Oriana, hasten on 1 I must to my sorrow, replied Amadis, for else I should have delighted to pass four days here in the forest with you, if it had pleased you. Oriana answered, God knows how willingly but great evil might happen thereby to this land, which if God pleases will one day be yours and mine. As soon as it was morning Amadis armed himself, and leading his Lady's bridle, rode on as fast as they could towards London; and every where they met the Knights, five by five, and ten by ten, as they were seeking the King; more than a thousand they met, and told them which way the King was gone, and how Galaor was in quest of him. When they came within five leagues of London they met Grumedan, the good old Knight who had fostered the Queen ; twenty of his lineage were with him, and they had been all night long scouring the forest. He seeing Oriana went towards her weeping : Oh God, Lady, what a good day with your coming ! but what tidings of the King 2 They told him what they knew, and Amadis said to him, Take you charge of Oriana, and bid all the Knights that you shall meet turn back, for if numbers can succour him, there are already more than enough gone : I must go with all speed to protect the Queen. With that he gallopped away : at the entrance of the city he found the Squire whom Lisuarte had sent with the news of his deliverance, and learnt also the state of the city. So entering as privately as he could he went to Arban, who embraced him right joyfully, and asked, what news As good as heart could wish quoth Amadis : let us go to the Queen. He took with him Ladasin's messenger, and kneeling before Brisena, said, Lady, this Squire has left Lisuarte safe and well, and I have left Oriana with your fosterer grumedan; they will soon be here, but I must go look after Barsinan. He then changed his shield and helmet that he might not be known, and bade Arban throw down the barriers, that the traitors might come freely on, for by God's help they shall pay dearly for their treason The barriers were thrown down, and Barsinan prest on at the head of his people, thinking that all would now be his, for his own men were many and his enemies few, and he was eager to seize the Queen. The King's party gave back being overpowered, then Amadis went forth; he had on a rusty helmet, and a plain shield hanging from his neck; but he was soon judged to be a good one, and he went on making his way through the press; and having the good sword of Lisuarte by his side. He forced his way to Barsinan and encountered him ; drove his lance through shield and corselet, and left the broken spear in him half way of its iron; then drew he his sword, and smote off the crest and top of his helmet, and the scalp of his head, for the sword cut so finely that Amadis could scarce feel the blow he gave ; with another stroke he sheared thro'gauntlet and hand, and the sword passing through the bone of the wrist, fell on the leg and entered in half through. Then Barsinan fell, and Amadis turned upon the throng, and King Arban so prest them that they who could escape slaughter ran to the Tower, and made fast the gates. Amadis finding he could not force entrance readily, went back to Barsinan, and finding him still alive, ordered that he should be carried to the palace and kept till the King's return. Then the strife being over, he looked at the bloody sword which he held in his hand. Sword ' quoth he, in a happy day was the Knight born who shall wield you! and certes you are well employed, for being the best in the world, you belong to the noblest King ! He then disarmed himself, and went to the Queen ; and Arban was laid in his bed, as there was great need, for he was sorely wounded.

At this time King Lisuarte was hastening to London. Of the Knights whom he met, some he made turn back, others he sent through the vallies and by all roads to recal their comrades from their search. The first whom he met were Agrayes and Galvanes, and Solinan and Galdan, and Dinadaus and Bervas, all six together making great moan ;

who when they saw him would have kissed his hand, but he joyfully embraced them. Sir, said

Dinadaus, the whole city are in quest of you like mad men. Nephew, replied the King, take some, of these Knights with you, and carry my shield

« PreviousContinue »