Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chapter 77 [part 1 of 2]

How Queen Sardamira sent a message to Sir Florestan, telling him that because he had defeated her knights and left them injured, she wished him to guard her as far as Miraflores Castle, where she was going to speak with Oriana; and what happened there. 

[Statue of Beatriz Galindo (1465-1535) in Madrid. She served as a professor at the University of Salamanca before she became tutor to the children of Queen Isabella. Because of her proficiency in Latin, she was nicknamed La Latina, and the neighborhood in Madrid where she lived is still called La Latina. Photo by Tamorlan.]

So, as you have heard, Sir Grumedan was speaking with Queen Sardamira, who was happy to hear about the journey the Emperor had made back when he called himself Patin. He had been traveling for her love, since he had loved her dearly and had gone to Great Britain hoping to win her love by testing himself against the fine knights there. But he had never told her about what had happened to him with Amadis, and she laughed a lot inwardly over how he had kept it from her.

Sir Grumedan told her:

“My lady, give me the message ye would be most pleased to have sent to Sir Florestan.”

She thought a bit and said:

“Sir Grumedan, you can see that my knights are badly injured and can no longer guard me or themselves, and they ought to stay behind for their health. Given how the knights of this land are, I would wish that Sir Florestan were my guard along with you.”

He said:

“I tell you, my lady, that Sir Florestan is so courteous that a lady or damsel could ask nothing from him that he would not do, and even more for you, for ye are a great lady to whom he must make amends for his error.”

“I am very pleased by what ye say,” she said, “and if ye give me someone to guide this damsel, I shall send her with my message.”

He gave her four squires, and the Queen sent the damsel who had received the horses with a letter of credentials, and told her privately what to say. She mounted her palfrey and with the squires she hurried on her way. When she arrived at the hermitage, she found Sir Florestan, who was speaking with the hermit, and she dismounted. Since she had not veiled her face, he recognized her immediately and received her very well.

She told him:

“My lord, there was a time today when I did not wish to look for you because I thought things would happen differently between you and our knights.”

“My good lady,” he said, “it was their fault, for they asked me to do what I could not refuse without shame. But tell me if your lady the Queen is going to lodge tonight where I left her.”

The damsel said:

“My lord, the Queen sends you her greetings. Take this letter I bring from her.”

He looked at it and said:

“My lady, tell me the order she sent with you, and I shall fulfill it.”

“It would not be unreasonable to do so,” she said. “In fact, it is to your honor and courtesy as a good knight, and I tell you I was ordered to say that the knights who guarded her were left in such a poor state by you that they cannot serve her. And since this trouble is caused by you, she wishes you to guard her until she reaches Miraflores, where she is going to see Oriana.”

“I am very gratified to your lady, for I hold it as a great honor and gift to be able to serve her. Let us leave here at such a time that we arrive at her tent at dawn.”

“In the name of God,” the lady said. “And now I say that ye are well known to Sir Grumedan, who told the Queen that ye would give the answer that ye did.”

The damsel was very taken by the fine words and great discretion of Sir Florestan, and by how he was handsome and debonair, and in every way he seemed like a high-born man, which he was. There they supped together and spoke about many things until well into the night. When it was time to sleep, they made a lodging for the damsel in the hermitage, and Sir Florestan went beneath the trees with his squires and slept that night very peacefully after the day’s labors. But when it was time, the squires awoke him, and he armed himself and brought the lady and the rest of the company with him as he rode, arriving at the tents early in the morning.

The damsel went to the Queen, and Sir Florestan to Sir Grumedan’s tent, who had already risen and was speaking with his knights, and he was about to hear Mass. When he saw Sir Florestan, he was delighted, and they embraced each other with pleasure and immediately went to the Queen’s tent.

Sir Grumedan told him:

“My lord, the Queen wishes you to guard her, and you should, for she is a very noble lady. And it seems to me that she made no bad exchange to lose her knights and win you,” he said laughing.

“May God help me,” Sir Florestan said, “I very much wish to put myself in her service in whatever may please her, especially doing it in your company, since I have not seen you for so long.”

“My lord, God knows how much it pleases me to see you,” he said. “Tell me what ye did with the shields that ye took from here.”

“I sent them last night with my squire to Firm Island and to your friend Sir Gandales, so he can put them where they may be seen by everyone who comes there, and the Romans will know where they are if they wish to come and try to take them.”

“If they do,” Sir Grumedan said, “the island will be well supplied with their shields and weapons.”

So they spoke as they came to where the Queen was, who knew they were coming. Sir Florestan came before her and wished to kiss her hands, but she would not let him and put her hand on the sleeve of his coat of mail as a sign of welcome, and told him:

“Sir Florestan, I am very thankful that ye have come and for the effort ye wish to make in my service. In that way ye have made amends for the injury ye did to my knights, and it is right to forgive you.”

“My good lady,” he said, “it is no effort or labor to serve you. Instead, I am very sorry if I gave you any affront, and I accept this as a great honor and kindness. And I ask ye to order me to do whatever else may be in your service, my lady, and as your knight and servant I shall fulfill it with my deepest devotion.”

The Queen asked Sir Grumedan if everything was ready for travel. He replied:

“My lady, ye may go whenever ye wish, and I shall have these injured knights taken to a town near here where they shall be cared for until they are well. Given their injuries, they cannot travel with us until they are healthy.”

