Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chapter 53 [middle part]

[Of the doubt and anguish between Gandalin and Oriana, and their reconciliation.] 

 [The fortified medieval tower of the church of Miraflores de la Sierra, a town in a valley of the Guadarrama Mountains north of Madrid. Miraflores means "look at the flowers." Photo by the Municipality of Miraflores.] 

Miraflores Castle was two leagues from London, and it was small, but the most delightful lodging in that land. It lay in a forest at the foot of a mountain and was surrounded by orchards full of fruit and other large groves of trees, and among them were plants and flowers of all types. The castle was wonderfully made and, inside, it had richly decorated halls and rooms, and in its patios, many water fountains and delightful shady trees that bore fruit and flowers all year.

One day the King had been there hunting and brought the Queen and his daughter with him, and because he saw that his daughter loved the castle for its beauty, he had told her it was hers. In front of the gate, at the distance of an arrow shot from a crossbow, there was a convent of nuns, which Oriana had ordered built after the castle had become hers, and it held women who had taken holy vows.

Oriana spoke with the King and Queen that night and asked them for permission go there for a while, which they willingly granted.

While the King was at the dinner table, with Sir Galaor and Agrajes and Sir Florestan next to him, he told them:

"I have faith in God, my good friends, that soon we shall have news about Amadis, because I have sent thirty of the best knights of my court to look for him. And if they do not bring him back, ye may take as many of my knights as ye wish and go to look where ye believe it would be best. But I ask that ye do this after a long-delayed battle I will have with King Cildadan of Ireland, who is a king well-esteemed at arms and who is married to a daughter of King Abies, whom Amadis killed. The battle shall be one hundred against one hundred."

The battle's cause was the tribute that the King of Ireland was obliged to give to the kings of Great Britain, and they had agreed that if the King of Great Britain won, the tribute would be doubled and King Cildadan would be his vassal. But if Cildadan won, he would be free of the tribute forever. From what King Lisuarte had learned about the men who would be his opponents, he was going to need all the members of his court and his friends.

Because of what the King had said, the three companions remained at the court though they did not wish to, for they would rather have returned immediately to look for Amadis, and quite rightly. But they would have suffered great shame not to serve and help the King in a situation so important and with such great danger.

After the tablecloths were lifted, Sir Florestan ordered Gandalin to go to visit Mabilia. He did, and when they saw each other, they could not help but weep. Gandalin told her:

"Oh, my lady, what a great wrong Oriana has done to you and your family, for she took from you the best knight in the world. Oh, how badly used ye were when ye served her, what great injustice ye have received from her, and even more he who has never done nor said any error.  Given her treachery, God has misused such beauty and all her other qualities. But from this wrong that she did I well know none shall lose as much as she will."

"Oh, Gandalin," she said, "I beg thee not to say that nor to think it now, for thou art wrong. She did it with great anguish and sorrow because of what she had been told that reasonably made her suspicious. She believed she had been forgotten by thy lord, and that he now dearly loved another. Despite the great anger with which the letter was written and sent, she did not think that it would cause so much harm. And of the error in all this, thou mayst believe that its cause was the excessive and undue love that she has for him."

"Oh, God," Gandalin said, "how could Oriana and ye and the Damsel of Denmark lack good judgement to think that my lord could have committed such an error against she whom he is so terrified to anger that he would rather be buried alive? And what words could these have been that your great judgement and virtue was so disturbed that ye could make the best knight ever born die?"

"Ardian the dwarf," Mabilia said, "thinking to increase the honor of his lord, has caused it."

Then she told him everything that had happened about the sword broken into three pieces, which the first book has recounted.

"And do not think," she said, "that I or the Damsel of Denmark could have done more to try to calm Oriana's anger, who thought that the man whom she loved so much had left her for another. Her heart would never have been at ease until she had sent that letter, which we did not know about, and which has brought us all to the point of death. But thou mayst believe that after she learned from Durin what Amadis did, she has been in such great anguish and pain that this gives us consolation for the sorrow that we have over Amadis."

