150 LANCELOT AND GUENEVERE
withstood that buffet of Sir Lancelot's. He wounded Sir Mordred also, so that he fled away with all his might. When the clamour of the battle was still, Sir Lancelot turned back to the Queen and said, ' Alas, Madam, they will make King Arthur my foe, and yours also, but if you will come with me to my castle, I will save you from all dangers.'
' I will not go with you now,' answered the Queen, 'but if you see to-morrow that they will burn me to death, then you may deliver me as you shall think best.'
' While I live I will deliver you,' said Sir Lancelot, and he left her and went back to his lodging. When Sir Bors, who was awaiting him, saw Sir Lancelot, he was gladder than he ever had been in his whole life before. ' Mercy !' cried Sir Lancelot, ' why you are all armed !'
' Sir,' answered Sir Bors, ' after you had left us I and your friends and your kinsmen were so troubled that we felt some great strife was at hand, and that perchance some trap had been laid for you. So we put on armour that we might help you whatever need you were in.' ' Fair nephew,' said Lancelot, ' but now I have been more hardly beset than ever I was in my life, and yet I escaped,' and he told them all that had happened. ' I pray you, my fellows, that you will be of good courage and stand by me in my need, for war is come to us all.'
' Sir,' answered Sir Bors, 'all is welcome that God sends us, and we have had much good with you and much fame, so now we will take the bad as we have taken the good.' And so said they all.
' I thank you for your comfort in my great distress,' replied Sir Lancelot, ' and you, fair nephew, haste to the Knights which be in this place, and find who is with me and who is against me, for I would know my friends from my foes.'
' Sir,' said Sir Bors, ' before seven of the clock in the morning you shall know.'
By seven o'clock, as Sir Bors had promised, many