THE FAIR MAID OF ASTOLAT 121
him before me,' he said, ' that he may have the prize he has won, which is his right.' Then answered the King with the hundred Knights, ' we fear the Knight must have been sore hurt, and that neither you nor we are ever like to see him again, which is grievous to think of.'
' Alas!' said King Arthur, ' is he then so badly wounded ? What is his name ? '
' Truly,' said they all, ' we know not his name, nor whence he came, nor whither he went.'
'As for me,' answered King Arthur, ' these tidings are the worst that I have heard these seven years, for I would give all the lands I hold that no harm had befallen this Knight.'
' Do you know him ?' asked they all.
' Whether I know him or not,' said King Arthur, ' I shall not tell you, but may Heaven send me good news of him.' ' Amen,' answered they.
'By my head,' said Sir Gawaine, 'if this good Knight is really wounded unto death, it is a great evil for all this land, for he is one of the noblest that ever I saw for handling a sword or spear. And if he may be found, I shall find him, for I am sure he is not far from this town,' so he took his squire with him, and they rode all round Camelot, six or seven miles on every side, but nothing could they hear of him. And he returned heavily to the Court of King Arthur.
Two days after the King and all his company set out for London, and by the way, it happened to Sir Gawaine to lodge with Sir Bernard at Astolat. And when he was in his chamber, Sir Bernard and his daughter Elaine came unto Sir Gawaine, to ask him tidings of the Court, and who did best in the tourney at Winchester.
' Truly,' said Sir Gawaine, ' there were two Knights that bare white shields, but one of them had a red sleeve upon his helm, and he was one of the best Knights that ever I saw joust in the field, for I dare say he smote down forty Knights of the Table Round.'