126 THE FAIR MAID OF ASTOLAT
whole.' Then Sir Bors leaned upon his bed, and told him how the Queen was filled with anger against him, because he wore the red sleeve at the jousts.
' I am sorrowful at what you tell me,' replied Sir Lancelot, ' for all I did was to hinder my being known.'
'That I said to excuse you,' answered Sir Bors, ' though it was all in vain. But is this damsel that is so busy about you the Fair Maid of Astolat? '
' She it is, and she will not go from me !'
' Why should she go from you?' asked Sir Bors. ' She is a passing fair damsel, and of gentle breeding, and I would that you could love her, for it is easy to see by her bearing that she loves you entirely.'
' It grieves me to hear that,' said Sir Lancelot.
After this they talked of other things, till in a few days Sir Lancelot's wounds were whole again. When Sir Lancelot felt his strength return, Sir Bors made him ready, and departed for the Court of King Arthur, and told them how he had left Sir Lancelot. And there was on All Hallows a great tournament, and Sir Bors won the prize for the unhorsing of twenty Knights, and Sir Gareth did great deeds also, but vanished suddenly from the field, and no man knew where he had gone. After the tourney was over, Sir Bors rode to the hermitage to see Sir Lancelot, whom he found walking on his feet, and on the next morning they bade farewell to the hermit, taking with them Elaine le Blanc. They went first to Astolat, where they were well lodged in the house of Sir Bernard, but when the morrow came, and Sir Lancelot would have departed from them, Elaine called to her father and to her brothers Sir Tirre and Sir Lavaine, and thus she said:
' My lord Sir Lancelot, fair Knight, leave me not, I pray you, but have mercy upon me, and suffer me not to die of love of thee.'
'What do you wish me to do ?' asked Sir Lancelot.
' 1 would have you for my husband,' answered she.