WHAT BEAUMAINS ASKED OF THE KING 53
should get some hurt; yet this Sir Persant of Inde is nothing in might to the Knight who has laid siege to my lady.' But Sir Beaumains would not listen to her words, and vowed that by two hours after noon he would have overthrown him, and that it would still be daylight when they reached the castle. ' What sort of a man can you be ?' answered the damsel, looking at him in wonder, ' for never did a woman treat a Knight as ill and shamefully as I have done you, while you have always been gentle and courteous to me, and no one bears himself like that save he who is of noble blood.' ' Damsel,' replied Beaumains, 'your hard words onty drove me to strike the harder, and though I ate in King Arthur's kitchen, perhaps I might have had as much food as I wanted elsewhere. But all I have done was to make proof of my friends, and whether I am a gentleman or not, fair damsel, I have done you gentleman's service, and may perchance do you greater service before we part from each other.' ' Alas, fair Beaumains, forgive me all that I have said and done against you.' ' With all my heart,' he answered, 'and since you are pleased now to speak good words to me, know that I hear them gladly, and there is no Knight living but I feel strong enough to meet him.'
So Beaumains conquered Sir Persant of Inde, who brought a hundred Knights to be sworn into his service, and the next morning the damsel led him to the castle, where the Red Knight of the Red Lawn held fast the lady. 'Heaven defend you,' cried Sir Persant, when they told him where they were going; ' that is the most perilous Knight now living, for he has the strength of seven men. He has done great wrong to that lady, who is one of the fairest in all the world, and it seems to me as if this damsel must be her sister. Is not her name Linet ? ' ' Yes, Sir,' answered she, ' and my lady my sister's name is dame Lyonesse.' ' The Bed Knight has drawn out the siege for two years,' said Sir Persant,