“So shall it be,” she said.

Then they brought the Queen a palfrey white as snow with a fine saddle marvelously decorated with gold, as were the reins. She was dressed in fine clothing with pearls and expensive stones around her neck, which added to her great beauty. Her ladies and damsels, finely attired, immediately mounted, and with Sir Florestan taking the Queen’s horse by the reins, they took the road to Miraflores.

I tell you that Oriana already knew they were coming, which weighed on her, for there was nothing worse in the world for her than to hear speak of the Emperor of Rome, and she knew for certain that the Queen came for no other reason. But she was very pleased that Sir Florestan was coming when she learned that he was traveling with her, because she could ask him for news about Amadis and express her grievances to him about her father the King.

Although she was very upset, she ordered the house be decorated beautifully with fine estrados to receive them, and she wore her best clothing, as did Mabilia and her other damsels.

When Queen Sardamira entered the palace where Oriana was, Sir Florestan and Grumedan escorted her. She impressed Oriana, who thought that if it were not for what she was seeking, she would be very pleased to have her with her. The Queen approached and knelt before Oriana and wished to kiss her hands, but she pulled her up and told her that she was a queen and lady, and herself a poor damsel whose sins had brought her harm.

Then Mabilia and the other damsels greeted her, showing great pleasure to meet the Queen. But Oriana could not, for she had never felt pleasure since the Romans had arrived at her father’s court. But I tell you that she was very delighted with Sir Florestan and Sir Grumedan, for her heart found some rest with them.

All the women sat on an estrado, and Oriana had Sir Florestan and Sir Grumedan sit facing her, and after she had spoken a while with the Queen, she turned to Sir Florestan and said:

“My good friend, it has been a long time since I saw you, and I am sorry for that since I love you dearly, as do all who know you. And great is the loss of you and Amadis and your friends to Great Britain because you used to set right great wrongs and grievances here. May those who caused your estrangement from my father be damned, and if ye were all here together as before, an unfortunate woman, now sadly awaiting to be disinherited and be brought close to death, could have hope for remedy. And if ye were here, you would speak for her and come to her defense as ye have always done, for ye would never forsake those who need your help in their time of troubles. But such as been the ill fortune of she of whom I speak that nothing awaits her but death.”

As she said this, she wept bitterly, and for two reasons: The first because if her father were to deliver her to the Romans, she planned to throw herself into the sea. The other, because of her loneliness for Amadis, whom Sir Florestan reminded her of as he sat before her, looking so much like him.

Sir Florestan, who was very clever, understood that she was speaking about herself, and said:

“My good lady, God in His mercy brings help to those in great troubles, and my lady, place your hope in Him to bring you counsel for your trouble. And of what ye say of Amadis, my lord brother whom I deeply long to see, if in some places they lack his help, in others those who need it find it. Believe, my lady, that he is well and in his free will, traveling in foreign lands doing wondrous feats at arms and helping those who have been done ill, for God has placed his excellence in the world above all others He caused to be born.”

Queen Sardamira, who was near them and heard every word, said:

“Oh, may God keep Amadis from falling into the hands of the Emperor, who despises him mortally. I can only feel sorrow for his hatred at him for being so esteemed, and at you, Sir Florestan, who is his brother.”

“My lady,” he said, “many others love him and wish him well and honor.”

“And I tell you,” the Queen said, “that from what I know, there is no man whom the Emperor hates as much as him, except for a knight who lodged for a time in the court of King Tafinor of Bohemia when the Emperor’s men went to war with him. That knight of whom I speak killed Sir Garadan in battle, who was the best knight in the entire lineage of the Emperor and in the entire dominion of Rome besides Salustanquidio, the very honorable prince sent on orders of the Emperor to your father for your wedding.

“And that knight of whom I speak, the day after he had killed Sir Garadan, through his great skill at arms he killed another eleven knights of the Emperor, among the best in all Rome. And with these two battles that I speak of, that knight brought to an end the Emperor’s war against the King of Bohemia, who otherwise would have had no expectation but to lose all his kingdom. So it was a good day when such a noble knight came to his court to solve all his ills.”

Then Queen Sardamira explained in detail the reasons behind the battles, and how the war was won to the honor and advantage of King Tafinor, just as this book has told. After she was done, Sir Florestan said:

“My good lady, do you know the name of this knight to whom all these things happened to increase his honor?”

“Yes,” the Queen said. “They call him the Knight of the Green Sword or the Knight of the Dwarf, and he answers to either of those names. But everyone knows those are not his real names. He carries a grand sword in a green sheath, and a dwarf accompanies him, so those names come from that. And as with the squire who accompanies him, the dwarf never parts from his side.”

When Sir Florestan heard this description, he was joyful and believed that it was in fact his brother Amadis. Oriana and Mabilia also believed that. Sir Florestan, after some thought, decided that when he left King Lisuarte’s court, he would go look for him. And Oriana, who was dying to speak privately with Mabilia, said to the Queen:

“My good lady, ye have come from far away and must need to relax, and it would be good if ye were to rest in these fine room that ye have here.”

“So it shall be done,” she said, “since ye wish it, my lady.”


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