LANCELOT AND GUENEVERE 141
well expect some good Knight to avenge me, though my lord Arthur knew not of your work.'
' Madam, I will make such amends as you yourself may desire,' pleaded Sir Meliagraunce, ' and I trust wholly to your grace.'
' What would you have me do ? ' asked the Queen.
' Rule in this castle as if it were your own, and give Sir Lancelot cheer till to-morrow, and then you shall all return to Westminster.'
' You say well,' answered the Queen. ' Peace is ever better than war, and I take no pleasure in fighting.' So she went down with her ladies to Sir Lancelot, who still stood full of rage in the inner court, calling as before, ' Traitor Knight, come forth !'
' Sir Lancelot,' asked the Queen, ' what is the cause of all this wrath ?'
' Madam,' replied Sir Lancelot, ' does such a question come from you ? Methinks your wrath should be greater than mine, for all the hurt and the dishonour have fallen upon you. My own hurt is but little, but the shame is worse than any hurt.'
'You say truly,' replied the Queen, ' but you must come in with me peaceably, as all is put into my hand, and the Knight repents bitterly of his adventure.'
' Madam,' said Sir Lancelot, ' since you have made agreement with him, it is not my part to say nay, although Sir Meliagraunce has borne himself both shamefully and cowardly towards me. But had I known you would have pardoned him so soon, I should not have made such haste to come to you.'
' Why do you say that ?' asked the Queen; ' do you repent yourself of your good deeds ? I only made peace with him to have done with all this noise of slanderous talk, and for the sake of my Knights.'
' Madam,' answered Sir Lancelot, ' you understand full well that I was never glad of slander nor noise, but there is neither King, Queen nor Knight alive, save your-