How Gandalin spoke with Mabilia and Oriana, and what they told him to say to Amadis.
[Detail of the monument to Christopher Columbus in Madrid at the Plaza de Colón. It was erected between 1881 and 1885 of white marble, with sculptures by Jerónimo Suñol and a gothic pedestal by Arthur Mélida. Photo by Sue Burke.]
This story tells how those messengers departed, as ye have heard, and Gandalin was very anxious to go where his lord had ordered, but Amadis told him not to leave until he had seen his cousin Mabilia. He immediately went to Oriana’s chambers, which were in that tower ye have heard of, where no man could enter except with special permission because it was guarded and protected by ladies and damsels. When he came to the garden’s gate, he had them tell Mabilia that Gandalin was there and would be leaving for Gaul and wished to see her before he left. When she learned that, she told Oriana, and when she heard that, she was very pleased and ordered him to be let in. When he came to Oriana, he knelt before her and kissed her hands. Then he went to Mabilia and told her what his lord had ordered him to say.
Mabilia told Oriana loud enough so that all could hear:
“My lady, Gandalin is leaving for Gaul. See if ye wish him to say anything to the Queen and to my cousin Melicia.”
Oriana said she would be pleased to send a message with him, and she came to where they were, secluded from the others, and told him:
“Oh, my friend Gandalin! What dost thou make of my misfortune? The thing that I most wanted in the world was to be where I would never take my eyes off thy lord, and such has been my fate that I have been placed in his power in a way that I do not dare see him without his honor and mine being greatly diminished. Thou mayest believe that my suffering heart feels great fatigue from this, and if thou wert able to feel it too, thou wouldst have great pity for me. And so that he may know this, both for his consolation and to absolve me, thou must tell him to find a way for him and all the knights to come to see me so that in front of all of them, with no one understanding what they hear, he may speak to me. And this could be done under the pretext of thy departure.”
Gandalin told her:
“Oh my lady, it is so right for you to think of what could help this knight, for so many times during the journey that we took I have had to keep him alive. If I were to tell you of it, your soul would suffer much greater pain and anguish than it feels now, for it is true, my lady, that the great feats of arms he did in those foreign lands were many and were such that they could not have been done nor even conceived of by any other person, and yet they did not put his life in even one-thousandth of the danger of death as your memory and the impossibility of seeing you. And since to speak of this would be futile because it is endless, it only remains for you, my lady, to have pity on him and console him, because from what I have seen and truly believe, his life depends on yours.”
She told him:
“My good friend, thou canst say very truthfully that without him I could not live nor would I wish to, for my life would be more painful and grim than death. Let us speak no more of this, so that thou mayest leave quickly and go to him and tell him what I have ordered thee.”
“So it shall be done my lady, and he shall carry it out.”
With that he bid them farewell, and he went to his lord. But first, Oriana told him in front of all the other ladies there that he should not leave until she gave him a letter for Queen Elisena and another for her daughter Melicia, and he told her he would do that, and he asked her to give it to her soon, because all the other messengers had left, and there was no one left besides him. And so he went to Amadis and told him everything that Oriana had said in her reply, and how she had sent him to say that he and all those lords should come to see him under some excuse because she wished to speak to him.
After he heard this, Amadis thought for a while, then told him:
“Dost thou know how this could best be done? Speak with my cousin Agrajes and tell him that when thou wert speaking with Mabilia about whether she had anything to send to Gaul, she told thee that it seemed to her it would be good if there were a way for all the lords that are here to come to see and encourage Oriana because, given the seriousness of the situation she is in and how disquieting it is for her, she needs their encouragement. And by any means thou might find, thou shouldst tell her, because it would be much better for her to order this herself.”
And then he told him:
“Tell me, how did my lady seemed to thee? Is she sad to find herself in this situation?”
Gandalin told him:
“My lord, ye already know of her great courage and how she can show nothing else but the virtue of her noble heart, but, certainly, her face seems more sad than happy to me.”
Amadis raised his hands up to Heaven and said:
“Oh most powerful Lord, may it please You to give me a way that I may provide the remedy suitable for the honor and service of this lady, and that my death or life be guided as fate would have it.”
Gandalin told him:
“My lord, do not be dismayed, for in this as in all other things, God has always done more to further your honor than for any other knight, and so with much righteousness and justice He shall do the same for you in this.”
Gandalin departed from Amadis and went to Agrajes and told him everything that his lord had ordered and what he thought best. Agrajes told him:
“My friend Gandalin, it would be very right to do what my sister has asked for, and it shall be done immediately. It has not been done already for no other reason than because these knights only knew it was Oriana’s will to carry out the most honest life she could. It would be good if we went to tell this to my cousin Amadis.”
And with Gandalin, he went to where Amadis was lodging and told him what his sister Mabilia had sent Gandalin to say. Amadis answered, as if he knew nothing, that he would agree with whatever she thought best. Then Agrajes spoke with the knights in such a way that they did not know that Oriana wanted it, saying they should go to see her and console her, telling them that in situations like this the most courageous need solace, and even more so feeble women.
They all held that as good, and they were very pleased about it, and they agreed to see her the next day in the afternoon. And so they did, dressed in their very best fighting apparel, on finely adorned palfreys and with their swords all decorated with gold, and thus arrived at the chamber where Oriana was. And as they were all handsome young men, they looked so good that it was a wonder. Agrajes had already sent word to her that they wished to see her, and she sent for Queen Sardamira and Grasinda and all the princesses, ladies, and damsels of great estate to be with her so that together they could all receive them.