WHAT BEAUMAINS ASKED OF THE KING 57
horn. And whoso desired to do battle with the Red Knight must blow that horn loudly.
' Sir, I pray you,' said Linet, as Beaumains bent forward to seize it,' do not blow it till it is full noontide, for during three hours before that the Red Knight's strength so increases that it is as the strength of seven men; but when noon is come, he has the might of one man only.'
' Ah! for shame, damsel, to say such words. I will fight him as he is, or not at all,' and Beaumains blew such a blast that it rang through the castle. And the Red Knight buckled on his armour, and came to where Beaumains stood. So the battle began, and a fierce one it was, and much ado had Beaumains to last out till noon, when the Red Knight's strength began to wane; they rested, and came on again, and in the end the Red Knight yielded to Sir Beaumains, and the lords and Barons in the castle did homage to the victor, and begged that the Red Knight's life might be spared on condition they all took service with Beaumains. This was granted to them, and Linet bound up his wounds and put ointment on them, and so she did likewise to Sir Beaumains. But the Red Knight was sent to the Court of King Arthur, and told him all that Sir Beaumains had done. And King Arthur and his Knights marvelled.
Now Sir Beaumains had looked up at the windows of Castle Perilous before the fight, and had seen the face of the Lady Lyonesse, and had thought it the fairest in all the world. After he had subdued the Red Knight, he hasted into the castle, and the Lady Lyonesse welcomed him, and he told her he had bought her love with the best blood in his body. And she did not say him nay, but put him off for a time. Then the King sent letters to her to bid her, and likewise Sir Gareth, come to his Court, and by the counsel of Sir Gareth she prayed the King to let her call a tournament, and to proclaim that the Knight who bore himself best should, if he was unwedded, take her and all her lands. But if he had a wife already