And while Mabilia was saying all this to Gandalin, Oriana was listening from inside her room and heard all that they said. And when they ceased to speak of it, she came out as if she had heard nothing. When she saw Gandalin, her heart shook and she could not help herself from falling on an estrado, and she said, weeping so hard that she could barely speak:

"Oh Gandalin, may God keep thee and give thee good fortune! Do now what thou must and fulfill what thou art obliged to do."

"My lady," he said weeping, "what do ye order me to do?"

"Kill me," she said, "for I have killed thy lord and thou must avenge his death, as he would avenge yours if someone were to have killed thee."

And at that she was as faint as if her soul wished to leave her. Gandalin felt very sorry and wished he had not come there at all. Mabilia took some water and threw it in her face, and so she came to, sighing and wringing her hands, and she said:

"Oh, Gandalin, why dost thou tarry in doing what thou must? By God, thy father would not hesitate to do what he ought to."

"My lady," Gandalin said, "may God keep me from doing anything disloyal, for if I intended to do so, it would be the greatest treachery in the world. And not just one but two, because ye are my lady and Amadis is my lord, and I know with certainty that after your death, he would not live one hour. I never thought that ye, my lady, would give me such bad counsel, even more because my lord Amadis is not dead. Because despite all the sadness and anguish that your rage caused, by his own hand he may endure that, but his death is in the hand of God, when He believes it is the right time, and if He wished that, He would not have given him such good fortune from the first. And ye, my lady, must believe that a man so distinguished in this world as he is will not be killed unjustly by God."

This and many other things he told her to comfort her, which they did somewhat. And she said:

"My good friend Gandalin, I am going tomorrow to Miraflores, where I wish to wait for life or death, depending on the news I get. And come to see us, for Mabilia shall send for thee, and thou canst relieve my heart from its sadness."

"My lady," Gandalin said, "I shall do that and anything else that ye order."

With that, he left them, and as he passed where the Queen was, she had him called and had him come before her and spoke with him for a long time about Amadis's estate and the great sorrow that she had for him, and tears came to her eyes.

Gandalin said:

"My lady, if ye ache over him, it is rightly so, for he is your fine servant."

"He is a good friend as well," the Queen said, "and a good protector. May God be pleased to bring us good news about him that will give us some consolation."

And as they were speaking, Gandalin saw that elsewhere in the hall Sir Galaor and Florestan and Corisanda were all very happy together, and she seemed the most beautiful lady he had ever seen. He did not know who she was and asked the Queen who such a beautiful lady it was to whom those two brothers spoke with such pleasure. The Queen told him who she was and why she had come to the court and how she loved Sir Florestan, and for his love, she had stayed at the court, waiting for some time.

When Gandalin heard this, he said:

"If she loves him, she may well be praised, for he has within him such virtue and discretion that if she searched the world over, she could find few that equal him at arms. And, my lady, if ye were to know Sir Florestan well, ye would not esteem any knight more than him, for he is well accomplished in the proper use of arms and all other good skills."

"And so it seems," the Queen said, "that of a man whose family has such noble knights of such deeds at arms, it would be a great injustice if he did not resemble them, and even more importantly shared their abilities."

And while the Queen was speaking with Gandalin, Sir Florestan was speaking very lovingly with his beloved. Besides being very beautiful and rich, she loved him so much that she would never give her love to another, and she came from the most noble and high counts of all of Great Britain. He spoke with her and Sir Galaor about how she might return to her land, and how he and Sir Galaor and Agrajes would accompany her for two days, and after he had heard any news about Amadis, and after the battle that King Lisuarte had set, if he were still alive, he would go to her and would live in her lands for a long time.

"May God be pleased to show His mercy," she said, "and protect you and bring you good news about Amadis so that ye may fulfill all that ye have promised, for I am very consoled by it."

Then they went to the King, and Gandalin with them. Since Oriana had asked permission that night from the King and Queen to go the next day to Miraflores, and they had granted it, they ordered Sir Grumedan to leave with her and Mabilia and other ladies and damsels at dawn, take them to the castle, and then to return, leaving the servants that she needed and guards for the gates of the castle.

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