Page images
PDF
EPUB

into his eyes; he descended the hill as fast as he could, and came after them into a great plain, and then cried, Arcalaus ! traitor it becomes not one like thee to carry away so excellent a Lady ? Oriana knew the voice, and shook all over ; but Arcalaus and the other ran at him. He took his aim at Arcalaus, and bore him right over the crupper ; then turned his horse and smote at Grumen, so that the point and part of the stave of the spear came out at his back, and he fell down dead, and the spear broke in him. Then he drew the King's sword, and laid about with such rage and violence, and felt such strength in himself, that he thought if the whole plain were full of Knights they could not stand before him. We are succoured 1 quoth the Damsel of Denmark : it is the fortunate Knight ! look at the wonders he performeth ! Ah God protect thee, dear friend! cried Oriana : none other in the world can save us. The Squire who had her in his keeping seeing what had passed, cried out, Certes I shall not wait till those blows come upon my head which shields and helmets cannot resist and he put the princess down, and rode off full speed. By this Amadis had cut thro' the arm of another, and sent him away howling with the agony of death; and he cleft a third down to the neck. The fourth began to fly, and Amadis was after him, when he heard his Lady cry; and looking round, saw that Arcalaus had mounted again, and was dragging her up by the arm. Amadis soon came up to them, and lifting up his sword dared not put forth his strength lest he should slay both, but with a half-blow he smote him or the shoulder, and cut away part of the cuirass and the skin ; then Arcalaus let Oriana fall, that he might escape the better. Turn, Arcalaus, cried Amadis, and see if I be dead as thou hast reported! but he in fear of death spurred on, and threw his shield from off his neck for speed. The blow made at him just reached his loins with the sword-end, and fell upon the horse's flank and wounded it, so that the beast rode away more furiously. Amadis, albeit he so hated the Enchanter, did not pursue him further, lest he should lose his mistress, he turned towards her, and alighted and knelt before her, and kissed her hand, saying, now let God do with me what he will ! I never thought to see you again. She being among the dead was in great terror, and could not speak, but she embraced him. The Damsel of Denmark going to hold his horse saw the sword of Arcalaus on the ground, and admiring its beauty gave it to Amadis; but he seeing it was right glad thereof, for it was King Perion's sword which had been placed in his cradle,

and which Arcalaus had taken when he enchanted him. Presently Gandalin came up, who had travelled all night long : a joyful man was he seeing how the quest had ended.

Amadis then placed Oriana upon the Damsels palfrey, while Gandalin caught one of the loose horses for the Damsel, and taking her bridle they left the place of battle. But Amadis as they went along reminded Oriana how she had promised to be his ; hitherto, said he, I have known that it was not in your power to show me more favour than you did ; but now that you are at full liberty, how should I support disappointments without the worst despair that ever destroyed man! Dear friend, quoth she, never for my sake shall you suffer, for I am at your will though it be an error and a sin now, let it not be so before God.—When

they had proceeded about three leagues they entered a thick wood, and about a league farther there was a town. Oriana, who had not slept a wink since she left her father's house, complained of fatigue: let us rest in that valley, said Amadis. There was a brook there and soft herbage; there Amadis took her from her palfrey : the noon, said he, is coming on very hot, let us sleep here till it be cooler, and meantime Gandalin shall go bring us food from the town. He may go, replied Oriana, but who will give him food —They will give it him for his horse, which he may leave in pledge, and return on foot. No : said Oriana, let him take my ring, which was never before so useful : and she gave it to Gandalin, who, as he went by Amadis, said to him, he who loses a good opportunity, Sir, must wait long before he find another. Oriana laid herself down upon the Damsel's cloak, while Amadis disarmed, of which he had great need, and the Damsel retired farther among the trees to sleep. Then was his Lady in his power, nothing loth; and the fairest Damsel in the world became a Woman. Yet was their love encreased thereby, as pure and true love alway is.

When Galaor returned, the Damsel prepared the food; and, though they had neither many serving-men, nor vessels of gold and silver, yet was that a sweet meal upon the green grass in the forest.

CHAPTER 37.

Galaor rode on after the King so fast as his horse could carry him ; still following the track of the horsemen. About vespers he met a Knight who cried out to him, whither so fast 2 stop and tell me! I have no time, quoth he.—By St. Mary, you pass not so tell me, or fight me! But Galaor still rode on.—Certes, Knight, cried the stranger, you have committed some villainy that you fly so fast: defend yourself! Galaor turned as if to meet him in his career, but dextrously moved aside, so that the Knight's horse in his speed carried him a good way on. Ah, coward cried the Knight, when at last he turned, thou shalt answer me or die! and he ran at him again full tilt. Again Galaor avoided the encounter, and rode on as fast as he could. When the Knight saw him far before, he said, as God shall help me, he shall not escape so and knowing the country well, he

« PreviousContinue »