142 LANCELOT AND GUENEVERE
self, Madam, and my lord Arthur, that should hinder me from giving Sir Meliagraunce a cold heart before I departed hence.'
'That I know well,' said the Queen, 'but what would you have more ? Everything shall be ordered as you will.'
'Madam,' replied Sir Lancelot, 'as long as you are pleased, that is all I care for,' so the Queen led Sir Lancelot into her chamber, and commanded him to take off his armour, and then took him to where her ten Knights were lying sore wounded. And their souls leapt with joy when they saw him, and he told them how falsely Sir Meliagraunce had dealt with him, and had set archers to slay his horse, so that he was fain to place himself in a cart. Thus they complained each to the other, and would have avenged themselves on Sir Meliagraunce but for the peace made by the Queen. And in the evening came Sir Lavaine, riding in great haste, and Sir Lancelot was glad that he was come.
Now Sir Lancelot was right when he feared to trust Sir Meliagraunce, for that Knight only sought to work ill both to him and to the Queen, for all his fair words. And first he began to speak evil of the Queen to Sir Lancelot, who dared him to prove his foul words, and it was settled between them that a combat should take place in eight days in the field near Westminster. 'And now,' said Sir Meliagraunce, ' since it is decided that we must fight together, I beseech you, as you are a noble Knight, do me no treason nor villainy in the meantime.'
'Any Knight will bear me witness,' answered Sir Lancelot, ' that never have I broken faith with any man, nor borne fellowship with those that have done so.' ' Then let us go to dinner,' said Sir Meliagraunce, ' and afterwards you may all ride to Westminster. Meanwhile would it please you to see the inside of this castle ?' ' That I will gladly,' said Sir Lancelot, and they went from chamber to chamber, till they reached the floor of